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Great Lakes Cleveland Brown Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Cleveland Brown AleGreat Lakes Cleveland Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

70 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 70
Reviews: 21
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 15.42%
Wants: 41
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-01-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 | Reviews: 21 | Display Reviews Only:
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5/5  rDev +28.5%

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4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

philhite, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of cokes
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unretired, brewpub only special, the new version clock in at 6% ABV.

Amber-glinting brown with a tight ecru foam.
The nose is modest, exuding cocoa, burnt toast, roast, and vague pine traces.
Tastewise, it strikes that delicate Brown Ale toasty/roasty balance between dusty coca powder, burnt grain, and carob. There are sweeter elements here too, more persuasively a trickling hazelnut sweetness and a flash or two of dates. The close strikes another balance between the more acute hoppiness of pine, and a staying herbal dryness.
Medium bodied, with a subdued CO2 level. It teeters towards the filling side for the style, but remains a quaffer.
Exactly what I'd expect a Brown Ale from GLBC would be like, this is an Edmund Fitzgerald for the style...classy and classic.

cokes, Sep 14, 2007
Photo of mentor
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thin layer of tan head over a clear and light brown-orange liquid. Smells chocolate nutty and a bit of fuggles hop aroma. Vanilla, toffee, and just a touch of a sour darker grain. Really quite nice.

Tastes wonderful. Wow, what a brown ale. Chocolate and nut with a nugget creamy character. Woody hop character, not as floral aromatic as I was expecting in flavor, based on the nose. End is dry with some sourish dark grain contribution. Carbonation is a bit too strong, as it cleans the palette and leaves a sting on the tastebuds. Hanging sweet in aftertaste with a bit of rising pine and clean alcohol. Md body and too strong of a carbonation. Creamy thickness to the mouthfeel that helps the beer.

mentor, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the brewpub gift shop in September, prior to Beer School. Cleveland Brown Ale has been brewed each autumn since 1988, but this is the first year (that I'm aware of) that it's been available in bombers. In order to avoid the fairly obvious association with the Cleveland Browns football team (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), the label features a happy looking bulldog who appears to be licking his lips. He must have just slurped down a Great Lakes beer.

Bright rust orange (darker than the helmets) with perfect clarity. Due to a minimal escape of CO2 on crown cracking, I gave the beer a spirited pour and was rewarded with two fingers of pale almond suffused with orange juice. The dense, bubbly foam is persisting nicely and is beginning to deposit thick sheets of clingy lace.

The nose is classic for the style (whether English brown or American brown, I couldn't say). In addition to well-toasted pecans and cocoa powder, there's an earthiness that makes me think Munich malt is in the house. Hops aren't jumping out of the glass by any means.

Leave it to Great Lakes to brew one of the top few brown ales that I've ever had the pleasure to consume. A quick run through my memory banks tells me that it's somewhere around fourth all-time, behind Surly Bender, DFH Indian Brown and Bell's Best Brown. That's mighty fine company, indeed.

I have no idea why the brewery says that CBA 'is best served at 45 degrees'. At the moment, it's at least 10 degrees higher than that and is improving noticeably with passing each minute, each passing ounce, each passing degree. I love the way the flavor profile is expanding in every direction to uncover flavors that weren't present in the first few mouthfuls.

Sweet and bitter are in perfect balance... if you're a hophead. The hop resins are cumulative and are threatening to become the defining ingredient as I get deeper into the bomber. The remainder of the surprisingly complex flavor profile consists of sugar-crusted chocolate wafers, pumpernickel toast, oven-roasted pecans, black pepper, grapefruit pith and pine needles. I might have to rethink those brown ale rankings and put this gorgeous ale up to second, just behind Bender.

With the wizards at Great Lakes at the controls, how could the mouthfeel be anything other than stupendous? Although it's far from big and is only marginally chewy, it's so incredibly smooth and summer-weight silky that I find myself looking forward to the next mouthful as much for the mouthfeel as for the flavor. The 'eye of the storm' carbonation is pretty close to perfect.

I try not to regret anything in life, but I regret not having brought home a few more bottles of this delicious ale when I had the chance. The $10 price tag had a lot to do with my decision. To be truthful, I wasn't sure that it could live up to the excellence of the rest of the GL lineup. What the hell was I thinking? Cleveland Brown Ale is a smashing success and easily deserves to be a year-round offering. In six-packs please.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 04, 2007
Photo of Jason
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz brown with a drink before date clearly marked.

Appearance: Dark brownish amber with a frothy mass of off white lace hovering on top.

Smell: Dark toasted bread ... hint of coffee also.

