Great Lakes / Cigar City Wandering Pelican - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes / Cigar City Wandering Pelican
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very good

236 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 236
Reviews: 21
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 10.31%
Wants: 2
Gots: 37 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MikeCactusGordon on 05-21-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 236 | Reviews: 21
Reviews by BrewUSA:
Photo of BrewUSA
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Great Lakes Wandering Pelican

Look 8/10
Smell 18/20
Taste 36/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 19/20

Overall 90/100

A very solid offering, bloggers are generally very forgettable for me. Was remarkably robust in creamy. Had subtle notes of coco and smoke. Was toasty and flavorful yet extremely smooth and balanced. In fact, they don't come much smoother than this. Almost had an oatmeal stout texture.

Final verdict: killer Black Lager and I would love to see it again~

More User Reviews:
Photo of Mantooth
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at the wonderful Duckworth's, Park Road, Charlotte, NC...

Pours with a minimal head on a roasty coffee bomb... with mocha lacing, loads of dark roasty grains, very unexpected flavor in this lager thin brew. Complete surprise. Faint sweetness in the finish too. Very nice brew - one of my faves from the series.

Photo of KYGunner
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The beer is dark brown like a cola, that allows light to pass through it at the bottom of the glass. The head was a thick tan foam that laced well.

The nose has a substantial chocolate malt character. There's a creamy roasted marshmallow aroma that couples with a roasted grain.

The flavor is a nice creamy chocolate tone with a Graham cracker and malt taste. Not overly complex, this misses the mark as a Schwarzbier but tastes quite good.

The feel is dry and drinkable and completely hides the 8 pct.

If this was placed in front of me as a judge I'd knock it substantially for the lack of smoke and roast but as a casual drinker who likes a nice stout I mark this as a worthwhile endeavor.

Photo of Brutaltruth
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Serving type--growler

This fine Schwarz pours a deep dark brownish black with a nice off white tannish head and mild
clinging lacing. A most excellent nose of slightly smoky chocolate malts and deeply roasted
grains interplay with a light bready yeast and a very earthy aroma. Taste packs a wallop of
fresh baked bread and cocoa with a slightly smoky malt characteristic coming through on the
back. Balanced with a nicely carbonated mouthfeel and a moderately coating aftertaste, this
is one fantastic Schwartz. A fantastic collaboration. Cheers to both brewers for giving us such
a fine offering.

3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce snifter on tap at Tap On Main.

Arrives to me with only about a half inch of biscutty browngold head. Head quickly fades leaving only a skim of lace. Body is a dark cola brown.

Smell is really soft and hard to pick up anything more then a hint of toasted smoke and a bit of scattered malt sweetness. Very faint nose.

As I take my first sip I am fully ready for the smokey feel of the style to hit me. It quickly becomes evident that this is not really a traditional Schwarzbier. The smokey feel is much more of a toasted thing then smokey. The toasted feel yields to a soft sweetness mid-palate. This all falls short of the standout quality of this beer which is the odd vegetative mouthfeel that builds as you drink. Almost like the deep green part of a melon rind with a hint of rhubarb.

This beer is drinkable but not something I will pay to have again.

Photo of screamking
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap!
Pours brown/black with a thick off white head.

Tons of roasted notes coming off this one. A nice hint of honey as well. The taste has a lot of those roasted flavors but they seem toned down. A heavy dose of chocolate has added a heap of sweetness to it. Mouthfeel is medium to full. Nice collab, they should do this again.

Photo of wedge
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

@ Flying Saucer (Raleigh)

Appears black under a beige head that fades to random bubbly patches. Smells dark and malty...nutty and toasty with toffee and a dark fruit note reminiscent of plums and dates. Deliciously sweet malty flavor: berries, cherries, sweet dark bread, and chocolate. Medium-plus bodied and creamy with a lingering sweetness and a very slight tangy quality. Easy to drink for its strength and despite the sweetness. Imperial Schwarzbier? Seems like a "style" worth exploring based on the results here.

Photo of buschbeer
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

32 FL. OZ. growler
Served in a pilsner glass

A - This beer is very dark. Some ruby highlights come through only when held to a light. On top sits a couple inches of mocha head. It clings to the sides as I consume.

