Great Lakes Oktoberfest | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

very good
622 Reviews
Great Lakes OktoberfestGreat Lakes Oktoberfest

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WVbeergeek on 11-04-2003

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 622 | Ratings: 2,220
Photo of q33jeff
1.63/5  rDev -59.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Smells like my old fraternity basement. Stale hops and barley. Copper clear color, little head. Not much going on here. Slight sweetness, vegetable, grains.

No Good.

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Photo of ErinBrew
1.76/5  rDev -55.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Are you f***ing kidding me ? I think it's time to stop reading these reviews and hoping to get anything inciteful from them. It is very apparent that most of the Beer Advocate reviewers are all hopheads. This beer is NOT indicative of a true Munich Marzen/Oktoberfest beer. The best way I can describe it is: half marzen/half I.P.A. Just like all of GLBC beers, it is WAY too hoppy. Nicely balanced ? I was not able to detect any malt flavor. Malty, slight hops ? What are you comparing this to ?

For what they charge for a 6 pack (around $8), I'll stick with a real Oktoberfest beer from Munich, which I can buy for less money. I'll take the Hacker-Pschorr (which I buy in kegs) or the Paulaner any day. Please try one of these beers for a true example of the style. The Spaten, H-B, Augustiner and Lowenbrau are also good but I prefer the amber colored style.

I live in Cleveland and always shake my head at all the raves about Great Lakes. Eg. their "dortmunder gold" is NOT a dortmunder/ export beer at all. Try a DAB or a DUB instead. Is there a site for malt-heads ?

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Photo of Fergyx825
1.94/5  rDev -51.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: This is a dark copper, with a little bit of head on the pour and a little bit of residual head left after the poor and on the surface. This is typical of an Oktoberfest.

Smell: This smells high in alcohol. I can smell a medium malted toastyness. Thats about it.

Taste: i almost don't taste anything. Tastes high in alcohol. not very tasty at all.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, with a light to medium thickness. This beer isn't bad.

Overall: This is pretty bad, and way worse than last year(13) vs 14.

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Photo of schwansmantr
2.2/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I’ve been trying several different Oktoberfests lately and this one by Great Lakes looks good. It has 6.5% ABV It pours a clear amber color that reminds me of the reds and oranges of fall time. The lacing is moist and delicate.I smell caramel, toffee, and roasted nuts along with some subtle hints of posible ginger or some type of flower. The taste is odd with the flowery caramel malts dominating the body. There is a lack of that mild grassy hop bite at the end like I see in other beers there is some slight hop tinge at the end in the back palate. This beer is just shy of medium-bodied. A creamy mouthfeel endures till the end. I'm not a big fan of this rather confusing taste and am giving it a D it's just has an odd flowery tinge that I do not like.

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Photo of Ranbot
2.34/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.75

Had this on tap at a local watering hole. It looks nice and has some good bready malt aromas. Good start. The taste though is sickeningly sweet to me. There's a lot of strong bready malts but there's little to no detectable hop bitterness to balance the malts. I am not someone who needs all my beers hopped up like IPAs either. An Octoberfest shouldn't make me wonder if I'm going to develop diabetes. Mouthfeel is fine and as expected for the ABV. This beer stands out to me as the sweetest Octoberfest I've ever had and it's a style I really like, so I've had a fair amount. If you like your octoberfests [or beers in general] on the sweeter side this is probably right up your alley, but if you prefer more balance and dryness then I would look elsewhere. I'm a little surprised at the high rating this beer has, because I would expect it to be a little more polarizing.

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Photo of stegmakk
2.46/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Light copper...head left immediately except for small thin ring around edge of glass (but no lacing).

S - Buttered biscuit.

T - Not good. Seems off. Not much too it.

M - Slick medium body

D - Due to the taste - not so good.

I've had GLBC bears before and liked them. Just not this style from them. It might taste OK, but not as an Ofest. Definately would not recommend and will not buy again. I'll stick to Spaten or Paulaner.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

Yes balanced, but balanced nothingness. Too sweet. I have never differed so much with BA and bros opinions. The first Great Lakes beer I didn't particularly enjoy.

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Photo of utopify
2.51/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I bought a six back of bottles because of the high rating and reviews. Very disappointing. It lacks the deep malt and caramel oat flavors you'd normally find in a marzen lager and leaves you with what I felt was a green tea with two tablespoons of yeast. Sorry Great Lakes.....maybe I'll give it another I'm just hoping someone drinks it when I host a halloween party later this month.

