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Great Lakes Oktoberfest - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes OktoberfestGreat Lakes Oktoberfest

Educational use only; do not reuse.

596 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 596
Hads: 2,110
Avg: 4
pDev: 12.25%
Wants: 230
Gots: 381 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States | website

Style | ABV
Märzen / Oktoberfest | 6.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WVbeergeek on 11-04-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Oktoberfest Alström Bros
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Reviews: 596 | Hads: 2,110
Photo of ErinBrew
1.76/5  rDev -56%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Are you f***ing kidding me ? I think it's time to stop reading these reviews and hoping to get anything inciteful from them. It is very apparent that most of the Beer Advocate reviewers are all hopheads. This beer is NOT indicative of a true Munich Marzen/Oktoberfest beer. The best way I can describe it is: half marzen/half I.P.A. Just like all of GLBC beers, it is WAY too hoppy. Nicely balanced ? I was not able to detect any malt flavor. Malty, slight hops ? What are you comparing this to ?

For what they charge for a 6 pack (around $8), I'll stick with a real Oktoberfest beer from Munich, which I can buy for less money. I'll take the Hacker-Pschorr (which I buy in kegs) or the Paulaner any day. Please try one of these beers for a true example of the style. The Spaten, H-B, Augustiner and Lowenbrau are also good but I prefer the amber colored style.

I live in Cleveland and always shake my head at all the raves about Great Lakes. Eg. their "dortmunder gold" is NOT a dortmunder/ export beer at all. Try a DAB or a DUB instead. Is there a site for malt-heads ?

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Photo of Fergyx825
1.94/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: This is a dark copper, with a little bit of head on the pour and a little bit of residual head left after the poor and on the surface. This is typical of an Oktoberfest.

Smell: This smells high in alcohol. I can smell a medium malted toastyness. Thats about it.

Taste: i almost don't taste anything. Tastes high in alcohol. not very tasty at all.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, with a light to medium thickness. This beer isn't bad.

Overall: This is pretty bad, and way worse than last year(13) vs 14.

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Photo of schwansmantr
2.2/5  rDev -45%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I’ve been trying several different Oktoberfests lately and this one by Great Lakes looks good. It has 6.5% ABV It pours a clear amber color that reminds me of the reds and oranges of fall time. The lacing is moist and delicate.I smell caramel, toffee, and roasted nuts along with some subtle hints of posible ginger or some type of flower. The taste is odd with the flowery caramel malts dominating the body. There is a lack of that mild grassy hop bite at the end like I see in other beers there is some slight hop tinge at the end in the back palate. This beer is just shy of medium-bodied. A creamy mouthfeel endures till the end. I'm not a big fan of this rather confusing taste and am giving it a D it's just has an odd flowery tinge that I do not like.

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Photo of stegmakk
2.46/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Light copper...head left immediately except for small thin ring around edge of glass (but no lacing).

S - Buttered biscuit.

T - Not good. Seems off. Not much too it.

M - Slick medium body

D - Due to the taste - not so good.

I've had GLBC bears before and liked them. Just not this style from them. It might taste OK, but not as an Ofest. Definately would not recommend and will not buy again. I'll stick to Spaten or Paulaner.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
2.5/5  rDev -37.5%

Yes balanced, but balanced nothingness. Too sweet. I have never differed so much with BA and bros opinions. The first Great Lakes beer I didn't particularly enjoy.

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Photo of jpkoch1962
2.52/5  rDev -37%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Perhaps I got a poor batch. This beer poured a cloudy orange with plenty of chill haze. The smell was neutral to a bit floral. The taste was very astrningent, bitter, and chalky. I won't even begin complaining that there was no "Bavairan" character to this lager - no Bohemian Pilsner malt, Munich malts, or German noble hops. I've had Great Lakes ales before and have given them good reviews. I can only say that I just got a spoiled batch.

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Photo of 2Stout4u
2.54/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was not impressed with this offering from one of my goto breweries. In all fairness this is not a style Im familiar with, but I do know what I like.

Color was the best thing about this beer. It was a nice ornage that reminds that October is coming.

Poured with moderate carbonation and small head that quickly dissipated.

Taste was to malty for me and had what I like to refer to as a slight sour taste. It is possible I got a bad batch, but I think this is just a style I don't like.

Overall it's better than macro beer but I won't try again. No worries though I still love you Great Lakes!!

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Photo of jjanega08
2.66/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A= The pour reveils a golden amber colored beer with a nice two finger head on it that holds some decent retention and average lacing.

S= Strong honey smell to it for some reason... Apples maybe. More like caramel apples or honey smell to it. Hard to describe but those are the first two things that came to mind when I smelled it.

T= The taste is honey as well. I've never tasted a beer that resembled honey so much. Did they use honey in this recipie? There is a residual sweetness to it that again is very honey like as well as a slight hop bitterness in the finish.

M= Syrupy as thick. Like honey.

D= What is this honey? I dunno how much I like this as an Oktoberfest but as a honey beer it's great.

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Photo of allboutbierge
2.72/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I realize that seemingly, GLBC can do no wrong and that their Ofest is very popular on this site. However, I feel that its probably their weakest offering from an otherwise top 10 brewery.

Color is a dark caramel with shortlived head and minimal lace rentention. I cant see this mother birthing a monster head baby in a 1 liter Maß. But, being of the American variety, one shouldn't expect that as the same could be said about Victory, Penn, etc. However, it'd be nice to see.

Aroma is nothing but overpowering sweet candy malts. Its a malt monster alright. Flavor is full of chewy thick malts. Lots of caramel going on too. No balance what so ever and too sweet to consume in copious amounts. Its just too one sided and filling. Knock back the malt content some and through in some more Tettering or Hallertaus to strike some sort of balance and this beer would improve drastically.

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Photo of dditto2
2.75/5  rDev -31.3%

Unfortunately I was not impressed by this beer much.
Beautiful looking amber, very nice head.
Smell is dominated by a decomposing grass smell.
Taste is ok exept for that decomposing taste that lingers well after you finnish the brew.
It feels good and is very drinkable in general but that odd taste really ruins it for me.
Definately the worst oktoberfest ive tried and the worst ive tried from greatlakes. Not really a bad beer over all. I would drink it but theres better for the price. I have access to many kinds of hard to find brews so its very unlikely i will ever buy this one again.

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Photo of TheSSG
2.75/5  rDev -31.3%

Pours a soapy, off-white head. Spicy hop nose. Light, golden-copper color. Starts with hop bitterness and caramel. Builds in caramel and malt after a flash of medium bitterness. Finish is lingering caramel on spicy hops.

I am not digging the caramel aspect of this one, it really ruins it for me. Great spicy hops, though.

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Photo of weeare138
2.83/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears a transparent amber with a small whit cap that sticks around. The gentle cap of foam fades stays the duration while leaving a scattered film of lacing around the glass.
Smell is of light sourdough, caramel, grain, vanilla, and a touh of butter.
Taste is of the aromas with a hint of diacytel.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, spritzy, and just ok.

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Photo of spinrsx
2.91/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz Bottle from the Potsdam NY IGA for 2.75$

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an average size fizzy/frothy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 4 minutes.

Smell - Malts, grass, cereal, hay, caramel

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and lots of wet herbal notes like hay/straw/grass. It also has some raisin notes and some light hops. It ends with a malty herbal aftertaste.

Overall - Way too much herbal/farm type flavour for me. Maybe it's spot on for the style, but it just isn't enjoyable. Not something I'd buy again.

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Photo of dmamiano
2.91/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Really excited to try this one. Great Lakes doesnt disapoint!...or does it.
Claen oarangish amber pour with a nice one finger white head and lacing.
Smell of malts. Some sweetness, but also an underlying hint of vegetables.
Taste was good up front, malt dominated but quickly had the taste of a slight sourness of maybe even vegetle.
Have to say I was let down by this one. Maybe a bad sixer?

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Photo of Brno
2.92/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Good solid amber color with a scent of caramelized sugar. Medium body with a little astringency for cleanliness. Leaves you with a good flavor and a touch of weight on the aftertaste. This is a complex and beguiling brew that every time I think I have it figured out, I am thrown a change-up. Good and drinkable, especially for kickoff...

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Photo of json83
2.94/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Autumn seasonal with an est. 195 calories per bottle and 6.5% ABV. An amber lager with the flavor of a slight herbal/ grassy taste. I am rating this low because it isn't one of my favorite styles. I would recommend if your a fan of amber lager, but I would not go out of my way to buy again. The aftertaste is almost as bitter as an IPA.

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Photo of Hawk221
3/5  rDev -25%

Update from 9/12/14:

Had this beer again, completely different this time and was better, I could taste the malt and the weird harsh bitterness was gone. I'm really not sure what happened when I reviewed it the 1st time? Bad bottle?

My review went from below average to good, probably very close to the German Oktoberfest beers. IMHO Paulaner's Marzen is the best for the style and Great Lakes Oktoberfest falls somewhere behind that.

Wow, what a disappointment..

I've had many Oktoberfest beers before and this one was the worst by far.

Looked great in my mug, but the harsh bitter aftertaste gave me a headache. I got no maltiness at all. I think something was wrong with this batch?

I switched to a Dogfish Head 60 min IPA afterwards and that seemed less bitter and easier to drink, I'm thinking I may have had a bad batch?

For being a 20 IBU beer it was way too bitter tasting.

The best by date was 11/05/14

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Photo of JamesS
3/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice red-brown-copper color, but no head or lacing. Nice malty scent, but not the deep fall aroma I like. Good taste, some nice malt attributes, but with an odd sweetness (almost Irish red like, but lighter due to it being a lager). Goes down fine, but with a slightly astringent aftertaste. Not the best from Great Lakes.

