Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

very good
714 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Great Lakes Lake Erie MonsterGreat Lakes Lake Erie Monster

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
"An imperial india pale ale"

Added by BuckeyeNation on 06-29-2004

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 714 | Ratings: 2,618
Photo of mentor
2.18/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a one-finger yellowed fine head over a cloudy orange-rust liquid. Smells mild. Oranges and woody hop with a hint of lemon.

Tastes wet malt with some hop flavor and mild hop bitter. Mild and clean alcohol sting. WTF, this is suppose to be a DIPA? Caramel and cream with esters of red fruits. Hop flavor is oranges and baby aspirin. Hop bitter is totally drowned by the sweet malt that dominates.

Not to style, but decent tasting. A bit to wet and heavy to be very drinkable. Wow, I'm amazed at how little I have to say about a DIPA, but there isn't much here.

 566 characters

Photo of womencantsail
2.27/5  rDev -43%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: The pour is a dark amber color, maybe copper, with a finger's worth of moderately dense white head.

S: Um, this is a DIPA? Sweet and cracker-forward malts with some hints of oranges. Hints of pine, if you're feeling generous.

T: More of the same on the palate. A mild-to-moderate level of bitterness with plenty of biscuit and cracker malt flavor. Fairly bready with a bit of sweetness too.

M: The mouthfeel is good, at least. Medium in body with moderate carbonation.

D: This was really disappointing, I must say. Neither the nose nor the flavor were like anything you would expect from a DIPA.

 602 characters

Photo of ChadQuest
2.38/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Best by date is 2-Months 8-days away, well withen freshness.

Good looking beer, a large two finger head with good lacing. hazy dark sunburst color. I really like the bottle artwork too FWIW.

Not the most aromatic beer, nothing off smelling just you have to pay attention to get anything from it, and then all you get is a typical light citrusy hop whiff.

Taste is very balanced, there is alot of sweet malts inside this, and the hop profile has a somewhat citrusy character, but its also kinda grassy and floral, and has a somewhat earthy undertone to me.

Mouthfeel is fairly thick and low carbinated for the style. leaves a slick coating behind, not the most refreshing, and hurts the drinkability a bit.

_:_ I was kinda dissapointed in this one, maybe if it was called a Imperial Amber ale it would be percieved better, but when your thinking DIPA this is not what you are wanting.

 888 characters

Photo of BarrytheBear
2.4/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle into into a snifter - best before 7/18/10

Nice looking beer...golden orange and slightly murky

Smell is a letdown. Really working hard to pull out a hop presence and all I'm coming up with is soapy perfume notes and malt. Hmmmm. Decided to hard pour the remainder in an effort to release the demons. Come on new bike! Upon further review, soiled wig. Really not much to speak of.

And...the letdown continues. Tastes like medicine with a very muddled hops presence. I pull none of the tropical fruits or juiciness that some other reviewers found. Rather, there's a metallic bitterness that overrides the experience leaving a post dental visit numbness reminiscent of a good gas and pull of the old chompers.

Airy, cotton candy like mouthfeel feels off. Hard to describe, but this beer just seems out of sorts and incomplete. Overall, a bummer.

 861 characters

Photo of chicagobeerriot
2.46/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This Monster is undeniably a beauty in the glass. It pours deep gold with orange highlights with a thick pillow of foam that retreats only after leaving some tenacious lacing on the side of your glass.

From there, things start to go downhill. The smell is fine, but it's not one of those beers where it's hard to get your nose out of the glass. There's a bit of caramel sweetness on the nose, with some earth, grass, pepper and a decent amount of alcohol. Mouthfeel is a bit on the full side for the style, but still within the suitable range.

The hop profile is not what I expect from a quality DIPA. It's easier to describe what's not here: no floral, no fruit, no pine, very little spice. Instead we're left with a one-note bitterness that is left unchecked by any other flavors. The malt flavors make a very brief appearance, providing a transient vanilla note at the beginning and a bit of breadiness at the end.

The finish is disappointing: there's a deep prolonged fuggle bitterness, but without the spiciness or pine of a west coast DIPA or the powerhouse hop/malt complexity of an east coast DIPA.

I'm generally a fan of Great Lakes brewery, but this one leaves me scratching my head with one hand and ordering a Dreadnaught with the other.

 1,254 characters

Photo of jwinship83
2.58/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle with a best by date of sometime in august poured into my sierra nevada hop tulip glass. ive been hearing mixed things about this one, but im still excited to try it.

