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Great Lakes Oktoberfest | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

598 Reviews
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Great Lakes OktoberfestGreat Lakes Oktoberfest

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

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WVbeergeek on 11-04-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 598 | Ratings: 2,127
Photo of hopphead31415
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I’ve been trying several different Oktoberfests lately and this one by Great Lakes looks good. It has 6.5% ABV.

Look-Pours a clear amber color that reminds me of the reds and oranges of fall time. The lacing is moist and delicate.

Smell-I smell caramel, toffee, and roasted nuts along with some subtle hints of pumpkin.

Taste-The taste is brilliant with the pumpkin and caramel malts dominating the body. There is a lack of that mild grassy hop bite at the end like I see in other beers. However, there is some slight hop tinge at the end in the back palate.

Mouthfeel-This beer is just shy of medium-bodied. A creamy mouthfeel endures through the end and is delightful. It isn’t too sweet and I can tell that they didn’t use any of that nasty malt extract syrup.

Overall-This is a great brew! I would say that it is on par with the superb Hofbrau. I would recommend this to everyone!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

On-draught at Great Lakes' pub at Cleveland airport:

A: spot-on for the style, with an Off-white frothy head of 2 minute retention. Leaves an even ring of lacing as it recedes.

Body is a clear gold of stellar vibrance...has quite a shine to it. Clean, with no sediment or yeast visible.

Ample bubbles indicate high carbonation. Will it come off biting?

Sm: Lovely, and en pointe given the style. Aromatic Munich malts, hints of Graham cracker and lightly toasted golden malts, complementary floral hop character. To style, hop intensity is quite subdued, letting the malts take the spotlight. Yeast attenuation seems perfect; this isn't too sweet by any means.

Aromatic intensity is average. Suggests a balanced traditional Marzen with pleasant nuance. I can't wait to try it.

T & Mf: Though served entirely too cold (airport bar syndrome, but then Great Lakes does run it...), the Munich malts shine, set off by Subtle Graham crackery malts and downplayed floral (and perhaps grassy) hop character.

Texture-wise, it's less impressive. The buying crisp overcarbonation I feared is rampant, severely reducing drinkability - which is a kiss of death in a style of beer intended to be quaffedin bierkrugs by the litre. That said, otherwise it's about right. Smoothness and wetness keep it refreshing. It's got a but too much body for a September sipper, but it's forgivable, and I find it worth it as it supports and emphasizes the flavours.

Getting back to the taste, it's balanced - sure. Not too sweet, not overhopped like so many American stabs at the style. Effective as it is, depth of flavour could be improved.

O: Captures the Munich malt focus of a Marzen quite well, but there's a bit of trouble in the texture. It's not the insanely drinkable festbier many might hope for, but the competency behind this is obvious, and Great Lakes has rightly erred toward tradition. It's not going to edge out offerings from Ayinger et al for a spot on rotation in your fridge, but it's yet another worthwhile lager from one of the great unsung (undersing?) breweries in the states.

High B- (3.48)

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Photo of FickleBeast
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a imperial pilsner glass.

Pours a copper color with a finger of off white foam. Relatively low carbonation. Aroma is mostly crystal/vienna malts, smells very crisp and clean. First sip confirms that. This is a nice, sweet lager with minimal hop flavor and bitterness. There is a decent amount of sweetness and body, and overall the finish is very clean.

This is what an Oktoberfest should taste like. Clean, simple, and delicious.

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Photo of TopherBreski
3.34/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

People have lost their minds. Not even close to a 100 rating. Sam Adams and Flying Dog are far superior. It's a very good Marzen but color is a bit light, smell not very prevalent,

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Photo of thebeers
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear copper-amber color with two fingers of thick off-white head and good lacing. Bready malts with nice hop balance in the aroma. Medium bodied and slightly creamy. A little bready malt up front in the taste, with some caramel-tinged sweetness in the middle and a touch of hop bitterness on the back end. Solid beer.

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Photo of lastmango
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. Rich copper hue with 1 finger cream head that dissipated quickly. Little lacing. Nose is a very mild biscuit and caramel. Taste is malt forward with a touch of yeast bread. Taste of malt lingers on the tongue turning to a slight bitterness from hops. As another reviewer noted, there was a tough of champagne quality to the feel as it lingered.

The taste is very well balanced. The feel is also well balanced with medium consistency and carbonation. Overall this is an excellent Oktoberfest Marzen.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Brilliant amber with 1-2 fingers of head and little to no lacing or film upon settling
Smell: caramelly with a hint of herbal hops
Taste: Caramelly malt with an assertive vegetal herbal grassy hops, finishing with a moderate bitterness
Feel: Medium body, average carbonation

Overall: The malt aspect is sort of what I tend to expect of Oktoberfests - caramelly and moderately sweet - and it's done quite well. The hops seems maybe more assertive than usual and somewhat distinctive - definitely a big plus in my view.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.59/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 fl oz bottle sealed with branded Great Lakes logo pressure cap.

poured into SP wine stem.

