Great Lakes Green Tea Ale | Great Lakes Brewery

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Great Lakes Green Tea AleGreat Lakes Green Tea Ale
43 Ratings
Great Lakes Green Tea AleGreat Lakes Green Tea Ale

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
In our pursuit to bring you the most flavourful and unique beers possible, we are proud to release this tasty spring ale. Handcrafted with specialty malts and hops, we added carefully selected Organic Gunpowder Green Tea and fresh Ontario grown ginseng directly into the brew. Like green leaves sprouting, this beer boasts a refreshing and slightly herbal flavour that pairs well with lobster, pad thai, spring rolls or sesame chicken.

Added by Viggo on 03-04-2009

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 43 |  Reviews: 27
Photo of kinguy
1.5/5  rDev -53.1%

Photo of Wordslinger
2/5  rDev -37.5%

Photo of BeerClubNiagara
2/5  rDev -37.5%

Photo of jmkoscie
2.5/5  rDev -21.9%

Photo of cratez
2.54/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Well, like many Ontario craft beers in retail stores today, this one disappoints. I decided to try it because the other brews from Great Lakes - 666, Winter, Pumpkin - range from good to great. Not the case with their Green Tea Ale. In fact, I am truly puzzled as to why GL is making this beer. It baffles me how a respectable craft brewer can create such a mediocre product, approve it for retail, and then hype it up with a release party to pretend like it doesn't suck. Anyhow, on with the review...

Appearance: cloudy off-yellow body with a foamy half-inch head and lots of fine lacing. Very promising.

Smell: tea leaves and a musty cheddar/popcorn/spice aroma that I can't put my finger on. I'm assuming it's the mix of malt and ginseng. Either way it smells unpleasant and ruins the beer in my opinion.

Taste: green tea, misplaced bitterness, wheaty malt, and a watery aftertaste. Yawn.

Mouthfeel: smooth and creamy upfront, nicely carbonated in the body, and dryly malted in the finish. Definitely the strongest aspect of this beer. It's a shame that this looks and feels like a craft beer but smells and tastes like crap.

Drinkability: I couldn't get past the smell on this beer and, as a result, I didn't finish it. My expectations were high given the quality of GL's other beers, but alas I was underwhelmed. They certainly deserve points for originality - the Green Tea twist is something different. However, the style is poorly executed here.

I'm increasingly realizing that Ontario craft brewers don't seem to "get it" when it comes to making bold, distinct, and enjoyable beers that consumers actually want. Hopefully a barrage of bad reviews will inspire GL to go back to the drawing board and produce something noteworthy.

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Photo of Sammy
2.58/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I like green tea, though without ginsing, but I was not crazy about this concoction. It smelled cheesy-beery, appearance was passable though light with foaming white head. A tad below average mouthfeel. Not very drinkable.Green tea was the dominant taste, but could not distinguish from harsher beer taste, not well integrated.

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Photo of hopsolutely
2.75/5  rDev -14.1%

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy yellow color with an off white head. In the aroma, dry citrus, tea notes, and a small dry wheat. In the taste, dry lemon citrus and some tea like notes. A smooth and a thin mouthfeel, with a small dry tea like notes with notes of lemon citrus in the aftertaste. Lots of dry tea and lemon citrus, but quite thin.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
2.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I like the silk screened label and green thick foil on the neck of the bottle. GLB have some of the best packaging in Canada.

The pour reveals a pale peach colored liquid topped with a patchy, smallish head. Trails and patches of lace cling to the glass in abundance. The aroma is mildly herbal and malty with a whole wheat, grainy character and a definite diacytel tang. The taste is better, corn flakes, ginger, very faint green tea, fuggles hops and fruity tartness all shows up. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a harsh but not tremendously active carbonation. The finish is bitter for a short bit, then sweetish and herbal.

An OK beer, but a little too sweet and uneventful. Maybe more hops, green tea and malt girth is needed, or maybe green tea beer is just not my thing.

