Great Lakes Independence Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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 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.

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Photo of adamette
3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Winking Lizard in Mentor, Ohio poured into a clean, clear 22 oz. pint glass purchased for $4.25 (it was happy hour). Review from notes taken last night as I experienced this beer.

A Medium brown body under a light brown head. Good lacing. 4.0

S Surprise hop presence with some malt. It smells inviting, interesting. Keep in mind I did not have access to internet prior to tasting this beer so I was not aware of the style. 4.0

T Well this is like so many other GLBC beers. Big hop, barley presence in a NEARLY unbalanced way. There is enough malt to balance things out just barely. Really, this is very consistent from GLBC and I was really hoping for better. 3.0

M Moderate beer beefed up by hops, barley. 3.5

D Just fine. 3.5

Notes: Unfortunately GLBC Independence Ale is too much like at least 3 other GLBC beers and not different enough really to warrant a different name.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale yellowish color with a one finger head and good lacing as the beer is drank. The aroma is of earthy hops and some malt. The taste is of malt and it is balanced out with earthy hops. The mouthfeel is good there is a moderate amount of carbonation. Overall this is a very good beer, it tasted more along the lines of an ipa than a red lager to me.

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Photo of TheNightbird
3.62/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Independence Ale is pale in color not red, which took me by surprise. The head was long lasting.

S- Fruity hops which a lot of carmel malt.

T- At first sip there is a lot of bitterness, then the beer slips into the carmel malt. Fruity and piney hops come through next.

M- Medium mouthful.

D- This beer seems like a Burning River and Commodore Perry hybrid. There is a good amount of bitterness and the color matches up with both of the beers listed above.

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Photo of bamadog
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kels and I were fortunately enough to come across this in the on-tap selection at The Party Source. Pour is from a growler into a fluted tulip.

Appearance: Pours a nice shade of a coppery and ruby color -- even looks a little rusty; starts with a one finger slightly off-white head that dwindles to an uneven skim, leaving a sticky lacing on the walls of the glass; body is clear with minimum carbonation.

Smell: Quite hoppy for an amber; piney and citrusy hops; there seems to be a faint sweet fruity kind of smell in the back as well that starts to come out more as it warms as it was subdued earlier on by the hops; toasty malts round out the scent.

Taste: Bitter hops that are pine and grapefruit dominate; there is a little bit of a coppery/metallic flavor; toasty and biscuity malts; aftertaste is really that earlier metallic flavor and kind of kills this for me.

Mouthfeel: A dry and sticky coating is predominant; mouthfeel is fairly lively due to the minimal carbonation leaving a bit of a tingle -- mouth even feels metallic from that off-taste in the mouth.

Drinkability: It's alright and the ABV is doable, but the flavors are a little off and the aftertaste is too rough.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of beer1018
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Whole foods in Dublin OH.

Beer handed to me in a GL pint glass, appears orangeish brown with a nice 1 in flufy head. Clear and no particles in it like i like. Smell is all hops, citrus and pine. The taste is more pine then cirus, i would like it to have more of a citrus flavor. I could drink 3-4 of these in a sitting. Reccomended

As others have said this tastes like a better version of Burning river. Its good but i can think of other beers that i would rather get at my local stores with the same type of flavor. It is good for the style though.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear dark copper color with an average frothy white head that was mostly lasted and had good lacing. Good malty and earthy hop aroma. Medium body with slick dry texture and soft carbonation. Moderate to heavy balanced smooth flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration. Good brew.

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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 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.

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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.

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

Had this on Draft at the UPICK6 beer store in Erie. Presented in a standard pint glass.

An impressive 1 inch head adorns the reddish copper colored brew. The head is fairly long lasting, and provides some nice lacing on the sides.

Nose is a bit understated, but definitely hop forward.

The taste on this beer changes so much over the pint. At the start, when it's chilled, the hops come to the fore, and its as hoppy as an Am. Pale. Even though hoppy, you can still catch a malty balance through the hops. As the beer warms, and you head into the 2nd half of the glass, the flavor profile definitely shifts to the malty/sweet side. Again, though malty, there is still sufficient hops to prevent it from being cloying. What a wonderfully complex brew. Mouthfeel is medium from top to bottom. Drinkability is high. The change in flavor profile is so interesting that it keeps challenging you sip after sip.

Too bad this is a pub only offering. Find a place which has it on tap. This is definitely one to seek out. Nice job once again Great Lakes!

Na Zdravje!

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Photo of yourefragile
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried on-tap at GLBC brewpub

A: Dark, clear amber with a creamy white head that has decent retention and leaves a lot of sticky lacing.
S: Strong piney, floral hop aroma with a little fruit/citrus sweetness but not much.
T: Malty amber flavor with dry, piney hops turned up. Not much in the way of fruity sweetness, medium body with a very dry, hopped finish. For this hoppy amber style I still prefer nugget nectar or red rocket, but a very drinkable beer I enjoyed a few pints of, but probably wouldn't seek out in the future.

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