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Photo of jpkoch1962
2.52/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Perhaps I got a poor batch. This beer poured a cloudy orange with plenty of chill haze. The smell was neutral to a bit floral. The taste was very astrningent, bitter, and chalky. I won't even begin complaining that there was no "Bavairan" character to this lager - no Bohemian Pilsner malt, Munich malts, or German noble hops. I've had Great Lakes ales before and have given them good reviews. I can only say that I just got a spoiled batch.

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Photo of 2Stout4u
2.54/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was not impressed with this offering from one of my goto breweries. In all fairness this is not a style Im familiar with, but I do know what I like.

Color was the best thing about this beer. It was a nice ornage that reminds that October is coming.

Poured with moderate carbonation and small head that quickly dissipated.

Taste was to malty for me and had what I like to refer to as a slight sour taste. It is possible I got a bad batch, but I think this is just a style I don't like.

Overall it's better than macro beer but I won't try again. No worries though I still love you Great Lakes!!

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Photo of jjanega08
2.66/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A= The pour reveils a golden amber colored beer with a nice two finger head on it that holds some decent retention and average lacing.

S= Strong honey smell to it for some reason... Apples maybe. More like caramel apples or honey smell to it. Hard to describe but those are the first two things that came to mind when I smelled it.

T= The taste is honey as well. I've never tasted a beer that resembled honey so much. Did they use honey in this recipie? There is a residual sweetness to it that again is very honey like as well as a slight hop bitterness in the finish.

M= Syrupy as thick. Like honey.

D= What is this honey? I dunno how much I like this as an Oktoberfest but as a honey beer it's great.

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Photo of allboutbierge
2.72/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I realize that seemingly, GLBC can do no wrong and that their Ofest is very popular on this site. However, I feel that its probably their weakest offering from an otherwise top 10 brewery.

Color is a dark caramel with shortlived head and minimal lace rentention. I cant see this mother birthing a monster head baby in a 1 liter Maß. But, being of the American variety, one shouldn't expect that as the same could be said about Victory, Penn, etc. However, it'd be nice to see.

Aroma is nothing but overpowering sweet candy malts. Its a malt monster alright. Flavor is full of chewy thick malts. Lots of caramel going on too. No balance what so ever and too sweet to consume in copious amounts. Its just too one sided and filling. Knock back the malt content some and through in some more Tettering or Hallertaus to strike some sort of balance and this beer would improve drastically.

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Photo of dditto2
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Unfortunately I was not impressed by this beer much.
Beautiful looking amber, very nice head.
Smell is dominated by a decomposing grass smell.
Taste is ok exept for that decomposing taste that lingers well after you finnish the brew.
It feels good and is very drinkable in general but that odd taste really ruins it for me.
Definately the worst oktoberfest ive tried and the worst ive tried from greatlakes. Not really a bad beer over all. I would drink it but theres better for the price. I have access to many kinds of hard to find brews so its very unlikely i will ever buy this one again.

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Photo of TheSSG
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Pours a soapy, off-white head. Spicy hop nose. Light, golden-copper color. Starts with hop bitterness and caramel. Builds in caramel and malt after a flash of medium bitterness. Finish is lingering caramel on spicy hops.

I am not digging the caramel aspect of this one, it really ruins it for me. Great spicy hops, though.

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Photo of weeare138
2.83/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears a transparent amber with a small whit cap that sticks around. The gentle cap of foam fades stays the duration while leaving a scattered film of lacing around the glass.
Smell is of light sourdough, caramel, grain, vanilla, and a touh of butter.
Taste is of the aromas with a hint of diacytel.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, spritzy, and just ok.

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Photo of maximusj
2.9/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got a sixth barrel for home and was really looking forward to it after reading the reviews. I usually went with something like a Sam Adams Oktoberfest, but wanted to try this since the store got it for the first time. After having poured several beers I'd say it's been disappointing at best. The initial pour looks great with a creamy head and nice smell, but then after a couple minutes the head went into a sudsy/soapy looking bubbly mess before disappearing before I took three drinks from it. As for the taste I noticed a sweetness and pronounced alcohol taste followed by a bitterness I didn't expect. The hoppy taste was OK at first but lingered as a bitter aftertaste longer than expected. Not sure if I got a bad batch but I can't recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of spinrsx
2.91/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz Bottle from the Potsdam NY IGA for 2.75$

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an average size fizzy/frothy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 4 minutes.

Smell - Malts, grass, cereal, hay, caramel

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and lots of wet herbal notes like hay/straw/grass. It also has some raisin notes and some light hops. It ends with a malty herbal aftertaste.