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Photo of Stocean1
3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - poured a pillowy white two finger head from the bomber bottle which proved to be the most interesting thing about this brew - decent retention with nice lacing - colour was light yellow and clear

S - malt, some fruit, hint of tea

T - followed the nose with only a slight tea flavour coming and a metallic after taste - the faint tea was thoroughly disappointing - it is one thing to a have a tea note but with the elaborate bottle and being named green tea ale, one expects something bolder and interesting - this tastes only slightly better than Labatts Blue

M - light to medium body with plenty of carbination, a little bitter on the back end

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Photo of mrmanning
3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber from the LCBO- Pale sparkling yellow topped with a fizzy and short lived white fizz. Nose of straw, some honey, and an herbal grassy aroma floats around as well, though like others have mentioned, it isn't really upfront. I get a bit of mint leaf aroma too. Sweet grains with, a bit of chamomile tea flavour, mint springs....which I credit the ginseng...but these are all muted and difficult to pick out. If I had to blind sample this, I'd probably say it was a cleanly, well made pale lager with a touch more flavour than what the masses are used to. A well made, well balanced, and interesting experiment, unfortunately not really resembling what I suspect was intended. Novel.

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Photo of Will12
3/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of cyrenaica
3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

650ml bottle <br>
4.2% ABV <br>
I tried this beer on June 29, 2011 after purchasing from oine of my local LCBO outlets. The beer poured a translucent straw gold colour with a half inch white bubble head. The aroma was grainy malt, weak tea, and light fruits. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with mild carbonation. The flavour was grains, tea, and weak hops. The finish was not very bitter.

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Photo of Ralphus
3.06/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As mentioned before, Great Lakes does have a very good seasonal program. Their pumpkin, winter and orange peel ales are all an attractive bunch and something to look forward to. This one though is a bit of mixed bag.

It starts off quite well. The pour is a very deep golden colour that's pleasant to look at. The head is white and foamy in the beginning but dissipates to a small blanket at the top. Initially the smell is dominated by grassy notes but as you drink more of it the smell starts to resemble the taste - and that's a fairly reasonable blend of beer and slightly bitter green tea. Constant throughout is the light smell and taste of butterscotch or microwave popcorn however. Many people find it's overwhelming to the point that they can't finish their beer. I didn't think it was that strong. And I had no trouble finishing off my bottle.

Mouthfeel is fine and drinkability rates as average. Seasonals rarely get put away in numbers.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.15/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Lightly hazed gold with an inch or so of tight white foam. Aroma is light, but definitely tea and ginseng, as advertised. Malt backdrop is light and there's a bit of a citrus/orange as well. Drier than I expected, with some acid up front and a herbal flavour although I wouldn't pick out tea specifically. Somewhat earthy/chalky with a mild hop. Slightly astringent and light body with a strong carbonation.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.17/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to wfeddern for sending me this in CanBIF 5.

From a 650 ml brown bottle, small green foil around cap and top of neck. I'm a big green tea fan, so I'm curious to find out how they pulled this off. Pours out a hazed and transluscent deep golden hue, tall frothy and creamy white head. Intermittent patches of sticky lacing.

A deep biscuity malt on the nose, with the exception of the tea and ginseng this is obviously an all-malt lager. Slight earthiness from the ginseng.

The base malt is what pops out first, a great bready profile. While the tea is present as a mild green spicy flavour, and the ginseng adds its expected earthy and woody character, being the most prominent flavour on the finish and into the aftertaste.

A medium bodied mouthfeel, a much fuller texture than most lagers have which is a nice surprise, however light in carbonation therefore feels thin on the finish, although this does not detract from it.

