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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.

1,711 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,711
Reviews: 550
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.29%
Wants: 167
Gots: 170 | 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: 1,711 | Reviews: 550 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mcorwin
4/5  rDev -1.7%

mcorwin, Nov 15, 2011
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4/5  rDev -1.7%

GennyCreamAle, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of scott2269
4/5  rDev -1.7%

scott2269, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Adamostella
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Adamostella, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of meetyouoverboard
4/5  rDev -1.7%

meetyouoverboard, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of SaintJonah
5/5  rDev +22.9%

SaintJonah, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of sbricker
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

sbricker, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of tburus
5/5  rDev +22.9%

tburus, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of DocDownUnder
5/5  rDev +22.9%

DocDownUnder, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of mater
4/5  rDev -1.7%

mater, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of adamette
4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Live review. Poured from one of the 6 twelve oz. bottles that I bought as a six pack for $8.99 a few weeks ago for a bonfire that was taking place in my neighborhood. Poured into a clean, clear pint glass. Some background: I rated this beer about a year ago and recall that it was outstanding on tap at the brewery. I recall that it was my favorite Märzen in fact. Date stamped on the label of 12/15/11 which I take to be the "best by" date.

A Great generous light brown head over a light caramel translucent body. This is, in my opinion, what a beer in this style should look like. The head lasts for more than 5 minutes a leaves a nice lacing on the inside of the glass. 4.5

S A great barley malt based malt, hops balance that I find to be very interesting and again, might be the best american Märzen out there. 4.5

T Barley husk predominates with supporting roles from hops and malt in a great balance, perfect for the style. I would not recommend any changes to make this a better version of the style. 5.0

M Moderate with the fullness garnered from the barley malt, balanced hops but the lightness of a translucent lager. 4.0

D/O Overall this is a fine example of the style. The drinkability is very good as are most beers of this style. I believe that part of the idea of this style is to be very drinkable. 4.5

adamette, Nov 13, 2011
Photo of gabedivision
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark orange with a 1 finger head.

Smells of rich malts,strong for a lager, bits of spice and clove. The taste is a malt explosion with tons of hop and spice. Smooth and medium bodied, lots of flavor, and taste. This is a fantastic Marzen, wow, what flavor and complexity this beer has. this is a damn good lager,gotta try it if Marzen's are your taste.

gabedivision, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of Kanyon22
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was happy to still find this one out in OH when I was up visiting family. Okay poured into my Belhaven Pub tulip glass.

A: A light copper orange color with a thick dirty white color head. Has that wheat marshmallow feel to the head looks yummy. Also tons of bubbles cleaning to the glass.

S: Toasted malts, metallic, bready, an overall smell of sweetness going on. This one is still somewhat cold, probably warm up see what happens, as it warmed up I got more pronounced what I call German malt smell which to me smells like raisins. But not enough to raise score.

T: Lets see, this one starts off with the slight sweetness I was getting in the nose. Then I get a dash of spicy hops then a overall wonderful toasted bread quality that engulfs you palate and mouth. Love the toasted bread notes.

M: Classic GL lager fullness here, lovely how they get it to roll off the tongue. Its soft and full at the sametime. Starts out a bit carbonated but evens out quickly

O: GL brew exceptional beers and they do lagers just about better than anyone. GL okto is no exception its down right tasty. I'm upset that I didn't spring for another sixer. One of the best Oktoberfest beers I've ever had.

Kanyon22, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of zeledonia
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle says best by 17 October 2011. What? For an Oktoberfest? Boo. But I know GL is conservative with their shelf times, so I'm not too worried.

Pours a bright coppery orange color, clear, with about one finger of cream-colored head. Dissipates quick, leaving only a bit of lacing and a thin cap of foam. Color is fantastic, though.

Smell is toasted, biscuity, sweet, and crisp, all in one. Lovely, smooth, and well-integrated. Certainly the best-smelling marzen I've encountered.

Taste is wonderful as well. Rich and full, with great complexity just below the surface. Nice toasted malt flavors, with a touch of spicy hops. Sweetness is present at just the right level, so that it plays with the other flavors. Darn tasty.

Medium-bodied, more carbonation than I was expecting. Has a full bready feel like a doppelbock - guess that makes sense as they're both malty German lagers. I think the carbonation takes something away from it, doesn't let me enjoy the full flavors as much.

Really good. So much going on, but all the pieces fit together so well. Awesome example of the style.

zeledonia, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of dorianmarley
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is gold amber with lots of carbonation bubbles; foamy head with very nice lacing.

Smell is slightly sour with roasted malt.

Taste is heavily toasted, sweet malt. Also has caramel and a unique bitterness that provides great balance. Bold flavors but easy to drink, as an Oktoberfest should be.

