Great Lakes Oktoberfest | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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610 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: 610 | Ratings: 2,182
Photo of justinp444
4.73/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip it is a slight amber orange crystal clear with a 1 and a half thick frothy white head. Smell of caramel, sweet malt, floral, spice, some nuttiness, and a nice fruity apple. Taste is apple, plum, bread-y sweet malt, caramel, nuttiness, some spice, tiny bit of grass, a good amount of earth on the end, and a very clean full flavor. Has a very nice sweetness about it, with a fantastic full mouth feel that is creamy yet crispy, and a great moderate to full body. One of the best marzens I've had for drink-ability and a more malt & yeast forward flavor.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours brilliant red orange under a persistent, clingy 2” white foam cap.
S: Rich spicy malt
T: Exceptionally well developed malt flavors with a little breadiness and lightly sweet kettle sugars seasoned with spice from the malt and hops and a firm bitter accent on the finish.
F: Clean, smooth yet crisp with a medium body and carbonation.
O: Very well balanced and well prepared Oktoberfest.

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Photo of mchegash
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - 3.85/5
An extremely clear orange color. One finger of head upon pouring, dissipated within a minute. A medium amount of carbonation can be seen rising at a medium rate. Overall, nice look, but I would like to see more head retention.

Smell - 3.75/5
Sweet maltiness. Some fruitiness, alcohol, and a bit of hops.

Taste - 3.75/5
Sweet fruity maltiness. Some subtle hops. Tastes like there are some subtle fall spices in this beer (though there aren't...GL only uses barley, hops, yeast, and water in all their beers). A bit of alcohol taste as well. Overall a decent taste, but the taste also seems a little strange/off in some way I can't describe. There is a strange aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - 4.3/5
Full bodied. In between creamy and crisp. The carbonation is quite light. I really like the fullness of the body, the beer really feels thick while it is in your mouth. Perhaps there could be a tad more carbonation though.

Overall - 3.95/5
Overall this was a good beer. I really appreciated the fullness of the body, though I would have tweaked the taste a bit I think.

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Photo of TheSSG
2.75/5  rDev -31.3%

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 Dodo2step
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

P- Wegmans in Mechanicsburg, PA

A- clear crisp amber color with a foamy finger head. Nice spiderweb lacing on the pint.

S- all toasted munich malts with hints of grain

F- flavor mimics the nose....very tasty and complementary...I also detect hints of grape on my palate

M- light bodied and goes down with ease. The munich malts are perfect in this one. A great beer and would love it again

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Photo of AC-Mivsek
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clean, clear orange-red. thin white head that dissipates quickly
S- Malt, carmel, bread heavy
T- Malts and bread up front followed by a hoppy tang
M- Medium body, smooth and easy-drinking, finishes dry
O- I normally don't seek out Oktoberfest beer, but this one is so clean and well balanced it is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into sam adams custom glass: color is perfect, great copper, fine bubbles, head is not present or lingering.

Smell is a nice stronger, fuller maltier oktoberfest style which is a great way to americanize this lager; malts are all munich/vienna aromas, subtle grape and fruit like flavor.

Taste is full bodied, great malt flavor: vienna, munich malts, crisp clean hops and subtle bitterness

Mouthfeel is what to expect from a stronger maltier ale, slight lingering sweetness, and crisp drying carbonation.

Overall a great oktoberfest interpretation; maltier and stronger than many but still very clean and crisp flavors.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev 0%

Bottle: Poured a golden color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of clean cereal notes is exactly what I would expect from the style. Taste is also dominated by cereal notes with light residual sugar with a clean finish. Body is about average for style with good carbonation. Perfect example of the style.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass at approximately 45 degrees F.

A: Pours a coppery clear golden-orange, which forms a thin head that dissipates quickly into a ring of bubbles around the glass.

S: Doughy, yeasty malt, much like an uncooked biscuit, with some faint spice hints and a touch of non-sweet caramel.

T: Sweet toast and a bit of caramel hit up front, followed by a doughy yeastiness that rounds out and balances the sweetness nicely. There's some faint spiciness to this marzen, like a touch of cinnamon. As could be expected in any malt-forward lager, there are some undertones of toffee and caramel, though with decidedly less sweetness than one might expect. The finish is composed almost entirely of the GLBC yeast, with a slightly grassy, leafy tone.