I feel that the green tea or the ginseng doesn't really add to this lager. It's still palatable, and I commend Great Lakes for their experimental spirit, yet I'd be satisfied with the bare base lager without the addition of the herbs.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.18/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light hazy yellow color ale with a large pure white foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of light green tea with some other Asian spices (ginseng, coriander...). Taste is also a well balance mix between lightly sweet malt with some medium notes of green tea. I was expecting the green tea to be more dominant but still very enjoyable. Very well done for what was intended.

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Photo of biegaman
3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Blades of wheat with a smidgen of kumquat. The head is glinty and soapy but continues to diminish less and less in time. The blurring haze (which should be expected from a beer brewed with tea) implies it is not filtered, or at least not heavily. I reckon that's a good thing; how much flavour can green tea and ginseng impart, anyhow? Let's find out!

Well, so far nothing. There is a very faint hint of lime or perhaps some grassiness. It certainly isn't anything I couldn't find in the average pale ale (or lager for that matter). Just a thought: you know what would work well in a green tea, herbal flavoured beer? Green, herbal smelling hops! Anyhow, it seems the volume here isn't just turned down - it's on mute.

If you're going to advertise an interesting sounding beer then you best make sure the beer itself actually tastes interesting - or at very least like the unique ingredients used in making it. I wasn't anticipating the green tea to contribute much flavour, and ginseng I had no idea what to expect, but the lack of either has raised an eyebrow. Never mind the tea itself, there's little even generally herbal about this.

To their credit, the brewers were spot on in asserting this would pair well with typical Asian fare. At only 4.2% it's exactly the right kind of blandish, light-bodied refresher you'd want along side some spicy noodles or sesame chicken. The carbonation is high enough to work well with greasier items on the menu, spring rolls among other things. I'd assume a little Thai food (or Chinese, Vietnamese, etc) would compliment the experience.

I appreciate Great Lakes' constant attempts at brewing creative beers. Their seasonal offerings have quickly become a point of anticipation for many in the province. Sadly, however, they've yet to ever be very good. This is another respectable sounding attempt at something different that turns out to be shamelessly like everything else on the market.

*Note to Great Lakes Brewing: In the future, please don't advertise a beer as being something unique unless it actually is. It may be an effective way of selling the essentially same pale ale again and again but it's unappreciated by those of us who actually pay the money to try something different in such a painfully bland market.

 2,275 characters

Photo of Electros
3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of IBUnit63
3.25/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the Only...

Pours a moderately lighter-than-expected color into the pint glass...maybe almost a bleached Dunkel...Carbonation is solid; maybe just about a 3/4-finger head. Lacing is moderate as is retention.

There are light malts along with a pretty prominent green tea aroma. Hop profile has a little woody pine to it. Malts are light...not terribly roasted...almost a bit raw and boiled, but that's not a bad thing. A tad stewy though, which gets into the whole silage deal.

Taste profile blends the raw-ish malt with the green tea and goes pretty well. Not overpowering by any means - there's a little synergy going on to enhance the experience. Finish is relatively clean.

After a while the tea texture starts to linger on the roof of your mouth - it's fresh but may get to be a bit much on the palate feel. The remaining components work decently and drink rather lightly, with only minimal aftertaste on the relatively crisp finish.

This drinks adequately well for the first 1/2 pint but slows down a bit with a little warmth and time. I may sample another pint given the chance - an interesting concoction to say the least, but nothing setting the world ablaze.

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Photo of Viggo
3.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from the new 22 oz bottle offering of this, I've had it on tap before. Too bad their beer isn't as good as their labeling.

Pours a clear light orange, some amber/golden hues, thin and fizzy white head forms, big bubbles, quickly settles down to a very thin ring and layer around the glass, some decent chunks of lacing stick to the glass. Smell is strange, some sweet maltiness, caramel and grains, dry herbal ginseng spiciness, a bit of matcha like green tea quality, some fruitiness near the end, pears and apricots, slightly interesting aroma. Taste is neat, lots of tea character, bitter and herbal grains and tea quality, touch of vanilla, vegetal, wheat, some light sweetness like orange peel, very dry and some solid bitterness in the finish, like a strong cup of green tea. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, some warmth going down which doesn't sit right when it's a 4.2% beer. Decent beer, not very interesting though. I give Great Lakes credit for doing some unique beers, but that doesn't mean much to me if they aren't done well.

