Great Lakes Canuck Pale Ale | Great Lakes Brewery

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very good
89 Reviews
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Great Lakes Canuck Pale AleGreat Lakes Canuck Pale Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery
Ontario, Canada | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
89
Ratings:
200
Avg:
3.82
pDev:
15.97%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
34
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 200
Photo of allergictomacros
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber sized from the local LCBO.

A - Claer gold, solid head of of foam.

S - Nose is grapefruit and a touch of pine. Light background fruit and some butter as it warms.

T - Light grainy malt and a bitterness-leaning hop. Still, there's some citrus/grapefruit and a bit of generic fruitiness coming through as well. Lightly tart up front front. Could use some more robustness in flavour.

M- Medium-light body and a modest carbonation.

D - Not bad. A decent quaffable brew, although I would prefer the hops to be balanced more towards aroma/flavour than bitterness.

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Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I picked this up, sparkling fresh, from the brewery. I cracked it in a bout of patriotism while watching the women's curling match this past winter Olympics.
Amber golden in colour; a massive off white head erupts forth from the glass taking quite some time to settle. Superb lacing trails behind the slow decent of this rocky monster, which, fueled by tasteful carbonation, only resides well into the session.
A magnificent hop blast assaults the nose full on. Spicy and honey malt characters poke up on occasion but this bouquet really is all hops. Grapefruit and piney resin reminiscent of spruce buds hint at the hops American lineage. A slight graininess is detectable reminding of that there is malt in there somewhere. The resin smell is so profound that it almost seems incense like in nature. If you like citrus and piney aromas this one is bang on.
Crisp malt character defines this taste early on. This is quickly subdued by the bitter resinous hopping one again, almost chewy in character. The malt does hold its own providing for a fairly well balanced refreshing beer. Honey gram crackers and whole wheat bread contribute to this greatly. As the beer warms hints of butterscotch diacetyl and apple jam flit by the nose. The finish is, of course, bitter, bordering on astringent, though pleasurable.
Unfortunately the body is a bit lacking, watery and not nearly as full as one would hope given the amount of hops used.
A good beer, it's definitely a step in the right direction for great lakes. Taking cues from south of the border this is bolder and more adventurous than most of their other brews.

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

Batch 2

Deep orange in colour and slightly hazy. It's cap of off-white head is large, dense, well-retained, and laces patchily. Cascades give it a nice grapefruit aroma with notes of pine and flowers. It isn't a huge hop aroma but you still really notice it because there's no real malt presence underpinning it - of course, I don't think thats any kind of problem. It has a juicey citrus flavour transitioning to pine oil and citrus rind in it's lingeringly bitter finish. Once again, that hop character isn't huge (Stone it ain't), but you notice it when the bready malt malt flavour it's set against is so slight. Once more, this isn't a problem. I think this is better for being a bit unbalanced.

Finely carbonated and somewhat light bodied; feels oily and resinous between mouthfuls. I took my time trying this second batch after getting burned trying the first. I find myself wishing I had given this a second chance when the second batch was first put out, when the hops would taste their freshest. This is a pretty good pale ale, and it's definately light years better than the initial release. I'd buy this current incarnation on a regular basis if it were available year round.

---

Batch 1
C- (2.7)

Appearance 4.5
Smell 1.0
Taste 2.5
Mouthfeel 4.0
Drinkability 2.0

Clear copper orange with a billowing eggshell head. Long lasting foam leaves behind a thick lace. Bready malt and piney citrus hop aromas struggle beneath excessive diacetyl that overwhelms with the scent of popcorn butter and cheap butterscotch syrup. The taste is slightly less offensive, which isn't saying much. It's buttery like the scent suggests, but with a juicy tangerine & pine hop character. Malts give a slight toasted bread flavour to a beer otherwise weighted towards the humulus lupulus. Finishes with a hint of mint and firm, lingering bitterness. Almost medium-bodied with medium carbonation and a slick, oily mouthfeel. It's not undrinkable, but off-scents and off-flavours spoil what would otherwise be a lovely pale ale.

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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 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 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 Ralphus
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just in time for the winter olympics this beer is showing up on store shelves across Ontario. Great timing. I hope it pays off for them.

This one pours a fairlly deep lager yellow with a soapy white head that left rings down my glass. The head stayed at a respectable cap of foam for the duration.

I like the smell. Lots of fruit with underlying grain and hops initially. As you get deeper into the glass you are probably going to find some buttery notes but it's not overwhelming. The taste has a nice west coast feel to it.. floral hops, malted sweetness, some fruit and a well balanced bitterness. I'm very impressed.

The mouthfeel is good but a little slippery and smooth. That said it does aid in drinkability because this stuff goes down really well. Sessionable even, if you could limit yourself and not get plowed in the process!

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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 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 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 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 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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Great Lakes Canuck Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.
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