Great Lakes Engine 20 Smoked Pale Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by klewis on 02-19-2006

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 100
Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Boston's Bistro & Pub, Dayton, OH

A: The beer is crystal clear yellow in color and has some amber hues along with a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down but never completely faded away.
S: Light aromas of smoked malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell but the smoky flavors are a little stronger.
M: It feels medium-bodied, clean and smooth on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is pleasant and easy to drink. It's not too smoky so it would make for a good introduction to smoked beers for someone who is new to the style.

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Photo of oberon
3.69/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap last night at the Corner Slice here in GSO.Poured into a standard pint glass a clear bopper copper color with a half finger white head atop.Aromas of light smoke and light leafy hops,a bit of sweet biscuit malt is in there as well.A decent shot of smokiness up front on the palate not over done but it plays a role,sweet dough malts underneath with a finish of pine and leafiness from the hops.Not bad,a pretty subdued APA but it is what it says it is,and it went down pretty easy.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Finnigan's Wake in Winston-Salem, NC

A: Pours a crystal clear medium yellow in color with light amounts of gentle visible carbonation near the surface of the beer and some faint golden yellow + orange highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy off-white head that reduces to a small patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of smokey malts with light hints of earthiness.

T: Moderate flavors of smokey malts with some lights hints of iodine. Light notes of earthiness. Light amounts of bitterness are present but do not linger for too long.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and clean.

O: This beer is pretty easy to drink as the smokey flavors and aromas are not too strong as well as the alcohol being well hidden. Definitely enjoyable.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Acre for Dani's birthday. Served in a tulip.

A - A finger of lightly tan foam settles to a thin cap, leaving behind splotchy lace. Quite dark for a "pale ale" - must be the smoked malt. Hazy dark orange-brown color.

S - Smoked malts, caramel, somewhat meaty. Not a ton of hop character - maybe some light floral and citrus notes.

T - Biscuit and toffee malt character dominates. Finishes light smokey with mild residual hop bitterness. Again, maybe some light floral hops in the taste.

M - Chewy medium body, moderate carbonation, lightly resinous finish, and no obvious alcohol.

D - A solid lighter smoked beer, although I prefer Three Floyds Ham on Rye for this sort of thing. A bit to smokey for sessions. Could use more hop aroma and presence.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light copper color with white head and plenty of lace. Aroma of ample smoke and herbal hops. In the taste, pale malts and smoke, light bitterness as well. Sugary malt and robust malt notes. Smoke, hops, malty sweet and good balance. Overall, a fine brew.

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Photo of corby112
3.31/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy, dark golden yellow color with hazy straw edges and a one finger frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Get good retention with streaks of soapy lacing coating the glass on the way down.

Slightly smokey aroma with delicate earthy hops, pale malt and light fruit esters. Everything is pretty subtle in the noise with a touch of liquid smoke and BBQ followed by hints of bread, apple, pear and subtle floral hops. Somewhat bland but not offensive.

Medium body with delicate smoke and a crisp, earthy hop bite that provides some dry, lingering bitterness. Some grassy pine needle and dank floral buds with a touch of citrus sweetness. This is countered by pale malt flavors of biscuit and bread along with some light fruit sweetness. Some more smoke lingering in the finish. Wish it was heavier but this beer could be used as a good introduction to the style with a touch of campy smoke on the back end.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap at Sams in Durham, NC. Poured into a Great Lakes pint glass.

Pours a pale copper color with a 2 inch white head. Smell is almost nonexistent.... maybe a faint smokiness if you really try and smell it, but on first whif there really isnt much at all in terms of aroma. Taste is much different though. It's got a nice mild smokiness to it that isn't overpowering whatsoever. It's extremely well done IMO. The typical characteristics of an APA are still there, but the smokiness makes it very enjoyable. Good feel, lighter side of medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall this is a very enjoyable beer that I'm glad to have tried. I'd get it again if I was in the mood for a refreshing brew.

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Photo of Bung
3.46/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tap at Macs South in Charlotte.
Orangey gold pour, couple fingers of off white that stuck to the glass pretty well.

Aroma, mostly citrus and toffee/malt. Light herbal hop and some nuttiness.

Taste, more nut here. Toasted malt, quite a bit of caramel. A slight bitter that could be smoke, but really is its the herbal pine hop bite it finishes with.

Just right of light bodied. Carbonation was nearly creamy, but that depends more on the location. Drinks easy, just need to be ready for a non-standard pale.

Reminded me a bit of Skull Coast Scallywag pale, which was brewed with almond I believe.
For a maltier pale this is good, for anything "smoke" this is a fail. I did like it however.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask version at Barley’s 5th Annual Mini RAF (04/28/07): This beer is a lightly hazed dark amber color with a medium off-white head that has good retention. Rings of lacing. The aroma is mostly hoppy with smokey malt undertones. Dry, medium body with both hops and smoke flavors, neither of which dominates. Light malt in the backgound as well. The finish is mildly bitter hops, with the smoked character still lurking in the background. Interesting beer, although it does not really push any boundaries.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Morris Tap and Grill. 11/22

Served on tap in glass. Pours darker amber, but still see through. Laced foam rings, and quite sticky. Light smoky malt flavor. Taste opens sweet and rolls into a woodsy fireplace flavor. Liquid smoke holds. good blend.

