Imperial Dortmunder
Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Imperial DortmunderImperial Dortmunder
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European Export / Dortmunder
Ranked #6
Ranked #15,928
3.89 | pDev: 11.57%
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
Very Good
Imperial DortmunderImperial Dortmunder
Reviews: 168 | Ratings: 216 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of damndirtyape
damndirtyape from Ohio

3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in the Brewery - looks like they've brought it back! Served in a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Clear deep gold with some hints of amber. Thin foam across the top, but decent persistent lacing.

Smell: Sweet, floral, herbal. German noble hops show through as the beer warms up but they are never strong.

Taste: Rich malt, but balanced perfectly with German hops bringing spicy, herbal, and earthy flavors all at the same time. Hop finish is clean - not crisp, but clean and doesn't linger very long.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, smooth and a little thick. Mild stickiness of hop oils to the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: Since I had this at the table while the Mrs. was having the normal Dortmunder Gold, I took a sip of hers in comparison, and indeed, it's like they doubled the normal Dortmunder Gold recipe. More hops, more malt, but still quite good. Due to the higher ABV, need to stop at one, but easily could have another. A nice beer and I'm glad they brought it back to the brewery.

Oct 15, 2011
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drabmuh from Maryland

4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a glass. Beer is orange and hazy, forms a medium head of small bubbles that quickly disappears, leaves a little lacing on the glass. Looks kind of cool for a lager.

Really strong smell. Some alcohol, really strong malt presence. Surprising for the aroma.

This is my first Dortmunder I should say so I'm not sure what to expect, especially now.

Really smooth, slightly sweet, medium to low body. Bitterness is mild, overall mouthfeel is great. Drinkability really high. No aftertaste. Second taste, a little fruity, overall great. I really like this beer.

Dec 18, 2009
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claminat420 from Michigan

3.01/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- poured a nice copper color. thick lacing with a two finger off white finger head.

S- just a light caramel scent with the slightest citrus hop scent.

T- taste an alcohol pressence for sure. might not help that the bottle say's best enjoy before 10/06/08. has a raisony taste.

M- medium bodied. nice carbonation

D- i hope i can get down this one.

Overall- i'm bummed i bought an old 4 pack but can't do nothing now besides drink it. if this was fresher it would prolly be in the b's.

Nov 04, 2009
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ClockworkOrange from Pennsylvania

3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Out of a 12 ounce bottle and into my standard shaker glass. The lager appears a hazed rich amber color with about an inch of fluffy, yet quickly fading, off white head. Quite sweet and malty, as well as a bit fruity. Notes of toasted grains and bread, apples and pears, a bit grassy. A notch or two better than medium bodied with ample carbonation. Not too bad if you dig a big sweet lager.

Sep 11, 2009
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mothman from Minnesota

3.46/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into traditional pint glass

Pours almost 2 fingers of creamy beige head. Decent retention once it fades down to a thin layer. Leaves some splattered lace. Color is a clear dark golden orange.

Aroma: big grain flavors. Very sweet malts. Nothing to different from a typical adjunct lager here.

Taste: Ok, here is the difference I was looking for. It has very sweet malts with dry hops present. Very grainy. It just seems to be more flavorful, which I expected.

Mouthfeel: very full, crisp, and creamy. Light bodied but a lot bigger than an adjunct. A decent amount of carbonation as well. Ends with a very dry sweet malt aftertaste.

Overall, not a beer I am too impressed with. If I am going to be spending that much money on something like this I will get a 12 pk of an adjunct for the same price as the 4 pk. Simply a letdown.

Sep 04, 2009
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kwakwhore from North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Peach colored pour into a Sam Adams Pint Glass. Nice, persistent white head with good retention leaves nice lacing on the glass.
Doughy bread scent along with some hops.
Sweet malt mixed with hops and some alcohol. Hops are quite prominent, more than one would expect in the style, and the alcohol is quite hot, which detracts from both mouthfeel and drinkability. At this strength, this is a sipper. I doubt that I would want more than one. Still, a pretty tasty beer, but given a choice, I would opt for the Dortmunder Gold, and will the next time I'm in Ohio.

