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Great Lakes Canuck Pale Ale | Great Lakes Brewery

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Great Lakes Canuck Pale AleGreat Lakes Canuck Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our version of a west coast pale ale pushes the boundaries much like the Crazy Canucks of the past. We've brewed it for those who enjoy adventure and a departure from the ordinary. The result is a wildly hoppy aroma with a lingering bitterness complemented by a soft breadly malt flavour.

Added by Sammy on 01-27-2010

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Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 203
Photo of ludachris
2.81/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a crystal clear burning gold with two fingers of creamy white head that displays solid retention and leaves sheet-like lacing.

Pine, light citrus, and butterscoth is all I really catch in the nose. Seems to be simple and bland.

Pine, buttery malts, a hint of citrus, and a pronounced minty character akwardly come together making for a strange APA. The mint is what really threw me off.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a poor balance. I think this was meant to be a quaffer more than anything but it's not too pleasant to drink.

Overall, a poor interpretation of an APA that seems to stray away from convention in the wrong places. The flavours clash rather than meld together and the balance is less than decent. I won't be buying this one again.

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Photo of mrmanning
3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fresh bottle sample- Medium gold pour, with a moderate frothy cap. Aromas of buttered toast, floral hops, white bread, perfume. Strange flavour profile. Has fresh floral hops and a marked lemony bitterness, with a buttery flavour that leads to sweet bready malts. Seems like some sort of hybrid or cross style. It is ok, but what is going on with the butter? I had enough on my toast this morning, thanks. I'll give it a whirl again, but I'd like to see the butter go away.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.07/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this at the LCBO this summer.

From a can into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, foamy white head with good retention. hazy gamboge orange with medium-high levels of carbonation. Head fades to a faint wisp and a foamy ring that leaves some sticky lacing down the glass. A splotchy wisp remains leaving some decent dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Grapefruit, pineapple and some honeydew melon. Pale malts and some caramel notes as well. Light floral and piney hops there, but mostly fruity. Medium strength.

TASTE: Pale malts and caramel sweetness up front, with grapefruit bitterness and pine flavors at the swallow. Finish is medium and lingering with hop bitterness, grapefruit, floral notes and some honeydew melon sweetness as balance. Flavorful and nice, but a touch watery perhaps.

PALATE: Medium-thin body, medium carbonation and not quite creamy enough, unfortunately. Goes down fine and finishes slightly dry. Bitterness lingers. Not quite full and creamy enough for the style.

OVERALL: This is alright, but nothing that stands out from the crowd. The crowd is picking up the pace in Ontario though, and as the quality of hoppy pales improves, this one might actually just fall off the radar a bit. That said, this is a solid brew and I'd gladly enjoy another on a warm summer's day. Cheers!

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Photo of eat
3.11/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours transparent and golden. The white head fades to a ring around the glass, leaving good lacing.

Something is off with the nose, almost like milk a few days past its expiry date. I've only noticed this quality previously in one other beer: Belle Gueule Blonde. Which is not a beer I particularly enjoy. Other reviewers have described the off smell as diacytyl...I guess that's the term for whatever went wrong in the brewing here. Underneath the spoiled milk: grassy hops, caramel malt and hard candy. If the rotten lactic thing was removed, this would surely smell pretty good.

The off-ness present in the smell also shows itself in the taste, though thankfully to a lesser extent. Good showing of hops, though I wouldn't say they have a West Coast character as described on the bottle. There's definitely more of an English-style hop profile (almost like a more intense ESB). Bitter grapefruit rind, grass and soap (like Thrills). Balanced in favour of hops with some bready malt in the background (as described on the bottle). For my taste, I could use some more malt to back up the hops. I really wish it didn't have that hint of spoiled milk. This could otherwise be a pretty great brew.

Nice feel. Creamy medium body with a medium carbonation.

I'd say this beer is on the right track but the obvious brewing/bottling(?) flaw ruins this one. I especially wouldn't buy this again since their Devil's Pale Ale is so much better. If you want to check out something from this brewery, get that one.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.11/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy apricot color with a foamy eggshell cap. Large swathes of lace cling to a good third of the glass. Buttery malty sweetness and a side of light PacNW hops make up the nose. The taste is of floral, perfumey hops and caramel malt and a distinct butterscotch character that is bordering on diacetyl and unpleasant, but just keeping itself above that level. Some warmth brings notes of grapefruit and more butterscotch. The mouthfeel is medium and light on the carbonation. The finish is moderately bitter and not too long lasting.

This is an OK pale ale, sort of a cross between the English and American varieties. Hops could be more prominent and butterscotch good be restrained a bit. Worth a try but not worth a repeat IMO.

