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Great Lakes Independence Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Great Lakes Independence Ale
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very good

62 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 62
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 8.71%

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: PhantomVodoo on 07-21-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 62 | Reviews: 40 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of qcbrewer

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First let me start by saying that Great Lakes is probably my all time favorite brewery. The overall assortment of high quality brews help cover up any flaws that may come up. That being said - this is nearing flaw status, but not overly. In the pint glass it was served in, this red ale is pale red in color and just slightly hazey. The aroma is a very nice, hoppy, and floral bouquete, and suggests a good beer to come. What follows though lacks a bit of mouthfeel and actually feels slightly watered down. While the hops simmer out and the malt dissolves away, the taste of a red ale is still there - just subtly. Honestly, this beer would be great outside in the summer heat on Independence Day due to not weighing you down and yet providing good flavor - perfect for the Lite drinkers. But in the fantastically cool (and might I add one of my favorite beer bar destinations in the entire US) downstairs pub section of the GLBC brewery, it just doesn't cut it. Once again, Great Lakes produces some great brews, but this belongs in the shadows of those beers.

Serving type: on-tap

07-10-2012 22:15:51 | More by qcbrewer
Photo of Thorpe429


3.38/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Great Lakes in July 2009 as part of Christmas in July. Sampled side-by-side with the Christmas Ale. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate amber color with a bit of a stronger reddish character when light hits the glass. A bit of a light head that dies down a bit too quickly. The nose brings some citrus and pine hops as well as some very lightly-toasted malt with a bit of bread and biscuit. The taste is mostly bready with a small spattering of hops. Good body and slight bitterness; a bit plain, but drinkability is nice.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2010 17:13:31 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BEERchitect


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Lakes is taking full advantage of the holiday that few brewers choose to celebrate with a special brew. On a day when drinking and outdoor activities are paramount, why not accomodate the celebration with beer?

A medium amber-copper colored beer with bright clarity. Off-white foam amounts to a froathy, long-lasting head while lacing well.

Malty-rich aromas hit with medium intesity, leaving more than enough room for citrus hops to take firm hold. Low on esters or other yeast character, the beer has a super clean and balanced aroma.

Graham cracker maltiness rises first with a hint of caramel and spice. Lightly toasted grains give more malt flavor than in typical pale ales. Grapefruit and orange zest take precedence from mid-palate heading into the finish. Growing hop bitterness gives a clean, crisp, and refreshing taste late.

Cleanly malted early, but falling off to a crisp and drying bitterness without much effort. Moderatedly creamy turns minty dry and fleeting. A nice texture for hot weather consumption.

This beer makes for a very moderate American pale ale but with a slighly more amber-malt color, aroma, and flavor than most. ...And as always, with Great Lakes attention to quality and consistent across the board.

Serving type: on-tap

07-06-2010 12:34:35 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of tmoneyba


3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear dark copper color with an average frothy white head that was mostly lasted and had good lacing. Good malty and earthy hop aroma. Medium body with slick dry texture and soft carbonation. Moderate to heavy balanced smooth flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration. Good brew.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2010 01:55:19 | More by tmoneyba
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Geat Lakes- Independence Ale

A- Deep ruddy red/ brown with a slim light lacing head. Small rings around the glass.
S- Nutty molasses and light chocolate malt. Very light on the nose.
T- Vanilla, hazelnut, and caramel malts with a slight woodsy oaken licorice hoppiness.
M- Creamy smooth and nutty dry malt. Thick sweet malty dry finish.

Overall- Big malt and a nice earthy hop touch. This 1 drinks pretty good.

Serving type: on-tap

10-27-2009 22:29:44 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of JamesS


4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep red/amber color with some nice head and a tiny bit of lacing. Great scent, very deep and malty with a nice hop hit. Excellent taste, a deep red ale with excellent malt flavor and a very nice American hop hit at the end. Typically, I prefer less hops in my red ales, but this one was excellent with a nice citrus hit; the hops weren't overpowering but complemented it nicely. Went down very well. Quite possibly my new favorite American red ale.

