Great Lakes / Amsterdam Ezra - Great Lakes Brewery

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Great Lakes / Amsterdam Ezra
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very good

16 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 16
Reviews: 7
rAvg: 4
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 0
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Sammy on 11-11-2012)
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Ratings: 16 | Reviews: 7 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DamoTO700
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%

Ezra may have been aged in cider barrels but its deeper golden colour and slightly tarnished complexion make it look more like apple juice than Spirit Tree's dry cider. And the foamy head that doesn't seem to subside, well, that's a dead giveaway for a beer. Considering its composite parts each spent between three months to a year confined to the dark insides of a barrel, this has retained a remarkably bright glow.

I'll just cut straight to the chase: I think this beer is brilliant. What two tastes pair better than sweetness and spice? And what flavours are more complimentary than cinnamon, clove, nutmeg on the one hand and cereal grains, tart green apple skins and stewed baking apple flesh on the other? This is breakfast and dessert!

It is actually a fact that both Saisons and cider have farmhouse origins and the two actually overlap in multiple ways: both are characteristically marked by underlying tartness, lively effervescence, suggestions of sweet orchard fruit, good acidity, and strong refreshment. And the natural pantry spice notes of the ale's yeast only further accentuate the connection by conjuring autumn-themed thoughts of apple pie and mulled cider.

Aging beer in wooden barrels is not a new practice. Ask the Belgians, they've been doing it for centuries. But when the concept hit North America the craze was all about one thing: bourbon. It wasn't long before everyone and their mother were shoving into bourbon barrels whatever they could: stouts, porters, barleywines, dirty socks, old trophies, everything and anything. These early, unabashedly experimental days resulted in near as many misses as hits.

And for myself, like many others, the bloom came off that rose fairly quickly. But fortunately brewers soon realized there could be more to barrels than just bourbon; the renaissance of sour beer opened new horizons and the use of wine, rum, and other spirit barrels brought flexibility and diversity to a realm otherwise dominated by buttery vanilla and rough-hewn wood.

Some still believe that barrel-aging will prove to be a passing fad. I doubt this very much. And while these cynics are likely to roll their eyes at a blended cider barrel-aged farmhouse ale, I believe Ezra is evidence of the unwearied potential of barrel-aged beers. It is a testament to the genius of a technique that, if done thoughtfully and tastefully, can offer uniqueness and unbound appeal. Not everyone has the necessary imagination and skills, but Mike Lackey of Great Lakes clearly does.

Photo of BeerWatcher
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A bomber from the LCBO. Pours a semi-transparent straw colour. Very thin white head rapidly dissipating. Aromas are of light citrus and white wine. Tastes are peach, pineapple and more white wine. Overall, having been aged in cider barrels, they’ve had a positive effect on this one, making it a kind of marriage between beer and white wine. Quite delicious and very drinkable.

Photo of Cycle69
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of tbeckett
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a hazy golden color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of rustic malt with light spicy yeast and the cider barrel notes are subtle but still distinguishable. Taste is also dominated by rustic malt notes with some peppery yeast notes and some cider barrel notes are also distinguishable. Body is about a average with good carbonation. Very enjoyable if maybe a tad too sweet for the style.

Photo of andrenaline
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of stevergca
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of hunterjames
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of BakaGaijin
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of kevinlater
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bomber into nonic pint. can't find a date code

a: a hesitantly vibrant pale yellow with about a finger of nearly-white head

s: typical saison notes -- spicy, yeasty, and citrusy, but there are some nice apple notes too. some slight funk. not the most potent aroma but it still makes me want to take a sip asap

t: oh yeah this is great. spicy, funky yeast and lemon up front, then a crazy tart apple presence emerges mid-palate adding a level of intriguing complexity and giving a really fruity and sour punch. i'm thinking granny smith or pink lady apples? slightly malty on the back end. finishes dry with the tartness tapering off

m: medium mouthfeel. pretty high carbonation but it's appropriate. love it

o: a damn good saison, the cider barrel-aging works wonders here

Photo of korguy123
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of peensteen
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy blonde colour, one finger of white head, goos retention, lots of lace. Smell is quite funky with lots of tart fruit, apple, lemon, spicy points, light oak, some acidic/balsamic as well I also got a little bit of chlorine at times. Taste is full of tart apple and fruit, spice, lemon, yeasty funk, quite tart throughout, more fruits in the finish. Light-medium drying carbonation, medium-full feel. Solid stuff here, tons of apple and fruity funk, very drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of liamt07
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at WVRST, Great Lakes Movember Project X. Served in a tulip.

Paler golden yellow, light white head with mild retention and light lace. Nose lightly sour, some white wine, lemon, slight barrel with a touch of funk, green apple and pear. Taste is sour, light lemon, green apple, slight funk. Medium feel, a bit spritzy and a pucker in the finish. Flavourful and refreshing, light enough to consume large quantities of. This is being aged via the solera method, can't wait to try future iterations of this.

Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I likely had the first or second sample at WVRST tap takeover.This was the collaboration saison with Ian of Amsterdam (although not credited on official list) aged in an apple cider barrel. The cider gives it a ice sour edge. The initial smell and taste is very winey. saison spices come through definitely in the secondary. Golden yellow.

Great Lakes / Amsterdam Ezra from Great Lakes Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 16 ratings.