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Nosferatu | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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2,709 Ratings

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

Style: American Imperial Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,709 |  Reviews: 936
Reviews by CFHMagnet:
Photo of CFHMagnet
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The bottle advises me to enjoy by 11/21/13.

A finger, I always pour to a finger of head. Every review. Well here we go, I poured a finger of light tan head over this one. Body is a vibrant red/brown color. Top retains a frothy ring, lacing is slight and slides back in quickly.

It smells rich and malty. Caramel is also present. Hop aromas are piney and floral.

A hint of sugar up front cascades into caramel, malt and eventually a decent mix of pine and grapefruit. Ends up with a juicy grapefruit/caramel/grain mix that sounds weird but definitely works.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied. It leaves a little residue on the middle of the tongue, and finishes dry.

I haven't drank this in 6 years or so. The first time I did, I was not all about "heavy" craft beers, preferring to stick with light American lagers and the occasional dortmunder. I'm glad I came back to visit this one, because it is solid.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of beerthulhu
3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

-Spiegelau ipa glass. Enjoy by 11.29.15. Consumed 11.23.15.

A: Dark coppery exit from the bottle, is a dark ruby ice tea coloring in the vessel with a dense nature and slow isolated instances of macro-effervesce. Dark walnut toned head is creamy at .5 inches with an average rate of retention. Minimal speckled lacing.

S: Nose is lightly flowery orange and spicy citrus and grapefruit. Toasted grains with hints of fresh pine resins with a light-medium delivery and short duration. Nice combo, just wish it had more emphasis. Was near its end of enjoy by may have been a factor.

T: Malty flavor, deep toasted grain spiciness of sharp citrus and grapefruit hops zing the tongue. Flowery hops, good strength, dry pine, with a background of peppery dry apple skin. Dry lingering citrus-peppery fade, sticky malt and alcohol warmth stays with you. Alcohol and toasted frutiness (cherries, apples) becomes more dominate upon warming.

M: Crisp malt forward mouthful, medium-full body, spicy and malty feel.

O: A red with a deep lush body, toasted malt background with a good zing of spicy citric hops. Fullfilling drinkability, outstanding quality.

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Photo of cdclark81
2.97/5  rDev -27%
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.

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Photo of Jacobier10
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of MikeWard
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
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 over the malt, 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.

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Photo of biegaman
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This Nosferatu doesn't hide from the light - it embraces it. Glowing ruby - or are they blood red? - highlights abound from this clear but very deep coloured Amber Ale. Its head is no bigger than the foam you'd skim off a simmering bone broth but impressively manages to cling to the glass.

This bouquet is downright dazzling. It magnificently manages to cram herbal, piny, and citrus hop elements into a tall order of malt that smacks of caramelly confections. It is a sizable and rich aroma with enough depth and dimension to leave you smelling it for hours.

Vampires are often portrayed as possessing some kind of seductive allure - this beer definitely has it. This 4-pack left me wanting to drive the 5 hours it takes back to the brewery and buy as much as my credit card will allow. Toothsome flavours of toffee brittle and apple butter are contrasted against tastes of roasted peaches, grapefruit zest, and pine resin. Delicious.

Nosferatu definitely has some bite - and that's not just a bad pun on my part. All this hoppiness provides an especially spicy and herbal brand of bitterness that brings that most abused of beer terms - "crisp" - to new levels. It has a clipping, dry finish which is a welcomed balance to the initial waves of toffee-ish sweetness brought on by such an ample malt bill.

Nosferatu has long been one of my favourite seasonals. Many a Halloween it has sucked my wallet dry. But so far as I'm concerned this hearty combination of sweet malt and multifaceted hops is a gustatory masterpiece. The fact that it's so irresistibly drinkable even at 8% alcohol tells you something about just how much flavour it offers. Here's hoping this fall release is eternal.

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Photo of Evilyak
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

i would drink this with max schreck and buck dharma.

that's red. like really red. almost blood-like.

smells floral and piney, with some earthiness. flowers on a pine box being lowered into a hole 6 feet deep. i get it.

sweet, too. almost cherry-like, with a bitterness to it. i can't really get the whole dracula thing to work with the taste.

mouthfeel is slightly viscous and coats my mouth. definitely thicker than water.

that's a damned good beer for october.

