Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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American Imperial Red Ale
Ranked #6
Ranked #3,510
4.09 | pDev: 10.51%
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
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.
Reviews: 944 | Ratings: 2,733 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of dacrza1
dacrza1 from New Jersey

4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

DATE: November 15, 2019... OCCASION: prepping for tomorrow's cold tailgate at the Penn State-Indiana game... GLASSWARE: Otto's willibecker... this begins with a dark mahogany body, limited effervescence but big on intimidation... its head is thick and foamy, slowly turning to appreciable lacing that flares to the glass's lip... rife with dank hops, this clashes with itself, employing caramel, toffee and toasted bread malts as a counterbalance to its syrupy resin... initially creamy, this warms with medicinal mouthfeel and late effervescent fire... medium-bodied, it sinks its teeth in with a warming ferocity, lively throughout and antagonistic with its alcoholic undertones... grainy textures make this a drink worth sipping and chewing... the flavor wins with toasted bread malts, caramel, sweet toffee, and thick, dank resin that drips with a syrupy thickness... wow, this checks off just about every box--flavorful, rewarding and elevating... another win for Great Lakes!

Nov 16, 2019
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Guppy314 from District of Columbia

4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a bottle, pours as a haze deep copper with a thin off-white head plus loads of carbonation. Aromas of caramel and grapefruit. Wow, loads of bitter hops and sweet malts with a citrus/grapefruit kick. This is a great occasional beer. Great because it is balanced enough, hops vs malt, that one can appreciate the added citrus, etc, bonuses. Occasional because I have zero sweet tooth and so the solid sweetness dose of this brew means that having a second is a real turn-off.

Nov 08, 2019
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DrBeergood from Ohio

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours dark orange+red. Low carbonation & even lacing. Crystal clear.

S: Malty and tangy. I can't smell any hops despite it's 70 IBU.

T: Mellow candy. Roasted malts, caramel. Enough hops to balance the sweetness.

F: Slight bitterness on the back palate. Smooth and easy drinking. Dry. Heavy.

O: Enjoyable, fresh, and packs a punch. Some people love this stuff.

Oct 24, 2019
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Peach63 from New York

4.89/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours copper with half inch yellowish-tan head. Good lacing. Light carbonation.

Aroma of cascade and simcoe hops.

Taste of pine, caramel, raisin, roasted malts.

Medium bodied, semi-dry finish.

This is an outstanding imperial red ale. Excellent color.

Sep 30, 2019
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claminat420 from Michigan

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured heavily into my great lakes lake erie monster pint glass. please enjoy by 11/05/19 then 24898DE marked underneath it.

Appearance- pours a clear mahogany color with a tannish head. leaves some moderate lacing. pretty solid.

Aroma- a slight floral hop smell with some light graham cracker.

Taste- a semi-strong burnt caramel flavor with the slightest floral hop. abv is well hidden. bitterness is there and makes a statement.

Mouthfeel- medium with a slight heaviness body. good carbonation. alil slick.

Drinkability- easily gonna crush the four pack.

Overall- not nearly as hoppy as great lakes states but definitely what it's described as a imperial red. if you're looking for a malty brew this time of year with some bitterness I would highly recommend this.

Sep 22, 2019
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Best before 11/3/19

Pours a clean deep maroon body with multiple fingers of rocky, thick khaki foam; spectacular retention fades steadily to a bubbly collar and mounds of webby, soapy lacing clinging persistently to the glass.

Aromas are an earthy and sweet balance of toasty caramel malts, pine resin, and red berry syrup; a roasty balanced richness is short-lived but potent.

Taste brings out more subtle boiled dark fruits along with sticky caramel malt upfront; brief punches of pine further define a profile finished with a floral char and herbal bitterness.

Mouthfeel presents a body on the lighter side of medium and with lower carbonation; semi-sticky, but drying easily along the palate; the finish fluctuates sip-to-sip between fairly hearty and somewhat thin.

Eminently drinkable big-ABV red ale that's just a touch more body away from an ideal malty definition. At present, though, it's the straightforward approach to burly caramel malts teamed with herbal bitterness that would have me returning to this one with relative ease.

Sep 22, 2019
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DoghouseReilly3946 from Kentucky

4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Date: Best Before 11/05/19, drained on 08/31/19.

Appearance: In the glass Nosferatu takes on a deep blood red color and produces about a fingers worth of khaki colored head that quickly reduces to a small ring around the edge of the glass.

Aroma: A brief whiff reveals a beer dripping with assorted malts creating a nice array of caramel, candied nuts, toffee, and biscuit dough. The hops, while not the main attraction, do introduce a pleasant bold pine aroma to contrast all those rich aromas. This one may sound a little one sided but it's a great smelling beer that feels completely balanced.

Taste: All those sweeter caramel, nutty and bread like elements initially flood the tastebuds and continue swirl around through the mid palate. As I begin to wonder where the hops will come in, suddenly all those rich sweet flavors have the life nearly sucked out of them by a sharp and bold piney hop taste. The big hop flavors and the dregs of the malts mix to create something reminiscent of slightly burnt toast. There is also just a hint of herbs on the back end, something like oregano. The aforementioned bitterness lingers on the palate with hints of subtile splashes of malt sweetness. The mouthfeel is wonderfully full and doesn't lack in the least. Alright, for my money Nosferatu has to be one of the best readily available fall beers and I plan on this one being my October / Halloween season fridge filler.