M: Flat, but in precisely the way a marzen should be, with minimal carbonation. The feel across the palate is light, without a watery finish (GLBC is good at avoiding that issue with every beer of theirs I've had).

O: That's a good, tasty marzen, relying on malt and yeast to provide the bulk of the flavor profile, while spice and hops remain comfortably in the background.

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Photo of KonigObHops
4.41/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured a medium copper color with an off-white head that was one finger-width wide.

The beer has a bready smell, which is very strong.

The initial taste sweet, and the hops follow immediately. The flavor is complex in the middle. This beer does not have the typical toasted caramel Marzen punch. It has fruity tones mixed in with the hops and malt. The finish is very nice and slightly sweet. There is absolutely no hint of bitterness .

The mouth feel on this beer is full bodied and smooth. The carbonation is noticable, but nicely balanced.

Overall, this is an excellent beer. If you are looking for a typical Oktoberfest, this is not the right beer. If you want something in the Oktoberfest style that is slightly more sophisticated, then this is a great choice.

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Photo of gangstafaceclay
4.8/5  rDev +20%

Appearance-Pours a dark orangish color with white foamy head.

Smell-sweet..caramel, toffee and nutty.

Taste- man this is good. You get toasted nuttiness, toffee, Carmel, molasses, and light toasted bread.

Mouthfeel- med bodied and good carbonation. This is an easy drinker.

Overall- have to say this is my favorite Oktoberfest I've had yet. So for the style I rate this beer very highly.

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Photo of Boto
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Draught @ Headkeeper: This one pours a clear, lighter amber color. There was a small off white head that left little lacing. Decent aroma. A bit of toasted malts. Possible some earthy hops also. No noticeable sweetness. The taste is decent. Toasted malts and slight biscuit notes. It has just a hint of bitterness and is very smooth. Nice!

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This brew was served from the bottle at The Brick Oven Bistro in Sandusky, Ohio. We poured into a set of half-sized house snifters, revealing a ruddy amber coloring to the brew. It held a half finger tall head of creamy white bubbles, showing nice retention. Wet, etched lacing was left around the glasses. A mild haze cut clarity, with no sediment noted. Carbonation appeared to be active. The aroma boasted bitter skunk spray sourness, eucalyptus and menthol plant resins, dusty pollen florals, plastic and Magic Marker phenols, basement mustiness, soured wheat and crystal maltiness, big coiny metallics, canned creamed corn, gravel sweaty dog fur saltiness, and warmed pumpernickel breadiness. The taste offered honey and white sugar sweetness atop a base of plastic foaminess, brown, crystal, and toasty brown German malts, dense banan esters, pumpkin seed and nutmeg spice, black pepper booze, orange peel citrus, light grassy hoppiness, bitter brown autumn leaf crunch, toasty honey, salt lick, and biscuity, savory butters. The body was medium, and the carbonation was medium. Each sip gave nice cream and froth, slurp and smack, and pop and glug, with the mouth left coated, warmed, and eventually lightly dried with tannic astringency. The abv was appropriate, and the beer glugged back easily.

Overall, this was again, a great suggestion from the bartender at this establishment. We are typically always on top of what we want to order from our beer spots, almost always before we even get there, but we were being so indecisive, so decided to go with this proposed offering, however widely available it is. Again, we were not disappointed. This is your quintessential southern German Oktoberfestbier. The flavoring was beautifully balanced to a crisp malty push, although we did find a lacking of even the mildest hops, making for a highly sippable and enjoyable beverage to relax with. This beer fits well with the change in the season to colder weather, and should satisfy the palate of any novice or expert alike.

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Photo of BrewThru_29
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

I dont review many beers, but this one was worthy.

Appearance: Gorgeous crystal clear fall amber with a nice head.

Smell: Sweet malt. Really not a ton going on here.

Taste: This is where the beer stands out. Hands down the best balance and flavor I've experienced in an Oktoberfest. Phenomenal. Sweet malts are near perfectly balanced against the hop profile. So drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Easy to take down a few without feeling full.

