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Great Lakes Nosferatu | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

894 Reviews
For Trade:

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States | website

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Red Ale

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-19-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 894 | Ratings: 2,534
Photo of whartontallboy
3.76/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this one into my Delirium Tremens glass, slightly-cloudy orange with an enormous tightly-packed head of little bubbles that slides back into a generous coating of lace. Very nice.

Smell is piney hops and citric hops, but very little malt. If there's malt in the scent, my nose isn't working.

Flavor is also quite hoppy, with a real citric bitterness beating on the tongue, but the malt comes through much more clearly in the mouth, with a clear sweetness backing the hops nicely. Alcohol is present and warming, but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the hoppiness, in my opinion.

Overall: An interesting Frankenstein of some barleywine and DIPA characteristics, not somethign you'd want to have more than one of.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.31/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Last sample plucked from my cellar. This one dates back to early 2004.

GLBC has been known to be rather ridiculously over-cautious with their labeling system...to their credit. Whenever you get a GLBC beer you know that it will be up to snuff. I'm curious as to how much research they've done with their own beers to determine the relative merits of aging them. They leave it up to us, I suppose.

Comes out as perfect in appearance as before: foreboding burgundish near-red with snowflakes attached to the snow-globe of the glass.

The nose of this beer instantly conjures to mind 'well-aged Bigfoot'. All of the booziness I mentioned in my prior review has deteriorated, but how has the hop quality. Slightly vanilla-inclined aged hoppiness that has a distinctly 'old' quality to it, even in its relative middle-age. Interesting insane sweetness - gummi bears. Cherry cordial. Fruity licquers. Stands up, though.

What was already seemingly well-integrated and low on the IBU meter has sunk into a butter/velvet/silk ghost that you hear glugging in the glass, watch sliding into your mouth, but cannot grasp. This beer has become a ghost that slinks away into the night. Fruity, velvet malt sweetness with almost no hops is a little much, but still insanely good. Just too drinkable.

So far in the cellar draining experiment I have come to determine:

Nosferatu: clearly better fresh, but has an interesting lightness of being after a few years that might entice the less intense beer drinker. Some of these aged B-Wines/Old Ales become like insanely sweet milk chocolate after a few years.

6000: Totally best fresh...but still impressive after a few years. Amazing that it could change from a hop-head's beer to a malt-heads beer in just a few years.

OG '04: Served best by a year's aging, but i'm in love with 2 years aging too.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pub glass. The date on the bottle is 9/23/05.

Appearance: The beer pours a very nice ruby to deep copper coloration. The head is massive almost two inches white and fluffy. The beer leaves crazy amounts of lacing down the glass.

Smell: The beer has a massive amount of malty sweetness on the intial smell. There is a very big hoppy grassy, woody character in the smell.

Taste: The beer leads with hoppy grassy, woodyness. Then the beer goes sweetly malty caramel. Then finishes as a combination of sweet and hoppy.

Mouthfeel: The beer has a slick oil texture to the mouth. The beer is light bodied.

Drinkability: This beer is a very well balanced malty hoppy beer. Very easy to drink. Oh Yeah!

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Photo of HardTarget
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Inspection: In keeping with the Bavarian Purity Law, 8% abv., recommended serving temp of 45 degrees, and a for freshest taste enjoy by SEP 26/05 (sampled DEC 13/05). Now THAT’S a label. Standard 12 oz brown bottle.

Aroma: Great stuff going on here. Nice firm blend of hop smells. I get a stout-like Northern brewer smell mixed with some grassy citric hops. Malt smells sugar sweet in a nice counter balance.

Appearance: A perfect amber color with both red and yellow edges. Cap is a creamy white and lace is a given. Tide marks note the passing of every eager sip.

Flavor: Stock ale is right! It gives Arrogant Bastard a run for the money! Hops are monstrous and jump right at you, but then the head smack of sticky malt backs them and drives them home, letting them soak into your chops and linger on the palate for about a day. Balanced, but between an elephant and a Mack truck! Very intense
As the beer warmed, the hops really started to take over. The IBU’s have to be off the chart (ok, just 75, but I really experienced an acidic hop bath).

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light body, really a light medium, given the hard core flavor. Texture is slick and oily, and the hops are a bit acidic.