Sep 09, 2019
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Antichrist-Kommando from Ohio

5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had a lot of different beers and this one in particular is my absolute favorite. Breaks my heart that it's seasonal. One of the two vampires I look forward to around Halloween time, the other being Count Chocula.

Taste is great, looks amazing, fantastic color, smells great, goes down easy but has a nice bite to it. Love getting it on draught when it's in season, but the bottle is fantastic, too. I mean look at that artwork!

Dec 11, 2018
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macrosmatic from Florida

3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to maximumu13 for sending this particular bottle. Reviewed from (very) long-standing notes. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Cycle Brewing goblet.

A: Hazy to murky reddish brown with a thin off-white head and a low amount of visible carbonation. The head fades to a ring of foam pretty quickly.

S: Caramel and toasted malts, resin hops and some citrus pith. A bit grassy and vegetal, and a touch of oxidation and cardboard in this bottle.

T: Toasted malts, toffee; resin, vegetal, and citrus pith hops. A bit of the metallic naked alpha bitterness as well. Just a bit of oxidation on the flavor - less so than the nose. Some resinous pine bitterness in the swallow with some residual caramel sweetness.

M: Medium body with carbonation sensation on the low side. The alcohol is obvious without being obnoxious.

O: I don't know if this particular bottle had issues, since I did feel like there was some oxidation present. It’s still not bad, but was relatively caramelly and boozy, with hops that were fairly bitter but lack much in the way of an interesting hop profile. Not outstanding but not terrible by any stretch.

Nov 26, 2018
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MurphyMacManus from Pennsylvania

4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into oversized wine glass

Look: clear ruby red/off-white head. Impressive head, considering my halfhearted pour.

Smell: Dark fruit, toasted brown bread, slight notes of American hops. Maybe a little hint of (medicinal) alcohol?

Taste: solid malt backbone. Toasted bread flavors and a little sweetness, but nothing overpowering. American hops in the finish balance out the malt character. There are some dark fruit flavors in there as well. No overt alcohol notes, despite its strength

Feel: I'm not the best judge of body in a beer, but this feels pretty light. It's easy to drink, not overly carbonated.

Overall: It's very easy to drink a lot of this very fast because it's balanced, doesn't have a heavy body, and doesn't taste like it's 8%abv. Proceed with caution.

Oct 28, 2018
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Tripel_Threat from Michigan

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Gorgeous red ale. Poured from bottle to nonic pint glass. Deep garnet, clear, with a finger of foam. Fruity aroma (cherries, plums), herbal and floral hop notes. Flavor is a big ol kick in the taste buds. Tasty toasted bread and toffee malt meets fruity notes with an herbal, tea like finish. Absolutely delicious.

Oct 20, 2018
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bierzeit from Ohio

3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Deep, slightly translucent red
S: Little positive smell
T: Initially slightly sweet, perhaps cherries, followed by a strong presence of malt
F: Palpable carbonation; velvet, soft texture
O: Very good tasting beer, minus the lack of definable aromas

Oct 04, 2018
Photo of KurtisCarman
KurtisCarman from Ohio

4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A lot of red ales just have an amber hue. This one you can really see the red, even in the head. But look isn't everything. Aromas are relatively dull compared to the robust flavors. Great lakes does another red ale that is more mild but still good. Nosferatu is far from mild. It is bold and delicious.

Sep 27, 2018
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jkblr from Indiana

3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle bb 11/5/18 poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass at fridge temp 8% ABV 70 IBU. The beer pours bright, dark copper in color with red tinted tan colored head. The head recedes to a film and slight ring around the glass. Lacing is present, but sparse. The aroma is toasted bread and some earthy hops. The taste is layered sweet and toasted bread building toward a nearly chocolate flavored, semi bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium to thin bodied, adequately carbonated and dry in the finish. Overall, very good. This is how hoppy beers tasted when I started drinking craft and it's lovely in it's simplicity. Layers of toasted malts with a firm bitterness and clean finish.

Sep 02, 2018
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jenrhart from Minnesota

3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If you put this beer in a glass, it doesn't even taste like the same beer. It needs to breathe. In the glass, I think it should be rated closer to a 4.15-4.2..

Sep 01, 2018
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rapayn01 from Kentucky

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a tasty bottle consumed last fall (just catching up on some reviews). The high abv is dangerously hidden in this flavorful beer. It is fairly balanced between malt and hop, which is what I prefer in a red ale -- though I'm also ok if it tilts towards the hop. It is not overly malty.

