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: 235
Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Kind of odd saison. Pours light coloured body with abundant white foaming head. Herbal, yeasty and some spice aroma, all together rather odd. Taste is herbal tea married with beer, drinkable but not something i would seek out again. Middling mouthfeel.

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Photo of dmamiano
3.99/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours very bubbly with a white head that went away faster than any i had ever seen. pored, walked away for a minute and nary a trace of head was let. No lacing observed.
spicey nose, pepper, cardimon and grainy.
taste is smooth, thick on the tongue. Peppery tones with orangish hints.Malty and sweet
This is a style I can really learn to enjoy.

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Photo of almychristopher
3.76/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this beer pours a cloudy yellow with a sticky white foam slowly receding throughout the session. the aroma throws up the requisite funky esters with a bit of pepper and grass to round it out. definitely a good amount of spice in the taste with the yeast giving it that fruity farmhouse taste... not a bad saison, not my favourite, my growler might need a new seal the co2 was a bit more on the medium low side, but not bad with the medium body.

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Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy pale golden color with a whipped egg white head that sticks nicely and also provides a nice lacing pattern

Smell: Lots of the herbal lemon and peppery Saison aromatics, but there is a floral and chamomile character that sets this apart

Taste: Up front, this tastes as expected with the lemon and pepper yeasty phenols complementing the bready malt flavors; by mid-palate, however, we step into a new dimension, with the chamomile and lemon basil flavors adding intriguing complexity; after the swallow, the chamomile is what persists

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: While this beer has its nay-sayers, I have to come down as a contrarian as I rather liked it; kudos to Great Lakes for their additions to the spice profile although I wish the finish wasn't quite so full of chamomile - I'm mad for basil and would have preferred a bit more anise

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Photo of ZAP
4.02/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Golden Rod colored....big frothy white head of about an inch and 1/4.

S-Three things stand out...cookie doughiness....herbalness, and sweet lemon drops...Very nice smelling beer.

T-The taste begins with the lemons and cookie dough but there is an underlying herbalness as well...lacks the anise and black licorice I find in some Saisons( which I do not like so, that is a plus for this beer.)

M-Medium bodied...pretty highly carbonated..

D-An interesting and enjoyable Saison with a uniqueness to it.

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Photo of ThirstyBird
3.08/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a hazy honey color with a modest white head. Some lacing.
S - Smells like a saison - Little funk, sweet malt and spice.
T - Very grassy, quite sweet. It has a strange aftertaste - grassy and tangy combined, Unusual. Bitter aftertaste but not in a good way.
M/F - Nicely carbonated and creamy. Medium body. Pretty nice m/f.
D - I liked a lot about this beer though the taste was weak and that's pretty important to me.

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Photo of washburnkid
2.88/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed in a tulip.

A: About a finger off-white head. This saison is a hazy bloody orange peel hue. There's a ring of somewhat frothy retention and smatterings of lacing.
S: I get a smidgen of coriander, lemon is there too. A slight funk is less reminiscent of a saison than a really sour piece of fruit. But maybe I'm just a saison amateur? Chamomile is an interesting sweet contrast for the nose.
T: Very herbal right away. The basil is actually a bit overwhelming for me. There is also a buttery note that starts small, and gets bigger with just a bit of warmth. It's almost a cooked aroma, and the basil isn't pleasant enough to make me really like the flavors.
M: Surprisingly thick body with heavy carbonation. This doesn't help the flavors.
D: This beer is a bit of a mess, in my opinion. I want the flavors to be more refined, and complementary. Chamomile and basil don't seem to go together very well. This is the only Great Lakes offering I've had so far that I wouldn't buy again. Sad day.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.47/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into goblet on 7/28/09. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.

A - Poured a hazy golden/orange body with lively carbonation and lots of chunks and particulates floating around. On top sat a finger's worth of white foam that receded into a patchy film and left a bit of spotty lace around the goblet. Reminded me of a snow globe.

S - Spicy aroma with a light clove presence and subtle funky and grassy notes. Prevalent yeast character persists, probably due to all of the chunks suspended throughout the body. Some citrus tones also emerged as it warmed up a bit.

T - Initial flavor is spicy with pepper and clove notes as well as some subtle tea-like hops that eventually give way to more earthy characteristics. Finishes with quite a bit of earthy bitterness and some musty basement notes.

