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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

2,802 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,802
Reviews: 973
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 227
Gots: 369 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Vienna Lager |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001

An amber lager with rich, fragrant malt flavors balanced by crisp noble hops.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,802 | Reviews: 973
Reviews by dowen17:
Photo of dowen17
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful amber color with a thick two finger head. Great retention.

On the nose is sweet malt. Lots of wheat and grain in the nose as well. No hop presence but I sense some caramel.

Taste mirrors the nose. More caramel in the taste than in the nose, though. Very sweet yet has a big grainy taste towards the end. Very sweet.

Mouthfeel is great. Medium bodied. Thick for a lager.

Very good beer. One of the few lagers I actually enjoy. Would definitely drink again.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pint served in a shaker pint at Pigs in a Fur Coat, Madison Wisconsin, 9/27/2014.

A- Clear amber body with a one finger tan head, good retention, leaves a fuzzy film on top, lots of lacing all around. [4]

S- Sweet toffee malt, earthy noble hops, some caramel, crisp banana bread, yeast. Sweet but not cloyingly so and in a refreshing way. [4.25]

F- Toffee, caramel, hint of raisin, a little banana (hence banana bread in the nose), earthiness, and the signature GLBC yeast flavour. This is excellent, not quite perfect but just about as outstanding as any brewer can make a Vienna lager. [4.25]

M- Medium bodied, refreshing and crisp yet smooth and silky at the same time. They did a great job on this one. Very drinkable, no real effects of the ABV on the flavour at all. [4.25]

O- Excellent take on the style, as I would expect from GLBC and their tradition of brewing excellent lagers. Why I never reviewed this before, I'm not sure, but I ought to get around to reviewing their other offerings as well! [4.25]

Photo of Jonoesh5
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looks beautiful with a deep amber body and tan head. No suspended yeast or floaties makes for a very polished look. Scent is in the background, nothing pronounced other than a malt blend. Taste begins with mostly malts, then gives way to hops. Notes of red apple were also present. Mouthfeel is soapy and carbonated with significant, and a surprising amount of alcohol warmth for a 6.2% ABV lager. Overall, a solid anytime beer. Great first impression with Great Lakes!

Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Newly introduced on tap at my local drinking establishment. Here goes nothing:

Appearance: Beautiful, copper red with golden undertone (at least in this light) with a tan head about one finger's width. Minimal lacing.

Aroma: Definitely strong noble hops. I like the slightly sweet, fruity aroma.

Taste: Ah, not bad! Smooth, slightly toasty taste, with some sweetness that doesn't overpower the lager.

Mouthfeel: Some moderate carbonation, medium body, and quite smooth. A very drinkable amber lager.

Overall: This is the way lagers should taste. The macro-brews obviously have nothing on this. I was very impressed with it overall, and the fact that it was on draught made me a very happy man. I would definitely get this again (and probably will).

Photo of PA-hunter
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 6.2% abv

Appearance- Pours a rich ruby-amber hue with a frothy 2 finger or more head with good retention.

Smell- A sweet malt smell, bits of caramel and toffee in there.

Taste- At first there is much more a grainy flavor than the smell suggests. This transcends into a sweeter finish, with the toffee flavor coming through later. Slight roasted type of qulaity to the taste as well. Some hop bitterness in there ever so slightly. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body; ample carbonation.

Overall- A unique and memorable lager. This is a good one to sip on as it is not super light but has plently of flavor. Not the everyday lager for sure. A great beer to try to divert oneself from the norm. Another Great Lakes home run.

Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.84/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass at approximately 40 degrees F.

A: Looks like free-flowing honey on the pour, which swells into a beautiful clear amber. Small streams of bubbles rise slowly from the bottom at the start, before dying away to leave the beer a deep amber shading towards russet. A thick head of foam forms, which slowly dies down to a cap. The lacing is minimal, but present.

S: Sweet toasted malt and caramel, wreathed around bready yeast with some faint notes of rich soil and ripe fruit.

