Lake Erie Monster
Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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American Imperial IPA
Ranked #1,868
Ranked #4,952
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: 2,705 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by bmcmahon1024:
Photo of bmcmahon1024
3.59/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bmcmahon1024 from Pennsylvania, Mar 16, 2016
More User Reviews:
Photo of Act25
4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Blown away by this candy bomb of an imperial beer!

A: Pours a very cloudy honey body and a sticky dense head that constantly laces.
S: Core pith, less citrus flesh, more earth.

T: Ass kicker. Malt overwhelmed by piney, pithy, intense, bitter and yet honeyed and flowershop hops.

F: Thick, weighty, stick, full body with moderate carbonation

O: If you like them chewy and over-whelming, this is it. A monster is correct! Great brewer. Their Commodor Perry on steroids.

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Act25 from New Jersey, Dec 02, 2015
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

"Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."

--Horace Mann

Shimmering apricot with Kruggerand gold accents and numerous strands of miniscule, slow moving bubbles. Their destination is a creamy crown of pastel orange-beige hue that filled one third of the glass on the pour. Foam persistence is remarkable and the quality and amount of lace is... good enough.

The aroma features a modest amount of the mid-range malts, but they let hops have the run of the place. Tropical fruity Simcoe was a great choice and earthy-herbal Fuggles was an odd choice. Hopefully, the Americans dominate the English on the palate.

Sorry, but Lake Erie Monster is still not my kind of DIPA. And here I thought the bottled version would be better than the tap version, which is often the case with this brewery. There's too much flavor contribution from the malt and there's too much malt in general. Looks like the masters at Great Lakes need some lessons from the masters at Surly, 3F, Bell's, etc.

If the malts were either more pale or more caramel-like (as opposed to toasted-earthy-nutty), this would be better beer. That's strictly personal preference, of course. 72 IBUs seems like a lot, but not when there are this many malt sugars to balance them out.

Specific flavors include sugar-crusted toasted grains, steely caramel, cedar chips, orange peel and pink grapefruit zest. What the hell, this big beast is improving a little as it warms and is better than my memory of the brewpub version back in '04. Therefore, the next highest taste score has been granted.

There is little question that beer from GL has a better mouthfeel when bottled. And there is *no question* in my mind that these guys are the single best mouthfeel brewery in all the land (top-3 at least). This offering is lush and plush and velvety smooth and big in all the right places. Carbonation is, as always, dead... solid... perfect.

In the end, bottled Lake Erie Monster is a little bit better than on-tap Lake Erie Monster. However, it still isn't the hop-soaked beer that I'd hoped it would be. Oh well, there's still the awesomeness of Edmund Fitzgerald and Burning River and Dortmunder Gold and Eliot Ness and Holy Moses and Blackout Stout... and on and on and on.

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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.

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q33jeff from New Jersey, Jul 08, 2017
Photo of scootny
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A golden pale ale clouded with a considerable yeast suspension. Lots of fine bits floating in the glass while still looking like a glass of sunshine, relatively active carbonation. Nice thick head that fades quite slowly.
Nose has light sweet malt, a nice hop melange of pine, citrus, and tropical fruits. Nice amount of bread and malt giving a healthy amount of grain based sweetness and breads. Remarkably balanced with a large malt base that lends itself to missing just how hoop this brew is.
Taste follows with a decidedly citrus bitterness. Lots of bread and honey. No hint of the abv. lots of malt and even more complex hops that bring pine, tropical fruits. Yum.

Nice crisp, light, feel that combines weight that satisfies with smooth carbonation and easy drinkability. Just enough chew to slow you down, while you allow yourself to chase the desire to keep chugging.

Great DiPA that begs you to session and quaff instead of sip.

Love this one.

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scootny from New York, Mar 19, 2015
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.

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Nimbus_ from Illinois, Nov 09, 2016
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.

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mjcallahan7 from Pennsylvania, Sep 11, 2016
Photo of utopiajane
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber/orange with a decent head of foam that fell fast to a thin ring and cap and left good lace. Champagne effervescence and great clarity. Nose is sweet, sweet pineapple. Sweet malt, cookie like, caramel and sticky. Some earth and fresh mango. Fresh cut grass. The alcohol shows up on the nose as ti warms. Taste is very pineapple and has a little oil to coat the tongue right away so you don’t think it’s too sweet. Hops are plentiful but somewhat tame except for a good helping of pine. The malt character is sweet, buttery, and creamy with some biscuit. There’s some alcohol to bite and warm a little on the way down. Really the most pineapple in a beer I have ever had. It drinks smooth and refreshing with a full malt profile that is very rich and lasts throughout the drink. It’s almost heavy and just a bit syrupy. The hops stay forward and offer a good bitter on the back palate to bring it to a close with nice dry finish.

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utopiajane from New York, Jun 12, 2013
Photo of LJM925
5/5  rDev +23.8%

My #1 pick from Great Lakes and my Favorite IPA. A must try.

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LJM925 from Indiana, Sep 19, 2014
Photo of taxandbeerguy
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle served cold into a pint glass. Best before September 26, 2016. Purchased while visiting the US.

Appearance - Pours a slightly hazy golden and copper colored beer. Small finger or so of off-white head that recedes fairly quickly but does leave behind cobweb lacing. Plenty of visible carbonation.

Smell - Some tropical fruit led by mango and papaya with perhaps a hint of pineapple in there. Nose is big but not as big as other DIPA's but works well. Malts are rather hidden but perhaps a hint of toffee and figs.

