Autumn Beer Style Guide

Some pumpkins (ales) are greater than others!

It is starting to get colder outside. The leaves will soon start to change colors. And a brisk breeze will be bringing in snow before we know it. Autumn is nearly upon us so I thought I would share with you some of the best beer styles to enjoy during this too-short season.

When I think of Autumn there are two main beer styles that come to mind: Oktoberfest and Pumpkin. But I’ll also mention a few others and why I think they make for good Autumn beer styles. But let’s start with the blue and white checkered beer of German awesomeness:


A local Oktoberfest that’s awesome!

Description from (for Marzen/Oktoberfest):

Before refrigeration, it was nearly impossible to brew beer in the summer due to the hot weather and bacterial infections. Brewing ended with the coming of spring, and began again in the fall. Most were brewed in March (Märzen). These brews were kept in cold storage over the spring and summer months, or brewed at a higher gravity, so they’d keep. Märzenbier is full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content.

The common Munich Oktoberfest beer served at Wies’n (the location at which Munich celebrates its Oktoberfest) contains roughly 5.0-6.0% alcohol by volume, is dark/copper in color, has a mild hop profile and is typically labeled as a Bavarian Märzenbier in style.

My Favorite Oktoberfest: New Glarus Staghorn Octoberfest

Other Enjoyable Oktoberfests:

  • Hofbrau
  • Spaten
  • Hacker-Pschorr
  • Samuel Adams

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Description from

Often released as a fall seasonal, Pumpkin Ales are quite varied. Some brewers opt to add hand-cut pumpkins and drop them in the mash, while others use puree or pumpkin flavoring. These beers also tend to be spiced with pumpkin pie spices, like: ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Pumpkin Ales are typically mild, with little to no bitterness, a malty backbone, with some spice often taking the lead. Many will contain a starchy, slightly thick-ish, mouthfeel too. In our opinion, best versions use real pumpkin, while roasting the pumpkin can also add tremendous depth of character for even better results, though both methods are time-consuming and tend to drive brewmasters insane.

My Favorite Pumpkin-ish: Milwaukee Brewing Sasquash (Brewed with pumpkins and sweet potatoes)

Other Enjoyable Pumpkin brews:

  • Southern Tier Pumking
  • Southern Tier Warlock
  • New Belgium Pumpkick

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Bock / Doppel Bock:

Description (of doppelbocks) from

Bocks–you know, those beers with goats on the label–are relatively strong German lagers. Doppelbocks–as the name might suggest–are typically even stronger and contain enough malty goodness that they’ve been considered a meal in a glass for centuries. Generally they have a very full-bodied flavor and are darker than their little Bock brothers and sisters and a higher level of alcohol too. They range in color from dark amber to nearly black, and dark versions often have slight chocolate or roasted characters.

My Favorite Doppel Bock: Capital Autumnal Fire

Other Enjoyable Dopple Bocks:

  • Spaten Optimator
  • Paulaner Salvator
  • Ayinger Celebrator

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Belgian Dubbel:

Description from

The Belgian Dubbel is a rich malty beer with some spicy / phenolic and mild alcoholic characteristics. Not as much fruitiness as the Belgian Strong Dark Ale but some dark fruit aromas and flavors may be present. Mild hop bitterness with no lingering hop flavors. It may show traits of a steely caramel flavor from the use of crystal malt or dark candy sugar. Look for a medium to full body with an expressive carbonation.

Traditionally a Trappist Ale, many brew similar “Abbey Dubbels” to try and emulate the originals (Trappist Westvleteren 8, Westmalle Trappist Dubbel & Chimay Première).

My Favorite Belgian Dubbel: Vintage Dedication

Other Enjoyable Dubbels:

  • Trappistes Rochefort 6
  • Ommegang Abbey Ale
  • St. Bernardus Prior 8
  • Westmalle Trappist Dubbel

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What are your favorite Autumn beer styles? What are some of your specific favorite Autumn brews?


Posted on September 16, 2014, in The Barley and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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