Friday, November 1, 2013

Fiddlehead Oktoberfest

I meant to pick up a growler on the way home from work last friday but I arrived while they were still kegging the new bi-weekly brew. I was excited to get a growlette today (32oz grolwer) to sample at home and to compare to Otter Creek's Oktoberfest . For research I would have loved to see this batch ready at SIPtemberfest, since there were lots of other breweries with their own examples of the style (of which I tried them all of course). Next week's batch is a Black IPA.

Alcohol Content: 5.6%
Malts: Munich, Vienna, Caramel/ Crystal, ?
Hops: Tettnang

Price: $6/ Growlette, $10/ Growler (+ $3 deposit)
Medium: Pint glass

Aroma: Malty and toasted with a considerable caramel sweetness. Hops are spicy, floral and lend good support for a malt-accented beer. My first impression hinted at subtle alcohol warmth and spiciness but I could be confusing this with hops.
Appearance: Fairly good clarity that will definitely improve with more aging. Color is quite accurate for the style - amber lager. Under bright light I get some deeper golds which may become even more brilliant with more age. Tan-ish brown head with good retention. Carbonation is moderately visible in the body of the beer.
Flavor: Malts really shine from the start through the finish and are matched by a spicy hop character that plays into the balancing act. I think the bitterness helps clean up some of the sweetness inherent in crystal malts and allows more of the maltiness come through without cloying the palate. The sweetness lingered on a buttery or toffee-like character, not to be confused with diacetyl. I believed there to be some fermentation character but was not quite sure of this until I got a few different opinions. We all agreed a little age would probably benefit the beer.
Mouthfeel: A soothing alcohol warmth and hop bitterness left a good first impression while my senses quickly turned to the beers maltiness with subsequent tastes. Sweet but not cloying. Carbonation is moderate. Sampled very cold at the brewery and warmed in the growlette for my own enjoyment at home.
Overall Impression: For a style that remains malt focused, I enjoyed the relatively higher bitterness and hop character that matches the strength in maltiness/ sweetness. Otter Creek Oktoberfest also exemplifies a higher IBU and hop character, both of which bringing a little more balance to the beer. It's a pretty straightforward beer that offers an easy approach for long drinking sessions.

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