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Photo of DmanGTR
2.18/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On tap at the Beer Expo.

Poured a hazy amber with nary a head. Looked kind of dead aside from a few soapy bubbles. Oh dear me, who soaked leather and cardboard in beer and tried to carbonate it? Honestly, this is exactly what it smelled like to me. I wasn't impressed at all with this. It's like this pale ale had an identity crisis between being a pale ale an a rauchbier, but it took too long to decide what it wanted to be and got oxidized, and finally decided to just try a little bit to be a rauchbier, but ended up not going far enough to really make too big of a difference. Poorly carbonated and oily. Try again, Great Lakes, I know you can do it!

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Photo of thecheapies
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An amber-colored pale ale with a thin cap of dense foam that lays with concave edges. Visible carbonation through exceptional clarity.

Sweet maltiness with fruity tones and a light smokiness that leaches out like a dull ache. Reminds me of a beer licked by wet campfire smoke. Hops are delicate and fruity/floral.

Nice rigid bitterness offered up by citrusy hops and a crisp toastiness from kilned grain, but it's enveloped in a wet smoke. Has notes of cherrywood, grapefruit, leafy hop, tempered malts, and a touch of vanilla. Love this muted smokiness. Plus, it swells as it settles and warms.

Stoked with spicy carbonation. The body is light and drinkable. Very enjoyable.

Nice little half-smoked ale. Keeps its pale ale charcteristics. I recommend Engine 20.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a crystal clear golden orange color with a white head. Head has okay retention and leaves some nice layered lacing.

S- Smells fairly light I thought. Picked up some citrus hops and a touch of smoke.

T- Taste is rather light too. I expected something a bit more hoppy. I picked up some bready malts, a bit of citrus hops and it finished with a smokey flavor.

M- Medium in body and right on in carbonation.

D- This is by no means a bad brew, but I think I'd rather drink their Burning River and avoid the smoke taste.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.17/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a pint on tap at the GLBC brewhouse.
A: Pours a hazy orange with a thin head that looked a bit flatter than most of the other beers they were pouring.
S: Smells like your typical IPA with a bread/caramel backbone, some hops, then a pleasant subtle smokiness.
T: This is so balanced. The bread/caramel malt, the bitterness from the hops, and the smokiness all integrate really well- quite tasty.
M: Medium-bodied, fairly smooth.
O: Another quality GL brew- I wouldn't mind this added to the bottled lineup at all.

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Photo of zimm421
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewed from a growler filled on 10/19/2013 at the Daily Growler, Columbus. Poured into a standard pint glass. Appears a beautiful dark amber color, that is perfectly clear. The head is about 2 fingers thick, off-white, and has great retention, and good lacing.

The nose is full of smoke, and some caramel, with a bit of citrus coming through on the back end. Not as powerful as I expected here though. The taste is very complex, with a lot going on in the background. It is fairly well balanced, with good bitterness upfront, then the smokiness coming through, along with caramel, in the middle, and followed up with good citrus at the end. The aftertaste is dominated by the smokiness, and the bitterness.

The mouthfeel is pretty sticky, with good carbonation, and is right where I'd expect. Overall, this is very interesting and complex brew, but not something I would call excellent. Definitely glad I was able to try this, and not something I would turn down in the future.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a pint glass at Woodland's on 8/25/12

Very cloudy and dense. A darker shade of orange. Pours a thin head with a skim of retention. Only a few specks of lace.

It smells pretty nice: orange, tangerine, grapefruit. Clean, wet grass. Pleasant amount of biscuit and sweet cracker. The taste has a juicy citrus quality (orange and tangerine) with a penchant for grassiness. Toasty grains and some bread round it out. Mild bitterness on the finish. Medium light body with ample carbonation. Not exactly crisp, but focused.

Overall, well balanced and easy to drink. Worth a shot.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Took a trip to the brewery this past Wednesday afternoon and enjoyed a glass of this pub exclusive on-tap. I paid only $2.75 for a pint during happy hour, which is from 4:00-7:00 P.M. Monday-Friday. Served in a pint glass. This beer is a clear, medium golden color with orange/copper highlights. The head is about an inch thick when drawn and settles to a very nice film layer with a good thick white ring lining the inside of the glass. Very nice lacing too. Malty and hoppy aromas are present and not much else that I could distinguish. At first this beer had quite the hoppy bitterness going on tastewise, reminding more of a good IPA than an APA. As the beer warmed however, the malty sweetness became more apparent and balanced the bitter hops very nicely. I know they claim the ABV is only 6% , but I got quite the buzz from only one glass of this and nothing else. Has a good medium bodied and crisp mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Very easy to drink in the way a good beer needs to be. A good, solid beer, but not one of my absolute favorites from Great Lakes. Worth a try though. I certainly wouldn't mind drinking this again either.


