Marzen ()


Style Characteristics

SRM Range:8 - 17
IBU Range:18 - 24
OG Range:1.054 - 1.060
FG Range:1.010 - 1.014
ABV Range:5.8% - 6.30%

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Impression:

An elegant, malty German amber lager with a clean, rich, toasty and bready malt flavor, restrained bitterness, and a dry finish that encourages another drink. The overall malt impression is soft, elegant, and complex, with a rich aftertaste that is never cloying or heavy.

Style History:

As the name suggests, brewed as a stronger "March beer" in March and lagered in cold caves over the summer. Modern versions trace back to the lager developed by Spaten in 1841, contemporaneous to the development of Vienna lager. However, the Marzen name is much older than 1841; the early ones were dark brown, and in Austria the name implied a strength band (14 P) rather than a style. The German amber lager version (in the Viennese style of the time) was first served at Oktoberfest in 1872, a tradition that lasted until 1990 when the golden *Festbier* was adopted as the standard festival beer.

Flavor:

Initial malt flavor often suggests sweetness, but finish is moderately-dry to dry. Distinctive and complex maltiness often includes a bready, toasty aspect. Hop bitterness is moderate, and the hop flavor is low to none (German types: complex, floral, herbal, or spicy). Hops provide sufficient balance that the malty palate and finish do not seem sweet. The aftertaste is malty, with the same elegant, rich malt flavors lingering. Noticeable caramel, biscuit, or roasted flavors are inappropriate. Clean lager fermentation profile.

Aroma:

Moderate intensity aroma of German malt, typically rich, bready, somewhat toasty, with light bread crust notes. Clean lager fermentation character. No hop aroma. Caramel, dry-biscuity, or roasted malt aromas inappropriate. Very light alcohol might be detected, but should never be sharp. Clean, elegant malt richness should be the primary aroma.

Appearance:

Amber-orange to deep reddish-copper color; should not be golden. Bright clarity, with persistent, off-white foam stand.

Comments:

Modern domestic German Oktoberfest versions are golden -- see the *Festbier* style for this version. Export German versions (to the United States, at least) are typically orange-amber in color, have a distinctive toasty malt character, and are most often labeled *Oktoberfest*. American craft versions of Oktoberfest are generally based on this style, and most Americans will recognize this beer as *Oktoberfest*. Historic versions of the beer tended to be darker, towards the brown color range, but there have been many 'shades' of Marzen (when the name is used as a strength); this style description specifically refers to the stronger amber lager version. The modern *Festbier* can be thought of as a pale Marzen by these terms.

Ingredients:

Grist varies, although traditional German versions emphasized Munich malt. The notion of elegance is derived from the finest quality ingredients, particularly the base malts. A decoction mash was traditionally used to develop the rich malt profile.

Comparison:

Not as strong and rich as a Dunkles Bock. More malt depth and richness than a Festbier, with a heavier body and slightly less hops. Less hoppy and equally malty as a Czech Amber Lager.

Commercial Styles:

Buergerliches Ur-Saalfelder