Upon pouring Nosferatu into my glass, two things were visibly aparent. First, the color of the beer stuck me a irony reddish color with remarkable clarity; no cloudiness in my glass. Second, the head on the beer was magnificently velvety and rich. As I swished the beer aroung in my goblet, the foum clung to the sides in frost-like lacings.
The smell? Hops, hops, hops, and more delicious hops. The bold “biting” hoppy aroma was colored with a sweet citrusy lemony/grapefruity element. I could almost pick up apricot undertones, but maybe I was reading into things. I’m willing to bet Great Lakes Brewing Co. used some quality cascade and/or Amarillo hops in this recipe. If you dig deeper beyond the hop smell, you could definitely pick up whiffs of caramel malt.
This brew has a great combo of bitter and sweet flavors; the biter definitively the dominant of the two. The toasty caramel is present and adds a nice sweet quality, but the hops–mostly citrusy, but a little piney–dominate the tongue. The delightful bitterness of the hops conquer the taste buds, lingering until long after the Nosferatu washes down.
A lot of folks who rarely stray far from the domestics at the grocery store might be turned off hearing that a beer is overwhelmingly bitter. However, one must keep in mind that, particularly in the case of this beer, bitter is not a negative statement. We are not comparing the taste to stale vinegar or pickled beets…it is a sweet bitterness that can only be appreciated in the context of a cool beer.
I personally love “bitter” beers, and this strong American ale had enough “bite” to tickle my funny bone! It was delicious, and I wish it were a little cheaper so I could stock up my fridge and cellar with more than a few! The last thing I want to point out is that Great Lakes Brewing does not use any chemical preservatives in their beer. Every brew is all natural, and, since it is local, here in the US it always tastes remarkably fresh.