Over the past few weeks, I’ve run a series of posts about the different styles of beer that rise as leaves fall, from a hatred of pumpkin beers to a history of Oktoberfest and an introduction to wet hop beers. I didn’t write the post hating pumpkin beers though I share Brent’s views. I do enjoy a good Oktoberfest beer, and wet hop beers are okay, but only 1 beer gets me really excited for fall. That beer is Great Lakes Nosferatu.
Taken with their Imperial Red Ale’s claret color, our brewers conjured a frighteningly good name for this new creation: Nosferatu. Let your eyes creep across our label artwork, and you’ll unearth film negatives referencing the classic German horror movie that inspired our spookiest brew.
MALTS: Harrington 2-Row Base Malt, Crystal 77, Special Roast
HOPS: Simcoe, Cascade
The dark amber hue of this beer pairs well with the name Nosferatu and the Dracula theme. It’s like a glass full of blood topped with a layer of off-white foam from a vicious dog frothing at the mouth.
Great toasted malt aromas that remind me of fresh bread popping out of a toaster. Low hop notes, but I do get a tiny bit of citrus from the cascade.
Flavor follows suit with a lot of that bready toasted malt sweetness. There is a more notable citrus flavor here. A bitter hop bite slightly balances the malt sweetness, but this is not a bitter beer, a mellow sweetness wins the day.
Medium body, medium carbonation, and a clean finish. The 8% ABV brings with it a subtle alcohol warmth and two or three bottles brings a nice buzz.
The general guidelines for aging beer say sour, bottle conditioned, high ABV, and not super hopped. The 8% in Nosferatu is high of average so I’d say that makes it good for aging. Now, this was not an intentional aging. A friend forgot he had this beer in a mini fridge he forgot he had. A mini fridge isn’t exactly great cellaring conditions as it could be viewed as too cold to let a beer develop. You really want to be in the 50-degree range, not below 40 like a mini fridge is apt to be.
This 2-year old Nosferatu had a lower body, more upfront sweetness, and more back-end bitterness than I got out of the fresh bottles. An interesting note is that 2 years ago it was a “Handcrafted Old Ale” while today it’s an “Imperial Red Ale.” I think that’s largely a matter of semantics, but perhaps there was a change in the recipe as well. I sent an email to a contact at Great Lakes and will update the post if/when I hear back.
Nosferatu isn’t something I would intentionally age. The 2 years in the mini fridge didn’t do it any harm but also didn’t do it any favors. In the end, if you find an old bottle try it before you toss it.
Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror
As the quoted blurb from Great Lakes mentions, this beer is named after a classic German horror movie. There are so many things I want to say here. First, Fuck Twilight that is not a vampire movie. Nosferatu is a fucking VAMPIRE movie. This is some creepy horrifying shit. Based on ratings on Rotten Tomatoes this is the second best horror movie of all time! Luckily this movie is old enough to have entered the Public Domain so you can watch it for free on YouTube. Now pick up a 4-pack of Great Lakes Nosferatu and watch the best vampire movie ever!
Okay, that’s enough rambling about my favorite fall beer. What’s your favorite fall beer?