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Great Lakes Oktoberfest - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes OktoberfestGreat Lakes Oktoberfest

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,418 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,418
Reviews: 515
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.29%
Wants: 141
Gots: 91 | FT: 4
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: 1,418 | Reviews: 515 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of smerkinb

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Pours a hazy bright orange with a 1/2" head that disappears rapidly. No lacing.

Smell=summer field-sweetish clover, light floral hops, slight citrus mixes with heavy smelling malts.

Nice strong malt character leads this little parade--sweet cracker melds into a bite which is followed by a dry finish that lingers. There is a slight bitterness enmeshed in the acidic bite. The hops stay firmly in the background and give a nice support for the rich malts.

The mouthfeel is a bit more aggressive in this beer- the stronger carbonation teams with the excellent rich bodied malts to make this feel substantial - not thick, not creamy, just a nice thick full body....like Jessica Rabbit.

And as with J.R. I couldn't get enough of this. I'll be grabbing a case of two next time I'm in the distribution area.

03-26-2010 22:30:56 | More by smerkinb
Photo of Prostman81


3.88/5  rDev -4.7%

It's been awhile since I had this one, but wanted to post my review of this based off of some notes I ran into when going through my brewing recipes.

Smell and appearance are pretty much standard for an O-fest, although a little lighter in color than a Spaten O-fest that I drank side by side with.

Taste and drinkability are here hands down. ABV is a little high for a true German O-fest, but Great Lakes did a good job of hiding where that went. Malt & hop profile are definitely robust, but still what I would consider within the guidelines for this type of beer. Very smooth and well rounded. A solid offering from a brewery that obviously knows its way around traditional German recipes (i.e. Elliot Ness).

03-17-2010 20:25:20 | More by Prostman81
Photo of jlindros


3.7/5  rDev -9.1%

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.

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


3.8/5  rDev -6.6%

Just found my notes for this beer.

A: Pours a nice baltic amber with 1 finger head that dissipates, caps off, and lingers and laces.

S: Smell of caramel, roasted malt, bread, spice, and some earth tones.

T: That caramel from the nose is present in mouth. Good spice and bready taste. Well balanced marzen.

M: Nice creamy. Coats mouth nicely.

D: Good marzen for the season.

01-19-2010 18:47:34 | More by cagocubs
Photo of farrago

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev +0.2%

Fluffy head, crests at a bit over a finger, the larger sized bubbles cause it to evaporate into surface islands swiftly, minimal lacing with no stickiness. Burnt red to orange color, like a summer sunset, light filminess but not quite translucent. Strong burst of cocoa, milk chocolate powder and caramel to the nose, honeyed graham crackers, malty to the exclusion of most hoppiness, no citrus or grass notes, touch of pepperiness. Medium-bodied, somewhat sluggish mouth presence, the carbonation is round and not that refreshing. That said, good depth to the honey, caramel, cocoa flavors without pushing the sweetness too far. Here you get more orange citrus bite as well as a grainy edge, even some poor minerally earth. Smattering of peach, pear, apple fruit, not a player. What's most nice about it is that it absolutely coheres best as a whole rather than parsed out as parts. Hence, drinkability.

12-22-2009 00:28:02 | More by farrago
Photo of Ineedabeerhere

Rhode Island

3.3/5  rDev -18.9%

Thanks to Chris for this bottle. From notes, 10/21.

Pours a really nice dark orangery-amber color. 1.5 finger head fades to thin film with abstract lacing.

Smells of caramel malts, crackers. Subtle spiciness and light toffee. Overall a pretty subtle, unobtrusive aroma. Very subtle floral/herbal hops with a touch of spice.

Taste has herbal hops in the background of caramel malts, crackery in character. A slight nuttiness. Marzipan.

Nicely carbonated, maybe a bit too high? Drinkability was solid, but note my bias against this style. Having said that, Great Lakes is yet to disappoint.

