Which Malt Is No Longer Present in SA Octoberfest?

Sam Adams ad copy used to mention that their Octoberfest was a blend of 5 malts ( https://beerconnoisseur.com/articles/samuel-adams-fall-seasonal-octoberfest-returns ) and now it’s website only mentions 4 ( https://www.samueladams.com/our-beers/limited-release/marzen/octoberfest ).

Which malt is missing? :slight_smile:

Bonus round: Which non-proprietary malt would you guess that “Sam Adams Octoberfest malt” is closest to?

Double bonus: What would be your guess as to how each malt they include breaks down by percentage?

Sorry for the uncharacteristically short post, RateBeer ate my original characteristically lengthy one. :slight_smile:

All my guesses are gonna be completely wrong, but oh well, why not.

Classic Märzen can in principle be made with Vienna only. I am inclined to guess they use Munich too out of principle, but let’s scrap that and say the other four malts were Pilsner, Carahell, Melanoidin and RedX.

The first thing I would scrap would be Melanoidin and/or RedX.

Octoberfest Malt… How about Carahell?

50% Vienna, 25% Pilsner, 10% Melanoidin, 10% Red X, 10% Carahell.

Red X is relatively new and is effectively a melanoidin mix in my understanding. So it is quite possible they replaced melanoidin malt plus something else with Red X (or a similar product)

I should mention for those who didn’t click the website link, that the four malts it names as being part of their current recipe are “Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, Munich-10, Samuel Adams Octoberfest malt, and Caramel 60”.

oh, I did, but the Sam Adams website wouldn’t let me in.

Well, then, the Octoberfest malt is probably close to Vienna.

Funnily enough a older RB discussion about the same topic pops up if you google for Octoberfest malt :slight_smile:

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.

LOL! For those who didn’t click Jonas’ link, it seems I started a thread that touches on some of these subjects in 2014 (Which I don’t remember doing, but who remembers starting threads five years ago?). It was about the introduction of “Sam Adams Octoberfest Malt”. At the time, we guessed that it might be replacing “Moravian Malt”, which we said we thought had been in previous recipes (Seemingly not the 2012 recipe based on what I found in the Wayback Machine earlier in this thread, but perhaps from other years).

It was narrowly focused on what Sam Adams Octoberfest Malt was replacing whereas this thread is more wide-ranging topically, with the sort of keynote topic being which malt they eliminated to go from 5 to 4 malts, something that I don’t think had happened yet in 2014, but the 2014 thread is still cool and useful.

I use DuckDuckGo rather than Google as my search engine these days, so I get different sets of results to my search queries than most people, who use Google. I didn’t see that thread when I searched DDG, so I appreciate Jonas pointing it out!

Interestingly, SA doesn’t use Vienna Malt in Boston Lager, which some people people consider a Vienna lager by style, so it’d be kind of a neat bit of bar trivia if the SAOM wound up essentially being Vienna malt, given that it would mean they are using VM (or their proprietary version thereof) for a Marzen but not for what is arguably a Vienna lager. :slight_smile: