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Great Lakes Oktoberfest - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Great Lakes OktoberfestGreat Lakes Oktoberfest

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,288 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1288
Reviews: 507
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 12.56%

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

Style | ABV
Märzen / Oktoberfest |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: WVbeergeek on 11-04-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,288 | Reviews: 507 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Premiere Gourmet. Pours peachy colour, and the aroma is fruity peachy. Easy drinking, mild bitterness, and the bitterness is more pronounced than the slight sweetness, a tad smoked. Not outstanding beer that I would seek it, very pleasant though. Bang on the style plus.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2009 00:45:04 | More by Sammy
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Polished pumpkin orange with candy corn colored highlights. The thickly creamy crown is more pale orange than ecru and possesses the usual Great Lakes magic, both immediately after the pour and as it settles. A thick, circumferential sheet of lace is broken only by a few specks of visible glass. Wow, what a start!

The nose is standard for the style and neither disappoints nor impresses. Actually, given the brewery, it is a disappointment. Earthy malt and musky hops lead the way, but don't make me excited to begin drinking.

I'm sorry I doubted. The flavor profile makes up for the aroma's shortcomings, and then some. Oktoberfest's best feature is its balance, both with respect to complementary flavors and to sweetness and bitterness. Toasted barley, baked nuts and steely caramel are beautifully countered by bitter orange peel, dark honey and herbal-earthy hops.

I feel the same way about Oktoberfest that I feel about Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, in the sense that there's something in this flavor profile (that I can't pinpoint or even describe) that makes it better than all of the other versions that I've tried. It's just... so... damn... delicious. How they do it, what secret ingredient they use, I'll never know.

One thing I didn't doubt, not even for a second, was the mouthfeel. These guys do mouthfeels like Monet does landscapes. Strangely enough, their brewpub beer (a different brewer by the way) doesn't hit me the same. This one is medium-full and is incredibly smooth and polished. In other words, it's a treat for the mouth.

I'll admit, Oktoberfest is not my favorite style. In fact, it isn't among my top-20 favorite styles. Leave it to Great Lakes, a world-class brewery, to show me just what a world-class O-fest should taste like. Highly recommended... but only if you're a fan of outstanding craft beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2007 15:04:46 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of womencantsail


4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Dan for tossing this beer in as an extra in a recent trade.

A: The pour is a clear copper color with a finger or so worth of white foam.

S: Initially I get a lot of lager yeast aromas along with some grassy hops. As the beer warms up a little bit, some sweet malt aromas come through. Fairly creamy with some caramel and toffee notes, and a mild spiced quality.

T: Fairly malt forward with notes of grassy and spicy hops. The malt character is bready with some sweet caramel flavors. A slightly earthy bitterness to this beer as well.

M: The body is medium with a smooth carbonation that is lively and moderately creamy.

D: A solid Oktoberfest from a solid brewery. I really enjoyed this lager.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2010 17:12:27 | More by womencantsail
Photo of BEERchitect


4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found on-on tap at (of all places) Cheapside's. The bottle proved to be a world-class brew, so I had high hopes for the tap. The golden-copper-orange brew came out with a very froathy, withstanding head retention thats tough to fight through. The aromas are somewhat light, but are very yeasty, bready, malty, with just a touch of refreshing hops. Tastes very malty without the caramel or toffee sweetness. Malts are so rich that the hops, esters, and alcohol take a really far back seat. This is undoubtedly the most malty-textured Oktoberfest that I have had. Very rich textued, creamy, and soft. Finishes malty and firm. Could this beer be too malty?

Serving type: on-tap

09-15-2007 17:31:52 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


3.1/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a fairly light amber, bordering on copper. Starts with a two-finger head in my pilsner glass, lading into just a rim as the beer goes down. Hints of lacing. Smells slightly sweet with some caramel. Not too much depth. Taste is similar with a faint hoppiness. Light caramel touch. Mouthfeel is nice. Medium body and good carbonation. Slightly creamy. Drinkability is average. Nothing spectacular here. Not quite malty enough to fit into the German-type Oktoberfest, and doesn't have the hop feel of some of the better American Octoberfests.

