Great Lakes Grassroots Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Grassroots AleGreat Lakes Grassroots Ale

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

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bottled Grassroots Ale is a Saison formerly named "Hale Ale".

Added by neenerzig on 10-24-2008

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Reviews: 177 | Ratings: 236
Photo of BB1313
3.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm definitely late reviewing this one. It was released in 2009! I had it fresh plenty of times, just didn't get around to review it. I still have one bottle to refresh my memory. 12oz bottle, pours a hazy golden, slightly dark, with a decent head and lacing. Lots of barnyard funk up front. Slightly hoppy; bittersweet. Grassy and earthy notes as well. Mouthfeel is pretty fizzy, finishes dry. Drinkability is alright, nice beer to enjoy in the warm weather.

This beer wasn't the most receptive offering from Great Lakes, but I never thought it was as bad as people make it out to be.. but they clearly brew better beers. At the same time, I'm not losing sleep over the choice not to bottle it again. Who knows though, they might choose to again in the future.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
2.29/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Wow, just wow. I was stoked to find this awful tick in my friends fridge. Bottled 11/19/09. I had this when it was fresh but I didn't review it. Also back then I didn't know anything about saisons.

A- This is a pretty dark saison. Deep amber red. Short head with slouchy lacing.

S- Weird. Butter, toffee, salt, pepper, hay and a weird funky earthiness.

T- A mish-mash of damp spices and mold. A strange butteriness comes in toe with cheese. This finish is bizarre and alarming.

M- Very, very dry. I need some water.

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Photo of mrjoshm
4.68/5  rDev +40.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed this beer, it was my go to favorite from the sample pack, I would have definitely bought a case if I could have found one. It did have a watery mouthfeel, and everyone pretty much hit the nail on the head in regards to appearance but to me the smell and taste were great. There is a lot of aroma here, the crisp smell of lemongrass cuts through the floral overtones. The drinkability was good, nothing offensive and a handful of flavor to try and discern with each mouthful. A lot of people seemed to not like what they were smelling and tasting, but I loved it.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.21/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured into a tulip.

Pours a hazy yellow color with a bit of a light apricot hue. White head that doesn't persist for long. The nose is...whoa. There is a lot going on. It's all a bit too much and I don't think everything comes together at all. I get some lemon, tea, flowers, chamomile, grass, and a bit of grain. The taste worsens this as there is a weird sort of bitterness from all these earthy, plant-like flavors. Feel is a bit astringent. In the end, I really did not enjoy this.

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Photo of JNewbs
3.07/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this a few times - fresh and a few months old. I will say that it was much better a few months down the road than it was fresh. The predominant taste was chamomile, and it was very flowery and in-your-face. I didn't particularly care for it. The best thing I can say for the beer is that it was crisp, and finished as it started, without getting watery or weak.

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Photo of Kaiser777
2.57/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A- Its cloudy yellow with a white head with tiny to medium size bubbles that floats to the top to meet the foam which wasn't thick at all, little sights of wheat floating around the glass, & little to no lace on the glass which in my opinion is a sure sign of disappointment.

S- A variety of herbs that's is hard to miss, starting with a slight hint of lemon basil, lemon balm, & of course chamomile, and the almost dominate wheat smell you get from most Belgian style ales.

T- A slight lemon zest, with the after taste of wheat & chamomile, not one of my favorite beers Great Lakes has to offer, but not bad.

MF- Nothing special here coats the mouth & dissipates rather quickly, no carbonation & to be honest it doesn't satisfy at all.

D- Just one for me, & all tough it is a likable beer to some I cant see my self ordering, or buying this beer anytime soon, even tough I have come to like the Belgian style beers this one is way at the bottom of my list.

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Photo of foamfoot
3.39/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have to say that I am a Great Lakes fan boy. I love the brewery but could be because I am an Ohio boy and I might be giving the home town advantage.

I had heard some horror stories about this brew, and while it wasn't terrible, I wouldn't suggest a six pack of this stuff. Very heavy aftertaste. Nice aroma and appearance, but the lingering thickness was a bit much.

Overall, I have had a lot worse, but also a lot better. If you want to try the Great Lakes Brewery, you would be better off trying many other varieties such as: Lake Erie Monster, Nosferatu, Burning River. I would give this a firm C+/B- with a lean toward the C+ grade. Just above average.

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Photo of tykees88
3.36/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- The orange haze that this bottle gives me is really neat to look at.

