Fall Style Beverage Tasting 10/1/2010

Written by Heath Partington

This fall of 2010, 7 grizzled veterans of the beverage put their tasting hats on to try out 5 of this year’s fall style beers.   Each of the tasters was asked to rate each beer on a scale of 1-10 judging things such as color, clarity, nose and taste.  The tasting was done blind such that the testers did not know which beer they tasted or even which beers were included.  These are the results starting with the highest rated – the total score is the addition of all 7 testers scores.

We hope others may be able to use these results to save time at the store when picking out their beverages this fine season although we freely admit that these results certainly aren’t official in any way and probably aren’t even accurate.  One man’s swill is another man’s favorite.  Long story short - we did our best…

Special thanks to the other tasters (you didn’t think I would leave myself out) – Andy, Sal, Anita, Kathy, Tom and Meri.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest (Total Score: 52, Score Range: 5 – 9)

Samuel Adams Boston Brewery

Boston, MA

From the brewer: “Samuel Adams OctoberFest is brewed with five varieties of malted barley for a deep amber color and a bigger, richer flavor.  It’s everything we look forward to in fall.”

From the taster’s notes:

Color: “medium copper”, “light caramel”, “orangey”, “reddish brown”, “light amber”

Clarity:  “very clear”


·        “bright, slightly fruity with low fizz – smooth, but somewhat lacking finish”

·        “no aftertaste – where’s the beef?, not offensive at all”

·        “smooth”

·        “touch of sweetness”


Red Hook Late Harvest (Total Score: 47.1, Range: 4-9.1)

Red Hook Brewery

Portsmouth, NH

From the brewer: “Rich, balanced, inviting, subtle

From the taster’s notes:

Color: “light amber”, “tinny caramel”, “honey pine”, “chestnut”

Clarity: “like after my windows are cleaned”


·        “nutty with subtle herbal spice – sophisticated finish with bitterness and acidity”

·        “good aftertaste length – not overpowering, good balance”

·        “gets better the more I drink”

·        is this the same beer as the last one?”

·        “mild flavor”


Harpoon Octoberfest (Total Score: 43, Score Range: 4 – 9)

Harpoon Brewery

Boston, MA

From the brewer: “Harpoon Octoberfest is a rich, full-bodied, malty beer balanced by a generous use of hops”

From the taster’s notes:

Color: “medium brown”, “dull caramel”, “dark amber”, “cherry walnut”

Clarity:  “crystal clear” , “murky”


·        “malty, sweet nose – good balance of malty burnt sugar and bitter smooth finish”

·        “tinny taste, uneventful – sharp against throat”

·        “not pleasant”

·        “full bodied”

·        “too hoppy for me”

·        hoppyer


Autumn Ale brew (Total Score: 36.5, Range: 2-7)

Woodstock Inn Brewery

North Woodstock, NH

From the taster’s notes:

Color: “Medium copper brown”, “dark caramel”, “amber”, “caramel brown”, “walnut”

Clarity: “slightly cloudy” , “foggy”, “opaque”


·        “cloves, nutmeg and other reprehensible flavors and aromas – smells like yankee candle”

·        “smells like candy, tastes like candy, must be candy… nope, not candy”

·        “spicy flavor”

·        “bitter – yuk”

·        “spicy aftertaste – kind of like nutmeg with apples”

·        “cinnamon, nutmeg”


Long Trail Harvest Brown Ale (Total Score: 33, Range: 2 -8)

Long Trail Brewing Company

Bridgewater Corners, VT

From the brewer: “In celebration of the autumn harvest we’ve brewed this brown ale with locally harvested Vermont ingredients… a truly unique Taste of Vermont!”

From the taster’s notes:

Color: “medium dark brown”, “dark amber”, “like cherry cabinets”

Clarity: “very clear”, “dense”, “muddy waters”, “opaque”,


·        “bready, tastes like a pretzel – lackluster, watery finish”

·        “smells citrusy – tastes like I am sucking on a penny”

·        “tastes like some Chinese food I ate”

·        it either tastes like a porter or looks like a porter?”