Sierra Nevada Releases Seasonal Oktoberfest Beer

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Jul 26, 2021.

  1. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    A. IBU is not the only hop characteristic. B. I never called the '21 SN hopped up, just hoppier than the typical Oktoberfest... flavor and bitterness.
    At least you recognize the affliction. :wink:
     
  2. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,670) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Last year's (2020) wasn't a collaboration, it was a unique beer. The collaborations were from 2015-2019. I think the pre-collaboration 2014 Oktoberfest was the first time they brewed a widely released Oktoberfest, and I'm guessing it was their first time bottling one. It was marketed as a new beer rather than a return (but I couldn't tell you if that meant that it was a new recipe or a new way of packaging it). The ABV in 2014 was high. I couldn't say how many different tweaks or changes the recipe underwent in the years leading up to packaged 2014 beer.

    The current beer is very different from last year's. I assume it's a new recipe rather than a minor revision of a small-scale pre-2014 recipe.

    This is just an educated guess, but I don't think they ever packaged the same recipe twice. Collaborations or not, I think the bottles and cans have always been unique. Who knows if the 2022 release will be another new recipe... but if people don't buy the 2021 beer because they are boycotting them due to Summerfest, then those people surely have no right to complain if Sierra Nevada doesn't release an Oktoberfest next year.
     
  3. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Meyvn (1,102) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio
    Trader

    Dude, I don't know (or care, really) what your issues are with Sierra Nevada - as Chris / @zid said.....buy their beer - or not.....a decision to drop a summer seasonal is THEIR BUSINESS....no need to get into a snit over this-----remember they are in business to sell beer.....if a particular beer doesn't sell as well as they want it to....it is their business as to keeping it or dropping it - breweries do this all the time....they are in this for $$, like everyone else....not to cater to every beer drinkers every whim.....plenty of other pilsners out there last time I checked!

    I just don't get all this "beer angst" over Summerfest....crazy
     
  4. Jimmyvail

    Jimmyvail Initiate (15) Apr 1, 2021 Virginia

    There are plenty of pilseners out there and I’m drinking the Yuengling Golden Pilsener which I like quite a bit .

    I like Great Lakes Octoberfest too . They have a good variety of beers .

    SN has turned to a hop monster company .
     
  5. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (5,611) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    Terrance confirmed this year's as an all new recipe in the BA SNPA discord conversation. (I can't remember if you were on that or not).
     
  6. bsp77

    bsp77 Poo-Bah (2,363) Apr 27, 2008 Minnesota
    Society

    But they always have been. Go back decades and they had Pale Ale, Stout, Porter and Wheat as year rounds. Celebration (essentially an IPA) and Bigfoot (hoppy af Barleywine) as specialties. That is 3 out of 6 being overly hoppy, which for that time, was way more than average. Plus, their Stout and Porter were considered more hoppy than the norm.

    Then eventually they released Torpedo and Kellerweis. Torpedo, an IPA, sold like hotcakes, while Kellerweis, a Hefeweizen, did not. It is amazing that they have kept Kellerweis around despite not selling much, and I think it is because it is simply a great beer. But distributors ignore it and push Torpedo and Pale Ale and Celebration.

    I can't blame SN for what they have to do, but I will admit tbat I would rather they stay away from the Haze Craze, and let the little breweries do that. But I get that decision too.
     
  7. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Turned? They made their reputation on hoppy beer. Maybe that was before your time?
     
  8. Jimmyvail

    Jimmyvail Initiate (15) Apr 1, 2021 Virginia

    Yeah they have , even more so now.
     
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,290) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Yes, it is ‘popular’ for folks to think that Sierra Nevada started off as a hoppy beer company but…

    “Our first beer

    Stout

    On November 15, 1980, we started it all with 5 barrels of big, rich Stout”

    https://sierranevada.com/beer/stout/

    Unfortunately the Sierra Nevada Stout brand is now nixed. :slight_frown:

    Cheers!
     
  10. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    You miss the point, SN has always been a hop forward brewery -- since day one.
     
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  11. ESHBG

    ESHBG Disciple (379) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I would say that yes they were always hop forward but they still had quite a bit of variety too and there was a time when their seasonal pack's hoppiest beer was PA.
     
