Lake Erie Monster
Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Imperial IPA
Ranked #1,773
Ranked #4,869
4.04 | pDev: 11.39%
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
Notes: Named for South Bay Bessie, the legendary Lake Erie cryptid, Lake Erie Monster has a legend of its own. A longtime pub exclusive beer, our Imperial IPA quickly earned a cult following for its unprecedented hoppiness. Today we feed the beast whole leaf Simcoe hops in the whirlpool and hopback for a monstrous load of bitterness and aroma.

MALTS: Harrington 2-Row, Caramel 30
HOPS: Simcoe, Willamette
80 IBU
Reviews: 735 | Ratings: 2,706 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Explorer_Bill
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle (best by date 07/13/19)into a pint glass. Copper/orange color with a1/4 inch off white head and impressive lacing. I was a bit surprised by the aroma, less hop forward than expected. Not to say it’s not noticeable, it is, but I also pick up caramel and biscuit. Citrusy flavor and a bit of malt, then the hop bitterness. Very clean finish. As I write I’m maybe half way through and the 9.5 ABV is being noticed; not in the taste but the feel. This is a well crafted Imperial IPA and I now understand why it’s held in high regard.

 560 characters

Photo of jkblr
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle enjoy by 7/13/19 poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass at fridge temp 9.5% ABV 80 IBU. The beer pours bright light honey in color with sticky light khaki head. The head recedes slowly to a cap and leaves plenty of lacing. The aroma is faint but fruity with a little caramel thrown in. The taste is semisweet caramel up front with a dank, resinous & melony middle and a firmly bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, adequately carbonated and mostly dry in the finish. It's a little sticky, but not distracting. Overall, very good "Midwestern" style DIPA. Not elite in complexity of flavor or smell, but not something to pass up fresh.

 657 characters

Photo of GuyFawkes
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear yellow-orange hue.

White head; nice lace.

Cream & fresh citrus? Sounds odd but that's what I smell.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Creamy hops here; nice mild orange flavor that melts in your mouth.

Odd but pretty good.

 228 characters

Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Amazing DIPA. Served on tap in a shaker pint. Nice aromas of caramel and biscuit malt, floral and pine hops. Flavor, however, is intensely tropical and blooms over the palate. Nice balance agaisnt sweet malt, with just enough of a bitter finish.

 245 characters

Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a speiglau IPA glass.

Look is a deep clear orange amber with little to no head.

Aroma is very herbal. Not at all what I was expecting but not bad.

Taste is very full lots of bitter herbs with maybe a hint of lemongrass.

 256 characters

Photo of ordybill
4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a cloudy gold color with a thick medium-sized white head. The aroma is bread, malt and fruit. The taste follows the nose.

 190 characters

Photo of SaltofOH
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle best by 9/5/18. CBF Tulip pint.

A: pours an ever-so-slightly hazed dark orange-copper with 1/2 finger off-white head and streams of lazy, slow carbonation. Lacing is out of this world.

S: maltier and less pronounced hop aroma than I expected, but what is here is pleasant. Smells like a very traditional hop blend, cascade, centennial. I know it’s got willamette in there, and not those other two, but it doesn’t smell like willamette.

T: this is awesome. Packs a hearty, classic IPA punch with loads of balancing malt. Sweet honey citrus peel arrival. Bready, malty, citrusy mid palate. Bitterness builds at the end, to a citrus peel, herbaceous, piney finish. Pine and orange peel linger. Alcohol is well hidden behind a curtain of malt. This is like a summer-weight barleywine.

O: I’ve had this beer on a couple of occasions, and seem to remember it being hoppier. Maybe I got an older bottle. More likely, with the passage of time, my sense of what is hoppy has changed. I love Great Lakes for making drinkable beers that are true to style. This is just that. I’d love to compare this with Resin, which strikes me as similar in my memory, though it has been years. Great beer, worth picking up a bottle or two each year.

 1,246 characters

Photo of VABA
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice light amber color with a nice head and lacing. Aroma had hoppy hints, the taste follows the nose with a nice hoppy flavor. A medium bodied well carbonated beer with a strong kick.

 192 characters

Photo of Dr_Gonzo
4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tall clear pint glass. Has a clear orange color, slimy finger-thick foam head, moderate carbonation, decent lacing.

Lot of floral and citrus notes going on here. Apple, grapefruit, other candied citrus. White pepper. Slight smell of alcohol.

