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Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

1,994 Reviews
For Trade:
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald PorterGreat Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

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

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Robust and complex, our Porter is a bittersweet tribute to the legendary freighter's fallen crew--taken too soon when the gales of November came early.

37 IBUs

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-09-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,994 | Ratings: 6,300
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coffeeness dissipated after a few days in fridge. Burnt grounds more pronounced after that. Fruity taste makes it drinkable. Dark color peaks interest.
Great taste, above average mouthfeel is noticeable a good 5.5 years later bottle. Great example of American porter, with good roast and chocolate malt,drying finish.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kelly88 for sending me this one!

Pours a very dark but not opaque dark brown/crimson red with a small 1 inch tan head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Decent rings of lace on the drink down. Smells of roasted coffee beans, milk chocolate, roasted malt, and cinnamon. Absolutely amazing smells from this beer. Tastes of espresso, bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt, and cinnamon sticks. Very mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. Good carbonation with a slightly watery mouthfeel. Overall, a very good porter that I am happy I got to try. I would get this again in a heartbeat.

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Photo of acurtis
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a mini Porter tasting, first off: Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.
Dark with ruby highlights shining through. Nice tan head, faded away quickly, sticking to the glass. Mild aroma of carmel, roasted malt, chocolate. Aroma and taste got better after a few extra minutes of warming. Taste is smooth and exceptional. Not as thick and heavy as Founders but just as tasty. Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and hops. Very carbonated and light on the tongue. High drinkability and tasty porter.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

one of the classic American porters here, a longtime staple of great lakes brewing. best on tap, it pours nearly black, not as thick as some, but impenetrable to light and sporting a cool inch of khaki head on it that leaves prominent lacing as it sips. massive dark roasted barley flavors, dry and bitter, with generous hops for the style. the ale yeast marries the grain perfectly, and its a really smooth a robustly flavored result, almost smoky, almost cocoay, almost charred. I really like the combination of depth of flavor and drinkability in this beer, which is only medium bodied, quick finishing for a porter, and ultra smooth texturally. well enough carbonated, this coal colored porter is a standby in colder weather for me, creamy and satisfying. definitely the beer by which all other American porters should be judged, it is spot on in every aspect. also great on a hangover!

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Photo of Knapp85
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a dark brown color, not too much light getting through it either. The head was good looking, it was pretty thick with a tan color it it. The smell of the beer was roasted and musty. It's got a little fresh wood sweetness to it also. The taste of the beer was probably one of the better porters I've ever had. I was very impressed with the flavor for sure. The mouthfeel was smooth and had a medium body to it. Overall this was a very nice porter all around.

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Photo of metter98
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at RFD, Washington, DC

A: The beer poured very dark amber (near black) in color with a thin layer of tan bubbles covering the surface.
S: There is a very rich aroma of roasted malts in the nose along with some notes of chocolate and coffee.
T: The flavors are robust and well balanced--roasted malts and bittersweet chocolate and really stand out along with some notes of coffee.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with just a little bit of dryness in the finish.
D: This beer has an excellent level of drinkability; I could easily have more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good example of what a Porter should be. Has all the dark colors and head retention that you'd expect. Aromas of chocolate and coffe abound. Balanced out with mild hop character and mild yeastiness or breadiness. Flavors of chocolate rise more than other flavors, but not to hide them. Has a nice creamy texture and finishes sweet, lightly bitter (from dark grains), and clean. A proper and simple beer.

...of course that's what is expected from a Porter that meet all of the criteria for the style. But does meeting the style mean that a perfect 5 is deserved? No. The beer needs that 'something extra' that it lacks; making it a very, very good beer. But, not a great.

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a dark brown color and a mocha head that provides decent retention and lacing

Smell: Modest chocolate notes; roasty with a hint of vanilla

Taste: Roast and chocolate up front, with earthy hop elements developing; mid-palate, some sweet malted milk flavors emerge but are balanced by the roast and the hop flavors and leave a coffee tone in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body and moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Great complexity to this porter

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Photo of largadeer
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Clear mahogany with a tan-colored head that lasts for about 5 minutes.

Smell - A bit of milky sweetness, cocoa and a hint of charcoal. Mild but nice.

Taste & mouthfeel - Drier than the nose suggests. A hint of caramel is present beneath flavors of dark chocolate, coffee and toast. Very silky and smooth with a medium body. Coffee-like dryness in the finish. One of the better porters I've tried.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.2/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Sammy: Poured a deep black color porter with a medium off-white foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of light coffee and roasted malt is less dominating then expected. Taste is also dominated by light coffee with some medium bitterness form the roasted malt. Body is about average with some creamy aspect. Not sure why this is rate so high, I can think of quite a few porter that are at least equal or better then this.

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Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at an Irish-ish theme bar in Interstate-adjacent Southgate, Michigan.

