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Rackhouse Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Rackhouse Ale
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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

60 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 60
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 11
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: TurdFurgison on 10-27-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 60 | Reviews: 36 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beercanman
5/5  rDev +20.5%

beercanman, Apr 07, 2013
Photo of SacoDeToro
4.78/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cask conditioned and on tap at the GABF.

The beer had a nice medium amber color with a small off-white head.

The beer was billed by Great Lakes as an American strong ale aged in bourbon barrels.

This beer had and outstanding and truly unique aroma. It was like a fresh whiff of sweet bourbon with notes of maple, vanilla, and malt in the background. No hops on the nose.

The flavor of the beer followed suit of the aroma. A rich caramel maltiness was mingled with a predominant bourbon flavor. The beer transitioned between flavors of malt, vanilla, maple, and bourbon with aplomb. The were a very slight amount of hops to prevent things from getting too sweet although the beer seemed perfectly attenuated. The beer was advertised as 9.5% abv with a scant 12 IBUs.

The carbonation was fine and tight. The mouthfeel was delicately creamy, which further added to the tremendous balance of complimentary flavors.

This beer was truly unique and outstanding. I'd never had a bourbon barrel aged beer until this and I'll never forget it. As an avid fan of bourbon brands like A.H. Hirsch and Van Winkle, this beer had some of the finest and purest bourbon accents.

SacoDeToro, Oct 05, 2006
Photo of nuttyviking
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At Great Lakes Brewing, had a small shot of this amazing brew. So much bought a growler to take home to CT to share with my friends in Willimantic.

This strong ale at 9.5 or 10.0 or whatever is a mean brew, heat ensues in the body immediately after drinking. This is an alcohol bomb, but with tons of flavor and character.

Carbonation, none really

Head, slight to none

Nose, major aroma to this brew, so full of character, the bourbon aroma hits you and yet the malts and grains are very apparent.

Flavor is so subtle, after the nose you expect to be hit by booze, but no, an amazingly light rich character, plenty of depth, rolls across the tongue warming as it goes. The aftertaste is wonderful, a rich coat in your throat.

I guess they know how to cask age a beer in Cleveland.

nuttyviking, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of MattPfeifer
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

MattPfeifer, Aug 21, 2013
Photo of MichaelJones
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

MichaelJones, Feb 25, 2014
Photo of adamette
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served into a snifter from tap at the brewery by Steve, day bartender at GLBC. This is the beer that replaced BA Blackout Stout once it was finished. I have waited about three weeks to taste it since I was not able to attend the release party in which it was first served. From the sign hanging on the bar..."Sweet Strong Ale aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels." 10.0% ABV also listed on the same sign at the bar.

A Opaque medium brown body under a nice light brown creamy head. Lacing is like a curtain on the inside of the snifter. Interesting, deep, inviting look. 4.5

S The bourbon is in the forefront for sure. Some malt sweetness is able to be smelled as well. The beer is devoid of any hops smell to my nose. 4.5

T Light roast malt lays the groundwork for this bourbon bomb of a beer. No hops tasted by me but I am quite sure that they are in there. Expertly brewed and one of GLBC's best. 5.0

M Nice and syrupy, sticky, just like I like this style to be. Make no mistake, this is one huge beer with the bourbon notes, the big malt presence and the alcohol content which would have been hidden well aside from the huge dose of bourbon! 5.0

D Certainly every drop of this will be savored and enjoyed but it is a sipper, meant to be enjoyed one per night. I will still rate it as "good" though due to its wonderful depth, complexity, interest making is such that I will drink every drop! 4.0

adamette, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of phattysbox
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brought a growler of this fine brew to a tasting in NYC... Split and shared among friends.

Growler was opened with a slow hiss - this beer was not carbonated very strongly when it was filled, but it maintained what carbonation it had very well. Poured into Unibroue tulip glass and the color resembles that of a rose(wine) - reddish to orange and light in color. Very clear. Small 1/4 inch head that recedes leaving a very thin lace.

