Great Lakes Oktoberfest | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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604 Reviews
Great Lakes OktoberfestGreat Lakes Oktoberfest

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

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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Reviews: 604 | Ratings: 2,145
Photo of PerroGrande
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a medium/light amber with a solid, tight foamy head that lingers for a long time. The foam leaves light lacing on the glass that seem to be fairly durable. A good looking brew.

Aroma is somewhat laid back, but I pick up some light bread, hops, and mostly malt.

Taste is quite good and decently complex. Opens up with some carbonation bite. This is followed by some bitterness that fades in favor of caramel and malty tones that tend slightly toward the sweet side. Long finish is caramel with a mild hint of alcohol that warms slightly.

Mouthfeel is moderately smooth, although a little too carbonated for my taste, with a slight tendency toward the thin side. Higher ABV adds to this bite a bit, but not obnoxiously so.

Drinkability is decent. Higher ABV might limit this somewhat as a session brew, but not too much. Quite refreshing and enjoyable, but I'd be inclined to stop after 2 or 3.

This is a nicely crafted beer that is a good example of a domestic Marzen. A very enjoyable beer to drink, and a nice compliment to a decent variety of foods.

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Photo of naproxen
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to nlmartin and beertruth for this one :-)

Poured this into my pimp Schlitz glass goblet, cheers. A thin white head and moderate lacing afterwards, pretty standard. The aroma on this bring on sticky sweet malt, a little bread too.

For an oktoberfest this is pretty tasty and full of flavor, however I find it overall a touch too sweet for my liking to enjoy multiple of these in a sitting. I like the bite of the malt and a little bitter hops in the finish as well. If nothing else, the abv from this one has warmed me up a little bit. I'd love to have this on tap to compare with the bottle.

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Photo of Lolli1315
3.21/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

24 oz. bar glass on tap.

A- Transparent orange to burnt orange color. Not much of a head, but the bartender did not really any room in the glass for a head. At a college bar, I expected that.

S- Roasted malts come through the strongest, but not as strong as I think I would like in an Oktoberfest. Some spices also apparent with a very small amount of pumpkin (Not the pumpkin smell you get with a pumpkin ale).

T- The sweet malts hit you on the front, and when I say sweet I do not mean like a hefe or a wheat beer, but a more subdued sweetness that would work better for a fall season and grilled out meats. Not anything outstanding for an oktoberfest beer though, as it is not balanced between the sweet malt and a roasted pumpkin flavor for me.

M- Medium to thin mouth feel. I would prefer that it be a little more full bodied especially for a beer in the fall season.

D- I certainly could finish this beer, but after 24 oz, I did not care much to have another.

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Photo of ommegoose
3.08/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Looks more or less as it should. Copper color with clarity, little visible carbonation, and an off-white head. Only a full sheet of head on this pour. No lacing. Maybe the next bottle will do better. Did get more lacing with my second bottle.

Some toffee-like sweetness. Buttery.

Buttery caramel malt, and a surprisingly earthy and musty finish. Dank. Hops are subdued, in fact, bludgeoned to death by the excessive malts.

Feels heavy. Full-bodied and lightly carbonated. A little out-of-place hotness.

Oddly, this really reminds me of the Christmas Ale, but without the spices. I don't think it's better. Surprisingly slow to drink. I think it's a bit too big, and that's a complaint I don't make too often. Not really what I was looking for. Really rather dull to me, but this is probably a symptom of being an Oktoberfest. I wanted something a bit more quaffable.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single bottle (early October date) poured into a tumbler. Appearance - Some white foam that died down quickly and left some broad lacing on the glass - really not a lot. The color is a nice coppery orange - with just a little bit of carbonation coming up in the glass - the bubbles move up quite slowly.

Smell - quite delicious. Lots of toasted malt and a hint of something caramel - but not too much.

Taste - quite nice. Sweet caramel malt, something that reminds me of crackers (a buttery one, not a dry saltine), and a hint of bitter at the end. Well balanced and it was a taste that made me want more.

Mouthfeel - some carbonation on the tongue, a bit thick but again, not in an unpleasant way.

Drinkability - this went fast with dinner and I think if I was in an actual Oktoberfest event, this stuff would be gone fast and I'd easily be ordering another. Very nice beer with a meal in that it doesn't overpower the meal (which was a simple beef, onion and noodle dish) and satisfies at the end.

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Photo of dolemite77
3.56/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Love great lakes beers, this one does a good job on the Oktoberfest style. I think I'm usually a little too excited for Oktoberfest season, because a lot of them fall flat to me... this one is similar to the great lakes lager, in the fact that there is a little more hoppiness to these than most. Pours rich copper, with a little head, but lacing is nice. Aroma is basic malt. Flavor is malty, but there is a different layer to the flavor that I'm detecting as hops, but it might just be the roasting of the malts. Not my favorite Great Lakes by many many miles, but still a good beer in a style that I usually give average marks to.

