Independence Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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73 Ratings

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by PhantomVodoo on 07-21-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 73 |  Reviews: 39
Reviews by jmw4437:
Photo of jmw4437
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a crystal clear warm orange body with a creamy thin head that soon breaks up into patches and then disappears. There is a gentle carbonation of big bubbles gliding to the surface.

S- The big green pungent aroma dominates with some herbal and pine hints coming through as the beer warms.

T- This beer has a big pungent hops kick with some softer cream and pale malt hints to follow. The finish is a big crisp bite of dandelion bitterness that lingers on the tongue after each sip.

M- This beer had a creamy medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat.

D- This beer is big and pungent with not much depth which is ok but the hop bitterness was just to bitter, especially as it warmed.

 742 characters

Photo of pwoods
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler filled at Party Source for the 4th. Poured into an imperial pint.

A: Fire-y copper red with decent visibility. 2 fingers of creamy head forms and has decent retention. Good lacing throughout.

S: Good American hopping. Casc/Cent and maybe some Amarillo. Healthy sweetness from the large amount of amber malt. A bit of pepper in the back.

T/M: Reasonable bitterness level.. a touch more than an average red but definitely not 'imperial'. More of the sweetness from the amber malts and much more of the pepper side with even more added spiciness... Rye? Body is medium with smooth carbonation and feel before the hops come back for a dry, lingering finish.

D: 6% complex, interesting, and unique. This growler is getting pounded.

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Photo of hughesm4
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Have had couple of times. A few times on tap and this time out of a growler.

A. A nice copper color with a decent white head that sticks real nice to the side of the glass.

S. Little complex with a hoppy and fruity smell and a slight scent of malt

T. Pretty goos taste. Mostly hops but nothing overpowering.

M. Well carbonated for being out of a growler with a slight bitter aftertaste.

D. Smooth. I have drank a couple of times and plan to drink it until the local supply runs out.

 487 characters

Photo of cynical1027
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Geat Lakes- Independence Ale

A- Deep ruddy red/ brown with a slim light lacing head. Small rings around the glass.
S- Nutty molasses and light chocolate malt. Very light on the nose.
T- Vanilla, hazelnut, and caramel malts with a slight woodsy oaken licorice hoppiness.
M- Creamy smooth and nutty dry malt. Thick sweet malty dry finish.

Overall- Big malt and a nice earthy hop touch. This 1 drinks pretty good.

 412 characters

Photo of cokes
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber-orange bodied, perfectly clear and sporting an inch or so of sturdy off-white suds.
The nose is full of pine tar, crushed flowers, dried prairie stems, mangoes, melons, crusty breads, and toffee.
It begins through the mouth with a doughy breadiness that meanders toastier as the sip progresses. Some vague nuttiness is noted as this point, It sweetens with caramel and toffee, and a slight tropical fruit nod, as the hops begin to take their turn. Here on out, it's piney and flowery, with a dried wild grass crispy bitterness taking the reins and riding it long through the swallow.
Taut, medium bodied. Steady, moderate carbonation.
This is a all-around solid quaffer, and a completely enjoyable, hopped-up Amber Ale.

 727 characters

Photo of qcbrewer
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First let me start by saying that Great Lakes is probably my all time favorite brewery. The overall assortment of high quality brews help cover up any flaws that may come up. That being said - this is nearing flaw status, but not overly. In the pint glass it was served in, this red ale is pale red in color and just slightly hazey. The aroma is a very nice, hoppy, and floral bouquete, and suggests a good beer to come. What follows though lacks a bit of mouthfeel and actually feels slightly watered down. While the hops simmer out and the malt dissolves away, the taste of a red ale is still there - just subtly. Honestly, this beer would be great outside in the summer heat on Independence Day due to not weighing you down and yet providing good flavor - perfect for the Lite drinkers. But in the fantastically cool (and might I add one of my favorite beer bar destinations in the entire US) downstairs pub section of the GLBC brewery, it just doesn't cut it. Once again, Great Lakes produces some great brews, but this belongs in the shadows of those beers.

 1,062 characters

Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

45 IBU American Red Ale.
Copper in color with an off-white head.
Fruity and floral aroma is big in the hops department.

Big hop flavor with a solid malt balance underneath. Fruity, floral, and very tasty. Finishes well.

Good mouthfeel.
Very drinkable.

One of the best red ales I've ever had. Very good.

 314 characters

Photo of XUJOE
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Beejay
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice Copper color. Pure white head that dissipates quickly into a ring.

S: Malty and sweet with a nice subtle hop aroma.

T: A malty sweetness at first, with a slight biscuit flavor. Backed up by a rich, but not overpowering hop flavor.

A: Nice body, full, not a huge amount of carbonation, but good. Coats the mouth going down.

D: A Nice beer, tasty and perfect foe right now; Sitting on the patio with friends in the summer. I think it has just the right amount of hops. Anymore and I would start to dislike it.

 520 characters

Photo of jds16
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of Bierguy5
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap, poured in a standard shaker pint. Pretty clear, copper color, with a small off-white head. Decent head retention. Fair amount of lace. Good looking, but nothing spectacular.

Nose has a bit of bready malt, some citrusy and floral hops. Maybe a bit of caramel malt, but not much. Balanced nose, with nothing standing out.

Bready malt, with just a slight caramel edge. Citrusy hops, with just enough bitterness to balance things out. Minimal fruit.

Medium body, decent carbonation. Very easy to drink. A very balanced beer here. I was expecting a bit more, simply for the name, however this could be a great session beer.

