Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Conway's Irish AleGreat Lakes Conway's Irish Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,338 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,338
Reviews: 483
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.61%
Wants: 60
Gots: 178 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: chilidog on 07-28-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,338 | Reviews: 483
Reviews by 57md:
Photo of 57md
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a reddish-copper color with a thin layer of head. The nose is lightly malty. The flavor profile is clean and relatively light with a focus on malty sweetness. The finish is semi-dry and very pleasant. This is a very sessionable red ale.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #37 (Feb 2010):

Brassy orange color, clarity is there, and a healthy head, too. Apple and plum fruitiness with caramel malt fill the nose. Inviting smoothness makes you want to take sip after sip; lush medium body. Caramel runs into a veggie herbal hoppiness. Ripe fruit runs hard with apples, plum and pear. Hop bitterness is subtle but seems to have an unmovable layer in the middle. Lemon candy? The alcohol does show its strength with some warmth. Bittersweet finish.

While not sessionable compared to the more mainstream "Irish" beers, it's good to know that if you are looking for that craft beer around March 17th that has a bit more depth, this one will fill that void.

Photo of oberon
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This along with Casco Riptide are my favorite red alse out there,pours a deep red/amber with a real nice creamy sticky head,the aroma is nutty and malty sweet with some bread-like aromas.The taste is slightly burnt with some real nice malty sweetness,very good roasted qualities with a ever so slight hop profile.A real nice beer to sit down and savor.

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

Appearance- This one is more brownish-orange than red with a nice, off-white head that came up on an easy pour and showed some retention.

Smell – The European hops and laid back grainy malts were well balanced at the nose. I found the big, sugary sweetness quite pleasant and a good compliment to the bouquet.

Taste – Ah, the grain picked things up at the taste. They are very well done and heavily complimented with sugar. There’s some good Euro hopping in here as well. It’s grassy and bitter and mixes well with the overall flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This one is just barely medium in the body with some live carbonation and a nice, lightly bitter finish.

Drinkability – This is a nice session ale that would go down well any time of the year.

Comments – Thanks to BuckeyNation for sending this GL beauty shop out my way.

Photo of tectactoe
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Rusty, sunburst orange throughout with an otherwise nice clarity that's obscured by a gentle, yeasty haze. The head grows quickly and recedes not quite as fast; eggshell colored and fluffy as all hell, it leaves a few sheets of lacing on the glass, though they are pretty fast to run down back towards the top of the beer.

Hmm, wow, the nose is just a bit different than any other brew I've smelled before; perhaps (and most likely) because I haven't had too many Irish red ales. Malty sweet with rich caramel and buttery toffee aromas at capacity, followed up by a lighter, yet integral proportion of lightly fruity and somewhat grassy hops. Toasted malt is the key player here, and I would assume that the hops may be more aggressive when this beer is a bit fresher; I'll admit that it's just a little bit past its prime now.

Well, the nose wasn't lying; Conway's Irish Ale is a malty bomb that lays the pipe as soon as it hits your palate. Coming out a bit more robust than the aroma, the flavor smacks you with some faintly metallic caramel malts - sweet, rich, toffee-like, and toasty. Lighter bready flavors bring up the rear; somewhat buttery and toasty with a touch of burnt grains and graham cracker.

The hops are there, and even for being a touch over-the-hill, they still balance the malty sweetness nicely; a nice round of slightly floral and grassy hops roll through the flavor profile, hand-in-hand with an orange-like fruit juiciness that can't go unnoticed. Mildly bitter, enough to counteract the sweetness, but not enough to scrape any enamel away or anything like that. The finish lends a hand to some slightly nutty and woodsy, toasted malt flavors for a warm, dry finish. Thicker bodied than you'd expect with a mild stickiness that adheres to the sides of my mouth; a little cloying and teeth chattering in this respect.

One of my first of the style, I enjoyed it a bit, although I know I'd get tired of it after one bottle (much like I did this time around). The intense caramel and toffee malts are nice at first but can be a touch overwhelming after twelve ounces. Tasty brew, no doubt, but one is certainly enough for me.

