Posts Tagged With: Sam Adams

Once Again, Prost!

Fest Bier – German Styles, Mostly Märzen

I’m wrapping up my Autumn German theme. Starting off this set, Growler & Gill did a tasting to show off a range of German styles OTHER than Oktoberfests.

Ayinger CelebratorAyinger Celebrator

This is a classic Dooplebock, very dark cola brown with a generous persistent tan head that fades slowly heavily lacing the glass. Toasted caramel nose with a pruny quality over massive dark malt with roasty notes and chocolate liqueur. Flavor starts raisiny with caramel and a dash of hops.It’s quite crisp for a dark beer and the chocolate and toasty malts play back and forth. All this carries into the finish with the hops building, but there’s a sense of having eaten spiked dark chocolate, lingering a long time. Very satisfactory! 6.7% ABV

Reissdorf Kölsch

The most lager-like of the ales, this Kölsch pours crystal clear gold with a brief white head. The aroma is fruity nose otherwise similar to what many would call “typical lager.” The flavor has a light sweet melon fruitiness with a hop zing. On the finish the fruit lingers and fades gradually, quite a long finish featuring slightly spicy noble hops. 4.8% ABV

WeihenHefeWeissWeihenstephaner Hefeweizen

As a Hefe, this is the classic hazy straw with a generous lingering white head, heavily lacing the glass. From the world’s oldest brewery, this provides the definition of the style with a yeasty nose of banana and orange over biscuit malt. Even fruitier in the flavor with a light caramel sweetness and full body. Hops dry out the finish. 5.4% ABV [I'm amazed that I don't have a photo of this, so I'm cheating using their Festbier.]

Kostritzer Schwartzbier

This “Black Beer” pours opaque brown with a moderate sand colored head. It leads with a roasty malt nose with light fruit. On the palate you get a light body and smooth light caramel flavor with a touch of roastiness. Gets sweeter into the finish, very low hoppiness. This is another wakeup call for those who think a dark beer has to be heavy. 4.8% ABV

Leaving the tasting, let’s move on to some more Oktoberfests, now that Oktoberfest ended five weeks ago.

Warsteiner OktoberfestWarsteiner Oktoberfest Special Edition

Medium amber in the glass with a generous bubbly white head. The aroma is a strong blend of noble hops and bready malt with maybe a hint of sourdough. This is more strongly flavored than the Munich Oktoberfests, showing a ton of malt with lots of hop flavor. The finish continues this though not very persistently, a medium length finish. Less crisp and more flavor than the average Märzen, but more like Paulaner than Hofbräu. 5.9% ABV.

Erdinger OktoberfestErdinger Oktoberfest

This pours pale gold with a generous white head. The aroma features light malt and balanced hops with a hint of stone fruit. Light, crisp and refreshing, this time more like Hofbräu than Paulaner. The malt is quite persistent on the finish. 5.7% ABV

Dinkelacker MärzenDinkelacher Oktoberfest (Marzen)

A classic Oktoberfest, medium amber and a moderate white head. It delivers a malty mouthful with restrained caramel leading into a medium finish of malt and spicy hops similar to the Spaten. The picture shows what happens if you pour too gently into the Maßkrug. It is most un-German to fail to generate a robust head, though as a result I got about 1.2 liters! 5.6% ABV

Crossing the pond but continuing the theme, here is a pair of American Oktoberfest-style beers.

Sam OktoberfestSam Adams OctoberFest

Dark amber in the glass with a fairly brief off white head, it starts with a very light nose of biscuit malt. On the palate come lots of caramel or crystal malt making it mildly sweet. There is much more flavor than aroma. There is something vegetable in the finish I find it to be a bit too light in body, and the same in finish as the flavor fades quickly. Distinctly the weakest of this group of Oktoberfests. 5.3% ABV

Goose Island OktoberfestGoose Oktoberfest

Pours chestnut amber with a moderate cream head. Very malty nose of caramel with malt and malt (did I mention malt?) Toffee leads the flavor with a ton of malt right behind and a hint of stone fruit. This continues into the finish but is joined by a touch of drying hops. This is stronger than the German Oktoberfest Bier, but holds its own in flavor. 6.4% ABV 17 IBU

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Attack of the Pumpkins! (Part 2)



Continuing my pumpkin odyssey . . .


Pumpkin Flight


Uinta JackedUinta Crooked Line Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin (Salt Lake City, UT)

Pours dark garnet with a generous foamy orangey head. The aroma is of pumpkin rather than pumpkin pie but with a nose-tickling spiciness where the hops hold their own among the mulling spices. This may be the strongest pumpkin flavor of all, kind of a purist’s pumpkin, like a dish of squash with enough spice to accent the meatiness, and with oak coming through. Utah’s heart of oak. On the finish the hops give bracing bitterness and dry out what wasn’t very sweet to begin with. This would go great with a main course like turkey or pork or grilled tofu. 10.31% ABV and in a 750ml bottle that last 0.01% could be a killer! 39 IBU, unusually high bitterness for a pumpkin ale but it works.