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  12. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,675) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    My feelings exactly right down to the Hacker Pschorr.
     
  13. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Meyvn (1,102) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio
    Trader

    Their stout may have been their "first beer" - but what has been their flagship for decades? A hoppy Pale Ale, which many would argue was responsible for the many many legions of hoppy beers that came after - from Sierra Nevada and others.
    Last time I checked, hoppy beers (IPA's are still clearly the most popular "style" of craft beer - whether you like it or not) are here to stay and are what sells. I cannot fault Sierra Nevada for dropping beers from their lineup that do not sell as well as they want them to....that is what businesses do - every day. Those that do not, will not be around as long as Sierra Nevada has.

    And, stout is still listed (along with Porter) on the Sierra Nevada website.....

    https://sierranevada.com/beer/
     
    #213 BeerVikingSailor, Aug 24, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
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  14. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,362) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    According to Grossman's book, that batch of stout was the first trial brew on their recently completed 5 barrel brewhouse. "...(we) thought a heavy, dark beer would hide the sins of our first attempt." Grossman's book is unspecific about their first commercial beer (just calling it "a beer whose flavor we loved and could consistently repeat") sold in the spring of 1981, but Burton's book Hops and Dreams says:
    A May 1983 article on the brewery in Brewers Digest said Sierra Nevada Stout was not a regular release until 1982 (1981 for Porter).
    Burton's book (2010) says "85%", at the time of its publication SN's total barrelage was 786,000 bbl.
     
  15. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    But those other beers were probably more hoppy than usual for their style. One of the reasons I was never a big fan of their Stout was the hop character.
     
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  16. ESHBG

    ESHBG Disciple (379) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Not at all and the Vienna Lager, Porter, etc., were nice.
     
  17. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Maybe to your palate or personal perception of styles.
    Which pack was it? I probably drank thru one -- I can check my reviews (but I don't recall a Porter).
     
  18. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,670) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    On the topic of Sierra's beginnings: Their initial business plan was to equally brew porter, stout and pale ale... but the market's preference for pale beers obviously transformed that pretty quickly. They didn't brew a "bottom fermented" beer until about a decade of being in business.
     
  19. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    I definitely remember those days of only PA, Stout, and Porter as year-round beers. Probably the original Wheat Ale too, but that wasn't as readily available to me.

    Drank a lot of SN Porter around 1989-90.
     
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  20. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,362) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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  21. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,670) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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  22. Providence

    Providence Crusader (757) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
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    Hot damn how I loved their stout and porter. Haven't seen either in ages.
     
  23. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,670) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    They hung on to them (in small quantities I assume) for a long time as more of a nod to their heritage, but not too long ago they finally gave up on producing them.
     
  24. Providence

    Providence Crusader (757) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Trader

    Yes, as I was posting my previous message I started remembering that they may have been nixed. I thought it was just the porter that got cut, not the stout. Sucks that it was both.
     
  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,828) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    Ehh, I don't think you can really compare Pale Ale to the New England IPA.

    The New England IPA is incredibly popular, which is why they went with the hazy trend, and their hazy IPA series.

    Also remember, when they developed Pale Ale and other hoppy beers/styles early on, they were pioneers. Now they're trend chasers. I don't say that as an insult either. It's hard to be a pioneer when you're as large as they are now.

    @jesskidden does Hazy Little Thing outsell Pale Ale now?
     
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  26. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Zealot (539) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Lots of bickering on here lately, but I’m going to be drinking good when Celebration is released. As for the Oktoberfest, I’ll probably pass on it.

    Don’t @ me.
     
  27. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Meyvn (1,102) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio
    Trader

    Ehhh, I wasn't comparing them.....I said SNPA was / is their flagship beer, that paved the way for hoppy beers to come.....no comprenda?
     
  28. ESHBG

    ESHBG Disciple (379) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    SN Porter was far from hoppy and the Stout was the choice if you wanted dark and hoppy. Vienna Lager, not hoppy. But Tumbler, hoppy.

    I don't recall the Porter being in a pack and I was calling out beers they produced that were not hoppy but I can name enough that show that at one time they did have a nice variety. Now? Not at all unfortunately.
     
