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5 things you should know before going to Oktoberfest

Antje Binder kbm
September 25, 2018

From dress codes to beer types and even a unique language, there are a few rules to observe at the Wiesn. We explain why the Oktoberfest starts in September and why you should exercise caution when drinking the beer.

Oktoberfest 2015, Copyright: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Kneffel
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Kneffel

The US Embassy recently published useful tips for visitors to Oktoberfest. In addition to security information and pointers for dancing in the beer tents (on the benches, ok; on the tables, no way), they cautioned revelers to beware of the Oktoberfest beer, which "is stronger than you think!"

One liter of beer is like 10 shots of vodka

The "Wiesn" beer has an average alcohol content of six percent — at least one percent more than standard beer. That means a liter of the beverage contains around 60 milliliters (about two ounces) of alcohol, or the equivalent of four American beers, warned the embassy.

Consuming a liter of beer is therefore similar to drinking 10 shots of vodka.

Even experienced Oktoberfest visitors underestimate the power of a one-liter stein, known as "Mass" — the size of the portions served at the Wiesn.

This year, the first case of alcohol poisoning happened just 30 minutes after the first keg had been tapped. 

Eat, drink and avoid pickpockets

Those who overdo it often land at the so-called "puke hill" behind the beer tents — which, during the rest of the year, is actually a beautiful little park.

This hill is also mentioned in the embassy's recommendation sheet, which tells visitors not to sleep in the park, since pickpockets often prey on "beer corpses."

What else do you need to know before heading to Munich for Oktoberfest? Click through the gallery above to find out.