Overall - Way too much herbal/farm type flavour for me. Maybe it's spot on for the style, but it just isn't enjoyable. Not something I'd buy again.

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Photo of dmamiano
2.91/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Really excited to try this one. Great Lakes doesnt disapoint!...or does it.
Claen oarangish amber pour with a nice one finger white head and lacing.
Smell of malts. Some sweetness, but also an underlying hint of vegetables.
Taste was good up front, malt dominated but quickly had the taste of a slight sourness of maybe even vegetle.
Have to say I was let down by this one. Maybe a bad sixer?

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Photo of Brno
2.92/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Good solid amber color with a scent of caramelized sugar. Medium body with a little astringency for cleanliness. Leaves you with a good flavor and a touch of weight on the aftertaste. This is a complex and beguiling brew that every time I think I have it figured out, I am thrown a change-up. Good and drinkable, especially for kickoff...

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Photo of json83
2.94/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Autumn seasonal with an est. 195 calories per bottle and 6.5% ABV. An amber lager with the flavor of a slight herbal/ grassy taste. I am rating this low because it isn't one of my favorite styles. I would recommend if your a fan of amber lager, but I would not go out of my way to buy again. The aftertaste is almost as bitter as an IPA.

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Photo of Hawk221
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Update from 9/12/14:

Had this beer again, completely different this time and was better, I could taste the malt and the weird harsh bitterness was gone. I'm really not sure what happened when I reviewed it the 1st time? Bad bottle?

My review went from below average to good, probably very close to the German Oktoberfest beers. IMHO Paulaner's Marzen is the best for the style and Great Lakes Oktoberfest falls somewhere behind that.

Wow, what a disappointment..

I've had many Oktoberfest beers before and this one was the worst by far.

Looked great in my mug, but the harsh bitter aftertaste gave me a headache. I got no maltiness at all. I think something was wrong with this batch?

I switched to a Dogfish Head 60 min IPA afterwards and that seemed less bitter and easier to drink, I'm thinking I may have had a bad batch?

For being a 20 IBU beer it was way too bitter tasting.

The best by date was 11/05/14

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Photo of JamesS
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice red-brown-copper color, but no head or lacing. Nice malty scent, but not the deep fall aroma I like. Good taste, some nice malt attributes, but with an odd sweetness (almost Irish red like, but lighter due to it being a lager). Goes down fine, but with a slightly astringent aftertaste. Not the best from Great Lakes.

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Photo of nukem5
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Nice color in pint glass, orange with a nice cap of tan foam.

S: Aroma is sweet and not unlike any other marzen style beer you have had, but this one is a bit smaller than average.

T: Sweet malts and a breadiness are present in this as well, It just tastes like fall to me .

M: lighter side of medium bodied with a light carbonation level.Very little if any legs to it.

O: Overall it is my fave beer style and was a bit put out as Great Lakes usually do things very good and well received but this one while good on the average is still a bit light for me.

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Photo of drtth
3.02/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a nonic glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a nice cleary lightly coppered amber color with a ¼" off white head that persists for a while and leaves a nice pattern of lacing on the glass as it recedes. Eventually the head recedes to a ring of foam but for most of the beer there are speckles of lacing when sipping and there is also lacing clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is almost completely dominated by butterscotch or toffee with little or no hop character showing.

Taste: The flavors are malty and sweet with a fair amount of butterscotch and toffee. There is some earthy hop character that eventually cuts into the sweetness but does not eliminate it.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and soft with moderate carbonation. The finish may be the best part of this as eventually the toffee and butterscotch sweetness fade away in to some dry bitterness.

Drinkability: I was surprised by this beer as I wasn't expecting quite so much toffee/butterscotch caramel in either the nose or the flavors. On the whole I had no problem finishing the beer but thought it could have used a bit more hop to balance it out and give it a dryer, more bitter finish. While I'll try this one again to see if I need to improve the scores, this serving didn't seem to me to be all that pleasant compared to some of the other o-fest beers I've tried.

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Photo of NODAK
3.03/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smell isn't very overwhelming, though it does have some sweet caramel notes to it....a little toasty note as well. All in all though, not a very rich nose here.

Pours a clear amber color in my glass with a one finger head.

Taste just seems kind of light for an Oktoberfest to me. It has that signature sweetness, but seems less like a typical heavier caramel sweetness and more like a light, sugary sweetness to me. There is also an underlying, but kind of mute for style toasty note that shows up. Finishes sugary with a tiny medicinal bitter note.

It's inoffensive but not remarkable for style. There are better options for the style.

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Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 2,220 ratings.
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