Tag Archive: Marzen


Paulaner: Oktoberfest (Germany: Oktoberfest Marzen: 6% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold. Moderate small bubbled carbonation. Large white mounded head.

Nose: Cake sponge. Vanilla. Soft citrus. Orange zest. Dry toffee. Slight sulphur.

Body: Bready. Moderate bitterness. Cake sponge. Palma violets. Fresh dough. Slight oily bitterness. Slight sulphur. Light toffee. Peppery.

Finish: Peppery. Moderate bitterness. Light charring. Moderate hop character. Palma violets. Slight orange. Bready.

Conclusion: This is a breadier, heavier Oktoberfest beer. It starts out fairly gentle, with soft citrus notes in the aroma and a restrained sweetness, but as you put your head down to start sipping you find something very different.

The body is bready and peppery with a moderate bitterness that, while not as heavy as some German Pils, is still higher than the average German lager and gives some heft to it. The body is so slick, and just a bit oily that this higher bitterness never feels harsh, just like a bitter velvet wrapped kick.

There is a gentle toffee touch, and that familiar noble hop palma violet like touch which show a bit more varied influence from the malt and the hops, but in general it is solidly bready, bitter and a bit peppery at its core.

It has just the slightest sulphurous touch around the edges, which is pretty unusual here, and it adds to the weightier character this beer brings. Despite that this is still very obviously a lager, it isn’t trying to pretend to be something else – it has a generally clean feel, not highly carbonated thankfully, and has a slight oily sheen that is very much a clean lager oily style rather than the heavier stickier style you tend to get in an ale.

This isn’t one of my favourite beers, it feels like an odd compromise between the sulphur touch and weight of an ale and the clean character if a lager and the two seem to weaken each other, but, with that said.- I do like the bitterness it brings. When you have that nice bitterness and hop character combined with the more easy drinking lager character it makes for something that still has a home with me

Not 100% for me, but I still kind of dig it.

Background: So, another Oktoberfest beer, and another of the official big six. After many years of it being fairly hard to find a good range of Oktoberfest beers I am feeling spoiled this year. This is my third tasting note of one of the big six, and fourth I have actually tried. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit, who have had a decent amount in. I actually have a Paulaner glass amongst the many and varied glassware so I pulled it out for the occasion. I went back to Jack Of Jill: Clear Heart, Grey Flowers for backing music, still a favourite album that goes from melodic to screams in a heartbeat and has such great gothic punk influenced tunes.

Spaten: Oktoberfestbier (Germany: Oktoberfest Marzen: 5.9% ABV)

Visual: Clear pale yellow. Some small bubbled carbonation mid body and a surprisingly small white bubbled head.

Nose: Slightly gritty hop bitterness. Quite clean overall. Palma violets. Cake sponge.

Body: Vanilla. Toffee and caramel. Slight oily character and good bitterness. Cake sponge. Very light greenery. Touch of sweet raspberry.

Finish: Palma violets. Green grapes. Hop oils. Good bitterness. Slight fluffy hop character. Sweet raspberry yogurt chunks.

Conclusion: You know, while I wouldn’t say I have given Oktobetfest beers grief here on this site, I would say I have underappreciated them in my writing.

Some of that comes from the fact that I have not always been drinking and doing notes on the best examples of the style. Some of it comes from the notes that I did in my earlier days where I had less appreciation for the finer points of the varied lager styles.

Anyway, I am enjoying this. The body uses a surprisingly thick mouthfeel, with good but not excessive bitterness, a reasonable oiliness and a range of sweeter and fruitier notes that are quite unexpected.

The sweetness here was a lot more than I expected, slightly toffee and caramel in way that gives a slight extra weight of flavour to match the extra mouthfeel. This then seeps out into a fruity and sweet raspberry yogurt chunks that gives a bright end to the beer. I both really like this, and can’t have too much of it. The thickness makes it a comparatively heavy and slow drinking beer.

Though with that said it thankfully never gets too sweet. The bitterness and oily character, while not heavy, does the job just enough to balance it flavour wise. So the flavour is good, but it can’t hide the impressive weight that makes it slow drinking despite the not too huge abv.

It’s a nice range of flavour and experiences, with the bitterness and hop character always bubbling along underneath even when the sweeter notes are ascendant. This is not a favourite beer, but probably my best experience with an Oktoberfest so far, and still pretty darn good with that.

Background: I think this is my first encounter with Spaten. It is, at the very least my first set of notes from them. With that out of the way Oktoberfest is here! Ok, technically it is not, Oktoberfest is cancelled due to covid, which makes sense, but the time for Oktoberfest beers is here! Which is predominantly in September despite what you would think from the name. Spaten is one of the official six of Oktoberfest – the others being Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau and Paulaner. Of which Hofbrau is the only one I have done notes on. I really should pay more attention to beers from such a big event. Anyway, to try and set things right I grabbed this from Independent Spirit. I don’t have much German music so went with Bad Religion: The Gray Race as backing music for this as it has a German language version of Punk Rock Song on it. Yes it is a loose tie, sue me. I really should have at least one Rammstein album I could use for such things. I’ll add that to my to do list.

Gordon Biersch: Marzen (USA: Oktoberfest Marzen: 5.7% ABV)

Visual: Amber gold. Thin dash of white bubbles and moderate carbonation.

Nose: Slightly lemon fresh. Occasional cooked chicken. Dry malt.

Body:  Caramelised sugar. Malt. Vanilla and toffee. Apricot. Cheesecake. Occasional cooked chicken.

Finish: Salted toffee cheesecake. Liquorice and dry malt. Honey.