A- this one pours out a deep and somewhat dark golden amber colored body with a modest bright white head on top. the head is quick to fade and really doesnt leave behind much in terms of lacing.

S- a pretty tame nose for something called "monster." small amount of caramel and biscuit like malts overshadowed by piny and grapefruit hops. were not off to a great start here.

T- the taste is surprisingly balanced for an IIPA. caramel and biscuit malts up against pine, grapefruit, earthy, and herbal hops. pretty disappointing. the alcohol is well hidden.

M- medium to full bodied. ample carbonation. moderate warming from the alcohol.

D- sadly, this one left me pretty disappointed. and from one of my favorite breweries also. combine that disappointment with a 3.50/single bottle price tag and you get something i probably wont seek out again.

 1,029 characters

Photo of DarthKostrizer
2.63/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared by NoSignsOfPain in which she got in a BIF recently from MikeytotheB Expired 8/30/11 seriously who the fuck sends someone expired beers in a BIF Real nice bro real nice Drank on 10/29/11

Look: Orange in color with 1/4 head and no retention

Smell: Awful malt and candied orange notes not good at all

Taste: Is identical to the nose with the exception of there is a slight bit of alcohol presence in the flavor

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation

Overall: The 3 of us that drank this drain poured it. Not sure if it was off cause it had expired 2 months ago or not but with that being said the beer should not have turned this bad in those 2 months. Avoid this beer especially if MikeytotheB sends you one.

 733 characters

Photo of PBoegel
2.64/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a bottle at a Wegmans while in Rochester NY.

Was eager to try some Great Lakes brews having heard good things about them. Picked this and Commodore Perry. 12 oz bottle with best by August 10, 2010.

Poured into a Sam Adams Imperial snifter, Appearance is nice, bright yellow orange with an egg shell white head. A tad hazy, but overall inviting looking.

Aroma is puzzling, very minimal imperial ipa hop character, lots of candied fruit, touch of strawberry, raw egg yolk, rose and a soapish like smell that I struggled getting past.

The flavor is not much better in that regard, there is a sweet honey cloying character and more egg yolk and lemon meringue dominating the palate. Some fusel slickness and oily character, not intense, but it pushes aside general malt profile and it is difficult to say what or where the hop profile is. The bitterness is still there but the flavor just misses the mark on hops for an imperial ipa.

Mouthfeel is a bit too heavy. I need this style to lean toward dry and more quaffable, even as an illusion for an big beer.

Misses the mark. I admit I also after drinking perused reviews to see how the range of palates saw this beer. My guess is I most of come across a funky batch or mishandled batch, but with a best by date well over a month and half from now, it is only a guess. Willing to try again, but I won't seek it out.

 1,376 characters

Photo of BikeChef
2.72/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Just brought back some San Diego double IPA's (Hop 15, Sculpin) and Lake Erie Monster really paled in comparison. Might be unfair to stack it against such great beers, but...

Some hop aroma, but not what I'd expect from a DIPA. Not too promising. Some hops in the taste, but very muddied. I actually like the mouthfeel here, but this just doesn't bring the hops, which is the whole reason for a double IPA. Love Great Lakes, but this is a disappointing effort.

 462 characters

Photo of popery
2.73/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Decent DIPA. Unfortunately, it doesn't really live up to expectations and isn't a standout for the style. It's a nice looking beer. Transparent, light to medium gold, and a tight, white cap. The aroma is relatively weak, particularly in terms of hops. Hops are floral and a bit piney. The malt is a bit strong, contributing lots of caramel. There's some pepper and spice in there, too. The flavor has too much residual sweetness for my taste, but there's some good lingering bitterness. It's just a bit too simple and weak in hops. It needs more of the delicate hop notes of the best in the style. The beer has some good body, though the sweetness really hurts it for me. It's an alright beer, though not something that I'd trade for again or seek out otherwise.

 762 characters

Photo of fear025
2.76/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma:A pleasant mild orange and grapefruit aroma. I do hope for more aroma from a DIPA.

Appearance:The beer has a a hazy golden amber. The head has fine bubbles that stick around a long time.

Taste:At fist sip, the hops do hit you hard like a DIPA should. The hops taste more bitter and less fruity. Through the middle and aftertaste I do get a little orange flavor. The aftertaste is a little harsher than I like in a DIPA. The alcohol does stand out in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:This beer is bit harsh, even considering the style. It has nice carbonation that lends to a dry sensation in the mouth. The alcohol warms the mouth nicely.

Drinkability:This intensely hoppy, strong pale ale does hit the style pretty squarely, but there's something missing to make it a beer I want to come back for again and again.

