Märzen

Glassware: Bavarian seidel
  • Germany
  • Lager
  • ABV = 5.8 – 6.3% (Normal to elevated)^
  • IBU = 18-24
  • SRM = 8-17
A malt-forward German amber lager with rich, toasty and bready malt flavour, restrained bitterness, and a dry finish.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Gold to dark amber
  • Clarity = Bright

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = Moderate; malty rich, typically bready, toasty, light bread crust notes
  • Yeast = None (clean)
  • Hops = None
  • Other = Very light alcohol may be detected, but should never be sharp/harsh
Flavour
  • Malt = Moderate; malty rich, typically bready, toasty
  • Yeast = None (clean)
  • Hops = None to low; floral, herbal, or spicy, if present
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Moderate
  • Balance = Towards the malt, but hops provide sufficient balance that the malty palate and finish do not seem sweet
Aftertaste/Finish

Moderately-dry to dry with a richly malty aftertaste

Mouthfeel:

  • Body = Medium; smooth
  • Carbonation = Medium
  • Alcohol warmth = May be slightly warming, but the strength should be relatively hidden

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Munich malt
  • Yeast = German lager yeast
  • Hops = German hop varietals
  • Process = Decoction mash is traditional

Historical Development:

The name Märzen, or “March beer”, historically applied to stronger beers brewed in March and lagered in cold caves over the summer.

The modern Märzen traces back to the strong amber lager developed by Spaten Brewery in 1841. This style was first served at Germany’s Oktoberfest in 1872 and remained the standard festival beer until 1990, when the golden Festbier was adopted instead.


Commercial Examples:

Hacker-Pschorr Original Oktoberfest, Paulaner Oktoberfest, Weltenburg Kloster Anno 1050


^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.


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