Aug 13, 2018
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VABA from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Revisited 9/9/18
A-Pours a nice dark amber color with a nice head and lacing.
A-Aroma had pleasant malty hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a pleasant malty flavor
M-A medium bodied well carbonated beer.
O-A well done Imperial Red Ale

Jun 09, 2018
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tastes exactly how you you expect a midwestern styled amber to. Hints of german influence in the malting, but overall a very authentic beer to the style. Nice biscuit and toffee to go with moderate hops. Very solid beer all around

May 30, 2018
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woemad from Washington

4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle received from WesMantooth. Bottled on November 14, 2017, per the stamp on the label. Only my 2nd beer from GL's portfolio (I've had several Eddie Fitz's from several BAs).

Poured into a shaker pint glass, this was a dark, ruby-amber color, with good clarity. Thin, beige head dropped quickly and left minimal, spotty lace.

This has a vmery malty aroma, which is no surprise, but it's more complex than that. Toasted malts, mild nuttiness, a bit like a Vienna lager, but also with a little bit of citrusy hop aroma. Not a run of the mill amber ale!

A little sweet for me, but also more complex tasting than most of the style. Unlike so many ambers, there's a depth to this beer, which, like I alluded to above, reminds me of a Vienna lager with its toasted, nutty character, but there's also a restrained yet citrusy hoppiness. Weirdly, these things meld together rather well. There's also a little bit of alcohol "heat," but it's fairly mellow. Finish is slightly dry.

Medium-full body to this. With it's similarity to whatever a hoppy Vienna lager might taste like if it existed, I almost expected it to finish clean like a lager, but not quite.

I'm generally not a fan of ambers, but this one made for an enjoyable after dinner beer on this mid-winter night of temperatures dropping back to normal. A good beer to warm the bones up just a little. Thanks, Corey!

Feb 11, 2018
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MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

on tap at The Wooden Keg in Minersville, PA Saturday night.

Arrived in a standard pint glass, reddish vienna lager coloring with decent white head, leaving very good lacing.

Kind of a bittersweet aroma, mixed malt, caramel, and hops.

Tate is quite aggressive. The sweetness wins out. there is a pineyness to it as well, with a slight pepper hit. Faintly hot. Overall, pretty tasty brew.

Sweet and sharp on the tongue ,well above medium on the mouth.

Overall, glad to find this one one tap, would have again.

Nov 06, 2017
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Jacobier10 from New Jersey

4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap @ Circle Bowl in Ledgewood, NJ.

Clear and ruby in color with a pillowy off-white head that leaves behind sticky patches of lacing. Grapefruit and pine jump from the glass, backed by biscuit and toasted malt. Sharp pine and citrus hop bite in the flavor with some rye added in for good measure. Sticky feel and medium bodied. Full of flavor and clean. This is a delicious brew. Potent yet light and balanced enough to have more than one.

Oct 29, 2017
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nicholas2121 from Ohio

4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes Nosferatu brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Co., With an ABV of 8.00% This American Amber/Red Ale pours out a deep amber with a nice off white head. Really liking the copper red color of this brew. There is also a nice amount of lacing to this brew, it sticks to the side of the glass well. The smell is rich hops , a bitter sweet smell , and roasted grains and malts. There is a lot going on in Great Lakes Nosferatu. Now for the taste, it is Bold with flavors, you first pick up on roasted hop bitterness. Then a nice smooth grains and malts. Kinda reminds me of a hoppy coffee. There is a lot going on in this American Amber/Red Ale. This brew has a lot of enjoyable notes to It. I can't get over how smooth this brew goes down, it is really hard to pick up on the 8.00% ABV in this brew. The body of Nosferatu is a medium to heavy, but not to heavy. The mouth feel is Bold, Roasted, Hoppy, Clean , Smooth and Refreshing. Overall I'm giving Great Lakes Nosferatu a 4.50 out of 5. I would definitely look this brew up again giving the opportunity to. Great Lakes Brewing Co., Did a real nice job with this brew.

Oct 28, 2017
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Caveworm from Ohio

4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes Nosferatu | Great Lakes Brewing Co. Talk about long overdue. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this has got a two finger thick off-white head, with solid lacing, and a deep reddish amber body.

I smell profound biscuit malts with a nice smattering of hops, presumably for the "bite".

Tastes like slightly sweet, again, "biscuit" malts with the hops being almost of the "pine" variety but not quite. Very nice balance to this in all. Everything is just full of flavor without being too heavy whatsoever.

Medium mouthfeel with mild carbonation.

Overall, I'll rate Great Lakes Nosferatu | Great Lakes Brewing Co. with a 4.5 Care for an hors d'oeuvre?

Oct 11, 2017
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cdclark81 from Pennsylvania

2.97/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer is a filtered, very deep red. The head dissipated rather quickly and leaves behind a little lacing. Strong hop bit on the nose. Very hoppy on the tongue as well. I'm not getting much more than hop out of this. Personally, I don't like IPAs, and I know this is a red/amber, but it has that bug spray, IPA taste. Not a fan.

Sep 16, 2017
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DeaconWhite82 from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

When everyone else is grabbing pumpkin beers, I reach for Nosferatu. One of Great Lakes exceptional seasonal beers. Gazing at the blood red color is worth the price. The taste is frightfully good.

Sep 16, 2017
Nosferatu from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 2733 ratings