Taste: Medium to full in body with soft and smooth mouth feel. A bready malt sweetness flows all the way through ... though it gets slowly cut by the roasted / toasted malts and hops. The toasted biscuit malt seems to be dominant and a chocolate flavour comes forth as well as a pinch of sweet oily hop flavour and a ghost like fruitiness. The after taste has a faded yet lingering hop bitterness with a toasted / roasted flavour. A slight warming alcohol is felt about half way down the glass.

Notes: A yummy brown that Great Lakes a given birth to ... a proud beer to have in their seasonal (fall) line up. A real pleasure to drink.

Jason, Apr 01, 2002
Photo of neenerzig
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a very limited edition bomber at the GLBC last week. They are $10.00 a pop and according the the GLBC website there are still some available in the gift shop at the time of this writing. Poured into my pint glass. I drank this on September 30th as a toast to Michael Jackson. Anyways this beer pours a clear deep reddish amber brown color. White head is about 1/4 inch when poured before quickly settling to a decent sized surface layer with some good lace. Smoky, malty aromas are present along with some roasted nuttiness. Hints of cocoa and coffee are also present in the nose. Flavors of sweet, roasted malt and nuttiness are present along with a hint of chocolate Also some bitter hop undertones here. A simple, yet complex flavor. Has a crisp and smooth, full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to high carbonation. Easy to drink in the way well crafted beer should be.

Eric

neenerzig, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of jsprain1
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

jsprain1, Dec 17, 2012
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4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

muraco3, Mar 08, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

whitenads, May 05, 2014
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4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Extrajoker00, Nov 25, 2012
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4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Bluerabbitbell, Feb 18, 2013
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4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

nrbw23, Jul 13, 2013
Photo of asafarc2
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

asafarc2, Dec 28, 2012
Photo of TheBrewo
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew was served from the tap at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY. It arrived in a generic pint glass glowing a golden, reddish amber. It held a one and a half finger head of creamy, tan bubbles, leaving thick and spidery lacing as it receded at a medium pace. A chill haze was noted, but no sediment was seen. Carbonation appeared average. The aroma gave faint booze, red cherry sweetness, caramel roast, dried strawberry sugars, and faint resiny hops. Mineral and muddiness came to the malts as the drink warmed. Our first impression was that the flavoring was rich with caramel sweetness and roast to the malts, and the entire sip was very malt forward. The flavoring opened with caramel and roasted barley. The hops also came quickly, with greenness, and under ripe tree-like bitterness and oiliness. The middle peaked with an enhanced roast of those bready, caramel malts. Yeast and sweeter flashes of cooked caramel sugars mixed in, with a light buttery quality pulling us to the finish. The end was more bittering, with raw walnuts, salt, roast, fusel ethanol, and light phenolic plastic. Again, there were flashes of cloying caramel roast. The aftertaste breathed of light metallics, boozy punch, bready yeast, pumpernickel, sweet caramel, and earthy, oily hops. The body was medium, and the carbonation was medium. There was full, creamy slurp and smack, with nice froth and glug. The mouth was coated with oily slickness and foam, leaving things wet. No real dryness was palpated. The abv was appropriate, and this beer drinks way easy.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the flavoring. There was such a rich maltiness throughout, with the heartiness of bread and yeast to back it up. There was also a surprising level of oily, green hoppiness for balance and bittering. The nose is comparatively light, but improves with warmth. The aforementioned heartiness lends to great drinkability, and this beer disappears before you know it. This is a great brown ale, and will suit you across any season or occasion.

TheBrewo, Dec 03, 2012
Photo of TheViolator666
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on-tap in the basement of the Great Lakes brew pub. Poured into pint glass.

Notes taken from cellphone.

Probably more of an American Brown Ale due to the high amount of hops.
The tap list had this listed as 6.0% ABV.

A: Dark Brown body with a soap-bubbly white head. The head had a little less than two fingers depth. Left some nice, delicate lacing that layers after each sip.

S: Smelled very hoppy first off, followed by biscuity, bready and sweet malts. Maybe a touch of roastedness.

T: Again, immediately hit with the musty and earthy hops. The hops are then balanced by nutty and toasted malts that leave the mouth slightly sweet. The hops linger in the aftertaste.

M/D: This beer is surprisingly quite filling and pretty heavy. Medium carbonation and leaves a creamy feeling going down. Highly drinkable.

I've been wanting to try this beer for about a year now, not only because I love Brown Ales, but I'm also a big fan of the Cleveland Browns. So, needless to say, I was thrilled when I heard they brewed another batch. Hopefully they'll bottle it again!

TheViolator666, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of buschbeer
4/5  rDev +2.8%

buschbeer, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Tyrawlings, Feb 11, 2012
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Great Lakes Cleveland Brown Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.