Monthly Archives: October 2011

Review of Bell’s Octoberfest

For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the last Octoberfest styled brew in my possession.  It’s the Bell’s Octoberfest brewed by Bell’s Brewery, Inc. located in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Fortunately, I have access to most all of the products that Bell’s releases, but for some reason I have yet to try the Octoberfest, so I figured I better do so before the season ended.

Here’s the description from the website,

Crafted as a flavorful session beer, Bell’s Octoberfest Beer is perfect for a week-long wedding celebration in Germany or the start of the Michigan autumn.  As with Bell’s Lager Beer, Octoberfest spends a full six weeks maturing in the fermentation vessels.  Unlike its cousin, Octoberfest trades in the assertive hop presence for a focus on a light caramel malt note, lending body without too much sweetness.  

In order to best preserve the flavor & shelf life of the beer, it is recommended Bell’s Octoberfest Beer be kept refrigerated.  

Bottoms up!!!

Bell’s Octoberfest comes in a 12 oz. bottle and has an ABV of 5.8%.

The beer poured a clear amber to dark orange color.  Plenty of burnt orange and yellow highlights swirl around all of the edges of the glass.  The cap was decently sized, off white, soft and mostly creamy in texture.  The retention time was adequate and the lacing was “so-so.”

The aroma consisted of a prevalent caramel malt.  Lightly toasted notes of wheat and grain combined with a hint of leafy goodness helped create a very round and “earthy” fragrance.  Deep within the smell I began to detect hints of very relaxed spices that seemed to add a touch more complexity than initially thought.

The taste delivered more of the caramel malt along with a bit more of the spice.  Nutmeg and maybe cinnamon.  A very mild hop bite was felt, which lent to a minute bitterness.  Some toasted biscuits were welcomed and I also discerned a very, very light, dried apple chip type of flavor.  Again, very earthy and round with the taste.

The mouthfeel was medium, smooth, clean, crisp, refreshing, dry and somewhat thirst quenching.  Not a whole lot of flavor was left behind on the palate.  It vanished relatively quickly.

Well, I thought that this was primarily an average Octoberfest.  It wasn’t anything bad or horrible, but more or less straight forward I thought.  It’s definitely worth a try as you make your way through the seasonals, but don’t expect a world class beer.  The Bell’s Octoberfest is easily drinkable and has plenty of flavor and appeal, but I’ll tell ya, I’m glad this is my last Octoberfest of the season.  They are all starting to taste the same to me.  So with that being said, pick up a bottle before the season is over, give it a try and let me know what you thought of it.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  Remember to look me up on Twitter and Google+ if you would like to discuss craft beer a little further.  Until next time.


Score:  3.5 out of 5
Grade:  B- 

On a side note, I thought I would give a run down of the Octoberfest/Oktoberfest beers that I tried this year.  All in all, I tried eleven different ones.

1.    Great Lakes Oktoberfest – 4.0 out of 5 (B+)
2.    Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest – 3.85 out of 5 (B+)
3.    Paulaner Oktoberfest – 3.75 out of 5 (B)
4.    Hudepohl Oktoberfest – 3.7 out of 5 (B)
5.    Samuel Adams Octoberfest – 3.6 out of 5 (B)
6.    Magic Hat “Hex” Ourtoberfest – 3.6 out of 5 (B)
7.    Bell’s Octoberfest – 3.5 out of 5 (B-)
8.    Spaten Oktoberfest – 3.5 out of 5 (B-)
9.    Schlafly Oktoberfest – 3.4 out of 5 (B-)
10.  Brooklyn Oktoberfest – 3.35 out of 5 (B-)
11.  Hofbrau Oktoberfest – 3.25 out of 5 (C+)

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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Bell's, Country: USA


Review of Magic Hat "Hex" Ourtoberfest

For today’s craft beer review I thought I would try the Fall seasonal offering from the Magic Hat Brewing Company located in Burlington, Vermont called the Magic Hat “Hex” Ourtoberfest.

Magic Hat seems to always put some kind of abnormal twist on their brews, so I’m wondering what it will be with this one.

From the website,, we find this description.

A malty amber ale with hints of toffee and caramel and a slightly smoky finish. 

Short and sweet.

The brew has an ABV of 5.4% and comes in a 12 oz. bottle.