Photo of sgoodship
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My mother in-law gave me a few bottles of this on her last visit from Cleveland.

A: Poured from a 12oz bottle, it popped up a nice finger off-white head. It was creamy and instantly started to stick. Spotty lacing. The color is a nice brown red amber. Some large carbonation bubbles sit at the bottom of the glass and rise intermittently.

S: Nice simple, dry, sour malt smell. Very earthy.

T: There's a creaminess to the taste. It is woody/nutty with a slight sweetness. The finish is characteristically very dry. A gentle hop balances it out. The dryness really makes you want to keep on sipping away. There's a breadiness which is a little tantalizing because I wish it were more.

M: Light body but there is a creaminess that makes it feel more medium body. There is a medium carbonation that keeps things lively.

D: A really nice, solid ale. Man, it's nice to drink something clean and simple in these days of big and complex. It's just a good beer. Nothing more, nothing less. Another nice brew to enjoy from Great Lakes. They really know how to make beer.

Photo of ROBORB
3.37/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to Mike B., thanks man!

Beer pours a reddish/brown hue with a short lasting head. I picked up lots of malts and toffee/carmel in the aroma. The finish improves as the beer warms as the carbonation is a little to prickly at first. Not a bad beer but nothing extraordinary.

Photo of warnerry
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Best by 4/12/11; consumed 3/17/11

A - Pours clear amber with two fingers of head that has pretty good retention.

S - Mostly malts a bit sweet and a bit of toasted grain.

T - Similar to smell, taste is slightly sweet malts and toasted grains. Finishes pretty clean. Pretty tasty.

M - Nice medium mouthfeel. Coats the palate without being heavy.

O - An easy drinking Irish red. I wish I had gotten a bit more hops out of this, but not bad as is.

Photo of generallee
4.73/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: The body has light amber honey color with very good clarity. On top it forms a big creamy off white colored head. The head slowly fades but hangs on well and make cool rings of lace on the glass.

Smell: The aroma is mostly sweet with hints of lightly roasted grains, bready yeast, light hops and some mild fruit notes.

Taste/Mouth Feel: Its flavor has a good solid medium body with a sweet malty character that is tempered with just enough leafy hops for some balance. There are notes of bread, light caramel malt, orange marmalade and mild hops. The palate is smooth, slightly slick and easy drinking with mellow carbonation.

Notes: I love Great Lakes and this is one of my favorites. I also converted my mother and step father to craft beer with this Irish Ale! How cool is that!!!

Photo of Duster72
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish amber with little head and no retention. Aroma is sweet malts with no hop character. Taste is very like iced tea with some roastiness and strawberry present. A fine beer but nothing remarkable -- I wouldn't be interested in having it again, especially when it sits next to Commodore Perry!

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter.

I was drinking this on draft earlier this evening and had a bottle in the beer fridge ready for tasting notes. Without being specific before opening the bottle, and working from memory, I found the drafts to be pretty tasty, with a nice balance between malts and hops. It was pretty easy to order another when the tall pint was empty.

A - 2&1/2 finger head of tight but loosely packed off-white foam that collapses quickly into pockets, leaving a cloud of foam on the surface and lace on the sides. Copper orange and clear.

S - Lightly toasted malts, soft sugars, and hints of citrus hops.

T - Very similar to the nose. Bready, toasted malts and caramels give way to a subtle but present finish of citrus hops that is nicely balanced. Toffee appears on the tongue in the finish as it warms. Yummy.

M - A tad creamy, but definitely not at all thick. Reasonable carbonation. Nice structure, although some might find it just a tad thin. Finish fades pretty quickly, leaving a memory of malts and hops on the roof of the mouth.

D - If this evening is any proof, several tall pints go down quite easily during games of trivia. Another very quaffable brew from GL. While the bottle is tasty, the drafts were even better. This is one drinkable beer.