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Photo of bryehn
3.15/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Golden-amber colour with a moderate tan head that leaves a fair amount of lace. A collar and film last throughout the glass

Canned pale ales always have a funny can-like smell and this is no exception. Otherwise, it has a nice spicy aroma with a buttery tone and a cherry-like bitter fruit note. Citrus finally comes through after warming and breathing a while.

Sort of tastes like rotten fruit, but in a good way. Like the aroma, citrus flavour, along with a sweet butter malt come through after it warms.

Really reminds me of Wells IPA because of its fruitiness, so in my brain falls into the category of "cheap-ish but decent". Could be a lot worse and would be a decent session ale for poker games or similar activities.

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Photo of cyrenaica
3.15/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

473ml can
5.2% ABV
I tried this beer on June 10, 2011 after purchasing from the Queen's Quay LCBO outlet in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The beer pours a translucent light golden amber with a this rocky tan coloured cap. The aroma is bready malt, and citrusy hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. The flavour is primarily citrusy hops, grain, and an odd perfumy flavour.

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Photo of kwjd
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Original Review on Feb 21st, 2010 was a D-...

"This is disgusting. It just tastes like carbonated liquid butter. If they are going to have this inconsistency, they shouldn't be bottling this. This was my first ever drain pour. I could only make it through several sips and I couldn't take it anymore. I'll get this on tap again, but not in bottle."

It looks like they fixed the quality control issues they had, so I'm re-reviewing this beer now.

It pours a pale yellow with thick white head and spotty lacing. Lots of bread malt in the smell, with faint hops. A little bit of bitterness, but an understated hop flavour for the style. It is a nice pale ale, certainly not disgusting like the previous bottle I had.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium copper color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of floral and lightly bitter hops is interesting. Taste is also dominated by some notes of floral and bitter hops with traces of pines and a decent caramel malt backbone. Body is about average with good carbonation. Missing some hops but still very drinkable.

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Photo of EvanHarper
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Amber gold with heavy suspended sediment and snotty (!) yeast chunks. Looks like a hefeweizen, only darker. Big sticky head with good retention and lacing.

Very tropical aroma with pineapple and guava. Light undertone of crackery malts.

Off-dry, hoppy taste with lightly bitter pine up front leading into more tropical fruity notes. Fairly light flavor profile, emphasis on drinkability with a very simple malt base and no toffee/caramel flavors.

Medium-thin, lightly carbonated, maybe a little watery.

Dry, highly drinkable pale ale with moderate bitterness and hop-forward balance. Very little malt presence. Good if unexceptional.

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Photo of Stocean1
3.37/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - poured a frothy two fingers from the can, pale amber colour, nice lacing and a well retained head

S - plenty of sweet floral hops wafting from the can, this is off to a good start

T - whoa what a let down, first hit is pure metallic, then a hint of bread and some floral hops but not what I was hoping for given the scent - lingering bitterness

M - light body as if it has been cut with some water after the fact - decent carbonation and a nice bitter feel on the tongue

O - some potential here but there are so many local pale ales that blow this one away that I will not be picking this up again any time soon

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Photo of bendale
3.41/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a honey-yellow, with a nice foamy head, and active carbonataion. Light lacing, a bit patchy. Lots of hops in the nose, pretty earthy, but a bit of a sharp note too, not quite citrus. Hints of cereal grains. Taste is interesting, more feel then taste to the hops initially, with a bit of grainy sweetness. There is a nice earthy hop, and a bit of a mineral taste too. There's a bit more sweetness in the mid to late taste, sort of bready. Pretty resinous dry hoppy finish and aftertaste. Mouthfeel is a bit thinner then I would like or expect, though the lacing gave that away a bit. Still, pretty good beer, overall. Decent take on the Left coast IPA. If you can find it, drink up. It's quite nice. I feel like saying something patriotic like "eh oh Canada go!". Or not. I still have some shame (believe it or not).

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

473 ml can served cold into a pint glass. Received as part of a birthday gift.

Appearance - Hazy orange / copper colored beer. 1.5 fingers of head with good retention. Sticky lace lingers at the top of the glass. Some visible sediment sinks to the bottom.

Smell - Well hopped, and citrusy. Grapefruit shines through and there's a faint caramel malt. Still dominates by the citrus and a few other tropical fruits. In theory it sounds great for whatever reason the aromas didn't gel togteher the way I expected and was left slightly disappointed.

Taste - Sort of like a light IPA as the flavors are less bold and more subtle than many others but for an APA it's got pretty good flavor. Mild hops and a nice lemon and grapefruit component. Good balance and flavor, but the beer as a whole comes a cross as a bit watery for my tastes, although probably a good one to introduce friends to craft.

Mouthfeel - Dry finish, medium-high carbonation. Leaves with a bit of a pop in the mouth but a soft beer inside of the mouth otherwise.

