Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Great Lakes Oktoberfest - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes OktoberfestGreat Lakes Oktoberfest

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

556 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 556
Hads: 1,939
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 213
Gots: 286 | 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:
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
Reviews: 556 | Hads: 1,939
Photo of schleprock
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Early on I was not a fan of many Great Lakes Beers, even after visiting the brewery however a few like Conway's Irish, The Christmas Ale, Blackout Stout and this one are top notch.

Pours a really nice bronze body with a thick cream colored head and leaves great lacing as you drink from the glass.

Lots of caramel malt hits the nose and the taste follows with a rich caramel malt flavor with a bit of sweetness.

This is a dangerously good beer. I say that because this is easily sessionable for me.

Overall this is definitely one of the better versions of the style I've seen on the market. I'll definitely be looking for this next fall and run to the store before it's all gone just like I do for their Christmas Ale. (726 characters)

Photo of dmfrench
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A better Oktoberfest only exists in the mind.
___-

A: Nice deep orange with a somewhat persistent coarse white head. Too clear.

S: Inviting: earthy malts and dusty/spicy hops.

T: Lots of sugary spiced malt, fruit, some dusty hops, and that dry 'oktoberfest' flavor.

M: could have a bit more backbone, but weighty enough to satisfy.

O: See first line. (355 characters)

Photo of WunderLlama
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a glass

Looks like a whiskey, thin carbonation cap, no visible carbonation

Aroma of sweet malts, black pepper and bread.

Smooth malt on the front of the tongue. Clean finish in the back. Octoberfest malt, good!

Medium mouthfeel.

Back up the truck and stock up the fridge. Great tasting American Oktoberfest. Keep on hand and drink frequently. Repeat at will. Different than German Marzens but very enjoyable nonetheless. (444 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, deep golden copper color with reddish highlights and a half of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed wispy clouds that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice and malty and bready. Notes of freshly baked bread, brown sugar, black pepper, and burnt orange.

Taste: Very much like the aroma. Very malty and bready up front, notes of lightly salted soft pretzels, followed by some brown sugar and caramel-like sweetness, finished by some beautifully balanced hoppy bitterness. Excellent!

Mouthfeel: Medium, with some great carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.5%, there is just the slightest hint of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: Damn excellent American version of an Oktoberfest beer! Great balance between the malt, the sweet and the hops. Definitely getting a six-pack of this beer every fall (977 characters)

Photo of keithmurray
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - clear amber color with beige head

Smell - caramel, toffee, toasted nuts

Taste - caramel sweetness, toffee, toasted nuts

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, sweet upfront, hop bitterness at the back end,crisp, flavor lingers for a bit

Overall - this is a solid beer that I would gladly revisit, holds its own against its German counterparts

Price point - $8.99/6 pk (393 characters)

Photo of alphagnome
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance:
Poured a translucent, rich bronze color body. Fine sediment is visible. Thick, white head leaves nice lacing as it slowly withers away. Light carbonation.

Aroma:
Honestly, not a lot going on here.. and that's not a bad thing! Nice, rich caramel malt provides most of the nose. A bit of nutmeg. The occasional banana. Crisp.

Taste:
Delicious! Thick malt provides a sweetness that is almost too much. ALMOST. Caramel notes are present but light for the style. Hints of pecan, maple and apricot liven the party up and add a nice complexity. Sweetness transitions into a light bitter bite. Finish has an oak quality to it with a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel:
Smooth as they come. Medium body. Light carbonation levels. Alcohol is noticeable and the finish is semi-dry.

Overall:
Possibly the most enjoyable example of the style I've had to date! Refreshing and easy to drink. Plenty of complexity and character. Grab it if you see it - I know I will be travelling to bordering states to get my hands on this one next year! (1,031 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Light orange with a thin head that hurriedly disappears
S: Roasted malt, subtle spice, caramel and just a hint of hops
T: Matches the nose with roasted grain, caramel, spice, hops
M: Light but crisp and refreshing
O: Very enjoyable (271 characters)

Photo of Jacobob10
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep amber in color with a solid white head and a fair amount of lacing on the glass. Clear body. Bread and toasted malt aroma. Light floral noble hops. Medium bodied with good carbonation. A great and slightly unique example of the style. One of the best American-made Oktoberfest beers I have had to date. This was my first Great Lakes beer and I will certainly be trying others. Glad they are now being distributed in NJ. (424 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
4.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a SA Perfect Pint glass

A: Amber, opaque, with a tan half-finger head that dissipates to foamy bubbles. Great lacing.