Dogfish PumpkinDogfish Head Pumpkin Ale (Milton DE)

Medium amber in the glass with a bubbly vanilla cream head. The nose is biscuit malt first then melon or squash with a dash of spice. The flavor starts with liquor, a fruit brandy, and then a creaminess with a touch of spice and spicy hops. The finish carries this forward with brandy fading and hoppy malt growing. Nice mild sweetness develops as the beer warms a little. Beautifully balanced. This is not an eye opener, this is just calmly excellent. 7% ABV

Alltech Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale (Lexington KY)

Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, aged in bourbon barrels. I was a bit too busy savoring this to take proper notes. Their regular Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale has a great bourbon nose, this adds pumpkin and spices. Very satisfying. 10.0% ABV

Horseheads PumpkinHorseheads Brewing Pumpkin Ale (Horseheads NY)

This is a medium to light amber with a generous orangey head. The aroma is very pie spicy with rich malt just underneath. The flavor is restrained pumpkin pie with cinnamon and nutmeg and spice-cake malt. The finish is moderately long emphasizing malt and slightly dried out by hops. 7.0% ABV

Hoppin Frog Double PumpkinHopping Frog Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale (Akron OH)

This pours amber with a brief tan head. The aroma delivers more spice than pumpkin and unusual spicing with ginger in the mix. The flavor starts wth a toffee note, smooth, with spices coming in, especially clove. The finish is mild, mixing malt and spice. There’s not a whole lot of pumpkin in flavor or finish. It’s a nice strong Fall beer but not especially a pumpkin beer. 8.4% ABV

Saranac PumpkinSaranac Pumpkin Ale (Matt Brewing, Utica, NY)

Clear amber in the glass with a moderate off white head. Starts with a very malty nose with lightly funky melon. Spicy flavor led by cinnamon with a very light body and just a touch of fruit. The finish has a little malt but is a bit bland. 5.1% abv 15 IBU their website calls it “hearty …with full body” but I find it thin and light.

Whole Hog PumpkinWhole Hog Pumpkin Ale (Stevens Point Brewery, Stevens Point, WI)

Pours a slightly hazy chestnut with a moderate yellowish head. The aroma is of liquid pumpkin pie…the whole pie, crust and all. Flavor starts spicy instantly changing to meaty pumpkin, then the spices come right back and meet crackery malt forming a great balance. The finish leans toward darker spice like nutmeg with a shot of bittering hops leading into lingering maltiness. 7.5% ABV, 10 IBU

stPumkingSouthern Tier Pumking (Lakewood, NY)

Light copper in the glass with a brief off cream head. Starts with a big pumpkin aroma more like a pumpkin bread than pie, lots of malt. That bready malt and rich fruit flow into the flavor mixing with the spices and vanilla (almost as if aged in oak.) As it warms a tiny bit of candy-like aroma emerges but is tinged with hops. Very low bitterness but not without a touch of hop flavor too. The finish is long but restrained. Sneaky strong, it doesn’t drink like 8.6% ABV. As it says on the bottle, “This beer is brewed with pagan spirit & should be enjoyed responsibly.”

samFatJackSamuel Adams Fat Jack (Boston, MA)

Brown ale with a medium yellowish head. The nose displays caramel malt with Euro hops and subtle pumpkin or pumpkin & yam. It’s Brown Ale on the palette with toffee and a hint of smoke, sweetness but not sweet. Enough hops and enough roast to be interesting.

stWarlockSouthern Tier Warlock (Lakewood, NY)

Opaque brown in the glass with a fairly brief tan head. Rich pumpkin spice cake nose a bit sweeter aroma than Pumking. Rich and roasty on the palette with coffee notes…have some coffee with your cake. There’s a ton of malt and smooth spices, cinnamon and vanilla and nutmeg over the pumpkin body. The pumpkin isn’t the first or even second thing you notice, but it asserts itself on the finish amid waves of spice, malt, and coffee notes. 10.0% abv

Elysian PunkuccinoElysian Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale (Seattle, WA)

“”A pumpkin ale with the attitude of a world-weary barista.” Very dark brown with light barely coming through it. And a generous relatively persistent tan head. Aroma of coffee the instant the cap comes off. Rich coffee aroma with spice and pumpkin. Flavor of good very smooth coffee without bitterness. Very similar to Warlock with more coffee and slightly less body. In both cases the pumpin is tertiary to the malt or coffee and spices. In both cases these are fabulous beers. Out if season I may be dismissive of pumpkins. Mea culpa. 6.0% ABV



I was dismissive of pumpkin ales out of season, and even felt dismissive of their worth even in season. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! I’ve really enjoyed my journey through the pumpkin patch, and I look forward to coming back next year!

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