11-26-2009 17:41:19 | More by Ineedabeerhere
Photo of AltBock


3.43/5  rDev -15.7%

12 oz. bottle with a blurry picture of people enjoying Oktoberfest in an outside bier garden in either Germany or Cleveland. Directly to the left of the picture is the Government warning and to the right of the picture is a description of the beer, history of the style, ABV%, serving temperature, the remaining mandatory US information, and a freshness date. Everything you want to know about the beer is on the right side of the label. Due to the ink they use, the date can be hard to read. Around the neck is another label that talks about the style in general.

When poured into a DFH pint glass, this Oktoberfest poured the usual semi clear dark golden amber with a faint splash of lemon around the edges. The head of foam on this beer was a little weak. It was smaller than 1/4 of an inch in height and white as a sheet of notebook paper. Despite its small size, it still had decent retention that left behind a tiny string of foamy white rings and just a spot or two of lace around the glass.

This is the type of aroma that makes you feel all toasty inside. It was a simple toasted aroma of toasted malts, a dash of peppery hops, and then it ends with a whiff of honey graham crackers. It's not an aroma that's going to jump out at you, but at least it wasn't a bad skunky aroma.

The taste was toasted like the aroma, but I noticed there was a small fruit presence toward the middle of the taste. The scent of fruits is something the aroma could have used to its advantage. It was a crispy toasted Oktoberfest with toasted malts in the front, fruits with a splash of honey in the middle, and some peppery hops at the end of the taste. In other words, this was a good slightly above average Oktoberfest.

This was an easy drinking light to medium bodied Oktoberfest with a crispy aftertaste of toasted malts, honey, and a gentle touch of peppery hops. Don't get too attached to the aftertaste because it won't stick around for very long.

Great Lakes always does a great job on making German styles of beer and this another one of their easy drinking German style of beer. It was above average for the Oktoberfest style and really not all that much above that point. Since it's a good beer and it does have a ton of flavor to it, I could easily see myself drinking a liter of this beer during anybody's Oktoberfest celebration.

11-21-2009 23:34:25 | More by AltBock
Photo of MrMcGibblets


3.95/5  rDev -2.9%

another solid beer from great lakes. clear amber, creamy off-white head. caramelly, bready malts in the nose follow through on the taste, with the light sweetness well balanced by the spicy hops in the background. roundish mouthfeel, almost medium-bodied. could have a few of these.

11-18-2009 06:25:56 | More by MrMcGibblets
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -8.4%

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.

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


4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Another one courtesy of a trade with Auslander, thanks again man!

Consumed 11/6/2009- from notes.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.
Date on the bottled was 11/15/09.

A- Very vibrant brassy orange with a two finger chunky tan head that settled to a nice cap. Great lacing and retention. Steady carbination.

S- Bold aromas of light fruit and floral mixed with faint sweet and grassy notes. Probably the best smelling Oktoberfest I've had.

T- Same notes as the smell with some caramel mixed in. A little hoppy at the end.

M- Medium bodied and smooth despite the carbination.

D- Fantastic session brew. I love Oktoberfests and this might just be my new favorite! I wish this brewery was available localy.

11-12-2009 18:34:54 | More by tatoodkelt
Photo of kegger22


4.22/5  rDev +3.7%

Poured a clear, deep amber with a moderate head that quickly faded to a thin collar. The aroma was lightly malt sweet. The taste was caramel sweet malt with the barest of hop bitter in the background. The feel was medium bodied with little carbonation. Drinkability was very good. Clean, clear and crisp. I'm not normally a fan of marzen beers, but this was a very good one, best I've had.

11-09-2009 23:51:05 | More by kegger22
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev +5.7%

I picked up this bottle in Buffalo with high expectations for another hit.

Great Lakes Oktoberfest pours a deep and rich orange with a creamy light tan head, which leaves sheets of lacing as it descends my glass. The retention is excellent, and its a wonderful all-round appearance. Strong caramel malt nose with some earthy notes mixed in, which is par for the style, but not as exceptional as I hoped for with this brewery. Mind you, who cares about the aroma when the beer tastes this good? Excellent balance in the flavour between huge sweet malts and a herbal bitterness. At times I pick up on caramel, orange, earth and mineral, while at others I get nuts and mineral. Its certainly a flavourful o-fest, and I'm already regretting that I don't have a litre stein of it! The piece de resistance is, of course, the mouthfeel. Anyone familiar with Great Lakes can attest that they are, without doubt, one of the best brewers in the world for perfecting the mouthfeel. This one is full, smooth, and the perfect compliment to the malty flavours of this beer.

