Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

very good
492 Reviews
Read the review
Great Lakes Conway's Irish AleGreat Lakes Conway's Irish Ale

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

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by chilidog on 07-28-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 492 | Ratings: 1,497
Photo of dirtylou
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, Woodman's, $1.39, best by 4/4/06

appearance: pours a super clear bright amber, glowing almost, very light beige foamy head with no retention, very light lacing

smell: toasted grain, light sweet malt, apple juice, bready, herbal hops in the background, caramel covered apple

taste: sweet apple juice flavour, creamy caramel, toasted grain, sweet thick malt backbone, light herbal hop presence, light astringency, a touch of alcohol comes through in the aftertaste, slightly nutty, biscuit-esque, bready...good, but not great

mouthfeel: medium-near full body, smooth and creamy

drinkability: pretty good

 629 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Chimay Goblet

A - A red/copper color that looks incredible is sadly overshadowed by the disappointment with the off-white, sudsy head that lingered for mere moments before disappearing into a small ring.

S - The nose is bursting with malty sweet and creamy smelling aromas with caramel hints.

T - Very malty across the palate with a touch of sweetness and a caramel hint. Finished off dry.

M - A creamyness flows across the palate only to be followed by a dry finish. The dry finish, however isn't as prevalent as a normal red leaving the creamyness to distinguish it.

D - For an Irish Red it's certainly creamier and maltier than the standard Red which definitely gives it a leg up in the drinkability catagory.

The Conway's Irish Ale has a good aroma and flavor profile to it with out commanding your attention. I really enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone.

 897 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful copper color. The head is two fingers high, with an off-white shade. Good retention and a soft texture give it some aesthetic appeal, as does the large amount of lacing left on the glass. (4)

Smell: Big notes of toasted bread and caramel appear immediately. At times, it seems lightly hoppy (in other words, perfect for the style). As it opens up, the floral hops appear a bit more vividly. The aroma in general is wonderfully savory - Great Lakes may have nailed another style... (4)

Taste: Initially, caramel and toffee from the malts open it up nicely. I really like the subtle touches of biscuit and toast coming through, as well. A gently floral finish helps clean things up quite well. While it's not terribly deep, it's general execution and balance is exactly what I want from the style. (3.5)

Mouthfeel: Not especially flabby or full bodied (to be fair, I don't think Great Lakes knows how to make a flabby brew), with its finish remaining nice and clean. Carbonation is average for the style. (3.5)

Overall: This is not my favorite style by any means - however, I know a quality brew when I taste it. And this is quality. Toasty and savory, this beer's malt profile is shown off quite well. Since this isn't a style I'm overly fond of, I doubt I'll buy it again - fans of Irish reds will love it, though. (3.75)

3.7/5: An Irish red done right

 1,414 characters

Photo of n2185
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear, orange-copper with two fingers of off-white head. The head recedes into a ring with little lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malts with some notes of sweet oranges. There are also aromas of biscuits and bread underneath.

T: Similar to the aroma, there are sweet caramel malt flavors up front with hints of oranges and other sweet citrus fruits. Underlying it is a light biscuit flavor that is a bit more apparent on the finish.

M: Medium-light body with medium carbonation, this beer is somewhat crisp and sweetly smooth.

O: Overall, a pretty good Irish red. Nothing extraordinary, but solid nonetheless. The flavors and aroma are simple, but executed well.

 670 characters

Photo of StoutHunter
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I picked up a bottle of Great Lake's Conway's Irish Ale last week for $1.69 at The Lager Mill. I haven't had an Irish Red Ale in a while and Great Lakes is a pretty solid brewery so I decided to give this beer a try, lets see how it goes. It had a best buy date of 3-26-12. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks ok and it has a nice looking old school picture on the label. It poured a nice copper/red color with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left a little lacing. The color was a little light but the head was spot on.

S- The aroma of this beer is all about the malts. It starts off with lots of malts that smell lightly toasted and pretty sweet, it imparted some brown bread, caramel, and biscuit like aromas. Next comes a light amount of spices and a really light earthy hops aroma. The aroma was on the sweet side and seemed to be pretty average.

T- The taste seems to follows the nose. The first thing that I pick up is loads of malts that seem lightly toasted and have a high amount of medium sweetness and impart some caramel, biscuit, brown bread, grains, and a little bit of cereal. After that comes that light amount of spices that I got in the aroma and a light amount of earthy and herbal hops on the finish with a very low amount of bitterness and a biscuity and slightly spicy aftertaste. The flavor seems to be pretty average as far as Irish Red Ales go, it wasn't that memorable and little dull.

