Weihenstephan Festbier is underrated on BA scale

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by sberg3, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,778) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
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    Could not agree more with this statement. And really, isn't this true about all beers? Not everyone likes the same thing, which I think is great, as the result is that we have all kinds of different styles and takes on various styles.

    To get back to the Weihenstephan festbier, I thought it a pleasant, albeit somewhat light and simple, take on the style. Good, but not typically what I'm looking for when I reach for an Oktoberfest beer.

    I'll also readily agree that the beer tends not to show all that well when poured alongside a rich marzen from, say, Ayinger or Hacker-pschorr.
     
  2. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,296) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
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    One might also argue, as I recently read (from about a month ago?), and agree is possible, that German beers bottled almost 3 months before local American versions could suffer a freshness penalty.

    Although obviously this doesn’t apply if comparing two German-brewed “sub-styles” against each other.
     
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  3. BFCarr

    BFCarr Meyvn (1,058) Feb 13, 2012 New Jersey
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    I had this beer for the first time recently at a Buffalo Wild Wings and it was something of a revolution. Great flavor and feel and low ABV. Went back to it a few weeks later and it was just as good. I know I like it better than others but at only 6% over deviation, can’t say it’s underrated.
     
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  4. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,555) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I’d say Mctoberfest from OMB as an example has a big advantage over its imported brothers. If we’re lucky they’re only 3 months old, most likely a bit older. I’d take 10 day old beer over one 3-4 months old, that imo is a big advantage. I’ve never had a fresh German beer, as I’ve never been to Germany. Some of these American breweries the head brewer is likely educated in Germany, trained in Germany, with extensive time with hands on. So I’d trust they’re as authentic as it can get.
     
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  5. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,776) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Training and execution are two different animals.
     
  6. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,296) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
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    I assume by this you mean German Oktoberfests. I think Ive dated them as between May and July (and I was using the latter). And yes, I agree I'd rather have the fresher beer. Although there is something in the older German Oktoberfests, based on my review from last year, that local brewers seem to just miss on - and if I had to categorize it, I'd say it's a cleaner feel.

    True, but one might argue that one begets another better than "winging it"
     
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  7. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,555) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Absolutely. But once you figure out the local dynamics the 10 years you brewed in Germany are ingrained, you know what it’s supposed to be so you make it that. By dynamics I’m talking components here, local water, hops, malts, yeast. No idea if in Germany the water is conditioned, I don’t understand the science behind the beers. There’s always a learning curve I suppose, brewing in Munich is much different than Whitsett NC, and their head brewer meets those criteria, he’s trained from Munich.
     
  8. jonphisher

    jonphisher Disciple (347) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
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    likely? I’m not so sure. do you know any personally? Is OMB? I’m sure there is a lot I don’t know about this topic but the only Europe ties I know of locally are troegs and victory, I’m guessing others that opened around the same time probably may too. I’m sure I’m missing some (maybe a lot) but I don’t think that many of the newer breweries have German/European training these days.
     
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  9. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,776) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    I have found one or two American Oktoberfests that tasted like the beers I had in Germany. Dynamics, as you call it, are definitely a big part of it -- as are the execution I mentioned above -- and it's just not happening here in the States all that much.

    And FWIW, the couple of beers I mentioned were made at 2 very small breweries; one by a German-trained brewmaster, the other by a self-trained, home-brewer turned pro with a great attention to detail.

    And yeah, they were both better than Mecktoberfest (which is my highest rated Okto, before you jump on me -- I just wasn't rating when I was lucky enough to sample the other two).

    *Bit of an edit -- I just recalled a third, Fest-style that was perfect in its first rendition -- brewed by an American-trained brewmaster with a love of German styles. Sadly, it's no longer brewed.
     
  10. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,555) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I’m over my head here I’ve never had the pleasure of drinking fresh beer from Germany. What the difference between what you had in Germany and say OMB? I’d love to compare fresh to fresh, maybe it just comes back to an individual head brewers skill... and instincts. Don’t know.
     
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  11. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,555) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    The local guys here are legit, they schooled in Germany, worked there for a decade then they’re here. I can’t speak for all obviously, but Old Meck and Red Oak are completely legit. They don’t try and copy, they brew what they know.
     
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  12. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,776) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    It's a malt character that few Ami breweries seem to be able to duplicate. A lot of it has to do with malt choice and a lot of it has to do with process -- or both.

    I'll have to check my Meck review, I know they came close (as my review attests), but it still wasn't as good as those German beers -- to me.

    *Just looked at my review and it was what I thought I remembered; a nutty character I never tasted in the maltier German brews I had there.

    That said, I have tasted it in a few recent imports, so it may be a regional character from certain barley -- but I'm not that versed in German varietals.
     
    #52 steveh, Oct 12, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
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  13. jonphisher

    jonphisher Disciple (347) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
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    That’s cool! I would love to check them out if I’m ever in NC. Just looked up old meck, man that beer garden looks awesome. Red oak looks like an awesome atmosphere too. Cool stuff.
     
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  14. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,832) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
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    They are also the Bavarian State brewing school, so the students would learn many styles.
     
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  15. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,832) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
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    Barke Pilsner malt and decoctions. Learned that on a brewing forum from a guy who went to brewing school there.
     
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  16. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,776) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    While I don't disagree, there are probably other malts besides Barke too, don't you think? I remember HB Dunkel being just rich with that big melanoidin character.

    Or were you talking about that nuttiness?
     
    #56 steveh, Oct 12, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
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  17. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,832) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
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    Barke is said to be favored by the Munich Brewers. Another variety off the top of my head is Steffi.

