Author Topic: Octoberfest beers  (Read 2249 times)

Offline redbeerman

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Octoberfest beers
« on: November 18, 2009, 07:58:20 AM »
Bluesman and I tasted a flight of 9 different Octoberfest beers last weekend and it was certainly an eye opener. The folowing are what we tasted:

Hacker-Pshorr
Spaten
Paulaner
Lancaster Brewing
Clipper City
Mine
His
Becks
Victory

The German's all had a spiciness (late hop flavor?)(except for Beck's) that was missing in the American versions. I attribute that to the type of hops used. The Beck's tasted more like a pilsner than an Ofest (way too bitter for style, no late hop flavor). The American versions had the malt flavor (Clipper City was a bit on the light side), but had varying bitterness levels and none of the late hop flavor and spiciness. We were split on the best. I went with Spaten and B-man went with H-P. I think both were very good. Paulaner seemed to be weak in comparison, although it did have a similar flavor.
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Jim

Offline bluesman

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2009, 08:47:47 AM »
The Germans definitely win hands down. There is a distinct difference in the hoppiness between the Americans and the German fest beers. I prefer the German styles over the American. Except for the Becks, which was missing something.

I also believe the yeast is a player here. I'm not exactly sure, but there was a similarity amongst the German beers that the American beers didn't have that is attributed to the yeast...and let's not forget the German water... :-\

Anyway we calibrated our palates and brewed up some of Denny's VBIP.  8)

Prost!
Ron Price

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2009, 09:29:22 AM »
One thing that I also noticed with many German beers is the quality of the bitterness. Especially beers brewed by large commercial breweries tend to have a very clean bitterness that even at higher levels does not taste harsh. It may linger but doesn’t stick around for long. The hop taste, if present, never feels “raw” or harsh either. I don’t exactly know how they get that since I had beers from smaller breweries (pub or museum breweries) that show a less refined quality of the bitterness while they would be using a similar procedure and similar ingredients.

How about the use of crystal and carmel malts. I know that many American beers have a distinctive crystal note in their aroma that is missing from most German examples of that style. SA Oktoberfest, for example is a good and tasty beer but I would not use it as a reference for judging Oktoberfest style beers.

Kai

Offline redbeerman

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2009, 10:23:04 AM »
None of the beers in this flight had pronounced crystal or cara malt flavors.  The maltiness was not sweet, but, for the lack of a better word, malty.  Like a light pumpernickel bread.  I know SA is got a touch of cara taste to it,  I did not notice that in these beers.
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Offline slimsparty

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2009, 02:03:03 PM »
That is my impression of American Mass Production Ofest.  Very Carmelish.  SA and Leine's especially.  I still drink a lot of the Leine's because it is decent beer for cheap.

Last year I had:
Hacker-Pshorr
Spaten
Paulaner
Warsteiner
HoffBrau

HB and Spaten are my faves.

Offline blatz

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2009, 06:53:24 PM »
kai - perhaps from filtering?
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2009, 07:44:40 AM »
I have tried about a dozen American Oktoberfest beers this year, and was impressed by only two of them:

Capital Brewing, which comes about as close as you can get to an authentic German version, and

Leinies -- thin but reasonably close.

The Sam Adams also tasted good, but also seemed faked, and way way WAY too much caramel malt, so much that it was super thick and chewy.

There really is nothing else like an authentic German Oktoberfest.  All the German examples are awesome.  My favorites would be Hofbrau and Hacker-Pschorr.  I haven't had the Ayinger in a number of years, need to get my hands on some for comparison.
Dave

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2009, 08:01:52 AM »
kai - perhaps from filtering?

Possible. Or treatment with PVPP, which precipitates tannins. I hate to have to go to filtering to replicate that level of smoothness in the bitterness.

Unfortunately I didn’t have any Oktoberfest beers while I was in Germany last week. The season was over and when I was in Munich I couldn’t buy any since I wasn’t allowed to bring them on the plane. I was curious to what extend fresh examples exhibit the malt aroma/taste that we know from a good Doppelbock. In my experience this is the result of aging and I was pleasantly surprised that a Dunkel, that I had at Paulaner, had only little of that character and tasted remarkably close to my attempts at that style. When I had this beer previously it had more of that dark fruit velvety malty taste of a Doppelbock and I was wondering how they get that w/o aging the beer for a long time. It must have been an older bottle or keg. I currently have a Maerzen on tap that is full of that aroma/taste but it has also been brewed in March.

Kai

Offline slimsparty

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2009, 08:03:45 AM »
Quote
Capital Brewing, which comes about as close as you can get to an authentic German version,

OH YEA! I Forgot about capitol!  That are really good. 

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2009, 05:28:18 AM »
I really like the Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer. I think that is one they do very well. Would agree that it is a little "over the top" but - hey! We are in America!!!  ;D
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2009, 06:08:41 AM »
I really like the Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer. I think that is one they do very well. Would agree that it is a little "over the top" but - hey! We are in America!!!  ;D

+1

I like it too, but it is on the caramel American side too.  8)
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Offline woody

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2009, 11:50:12 AM »
I'd like to pass along my jealousy-  Sam Adams was the only Oktoberfest that o
could find this year.  (the beer selection around here sucks!).   Last year I found beck's Oktoberfest (which I enjoyed).   Luckily my own turned out awesome.  Too bad I only made 5 gallons
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: Octoberfest beers
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2009, 08:45:32 AM »
What I've noticed is that the flavor and bitterness are quite different between the German and American versions.  The German beers have a spicy flavor and bite that the Americans don't seem to be able to (or desire to) duplicate.
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Jim