S: Floral, malty. Cinnamon and spices. A little pumpkin, too.

T: Robust, malty, hearty, sweet. Grainy. Now this is the way an o-fest should taste!

M: Medium to high. Hefty carbonation. Really full and thick.

O: An excellent Oktoberfest. Great with a grilled cheese sandwich. (409 characters)

Photo of matjack85
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I tried this at Quencher's Saloon in Chicago. $5 for a 12oz bottle served in a pint glass.

The beer poured a crystal clear red/copper/amber color with a big 3-finger white head that lasted awhile and left some tremendous lacing.

Pleasant bready malt smell with some aromatic hops and spices in the background.

This is a spicy Oktoberfest. Plenty of bready malt and traditional caramel sweetness, but this one also has a mild hop bite to it along with a pronounced spiciness. It's very good.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

I like what they did with this one. (571 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Worked the polls yesterday for the special election and went out afterwards to the Cloverleaf. First time in ages I wet there for any food or drink and along with the lam burger that I had, this was recommended as a beer pairing with it. I've had more than my fair share of Fall beers, Octoberfests, and Marzens so I didn't have the highest of expectations for this. Thankfully, I was proven wrong and this was pretty hard to pace myself through before my food came out!

Nice copper hue to this with a pretty radiant clarity, good head, and rings of lacing that held their own after each sip. Not a strong aroma to this but there was enough malt, cream, and caramel to be found here with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg in the taste to reinforce those notes. Not too strong and certainly not spicy - it almost reminded me of a lighter Pumpkin Ale. This wasn't heavy and there was just enough of a cloying aspect in the aftertaste to keep it lingering without feeling sticky.

The alcohol was good too and although I only had one, it would be quite easy to have more than a few in a sitting. It's not easy to find an Octoberfest that isn't watered-down, generic, spicy, or chewy but this straddled all of those while having just enough to it to stand out. Even if there isn't any food around to pair it with, this is worth seeking out and enjoying on its own. (1,359 characters)

Photo of maxcoinage
3.89/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter with a few cm head that dissapated rather quickly. Color is a dark amber with slight orange hue.

Aroma - caramel malts, toffee

Taste - nice sweet malt backbone balanced with a bit of spicy hops, bit of caramel. easy finish

Mouthfeel - Smooth medium body and carbonation

Overall - great interpretation of the style, nothing like enjoying one on a nice fall evening (406 characters)

Photo of dacrza1
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

DATE TASTED: September 13, 2013 ... GLASSWARE: Ayinger willibecker... OCCASION: first full week of school is done--and the power's back in our house...APPEARANCE: upward cascading bubbles uphold a thick, foam-laden off-white head; orange amber body conveys an Oktoberfest with nice tracings... AROMA: beautiful caramel malts; some flowery hops add balance; grassy undertones add to its earthy aroma...PALATE: mellow, medium-bodied and pleasantly drinkable; balanced between tongue and tooth...TASTE: sweet, buttery caramel and sugary/salty enough to force of a lick of the lips; a winning sweetness that makes this style rewarding... OVERALL: clean, crisp and fulfilling--an Oktoberfest can do little more to impress; outstanding may be a stretch, but the sum of its parts suggests this appellation... (801 characters)

Photo of Jonada
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Best before 11/9/2013. Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Copper orange color with less than a finger of a white head that dissipates quickly to a thin collar. Body is relatively clear, however there is some fine suspended sediment visible.

Smell: Sweet malt, banana bread, a bit of earthy hops. Mild/medium strength aroma.

