All notes on beers in the style

Märzen / Oktoberfest

Oktoberface
American-Style Märzen

Purchased on a whim. 4 pack, Belmont Beverage, Decatur, IN. $10.99 for the 16 oz servings. To be fair, I was ready to hate this before I had tried it. In the end, I was not horrified! I do hate the term, "American-Style Märzen Lager", and a few reviews that I had read prior to opening suggested that this was a "hoppy märzen". Quite correctly, that oxymoron brought horror to many, but in the end this beer really wasn't anywhere that descriptor at all. It's a pretty beer (as most well-made...

Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier

This is an EXTREMELY odd beer. 12 oz single from Grassroots, Jacksonville, FL, USA. Pour is a somewhat alarming, yellow color that has plenty of macro notes about it but perhaps more importantly does not have the slightly darker, more orangey amber color that I was expecting. Head and lace are minimal. The surprises continue through the nose and the tastes where there is an odd combination of Heineken-like skunk, Pilsner malts and a Saaz/Noble bitter ending. VERY peculiar indeed. The beer does...

Shiner Oktoberfest

12 oz single from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Amber pour, with little head or retention. Head fades badly. Aroma is bereft of any necessary elements. Horribly disappointing. Light malt tastes, but weak when considering the O'fest category as a whole. Malts are supported by a little hop factor, but it's ultimately somewhat non-descript. Fairly well balanced if rather bland, sand the downfall of the beer is really its lack of malt presence. Very little to report with this beer, a malt based beer...

Heavy Seas – Märzen

12 oz single from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Having been fairly disappointed with the Mutiny, 22 oz series from CC/Heavy Seas, I was pleased to see a "back to basics" beer from the stable, and also in one of my favorite styles. Pour is a fairly light orange, amber beer with some scant head and lace. The beer has a medium carbonation that produces a decent mouthfeel. The beer does provide the typical element for the style- plenty of malt, yeasty aftertaste and a moreish and yummy taste,...

Terrapin Boom Shakalager

22 oz bottle as part of the Side Project Series, this one is #11. The usual gold-foiled presentation. Pour is a surprisingly dark amber in color. The head is largely absent and the retention and lace are close to zero. Disappointing. Nose gives some phenols and a little fusel alcohol in the back end of the finish. It's a pretty viscous and heavy beer, but to be honest, given the style that's in line and OK, but it certainly does not add to the drinkability. There's a little marzipan in the...

Oktoberfest Lager Beer

12 oz single from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pour gives a medium, dull-copper body but the level of carbonation and general "liveliness" is somewhat below average. Nose and tastes reveal a certain malt sweetness as expected, but at the same time fail to deliver the typical, malt-punch that I need from my O'fest. The beer drinks decidedly flat as well which is a bit of problem for me. Tasted a bit like one might expect a "rough round the edges" homebrew in the style would come out. Looking for...

Gordon Biersch Märzen

12 oz single, Taco Mac, Marietta (Dallas Highwway), Marietta, GA, USA. Pleased to see this being distributed in bottles now after enjoy the same beer in various GB locations for many years. What I've also said about the GB Marzen when drunk on the premises, is that is has a great, sweet, HIGH yeast feel to it which adds hugely to it's drinkability. This bottled version seems to lack a number of those attrivbutes, and for me REALLY strongly highlights the difference between bottled beer and a...

Hoss

‎12 oz single from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. ‎ Delighted to try this as the Marzen style is one of my favorite styles. Paradoxically, rye beers are ‎some of my LEAST favorites so the the juxtaposition should be interesting if nothing else! ‎ Pour delivers exactly what I am looking for in the style, i.e. a completely crystal clear body with a ‎nice white head with some spotty film and lace. Super orange, golden body. ‎ Nose gives some edgy malts and some...

Gordon Biersch FestBier

On tap, $4.50 served in 0.5 L German style mug with an O'fest logo. A surpringly, light orange body. Color has some macro characteristics. Head is OK but fades quite badly. Extremely yeasty in the nose and tastes with some light fruits. The alcohol seems to build a little over the course of the beer. Dry ending with even more yeast. Light esters in the nose which seem more prominent in the smell than the taste. Lingers a little. Feels pleasing, rich and full in the mouth. A bit odd in terms of...

Gordon Biersch Märzen

Say what you like about GB beers, they do tend to look good and generally they produce a reliable quality. The Marzen is, for want of a better word their "flagship" brew and as usual it is pretty steady at the relatively new, Buckhead location. Great clarity on the bright amber body, the beer is lively and vibrant. Head leaves a little to be desired but it's generally acceptable. Nose gives some quite large malts. More dryish yeast in the tastes (a GB trademark) but again more bready...