S - The aroma is all malt. I get some caramel, toffee, and cocoa. I may even get a little chocolate.

T - The taste has more of a roasted malt flavor. I get some burnt toast and again with milk chocolate. I do get a slight bitter flavor of some hops that counteracts the sweetness of the malt.

M - Full and stout-like.

O - This is a thick beer for a lager, and it is loaded with flavor. Plus the abv is nothing to overlook. I like it because of its stout-like mouthfeel and flavors. It's almost like a light stout.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from my growler into a MadTree snifter. The pour is extremely dark but not quite opaque. It has ruby-mahogany highlights and sports a nice creamy tan head. The nose is dreamy. Lots of deep roasted malt, toast, biscuits, sweet vanilla, toffee, and a hint of smoke.

Medium body and a sweet malty flavor. This beer is the very definition of "malt bomb". Sweet malty notes up front with a bit of roast for balance. I also get some hazelnuts, cocoa, and coffee. Somehow the sweetness of the beer seems to intensify on the back of the palate. The finish is dripping with sweet malt and a hint of almonds that I find intriguing. I can't believe in a beer of this heft with little hops that I don't taste the booze, but I don't. It's very, very drinkable.

Not a lot of BAs like this style, and I certainly understand that. I know I'm a bit of a wierdo for enjoying malt-forward beers like this. If you like bready beers like Skullsplitter and Robert the Bruce, you'll really enjoy this. It's an imperial version of a classic, underappreciated German style crafted by two fantastic breweries - one of which (Great Lakes) just might be the single best brewer of domestic lagers that there is.

Photo of Rifugium
2.86/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Definitely never knew this beer existed. (And I honestly don't feel particularly enlightened now that I've had it.)

Cola brown pour, pretty opaque, topped with a small tan head; moderate retention and some lacing. Weird aroma, aside from caramel and toasted dark bread, I picked up a strange vegetal scent distinctively reminiscent of fresh peas. This was a blind tasting, and though I had no idea what it was, the lager yeast definitely came through up front in the taste, malty, nutty, sour pumpernickel--and once again, tasted like there were peas in my beer. No mistaking a flavor that distinct. Some DMS off-flavors, if I had to guess...maybe this one is on the road to infection, if it's not there already. Light-medium body, but about right for the style. Not something I'd want more than a sample of. There was something off here, and I wasn't digging it.

Photo of Mikus
2.61/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

12oz pour at the World of Beer. I was hyped for this beer because I have had some great Cigar City beers, and love our (somewhat) local Great Lakes. Big mistake. Very dark body (deep brown with a bit of mahogany in the sides), and a finger of tan head. Weak on the nose... a hint of a coffee note and then something (disturbingly like B.O.) uncharacteristic of a nice, clean beer. Malty, just a bit of bitterness, and some alcohol. Wife had a sip as well, and was not impressed either. Watery for a dark beer (characteristic of schwarzbier style?). Overall, I was completely underwhelmed. Save your $$, get an Edmund Fitzgerald instead.

Photo of 57md
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%

Dark brown in color with ruby edges. Creamy mouthfeel. Touch of sweetness on the flavor profile that is probably coming from the malt. The finish was dry and bitter but there was also an odd aftertaste as well.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish black color with a whitefish head. Aroma of roasted malts and creamy grain, a bit bready from lager yeast strain. In the taste, big roasted malt and a small earthy, woodsy flavor. Malts are full of charcoal, dark chocolate, and coffee. Well rounded bitterness keeps the beer balanced. Full bodied brew with a creamier feel. Overall, this is a big ol schwarzbier but at the same time drinks like a much lighter beer. Does damage to sobriety but certainly not to the taste buds. I'd have another one of these.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

So, how good can it get- we have a premiere Midwest brewery of tradition and stability teaming up with a relatively newcomer from the southern shores for a beer that is steeped in Germanic roots but modernized for incitement and intrigue.

The "imperial schwarzbier" lives up to its namesake with a dark "bark" brown color that's highly suggestive of its toasty and roasty underpinnings to manifest in both early taste and aroma. A saccharine sweet upstart lays the foundation for bold roasted coffee, walnut and cocoa character to frame the beer's initial taste.