S- Smells are just so mixed up it is like a mutt of smells. The chamomile is there, the lemongrassy smell is there, I even smell something that smells like black pepper. It is a plethora of smells and my nose can't handle it.

T- It is ok, bitter taste bitter finish. I kind of do feel like I am drinking blended up grass.

M- This puppy is thick. I don't think I care for this. It is a strong ale so it's at least acceptable though.

D- Very low, high abv thick bodied bad mouthfeel. Only one and I'm done, even with options for more would never want it again.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured form a cellar temperature bottle (as the label recommends) into a pint glass. The beer is clear with a golden orange color and a ton of carbonation inside. A pure white bubbly foam head sits atop the liquid. There is a bit of sediment floating around inside. It has a strong farmhouse aroma, full of Belgian-style yeast, light colored grains and a bit of vinegar to give it a slight funk. The flavor is very floral. The label states that coriander, lemon balm, chamomile and lemon basil we used in the brewing process; I imagine they are imparting this taste. The finish is slightly peppery and it lingers on ever so briefly. There is a noticeable sweet coat left after each swallow, and less carbonation than I expected top find (although you can certainly tell its there. The Grassroots Ale goes down very easily. It's alittle too strong to call it a session beer, but I certainly can picture myself enjoying a few of these on a warm day. I didn't really enjoy this beer too much the first time I tried it, but I like this bottle a lot more. I'm not sure what changed.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.03/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange with a thin white head leaving a little bit of lacing.

Aroma has the chamomile and other herbs goin on. Some pepper and a little bit of funk.

Taste is different for sure but I think pleasent. Not too strong but has alot of stuff going on. Same as aromas but also some grassy/hay notes and some hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good. All that stuff above leaves it a little viscous than it probably should be.

Overall I would drink this again if I got another as an extra or something or I saw it at a bar but I don't think I would go out of my way to trade for it.

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Photo of nukem5
3.17/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Decent pour little head and fuzzy golden color force the tastebuds to start up in andticipation.

S: Smells like corn on the cob with lots of butter grassy with traces of honey.

T: Tastes like corn butter grasses chamomile.

M: Medium body with a bit of fizzy in it.

D: Drinkability would be only a few the herbs and flavors are a bit much but they lend themselves well to a crab boil.

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Photo of WakeandBake
3/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

. A hazy golden straw color with a huge,lasting foamy white head , high level of carbonation , some jagged lacing left . Aroma of grass , lemon, and yeast esters like cloves and banana . Flavor is a mix of spices, slightly herbal, quite yeasty , lots of clove and grass flavors , nice toast on the malt if you can pick it out . Odd finish , like fresh hay with a bit of shuger , slightly dry ,medium body for the style , slightly chalky mouthfeel . Drinkable , and could be sessionable but one of these is plenty for me , not really sure why but just not what im looking for .

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Photo of fropones
2.9/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - A nice straw yellow with about 1 finger of white head with nice retention. Didn't realize this puppy was bottle conditioned and poured the yeast.

S - Nice grassy smells, some lemon and spice. The smell alone can tell you that this is a saison.

T - There is something immediately in the taste that just doesn't sit well with me. Maybe the chamomile? Perhaps the coriander? Whatever it is, I don't like it. While the nose was a nice saison, the taste was different, and not in a good way. I'm glad I only bought a single of this.

M - Nice biting effervescence, crisp like a good saison should be.

D - This beer had all the makings of a nice saison, if only the flavor was up to snuff. They should have just left out their herbs and spices and brewed a traditional saison with the grain and yeast they had, as that would have wound up a great tasting brew. The herbs and spices they added killed it for me. As it warms it grows on me a little, but only enough for this not be a drainpour.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.52/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass on 11/18/09

Best before 11/15/09

A - Lightly honey hued, golden in color. 1/4 inch head. Yeast sediment drifts throughout. Thin layer of retention with pretty good lacing.

S - Airy aroma of lemon & grass. Hops & spices in there, too. Very mild. Hints of light fruit - mostly apple.

T - Earthy, grassy flavor peppered with lemon, clove, coriander & maybe some other spices. Nice hop accents with hints of citrus. Something in there brings to mind over-ripe apples.

M - Appropriately restrained carbonation; not particularly zesty. Its somewhat light body is made heavier by a chewy, resinous quality.

D - Drinkability is ok. I did like this better bottled than on draft. Looks like it won't be back next year; I won't be losing any sleep over it.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.72/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Ryan011235 for this 12 oz bottle, poured into a Duvel tulip.