Mouthfeel is very fun to drink. Carbonation is mild, and the beer is almost creamy; goes down easier than Bud Light. Perfect for festivities.

Overall, this is true to style but also unique. Toastier than most Oktoberfests, and also more bitter, but just as easy to drink with plenty of the Autumn malt character you would want.

dorianmarley, Oct 26, 2011
Photo of Dave128
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle dated 10/12/11 into a Unibroue snifter.

A - A rigorous pour yields a 2 finger head that lasts a little while and leaves some nice lacing as it subsides. The body is copper in color with a tiny bit of cloudiness. This beer laces like a champ for a Marzen. Head settles into a subtle ring around the edge of the glass.

S - Not much going on in the nose. My first whiff was nothing but alcohol. A few more sniffs picks up a faint hop note with a clean bready malt to pair.

T - Similar to the smell except for the malt flavors are much more pronounced. Very sweet and juicy up front with a unique flavor in the finish. It is somewhat fruity. I'm going to assume its a byproduct of the yeast or the yeast itself. Either way, its delicious. Alcohol is only evident on a few sips.

M - Medium bodied. Carbonation is well done. If anything it may be a little overcarbonated which blocks out some of the flavors.

O - Definitely my favorite Marzen of the 7 or 8 I have tried this season. Previously it was Brooklyn Octoberfest, but this one does the job well. It has unique flavor that I've come to expect from Great Lakes. Another great beer from them.

Dave128, Oct 26, 2011
Photo of fo5s
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a portsmouth tulip...not sure why I picked that glass, as I typically serve oktoberfests in mugs or tumblers, but it seemed to work well. Best by date of 11/24/11 makes me wonder how early Great Lakes brews this, or if they just give it a short shelf life.

A- pours a vibrant orange/amber with a solid 1-finger head. Very appetizing.

S- rich caramel, malty (obviously) with limited toasted character. As it warms, the hops really start to come through.

T- burn caramel with a healthy dose of hops. I can't place the varieties, but they seem more American than noble (as mentioned on the bottle). Either way they add some peppery spiciness. Bitter but smooth finish. Very tasty. Somewhat overhopped for the style, but I certainly won't complain.

M- Thin, crisp, a little sticky.

O- overall an incredible oktoberfest, and the best I've had in the style in a long time. Don't expect this to blow your mind in the way a crazy imperial kitchen-sink beer will - this is more subtle but incredibly satisfying...an excellent brew all around and one I'll certainly be revisiting annually. Perhaps the sum is greater than the parts on this one, as the overall score is higher than all of the other categories except appearance.

fo5s, Oct 22, 2011
Photo of titosupertramp
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Golden honey in color, crystal clear. 2 fingers or so of soapy head with very good retention. Leaves behinds lots of lacing around all sides of the glass and a nice film.

S: Bready and caramel malts, more spice than I've gotten in a lot of other Marzens, earthy hops. Nice.

T: This is more hop forward than a lot of Marzens I've had recently(not a complaint). The caramel and bready nature of this is certainly the main attraction, but the hops aren't hard to find.

M: This has a really full, smooth mouthfeel for a smaller beer...although it's kind of big for the style, I guess. At any rate, I like it.

O: I've had the opportunity to try a lot of quality Marzens this season and this is certainly in the top tier. It has a lot of character and depth, especially for the style.

titosupertramp, Oct 22, 2011
Photo of afdempse
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Bob Kamholz for this one! Bottle freshness date of 10/21/11. This was just purchased at a reputable store in Ohio two weeks ago. Hmm...

Pours with a frothy white head that doesn't quite stick around the way I expected. Light copper color, good clarity, and rather effervescent.

Caramel maltiness in the aroma. A fruity, apple cider-ish note as well.

Taste is sweet, with a slightly stale malt character. One-dimensional. Apple cider fruitiness and hardly any hops. Bitterness seems low for the style. None of the intriguing noble hop spiciness that I consider the hallmark of a good Märzen.

Carbonation is ok. The beer still manages to finish cleanly, but the overall balance tilts towards sweet and boring; not much of an invitation to order another.

Slightly disappointing. Perhaps this one was brewed too early in the season and it's showing signs of shelf abuse. A casualty of the creeping-earlier-each-year seasonal beer release epidemic? I would consider trying this again on draft, or at least closer to the bottling date.

afdempse, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of DannyDan
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a copper hue with a nice foamy white head that has really wonderful lacing and retention in a medium bodied beer that has fairly good amount of carbonation it it. The smell is the usual Oktoberfest of caramel, grains, and fruits. The taste starts out with a nice mix of caramel, fruits (apples and pears), grass, and sweet breads with hints of hops that stay from the first sip til the end of the drink. A very well balanced and very smooth, crisp, clean easy to drink beer with a dry finish to it. Overall this is the best Oktoberfest beer I have tasted and highly recommended for anyone that wants a great Oktoberfest beer from one of the best breweries around.