Conclusion: I’ve been getting the oddest flavours from beer over this road trip. In this case a marzen that has salted cheesecake like touches. Not just cheesecake, salted cheesecake. Figure that one out if you can.

Some of you may already have read the main tasting notes and noticed the dreaded “Cooked chicken” element. It isn’t the greatest element, but I would say not to worry overly. While the flavour and aroma is present it is a very small element of the beer, worth noting but not worth writing the beer off for.  The malt sweetness and cheesecake elements are much more prevalent and make up the main character of the beer.

It may not be the most complex beer I’ve had on the trip, nor, despite the cheesecake, the most unusual.  It does however hold it’s own. It’s a solid marzen with a nice twist. I can’t say it is going to be a favourite beer, but there aren’t any major flaws.  The only problem is lack of ambition to reach past being a competent beer.  Still, has a very smooth texture and is very easy to drink. Hmm, maybe one flaw, the flavour doesn’t quite hold out to the end of the pint, the last third has some of the subtleties lost.

I do however have a feeling that this beer would complement an actually cheesecake well.  Maybe I’ll have to try that

 

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I was right. It does. If you are going to have it, definitely get cheesecake to go with it.

Here’s to the end of the road trip, hope you enjoyed the reviews, I enjoyed the trip.

Background: The last beer of the road trip of awesome. Well kind of.  I brought three beers back so it’s not quite over yet. This was however the last reviewed beer while on the trip. Another of Michael Jackson list of 500 beers to try, and I was getting pretty happy at how many I had found on the trip. This was tried at one of the Gordon Biersch Brewpubs, this one in New Orleans. The barmaid was helpful and as I was experimenting with this and cheesecake she suggested some other of their beers that would go well with desserts. She even poured me a few samplers to try, which was much welcomed. I also got to talk with a few other customers who were asking what OG (Original Gravity) was, to which I attempted a (vaguely correct ) explanation about it being the amount of sugars in the original liquid pre fermentation. Technically it’s the density of the wort, but since the wort is pretty much based on the sugar content I figured it was close enough for a laymans explanation. Oh and I was slightly tipsy at the time, which may also have altered my choice on how technical to go on this. Also I think I may have damaged the camera at this point as I could not get it to focus properly half the time. Either that or I’m just rubbish with a camera.

Boston Beer Company: Samuel Adams: Oktoberfest (USA: Oktoberfest Marzen: 5.3% ABV)

Visual: Slightly bronzed amber, the glass filled to the brim leaving but a thin dash of head around the edges.

Nose: Dry malt and rye. Light glacier cherries underneath.

Body: Dry and crisp. Light cherries and fruitcake. Toffee sweetness and good malt. Some very light dry liquorice. Light pineapple hops.

Finish: Harvest wheat. Almonds. Dry liquorice. Slight shrimps and thousand island dressing (That last one could be environmental, see background)

Conclusion: How should I review this beer, as an Oktoberfest, or as a beer in itself? Lets go with as a beer in itself, but note that this varies quite heavily from the usual German take. It is much more fruity while still keeping the dry refreshing elements of the style.

Ignoring the most unusual element of the tasting, mainly because I believe it was introduced from the environment rather than the beer itself (Shrimp?), then we find a beer that is quite close to what I would expect of the darker lager style I normally associate with Samuel Adams. It does work well, a touch overly fizzy but not heavily so. The fruitcake flavours combined with Oktoberfest crispness cuts a nice balance between refreshing and flavour.

As I found with a lot of beers this trip, the beer was initially over chilled resulted in muted flavours, but the USA heat meant that it didn’t take long to reach only nicely chilled.  When taken at that point it is quite a pleasant beer that mixes the better elements from the darker and lighter lager styles.

I like this one as a refreshing pint that doesn’t bore you.

Background: Drunk during the road trip of awesome. Samuel Adams is a beer that got me through many visits to America before craft beer became easily available so a chance to drink their Oktoberfest seemed one not to miss. This was drunk near the beech, which I think may account for a few extra flavours which may not entirely have originated in the beer.

Hofbrau Muchen: Oktoberfest (Germany: Oktoberfest Marzen: 6.3 % ABV)

Visual: Clear light yellow, heavily carbonated which gives it an inch plus of frothy bubbled white ahead. There is actually audible crackling as it settles.

Nose: Dry malt. Zesty fresh. Lemon rind and coriander.

Body:  Lots of malt. Slight cinnamon sweet. Strawberry. Moderate nuttiness and hop oils.  Very smooth. Sugar lace. Touch of sweet orange and peach.

Finish: Dry and crisp. Malt. Slight bitter hops and pistachios.

Conclusion: I love the idea of going to Oktoberfest. The whole shindig looks like massive fun, but I have been wary about Oktoberfest beers sometimes.  The first few examples I ran into were not overly noteworthy.

This is however quite pleasant. Looks far too fizzy, but feels smooth on the tongue.  There are a few nice touches that grace the very malt heavy body. The finish comes in a touch too dry and musty for my liking though, it feels slightly like a kolsch finish on a beer that is more easy going.

So, reasonable taste, a very well done texture, overall it is good if not inspiring. So, I’ve still yet to find a great Oktoberfest beer. Guess the hunt continues.

Background: Well Oktoberfest ended a while back now. I intended to drink this to mark the ending of the festival but I period of being ill put paid to that plan. Ah well.  I’ve tried a few Oktoberfest beers, and none have been amazingly great yet. This is one of Michael Jackson’s 500 great beers so I thought it would be a good point to give it another try.

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