M - Fairly light bodied with a slight syrupy texture and moderate bristly carbonation. Mouthfeel is perhaps a tad watery overall. Finishes with light bitter notes on the tongue, although its definitely more spicy than bitter.

D - Pretty good saison overall. This was a little more earthy and musty than I expected. Lots of yeast character too.

Brewslut's Quote of the Day:
"There's some sediment in that sucker."

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Photo of JoeBloe
2.78/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

had this on tap in cleveland - the descrription of this local brew intrigued me - it looked good on the pour, a big fluffy head on a deep amber body - smell was intriguing as well, herbal notes prevailed - but tasting this stuff produced a 'whoa' from me and a 'blech' from the wife - i've had some good farmhouse ales and not much in the way of the saison style, but as a beer the coriander, chamomile, herbal, grassy action was a bit too much to handle - a little sticky in the mouth as well - with a taste i really didn't want to stick around - i finished the pint but couldn't possibly have another -

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Photo of Reneejane
2.24/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is a Belgian style saison ale with herbs. The beer was hazy yellow with a cream colored head, and quite frothy. The aroma was of funk, yeast, and herbs. I have to say that the chamomile isn't the most prominent of the herb aroma in spite of the labeling on the bottle. You can definitely smell the corriander. The smell is, unfortunately, the best thing going for this beer. The taste was marred by a very medicinal astringent quality. The alcohol was also easy to taste. It definitely leaves the taste buds wounded. There was just the barest hint of malt. I guess what might improve this beer would be slower fermentation, if the medicinal quality is fusel alcohols? Or perhaps find a more pleasant mixture of herbs, I might want something like Rosemary.

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Photo of jlb307
3.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this from my father, just for the hell of it.
Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Hazy golden brown with a fizzy white head that didn't retain for very long. Did develop a very thin layer of foam on the surface that stuck around.

S: Very yeasty and floral with an underlying musty kind of smell. Over ripe fruit and spice too. Almost like a funky tripel.

T: Pretty consistent with a saison. Lots of sweet malt and yeast, hint of pink grapefruit. An almost vegetal aftertaste.

M: Very carbonated, but seemed to flatten quickly. Very light in body.

D: Not bad for a saison, but nothing really makes it stand out from the pack. Not too bad if you're into the style, but not for everyone. Might be a good one to have for the first time.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.62/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Murky looking glowing orange/amber body. Thin ivory white head. Lacing is actually pretty full. Aroma is a lot of cookie dough, yeasty doughballs of cookie dough that is, spice and cardamon. Good smeller. I notice a gaseous feel to the beer right off. A little too much CO2 in this one. Flavor takes a hit from the aroma. It's grassy and herbal. And also yeasty and doughy. But the balance is a little out of whack. This will probably go down as one of my lowest rated Great Lakes beers.

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Photo of WalrusJockey
3.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- cloudy, bright, light straw color, with a thick pillow of white head that seems to want to hang around for a while.

S- kinda bad, in that saison-funk kind of way. My wife: "it smells like horse poop in a green pasture." Very yeasty, very aromatic, fairly promising, for the style. Smells good for a saison, just smells bad for a car, or a shirt or...anything.

T- mild lemongrass lead-in, which fades to a sweet malt biscuit which in turn fades into a light, faint fruit flavor, almost citric, but not in a NA hops kind of way. The chamomile is mostly noticeable in the aftertaste, to me. The aftertaste is mild, slightly dry, and slightly funky.

The palate is not nearly as funky as the nose, and it could stand o be funkier. That said, I'm enjoying it, it is very soothing and fresh tasting.

M- a fairly light body, as per expected, but also seemingly fairly light carbonation, none of the brusque bubbles on the tongue, as with some saisons. Overall, the body is light and the beer is small, for the style. It isn't terrible, but it is definitely noticeable.

D- so-so. The beer is a bit too light to be as satisfying as many of this style, but a bit too herbal to really encourage a second beer in one sitting. I'll definately enjoy the rest of the 6er, and while it won't replace something like Dupont, I would certainly consider buying it again.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.13/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Grassroots Ale is a slightly hazy pale yellow ale with a huge, creamy, dense white head that has excellent retention and lacing. It sure smells like a farmhouse. It's funky, with notes of old fruit, barnyard and bret. It's medium bodied and super velvety smooth with a clean finish. It's slightly tart at the beginning of the taste and then it turns smokey. The aftertaste is like bacon. This is a super funky ale.