M- Smooth, slightly creamy, medium bodied, and it had a medium amount of carbonation. I got no complaints with the mouthfeel, it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought that this was an Ok beer and a pretty average Irish Red Ale, it didn't have anything that was out of place for the style, but it seemed like the flavors didn't meld as good as they could of and the sweet malts didn't let hardly any other flavors and aromas come through. This beer went down fairly smooth, one went down smooth and I might be able to drink another one but after that I think the sweetness would start to get to me. What I liked most about this beer was the mouthfeel, it was pretty spot on for an Irish Red Ale. What I liked least about this beer was the high amount of sweetness, I think the sweetness needs to be toned down some to make this beer more enjoyable and drinkable. I don't think I would buy this beer again, there are better Irish Red Ales to be found that are more available at the same price. I don't really recommend this beer unless you are a huge Irish Red Ale, I find it to be a pretty middle of the road kind of beer. Great Lakes is a pretty solid brewery and this beer was Ok, but it just wasn't that memorable of beer and it really didn't hold my attention, better luck next time guys.

 2,837 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-very pretty looking ruby red with a light orange feel to it. The head is an off white to light tan color, tight but thin looking. There is some retention but not much and nothing left on the glass

S-the nose is fair in strength. Toasted biscuit comes in up front. Pale and caramel malts set in through the middle. These malty tones are balanced with a fair hop presence at the finish. Herbal tea like hops and just a hint of lemon.

T-this has a very strong hop presence in it. Toasted bready malts lead off, much more underlying caramel tones with less pale malt. The hop presence picks up with herbal tea notes and a good bit of bittering hops at the finish.

M-highly carbonated and a little rough on the feel. Medium bodied and slightly syrupy with a drying finish

D-this is a very easy drinking beer, Great Lakes does a very good job with everything they make. Very well balanced and big flavors make this something that goes down smooth and makes you want another sip.

 978 characters

Photo of warnerry
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Best by 4/12/11; consumed 3/17/11

A - Pours clear amber with two fingers of head that has pretty good retention.

S - Mostly malts a bit sweet and a bit of toasted grain.

T - Similar to smell, taste is slightly sweet malts and toasted grains. Finishes pretty clean. Pretty tasty.

M - Nice medium mouthfeel. Coats the palate without being heavy.

O - An easy drinking Irish red. I wish I had gotten a bit more hops out of this, but not bad as is.

 460 characters

Photo of tectactoe
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Rusty, sunburst orange throughout with an otherwise nice clarity that's obscured by a gentle, yeasty haze. The head grows quickly and recedes not quite as fast; eggshell colored and fluffy as all hell, it leaves a few sheets of lacing on the glass, though they are pretty fast to run down back towards the top of the beer.

Hmm, wow, the nose is just a bit different than any other brew I've smelled before; perhaps (and most likely) because I haven't had too many Irish red ales. Malty sweet with rich caramel and buttery toffee aromas at capacity, followed up by a lighter, yet integral proportion of lightly fruity and somewhat grassy hops. Toasted malt is the key player here, and I would assume that the hops may be more aggressive when this beer is a bit fresher; I'll admit that it's just a little bit past its prime now.

Well, the nose wasn't lying; Conway's Irish Ale is a malty bomb that lays the pipe as soon as it hits your palate. Coming out a bit more robust than the aroma, the flavor smacks you with some faintly metallic caramel malts - sweet, rich, toffee-like, and toasty. Lighter bready flavors bring up the rear; somewhat buttery and toasty with a touch of burnt grains and graham cracker.

The hops are there, and even for being a touch over-the-hill, they still balance the malty sweetness nicely; a nice round of slightly floral and grassy hops roll through the flavor profile, hand-in-hand with an orange-like fruit juiciness that can't go unnoticed. Mildly bitter, enough to counteract the sweetness, but not enough to scrape any enamel away or anything like that. The finish lends a hand to some slightly nutty and woodsy, toasted malt flavors for a warm, dry finish. Thicker bodied than you'd expect with a mild stickiness that adheres to the sides of my mouth; a little cloying and teeth chattering in this respect.

One of my first of the style, I enjoyed it a bit, although I know I'd get tired of it after one bottle (much like I did this time around). The intense caramel and toffee malts are nice at first but can be a touch overwhelming after twelve ounces. Tasty brew, no doubt, but one is certainly enough for me.

 2,152 characters

Photo of KarlHungus
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear bright red color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes quickly into a small cap of lacing. The aroma is of tea leaves, toast, caramel and toffee. The taste is slightly maltier than the aroma, but still quite balanced. There are some very nice strong tea notes that blend well with the toffee, and caramel of the malt. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this beer is really, really good, and spot on for the style. I will certainly be drinking a lot of this while its around.

