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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 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 biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at C'est What.

This beer appears a clear medium amber colour, with one finger of creamy light beige head, with some sparse head left around the glass in its wake. It smells of sweet, floral hops, and a light caramel sweetness. The taste is soapy citrus and grassy hops, and light caramel malt. The carbonation is a bit high, the body lightweight and clean, and it finishes with a flourish of sweet floral hops.

A decent APA, pushing the boundaries of an IPA.

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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 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 TheSevenDuffs
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasting notes from 6/26/11. Poured in to pint glass.

A - Light to medium orange/amber colour with 2 fingers of thick, foamy white head that left good lacing.

S - Citrus and pine are abundant right away with a god overall bitterness. There is a slight sweetness in the background but the hops definitely dominate.

T - Bitterness with pine and citrus dominate the palate with a very slight caramel sweetness.

M - Light body with a bit of chew. Light to moderate carbonation.

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Photo of liamt07
4.24/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Can from the brewery, canned May 10 and consumed May 19. Doesn't get much fresher. 473ml into a pint glass.

Pours a golden orange, translucent with a soapy and foamy white head that holds medium and large bubbles thorughout. Light sticky lace and some mild retention. Nose has some nice citrus hops, some grapefruit and a hint of pine. Light caramel underneath and a bit of breadiness. taste starts bitter, pine and citrus upfront, with more orange and a touch of grassiness coming through later on. On the heels of the hops is a bready pale malt, while the hop bitterness prevails throughout the duration of each sip. Slight juicy qualities to the hops and a moderate bitterness, appropriate and not dominating. Just less than medium in the mouthfeel, and this one goes down pretty easy. Certainly a step up from the original recipe.

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Photo of biegaman
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Canuck Pale Ale isn't red and white but instead a very caramelly tone of amber. The depth in its tone implies flavour. Its clarity is muffled and occasionally disrupted by a passing school of bubbles. Its head, initially a soapy, scrambled egg ensemble of loose bubbles, has quickly thawed out and all that's left floating are a few icy flakes.

The aroma is a fabulously pleasant array of citrusy and floral scents. I'm made quite aware of the Cascade hops but can't honestly buy into the West Coast notion, truth be told I've had hoppier bitters and wheat beers than this. Besides, the hops are its most dominant feature only by way of attrition; I smell not even a trace of grainy, toasty malt.

Fortunately, some of that comes alive in the taste, which lingers with long, flowing hints of caramel, honey and toasty white bread. The hops, however, continue to be the more noted of the beer's two features. That being said, its dainty floral quality, frivolous drop of citrus and the vaporous inkling of zesty spice are folding where they should be flexing.

Drinking a true West Coast pale is like stepping on a rake. Bang! In your face. This is more like strolling through a hop garden. And that's fine - but it's no "adventure" nor is it too far a "departure from the ordinary" (as the brewer promised). There's plenty of delightful hoppiness here, to be sure, but it's pleasantly passable and not painfully powerful.

Which works just fine, especially considering we're talking pale ale and not IPA! All things considered, it may not be enough to earn them a gold medal but I think Great Lakes did a fine job with this beer. Floral fragrance, pithy bitterness, biscuity sweet backbone and sessionable drinkability - sure, I'll proudly stand on guard for thee!

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly solid beer. My wife brought this tallboy back to me from a trip to Toronto. What I like best about it is the surprisingly deep, leafy bitterness and how dry the beer is overall, making it a nice afternoon palate stimulator. The coppery brew has just a small head, but decent carbonation, a nice aroma of hops and pale malt, and a snappy, dry bite. Quite a pleasant surprise.

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Photo of Derek
4.59/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The brew has really evolved over the years. Now it's finished with Amarillo & Simcoe hops, which really shine!

Gold with a white head, good retention, bit of lace.

Huge American hop aroma to entice any hop head.

Plenty of citrus hop flavour, with a little piny resin and 'weed'. It's not bong water, but it's pretty bold. Bitterness is somewhat restrained, allowing a little biscuity malt sweetness to poke through. The malt does a nice backup here... but it's really all about the hops!

Well-attenuated, light hop acidity, nice crisp finish.

A very sessionable hop fix.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

473ml Can

Appearance - Mostly clear copper colour with a large size frothy and fizzy off white coloured head. There is an above average amount of carbonation showing and there is some really good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, oranges/lemons

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of malts and caramel. As well, there is a quite a bit of orange/lemon flavour and some piney hops. The beer finishes a malty and citrus aftertaste and some lingering hop bitterness.

Overall - It's not very often that I open a IPA/PA brewed in Ontario and am greeted by a wonderful hoppy/ciytus aroma. This has to be one of the best local beers I've had so far. It may be a touch too sweet but it's still very tasty and highly drinkable. I'll be buying a bunch of these to keep me going between beer runs to the states. Great effort Great Lakes!

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Photo of ppoitras
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

473ml can purchased as a single from the LCBO booth at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" eggshell head over the cloudy golden amber brew. Pillowy head lasts well, with chunky lacing. Aroma is nutty with a transient but powerful citrus tinge.

