Imperial Dortmunder | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Imperial DortmunderImperial Dortmunder
Very Good
216 Ratings
Imperial DortmunderImperial Dortmunder

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

Style: European Export / Dortmunder

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bones54 on 05-10-2008

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 216 |  Reviews: 168
Reviews by cheribom:
Photo of cheribom
3.5/5  rDev -10%

More User Reviews:
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to 20 years of Great Lakes Brewing Company! This pours into my glass somewhat viscous with a nice golden copper color and a half inch of bubbly white head that leaves sticky lacing on the glass. Good clarity. Aromas begin with crisp grainy malt upfront that has a sweet, slightly bready quality to it. Herbal, somewhat spicy hops. Crisp, fresh lager aroma. Not bad.

First sip brings crisp, sweet malt upfront that carries flavors of grain, bread and some fruitiness as well. Herbal, grassy, somewhat spicy hops move in and bring a good bitterness. The brew flows down with a bit of a syrupy slickness. Pretty good balance for what it is.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a certain slickness to it as well, almost making it chewy. Quite a big lager here for sure. Overall, an interesting brew, however I don't think the Dortmunder style really needs an "imperial" version. Glad I tried it but I'll be sticking to the super tasty original.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz brown bottle drink by 10/07/08 served into a nonic glass. 2" creamy off-white head.Clear medium amber with a few staggered bubbles rising.Decent retention with some dabs of lace.

Fruity aroma some peach/green apple,bisquity/breaddy,grassy with a slight hint of alcohol.

Starts with a good clean feel,a dry clean malty sweetness comes through,some toastyness and honeyed maltiness,some booziness mid taste followed by a dry sharp grassy finish with some hop resins lingering.

Has a thick mouthfeel more than i would have expected. Some cloyingness. Goes down fairly easy and does get filling a bit quickly.A malty backbone not a hop lovers beer. I'm kinda of in the air about this one. Maybe i just ezpected something more. Not a bad beer,just would have expect more for a 20th anniversary beer from GL. At least they didn't do the overdone hop bomb anniversary like most breweries do. The jury is still out on this one for me. Still worth a try,just because it's different than the rest.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass gold with a one finger white head. Lacing all the way down.

Smell was very floural. Could also smell honey. Taste was a very sweet hop hit up front. My first reaction was, damn this is good. The carbonation was just right for this medium bodied brew.

Overall, this is a great dortmunder.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance compared to the standard is pretty similar, the head had a toasted biscuit hue versus the traditional Dort Gold being more of an egg shell bright white foamy. Of course head retention is better here with more malt and hops on board, lacing does indeed form thick and evenly with each sip. Smell has a deep floral herbal grassy kick going down, definitely some noble hops kicking. The great pungent hop aroma is literally wrapped with honey drizzled fresh baked biscuits with a touch of noticeable alcohol. That is fuckin' awesome, a bigger version of one of my favorite lagers that still retains it's balance and original concept of the little brother. Flavor wave rides heavy with cereal malts and deep honey sweetness, fresh baked split wheat toasted with honey and butter describes the meat of the malt backbone. Hop profile doesn't bash you but you fully understand why Dortmunder Gold is such a world class beer. More flowery hops with herbal and grassy layers very noble hop esque in general. Definitely worth the hype of this very limited released brew. Mouthfeel is pretty clean nothing heavy sitting on the palate, carbonation is even very smooth 7.5 abv is barely noticeable very balanced yet flavorful. Drinkability is solid all around something I would down few more of if I had more than a four pack, btw I picked this one up in Wintersville, OH at Valley Wine Cellar for 8.99 for four. Get this limited brew while you can.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a Strange)

A- This beer has a crystal clear warm copper colored body with a creamy beige head that is thick and sticks to the glass with each sip. There is a swirl of microbubbles that support the head.

S- The slightly sweet smell of Vienna malt has a perfumed sulfur note to it, followed by a slight musty note in the finish.

T- The slightly sweet lightly toasted malt note has a sulfury pine and noble hop flavor followed by a sulfury dry finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel from the thick head and a soft alcohol heat in the finish.

D- This beer has a smooth yet full flavor of malt that supports a nice hoppy flavor. This is a nice lager with malt and hop flavors big enough to overpower the dry sulfur punch at the finish. It was nice to taste noble hops blended with other pine hops.

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Photo of pwoods
4.11/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. brown bottle, purchased at Belmont Party Supply, poured into a flute. Fresh as can be.

A: Pours much darker than the original Dort Gold, pretty much textbook copper, rich and with great clarity. A strong 2 finger heads forms pearly white and holds very nicely. Loads of sticky lacing.

S: Lots of toasted grains and nutty with a massive husky aroma. Maybe a bit of smoke character in the back. A touch of grainy alcohol.