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

12oz. bottle served into a pint glass.

A. Pours amber with a frothy, pillowy brown head. Plenty of lace left clinging behind proper head retention.
S. Smells of toasted malts upfront, molasses, and noble hops.
T. The rich deep taste of brown sugga and molasses. Biscuity buttery malts and earthy grains. A nice amount of noble hops at the end that gives the finish a nice dry bitterness. The maltiness of this beer gives a deep rich flavor that distinguishes this Oktoberfest from others.
M. A creamy mouthfeel that's both syrupy and sticky. Medium bodied with light carbonation.
D. Wow, the flavors linger about the palate. A nice feel of malts left clinging to the tounge. Very drinkable Oktoberfest at a 6.5 abv. with plenty to enjoy. The best American Oktoberfest in my opinion.

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Photo of dmamiano
2.91/5  rDev -27.3%
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 MaltyHoppyGood
3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the few Oktoberfest beers I've had.

Generally, it's a good beer... I love many of Great Lakes other offerings and used this beer as a guide for the style.

Pours a healthy amber with good amount of head, leaves lacing all around the glass.

It is lightly sweet with a lager taste I've never experienced before. It's really easy to drink, as it is somewhat nondescript rather likeable. Unlike other lagers, this amber lager has more malty body, making it a bit bigger and heartier.

I enjoyed this beer, and am interesting in trying other versions from other breweries. I can't say I'd go out and buy more, as there are other beers with more character.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my pint glass the beer is a orange brown hue. A half inch of off white head sits atop my glass. After it recedes no lacing is left whatsoever. Once again as I'm starting to notice with this style the nose is weak. What I can pick up is malty breadiness and hnits of hops. Not much else. The flavor is fairly mild as well. Malt and roast nuts are the main characters I taste up front with a slight hop bitterness that comes in at the end. Smooth medium body with moderate carbonation. Overall another underwheliming marzen. Here's to the next one knocking my socks off.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.46/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured into a pint glass to a small light tan head. It is dark orange in color. It smells of sweet malt. It tastes of caramel malts and has some hints of hops. I think it is quite drinkable, but it is not a standout. I would belly up to a bar and session this beer. It just lacks the "wow" factor.

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Photo of claminat420
3.07/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- poured a nice transparent amber almost golden color with a nice off white thick foamed head. noticing the bubbles. looks over carbonated :(

S- kinda a sweet malty scent. maybe a very small hop scent to back it up.

T- noticing the sweet malts mostly dominating followed by a very slight bitterness that hangs in the backend.

M- light bodied. well carbonated.

D- nothing to special. could have a couple don't know if i could kill the whole six.

Overall- on the label great lakes call is a amber lager. i woulda expected more of a medium to heavy bodied mouthfeel then. i guess the best term i could say is that this brew is alright.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.72/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle poured into my standard shaker glass. The o-fest appears a clear rich copper color with about two fingers of pillowy off white foam. Nose and flavor consist of toasted bready grain, fruity, apples, toast, buttery, grassy hops. Medium in both body and carbonation. A decent stab at the marzen style.

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Photo of Beejay
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A brilliant golden amber, low amount of head, that dissipates to a white ring. Gloriously clean...

S: Malty, with some spice, maybe nutmeg or pumpkin??

T: Delicious malty body, with a little kick from the hops and finishes with a nice spice flavor that I can't really put my finger on. Damn tasty though.

M: Clean, smooth and creamy.

D: A nice beer for the fall seasons... you can taste the leaves cahnging in every sip.

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Photo of shirfan
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber-orange color with a fleeting head.

Grainy malt aroma with hints of caramel and a faint nuttiness.

Tasty, but a little too light in body and a bit too sweet. Mildly toasty malt is the main flavor component here, with caramel tones. A hint of grassy, herbal hops in the finish.

An easy drinker but not quite up to par with many of GL's other outstanding beers.

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Photo of kels
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer #2 on the Oktoberfest tasting spree. Review is on a bottle-pour into a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a completely clear reddish-orange with light, visible carbonation bubbles running throughout. The short, white head fades immediately to blotches of watery foam on the surface, and very little slippery lace slides down the walls.

Smell: Not very pronounced, but the aromas of caramelized grains and honey come through, along with a mild metallic note.

Taste/Mouthfeel: I really enjoy the taste of this marzen. The best way to describe it is hearty - really toasted, bready grains give it a full, satisfying flavor. It is somewhat sweet, but not overly and has a slight presence of green apple-like tartness, especially in the aftertaste. The feel is light and clean without being too fizzy or overcarbonated.

Drinkability: Really high. This is a solid marzen that pairs well with all the food of the season.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.45/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Enjoy by 10/14/09.