 559 characters

Photo of morimech
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber color with a small head that held on for a good while. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass.

Aroma of toasted malt and a touch of grassy hops. Also a bit of sweeter malt.

Things really pick up in the flavor department. Nice balance of malt, which is both toasted and slightly sweet, and grassy hops. Nice, slightly dry malt finish. From a style of beer that has few desirable examples, this is one of the better ones.

A little lighter than moderate. Good carbonation.

A good example of the style. Liked the drier flavor.

 553 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Deep amber ruby red with a decent sized slightly tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell: Strong scent of toasted caramel malt sweetness followed by some kind of spices. Also a hint of bread and orange peel.

Taste: Sweet caramel malts up front followed by citrus. Hints of bread and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Crisp and smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid Irish red.

 455 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great Lakes usually provides exemplary models for the beers they create, and the fact that this brew is merely above average is kind of a letdown. Still, it’s pretty good. Deep ruby amber color with a medium beige head and thin lacing. The aroma is roasted malt and caramel. Medium-bodied and on the carbonated side, with flavors of sweet malt, light hops and a bit of fruit. The finish is clean and somewhat sweet. Overall pretty good, but I just know GLBC could knock this one out of the park if they really wanted to.

 521 characters

Photo of KTCamm
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a copper red with barley any white foam. Cloudy/hazy. Strong sweet caramel smell. Toasty nutty caramel flavor. Some toffee.

A little too sweet, but otherwise very good. Consistent with the high quality beers churned out by GLBC.

 282 characters

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

Appearance- This one is more brownish-orange than red with a nice, off-white head that came up on an easy pour and showed some retention.

Smell – The European hops and laid back grainy malts were well balanced at the nose. I found the big, sugary sweetness quite pleasant and a good compliment to the bouquet.

Taste – Ah, the grain picked things up at the taste. They are very well done and heavily complimented with sugar. There’s some good Euro hopping in here as well. It’s grassy and bitter and mixes well with the overall flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This one is just barely medium in the body with some live carbonation and a nice, lightly bitter finish.

Drinkability – This is a nice session ale that would go down well any time of the year.

Comments – Thanks to BuckeyNation for sending this GL beauty shop out my way.

 847 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.5 A: Clear orange amber color. One and a half fingers of frothy off-white head. Retention is average and a short ring of lacing is left.

3.5 S: Fairly dry with a solid toastiness. Grainy, clean, and a dollop of caramel.

3.5 T: Plentiful toastiness with a slight nuttiness. Light toffee and caramel. Grainy malts. Light sweetness. Tasty.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Super smooth with a light creaminess.

4.0 D: This is a thoroughly solid beer that goes down far too easily. Though I can't say I'm really that impressed with any one aspect of this beer, I'm really sad that I only have one. I would do horrible things for a couple more right now. Love the toast.

 723 characters

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

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass mug. Best by 032511 on label. Received as gift from brother Greg.

A: Pleasing amber-brown with solid, tightly bubbled 1-2 finger off-white head with good retention and some scattered lacing.

S: Grainy, malty nose with plenty of biscuit notes, but the citrus hoppiness is restrained but a nice complement to the caramel and biscuit aromas.

T: The flavor is a classic amber with upfront biscuity, caramel maltiness and a moderate citrus hoppiness. The cereal graininess has a big but not overwhelming presence.

M: The beer is not very dry but has a lush mouthfeel. The carbonation is low and contributes to the creamy smoothness.

O: I enjoyed this brew a lot -- it is unsung in the Great Lakes lineup and provides a nice example of a superdrinkable amber ale.

 814 characters

Photo of buschbeer
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle
Served in Great Lakes conical pint

A - It is burnt orange in color. The pour produced a generous light tan head.

S - The aroma is sweet toffee and caramel malt.

T - The taste is slightly burnt toffee and caramel and finishes with soft floral hops.

M - Medium

O - This is probably my second favorite GL beer behind Edmund Fitzgerald. I really enjoy this beer.

 377 characters

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with enjoy by date of 03/25/2014, which happens to be today, so I am just in time! Another new beer to me from Great Lakes Brewing Co., acquired as part of a mixed six pack at the local beer store.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a nice coppery amber colored body with one finger of fluffy off-white head. Thins to a nice ring with some good scattered lacing. Some decent clarity. Looks pretty good.

