Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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German Märzen / Oktoberfest
Ranked #3
Ranked #4,012
4.07 | pDev: 11.79%
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
Notes: Prost! Our take on this classic German style is a celebration of maltiness— packed with rustic, autumnal flavors to put a little more oomph into your oom-pah-pah.

Über smooth with vibrant malt flavors and a festive flourish of noble hops (lederhosen not included).

World Beer Championships
4-Time Medal Winner (Gold, Silver)
Reviews: 677 | Ratings: 2,425 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of maxpower
3.94/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A little dated from August 2019. Hazy copper color with a decent off white head that leaves some lacing in my glass. Caramel, nutty aromas. Grainy, nutty and caramel flavors, finishes clean and dry. Medium bodied with a crisp and carbonated mouthfeel, a well done Oktoberfest, I like the high ABV, adds to the experience. This will be a regular in my fridge come fall.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.71/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great Lakes Oktoberfest has a medium, off-white head, a mostly clear gold amber appearance, and minimal glass lacing. The aroma is of faint white bread crust. The flavor is similar, with moderate bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium, and Great Lakes Oktoberfest finishes crisp.


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Photo of maddogruss
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review notes from 2013. Had it in a bottle.
A: pours light amber body with small head with ok retention and lacing
S: sweet, light vanilla and sweet malt smell
T: sweet, malty slightly vanilla taste with some spice notes? Interesting
M: medium bodied and pretty good
D: nice mouthfeel and taste combo; good beer overall

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Photo of Peach63
3.71/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours light amber with minimal head. Minimal lacing.

Spicy, light Nobel hop aroma.

Taste is malty, bready, light caramel, roasted malt. Light bitterness.

Medium bodied, semi-sweet finish. Moderate carbonation.

A decent Marzen. Worth quaffing.

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Photo of defunksta
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, deep, but bright amber color with a small off white head. SRM of 14. (4.00)

Aroma: Strong aromas of bread and honey flower with some caramel and bread spice. Tons of German bread. (4.00)

Flavor: Bready and grassy hay. Finishes very bready and sweet. Tastes like a baking bread on a German farm on a rainy day. (4.25)

Feel: Medium-bodied. Well carbonated. Finishes clean and slightly sweet on the palate. (3.75)

Compared to Surly Oktoberfest: It's pours a darker amber with an off-white head. More bready and caramel malt flavors. Less spice and rye. Finishes smoother and sweeter. Less bitter.

Overall: A very bready and good Oktoberfest. Tamed on the bitterness and spices, but has great bready and grassy flavors. Exactly what I'm looking for in an Oktoberfest beer. It's still heavier bodied and stronger than a traditional festbier. (Final Rating: 4.08)

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Photo of Explorer_Bill
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a mug with 1/2 inch light tan head. Amber golden brown color. Looks like fall. Sort of a sweet malt and yeasty smell. The taste is as good as promised. I was surprised by the bit of bitterness but it definitely balances out the otherwise sweet toasty malt flavors. A really good beer that wouldn’t be a bad choice for anyone wanting to ring in the fall.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into Oktoberfest mug. It pours a lovely, hazy orange-brown color with a half finger of creamy, eggshell-colored head and a thin sheen of lacing. The nose is subdued and features more spice than caramel malt. However, the flavor is really nicely balanced. It opens fairly sweet with caramel malt but there is abundant toasted brown bread, burnt nuts, and a nice dose of spice at the finish. It's rather dry and leaves a surprisingly bitter aftertaste. For the style the mouth feel is luxuriously rich and creamy with pleasant carbonation, and the 6.5% ABV gives it a lot of substance. I've been wanting to try this Märzen for several years and I'm glad to finally do so. It deserves its lofty rating. It's one of the best Märzens I've ever had.

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Photo of jrc1093
3.51/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before 10/31/19

Pours a clear bright copper with a slight head of off-white foam; recedes quickly to some paper-thin islands of cap, thin frothy collar, and minimal strands of soapy lacing.

Aroma indicates a robust malt profile, with toasted bread leading the way and some burnt sugar and light caramel malt presence accentuating a subtle sweetness.

