I don't get it.... I don't get it at all...

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Stef1966

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Please...
will someone please explain to me what is this thing called "Seasonal Beers" ?

I mean... this style of beer is more suitable for winter times... then in the blazing summer days you want more like this pale and light blonde Ale... and so on... A red one for Halloween to put the icing on the cake?

Sorry but i dont get it...

As long as any beer is served chilled to me... i dont give a shiat what season im in, i will appreciate any style.

To me, there isnt such a thing as a winter Ale... or a Summer Brew...
It's all good to me as long as it's good and served cold.

I usually alternate my brewing as this: "A blonde, A dark one almost stout, an amber or plain Red... then again a blonde..." not even caring about wich time of the year im in...

Am i alone thinking it's complete bull****?
 

llazy_llama

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Agreed! My favorite beer on a hot summer day? Stout. My favorite beer on a cold winter night? Stout. My favorite beer on a cool fall evening? Yeah, same thing.

As long as fermentation temperatures can be controlled, I say brew what you want, when you want, and drink it! :mug:
 

android

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i think the idea of seasonal brews goes back to oktoberfest and lagering during the winter to enjoy in march (marzen). once brewing companies latched on to the concept, bam, you've got winter ale, summer ale, blah, blah, blah.

i wholeheartedly agree with "any brew, anytime".
 

cvstrat

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If you haven't read the history of oktoberfest you should, like andriod said it was definately a seasonal deal.

But now that we have technology to make any style of beer any time... I'd go w/marketing too. Then again I like just about any style of beer. The one beer I see as a summertime beer is a hefe tho. Some reason when I'm outside on a warm summer day that's what I'll order. Perhaps there simply isn't a market for 50 varieties of sam adams so they pick some that they call "seasonal" and just market them in their respective times of the year. If you happen to like one and it's only available in summer months, odds are you'll buy the hell out of it whereas you might not if it were always available.
 

z987k

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I don't know, pilsner and IPA's go great in the summer. Stout and dopplebock are better in the winter.
Why? Because pilsner and IPAs are refreshing. Stout and dopplebock is thick warming and NOT served ice cold.
 

pnj

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Think of season as "limited time". the burger chains do it with their burgers and whatnot from time to time as well.
 

Gremlyn

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I think it would stem from brewing with items available during the season in question, such as pumpkin ale in the fall.

But yeah, it's all marketing now.
 

z987k

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I think it would stem from brewing with items available during the season in question, such as pumpkin ale in the fall.

But yeah, it's all marketing now.
You guys don't feel that a malty or really malty and strong (dopplebock, wee heavy) just go better in the winter than summer?
 

mcmidc

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I enjoy seasonal brews. I like to drink wheats, ipas and lighter malty beers in the summer because they are easy drinking and refreshing. I like heavier beers in the winter because they are warmers. Not that I won't drink one or the other during anytime of the year it's just a preference. Wait... I enjoy ipas anytime of the year.:ban:
 

Yooper

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I like some styles (IPA especially) any time. But I do like seasonal beers, too. I made a "fizzy yellow beer" just for this time of year. It'll be a great lawnmower beer. I prefer a dopplebock in the winter, in front of the fire.

I don't drink many beers ice cold, no matter what the season. But I'll serve the fizzy yellow beer below 40 degrees at Memorial Day weekend, while we play horseshoes and kayak on our lake. The 8% rye IPA will be enjoyed a bit, too, but the lighter Irish red (4.8% ABV) and the fizzy yellow beer will be perfect. Definitely not the atmoshere for the dopplebock!
 

SpanishCastleAle

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I agree it's mostly marketing now but think about it from a craft brewer's perspective. You've got your regular line-up that you offer year round...but you like to brew other styles and it wouldn't make good 'business sense' to offer these specialty brews year round...so you make 'seasonals'. It allows the craft brewer to satisfy his/her creative fix.
 

flyangler18

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I find that my tastes shift with the seasons - I just can't fathom sitting down with a Dopplebock or RIS after sweating out in the garden.

I always have a tap occupied with a session beer, usually my MBM or 70/-, as these are satisfying and refreshing at any time of year.