[Sampled at the 2009 Flower City Brewers' Fest at Frontier Field, Rochester, NY]

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Photo of kegger22
2.9/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Cloudy orange with a small head that immediately shrank to a collar. The aroma was musty grass, like you empty out of your lawnmower bagger. The taste was grassy too, and sweet with a bunch of spices I couldn't pick out, although chamomile is supposed to be there. Feel was medium bodied with little carbonation. Drinkability was fine, if you like saison ale, apparently I don't. The taste hurt this beer for me. The grass, the sweet and the spices did not add up to anything good. Great Lakes is usually pretty solid at whatever they try their hand at. Maybe this is just a case of reaching too far, or maybe it's just me.

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Photo of scoobybrew
4.02/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a challis-like glass.

A - hazy orange color with a thick head that settles almost immediately into a thin collar

S - interesting blend of yeasty esters, phenolics and spices, some malty character also noticed

T - malty beer which is really dominated by yeast funkiness and spices - and subtly complex; some tangy quality

M - light-to-medium body with moderately high carbonation

D - This is a really good saison for a major regional brewery - and arguably a great saison for any American brewery. It's great with some brie cheese.

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Photo of witster18
3.62/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a good GL beer. not my fave but thats because of style. This pours with a minimal head that holds decent and has the typical odd size circle spotting and oily surface of most GL beers. The taste is chamomile, lemon, and lime. What I do like about the beer is that it is one of the first fruit-like girly beers that has some alchohol kick and heat... a pleasant surprise. The kick and the originality make this a keeper.

My buddy brought some down from his trip... wish he'd have brought more fitzporter and dort but what the hay.

Recommended for the occassional summer sipper and change of pace.... or if you wanna get your spouse or girlfriend loaded. Might be good for that purpose. The saison charactersitics are hit and miss... yes to the winey no to the malty... so I think this really is in a catagory all it's own... definately a spice beer with some heat from the spice and the alc... good beer though

You'll be on one side of the fence or the other on this original brew. I've met people who don't like it(mainly beer snobs), and some who call it their favorite beer(beer snobs and non-alike).

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Photo of sweemzander
4.65/5  rDev +39.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. Enjoy by 10/21/09 printed on the bottle.

(A)-Poured a cloudy golden yellow color. Respectable light yellow to tan head that slowly dissipated to a solid layer.

(S)- Super sweet lemon and bananna. Lots of wheat, yeast, and hay barnyard funk. Almost has a candied fig thing to it. Call me crazy, but it smells like dandelions! (could just be the chamomile).

(T)- Lots of clay, wheat, hay, an almost butterscotchy lemony funkiness to it. Rather floral aspects with a light apple flavor thrown into the mix as well.

(M)- Good mouthfeel of balanced but complex flavors with a great carbonation level. The floral aspect comes out almost creamy in the finish. Very interesting.

(D)- Havent had a ton of Saison style beers, but this really is unique and delicious. Really balanced with very complex flavors that I still really cant pinpoint 100%. A 6pk wouldnt last long at all in my fridge.

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Photo of lflow
3.92/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Great Beer from Great Lakes -- as usual. I love that they've taken a traditional style, and added a little jazz to it. Refreshing, but complex. Perfectly carbonated by my home kegerator.

Beautiful shining dark shade of Gold. Thick white frothy head.Smell is fruity and pungent. Like... Saisson?

Tastes like crystal malt, belgian yeast, and ... grass (maybe hay actually). Kind of earthy, but pungent. The flavor of the herbs is also strong.

This beer also has a very smooth and full mouthfeel, unless that's just expert pub operation.

Only down side is a kind of salty after taste. So... Keep drinking it, try not to stop!

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Photo of akorsak
3.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle purchased at Vintage Estates.

A: The saison sits hazily in my glass, buffered by a half a finger of white head. As the head recedes, nothing is left in its wake. Under the head, a golden ale sits brightly, despite the haze.

S: Unusual, unpleaseant even. Overripe fruit aroma are strong with green vegetables adding a leafy, asparagus aroma. Took me a while to pinpoint that, but it is what it is.

T: More asparagus in the taste, but it is met with lemony citrus and a mild ginger profile. The carbonation is strong, cleansing the tongue with each sip. Despite the unusual flavors, I think that the ale has an intriguing flavor that I keep coming back to. Grass and hay are prominent, maybe those flavors keep pulling me in. Overall, I'm sold on this, even with its beyond-a-saison flavor.

