Monday, October 29, 2012

Saranac Octoberfest (2012 re-review)

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.

NOTE: Read (and watch) my 2009 review here:

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (744) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 29, 2012
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 Oktoberfest-themed beer.

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.
 Grade: 7/10

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