Aug 08, 2009
Photo of bamadog
bamadog from Ohio

4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 200th review! Woot! Special thanks to Kels for giving me this bottle several months ago... It was an older bottle to begin with but she had two left and after having one, she said it was still good (granted, not as good as it would have been if it was considerably fresher, but she still said it was good and was most kind and passed one to me). Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a nice light coppery color that has some hints of lemony yellow in it and actually reminds me more of a honey/tea color; comes with a nice one finger white head that fades quickly to an uneven skim and leaves a loose oily lacing attempting to hold to the glass but eventually falls back into the drink; body is a little cloudy and there is definitely some sediment bouncing around through the moderate carbonation.

Smell: Actually, when I popped the top I could smell some nice sweet malts right away, which caught me off guard as I'm typically used to just straight up toasty graininess in beers of this style, but perhaps this is the "imperial" influence; when I got it poured I put it to my nose and breathed deeply and was greeted again by the maltiness, but also the familiar toasty graininess and all was well -- a very nice smelling offering in a style that typically doesn't give me much of a nose.

Taste: Outstanding for the style - the nice grains of a toasted (but not burnt) flavors are combined with that sweet (almost reminiscent of corn syrup) maltiness blend well together and create a very nice and refreshing drink -- overall I would actually say that the straight-up Dortmunder Gold is a bit more refreshing because there is less of a maltiness, and this one's a bit more filling, but it's very good and easy drinking with a significant amount of flavor that trumps the GLBC standard offer.

Mouthfeel: The moderate carbonation comes across the palate very smoothly and leaves just a very slight tingle on the gums; there is actually even a bit of a stickiness left on the tongue that holds the flavors well throughout the mouth -- again, a very different finish that standard Dortmunder Gold as that one finishes a bit cleaner, but I kind of prefer this because I'm really enjoying the flavors and I'm glad they're sticking around so much.

Drinkability: Very nice, it's got great flavors and is wonderful summer beer - a bit more filling than a standard export lager so it would be a bit heavier to attempt a couple, and the ABV is just a tad higher as well. If GLBC ever releases this one again though, I will be stocking up as it clearly lasts long past the bottling date.

Aug 08, 2009
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter from California

4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pretty, bright orange, head quickly exits. Minimal lace.

S - Bready, herbal. Alcohol is discernable.

T - Honey, overripe fruit, booze is evident even at a relatively lower ABV.

M - Medium body, solid balance and carb.

D- Pretty tasty stuff. Wish I had more than one.

Aug 06, 2009
Photo of russpowell
russpowell from Arkansas

3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from pwoods, Cheers Patrick! Review based on notes

Pours apricot with 1 finger of pearl colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Doughyness & not much else

T: Cakeyness, honey malt, grainyness & slightly grassy hops up front. Herbal & leafy hops assert themselves as this warms, along grainy bread more honey malt. Finishes grainy, fruitty, pears, grapes & apple peels. Almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Creamy with minimal carbonation & nice balance

Drinks a bit slow due to the heft, a nice night cap

Jul 27, 2009
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ryrust5301 from Louisiana

2.76/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - Light honey colored with golden yellow highlights. Very thin head of white that halos after it settles. No real lacing to speak of.

Smell - Nothing that grabs me. Maybe a bit of spice and deep bready malt.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Very malty, and somewhat similar to an oktoberfest beer. The sweetness is thick and coating and leaves an almost syrupy feeling in the mouth. It borders on being almost overly sweet. Has a peppery kinda taste with a bit of earthiness.

Drinkability - I thought this one fell far short of the original. I really don't care for oktoberfest beers, mush less the style of this one. I'll make sure I stick to the original, and make this a one time only experience.

Jun 10, 2009
Photo of ShrLSU
ShrLSU from Louisiana

3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a light copper with a light white head that recedes to a tin halo. Slight lacing

S: Earthy grains and a slight hop sweetness

T: Nice earthy and bready malt along with some grassy hop taste

M: Crisp and smooth with nice carbonation. A tad of a bite at the end as well.

D: Pretty drinkable. Almost sessionable but a slight bit too much alcohol for that. A very enjoyable beer none the less.

Jun 10, 2009
Photo of nsmartell
nsmartell from Wisconsin

3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the 12oz bottle to a pilsner glass. I bought the beer about 2 months ago and didn't realize until now the bottle says for best taste drink by October (5 months before I bought it).

Appearance: Pours a nice golden color with a small white head that didn't last long. The carbonation really comes through in the glass.