Yet again, Great Lakes have hit one out of the park. For a long time I've been edging towards calling them my favourite brewery because of their huge range of styles, all of which seem to excel in their category. Their oktoberfest cements this reputation and is the perfect fall drink. Perhaps the best reason to live in Cleveland?

11-09-2009 16:04:11 | More by bobsy
Photo of gilman

New York

4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Pours a deep amber almost orange with a fluffy head that leaves a lot of lacing, a very good looking example of the style. The taste is a hoppier, full bodied solid and unique addition to the category and follows the general guidelines. This is a very good rendering of an Oktoberfest brew. Sweet malt and biscuit malt without a lot of hops. Not terribly complex but very flavorful.
Another very solid offering from a really solid brewery.

11-08-2009 21:07:55 | More by gilman
Photo of bruachan

District of Columbia

4.45/5  rDev +9.3%

had this on tap some time ago. at the source

good red color with orangeburst highlights. nice frothy head, too

rich aroma of dried fruit and caramel. airy, floral hops abound

plenty of kilned lager malts, even some munich in there, i believe. rich in texture, as well, which would make it perhaps a little tougher to put down a sixer, but makes for a more dynamic individual drink

ooh is this tasty. rich, aromatic, flavorful: delightful

10-22-2009 01:27:56 | More by bruachan
Photo of DoctorDog


3.43/5  rDev -15.7%

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into an pint glass...given to me by a friend for helping him move a shed....

A- Clear reddish/copper. Pours with ~2 fingers of tan/caramel colored head, which fades gradually into a thin cap. Decent head/retention with a bit of lacing.

S- Subdued malty sweetness, offset by some grassy, earthy odors.

T- Slightly caramel malt sweetness, and a prevalent grainy, slightly metallic flavor.

M- Moderately carbonation. Medium to slightly light feel.

D- Pretty decent. Flavor and odor don't wow me at all, but it isn't a chore to drink.

Future outlook: Decent, if slightly disappointing GL offering. No need for me to seek out again when there are preferred options readily available.

10-18-2009 00:44:26 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

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.

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


3.08/5  rDev -24.3%

This is from notes of a review a couple weeks ago...must have forgot to post. Pretty clear golden orange color. Very slightly off-white head showed itself at little over a finger high and left rather quickly. Sweet roasted grains show in the smell, but I also get a really musty odor accompanying this. Malty caramels provide the sweet, but I really get no hop presence. This reminded me of Grassroots, which I was also not a fan of. Great Lakes is probably my favorite all-around brewery, but this just didn't cut it for me.

10-09-2009 22:52:42 | More by alkemy
Photo of hosehead83


3.88/5  rDev -4.7%

Poured into a standard pint glass
Clear copper in color with average head
Aroma-Malt, some sweet spice notes
Taste-Caramel malt,subtle spiciness, nicely balanced and drinkable
Overall a bit better than your average oktoberfest. Was a nice match for some spicy landjagers. Certainly worth a try

10-08-2009 20:59:24 | More by hosehead83
Photo of crossovert


3.8/5  rDev -6.6%

Label says it is a silver medal winner at the World Beer Championships. Says it is brewed according ot the German purity law. The 12 oz bottle is best by Oct 7 2009.

Pours a deep amber with a fluffy head that leaves a lot of lacing, a very good looking example of the style.

Perhaps the breadiest smelling Oktoberfest out there, it is very malty with a slight bit of caramel nuttiness in there. Hops are there but do not add much to the scent profile.

The taste is a lot hoppier, like drinking bread mixed with hops. It isn't the most delicate or precision crafted flavor but it is a solid and unique addition to the category and follows the general guidelines. The mouthfeel is spot on for an Oktoberfest in this brew.