DannyDan, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of budgood1
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours out a orange tinged amber colour with a generous off white head leaning towards tannish. certainly looks like a traditional o-fest. again, a traditional munich malt aroma...toasty and roasty in the classic sense. a slight flowery hop note to boot. taste is more of the same...a very sturdy malt base, caramel and toasted nuts come to mind...mild alcohol burn with a definite spicy hop finish that ties things together nicely. somewhere between summit and sam adams with a spicier hop profile. this one does have some girth to it...so the full body and slightly prickly mouthfeel seem so appropriate to balance things out. drinkability is nice...this isn't one to slam by the stein. some cool weather and a fire come to mind when it comes to enjoying this fine offering.

overall this is a nice o-fest type of lager. it's nice to have great lakes available in my area...and even though it's a bit more spendy than the usual suspects i usually quaff, it's nice to be able to try new twists on a style that can get rather boring to me after awhile. recommended.

budgood1, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of Chaney
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A picked up a case of this for a Halloween party that I'm hosting. The funny thing is... I've never actually tried this one before!

Poured into my DuClaw Colossus snifter.

Bottle dated 11/12/11

A: Poured an clear amber/orange/brown color (yep, it's a mish-mash of those particular colors), with a 1/3 finger head that died down into a solid white ring.

S: Glorious sweetbread and a good bit of nuttiness that reminded me of an almond biscotti. Additionally, I got tons of German maltiness with a slight marshmallow character.

T: Teeters on the line between bread and cake. On one hand, there is a German, mothball character that point to bread, but there is a voluptuous, candy quality that is JUST sweet enough to satisfy any pound cake lover. Remarkable!

M: Smooth as silk, well carbonated for this style, and with a slight bit of pleasant alcohol warming that is very unusual for this style. Howwever, this one IS 6.5% That's pretty high for a Marzen.

O: I call bullshit on the B+ overall average. This is my new fall go - to, non-pumpkin beer for sure!

Chaney, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of weizenbob
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a surprisingly difficult beer to track down in my neck of the woods this year. This 12 ounce bottle purchased at Shop-N-Save in Benzonia ($9.99/6-pack). Best before 10/12/11 (reviewed 10/6/11). The label implies that this beer is brewed according to the German Reinheitsgebot, which is neat trivia if nothing else. It was poured into a pilsner glass.

A careful pour yields two fingers of fluffy head that is nearly white in color. Head retention is moderate. Lacing is not happening. The beer's color rests between caramel and walnut, and is highly translucent. A pleasant amount of carbonation can be seen in ascension through the glass. It doesn't look fancy, but it looks good.

This beer is a malty affair with an aroma that is reminiscent of fall. Call me crazy, but the first thing I pick up in the nose is a pumpkin-like scent. Sweetness ensues with aromas of caramel and toffee. A mild alcoholic scent is present. The strong aromatics are noted without having to bring the glass close to the nose.

The flavor profile does the aroma justice. This Oktoberfest bier is sweet and malty. It is biscuity with a small amount of buttery diacetyl that actually accentuates the malt nicely. The abundant residual sweetness exhibits prominent notes of caramel and molasses. Alcohol is part of the flavor profile in a way that balances well with the malt. Hopping is such that there is little if any notable bitterness. It's an easy-drinker for sure.

This beer is medium bodied, with a moderately high level of carbonation that makes the brew appear lighter than it actually is. As far as traditional seasonal lagers go, I generally prefer Maibocks to Octoberfests, but this beer, though not spectacular, is easy to like. It is colorful, flavorful and at 6.5% ABV, moderately alcoholic. Above all, it is easy drinking. I can't speak for its authenticity, but I can say that Great Lakes Oktoberfest is my pick of the American-brewed Octoberfest family.


The Two-Schlitz Scale: (reference my profile for an explanation)
I give two Schlitz for this well-done lager. Prosit!

weizenbob, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of yesyouam
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Oktoberfest is a super clear, sparkling, amber lager with a thin, soft, dense, yellowish head that has excellent retention and lacing. It smells like bread and pretzels. There's a medicinal or minty note to it. There's a fruity whiff to it, kind of like apples. It's medium bodied and quite smooth with a sharp, lively finish. It leaves the palate pretty clean. The flavor hovers between sweet and dry, with malt taking the center stage. It's a little resiny, melanoidal, fruity and medicinal. The flavors come together pretty well and nothing seems out of balance. This is one of the most sessionable Oktoberfests I can recall drinking.

yesyouam, Oct 16, 2011
Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,711 ratings.