Smell: Floral hops and biscuity. A little muted, probably from being past its "freshness" date.

Taste: Bready malts, citrusy and sweet.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and medium-bodied with good carbonation. The best part of this beer.

Drinkability: Pretty decent beer. Would like to dry again with a fresher bottle if they continue to brew it.

May 02, 2009
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429 from Illinois

4.41/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

G: Poured into my new Mikasa pilsner glass--damn that glassware was hard to find. I recommend the set to everyone, though: pilsner, weizen, tulip, and chalice, and all very well-crafted.

A: A very light copper with a great rush of carbonation bubbles that persist throughout the drink. Massive white head with an absolutely amazing amount of lacing as it goes down.

S: Some earthy type grains to go along with a nice, faint hop presence and an ever-so-slight sweetness.

T: Definitely an imperial dortmunder. Their standard dort. is a thing of beauty, and this is quite good as well. Some grassy sweetness goes along with faint noble hops.

M: Nicely crisp and smooth with good carbonation. Excellent.

D: Exceedingly drinkable. This is some fantastic stuff. They've made their already-outstanding dortmunder offering even better.

Apr 30, 2009
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Rennpferd from Wisconsin

4.44/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It poured golden. It had a three finger white head. There was a high level of carbonation. It had some particles suspended within it.

There was a nice hop scent present. It was accompanied by a slightly weaker malt scent.

It was slightly bitter at first. It then finished with a nice malt taste. This beer hit the biscuit flavor head on. It was lite bodied but not watered down.

A very good beer. It was refreshing and satisfying.

Apr 12, 2009
Photo of Yetiman420
Yetiman420 from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass.

Consuming on 4/5/09 - six months after the fresh by date of 10/6/08. Lagering in the back of my fridge the entire time.

Very light haze and golden color. One finger white head subsides quickly to a thin layer of white. Mild lacing.

Strong lager aroma and I'll make the call of some noble hop aroma based on the label "dry hop flavors" which seems unique for this style. Wait a minute, imperializing a Dortmunder is unique unto itself so let them dry hop if they wish.

Very full flavor to this beer. Clean upfront and a scratchy carbonation finish which seems unusual because of the thin initial head.

Well balanced and good flavor. An interesting experience but I'm not sure it's a beer I'd rush back to revisit.

Apr 06, 2009
Photo of cbros
cbros from Oregon

3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving type- 12 ounce bottled poured into a pint glass.

Pours an orange yellow with a small white lace that disipates rather quickly. No cling or carbonation present after the pour. Tastes of hops and a good dose of sweet malt at the end. Got this in a BIF and this is the first time I have had this style. Seems to me to be a solid brew that doesn't leave me with too much to remember. Overall seems good in all areas but not great. I probably would not have this again but I would like to try other examples of this style.

Apr 02, 2009
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a frothy head; decent retention and a smattering of lace

Smell: Biscuity and slightly grainy, but vague, at best

Taste: Biscuity malt, that grows in graham cracker sweetness, but some grainy bitterness appears by mid-palate, creating a well-balanced character; after the swallow, the Germanic bitterness increases and controls the profile, although the imperialized malty aspect hangs around underneath; apple flavor in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation and some warmth on the finish

Drinkability: What else is left to imperialize? I had my doubts about this one, but rather enjoyed it

Apr 02, 2009
Photo of Brew33
Brew33 from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excellent beer. Tastes like a Dortmunder Gold with the volume turned way up. The aroma is hoppy, floral. The taste is smooth and dry, nice hoppy finish. Easy to drink for 7.5%. Great stuff. I'd love to get this more often, I feel 1 or 2 would be good for one night.

Great Lakes can do no wrong....

Mar 24, 2009
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Wetpaperbag from Washington

4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice dark golden color with a thin creamy head.

S- The smell is tasty, malty, caramely, creamy, and lagery.

T- If I could pour some gravy into this beer that would be excellent. Oh and that would be due to the golden biscuit taste I'm getting. Imagine a beer that tasted like gravy and doing a half and half with this, wow talk about tasty breakfast event. Alright enough day dreaming. This has a nice citrus hop bite to it, yet it isn't kicking my tongue's ass.

M- Good solid feel in the mouth.

D- Very easy to drink, and is going well with the sunshine.

Mar 13, 2009
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number1bum from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go out to BeerTruth for this one. I won't tell anyone about your mangina.

