Interestingly, if one uses the “Wayback Machine”, and goes back to 2012, one finds this:
Under “About”, it notes " Samuel Adams Octoberfest masterfully blends together five roasts of malt", but under “Profile”, it lists only 3 malts: “Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, Munich-10, and Caramel 60”. The plot thickens.
I’m not a brewer or even a homebrewer, so I’m curious. Is there a distinction between saying something has “five malts” and “five roasts of malts”? Could the 2012 version of the beer with it’s three malts say that they have five roasts of malts because, for example, they may have some Munich-10 that’s mildly roasted and some Munich-10 that was roasted that’s heavily roasted, and some Carmel 60 that’s mildly roasted and some Carmel 60 that’s heavily roasted? Or is that not the way anyone who knows brewing would read that?
Of course, there were later versions of Octoberfest that simply advertised 5 malts, without the “roasts” of malt qualifier, so even if this works for the 2012 version (and possibly some others), it doesn’t work for subsequent brews.
We’ve also added a bit of intrigue here, because we see that the Sam Adams Octoberfest was not yet invented in 2019, or at least was not being advertised as being used. So, even from the current 4 malt brew, 2012 was missing a malt (Although at least we know what that malt is, as opposed to the current mysteriously disappearing 5th malt, and I’m not even sure “missing” is the right term to use about a beer that doesn’t have a malt that it presumably never did have until it was introduced a year or several years later.).
I’m just posting it this stuff because SA Octoberfest is one of my favorite beers (Mostly because of nostalgia- it’s the first craft beer I remember seeking out and enjoying) and I’m curious as to how it’s recipe has evolved over the years, and interested in understanding more about the beer in general. I’m not starting the conversation as a “gotcha” thing. Beers are allowed to change their recipes, especially when they are open about what their current recipe is at any given time. Arguably they slid the move from 5 malts to 4 malts under the radar, but they aren’t lying about it, and one can see what is in the current beer right on their official website. I’m just interested in delving deeper and learning about the history of the beer and whatnot.
Just as an aside, when I did my beer shopping for the month, 2019 SA Octoberfests weren’t on the shelves yet, but Sierra Nevada’s 2019 Oktoberfest collaboration was, and it was available at a deeply discounted sale price to boot, so I bought a 12 pack of those (I finished that off a while back). SN collaborates with a different German brewer every year and produces a different Oktoberfest with different ingredients (Not just an “evolving” one like we’re talking about with SA, SN has a totally different one each year). For what it’s worth, I like the 2019 SN Octoberfests. I can’t remember which year I last had a SN Oktoberfest, but I remember whatever year it was, the collaboration was on a lighter beer with a pale lager appearance that I didn’t like because it didn’t really look, smell, or taste like Oktoberfest as I knew them, whereas this year’s SNO does look, smell, and taste like an Oktoberfest (Not an exact replica of SA’s O, of course, which is by sort of my standard reference point for the style just because I’ve been drinking them for 12-15 years (Or something like that, I honestly don’t remember when I started), and get some every year, whereas I may or may not buy other Oktoberfests any given year, and which ones that I do buy if I buy them vary by year just due to my whims, pricing (Including what’s on sale), my financial situation, easily availability (or lack thereof) at my favorite liquor store, and so on and so forth.