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Great Lakes Oktoberfest | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

597 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: 597 | Ratings: 2,124
Photo of Boto
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Draught @ Headkeeper: This one pours a clear, lighter amber color. There was a small off white head that left little lacing. Decent aroma. A bit of toasted malts. Possible some earthy hops also. No noticeable sweetness. The taste is decent. Toasted malts and slight biscuit notes. It has just a hint of bitterness and is very smooth. Nice!

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

This brew was served from the bottle at The Brick Oven Bistro in Sandusky, Ohio. We poured into a set of half-sized house snifters, revealing a ruddy amber coloring to the brew. It held a half finger tall head of creamy white bubbles, showing nice retention. Wet, etched lacing was left around the glasses. A mild haze cut clarity, with no sediment noted. Carbonation appeared to be active. The aroma boasted bitter skunk spray sourness, eucalyptus and menthol plant resins, dusty pollen florals, plastic and Magic Marker phenols, basement mustiness, soured wheat and crystal maltiness, big coiny metallics, canned creamed corn, gravel sweaty dog fur saltiness, and warmed pumpernickel breadiness. The taste offered honey and white sugar sweetness atop a base of plastic foaminess, brown, crystal, and toasty brown German malts, dense banan esters, pumpkin seed and nutmeg spice, black pepper booze, orange peel citrus, light grassy hoppiness, bitter brown autumn leaf crunch, toasty honey, salt lick, and biscuity, savory butters. The body was medium, and the carbonation was medium. Each sip gave nice cream and froth, slurp and smack, and pop and glug, with the mouth left coated, warmed, and eventually lightly dried with tannic astringency. The abv was appropriate, and the beer glugged back easily.

Overall, this was again, a great suggestion from the bartender at this establishment. We are typically always on top of what we want to order from our beer spots, almost always before we even get there, but we were being so indecisive, so decided to go with this proposed offering, however widely available it is. Again, we were not disappointed. This is your quintessential southern German Oktoberfestbier. The flavoring was beautifully balanced to a crisp malty push, although we did find a lacking of even the mildest hops, making for a highly sippable and enjoyable beverage to relax with. This beer fits well with the change in the season to colder weather, and should satisfy the palate of any novice or expert alike.

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Photo of BrewThru_29
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

I dont review many beers, but this one was worthy.

Appearance: Gorgeous crystal clear fall amber with a nice head.

Smell: Sweet malt. Really not a ton going on here.

Taste: This is where the beer stands out. Hands down the best balance and flavor I've experienced in an Oktoberfest. Phenomenal. Sweet malts are near perfectly balanced against the hop profile. So drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Easy to take down a few without feeling full.

Overall: Best O'fest I've tried. Get you some!

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.59/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

pours such a lively dark copper beer with a thin but existent head. carbonation is noticeable.

smells exactly like i remember. not overly strong but definitely there. starts off like a euro pale lager/pilsner but more malty and roasted.

taste is fantastic, my favorite marzen/oktoberfest. i can taste pumpkin but only at the very end, thankfully because i prefer marzen/oktoberfest lagers to pumpkin ales by a wide margin (off topic but just sayin). hard to describe, bready and sweet yet not thick or thin.

this goes down so smooth, i think it has to do with the lively carbonation. it's not overly thick or thin but just very solid.

my favorite oktoberfest, so glad i picked up a case of it today! was waiting for it since last year. one of my favorite lagers ever.

if i could describe this simply it would be: a hardy and substantial lager. Go Bucks

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to whitenads for sending me this one.

Enjoy by: 10/15/14.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, toast, earth, caramel, and slight nut aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, toast, nut, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of malt and earth forward characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Samp01
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a crystal clear copper amber with an lasting off white head. very light lacing. Aroma and taste of toasted grains, barley, malt with mild bitterness. A full flavored brew with a smooth medium body, good carbonation on the palate. Finishes with toasted grains and some moderate caramel malt comes thru as it warms up balanced with some light hops bitterness, ending has a lingering nutty flavor. Overall a very good and flavorful brew.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.52/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, enjoy by 11/05/14. I had this one time about 5 years ago and wasn't crazy over it (3/5), but I keep hearing about it this fall as being one of the best American brewed Oktoberfest beers, so I had to retry it...
A 4 - amber/copper colored body with amazing clarity, ivory head holds decent retention eventually fading to a thin foam
S 3.75 - sweet caramel and toffee, toasted grain, spicy & grassy noble hops
T 3.25 - very sweet up front with caramel, brown sugar, toffee, toasty grain followed by a decent kick of noble hops providing some earthiness, grass, and spice; sweetness prevails
M 3.75 - medium body, moderate carbonation, finishes sweet with a spicy, peppery prickle on the tongue
O 3.5 - a little better than I remember. But I still find it to be overly sweet, which takes away from being able to drink more than one at a time - a quality I feel is necessary for the style. It's ABV of 6.5% also keeps it from being sessionable. I'll pass on this and go with others for Oktoberfests in the future.

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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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Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 597 ratings.