Element Brewing – Altoberfest Review

Element - Altoberfest 2All You Need to Know

Brewery: Element Brewing
Style: Alt Oktoberfest
ABV: 8.35%
Cost: $11.49 (24oz)
Glassware: Pint or Mug
Temp: 45°F (280.35 Kelvin)
Availability: Fall
Purchased@: Westbrook Maine Bottle Shop

Quick Take: I’m not the biggest Alt fan, but do like a quality Oktoberfest, and this beer pulls in both directions (as you’d imagine). This is one for Alt fans close to the brewery or that have easy access to Element beers. For me, it’s not worth going out of my way to score one, but if I happen to be in Element’s neighborhood with a hankering for beer, I might pick it up.


Brew Facts: I couldn’t find much on the beer or brewery, so here is a quote from their mission statement. Enjoy… “Science and art are our inspiration, philosophy and methodology for studying, testing, and advancing beer drinkers experience-in the bar and at home.”

Appearance: Pours a red, caramel haze of a beer. Shafts of light penetrate the surface like a murky, silty pond. That description probably helps all of no one, but suffice it to say that it isn’t the clearest of beers. Cidery in body and clarity, but malty Vienna lager in color. There is a tenacious film of bubbles clinging to the surface. It’s a retention that could probably support a nickel.

Aroma: Inhaling through the nostrils finds earthy gourd/pumpkin, malt, and a hint of musty grain. Not a potent aroma, but an apt one. There is a slight metallic note the hangs underneath and lends to the Alt-ishness of it. Kind of a musty Saison quality that could be off putting to the malty Oktoberfest lover. Note: I poured this into a tasting pint and a Sam Adams sensory glass. The Sammy glass aroma had a bit of brown sugar on it that I didn’t get from the pint.

Element - AltoberfestTaste/Mouth Feel: I take a sip and I wait….and wait…hmm…not a ton of complexity going on here. Actually, a little bland, with too much yeasty bread and not enough malt. I wouldn’t call this biscuity as that indicates a fluffier yeast and this is a bit denser. The finish is dry, but a bitter blandness continues on well past the tastier beer elements. The top pour from the bottle is a bit harsh and lacks the malt body I’d want from an Oktoberfest. It revels in the bitterness of the Alt and shuns the warm, sweet Marzen malt body that I personally prefer.

After spending some time with it, I recommend agitating the pour to stir up the sediment. It cuts the bland/bitter and slightly metallic finish to give it a bit more flavor. I’d also ignore the recommended serving temp and drink this warm. Let it expand and the harshness is curbed. It lets the malt come through with some soft tanginess that is really quite nice.

Final Thoughts: I’m not sure how easily I can recommend a beer that comes with such a specific set of circumstances to make it worthwhile. It IS a good beer if you have the patience to hit all criteria, but even then it is a good not great beer. I’m not the biggest Alt fan, but do like a quality Oktoberfest, and this beer pulls in both directions (as you’d imagine). This is one for Alt fans close to the brewery or that have easy access to Element beers. For me, it’s not worth going out of my way to score one, but if I happen to be in Element’s neighborhood with a hankering for beer, I might pick it up.

Recommendation: Grab it if there is nothing else.

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