Rackhouse Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
89
very good
76 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
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BEER INFO

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TurdFurgison on 10-27-2005

BEER STATS
Ratings:
76
Reviews:
39
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
9.05%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
5
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 76 |  Reviews: 39
Photo of nmann08
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a dark amber color and a modest head that, nevertheless, laces the chalice

Smell: Bourbon and a bit of caramel

Taste: Starts with a sweet caramel flavor that builds in intensity and then, whoosh, the bourbon arrives at mid-palate and provides an oaky bourbon-filled sweet finish

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation; some warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Very subtly handled; just enough bourbon to make things interesting but you can still taste the beer

 507 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.66/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From tap to plastic cup at the BA Blackout release on 1/16/12

-- Thanks for sharing the experience, John! --

A: Gorgeous orange-amber. Top notch collar and lacing.

S: Alcohol esters, hot notes of wood and a bit banana and clove.

T: Really, really hot. There's no real balance here. It's a bourbon bomb from the start, an it never lets go. The yeast and malt profile fight to shine through, but in the end, they fail to make a lasting impression. Not bad, just a bit above average.

M: Creamy. And thank God, as a thin, weak beer couldn't carry the heavy bourbon profile this brew packs.

O: This is one for the cellar. GL's Rackhouse screams for time to mellow out a bit, as it's a hot bourbon bomb fresh. It lacks the proper balance, and left me burping whiskey esters for a while.

Approach cautiously.

 808 characters

Photo of Stinger80OH
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Axnjxn
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of pathman
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.82/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Had this on-tap at Great Lakes on 10/23/05. This was served only from the pub, so I was told. Presented to me in a chalice glass, very dark color brown, almost a red shade of black. Thin wispy head on top, almost non-existent.

The aroma was strong old ale, or alcohol-laden barleywine. Very powerful and a little bit scary. The flavor was very full, very rich, and burned my throat. It was hard to believe it was beer. I would have guessed brandy or something of that sort. The after-taste was chocolate, but I douldn't detect any burnt malt flavors.

I had to rate kind of low on drinkability, because it's hard to finish one chalice. The flavor was great and all, but my lord it was too strong in alcohol burn.

Try it if you see it. But be careful.

 758 characters

Photo of xnicknj
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at BA Blackout release party

Pours a darker auburn color with some golden hues. Smaller head, with a touch of retained wispy film running across the top of the beer.

Notes of malted sweetness, oaky bourbon, brown sugar, and vanilla in the nose.

Begins strong with roasted malt and candied brown sugar. Dark fruit including raisins and figs alongside some vanilla tones. The oaked bourbon flavors are apparent, but not overboard, along with some alcohol warmth. The sweetness is heavy here, especially with the brown sugar and bourbon combining. Finishes boozy and sweet.

Lighter body for a barrel aged beer, fairly carbonated, and a bit sticky. A smaller sample of this was enough for me, as the booze and sweetness were a little bit much. It's described as a "bourbon barrel aged sweet ale," so this wasn't surprising but it just wasn't my style. I can see some people loving this though.

 903 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is hazy copper amber with a tan head. Nose is fairy sweet with a good amount of wood and notes of bourbon. Notes of berries, vanilla, and toffee. Taste is quite sweet. Wood is a bit more moderate with a nice bourbon interplay. There are layers of toffee, vanilla, caramel and cherry in the back. Stronger carbonation with a relatively drinkable body and fairly soft palate. Pretty good stuff, taste is a bit more deep and integrated.

 438 characters

Photo of Morey
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of siege06nd
3.6/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a sampler cup at the GL BA Blackout release.

A. This brew is a very cloudy, medium orange brown color. A half finger of cream head appears and slowly settles, leaving about a quarter finger behind. Decent lacing. Nothing spectacular, but has a pleasant glow to it. Good.

S. A lot of bourbon, maple, vanilla, creamy malt, and caramel. A very sweet, thick smell, but balanced and with some subtle syrupy nuances. Hints of brown sugar and molasses. Bourbon covers most of it up though.

T. A lot of vanilla, maple, caramel, and some booziness on the back end. Barrel aging is apparent here, as the wood really comes through. A dry, boozy finish. Enjoyable, but just a little bit thin right now. Bourbon overpowers all of it and makes it a little one note. Ho hum.

M. Highly carbonated, perhaps too much so. A distinct thinness to this one. Lackluster.

O. Rackhouse is an interesting beer that I am certainly happy to have tried. But it is a bit thin and boozy at the moment. Just not enough malt to support the heat on this one. Wondering what time will do to this.

 1,081 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - while enjoying the bread pudding, my server gave me a shot of this. In the tiny glass it looked fairly golden but now, in the 10-ounce goblet, it has a decidely reddish burgundy cast to it. Just a thin collar of light tan foam.

Aroma - loads of whiskey notes with a sweet fruity bend. Not much else but I ain't complaining!

Taste - the strong ale presents itself as sweet and grainy, malt liquor-ish. The fruitiness from the nose is here as well. While that is pretty good by itself, the oak barrels add a good complementary dimension. Smoky, charred flavor from the depths of the oak, peaty and a bit hot. If they would bottle this, what could *this* develop into after a few years of cellaring? The finish is warm and whiskey.

Mouthfeel - a little heavier than average. Restrained carbonation, let's the flavor come through unhindered.

Drinkability - takes a little adjusting, but smooth (and potent) sailing after that.

 939 characters

Photo of Deuane
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Hazy, turbid yellowish tinged amber with a thin white head that vanishes quickly in a plume of alcohol flame!

