Review Date 11/17/2010
Bier ist Gut! Not that a translation is probably needed, but that's German for "beer is good!". It was printed on the side of my bottle of Heavy Seas Mutiny Fleet Prosit! Imperial Oktoberfest Lager. Of course, we all know beer is gut-it's just a question of some beers being "gutter" than others.
Hopefully, you've forgiven that atrocious pun and are still reading, and if you are, you should know that Heavy Seas beers are a specialty line of bigger, bolder brews from Baltimore's Clipper City brewery. The "Mutiny Fleet" is more special still, being a series of seasonally released specialties of prodigious strength and character, sold only on draft and in 22-ounce bomber bottles.
Prosit! Imperial Oktoberfest Lager came highly recommended to me by a fellow beer enthusiast. It's not the first "imperial" Oktoberfest brew to hit store shelves, and others on the market range from the very good (Avery's The Kaiser) to decent (Terrapin's Boom Shakalager).
The brewer says the following about Prosiit! :
"Malt Focused, rich amber lager brewed with ridiculous amounts of Vienna and Munich malts. " (on the bottle)
" Malt focused with five types of grain including Vienna and Munich malts - plus a secret extra malt that we use only in our Prosit! Balanced with 3 kinds of hops." (on the website)
The bottle says the beer has an alcoholic content of 9% by volume, while the website pegs it at 8%. The former is probably more accurate for the 2010 brew. Either way, this is quite a bit more potent than the standard Oktoberfest lager, which generally rates 5% to 6%.
Heavy Seas Prosit! Imperial Oktoberfest Lager pours to a dark amber color with a very minimal head formation and a wonderfully nutty malty nose. Carbonation may be light but it's not non-existent, and as I pour I do see an upwelling of bubbles rising to the top and forming the light head, which quickly fades away. The palate is full bodied but not as heavy as I expected for a 9% beer. The beer is bursting with toasty nutty Munich malt, a hint of caramel, and some grassy herbal hops balancing it out in the finish. There's a noticeable alcohol warmth here, too.
The very good news here is that Heavy Seas has managed to craft an "imperial" beer that still manages to maintain the essence of its style. All of the traits I'm looking for in an Ofest are here, they're just bigger. Perhaps the only element out of proportion is the hops, but not so much that they detract from the whole affair. Thus, Heavy Seas Prosit! Imperial Oktoberfest Lager manages to succeed nicely at what it tried to be: a bigger, bolder version of a classic Vienna-Marzen lager.
Recommended, and a good buy at about $8 for the 22-ounce bottle.
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.