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Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had the pleasure of sampling this a few times in the past and had a pint last night on tap, this had been sitting for a few weeks waiting to be drank here at home.Poured into a impy pint glass a nice clear copper/amber color with a tight 1/2 finger light reddish tinted head that left a nice ring as it settled,aromas of roasted nuts,dark fruit and a real noticable leafy hop presence wich I found more profound out of the bottle than on tap.Big fruity profile on the palate up front with notes of brown sugar with that leafy,piney hop presence coming thru into the finish as well a light alcohol zing.I like a good American strong ale and this is another top notch one in my book it has alot of different flavors and character going on.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This was one of the most beautiful heads that I’ve ever seen. It was an off off-white, more like a creamy not quite yellowish-white, and seemed a mile thick. It left wonderful lacing on the inside of my Chimay glass and little quarter-sized pits of foam on top of the liquid.

The beer itself was a thick, hazy orange tinted with brown. I mean, I wanted to take a picture of this thing and frame it up on my wall.

Smell – The sharp, rank malts are like a Barley Wine. They are pungent and very exciting to whiff. The sharp sweet aroma is hard core sugar, most like table and cane. There are also some serious hops in here that I missed at the smell. It’s like BW in the day time and IPA at night.

Taste – This is like a good BW but with a strong malt backbone. The sugar is pure cane now. Together this is raw, kind of winey malts with big, harsh sugars.

Mouthfeel – This ASA is medium-bodied with little sense of alcohol. It’s actually bitter in back of the tongue and has a nice, gliding feel on the cheeks.

Drinkability – This is dangerous it’s so good. That’s the fasted I’ve ever drank a Strong Ale.

Comments – Thanks to BuckeyeNation for sending me the Nosferatu. This beer “bites”.

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Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Turbo
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of tectactoe
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a murky copper, burnt amber color with a light tan head, small and receding leaving the smallest amount of lacing along the sides of the glass. Aroma was sweet and malty - lots of heavily toasted caramel malts, giving a nice backing sweetness and toasty feeling, along with a decent sized handful of hops, floral and lightly peppery around the edges, adding a bit to the sweetness but more to the herbal and bitter side of the aromatics. Nosferatu has a pretty powerful nose; strong and robust, but not fear-inducing or overly abrasive.

The first thing that hits the palate is the solid malt infrastructure. It rolls out on the tongue and coats the mouth to hold steady and pave the way for the upcoming flavor rush. Caramel and toffee malts line the walls, along with a grape and plum flavored sweetness that kicks into high gear almost immediately. The malt displays some other characteristics, like toasted bread, sweet and buttery, with a touch of brown sugar and/or molasses. The alcohol is there, but not too strong, and give it that "booze-soaked" dark fruit profile that is common in many strong ales and barleywines.

Don't let the malt fool you, though - the hops are no stranger to Nosferatu. On the nose, they were more detectable as peppery and herbal, but on the palate they come off as more floral and citrusy, as they bring some lighter fruits to the table; grapefruit, apricot, faint oranges. Bitterness remains on the lower side, meaning this doesn't quite resemble an IPA or a DIPA, but the hops still play a huge role in this beer's flavor. Aftertaste finishes with a floral, peppery warmth and a fading, boozy raisin flavor. Medium body, almost on the thick side, just a touch away from being sticky - slightly wet and slick with medium carbonation.

I've been wanting to try this one for a while now, and I'm glad I finally did. Wonderful flavors all around. I've heard this one compared to Arrogant Bastard often. Is it better? Tough call. I think I'll give the edge to AB, because of it's abrasive, yet controlled hop profile and pronounced bitterness while remaining so malty and drinkable. But Nosferatu is still a damn good beer that I wouldn't pass up if given the chance to have again.

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Photo of jeffwein
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of OhioBobcat
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of MadScientist
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A light copper color with great clarity and a long lasting light-tan head.

S: A rich malty aroma with a moderately-strong citrus and resinous pine hops aroma. The aroma is complex but I get all malt hops and alcohol with little else getting past.

T: A strong grainy malt flavor with a firm hops bitterness complimented by a decent amount of alcohol. There is a moderate citrus hops flavor. The balance is pretty bitter with an off-dry finish and a linger hops bitterness in the the after taste.

M: A lightly creamy, medium-full bodied beer with moderate carbonation. A strong alcohol warmth.

O: I look forward to this Strong warming beer every year with it's solid bitterness and decent hops flavor and aroma it never disappoints.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.36/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

APP- Deep ruby with low tan head that quickly dissipates, no legs, no lace. Good clarity, but with some noticeable particulate mater in suspension.

Aroma - rich deep caramel malt, creamy, light notes of sherry and leather, moderate herbal hop, some black currant and golden raisin notes, plum flesh, faint candied orange and pinion notes, faint alcohol, very complex but uncluttered, balanced, no aroma is above moderate except caramel malt aroma. Excellent.

Flavor - rich but not overtly sweet malt base with distinct plum skin character and a touch of earthiness, golden raisin is back, rose, sandalwood, blackcurrant hop character with lightly catty bitterness lingering in a long bitter finish. Peppery alcohol is detectable, but enhances mouth feel along with creamy vanilla character. Very faint orange rind.