I suppose you could chalk it up to marketing, but I'm guided by my palate's response to seasonal changes.
 

JesseRC

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I think there are perhaps more beers that are suited for winter, than anything else. In the summer, well you do want something with lighter abv, to quench your thirst. Now if you not out doing anything strenuous and not looking to quench you thirst , I think any beer goes. I drink stouts year round, but I'm not gonna drink my abbey after mowing the lawn, but I would drink it for dinner, or watching TV.

So while the beer might beer more matched to activity, I think the chances are that in the summer you want something thirst quenching. In the winter, when people spend time inside, or warming up, a nice room temp abbey seems to hit the spot.
 

Sigafoos

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I'm not going to say I never want a stout/porter (where's the porter love in this thread?), but I'll be brewing a wheat next because it'll be a nice quaffer for summertime.

Beyond that, though, it's not just marketing. That's part of it, of course, but let's say that a brewery can make three beers: a pale ale, a stout and something else. They can either make three beers or rotate the third one quarterly and make six. Personally, I'd go for the variety.
 
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Stef1966

Stef1966

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I don't know, pilsner and IPA's go great in the summer. Stout and dopplebock are better in the winter.
Why? Because pilsner and IPAs are refreshing. Stout and dopplebock is thick warming and NOT served ice cold.
That is something i never thought about...
Because of my ignorance of the rules of etiquette regarding the various styles, even when i brew a stout or a pale Ale or a Reddish Lager or whatnot... i always drink any of my beer served very cold, i do not appreciate them otherwise...

So that may be why i never got the drift about seasonal beers... that makes more sense now. :mug:

But... i'll keep on drinking ice cold stouts when mowing my lawn.... :ban:
 

Coastarine

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Ice cold stout? That doesn't sound gross to anyone else? I was going to ask from the original post what the obsession with extra cold beer is, but its just a matter of opinion I guess. Or maybe you just don't actually like the taste of beer. ;)
 

CBBaron

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I don't do fizzy yellow beers so any lawnmower type is out for me.
I like stouts and IPAs any time. British and Scottish session beers work for anytime I'm thirsty. I may avoid a heavy sweet beer when I'm outside and its hot but thats are far as my "seasonal" beer goes.

Now most commercial "seasonals" are a way to market beers. As you may have noticed many bars and restaurants will carry the "seasonal" but less often some of the regulars. The breweries can produce several different beers throughout the year and really popular ones may eventually become regulars.

Great Lakes spring seasonal used to be their IPA. But now its part of their regular lineup.

Craig
 

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I drink what I want, when I want, but I agree that the heat of summer usually makes me want a lighter beer. Nothing wrong with drinking a cold beer if that's what you like. There is something to be said for the feel of the cold liquid. It's a sensation that can be enjoyed as well as the flavors that you are trading it for. Personally, I'd rather have that experience with a lighter style, but to each their own.
 

ajwillys

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I personally love seasonal beers and do feel that there are seasons when I just want a certain type of beer. Sure, I can drink Pale Ale's, IPA's, Brown's, Porter's, and Stout's any time of the year but Pumpkin beer is only getting drunk in the fall. Same with Hefe's, I am not drinking a Lemon Hefeweizen when its 30 degrees outside. For the maltier beers such as Scottish, Bock, and Marzen/Oktoberfest... I think spring and fall is good for them.

Another thing is just that some of these beers are something you don't want to have more than once a year, regardless of the season. Who wants Cranberry Wit all year long, seriously?!
 

Pangea

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Pilsners, Pale Ales, and other "lighter" beers are supposed to be served chilled. Darker beers like Stouts are typically served warmer. I'm not excited about mowing my lawn, sweating my arse off to find a nice luke warm stout to quench my thirst.

This is one of the reasons why seasonal beers are still valid.

Another important reason is the origin of the seasonal beers, where ambient temps determined fermentation temps - thus the type of beer produced. In the winter they made the colder fermenting beers, in the summer the warmer ales, and so on. The Beers fermented in winter would be ready for summer and the summer fermented beers ready for winter.
 