Over the middle, much of the same transpires- the malt sweetness begins to fade which brings rise to a dry caramel, burnt toast and bitter cocoa dryness that captivates the palate quite early.

Yet to finish, the beer's drying tone of burnt toast, coffee and cocoa is exacerbated by strong alcohol warmth and a highly exposed dry body. Malty-dry from start to finish, the lasting impressions are mildly ashy and tannic from dark grain.

As an imperial schwarzbier, I think that this beer does quite well. However once that medley of flavors hit the tongue, the expectations of imperial stout mount. And that's simply something that this relatively delicate beer is incapable of contending.

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap into a nonic glass.

A- Poured black with a mocha colored frothy head that left cascading, glass-coating lace.

S- Lighter aroma with some fruity notes and bready notes.

T- Lots of sweetness, sweet bready notes, fruity notes, toffee, caramel, and light smoky notes.

M- Very smooth and creamy, soft carbonation, dry, and medium body.

O- This beer has a great mouthfeel, but overall it is just too sweet for me to want to order it again.

Photo of ONUMello
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pils glass
A: Dark brown/opaque with a one-finger head that slowly settles
S: Roasted malt, roasted meat and fudge
T: Like the nose, a distinct roasted beef note (definitely savory, not at all off-putting), roasted malt and fudge that reminds me of chocolate fudge but there's no cocoa notes. Everything's unique and definitive if not distinct, if that makes sense
M: Medium-bodied and very smooth
O: A unique and enjoyable beer, not a favorite but recommended and I would definitely buy more if it wasn't a one-time collaboration

Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The espresso-colored liquid arrives at the bar capped by a couple of inches of tan foam that leaves sheets of lacing behind

Smell: Black bread, fudge and subtle dark fruit tones

Taste: A hint of black bread is followed by the fudge flavor, with dark fruit tones adding additional complexity; after the swallow, there is a slightly grainy element but the finish is crisp

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate but crisp carbonation; slight warmth in the gullet

Overall: Now here is a beer with a difference; a beer with a strong chocolate character and a crisp lager finish; an Imperial Schwarz - I just love it

Photo of Swettenham_Shire
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Local Roots in Powell hosted a Great Lakes Brewing Co food/beer tasting last night. Wandering Pelican was the guest of honor alongside Ed Fitz, Wright Pils, Burning River, Commodore Perry, and Dortmunder.

Besides the amazing food pairings (Chilean sea bass, beef cheeks, and pork belly), Wandering Pelican stole the show. While high in alcohol content, it's one of the smoothest beers in its style; fantastic job by Cigar City/Great Lakes. I'll definitely seek this one out more often.

Local Roots will have it on tap the rest of the week. Hurry and get a growler before its gone.

Photo of barczar
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Onyx, frothy, lingering tan head, with aromas laden with chocolate and light roast malt. Hints of coffee in the aroma, but chocolate dominates. Flavor is slightly sweet, but more chocolate and roast malt heavy. Body is fairly full, with carbonation slightly fuller than expected, and heavy alcohol warmth. There's a note of dark fruit and phenols. Definitely more characterful and less roast than most.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer appears dark brown, nearing black, with a thick, soapy beige head. The aroma offers pine, alcohol, roast, chocolate. Lots of chocolate in the flavor. Moderate bitterness with a touch of coffee. Hop presence in the finish. Medium bodied with a light alcohol heat in the back end. Pretty good.

Photo of EMB1960
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Definitely a flavor and beer all it's own.

They call it a black ale, but it really had a flavor and texture all to itself. If I had to compare it to anything, I would say similar to a chocolate porter with light coffee, caramel notes and also a slight yeasty flavor as well.

The beer was dark in color with a nice light head. Very light lacing on glass.

Mouth feel was light and flavorful.

I liked it and thought it was one of the better collaborations I have tasted from Cigar City, and being done with Great Lakes. Glad I got to try it when I visited Great Lakes as it is a very limited release.

Great Lakes / Cigar City Wandering Pelican from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 236 ratings.