Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
Red Ale - Imperial
Ranked #13
Ranked #6,875
4.08 | pDev: 10.54%
Feb 04, 2022
Oct 19, 2001
Notes: Don’t be afraid of things that go hop in the night! Rich roasted malt flavors haunt the shadows of our Imperial Red Ale’s bitter teeth.
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3.39 by FxB on Feb 04, 2022
Photo of Andrew_NYC
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Andrew_NYC from New York

This was always one of my favorite seasonal beers when I lived in Ohio. Now I live in New York and I can't get it anymore. Luckily my in-laws gave me some cans to take home! They used to label this as just an Imperial Red Ale. Now they're calling it an Imp. Red IPA.

Pours a beautiful dark, copper brown with a lovely reddish tinge around the edges when you hold it up to the light. Medium head that goes away pretty quickly but leaves a nice bit of lacing on top.

Lots of hops on the nose. It's piney and resin-y and to smell it you'd think it was a Dogfish Head or Sierra Nevada IPA. There's a hint of roasty malt smell in the background too.

Huge, hoppy flavor with a definite roasted malt backbone. As you hold it in your mouth you get more of the malt notes but then the finish goes back to piney hop bitterness. Really this one is all about the play between hop and malt flavors and its just perfectly balanced. No alcohol flavor per se but you get a little heat and a nice long finish.

Mouthfeel is light, but sturdy. It coats the mouth wonderfully and the carbonation is just right for accenting the flavors.

This is still one of my very favorite beers for the colder season and its too bad its not readily available here or that more people don't attempt the style! Lovely dank hop character but perfectly balanced with roasty malt. I don't know anything else quite like it.

Jan 05, 2022
4.22 by Luscious_Malfoy from Illinois on Nov 19, 2021
Photo of mikeinportc
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by mikeinportc from New York

11/21/21 - assume that's the Best By date. It's been refrigerated, at the store, and at home, so it should still be good. Let's see......

Lightly hazy reddish amber with one finger of light tan head.

Smell is orange, pine, and some biscuity malt aroma.

Taste is pumpernickel bread, light, rounded pine, and candied orange . Light bitterness, with that and a dank herbal flavor lingering after finish, lending some dryness, to balance the light sweetness.

Feel is thick-side-of-medium, moderately syrupy, with enough very,very fine carbonation to give some bite and dryness, and keep it from becoming cloying.

Nice! It sounds^ heavy, but the overall impression is not. Dangerously easy-drinking!

Nov 17, 2021
Photo of Whyteboar
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Whyteboar from Michigan

Poured into an imperial pint glass and darn near had to stop as the head was rapidly growing and threatening to spill over.
The voluminous head settled fairy quickly and left lace rings demarking each drink. The color was beautiful; red amber like but clear. Very nice appearance.
The aroma was for me dominated by the malts. Sweet and biscuit-like with traces of grass.
The taste was really good - followed the aroma at first before the hops leapt into the fray - which served quite well at keeping this from being too sweet and malty. Nicely balanced!
The feel was smooth and easy to drink. Went very well with the flavor.
OA, Glad this is relatively local!

Nov 03, 2021
3.24 by JustLikeMyDad from Michigan on Nov 01, 2021
Photo of BigIronH
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by BigIronH from Michigan

Reviewed blind as a Halloween gift from @LloydDobler, thanks Chris

First impression: pours a translucent amber with a two finger honey colored head. Reduces to a nice ring, not much residual lacing.

aroma: some honey on the front, followed by some dank hop, sweet malt rounds out the bill. Is this some kind of hopped up Oktoberfest? I think I might have had this before. Only time will tell…

taste: honey and brown sugar sweetness on the front with a bitter hop profile in the middle, finishing a bit earthy and lingering toasted malt body. Delicious, I really like this beer.

feel: velvety smooth but the carb and hop bite cuts it nicely. Finishes dry. What a treat.

Oct 30, 2021
Photo of BBThunderbolt
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

Thanks to Ozzylizard for this one, from his box during NBS BIF #14. 16oz can (dated 11/21/21, so must be a best-by date?) poured into 14oz teku. Poured a very dark mahogany color with over an inch of light tan head that had moderate to good retention and light to moderate lacing.

In the nose solid malts hold the low end, and bright, citrusy hops take care of the top.

Similar on the tongue, with the hops being a bit brighter, and the malts having a wee touch of roast.

The body was fuller than medium, a touch coarse, and had a medium-sweet finish that dried out after a moment.

Drinkability was good, could be a regular in my rotation if local to me.