Overall it is a solid addition to the Oktoberfest category, not the best one but worthy if you see it and want to try it.

10-07-2009 18:41:57 | More by crossovert
Photo of kwakwhore

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +0.7%

On tap last night in Oberlin OH.
Reddish brown pour with not a ton of lacing.(bartender error?)
Malt dominated aromas and flavors. Sweet malt and biscuit malt without a lot of hops. Not terribly complex but very flavorful.
Comfortable slightly creamy mouthfeel.
Very tasty and easy to drink. I could have had several of these but I have work to do this morning.
Another very solid offering from a really solid brewery. Wish I could get it more often.

10-07-2009 14:30:48 | More by kwakwhore
Photo of blackearth


4.53/5  rDev +11.3%

Purchased from Three Cellars in Franklin, WI. Pours a medium amber body with a rocky off-white head. Aroma is a deliciously inviting sweet taffy. Medium bodied with robust malt flavors from start to finish with just a hint of bitterness. This is one of the best octoberfest beers I've tried this year.

10-06-2009 17:48:20 | More by blackearth
Photo of nickynick


3.98/5  rDev -2.2%

Great Lakes Oktoberfest poured a nice amber color, however lost some points because it lacked head and lacing. Smell was nice of bready malts and hops. Taste showed nice balance between the bready and slightly sweet malt, with a nice hop finish, enough there to notice, but did not over take the malt. The malt stood out. Mouthfeel was good for the style. Drinkability was good, almost to good for a beer with this ABV. Overall I thought this was a nice version of the style. I feel to often American made Ofests or often overly sweet. This one had that nice sweet malt, but not overly sweet, and all in balance.

10-06-2009 14:48:16 | More by nickynick
Photo of projectflam86


3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

A- Pours a dark copper color with a thin white cap that leaves a bit of lacing.

S- Spicy caramel malt with a some bitter hops. Slightly more hops than I've encountered in most traditional Oktoberfest beers.

T- Decent wave of hoppy spice bitterness with some vegetal flavors and a soapy finish. Not exactly what I was expecting. Alcohol is fairly apparent even though this one only clocks in at 6.5%.

M- Light/medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Soapy aftertaste lingers.

D- I was a bit surprised that this wasn't better than I expected. Great Lakes puts out some very good beers but this one missed the mark.

10-06-2009 04:15:41 | More by projectflam86
Photo of meatyard


4.03/5  rDev -1%

Pours a nicely carbonated, clear amber with 2 fingers of very pale, yellowish head. Retention was hanging in for a bit and there are some dabs of lacing.
Smell is lightly grassy, malty and sweet.
Taste is maltcentric, slightly sweet but I don't get the grassiness that's in the smell. No complicated flavors in this one as it probably should be that way. It's done simply and tastes good.
Mouthfeel is medium full and pleasantly smooth.
Very drinkable, goes quickly.

10-05-2009 22:36:30 | More by meatyard
Photo of Brenden


4.15/5  rDev +2%

Given that this one abides by the Bavarian Purity Law, and given that no such aromas / flavors exist in this one, I have to question the credibility of a review that attributes extreme excess of flavor or overbearing sweetness. It just isn't here and, frankly, it's not possible that it could be.

The color of this brew is right on the border between orange and red. A thick, compact head dissipates after some time, leaving a tight film that drops a nice curtain of lacing halfway down the glass before spotting. There's lot of clarity and a little activity throughout.
A nice, sturdy malt / hops balance is on the nose with light citrus notes and a caramel tone from the malt.
There's a light sweetness underneath in this one (play between the malts and the fermentation, I assume). The supporting flavors are very gentle, backed by a strong, pure hops. The malt adds that gentle sweetness and the hops add an earthy note and a subtle citrus as well.
This one was as smooth and creamy as I've ever had. There's not as much crispness, and carbonation is pretty light, but man this is smooth.
All in all I was quite impressed with this one. There's a good balance and even a light complexity, more than expected given that its only ingredients are hops, barley, yeast and water. NO sugars, nothing added. Discredit those who say otherwise.

10-03-2009 12:52:13 | More by Brenden
Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,418 ratings.