Smell is AMAZING. Bourbon soaked sweet fruit hits the nose with undertones of vanilla, toffee, and oak. Great nose that comes off kind of boozy but a great way. Some malt here and there but the barrel really comes out in the nose.

With the smell all Bourbon I was really expecting a bourbon bomb but it was pleasantly subdued in the taste. Sweet candy fruit with a strong malt backbone. Caramel, raisins soaked in bourbon, and grainy huskiness in the aftertaste. Really complex and ABV is really not noticable.

Mouthfeel is average meduim body. Doesn't quite coat the tongue but definitely leaves its mark. Low carb. served this beer well.

Dangerous drinkability and not as sweet as I expected from other malt bombs that are out there. Well crafted and an outstanding brew.

phattysbox, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of vrbulldog22
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

vrbulldog22, Jun 03, 2012
Photo of pathman
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

pathman, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of throwback
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

throwback, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of scott2269
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

scott2269, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of greg4579
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

greg4579, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of AlphaKingKegger
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

AlphaKingKegger, Apr 15, 2013
Photo of drgonzo3705
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'd like to Thank myself for cracking this one open. I truly am generous beyond all belief. From Mr. Stewarts noggin:

A: Beautiful deep amber color with a light head with thin ring around the edge.

S: Woody sweet vanilla bourbony goodness. Enough said.

T: Vanilla and wood smack your palate as a pleasant sweetness rides underneath.

M: Medium body with just enough carbonation to keep me happy.

D: I still have to finish this growler, and I'm definitely not dreading it. I'm glad this is a once a year pub exclusive because I think it makes it that much better.

drgonzo3705, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of kels
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a golden apricot shade. It is moderately cloudy, with light carbonation visible throughout. A good, solid ring of white, watery lacing skims the top of the beer and leaves behind light spots of lace on the walls of the glass.

Aroma is really complex and pleasantly mouthwatering. It is a little tart and almost wine-like with hints of grapes and herbs and a slight pungency that reminds me of tannins. There is a lightly toasted malt presence along with warm, earthy oak.

Taste echoes the aroma. It is slightly tart, slightly bitter and heavy on the alcohol. The fruity sweetness of tart, chewy cherries or apricots underlies a toasty, oaky grain and slight hop presence. There's an initial stickiness that fades with the heat of the alcohol to a dry warmth. The weight is moderate with a brightly carbonated finish.

This beer is incredibly drinkable, to a fault. It is really tasty and unique, and it goes down much too easily.

kels, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of PenguinBeerFan
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Oily brown. Thick and syrupy with tight lacing. Very little head.

S - Atomic malt bomb, with a little bit of oak behind it. A little boozy smelly. Nothing outstanding, certainly nothing offensive.

T - Sweet, sweet, sweet. The oak aging manages to mellow it out just enough that it isn't sickly. This is a malt lovers dream.

M - Dense, syrupy, thick and luscious.

D - For 9.5% ABV (I'd wager it stronger than as listed which seems to be the case for GLBC's pub exclusives) this goes down easy. With as much malt as this brings to the table I'd expect it to get sickly after one or two, but the flavors from the barrel really bring this one full circle into something I can tear at to my hearts content.

PenguinBeerFan, Nov 21, 2010
Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a dark amber color and a modest head that, nevertheless, laces the chalice

Smell: Bourbon and a bit of caramel

Taste: Starts with a sweet caramel flavor that builds in intensity and then, whoosh, the bourbon arrives at mid-palate and provides an oaky bourbon-filled sweet finish

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation; some warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Very subtly handled; just enough bourbon to make things interesting but you can still taste the beer

brentk56, Dec 12, 2007
Photo of sholland119
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to unclejedi for sending this one along!

A-Pours a cloudy pale brown amber, almost like iced tea. Not much head or lacing.

S-Bourbon, oak, white grapes and pineapple. Very nicely woody and sweet.

T-Much like the nose, the sweetness and wood dominate. Lots of white grape, mild citrus and pineapple with a bit of boozy warmth.

M-Medium bodied and lightly syrupy.

