Great Lakes Nosferatu - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes NosferatuGreat Lakes Nosferatu

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

856 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 856
Hads: 2,347
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 8.62%
Wants: 245
Gots: 294 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-19-2001

Imperial Red Ale
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 856 | Hads: 2,347
Photo of MrVonzipper
3.38/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Axic10 for this. Best before date 11/29/11
Pours a translucent dark coppery-ruby color with a decent 1cm light tan head. Medium-low retention and spotty lacing.

The nose is very mild with notes of mild bready yeast, faint bitter chocolate and a fairly bitter smelling earthy hop character.

Flavor is pretty good but not as balanced as hoped. Again mild bready yeast, mild caramel and bitter malt with pretty strong buttering hops that seriously linger in the aftertaste. A touch of cocoa trying to show up.

Light bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall I'm fairly disappointed with this one. Had higher hopes. To me it tastes like it's old, to the point of the buttering hops are left and the aromatics are gone, but that's not the case. I can't get past how bitter the aftertaste is. At points here and there it almost felt like I was drinking cough syrup or something. (888 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
3.38/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a reddish copper color with mild carbonation and a thin layer of foam.

S - Aroma is light for a big beer...grassy and a little earthy with some citrus mixed in.

T - Matches the nose to a "T". Grassy, earthy, and toasted caramel, no more, no less. Flavor stays even across the sip. The aftertaste leaves a citrus, grapefruit and earthy presence. Finishes more on the malty side.

M - Medium body, slightly watery at the very end, mild carbonation on the tongue. Finishes fairly clean and doesn't leave much of a lingering aftertaste (though, maybe a little pine and citrus), finish is semi-dry.

O - Not doing much for me, for an American Strong Ale, I was expecting more. (683 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
3.37/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says best by 29 Nov 2011. Not sure what that means for bottling date, but couldn't be too long ago.

Pours a deep coppery color, clear, with a big yellowish head. Good head retention, fantastic lacing. Some bubbles streaming up.

Smell is really faint, and predominantly vegetal with a hint of floral hops. Mostly it smells like fresh-cut hay. What's there is fine, but where's the bite the bottle professes? For a big beer, I'd like more.

Taste is better, but where is it? It comes on malty and rich, with overtones of bitterness. The malts gradually fade, leaving only that grassy, hoppy pinch in their wake. It's okay, kinda like an amber ale with a bit more kick. But not really impressive to me. I want more depth, more variety, more oomph, more something. On the positive side, the alcohol is well-hidden. Finish is dominated by hop (and a little alcohol) bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good; medium-bodied, feels slick, and lightened up by medium-high carbonation. Finishes bitter but dries out rather quickly.

This came highly recommended, but it doesn't wow me. Call it a strong ale, an amber/red, whatever you want - I've had quite a few that I liked more. (1,170 characters)

Photo of ccahoon22
3.34/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - This beer pours a reddish copper color with a good head.

S - There is a definite ale smell. You can also smell the alcohol combined with a hint of sweetness, but not too a very strong smell.

T - Very smooth taste without any distinct flavors aside from the standard ale taste. Definite hop taste with some bitterness. Overall good beer but lacks the character of other ales. (381 characters)

Photo of demcorhip
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mcallister for this one. Silly me, forgot all about this beer, says to enjoy by about a year ago. Nice, sticky, fine and intricate lacings.

Looks good, a slightly bloodied amber colour. Decent slightly ruddy pale tan head.

Big toffee and toast nose, with some cherry. Mild hop aromas with some woodiness, and a touch of citrus and grass.

Toast and rich toffee. Probably should have enjoyed this earlier, has a mildly annoying cherry, vinous quality that i suspect has to do with oxidizing malts. The hop bitterness is surprisingly pronounced considering how the malts dominated the nose. A clean, slightly woody hop bitterness gives way to more flavourful accents of citrus and pine.

