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Great Lakes Oktoberfest - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes OktoberfestGreat Lakes Oktoberfest

Educational use only; do not reuse.

590 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 590
Hads: 2,097
Avg: 4
pDev: 23.25%
Wants: 228
Gots: 379 | 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: 590 | Hads: 2,097
Photo of JR88
5/5  rDev +25%

Amazing Beer/style, I just have to make a review of this one, one of the better ones from Great Lakes.

Very rich malty/slightly sweet /smell/taste/characteristic's yet the very light hoppy smooth tangy/zingy clean finish, just a great session-able beer imo. People that are giving this low ratings/saying its bad are ignorant....

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a bottle of Great Lakes Brewing Co.'s Oktoberfest last week for $1.69 at The Lager Mill. For some reason I've never had this beer before, but I've heard good things about it and I'm interested to see how it turns out, so lets see how it goes. Best by 11/06/14. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into my Oktoberfest stein.

A- The label looks nice and it goes well with the name, but I don't think it's too eye catching. It poured a pretty clear amber color that took on a slightly darker amber hue when held to the light with just about two fingers worth of chunky light tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice sticky and patchy lacing behind. This was a very nice looking beer and it's just how I expect a good Marzen to look.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart a bready, sweet malt, bread crust, light caramel and very light toffee like aromas with a light toasted aroma showing up in the background. Up next comes a fruity aroma that's similar to apple juice and it's followed by some clean lager yeast and just a little bit of grassy and earthy hop aromas. This beer had a good aroma that's just what I expect from the style.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the malts still being the first to show up and they impart the same malty aspect that I got in the aroma with no single aspect seeming to stick out the most. Up next comes that same apple juice like aspect, but this time it sticks out just a little more than it did in the aroma and it's followed by some of that clean lager yeast. on the finish there's just a slight bit of hops that I got in the aroma and they impart a low amount of bitterness with a nice toasted malt aftertaste. This was a good tasting Marzen and it was very similar to the German brewed ones.

M- Smooth, crisp, fairly clean, on the very light side of being medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was great and it's exactly how it should be.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and I thought it was a great example of a Marzen, instead of taking the bolder approach that most American brewery's do Great Lakes went very traditional with this one and they did a good job at showing what this style is all about, it might be hard to pick this one out among a few German examples of the style. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, crisp, fairly clean, not filling at all and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, I could drink more than a few of these especially if I was at a local Oktoberfest. What I liked the most about this beer was the mouthfeel and just how true to style it was, it embodied what a good Marzen is all about. What I like the least about this beer was nothing, there wasn't not a single thing that I disliked or that I thought was out of place. I would buy this beer again, so far it's the only American made Marzen that I've had this season that I would go back and get a six pack of and I would recommend this to anyone who likes the style or just sessionable malty beers in general. All in all I was impressed with this brew, Great Lakes took the path that not a lot of American brewery's take and in the end I think it really payed off from them and it resulted in one tasty brew. So far it's up there as one of the better beers I've had from this brewery and so far it's my favorite American made Marzen. Great job guys this, this was a very nice beer, keep up the hard work.

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Photo of jeneric84
5/5  rDev +25%

I don't write reviews often but this one deserves the rare moment. I look forward to Marzen style beers and this is hands down the best one in America (of those I tried). It represents the style so perfectly I had to give it a five. Great Lakes never seems to disappoint and I very much appreciate their attention to detail when brewing a certain style especially old world ones. Don't pass this one up. I'll be purchasing this annually.

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Photo of are_doubleyou
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a bright copper color, like a new penny. A vigorous pour results in a thin head that quickly dissipates. Very good, but I prefer my Märzens a bit darker and with more foam.

S: Hints of roastiness and caramel. A bit weak, but the notes are delightful.

T: The taste follows up on the aroma. It is very crisp as it hits the tongue with a rush of toasted caramel notes. The finish is dry with a light aftertaste of caramel.

F: The mouthfeel is rich and malty, but not thick like a porter or stout. It is also lightly carbonated. Spot on in my opinion.

O: This is a rock-solid Märzen. I don't like it as much as the German Märzens that I've had, but I can't think of an American example that I prefer to this one. A great beer for autumn weather and probably my top pick for Oktoberfest celebrations when the store doesn't have any German Märzens in stock.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

9/6....pours low foam but pure copper. Clean and fresh looking. All malt nose. Taste is a malt bomb, toffee, caramel, bread, with a nice hop in between. A touch sweet on my palate, have had stronger Marzens. But certainly good,.

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Photo of SaltofOH
4/5  rDev 0%

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a 1/4" thinnish head, frothy. Ample visible effervescence. Poor lacing, average to poor retention. (The bottle says good to 11/01, and this was reviewed on 8/29, so what gives?)

Aroma: Lagery. Very similar to the Dortmunder Gold, slightly sour/tart. Bready. Fresh loaf of Sunbeam bread with butter.

Taste: Clean, ever so slightly sweet arrival. Increasing sweetness across mid-palate.

