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Great Lakes Independence Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Independence Ale
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very good

39 Reviews
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Reviews: 39
Hads: 68
Avg: 4.02
pDev: 10.7%
Wants: 5
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: PhantomVodoo on 07-21-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 68
Photo of Thorpe429
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

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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.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried on-tap at GLBC brewpub

A: Dark, clear amber with a creamy white head that has decent retention and leaves a lot of sticky lacing.
S: Strong piney, floral hop aroma with a little fruit/citrus sweetness but not much.
T: Malty amber flavor with dry, piney hops turned up. Not much in the way of fruity sweetness, medium body with a very dry, hopped finish. For this hoppy amber style I still prefer nugget nectar or red rocket, but a very drinkable beer I enjoyed a few pints of, but probably wouldn't seek out in the future.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.7/5  rDev -8%
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.

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Photo of cokes
4.22/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of blackie
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
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

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Photo of Tyrawlings
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Photo of bobsy
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of jampics2
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
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!!!

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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.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.98/5  rDev -1%
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.

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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.

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Photo of adamette
3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

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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.

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Photo of Beejay
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of qcbrewer
3.86/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of sliverX
4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a growler a clear copper brew with a 1/4" of white foam for a cap. The head faded to a decent film concentrated towards the edges.
Smell is mix of citrus and pine hops, big on orange rind.
Taste follows the nose hoppy (orange, citrus, pine) there's a sweetness from the malts almost a faint vanilla cookie type thing, different but it's wonderful.
Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, medium bodied leaning towards lighter.
Drinkability is spectacular this would be a wonderful patio beer on a hot summer day, something you could sit there throw a few back and just relax in the company of fine people.

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Photo of bruachan
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

tried it a pint over a salmon and pepper pizza

sat a deep reddish amber in my glass. the sudsy head left good lacing

the aroma is of piney hops, and the pine follows to the bitterness. it's fairly sweet, with dry dark fruit, though the hops lend a feeling of a much drier finish. i'm glad i tried it, although i have trouble placing it next to other ambers...maybe it's a little fruitier than most

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Photo of bamadog
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kels and I were fortunately enough to come across this in the on-tap selection at The Party Source. Pour is from a growler into a fluted tulip.

Appearance: Pours a nice shade of a coppery and ruby color -- even looks a little rusty; starts with a one finger slightly off-white head that dwindles to an uneven skim, leaving a sticky lacing on the walls of the glass; body is clear with minimum carbonation.

Smell: Quite hoppy for an amber; piney and citrusy hops; there seems to be a faint sweet fruity kind of smell in the back as well that starts to come out more as it warms as it was subdued earlier on by the hops; toasty malts round out the scent.

Taste: Bitter hops that are pine and grapefruit dominate; there is a little bit of a coppery/metallic flavor; toasty and biscuity malts; aftertaste is really that earlier metallic flavor and kind of kills this for me.

Mouthfeel: A dry and sticky coating is predominant; mouthfeel is fairly lively due to the minimal carbonation leaving a bit of a tingle -- mouth even feels metallic from that off-taste in the mouth.

Drinkability: It's alright and the ABV is doable, but the flavors are a little off and the aftertaste is too rough.

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Photo of pwoods
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler filled at Party Source for the 4th. Poured into an imperial pint.

A: Fire-y copper red with decent visibility. 2 fingers of creamy head forms and has decent retention. Good lacing throughout.

S: Good American hopping. Casc/Cent and maybe some Amarillo. Healthy sweetness from the large amount of amber malt. A bit of pepper in the back.

T/M: Reasonable bitterness level.. a touch more than an average red but definitely not 'imperial'. More of the sweetness from the amber malts and much more of the pepper side with even more added spiciness... Rye? Body is medium with smooth carbonation and feel before the hops come back for a dry, lingering finish.

D: 6% complex, interesting, and unique. This growler is getting pounded.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another on-tap only "pub exclusive" at the GLBC. Served in a standard pint glass. This beer draws a cloudy red/amber color with a sort of copper hue. Off-white head is about 1/2 inch thick when served to me. Eventually settles to a nice surface layer with a thin ring lining the inside of my glass. Very good lace here. Aromas of citrus, floral hops for sure. Maybe a hint of apricot. I believe I also picked up a slight hint of caramel and maybe a touch of butterscotch. Tastewise this beer starts out malty upfront with a bit of caramel before giving way to strong citrus hops, along with a bit of a fruity (apricot perhaps?) tart touch and perhaps a slight hint of butterscotch. Certainly one of the most hoppy and bitter beers of this style I have ever had. I liked this a lot though! Unique for the style. It sort of reminds me of a barley wine in some ways. Has a crisp and very smooth, creamy medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Easy to drink.


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

A- rusty reddish copper with golden highlights and a stiff ivory cap.

S- crisp grapefruit and pine, standard for a quality red ale +2 because of the freshness. various toasted grains also present in the aroma.

T- toasty and caramel sweetness with ample hops. taste is the same as the aroma- grapefruit, piney, wih a little tropical passion fruit as well. bitter nutty finish with toasted bread and fading caramel aftertaste.

MF- medium carbonation and body, slick, a little oily, and very refreshing.

D- a nice beer to lead into fall, on a hazy august afternoon at the brewery.

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Great Lakes Independence Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.