T: Mother of god, this is a fantastic Vienna lager. The taste opens with sweet bread and lightly toasted caramel, before some hints of walnut, raisin, and pecan join in. There's some slight bitterness from the malt, as well as an earthen, loamy bitter that offsets the sweetness just enough. Warm yeasty bread with toffee-like tinges form the finish, which lingers a bit without coming close to overstaying its welcome.

M: A light, smooth, silky lager, with exactly the right amount of carbonation to avoid feeling flat without sparkling up too much. It feels heavy enough to impart a feeling of drinking a good beer, while remaining light enough for refreshment duty.

O: I have yet to encounter another Vienna lager that's comparable to this one. It's virtually everything I could look for in this style, from the complex malt profile to the slight hop presence and the silken mouthfeel. This is a staple of my beer enjoyment.

Photo of car2052
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a goblet style pint glass.

A: Clear, dark reddish amber. One finger of tan head.
S: Scent of baking spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, derived from the noble hops. Toasty caramel malt peeks through the nose as well.
T: Toasted caramel malt makes its presence first with a sweet, smoky taste. The malts give this a nice body. The hop presence comes out in the end as a tingle of bitterness on the tongue. Finish is neither too sweet nor too dry.
M: Medium bodied. Slightly creamy. Very drinkable.
O: Very good crisp lager. Reminds me of some of the Marzen beers.

Photo of taters21
4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a nice ruby reddish amber color with a half finger white head, low retention.
Smell: Piney and citrusy hops, sweet malt
Taste: Citrus, tart cherry, with a biscuit dry finish
Feel: About you standard ale feel, but somewhat heavier more towards a creamy mouthfeel, which is unexpected but quite welcome
Overall: Crisp, clean, well balanced, with a nice mouthfeel

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good malty-spicy beer,smelled like bread rising,went great with pizza nice high alcohol content went well with the spiciness of the pizza.I honestly havent had a bad beer from Great Lakes yet.Best brewery in the midwest,with Kalamazoo(my beloved Bells)not far behind.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just a wonderful beer and supremely drinkable beer.

Crystal ruby-amber with a nice but thin off white lace.

Smells of sweet toffee, toasted grain, hex nuts.

Tastes of tremendously malty toffees and caramels. Nutty.

Mouthfeel is sweet and chewy. Oh so rich and creamy. Mmmm…

Drinkability couldn’t be any better.

Photo of gangstafaceclay
4.54/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber red with a decent white foamy head.

In the smell you get a good amount of Carmel sweetness and some spices.

For the taste you get Carmel/toffee sweetness, a good amount of toasted nuts, some subtle earthy hops, spices, and breadiness.

For the mouthfeel it's medium bodied, clean crisp finish with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall this is a fantastic lager by Great Lakes..this beer definitely doesn't lack on flavor and is one you can drink and not get tired of. I'll definitely be pickin this up more often

Photo of Jgoth34
4.93/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: A dark amber, clear with solid head. Great looking lager.
Smell: Very clean, sweet smell. I get a hint of toffee.
Taste: You get the sweetness at first like caramel or toffee. Then you get hit with a nutty flavor. Solid taste.
Feel: Very warm yet light, could definitely have a few of these
Overall: A fantastic beer, looking to find more by this brewing company.

Photo of Mikus
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep reddish brown hue, very little head, lots of bubbles throughout. Slightly fruity, slightly spicy hop presence on nose... clean malt profile, slightly bready. Crisp and clean with some nice bite (bit of rye?)...Smooth flavors overall. Malt forward yet nicely balanced. Bit of grassy hop on the finish. Light to medium viscosity, nice bready aftertaste (light). Excellent lager (and I'm not crazy about lager). Great Lakes keeping it classy.

