Octoberfest: Sam vs. Saranac

Now that I’ve talked a little bit about the Oktoberfest/Marzen style of beer, I thought I would take a couple out for a test drive.

By the way, the spelling Octoberfest vs. Oktoberfest is just translation nuance.

Samuel Adams and Saranac both put out a seasonal Octoberfest style beer. I cannot tell from the literature whether they are striving for a German or American version of the style. They are both American companies, and if they are going for the German style, I think it is safe to assume they are definitely one, or the other. (I like to cover all my bases)


The Saranac is slightly more orange-copper, while the Sam Adams is more red-copper. (This photo is slightly darkened and has taken away some of that orange color that both of these have.) Both are malty and sweet, and very similar. The difference between these beers is in the balance of hops. The Saranac had a slightly stronger, citrus and spice bite, hop character while the Sam Adams had a… I want to say, a watery-tart hop character. 

Both were great, but if you made me choose, I’d give the Saranac the edge because I much more enjoyed the hop balance from the Saranac that keeps the Oktoberfest style from becoming too sweet.

I need to go to the candy store and get some Paulaner, Brooklyn, and some more Oktoberfest style beers. Maybe I should have a single elimination bracket and see who comes out on top… what do you think?


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About Ron

I have many passions, beer is just one. Cheers! You can reach me at ron [at] hop-talk.com.

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