Medium bodied, mildly carbonated and nicely balanced. A touch of astringency that plays nicely with residual malt sweetness and slight yeasty mustiness. Ill have to enjoy this fresh some day.

Pretty drinkable for an ale with 8% abv. Hints of alcohol warmth. The only thing limiting the drinkability is the fact that i probably should have enjoyed this brew a year ago. An interesting strong ale, one that i will have to revisit.

This was tough to rate. Didnt look at other reviews to see if what i feel are off flavours are present in fresher tasting or not. I went nice on this brew as i suspect the off flavours present were my fault for sitting on this too long. (1,365 characters)

Photo of MDekker
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I realized found this bottle in the fridge almost a month past the "best by" date. Overall, I wasn't thrilled, and I hoping it wasn't for that reason. Here goes...

It poured about a ruby brown, with a thin off-white head that held up OK. Overall, looked nice. Not much to the aroma - it was gentle, a little bit malty. The taste didn't meet my hopes for it - a little banana, maybe, but mostly bitter hops that lingered. Not much in the sweet and malty department. It was nicely carbonated and felt OK in the mouth, but overall something had me weirded out to the point that I was disappointed and didn't really see myself going back to it, unless it was to make sure that being past the freshness date didn't ruin it. Oh well. (730 characters)

Photo of ithacabaron
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a brilliant, absolutely crystal-clear ruddy hue, with orange and nectarine colored tips where the light hits the edges. Not exactly the blood red that comes to mind when I think of vampirism, but eh, it'll do.

Smell is sweet yet muted malt, covered by a blanket of distant, clean, citrus pith-inspired hops. Very hard to wrap my nose around this one, it's a shadowy creature.

Taste reveals the monster as he steps from the shadows. Hops, hops, and more hops, as intense quinine bitterness breaks across the palate, chased by alcohol vapors and more flavoring additions. They shoot into your veins like the teeth of the vampire, sucking away all other taste sensations. The malt gets almost entirely obliterated here -- the combination of high ABV and aggressive hopping, while a unique sensation, obliterates any more sensitive notes that my palate could have picked up. Ruination doesn't have anything on this beer in terms of hop power. Wowie.

Mouthfeel is displayed in good, steady, comfortable carbonation that just keeps things at a nice simmer, without ever letting the brew drag.

Drinkability is not fantastic, but not great. I couldn't see myself ordering another pint, but I'm glad that I tried this bottle out.

All in all, this brew manages to display intense hop bittermess, but unfortunately only displays one dimension of the hop's potential (no flavor or aroma). I would imagine mainlining pure hop oil into your veins might result in a sensation similar to this. In your FACE bitterness. I would love to see the hopping schedule for this brew, just for curiosity's sake.

Thanks to blitheringidiot for cackle frackus-ing this bottle all the way back from Chicago, and for giving it to me as a gift! What a swell guy. (1,754 characters)

Photo of Telix
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams sensory glass.

A: Pours a nice clear reddish-brown that is a beautiful garnet when held to the light. A moderate dense, slightly beige head forms and slowly disappears.

S: The aroma is mild but is primarily malty, not very sweet at all, and some noble hop notes jump up.

T: A slightly watery initial taste quickly subsides as thicker, slightly sweet malt flavors take over. There is little to no fruitiness in Nosferatu, and it's actually kind of boring. A somewhat "fizzy" bitter taste lingers on the tongue and subsides into baking soda on the finish. It's a weird combination that doesn't seem well integrated.

M: Perfectly good to above average. It's got a nice texture and carbonation and supports the beer style well.

D: It's not super boozy or anything, but I don't enjoy it enough to want to drink it very much.

I know I'm definitely rating this beer below most people, but I just don't think it's that well-crafted. C+ (973 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.26/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a beautiful burnt red color. The head is typical for the style: about one fingers worth, with an off-white shade. It fades away slowly leaving nice ring of lacing on the glass.