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Photo of nukem5
3/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Nice color in pint glass, orange with a nice cap of tan foam.

S: Aroma is sweet and not unlike any other marzen style beer you have had, but this one is a bit smaller than average.

T: Sweet malts and a breadiness are present in this as well, It just tastes like fall to me .

M: lighter side of medium bodied with a light carbonation level.Very little if any legs to it.

O: Overall it is my fave beer style and was a bit put out as Great Lakes usually do things very good and well received but this one while good on the average is still a bit light for me.

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Photo of drtth
3.02/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a nonic glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a nice cleary lightly coppered amber color with a ¼" off white head that persists for a while and leaves a nice pattern of lacing on the glass as it recedes. Eventually the head recedes to a ring of foam but for most of the beer there are speckles of lacing when sipping and there is also lacing clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is almost completely dominated by butterscotch or toffee with little or no hop character showing.

Taste: The flavors are malty and sweet with a fair amount of butterscotch and toffee. There is some earthy hop character that eventually cuts into the sweetness but does not eliminate it.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and soft with moderate carbonation. The finish may be the best part of this as eventually the toffee and butterscotch sweetness fade away in to some dry bitterness.

Drinkability: I was surprised by this beer as I wasn't expecting quite so much toffee/butterscotch caramel in either the nose or the flavors. On the whole I had no problem finishing the beer but thought it could have used a bit more hop to balance it out and give it a dryer, more bitter finish. While I'll try this one again to see if I need to improve the scores, this serving didn't seem to me to be all that pleasant compared to some of the other o-fest beers I've tried.

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Photo of NODAK
3.03/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smell isn't very overwhelming, though it does have some sweet caramel notes to it....a little toasty note as well. All in all though, not a very rich nose here.

Pours a clear amber color in my glass with a one finger head.

Taste just seems kind of light for an Oktoberfest to me. It has that signature sweetness, but seems less like a typical heavier caramel sweetness and more like a light, sugary sweetness to me. There is also an underlying, but kind of mute for style toasty note that shows up. Finishes sugary with a tiny medicinal bitter note.

It's inoffensive but not remarkable for style. There are better options for the style.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.03/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Clear, dark orange with a pretty thin head that eventually leads to very little lacing.

S - Not much of a malt backbone that I typically look for in Oktoberfest/Marzen style beers, but there are hints of caramel malt in the brew. No hops obvioulsy. It was just lacking something to me...maybe some residual sugar aroma.

T - Malts, again, not as sweet as I expect and were a little spicy as if some rye made it's way into the grain bill. Also had an interesting higher than normal hop presence.

M/D - Medium to thin body with a sweet finish and a bland aftertaste. Nothing really exciting so drinkability is average, much like the rest of this beer.

I know the Bros gave this an A+ but I know what my palate likes and I've for sure had better Oktoberfests, this one was just a little weak to me.

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Photo of claminat420
3.07/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- poured a nice transparent amber almost golden color with a nice off white thick foamed head. noticing the bubbles. looks over carbonated :(

S- kinda a sweet malty scent. maybe a very small hop scent to back it up.

T- noticing the sweet malts mostly dominating followed by a very slight bitterness that hangs in the backend.

M- light bodied. well carbonated.

D- nothing to special. could have a couple don't know if i could kill the whole six.

Overall- on the label great lakes call is a amber lager. i woulda expected more of a medium to heavy bodied mouthfeel then. i guess the best term i could say is that this brew is alright.

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Photo of deebo
3.08/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served a pint on tap at Republic Uptown.

A-Crystal clear with weak beige head that laces the glass a bit. Color is light amber with orange hue. Lighter in color than most marzens.

S-A bit weak in the sweet toasted barley malt that is remniscent of the style. High in the spicy hop character.

T-Like the aroma this beer has a weak toasted slightly sweet toffee taste with a much higher than usual spicy peppery hop back end taste and finish. Reminds me of a maibock.

M-Weak bodied with high carbonation. Crisp finish with a mild bitter spicy noble hop finish.

O-A bit disappointed in this beer as I prefer my Marzens with more carmelized roasted malt character with a bit more body.

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Photo of ommegoose
3.08/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Looks more or less as it should. Copper color with clarity, little visible carbonation, and an off-white head. Only a full sheet of head on this pour. No lacing. Maybe the next bottle will do better. Did get more lacing with my second bottle.

Some toffee-like sweetness. Buttery.

Buttery caramel malt, and a surprisingly earthy and musty finish. Dank. Hops are subdued, in fact, bludgeoned to death by the excessive malts.

Feels heavy. Full-bodied and lightly carbonated. A little out-of-place hotness.

Oddly, this really reminds me of the Christmas Ale, but without the spices. I don't think it's better. Surprisingly slow to drink. I think it's a bit too big, and that's a complaint I don't make too often. Not really what I was looking for. Really rather dull to me, but this is probably a symptom of being an Oktoberfest. I wanted something a bit more quaffable.

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Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 596 ratings.