 817 characters

Photo of maximum12
2.78/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The only bad thing about drinking in a tent is the midnight visits to the bush. Three times last night after two beers. Three times! What am I, 105? Yeesh. Been looking forward to this one for a long time, really like Great Lakes, finally arrived on Minnesota shelves. First of a four-pack.

Dated 9/7/11, what the hell does that mean? Minus 3 Hit Points for obscure dating practices. Pours like yellow-tinged mosquito blood. And in the nose there are hops. None. All sweet malts. Uh-oh.

Lake Erie Monster lays a big disappointment egg all over my face. This is a beer where the malt bill just overwhelms everything, making it a big, sweet, sticky malt bomb. What hops dance in & out are transient & only found with effort, like sweet clover in a field of flowers. Syrupy. Nectary. Like an American Strong Ale. Plus a big alcohol burn.

I'm not big on "reviewing to style" but this not only doesn't taste like a IIPA, it's not all that good. Mediocre.

 970 characters

Photo of bobhits
2.8/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

The pour is a light orange, thick body, low carbonation beer. The imperial body is unmistakable.

The nose is of grape fruit, and light malts. Light tangerine and other tropical fruits lightly come in here. Not the most aromatic beer ever. A bit of bread on the end as well. A lighter fluffy bread.

Bread, caramel, garlic, cat piss?, some tropical fruits/ citrus notes. Really the cat piss and bread dominate this one.

A really good body and feel for the size of this beer. They got that dead on.

I know a lot of people who love this one. I get texts about how great it is pretty often. For me this is a good but not great double IPA. Great Lakes to me makes some really good beers, but they seem to miss on the IPA style for me.

 750 characters

Photo of Chaney
2.81/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into my trusty "Mad Elf" tulip glass.

A: About and inch head with a burnt orange color. A little less than average carbonation.

S: More sugar than hop bitterness or floral. Not pleasant.

T: Surprisingly thin body with very little complexity. It gets a little better as it goes along, but still lacks the citrus quality commonly associated with DIPAs. A more honey-like sweetness may have balanced out the bitterness, as opposed to the sugary one found here.

M: Candy-like sweetness coats the mouth with very little grapefruit-like alkalinity for balance.

D: The 9.1 ABV is very detectable. I could not finish and let one of my friends finish the glass.

Overall: I've had worse DIPAs, but that is hardly a glowing endorsement. A disappointing drink, from a brewery that is usually spot on. C'est La Vie...

 831 characters

Photo of mothman
2.84/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into pint glass.

Pours 1 finger of creamy beige head. Decent retention with some lace. Color is a clear golden orange.

Aroma: Smells salty with odd grassy hops. Some orange and pinapple flavors.

Taste: Odd malts with an odd flavor. Has a lot of orange flavors and vodka like flavors. Floral hops.

Mouthfeel: Very slight bitterness, mainly creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. End sticky and weedy.

Overall, this is not a very well done dipa. Ihad high expectations from this one since it is coming from Great Lakes but I was let down. Not very drinkable in my opinion.

 604 characters

Photo of Daniellobo
2.84/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A rather short DIPA, monotonous in flavor and aroma. All in all, while somewhat drinkable, it is quite forgettable.
Presentation: 12 oz capped brown bottle. Black design with white lettering and an image of monster/dinosaur emerging from a lake. Side narrative notes commitment to excellence, main characteristics, inspiration, and main ingredients. Neck label notes geographic context, and adds a bragging line. Notes freshness date (08/10/10), and Alc. by Vol. (9.0%) Served in a tulip glass.

A - Medium amber pour, rich and generous frothy head with medium retention and fair surface memory. Appearance is pretty solid, unfortunately with what comes after more than a redeeming quality it feels like a deceptive characteristic.

S - Rather shy nose, almost non-existent at points and certainly nowhere close to what is typically associated with the style. Faint, really faint, citrus touch with a generic soft malty sense.

T - Taste follows with a monochord malt emphasis, hefty sweet sense lingering over a hop profile that is less hoppy than bitter. Not much range or a noticeable richness.

M - Medium-full body with adequate carbonation in an uninspiring structure.

D - Broadly speaking this is not a pain to drink at all. Now, for a DIPA this is rather boring and uninspiring.

Notes: With a difference so far this is the most avoidable Great Lakes brew I've encountered. Typically they offer quality and great work with a nice range. Unfortunately this is not the occasion. Good for those that love this offering, but for me not only it feels overhyped but rather avoidable.

