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Great Lakes Nosferatu - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes NosferatuGreat Lakes Nosferatu

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2,321 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,321
Reviews: 858
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 235
Gots: 280 | FT: 12
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,321 | Reviews: 858
Photo of bobsy
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle in Buffalo because Great Lakes are yet to disappoint me, and have staked their claim to being my favourite brewery. Pours a rich blood orange with a large creamy tan head that leaves generous lace and exhibits great retention. Caramel and pine greet the nose, mixed in with a peppery earthiness. There's no standard definition for what a strong ale is supposed to smell like, but this one sure is appetising. It smells like a fine balance has been achieved - one that takes lots of one thing and balances it with lots of another.

One sip proves this to be the case. The flavour is surprisingly sweet and bready, but it needs to be to balance out the aggressive salvo of piny hops that assault the tongue. There's also a pleasant earthiness to the beer that puts me in mind of one of my local favourites, and this helps to add a bit more depth to what is essentially a stalemate between the hops and malt bill. The bitterness delivers on the level of an IPA, and the sweetness makes this one a sipper, and reins in its drinkability somewhat. The alcohol provided some light warmth, but for the most part, is skillfully hidden. Its almost like a lighter version of an American Barleywine, with its prominent hops and sticky malt base. Great Lakes always nail the mouthfeel, and while this one does not impress me as much as their other offerings, its still very well done. The medium body seems bulked up with sugars, and the spritzy carbonation certainly helps to prevent things from becoming too cloying. They never fail in this category.

This is far from my favourite beer from this brewery, but its yet another damn fine offering. The hops surprised me!

Photo of grayburn
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had two of these from a recent trip to PA, definitely worth the 2.25 that I paid for them. Pours a dark red with a nice tan cap that sticks quite nicely and lasts through the glass.

The smell and taste are both dominated by some candied fruits and brandy notes. A bit boozy, but nice. Hops are noticable, but really play into a well rounded brew.

The mouthfeel is thinner than I expected, with decent carbonation. Easy drinking, I had to drink them both. Very nice.

Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce pint bottle into a pint glass. This is a brew I have drank each fall for the last few years. Ruby reddish color with a small head that leaves a sticky cob web like lacing on the glass. The Nosferatu has a slightly heavy mouth feel, the alcohol is somewhat noticable in the aftertaste. Pine, citrus, hops profile are tasty. But there is a good amount of malts that make this very balanced in my mind. I really enjoy this beer each year when it is released.

Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Sharp Edge Creekhouse

A-Ruby red, crystal clear with a thin tan head and a nice sheet of lacing.

S-Caramelly and nutty with some hops in the background./

T-Nutty with a rich caramel malt and a light sweetness with a nice caramel finish and a little bit of hops.

M-Medium bodied, leaves a light coating on the tongue.

D-Very tasty and drinkable.


Photo of TheTrevor
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a dark reddish amber with a big two-finger head. The smell is a mix of some lightly toasted malts with a bit of fruitness and a hint of the hops to come. The taste starts off with some lightly toasted toffee malt that is quickly overtaken by some fairly aggressive piney hops that clear away as quickly as they came on. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with some light carbonation The heavy use of hop bitterness hurts the drinkability a bit. This is a really good beer, but not really what I expected from the label.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark red/orange in color with a thina light tan head and average carbonation

S - butter based candy aromas, like toffee and caramel, some ripe dark fruits like plums or dates, some roasted coffee bean aromas too, all the results of some definite high quality malts

T - the taste is hoppier than the aroma indicated, a definite piney hop profile balances the roasted malts, malts which lend similar elements to the flavor as they did to the aroma, ripe dark fruits, and vanilla/butter sweets

M&D - a well rounded flavor, well balanced and with quality flavors, a medium body and smooth beer that is quite easy to drink, ive been on the lookout for this for a while and it did not disappoint

Photo of BierFan
3.61/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: One finger of light tan foam from a rather hard pour. Great head retention. Rusty brown body. Great lacing.

Smell: Decently hoppy with some toffee.

Taste: Not alot of hop flavor but the bitterness is definitely present and dominates much of the flavor. Toffee and caramel as well.

Mouthfeel: Substantial feel to this one. Thick and chewy.

Drinkability: Thick mouthfeel and sweetness would stop me from consuming to many in an evening. But it's still real tasty.