Appearance: orangish red bodied beer with 2 finger of white head. Head quickly drops down to thin cap.

Smell: bready malts and fruity yeast.

Taste: Rich bready malt profile initially then a huge rush of fruity yeast that really dominates this beer from middle to end. Almost completely washes away that really nice bready flavor imparted by the malts that is a trademark of most well done Oktoberfest beers.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation levels. Crisp beer that feels substantial.

Overall: Interesting take on an Oktoberfest. The fruity yeast in this beer is something that I have never experienced in an Oktoberfest. Interesting and unique; yet still enjoyable for the style. This just does not reach the awesomeness of New Glarus Staghorn, which is the best that I have tried in the style. Worth a try, but once I get through this 6 pack I probably wont buy it again. I was craving more of that rich malt profile that is there and gone so quickly due to the intense fruitness of the yeast.

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Photo of rob1043
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beginning middle and end. Nice clear amber look, good hoppy-malt flavor with a great finish.
Great Lakes Brewing is the best thing that ever came from Cleveland, and this is my go to Oktoberfest.

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Photo of NickSMpls
3.46/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gorgeous pour - crystal clear with good effervescence and a light persistent head. That's the high point. Weak odor and good, but watery, malt- forward taste. Not bad, but not in the first rank for us. Perhaps it's this year's batch.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.42/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a perfect pint from a bottle.

3.0 A: Clear medium orange color. Two fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is a touch below average and just a few wisps of lacing are left.

3.5 S: Caramel and toastiness, mineral, nuts, apple, rust. Light earthy hops.

3.5 T: Caramel apple, toastiness, nuts. The lager yeast is a bit aggressive lending a dirty earthy component. Also has a dry champagne quality to it.

3.5 M: Heavier medium body. Good carbonation level that is fizzy on the tongue. Lightly creamy.

3.25 D: I love GL and I know everyone loves this beer, but for me it's just slightly above average.

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Photo of Brian_L-2056
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells like a typical Oktoberfest when u open the bottle, pours a very nice burnt orange or amber color. Very thin white head with little to no lacing. Looks kind of flat when you are sipping on it because of the lack of head and lacing but you can see the carbonation bubbles the whole time. Initial taste is quite good up front with little to no bitterness and a very mild finish. The more I sip it, the more I like it and milder it becomes. This is actually one of my favorite Oktoberfest brews so far. Would definitely buy again.

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Photo of car2052
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass.

A: Clear copper color, 1/2 inch of tan head, now a ring of foam.
S: Caramel, roasted malt, raisin, apple, mixed nuts.
T: Nice sweetness up front. Nuts and caramel, as well as a slightly roasted character. Smooth.
M: Medium
O: Very smooth, inoffensive beer.

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Photo of MarkLinton1
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I always like to try a few Oktoberfest-Marzen style beers as they come out in the late Summer. Not my favorite style of beer however Great Lakes nails this one! Beautiful copper color as you would expect. Fantastic smooth mouth feel with slightly sweet malt and plenty of spices and earthy richness. Some fruit and just a note of hops. Will certainly enjoy this six pack and head back for more.

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Photo of do_ob
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams glass. Pours a clear amber with brown undertones. Beautifully clear amber/copper in the glass with 2 fingers of bubbly, white foam. Receded down to a lacing after about a minute. Good carbonation. Bready malt, peppery spice, sweet apples, and sasafrass on the nose. Medium weight and very creamy. Slightly carbonated. Lots of bready malt and spice on the taste initially with a strong yeasty character. More spice comes to life on the back end. Finishes smooth and crisp and leaves a sourdough and bready malt aftertaste behind.

Pretty good. Not a style I am overly farmiliar with, but I'm a fan of Great Lakes so I figured I'd give it a go. This is one spicy beer - not chili spicy - but just lot of peppery spices. Very well-balanced and lots of malt in the mix. I liked it.

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Photo of justinp444
4.73/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip it is a slight amber orange crystal clear with a 1 and a half thick frothy white head. Smell of caramel, sweet malt, floral, spice, some nuttiness, and a nice fruity apple. Taste is apple, plum, bread-y sweet malt, caramel, nuttiness, some spice, tiny bit of grass, a good amount of earth on the end, and a very clean full flavor. Has a very nice sweetness about it, with a fantastic full mouth feel that is creamy yet crispy, and a great moderate to full body. One of the best marzens I've had for drink-ability and a more malt & yeast forward flavor.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours brilliant red orange under a persistent, clingy 2” white foam cap.
S: Rich spicy malt
T: Exceptionally well developed malt flavors with a little breadiness and lightly sweet kettle sugars seasoned with spice from the malt and hops and a firm bitter accent on the finish.
F: Clean, smooth yet crisp with a medium body and carbonation.
O: Very well balanced and well prepared Oktoberfest.