D-Very nice. This one slides right down and leaves me ready for another.

HV

sholland119, Oct 28, 2009
Photo of treyrab
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We got really lucky with this one. As we had lunch at Bocktown we were greeted by a Great Lakes Brewery Representative who provided us samples of three of their beers. They had told us that later that night Rackhouse would be on tap at Fatheads. With only a 1/6 barrel being tapped, we raced down to get a glass.

A: Poured into a snifter all the way to the rim, yielding no head. You could see a few bubbles of white/eggshell color, but nothing substantial. Perfectly clear mahogany and ruby red hues. Some amber and brick colors as well.

S: When cold, the only thing that could be made of the smell was bourbon and vanilla from the barrel aging. Albeit, that element is minot. Not a bourbon bomb at all, but very smooth and balanced. As it warms, the beer really shines. Vanilla, bourbon, rum-soaked dates and raisins, toffee, and brown sugar. Again, subtle and not overpowering, but well blended.

T: Similar to the smell, this got exponentially better as it warmed. The beer was complex, but in a subtle way. Not as powerful as some bourbon aged beers, but definitely more balanced and well blended. Nice rum-soaked dark fruits, vanilla and bourbon, chocolate, and toffee.

M/D: Nice and creamy. I drank two glasses with no problem. Could have enjoued a third or fourth as well.

treyrab, Oct 03, 2010
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - while enjoying the bread pudding, my server gave me a shot of this. In the tiny glass it looked fairly golden but now, in the 10-ounce goblet, it has a decidely reddish burgundy cast to it. Just a thin collar of light tan foam.

Aroma - loads of whiskey notes with a sweet fruity bend. Not much else but I ain't complaining!

Taste - the strong ale presents itself as sweet and grainy, malt liquor-ish. The fruitiness from the nose is here as well. While that is pretty good by itself, the oak barrels add a good complementary dimension. Smoky, charred flavor from the depths of the oak, peaty and a bit hot. If they would bottle this, what could *this* develop into after a few years of cellaring? The finish is warm and whiskey.

Mouthfeel - a little heavier than average. Restrained carbonation, let's the flavor come through unhindered.

Drinkability - takes a little adjusting, but smooth (and potent) sailing after that.

brewdlyhooked13, Feb 16, 2008
Photo of rhinos00
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Great Lakes Brewery...served in a snifter.

A- Clear amber in appearance. Off-white head formed at the top and then reduced to a ring as the beer was consumed.

S- Strong smell of bourbon with a subtle hint of sweet caramel on the finish.

T- The sweetness really took me by surprise, I loved it. Upfront the sweet caramel hits the palate and settles in, then the bourbon flavor just wipes it out for a nice strong finish.

M- Smooth with some carbonation. Had a medium bodied consistency.

D- This is definitely a sipper. At 10.5% ABV is was still really drinkable, but just slowly.

Overall, very happy I got to try this on-tap. Really stood out as for as bourbon flavored beers go because of the unique sweetness that accompanied it. Highly recommended for those that enjoy bourbon barrel aged beers.

rhinos00, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

BuckeyeSlim, Apr 21, 2012
Photo of SpartyJoe
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

SpartyJoe, Feb 01, 2014
Photo of neenerzig
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this at the GLBC last night as it is another of their on-tap "pub exclusives." Served in a snifter. This beer is a a deep mahogany color. Very little head and lace from the get go on mine and my buddy's. Strong malty and fruity aromas are present as well as the oaked bourbon as the beer is aged in oak bourbon barrels. Sweet malty flavors and dark fruit such as cherry and perhaps plum are also present along with some caramel. The taste is rounded out the the bite that can only be present when a beer has been aged in oak bourbon barrels. I love it! Has a crisp, full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Much more drinkable that I would have anticipated given the high ABV. Another winner from Great lakes. I hope to drink this again before it is gone until next year.

Eric

neenerzig, Dec 03, 2007
Photo of Rasheedw30
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Rasheedw30, May 19, 2014
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Rackhouse Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 60 ratings.