Suttree (5266) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - SEP 20, 2010
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Brownish orange, thin ring of foam. Sweet aroma - some caramel, some fruity notes, too - like, maybe melon? maybe? Flavor is the expected caramel/toffee, play some fruityness like I smelled at first. Kinda odd, but tasty.
OldGrowth (2763) - the Containment Area, North Carolina, USA - APR 5, 2006
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle, via ClarkVV. Ok nose, fruity. Apple, grape. Caramel. I wrote something else, but can’t read it now, D’oh. Brownish reddish orange color ( I forget who I saw it from, but how many ways to say amber are there?) Bitter fruity flavors. Like aroma, but with a grassy bitterness. Medium body, lite creamy mouthfeel, bitter fruity finish. Tasty. Has the uusal October fest flavor, but with McNeills usual signature uniqueness. This bottle was probably 6 months old, yet was still in very good shape. Thanks Clark.
VTHopHead (1511) - Barre, Vermont, USA - MAR 24, 2006
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bomber - Poured a reddish dark amber in color with a small off-white head that faded quickly. Fairly low carbonation. Small amount of lacing. Aroma is light and quit fruity (apples, pears?) and some sweet maltiness. Not much for hop aroma. Flavor is fairly strong of fruit (apple, cherry?) and initially sweet with a medium bitter middle and finish, Some alcohol warmth in the finish as well. Somewhat unusual... not a very traditional Oktoberfest brew, but nice... I like it!
ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - MAR 17, 2006
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
2005 bottle aged some 5 or 6 months and shared with OldGrowth on 3/14/06
A settled bomber yields a muddy caramel body, even from the top of the bottle, with a beige-almond head that slowly recedes to cover and then a light ring. Tiny, bottle conditioned bubbles burst vibrantly at the surface, creating a sparkling appearance.
Fruity (apples, pears, peaches) yeast notes combine with soft, authentic caramel notes, with a drying nuttiness and a touch of bread. Soft and surprisingly mild, but yet deep fruit flavors and a gentle sweetness from the caramel malt, really soothe the nostrils.
Flavor begins, again, fruity (cherries, apples, dates, raisins) though the malt really intertwines here to produce a caramelized, sugary-sweet fruitiness that slowly gives way (and not ever completely) to light earthy vienna-like malts. Kind of like an English dark mild, though far less roasty/toasty character. Extremely soft and round texure, one of the prime examples I have seen. Yet it does no lack for carbonation, though that is certainly low. Malty, overall, but bitter enough up front from the, now old, hops. Yeasty with some breadiness growing as it warms with dry, soily and crusty flavors emerging regularly. No alcohol apparency. Different than what was probably intended fresh, but interesting in its own right now, and further proof that McNeills beers are not infected bombs waiting to happen.
CaptainCougar (7132) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - DEC 1, 2005
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours a clear deep mahogany with a nicely-lacing white head. Malty sweet, authentic German aroma has some hints of noble hops. Starts with a nice, sweet malty palate, some grainy character and a touch of green, grassy hops. Finishes crisp. A good oktoberfest.
ChazyRPh (583) - Chazy, New York, USA - NOV 29, 2005
2.5 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 8/20
Hazy orange pour with medium tan head. Hoppy aroma, piney hops. Musty malt flavoring some hop presence in the middle. Sour, infected flavor dominates the beginning, as I am becoming used to from this brewery. This has some roastiness to finish, I wish for once I could get a non-infected beer from this place.
DYCSoccer17 (3357) - Woodland, California, USA - NOV 25, 2005
2.5 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 8/20
22oz bomber purchased at Winooski Beverage. Fruity, sweet, citric aroma with some metallic lager-like aromas. This is not very marzen-like and I am fearful that this may be another infected bottle from McNeill’s. Hazy amber color with a big yellow frothy head. Start is sweet and sour with a weird infected astringency. Citrusy notes. Agressive butterscotch follows with very roasted and toasted malts. The finish is very nice, but the beginning is rather tainted. I’d like a disinfected bottle of this.
ElJefe (553) - Rochester, New York, USA - OCT 4, 2005
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
22 oz bomber. Pours hazy brown with a small, quickly diminishing head. Roasty, smokey aroma with some hints of caramel and some yeasty/barnyard notes. Flavor starts with a hit of tartness, which then gives way to a smokey sweet maltiness, intertwined with some caramel. Finish is a bit earthy with a slightly dry nuttiness. Smooth mouth feel, medium bodied. Might be a liberal interpretation of they style, but I liked it nonetheless. I have to admit that I didn’t like this at first, but it grew on me quickly and the bottle was gone much too fast.
DarkElf (3035) - La Jolla, California, USA - DEC 28, 2004
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
(22 oz bottle, obtained in trade with Eyedrinkale, thanks Mike!) Now this is a pretty damn good Oktoberfest, though I wonder if it’s straying outside the style a bit (toward a brown?) with the dominant roastiness. Not that the roastiness is all the strong, but it has sufficient presence to make this Oktoberfest stand apart from most others in the field. Apart from the roastiness that jumps out at me, it’s also fairly caramely. It has nice balance, with the mild roastiness lending some bitterness, and hops kicking in some bitterness as well. This also isn’t an overly sweet Oktoberfest. It surely has a moderate sweetness, but it seems in step with the roasty maltiness and the hops, and so this really is a fine, flavorful, enjoyable and well balanced Oktoberfest. Lightly roasty nose with some mildly sweet aromas. Amber brown in color, slightly cloudy in appearance. Medium body. The bottle opened with barely a "pfft", and carbonation levels are a bit low, but adequate. The head is very small, though, when the beer is poured. And it soon fades to nothing, not even a small rim around the glass, and so there’s not even a hint of lace on the glass.
CapFlu (4618) - Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 22, 2004
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
(22oz bottle) I had some guests visiting and they are a keen beer-exploration bunch so I cracked this out. It was supposed to be a marzen though I found the malt notes and nuttiness to be more becoming of a Brown Ale. It poured a beige creamy head and a amber-brown body. The nose carried notes of caramel malt and a honey sweetness. This was far better than I had expected... and a perfect follow-up to the Quelque Chose I previously fed them. Very impressed. Many thanks Muzzlehatch!