Hofbrauhaus Oktoberfest

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ISLAGI

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Costco had cases of Hofbrauhaus Oktoberfest for about $24 per case, so i decided to try some (several) tonight. The first thing that struck me was the color. Definitely a pale yellow. No hint of any chocolate or even 120 malt in it.

So I chilled a few down and had one. It was pretty much exactly what I remember from my visit to Munich about 25 years ago. Only thing is, I went in the middle of July, so no Marzens at that time of year.

Overall, I would call this a mislabeled Helles. Enjoyable, but not what I was planning on drinking.

Anyone else try this beer before? I would be interested in other opinions.
 

cobalt60

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I've tried it before, once on tap in Munich (quite good) and once from a bottle in the US. Unfortunately, the bottled one was badly skunked... really no comparison to on-tap.

I'd agree on calling it a helles, it's very light stuff...
 

Nyxator

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I had this on tap at Stone Brewery. It was definitely lighter than I expected, but tasty.
 

Brew-boy

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We had this beer in our BJCP training class last night. Definitely not a Helles which I originally thought it was. You can pick up the Vienna malt in it but this version does have Pilsner malt in it as well.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Chocolate and 120??? whaaaa?????

Most German Marzens are easy drinking and malty with subtle hop presence and just a bit more robustness than the pale lagers. They are not a dark or heavy beer at all. A few US Oktoberfests are way too heavy for the style IMO and are not good reps of the traditional style. My other gripe with many US O-fests is the fruitiness they allow to shine through. Most are not nearly crisp enough IMO.

Hofbrau is a great traditional example.
 

the_bird

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I had the Hofbrau Oktoberfest at a beer tasting a couple nights ago, and it was atrocious. The sample was horribly, horrible skunked, worse than anything I've ever drank before. It was like drinking a damn Heineken. The guy running the tasting owns a local packie, he's not a brewer, seemed to think the skunking was fully intentional. I'm thinking that he's been keeping this beer in the bright sunlight, because it was horrid.

Much lighter than any other Oktoberfest, and it must have had a little more hop character before to get that skunked! Interesting to hear that the lighter style is more in the classic vein. We also sampled a couple domestic examples, Flying Dog's Dogtoberfest (sweeter, fruitier, heavier) and Wachusett's (which was labeled on our sheet as an "Octoberfest Ale" - hmm... - and that was thin and bland).
 

Brew-boy

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I had the Hofbrau Oktoberfest at a beer tasting a couple nights ago, and it was atrocious. The sample was horribly, horrible skunked, worse than anything I've ever drank before. It was like drinking a damn Heineken. The guy running the tasting owns a local packie, he's not a brewer, seemed to think the skunking was fully intentional. I'm thinking that he's been keeping this beer in the bright sunlight, because it was horrid.

Much lighter than any other Oktoberfest, and it must have had a little more hop character before to get that skunked! Interesting to hear that the lighter style is more in the classic vein. We also sampled a couple domestic examples, Flying Dog's Dogtoberfest (sweeter, fruitier, heavier) and Wachusett's (which was labeled on our sheet as an "Octoberfest Ale" - hmm... - and that was thin and bland).
lol..... I have not heard that term "Packie" since I left Mass 15 years ago, brought back a lot of drinking memories :ban:
 

Nyxator

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Hmm, Paulaner Oktoberfest is definitely darker with a more pronounced Munich malt taste to it in my opinion. Isn't that a pretty traditional Oktoberfest? From all of the export German breweries I've had O-fest beers from, Hofbrau did seem to be the exception and not the rule. I'll readily admit ignorance to the local breweries in and around Munich, though.

To the OP, I think the chocolate and 120°L is an attempt to recreate the Munich/Vienna malt flavors. When I make an Oktoberfest I use almost exclusively those malts, and I mean for 90% or more of my grist. Much better beers in my opinion.
 

MeatyPortion

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I had it at the Oktoberfest tent and at the Hofbrauhaus and I definitely was not that impressed with it. In fact, I had a hard time telling the regular Helles from the Oktoberfest. Augustiner's Oktoberfest and Helles, well that was another story. Very different tastes, as would be expected.
 

Edcculus

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From reading BCS, Tasting Beer and other beer related literature, all of the authors seem to say that most of todays readily available commercial examples are trending toward lighter and drier (think BMC). I think I even remember Jamil saying some commercial examples taste like a beefed up Helles. I'm not exactly sure what the traditinoal style is supposed to taste like, but I'd be willing to bet its not this.
 

Beerrific

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Märzens are the traditional festbier. But, they are not the beers that most German breweries are making for Oktoberfest. Instead those beers are hopped up, stronger, lighter beers. I have heard that a vast majority of the Märzens produced are shipped to the US, not much consumed in Germany now days. Some German breweries (Hofbräu, Weihenstephaner, etc.) have been sending over the beers they brew for Oktoberfest while some (Paulaner) send over just Märzen.

Oktoberfest or festbier should not really be used to describe a style rather it is a beer brewed for Oktoberfest. Märzen is a style.
 

SpanishCastleAle

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I had it on tap at Hofbrauhaus in Las Vegas and I thought it was good but not a Marzen. No skunk whatsoever though. I recently bought a 12er of Spaten which is decent...but I like mine better. The Spaten def has some color but no reddish hues. The Spaten was in a totally sealed box and had no skunk whatsoever (it's in green bottles).
 

Beerrific

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While I agree with the sentiment and almost posted something very similar the other day, the BJCP is in conflict. See style 3B, Oktoberfest.

http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style03.php
You are right. They address it in the BJCP category. But, if you were to enter a light example that is dead-on for something you would find in Germany, it would probably score very low as the assumption is that these beers should be a Märzen. IMO, the Amber Lager category should be "Märzen" and have the golden examples in Category 23.

Domestic German versions tend to be golden, like a strong Pils-dominated Helles. Export German versions are typically orange-amber in color, and have a distinctive toasty malt character. German beer tax law limits the OG of the style at 14?P since it is a vollbier, although American versions can be stronger. “Fest” type beers are special occasion beers that are usually stronger than their everyday counterparts.
But, more importantly, for everyday drinking, it is important to keep the differences in mind so you know what to expect.
 
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ISLAGI

ISLAGI

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Again, I have the veil of my ignorance shredded by the light and knowledge that is the HBT membership...:)

I just assumed the deeper color was from some chocolate-type malt. I guess that comes from thinking SA is an accurate exemplar for a style.

Thanks for the knowledge....
 

cmoon

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Picked up a mini-keg ($18) of this beer. Was just hoping for a nice table beer (a munich helles style would have been great.) Instead I get a giant, virtually undrinkable DMS bomb.

Beer should have a return policy.
 

NanoMan

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I was given a small keg (1.3 gal?) of this beer and thought it was a fantastic festbier!. The underlying style appeared to be helles, but the alcohol was around 6.2% if I recall correctly. The malt was so soft and rounded and sweet (malty sweet). The IBUs could not have been over 20. It was rich and bready. Just terrific. I have the last of it in my hydrometer tube off gassing and assuming room temp to get a FG as I plan to trying brewing a batch of this.

I would assume it was decocted which I probably won't do, but a little melanoidin might help that as well as using some Vienna malt in place of the pils.

T'was a fun beer to drink.

Prost!
 
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