Overall Impression: Wow; it’s got bite alright. All in all, it’s almost too much. Drinkability has to take a hit, there is no way I could drink more than one in a sitting, and it’s the type of beer that once you have one, there’s no forgetting. The oily feel and massive hops are starting to wear me down a bit as well. This is an all out attack of a beer. The brewer has my respect, but I feel like I’ve punched my ticket and won’t be taking another ride soon. Still, happy for the ride.
Many thanks to Rick and Betty for bringing this monster back to Texas with them.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass very, very slightly hasy copper with a yellow and low lasting head which worked to lace the glass.

The aroma was malty with an aged American "C" hop character and a slight alcohol aromatic. The malty aroma contained a sizeable caramel aspect along with a floral and fruity component. Also present in the background was a bready aroma.

The flavor was malty yet well bittered with a strong, very strong, caramel flavor. The hops were American and well muted, not bright or overpowering. The malt hop balance was malty at first on the palate which slowly dried into a bitter and lasting experience.

The finish was dry with a lasting resinous hop character into the aftertaste. The body was almost full and nicely done. A nice strong ale for warming the soul.

12 ounce bottle. Thanks AKSmokedPorter for the wedding present! Enjoy by Sept 23 05 on label.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very good ale, a nice introduction to the stronger ale types without going overboard, gets your feet wet!

Pours a deep chestnut in color, slightly hazy with obvious carbonation and a tight head that left swirls in the glass after fizzling out. Nose is unmistakably hoppy, quite piney and slightly floral. Wafts of brown sugar as well. Taste is fairly complex, not so much as say an old ale or barleywine, but there are definate levels here of rich caramel malts, dark fruits and the bitter hop layer as well. Quite easy drinking to boot. Doesn't really inspire awe as such and one is more than enough in a sitting for me however, maybe just not particular cup o' tea, or pint of ale as it were.


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Photo of AlexJ
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bright mahogany pour with a dense, thick head that retains well and leaves delicate trails of lace.

Aroma is at first malty, with hints of caramel and brown sugar. It warms up with some sweet citrus and floral notes. Traces of chocolate and coffee.

Flavor is nicely balanced between chewy malt notes and citrus and piney hops. There are some warm notes of chocolate and light coffee. Hoppier as it warms, it never gives a clue that it's 8%. It has moderate complexity and is somewhere between a brown ale and an English barleywine.

Body just shy of big with a soft and creamy mouthfeel. Awesome drinkability, I could suck these down all night.

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Photo of OldSock
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – 12 oz bottle from Sam’s in Chicago. Poured into my pint glass it is a deep, clear gold/orange with a 2 finger creamy white head. In addition the retention is good and lacing is coating.

Smell – Pungent catty hops with some toasted malt and pistachio.

Taste – Spicy hops and alcohol upfront with a great sweet toasted malt backbone. The bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue for a few seconds after each sip. Well balanced, with bitter and sweet intermingling, not canceling one another out. Hints of chocolate appear every once in awhile.

Mouthfeel – A slightly slick medium-full body with prickly carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – Great strong ale, full and complex with loads of hop and malt flavor. I like a beer in this strength area, powerful enough to have a lot of flavor and complexity, but not so much as to become cumbersome to drink.

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Photo of AltBock
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle that I found for only $1.50 a piece. Good Deal! The bottle has a cool picture of the vampire (Nosferatu) that appeared in F.W. Murnau's 1922 film "Nosferatu."

Appearance: Poured a clear reddish amber color with an small off- white head of foam that dissipated fast but left some rings around the glass.

Smell: The aroma was that of strong hops, some malt, and plenty of citrus fruits (mostly grapefruit) in the background.

Taste: Had a nice complex taste of: sweet malts, wheat, citrus fruits, that all ended with a very pleasant dry hoppy bitterness. Not too bitter that would ruin it, but very well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Carbonated and medium bodied. Although it says 8% ABV, I surly didn't fell it. Is Great Lakes sure that this is 8%? :)

Drinkability: This is another must try from Great Lakes. It's too bad that this fine beer is seasonal. It's a good thing I got another one left. If you like Strong Ales, this one will not disappoint your palate. Keep up the good work Great Lakes!

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Photo of pentathlete
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bigern for including this in the "monster" package for GPBS '05. Here is one that I would love to cellar.

