Monday, September 28, 2009

90. Harpoon Octoberfest

Our fourth beer from Harpoon—besides the Leviathan Saison Royale, we’ve tried the Glacier ’08 Wet Hop and the IPA. I think I am about out of cheeky maritime references, especially ones with an Oktoberfest-inspired twist. I’ll keep thinking about it, though...

Harpoon’s Octoberfest has a dry sweet malty nose. The rich maple color is vibrantly clear, and it has minimal head and head retention. Starting dry, crisp, and nutty on the front, Octoberfest opens cleanly before moving into some malt sweetness with toasted notes and some carbonation bite in the middle, and finishing dry but not completely clean—it ends a bit too sweet. It doesn’t have that distinctive “I’m a lager taste” to it at the end; there are also some slight sour notes mixed with lingering hop bitterness in the tail end of the beer. Overall, the beer has a clean, smooth mouthfeel with decent bite from the carbonation, but the first half of the beer is much better than the second half.

From the bottle: “Harpoon Octoberfest features a malty, full-bodied taste and deep garnet-red color. We brew this marzen-style beer with festivals in mind. Celebrate with us. Prosit!”

From the Harpoon website: “Octoberfest beers are brewed with festivals in mind, and Harpoon Octoberfest is no exception. The Marzen style dates back to the days when refrigeration did not exist, making brewing in the summer impossible. The term Marzen refers to the month (March) when the last beer was brewed before summer. This beer would be lagered (stored) in ice caves until brewing resumed in the cool air of October. At this time, kegs of Marzen were tapped and enjoyed at harvest festivals. In 1810 at the wedding of Bavarian Crown Ludwig to Princess Theresa von Sachsen-Hildurghausen, the entire city of Munich celebrated with Marzen beer and the Octoberfest tradition was created.

The character and complexity of Harpoon Octoberfest comes from the malt and hops. When looking at a freshly poured Harpoon Octoberfest, you will notice the garnet-red color with a firm, creamy head. The beer’s color is from a blend of Munich, chocolate, and pale malt. The thick head results in part from wheat malt added to the grist. The hop aroma of this beer is not overpowering but it is present. Tettnang hops add a subtle spice nose that blends with the malt character. This beer is full-bodied, smooth, and malty. Willamettehops are used to provide a gentle bitterness and to balance any residual sweetness present from the malt. The finish is soft and malty with a mild bitterness.”

ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 30
OG: 14.5° P


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