Great Lakes Red Leaf Smooth Red Lager | Great Lakes Brewery

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Great Lakes Red Leaf Smooth Red LagerGreat Lakes Red Leaf Smooth Red Lager
63 Ratings
Great Lakes Red Leaf Smooth Red LagerGreat Lakes Red Leaf Smooth Red Lager

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hints of caramel, nuts and toasted malt result in a fully flavoured yet deceptively smooth lager. A well balanced body makes it a perfect year-round beer. Red Leaf is an ideal match with burgers, stews, sandwiches and similar selections. 5% alcohol by volume.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 07-23-2004

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 63 |  Reviews: 29
Reviews by Navalartichoke:
Photo of Navalartichoke
3/5  rDev -4.8%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Swedes21
2.58/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

341 ml served in a chilled glass..

Appearance - The beer pours an auburn colour with NOT a lot of head despite an aggressive pour. The head is a light brown and disappeared quickly. Minimal carbonation is present.

Smell - I can smell hints of caramel and hops. There is a touch of citrus, but not much. Not a tremendous smelling beer.

Taste - Not much offered in the taste. There is a slight bitterness at the start but not much after that. The caramel does not come through at all.

Mouthfeel - There is an added touch with the mouthfeel as the beer has some gained value via the carbonation. The beer citrus taste comes fwd as well as an aftertaste that lingers a little longer.

Drinkability - Not a beer i would stock or hunt down. The beer is pretty "blah" if you ask me and does not bring much game to the tasting table.

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Photo of ByTor2112
3.7/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An acquaintance from Canada brought this beer to me direct from the Great White North. Aroma hinted a sweet caramel, but very subtle. A thin, off-white head left small spotty lacing. Nice amber color veering towards copper, almost a true red hue. Hops are first on the palate. A nice sweet malt flavor steps up and stays through to the finish. At 5%, I was able to detect the alcohol surprisingly. A nice froth releases a touch of Vanilla, maybe? The hops come back for the finish as well. Very drinkable, goood flavor. Cheers,

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Photo of mintjellie
2.8/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red shade of copper with two fingers of fluffy off-white head. The head immediately fizzles out to a thin cap over the beer, leaving no lace behind. Anemic caramel malt and floral hop aroma. Mild sweet caramel with a hint of nut. A little bit of floral hops in the finish. Low bitterness. Light-bodied with fine carbonation. A little on the watery side. Easy to drink, but bland and boring. Mediocre.

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Photo of Sammy
3.38/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I think they have strengthened the formula from previous years. At the time of having this at the LCBO Summrhill Fest in 2007, this brewery was concentrating on sweet things and is brewing cake with beer, ice cream with beer. That's its target niche. This brew is carmelized malt. There's good carbonization here.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.79/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the brewery for just around $2.25 or so for a 473ml can. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high white head that is gone in a minute or so. Medium brown colour and filtered clear

S- Lots of malt. Touch metallic

T- Caramel and malt. Very nice overall though. Low on the hops but that's ok. Different style and has a body to it that is balanced and super refreshing. Like the malt base a lot.

M- Crisp but very mass produced north American style.

O- I like this one. Has a balance to it that keeps this brew a winner in my eye. Just enjoyable and will buy a few for the hell of it. Nice break and a decent price

Food Pairing

This nice little brew went well with..... Meat loaf. I like it with low filler and mucho ground beef. Recipe can be given if you message me.


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Photo of ThinkAgain
2.75/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of phlipper77
3/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of spinrsx
3.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

473ml Can

Appearance - Slightly hazy amber/light brown colour with a fizzy beige head. There doesn't appear to be much carbonation and there isn't much lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes.

Smell - Corn syrup, grain, malts

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste toffee, malts, and hint of hops. There is also a little bit of citrus and a breadiness. It ends with a light malty aftertaste.

Overall - Picked this up in can format while forgetting that I had tried it from a bottle. It's a step up from the Macro beers out there, but I have reason to pick this up again. Especially since Great Lakes has their Crazy Canuck beer sitting right beside it on the shelf calling my name.

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Photo of RedAleMan
3.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of liamt07
3.6/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can from the LCBO, 473ml into a pint glass. Canned on code is H1611, translates to August 16, 2011.

Pours a filtered copper with some amber-red highlights, white head which falls to a thick film and retains fairly well. Translucent body with visible and active carbonation. Nose has some caramel, grains, and some toastiness. Taste has more caramel, darker breads and some moderate sweetness to it. Graininess isn't as apparent as the nose, and makes this quite pleasant. Some hop notes and a touch of bitterness, but more malt sweetness than anything. Good medium-light body, with a relatively high carbonation. Fairly drinkable and this surprised me; I've always passed this up at the LCBO and at the brewery store, but this proves to be an easy drinking amber lager. Nothing off here, and this could pair well with a variety of foods I'd imagine.

