Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Bock - Traditional
4.11 | pDev: 6.08%
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 27 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Brenden
Brenden from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

As expected, Great Lakes stays true to style while putting their own stamp on the Bock. It's the ruddy brown it should be, completely clear if not for the dark color but providing no trouble seeing through it. The head is a tight off-white one that's foamy but substantial, and retention is moderate. Lacing sticks in good volume on the glass.
This beer displays what the style has to offer: a nice malty backbone with a kiss of grassy and lightly earthy hops, toast and nut the most prevalent notes with a light chocolate note underneath and very soft dark fruits notes adding no tang. The nuttiness is more dry than meaty and has a sweetness that is more like a light dusting of sugar than a candied nut note. Malts run richly all the way through, hops contributing just a little bitterness and working to accentuate the sweet/dry balance.
That balance of sweet and dry is just as strongly stated in the feel as in the flavor, and it holds a medium body that's never thin but doesn't get thick either. It finds its range and stays there, and it's equal parts crisp and smooth until crispness, never overbearing, does take over.

Feb 12, 2015
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nrbw23 from Ohio

4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours about the darkest reddish brown possible. Head is nice, foamy and a tannish cream color. Head had good retention and lacing was spotty.

S- Smells of sweet malts. Nuts, caramel, bread are easy to pick up. As this one warmed up I think I could pick up an apple smell and a bit of hops coming through.

T- I thought the taste of this beer was excellent. It followed the nose really well and the alcohol was very well hidden.

M- Medium in body and in carbonation.

D- Man this maybe one of my favorite pub exclusives. I thought this was very solid. Very easy to drink and enjoyable. If its there give it a shot for sure.

Apr 07, 2010
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sliverX from S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls.

3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

presented with a transparent dark brown very ruby tinged pint with a decent head and good lacing
smell was roasted malts and a slight German hop presence
taste was very malty very heavy on chocolate with a bit of peanut butter sneaking in finishes with German hops
mouthfeel medium to light bodied
drinkability this would be a wonderful session beer but its abv pushes t out of that category

Apr 29, 2009
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Dogbrick from Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Firkin version at Barley's 6th Annual Mini RAF (04/26/08): This brew pours a dark brown color with garnet around the edges and a medium thin beige head that dissipates quickly. Spotty lacing. Aroma of roasted malt, sweet caramel and a bit of dark fruit. Medium, smooth body with flavors of bready malt, dark chocolate and raisins. The finish is a little thin with a short malt and toffee finish. Above average overall.

Jan 30, 2009
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pwoods from Ohio

4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this on tap a little over a month ago at the brewpub. Review from notes.

A: Very deep amber pour, looks black at first. Short head on the pour but produces decent lacing.

S: Very grainy and earthy. Has a natural sweetness that's not overdone.

T/M: Great natural sweetness, again. Perfectly balanced. has a light toffee and buttery note behind the sweetness. Body is medium and crisp.

D: Tasty and very drinkable. 7.5% is surprising. A good spring bock.

May 16, 2008
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blakesell from Ohio

4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at Barley's mini cask fest at the smokehouse, poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a hazed brown amber with a swirl of caskfoam over the top. Lacing is decent at best, it looks a bit chunky, not from yeast, dry hops?

Smell- Very light noble hopping with cask aromas, 2% milk, and some light malts and caramel malts. Cask aromas take over and there is nothing more for the nose.

Taste- Creamy casked flavor, sweet delicious bock flavor. Evenly placed sweet caramel malts, a chewy chunk floated into my mouth and it tasted meaty. I hadn't been eating meat, it wasn't stuck in my teeth, I would guess it was a hop, but what hop tastes like meat? Light smoke.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, medium bodied, lightly hopped, lightly carbonated.

Drinkability- Very nice for all day drinkin'. A bock that Great Lakes should bottle instead of the Moondog ESB.

May 11, 2008
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csmiley from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a nice medium to dark brown with hints of ruby. Head was on the light side at a quarter inch. Retention was good and diminishes to a nice off white cap. Lacing was also good.

S - Sweet malty aromas come to the nose first. Caramel and maple seem to be in the forefront. Nuts and bread show up midway and make it start to come across as smooth. The very end smells of alcohol and a very mild hop presence.

T - Caramel and nuts dominate the taste. A close second is fresh-baked dark bread mixed with some dark fruit. There is some alcohol on the tail end but it is hidden well behind the other flavors. There is also a touch of hop bitterness that remains in a distant background.

M - Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Very smooth.

D - Drinkability is very good. It is very smooth and enjoyable. The alcohol remains hidden which makes this one a little dangerous. I only wish this one were available outside of the pub.

Apr 28, 2008
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neenerzig from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another on-tap only "pub exclusive" at the GLBC. Drawn from the tap into a tall, slender mug. This beer is a dark amber brown color with deep, but bright red highlights when held to the light. Head is a good 1/3 inch when drawn from the tap, but settles too fast, to a thin ring lining the inside of the glass. Smells of sweet malt and some caramel along with a hint of maple or brown sugar perhaps, followed by some slight hop bitterness. Tastes of sweet, sweet roasted malt and hints of caramel are present along with a bit of bready nuttiness and even a bit of sweet tart. Very little hop bitterness. Has a crisp, smooth, and creamy mouthfeel with a full body and heavy carbonation. Very nice drinkability. Another very good beer from Great Lakes!