Fruity notes upfront. Cherry, orange, bitter grapefruit, and tangerine. Caramel. Syrup. Piney, resiny taste. Altogether, fruity and floral. Feels creamy smooth.

 418 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

(12 oz bottle, enjoy by 09/15/17 - purchased late Oct, whoops!.... poured into a faceted wine glass, same one as last review)

L: clear, pale amber liquid; some slimy white foam, mostly clumping in isolated islands of craggy fisheyes... a few hanger-on splotches of lace

S: mostly floral, with delicate apple and vinous notes... soft hints of mellow-toasted malt, perfumy booze, dry autumn grass, and finely-ground white pepper... green hop and alcohol is all that's left by the end

T: quite fruity up front - seems via alcohol esters as much as hops - backed by a mild caramel-kissed cereal grain... aftertaste is rather dry with some of the floral and grassy notes lingering, as well as a hint of graham cracker and firm yet restrained bitterness which builds... kind of a hoppy Belgian strong pale nuance to the overall taste

F: a sip carrying foam lends a lovely fleecy head to its lithe, silky malt yolk tail... surrounding this loose dollop of malt syrup is a potent jacket of champagne-like ethanol/bubbles... so, in essence, it has a stealth warmth and a quiet dryness, but with a decadent, oily slick ripple - one serving may satisfy, but I can see another turning cloying

O: not bad for apparently being nearly 6 weeks past due... maybe the 'tropical' element of the flavors are more apparent when fresh... I'd definitely grab a fresher bottle next time I see 'un - certainly worth another try

 1,407 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.72/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: orange in color with a 1/2" head.

Smell: bread and some pine is detectable.

Taste: bready malt base with some grapefruit, pine, and a dank bitterness. Alcohol is very noticeable and warming.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Lightly crisp from start to finish. Dry late.

Overall: this was a bit too boozy but it packs a bitter punch.

 341 characters

Photo of jwilcox767
4.01/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Clear orange/brown body, medium head.
S - Excellent hop notes along with candied citrus come through.
T - Lots of juiciness, rich and slightly malty. Taste lingers for a bit.
M - Resinous open, medium amount of carbonation, lingering resin close.
O - Great DIPA. I don't recall the hops used, but excellent selection. Big nose and a very tasty DIPA.

 356 characters

Photo of BergBeer
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Translucent dark orange with a thin white head. No activity. Head dissipates quickly.

Smell: Candied grapefruit and pine Greer the nose. Sweet and chewy. Notes of tangerine, pine, sweet honey like malt, boozy, a little out of stanky armpit from the mosaic hops but not in a bad way. Like boozy grapefruit candy.

Taste: Much like the nose. A huge wallop of candied grapefruit peel with notes of bitter and sweet. The a huge wallop of bitter pine, tangerine, green apple candies, dandelion greens, and green grassy mango. The finish is dry with a big booze note that smothers everything except for a bitter finish.

Feel: Thick and chewy. A beer you could cut with a knife. The malt sweetness really ramps the body up here. Quenching body to a off dry finish. Big alcohol. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Once again a big bold imperial IPA. In this hazy IPA climate this is a throw back to a beer from five to ten years ago. I can see why this one made it out though. While it is big in every way there is subtly to the way it moves across the palate. There is a nice dynamic at play with the sweet and bitter here. Another great beer to Great Lakes fantastic line up.

 1,176 characters

Photo of EMV
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Semi-cloudy golden orange pour. 1 finger of white head leaves a rim of lacing.

S: Tropical fruits... caramel malts... a bit of resin.

T/F: Rich and malty... caramel and bread provide some background sweetness which is well balanced by some tropical hop bitterness. Fruity... mango and slight peach. Orange rind.... resinous and sticky. Medium in body. Well carbonated. Finish is bittersweet.

O: A big rich DIPA.... flavorful and dangerously easy to drink. Really enjoyed this one.

 552 characters

Photo of Blackop555
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange. Foamy, tall, off white head lasts a while then fading toa Rocky head that lasts.

Smells citrus, bready malt, tropical and melon.

Tastes Caramel malt, candied tropical fruit, light citrus peel and light hop pepper. Finish is Semi dry with light banana peel. Medium body and fizzy medium carbonation.

 314 characters

Photo of Rufus1
2.81/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours a hazy orange/amber into a fifteen ounce glass mug the same temperature as the beer. One and a half fingers of off white head that settles quickly to a steady rime. Nice lacing.

