Great Lakes specializes in a number of styles I don’t particularly care for: lagers, a porter and a Christmas ale among others.  But I have always wanted to like their beers, because they have a great operation–distribution is relatively localized for the amount they produce (which is a lot–it’s ubiquitous in Ohio and Michigan), there’s a heavy focus on sustainability, and they generally seem like good guys.

In spite of its kind of dumb name and the bug-eyed dude on the label who I don’t want staring at me while I drink (yes… I know it’s some kind of ’20s reference… it’s not the first time I’ve been called uncultured), Nosferatu finally gives me reason to like — and truly admire — Great Lakes.  It’s no wonder people around here go batshit when it comes out every fall.

NOTES: On draught at Dirty Frank’s, Columbus, Ohio

STYLE: Imperial Red Ale

ABV: 8%

APPEARANCE: Dark amber, translucent

HEAD: Moderate in size and pillowy in texture

LACING: Medium, especially higher up the glass before I started to really throw it back

NOSE: Huge and gorgeous, very hoppy and floral with hints of fruit (like raisins or figs).  Smells like the best imperial IPA but slightly less sharp.

TASTE: Super flavorful–exorbitantly hoppy and malty–the key is it’s extremely well balanced.  The predominant flavors are good hops and caramel, again with a hint of a fruit I can only describe as “figs.”  A little boozy, but aren’t we all.

MOUTHFEEL: Crisp, with medium body and some astringence.

DRINKABILITY: Very rich but drinkable.  The balance makes it more drinkable than a Dale’s Pale Ale or a Bell’s Two Hearted.  Upon reflection, I don’t think I would ever get tired of this beer.  Blows other red ales out of the water and stacks up well against the best double/imperial IPAs.  Are you sure it comes from Ohio??

RATING: 3.5 Hops.


  1. Can you find their Cellar Dwellar? We discussed it on a podcast and I’m curious to see if it’s as terrible as the Cleveland Browns.

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