Overall, a nice and enjoyable brew. Certainly worth a shot if you see it.

Oct 22, 2021
4.13 by Metalgod666 from Michigan on Oct 22, 2021
4.22 by TMoorePA from Pennsylvania on Oct 19, 2021
4.1 by avisong from Virginia on Oct 19, 2021
Photo of 2beerdogs
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by 2beerdogs from California

Mystery Beer in NBS BIF #14, courtesy of Whyteboar.
Blind tasting:
Initial pour pumps the light tan head up to breaching level. Had to back off on the pour. The color is a glorious gem like amber, almost clear. When I shine a light, it's damn near ruby in color The nose is already hinting at cascade hops, rye grain.....Light, zesty citrus comes through in the flavor but the dominant hues are what I'm getting as rye inspired brown bread, peppery herbal notes, and a nice medium mouthfeel.
So my guess is a rye ale or a rye IPA.
Reveal: nailed the Cascade hops, but not the rye.

Oct 18, 2021
4.25 by soarinsteven from Illinois on Oct 18, 2021
Photo of DavetotheB
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by DavetotheB from Pennsylvania

From a 16oz can dated 11/21/21 into a tulip.

Pours a nearly opaque dark reddish copper color with about a finger and a half of light tan head that dissipates fairly quickly leaving moderate lacing.

Smells of some pine and toasted grain. Maybe a bit of caramel.

Tastes of the pine on the nose but also some dark dried fruits a bit of smokiness. Quite malty.

Sticky, full-bodied mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Bitter, malty aftertaste.

Haven't had many (any?) red IPAs. This is really well done.

Oct 13, 2021
Photo of Frisbeehead
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by Frisbeehead from Ohio

Ah yes, a beer I look forward to every time the leaves begin to change.

Bought at local beer store, 16oz can (I do miss the old bottled design), best by date 12/02/2021

L: Deep mahogany red in color, clear. Head is thick and foamy at first before slowly settling to a nice lace on top.
S: Definitely get some solid hops on the nose but not very intense, along with very apparent malt and aroma of roasted nuts, toffee.
T: Tastes like Fall. Strong malty base and sweetness, along with structured bitterness from the hops. The hops linger for a while after sipping, with the aftertaste seeming like a DIPA with added toasty malt character.
O: Maybe I am biased because I have been drinking this just about every season for years, but there's a reason I keep going back for it even with how my tastes have changed with time and experience. I really love that it serves as a break from all the märzen and other malty beers that dominate this time of year, giving me a taste of fall while retaining the structure that I enjoy from the hops.

It comforts me knowing that papa Nosferatu will always be waiting in the basement coffin for me when fall comes again.

Oct 12, 2021
Photo of cjeep
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by cjeep from Pennsylvania

fine offering from a fine outfit. worth grabbing when it's in season!
L: from the can, and the can is very stylish.
S: big aroma, even from the can. bit of pine. strong toffee sweetness. very inviting.
T: Sweetness and hoppy bitterness. Nice!
F: Smooth and rich.
O: Works for me. Definitely something off the beaten track.

Oct 12, 2021
4.06 by Shan-man from New Jersey on Oct 11, 2021
Photo of Cdriver0414
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Cdriver0414 from Kentucky

A very malt forward yet refreshingly happy ale with a very nicely balanced bitter finish. A very nice tribute to one of the greatest classic horror movies. Count orlok would be pleased.

Oct 08, 2021
Photo of SmoothOverEverything
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by SmoothOverEverything from Ohio

I just love beers like this that make me feel super calm and chill. The air smells sweeter, the grass looks greener. What a red ale is meant to be.

Oct 01, 2021
Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by ZebulonXZogg from Illinois

L: Poured from a 16 oz can, a deep garnet red with an off white head..
S: Roasted malts, pine, toffee and enough hoppiness to keep me thrilled.
T: Sweetness, right away, grapefruit and more hoppiness!
F: Medium bodied, nicely carbonated.
O: Another fine beer from GL's Imperial IPA series.

Sep 30, 2021
4.25 by MonkeyPilates from Minnesota on Sep 26, 2021
3.87 by mcbraxt from Michigan on Sep 23, 2021
4.42 by nruhlig from Minnesota on Sep 18, 2021
4.6 by BrendanStoehr96 from Wisconsin on Jul 02, 2021
3.59 by Danzifer from Ohio on Apr 22, 2021
Photo of hoptheology
2.99/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75
by hoptheology from South Dakota

12 oz bottle.
Best by 12/9/20
Into wide mouthed glass.