Photo of merlin48
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 12 oz bottle pours a chill hazed, ruby amber body with a tightknit, two finger beige head. Good head retention, and some sheets of lace are left on the glass.
Aroma: Floral and fruity hops mingle with malt notes of toffee and caramel.
Mouthfeel: Light medium body with medium carbonation.
Taste: Toasty and bready malts offer up a good deal of toffee and caramel sweetness, but floral European hops balance well with a moderate bitterness. Some apple peel fruitiness really hits the spot. Clean and even on the finish, with a dry and bitter hops aftertaste.
Drinkability: Probably my favorite Irish Red Ale, I prefer this one to Smithwick's. This would be an excellent session ale.

Photo of tigg924
4.48/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This is easily the best beer I have had in this style and one of the few that I would drink outside of March if it were available. Nice clean lager with a taste of caramel, toasted malt, and a bit of woodsy hops at the end. Super malty, super sessionable, great beer.

Photo of LyonsHead
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A:Deep red, nice off white head but it disappeared quickly

S: substaintial bread crust; toasted french bread; a hint of roast; toffey like sweetness in the background

T: Very warm and toasty, malty sweetness, there is a distinct raison flavor perhaps from a higher L crystal malt

M: Medium body, fairly smooth, lingers around for a while

D: Nice complex malt flavor, a little too sweet. The lingering finish brings the drinkability down some for me. Pretty good malt aroma and flavor, I just feel like it needs to dry out a little more.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz. amber bottle with the familiar GLBC black and white label. No "best by" information in the little box...

Appearance: Poured a hazy amber color. Lots of floaties suspended in mid-beer. Creamy off-white head settles to a thin layer with a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Very malty. Sweet and bready. Slightly bitter aroma also noted.

Taste: Mostly caramel sweetness. Chewy in texture. A bit of roasted grain. The alcohol is hidden very well. Finished with a pleasant toasted nut/slightly bitter taste. Very nicely-balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very smooth. No aftertaste.

Drinkability: Another solid offering from GLBC. Not my favorite, but it is certainly high up on my list of ambers. I gotta get my parents to buy some for me before their next road trip from the Buckeye State. A great session beer that is very drinkable. GLBC delivers again.

I raise my glass to fellow BA PhantomVoDoo for trading this to me during our last road trip to Ohio.

Photo of bsp77
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint. Bottle has best by date of 4/6/11.

Appearance: Rich amber with just a hint of red. Extremely thin head with almost no lacing.

Smell: Very malty, with cherry, caramel and toast. Reminds me of their Christmas Ale, without the spices.

Taste: Fantastic malt body, with cherry, toast and caramel. Hop levels are low and just provide a slight floral and spicy counterbalance. Not as much of the medicinal / metallic aftertaste that plagues so many Irish Reds.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium to full body, semi-dry finish. Fairly hefty for the style.

Drinkability: Probably the best Irish Red I have, although this is admittedly one of my least favorite styles. It really does remind of their Christmas Ale in many ways, but not quite at the same level of enjoyment for me.

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

poured into a nonic glass from a long neck brown bottle with a crimped on cap best by date: 4/12/07.

Clear,medium amber color, with a 3" tall creamy white head with fair retention and some spotty lacing. Moderate carbination some tiny bubbles stringing

Nice clean fruitty aroma with sweet lightly toasted maltiness. A bit of an iced tea aroma with an apple/pear like fruittyness and a touch of perfumyness.

Good clean sweet toasty carmell tastes. Nutty and fruity hints of very ripe apples and iced tea like flavors. Well balanced finishes smooth with a good fruitty tartness and a pleasing bitterness. Very Enjoyable.

Light to medium body has a light mouthfeel. Smooth and creamy.A nice pleasing taste thats easy drinking. This is my choice for St. Patty day next year could drink this all night.

Photo of Swedes21
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - cloudy deep copper colour, some real nice head, white and dense, good levels of carbonations. minimal lacing occurring.

Smell - pick up some malts right away, followed by some spice and a little sweetness. Not sure where the sweetness comes from.

Taste - very light, found the taste to lack the malt and sweetness. Can pick up some of the bitterness in the end from the spices.