Taste - The taste is rather sweet initially with the sweet tropical fruit of mangos and papaya especially combining with the toffee and figs for a smooth and creamy flavor. Some bitterness at the end but a sweeter beer than many in the style. Nicely balanced and quite drinkable.

Mouthfeel - Heavy bodied, but smooth and silky, carbonation is present but plays a backing role, attention not drawn to it. Drying finish.

Overall - Lake Erie Monster is a balanced and fruity DIPA that leans towards the sweet side rather than a rip your mouth apart DIPA. A very good beer, but the cohesiveness of the flavors aromas and mouthfeel, give it a better than the sum of its parts feeling. Certainly worth a try and to be enjoyed fresh.

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taxandbeerguy from Ontario (Canada), Sep 04, 2016
Photo of ajones13
4.85/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Best while on draft so avoid floaties. The taste and smell is outstanding and a world class beer

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Photo of DarthVorador
2.78/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Way to bitter, barely any subtle hop flavors. Just BITTERNESS!

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DarthVorador from Pennsylvania, Jun 02, 2015
Photo of jaymo18
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

jaymo18 from Virginia, Feb 17, 2014
Photo of Reaper16
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served on-tap @The Beer Trappe, Lexington, KY, into a snifter

Pours a very bright orange color, like a popsicle or something. Real bright. It's entirely opaque; not necessarily hazy looking, just not clear. One finger or so of sterling white head. A fair amount of lacing. Nothing mindblowing, but it is certainly an attractive beer.

The top notes of this beer start out all nectarine and stonefruit. There's a deeply sweet malt background underneath, but it smells to be in check by the green hop bitterness. When this beer warms, however, it becomes divisive. It features aromas of that love it/hate it hop: Summit. Lots of green onion and gamey meat aromas in this double IPA. They aren't my favorite lupulin smells, but they're always interesting. Lake Eerie Monster isn't as aggressive in the Summit department as, say, Oskar Blues Gubna, so at least there's some balance to the hop bouquet.

I really enjoy Great Lakes' beers, but this one is a miss for me, in terms of taste anyway. Green bitterness meets tangerine pulp meets scallion meets a candified, sugary sweetness. It isn't a ton of caramel malt that is problematic for me, no. It's a bunch of sugar-tasting sweetness. It doesn't taste bad, but balance is typically not something that I am in the mind to credit a double IPA for.

Somewhat remarkably, Lake Eerie Monster doesn't have an ultra-thick mouthfeel. It remains in the vacinity of medium-bodied, which is impressive. Overall, I do think that this is an above average beer for the style. Only barely. It was a good enough drink, even if a disappointment.

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Reaper16 from Alabama, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of masterofsparks
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of jcxhruby
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

jcxhruby from Pennsylvania, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of Chrixsus
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Chrixsus from Illinois, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of csnullptr
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

csnullptr from Kentucky, Jul 04, 2012
Photo of FrankHammer
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

FrankHammer from Michigan, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of nodder
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

nodder from New York, May 08, 2014
Photo of OU_Bobcats
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of rapidsequence
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from a 4 pack Erin brought back from Ohio. Best by 9/6/11, I think they were released last month.

Appearance: A beautiful golden orange with a thick fluffy head that leaves absurdly thick and sticky lacing.

Smell: Sharp grapefruit and spicy, earthy hops notes. There's a sweet maltiness and a bit of caramel. Not the hop bomb I expected, and very sweet smelling.

Taste: Biting, pithy citrus bitterness from start to finish combined with a sugary sweet malt profile. This doesnt lead to balance, just too much sweetness and bitterness, all without a great hops flavor profile-- very earthy, like some fungus on wet bark along with the citrus pith, some pine needles, and pineapple.

Mouthfeel: Its weird how something can be so sweet and still feel dry. This beer has a great soft mouthfeel and a crisp finish.

Overall: This beer could be a lot better. I did enjoy it a lot more than my review would suggest though. A very sweet DIPA with a funky mix of hops.

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Photo of TTAmod
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with a best by date of 8/15/12 poured into pint glass.

A: Slightly hazy gold/orange color with a one-finger white head. Retention is good. Can see some yeast settlement in the liquid, as well.

S: Heavy citrus smell, especially pineapple and mango.

T: Nice slightly sweet sugar cookie malt base supports a nice strong onslaught of hop flavors. The hops are mostly of the citrus variety (oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, etc.) However, there is a blast of pine at the end. With all the hop flavors present, it isn't too bitter. There's a shot of alcohol and a bit of metallic taste at the end, but bitter hops finish it off.

M: Wow...very creamy. This body is a great medium for channeling the strong hop flavors, and it keeps them around for a LONG time after the drink goes down.

O: GLBC makes some of my favorite beers, and this one is no exception. This is a top-tier IPA, for sure. The taste is surprisingly complex. Most DIPAs just assault the palate with hops, but there's more depth here.

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TTAmod from Illinois, Aug 01, 2012
Photo of Franz4
4/5  rDev -1%

Franz4 from Ohio, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of jrenihan
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

BB August 7, 2013

Beer is clear golden orange. Despite a quick pour, I get very minimal head, just a touch of white.

Nose is nice. Very juicy, with both citrus and tropical fruit scents. Mango, apple, some grapefruit. Also some pine.

Taste also contains a lot of fruit, apple and mango. Pine resin sticks out. Caramel malt provides some sweetness to a decent dose of bitter. Booze is noticeable, but not overly so for a 9.1% beer.

Full bodied, moderate to high carbonation. Oily.

Overall, quite good. The apple flavour is a bit strong for me, but good.

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jrenihan from Ontario (Canada), Jul 30, 2013
Lake Erie Monster from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 2705 ratings