S - Smell is pretty minimal, but pleasant. Roasted malty nuttiness, and some underlying hints of indistinct hoppy fruitiness.

T - Taste follows the nose - smooth crisp malt body. Roasty and nutty. Light yeast character is detectable. Subtle hop resins. Malt forward and lovely.

M - Crisp and smooth. Excellent drinkability. Light-bodied with perfect carbonation.

Overall, a simple but excellent and tasty beer. Most everything I've had from Great Lakes has been delicious, and this one is no exception. I would definitely have it again.

Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale ---4/5.

 1,012 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #37 (Feb 2010):

Brassy orange color, clarity is there, and a healthy head, too. Apple and plum fruitiness with caramel malt fill the nose. Inviting smoothness makes you want to take sip after sip; lush medium body. Caramel runs into a veggie herbal hoppiness. Ripe fruit runs hard with apples, plum and pear. Hop bitterness is subtle but seems to have an unmovable layer in the middle. Lemon candy? The alcohol does show its strength with some warmth. Bittersweet finish.

While not sessionable compared to the more mainstream "Irish" beers, it's good to know that if you are looking for that craft beer around March 17th that has a bit more depth, this one will fill that void.

 719 characters

Photo of wedge
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a copper-orange color with a fluffy head. Toasted malt and nuts aroma...gently sweet, bready, slightly fruity. Tasty malt, biscuit, toffee, graham cracker, and tea flavors. Medium bodied and smooth. Sort of chewy and dry in the finish. An enjoyable and easily drinkable take on a style that is oftentimes pretty boring.

 325 characters

Photo of cokes
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tarnished bronze with a healthy pale tan head.
Nose of toffee and earthy malts. Not overly expressive, but appropriate.
Taste begins in the buttery toffee direction, fading to a earthy malt domain that is minimal with the sweetness, except for a few residual caramelly sugars. When cold, there's a fanciful earthy tang that cues at peat. As it warms, more caramel grows, the peat-ishness begins to assert itself midway, and becomes a highlight. Full of earth and tang as the flowery hops enter, more brash than expected, but nowhere near obnoxious.
Medium-light in stature, with tempered carbonation.
I think it is safe to label this the best Irish-style Red Ale I've ventured across thus far.

However, I do believe they missed a vowel in the name. Call this Conaway's Irish Ale, and I'd be inclined to give it 5 stars.

 826 characters

Photo of Treyliff
3.66/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a bright copper color with some ruby-red hue, small fizzy white head that reduces quickly, leaving just a bit skimming the top.

S- very clean grain with some toasted nutty character, herbal tea-like hop aroma with some sweet bread

T- well balanced, sweet malty character matches well with the toasted grain, hop linger provides freshly steeped tea flavor, the finish is slightly sweet-yet-dry with a clean finish

M- medium body and medium carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and fizzy finish

O- this is a simple, well made beer. Four ingredients that are finely balanced

 587 characters

Photo of prototypic
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It pours a clear, reddish-amber color with a slightly off-white, two finger head. Retention was average, but a solid coat of lace remained.

Smell: Initially, it smells of toasted malts and yeast. Hops are more prevalent than expected. Light notes of chocolate and grains.

Taste: Caramel and toasted malts give it a nice mix sweetness and dry flavors. Hops add a little bitterness and balance. Quite yeasty and biscuity on the tail.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light to medium bodied. Pretty well carbonated. Quite smooth and drinkable. It's a solid beer.

 570 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very clean in appearance there was a swiftly fleeting and wispy head that set atop a bright rusty red hue.

The scent favors a caramel and toffee sweetness. Dry kilned barley couples with a pecan nuttiness and very faint chocolate malts.

The flavors are rich with kilned barley and an almost smoky taste. I catch touches of roasted malt with hints of nut and caramel sweetness, plus I get a finish of hop bitterness. The taste and feel are dry.

The bottle indicates its about three months old, which should not be old enough to lose its Pop. The flavors are good but I feel like if it were at its freshest this could be more robust.

 634 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. Best by 03/26/12.

Deep auburn-copper with golden edges. Clear and clean. Thick finger of whipped, creamy, light beige head. Good lacing. Malty mix of caramel rolls, honeyed toast, and fruit (apple, pear).

Toasted malts up front, with slight graininess. Sweetish caramel and fruit fill up the palate. Toasted malt notes throughout. Modest herbal hop presence gets a little lost in the malt. Some herbal bitterness in the finish, but mostly lingering fruit and honey toast. Medium-bodied, with a nice creamy feel. Not my favorite style, but a nice example of it.

 577 characters

Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.81 out of 5 based on 1,497 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.