Pours a gorgeous red amber with a small stubborn head. Lacing, rings, islands and tiny-bubbled carbonation round out a handsome look. Smell is bread, alcohol, cherries, and zest. The taste starts with a high octane hit of malts then changes character completely to finish with a bitter hop bite. If these flavors were blended a bit more it would improve things, as I am sure will happen with age. The mouthfeel is medium with the carbonic bite preventing it from feeling full. This brew clocks in at 8% ABV which prevents it from being a simple quaff. The alcohol hit will mellow with age. This is a keeper.

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Photo of bruachan
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

from the hudson acme

almost exactly the same color as the goose island octoberfest i just had: reddish amber. tight head, pinky width, drops to a solid film
hearty brew, with a big malty chord. i think i get some munich in there
big hop, too, with a piney finish

great balance. very complex. aroma could have been stronger
gives arrogant bastard a run for its money, and the best brew in GLBC's arsenal that i've tasted

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Photo of FirstMan
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks yet again to Knuckes for having this on hand for me when I was visiting seattle the other day. Brought it back to the east coast with me and now I'm trying it for the first time while watching game 5 of the ALCS.

Pours a beautiful deep dark amber. I'd mistake it for a good maertzen if I hadn't seen the bottle. Very nice head of small white bubbles eases down fluffily into a splotchy misty layer across the top. Lots of grip in the lacing leaves a perfect white coating where the head used to be.

Nose is big and complex. Nice balance of malty sweetness and hops. Spicy with some slight ripe fruit notes. I'm getting all squirmy over here - time to drink!

Malty bigness is slowly and subtly evened out by a dark hop bite after a couple seconds. It moves slowly through a range of flavors. Some spice is there, some sweetness, a deep slow bitterness. I know this is going to sound totally stupid, but this beer is really mysterious and dark. Very aptly named. I love it. Somebody turn The Cure on, please. I've all of a sudden got a craving to hear Disintegration.

Mouthfeel is smooth and soft. Feels bigger than a regular ale, and so it is.

A really remarkable beer. Complex and subtle. Just a delight to drink.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Stone beer glass. Clear orange color with beautiful white pillowy head (about 1/2 inch thick and lasting).

Smells very strongly of hops. But a little more animal aroma (horse?) mixed in rather than the straight hoppy smell of an IPA.

Taste is also intensely hoppy. Kind of like a (more) hopped up Arrogant Bastard in my opinion.

Very nice stuff, it makes me happy at Halloween-time.

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Photo of karst
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours crystal clear copper red with a rocky 3 fingers of light tan head slowly falling with a little lingering lace. Aroma of biscuit and marmalade with caramel.
Flavors are sweet caramel malts balanced by grapefruit hops. Bitter aftertaste to dry out the sweetness. A great choice for the hop lovers. Medium body although sweet not slick and dextrinous. A little alcohol in nose and flavor as it warms

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Dilly Deli in Cincinatti. Best by Sept 23 2005 ink jet labeled on the fron label. Pours a beautiful copper/amber with a sticky layer of tan bubbles. Sticky sugary hop aroma. This same come through in the taste with a strong pine, citrus and grassy hops. They are sharp, yet smooth. The syrupy sugaryness takes over and leaves it pretty heavy medium in the mouth. I think you could drink this one all night.

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Photo of Fish113d
3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle at room temp into a pint glass.

It pours an amber color with 1" of cream colored foamy head with nice retention; lots of cling on my glass.

Aroma is of lots of biscuits and sweet pine hops. Alcohol stings the nose just a bit, but nothing too interesting here.

Sweet hops flow over my palate initially along with some sweet citrus flavors, but a huge biscuit flavor ensues throughout the swallow. Intersting taste! And I enjoy!

Mouthfeel is nice. Good balance, some alcohol felt, but not too big. Medium bodied and nice.

Relatively drinkable. I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would have, but it was decent. I can use one word to classify this one: interesting.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Nosferatu pours a crystal-clear copper body with golden highlights beneath a full head of creamy, yellowed-white foam. The head retention is quite good, and rings of thin lace are left clinging to the glass after each sip.

The nose is distinctly malty and caramelish along with some very nice yeasty and hoppy fruitiness (orange, grapefruit).

In the mouth its creamy and smooth with a dextrinous medium body and fine-bubbled, median carbonation.

