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Great Lakes Moondog ESB - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Great Lakes Moondog ESBGreat Lakes Moondog ESB

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

179 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 179
Reviews: 140
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 8.06%

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

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jeffmonarch on 06-19-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 179 | Reviews: 140 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of billab914


3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to siege06nd for bringing over a growler of this to share. It poured golden amber in color with a thin, spotty white head clinging to the edges of the glass.

The aroma has a nice mix of crisp, slightly tart fruits and pale, grainy malts. I get a little bit of a floral hoppiness to it as well. It's a well balanced aroma.

The taste shows more of the crisp fruits up front with some floral and bitter citrus notes coming out in the finish. I get some sweeter, grainy, pale malts to it along with a little bit of an earthy spice. Very smooth and balanced overall.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style and carbonation is moderate. Overall It was a pretty solid beer of the style. It was flavorful, easy drinking and well balanced.

Serving type: growler

01-25-2012 15:30:28 | More by billab914
Photo of WoodBrew


4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Brewery is the BOMB...not everything is a homerun....but in business....base hits are desired. The Moondog ESB is a good beer. The appearance is an rich amber. Thin white head was apparent to start, but dissapated over time. The scent included spome sweet malts that are matched with citrusy hops that are mild in bitterness. The taste is slightly bitter. The malts and sweetness provide a good balance to the hops which are citrusy and strong, having a touch of earthiness to them. The finish smacks of the hop profile, leaving the pallet a touch of bitterness. The mouthfeel is good, much more than a reserved ESB that I was expecting. Overall a decent beer.

D: At 5%, this is a quaffable ale. The hop profile will keep the hophead happy while the low alcohol pleases the sessioners.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 23:17:52 | More by WoodBrew
Photo of Jesse13713


4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the brewpub. My favorite beer of the day.

Appearance - An extremely vibrant and hoppy looking amber orange brew. Very lightly saturated and transparent. Slightly yellow with what appears to be average carbonation. A light soapy lacing.

Smell - Smells heavily of floral notes, hops, citrus and fruits. Specifically, I get strong hints of pineapple and grapefruit. A very 'springy' smelling beer.

Taste - The most bready and malty beer I've ever tasted. Rich foam is created on the tongue. Heavy floral with slight fruit notes. Slightly bitter hops jump around as well. More bitterness was noted when I paired the last quarter of my glass with Edmund fitz. porter chocolate chunk ice cream.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - Very bready and yeasty. Slightly bitter on the tongue but not as bitter as expected. This brew is light bodied and crisp on the finish. Many floral notes accompany rich, caramelized breads. Very refreshing to have on a spring afternoon.

Serving type: on-tap

03-22-2011 03:55:04 | More by Jesse13713
Photo of alleykatking


4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Great Lakes...

A- Came to me a hazy coppery orange color. Half finger off white head shows low retention. Some spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Toasted malts shine in this nose. There is a nice balance with a low caramel malt base to it. A citrus hop in the backing cuts through most everything else and balances the malt sweetness so this doesn't smell sickly sweet. There is some grainy aroma as well but I don't pick up on it until this beer warms a lot more.

T- Caramel sweetness in the front of the beer starts this malty bomb. Midway through the beer the malts turn from caramel to a toasty malt with a hint of grain as well. Floral hops in the ending of the beer bring this one full circle. I really enjoyed how the hops in the ending bring everything full circle.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Toasted malts with hints of caramel malts are left on the palate. Aftertaste is light alcohol, floral hop profile, and toasted malts. Flavors were balanced for the style and put together well. No off flavors at all in this beer. Light alcohol drying on the palate.

D- This beer was really really good. ESB's are interesting to me in either they are good or else they terrible. ABV on this makes it a easy drinker for the night which I had no problem drinking a couple pints of this.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2011 18:46:14 | More by alleykatking
Photo of BB1313


4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Great Lakes in Cleveland, Ohio

This beer is responsible for getting me into craft beer 5-6 years ago. I really wish they still bottled it. Pours a nice amber with a nice white head and nice lacing. Very floral, like a bouquet of flowers. The hops really shine and come though with a sharp bitterness. I'm picking up very slight hints of grapefruit, maybe some pine. Also picking up some lemon. Mouthfeel is nice, very crisp and refreshing. Drinkability is very very good. I could drink this one all day! Tons of flavor and very bold for a low ABV beer.