Mouthfeel: Not highly carbonated by any measure, but more so than Dortmunder. Slick finish, but not cloying. Medium to medium-full bodied. Quite sweet on the finish, and sweetness lingers a bit.

Overall: As lagers go, this is a very "big" beer. When I started getting into craft beer, this was my hands-down favorite. The last two times I have had it, it was too sweet for me. Not cloying as I found Sam Adams (which has subsequently been less cloying) but very, very sweet.

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Photo of stewart124
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Copper in color with golden hues. Not too much lacing.

Bready aroma with some spice.

Medium bodied with chewy caramel goodness. Wonderful malt character and dry finish with a lingering maltiness. Some hay and grassy notes to go with the noble spice.

A lovely beer throughout. Easy to drink and the 6.5% is easy to overlook as this is just so good. I would have no problem putting back a few of these.

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Photo of Soneast
3.16/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice clear amber color, with a white frothy head.

Nose has a definite sulfur component followed by a rubbing alcohol presence. There are some toasted malt characters hidden behind all the yuck.

The taste follows suit with an upfront sulfur flavor followed by some graham cracker-like malt flavor and sweetish finish. A rubbing alcohol flavor brings up the rear.

Not sure if this year's release is particularly bad or what, my experience of this beer is a shadow of what everybody else seems to be tasting. Not many redeeming qualities.

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Photo of TooGood
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium Amber with one inch head and good lacing. Smell is quite spice laden with a little sweetness. Taste is similar to smell, a bit of spice up front and sweetness on the finish.

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Photo of OhioLimoncello
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%

simple and straight to the point. Not overdone, and well balanced. If you are looking to try a seasonal Oktoberfest offering, you can't go wrong picking this one!

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Photo of tillmac62
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%

BBD 10/30/14. Pours a clear amber with a nice dark ruby hue. Good head and retention, rich excellent lacing. Nice nose of malt - caramel, biscuit and a light spicy note. Medium body with a creamy texture. Normal carbonation with a bit of effervescence on the finish. Excellent flavor profile that is balanced and complex. It begins with a toasted biscuit character which flows into caramel over a subtle note of sweetness. The middle is slightly bitter with a very nice touch of spice. The finish is clean, slightly sweet, and a noble hop flavor lingers while the spice tickles the tongue. Great Lakes has nailed it, again.

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Photo of Bone53
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter at around 45°F

Appearance (4.5): Beautiful orange amber color with an attractive two finger head

Smell (4): Toasted caramel malts, toffee, banana bread, spiced hops

Taste (4): Toffee, caramel, spiced hops

Mouthfeel (4): Light yet full bodied for an Oktoberfest. Perfect carbonation and crisp bitterness

Overall: Not a fan of most Oktoberfests and only have a couple when in season. With that said, this is definitely one of the better ones iv had. Good quality at a good price. What Great Lakes does best!

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Photo of MarkQ617
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Had this on tap at the Village Anchor, my second review of a Great Lakes brew. Outstanding Oktoberfest, one of my favorites. Great molasses/maple/biscuit flavor, exactly how you'd want it. I feel like sometimes these kinds of beers get a little syrupy to hit this kind of flavor, but there's none of that here. The color here is a mix between orange and amber, darker than most, which is nice. Soft mouthfeel, good amount of head. Really good stuff.

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Photo of BethanyB
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Appearance: In the deep, orange gold clarity, a flurry of bubbles rush up toward a loose, off-white head. Beautiful color in terms of the body, but the flimsy head is rather lacking. 2/3

Aroma: The malt smell is strong and doughy, which is typical for the style. What is less desirable in an Oktoberfest, however, is the presence of sweet, buttery, and spicy scents. What is found here is definitely not the clean, all-malt scent one is looking for. 8/12

Taste: Good mix of malts. Buttered bread, grainy cracker, and even some spicy rye. Some inappropriate caramel and Saaz hop flavors sneak through, however, again creating a bigger beer than what is called for. 14/20

Mouthfeel: Chewy, smooth, medium bodied...in many ways, spot on for the style. Mild carbonation. Could be drier. 4/5

Overall: Some tasty elements, with noteworthy malt complexity. However, there is simply too much going on for an Oktoberfest here. A sweet booziness almost takes the beer into bock territory. And style appropriateness aside, the beer is just plain unbalanced. 7/10

TOTAL: 35/50

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Photo of Hawk221
3/5  rDev -25%

Update from 9/12/14:

Had this beer again, completely different this time and was better, I could taste the malt and the weird harsh bitterness was gone. I'm really not sure what happened when I reviewed it the 1st time? Bad bottle?

My review went from below average to good, probably very close to the German Oktoberfest beers. IMHO Paulaner's Marzen is the best for the style and Great Lakes Oktoberfest falls somewhere behind that.

Wow, what a disappointment..

I've had many Oktoberfest beers before and this one was the worst by far.

Looked great in my mug, but the harsh bitter aftertaste gave me a headache. I got no maltiness at all. I think something was wrong with this batch?