M: The mouthfeel starts off with the asparagus before ginger and citrus arrive to save the day. Don't judge this beer by the first sip.

D: An odd brew that I can't put down even though part of me wants to. The initial impression on each sip need improvement.

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Photo of Cresant
3.33/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a tulip pint. Enjoy by: 11/14/09. The body was cloudy yellow gold. The modest white head left a cap till the end.

Smell was lemon rinds and spices. Herbal, grassy. Coriander.

Taste was peppery. Spicy. Lemons and grassy. Mild Belgian yeast flavors. Somewhat drying. Refreshing and easy to drink.

Mouthfeel was zippy yet smooth in the finish. Maybe a little thinner than expected.

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Photo of animal69
3.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- pours a cloudy golden-yellow color w/ a pillowy white head that sticks around a bit before turning into a creamy lace in my goblet
S- smells like a wit, sweetish bready malts w/ a strong orange and coriander presence
T- taste follows suit, mostly citrusy fruits and coriander spice overwhelming all else, some strange undefineable flavor underneath it all seems to create an unpleasant overall flavor, funky finish kinda slick and minerally
M- a decent creamy mouthfeel, light-med. body and well carbonated
D- sorry this one's a bit hard to get through, try as i might i just don't get it

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Photo of ThickestHead
2.96/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a chilled pint glass.
Comes a light hazed gold with a modest foamy white head and acceptable lacing.
Has a bland saison smell with hay and herbs added.
Has a grassy taste which is fine if and when it's a hoppy grassiness, but on it's own without the hoppiness it is pretty lame. If this used to be called a "hale ale" they should just have called it a "hay ale" as it reminds me of fresh cut hay.
It is a barely medium body with great carbonation and the alcohol is very well masked.
I would only quaff this brew again if someone else bought it and couldn't get rid of it, who knows, it may eventually grow on me, but I doubt it.

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Photo of hossua34
2.02/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

I love Great Lakes. But having read very mixed reviews of this beer, I had been deliberately avoiding buying a six-pack. The other day, my buddy asked me to stop at a gas station so he could pick up some brew. He emerged with a sixer of Grassroots, having never tried it himself. So I got my chance to taste it.

If this truly is a love-it-or-hate-it beer, put me down in the "hate it" column.

Appearance is the best part of this beer. It's a light dandelion yellow, and cloudy like a Hefeweizen although maybe not SO cloudy. Not lacking in head or lacing.

It smells - no joke - like baked beans and deviled eggs. There is a slight generic beer smell, but the scent mostly brought to mind all of the offensive odors I remember coming from picnic baskets, and my grandmother's house, during childhood. I'm sure it could smell worse, but I'm not sure how.

It doesn't taste exactly like it smells, but the egg salad scent still made me want to gag when taking a sip. Tastes like a (very) light Belgian white with grass clippings and a tiny bit of spice thrown in. Not offensive, but by no means good.

Mouthfeel was fine. Not watery, not too thick, holds carbonation like the better Great Lakes beers.

Drinkability? Well... it's not undrinkable in the traditional sense (as in, it isn't too filling, too alcoholic or rough on the stomach or palate). I just couldn't keep drinking it because I didn't enjoy it. I'm not joking when I say the memory of the egg salad-picnic basket smell lingered in my mind; and it made going back for another seem mightly unappealing.

After I drank a bottle and my friend drank a bottle, neither one of use felt particularly like going back for another, and we had some Bass pale ale left in the fridge so we went for that instead. There are still four bottles sitting in my fridge, and I think I'm going to give them away to see what other people think. I've had an enjoyed Hennepin before so I don't think I'm ready to give up on Saisons, but this Grassroots Ale was not my thing whatsoever. Do yourself a favor: try before you buy.

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Photo of Rudgers73
1.94/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Bough a sixer on sale for $6.99.

Pours a light golden color with a touch of cloudiness. Small head that fades quickly. Aroma is sweet and biscuity like a standard saison, but then comes the faint herbal smell. I think it's the chamomile. Taste is also decent except for that same overwhelming herbal taste.

Now, I know this beer is supposed to have all the herbs in it that I can taste, but the honestly just don't work for me. I think it is the fact that there are too many herbs. It is like a decent saison mixed with herbal tea from a health food store.

Interesting concept, but my taste buds think that is tastes terrible.

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Great Lakes Grassroots Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.34 out of 5 based on 235 ratings.
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