Overall: Best O'fest I've tried. Get you some!

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.59/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

pours such a lively dark copper beer with a thin but existent head. carbonation is noticeable.

smells exactly like i remember. not overly strong but definitely there. starts off like a euro pale lager/pilsner but more malty and roasted.

taste is fantastic, my favorite marzen/oktoberfest. i can taste pumpkin but only at the very end, thankfully because i prefer marzen/oktoberfest lagers to pumpkin ales by a wide margin (off topic but just sayin). hard to describe, bready and sweet yet not thick or thin.

this goes down so smooth, i think it has to do with the lively carbonation. it's not overly thick or thin but just very solid.

my favorite oktoberfest, so glad i picked up a case of it today! was waiting for it since last year. one of my favorite lagers ever.

if i could describe this simply it would be: a hardy and substantial lager. Go Bucks

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to whitenads for sending me this one.

Enjoy by: 10/15/14.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, toast, earth, caramel, and slight nut aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, toast, nut, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of malt and earth forward characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Samp01
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a crystal clear copper amber with an lasting off white head. very light lacing. Aroma and taste of toasted grains, barley, malt with mild bitterness. A full flavored brew with a smooth medium body, good carbonation on the palate. Finishes with toasted grains and some moderate caramel malt comes thru as it warms up balanced with some light hops bitterness, ending has a lingering nutty flavor. Overall a very good and flavorful brew.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.52/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, enjoy by 11/05/14. I had this one time about 5 years ago and wasn't crazy over it (3/5), but I keep hearing about it this fall as being one of the best American brewed Oktoberfest beers, so I had to retry it...
A 4 - amber/copper colored body with amazing clarity, ivory head holds decent retention eventually fading to a thin foam
S 3.75 - sweet caramel and toffee, toasted grain, spicy & grassy noble hops
T 3.25 - very sweet up front with caramel, brown sugar, toffee, toasty grain followed by a decent kick of noble hops providing some earthiness, grass, and spice; sweetness prevails
M 3.75 - medium body, moderate carbonation, finishes sweet with a spicy, peppery prickle on the tongue
O 3.5 - a little better than I remember. But I still find it to be overly sweet, which takes away from being able to drink more than one at a time - a quality I feel is necessary for the style. It's ABV of 6.5% also keeps it from being sessionable. I'll pass on this and go with others for Oktoberfests in the future.

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Photo of JR88
5/5  rDev +25%

Amazing Beer/style, I just have to make a review of this one, one of the better ones from Great Lakes.

Very rich malty/slightly sweet /smell/taste/characteristic's yet the very light hoppy smooth tangy/zingy clean finish, just a great session-able beer imo. People that are giving this low ratings/saying its bad are ignorant....

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a bottle of Great Lakes Brewing Co.'s Oktoberfest last week for $1.69 at The Lager Mill. For some reason I've never had this beer before, but I've heard good things about it and I'm interested to see how it turns out, so lets see how it goes. Best by 11/06/14. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into my Oktoberfest stein.

A- The label looks nice and it goes well with the name, but I don't think it's too eye catching. It poured a pretty clear amber color that took on a slightly darker amber hue when held to the light with just about two fingers worth of chunky light tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice sticky and patchy lacing behind. This was a very nice looking beer and it's just how I expect a good Marzen to look.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart a bready, sweet malt, bread crust, light caramel and very light toffee like aromas with a light toasted aroma showing up in the background. Up next comes a fruity aroma that's similar to apple juice and it's followed by some clean lager yeast and just a little bit of grassy and earthy hop aromas. This beer had a good aroma that's just what I expect from the style.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the malts still being the first to show up and they impart the same malty aspect that I got in the aroma with no single aspect seeming to stick out the most. Up next comes that same apple juice like aspect, but this time it sticks out just a little more than it did in the aroma and it's followed by some of that clean lager yeast. on the finish there's just a slight bit of hops that I got in the aroma and they impart a low amount of bitterness with a nice toasted malt aftertaste. This was a good tasting Marzen and it was very similar to the German brewed ones.