Predictable yet still stunning fiery red with a predictable off-white egg-foam yellow head of 1 finger, receding to a creamy ring but not before leaving great lacing on the glass.

Aroma is thick caramel malt, with some toasted rye bread, with an odd dill presence, lots of earthy beets, and slight dipping vinegar.

Flavor is bold and full of amber and toasted malt, with some spoiled hops (my fault). But then...some grape sucker...some... dill? Tons of earthy, gross, buttery beets. Yuck.

Feel is starchy from the beginning, with alcohol heat, and moderate carbonation.

Overall, this was not for me, not at all. Blah. GLBC is pretty great usually, but what even was this? Yiiiiick. Drain pour.

Jan 30, 2021
4.1 by CoasterGuy from Pennsylvania on Jan 27, 2021
Photo of PathofChaos
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by PathofChaos from Maryland

If Halloween could bleed, this is what it’d look like: a deep, forbidding, blood-orange red. The ale dons a shapely circlet of creamed froth whose contours lace deeply. It retains patiently, regal and hypnotizing, tempting you closer…

Delicate caramel malts dappled with brown sugar rise from an earthy, hop grave that's littered with pine needles. A distant memory of warming spices and grapefruit peel impress themselves upon the drinker.

A softly carbonated medium, slick with hop oils and sugars, yet somehow unerringly crisp.

Semi-sweet malts glide forward wearing a dark cloak of brown sugar and oh-so-subtle toffee. Then, with deliberate slowness, something unnoticed creeps forward... Powerful hops in a sudden, swift bite. Those hoppy fangs drip with emollient pine sap, salving their wicked edge and enhancing the charming sweets that led to this moment.

Incredible balance, dangerously drinkable.

Oct 26, 2020
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

Around medium carbonation with a just above average body,overall a really nice feel.
Aroma is malt,brown sugar ,a little earthy hops and spice.
Taste was really nice,brown sugar,malt, fruit cake, earthy mildly bitter hops.
This was a really nice surprise, very flavorful with a really nice body. I picked up just a single but would look for a six pack next time.

Oct 24, 2020
Photo of dd53grif
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by dd53grif from Michigan

Pours a medium brown color with a foamy tan head that lasts quite a while. Aroma is roasted malts and caramel. Tastes of roasted malts and hops. Finishes slightly bitter from the hops.

Oct 22, 2020
Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by HorseheadsHophead from Colorado

Clear, ruby red in color with a creamy medium-sized tan head. Pretty good retention, and nice lacing.
The aroma is predominantly sweet malt--toffee, brown sugar, caramel--and then the intense hoppiness creeps in. Pine, pepper, grapefruit peel.
The flavor is predominantly malt-driven. Sweet pumpernickel bread, with caramel and toffee. Strawberry and black cherry. Then powerful hops, pine sap, grapefruit pith and peel, and a hint of black peppercorn. The bitterness lingers with a sticky resin but the malt sweetness and hop bitterness stay in tandem and neither overpowers the other. Incredibly well balanced and dangerously drinkable for 8%!

Medium mouthfeel, well carbonated, slick with hop oils and sugars, yet somehow pretty crisp.

A fantastic imperial red ale. Old-school goodness.

Oct 21, 2020
Photo of daliandragon
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by daliandragon from Maryland

Been looking to review this one for a while. Creamy head above handsome amber head with orange and red highlights. Nose is malty and funky with a bit of spice and yeasty weirdness, which is a plus here.

The taste starts similar but makes a hard turn to hoppy bitterness, featuring citrus and herbal tones. Maybe a little overcaffeinated in the finish but the aftertaste is still slightly oily and pleasing.

Oct 17, 2020
Photo of chrisfy
2.75/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3
by chrisfy from Delaware

Great color but blunt taste.

Oct 03, 2020
4.18 by Benish from Wisconsin on Oct 02, 2020
4.15 by Archfiend from Illinois on Sep 28, 2020
Photo of Beerwarlock
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by Beerwarlock from Pennsylvania

Much better this year compared to last. Back on point and I’m quite pleased. Skol

Sep 20, 2020
Photo of DDiFran
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by DDiFran from Ohio

Deep rich amber with a thick head that laces nicely. Dank hops smell. Toasty malt body with a sharp hop bite. Best of both worlds. Look forward to this one every fall

Sep 12, 2020
4.25 by Blogjackets from Ohio on Mar 18, 2020
4.71 by AdamJohnson1187 from Pennsylvania on Feb 27, 2020
Nosferatu from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 2770 ratings