The beer poured a little bit hazy.  It was an amber to light copper color with some burnt orange highlights around the bottom and sides of the glass.  The head was relatively small in size, although the retention time was ok.  It was smooth and creamy looking and left behind some decent lacing as it settled. 

The aroma began with a significant dose of caramel malt and brown sugar.  Well balanced tones of lightly toasted wheat bread and earthy hops complimented the sweetness very nicely.  Deeper in the fragrance, I started to detect a hint similar to buttered bread along with a slight grain bill.  This beer smelled pretty good I thought.

The taste brought forth more of the caramel malt sweetness.  More prominent savors of grain came through in the taste than did in the aroma too.  Grassy hops gave a slight tickle to the sides of the tongue, however the bitterness was only “so-so.”  Lightly toasted bread notes were noticed just as they were in the aroma.  All the flavors seemed to be harmonized well.  The longer I sipped the greater the grainy aspects showed themselves however. 

The mouthfeel was medium, smooth, crisp, dry and somewhat refreshing.  A decent amount of flavor was left behind on the palate.  Not bad.

Well, this beer is just “ok” in my opinion.  It’s nothing horrible or off putting, however I didn’t find it to be anything outstanding either.  With that being said, I’d drink it again if it was offered for sure.  It was easy to down and it really fits the season.  I was expecting something a little more “experimental” from this beer, but I never really found it.  It’s relatively straight forward actually.  Other than that, there’s not much left to say except that if you see it sitting on the shelf, give it a try and enjoy it as the Fall gives way to Winter.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  Also, thanks to all the new followers of the blog.  That means a great deal to me to know that you are somewhat interested in the reviews I post.  Feel free to contact me via Twitter (@BeerApprentice and @shrews824) or Google+ (Scott Shrewsberry) if you would like to speak to me further about craft beer.

Until next time.


Score:  3.6 out of 5
Grade:  B

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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Country: USA, Magic Hat


Review of Rodenbach Grand Cru

For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Rodenbach Grand Cru produced by Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V. located in Roeselare, Belgium.

Let’s not waste any time and let’s find a description from the website,

A blend of 1/3 young beer and 2/3 of beer aged 2 years in large oak vats.  The more important proportion of oak matured beer contributes to its fruity taste, complexity and intensity.  The finish is worthy of a great wine

Let’s pour.

The Rodenbach Grand Cru has an ABV of 6.0% and it comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle. 

The beer poured a very deep, clear, ruby to burgundy color.  The crown was light tan and it had a very nice size.  It was soft, light, creamy and smooth.  The retention time was adequate and the lacing looked very good.  The head settled to a nice, silky smooth film right on top of the liquid that lasted the duration.

The aroma brought forth wonderful hints of deep cherries and over ripened grapes.  The sourness seemed relaxed, but otherwise duly noted.  Fragrances of aged oak and yeasty goodness added some well rounded complexities.  Deep within the nose I also found hints of buttermilk.  Overall, the bouquet was very well balanced, forthcoming and complex.

The taste bumped the sourness up just a bit.  Some of that commonplace vinegar started to pull through as the beer worked its way across the palate.  A well received tartness bit the tongue by way of sour grapes and ripe cherries.  A delightful sugar tone was noticed, which added even more sweetness, followed by the “oak” acting as a complimentary backdrop.  Only a very minute redolence of alcohol was noticed.  The taste definitely resembles a “reserved” red wine.

The mouthfeel was medium, snappy and very dry.  It started with a sharp bite that really became smooth and velvety as I made my way through the glass.  The flavor seemed to stick to the palate long after the sip.  A very, very nice mouthfeel with this one.

I’ll tell ya… I really liked this beer.  Tons of aroma and flavor abound.  It’s super easy to drink with the relatively low 6.0% ABV also.  I would be more than happy to revisit this beer again sometime in the near future.  If you favor Sours, I would highly recommend picking this up and giving it a go.  I’m slowly, but surely coming around to this style.  I find myself craving a Sour at the most inopportune times.  Oh well.  I guess that’s a good thing.  It means my palate is adjusting and working just fine.

Thanks for reading and commenting guys.  I really appreciate the feedback.  If you would like to discuss craft beer, you can find me on Twitter @BeerApprentice and @shrews824 or look me up on Google+ (Scott Shrewsberry).

Until next time.


Score:  4.25 out of 5
Grade:  A-    

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Posted by on October 29, 2011 in Country: Belgium, Rodenbach

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