Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Lake Erie MonsterGreat Lakes Lake Erie Monster

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

677 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 677
Hads: 2,457
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 170
Gots: 383 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BuckeyeNation on 06-29-2004

"An imperial india pale ale"
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 677 | Hads: 2,457
Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Freshness date of 7/29/14:

Pours deep golden with a lasting thin head. Lacing sticks.

The aroma of citrus and pine blend with caramelized bread.

The taste is of citrus and pine with a firm caramel-ish sweet backing.

It is robust with a chewy body. Alcohol warmth adds to the richness without masking.

A great example of a DIPA! (332 characters)

Photo of andrewjraab
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - A light golden orange with good clarity. Two inches of soft oily head form and leave a nice web on the glass.

S - Fruity, grapefruit, figs, raisins, malts.

T - A juicy hop snap up front followed by a nicely balanced malt blend - nice to mash the bitter with the sweet that creates an easy as hell to drink DIPA.

O - This brew is world class. A DIPA that is easy to drink and brings a wonderful hop blast mixed with a nice malt presence. My wife even enjoyed this so this might be a nice DIPA as a gateway for someone wanting to expand their repertoire. Extremely drinkable - I will most definitely try this again.


Tried this again in 2014 and it is equally as good when I first reviewed. Excellent balance for a DIPA. (732 characters)

Photo of ThePaintedGrey
4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz. bottle poured into imperial pint glass.

A: Lightly hazed dark goldenrod with a cream colored frothy head that originally stood about two fingers high, but now sits steadfast at a finger width. Tons of thick lacing around the glass.

S: Definitely an interesting aroma... Unlike the citrusy grapefruit aromas that I'm used to in DIPAs, Lake Erie Monster sports a medley of apricots, bananas, and some pineapple and orange perhaps overtop of a very outspoken grain-like sweetness from the malts. I'm surprised, no doubt... maybe even shocked... But, I'm not put-off. This is kind of exciting.

T: Woah, nelly! This is different! A lot of the flavors follow suit with the nose. Tons of fruity flavors upfront: those banana and apricot notes, but I'm also noticing some juicy red apple notes as well. The malt presence here is super-strong and there's a powerful grain-like sweetness that overrides much of the hop bitterness that is really only present in the finish. The lingering flavors are fairly Earthen and dank and do well to offset the seemingly out-of-place sweet and fruity profile. This is certainly unique, to me... and delicious!

M: Dear lord, this mouthfeel is nearing perfection. Velvety, slightly creamy, carbonation is subdued into submission to really allow that silky smooth body to shine. Without sounding too stupid, each sip is literally like a hug for your mouth. Glorious.

O: Honestly, Lake Erie Monster was not at all what I was expecting, but goddamn if it isn't delicious... I'll be the first to admit that I'm a huge fan over stupidly bitter hop-assaults when it comes to DIPAs, and this is far from the aforementioned, but the flavors here are so complex and wonderfully executed that there's no possible way I can be disappointed by the huge malt presence and fruity profile. I don't know whose idea this recipe was, but someone give that individual a firm handshake. This beer is damn good. (1,927 characters)

Photo of gabrielsyme
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy golden color.

Aroma: The smell is light and mainly of caramel malt.

Taste: It's called the monster, but there's nothing scary here. Instead, it's hops. Neither bitter nor overly floral, the taste is instead earthy and rich. The brewer lists Simcoe and Willamette as the hop varieties, and they are delicious. The finish is smooth, malty, and sweet.

Mouthfeel: Very good. I might prefer a touch more carbonation.

Overall: Don't drink it when on the water, but try it anyplace else. Hopefully the monster returns next year. (582 characters)

Photo of Quercus67
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[12 oz NR bottle] pours a light orange/golden straw color with a nice half finger creamy white head. crisp and clear. large and small bubbles coexist. alcohol legs galore. 007

has pungent desirable aroma which showcases strong grape fruit, citrus, grass, and slight bubble gum and alcohol.

up front strong bitterness which balances well with the heavy sweetness and high alcohol of 9.1%. strong citrusy grapefruit hop flavor explodes and lasts through the back end. nice malty backbone with some honey hints. medium body. very sweet, but in a good way. kind of goes with the style. taste some alcohol with light warming effect.

pretty good DIPA. I'd drink it again if I saw it on tap somewhere. (697 characters)