Photo of ARoman
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

*transferred from previous notes - 1/2/2014*
12oz bottle poured into an English Tulip pint glass. Buttery caramel, and fruit are the first aromatic impressions that struck me - a faint berry and/or orange citrus aroma. This gives way to a slight dampness / mildewy smell as the head recedes, but the buttery notes are present and eventually turn to a baked cookie smell. There’s also a faint roasted grain in there too. The head is a creamy, slightly yellow/brown shade, a hearty amount of which remains throughout the drink, and it leaves an abundant lacing along the glass. The head sits atop a very clear orange-brown ("deep amber" I suppose) beer. It’s mostly a sweet beer, but a mellow sweet at that.. It has some spiciness to it too - root beer comes to mind as there’s maybe anise or sarsaparilla notes to it, as well as perhaps some molasses? There’s some light roasted bitterness with an ever so slight hoppy kick too, but the hops only appear at the finish. It’s a astringent too. It’s a medium bodied beer with a decent amount of carbonation to it - although it goes down smooth. There’s a roasted flavor that sticks around shortly, but it’s a mostly clean finish. The hops also contribute a slight grassy coating of the mouth, but, again, it doesn’t stick around long. As it warms up, the root beer flavoring disappears and is replaced by maple syrup and butter (pancakes came to mind) with some slight burnt toast hints.

Photo of CIBoy10
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

By far the most complex Vienna-style I've ever encountered. Points for uniqueness. Heavy biscuit on the front leads to a surprising floral-esque finish. Quite boozy for the style at 6.2% ABV - and it can be felt as the beer is much heavier than say Boston Lager. As far as this style goes, I wish this one was lightened up a little bit. All in all it is a fantastic unique beer. Cheers!

Photo of Bone53
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Spot on Amber Lager look. Pours a beautiful amber red color with a fingers worth of light beige head

Smell: Sweet (caramel, toffee) and bready malts that balance great with the noble hops

Taste: Sweet bready malts upfront with hops on the finish

Mouthfeel: Pretty full bodied for a lager yet goes down amazingly smooth with a slight bitter finish. Very refreshing

Overall: Iv said it before and ill say it again. Great Lakes makes some of the best lagers i have had from this country. I think a lot craft beer enthusiasts get lost in the double and imperial beers and cant appreciate a well crafted lager. For what this is, its pretty amazing and the benchmark for an amber lager in my opinion. Great balance between malts and hops, yet light enough so you know its a lager. Along with Dortmunder Gold, this is my go to lawn mowing, bbq lager of choice. That's all folks

Photo of tectactoe
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a solid amber color with mild clarity, a touch of haze in the middle of the glass. Light beige head that doesn't last too long and doesn't leave much lacing either. Crisp aroma, almost with some fruit tartness initially; light berries and apple skins. Lightly toasted caramel grains abound in this one, with a slightly floral underbody. The first sip follows through with the crispiness of the aroma, headed by an array of toasted grains and malts, light caramel and toffee flavors. Some mild apples and raisin fruitiness comes through and sweetens things up just a bit. Slight hoppy taste in the background, a tiny floral essence, but they never get very bitter, maybe only a touch to balance the malt sweetness. Tasty biscuit-like yeast in the finish; thin body, medium-high carbonation, with a crispy, clean, refreshing finish.

Wow, this beer really surprised me, although I shouldn't be surprised - I've been very happy with most of GL's brews. Nice mix of hops and malts, not too overpowering on either. Great, crisp finish all around, and certainly one of the best lagers to cross my palate in some time.

Photo of punkindrublic50
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Vienna style lagers are a great style of beer - a little sweeter than your average ale, but still completely drinkable and full of flavor. Elliot Ness is the best that I've had in the style: sweeter malts are used, but absolutely no sugar rush and still a solid bite of hops. Smell, carbonation and appearance are attractive and spot on. What really sets this beer apart though is its balance and drinkability. There are too many good craft beers that are good, but become unattractive or even undrinkable after 2 or 3. However with Elliot Ness you could happily drink it all night long.

Price is very reasonable as well. If you haven't tried the style and happen across a sixer or even a case I highly recommend giving it a try.

Photo of CBOLAND17
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good full bodied Amber lager

Very distinct amber maltinessin both taste and smell

Good alcohol content but not too much which makes it a good session brew

Not my favorite but it is a good beer to drink

Best served closer to room temperature due to the alcohol content

Photo of sgoodship
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle. Freshness date 01/07/09.

A: Dark coppery amber color. Clear with subtle carbonation present. Nice fluffy one finger head. Immediate fine lacing. Good head retention throughout

S: A roasty, sweet and sour smell. The sweet and sour is almost reminiscent of lactose.