  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    I have to disagree. To my palate it was hoppier -- both in bitterness and a citrus flavor -- than most Porters of the day.

    But I agree that the Stout carried more bitterness, but that could have been from both hops and roasted malt.

    For some reason, what didn't work as well in the Porter and Stout really worked in Tumbler for me. Different balances, I guess.
     
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  30. ESHBG

    ESHBG Disciple (379) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Porter had an IBU of 32: https://sierranevada.com/beer/porter/
    Stout, 50: https://sierranevada.com/beer/stout/
    Tumbler, 37 (not an official source, though): https://untappd.com/b/sierra-nevada-brewing-co-tumbler-autumn-brown-ale/5960

    Porter is the lowest of the bunch but yes maybe it was about the combo for you.
     
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  31. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,670) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    FWIW, I also thought SN Porter was hoppy for what it was... and delicious.
    @steveh
     
    #231 zid, Aug 24, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
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  32. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Don't forget, hops aren't IBU only.

    One or the both of them, at the time (1990 +/-) had a citrus character that didn't balance well with the roasted malts to my palate.

    @zid -- I enjoyed the SN Porter, but Anchor was my go-to. Always a nightcap beer on Friday nights in the renewed yout' of my early 30s. :wink:
     
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  33. Genuine

    Genuine Devotee (461) May 7, 2009 Connecticut

    Looks like it's finally in my neck of the woods and I'm starting to get into the fall beer mood. My buddy just sent me a picture of a 12 pack of cans he picked up. Can't wait to try it!
     
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  34. ESHBG

    ESHBG Disciple (379) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Sure but it's a good indicator. Anchor Porter is 40 IBU unofficially btw :wink:

    But yes many factors come into play here but for my palate SN Porter was pretty tame (and a thinner body too) compared to some of their other stuff. Fun fact: when I first got into craft beer I figured Porter = less hoppy and Stout = more hoppy, as SN and Victory were my gauges at the time. Obviously once I learned more about the styles that went out the window but it's fun to think about our impressions of things when we are first trying styles and learning.
     
  35. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,240) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Of bitterness, yes, but hops come in so many different flavors that can't be defined by bitterness only. Not to mention that some hops are nothing but bitterness.
    And yet, you'd never confuse it for SN Porter.

    I was lucky in my early education of beer -- fell in with some very experienced home-brewers (some who also helped out at the local brew-pub) who taught me styles and characteristics. No internet "learning" in those days. :wink:
     
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  36. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,828) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    I gotcha, but I think I could have been clearer and more specific with my point.

    I don’t think Pale Ale paved the way for the New England IPA.

    Pale Ale has been around since the early 80s. LOTS of hoppy beers were produced for decades after that before the recent explosion of breweries that began in the last 5-10 years.
     
  37. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,362) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Good question (and one that can be better answered by @SierraTerence). For 2020, the pandemic year, beer sales got screwed up but I recall early on figures that put HLT at 25% of SN barrelage - but that still wouldn't necessarily top SNPA, which probably benefited from the Covid-inspired trend of off-premise supermarket sales of larger packages of well-known brands.

    I also remember reading more recently that Hazy Little Thing was something like the #6 best selling "craft" beer (so likely still less than Pale Ale) but that would also be dependent on which group collected the info (total sales / scans from certain types of retailers) and their definition of "Craft". IRI, for instance, doesn't include Yuengling as craft, but does include macro-owned brands like Blue Moon, Elysian, Lagunitas, New Belgium, Leinenkugel, etc.
     
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  38. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Meyvn (1,102) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio
    Trader

    My comment was a basic one - before SNPA (and other early ones - like Anchor Liberty Ale) - hoppy beers were not that popular, as all this was "new"....
    If you do not think Sierra Nevada Pale Ale paved the way for the many many hop forward beers that came much later - then I guess we have a historical beer disagreement....cheers!
     
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  39. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,828) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    Fair enough, cheers!

    As long as you still "Celebrate" this fall, it's all good.
     
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  40. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Devotee (499) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois
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    FWIW, last year I did a side by side of SN and Bell's porters and Bell's was noticeably more hoppy despite being 2 months older. I've never thought of either as particularly hop-forward, so I was surprised by the comparison.