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One Beer, Three Glasses: Ayinger Oktoberfest

Josh Augustine, October 27, 2014 -   

Here it is, the long awaited return of the glassware comparison series, although very slightly rebranded to be slightly less reminiscent of a horrible internet meme of yesteryear. In something that could be considered a cousin of Beersport, One Beer, Three Glasses is an event where one beer enters… three different glasses, and I, your intrepid host, compare and contrast the three.

Why three? I dunno, it seemed like a good idea the first time I went about it. Perhaps I’ll ramp up the number of glasses one of these days, and we can really get weird with this. Why the long layoff between the first two articles and this one? Well, the main reason is that I’m an idiot. Thanks to being called out on a recent-ish edition of the Beersport podcast, though, the series has continued! Without further babbling, let’s introduce our beer.

The beer that will be poured this time around, as you may have guessed by the article title and header image, is Ayinger’s Oktoberfest. I chose this beer because Oktoberfest/Marzen beers are delicious and in-season and this particular Oktoberfest is one of the best on the market, not just in the opinion of me, some doofus on the internet, but also by the numbers, as it ranks fourth among Oktoberfests on our leaderboards with a 121 Style+ and 4.85 BAR. Based on the BeerAdvocate glassware standards, this beer is best from a pint glass or mug. I’ll be using one of each of those, as well as the ever-popular snifter glass for my experiment.

Now it’s time for numbers!

Ayinger Oktoberfest

Pint

Snifter

Mug

Appearance

3.8

4.2

4.8

Smell

3.4

3.2

4

Taste

3.8

3.8

3.8

Mouthfeel

3.8

3.8

4.4

Overall

3.7

3.8

4.2

       

Weighted Average

3.7

3.7

4.03

Now it’s time for a picture and notes!

Appearance: The mug poured with a tall, pillowy head that dissipated slowly and left moderate lacing as it did so. Tiny bubbles excitedly cascaded from the bottom of the glass to the top. The snifter poured with a small amount of head and just a little bit of lacing, with very few bubbles dancing about, while the pint glass poured with very little head, no lacing, and a moderate amount of bubbles frolicking about. The beer is a deep and amber color, and is mostly translucent. The snifter glass is slightly darker and slightly closer to opaque than the others.

Smell: The snifter doesn’t “focus” the aroma as I thought it might, and as it seems to do with beers with a big aromas, such as IPAs or very roasty stouts. The mug had the most potent aroma, shoving my nose into it was like walking into a room where there is toffee being melted over freshly baked butterscotch cookies. The pint glass provides a similar aroma, but less potent.

Taste: There’s virtually no difference in taste between the glasses. The flavor is very malty, obviously, with strong toffee and caramel notes, a very pleasant toast flavor, and some notes of chestnuts and general nuttiness. As the beer warmed it became more layered and complex regardless of the glass.

Mouthfeel: Drinking from the mug provided a very creamy feel, which coated the tongue briefly. I suspect the creaminess is at least partially a byproduct of the pillowy head. Drinking from the snifter was smooth, if not necessarily creamy, while the pint glass provided a sort of prickly, crisp, slightly dry mouthfeel. While the mouthfeel drinking from the pint glass and snifter were notably different, I found them to be equally enjoyable in their own ways, though I enjoyed the feel of the mug the most of the three.

Overall: The mug was the easy victor in every category but taste, where the differences were too minimal to discern. On one hand, taste is the most important thing, so if you’re drinking an Oktoberfest, or specifically an Ayinger Oktoberfest, you won’t go wrong with choosing any of these three types of glass. However, in the other categories, the mug was notably more enjoyable than the others, so while you may not necessarily go wrong with any of these glasses, you could certainly go as right as possible by enjoying this beer from a mug.

So the results, for the most part, agree with the guide. It would have been more convincing to see the pint finish closer to the mug than to the snifter, but the supremacy of the mug is clear. And while a formal experiment has yet to be conducted involving a glass with a handle, I would speculate that the luxury of being able to hold a glass by a handle would likely slow the warming of the beer contained therein as well.

Josh Augustine makes little sense on Twitter, and the season for writing love letters to Founders Breakfast Stout on untappd has begun.

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