This is a classic Great Lakes beer.. Moondog is king.. I still haven't come across a tastier and more enjoyable ESB. Highly recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2011 18:38:23 | More by BB1313
Photo of kels


4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I can't thank sliverX enough for answering my ISO plea when this went on tap up at the brewery in Cleveland. I've missed it ever since they stopped bottling and distributing it, so keep in mind that despite my best efforts to be objective in this review, I'm probably going to be more impressed than most people by a mere ESB.

Pours a nice toasty shade of golden honey. Great clarity reveals gently rising bubbles within feeding the skim of white, frothy head after it's reduced from a 1 1/2-finger depth. Spots of spitty lace hang along the sides of the glass and slide back down into the beer.

Not a whole lot to mention about the nose. The toasty, bready malts and honey-like sweetness all but mask the soft, floral hops.

Mmmm...just as delicious and refreshing as I remembered it. The flavors are incredibly balanced while still shining individually. The malts walk the line between toasty and honeyed and provide the foundation for the beer. The hops come through slightly in the initial taste, bloom in the finish and hang around deliciously in the aftertaste. The floral element is clear, adding a herbal and perfume-like dimension to the beer. There's also a crisp and slightly tart green-apple hop that is more dominant in the finish. All of this is wrapped up in a well-carbonated, moderate feel that keeps things very light and bright and smooth.

Drinkability isn't even debatable. Goes down so easy and makes me want more. Read the description of an ESB, give this a try, and I'm sure you will find this beer better than average and expected.

Serving type: growler

06-05-2010 15:23:25 | More by kels
Photo of sliverX

S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls.

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ON tap at the Brewery Pub.
Presented with a copper tinged gold brew with a nice thick 1 finger head which left decent lacing.
The smell was a slight pine and floral hop characteristic with a light sweet malt background.
Taste was sweet malt backed with very generous amounts of pine and floral hops.
Mouthfeel was medium to full and lightly carbonated.
Drinkability was about perfect the on distraction may be that it's a bit on the hoppy side for my tastes for the style but is a wonderful session type brew and it's sad that this has been taken out of the rotating bottle releases.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2010 22:23:30 | More by sliverX
Photo of kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap of the brewpub. Tons of off-white head on copper-orange colour beer with nice head retention and lacing. Smells of floral english hops and bready malt. Has a very nice floral bitterness to it. Quite smooth carbonation makes this an awesome beer to drink on the patio.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2010 05:28:01 | More by kwjd
Photo of kkipple

South Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Well, hello head! A pleasing and fat 3 finger head pops up as the beer goes into my glass, quite impressive. Unfiltered, orange and zesty looking, the ale swirls with bubbles and life. Quite pretty and lacy.

S. Hmm... let it warm and this opens up and crispifies. Is that a word yet? Should be. Slightly wet all around, nice toasty malt notes, sort of Marzen-lite, starchy, grainy, a bit raw. American hops here, citric and certainly not noble, but still somewhat mellow and low enough to let the malt shine through.

T. I like this... sweet and malty, toasted and crisp with floral (roses?) hop notes means this goes down easy and stays down. Very rounded and fat tasting, nothing is sharp or out of balance here. The hops liven things up and help the malt even off, and there is a lingering sweetness in the mouth after each sip. Surprisingly rich and flavorful for the style. Most certainly American.

D. Quite high, very sessionable and I wish I had another. Moondog is a fine Americanized ESB that drinks Real Good.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2009 02:29:57 | More by kkipple
Photo of Auspice


3.1/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Golden-orange color with great lacing and a small head of about one finger. A clean flowery hop aroma is heavy in the nose. Tastes of munich and crystal malts; semi sweet with a slightly citrus hop kick and a thin body. Overall, very drinkable but very underwhelming after hearing so many good things about this brew.

Serving type: on-tap

08-13-2009 02:43:18 | More by Auspice
Photo of adamette


3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Live review at the Brewpub earlier today. This is a "pub exclusive" right now. Poured into clean, clear glass. From notes at the main bar: "Lighter-bodied ESB with flowery hop bouquet."

A Very clear, light yellow body under a brief but creamy looking head.

S Light smell, some hops, slight bitter.

T Light slight bitter, some hops. Nice, balanced ESB with that familiar GLBC bitterness in the background. "Flowery Hops" is mentioned in the bar. I taste a nice citrus aspect to this beer as well.

M Light. The hops and brief bitterness increase the feel a little bit, though.