Photo of nicholas2121
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Co. This brew has an ABV of 9.1%. Lake Erie Monster pours out a nice amber color with a nice white head. The smell is nice and pleasant with some citrus and grains. There is also some sweetness in the smell. The taste is bittersweet. The taste is different from most brews on the market. The bitterness is not over powering to this brew. At the end it is sweet with a some bitterness. You also pick up on the sweetness of citrus. The bitterness is nice in this brew because it is not overpowering. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth. This brew goes down nice for having a high ABV. Overall This brew is well balance and a smooth drinking brew. Overall I'm giving Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster a 4.5 out 5. (763 characters)

Photo of Caveworm
4.34/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster from Great Lakes Brewing Co., a bold experience I'm told I need to try myself. Poured from the bottle into a glass, this monster's got a 2 finger thick head, medium gold body, and heavenly lacing. What a sexy brew!

I smell what seems to be a medicinal marijuana dispensary, and certainly lots of hop resin.

Tastes like the brightest of grapefruits, the fattest hops' resins, and the cleanest of ANY imperial styled brew I've experienced.

Talk about a clean finish! I'm absolutely STUNNED that I can't sense hop oils blanketing my mouth. Dually so for this being an Imperial IPA. This has a crisp, clean finish. Slightly dry.

Overall, a dynamite 4.25 is given to Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster from Great Lakes Brewing Co. I've admittedly been an IPA skeptic for a while now, thinking that it just wasn't my style. But this brew has changed my opinion of IPA's for the better. I urge you all to give this a try. (949 characters)

Photo of delta490
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This comes out a beautiful clear amber with a thick creamy white head. The head has moderate retention and leaves nice soapy lacing. The aroma is delicious, light hops reminiscent of tropical fruit. The taste is equally flavorful, again with the same tropical notes but this time coupled with a hint of citrus and a nice malt backbone. It has a thinner body but it matches up well with the flavor profile. This is truly an outstanding IPA. (439 characters)

Photo of 57md
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light copper with less than a finger of head that dissipated very quickly. The nose has a mild hop aroma. This offering is quite light-bodied for the style. The flavored profile gets quite muddled as it starts out dry and then there is a blast of sweetness followed by a sharp hop bitterness. The alcohol presence also become slightly overwhelming on the finish.

All-in-all, this does not make for a good mix of flavors. (430 characters)

Photo of JWU
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass

A- A nice dark golden/light amber, nice finger of off white head that dissipates fairly quickly, nice lacing.

S- Sweet. Very Sweet. Big malty sweetness. Some pear, mandarin orange, and papaya.

T- A flash of that big sweetness is met with a defined bitterness. very forward on the pear, and papaya hop flavors. Some sweetness from the alcohol as well. Bitterness lingers after the sip, sweetness slowly fades.

M- a syrupy medium body. Could use to be drier on the finish to balance this sweetness.

O- It's just too darn sweet. Back the malt off, and let the hops shine. But, with that being said, it's still pretty tasty. (664 characters)

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

A-amber color with a nice off-white head and good lacing

S-tropical fruit, citrus, malt, caramel, pine

T-bready malt, caramel, grapefruit, orange, pineapple, pine resin, moderately bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation

O-decent DIPA, but too sweet for it to be one that I go back to drink again (314 characters)

Photo of beergoot
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful full yellow body with plenty of fine carbonation bubbles and a very creamy, white head; thick, sticky rings of foam adhering to the sides of the glass. Orange and grapefruit aroma notes; subtle warm bread. Warm malt flavors with a juicy quality, followed closely by an robust, finely sharp hop bitterness. Medium bodied; crisp, clean, dry finish.

An exceptional DIPA with impressive depth and balance throughout. The aroma is powerful yet understated, a nice balancing act of stimulating allure and restraint. The malt grain and hop flavors blend well together without diffusing their individual pleasant characteristics, very resinous in nature with some hints of melon-like sweetness. The alcohol presence also mixes well with the bitterness and adds an additional degree of warmth and appeal. Big and bold and distinct enough to standout from the crowd of other excellent DIPAs. (892 characters)

Photo of TheFizzinator
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours and transparent dark golden with red highlights. A nice two fingers and a half more of head agitated from the bottle into the glass. The smell is slightly subtle peaches, more of a broad ester flower nose without too many flavors to pinpoint. Tastes like Peaches and sour kiwi that's slightly before ripened melds into a nice bitterness and overall tropical feel. Mouthfeelis nice and balanced, maybe slightly undercarbonated for my taste but the body matched the carbonation nicely.