Overall - For whatever reason I just didn't enjoy this as much as I thought. Maybe it was an old can or something was wrong with it but I felt it was much more watery than I would've otherwise expected.

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Photo of ChrisCage
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a great orange hued coppery color, which is hazy primarily from yeast. The head is off white, and creamy in appearance and dissipates rather quickly but it remains frothy. The lacing is great on this one with a huge thin layer of foam glazing my glass. The carbonation is hard to see but I think its mellow.

S- Full of hops for sure and there is a slight citrus not about this one. There are mild tones of malt sweetness and the hop bitterness is subdued...not much else to say about this one....reminds me of lemon rind to a point!

T- There is a very traditional Pale Ale flavor happening here! A good balance between bitter and sweet defines the flavor profile. Again, there is a slightly citrus nature about the flavor which follows the aroma. The malt is slightly of caramel and the finish is leafy and Earthy too! A nice taste overall!

M/O- This is a light bodied beer that leans towards medium and the carbonation is very smooth. This is a highly drinkable brew that is flavorful and goes very well with a lemon pie! It stands up with the best of them in my opinion! Recommended!

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Photo of TheHammer
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hmm...I forgot I had this one. Well, I better drink it now since I believe it was brewed for the Olympics...yeah.

Appearance: Poured with a thumbs worth of head that sustained well and laced quite well. The body is a crystal clear dull bronze with plenty of carbonation in the body. Maybe a bit more lace and retention would earn it the perfect score, but it's still very well done.

Smell: Unsurprisingly hoppy although it's not overpowering and out of control like an IPA. Pretty much what I would expect from a pale ale. Cascade hops, however are all you will smell as while they are potent, they drown out everything else.

Taste: Starts with a bit of a bland white bread malt with a hint of hop oil which then comes forward with an almost leafy taste and texture and then seems to simmer down fairly well with a bit of light malt and almost herbal taste.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is very good and helps the entire beer and the transitioning is nice. The aftertaste is there but muted, which I like in a hoppier beer but I can see bothering some people. It's also a bit too dry, which I don't like. Something I can't quite pin down is off, and I think it's a bit of and almost salty feeling in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Well, it is a pale ale so it's not expected to be exceptionally refreshing, but the dry aftertaste hurts the case. That and the carbonation seems to be causing a bit of bloating. Still, I'm not having much difficulty getting it down.

Final Thoughts: Well, this beer has certainly aged well, it's a bit rough around the edges but I for one am glad to see Great Lakes continue to mature as a brewer. Nothing exceptional here, but certainly a worthwhile one. It would not surprise me that if this becomes a regular seasonal that it will be an excellent beer on the next or third attempt.

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Photo of bobsy
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Lakes have done a nice job of this bottle, appealing to patriotism as the Winter Olympics open in Vancouver, with a nifty silkscreen of cross country skis, a toque and some maple leaves (as a Torontonian its so hard not to say maple leafs). My understanding is that this is a slight tweak of a Project X pilot brew that I drank in December, which had the chewy title of 'My Wife Went to the West Coast and all I Got Was This Lousy Pale Ale'.

I pulled out the Buffalo Brewfest glass for this one. The pour produced an orange liquid with a finger of soapy white head, that died down to a film, but laced attractively. At a colder temperature the hopping is more subdued, and prominent diacetyl mixes with cereal to produce an aroma that while not off-putting, is not what I look for in a pale ale. Thankfully as the beer warms grapefruit notes become apparent, and the hops begin to wrestle back their dominance. The diacetyl remains, but the citrus and floral hopping helps to make it more integrated and passable.

At this point in its life, Ontario is disappointingly shy of hops, and anything even approaching a moderate bitterness seems to be imported. Big kudos, then, to Great Lakes for putting a product on the market that helps to push the boundaries for what our brewers are willing to offer. Its not a great beer, that's for sure, but it does deliver a bitterness uncommon in these parts, and I applaud it for that. The balance is actually slightly out of whack towards the hopping (I never thought I'd say this in relation to an Ontario LCBO offering), but the malts are still present in a creamy cereal form, as is the odd note of diacetyl. The bitterness itself is accompanied by big, sweet, juicy grapefruit mixed in with orange and the faintest hint of pine. As with the aroma everything seems better integrated at a slightly higher than normal serving temperature. The body is pretty good too - medium in both feel and carbonation, and I think it suited the flavours well.

This pale ale is no Burning River, and they need to nuke the diacetyl for me to recommend it without recommendations, but it's a very drinkable beer, and perhaps the hoppiest pale ale in the province. Since they added their pilot system, this brewery has become one of the most innovative and forward thinking in Ontario. Now that may not be saying a lot, but these are early days and I think as the market matures and the brewers become more confident in pushing boundaries and adding more flavour to their offerings, that these guys will be well-positioned to exploit it to the full. Nice work, fellas!