(A)- Pours an amber color. Decent off-white head formation, but quickly dissipates down to a light layer of bubbles.

(S)- Malty sweet-like maple wood with light caramel and corn.

(T)- Lightly sweetened malts with a corn husk taste. Has essences of apples on the finish.

(M)- Good carbonation level. Rather sweet in the malt category, but overall pretty well balanced.

(D)- A good oktoberfest, yet is almost a bit too sweet though. Overall, a beer that is easily enjoyed.

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Photo of TheViolator666
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A Great Lakes bottle with no 'Best By' date marked? Weird.

A: Pours amber in color with a thin white soap-bubbly head that leaves light lacing.

S: Not much of a smell to speak of. A bit malty and toasty.

T: Light malt sweetness and a bit of hop bitterness in the aftertaste, well balanced. Finishes sweet and a bit dry, as well as a bit of diacetyl buttery-ness, but not offensive. The toasty malt character is enjoyable.

M/D: Nice medium and creamy body with just enough carbonation. Goes down easy and is extremely drinkable.

A very nice fall time beer.

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Photo of allboutbierge
2.72/5  rDev -32%
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 paco1029384756
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color with one finger of off white head.

Scent of grain and some fruits. Good and malty with a light sweetness.

Taste of sweet malts, butterscotch, grain, and a hint of earth. Slightly more sweet than the scent, very tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice bite of carbonation.

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Photo of JamesS
3/5  rDev -25%
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 neobassman
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On a recent road trip to Ohio, I picked up a few Buckeye State brews including this season-appropriate offering from Great Lakes. The pour produced a respectable lager head and a good quality lager smell. The crystal-clear orange color was lighter than I would have expected for the style, and similarly the taste, while pleasant, was also more like an amber lager than an oktoberfest beer. Somewhat malty, flavor with suggestions of toasted bread and a slight sour note. For the style I would have expected more malt, more body, and maybe a little less hops at the end. That said, this is a pleasant beer with substantial character, and I look forward to savoring my remaining bottles.

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Photo of ClevoPiwo
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden brown/copper color that is very clear and clean. The head is nice and frothy and leaves bit of lacing on the way down the glass.

The smell is clean and malty with sweet, bready and grainy characters dominating.

The taste is clean and balanced, as it should be. Sweetness from the malt comes in big up front with a slightly dry and grainy finish that has a touch of hops in the end - the hops are just part of Great Lake's take on the Oktoberfest, normally I wouldn't expect that from an Oktoberfest.

Overall, a very enjoyable fall beer!

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Photo of BacklitAvenger
4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - An amber color with shadings of burnt sienna, this beer is topped by a two-finger head that leaves spotty elliptical traces of lace along the sides of the glass. The head persists at a one-finger level almost to the end of the beer.

Aroma - A grainy somewhat sweet caramel aroma makes itself known. There's a toast-like bread character as well.

Flavor - Here the characteristics that exemplified the aroma make themselves known again. A bready malty characteristic is complemented by small amounts of toast. A caramel sweetness pervades the whole beer along with hints of very definite fruit that is somewhat similar to peach. There's a honeyed toffee flavor and a slight hop derived bitterness with a slightly earthy finish.

Mouthfeel - Big and bold, with a chewy consistency that defines this style. The carbonation is relatively light for some of the German lager types, keeping the sweetness from becoming cloying. A slight warming effect accompanies the finish.

Drinkability - The drinkability isn't as high as I expected due in part to the relatively high ABV for a 'session' beer. Besides that the sweetness and heavy nature of the beer lend themselves better to alternation of this with a darker, drier beer like a dry stout or some such.

Another great entry by Great Lakes. The elusive fruitiness defines this as a head and shoulders above its other American competition in the oktoberfest style.

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Photo of JNewbs
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is definitely my go-to fest beer. Living in Cleveland, I get a chance to try out every Great Lakes beer that they bottle, and most of the ones they put on tap at the brewpub. That being said, I still wait all year for this puppy to come out, and then I fill up the cellar with it and drink it until spring when I inevitably run out and am sad.

A: A beautiful clear gold-red. Head is about a finger (i've got big fingers) and dissipates quickly.

S: Malty, caramel, grainy. Not too complex - actually fairly one dimensional. The best part is - if you've tasted it before, the smell makes you want to dive right in.

T: Yum. I would stop there but it wouldn't do the beer justice. The malt is great, and you can taste the grainy-ness, as well as the caramel. It finishes crisp, and doesn't linger as much as other fest beers I've had.

F: I have never been a fan of the way a malty beer feels in my mouth. This one is par for the course on that score.

D: Put it this way - I had a sixer in the fridge before the Browns preseason game yesterday. By the end of the game it was gone.

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Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 604 ratings.
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