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Great Lakes Independence Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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very good
39 Reviews
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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Reviews: 39 | Ratings: 70
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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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Photo of jampics2
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On my mobile, so a short tale of an amber with balls. Exceptional mouthfeel - almost perfect, no, actually perfect! Smells & tastes great - nice carapills caramel sweetness after a trip on the C hops (cascade for sho') train. A really outstanding offering from GL. Kinds like Nosferatu Jr. Happy July 4th!! America is the best country ever!!!

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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.

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

Pours a crystal clear dark amber with a thin creamy white head.

Hop aroma is what it is all about. Piney hops with a apricot-like sweetness and hints of alcohol.

Serious hop flavor. A little like GLBC's Nosferatu only lighter in flavor. Slightly astringent and very bitter on the finish.

Thin and slightly oily in the mouth with mellow carbonation.

Nice beer for hop heads. Maybe the hoppiest amber/red I've tasted. That bitter flavor really hangs on. Good stuff.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice to see this on tap at the Buffalo Brew Pub after driving much of the day to get there. Really nice amber orange color, good clarity with a nice off-white head. Sticky lacing.

Nice citrus hops aroma, but with good depth. Some sweetness from malt evident. Taste is really big with citrus hops though very well balanced with sweet malt. Hops turn bitter toward the middle and continue with a nice bitter burn through the finish. Bitterness lingers pleasantly.

This is a medium bodied American Red, that drinks like and IPA to me. Great beer from a great brewery. I had two ith dinner.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Lakes is taking full advantage of the holiday that few brewers choose to celebrate with a special brew. On a day when drinking and outdoor activities are paramount, why not accomodate the celebration with beer?

A medium amber-copper colored beer with bright clarity. Off-white foam amounts to a froathy, long-lasting head while lacing well.

Malty-rich aromas hit with medium intesity, leaving more than enough room for citrus hops to take firm hold. Low on esters or other yeast character, the beer has a super clean and balanced aroma.

Graham cracker maltiness rises first with a hint of caramel and spice. Lightly toasted grains give more malt flavor than in typical pale ales. Grapefruit and orange zest take precedence from mid-palate heading into the finish. Growing hop bitterness gives a clean, crisp, and refreshing taste late.

Cleanly malted early, but falling off to a crisp and drying bitterness without much effort. Moderatedly creamy turns minty dry and fleeting. A nice texture for hot weather consumption.

This beer makes for a very moderate American pale ale but with a slighly more amber-malt color, aroma, and flavor than most. ...And as always, with Great Lakes attention to quality and consistent across the board.

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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.

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

tried it a pint over a salmon and pepper pizza

sat a deep reddish amber in my glass. the sudsy head left good lacing

the aroma is of piney hops, and the pine follows to the bitterness. it's fairly sweet, with dry dark fruit, though the hops lend a feeling of a much drier finish. i'm glad i tried it, although i have trouble placing it next to other ambers...maybe it's a little fruitier than most

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Great Lakes Independence Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 70 ratings.
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