The nose somehow comes across as sour. Somewhat reminiscent of sauerkraut. Dank wet hops. No malts.

Quite boozy up front. Not much in the way of hop bitterness neither citrus or floral. Tastes as dank as it smells. Unbalanced. Flavor is hard to describe but I will settle on not good.

Thin and watery on the palate. Carbonation really doesn't matter due to the poor taste. Bitter dry finish.

Not even close to the better IPA's available.

 637 characters

Photo of tone77
3.56/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark golden color with orange hues and a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of citrus, light malts. Taste is citrus, pine, malts, alcohol, moderate bitterness. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall, a bit boozy, but still a solid beer.

 277 characters

Photo of q33jeff
1.53/5  rDev -62.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5


Bottle to goblet.

APPEARANCE: clear yellow. Big white head.
AROMA: urine. Yes, really, urine. Funny, I’ve drank several of these as this is the last of a six pack,but only now did i take a real whiff. Smells like piss. The hops and pine are way behind the abhorrent pee smell. Not that I enjoyed the previous beers, but while not distracted and concentrating on taste and smell, this is gag-worthy. Yuck.
TASTE: Ashy, dry. Not as awful as the aroma, amazingly, but still not good. Paste, lemon.
FEEL: dry, if that could be said about a beer. flat.
OVERALL: pretty bad.

 592 characters

Photo of ajm5108
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Definitely extends pretty far on the resin / "dank" scale, maybe a little floral hop cone but it is a little too astringent for my taste. Malt adds some nice depth.

 164 characters

Photo of Bluecrow
3.17/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

-clear golden bottle pour. 2 cm foam cap yields to a wisp with sticky lacing. The aroma is sweet but not hoppy. The flavor is very sweet and alcohol-hot. There is very little hop influence other than base bitterness. This is the third time I've had this. All three were similar.

 279 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
2.89/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is one of those hefty orange looking double ipas, pretty much my favorite color for style. 1/2" off white head. Aroma doesn't smack of hops.

Taste, ugh, bready, hefty, bitter, but often lacking flavor other than sawdust and some oxidation. Some sweetness that doesn't make the high abv. I dunno what it is, but burning river I like, but after that their ipas (Commodore and this) seem to falter for me.

When I think of good breweries who don't measure up on their hoppy beers, Great Lakes comes to mind quickly.

 525 characters

Photo of Nimbus_
4.71/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Dark golden orange. Poured with a finger of fluffy off-white head on top that dissipated a little but persisted for the whole session. Slightly hazy, but clear enough to see bubbles surging upwards. Beautiful in the glass with a nice lacing after you're done.

Smell: Sort of what I'd expect from a citrus-heavy IPA, but still definitely pleasant. Citrus hops are at the forefront. Orange and grapefruit stood out the most to me, but there seems to be a large mix of different fruit flavors including tropical notes. There is also some subtle floral hop aromas. Some bready malt characteristics too.

Taste: A definite winner. Fruity citrus flavors stand out just like in the smell. It's very balanced though, and certainly not too sweet. The grapefruit and biscuit flavors even out the sweetness of the orange and peach flavors. Slightly bitter on the finish, but pretty tame for an imperial IPA.

Feel: Moderate carbonation. Doesn't have the mouthfeel I'd expect from a 9.1% beer. A little thick, not quite creamy, but definitely not crisp or light by any means. Still easy to drink though.

Overall: I was really impressed with this brew. Lots of the sweet fruity characteristics make it a very drinkable imperial IPA, and the moutfeel is dead on. Not too heavy or too light for my tastes.

 1,319 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a golden copper body with one-finger head and lace down the glass. Aroma is hoppy but a lighter, sweeter hop with malts and not really bitter or earthy. Smooth, light bodied DIPA that hides ABV and bitterness of hops as beer is basically clean with mix of citric/grapefruit hops and some malty sweetness.

 314 characters

Photo of BeerKnower
2.98/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The alcohol to body/taste ratio needs work. Nothing wrong with having alcohol, but you have to justify it. It has a soapy finish that lingers on your tongue, perhaps due to oversparging, providing unearned alcohol.

 214 characters

Photo of mjcallahan7
4.94/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic beer. It's an imperial IPA that drinks very nicely. Paired very well with a Kerrystone aged cheddar. This is a two stage flavor profile, delicious and malty up front; hop profile on the back. Bueno.

 209 characters

Lake Erie Monster from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 2706 ratings