Dec 3, 2013

Great Lakes Brewing Nosferatu

In researching some information on Great Lakes Brewing Nosferatu — a beer I had picked up on a whim a couple of months ago — I encountered something interesting. If you look at the label on the bottle pictured above, you’ll notice the words “A Handcrafted Stock Ale” printed below the image of a lovely gentleman. Now, that’s no big deal I love stock/old ales.

The interesting part, or rather confusion, arises when visiting the brewery’s website. There you’ll find a PDF that has the same label, but the text below the image reads “A Handcrafted Imperial Red Ale.” And a variety of other websites have the beer classified as anything from an amber ale to American strong ale. So, the question is, has the brewery recently changed the recipe? Have they altered/updated the label art to include text that more aptly describes the liquid within? With no indication of an age on the bottle I purchased, was I drinking something much older than what’s currently available?

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of red ales, though I’ve had a few I have enjoyed. Nosferatu doesn’t drink like a red ale (imperial or otherwise). It also didn’t taste old, as in there was no indication that I may have been enjoying a beer past it’s prime in any fashion. In fact, the beer was downright tasty as hell. Malty, boozy and right in line with what I would expect from a nicely crafted stock/old ale.

So what gives? Different recipe? New label?


Nosferatu pours a vibrant, rusty copper in color with a small, short-lived cap of beige foam that fell to a full ring around the surface.

Great Lakes Brewing Nosferatu photo


Caramel, orange, grapefruit, malt sweetness and a soft amount of alcohol waft smoothly from the glass.


The flavor starts off sweet initially with a solid malt character that brings caramel and bready notes before quickly transitioning smoothly through grapefruit and orange to a boozy, warming finish. Nosferatu’s hop profile has plenty of fruity notes and a good bit of bitterness lingering in the slightly drying finish. This brew has great balance and drinks wonderfully with plenty of flavor in each sip.


I’m still not entirely sure what style this beer truly is. It certainly doesn’t drink like any sort of red ale I’ve had before and it covers the spectrum of flavors that I would expect from an American strong ale. I haven’t found any information yet on whether the recipe has changed or if the brewery has decided to relabel it — any insight that you all could provide would be great. Regardless of style or labeling, Nosferatu is a damn good beer.

Rating: 4/5

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