Heavy Seas, Prosit Imperial Oktoberfest

Heavy Seas Brewing Co.
Grade: A

After the disappointment of the Berkshire Oktoberfest, I felt the need to prove that Americans can brew a damn good Marzen, and lo and behold, Heavy Seas (formally Clipper City) releases their Prosit! Oktoberfest Lager. 

Prosit (pronounced PRO-sht) is the German version of "cheers," and during Oktoberfest it may be the most commonly uttered word in the entire country of Germany. Heavy Seas put this beer out last year as a part of their "Mutiny Fleet" portfolio, a collection of seasonal releases in 22oz bottles that push the boundaries of flavor and alcohol content. However despite the aggressive positioning, each and every one of these beers are balanced and perfectly brewed, but still edgy enough to give most beer geeks a nice little hard on. I actually gasped when I saw that this beer was back for another year, and grabbed it like the greedy little nerd that I am.

A puffy white head comes up from a very clear amber lager, and falls to a thin film on the surface. Some sweet aromas mix with more grainy, earthy notes. Caramel pairs with bread, some candy-like notes mix with toast. The characteristic sulfur elements of a lager are very few, if they're here at all. There's a slight little bit of fruit, but it's more like a subtle candy fruit than a banana note.

The mouthfeel is medium, just barely edging towards medium-full, with a slightly lower level of carbonation than I was expecting. At first the flavors of toffee and very light caramel hit your palate, but then there are layers and layers of bread and toast coming after it, with a firm yet subdued bittering at the end. The complexity of the flavor is matched only by it's balance. I'm not overwhelmed at all. In fact, I'm growing more intrigued after each sip. The hop bitterness does an excellent job of scrubbing off some of the sweeter flavors from my tongue, allowing me to start each sip fresh without becoming fatigued. The caramel and toffee are complimented so well by the bread and biscuit flavors that, while I can taste each one individually, nothing clashes. If there is a 9% ABV in here, I can't find it. There are absolutely no hot alcohols or strained esters, in fact the only indication this isn't a session beer is the slight warming sensation after half a pint.

Technically this beer is a little outside the true "Oktoberfest" guidelines by being so high in alcohol. That being said, this beer is the most authentic and true German style Marzen I've found yet. How do I know? How do I, having only the limited available examples available to me, know that this is the (American) holy grail of Oktoberfests? Because I can drink a lot of this. And I mean, a LOT. I want liters of this, never ending buckets of this beer brought to me by busty German women in tight fitting dirndls. It makes me want sausage, and oompa music. I want to wander from place to place for two weeks, wondering only where my next liter of this beer is. This, dear reader, is what comes to my mind when the word "Oktoberfest" is mentioned.



Aaron said...

I can't wait to find and try this brew. I've picked up the Heavy Seas Sunken Sampler a couple times and found it to be full of goodness.

Mike R Lynch said...

Absolutely, I haven't had a bad beer from them yet. The Mutiny Series is particularly good, I just wish some of them were lower alcohol! I want to drink a lot of these, but I just end up falling over