American strong ale is kind of a catch all category. If I had to get more descriptive with the style I would call it an imperial amber ale.

Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.64/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a crystal clear medium brown/deep red. Had a two finger light orange/yellowish head that lasted, along with lacing that stuck all the way down the glass.

S - Didn't have a real strong aroma, which is kind of disappointing, but what I did smell I liked a lot. It was mostly grainy/caramel malt with toffee and sweet sugars. It was a little plastic-like towards they end which I didn't quite like.

T - Makes up a lot for the aroma because it starts like a strong red ale and then finishes like an IPA. Wonderful caramel, nutty, malt sugars up front on the palate but as you swallow it leaves behind an earthy bitterness on your palate. The hops are very one-dimensional but that's ok with me seeing that this beer transitions nicely from start to finish.

M/D - Medium-heavy body but is smooth on the palate. Lots of carbonation but combines well with the beer. No signs of alcohol for such a "big" beer but you do get a little warming sensation as you make your way through a glass.

A very unique style of beer with wonderful transitioning characteristics. Would I take it over Eliot Ness...depends on the day, but still a solid beer by Great Lakes.

Photo of jera1350
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My first beer from Great Lakes. Thanks to Sparky44 for this one.

Pours into a snifter a garnet brown color with a tall creamy tan head that leaves lots of sticky lace.

Nose is of earthy hops with some sweet malt. Almost a musty wheat smell from earthiness of the hops.

Taste is pretty average. Some bitter hops with a bit of the earthiness. Grapefruit makes up most of the hop profile and lingers into the aftertaste. Some mild dark fruit- raspberry, blackberry and blueberry. The malt is rather weak here. The taste lacks in any sort of depth or complexity. It's just a hot and hoppy brew.

Really thin for this style. Carbonation is low which lends to a flatness. The lack of body really detracts from the beers depth.

Pretty easy to drink, but not really sure what they are trying to do here. The beer is kind of all over the place and lacks refinement.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a toasted flax-colored head, creamy too, and it sits on top of a liquid somewhere between rust and bronze. A few little lace squiggles on the glass.

Aroma is wonderful--buttery, spicy and resiny in equal measure. The flavor expands on the aroma, animating it, magnifying it and giving it depth. A sharper, hotter candy spice, like cinnamon, appears first, but then comes a hop-driven bitterness and something earthy, grainy and sweet, reminding me of tart fruit in a bowl of oatmeal that's been drowned in cream. I won't even go into the flashes (acid flashbacks?) of seaweed and peanut that I got at various points.

And speaking of creamy, despite the zippy carbonation (which has the illusion of being zippier than it is, because of the spiciness), this bad boy is so unbelievably creamy when it hits the right temperature--which, in this case, if we're being totally unscientific, is about 30 minutes after being taken from the refrigerator. A medium body that even leans on the lighter side keeps this incredibly drinkable.

Nosferatu is super-interesting, sort of like a hugely-hopped, fairly high-gravity red/amber ale. Or, sure, a strong ale, which is a wonderful catch-all for terrific beers like this. I'm glad I've had several of them over the past few weeks before reviewing, because it seems to take several solid meetings to comprehend. Did for me anyway. I love it, and I thank kels for bringing it back from the source. Cheers!

Photo of BrewMaven
4.59/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked these up at a Syacuse, NY supermarket.

Pours a deep clear bronze and is topped by a thin cap of caramel colored foam.

Smell is of sweet, ripe dark fruits. Pretty strong and appealing aroma that surprised me with my usually weak sniffer.

Taste is similar to the smell with sweetness, some spice and a little hoppiness coming in toward the semi-dry finish. Fairly full bodied and mild carbonation.

I really enjoyed being bitten by Nosferatu!!

Photo of samie85
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, consumed 11/06 at The Bad Apple.

A- Pours a reddish copper color with an off-white head.

S- The nose is all hops with this one: pine-y, floral and lemon notes.

T- This is very similar to the nose with a pine-y, bitter slightly citrus(grapefruit) with a bit of a caramel malt backbone.

M- Medium bodied with a pretty decent amount of carbonation.

D- This was pretty easy to drink, given the ABV. It's crisp, clean, somewhat bitter finish leads me to believe I could drink a few of these in a night.