S: This is dominant in burnt caramel. Touches of piny, herbal hops blend well within all the caramel the nose provides. Slightly bready, too, almost like pumpernickel in a way. I could use a touch more hops, but I doubt it's the freshest bottle.

T: It pretty much tastes just like it smells. Plenty of burnt caramel and toffee malt start this one off, with a pleasant balancing hop quality (mostly piny, not much citrus). I like the aftertaste and it's mild nuttiness. Fairly balanced and mellow, almost to a fault - no one note really sticks out.

M: The general feel is bit sharper than I'd like, both in carbonation (pokes through the body somewhat excessively) and actual texture (it's rather coarse). Aside from those two niggles, the dry finish helps it go down easily.

O: Not my favorite beer, but neither is it my favorite style. It's quite well made though - there are definitely others out there who will enjoy it more than I did. (1,162 characters)

Photo of rocketmotor
3.26/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12oz bottle, presumed date code of August 06, about 6 months old. Leaves nice lacing and good appearance, dark red color and clear. Circles of hop oils on top.

Smell is ok, mostly sweet, dark malt and little bit of alcohol, can't really smell any hops. Has a good taste of clean red malts and mild hops in the finish. The alcohol can be tasted, a bit too much IMO. Could use more hops for my preference.

Good mouthfeel, nice coating of the mouth with some solidity.

Drinkability - not so great, a bit too much alcohol is tasted, don't think I would buy it again. (583 characters)

Photo of cproioi
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A deep reddish brown hue with an off white head that stuck around for a decent amount of time for they style and little carbonation present. Has a sticky malt aroma with a citrus zesty hops notes. The taste is highly hopped with the same zesty notes that where present in the smell. The midtaste was a sticky toasty hops. The body was thick with a slight alcoohol warming sensation to it. The beer was nice but would of been better as an after dinner drink on a cold night. (473 characters)

Photo of Jesse13713
3.19/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Okay. Me and this brew have had our differences in the past. I've left it in the back of my fridge for months now, the famous Nosferatu giving me the evil eye every time I select another brew instead of him. This will be my third year trying a single of this beer. The last two times have not gone well. Poured into a Hoppin' Frog snifter.

Appearance - A thick, creamy head that laces excellently to the glass. About a half-finger of head coats the surface of the beer. The ale itself is a deep, blood-amber with a roasted maroon/burgundy quality. Carbonation creeps up the glass. A really bewitching appearance.

Smell - Nothing outlandish. Alcohol and dark cherries with a hidden roasted malt trait in the hindsight. Not terrible; not impressive. Here goes nothing . . .

Taste - A relief. This proves that my tastes have indeed changed over the last year and a half. The entire beer has a strong roasted alcoholic feel to it. The taste of strong beets and dark cherries reign supreme. As the bottle describes, a strong ale with a powerful bite attached to it. Sweet malt with red wine-like qualities.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability - While this brew and I get along much better than we did in the past few years, it is still far from my favorite strong ale. Still, it is chock-full of roasty fruits and does a bit of damage to the palate. Medium to heavy-bodied. I will try another one of these fresh when the new season rolls around. (1,435 characters)

Photo of Vdubb86
3.19/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at The Firkin in Libertyville, IL

The appearance is of a nice brownish red with a decent finger of foam on the surface. The smell is mostly of sour and char. There are some citrusy hop aromas most similar to orange zest, but that's not nearly as strong as the burnt notes. The flavor is strongly of burnt biscuit. A slight malty flavor comes in on the back end to try and rectify the damage done, but it is too late. The burnt biscuit flavor is really off putting to the point where I truly don't like this beer. The mixing of the hop flavor with it makes it seem like someone lit hops on fire before putting them in this brew. The good thing is the bitterness doesn't translate too badly on the mouthfeel, but it is still there to a point I don't care for, despite the smooth nature of the drink. This beer is all sorts of intense, that I really don't care to go into. It's harsh in a number of ways and honestly some might enjoy drinking it, but I could go either way. Not something I'd really recommend or seek out again. (1,045 characters)

Photo of mscudder
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Served in a snifter.