Body is a hazy gold with a small cap of white foam that soon peters out to a skim. Leaves some decent lacing, though.

Aromas are nice, tangy yeast, banana bread, lemon zest, fresh flowers, cloves, dash of white pepper.

Lots of flavors packed in there. Lemongrass, fresh apples, rock candy, cloves, chamomile tea, cut grass, wet hay, tangy wheat and yeast, a dash of white pepper, a hint of basil(?) A subtle layer of funk underneath it all. Keeps the mouth busy for sure.

Medium-thick bodied, moderate carbonation, with lingering lemon, light tobacco, light funk.

Overall impression: Fairly complex and enjoyable saison.

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Photo of jhu1995
3.5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden straw color with a fluffy white head. Aroma is grassy with a decent amount if spiciness. Spice dominates the flavor at the beginning but get a faint funkiness towards the finish. Fairly easy to drink and light bodied. Nothing spectacular about it but nothing that takes away from ejoying it either. A solid brew.

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Photo of becktone
2.19/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

From notes 9-1-09

Eye: It might not smell right, but at least it looks ok. Hazy lemon yellow with active carbonation that supports a small white head, about a third of a finger. Head could be better. Given any other beer it might look ok, but given the aroma the way it looks isn't all that appealing.

Nose: This is not the first occassion I've drank Grassroots. To begin with this beer has some saison yeast aroma, however as soon as you detect it its covered up by the hodgepodge of green garden aroma that comes from this beer. This beer smells nothing like a saison, and is an abomination of the style. Usually these type of beers are spiced a bit, not herbed. This is over the top with herbs. I mean it smells like grassroots...the beer is aptly named, at least they got something right. Usually GLBC don't let down. This is the first time I've been disappointed with them, totally missed the mark.

Tongue: Spiciness from the yeast is great it hits you upfront, but then enter the garden. The whole thing just tastes like a salad. No wait, I like salad. It tastes like freshly dug up roots of some unknown plant that isn't favorable to be eaten that have been chopped up in a food processor. Oh yeah, I forgot the dirt, throw that in too. I mean it starts fine with the nice yeast character and great malt backbone but all these herbs just kill it. This would have been a nice beer had they not fucked with it and threw in all that garbage. A big let down.

Feel and Drinkability: Feel is alright, carbonation is stylistically ok. This is one that I really don't enjoy, I'm going to finish it cause its not bad enough to be a drain pour. But since the first time I tasted this beer I have not bought it. I am glad I have not bought it and I never will. I came by every taste of this for free, I came by this bottle for free. I could not and will not buy a sixer of this. Infact, I hope that this beer will never be released again, it is such a terrible beer. I will drink the rest of this but I'll definitely not be enjoying it, I'll be trying to find some sliver of hope in this beer, something good that far its the yeast character that does make it through for a split second, other than that...well nothing. This is an abomination, steer clear of this. I don't recommend it to anyone. Go for Hennepin or better yet Fantome.

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Photo of meatyard
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to AltBock for bringing this back from his visit to Cleveland.

Pours a honey yellow with a good 2-finger, fluffy, white head that leaves spotty lacing.
Smells of yeast, a bit of lemon and herbal aromas.
Tastes of yeast, light fruit, lots of spice notes and the herbs it's brewed with do come through here, especially the chamomile.
Mouthfeel is light and dry with enough carbonation to put a little bite to the tongue.
Drinkability is pretty good. Moderate ABV that I didn't notice so that a couple would do wll if this suits you.

This seems to fit to style very well but there are some qualities that seem out of place, enough to knock it down a bit. Not bad but far from the better beers made by Great Lakes.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Screw-top growler filled at Sam the Beerman in Binghamton, NY.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" off-white head over the slightly cloudy golden brew. The creamy froth lasts well, with thick sticky lace. Aroma is sweet, slightly earthy, with some spicy yeast character. Taste starts with the yeast spices, earthy notes in the middle, and a light to moderate hoppy bite close. Mouthfeel is super smooth, with good drinkability. The earthiness doesn't quite work for me, but this is definitely a well-constructed beer.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.73/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one sitting in my fridge for a few months, drank five within the first week or two of buying the six pack and just getting around to reviewing the last one now.

12oz bottle poured into a Maui Brewing Co. pint glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazed dandelion orange with a pretty thick and creamy looking bone white head that manages to stick around for a few minutes before settling into a thin cap.

