Author Topic: Sam Adams Oktoberfest  (Read 700 times)

Online Robert

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2019, 02:05:37 PM »
I am shocked that Bitburger allowed their name to be attached to it.

I recently watched a segment on the Country Music Business. A striking comment was “they had a guitar in on hand and a briefcase in the other.”  The performers wanted to return to their roots but the businessmen were selling records. When ask what the ‘Nashville Sound’ was, Chet Atkins put his hand in his pocket and jingled his change saying “That’s the Nashville Sound.” 

Once realizing Bit can place their name on a SN beer intended for a very large market, the return on investment makes sound business sense. ...regardless of the history of the brand or the style. The name on the bottle takes second fiddle to the sales report.


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Yeah, it is a lot of "free advertising" to a demographic who wouldn't normally buy their beer.  Just wonder how many who try the SN beer because they like the regular SN products -- and this will definitely appeal to them -- will ever become repeat buyers if they try Bit's regular.  Probably OT.
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Offline Kevin

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2019, 03:14:42 PM »
I live just a couple of miles outside of Frankenmuth, Michigan. Frankenmuth is so steeped in their German heritage and traditions that they were the first (and for a long time the only) Oktoberfest celebration/festival outside Munich that the Parliament and mayor of Munich sanctioned. Their official beer is Hofbrauhaus which is another very good authentic example.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2019, 05:12:55 PM »
As for this year's Sierra Nevada entry, it is baffling to me.  Not only not at all German, it isn't even in the general American style.  But I suppose very SN.  Gobs of crystal malt, hardly very drinkable, but with a hop character that just doesn't balance at all.  I am shocked that Bitburger allowed their name to be attached to it.  Their only contribution was some of their contract grown hops, no input on formulation.
That was not the impression I had with this year's version.  Perhaps your sample was oxidized?

You are drinking a different beer than me. The one's I have are dry. Almost bone dry. And slightly more bitter than I expect. I rather like it!

Offline denny

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2019, 05:44:17 PM »
As for this year's Sierra Nevada entry, it is baffling to me.  Not only not at all German, it isn't even in the general American style.  But I suppose very SN.  Gobs of crystal malt, hardly very drinkable, but with a hop character that just doesn't balance at all.  I am shocked that Bitburger allowed their name to be attached to it.  Their only contribution was some of their contract grown hops, no input on formulation.
That was not the impression I had with this year's version.  Perhaps your sample was oxidized?

Exactly my impression also, Keith.
You are drinking a different beer than me. The one's I have are dry. Almost bone dry. And slightly more bitter than I expect. I rather like it!
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Online Robert

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2019, 05:44:51 PM »
As for this year's Sierra Nevada entry, it is baffling to me.  Not only not at all German, it isn't even in the general American style.  But I suppose very SN.  Gobs of crystal malt, hardly very drinkable, but with a hop character that just doesn't balance at all.  I am shocked that Bitburger allowed their name to be attached to it.  Their only contribution was some of their contract grown hops, no input on formulation.
That was not the impression I had with this year's version.  Perhaps your sample was oxidized?

You are drinking a different beer than me. The one's I have are dry. Almost bone dry. And slightly more bitter than I expect. I rather like it!
It is 11% C60, and to me tastes like it.  Very SN, not very German.  It's very good for what it is, and I'm sure it appeals to the craft beer aficionado far more than a German beer would.  We'll just have to disagree.   I like German beer, and I'm not very big on most craft beer.

I notice that in Beer Advocate's poll of the top 100 no German Fests did very well.  Weihenstephan came in no. 74, and a little below it Hofbrauhaus Freising,  the two best I've had this year. Sierra Nevada is no. 13.  The only German beers that did well are Märzens (mostly aimed at the export market,) and some of the heartier (more caramel character) ones at that.  Just shows that the American craft beer drinker's palate is radically different from the traditional German palate.

So back on topic, if you are trying to clone an American beer, using German yeast, malt and hops will probably be the wrong approach.  After all, the OP specifically wondered about German yeast.  I'm suggesting that's on the right track.   Just like you wouldn't use Yorkshire ale yeast in West Coast IPA.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2019, 05:54:41 PM by Robert »
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Offline denny

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2019, 07:40:37 PM »
I really don't care whether it's German or not.  My criteria is do I like it.
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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2019, 08:57:50 PM »
If there is C-60 in it it is miniscule. It's pale. Not Helles pale but pale

Offline majorvices

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2019, 10:46:51 PM »
If there is C-60 in it it is miniscule. It's pale. Not Helles pale but pale

I take it back it is 't "pale" .... well, "pale ale" pale. Deep golden with just a hint of amber.

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2019, 10:49:47 PM »
And darn it Robert you may be right. I am now picking up a light roast that could be c-60. I still like it though but it bis very dry to me.