 629 characters

Photo of blackie
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: clear deep amber in color with a khaki head that shows strong retention and heavy lace, inviting appearance

s: caramelized malt sugars support a hop profile that provides a blend of candied pine with some soft citrus and tropicals, rich and aromatic

m: carbonation soft and around medium in level, with a smooth medium body

t: much like the aroma, candied pine hops are carried on a caramelized malt body, some tropicals work their way in

d: no problem, good for at least a couple

standard pint at Alchemy, Madison, WI

 526 characters

Photo of Tyrawlings
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap poured into a pint glass.

A:Soft clear amber in color with tea like hues. The off white head pours one finger thick and hangs around for the duration of the pint. Nice sticky lacings climbs all over the glass.

S:Floral citrus and pine hops. Sweet caramel or toffee. Wet earth and fresh baked bread.

T:Citrus and pine hops make their presence known with a nice bitterness. A soft wave of caramel malts flow in to balance things out with a fresh bread aftertaste. Floral hop bitterness finishes things off from apparent dry hopping.

M:Slightly slick and sticky. Medium carbination. Slightly dry and bitter.

D:Easy to drink and pleasantly satisfying. I would prefer this to Commadore Perry IPA any day of the week. Recommended.

 736 characters

Photo of Ahhdball
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brand new batch released this week so I'm told.
Nice deep amber in color with a slight head that had decent staying power but lost stability after some time.
Smell of great hops and burnt malt with a slight citrus nose.
Thick slice of hops smacks the pallette and never lets go but finishes sweet and malty.
Crisp and clean mouthfeel entices one for a few more rounds. A fantastic offering from GLBC!

 405 characters

Photo of neenerzig
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another on-tap only "pub exclusive" at the GLBC. Served in a standard pint glass. This beer draws a cloudy red/amber color with a sort of copper hue. Off-white head is about 1/2 inch thick when served to me. Eventually settles to a nice surface layer with a thin ring lining the inside of my glass. Very good lace here. Aromas of citrus, floral hops for sure. Maybe a hint of apricot. I believe I also picked up a slight hint of caramel and maybe a touch of butterscotch. Tastewise this beer starts out malty upfront with a bit of caramel before giving way to strong citrus hops, along with a bit of a fruity (apricot perhaps?) tart touch and perhaps a slight hint of butterscotch. Certainly one of the most hoppy and bitter beers of this style I have ever had. I liked this a lot though! Unique for the style. It sort of reminds me of a barley wine in some ways. Has a crisp and very smooth, creamy medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Easy to drink.


 988 characters

Photo of throwback
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of Lelampp
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Great Lakes in July 2009 as part of Christmas in July. Sampled side-by-side with the Christmas Ale. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate amber color with a bit of a stronger reddish character when light hits the glass. A bit of a light head that dies down a bit too quickly. The nose brings some citrus and pine hops as well as some very lightly-toasted malt with a bit of bread and biscuit. The taste is mostly bready with a small spattering of hops. Good body and slight bitterness; a bit plain, but drinkability is nice.

 535 characters

Photo of hustlesworth
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- rusty reddish copper with golden highlights and a stiff ivory cap.

S- crisp grapefruit and pine, standard for a quality red ale +2 because of the freshness. various toasted grains also present in the aroma.

T- toasty and caramel sweetness with ample hops. taste is the same as the aroma- grapefruit, piney, wih a little tropical passion fruit as well. bitter nutty finish with toasted bread and fading caramel aftertaste.

MF- medium carbonation and body, slick, a little oily, and very refreshing.

D- a nice beer to lead into fall, on a hazy august afternoon at the brewery.

 582 characters

Photo of IrishColonial
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of movingtrain
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler from Party Town in Florence, KY...sampled from a 12 ounce snifter.

This one is always hard to find...even though it's an Ohio brew, it isn't always available...and most times it's only on tap.

Pours a nice amber-red color, with a decent head on top. Carbonation is moving in the glass...not overactive, but not too slow, either.

Up front the aroma is quite malty...hints of grapes, cereal grains, light hops, brown sugar, oatmeal, and some spice.

On the taste buds, it's quite malty, bitter, giving a nice mellow hoppy bite in the end. Notes of dates, wheat, wet grains...very earthy. What sticks around is a nice hoppy bite, which continues throughout the drink, resonating long on the palate.

Overall, a good beer...full of freedom and independence! Seriously, a good ale for this time of year.

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Photo of kels
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was super-excited to hear this on-tap only offering from Great Lakes was available for growler pours at Party Source in Bellevue, KY. Ran down that very day to pick one up with bamadog.

Apperance: Pours into my pint a beautiful, peachy, coppery orange color with full clarity. Seems to glow. No visible bubbles despite a huge 2 finger creamy colored, lofty and frothy head. Tons of sticky lacing hangs behind.

Smell: Really nice citrus hop presence pairs with a light toasty grain and some dry straw paired with sticky sap.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Huge toasty grain backbone with a bright and bitter citrus rind/grapefruit hop. There's a weirdly darkening taste that I'm having trouble deciphering - makes it feel and taste a little heavier and thicker than others in this style - wet-hopped, maybe? Seriously bitter, stringent and drying with a moderate feel and enough carbonation to keep it from falling flat.

Drinkability: Pretty darn high, and a good representation of style. Great Lakes could have bottled this and done pretty well.

 1,039 characters

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Independence Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 73 ratings