T/M: Hops are definitely more potent than in the original. Saaz I'm guessing, very spicy with tons of black pepper bite. Grains are still very prominent with the toasted and husky qualities. Has a pleasant sweetness that takes a bit to break through all the robust malt flavors. Alcohol also slowly kicks into gear and is quite present as it warms past 50 degrees. Body is around medium, maybe a touch under, and carbonation lends a nice smoothness.

D: Obviously not as drinkable as the original but a good and interesting pick for a 20th Anniversary. I'm very glad they didn't do the cliche RIS or DIPA, though I'm really looking forward to my trip upstate when they release BA Blackout again.

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Photo of LordofTime25
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured to a clear yellowish/orange with a white creamy head that lasted during the whole drink and left a lot of lacing.

Can smell the yeasts and grains in the brew with a earthy smell to it as well.

Has upfront sweetness then a nice bitterness that finishes with a dry sweetness.

Brew is medium bodied with a crisp carbonation!

A very easy drinking brew. Could drink several!

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Photo of cokes
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautifully clear, lightly toasted golden with a healthy and lasting stack of soiled white foam.
Fresh dinner rolls, caramel apples, and prairie flower hops dot the nose.
It enters with that same dry and bready, yet astonishingly full maltiness of the standard Dortmunder Gold. It sweetens further (hinting at maibock territory) with apple and caramel suggestions. A touch of honey is followed with a dry, crushed herb and flower petal hop bitterness.
Medium body with low carbonation, that peters out even more given time.
This is by all means delicious. "Imperial Dortmunder" is something of a stretch, and it is less that than a slightly fatter, lazier, fuller doppelganger of the regular version.
When it's template is damn near perfect (still is, just had one on this one's heels), this fails to feel all that special.
Regardless, a very solid brew by one of the best breweries in the world. Hurrah for 20 years of definative beers.

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Photo of Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very clean, very refreshing and nothing like it. A tad cheesy aroma, dissipitates in time. Purchased at the new Village Mart. Short lasting head, light colour. Medium plus mouthfeel. Drying aftertaste. Very drinkable. Dry hopping and malt, works for mer and good with food.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, Maproom in Chicago

I have been interested in trying this despite being warned that it was a bit of a flop so i was excited to see it on the bottle list at the maproom - reviewed from cellphone notes

apppearance: poured into a pint glass, golden orange grainy body with some light white lace

smell: dry malts, high sweetness, grain, biscuity, a touch metallic

taste: this beer doesnt hold a candle to the original. It's got too much alcohol, its too sweet, and too grainy. Not every style needs to be imperialized (imperial non-alcoholic, etc) and the dortmunder is a prime example of this

mouthfeel: syrupy, too sweet

drinkability: not great

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

Appearance: It's very clear and golden in color. It looks slightly amber at times. Just a touch of an orange hue to it. Head is vanilla colored and about two fingers deep. It dissipated pretty quickly and left a spotty coat of lace on the glass.

Smell: It's sweet smelling initially. There's a blend of lemon and light orange citrus aromas to start it off. It's got a nice hoppy smell that's enticing. Grainy and earthy scents are prevalent in addition to it being slightly yeasty. It's straight forward and uncomplicated, but a nice smelling beer nonetheless.

Taste: It's a little sweet and fruity up front. There is a light lemon flavor in there. The nose features a stronger fruity presence. Hops are strong and bitter. Stronger than I was expecting. Very nice surprise. It's definitely earthy and grainy. There's a slight spicy aspect to it that may be pepper. It's not strong enough for me to identify the spice individually. But, it's well done and a nice touch. It finishes yeasty or biscuity and a little dry.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied. Definitely thicker than the original Dortmunder. It results in an extremely smooth and creamy feel. Great Lakes once again nailed the mouthfeel. Carbonation is active and gives it a crisp bite. Drinkability is extremely high. Despite it being 7.5%, I could drink a number of these.

I was a little skeptical of the Imperial Dortmunder style when I heard about this beer. But, I'm a believer. Great Lakes brewed the perfect beer for their 20th anniversary. It's a classic representation of everything that is Great Lakes. Straight forward, damn tasty, smooth as can be, and extremely drinkable. Happy 20th! Looking forward to many more to come.

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Photo of dailyminefield
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of jheberle
5/5  rDev +28.5%

Photo of jay_schrock
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of russpowell
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

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Photo of Shumista
3.39/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a plain pint glass.

A- This beer has a very nice color to it. It pours a translucent golden orange with a creamy 1 finger head.
S- Bit of a letdown here. Not necessarily a weak aroma for a lager but nothing smells "imperial" about the aroma at all. I smell sweet malts and some hoppy bitterness, but I can't discern much else.
T- Lots of sweet malts was the first thing I noticed. A little bit of hops at the end are noticeable. The aftertaste though I cannot describe it isn't particularly pleasant.
M- One area where the beer does an excellent job. Thick and creamy. The alcohol content is not noticeable at all.
D- Honestly one is enough for me.