Serving type: on-tap

09-14-2009 14:01:11 | More by JamesS
Photo of cooncat


3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on Draft at the UPICK6 beer store in Erie. Presented in a standard pint glass.

An impressive 1 inch head adorns the reddish copper colored brew. The head is fairly long lasting, and provides some nice lacing on the sides.

Nose is a bit understated, but definitely hop forward.

The taste on this beer changes so much over the pint. At the start, when it's chilled, the hops come to the fore, and its as hoppy as an Am. Pale. Even though hoppy, you can still catch a malty balance through the hops. As the beer warms, and you head into the 2nd half of the glass, the flavor profile definitely shifts to the malty/sweet side. Again, though malty, there is still sufficient hops to prevent it from being cloying. What a wonderfully complex brew. Mouthfeel is medium from top to bottom. Drinkability is high. The change in flavor profile is so interesting that it keeps challenging you sip after sip.

Too bad this is a pub only offering. Find a place which has it on tap. This is definitely one to seek out. Nice job once again Great Lakes!

Na Zdravje!

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2009 15:06:13 | More by cooncat
Photo of cokes


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber-orange bodied, perfectly clear and sporting an inch or so of sturdy off-white suds.
The nose is full of pine tar, crushed flowers, dried prairie stems, mangoes, melons, crusty breads, and toffee.
It begins through the mouth with a doughy breadiness that meanders toastier as the sip progresses. Some vague nuttiness is noted as this point, It sweetens with caramel and toffee, and a slight tropical fruit nod, as the hops begin to take their turn. Here on out, it's piney and flowery, with a dried wild grass crispy bitterness taking the reins and riding it long through the swallow.
Taut, medium bodied. Steady, moderate carbonation.
This is a all-around solid quaffer, and a completely enjoyable, hopped-up Amber Ale.

Serving type: on-tap

08-12-2009 07:18:42 | More by cokes
Photo of Tyrawlings


3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap poured into a pint glass.

A:Soft clear amber in color with tea like hues. The off white head pours one finger thick and hangs around for the duration of the pint. Nice sticky lacings climbs all over the glass.

S:Floral citrus and pine hops. Sweet caramel or toffee. Wet earth and fresh baked bread.

T:Citrus and pine hops make their presence known with a nice bitterness. A soft wave of caramel malts flow in to balance things out with a fresh bread aftertaste. Floral hop bitterness finishes things off from apparent dry hopping.

M:Slightly slick and sticky. Medium carbination. Slightly dry and bitter.

D:Easy to drink and pleasantly satisfying. I would prefer this to Commadore Perry IPA any day of the week. Recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

08-07-2009 22:34:58 | More by Tyrawlings
Photo of blackie


4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: clear deep amber in color with a khaki head that shows strong retention and heavy lace, inviting appearance

s: caramelized malt sugars support a hop profile that provides a blend of candied pine with some soft citrus and tropicals, rich and aromatic

m: carbonation soft and around medium in level, with a smooth medium body

t: much like the aroma, candied pine hops are carried on a caramelized malt body, some tropicals work their way in

d: no problem, good for at least a couple

standard pint at Alchemy, Madison, WI

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2009 23:59:10 | More by blackie
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a crystal clear warm orange body with a creamy thin head that soon breaks up into patches and then disappears. There is a gentle carbonation of big bubbles gliding to the surface.

S- The big green pungent aroma dominates with some herbal and pine hints coming through as the beer warms.

T- This beer has a big pungent hops kick with some softer cream and pale malt hints to follow. The finish is a big crisp bite of dandelion bitterness that lingers on the tongue after each sip.

M- This beer had a creamy medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat.

D- This beer is big and pungent with not much depth which is ok but the hop bitterness was just to bitter, especially as it warmed.

Serving type: on-tap

08-04-2009 13:56:06 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of beer1018


3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Whole foods in Dublin OH.

Beer handed to me in a GL pint glass, appears orangeish brown with a nice 1 in flufy head. Clear and no particles in it like i like. Smell is all hops, citrus and pine. The taste is more pine then cirus, i would like it to have more of a citrus flavor. I could drink 3-4 of these in a sitting. Reccomended

As others have said this tastes like a better version of Burning river. Its good but i can think of other beers that i would rather get at my local stores with the same type of flavor. It is good for the style though.

