Ayinger, Oktoberfest-marzen

Grade: B

Pours golden straw, with tinges of copper and a only slightly offwhite head. Lager sulfurs are present, but not overpowering at all. Sweet caramel, raisin, figs, molasses, and plum play in the aroma. It's a wonderful smell, the fruit and the sweet notes mix and mingle so well. It's malt forward to be sure. Mouthfeel is medium, with only a slight drying out at the back of the palate. The flavor has many burnt sugar and molasses elements, playing up some of the roast from the malts. The caramel is less sweet than American Oktoberfests, as if it were a darker, more bitter caramel. I'm getting much more yeast esters in this beer than the American ones. The plums, figs, and some of the raisin may be attributed to their proprietary lager yeast in conjunction to the German malts used.

Do I like this beer more than the American versions? Not exactly. Do I think it's a better example of the style? Absolutely. When making German-style beers, leave it to the Germans. But just because something is authentic doesn't mean it's good. The burnt sugars and the slight astringency it lends doesn't tickle my fancy that much. It's a good beer, however I wouldn't always reach for it. Is it a better Oktoberfest than the American versions? You bet.

By the way, the art on the cap of this beer is awesome.