Photo of ritzkiss
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, pours a crystal clear ruby/amber with glints of orange, a two fingered light tan head foams to the top in luxurious volume, leaves thin rings of lace down the glass.

Nose is thick with caramel sweetness, topped off with a generous dose of bittering and piney hops. Strong ale or English style DIPA (if such a thing existed).

Thick, sticky caramel, bread and toffee, hint of earthy twang, hint of hazelnut, nice piney hop blast with smaller notes of floral and citrus. This is a hoppy strong ale! Wasn't expecting the hops and they take me by surprise. Thick, sticky malts with lots of hops - sounds like a recipe for a DIPA but with the malt taking prominence, no fear of mistaking it for that - barleywine lite perhaps. Plenty of sweetness to go around, a light alcohol burn in the back. Sparkly carb.

Terrific ale and I am rethinking my plan to age a couple, I quite enjoy the hop bite to balance the malt!

Photo of generallee
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter glass. The bottle has a best by date of 11-09-09 and it was sampled on 10-24-2009.

Appearance: It had a deep copper amber body with some reddish highlights and good clarity. The head is tall and fluffy, light beige in color and has nice retention. On the glass it makes cool sticky lacing.

Smell: There is a full nose of fresh bready malt, light roasted notes, hints of toffee and mixed nuts. The aroma is sweet and yet balanced by solid notes of citrus like hops.

Taste/Palate: The flavor has sweet caramel, bready and nutty maltiness with well balanced citrus/pine hops. The 8% abv is mild and adds some more subtle warmth and character. The finish is slow with some pleasant hop bitterness. It has a solid medium to full body with mellow carbonation and a smooth texture.

Notes: This was a very enjoyable beer.

Photo of mtstatebeer
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, served in a tulip glass. Pours a reddish copper color with a good, frothy, off-white head, lacing throughout. Aroma is caramel malts, fruits, grapefruit and pine hops. Flavor is sweet, caramel malts, a hint of wood, grapefruit and resin hops, and a hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel is dry and bitter. Pretty good beer, very hoppy, I like it.

Photo of nickd717
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle via trade, consumed on Halloween.

Pours an excellent deep blood red color with a creamy beige head that leaves good lacing.

Aroma is somewhat sweet with caramel, earth, citrus, and pine.

Well-balanced and tasty on the flavor, with caramel malt, nuts, roast, wood, spices, and citrus/pine hops. Like a good imperial red ale if anything.

Medium-bodied and smooth yet sticky on the palate with some hop resins.

Drinkability is high. This is good stuff overall. Great Lakes is really solid from what I've seen.

Photo of sjccmd
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep, dark amber with a large fluffy light tan head. Head leaves a nice sticky lacing. The body has ruby and copper highlights. Slightly murky.

Smells of grassy, piney hops, sweet malts, oak, vanilla. The sweetness increases as it warms revealing grapefruit, and honey.

The taste seems oddly muted. There aren't actually bad flavors, but there's a surprisingly lack of flavor on the forefront. After drinking for a while the flavors come out more especially in the aftertaste. Bitter citrus and piney hops. Caramel sweetness, perhaps some bourbon flavors, but the alcohol is well hidden.

I thought the mouthfeel might have been muting the taste, but the texture of this beer seems to be just fine. Decent thickness and medium carbonation.

Once I got past the initially muted taste, this got to be a pretty interesting beer to drink, and despite the high bitterness, it's very drinkable.

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied. Not incredibly unique, but very enjoyable.

Photo of kzoobrew
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Honey orange color bordering on the red end of the spectrum. Soft pillowy white head. Decent retention and lacing.

Sweet caramelized malt and grassy hops are strong up front. Citric hops aroma sits just behind.

Going simply by the flavor this seems to be a hybrid Old Ale/DIPA. Hop presence is strong but not bright or crisp enough to fall into DIPA territory. Malt is strong and sweet. Caramely bready malt flavor provides great balance with the grassy piny hops. Slight fruitiness on the back end but flavors are more subtle.

Medium bodied with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Medium carbonation levels are very appropriate.

Great beer all around. While not my favorite in regards to style it is very enjoyable. Drinks easy, alcohol is well hidden and non obstructive.

Photo of TommyW
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Amber/gold with a pillowy off-white head that sticks nicely to the glass.

S- Fresh floral and slightly piney hops with some subtle notes of alcohol.