A - Deep amber hue with a large ivory head. Head reminds me of a Belgian Quad and leaves fair lacing.

S - Warm hops, light booze, caramel, pepper and some grapefruit.

T - Warmth from the booze throughout, hop bitterness is high for a red while other flavors are overshadowed by the presence of pepper. Finishes dry.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation.

O - Reminds me of a tamed, slightly thin, Arrogant Bastard. Not a huge fan of either brew. (475 characters)

Photo of Cresant
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a nonic. Bottled in November 2006. Body was a clear, dark amber color with one finger of head.

Smell was rich sweet malts with a secondary hops presentation.

Taste was of grainy bread. Pleasantly hoppy. Caramel malts. Very drinkable and not cloying as some sweeter/malty beers are for me.

Mouthfeel was smooth and medium bodied. (374 characters)

Photo of eze153
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have heard much hype over this beer and now I got to try a draft, needless to say I was not as thoroughly impressed as the others who hyped this beer up.

The restaurant I was in was pretty dark so it was hard to really judge the appearance of the beer, but it looked good to me. the smell was good, could def small the hops and some other spices mixed in. the taste was strong in hops, which I really don't like at all, but I'll have to say it;s much better than say an extremely hoppy beer, I could at least drink one of these again. (539 characters)

Photo of jcnd9803
3.16/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: A nice amber color, actually almost purely red. A half a finger of head.

S: Hops and caramel. Faint malts.

T: Starts with much more of a bitter taste than I was expecting. I smelled hops, but not this much. It then strangely transitions into heavy malts with a syrupy finish. Also some fruit in the end.

M: It's flavorful, I'll give it that. I really got an almost tart malt taste.

D: It's not bad, just not my favorite for the style. (441 characters)

Photo of curasowa
3.16/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served from a 12oz bottle out of a 4-pac, best before date of 12/22.

Poured a cloudy, amber color with just a 1/4" head that lingered quite a while. The smell was slightly sweet, maybe a bit of brown sugar and a hint of floral in there too. Very full bodied, almost syrupy with some nice bitterness and a slightly lingering finish. Some roasted flavor is in there as well, showing up more in the finish.

Overall a pretty good beer, but not what I was expecting from a stock ale. I would call this more of a strong American craft ale than anything else. (554 characters)

Photo of Meerkey
3.16/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Nice, deep ambery red. A bit of off-white head.

S: Sweet, grainy malts. A little hoppy. Nice, but not exceptional.

T: About the same as the smell. A little grassy/herbal. Not bad. Graininess lingers.

M: A little flat and disappointing. Hint of carbonation.

O: Not a bad beer. Has some good qualities, but overall not super exciting. I wouldn't mind drinking one again, but I probable wouldn't seek it out. (413 characters)

Photo of tlazaroff
3.14/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am shocked in the lack of aroma in this beer. I get nothing but a very slight, almost absent caramel note. It doesn't smell bad, it just has virtually no aroma.

Perfectly clear and deep red in color with a light tan head that laces moderately on the glass. Its a great looking beer, for sure.

Thank god it tastes better than it smells. I get a burnt sugar flavor, molasses, caramel candy, and a nice floral hop note in the background. It has a lighter body which shocked me especially for an 8% ABV beer, with medium carbonation and the finish is a touch on the dry side. It's a good beer, but not one of their best seasonals. (630 characters)

Photo of claspada
3.13/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, reddish-amber color with a medium sized frothy, off-white head that recedes to leave some spotty lacing.

Aromas begin with the hops consisting of grassy, grapefruit and spicy pepper. Then you get more citrus and biting grapefruit. As it warms you get some of the malt base with a a toasted biscuity maltiness and emerging alcohol.