I switched to a Dogfish Head 60 min IPA afterwards and that seemed less bitter and easier to drink, I'm thinking I may have had a bad batch?

For being a 20 IBU beer it was way too bitter tasting.

The best by date was 11/05/14

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
2.5/5  rDev -37.5%

Yes balanced, but balanced nothingness. Too sweet. I have never differed so much with BA and bros opinions. The first Great Lakes beer I didn't particularly enjoy.

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Photo of kevanb
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%

12oz bottle, best before Nov, 2014, poured into a Great Lakes 25th Anniversary snifter.

The beer pours a clear amber color, hues of brown and orange with a thin, bubbly, bone colored head that has no retention and yields no lace. The aroma is spot on, rich caramel malt, brown brea d, lightly nutty, a touch of toffee and perhaps a nutmeg spice. The flavors mirror very well, caramel and munich malt, toasted nuts, light spice, noble hop bitterness, with sweet toffee at the finish. The mouthfeel is great, lively, carbonation is bubbly, coats very well, feels soft and finishes very lightly dry.

Verdict: A delicious example of the Märzen style from Great Lakes. Balanced, earthy, lightly sweet with mild bitterness, but more importantly, extremely refreshing.

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Photo of emyers
4/5  rDev 0%

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy orange color with a big 1.5 inch white head. Good head retention.

Smell: Big bready malt aroma with hints of caramel. Nice spicy hop presence throughout.

Taste: Similar to the smell with a strong bready/caramel malt presence. Good crisp noble hop profile. Excellent balance.

Mouthfeel: Very crisp and clean on the palate. Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall: As far as American-made Oktoberfests go, this is one of the best out there.

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Photo of beerdedking
5/5  rDev +25%

Draft pour into pint glass at Town Tavern, Duryea.

Easily the best American Okto I've had. Pours a lovely maroon with standard 1 finger head. It's perfectly balanced with no overwhelming characteristics.
It's hopped just right keeping the caramel in check, but certainly you wouldn't say this is hoppy. Great Lakes does their approachable beers so well, and this is another winner.

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Photo of Chiefy770
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%

Great Lakes Brewing Co.
“Enjoy By” date of 11/2/2014
Date Reviewed: 9.13.2014
Glass of Choice: Nonic Pint

Bottle Notes:
“A Handcrafted Amber Lager”

Golden-orange body with a slight amber tint. Respectable white foam head. Weak on the lacing.

Toasty malts. Sweet bread. Toasted grain. Spiced hops. A greater presence of spice than similar Oktoberfest brews.

Semi-sweet malts up front: Sweet bread, toasted nuts, and biscuits. Spicy hops even things out. This particular spice tastes similar to the spices commonly used in Winter Warmers or other holiday releases. Think pumpkin pie spices sans the pumpkin… cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc. This spice taste is VERY subtle but it is definitely something my tongue picked up. Crisp and clean. Medium-light body. Moderate carbonation.

This brew definitely lives somewhere in the top rankings of the Oktoberfest style for me. The spice really makes this beer stand out from other Märzens. Perfect companion for the young days of fall.

95 (A)

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Photo of mdfb79
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%

From 08/29/14 notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a somewhat clear bright orange-amber color with one inch of off white head and low carbonation evident. A lot of bready malts, grains, dough, toasted malts, burnt malts, caramel malts, some brown sugar. Some light fruity malts in the taste. Medium body and low to moderate carbonation.

Overall a decently good marzen. Not a ton going on bit easy to drink. Not my favorite but would try it again.

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Photo of Upstategmen
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Great beer. Great color. Great taste. Although I'm not sure if it's the best. As the 2014 Oktoberfests are introduced this is not my favorite. Time will tell

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.8/5  rDev -5%

Poured bottle into glass. 6.5% abv

Appearance- Light amber and semi clear. One finger head that dissipates.

Smell- Strong and sweet smell of caramel malts and that of fresh bread.

Taste- A fresh flavor of toasted bread drifts into the rich sweetness of caramel malt. Finishes clean and sharp.

Mouthfeel- Thin but lively and crisp.

Overall- A refreshing and good example of this Fall seasonal. A good offering by Great lakes.

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Photo of tigg924
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best examples of the style I have had. A great malty treat that has all of the typical characteristics of the style, but just makes them taste lively. Bready, fresh, and malty. I could definitely do a six of these.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.2/5  rDev +5%

Pours copper orange with perfect clarity and some lager bubbles wafting up to the top. Brilliant beer. Shines with fiery and golden hues. Creamy head of foam that lasts. Sweet malty nose. A bit of depth a drizzle of honey. Noble hops give the faint scent of fresh hay. Sweet biscuit. Taste is simply lovely. Smooth, crisp , sweet malt. Tantalizing with a faint bi t of honey. Small hop bit ion the back end. Perfect dryness and a light graham cracker. Faint grass in the last moments and this one is fantastic!

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Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 590 ratings.