T: Starts with a breadiness and goes into sweeter tangy finish. It has a nice sweet, dry aftertaste - makes it feel crisp and drinkable. There is some hop bite but it is playing second fiddle to the malts. I can detect a nuttiness there too. Really tasty beer.

M: Medium bodied and creamy mouth feel. Carbonation is subtle and perfect.

D: I am new to lagers but if this is indicative of a Vienna Lager, I'm in! I could session this in a heartbeat. Very nicely done. Another cracking Great Lakes beer.

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Clear coppery amber color with an abundant foamy white head. Good retention and excellent lacing all the way down the glass.

S: Light caramel malt and sweet brown sugar. Perhaps a complex but light hint of hops if you look for them.

T: The first thing on the palate is a complex but even malty sweetness that stays together well as it washes over the tongue. The sweetness is predominant but not overpowering and very even in flavor. There are some bittering hops that bring everything close to balance - but still allowing for the sweetness to be primary. The finish is the best place to catch the hops - just a bit citrus in the linger.

M&D: Mouthfeel is moderate with and creamy. The carbonation is moderate and persistent. The finish has a bit of levity to it that makes you want to take another pull. I think I could drink these all day! Very nice.

Photo of skybluewater
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmm, I thought I bought a sixer of Edmund Fitzgerald. How'd this one get in there? Anyway....

Bottle says "Jul 9, 04"-Oops! Pours an orangish-amber color. Nice foamy head that leaves a little lace. I'm not crazy about the smell, but it's not obtrusive. Taste is all caramelly malt-very nice and warming on a cold rainy night-with a bit of hops that provides some balance. (This one actually tastes a little like Rogue's Dead Guy, although I like that one better.)

Even though I'm not an amber lager (or ale) type of guy, this one is pretty darn good (glad I have another bottle), and the fact that it's past due doesn't seem to have affected the taste (but maybe the smell). If only it was available locally...

Photo of generallee
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass. It was sampled on 6-4-09 and had a best before date of 6-19-09 on the label.

Appearance: The body has an inviting deep reddish amber color with very good clarity. On top there is a modest sized, just off white colored head that hangs on well and makes some nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: The aroma has some sweet and toasted malty character with light mineral and leafy hop notes.

Taste/Mouth: Its flavor has a sweet malty and toasted bread base with notes of brown sugar, caramel and toasted malt. Hop flavor is solid and matches the sweetness of the malt with earthy, leafy and mineral flavors and balanced bitterness. The finish has toasted grains and hops fading slowly off the tongue. Its texture is smooth and slick with soft carbonation.

Notes: This is an outstanding Vienna Lager!!! The balance of sweet, toasty and hops is spot on. Well done Great Lakes!!!

Photo of Duster72
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice reddish amber color with a off white one finger head with fair retention and lacing. Aroma is all sweet malts. Smooth malts with hints of sweetness. Some orange present. Very bready. Mouthfeel is smooth and refreshing. Very drinkable. Great session choice.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.57/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - One-finger head of light creamy tan foam than dissipates at a moderately quick pace, leaving a ring around the glass with lace and bubbles on the surface. Color is a reddish copper and clear. Held to a light, color is sunset orange and shows a trail of bubbles rising from the bottom of the center of the glass.

S - Lightly toasted malts and aromatic hops jump into the nose. Toffee and caramel in the background come out as it warms in the glass.

T - Very similar to the nose. Hints of sweetness mixed with the malts combine with the hops, which prevail in the finish. As the beer warms in the glass, the malt/caramel profile becomes more pronounced and the hops recede.

M - A bit foamy to start, then a tad thin in the body. Pretty well carbonated. Decent structure. Finish fades quickly, but lingers at the end.

D - Somewhat more bitter than the typical lager, although the rather muted taste profile fits the style. Not as clean and/or crisp as I like my lagers and a tad too bitter for my tastes, although I can easily see how this beer would appeal to those who want a recipe that leans in favor of hops without the tastes being sharp. The trade-off seems to be between cold/hops and warm/malts.

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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,802 ratings.