Although it starts malty and offers a continual presence of that throughout, there are more hops in the flavor than the nose suggest; lending it a piney, citrusy, grassy and even somewhat leafy side that works really well in the dry finish. And it's bitter, but not overwhelming, as some sweetish, bready, caramel-drizzled and toasty malt lingers in the mouth. This is quite English in nature (hops, malt, yeasty fruitiness) with a hefty bitterness to back it up, and I find it quite reminiscent of some of the strong English ales that are now utilizing hops from the Pacific Northwest.

This one is very nice indeed; and I think it offers a tremendous amount of drinkability in that it can fit many different occassions, and is complex and strong but not overwhelming. Recommended!

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thx dogbrick for the 12oz 2005

pours a pinkish reddish color.. unique. no head.. thin film at best. one big bubble on the surface. cute.

aroma is fresh, aromatic hops with a hint of raspberry and some mild coriander. not what i expected but very nice nevertheless.

tastes very different, special. hops are present for sure, adding bitterness and fruitiness to the mix. something here adds a sweet bready body to it as well, approaching barleywine status but still a bit light overall. fruits are much darker... plum and overripe raspberry show up and poke out their heads. citrus is noted at first, but doesn't linger long enough to merit much attention. avoids chalkiness but lingers with bitter for quite a while, dominating the flavor.

regardless, the mouthfeel is light and drinkability is high.. as long as you can deal with the hoppiness. i am surprised this isn't stronger ABV wise, as the alcohol is warming my belly.

not sure where this brew falls categorically.. and maybe that's a good thing. malty sweetness with hop notes is reminiscent of an ESB, but the alcohol content boosts the effects of those flavors. double esb? hopwine? you decide, definitely worth your time.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. This beer has a brilliant amber color with half an inch of head. The aroma is vanilla and fruity hops. Sweet toffee flavor lasts only a second before being dominated by extremely bitter pine and spice from the hops. This beer is very malty and very hoppy, but unlike an IPA or a hoppy barleywine. The flavor is cleaner than either of those styles. Full mouthfeel. Suprisingly drinkable. This is a very good, unique beer.

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Photo of maxpower
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a clear deep copper amber color with a decent frothy off white head that leaves sticky sheets of lacing in my glass. Hoppy grapefruit and pine aromas. Grapefruit, pineapple, citrus and caramel flavors. Medium bodied with a soft and creamy mouthfeel, finishes bitter. Hard to believe this is at 8%, alcohol is very well hidden.

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Photo of murrayswine
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer reminds me a lot like Gumballhead.
It pours a nice amber/red color, with a sturdy head. he nos is filled with a hell of a lot of hops, which I like a whole hell of a lot. There's also a slightly citrus smell, with parts of cane sugar.

The smell delivers the taste, true hops, light lemon/green apple. the finish is smooth and bitter, with a touch of alcohol. All in all, this is a damn fine beer!

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Photo of Xadoor
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice deep amber colour with a slight head. Light aroma, slightly sweet and fruity. As the name implies, this beer definitely has a bite, but the initial hop bitterness slowly mellows. It actually finishes smooth and slightly sweet with a lingering dryness. The higher alcohol provides a slight warming affect, but not too noticeable. A very delicious beer and highly recommended.

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Photo of klewis
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a clear red with a thick, one-finger head. Lots of lacing.

S: Strong biscuit aromas followed by sweet malt and candy.

T: Tastes just like it intially smelled, but the taste buds are quickly bombarded with a blast of hops flavor. Surprising, but nice.

M: Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Nice and sticky.

D: Solid. I'll have this one again, but I think it would be best as an occassional beer and not as one that you would drink many of in one session.

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Photo of Applesauce1
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off - this is a great beer!

I poured into my pint glass and got about a 3/4" head. The brew had a dark copper color. It looked good.

The first taste was great. Personally, this beer tasted like a barleywine-style ale. It had a good deal of hops in it. But most notably, a little bit of a fruity taste that gave it the barleywine flavor. I typically don't like the fruity flavor mixed with my hops, but Great Lakes really makes it good in this beer. The beer had a lot of alcohol, but it was hard to taste when drinking. I will definitely drink more of these soon. A great beer!

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Photo of ithacabaron
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
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.

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Great Lakes Nosferatu from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 894 ratings.