MF- Lush and creamy, medium carbonation, some alcohol pepper, long, drying, nearly astringent hop finish.

Overall - Rewarding for those willing to pay attention. One of those you could also just let slide down without a thought, though the bitter finish does hurt that quality a little. Very pretty and surprisingly complex strong ale.

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Photo of ccapurso
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of GameOfBeers
4.36/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of sgoodship
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My friend Brian gave me this. Cheers Brian! Already reviewed this on-tap when I visited Great Lakes. I wanted to review the bottle to see how they stack up against each other.

On-tap review I said:
A: Nice dark reddish bronze colored ale. Some ruby redness on the edges against the light. Poured a nice 1 finger white fluffy head that reduced to a nice small cap. Very attractive brew.

Bottle: Not as deep and not as ruby highlights as I remember from the on-tap. Hazy, mysterious and moody - fitting for the name of the drink!

On-tap review I said:
S: Holy smokes - massive hops. Mix of bitter and fruit. Really impressive smell. A more floral note arose toward the end of the drink. You can detect the strength but does not have a strong alcohol smell.

Bottle: Not the impact of on-tap. Rum-like alcohol came across immediately. Hops are there but not that impactful.

On-tap review I said:
T: As you would expect, a touch of caramel malt to keep it grounded but a wallop of hops. Some powerful bitterness with amazingly succulent grapefruit. Really chewy - plenty of interest. The alcohol is there and gives you a nice warming sensation - amazingly well masked.

Bottle: Bigger malt and less hop than the on-tap. Has a cloying sour aftertaste.

On-tap review I said:
M: Medium carbonation gave this quite a bit of life. Was fairly smooth but the finish delivers a bit of an acidic bite.

Bottle: Pretty much the same. Aftertaste is more aggressive and acidic.

On-tap review I said:
D: It's a masterful brew. Really powerful. It would be so easy for it to go off the deep end but it all holds together in a fantastically well coordinated way. The high drinkability and high ABV make this a dangerous brew. It packs a punch.

Bottle: I gave on-tap an A. The bottle falls short. A part of the impact of the on-tap was how big malt and hops were and how well balanced it all was. The lack of hops in the bottle throws off the balance and allows the alcohol to have too much focus. Still a really enjoyable and interesting beer. Like always, once you try on-tap, it's tough to go back to the bottle.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #46 (Nov 2010):

Named after one of the scariest vampires of all time. Deep reddish amber color comes off very clear, and the lacing does a great job of sticking to the glass. Massive toasted biscuity nose, with some sweetness and some hop resin. Smooth malty body, big kiss of sweetness to start but then the malt rails in hard with a pleasing toasted graini- ness, which stays. Some rounded dark caramel adds to the sweetness, as does the dark, fruity alcohol. Hops may not beat this beer down with bitterness, but the oily resin flavor keeps things in check. As the beer warms a little, it unfolds into a lovely sipper; it's easily a mood beer for the cooler months.

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Photo of blackearth
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from the Market Basket in Brookfield, WI. Pours a dark amber body with an orange tinted off-white head. Aroma of beet sugar and sweet hops. Full bodied with brown sugar sweetness that leads to a hoppy dry finish. Great drinkability, I always want a second when I finish the first one.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber red with a nice sticky fluffy one inch head on top. Toffee caramel with piney citrus aromas. Nice.

First sip is caramel apple toffee mixed with a lovely citric pine hop flavor. Nicely balanced and bursting with flavor. A bit of fresh baked bread in there as well...nice biterness on the back of the palate. Damn good.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with great chewy body...leaves some nice lacing down my glass as well. A tasty, easy to drink brew that works well on a cold night...I like it! Thanks to kmpitz2 for hooking me up with the bottle.

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Photo of blitz134
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark red, caramel. Small khaki head on the pour that reduced to the thinnest of layers and a ring around the glass.

Aroma is loaded with sweet malts, caramel and some sweet bread, raw sugar with a bit of bubblegum. Floral and some citrus hops blend in nicely. A dash of alcohol with a hint of fusalness compliments well. A bit of peppery spice as well.

Flavor is quite a bit hoppier and finishes with a touch of bitterness. Balance is superb though. Hops have a citrus and piney edge. Flavor is again caramel and some raw sugar. A touch of alcohol as well, but still quite hidden.

This is super easy to drink. A bit like a large IPA with its balance, not an overhopped DIPA. Good medium to full bodied mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation to add a touch of crispness.

 791 characters

Photo of sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of bulldogg915
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

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Nosferatu from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 2,709 ratings