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Photo of mchegash
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - 3.85/5
An extremely clear orange color. One finger of head upon pouring, dissipated within a minute. A medium amount of carbonation can be seen rising at a medium rate. Overall, nice look, but I would like to see more head retention.

Smell - 3.75/5
Sweet maltiness. Some fruitiness, alcohol, and a bit of hops.

Taste - 3.75/5
Sweet fruity maltiness. Some subtle hops. Tastes like there are some subtle fall spices in this beer (though there aren't...GL only uses barley, hops, yeast, and water in all their beers). A bit of alcohol taste as well. Overall a decent taste, but the taste also seems a little strange/off in some way I can't describe. There is a strange aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - 4.3/5
Full bodied. In between creamy and crisp. The carbonation is quite light. I really like the fullness of the body, the beer really feels thick while it is in your mouth. Perhaps there could be a tad more carbonation though.

Overall - 3.95/5
Overall this was a good beer. I really appreciated the fullness of the body, though I would have tweaked the taste a bit I think.

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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 Dodo2step
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

P- Wegmans in Mechanicsburg, PA

A- clear crisp amber color with a foamy finger head. Nice spiderweb lacing on the pint.

S- all toasted munich malts with hints of grain

F- flavor mimics the nose....very tasty and complementary...I also detect hints of grape on my palate

M- light bodied and goes down with ease. The munich malts are perfect in this one. A great beer and would love it again

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Photo of AC-Mivsek
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clean, clear orange-red. thin white head that dissipates quickly
S- Malt, carmel, bread heavy
T- Malts and bread up front followed by a hoppy tang
M- Medium body, smooth and easy-drinking, finishes dry
O- I normally don't seek out Oktoberfest beer, but this one is so clean and well balanced it is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into sam adams custom glass: color is perfect, great copper, fine bubbles, head is not present or lingering.

Smell is a nice stronger, fuller maltier oktoberfest style which is a great way to americanize this lager; malts are all munich/vienna aromas, subtle grape and fruit like flavor.

Taste is full bodied, great malt flavor: vienna, munich malts, crisp clean hops and subtle bitterness

Mouthfeel is what to expect from a stronger maltier ale, slight lingering sweetness, and crisp drying carbonation.

Overall a great oktoberfest interpretation; maltier and stronger than many but still very clean and crisp flavors.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev 0%

Bottle: Poured a golden color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of clean cereal notes is exactly what I would expect from the style. Taste is also dominated by cereal notes with light residual sugar with a clean finish. Body is about average for style with good carbonation. Perfect example of the style.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass at approximately 45 degrees F.

A: Pours a coppery clear golden-orange, which forms a thin head that dissipates quickly into a ring of bubbles around the glass.

S: Doughy, yeasty malt, much like an uncooked biscuit, with some faint spice hints and a touch of non-sweet caramel.

T: Sweet toast and a bit of caramel hit up front, followed by a doughy yeastiness that rounds out and balances the sweetness nicely. There's some faint spiciness to this marzen, like a touch of cinnamon. As could be expected in any malt-forward lager, there are some undertones of toffee and caramel, though with decidedly less sweetness than one might expect. The finish is composed almost entirely of the GLBC yeast, with a slightly grassy, leafy tone.

M: Flat, but in precisely the way a marzen should be, with minimal carbonation. The feel across the palate is light, without a watery finish (GLBC is good at avoiding that issue with every beer of theirs I've had).

O: That's a good, tasty marzen, relying on malt and yeast to provide the bulk of the flavor profile, while spice and hops remain comfortably in the background.

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Photo of KonigObHops
4.41/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured a medium copper color with an off-white head that was one finger-width wide.

The beer has a bready smell, which is very strong.

The initial taste sweet, and the hops follow immediately. The flavor is complex in the middle. This beer does not have the typical toasted caramel Marzen punch. It has fruity tones mixed in with the hops and malt. The finish is very nice and slightly sweet. There is absolutely no hint of bitterness .

The mouth feel on this beer is full bodied and smooth. The carbonation is noticable, but nicely balanced.

Overall, this is an excellent beer. If you are looking for a typical Oktoberfest, this is not the right beer. If you want something in the Oktoberfest style that is slightly more sophisticated, then this is a great choice.

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Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 598 ratings.