Serving type: on-tap

09-06-2010 17:35:34 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear orange and amber in color. It poured with a thin white head that died down and left a thin ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of toasted malts and grassy hops in the nose.
T: The overall taste is very similar to the smell and has flavors of toasted malts with hints of caramel. There is a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and relatively smooth on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and is a good representation of the style.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 14:40:42 | More by metter98
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my new favorite Fest style beers,poured a clear bronze with a delicate looking 1/2 finger slight off white head.Grainy aromas a bit toasted with some caramel doughy sweetness a bit of iron is detected as well as well as some leafy hop,truly American in its larger dose of peppery hop but staying true with its lightly sweet doughy maltiness it has something for everyone and purists I really liked this one glad I have alot more.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2007 00:36:09 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pokal at ChurchKey.

I missed the Nosferatu, but at least I got to try this one. It pours a clear amber copper topped by a veruy short, ecru, bubbly head. The smell is sweeter than expected, comprising brown sugar, maple syrup, caramel, and a semi-tropical fruitness that's hard to pin down (my best guess is pineapple). The maple comes through in the taste, along with toffee, walnut, green apple, and a sort of woody bitterness. Not what I've come to expect from an Oktoberfest necessarily, but not all that bad either. The body is a light medium, with a smoothness that improves over time and a carbonation that's small and short, but pretty active while there.

Serving type: on-tap

06-13-2010 20:35:22 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Oktoberfest

Clear and bright bronze/copper in appearance, creamy, off-white brief head.

Aroma: perfect marzen nose, rich malty, shiny cereal, sweet, yet slightly sharp. Pleasantly herbal.

Taste: Tasty amber lager. Smooth on the tongue. Pleasingly malty, rich. Great drinkability. Lays just long enough on the palate, then keeps it on the sly for a while. Swims lightly, keeping the malty marzen flavor going.

good one.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 23:26:59 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of emerge077


4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BBD: 10/18/12

Poured into a tulip glass, it has a bright amber copper color with high clarity. Languid sparse trails of rising bubbles from the center of the glass. A sizable head at first pour becomes a frosted thin layer on the surface, with a perfect delicate crown of lace around the edges. Retention is pretty good.

Mellow shortbread aroma, slight toasted grain.

A light bitter bite is noticeable upfront, segueing into some smooth nutty almond from it's grain and malt character. Bitterness grips lightly, but slips into the malt cocoon effortlessly. Light bodied but with enough complexity to keep one well interested.

2013: Sampling this again against a dozen other Oktoberfests, this one came out in my personal top 3. Very fresh and true to style with it's own unique nutty malt character, and lingering flavors. Highly recommended for an American Oktoberfest that upholds tradition.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2013 02:24:21 | More by emerge077
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark golden color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry lager yeast scent along with a smooth malty aroma. Caramel, Munich, and pale malts are present with a slight yeast fruitiness. The taste is good. It has a very smooth, malt flavor that is light with just the right amount of sweetness. It goes down easy and finishes a bit dry with some earthy character. The mouthfeel is excellent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. I love the flavor of this one. It's incredibly smooth and malty; highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2007 22:03:38 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh


3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is red and clear with a white head of small bubbles. No lacing and carbonation is moderate.

Beer is mild smelling and mostly malty.

Beer is pretty thick, full bodied. Very malty, mild roast perhaps. Drinkability of this beer is good but I feel its a little too thick for an oktoberfest.

Serving type: on-tap

06-10-2010 19:57:51 | More by drabmuh
Photo of zeff80


3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, orange color with ruby highlights. It had a small, foamy, off-white head that left some sticky lace.

S - It smelled of caramel malt and some mild floral notes. It smelled really quite sweet.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel with touches of honey. It doesn't have the maltiness that I expect in a great octoberfest.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a slightly dry finish. A light to medium bodied brew.