Left Hand Oktoberfest

12 oz bottle as a single from Total Wine, Perimeter, Atlanta, GA, USA. If the truth be known, disappointed considering the usual quality of Left Hand beers and my general enjoyment of the style. In an O'fest I'm looking for a few key characteristics and this beer fell down on several of them. Firstly I want a really, bright orange hue with outsanding clarity and an observable carbonation. For me this provided none of those and in fact I would decscribe the beer as being "muddy" in its...

Dominion Octoberfest

Different presentation than the BA db picture for the 2009 version (and perhaps even before that), $1.79 for the single from Total Wine, Perimeter, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pour is a rather murky, dark orange affair with a well formed, tight head that is somewhat small. Doesn't seem very lively. Looks a little ordinary. Lace and (and especially) retention are well below average. Disappointed with the lack of clarity and brightness to the beer. Nose gives up some dryish smelling malts. A little...

Weihenstephaner Festbier

12 oz single from Total Wine, Perimeter, Atlanta, GA, USA. Poured into the Tücher Weizen glass (not pictured, rather the picture shown is from 08/15/21) , the color is alarmingly light for the style, IF we were talking a Märzen (we're not, BTW!). Here's the explanation for the hue which comes six years after my original notes on this beer. The pour is largely a macro yellow color and lacks the kind of extra added orange, amber depth that one would expect to find in a Märzen. Strike one...

Maierfest Lager

WOW and WOW, I wasn't expecting this! $4.99 for the 22 oz bomber in the usual silk-screened presentation from Green's on Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. I usually approach Rogue with some trepidation since I often find their beers over-hopped but this blew me away. (I was worried with the bottle design having hops strewn about Mr. Maier!!) A significant hiss on opening and a lively pour with a good dose of carbonation. BEAUTIFUL clarity on the golden orange pour with great streaming carbonation -...

Heavy Seas – Prosit!

22 oz bottle from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. I think that the basic idea of "imperializing" an Oktoberfest beer is essentially a bad idea since it's simply not a style that needs that kind of treatment, but let's take a closer look. Pour lacks much life, but that may be a function of the ABV. Golden orange body with a lack of much sustainable head, minimum carbonation and no lace at all. Nice color but overall a touch ordinary to look at. The nose is not really definitive and offers not much...

The Big O Oktoberfest

22 oz bottle from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA split with my brother-in-law over dinner. Excellent color on the pour, perhaps a little darker than some in the style, the depth of the mahoghany is quite striking. Head is somewhat disappointing though, fades quickly and not much lace. Nose reveals some typical malt character with sweetness, but there is a hint of hops too. Similar situation in the taste with the majority of the body made up from the typical, sweetish, caramel, sugary notes but...

Michelob Marzen

$0.99 from Green's on Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA as a 12oz single. Attractive colored label (classy green color) with a ridge on the bottle at the base of the neck that is reminiscent of a Westy bottle!! ;-). WHAT A SHOCK - AB marketing outdoes creative and expressive brewing! DOH! Pour is a slightly darker than macro lager pour, and one that produces a slightly better than average head. Still no lace. Mouthfeel is REALLY thin and rlacks any Marzen richness - disappointing. Nose is frankly...

Heavy Seas – Märzen

16oz pour a Taco Mac, East West Connector, Austell, GA, USA. $6.00 - first time I've really noticed the increase in prices recently. Hazed ornage appearance with a decent head and some lace. Lots of sweetness in the nose and the initial tastes. Really quite fruity with plenty of juicy, semi-hard fruits present. Some apple character but also pears and other esters. Well balanced beer but the malts obvious take the lead. Nicely put together and tasty. well rounded in the mouth and the finish has...

Max Oktoberfest

2008 version sampled 11/7/08. Simple, clear and orangey/red/mid-brown pour with minimal head and lace. In fact, carbonation this low reminds me of a cask ale (a good thing). This brew pretty much nails the style nicely. Good, sweet malts are supported with some subtle bitternes for balance. Nicely rounded in the mouth (which I always feel is an important feature of the Marzen type brews). According to the blurb this was brewed in the taditonal style in as much as it was made in March and then...

Christian Moerlein Oktoberfest

12oz bottle, thanks to nlmartn for the chance to try this as part of Secret Santa '07. Pour is a little dull - both in terms of the color and the lack of life in the appearance. Very malty aroma, with a touch of marzipan. The nose is the best aspect of this brew. Taste is a little run of the mill. A little flat and it lacks the sparkle, especially in the light of the Great Lakes O'Fest that I had the other day. I suppose that could be bit of a disadvantage and an unfair comparison, but there...

Great Lakes Oktoberfest

Thanks go out to nlmartin as part of Secret Santa '07. 12oz bottle. Drinking this a couple of months after the best before date on the bottle. Not to worry, this hasn't suffered much in the interim. Amazing color on the pour - almost a radioactive orange color - quite stunning. Large head and a great looking beer. Quintessential Oktoberfest. Great sweet, tasty malts with a nice zing in the finish. Very moreish and a beer that I drank pretty quickly. Lingering malty aftertaste, a really nice...

