Posted September 5, 2012 by Kevin in Eats & Drinks

Lake Erie Monster IIPA: Sweet malty goodness from Great Lakes Brewing Company

Great Lakes Brewing Company's Lake Erie Monster
Great Lakes Brewing Company's Lake Erie Monster

I’m a little late in writing this review.  The Lake Erie Monster Imperial IPA is a seasonal offering from Great Lakes, and unless you can find a hoarder of this fine early summer brew, you’ve got about nine months to go before you can pour one for yourself.  Over the past few years this has become my very favorite seasonals from the venerable brewing company on the lake, and I always make sure I stock up as soon as I see it on the shelves at my local grocery store.

…the flavor of this beer is the reason I buy it every year.  It is incredibly complex and fantastically balanced.

This beer has a couple inconsistencies to the style worth mentioning:  It is a bit on the malty and sweet side, and it pours out a bit darker than an IIPA should.  That aside, I feel this is a well-balanced beer whether you find it on tap or in a bottle.  The aroma is very citrusy with abundant grapefruit and strong tropical fruit characters.  This one is actually bittered with Simcoe hops, a practice that certainly adds to the fantastic citrus character of the beer.  There also exists a malty sweetness as you lift the glass that, while a bit contrary to the style guidelines, really complements the citrus nicely.  After such a fine initial impression, the flavor of this beer is the reason I buy it every year.  It is incredibly complex and fantastically balanced.  There is an earthiness to it that entertains all the way through to the finish.  The humble Fuggle hop – used most often in traditional English ales – adds much of this complexity.  The combination of flavors can best be summed up as simply entertaining, if not just a bit confusing.  Speaking of being confused, this is a big beer at 9.1% ABV.  You’ll probably want to enjoy only one of these bad boys before moving on to something a bit less, well, monstrous.

This is one I highly recommend putting on your beer calendar for next year.  Cheers! 



Kevin has been drinking and brewing beer for more than 20 years, and enjoys re-capping the interesting craft and microbrews that find their way into his glass. Feel free to contact him at kevin@whopperjaw.net to talk favorites, but hold back on the technical questions – he sees himself as more of a beer nerd than a beer expert.