Online Robert

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2019, 10:59:51 PM »
I've seen this cited as the recipe;  can't guarantee it's correct but it sure is plausible:  61% Munich, 28% Pilsner, 11% C-60;  Magnum bittering,  Loral mid boil, Bitburger blend in the whirlpool.  So a lot like a Märzen, not really a Fest, but more than double the caramel and of a darker color than Germans would use in a Märzen.  And hoppier.  Not saying it's not a decent beer.  Just wouldn't be pounding it by the liter, and it demonstrates the confusion of the terms on American labels.
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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2019, 11:43:58 PM »
I've seen this cited as the recipe;  can't guarantee it's correct but it sure is plausible:  61% Munich, 28% Pilsner, 11% C-60;  Magnum bittering,  Loral mid boil, Bitburger blend in the whirlpool.  So a lot like a Märzen, not really a Fest, but more than double the caramel and of a darker color than Germans would use in a Märzen.  And hoppier.  Not saying it's not a decent beer.  Just wouldn't be pounding it by the liter, and it demonstrates the confusion of the terms on American labels.

well no wonder you don't like it that sounds like a terrible oktoberfest recipe...  ;)

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2019, 01:33:44 PM »
So back on topic, if you are trying to clone an American beer, using German yeast, malt and hops will probably be the wrong approach.  After all, the OP specifically wondered about German yeast.  I'm suggesting that's on the right track.   Just like you wouldn't use Yorkshire ale yeast in West Coast IPA.

Well I learned a lot from my question and what’s been stated here makes perfect sense knowing now what I didn’t know when I posted this question.  That said, I’m curious about the SN Oktoberfest.  I think I’ll try and find some today.  I’ll also try and find examples of some of the other suggestions.  Thanks all for your wonderful insight!

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2019, 03:56:13 PM »
Märzen is the older, amber style formerly associated with Oktoberfest.   It is very well attenuated, made from some light Munich or Vienna malt as well as Pilsner, crisp, dry, drinkable.  Since at least the 1970s the beer served at Oktoberfest has been what is called Festbier to distinguish it.  It is basically an export strength (5.5% ABV, about like the Märzen) Helles, so it is even MORE crisp, dry and drinkable.  The point of any Oktoberfest beer has always been to be eminently drinkable.  You spend all day and night in the tents pounding away until the brewery has all your money.  The American style that has emerged in the craft era is characterized by a lot more strength in many cases, a lot of caramel/crystal malt and darker Munich type malts, and has a very full, sweet impression.   Sam Adams is but one example.   I haven't found a single American made beer this year that is in either German style, and it's more confusing that they interchangeably label them Festbier, Märzen, Oktoberfest,  or some variant, without seemingly having any clear meaning.   As for this year's Sierra Nevada entry, it is baffling to me.  Not only not at all German, it isn't even in the general American style.  But I suppose very SN.  Gobs of crystal malt, hardly very drinkable, but with a hop character that just doesn't balance at all.  I am shocked that Bitburger allowed their name to be attached to it.  Their only contribution was some of their contract grown hops, no input on formulation.

One key to understanding German festival beers is that they are meant for festivals.  For drinking in quantity, and to wash down lots of roast chicken and pretzels.  Over the centuries, they've gone from brown to amber to pale, but essentially they have always been just a slightly stronger but even more crushable version of whatever the mainstream style of the day was.  I'm not well versed in the history of the American craft style, but it seems to me the inspiration was more along the lines of a rich, warming seasonal to sip on chilly nights in the pumpkin patch.  An entirely unrelated class of beers, but legitimate in their own right.

Rob, I agree, but the beers served at Oktoberfest run from 5.8 to 6.3% ABV. Dangerously drinkable. Each beer's ABV is listed here.

https://www.oktoberfest.de/en/magazine/eat-and-drink/the-six-munich-breweries-at-oktoberfest

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Online Robert

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2019, 04:06:12 PM »
Wow, they have crept back up!  I once saw a table showing how they have increased and decreased through the years.  Anywhere from 5.5 to today's high point, IIRC lowest points in the 50s and 70s.  Wonder if there's an economic factor.
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Offline baltocharlie

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Re: Sam Adams Oktoberfest
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2019, 07:16:14 PM »
   ......I haven't found a single American made beer this year that is in either German style, and it's more confusing that they interchangeably label them Festbier, Märzen, Oktoberfest,  or some variant, without seemingly having any clear meaning. ................


I have to agree with Robert.  I have tried many many American Oktoberfest beers.  All very drinkable but all very sweet.  I love Germany's Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen.  Not really certain why both names but I always felt it was an Oktoberfest, perhaps not.  It is a great beer, often hard to find.  Years ago I sent an email to Ayinger asking for the recipe, no reply:( 
This thread has prompted me to go out and pick up a bottle or 2, I have to go to the HB store anyway. I think they come in bombers only.