This beer pours a clear dark cola hue, with two fingers of puffy pale beige head, which renders a solid tight pattern of webbed lace around the glass in its (heh) wake. It smells of roasted malt, nicely bitter coffee, sour black friit, mild dark chocolate, and earthy hops. The taste is caramel malt, light roasted peat, tart fruit, sweetened chocolate, milder coffee, leafy hops, and, um, well, the kitchen sink. The carbonation is average, the body medium weight and smooth, full stop. It finishes sweet, and offset somewhat by a vegetal sourness.

Lots and lots goin' on, old school, new school, all of it good. Brain just hurts a bit trying to catalogue it...

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Photo of emerge077
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the finest porters available stateside...

Pours an opaque black with transparent mahogany edges. Foam sticks around, leaves tan lacing.

Smell is rich and roasty, smoky grain husk, and earthy bitter chocolate.

Taste follows the notes of the aroma, very roasty and fairly dense, but not to the level of a stout. This is a big porter, on par with Smuttynose and Three Floyds. Caramelly in the mouthfeel, aftertaste is a little heavy.

A superior porter...

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark with some pretty good lacing as it goes down.

S: Caramel malt; slightly sweet with some chocolate.

T: Caramel and coffee tastes with some chocolate in there.

M: Fairly full and chewy.

D: Nothing really stands out about it, except that it all tends to meld together quite well creating a very drinkable porter.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Enjoy by: 06/01/13. Served in a bar in Chicago over St. Patrick's day weekend. Reviewed from notes. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle served into a pilsner glass. Expectations were high given its reputation.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki-tan colour head. Decent cream, nice thickness, and above average (3 minute) retention.

Body colour is a solid nontransparent black.

Sm: Light chocolate. Muted dark malts. Light cream. A mild strength aroma.

T: Creamy up front. Dark malts. Chocolate malt. Light caramel. Maybe some light vanilla. No yeast character or alcohol comes through. Buried roast. Somewhat milky. Balanced overall. Not really complex, but fairly subtle. Tasty and right on the money for the style. Nicely layered.

Mf: Smooth, lightly creamy, and wet. Decent carbonation. Good thickness. Complements the flavour profile decently well.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable. I like it, but I don't know that I'd regularly buy a 6er of it. Hides its ABV well. A solid porter across the board. It's a fine show by Great Lakes and it's a beer I plan to revisit for a more in-depth review.

High B

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Photo of zeff80
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a jet black color with a foamy/soapy, tan, two-finger head. It left nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of chocolate and some sweet caramel.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate and roasted malts. The caramel aroma comes through in a faint caramel taste. The overall taste is like a mocha.

M - It was very sharp and crisp. A medium bodied beer.

D - This is an outstanding porter. Great chocolate taste.

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Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Along with Kalamazoo my favorite midwestern micro beers,this beer is one of the reasons why.Pours a deep creamy brown with a very creamy off white head.The aroma is very coffee-like with some bitter chocolate notes.The taste is also very coffeeish with some slight earthiness, very creamy tasting.A smoky backbone to this makes this a great complex example of the style.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brownish but not quite black under a solid one-inch thick tan head which slowly fades to a thin cap and leaves spots of lace. Aromas of roasted malt and flavors of dark chocolate. Well balanced and smooth finish.

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Photo of jlindros
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is brought to me in part by BEERchitect and Tyson and this review is sponsored by readers like you. Without you the reader and beer sponsors, this review would not be possible nor would it exist. Now on with the regularly schedule review.

A: Pours with a nice head with lacing that has a slightly brown tinge and large bubbles throughout. It provides a nice covering over the beer that slowly dissipates. This thing is pitch black, no light coming through there, it won't even thin at the bottom of the glass no matter how much I beg it.

N: Great nose, loaded with roasted malts and chocolate, as well as some coffee and slight dark fruit. A creamy stout effervescence and touch of oats add a nice touch to it but is it really a porter, or a stout, or are those one in the same? I don't want to start that debate again, so I'll just start tasting.

T: Mmmhhmm, just as I suspected, a great porter/stout taste. Some light oatmeal and creamy stout taste make way for a strong bakers chocolate blended with some milk chocolate and coffee. Lots of roasted malts and some earthy char. It's got a nice spicey quality as well, not from the alcohol since that's really low and no alcohol taste. Some light taste of dark dried fruits and stout bitterness round it off. It is a little on the sweet side though and that seems to shave a few points off as it starts to get more and more sweet as I sip it that almost becomes overbearing towards the end.

M: Pretty thick and creamy with low carbonation and slightly spicey. The spice just pokes its head and tickles the tongue then disappears.

F: A dry Irish stout taste finishes up the taste as well as more roasted and chocolate tastes. The sweet start it had really dried off on the finish. The earthy charred roasted malt taste really comes out on the tongue and helps the finish. As I swallow its got a nice chocolate milk taste with touch of coffee. More bakers chocolate finishes it up with a nice touch and then it clears off the palate leaving it beat up but wanting more. The low alcohol content really turns up the drinkability.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.83/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"The captain wired in he had water comin' in
And the good ship and crew was in peril,
And later that night when his lights went outta sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

--Gordon Lightfoot

Deep, dark brown (not quite black) with ruby highlights. The large, pale caramel colored crown has nice retention and gives up lots of sticky lace in the form of concentric rings marching down the pint glass.

