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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 | website

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 Reviews
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Reviews: 39 | Ratings: 69
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.

 589 characters

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

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!!!

 342 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 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.

 1,190 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 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 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 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 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.

 530 characters

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

 403 characters

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.

 476 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 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

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Great Lakes Independence Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.
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