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Photo of francisfilion
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a 500 ml can in a ESB Thumper pint.
It was an orange cooper with a white average size head that dissipates rather quickly leaving spotty lacing
Nice aroma's of pine and spruce from the hops very refreshing aroma's
Hoppy taste with a good bitterness and thick malt presence as the backbone
Good carbonation, medium to full-bodied
Overall it was a really really good Pale Ale, a definite re-buy for me!! Very drinkable and refreshing pale ale.

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Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at C'est What, new beer. This is more of a less than contemperous bitter IPA than a classic pale ale. There is significant bitterness, and the abv seems higher than posted, more like 6%. Pours medium yellow body with noteable white head, that leaves lace. Served a bit too cold and a bit too much carbontion. Other than that, an above average non-Canadian beer.
Had it 5 months later in the LCBO distributed bottles, and bitterness there but also strong carbonation.
Had it on tap at the brewery one year later and very much liked the hops, orange characteristic, drinkability.

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Photo of Taybeh
3.64/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a tallboy (canned about 2 months ago) into a Spieglau IPA glass. Slightly cloudy golden amber with a thick 2 finger white head with good retention and very good lacing. Nose is both bitter and sweet grapefruit, some grassy herbal notes. It is nice and clean and straightforward - not much complexity or depth. Taste is similar...very little from the malts, taste-wise, and fairly clean and bitter citrus.. very faint touch of resin and a little digging-around-in-the-garden catamint towards the end, then some lemon shows up and lingers a little. Very light, clean, dry. Nothing wrong with this one, and I can see it being quite nice in the summer...wouldn't pass it up, if it were readily available, but it isn't going to stand out in a crowded field either.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic glass, enjoyed on Canada Day!

A light amber-copper brew, nice n' clear, a half inch of frothy head that survives quite well and leaves a bit of lacing.

Nose is all hops: pine, citrus (grapefruit, mango), a good whiff of resin as well. Right on the mark.

Bitterness is this brew's defining attribute, but bitterness is what I look for in an APA, and so I must say I am well pleased. The malt profile is a bit overwhelmed with all the hoptacular activity, with the caramel and bread only inching in at the beginning. The finish is bitter and very pronounced - lingers for a great deal.

Smooth, slightly creamy, good carbonation.

I am the first to admit I've been less than pleased with this brewery's regular offerings to date, but Crazy Canuck is right on the money. A tip of the cap to Great Lakes, they've got something good here and it's worth celebrating. Will get again.

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Photo of emerge077
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Jay for sharing this one! Served in a tumbler glass.
"F2512" printed on the bottom of the can.

Hazy orange with yellow edges, sheets of lace inside the glass, thin skim of foam across the surface. Retention is average. Foam has a soapy texture.

Mild earthy herbal hop aroma, orange and bitter citrusy grapefruit rind taste, smooth pale malt in the middle with a lightly resiny bitter aftertaste. Tastes slightly faded but overall well put together.

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Photo of SebD
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice orange/copper colour to it. It has a nice white head that dies down moderatly and has some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of pine and citrus from the hops with a bit of caramel coming from the malts.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a dominant citrus and pine taste to it with a slight spiciness and has a bit of a bready/caramely sweetness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance.

Drinkability: It's a smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavours and aromas.

 545 characters

Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Vic.

Pours a clear amber, some golden highlights, medium sized white head settles down to a medium ring around the glass, some lace spots stick.

Smell is nice, big citrusy hoppiness, some orange and floral, malts take a backseat, light caramel and bread, a touch of grapefruit, not bad.

Taste is similar, grapefruit and orange hoppiness, a bit of floral, malt in the middle, with a pretty ballsy for Ontario standards bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. One dimensional and slightly unbalanced but a pretty solid pale ale.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a slightly hazy oragne copper colour, generous finger of big bubbled head with solid retention and some nice sticky lacing.

S - A touch mild. but sweet citrus hops, touch earthy with cedar and pine coming through, and a caramel backbone on the finish.

T - Much like the scent with the citrus hops off the top, the earthy flavours coming through after that, though a touch metallic. The caramel notes linger on the palette alongside some hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dryness on the finish.

O - A well hopped pale ale that is both thirst quenching and bold enough in flavour, with some nice hop highlights. A quality ale that is easily drinkable.

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Photo of greenengineer
3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

473 mL Can, in my hotel room Toronto
A - cloudy amber, little bit of foam fades quickly, occasional lacings
S - wow - hops!
T - hops bitterness up front, and behind too. Crisp, but not a lot behind the hops.
M - a little watery, it's like a hop tea
O - I like the hops, but needs more balance.

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Great Lakes Canuck Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
3.82 out of 5 based on 203 ratings.
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