Sometime last week it finally started to get cold around Washington DC. I’m not sure if it’s exactly fall weather, but it is certainly a little more bearable than it was a few days before that. With the cold weather, I finally feel like it is becoming acceptable to dive into the fall brews. Don’t get me wrong, I have consumed a handful of pumpkin beers and other fall style brews; however, I’ve also been attempting to finish off any and all summery beers before they find their way to the back of my selves. With the weather beginning to change, I feel like I can finally openly admit to drinking these fall concoctions.
Fall beers have been a love hate relationship for a little while here. For the longest time there were plenty of beers I loved that came out in the fall, but there were also other styles that I would keep away from. I’ve loved oktoberfests and harvest beers since college. I can still remember buying my first bottle of Sam Adams Oktoberfest. Having not really experimented with the craft market at that time, I thought it was one of the most interesting beers I’d ever consumed. I remember buying it by the case my first two years out of college. Pumpkin beers, on the other hand, I’ve only just started to enjoy as of last year. I went in for my weekly tasting at the beer store where they had Dogfish Head Punkin on tasting. I was skeptical, having never enjoyed a pumpkin beer before, but I am sure to taste everything I can. The flavors were so good, I decided I had to give all pumpkin beers another chance. Sure there are still some that fall short, but I am much more open to their enjoyment now a days. A pumpkin beer review will be just around the corner, but I give you a great oktoberfest to kick off the season.
The Kaiser is one of the big imperial bottles in Avery’s Dictator series. While there are plenty of pretty good oktoberfests out there, I don’t know of many that are considered imperial. I guess many brewers don’t feel it’s a necessary style to take to the imperial level. Either way, that may be the component that has me loving this oktoberfest. I’m not sure if it’s my new favorite for the style. I really liked the Left Hand brewery version lately as well, but I wouldn’t mind having this one again at all.
This one pours a dark red copper color which may be the perfect color for a fall day. I may need to find another bottle to enjoy at that actual time. There is some ample fluffy off white head that develops on top. The head has a rather sudsy look to it with good lacing and some very light sticky residue. Overall there is some good clarity, and you can make out some quite visible carbonation.
The aroma is certainly dominated by the sweet malt scent. Oktoberfests are typically fairly dominated by malts; however, this one has a slight boozy background that comes with an imperial version. It’s certainly nice, and I am thinking I need to find another bottle for a nice cool fall night. You do get some citrus that comes out as well as having a slightly figgy raisin aroma. There is a slight apple scent that rounds out the smell; however, I never really find the hops in the smell.
The flavor profile kicks off with the big sweet malts you expect from a beer meant to get you ready for a cool fall day. I’m honestly not sure how prevalent it is, but I pulled some nice apple and cinnamon flavors out of the mix as well. These combined with the sweet malts to make a real pleasant fall taste. The yeast is more the component of the transition in the middle between the onset and the finish of the beer. The second half has a fig and booze combination that leads into the light hops that I couldn’t find on the nose. The big malts kick back up for a real harvest feel. Finally the beer ends with some sweet malts and booze.
The mouthfeel has a very syrupy back half that compliments the big malt flavor well. The ample carbonation starts the beer but it quickly tappers off over time. The big malts, light hops, and light booze all combine for a great fall combination, and the addition of the apples and cinnamon have it tasting great for the season.
The fall season is really just kicking off, but I may have found one of my favorite beers of the fall. I need to get back out there and find another bottle of this before it’s all gone. You should do the same if you have any love for oktoberfests at all. Put this one aside for a nice cool night and it will be sure to keep you warm.
Teacher Grade: A