D Very drinkable, the best feature of the beer.

Notes: Interesting to have on tap at the brewery. Others have lamented the brewery's decision to discontinue bottling of this beer. I can see why. It is very drinkable and delicious.

Serving type: on-tap

08-04-2009 18:45:45 | More by adamette
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Lightly hazy, amber body with a small-sized, white head.

Smell: Malts smelling of biscuits lovingly spiked with wildflower honey and a floral first, spicy second hop scent. Background note of fruit.

Taste: Lightly biscuity maltiness with sweet touches of toffee and honey. Splash of apricot juice garnished with a thin slice of lemon. Floral, spicy, even citrusy hops with a medium amount of balancing bitterness. The spiciness grows into a light taste of white pepper. Finishes dry and crisp with a bit of lingering hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Downright quaffable! A pleasant, refreshing ale I could drink all damn day.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2009 02:51:05 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Yetiman420


3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass.

Clear copper color with a foamy, big bubble two finger head that settles to a thin layer rather quickly.

Aroma is faint malt sweetness and what I believe is some spice aroma from the ESB yeast. Halfway through I pick up some fruitiness.

The taste is very clean, crisp, and...well, to be honest...weak. Can't say I'm an expert on ESB and I don't aspire to be. More body and flavor would make this better in my book. I pick up caramel sweetness.

I'm reviewing and grading based on what I experience. While I'd like "more" to this beer, the taste and drinkability are both good. Like all Great Lakes beers, it's very well done. This one happens to be on the bottom end of my style preference.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2009 01:25:05 | More by Yetiman420
Photo of beveritt


3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label depicts the outline of a wolf howling at a very large moon.

Appearance: Pours with 1 1/2 inch of nearly white head. This settles slowly to just a thin coating of white foam, but leaving behind a complete covering of lace where the head had been. The beer itself is pale yellow, completely clear, and shows slight activity. Absolutely no sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Sweet butterscotch malt aroma with sugary, bubblegum esters in the finish.

Taste: Starts with a noticeable hop bitterness, this lingers throughout the beer and well beyond. Finishes with a slight caramel sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Average to slightly higher than average carbonation. Body is good.

Drinkability: Much lighter in color than I would expect from an ESB, but is does deliver in flavor. If this were a little darker and a little less carbonated, it would be spot on. As it is, it is still pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2008 01:02:17 | More by beveritt
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this brew from Auslander, Thanks Chris!

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear, golden yellow color with a white head that left good lacing.

S - this sample was a bit past the 'best by' date so the aroma may have faded a little, still I got some faint floral hop notes.

T - good tasting, well balanced sweet malt and hop bitterness.

F - medium bodied with a clean feel.

D - goes down easy.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2008 02:39:14 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of generallee

New York

4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It has a large frothy white head that has very good retention and make great rings of lace with each sip. The body has a light honey color with a slight haze.

Smell: The aroma is wonderful and well balanced. It has sweet bready malt with some buttery notes as well as some fruity notes and mild floral hops in the nose.

Taste/Mouth feel: The flavor matches the aroma with a solid malty base that brings buttery and fruity notes with perfectly balanced hop bitterness and flavor. Some of the fruity notes include elderberry and black currant and the hops give some floral and herbal notes to the party. The palate has a smooth silky texture with soft carbonation, a medium body and slow lightly bitter fading finish.

Notes: Wow, I really enjoyed this easy drinking and refreshing ESB!!!

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2008 21:54:07 | More by generallee
Photo of Pauly2X


3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep gold with a slight haze, solid one finger head.

S- Fruity malt aroma coupled with floral hop scents.

T- Crisp sweet malt taste followed and balanced out by delicate floral hops. This great balance carries through the finish when the hops take over ever so slightly.

M- A little fizzy for an ESB.

D- The Packer game is on and I got 4 more to go.

It's nowhere near a Fuller's but it still makes me feel Extra Special.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2008 20:32:09 | More by Pauly2X
Photo of shirfan

New York

3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Light orange-gold with a thin head.

Clean malty aroma with some honey and grain notes.

Taste: Wow, a really tasty yet light and quenching ale. Crisp, sweet malts with just hints of caramel lead the way, followed by a lightly herbal hops flavor. Simple yet delicious.