M- Smooth, crisp, fairly clean, on the very light side of being medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was great and it's exactly how it should be.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and I thought it was a great example of a Marzen, instead of taking the bolder approach that most American brewery's do Great Lakes went very traditional with this one and they did a good job at showing what this style is all about, it might be hard to pick this one out among a few German examples of the style. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, crisp, fairly clean, not filling at all and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, I could drink more than a few of these especially if I was at a local Oktoberfest. What I liked the most about this beer was the mouthfeel and just how true to style it was, it embodied what a good Marzen is all about. What I like the least about this beer was nothing, there wasn't not a single thing that I disliked or that I thought was out of place. I would buy this beer again, so far it's the only American made Marzen that I've had this season that I would go back and get a six pack of and I would recommend this to anyone who likes the style or just sessionable malty beers in general. All in all I was impressed with this brew, Great Lakes took the path that not a lot of American brewery's take and in the end I think it really payed off from them and it resulted in one tasty brew. So far it's up there as one of the better beers I've had from this brewery and so far it's my favorite American made Marzen. Great job guys this, this was a very nice beer, keep up the hard work.

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Photo of jeneric84
5/5  rDev +25%

I don't write reviews often but this one deserves the rare moment. I look forward to Marzen style beers and this is hands down the best one in America (of those I tried). It represents the style so perfectly I had to give it a five. Great Lakes never seems to disappoint and I very much appreciate their attention to detail when brewing a certain style especially old world ones. Don't pass this one up. I'll be purchasing this annually.

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Photo of are_doubleyou
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a bright copper color, like a new penny. A vigorous pour results in a thin head that quickly dissipates. Very good, but I prefer my Märzens a bit darker and with more foam.

S: Hints of roastiness and caramel. A bit weak, but the notes are delightful.

T: The taste follows up on the aroma. It is very crisp as it hits the tongue with a rush of toasted caramel notes. The finish is dry with a light aftertaste of caramel.

F: The mouthfeel is rich and malty, but not thick like a porter or stout. It is also lightly carbonated. Spot on in my opinion.

O: This is a rock-solid Märzen. I don't like it as much as the German Märzens that I've had, but I can't think of an American example that I prefer to this one. A great beer for autumn weather and probably my top pick for Oktoberfest celebrations when the store doesn't have any German Märzens in stock.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

9/6....pours low foam but pure copper. Clean and fresh looking. All malt nose. Taste is a malt bomb, toffee, caramel, bread, with a nice hop in between. A touch sweet on my palate, have had stronger Marzens. But certainly good,.

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

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a 1/4" thinnish head, frothy. Ample visible effervescence. Moderate lacing, moderate retention; a thin skim with large patches of open space.

Aroma: Lager yeast and the Great Lakes house malt. Very similar to the Dortmunder Gold, and Burning River in that respect; slightly sour/tart. Bready. Fresh loaf of Sunbeam bread with butter.

Taste: Clean, ever so slightly sweet arrival. Increasing sweetness across mid-palate, collapsing into a crusty heap of caramel and toasted bread crust at the end. Very nice; just this side of too sweet.

Mouthfeel: Not highly carbonated by any measure, but more so than Dortmunder. Slicker finish, but not cloying, and certainly cleaner than an ale. Medium to medium-full bodied. Quite sweet on the finish, and sweetness lingers a bit.

Overall: As lagers go, this is a very "big" beer. When I started getting into craft beer, this was my hands-down favorite. The last two times I have had it (2013, 2014) it was too sweet for me. Not cloying as I found Sam Adams (which has subsequently been less cloying) but very, very sweet. For 2016 it was less sweet, but still hard to drink more than one of. Still plan to buy one or two bottles each year, but there are a number of Marzens I prefer over this now.

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Photo of stewart124
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Copper in color with golden hues. Not too much lacing.

Bready aroma with some spice.

Medium bodied with chewy caramel goodness. Wonderful malt character and dry finish with a lingering maltiness. Some hay and grassy notes to go with the noble spice.

A lovely beer throughout. Easy to drink and the 6.5% is easy to overlook as this is just so good. I would have no problem putting back a few of these.

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Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4 out of 5 based on 2,182 ratings.
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