Edcculus

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I brew with the seasons. APA, Kolsch, Hefe, Saison, IPA in the warmer months. Brown ales and maltier beers when it gets cooler. RIS for those extremely cold nights when the snow is piling up. I find my taste changes with the season too. I don't think I've ever come in on a hot summer day and said, "man, I could go for a big honkin glass of RIS right now!!!". Nope, I grab the Kolsch or APA.

Seasonal beer also lets breweries offer more variety. It also gives them the chance to play around with recipes. Would you rather your favorite microbrewery offer 5 year round beers, or 4 year round and 1 rotating seasonal that changes 3 times a year (making their total amount 7).
 
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Stef1966

Stef1966

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Ice cold stout? That doesn't sound gross to anyone else? I was going to ask from the original post what the obsession with extra cold beer is, but its just a matter of opinion I guess. Or maybe you just don't actually like the taste of beer. ;)
Why would a cold stout be gross?
it's rather refreshing if you ask me, the taste of roasted grains but served cold is a little like one of those cold coffee shake you get at ice parlor (of course minus the huge sweetness).

I just don't like lukewarm beverages of any kind, for me it's gotta be cold or hot (for a coffee or hot chocolate).

But warm beer? I have tried it and i really do not enjoy it sorry.

Come to think of it the only thing i enjoy drinking thats served at room temp would be red wine, and then i don't touch hard liquor at all.
 

Bob

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There is no one single reason for 'seasonals'.

In one way, it's an historical throwback: Witbier, for example, was brewed with what was left over from winter storage plus the first harvest of winter wheat. Maerzen has already been covered.

In another, it's having beers available suitable for the time. Imperial Stout is not a beer I want to drink after pushing my lawnmower. Cold Classic American Pilsner is not the beer I want after pushing my snowblower.

In yet another, it is a way for commercial breweries to offer a varied portfolio without diluting effort and concentration on core brands/labels. Breweries know that - for whatever reason - people don't tend to drink RIS in July. So they brew it in the fall for winter distribution. Same with Witbier in December. This is admittedly a generalization; Victory Brewing, for example, has a Trippel - Golden Monkey - as one of its flagship labels. But as generalizations go, it's pretty accurate.

Moreover, breweries also know that keeping stocks low and limiting release guarantees demand. One need only look at the feeding frenzy amongst beer geeks for barrel-aged one-offs; the brewer can charge a significant percentage more for these beers and people will pay it.

Cheers,

Bob
 

david_42

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My favorite brewmaster makes seasonals because he likes to and he can experiment more with them than his standard beers. He brews a Belgian Wit as a summer beer, the blend of spices changes each year. His seasonal IPA can be radically different from his stock IPA. You can't even make a fresh hop ale in the spring, unless you fly the hops in from New Zealand or Oz.

Also, as several people have mentioned, different styles do go down better at different times of the year IMHO. Maybe not for you, but this is true for many of us.
 

RedIrocZ-28

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If no one else has mentioned it in this post, the term arose from before we had refrigeration so certain beers had to be made in certain seasons. Its as simple as that, and the name has stuck for over a century... :)

Kaiser posted a nice article on the history of beer making once. Its in there I think.
 

SpanishCastleAle

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Maerzen has already been covered.
But inaccurately.:) :off:
i think the idea of seasonal brews goes back to oktoberfest and lagering during the winter to enjoy in march (marzen).
Maerzen was brewed in March and then was historically stored/lagered in caves near frozen lakes so the ice could be used to chill the caves. It was to be enjoyed in late summer and Oktoberfest (which actually begins in September).

Maibock is the one brewed to be enjoyed in the same month as it's namesake.
 

mmb

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All I know is that I really dig a winter welcome/spiced beer around the holidays and a pumpkin beer around Thanksgiving but don't care for them other times of year.

There is a time and place for everything else.
 

Rhoobarb

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Well, flyangler18 pretty much summed it up for me. To me, Oktoberfest = Fall and Kolsch, Pilsner, Dortmunder, Cream Ale & many wheat beers = Summer. Since Fall and Summer are my two favorite seasons, having these beers at those times of year is a feel-good for me.