S-Whoa! Sweet luscious bourbon, heat and a bit of caramel sweetness.

T-Initial caramel sweetness that is quickly overwhelmed by a tidal wave of bourbon. This is like the beer equivalent of a bourbon shot! Dry oaky notes finish things off.

M-Medium-heavy body and super smooth. This is so thick, creamy and smooth it's like a burbon milkshake. Decadent!

D-A bit too hot in the end but overall a very interesting brew. I feel fortunate to have had the chance to taste this one.

 592 characters

Photo of Cpmitchno1
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of nrbw23
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a golden orange and is pretty cloudy. A good, solid ring of white head and leaves light spots of lace on the walls of the glass.

S- Aroma is really complex, quite a bit going on here. A little tart, with hints of grapes and some grassy herbs.

T- Taste follows the smell really well and even sweeter than I expected. Overall a good balance of fruit and an oak flavor. Alcohol also stands out.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

D- Very drinkable, even though its has a higher ABV. Brought this one home in my growler.

 533 characters

Photo of Ohiovania
4.31/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BB1313
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

32oz growler filled at Heinen's in University Hts., Ohio

Growler poured into a tulip. Pours amber with a subtle haze but still has some clarity to it; fluffy off-white head that falls leaving solid retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are bourbon forward along with some sweet caramel and vanilla. Lots of malts. Some raisins, cherries and dark fruits in the mix. The flavors follow the nose. The bourbon shines without dominating and being overwhelming. Lots of caramel along with some vanilla. More raisin notes. Coconut flavors come through. Strong malt backbone. It's sweet, but it's not cloying or anything crazy at all. Alcohol is well hidden and basically goes unnoticed. Dangerously drinkable. Mouthfeel is very nice. It's on the lighter side of full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's slightly thin, but it's pretty fluffy and very smooth. Once again, this one is dangerously drinkable.

This is a really nice barrel-aged brew. "Balance" is the key with this one. The bourbon characteristics shine without dominating and being overwhelming. The craftsmanship is very impressive. Well done. Very enjoyable stuff.

 1,129 characters

Photo of mcallister
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lovey shade of amber/mohagony. Off white head is rich and creamy with very good retention and some sticky lace left behind.

Rich sweet caramel malt, rediculous amounts of sweet toffee, toasted oak, coconut, brown sugar, candied fruits and dried fruits, fig especially. Also a hint of butterscotch on the ending.

Lush, sweet, palate coating mouthfeel. Very sweet and malty. Toasted oak, with a vanilla, toasted coconut edge. Bourbon is nicely integrated. Brown sugar, fig, other dried fruit round out the flavors. Many nutty flavors in here as well especially chestnut and even some hazlenut. The overall RS level of this does hurt the drinkability however. A sipper for sure.

 681 characters

Photo of jampics2
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the 2010 Barrel Aged Blackout Release.

In whisky production, the rack house is the building where the whisky is aged. Over time, the whisky takes on woody qualities and changes to its final form. Even though it was originally intended to reference the wood aging, Rackhouse is a very appropriate name for this ale, as the beer has gone through some tweaks and changes over the years. Most notably, the recipe was changed to incorporate more sweetness last year, and that has continued to this year. This is a huge bourbon bomb of a beer, full of sweet malts, woody notes and with a syrupy feel, making it very reminiscent of brandy or some other liquor. The continual evolution Rackhouse ale has undergone has lead to a very nice place, setting this beer as a unique and enjoyable American Strong Ale.

Rackhouse looks nice in the snifter. The beer is amber with hints of honey, crimson and ruby swirling around the glass. Unfortunately, the swirl does not reawaken the liveliness of the beer. This has very little head retention, which can be a consequence of barrel-aging. However, I'd like just a bit more signs of life in the relatively clear liquid that fills my glass.

The smell is a bourbon lover's dream. Rackhouse has more sweet caramel malt than just about any other beer I've had. Hints of toffee and even a touch of cherry give it depth. A nice amount of bourbon and vanilla showcase the masterful way this beer was aged. Not too boozy, but bourbon dominated.

The taste takes me to the middle of the warehouse, where barrels on shelves line the corridors. The transformation that is occurring all around me makes whisky taste the way it does - the wood makes the difference. That really holds true for this ale, as the sweet caramel malt is smothered in layers of vanilla and bourbon. Some sweetness and a hint of alcohol burn finish out a well-rounded palate. This is unique in its sweetness and showcasing of the barrel. Any fan of big, barrel-aged beers will love the tastes Rackhouse features.

Rackhouse has low carbonation, which is fine for a strong ale. The medium body is satisfying and has great viscosity. Some lingering sweetness and a touch of lingering alcohol finish the experience. The beer is slightly sticky, but never becomes syrupy. That, along with the pleasant tastes makes this very drinkable for a bourbon lover like me. This is not a beer for everyone, though, as its strength and disposition may make it difficult to finish for the uninitiated.

 2,495 characters

Photo of sholland119
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to unclejedi for sending this one along!

A-Pours a cloudy pale brown amber, almost like iced tea. Not much head or lacing.

S-Bourbon, oak, white grapes and pineapple. Very nicely woody and sweet.

T-Much like the nose, the sweetness and wood dominate. Lots of white grape, mild citrus and pineapple with a bit of boozy warmth.

M-Medium bodied and lightly syrupy.

D-Very nice. This one slides right down and leaves me ready for another.

HV

 454 characters

Photo of scott2269
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of midlifec
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of vrbulldog22
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of whitenads
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

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Rackhouse Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.09 out of 5 based on 76 ratings.
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