The tastes begin with the toasted biscuit maltiness a bit of caramel sweetness. Then the grassy, leafy hops combined with freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice which adds a ton of bitterness. The finish has some spicy alcohol and spicy hop character as well.

The mouthfeel medium bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is thin, brash and biting.

Overall this was a miss for me. For how much I love great lakes lagers and darker beers, I have found their IPA line-up to be quite underwhelming. There is too much alcohol, brash hops and a thin mouthfeel which just doesn't work for me. As a big fan of Amber Ales (imperial or generic), I cannot recommend this. (1,005 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.04/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not the greatest beer, especially coming from Great Lakes, a good Midwest brewery.

The look is good for the beer, a mix of brown, red etc. . . definitely looks like whatever a "vampire" beer would look like I guess. It looks goth.

Smellwise, I just really caught the whiff of alcohol. Taste was just kind of blase, nothing stood out. Not well hopped despite what some suggest. Its very bitter, but the hop taste profile gets lost. Seemed more of a maltbomb IMHO. (465 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.04/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with great freaky label art and branded silver pry-off pressure cap acquired at Zipp's Liquor in Minneapolis, MN and served into a stem-tulip. Expectations are high given the brewery as well as this beer's current ratings (92/91). Reviewed live. "A handcrafted stock ale." 8.0% ABV confirmed. Enjoy by: 11/29/13. Reviewed as a stock ale.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of white colour and nice even consistency. Okay thickness, but subpar for a stock ale. Not much creaminess or frothiness. Retention is average - about 2 minutes. Even lacing coats the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a rich clear translucent amber-red. Has an attractive understated glow. Refined. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's an appealing appearance and I'm eager to try it, but it's not unique or special. No egregious flaws.

Sm: Faint caramel and toffee. Bready/crusty malts. Amber malts. Any hop character is barely coming through here. Clean, refined, and inviting, but not alive. Fruity.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. A pleasant aroma of average strength.

T: Caramel, toffee, amber malts, bready malts, bread crust. Hop character is quite faint and shallow: floral notes and generic fruity tones are all I find. It's a shockingly reticent flavour profile all around. Just not that accessible.

Balanced, sure, but there's surprisingly little going on here. It's painfully simple for a stock ale. Cohesive and enjoyable, but not gestalt, complex, subtle, or intricate. I will say it has nuance.

There's some faint alcohol presence. Clean, without any real yeast character.

Average depth and duration of flavour. Below average intensity of flavour.

What I like about it is it doesn't feel like a half-assed English barleywine. But it just lacks the mastery of the best beers in the style.

Mf: Smooth, wet, well-carbonated, nicely thick, and full-bodied. Suits the flavour profile well. Nice unobtrusive presence on the palate.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: Drinkable, but honestly I expected better. It isn't much of a stock ale. I'm really disappointed giving this is coming from Great Lakes. I wouldn't buy it again, and I can't see it cellaring well. I wouldn't recommend this to friends, but I'll enjoy finishing it. I wouldn't want more than one in a night.

I'm not sure what I'm missing that other reviewers are finding, but I found this lacking.

Low C+ (2,676 characters)

Photo of TMinton22
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Dark, reddish tint, brown body with tanish head that reduced to a thin cap left a decent lacing.

Aroma was intriguing being I've never smelled any beer like it. Reminded me of fresh cut hay from my hay bailing days.

Taste I thought was good except for the strong bite at the end. I couldn't get past it and it's safe to say one was enough for me. (349 characters)

Photo of Centennial
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle inte pint glass

A. semi transparent amber red

S. Malty and bready, not picking up much hops

T. a lot like it smells, very malty, wish there were more hops present as advertised, very disappointed about that.

M. Crisp, but syrupy

O. Too malty, needs more hops, more like a light barleywine then a hoppy red ale. (327 characters)

Great Lakes Nosferatu from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 856 ratings.