Serving type: on-tap

08-03-2009 18:13:03 | More by beer1018
Photo of spointon


4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this one on tap at Binny's South Loop in Chicago on 8/1/2009.

A= This ale poured a vert clear copper orange color with a 3/4" off-white head. The head dropped to a skim fairly quickly but left some incredible lace down my glass.

S= Lots of citrusy west coast hops in the nose, but also a big sweet caramel and bready malt presence too. Pretty balanced actually.

T= The caramel and chewy malts were the first things to stand out, soon followed by those citrus and resiny-pine hops. Hints of floral and fruity esters danced throughout. Finished dry but not astringent, and left a 75% hops / 25% malt aftertaste.

MF= Medium bodied with a nice, lively carbonation level that suits this beer perfectly. Nice and crisp.

D= Extremely easy to drink. Fairly balanced, yet the obvious dry-hopping gave this one a respectable hop bite. I could easily session this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-02-2009 21:49:03 | More by spointon
Photo of Kolsch


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a standard 16oz pint glass with the Great Lakes decal on the side.

Appearance: nice 1' head that turned to small cusp around rim. Nice reddish color duh...

Smell: hoppy and very inviting. Not sure what hops were used but they really smell West Coastish to me.

Taste: Yup...West Coast IPA land. Piney, resiny hop goodness. Not over hoppy be any means but pretty balanced with the hops taking forward approach. After the initial swallow the malt comes afterward to annouce itself. Very nice beer and very drinkable at 6%.

Overall: I am not a fan of Burning River and think it is overhyped and underhopped. THIS IS WHAT BURNING RIVER SHOULD BE. Note to Great Lakes...replace Burning River with this pronto!

Serving type: on-tap

08-01-2009 13:18:33 | More by Kolsch
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint at Cole's in Buffalo.

The server brings me an amber coloured beer, with a finger of off-white head that has good retention, and lays down a bit of lace. The nose screams balance. There's a strong citrus hop component, but this seems to be ably countered by a bready malt base and caramel compliment. Extend that to the flavour, but amp up the bitterness a little. Independence Ale drinks like a damn fine IPA, with a full load of juicy grapefruit and pine, but with that bready base to balance it out. Some decent caramel and fruit notes round it out. Medium body and carb. Just a great beer.

I have the utmost admiration for this brewery. Great Lakes continue to produce exceptional beers, and Independence Ale continues that fine tradition.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2009 15:49:16 | More by bobsy
Photo of Bierguy5


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap, poured in a standard shaker pint. Pretty clear, copper color, with a small off-white head. Decent head retention. Fair amount of lace. Good looking, but nothing spectacular.

Nose has a bit of bready malt, some citrusy and floral hops. Maybe a bit of caramel malt, but not much. Balanced nose, with nothing standing out.

Bready malt, with just a slight caramel edge. Citrusy hops, with just enough bitterness to balance things out. Minimal fruit.

Medium body, decent carbonation. Very easy to drink. A very balanced beer here. I was expecting a bit more, simply for the name, however this could be a great session beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-24-2009 02:34:42 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of Beejay


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice Copper color. Pure white head that dissipates quickly into a ring.

S: Malty and sweet with a nice subtle hop aroma.

T: A malty sweetness at first, with a slight biscuit flavor. Backed up by a rich, but not overpowering hop flavor.

A: Nice body, full, not a huge amount of carbonation, but good. Coats the mouth going down.

D: A Nice beer, tasty and perfect foe right now; Sitting on the patio with friends in the summer. I think it has just the right amount of hops. Anymore and I would start to dislike it.

Serving type: on-tap

07-16-2009 00:59:59 | More by Beejay
Photo of goblue3509


3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale yellowish color with a one finger head and good lacing as the beer is drank. The aroma is of earthy hops and some malt. The taste is of malt and it is balanced out with earthy hops. The mouthfeel is good there is a moderate amount of carbonation. Overall this is a very good beer, it tasted more along the lines of an ipa than a red lager to me.