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Photo of bryehn
3.32/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, rusty and mango juice-like orange colour with a moderate white head that falls to a collared film without leaving lace.

Very mild aroma. Smells like wet wheat primarily with a honey-like sweetness and an apple or pear juice tone. Starts to smell like brewed green tea and rice after warming.

Tastes like toasted malt, green tea and rice, again with a honey-like sweetness. It's actually quite refreshing and not at all too sweet. Develops a subtle berry-like note as it warms

Thin-bodied with just enough carbonation to give it some life on the tongue. Quite dry in the finish.

My least favourite of the Great Lakes Brewery seasonals and it took a while to grow on me, but for a light beer it does have a lot of taste. Would be a great barbecue session beer, but maybe a bit pricey for that purpose.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.38/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - fully hazy straw golden, two fingers of white head retained nicely with s few random lacing spots
S - citrus zest is dominant, some mild grains, and subtle floral green tea
T - citrus zest and spice up front that is quickly overtaken by green tea flavour, I do like a nice warm green tea but the flavour of the key ingredient seems to take away from the 'beerness' of it
M - medium body and slightly creamy, smooth and mellow with just a bit of herb & spice tingle
O - as a fan of both beer and green tea I think this works generally, just a bit too much tea and not enough beer on the flavour, but still worth a try but only if you like the taste of green tea

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.41/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed again July 2/10, brewed May 2010; found to be much better all around on this occasion. Generous beige head starts at three fingers and sticks around, foamy lace with good retention. Hazy orange hue, very lively carbonation on opening.

Taste is dominated by an astringency that weighs in heavily, as one might find in green tea. Lemon-lime flavours jump out at you with flashes of sour fruit. Heightened carbonation imparts a cleansing, refreshing mouthfeel, although the finish is a bit too dry. I have to say I've not a clue how ginseng might taste so I can't say if it comes through or not but there is an herbal feel. This is a good attempt at a curious beer although I found the finish a bit sharp and dull on the pallete.

As indicated on the label, this would go fine with pad thai or similar asian dishes, also would contribute nicely on a hot summer day where some sticky bbq sauces are featured. Thanks to Great Lakes for coming out with products like these, curiosities worth a try and just make a great conversation piece around the patio too.

review 04-07-09

Light orange, tangerine hue, murky. Fleeting off white head, wispy surface, ring, minor lace, lazy carbonation soon went flat. The taste very reminscent of cold tea, not necessarily green tea, astringent bite. Herbal nose reminds me of chamomile or peppermint, not overly pronounced with an earthy musky odour. This is an interesting take on blending green tea and ale, kudos for the brewery for trying it out, but it doesn't quite "click" for me, I think I'll keep those separate from here on in.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.42/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big ups to peensteen for helping to procure this selection...

A - Pours a pale straw colour, thin layer of head with little retention or lacing.

S - Mild on the nose, quite bready, loads of grassy wheat and buttered bread, with a hint of leafy greens on the finish.

T - Again, rather mild, but the green tea notes come through surprisingly well, offering up the bitter leafy notes attributed to green tea. A hint of honey sweetness which brings along with it flavour reminiscent of traditional iced tea. The bitterness lingers alongside some grassy notes and buttered bread.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and surprisingly dry, which is a bit of a turnoff.

O - A tasty green tea ale, and certainly portrays the true essence of green tea. If you're not a fan of tea, then you might not be a fan of this particular offering. The flavours are mild and non-offensive, making for an easy drinking summer ale.

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Great Lakes Green Tea Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
Beer rating: 3.2 out of 5 with 43 ratings