When I heard that Great Lakes was brewing this beer for their 20th anniversary I was really excited to get a hold of some and try it. I think that now that I finally got to try it my expectations were too high, and that's why this beer seems like a bit of a letdown to me.
By no means is this a bad beer, I just expected to be blown away by it and I wasn't.
Given the choice between this and a regular Dortmunder Gold, I think I would choose the regular Dortmunder.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the GLBC on 8/22/08. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear, dark, burnt gold color with a thin off-white colored head. Retains well around the edges, with some thin wisps across the center, leaving some decent lace behind. The aroma for some reason is a bit subdued but I do pick up bready malts (with a touch of caramel) and citric fruit notes that seem to be the bulk of the smell. I'm also picking up a bit of hop profile in the back as well.

Now the taste is more like it, being much more pronounced and assertive. Big malty backbone of bisquits and toffee sweetness that props up a nice mix of citrus flavors and a floral tasting hoppiness that lingers on the palette. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a touch of beef to it and a crisp feel.

Not bad. The only characteristic that really screamed "Imperial" to me was the body but this packed enough flavor to keep me interested. I picked up a four-pack of this from the gift shop on the way out, so I'm looking forward to visiting this in bottle form as well down the line.

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Photo of beveritt
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Had this at the brewery with lunch. Arrived in a standard pint glass.

Appearance: No head by the time it go tto the table, but looks like it had about half a finger that had settled. Nice lacing left behind and a thing layer of foam on the beer. The beer itself is the color of tarnished copper and perfectly clear.

Smell: Caramel malt. Slightly bready aromas.

Taste: Malty with some herbaceous hops. Bready/biscuity flavor. Some fruity esters. A little bit of alcohol warming in the finish, along with mild hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Average level of carbonation. Body is good.

Drinkability: Really a very drinkable malty lager, especially considering the alcohol.

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

Thanks to shigadeyo from RB for trading this one to me.

A: Pours a medium golden copper with a small white head. big initial carbonation but settled down quickly.

S: As soon as I poured it it was pretty tart and funky but after a couple minutes it took on a rich malt aroma.

T: Big malts with funky citrus hops. Seems to have a fairly good boozy punch.

M: Quite dry and sharp. A fair amount of bitterness as well.

D: Not bad but I would not want to have more than one in a sitting.

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

Great Lakes Imperial Dortmunder pours up with a moderately creamy white head that persists atop the bright, golden sunset-deep ochre body. The aroma is malty & sweet with just a hint of sulphur, spicy hops & alcoholic warmth. The flavor starts off a bit cloying with a rich grainy sweetness that is undercut by a moderate bitterness that creates a balanced, subtle warming finish. Medium-full bodied with a smooth creaminess and just the perfect amount of carbonation. Reminiscent of a quality Euro Strong Lager with more substance. I still prefer the original Dortmunder Gold, but this one damn fine lager!

PROST! Beertracker

*Trader's Note: Special thanks to goryshkewych for the opportunity!

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle poured into a pilsner glass, best before 10/06/08.

A: Pours the same good looking clear oaky amber as the regular dortmunder with pretty active ropes of carbonation bubbling up from the bottom of the glass, head is a bit stickier and a bit rockier than the unimperial version.

S: Cookish and biscuty malt with a mild citric hop background, alchohol is rather detectable in this beer and seems rather coarse and rough around the edges.

T/MF: Smooth velvety mouthfeel opens the floor for a pretty alcoholic dortmunder, but there is a richness that will pass you by if you do not give your full attention to this beer. Bitter in both the malt and hop department with a little dryness felt on the back end, a complex and intriguing mouthfeel. Taste is actually quite subtle (if a bit one dimensional) for a beer that touts itself as being an imperial lager. Thick rows of sweet bready malt wash over the tongue balanced by a dry noble hoppiness, not a mash you over the head pine and grapefruit attack, but a mellow floral kind of dryness. Carmel, mild nuttiness, honey, reminds me of a fall afternoon.

D: Pretty damn drinkable even though this beer leaves me wanting just a bit more, I was always going back for another sip so something must be going right. If you are in search of a well crafted and well balanced lager, look no further, if you are looking for something cheap, look elsewhere.

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Photo of quikfish13
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Frothy two fingered head poured with more carbonation than I expected. Golden body that's crystal clear, the off white head really helps make the appearance of this beer.

S- Sweet oranges and pineapple with nice grainy tones. Sort of reminds me of morning french toast...A little underlying hop tones but just enough to invoke nice floral aromas.

T- Very nice balance with a good up front sweet hop bitterness that just kisses the tongue. Eventually followed with some very nice malty flavors. Toast, oranges, maple and sweet sugar flavors come to mind. A good warmth comes in the end so as you can feel it in your chest. Aftertaste remind of of grapes with a slight bit of sourness.

M- Big and frothy, with a huge bold body and flavor that smacks your senses like a sledgehammer. There is flavor in this beer!

D- Very tasty and it's a big one to boot. A beer that is highly drinkable but flavorful enough to savor.

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Photo of MichaelStoutBeard
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of ninner00
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

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Imperial Dortmunder from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 216 ratings