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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

2,194 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2194
Reviews: 914
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%


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:
An amber lager with rich, fragrant malt flavors balanced by crisp noble hops.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,194 | Reviews: 914 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of lostwars
lostwars

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours into a hybrid amber/maple syrup-like color with a sandy head. Carbonation is active and adds to the appearance of the beer.

S - Lovely full odor and satisfying warmth - undercurrent of new leather, walnut, and macaroon.

T - dark mocha, cocoa powder that turns into rum-like burnt sugar after 30 sec that gives way to a wonderful cloven hop lick.

M - at first carbonated and creamy, the feeling follows down the throat.

D - Mildly high ABV makes this a fun bottle to session and the flavors mature into the 3rd to 4th helping.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2009 20:43:35 | More by lostwars
Photo of tjwarren
tjwarren

Ohio

5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at a local bar and grill. 16 ounce draft at $3.00 is a steal. Have had it in a bottle many times.

Appearance - deep amber, almost brownish purple. Unusual and very nice. Not much head.

Smell - exceptional. Caramel, malty, hint of hops.

Taste - knocks your socks off. All konds of things going on. Malty, caramel with just enough hops to keep it interesting but never overpowering. One of the best tasting beers I have ever had. I think the balance is perfect.

Mouthfeel - it is easy going down, no bitterness, nice and thick, not watery, I was going to go less than 5 here just so that there were 5's all the way across but I just couldn't find a legit reason for it.

Overall - you will want another. There is nothing lacking here. Drink it nice and slow. There is no weakness here cold or warmed a little. The best lager I have ever had.

I am not the biggest GLBC fan but this is perfection. Bravo.

Serving type: on-tap

05-16-2011 00:55:24 | More by tjwarren
Photo of HopHeadRyan
HopHeadRyan

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me start by saying that I am a Pale Ale person...I normally shy away from all-things-lager...with that being said...WOW!

I become more of a Great Lakes fan with every beer I sample...

A - Beautiful crystal clear sparkling carmel-amber...decent 1/2 inch head that lingers...and leaves awesome lacing around the glass.

S - Sweet carmel notes, bready, herbal, slight fragrance of nobel hops

T - Awesome quick sweetness perfectly countered by slight hop bitterness. Definite grainy/breadiness/minerally. Delicious!

M - Perfect...exactly as expected medium bodied lager...not overly syrupy or watered down. just right!

O - I thought their Dortmunder Gold was my favorite lager...now I'm torn between the two. Exceptionally drinkable...strength of 6.2 abv very well hidden. An awesome beer that I think most would enjoy! If you see it...buy it!

I should also note that the "consume by date" on the sampler case I bought was Nov 7 2011. Today is Nov 1 2011. I was concerned when I saw the date...but the beer is still very fresh and perfect. This tells me that Great Lakes has excellent quality control and really know their product!

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2011 18:05:06 | More by HopHeadRyan
Photo of DesertRat
DesertRat

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am not a huge fan of pilsners or lagers. Jesus Christ, this lager is so good, it has more bite than a Paulaner, but is still so smooth. I enjoy this beer with a carb rich dinner or lunch. The honey after taste is what really makes me indulge when I start drinking these. I understand why this beer is a stand out across the world, even in Germany.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 03:29:53 | More by DesertRat
Photo of Gold
Gold

New York

5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been to Munich, Germany and Great Lakes is the next best thing in the U.S. for the greatest lager out there. Perfect, delicious lager and it follows the beer purity laws. This is high quality stuff right here. Highly recommended. The variety pack is a great place to start for Great Lakes wide array of excellent offerings.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2013 02:52:15 | More by Gold
Photo of Offa
Offa

California

5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is another incredible beer from Great Lakes and to me pretty much the perfect pizza beer.

Deep reddish copper, it has a big tan head slowly shrinking to rich frothy ring, rich wisps, some lace.

Aroma is strong caramelised toasty bread crust, winy/sough bread dough, woody herb, hint of dried fruit.

Taste is string, rich caramelised toast, strong woody herbal hop, toasty, peppery, woody herbal bitterness. It has frim balanced character, complexity, a warm winy-toasty-dried fruit malty sweetness to round out the hop.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2013 04:19:01 | More by Offa
Photo of RBorsato
RBorsato

Virginia

4.97/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A bit hazy copper/light brown color with a full tan head and nice carbonation that keeps the head present and leaves some lace. Nice biscuit and toast malt aroma with light hops noticeable. Toasty biscuit malt flavor with nice balance. Medium bodied and creamy.