Bell’s Octoberfest Beer

12oz bottle, thanks to Hoppymeal for the "extra" in a recent trade. Very simple and solid beer. Great clarity with some good carbonation. Orange color, looks good. Small head; some retention and lace. Color is a high-point/strength of this beer. Typical Oktoberfest feel. Sweet malts, with a hoppy finish to balance the beer. Nevertheless, sweet malts are the order of the day. A little drier in the finish than one finds in many similar beers. Solid and simple.

Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest

12oz single, Mac's Downtown, Atlanta, GA, USA. Simple pour with nice clarity but very little life. Not much head and the retention is just not there. Very light lace. Slightly acidic nose with some sweetness. Some weak malty character and some extra carbonation. A little soda like in the mouth. Pretty typical in terms of taste, but it seems lighter than many. In summary, just above macro beer.

Harpoon Octoberfest Beer

12oz single from Mac's Downtown, Atlanta, GA, USA. Best Before 11/22/07, dot-matrixed on the neck. Not quite sure why this is listed as an American Amber/Red in the BA db since it is called Octoberfest, drinks like a malty Oktoberfest brew and it says on the label that it is Marzen style. On well.. Atractive light orange body that is lively with plenty of carbonation. Large, frothy head with plenty of lace and decent retention. Ok, what we get here is a nice, malty bread based beer with a...

Red Brick Oktoberfest

On-tap at the Taco Mac on the East West Connector, Austell, GA, USA. Lifeless looking pour with a head that dies away quickly to leave almost nothing on the surface of the beer. No lace. Mid-brown, uninteresting to say the least. Sweet malts in the nose and some in the taste. Wouldn't guess this was supposed to be an O'fest, it seems like an amber/sweet lager without any distinguishing character. Utterly bland beer (not offensive, but just blah..). This is a typical ABC beer. Not bad, not...

Oktoberfest

Thanks go out to Vancer for sending this as part of the CEO/Old Farts BIF. 16oz "big" bottle. Label looks "Germanic"! Nice appearance. Good clarity, a great orange/amber color with some head and a little lace. A high quality Fest/Marzen with some delicious toasty, rich malts. Definitely slightly more bitter than some of the same style, but it seems to work well as a change of pace. It lacks a little of the sweetness that I usually seek in the style, but it still comes together nicely. Some...

Warsteiner Premium Oktoberfest

Purchased as a 12 oz single from Total Wine, Kennesaw, GA, USA. So, it's the season for delicious, malty, full bodied Oktoberfests and some delcious Pumpkin brews. All of them with great color and body and plenty of taste. Then comes this....oh dear. I don't like Warsteiner beers in general, so I was dubious, but I couldn't resist at least trying it once. Pours with a fizzy macro lager like look, and drinks pretty much like a strong, Euro, macro/adjunct lager. Nasty. Over carbonated fizz,...

Festbier

12oz single, Jax, Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA. Excellent copper color and (for me the most important in this style) great clarity. Clear as a bell. Small, creamy, short-lived head with not much lace. retention poor. Big and malty up front and quickly followed by some organic tasting hops. Some grassy notes. Well balanced. Very typical for the style, a nice example.

Thomas Hooker Octoberfest Lager

Pretty standard offering in the style, not bad but nothing to write home about either. Pour was a little on the flat side for my liking against the clear amber body. Standard nose with some spice and sweetness apparent. Taste had the usual characteristics one would expect, but had an odd earthy component too. A little off-putting. As with most Oktoberfests, as the warmth got into the beer the flavors became more pronounced. OK, try one when you can, but don't expect anything more than a simple...

Dogtoberfest

A decent and drinkable Marzen with mid amber color and a good clarity to the pour. Not much head or lacing. Some bubblegum notes in the nose. Nice malty beer that serves a very simple purpose. Simple fare and average tastes, but you could do much worse. Mouthfeel is not big, but satisfies. Don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.

Jubel

Short and squat, growler type small, swingtop bottle. $4.99 Cheers, Carrollton, GA, USA. Had a typical Dubbel type appearance. I always think this is a disappointing look to a beer - all drab, murky, muddy brown in the glass, not especially appetizing. Some very thin head and minimal lacing. Soft sugary taste with an acidic twang too. Caramel tastes, but it fails to impress. Quite thin I thought. Very average all around, not something I'm likely to bother with again anytime soon. Not sure...

Oktoberfest

Copper haze with a lot of cloudiness, initial decent head, but this fades very quickly to leave no head and no lacing. Rather flat looking all around. Pretty bland in all departments. Sweet malts and a little bit of a bitter finish, but outside of that a disappointing Marzen.