D - This is a nice easy drinking octoberfest. It's not my favorite but its still worth a try from a quality brewery.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2009 01:07:52 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros


3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Garbercury.

A: Fluffy head of 2 fingers rises up and slowly fades. It's about as crystal clear as it can get. It has a toasty amber orange color.

N: Lots of nice malts, a little sweetness, some light toasty malts. Also has some crisp lager aromas.

T: Pretty sweet to start, almost syrupy and like table sugar was added. It has a nice malty flavor, some toastiness, and lots more sweet almost creamy malts. A hint of bitter hops. Then light crisp lager flavors.

M: Light, good carbonation.

F: Finishes a little drier, but still slightly sweet, and has a little more bitterness. Actually, the sweetness just sits on the tongue and doesn't want to go, it's a little annoying. A little syrupy as well. A nice beer, decent Oktoberfest, but a little too sweet.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2010 01:26:35 | More by jlindros
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served up at Med Mex the Robinson location:

Appearance: Perfect, caramel orange tint nice foamy cream hued head, with rings evenly spread for the lace. Aroma: Rich toasted malts with a sryupy malt backbone bringing out the sweetness with the hops tip toeing onto the scene. Taste: Full malty and hoppier than most awesome Ofest the best spicy finish I have yet to taste from any of the Oktoberfests I've sampled, mildly hopped at 35 IBUs. Mouthfeel: Medium body slightly sticky in texture with smooth carbonation. Drinkabiltiy: All I can say is by the liter.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2003 00:52:20 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: amber in color with a nice 3" head that lasts a bit. Moderate lace paints the glass.

Smell: light malt sweetness and a bit of earthiness is easy to detect.

Taste: caramel, a bit of bread, and there is a slight roasted and earthy quality here. Bitterness is nicely balancing.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, a bit smoother towards the finish. Aftertaste is short lived.

Drinkability: this beer was extremely quaffable and enjoyable. This hits the spot when looking for a nice fall season beer.

Serving type: on-tap

09-14-2010 22:41:24 | More by Gavage
Photo of akorsak


3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A six pack shared with the extended Ovall clan. Mostly from the bottle.

A: The marzenbier is a coppery amber color, a liquid penny. Despite the darker malt color, the lager retains is clarity and a finger of white head.

S: The malty sweetness is immediately noticeable, a full thickness that has just enough toasted grains and caramel. A surprisingly good nose from the 3rd sniff on; before that the lager is nondescript.

T: Breadiness to the nth degree. The malty chewiness has both caramel and toasted biscuit. A firm earthy hoppiness serves as a valid balance, especially later in each sip. I found myself making my way through three bottles before the end of the night. Plenty of grains to keep the tastebuds engaged.

M: The beer is bold, a rich lager perfect for the on-coming crispness in the air. As for tonight, it held up well during a rain storm too.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2011 23:55:18 | More by akorsak
Photo of Jason


4.78/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle.

The lacing makes a spectacle of it's self, copper clarity is stunning. Clean malty nose of toasted bread with some spicy hop too. Smooth and a bit creamy with a delicate medium body. Malt is quite complex with fresh baked bread, dried hay and a hint of caramel. Spicy hop bitterness is there from start to after taste. Dry finish and the flavor lingers slowly away.

Seriously great beer here. One of the top picks for O-fests.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 01:49:15 | More by Jason
Photo of Wasatch


3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to tburkhart for this brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear dark golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice little off-white head, with minimal sticky lacing. The nose is malty, with some slight spice. The taste is sweet, malty, with some spice. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a nice brew, recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 21:37:25 | More by Wasatch
Photo of Kegatron


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

12oz bottle into a Becker pint glass.

Pours beautiful clear orangish amber with a smallish white head that left little lacing and what did remain behind didn't last very long. Aroma is sweet and a little spicey, with some definite fruit notes and a slight floral smell of hops.

Taste is of sweet caramel with some nuttiness. The sweetness lingers into the finish but is offset very nicely by a lingering hop bitterness. Mouthfull is full and crisp and nicely covers the nearly 7% ABV.