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Photo of shivtim
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at the brewpub.
Served up in a small glass. Clear dark gold in color, with a small white head.
Nose is smoky malts. Nice but not much depth.
Taste is nice earthy flavors with spicy hops and smoke. Lingering hop bitterness overlaid with smokiness.
Decent mouthfeel; good drinkability. Creative brew.

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Photo of kimcgolf
3/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

This smoky ale would probably go very well with some grilled sausage or brats...unfortunately, I didn’t have any of this food with me when drinking this. It poured to a rediish orange, with a good off-white head and excellent lacing. Aroma was slight citrus hops,. but mostly was predominantly smoky. The smoky accent carried over into the taste and finish as well, so much so that it was hard to pick out any other flavor.

Not my favorite Great Lakes beer.

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Photo of klewis
4.5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

on-tap at GLBC 2/18/06

A: Pours a copper color with a small but sustaining head.

S: Strong aromas of hops complimented by fruity esters and mesquite aromas.

T: This was a wonderfully balanced brew with strong hop flavors with a smooth and subtle smokey character in the finish.

M: Full-bodied and smooth. Just the right amount of carbonation in this one.

D: Time permitting, I would have had several of these, but alas, I could only have one. As a pale ale, this will stand with the best of them, but the smoked aroma and flavor provides a uniqueness that makes this one stand out over any that I've had. Go get some.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
2.07/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A pour from the tap at TJ's during the Great Lakes Family Reunion Philly Beer Week event on 6/9/2011. Poured into a nonic pint.

A 1 finger head sits on top of a coppery orange colored body that is pretty clear. Not much haze in this one at all. The lacing is solid, as well, as some rings are interconnected by spiderwebby lacing, which fades even more as I get to the bottom of the glass.

The there are some hops in there, and I can pick up faint aromas of bready malts, but this beer smells like smoked salmon. Straight up, no two ways about it. I guess I am intrigued, so even though I am slightly put off by the aroma, there is something that makes me really want to taste it. On the palate, I can't decide if this is better or worse. I am going to go with worse, since I couldn't get through the whole glass. The balanced pale ale is completely overwhelmed by the fishy smokiness that permeates every bit of this brew. This is a beer that if you didn't know that you liked smoked salmon, and you tasted the beer without ever having had the fish, you would love it. I can't disassociate the two, though.

This feels good on the palate, minus the off-putting smokey twang. Good carbonation, and medium to light texture put this at a good representation of what the texture should feel like for this style. Overall, I think I only drank as much of this as I did because it was intriguing. Not because it was good. I can't say that I would recommend this, as there are much better GLBC beers out there.

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Photo of dherling
3.31/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out an orange honey color, crowned by an off white head exhibiting good lacing. Had a malty nose with a slight sour orange note. The taste was mostly medium malt flavor, with a small amount of both smoke and hops, but not much of either. Had a medium body and low carbonation. I feel like a lot of beersin this style tend to over smoke their beers, which this did not. However there wasn't enough of anything else to make this an enjoyable or interesting beer.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at Great Lakes. Poured into a pint glass.

A- Light amber with very little head. Had nice clarity, but not much else to speak of.

S- Pretty one dimensional. There was a nice, smoky aroma that slightly accented with some citrus hops.

T- Just like the aroma. Initial taste had a solid hops flavor, but quickly gave way to a smoked finish. Just wish there was more to this beer.

M- Medium bodied with some carbonation. I really like the fact that they paired a heavier smoke body with a pale ale body. Creates a unique mouthfeel.

D- This beer just seemed to be missing something. I quickly got bored with this one and found it quite tedious to finish the whole thing.

Overall, I love smoked beers. The problem with this one is that there isn't much complexity. My thought is that if you're going to go with a smoked flavor, either go all out like a traditional rauchbier or make the beer more complex to offer a variety of flavors on the palate. This was neither. One of the only beers I wouldn't recommend by GLBC.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.66/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Great Lakes Brewing Co.

A: Pours copper in color with about a finger of fluffy white head. Lots of foamy lacing.

S: Grainy malts and some subdued floral hops in the background. The aroma is rather faint overall - a little disappointing.

T: Some sweet malts and biscuit lead to bitter hops and a smokey finish. An interesting twist on the traditional APA.

M: Crisp and clean with a medium body.

D: A decent APA with an interesting addition of smokey flavor in the finish. The flavor is appropriate considering this brew's name.

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Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint of this brew served at the Great Lakes Pub during a road trip to Dark Lord Day.

Smell, Very earthy hop smell, with an almost musty kick to it, not quite sure where it was from

Taste, Light hints of smoke, with that earthy hop flavor. The smoke flavor is clearly present, but far from over powering. The musty flavor I smelled was obviously from the smoke, but I just love the hop flavors going on. All the flavors are subtle, yet forthcoming.

Overall, what a fantastic brew, not quite hoppy enough to push the IPA envelope, but definitely pushing the boundaries of an APA, label this a robust APA and you've got yourself a winner. I enjoyed this brew so much, I ended up taking a growler of it home just for myself.

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Great Lakes Engine 20 Smoked Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.59 out of 5 based on 100 ratings.
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