Packaging: An unfortunate 11.2 oz. bottle
BJCP Style: German Marzen
Hops Variety: German Noble Hops
Malts Variety: German Munich and Pilsner Malts
Brewery: Paulaner Brauerei – Munich, Germany
Beer Connoisseur Rating: 86
- Bitterness Level: Low
- Would I purchase again? Yes
- Would I stock it? Yes
- Comments/Characteristics: Smooth, soft yet flavorful. Restrained bitterness. Great choice for Oktoberfest beer.
Since 1818 Paulaner has been brewing Oktoberfest Bier for the annual Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Germany. They are one of six breweries authorized to serve beer at the festival – the others being Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Lowenbrau, Spaten and Staatliches Hoffbrau. Important note about the version reviewed here – it is not the official version, which is actually labeled Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier – of which I have yet to lay hands on. The version reviewed here is Oktoberfest Marzen. So what’s the difference? Visually, Oktoberfest Bier is a lighter, more golden color vs the more copper color of the Marzen. The Marzen will be slightly more caramel and toasty, as it is more tilted towards the darker Munich Malt than the lighter Pilsner Malt.
Oktoberfest Marzen pours a clear, copper color. The head is formed by nice thick mousse-like foam with tightly packed bubbles, easily three finger thick at the top. It presents light herbal and caramel aromas to the nose. Flavors include a herbal tone, caramel, and light toast. There is the anticipated medium sweetness of malt accompanied by a restrained bitterness culminating in a soft, short finish with subtle but present bitterness. Not too dry.
Bottom line: Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen and Ayinger Fest-Marzen are benchmarks for the true German Marzen style in my book and excellent choices for Oktoberfest parties. That’s good because if you are wanting to experience a true old world style Marzen, these are two you should definitely try. Each has enough of a subtle difference in bitterness to separate from each other. Ayinger is slightly more bitter; but not enough to chase away anyone looking for nice smooth, easy drinking beer for the occasion.
Thanks for reading, and until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!
Thanks for this. I’m not sure when it was posted but this is exactly what I was looking for. Ayinger is my go-to marzen but there’s some Paulaner lurking in a cooler nearby and encouraged by your post, I’ll give it a try. Not a huge fan of the newer festbier style but the older roasty toasty version…well it’s autumn in a glass.
Yes, there is not much better than Marzen in the fall. This was written a few years back, but little has changed. Ayinger is still the best in my opinion, but Paulaner Marzen is an enjoyable brew and quite popular. The reality is, the Germans meticulous brewers and brew some of the worlds great beers. What has changed is local craft beer Marzen/Festbier has gotten much better. I’ve found a few local favorites here in Georgia, which is nice because I can get much fresher beer.
Thanks for reading and commenting! Here’s to Octoberfest – prost!