Monday, December 1, 2014

Erdinger Oktoberfest (2014 re-review)

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (1229) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 1, 2014
I’m not entirely sure what the deal with this beer is. I originally reviewed this (or a similar beer by this brewery) way back in 2008 and I haven’t had it since. It states very plainly on the label that this is Erdinger Oktoberfest, but previous editions were known as Erdinger Oktoberfest-Weizen, and some websites list it as Erdinger Festweiße. Judging by the way it looks and tastes, it appears to be more of a wheat beer of some sort than a true Oktoberfestbier or Marzen. And though I’m not a stickler for styles at all, I find the beer to be just above mediocre. There’s nothing off-putting about it, but there’s little to truly enjoy.

I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a mug. It had an expiration date of 5/2015 and cost $2.85 ($0.25 per ounce).

Appearance: Banana-skin yellow hue over an extremely hazy body. Carbonation can be seen streaming up the side of the glass. Pours to a large, bright white, foamy head which retains well but doesn’t leave much lacing.

Smell: Not much of anything. Just the faintest trace of banana and lemon peel. Nothing off-putting, but far from aromatically enticing.

Taste: This almost seems to be the German version of an American “pale wheat ale.” Wheat is definitely the dominate flavor characteristic here, though it’s not surprising considering this brewery makes all their beers with a ton of wheat. There’s a slight tartness that’s recognizable immediately, with hints of lemon peel or some kind of citrus zest. It’s missing the classic yeast esters often found in Bavarian hefeweizens – no clove, no banana, no bubblegum. I even detect a slight tanginess and astringency on the finish. It’s not repulsive, but I can’t imagine it’s intended to be there (buying imported beer in America is such a gamble – it rarely arrives fresh and is likely mistreated by all the hands it passes through). This definitely falls to be an Oktoberfest as well as a hefeweizen, but as a beer in general it’s okay I guess.

Drinkability: While the palette to Erdinger Oktoberfest may not be all that exciting, at least it’s easy to get it down. The mouthfeel is soft, but with a consistent presence of fine carbonation. It does down smooth and finishes almost completely clean save for a slightly oily residue. At 5.7% ABV it should have a lot more going on, as this has the body of a much lighter brew. Though it’s actually a little refreshing while in the mouth, but I see little reason to binge on this. 
Grade: 5/10

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