Solid Imperial but Chillwave is a much better interpretation of this style for me from Great Lakes. (590 characters)

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A hazy transparent golden orange body with thin white head that nevertheless laces extensively.

S - Significant hop dankness, with vegetal element, coupled with tropical fruit, floral and malt highlights.

T - Bright fruit is out front, mango foremost, which moves to malt sweetness of honey, which closes suddenly with a bold bitter snap that fades out to return of sweetness and mango notes. Quite a ride.

M - Mild carbonation and significant hop drying, and a mild building hop oiliness.

O - This is an interesting entry in the DIPA/IIPA pantheon. It offers a lot of solid, bright flavors over a strong malt backbone. Very good rendition that does not come off as a revelation, but as a work of solid craftsmanship. (725 characters)

Photo of Cubatobaco
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Received from @Jaymo18 by way of our first trade. Poured into a DFH Tulip.

A - Golden amber with almost a honey appearance. Little to no head retention and almost the same on the ring around the glass. Splotchy, slippery lacing. Minimal carbonation.

S - Sweet malts and honey are dominant, followed by pine resin, caramel, and spices. It's slightly muted, but starts to become more present after it warms up.

T - The flavors are very close to the aroma, except that there is a gorgeous, balanced hops presence. There are a lot of tropical fruit flavors that shine through on the palate.

M - Viscous, with a great balance of sugary sweetness and bitterness. There is not one way I can lean on the two...balanced perfectly. Slightly dry and mouth-coating.

O - This is a very well made DIPA. It reminds me of Hercules by Great Divide. I think its the sweetness of the malts that do it. I wish that it was distributed in my area. I will definitely (952 characters)

Photo of Jackofallbrews
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is sweet with honey and floral notes. Some kumquat and a hint of sulfur as swirled.

Appearance is golden in color with a sparkling clarity. Large white head that is persistent.

Flavor mimics the aroma closely. Sweet malt and honey flavors abound in the first sip. The beer has a lager-like crispness and is borderline biting on the finish. Orange rind to almost pithy astringent flavor present that is not entirely unlikeable. Sulfur lager fermentation character is a bit distracting and accentuates the astringent finish.

Overall this is a decent beer. I suspect that Great Lakes has fermented this with a lager yeast (they use that for most of their beers, even the IPA) and this puts this beer outside the style guidelines for an Imperial IPA. (756 characters)

Photo of Cory_Brown
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a different take on a double IPA. My favorite IPA is chillwave so I was expecting Great Lakes to hit it out of the park once again.. This beer isn't chillwave, but it's damn good. Appearance is great with a creamy head and nice lacing. There isn't much to the smell just a slight tangeriney and hop presence. The taste is different but very good. Mainly dominated by a fruity tangerine taste. Alcohol is slightly present and there's a slightly boozy taste that lingers. Still very drinkable for 9.1%.
Another great beer by Great Lakes! (543 characters)

Photo of BrewUSA
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster

Look 9/10
Smell 15/20
Taste 35/40
Feel 8/10
Drinkability 20/20

Overall 87/100

Nice bold robust DIPA. I don't really get the hype. It taste really good and all. It just isn't jammed with any great flavors like say a 'Hopslam' it's really rather dull for such a huge ABV. That said, it is incredibly easy to guzzle at 9.1% and that goes a long way.

Final Verdict: I will likely swoop a 4-pack every year. Yet I doubt I'll buy more than that or brag about it~ (492 characters)

Photo of Qbdoo
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An odd beer - not a bad one but not what I expect from a DIPA. Super fruity and sweet - a sugar bomb - and while I like a dollop of sweetness in a DIPA (see Southern Tier Unearthly), this takes things up a notch or two, making it almost an entirely different style.This is somewhat barleywine-like in texture, maltiness and sweetness. I'm sure I'll come back to this someday but I'd prefer this in a different season - like fall. Make this your final beer of the night and don't have more than one or you're in for a big headache in the morning. (545 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a caramel-copper coloring with a thin, clingy, foamy, bright white head that leaves a great lacing as you go. Aromas of light pine, evergreen, citrus sweet and tart, cut grass, and subtle spicing. Solid, but not overpowering. Flavors are smooth and bold, with a solid dose of sweet caramel supporting a blend of tropical fruit and citrus sweet, with grassy and pine overlays. Very blended and balanced. Tangy sweetness with hints of bitterness fill the aftertaste, and the body is light and smooth throughout, with the carbonation providing a slight edge throughout. Damn tasty brew. The finish is smooth, slightly effervesced, and slightly dry, with a resinous linger. Solid, drinkable brew. (745 characters)

Photo of martyl1000
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle into a tulip, pours a lightly hazed yellow, a small head, and sticky lacing.