    I've homebrewed with Barke Pils, and it does have a good flavor. I've not brewed with Barke Vienna or Munich, yet. I have some Barke Munich for an up comming brew.
     
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  18. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,555) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Old Meck is on 4 acres in Charlotte, 4 acres in a city? It’s ridiculous. Red Oak is great too, but I prefer Old Meck beers.
     
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  19. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,778) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I'm sure you're right, though I can't express an opinion from actual experience. I've only ever had the festbier on draft. When I lived in Baltimore, I would go to the Oktoberfest event at Max's in Fells Point every year. There would typically be around 10 or 15 Oktoberfest beers on offer for the event, along with as many as 20 or so gravity feed German beers. At such an event, the Weihenstephan typically wouldn't show all that well by comparison. Still a fine beer, don't get me wrong, but it was facing some pretty stiff competition at the event.
     
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  20. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,555) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Brauhaus Schmitz in Philly does specialty drafts this time of year, I wish they weren’t 7 hours away.
     
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  21. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,555) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    That’s what I’m talking about I want to have a bar I can get to get those beers I only read about.
     
  22. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,555) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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  23. officerbill

    officerbill Zealot (572) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    Long story short is that Weihenstephaner ratings suffer because they brew a pale weisn style Festbier.
    Personally I prefer that style; however, the vast majority of BA raters prefer the amber märzen style so Weihenstephaner, and others like them, get lower ratings.
     
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  24. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,776) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Wiesn.

    Sorry, it's an affliction. :grin:

    And "preference" be damned, once again. Don't f***ing rate one style (and it is a different style) to another. I review both when I get them and don't hold one style over the other.

    Rant over.
     
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  25. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,938) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    I prefer to separate them as substyles for discussion, but I do review and rate them as one style.

    "Märzenbier is full-bodied, rich, and toasty, with a moderately high alcohol content. Its color can be anywhere from pale gold to medium amber, but is typically some shade of copper. Like other dark lagers, the aroma is driven by malt, not hops. Best enjoyed by the half liter in a Bavarian beer garden." -- Dark Lagers: Lager - Märzen / Oktoberfest

    In comparison with the darker, maltier, richer flavored beers (e.g. Ayinger and others), I rate the Weihenstephaner lower. That's just my preference as well as my "keeping style in mind."
     
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  26. officerbill

    officerbill Zealot (572) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    Thanks for the correction, I misspelled it the first time and now it always autocorrects to the wrong spelling. :confused:

    +1 on your rant. The two styles shouldn't be rated against each other, but we've been down the “rate to style” road before :pensive:
     
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  27. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,938) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    Except they are the same style on this site; FWIW, not according to BJCP, where they have been separated.
     
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  28. mambossa

    mambossa Aspirant (249) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    A couple months ago a local-ish brewery rep came to my store and was hyping up their festbier super hard, like almost shamelessly. The rep proceeded to shit talk the Bitburger and Weihenstephaner Festbiers I had on the shelf.

    I actually copped an attitude with him and pretty much laughed at him as politely as I could. Once I tried his brewery’s “festbier”, it was miles behind Weihestephaner. It sucks that some people/novices in the beer culture think it’s cool to shit on old world breweries. Those with any keen taste for lager know that Weihestephaner festbier was on-fuckin-point this year.
     
  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,776) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Yeah, I was going to post that I don't agree with them being "the same" style. To my palate they're very different -- at least Spaten Ur-Märzen from HB Fest. I've been proven wrong between Paulaner Märzen and their Wiesn in blind tasting.

    @AlcahueteJ :stuck_out_tongue:
     
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  30. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,776) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    I really want you to rat the brewery out, but I know that would be rotten. :wink:
     
  31. mambossa

    mambossa Aspirant (249) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    Snitches get stitches. But I feel like I’ve mentioned this situation with more explicit details on another thread at some point... oh well!
     
  32. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,776) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Link? :grin:

    I'm kidding -- I really don't need to know.
     
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  33. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,616) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Fixed that...:wink:
     
  34. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,555) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    That’s confusing.

    I just look at them as two separate styles, because they are as you would drink them, they’re nowhere close to the same family. But they’re umbrellaed under an Oktoberfest label. Two beers, different beers, one label.

    Ah, see above to MM post. Messed that up.
     
  35. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,616) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    I would also note that the highest rated “Märzen/Oktoberfest” on this site is not only not an Oktoberfest, it’s also not a Munich brewery, nor is it even a German brewery, it’s also likely not even a true “Märzen” by German standards being 4.6% ABV (I realize the definition goes by OG, but I couldn’t find that information for this beer).

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1787/6583/

    So I think it’s safe to say you can take the ratings for this “style” with a grain of salt. Preferably those grains of salt are on a lovely German pretzel. :wink:
     
  36. jkrich

    jkrich Meyvn (1,274) Nov 1, 2001 Florida
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    An excellent festbier I try to have every year; I am disappointed that the label has changed from the classy nuns drinking the festbier at a picnic table laughing their hearts out to a generic label.
     
  37. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,776) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    No, no, no -- not fixed for me, I want to hear from the folks that know beer -- not spin!
     
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  38. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,776) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
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    Maybe, but check the reviews -- how many are actually reviews of Augustiner Munich input under the wrong listing? :wink:

    (Hard to believe there are only 23 reviews of that beer)
     
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  39. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,359) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    Not underrated by me. I'm on my 3rd 6pack.
     
  40. Providence

    Providence Crusader (709) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I would be completely content if I could only drink Weihenstephaner beers for the rest of my life.