This blog is the third of a five part series throughout 2010 to compare the 2009 versions of Saint Arnold Seasonal Beers to the 2010 version.

Recall the test parameters. Two identical small beer taster glasses on a coaster with a mark under each to differentiate. Gameday temperature for the Okt was 42.8 degrees. FWIW, St. Arnold recommends 40 degrees for the Oktoberfest. A tasteless cracker to be consumed between all sips to clear the palate. Best of 7 series, World Series, Stanley Cup style. The beers are rotated left and right in circles so many times I lose track, then sipped and winner chosen.

Unlike the Summer Pils, the two beers were identical in color. This is the second test that involved beers from the two distinct breweries, a novice like me appreciates the challenge in matching the hue over two locations.
Locked and Loaded, let's get it on!

The first round was executed. I thought I really tasted no difference. Which surprised me, because it was a flavorful beer. Even a year of aging could have distinguished them, but it didn't. I took the one on the right, turned out to be the 2010.

Second round, again, really couldn't tell. It can be tough to drink them back to back (even with the cracker in between) and find anything different. Spring Bock I could, Summer, a little bit. But this was really close. Again, I chose the one on the right, this time the 2009. Might be "last impressions" tilting this. 1-1 headed to Game 3.

Third round, I go with the one on the right again. Turns out to be 2009. I'm not really telling a difference, but to control the test, I don't re-sip, I just have to decide.

Fourth Round, again I pick right, this time it's the 2010. So we're tied up 2-2. I tend to like what I just tasted, but am not sure why. I do know, I'm failing as a taste tester.

Fifth Round, I go with the left. Maybe I'm just trying to change it up. Either way, it's the 2009. It edges ahead.

Sixth Round, I go back to the right and choose the 2009. I obviously cannot tell. This makes it 4-2 victory for the 2009. Maybe I am telling something different, but really, I'm just picking one out of a hat practically.

Final Round, again the 2009, again on the right. Must be something I'm tasting different, but really I just throw my hands up and remember the last one, I fear.

I chose the second one 6 times out of 7 for 2010 (4-2 for 2009) and the first one once (1-0 for 2009).

Two more to go, (Christmas and Winter). I'm still saving one from each year, so I've got a 2010 Spring, Summer, and Okt for next year or a special occasion.

In the series of 5, it's a strong win for 2009 (Spring), mild wins for 2009 (Oktoberfest) and for 2010 (Summer). Technically 2-1 2009.

*Above artistic fall photos were taken January 1, 2011 in Houston. The photographer can be seen in the reflection of the astute observer.

Teaser - I just did the Christmas Ale test, overwhelming selection for one over the other, so stay tuned!

  1. Anonymous January 18, 2011 at 5:14 AM  

    Did a vertical of Christmas over the Holidays (08, 09, 10). 09 came out on top, but surprisingly the 08 dropped off significantly.

  2. Steve January 18, 2011 at 8:56 AM  

    I think I have about 5 years of their Winter Stout if you want to do a tasting of that some time.

  3. SirRon January 18, 2011 at 9:02 AM  

    "I do know, I'm failing as a taste tester."

    I dig the honesty.

    One of the most impressive things about how equal you describe the flavor of these two vintages is that, as you mentioned, they were brewed in two different breweries.

    Kudos to Saint Arnold, who I'm sure went to great effort to remain consistent when moving to the "newery."