A wonderful, semisweet, fruity aroma. Citrusy hops demand the spotlight. Some neutral grain in the background. The sweetness is all fruit.

I love the sweet tropical fruit + sweet citrus, the equation for the fruitiest double IPA I've ever encountered. It drinks like a sweet, yeasty Belgian strong pale ale. The backend is a strong contrast, with a very bitter hop twang. Combined with the sweetness, it comes across as an odd sauvignon blanc. As it warms and thickens, the sugar sweetness of the fruit deepens to liqueur territory. The one drawback is the aftertaste of astringent pine that just doesn't know when to let go.

Chewy when warm. Well-carbonated, with a slippery alcohol warmth.

I'll be buying more of this right away. (826 characters)

Photo of Marko84
3.39/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can't speak to appearance, as it's out of the bottle. Appearance is a silly category anyway. Moving on...
Smells hoppy, citrusy, and a bit sweet for a dIPA. And it is all of these things. But hopheads will be disappointed, because sweet malts underline the flavor of this brew. Maybe I'm crazy for drawing this comparison, but imagine a hoppy oktoberfest. Lake Erie Monster has the mouthfeel and sweetness of an O-fest, but finishes with a distinct bitterness that makes me think it's a beer with an identity crisis. Aftertaste is, again, malty once the bitterness wears off (which is relatively quickly). A head scratcher for sure, but glad I tried it.
I love Great Lakes products, and like many others have said, snag Alchem...ahem...Chillwave if you can. Or don't and grab some 'Fitz instead. :) (798 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
4.31/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours sun yellow with a paper thin head.

This is a very hop forward brew, the first whiff is a haymaker of hops to the dome. Sticky, bitter hops that stain the nostrils.

At first sip, your mouth is absolutely decimated by these bold and explosiveness hops. Also, just a slight note of citrus to balance the all out hop bombardment.

Overall my second favorite Great Lakes offering, only second to Chill Wave. (449 characters)

Photo of zhivago373
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lake Erie Monster is a release i look forward to every year - a sweet, nearly over-ripe-tasting DIPA.

the '14 batch pours into a glass with a deep amber/golden color; thin white head that dissipates quickly. lacing left around the glass.

on the nose, a sweet, citrus-driven hop aroma with an english-type malt backbone. this beers smells wonderful.

tasting, it hits the front of the tongue with a sweet bitterness, citrus and slight tropical notes, fading to a malty middle-of-the-tongue base and a sweet finish. wonderful. not overly thick and not too thin - a great mouthfeel.

definitely in my favorite IPAs list. this one deserves more love and recognition. (665 characters)

Photo of glass_house
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

Pours a deep, clear straw-gold with one finger of fizzy off-white head. Maintains a thin cap with some oily lacing. Aroma is muted citrus (faint lemon peel), a bit of grassy funk, clove-like spice, and alcohol. If I got a blind whiff of this, I'd never guess DIPA--smells much more like a spicy Belgian ale.

The taste is much like I expected from the smell--soft light fruity notes, sweet biscuity malt with caramel undertones, funky fresh-cut hay, and white pepper. I'm getting a marginal amount of hop bitterness. Alcohol warmth comes through on the finish, but maintains a smooth drinkability. As it warms I do get a bit of pine resin, but never the bite I was expecting from a Monster. Mouthfeel is excellent for my taste in the style--thick, sticky, and coats the palate well. Carbonation is tame and comes through just enough to give it a slight crispness.

Don't expect it to taste anything like a standard American DIPA. It reminds me much more of a strong Belgian pale with some tripel-like characteristics. Certainly a well made beer, and it may be more appealing to others, but I'm glad I bought a couple singles before snagging a whole case. If Chillwave is Jim Brown, and Rye Of The Tiger is Leroy Kelly, this Monster is more like Earnest Byner. (1,296 characters)

Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 677 ratings.