Taste begins sweet, citrus in the middle, and cruises through to the close with pine and citrus hops character. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability in nice as well. All-around enjoyable brew here.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes.

A - Poured a light gold with slight haze and heavy carbonation. Creamy white head, great lacing, one finger of retention.

S - Really citrussy. Some pine. Good. Not complex but I like it.

T - Piney. Fair amount of citrus. Candy. Some toasted malt. More pine than citrus.

M - Lot's of carbonation, medium body. Good bitterness. Not too strong for the bitterness but good.

O/D - A solid offering. I almost feel like I have to drink this on Canada Day. Tasty.

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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 Rutager
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks liamt07!

Appearance. Pours a hazy rich yellow gold with a finger of off-white head.

Smell. Lightly roasted grains, some grassy floral hops.

Taste. Toasted malt, grassy hops and a little citrus. A little bitterness.

Mouthfeel. Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall. Quite flavourful, another nice can from Ontario. Thanks again, liamt07!

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Webby taupe over inexplicably cloudy lemon-tan body. 3.5
Lemon zest nose with some cakey grain undertones and maybe a hint of acetone. 3.75
Snap wheat crackers and some tart musty Citra-esque hops with some herbal hints. 3.75
Lemon barley water end and decent IBU linger.
Some cling, verging on medium, oily. 3.75

-- Fairly one dimensional and a tad watery. But surprisingly good dankness to the hop citrus. I could drink this of a summer day. 4

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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 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 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 peensteen
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep golden, light amber colour, 1.5 fingers of sticky head, nice lace. Smell is of citrus, grapefruit and orange, malt is there, nice hoppy aroma. Taste is dry and hoppy, citrus, pine and grapefruit, resiny hop but malt keeps this in check. Slick oily presence, medium weight, dry with medium to high carbonation. Really solid stuff, hoppy and refreshing. Good work.

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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 safaricook
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fluffy offwhite head, persistent, powered by lots of medium sized bubbles. Golden murky body.

Typical American pine and grapefruit hops, some pale malt

Pale malt but mainly grapefruit hops in the taste, bitterness of course but not too strong

As expected rather light body, but smooth and a refreshing carbonation that is well integrated

A really nice pale ale, very drinkable, refreshing and a grapefruit bitterness that keeps you wanting more but does not overpower

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tallboy can from the OCB summer mix pack. Pours a pale, cloudy amber colour, atop which sits a finger of foamy, loose, off-white head. Decent retention - it lasts a few minutes before dissipating into a cap and some sticky lacing on the sides. Certainly looks tasty. I don't normally rant about beer odours (largely because I smoke a lot and don't trust my nose's opinions all that much), but this stuff smells fantastic. Hops are front and center and pretty intense, with a piney grapefruit citrus character. Some floral perfume notes; underlying this there is some malty brown sugar sweetness. Alright, I'm eager to try this stuff.

Much of the same strong notes found in the nose are also present on the tongue. Caramel malts and bready grains provide a foundation, but as with the smell the hoppy bitterness is what makes this beer interesting. Fresh, piney earthy hops with a strong astringent grapefruit quality. This astringency lingers for a few seconds after swallowing. Light to medium-light bodied, with moderate carbonation. Although the hops are the more dominant flavour, they're not overpowering so there's no reason this wouldn't make a great session ale.

So far this is the best brew in this year's mixer pack, with only two others left to go. I haven't seen this in my LCBO outside of this pack, but if I ever see singles or sixers this could easily become my go-to APA. Great stuff.

[Updated Jan 2. 2014]

Man, it's been a long time since I last had this one. I picked up another can and compared it to St. Ambroise Pale Ale, Conductor's Craft Ale and Naughty Neighbour in an APA showdown. Tasty stuff, with a nice tropical fruit vibe in addition to the usual piney/earthy notes. The flavour isn't wowing me as much as it did last time, but this is still a very solid APA - and to be fair, I think this can is dated from September so it's far from fresh. Crazy Canuck was one of the first APAs I ever had the opportunity to try, and it still holds up as one of my favourites. I guess that's the problem with being a ticker - in the rush to discover new and better beers, it's easy to forget the old gems.

Final Grade: 3.87, a B+.

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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.

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Photo of TerryW
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Slightly hazy yellow gold. Long lived creamy head that gives up a lot of interesting looking lace. A very handsome brew.

Big bitter hops with a juicy sweet character. Very resinous, plenty of pine. Interesting drinking. Lots of hops happening, but not a brutal hop assault. Grapefruit rind lingers on the palate. Mouth feel still rather soft, not a lot of carbonation - just enough.

Enjoyable, worth a try.

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Photo of mick303
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had in can and into a glass, a light golden colour with pretty white lacing. Aroma has plenty of citrus grapefruit aromas, some balanced malt profile, lemon and citrus hops, quite resiny hop profile. Taste is more along the pine profile, some bitter grapefruit as well. Quite a nice summer session pale ale, well hopped with a flavourful piney profile, hop driven flavour with a fairly simple pine resin dynamic but a quite tasty session option.

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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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