 1,588 characters

Photo of fscottkey
2.85/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A: Pale amber color with 1/2 a finger of white bubbly head. Then head recedes pretty quickly down to a white film.

S: Corn and malt scents with an alcohol presence on the nose.

T: Slight caramel sweetness, dose of alcohol in the mid palate and late too.

M: "tight" feeling with a slight astringency. The Carbonation level is right.

O: This has almost a lager taste and body to it. Not getting the expected hop pine and fruitiness. In a blind taste test I wouldn't peg this as a Pale Ale. This one does not fit well into any box. I know it is not my favorite (I love Chill Wave - I will stick with that).

 607 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
2.89/5  rDev -27.4%
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 DavoleBomb
2.98/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter.

4.0 A: Hazy medium orangish brown color. Two fingers of super creamy yellowish white head. Average retention for the style, but lots of lacing.

3.5 S: Surprisingly bready with a large yeasty character. Hops are citrus with orange and also a pungent rotting fruit type of aroma. Decent amount of sweetness in there with light crystal malts.

2.5 T: Having recently had CC Jai Alai, I must say the similarities are striking, but this tastes more like Jai Alai done better. Softer bitterness for a DIPA. Bready malts again, Orange citrus hops mix fairly well with caramel sweetness. I'd prefer a hell of a lot more hops in this one, especially since it can't pass as a decent barleywine like some DIPAs.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy. No problems here.

2.5 D: It's not too bad, but it the malt and hop combo give a goofy-ish sweet fruitiness that doesn't really appeal to me.

 943 characters

Photo of BeerKnower
2.98/5  rDev -25.1%
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 MaximalC
3.04/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy amber color with a modest white head that recedes in short order. The aroma oozes with the essence of crisp, clean, citric hops. The flavor matches the aroma perfectly. The hop bitterness here is monstrous indeed. Try as I might to tease out some of the other flavors that I presume exist, I just can't get past the astringency of the hops. I should probably note that I'm not a fan of IPA's, so one as fierce as this is facing an uphill battle to win my affection. This is certainly representative of the style, but it's just not for me.

 551 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.05/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

From 12oz bottle to Jackie O's tulip on 6/29/11
*From notes

Thanks to siege06nd for generously hookin' me up with a single from his four-pack. Cheers, John!

A: What was I thinking? I pour this one like an asshole and in turn produce a 3.75 finger head that won't fade. After a few minutes, I pour the rest of the beer, as massive globs of white, sticky lacing surround the top of the glass. It's a dark, golden and filtered amber.

S: Wonderful tropical fruit, with a good dose of malt and alcohol esters on the backside.

T: Wow - it's all alcohol all the time. I can't seem to find much else here worth noting. There's an apparent lack of balance that I don't understand or appreciate. At 9.1% ABV, it's simply too big for it's britches.

M: Mouthfeel is top shelf. Creamy and rich, this beer drinks like a champ.

O: Great Lake's Lake Erie Monter has everything going for it but the most important part: balance of flavor. It's a total booze bomb that can't find a way to bring the fruit, malt or anything else to the fore, mid or back of the palate.

Good in theory, poor execusion. I'm glad to have tried it, but would recommend you look elsewhere for your DIPA fix. A rare miss from Great Lakes.

 1,203 characters

Photo of heebes
3.06/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Past it's prime bottle.

Pour is a semihazy golden with a finger of white foam head. Nose is caramel and bread malt, the kind that once humbly provided a balanced backbone to plenty of hops likely. There is a light creamy floral note. Taste is the same: malt forward and bready. Stale. Mouthfeel is dry bitter.
If I had known about Great Lakes bottle dating I wouldn't have picked this up. Hope to find a fresher bottle in my future travels.

 443 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.06/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean, pale orange color with an off white head. In the aroma, sticky hops and a small alcohol hint. In the taste, alcohol and a small, sticky pine like hop. A bitter bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry sticky hop aftertaste. Big alcohol presence and quite sticky. OK, but nothing too exciting.

 313 characters

Photo of gordavidson
3.06/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- A hazy orange liquid with a million tiny floaters and a creamy bone white head.

S- Citrus rind, cooked vegetables, with hints of pineapple, mango, and mint.

T- Steamed asparagus, alcohol, citrus, and grain. Not really my bag.

M- Carbonated to give it a bit of a kick, but smooth on the finish with a lasting bitterness.

D- This take on the style did not impress me much. The alcohol is not as apparent in the taste as it is in the aroma. The vegetable aspect kills it for me.

 483 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 2,618 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.