Spaten Oktoberfestbier Ur-Märzen

On tap at Vreny's, Atlanta, GA, USA 12/03/05. Medium body that lacks the richness of many O'fests. Lack of punch in the mouthfeel and taste departments. Goes down well, has session potential. Aroma muted too. For fuller notes see; See http://beeradvocate.com/beer/user_review/?action=edit&id=142&b=582&rId=242759

The Kaiser

Imperial Oktoberfest? Well, for all intents and purposes I think we have a beer that is basically a Barleywine. Massive sugar, with the associated cloying sweetness, large alcohol up front and all the way through and very little subtle respite from the sugar and the alcohol. Some decent head early, but this fades quickly on warming to give a typical high alcohol "dead head" and sweet, thick body. Some residual lacing, but this is as a result of the sticky sweetness rather than any decent,...

Oktober Fest

Crystal clear, light copper colored pour with only a fleeting head and little or no lacing. Some mild hops and very, very mild spice in the nose. Mild flavor all around. Some light malts start the taste and then the shortest of stinging hops finish it. Sweet in the mouth, light and very easy drinking, this is a beer that is nice, but at the same time not really very characterful. Body is very average, almost seems diluted a bit. Stoudt's makes some wonderful beers, this isn't really one of...

Brooklyn Oktoberfest Beer

Mid-Amber pour, average head and lacing, fairly standard looking, nice micro appearance. Soft malt nose, quite low key. Tastes are dominated by the malt backbone which is strong and solid. Not a big mouthfeel but its a full tasting toffee like experience. High drinkability since it combines a nice satisfying mouthfeel, with a strong malt taste that is easy to quaff. Solid and delicious. Surprisingly refreshing too.

Berkshire Oktoberfest Lager

Hazed light brown/orange body with a modest head that fades quickly. No lacing. Aroma? Well, I don't get much at all except some really dry hops. Taste is really quite dry for the style. Dry hops are present but the brew is smooth and not bitter, That suggests the malts are there, but they are in no way upfront or aggresive. I would expect more malt character for the style. Not a great deal of Oktoberfest character here, drinks more like an APA to me. Having said that I quite like it, just not...

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

Additional Notes: 05/03/2022 This is the bottle pictured. Reading my original notes (below) from 17 years ago I’m a little surprised, since now I really enjoy this beer. To be honest, much more than a couple in any 12 month period is about all that I need, and I still find it best paired with food, but the words, “simply isn’t to my liking” is now just no longer true. I really enjoy it. Original Notes: 06/29/2005 Well, it's obviously an acquired taste, and it's going to take some people by...

Spaten Oktoberfestbier Ur-Märzen

Good, dark copper color and an attractive head. Lacing apparent, but not sticky or much of it. Good solid beer, with some bitterness that runs all the way through from start to finish. I didn't get that typical, full bodied, sweetness that one can get with some Oktoberfest's, more a medium bodied, bitter, dark beer. Slightly out of style I thought. I miss the maltier, chewier body that ought to accompany the style. Smell brings out the grain and is not that attractive. Drinkable, but fairly...

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen

Extremely disappointing and rather ordinary. Hazy orange pour with a small, instantly forgettable head and a tiny bit of lacing. Some marzipan (almond paste) in the nose and quite smooth, but depertately lacking in body and substance. In fact, really quite watery. Deeply disappointing mouthfeel, and rather than a beer that you might enjoy in October has the days get cooler and you appreciate a little more "ummpff" in your beer, this brew slacks off and lets you down. An O-fest in need of some...

Beck’s Oktoberfest

Very, very solid example of the style, with good macro type availability and price; this beer is hard to beat from a value and fallback point of view. Drinks very smooth, with a degree of sweetness that I always associate with the style. It really is a question of hops and bitterness in the nose, followed by malts and smoothness in the mouth. Good, filling mouthfeel, nice carbonation and a sweet finish. Typically Marzen, with a refreshing drinkability to it. This is an excellent, (relatively)...

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Updated Review 10/10: Six years on since my original review, I still really love this beer. Today I paid $8.23 for a sixer, so this is still fantastic value. Color in 2010 seems even richer than ever and the malt depth is always impressive to me. Great aftertaste of mellow caramel sweetness is just so satisfying and pleasing to me. Highly drinkable, great value truly one of my favorite beers in the USA. Original Review 10/04: Really pretty good for around $7 a sixer. This is a very attractive...

Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen

Crystal clear golden, orange pour, that really does look nice in the body of the beer, but the lack of head and or lacing was rather disappointing. In fact it looked distinctly flat almost right out of the bottle. Outside of the lack of head, it looks good. There is a real biscuit malt taste and a very distinct creaminess to this beer. The malt is in the aroma too, but in a subdued way. A lovely smooth beer to drink, with an obvious malt character, but well balanced. Mouthfeel was better than...