Taste brings out burnt bread crust, bready spice, and moderate bready malts mostly outdueled by floral, medicinal hop tones; a thinning malt profile guides into a quick finish.

Mouthfeel offers a very smooth medium-light body counterbalanced with a moderate-high but well-maintained carbonation; smooth malt glides across the palate effortlessly with a flavorful grit; slightly watery, but easy and clean finish.

Steadily enjoyable and fairly deep in parts, but is ultimately let down somewhat by a spotty, thinning flavor profile; top-notch potential, but its inconsistency has it settling more for pleasantly average.

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Photo of Stevosps
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Marzen-style lager has it all for fall.
A nice 1/2 inch head when poured from the bottle.light to med. Amber color. Very smooth, light but bold flavor with just the right sweetness to keep you wanting one more!

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Photo of German-Helles
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This 12oz. bottle poured a nice one inch tan head that quickly dissipated to just a thin cap with a bit of lacing left behind. This beer is a very nice clear amber with a nice amount of carbonation.
The aroma is perfect, a sweet smell along with a strong bready malt aroma.
The flavor is the sweet caramel, the bread flavor, and the spice flavor that is common in the Oktoberfest beers. The spice gives the beer a slightly dry finish.
This is a very good beer, looks good, smells great, just a little to dry on the finish keeps me from rating this beer higher.

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Photo of tone77
3.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is full of malts, caramel. Taste is of toasted malts, caramel, a bit on the sweet side. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a refreshing and solid beer and yes, it does feel like Autumn.

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Photo of sweetstothesweet
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Giving this rating because it's another tasty beer from my favorite local brewer!
Also, I just wanted to be review number 666 for this fine beer.
Malty goodness with a hint of hop bite. Yum.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Going through a couple of the higher rated Marzen and this looked appealing. A little more yeast to the aroma than I expected. Still some soft rich malt comes through. Tan head is a bit fizzy and a little short lived. Nicely clear orange amber.
Good rich malt a with a strong Oktoberfest flavor. Nice touch of sweetness up front and a reasonably dry finish. A proper toasty flavor and just a touch of hops. The richness cuts down on some of the cleanliness of the lager but there is enough there ( I just like more). This is rich without being heavy. Big enough without being too rich.
A higher scored version for a reason. I like mine a little lighter, but I like this one.

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Photo of Carter_Hull
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is such a good beer to kick off the Fall weather! In my opinion, it checks all the boxes for a malt forward fest -style/amber beer. Nose is reminiscent of all things Autumn and Fall. Rich in malt character that boasts notes of sweet bread and caramel. Nice balance of hops. Finishes clean and so smooth. Prost!

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Photo of mngermanshepherd
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice marzen colour, with a head that slowly dissolves into the malty goodness.

Taste is more bitter than I expected up front, with some sweetness on the back end. The bitterness sustains itself throughout the sip. Finish is a bready/malty taste.

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Photo of Act25
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

best marzan okt fest ever, and why not, german-americans settled ohio, esp cleveland and cincy.
a . on tap at Great Lakes cle airport. pours a copper-orange body with a white lacing head over clear body.
s. aromas ring yeasty, bready, malty, tempered by noble hops. all evident and fresh.
t. Tastes malty with a kind of sharp, neat, smokey bitterness rather than sweet caramel. Malts balanced by just enough bright nobel hops.
f . Rich textured, creamy, and soft finish.
o . a malt bomb as it should be, but balanced and well-closed in mouthfeel.

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Photo of officerbill
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: golden amber with a thin light brown head that quickly dissolves into a ring and thin lacing
S: malt, caramel, yeast, bread, earthy
T: malt, yeast, bread, caramel, hops on the back end
F: smooth & crisp, semi-sweet malt to start with some balanced hops at the end. Goes down smoothly without a coating or strong aftertaste.
O: a very good märzen Octoberfest. Had everything you want from a märzen, but is crisp enough to clean your palate as you drink. I wouldn't want it for an all day fest, but it's great for an afternoon.

