Great Lakes Independence Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

very good
72 Ratings
no score
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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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 72 |  Reviews: 39
Photo of amstelcat
5/5  rDev +24.4%

Photo of sunavamitch
5/5  rDev +24.4%

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 sliverX
4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a growler a clear copper brew with a 1/4" of white foam for a cap. The head faded to a decent film concentrated towards the edges.
Smell is mix of citrus and pine hops, big on orange rind.
Taste follows the nose hoppy (orange, citrus, pine) there's a sweetness from the malts almost a faint vanilla cookie type thing, different but it's wonderful.
Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, medium bodied leaning towards lighter.
Drinkability is spectacular this would be a wonderful patio beer on a hot summer day, something you could sit there throw a few back and just relax in the company of fine people.

 606 characters

Photo of cynical1027
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of JamesS
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep red/amber color with some nice head and a tiny bit of lacing. Great scent, very deep and malty with a nice hop hit. Excellent taste, a deep red ale with excellent malt flavor and a very nice American hop hit at the end. Typically, I prefer less hops in my red ales, but this one was excellent with a nice citrus hit; the hops weren't overpowering but complemented it nicely. Went down very well. Quite possibly my new favorite American red ale.

 462 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 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 projectflam86
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a light amber color with nice white foam head that leaves some lacing.

S- Nice citrus hop nose with a light sweetness.

T- Full grapefruit/pine hop flavor with a nice malt sweetness to balance. Very similar flavor to the Burning River Pale Ale that is part of the year-round lineup

M- Medium bodied with ok carbonation. Light and crisp.

D- A really easy drinking amber that is well suited for the summer.

 417 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 XUJOE
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

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

had on tap at the GLBC brew pub, served into a pint glass

a: nice translucent amber color, decent 1/4" head with fair retention, reduces to a light lacing cap

s: crisp grapefruit, slight toasted maltyness

t: nice caramel malt backbone with citrusy hop bitterness, slight piney ness.

m&d: light to medium bodied, well carbonated. Very refreshing, I enjoyed haveing this. Very drinkable.

 390 characters

Photo of muraco3
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

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

Photo of huysmans
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

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

On-tap at GLBC on 7/30/08

A: Pours a dark copper with a small frothy head. Moderate lacing.

S: A slight biscuity smell with roasted undertones.

T: Nicely balanced with a roasted nut sort of maltiness followed by a fairly assertive hop bitterness. Quite a full flavor for 6%.

M: Medium-full bodied with light carbonation.

D: A damn fine brew and a great (hoppy) take on the style.

 384 characters

Photo of jmw4437
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

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 nrbw23
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a nice copperish red color with a nice tan colored head. Head has good retention and leaves some nice spotty lacing.

S- Smells of grapefruit and piney hops, caramel malts and a toasted note.

T- Taste really good. Starts off toasty, with some caramel sweetness, followed up with a nice hop bite.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

D- A very solid brew. Wish they would have bottled this one rather than Glockenspiel or Grassroots.

 445 characters

Photo of bobsy
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint at Cole's in Buffalo.

The server brings me an amber coloured beer, with a finger of off-white head that has good retention, and lays down a bit of lace. The nose screams balance. There's a strong citrus hop component, but this seems to be ably countered by a bready malt base and caramel compliment. Extend that to the flavour, but amp up the bitterness a little. Independence Ale drinks like a damn fine IPA, with a full load of juicy grapefruit and pine, but with that bready base to balance it out. Some decent caramel and fruit notes round it out. Medium body and carb. Just a great beer.

I have the utmost admiration for this brewery. Great Lakes continue to produce exceptional beers, and Independence Ale continues that fine tradition.

 749 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.

 738 characters

Photo of spointon
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this one on tap at Binny's South Loop in Chicago on 8/1/2009.

A= This ale poured a vert clear copper orange color with a 3/4" off-white head. The head dropped to a skim fairly quickly but left some incredible lace down my glass.

S= Lots of citrusy west coast hops in the nose, but also a big sweet caramel and bready malt presence too. Pretty balanced actually.

T= The caramel and chewy malts were the first things to stand out, soon followed by those citrus and resiny-pine hops. Hints of floral and fruity esters danced throughout. Finished dry but not astringent, and left a 75% hops / 25% malt aftertaste.

MF= Medium bodied with a nice, lively carbonation level that suits this beer perfectly. Nice and crisp.

D= Extremely easy to drink. Fairly balanced, yet the obvious dry-hopping gave this one a respectable hop bite. I could easily session this beer.

 872 characters

Photo of ltjska04
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the Party Source tap -> my growler -> my pint glass -> my mouth. This pours a beautiful red with an inch of creamy white head. It smells about like an IPA and the taste follows suit. At first I got a punch of hoppy bitterness to the palate, but subsequent swallows yield a more balanced and enjoyable brew. This is pretty hoppy for an amber ale but I like it. This is definitely not a boring amber like other examples of this style. The mouthfeel is great and drinkability is high. I'm glad I picked this up and wish it were available in bottled form.

 565 characters

Photo of j0hnc2468
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Great Lakes Independence Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 72 ratings.
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