Drinkability is huge, I could down a 6 of this over the course of a vacation day and only feel a little guilty. Very more-ish.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2008 20:54:45 | More by shirfan
Photo of uwmgdman


4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This ale pours a clear golden with thick, clingy white head. The aroma is moderately hoppy with medium-low sweetness. The flavor is moderately hoppy but balanced by a moderate biscuity malt flavor. The swallow is smooth and fruity esters emerge. The carbonation is medium-high with a medium-thin body. Overall a very tasty brew with extraordinary drinkability - I could drink gallons of this stuff.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2008 21:43:31 | More by uwmgdman
Photo of DefenCorps


4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received from Nephilium in the Virgin BIF. Thanks, Marty! Into my Stone pint glass

A: Gorgeous crystal clear copper pour with an off-white head that fills the rest of the glass. Very pretty

S: Great leafy hop aroma with a very bisuity malt backbone. Mild citrus presence. Excellent balance

T: Malty with a solid biscuit malt flavor with an earthy, herbal hop flavor. Dry, earthy and spicy on the finish.

M: Light in body, soft carbonation, excellent finish

D: This is a delicious beer that I'll drink if i see again

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2008 00:37:45 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of UA8


4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very nice golden to copper color super clean looks like its going to taste good. very crisp and precise looking. So ok I really like the way this beer looks lets move on

S- The nose is bit quiet however i do have a cold so Ill re-review this at a later date prob on draft. However I do sense a slight nose of bitter aromatics and a slight malt tone.

T- Wow a very very clean and crisp flavor profile this beer actually tastes how it looks. leads with a a light roasted malt character. Mid palate is slightly hoppy and then finishes with a crisp bitter taste.

M- Clean light and refreshing

D- A very nice play on the style definitely a perfect summer beer for those hot and muggy days. I strongly reccommend trying this.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2008 23:05:29 | More by UA8
Photo of drxandy


4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

best by 08/04/08 - wonder why we get it in lansing this late in the game.. grrr - luckily nothing has really effected it as it tastes wonderful, but still..

12oz to tulip glass, pours a golden peachy shade, white head hangs around for a while.

smells of a nice biscuity malt backbone, slight hops, orange peel, slight honey

tastes of good caramel/biscuit malt backbone with sweet citrusy hops, orange peel, creamy yeast, extremely drinkable and refreshing, yum

mouthfeel is slightly creamy, good carbonation and hop resins, slightly sweet and super easy to drink, amazing, wish we had easier access to it over here, i would buy it more often!!

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2008 00:15:52 | More by drxandy
Photo of akorsak


3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Moondog ESB on the label but who am I to quibble? I picked the bottle up at The Anderson's in Maumee, OH.

A: The ESB is an auburn brown, tea-colored, ale. What little head mustered itself up on pour has long-since disappeared.

S: Caramel and toffee malts are matched with citrusy hops that are mild in bitterness.

T: The ale is pleasantly bitter, sharp without too much of a bite. The malts are toffee and caramel, biscuity with a touch of chewy sweetness. The hops are citrusy and strong, having a touch of grassiness to them. The finish smacks of the hop profile, leaving a tang of bitterness along the way.

M: The mouthfeel is lively, much more than a reserved ESB that I was expecting. The bitterness is a best feature.

D: At 5%, this is a quaffable ale. The hop profile will keep the hophead happy while the low alcohol pleases the sessioners.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2008 20:05:23 | More by akorsak
Photo of Greggy


4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a nice golden color with nice head, and nice lacing.

S- Classic ESB nose. Mandarin orange, Clove, slight banana, Solid Pear.

T- Very nice apple, nice dark spices, pear, great huge balanced hopiness. Great esb.

M- Nice low carb, great finish.

D- Highly drinkable. I really loved this.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2008 04:09:43 | More by Greggy
Photo of Hojaminbag


4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I normally do not review a beer under different serving types, but Moondog ESB has pronounced differences when bottled or on-tap.

A light copper body with about a finger of white head. Pretty good retention, and lots of sticky lacing on the glass.

Smell has some nice caramel malts and a great floral hop character. Nothing metallic like the bottled version.

Taste is also great. Some piney and citrusy hops and a great malty backbone that focuses on caramel malts. Much hoppier than then bottled version, and once again nothing metallic. Mouthfeel is light bodied and very carbonated.

A very drinkable ESB. In fact, when on tap, Moondog is probably my favorite ESB.

Serving type: on-tap

08-24-2008 21:50:02 | More by Hojaminbag
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Great Lakes Moondog ESB from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 179 ratings.