When I first set out to make my Aletoberfest, my main thought was how it would compare to an actual Oktoberfest. Ales and lagers have different characteristics when it comes to flavor and taste, so I needed to do a side-by-side comparison.
Once my Aletoberfest finished carbonating, I pulled out a commercial Oktoberfest to see what was similar and different between the two.
Right away I noticed the color difference. My version was a lot darker, most likely due to the high percentage of CaraMunich malt.
Clarity was very similar to my surprise. I had forgotten to use biofine before bottling, which usually helps drop a lot of sediment out of my beers. But this batch cleared up nicely. Possibly due to a bit longer time in the fridge before drinking.
Just like in color, the Leinenkugel Oktoberfest was lighter in body than my beer. Maybe due to mash? Or the grain bill? I’m not sure so I will have to recheck some other sources on what could be the difference there. Though I didn’t mind the full-body of my beer, it might make it a bit easier to drink more of it if it were a bit lighter. However, it does allow the malt character to really shine through.
The hop flavors were nearly identical. Bringing a touch of spice and bitterness that was quite pleasing. My last few malt-forward beers tasted off, while the more hoppy beers were great, so this was a nice surprise. I assumed that was because the bitterness made up for some shortcomings in my mashing process that attributed to bad malt flavors. But these hops complemented the malt flavor quite well. I will have to do more noble hop beers in the future.
The only real difference was that the hop flavor lingered a bit longer in my beer compared to the Oktoberfest.
Overall, I am very happy in the results and will be making this beer next fall for sure. It was a hit when I shared it with friends, even with some who are big IPA fans.
Next batch, I will lighten up the color and try to go for a lighter body with a bit more crispness in the finish. It is a great starting point for this recipe, and I feel a couple minor tweaks could make this an incredible beer.