T- Not a lot going on up front, some faint notes of caramel malts. This is followed by the floral and piney hops and some notes of alcohol. Leaves a decent lingering bitterness.

M- Medium body with a good carbonation level.

D- Kinda reminds me of Arrogant Bastard, but not really as good. Not a bad beer though; definitely worth trying.

Photo of Rhynes2
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep red shade with an off white foamy head. As I drink some, it leaves a slight notch. Not the best lacing ever but decent. The smell is one of my favorite features of this one. Very hop heavy and the taste has lots of bit. The alcohol is a bit too heavy but not really worth mentioning. overall this is a great beer and i can't wait for next year already.

Photo of damndirtyape
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle (11/09/09 date) poured into a pilsner glass. Poured a nice light tan head that died down to 1/4" thick foam across the top of the glass the whole way down. The beer is a very nice dark amber color with shades of coppery-red. Thick wall of foam lacing on the glass as I drank it down.

Smell - its all hops with this one. Some floral hops, but very strong in hops.

Taste - when cold it has a very bitter bite; nothing but strong bitter hops. As it warms up though (closer to the recommended 50 F) the bitterness subsides a lot and you get a bitter start and a milder smoother finish. The hops are so strong that they tend to leave that taste no matter what you do, but the beer is much more palatable when warmer.

Mouthfeel - very tiny bit of carbonation, but coats the tongue and throat nicely for a quenching of thirst.

Drinkability - with the high alcohol and the strong bitterness with this brew (it really is a beer with a bite to it) I have to stop at one. So strong in bitterness that I think it would be best with a meal or something to compliment the bitterness in smaller doses. Not exactly my thing but it grows on me as it warms up.

Photo of hosehead83
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a standard pint glass
Dark copper/amber in color, with big, two-inch head of foam
Aroma-Some sweet malt and citrus hop notes
Taste-Rich malt, nice backbone of citrussy hops-well balanced and very drinkable for the strength

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes Nosferatu has an orangish red body and about one finger of off-white head. That head thick and creamy with some good retention. Some pretty good sheets of lacing are left behind also.

The aroma has a bid dose of caramel malt, a bunch of hops, and some slight fruitiness.

The flavor seems to have lots of everything. The malt is big and sweet, with noticeable caramel characteristics. The hops are bitter with lots of grapefruit. At this point I would say that they hops are a little more pronounced than the malt. Underneath both of these is a less pronounced but substantial fruitiness. What fruits you say? Well, I can't really say, but they are light, sweet, and pretty good.

Moderate, slightly oily feeling body with moderate carbonation; nothing special.

This is a good beer, especially on tap. I expect the malt and hops to be big, but the fruit notes are a pleasant surprise (ok, I realize it tells me that on the bottle and I've had this a few years in a row, but still).

Photo of mothman
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thebouch01 for this one! I have been really curious about this one ever since I opened my box up!

Poured into Rare Vos Glass

An american strong ale... oh how I love this category... here it goes

Pours 1 finger of light tan head. Good retention and really nice lace walls. Color is a robust barrel copper brown.

Aroma: This smells more like DIPA to me than a 'strong' ale. Huge floral hop aroma. Notes of caramel, toffee, and citrus. Very pleasant.

Taste: Hmm, this is very interesting. The amount of toffee that sticks out here is heavily. I get some vanilla notes with caramel. A huge floral hop taste. A big blend of citrus doesn't leave the mouth either. Very strong and fairly boozy.

Mouthfeel: Very bitter and boozy. Medium bodied with medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a big floral hop, boozy flavored aftertaste. Not saying that I enjoy it, but it fits the style and nothing I really didn't expect.

Overall, it a pretty decent beer, definitely not what I expected. It kind of reminded me of a big DIPA, but with more malts and a nice toffee profile. I am glad I got to try this one. For 8%, this is drinking fine.

Photo of Intimidtor
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Great Lakes Brewery on 10-27-09 during the initial release of Christmas Ale for the year. Had a sample glass and found myself wondering why I was drinking the Christmas Ale. Great American Strong Ale in all aspects. S-A-S-M-D were all very well. This beer will bite you with its 8.0 ABV. May have to start stocking up on this one. Price is about 10 bucks for a four pack.

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Great Lakes Nosferatu from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,321 ratings.