Mouthfeel - awwww, this is where the malts are hiding, comes to life with some good bitterness and maltiness in the taste.

Overall - was a decent beer, not that i expected in the taste based on the smell. overall would be a good session beer.

Photo of pat61
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Brilliant amber-gold with rich, lingering white/of-white head.
S: caramel, biscuit, no hops, toast, toffee.
T: Flavor, Toasty, sweet, light fruit, dry finish but some odd cherry, medicinal thing going on in the background. Not as smooth with more fruit esters than the style calls for. More roast bitter than hop – fairly low hop bitterness.
F: Medium low body, medium low carbonation.
O: Not as smooth as it could be, slightly off.

Photo of boatshoes
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the local bar yesterday evening. My first experience with the Conway's, and I believe it is the last Great Lakes seasonal I hadn't tried.

Appearance- Comes off the tap a slightly bronzed amber with about a half finger of white head sitting on top, that retreats to a ring almost immediately. Not much in the way of beading or lacing.

Smell- Not that easy to detect but with some bready malts and a faint graininess coming through from what I can detect. Not a lot going on in the nose department however.

Taste- Similar. Lots of bready malts with a touch of mild graininess on the finish. Very simple beer perhaps with the idea of making it sessionable, though it clocks in a bit high in ABV.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is just a touch thin but okay on the whole with appropriate carbonation. Drinkability is decent as well but the beer got a touch boring as I drank.

Overall, an unoffensive but not particularly noteworthy beer I thought. Easy enough to put away but much more boring than I've found other Great Lakes beers thus far.

Photo of MattyG85
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Deep amber ruby red with a decent sized slightly tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell: Strong scent of toasted caramel malt sweetness followed by some kind of spices. Also a hint of bread and orange peel.

Taste: Sweet caramel malts up front followed by citrus. Hints of bread and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Crisp and smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid Irish red.

Photo of sarahspat
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Very clear orangeish amber. Nice looking caramel-tinted, fluffy head. Good retention; decent lacing.

Nice roasted and caramel notes, with some tea thrown in for good measure. Pretty low key nose, but it smells great. The taste is consistent with the nose, with some fruity notes and sweet tea. There also is a subdued nuttiness in the background. This brew is mostly sweet-tasting, but there's a little kick of bitterness going into the finish, which is dry. Pretty much perfect for the style. Actually, I kind of feel like I just wrote the style description. This beer is light-bodied and slippery with a good amount of carbonation.

This is an amazing example of the style and a great beer all around. Nicely done.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into DFH footed pint glass; clear amber with a two-finger white head that falls after a bit into a cap/ring of foam.
Smell is toasted malt, some crackery sweetness.
Taste is simple and follows smell...toasted crackery malt, slight herbal hops in the end to give a slight crispness to the finish.
Mouthfeel is thin and slick, clean.
Overall, a tasty Irish Red. I can't remember what others of this style I've had, but this is a good beer.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Standard red ale amber-y appearance, clear, not thick, good head. Aroma had a very small peat smokiness to it. Nice. Not much else.

Taste, sturdier than your average red ale. Traditional in that it doesn't have any overpowering aspect of it, falls to the side of malt heavy, tea, toast. Nothing offensive, just an easy drinking red ale, with a little bit more substance than your average one you might come across.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I finished my classes today and turned in my last paper before spring break, so on my way home from class I stop at the liquor store. Good thing I did it seems they recieved a new Great Lakes product whoo hoo! This Irish ale pours a fine amber with a creamy tan full head that is already leaving me a nice even ring of lace. The aroma is a very slight hop aroma with caramel malt sweetness to it, overall pleasant. In the taste category this beer combines a bit of a smokey blend to it with a rather sharp bite to it between the balance of malt to hops. Overall a selection I am happy to be able to find on the kickoff of this St. Patrick's Day weekend. This beer is medium to light in body and it sustains a smooth lighter mouthfeel to it, and I only wish I could find it on tap by St. Paddy's cuz I think this would be my go to on that day!

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Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 1,338 ratings.