Pours a slightly orange golden color with a bit of chill haze. Creamy two fingers of ivory head build on top and leave some rings of stick as it falls. Keeps a full lace; looks awesome save for the bit of chill haze.

Smell is fruity and sweet, with sweet malt aromas of toffee and a bit of caramel. There's a sort of candied fruit quality to it overall. Also some light citrus, bready and floral notes.

Taste starts off with some bready grain and then gives way to toffee and caramel sweetness, and a bit of honey. Hops lend some floral and citrus flavors, and have a slight grassiness, as well. I imagine the hops had even more flavor when they were fresh, but they still have a good amount and I'm not so sure that more would really add much. This is much sweeter than I expected it to be but it's not medicinal or cloying; it's just really good. It remains somewhat sweet in the finish with a bit of hop bitterness and a toasty grain note.

The mouthfeel is an exceptionally creamy medium to full body. It's downright chewy in the mouth, very smooth. Carbonation is moderate which is perfect, allowing it to be very creamy and soft on the palate. Exceptional.

This is past its best by date by about 5 months but so what - it's damn good. I wish I had had a fresh one to compare it to, but I would certainly say that the best by date can be ignored on this one. This is better than other imperial lagers (excluding pilsners) I have had - ST Krampus and Penn Penndemonium come to mind - by absolute leaps and bounds. I'm extremely impressed. Excellent!

Mar 04, 2009
Photo of bobsy
bobsy from Canada

4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A radiant golden pour with a smooth white head that left sticky globs of lace on the side of the glass. The aroma is thick with malts, and a strong honey graham cracker element is at the forefront. In comparison to this the herbal, slightly grassy hops, are very subtle and in the background. As the aroma suggested, the flavour is dominated by honey malts, which provide an incredible richness, boosted by the thick mouthfeel. There's a whole boatload of sweet breadiness in this, but fortunately its perfectly cut by a spicy grassiness, courtesy of an excellent application of hops.

Truly outstanding in terms of balance and mouthfeel, this is one of the finest beers in a lager style that I have yet to come across. Its simply the sort of beer that you wish you had more of... luxurious and well-crafted, but clean and approachable. I recommend this to all.

Mar 02, 2009
Photo of Thanby
Thanby from Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful clear honey color with a small, creamy head and lots of carbonation. Smells very malty and citrusy with notes of apricot, pear and apple and some northern hops in the background. Initial taste is very sweet and malty, with all the cirtus flavors coming through and developing as it goes, followed by a nice balance of hopping and a lingering malt flavor. Very well-balanced and robust for a lager. Medium body and easy to drink and enjoy. Another treat from one of my favorite breweries.

Feb 25, 2009
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colts9016 from Idaho

4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pilsner glass at 40 degrees.

Appearance: A golden color with an orangish hue to the beer. There is a one finger head that is white and foamy. There is a lot of effervescence in the beer. the clarity of the beer is mostly clear with a slight haze. There is lacing on the glass.

Nose: A sweet malt aroma with some fruity esters. There are note of floral, bread, and citrus in the background of the beer.

Taste: A nice rich sweet malt aroma with fruity ester. The ester lean toward citrus. There is bread and floral in the background of the beer.

Overall: The mouth feel is medium with some carbonation. The finish is medium light and last for a few moments. The bottle said best by 10/6/08, but the beer taste great for being a dortmunder. There is nice medium bodied beer with a lot of flavor. Not much to criticize.

Feb 21, 2009
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ppoitras from Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle obtained via SS08 from kirok1999. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" beige head above the clear golden amber brew. Quite a few thin floaties swimming through the brew. Thick head lasts well, with tons of slow-falling lace. Aroma is sweet and vegetal. Taste is sweet upfront, a shot of fruity tart in the middle, and closes with ample bitterness. Mouthfeel is very smooth, and drinkability is excellent. Everything comes together nicely.

Feb 20, 2009
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midnite2sixman from Michigan

3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden orange with solid foam head. Craters!

Crisp clean malts on the nose. Touch of biscuit.

Crisp clean taste too. Funny how that works. Little bit bitter, on the tongue, very refreshing though. Crisp all the way through. Little bit of hay.

Another solid output from Great Lakes. No alcohol taste despite this being a semi-big beer.


Feb 17, 2009
Imperial Dortmunder from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 216 ratings