Great Lakes a brewed a nice take on the Marzen here that seems to have a little more going on in the taste department than others I've had. Drinkability is very good and is prefectly geared towards Fall imbibing. Enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2007 17:03:24 | More by Kegatron
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

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

Its dashing, tawny-tone of auburn stands right out like a solitary image of colour set against a backdrop of black and white. The colour jumps out the tumbler (literally) as the light behind it spills it through the spectrum of the glass. There's no head but the bubbles are sharp and clarity is crystal clear - this beer is in high definition.

The traditional recipe for an Oktoberfest doesn't give you much to work with for aroma. Still, you have to play the hand that's dealt to you and this brewer played it well. The malts are fairly aromatic, eschewing the scent of whole grains and rye bread. There's also a strong sulphitic tinge (think: matches) that for some reason reminds me of cabbage.

That sulphitic character is fairly common (in moderate levels) as a sign of a fresh lager. I already knew this was fresh - the robust, chewy, thickly sweet character of the malts (and the best before date on the bottle) told me all I needed to know. There is an earthy hoppiness to the beer that crowds out much of the caramel, figs and spongy toffee.

The sweetness is just how I like it - it washes over the palate immediately on the sip and then, after a little clip of bitterness, it slowly, very gradually lingers back into the picture and eventually seeps into your gums where it festers and itches until you absolutely can't take it anymore and must take another sip! Ahh, how refreshing.

If we were to rate the beer solely on drinkability - which, for this style, would not be an unfair thing to do - then it would certainly score much higher. This is not something you'll sniff and sip away at for hours but nor should it be. German lagers (especially ones designed for festivities) are meant to be quaffed and that's precisely what you do with this.

When I got the hankering today for a nice chewy, malty Fall-time lager this is exactly what I had in mind. I don't know that I've had one Great Lakes beer that wasn't a flawless, exemplary rendition of the style it set out to be. This German-inspired seasonal is just more proof that the architects at this brewery are among the industry's most skilled.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2009 18:42:56 | More by biegaman
Photo of weeare138


2.8/5  rDev -31%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-14-2010 00:38:34 | More by weeare138
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, picked up in Buffalo.

Pours a radiantly clear dark reddish amber, honey coloured, thick slightly off white head forms, slowly settles down to a pretty decent layer and ring around the glass, good retention, some lace chunks stick. Smell is nice, very fruity, almost tropical like mango and pineapple, bready and biscuit malt, sulphur, caramel, strawberries, very rich and malty, some alcohol comes through, quite nice. Taste is similar, very rich maltiness, biscuit and caramel, bready, some fruit, strawberry sweetness, iron, some alcohol, sugary feel, it really coats the tongue. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, feels a bit heavy, but is really well done. Maybe a touch sweet but a nice marzen.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2009 01:56:55 | More by Viggo
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Looks like a bright brown Octo beer. Good lacing and carbonation (which seems to be something lacking in the typical Octofest beer I have had). Aroma was bready and nutty.

Taste, delicate spice, maybe even pumpkin in the most minute degree you start to think, even though you're fairly certain it really isn't there. Sweetness seemed to be more than desireable. This one was not exactly pie, but made me think of pie. Seems almost like an imperial version of an Octoberfest, or all the others I've had were just weak versions. I dunno, don't drink enough of the style to really give a super informed opinion. I like most of the Great Lakes beers, this one was no different.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 17:44:23 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of Bighuge


4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear amber. Nice cap of snow white head. Leaves ample amounts of lace. Nice whiff of toasted malt goodness and some bready yeastiness. The toasted malts carry over to the palate along with some caramel candy sweetness and a little toffee malt as well. Bready yeastiness accents everything to a tee. The mouthfeel is very agreeable. Carbonated pefectly. And it gives a medium to medium-full body feel. This is one of the better Oktoberfests I had. If I were to create a Mount Rushmore of Oktoberfests, this would be in it (along with Summit, New Glarus and Central Waters).

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2007 21:10:39 | More by Bighuge
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Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,288 ratings.