The nose is spicy, with plenty of coffee and chocolate. The flavor is dark malty with, again, plenty of coffee and some chocolate. Simply delicious. Edmund Fitzgerald is one of the best (if not THE best) porters in the world. There's some hop bitterness present too, making its presence known on the finish.

The body/mouthfeel is what I've come to know as typical Great Lakes. That is, wonderful. Drinkability is sky high; this one goes down so easily that it's scary. In fact, it goes down about as fast as the Edmund Fitzgerald did.

This is my second Great Lakes beer and I am impressed. No wonder these guys finished so high on the "Top 50 American Breweries" list (#3), an honor that is well-deserved. If I was fortunate enough to still live in the GLBC distribution area, I would never be without a few bottles of this world-class porter.

Note: after many more bottles (and most of its serious competition), I still consider Edmund Fitzgerald to be the world's best American porter. 8-5-09.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the GLBC.

Pours a dark brown with 1 1/2 fingers of creamy tan head that retains well and leaves big time lacing behind. The aroma is a delicious smelling mix of roasted malts, caramel, coffee and a prevelant smokey feel.

The taste is similar to the aroma but goes even deeper with notes of toffee and caramel sweetness, cocoa powder, and roasted malts with a nice prickly tingle of hop bitterness running through it. Finishes with a bittersweet mix of coffee tones and sticky sugars. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with an excellent smooth, creamy and easygoing feel.

This is probably my favorite staple brew from the GLBC and is just a damn fine American Porter, chock full of roasty notes, lip smacking sweetness, and easy drinkibility. It's always an easy recommendation for this one.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a not quite opaque, dark brown body with a small, fizzy light khaki-colored head.

Smell: Aroma of cold coffee and unsweetened chocolate with a faint whiff of acrid smoke and pine.

Taste: Bittersweet chocolate flavor with some roasty coffee and a slight caramel sweetness. A teaspoon of cherry cordial comes and goes with a quickness. Hint of roasted nuts. Resinous pine hop presence provides a touch of balancing bitterness. Piney, mocha-ish finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A quality, well-balanced porter that's full of flavor and easily drinkable.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A rough pour will bring up a full inch and a half head of densely creamy tan head. The body is a very dark brown - not quite opaque as mahogany highlights can be seen at the base and rim of the glass - but basically "black". The head eventually drops to just a collar but leaves some nice lace. The aroma is nicely fruity, chocolatey and coffee-ish - almost candyish (chocolate covered cherry?). Very welcoming! The body is firm with a very fine and gentle carbonation that's creamy in the mouth. The flavor starts with sweet and fruity notes amongst a deep roastiness, becomes more chocolatey as it crosses the palate and into the swallow, and then unleashes an intense coffee character that includes flavor as well as roastiness and bitterness. Amazingly, some citrusy hop flavor appears out of nowhere and lingers along with a mocha character and some bitterness in a long finish. Really well balanced, very drinkable, and complex. I was quite impressed with this beer. Well worth seeking out.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark brown with a nice reddish ruby tint to it. Nearly opaque but enough light came through to show off the red tones to it. Hige pillow like cream colored head was very slow to recede and when it did left behind a large amount of gooey lace on the glass. The smell was very strong of roasted dark chocolate, which caught me a bit by suprise. As it warmed some more sugary, caramel like tones started to come through. The mouthfeel was a little thin, watery which is my only complaint, I expected a bit more of a robust feel to it. The taste itself was very nice. Suprisingly hoppy on the back and very well balanced with the roasted malts. Main flavors here were more of a roasted coffee and sugar, with a ever so slight hint of chocolate, nothing like the smell which was dominated by it. Overall this was a nice sessionable beer. At 5.8%abv very drinkable and very smooth. I would not turn it down if it were offered, but I still feel there is some room for improvement.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from mcallister, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: Rich coffee and toasted malt aroma, with hints of chocolate and hops.

T: Creamy, roasted coffee flavor is the most prevalent taste. There’s a mild background of chocolate, caramel, dark fruit & hops. The after-taste is that of a strong cup of coffee.

M: Crisp & smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, very easy to drink, only slightly filling, excellent representation of style and an all-round excellent beer.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on this one for awhile and just never got around to drinking it until now.

A: Edmund Fitzgerald pours black with a layer of tan foam.

S: An absolutely amazing chocolate aroma is the first sensation I experience. Excellent roasted malt aroma and some mild coffee come through as well. There is a sweetness that I generally find in milk stouts, but was quite a pleasant surprise.

T: The flavors are pretty much right on target with the nose. A great sweetness and tons of chocolate come through first. The roasted malt and coffee follow those up and provide a somewhat bitter finish.

M: The body is on the fuller side of medium, with moderate carbonation, and nice creamy mouthfeel.

D: I'm glad I was able to pick this one up. A great balance of flavors and a nice mouthfeel help this one out big time. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this one again.

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Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,994 ratings.