American microbreweries seem to be fighting over the latest style they can
kick up a few notches and call “Imperial”. This trend stems from Imperial
Stouts of the 19th century, that were bigger and bolder (and still are) than
any other stout. India Pale Ales, souped up pale ales with more hops and
malt, also are an influence.
Some styles, like stout and pale ale, lend themselves to the increased gravity and alcohol content. Others don’t, and might just end up tasting like, well, another IPA or Imperial stout. But sometimes a brewer can pull off a bigger version of a classic style, and I think Avery Brewing has done just that with The Kaiser.
The Kaiser is an “Imperial Oktoberfest” lager, a bigger and bolder version of the Oktoberfest-Marzen style. In this case, the beer really works as something unique and deserving of attention. That’s because the beer manages to remain true to the style (in a sense), all the while creating something new and exciting.
The Kaiser once said, "Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world." If the Kaiser and his significant other had tipped this bottle, we'd all be "sprechenden Deutsch!" We took all that is good in a traditional Oktoberfest - gorgeous, deep copper sheen, massive malty backbone and spicy, floral, pungent noble hops - then intensified each into this, an Imperial Oktoberfest.
Tasting notes are in order at this point.
The Kaiser pours to a bright orange amber color with a thick creamy head and a sweet toasty malt nose. A fair amount of foam clings to the side of the glass to form a decent Brussels lace layer all the way to the bottom. In the palate, there’s plenty of nutty maltiness and sweet, toasty melanoidin notes.
There are also some chewy caramel notes, too, and they’re incongruous with the Ofest style at these levels. But they’re pretty much unavoidable with a beer of this gravity (1.085 OG). I think the Ofest toasty character survives enough to keep the spirit of the style alive, however.
The finish is nicely balanced with hops, It still retains an overall sweetness, but considering the gravity, the beer is not cloying. The alcohol warmth (The Kaiser is 8.9% by volume) helps with this.
This is an exceptional brew, and another winner for Avery. And have I mentioned the packaging? Resplendent in silver, black, and red, the label features a dour portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm II all decked out with spiked helmet. There’s even an iron cross to complete the effect.
Wilhelm was the last Kaiser, of course, and the leader of the second Reich (empire), making the imperial moniker that much more fitting.
Don’t miss this one. The $5 price tag for a 22 ounce bomber bottle may seem high, but it's not. After all, fine wines can cost you so much more. The Kaiser is a great beer, and something unique that all serious beer enthusiasts will enjoy. But hurry. It's a fall seasonal, and supplies will dry up fast.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.