Apr 18, 2008
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dherling from New Jersey

4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bet beer int he sampler. Poured out a solid mahogony brown color with a thin tan head, medium lacing. The nose was smokey, and had a disctinct soy sauce component. The taste was malty, bbq, smoke, hickory. Had very low carbonation and a medium body. Finished a bit slick. Very well balanced, a really nice bock.

May 01, 2007
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rhoadsrage from Illinois

4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has dense brown body that lets a bit of light through with a creamy thick head of light tan that fades pretty quickly.

S- The smooth smell of dark malt wit a slight dry caramel note. As the beer warms there is a soft noble hop bitterness that finishes the smell.

T- The taste of smooth caramel malt has notes of dark roasted malt in the background. The finish is a nice punch of hop bitterness enhanced by a very light alcohol heat. There is no really nougat flavors like many bocks have this is just all malt.

M- The light mouthfeel has a nice soft alcohol warmth that hangs on after each sip once the beer has warmed a bit.

D- This beer is very smooth and drinkable and the alcohol really brings together the hops and malt even though it is not a big alcohol.

May 01, 2007
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leftmindedrighty from New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at the Great Lakes pub during a road trip to Dark Lord Day

Smell, Big malt smell, sweet caramel, but my nose detects some underlying bitterness

Taste, Huge malt bill, very nutty, toffee tastes also. This one has a great underlying bitterness, mildly hoppy, but it all comes together for a great toffee/hop combination.

Overall, this is an American Bock at its best. A fantastic beer, and a great spin on the style.

May 01, 2007
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Briarbush from Ohio

4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap today at the brew pub. Dark amber beer with a small but frothy off-white head. Smell is great. Malt dominates but you pick up small fruity tones. Flavor is malty from beginning to end. There is a definite dried fruit taste in the finish. Finish is dry and the mouth feel is medium bodied which is great for the beer. Slight warming sensation in the finish as well from the alcohol (7.5%). Great beer but not a session beer.

Mar 24, 2007
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cabsandking from Ohio

4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with a thick and creamy tan head and good stick that leaves some impressive lacing all the way down. Heavy roasted malt tones cocoa and coffee, and wafting vanilla nuttiness. Smooth slick mouthfeel with little carbonation except a tad crispness at the end of the swill. Roasted malts, molasses, big coffee tones, sugar sweetness, and smoke are the dominant flavors. Some fruity hop twang starts it off but fades to the heartier malt tones. Moderate to low bitterness and dry enough to make it highly drinkable. Finishes with dry cocoa powder and smokey roasted malts.

Mar 22, 2007
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bruachan from Massachusetts

3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

consumed at the source. stopped in for a pint after my first foray into the Westside Market (i've been in the area since august. sheesh)

poured a dark reddish brown. mahogany? some lacing, but not much. great color though

at first it's real clean. malty, and not all that estery. flavors appeared as the beer warmed: some phenols, and a raisiny/dark fruit flavor, along with other (slight) fruit elements. the fruit was unexpected, though slight it was. very creamy mouthfeel

Apr 05, 2006
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WVbeergeek from West Virginia

4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ruby chestnut brown frivilous amounts of caramel colored lacing on the glass when the midsize head dwindles down. Aroma: Rich malty layers lined with deep over ripened fruit notes glazed with alcohol overtones excellent. Taste: Slightly vinous in character fruit edge with a big roasty malt profile mild chocolate tone with a hint of hops mild bitterness and alcohol comes through with the ripe fruit nice. Mouthfeel: Big textured lager even carbonation flows throughout, great. Drinkability: Excellent bock a bit addicting very flavorful had a couple before going to see a couple of my favorite bands from Southern California in Cleveland.

Apr 28, 2004
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OldFrothingSlosh from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the GLBC.

The description states 35 IBU's and that it is a "traditional dark spring lager to take the chill off. Rich, strong, and malty."

Appearance: Dark mahogany in color. Bits of ruby-red peek through the edges. Thin layer of milky-white head. Good dose of lacing.

Smell: Malty sweetness covering dark fruits.

Taste: A well-balanced beer. The malt-induced sweetness wins out, but is well-supported by the hops. Finishes with a smattering of raisins on the palate.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Smooth and somewhat dry finish. Medium body and very, very drinkable. Great choice to start the day.

Apr 16, 2004
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beergeek279 from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass at the Great Lakes taproom. The color was a dark amber with a nice beige head with good retention. The smell was a sweet dark malt. The taste was a heavy sweet caramel malt, and finished with the hop bitterness in the mouth. Mouthfeel was average. As for drinkability, could have a few.

This reminded me of the St. Nikolaus Bock, except with a bit more hopping. Not a bad beer at all, and certainly enjoyed the chance to drink it at one of the Meccas of beer, Great Lakes Brewery. Quite good, and hopefully I'll be in Cleveland again to drink this in the future!

Mar 15, 2004
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irishmoss from Ohio

4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep mahogany, hints of garnet, with a nice fluffy 2 finger head that stuck around for the remainder of the pint. The smell was caramel and faint hints of spice. The flavor was very complex in its maltiness: caramel, honey, plum & other fruitiness, and roasted malt flavors came through. Low hop presence that probably just aided in a clean finish. Mouthfeel was a little oily, which only helped it slide down the throat. This is aged for eight weeks and as a result it is very smooth. There was a slight alcohol presence that brought down the drinkability.
Originally sampled in the spring and liked it well enough to bring home two growlers.

Dec 10, 2003
Rockefeller from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 27 ratings