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Photo of DaveyCream
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very smooth beer that is perfect for the fall time. Can smell the malts pretty well, which I personally like. Taste is as advertised and what you would expect out of a successful Oktoberfest beer. Always will have quite a few of these in October and would probably have them here and there all year if they were not seasonal.

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Photo of MrDigs86
3.06/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Two of the beers in the six pack we picked up where skunked. These beers were awful uncontrolled sours.

The remaining four beers were great. Exactly what you would expect from an Oktoberfest.

Great Lakes, try to keep your operation a little cleaner to prevent this bacterial contamination.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a pint glass. best by 12/2/18, so a month inside the wire here.

Bright amber colored body. light streams of carbonation. Initial good cream colored head leaving nice lacing. After a short time. this dissipates to a small ring and faint covering.

Good strong malty aroma.

..and then, on tasting, this suddenly goes very wrong. There is a vinegary taste that I usually associated with draft beers where the lines haven't been cleaned recently. Try as I might, I can't get past this to find other flavors.

Mouth is medium, finish a little sour and vinegary.

Overall, confused by this beer. It's the first GL beer I haven't cared for. Couldn't finish it. Checked the rest of the six pack in case this was a bad bottle, but they all tasted the same. Age was certainly not an issue, and given that GL is known for producing quality beers across the board, infection seems extremely unlikely too. I can only assume that the beer is supposed to taste this way, and something in my palate triggers an off taste. Marzens are by no means my favorite style, but this just tasted bad. Will re-review if I find it on draft and it tastes significantly different.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a clear amber with a one finger creamy white head. Nice amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is caramel, toffee and biscuit.

T - The taste is caramel, toffee, pear, biscuit, bready malts and light piney hops.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Soft mouthfeel with a crisp smooth mouthfeel.

O - This is a really nice American marzen. Flavors are nice and inviting. Definetly a beer worth seeking out every fall.

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Photo of Diamante
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour was surprisingly fun. It gathered a frothy, lightly orange head that covered the glass with perfect lacing. Its bubbly amber color was clear. The aroma was very subtle, but it sweet and toasty. Its texture was refreshing and very smooth. The taste is incredibly smooth, yet satisfying. The toasty malt flavor lingers on. Considering how much I haven't liked smooth Oktoberfest beers, I actually like this one a lot. While it is crisp and easy to drink, it has layers that other smooth Märzen beers are missing. I highly recommend this forum an American Märzen-style lager.

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Photo of GrumpyGas
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle enjoy by 10/10/2018
Poured into a becher shows a clear bronzed amber body with energetic bubbles flowing to a whispy cap after depletion of a weak 1/4in off-white head.

Aromas include bready malt, caramel, and oddly, stone fruits, reminiscent of peach and apricot and the flavors match.

Mouthfeel is a solid medium, maybe a little low on carbonation, and a clean finish.

Overall it's good.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.94/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Enjoy by 11/14/18"; drank 9/17/18 @ the Yarchives.

See-through orange/red appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small off-white head; frothy lace.

Caramel, autumn leaves & lager yeast notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Sweet corn & caramel flavors up front; autumn leaf notes on the finish.

Above average American marzen. Not amazing but worth a quaff.

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Photo of DoghouseReilly3946
3.21/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Great Lakes Oktoberfest - 6.5% ABV - 20 IBUs
Date: Enjoy by 10/31/18 sampled on 09/08/12.
Appearance: Clear and amber in color with with around one finger of quickly dissipating head.
Aroma: Sweet bread like malts, some yeast aromas, and much to my surprise, not much else.
Taste: Toasted bread crust up front with touches of honey and a bit of very mild spice. Rounding out the taste is a sweet malt note that could almost be described as sugary. Much like the aroma, there isn’t anything really bad here, just a lack of overall complexity.
Biased comments: An acceptable take, but I remember enjoying this one much more several years back. Perhaps my tastes have changed, as the sweeter Oktoberfest beers all seem somewhat lacking when compared to the more spicy, aromatic, and less sweet pale Oktoberfests.

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Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 2425 ratings