And I don't care for ice-cold beer, but to each his own.:)
 

Matt Up North

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Who wants Cranberry Wit all year long, seriously?!
Who wants it ever?

I see it like this. When it's hot and I don't have a/c, give me something cold. When it's cold, give me something "warm". To me anything with 6%abv or less is great for the summer to be refreshing (although my IIPA at 9% is pretty tasty). During the winter I like my beers to have a little more "warm" alcohol kick to them to keep me warm and fat.

I love my stout at all times of the year. I drink coffee two to three times a day and it is a flavor that I love. I would toss some brandy in my coffee, but I find that 4.5% stout is easier than 25% spiked coffee.

Also, I know that during the winter time some breweries don't have to produce as much of the regular beers, so one around here starts making their high abv Belgian line from the dubbel up to the trippel. Then they barrel age some stuff as well. It all comes out about spring to summer time and can be happily aged throughout the next long while.
 

z987k

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That is something i never thought about...
Because of my ignorance of the rules of etiquette regarding the various styles, even when i brew a stout or a pale Ale or a Reddish Lager or whatnot... i always drink any of my beer served very cold, i do not appreciate them otherwise...

So that may be why i never got the drift about seasonal beers... that makes more sense now. :mug:

But... i'll keep on drinking ice cold stouts when mowing my lawn.... :ban:
You need to try a really good stout at around 50F. Not a dry stout, but a full bodies RIS or something along those lines. You'll be amazed how much you can actually taste.
 

SpanishCastleAle

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I typ like beer cold and my keezer has to be set at a happy medium between serving temp and lagering temp so it's def too cold for Stouts. But everytime I let one sit out for a while and then drink it I am reminded of how much better they are when at cellar temp.

This is in stark contrast to most lighter colored beers and def with BMC (with which many/most US-folk became aquainted with beer). I think because many of us started on BMC we cling to the notion of 'the colder...the better' because those beers benefit greatly from the sense-neutralizing cold temps. But with many styles it's really not the case and in fact...just the opposite. IMO of course but this is coming from a former member of the 'colderer is betterer' camp.:)
 

Gremlyn

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I'm originally from England, and grew up with English parents that drink proper beer at proper temps. I can't tell you then number of people that say to me (here in the US)... you guys drink your beer WARM?!!?

No, it's not warm, it's just not 2 degrees above freezing...
 

JeepDiver

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Hard to beat an Oktoberfest or pumpkin ale when the temps are beginning to fall. The spices just feel like fall. It doesn't seem like those would taste near as good when the temps are climbing from the 60s towards the 90's that you know are right around the corner, but they help ease you into the colder weather that is coming when those 90's start creeping down and fall is in the air.
 
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Stef1966

Stef1966

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You need to try a really good stout at around 50F. Not a dry stout, but a full bodies RIS or something along those lines. You'll be amazed how much you can actually taste.
I will try it again next winter, when snowblowing season comes back around i will try just that. :mug:
 

SnickASaurusRex

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I don't think it maters too much for home brewing, but you may find that some ingredients are cheaper at certain times.

From a breweries perspective I think that they are tied to some beers by their customers and their owners. A brewery often times offers three types of products. A core line up of 4 - 6 brews, then they have a seasonal lineup (4 times a year) that changes every 4 - 6 years, then they also sell bridge products, these are often a rotating beer that does well in their pilot program but that is offered on a limited time only.

Typically:

Core lineup -- Controlled by marketing and shareholders/owner.
Seasonal -- Some input by brew master, but to a limited degree controlled by demographics (focus group) of customer base.
Rotational -- A limited time product controlled by pilot response and brew masters taste.

On a commercial scale one thing to consider is that these seasonal and rotational brews offer the brew master a chance to own his/her product. these are his baby, not the shareholders preferences. They are also a source of change for the growth of a brewery.
 

thataintchicken

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for me, it's all about air conditioning.
See, I have none.

In winter I can brew anything. Lagers, Ales - what have you.
In summer I am brewing Saisons or badass Nanner Hefeweizens.

In early Fall, I start brewing my Cream Stouts and Meads.

Someday... I shall have temperature control.
Till then I brew with the seasons. Just like I shop for vegetables.
 
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