Taste: Malt sweetness, bread and bread crusts, with some subtle hints of caramel and apple.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and crisp. Medium prickly carbonation. High drinkability.

Overall: One of my favorite Oktoberfest beers. Its not super complex but it's still very tasty. (615 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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. (899 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle from the 2013 seasonal release. Poured into a Founders' snifter today, 10/2/2013.

Absolutely beautiful beer. Pours an clear burnt orange-amber hue, with a 1cm white head that quickly dissipates. Some lacing. I just want to keep looking at this beer in the light, it illuminates extremely well.

Smells pretty straightforward. Super malty, lots of toffee candy and bread right here. A little bit of noble hops, making for an earthy hoppiness. Decent nose, not super pungent but you know what, that is okay.

I am digging the flavour. It is very bready in terms of maltiness with a very nice earthy bitterness accompanying it. There is also a little bit of that lager yeast spice which somehow complements everything very well. Very balanced, full of flavour here.

This is actually a thicker bodied beer for the Marzen style. I am really digging it and its perfect carbonation. Very drinkable and smooth, refreshing. This mouthfeel captures the spirit of Oktoberfest quite well.

I'm a fan. This is probably my favorite Oktoberfest beer I've had so far. I've had a bunch, like Staghorn as well as the typical Munich brewers' takes- Hofbräu, Hacker, etc. and this holds up pretty well to the German examples. I'm guessing that this is as good as it gets in the USA. (1,277 characters)

Photo of schoolboy
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I usually avoid marzen so I was surprised when I actually like this one from our local boys. I was pretty sure that I had it before and it was OK, so it seemed like a nice change of pace and at about $1.50/bottle, it is pretty reasonable.

I like to think of this as a lager, like it says on the label. I think they nailed it as far as a rich appearance and great taste and aftertaste (which is really smooth). I feel a little like Dewey Cox on the aroma - I caint smell it. But I think I want me some of that.

They did the right balance on this. Although an experiment of a bigger version would be cool, it just wouldn't be so drinkable. I think during the Indians playoff game tomorrow I will drink several of these and see it they are as drinkable as it seems. (765 characters)

Photo of dancingnancie
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 OZ Bottle.

Very fresh as I live not too far from the brewery.

Very good lacing. Every time you take a sip you gather another ring around the glass.

The nose is very very malty. Along the lines of freshly baked bread. Pretty darn smooth, but I think the mouthfeel is a bit light. The bitterness of the hops is very nice in this brew. The hop bite lasts from start to finish. This is the first Oktoberfest I've ever had. This has got me really intrigued into the style. I plan to try more thanks to this brew!!

Try it for sure! (533 characters)

Photo of Maninthearena
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Red-amber, very appetizing color. Almost perfect head upon pour, thick yet crisp, maintained form and hugged the glass. Fairly translucent.

Nose- A rush of noble hops upon pouring. Some tannins and earthy qualities, woody.

Taste- Oh my, this is autumn in a glass. Caramel and then some. Malty and quite spicy. Very complex blend of herbal qualities, can't quite distinguish all of the individual flavors. Finish is a toasty maltiness that leaves you salivating. Layers of goodness. Just a wee bit of bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Crisp, smooth, mouth drying. More velvety than creamy due to how thick it is.

Overall- A charm to drink, there are so many Oktoberfests out there and this one stacks up in my opinion. A full-bodied flavor profile makes tasting this a pleasure. (782 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours an off white and slightly tan foam head that takes a while to dissipate. The beer itself is a beautiful clear copper with a slight orange note to it. The beer smell is sweet and caramel. The strong malt smell also gives off a slight honey scent. The beer taste is similar to the smell. Strong caramel notes with a side of honey, but also has a slight hoppy twist at the end of it, which is pretty good. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and with very little carbonation. The beer finishes a bit smooth and viscous like honey. Overall, a very good Oktoberfest and one worth getting when available. (608 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Clear light copper, lots of carbonation visible. The short-lived head was very cool; not a uniform color but instead looked caramelized in places, as if a blowtorch had been applied like a creme brulee.

S: Malt with a candy sweetness, some alcohol present as well. I think I even smell faint bananas...