Serving type: on-tap

07-12-2009 13:34:00 | More by goblue3509
Photo of TheNightbird


3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Independence Ale is pale in color not red, which took me by surprise. The head was long lasting.

S- Fruity hops which a lot of carmel malt.

T- At first sip there is a lot of bitterness, then the beer slips into the carmel malt. Fruity and piney hops come through next.

M- Medium mouthful.

D- This beer seems like a Burning River and Commodore Perry hybrid. There is a good amount of bitterness and the color matches up with both of the beers listed above.

Serving type: on-tap

07-11-2009 20:05:05 | More by TheNightbird
Photo of adamette


3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Winking Lizard in Mentor, Ohio poured into a clean, clear 22 oz. pint glass purchased for $4.25 (it was happy hour). Review from notes taken last night as I experienced this beer.

A Medium brown body under a light brown head. Good lacing. 4.0

S Surprise hop presence with some malt. It smells inviting, interesting. Keep in mind I did not have access to internet prior to tasting this beer so I was not aware of the style. 4.0

T Well this is like so many other GLBC beers. Big hop, barley presence in a NEARLY unbalanced way. There is enough malt to balance things out just barely. Really, this is very consistent from GLBC and I was really hoping for better. 3.0

M Moderate beer beefed up by hops, barley. 3.5

D Just fine. 3.5

Notes: Unfortunately GLBC Independence Ale is too much like at least 3 other GLBC beers and not different enough really to warrant a different name.

Serving type: on-tap

07-08-2009 12:05:35 | More by adamette
Photo of nrbw23


4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a nice copperish red color with a nice tan colored head. Head has good retention and leaves some nice spotty lacing.

S- Smells of grapefruit and piney hops, caramel malts and a toasted note.

T- Taste really good. Starts off toasty, with some caramel sweetness, followed up with a nice hop bite.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

D- A very solid brew. Wish they would have bottled this one rather than Glockenspiel or Grassroots.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2009 18:16:36 | More by nrbw23
Photo of projectflam86


4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a light amber color with nice white foam head that leaves some lacing.

S- Nice citrus hop nose with a light sweetness.

T- Full grapefruit/pine hop flavor with a nice malt sweetness to balance. Very similar flavor to the Burning River Pale Ale that is part of the year-round lineup

M- Medium bodied with ok carbonation. Light and crisp.

D- A really easy drinking amber that is well suited for the summer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2009 23:53:19 | More by projectflam86
Photo of ZimZamZoom

West Virginia

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice to see this on tap at the Buffalo Brew Pub after driving much of the day to get there. Really nice amber orange color, good clarity with a nice off-white head. Sticky lacing.

Nice citrus hops aroma, but with good depth. Some sweetness from malt evident. Taste is really big with citrus hops though very well balanced with sweet malt. Hops turn bitter toward the middle and continue with a nice bitter burn through the finish. Bitterness lingers pleasantly.

This is a medium bodied American Red, that drinks like and IPA to me. Great beer from a great brewery. I had two ith dinner.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2009 23:42:41 | More by ZimZamZoom
Photo of jampics2


4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On my mobile, so a short tale of an amber with balls. Exceptional mouthfeel - almost perfect, no, actually perfect! Smells & tastes great - nice carapills caramel sweetness after a trip on the C hops (cascade for sho') train. A really outstanding offering from GL. Kinds like Nosferatu Jr. Happy July 4th!! America is the best country ever!!!

Serving type: on-tap

07-03-2009 21:57:37 | More by jampics2
Photo of UDbeernut

New York

4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had on tap at the GLBC brew pub, served into a pint glass

a: nice translucent amber color, decent 1/4" head with fair retention, reduces to a light lacing cap

s: crisp grapefruit, slight toasted maltyness

t: nice caramel malt backbone with citrusy hop bitterness, slight piney ness.

m&d: light to medium bodied, well carbonated. Very refreshing, I enjoyed haveing this. Very drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

06-30-2009 20:04:41 | More by UDbeernut
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Great Lakes Independence Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.