Friday, September 7, 2007

Oktoberfest #1 - Day 1 Sample A (Sprecher)

We have officially begun our quest to try all of the commercially available Oktoberfests from Wisconsin breweries. If we can, we will try to find some of the smaller breweries that aren't readily available here in Madison (Viking, Central Waters, Calumet, Lakefront, etc.); but we are starting with the ones that are.

The methodology is simple: blind tasting of two different Oktoberfests. In the mbr refrigerator is all of the Oktobers. One of us sets up the glasses with two random unannounced Oktobers, and another tastes without knowing which beers have been poured. Tasting notes are taken, and guesses are made as to which Oktober is being consumed. The following is those tasting notes; unedited. We try not to "rate" the beers, just to review them. Enjoy. If you have had any of these beers, please feel free to post your review in the comments.

Sample A (Sprecher)
Appearance: amber in color, thin foamy head dissipates quickly
Aroma: sweet and alcohol-y, no hops
Taste: cloyingly sweet, slight hoppy bitterness on back, seems more like an ale than a lager;
Body: thin and syrupy, well carbonated, bitterness sticks around
Drinkability: hard to tell, but doubt I would want a lot of this; if one drank quickly the syrupy-ness and alcohol might go unnoticed (ed note: it doesn't)

Notes/Summary: Not terrible, but seems a little syrupy and sweet; depth eventually shows itself, but caramel gets in the way; perhaps straight from the tap drank quickly this would be better

Guess: Capital
Recommended: With reservations; it has a unique "strong ale" taste that some will not like


  1. FYI:
    Viking, Central Waters and Lakefront are all available in Madison but I do not believe that Viking or Central Waters brew an Oktoby. Viking does have a Vienna Lager though.
    I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about the Calumet Oktoberfest. I definitely think it is worth the trip to get a growler and it is also available at the brewpub year round.

  2. According to Viking's and Central Waters' websites they do brew Oktobers.

    Viking calls theirs the Rauch and is a smoked Oktober (although they also have the Vienna and the Copperhead, which is an amber lager), but doesn't appear to be available in Madison. As a result, we are debating putting the Vienna and Copperhead in the Oktober pool. Yes? No? Maybe we'll just do a separate post of various Oktober-like beers.

    As for Central Waters, their website also indicates that they brew an Oktober. However, it is possible that this is only brewed at their brewpub and not available in bottles.

    And, as a bit of spoiler for anyone reading the comments here: the Calumet Oktober is DEFINTELY worth the two hour trip.


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