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Photo of batmanbach
3.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of SebD
3.3/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice clear amber color to it. It has a nice thick off-white head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves next to no lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of roasted and grainy malts, caramel and a light nuttiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some sweet caramel, roasted and grainy malts, some nuts and a faint fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with decent flavors and aromas.

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Photo of mrmanning
2.53/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle- Pours a dark amber colour with just a hint of rouge in it. Not as red as I would have thought. head is frothy, and off white. Aroma is sour, minimal hops. Taste is slightly sour, earthy, with some malt hints. Watery on the finish. Decent enough to drink again.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.13/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Tallboy can picked up at the LCBO. Early on in my beer-drinking career ambers were one of my favourite styles, but it has been a seriously long time since I've tried a new one.

Pours an appropriately amber-copper colour, with a mostly translucent body, atop which is seated an ample two-finger puffy off-white head. It lasts a few minutes before decaying to a creamy, even cap and collar on the surface. Not much lacing. The aroma is pleasant but nothing unusually good for the style - malt-forward, with toffee, nuts and lots of caramel. No notable hop presence on the nose.

A few things going on in the flavour department, but none of them are that interesting. Lightly roasted grains, lager yeast, some slight sourness alongside the expected caramel malt sweetness and nutty notes. Much like the aroma, there isn't a lot of hop here to balance the malts, just a bit of floral bitterness. Pretty crisp finish, without much of an aftertaste. Carbonation is a bit high for my tastes, it's definitely approaching macro levels. Light-bodied, watery and fairly refreshing.

It's drinkable, but really nothing special. Kind of reminds me of a cleaner Keith's Red, without the adjunct - better than the macro equivalent but overall it's a little disappointing because these guys are capable of better. Not something I am likely to recommend, or get again.

[Updated April 3 2014]

Alright, I'm a liar: I picked up another can. Usually when I leave a beer alone for a few years and return to it, my opinions have shifted a little. That isn't really the case with Red Leaf Lager, as this brew is essentially just as 'meh-worthy' as I remember. Let me make myself clear - this is NOT a bad beer, it's just a forgettable, uninspired effort. It's clean-tasting enough that I could drink this (and would always take it over, say the macro ambers), but it's not hard to find a better malt-forward lager for the price.

Final Grade: 3.13, a C+.

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Photo of bixby1971
3.49/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of kinguy
2.68/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Kristin87
3.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of TheBeeraholic
3/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of karait95
3.51/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A pretty reddish color with some glances of amber when against light, complete head that leaves traces behind with a light beige color.

S: A faint toasted malty aroma, some sweet behind but not too intense.

T: Good flavor, toasted malt, barley with some hops that adds some bitterness but with a sweet touch.

M: Very refreshing tasting with very little bitter inside, a little combination of bittersweet can be felt but not too long final,

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Photo of Mindsquall
3.23/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Another can from my last LCBO trip, This one poured a dark brown/ruby with some slight white head which I suppose makes sense since it is a "Red" lager. Smell is very faintly of sweet malt, not a whole lot in the nose here. Taste is very light with a hint of sweetness in the finish but the hop profile is a little weak. Mouthfeel is nice and clean, this would go well with food s the flavor isn't overpowering, would also serve as a good "Lawnmower" beer on a hot day.

Overall it isn't bad. I'd get it again if it were on sale.

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Photo of bryehn
3.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice copper-amber colour with a rather small white head that has good retention and a fair amount of visible carbonation.

Very malt laden aroma. Chestnut, caramel and a plum-like tone are accompanied by toasted note and a nutmeg-like spiciness.

Relatively sweet taste with characteristics like the aroma. Dark toffee malts with a plum or red grape-like fruit tone. Backing of a fatty, nutty flavour and a hint of chocolate.

Quite thin-bodied with a prickly pop of carbonation on the front of the tongue before a creamy sensation takes over. A bit of a syrupy resin-like feeling to the aftertaste, but clean tasting with a hint of fresh grains.

Not a bad beer at all. It's very smooth-drinking and accessible. Would make a good choice for Sunday afternoon football parties and paired quite well with pepperoni pizza. Could use a touch more body.

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Photo of Derek
3.11/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Reddish-brown, pours with a nice off-white head, light retention.

S: Floral hops and sweet caramel.

T: Sweet caramel, floral hops (macro-like flavour), modest bitterness.

M: Some residual sugar, smooth, moderate carbonation.

D: It's alright, but I'm not fond of that floral, macro-like hop flavour.

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Photo of Jotora
3/5  rDev -4.8%

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Great Lakes Red Leaf Smooth Red Lager from Great Lakes Brewery
Beer rating: 3.15 out of 5 with 63 ratings