T: Good layered malts, with a very enjoyable amount of sweetness. Carries a bit of a toast flavor as well, some funk present. Finish is just about as long as I care for it to be.

M: Smooth, somewhat mouth-drying.

O: A great autumn beer, the flavor profile and artwork will get you in the mood for October and the beers that come along with it. Recommended if you're looking for an Octoberfest brew. (708 characters)

Photo of drpimento
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pretty good stuff, meng. Served too cold, with a smallish, cream-colored head and good lacing. Aroma was almost nonexistent probably due to my low ability to smell, so all I can do is give benefit of the doubt. Color is a clear copper amber. Flavor's very nice and to me, so important for an Oktoberfest, not too sweet. It is malty, bread, cracker, some tang, hint of bitter, roast, and dry. Body/carbonation excellent esp. considering temperature. Finish is like flavor, average length, very easy drinking. Solid beer. (519 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.74/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Combination of original review, updated review on tap 8/12/2014, and fresh bottle 8/2015. I feel the 2015 review to be most accurate with another year on me reviewing beers. Also, it is my thought of the current version, with any changes in the beer since my first review:

Edit 2015: this beer is a little more golden than amber, with appearing more orangish than amber in this pour. Head is average, sustaining, and does provide lacing, so not sure about previous reviews.
Original: Pours a clear amber, with not much head, retention, or lacing.

Edit 2015: Bready notes, but a lightly spiced bread, maybe even a raisin bread. The non-bread notes I am getting are light and combined well, but I am getting impressions of cinnamon, white raisin, and maybe even the lightest whiff of lemon.
Original: Slightly woody maltiness with a hint, ever so slight, of toffee and a British ale yeast undercurrent.

Edit 2015: One area where my original review isn't far off. The malt is in the forefront, but it isn't sweet by any means. I would now describe it more like I did the smell, like a light breakfast bread, with some cinnamon spice, light amount of sweetness, and a little fruity tart bite. Feel wasn't as impressive as I mentioned before, being a bit lighter than I previously mentioned, but still nicely smooth.
Original: The taste is very smooth, if unexciting (not that I expect exciting from an Oktoberfest). This beer I think fits the standard for Oktoberfests, perhaps a little less spice notes and a little more bitterness. The body on this is what most impressed me, medium heavy; maybe I am mistaken body for a bit of complexity. I get malt cinnamon and toffee beginning, a slightly metallic bitterness in the middle, and a lingering woody bitterness in the end.

2014 edit (stand by this 2015 review, although up another tenth a point this year):
Overall, a very drinkable beer. Smoother than the Oktoberfest I had just before it (original review), which I appreciated. I have most likely under-rated this for the style (re-review I fixed this to some degree), but it was a bit stronger in flavor than the Hofbrau I had after, if not quite as smooth. (2,173 characters)

Photo of Benish
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - light amber color; about an inch thick white head

Smell - plenty of sweet malt and a faint of citrus - primarily oranges

Taste - intense sweet malt from start to finish with just a touch of bitterness at the very end. There were also subtle hints of rye. As the beer went from cold to room temperature, the malty flavor remained rich. While each sip was fulfilling, you just had to take another sip after another. The sweetness was impressive; it was sort of a bit one dimensional yet it's aggressive. This has a heck of a lot of malt.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied mouthfeel. Perfectly carbonated.

Overall - this beer is outstanding. The flavors are robust, it doesn't disappoint. If you like beers with heavy malt, this is the one to try. This is the best Oktoberfest I have tried so far. (805 characters)

Photo of rwrk42
4.61/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: A dark copper red with a slight bit of head on the pour.

Smell: Sweet malt with very little hops aroma. Typical Oktoberfest aroma

Taste: A good malty taste. Extremely smooth. Slight caramel taste and a bit bitter finish from the alcohol content. Bitter in a good way as it goes well with the overall taste. Low carbonation and very east to drink

Overall: An extremely good Oktoberfest. Probably one of the best I have ever had. Would highly recommend to anyone. (476 characters)

Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 556 ratings.