S: This is certainly different, chamomile is certainly here and I am not certian that I like it, together it forms a kind of grassy, doughy almost funky, but not a sharp, sour funk, but a kind of wet, soft, basementy funk. Beyond this there are little hints of lemon and heather that want to show though but are relegated to second fiddle to the tea like aspects of this beer. Not sure how well it matches up with the style or, but my nose isn't too wild about it thus far.

T/MF: Orange juice, chamomile, heather, dandelion greens, there is this kind of herbally weight that sits on the back of your tongue with each sip of this beer and changes just slightly in taste with every inhalation. This beer brings something new with each sip and even just moving the beer around in your mouth a little. Mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium bodied, rightly carbonated, enough lift to keep from feeling watery and smooth enough to add a depth of texture. Finish is mild, with the tongue ready to receive the next sip and whatever it may have to offer.

D: When I first tried this beer I didn't really like it at all, the sort of dank, chamomile/herbally thing was not really working for me, it tasted off in the simplest sense. But right now, giving this beer a bit more time and a bit more thought and attention, things are slowly able to be pulled away in terms of flavor and feel. I'm still not sure how this is categorized as a saison apart for that being what Great Lakes says it is. It reminds me more of a gruit beer or heather beer than a saison which I think might lend itself to higher ratings on this site, but beyond that this beer is a bold attempt at trying something different and manages to make a beer with a strongly herbal character not to dominate all aspects of the beer itself. Certainly worth a look if you are a curious beer drinker.

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Photo of webmanspidey
2.94/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy gold color, fizzy with a very minimal head. Smell is sour with something reminding me of canned fruit cocktail or mandarin oranges. The taste is sour/spoiled canned fruit with very slight spiciness. Alcohol is masked decently. Fizzy light mouthfeel.

This is not very pleasant and I'm pretty disappointed with this one. I've had much, much better from Great Lakes.

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Photo of alexgash
3.35/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle. Best by 10/21/09.

Cloudy with a suspension of fine particulate yeast. Peachy yellow body. Finger of gauzy, yeast-flecked, eggshell white head. Good lacing. Nose of wheat bread, tart bananas, tangy citrus, and an intriguing blend of spices (chamomile, vanilla, coriander?). Funky, herbal, yeasty twang up front. Cooked veggies and light banana-wheat malt. Tea and chamomile flavors blend with some late fruit and powdered sugar sweetness. Finish is herbal, faintly bitter, with lingering cooked veggies. Medium-full body with a thick, wheat-y feel. Not bad, but a little too herbal and vegetal for me.

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Photo of Petrislav
3.98/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into chalice.

A: Deep honey amber hue, hazy. 1 finger of frothy manilla colored head.

S: Yeast, grass, honey, lemon, and corn towards the bottom

T: Rush of sweet hops with a touch of lemon, basil and citrus peel, and a malty finish.

M: Light, almost non-existant

I liked this more than some of the other Farmhouse Ales I've had. Not on level with Hennepin but a good representation of the style.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
3.78/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into chalice

A: Nice saison orangish/amber, good off-white head (maybe a hint of yellow or tan). Starts very large then decreases to about a finger. It's kind of cloudy, but more just not easy to see through, although you can slightly.

S: Typical saison here. Sweet and almost a fruity tartness. A slight bite of phenols.

T: Some nice hops come through, a little better than some saisons. This is followed by a rather sweet bready maltiness, which I think is a tad sweet. This flavor is enhanced by some nice additional flavors of sweet lemon grass and other spices. None of them really shine through, but just add a nice complexity.

M: Nice carbonation, really helps keep it light feeling and creates a good feeling on the tongue.

D: Good drinkability for a saison. No over-powering flavors and not too strong in alcohol.

Notes: I like saisons, but some of the ones I have had lately let me down. Despite the lower ratings on this, I find it pretty good. A nice approachable saison for any occasion. Not a big belgian one, but nice and refreshing, just like the rest of the Great Lakes lineup.
Thanks to Auslander for this one as well.

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Photo of naproxen
3.16/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to nlmartin and the ghetto fab BiF for a slew of Great Lakes. I had this once before on tap and didn't know what to think of it, so I am glad I am offered this second pass.

Hazy, medium golden blonde with a fluffy white cloud topping. I get sweet lemon, herbal tea, and yeast in the nose. The carbonation feels a little high as well. However the actual taste is not as forceful, bitter citrus and peppery basil. This one I will enjoy here and there, but I can't see drinking more than one in a session.

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Great Lakes Grassroots Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.34 out of 5 based on 236 ratings.
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