I’m so lazy that I’m tempted to copy and paste my 2009 review of Saranac
Octoberfest, change a word or two, and call it my 2012 review of this
beer. I’ve been re-reviewing a lot of Marzen-style brews over the last
month and my opinion on all of them has changed by at least a grade or
two, but this is the only beer that will score exactly the same all
these years later.
I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Saranac shaker glass.
Appearance: Perfectly copper colored body, clear with small, slow
carbonation visible. Forms an average size, off-white, frothy head which
mostly dissipates, but does leave plenty of lacing on the glass.
Smell: A lager without the generic smell and certainly nothing
off-putting. A slightly sweet aroma of dark cereal grain and slight
earthy, autumn scents. Otherwise mild.
Taste: Most Oktoberfestbiers, German or American, tend to be sweet, but
Saranac Octoberfest is bit different. While there are subtle flavors of
toffee and caramel, the most prominent feature of the palate is a
nuttiness. It’s slightly dry, bitter and rustic - akin to a peanut shell
rather than the nut itself. There’s a distinct hop component to this
brew you don’t get in most of the style. It’s a mild spicy sensation
from the German noble hops which pepper the palate.
There’s a continual sweet flavor as well, reminiscent of hard candy and
other confectionery flavors, plus a hint of toasted wheat bread. Caramel
emerges strongly on the finish, which is a refreshing change and makes
for a well-balanced palate. It’s flavorful and tasty to be sure, but
still nothing absolutely amazing. This is what makes for a good American
Drinkability: Though technically a lager, Saranac Octoberfest drinks
like an ale. The body is calm, the mouthfeel is comfortable, and the
finish is smooth and clean. Flavorful enough to pair with autumn
festival meals like brats, baked beans, potatoes, etc, but mild enough
to be refreshing. The 5.4% ABV weight is perfect for this beer as it’s
definitely something you can drink two of in a row.