The only negative I found was that it was not as clear as it should be for the style ... a nit.

Per G.L. website: 35 IBU. American Two-row and Belgian Munich, Caravienne and Caramunich malts, and Hallertau hops.

Enjoy By: 04/30/04
Tasted: 01/11/05

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2005 18:11:07 | More by RBorsato
Photo of Uniobrew31
Uniobrew31

Pennsylvania

4.94/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark amber with a thick tan head. Good retention throughout and nice lacing. Hoppier than most lagers but not overbearing. Taste is awesome. bold malt profile balanced with an almost sour hop profile on the back end. Mouthfeel is perfectly smooth with a great aftertaste. Overall this is the best lager out there today. This beer is what Sam Adams is trying to be, Great beer!

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2014 22:12:25 | More by Uniobrew31
Photo of dungledauf
dungledauf

Pennsylvania

4.93/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12 ounce brown bottle with a drink by date of April 29, 2010

Appearance: Clear, reddish, amber color with plenty carbonation. Nice lacing.

Smell: Very sweet smelling beer which means there are many styles of malt used.

Taste: Full-bodied lager with finishes smooth. Nicely balanced.

Notes: One of the most full-bodied lagers I have ever had. Perhaps decoction mashing is used. My favorite Vienna lager when compared to Penn Pilsner and Sam Adams.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 16:13:29 | More by dungledauf
Photo of Dray
Dray

Pennsylvania

4.93/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I bought this at a bottle shop and was looking to cross off some of my, "wants" on my list.

It poured a dark amber with a nice head, but it was the aroma that smacked me in the face. It just said to me, your not gonna forget me anytime soon! Then I drank it. Then I wanted another, but only bought one!

I have to say that after I was finished drinking this heavenly beer I smelled the glass for the next 20 min. While contemplating going to the store and getting more.
Must try!!!!

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2012 12:41:26 | More by Dray
Photo of spitInTheOcean
spitInTheOcean

Michigan

4.9/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

what this is is a gorgeous glass of beer.

it smell richly of malty goodness. the caramel and toasted notes are the most pronounced, but the hop note is subtly present.

the taste is sweet and malty. caramel and toast really come through, and i swear, there the finish seems almost kind of nutty, like hazelnut or walnut. its so rich it challenges an ale, but the carbonation is pronounced and unmistakebley crisp.

the finish is also nicely balanced with the 27 IBUs. but even with the IBUs this beer is like a scotch ale recipe made with lager yeast.

all that being said, this is perhaps the best lager i have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 03:41:41 | More by spitInTheOcean
Photo of dtreindl
dtreindl

Virginia

4.9/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! Everything about this beer is well executed. The head is thin (1/4"), but dense and yeasty, dissipating to an ultra-thin lacing. Color is a beautiful dark amber. Mouthfeel surprisingly creamy and the flavor is spectacular! They pushed the envelope with a flavor of toasted bread with a hint of dark fruit. They walked right up to the edge of the cliff without stepping over. They didn't overdue anything but packed this brew with a great flavor palate. It's just a perfectly balanced flavor. A little sweet on the front, little bitter on the back end. Not too much of either, but also not a victim of a conservative brewer going light on ingredients. The only aspect I could possibly criticize, if I was really looking to do so, I didn't get much out of the aroma. That's another reason the flavor was so surprisingly impressive.

Great Lakes is quickly becoming my favorite brewery if they keep up this superb brewing!

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2012 19:20:26 | More by dtreindl
Photo of RyFikes
RyFikes

New York

4.9/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance- Clear, dark amber color. Thick beige head.

Smell- Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, with nutty characters.

Taste- Caramel and toffee notes, little cinnamon and brown sugar. Hoppy sweet finish. Bitter coffee after taste, with a roasted nut quality.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation gives way to a lot of residual flavor. Full body flows really well from one flavor to the next.

Overall- Everything blends perfectly. Very well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2013 16:52:36 | More by RyFikes
Photo of AtLagerHeads
AtLagerHeads

Ohio

4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful dark lager; a deep golden reddish color. The half inch head is gorgeous with a luscious tan shading that hangs around a short while, but leaves marvelous lacing. The more I drink this beer, the more I realize how marvelously rich, and balanced it is. Each taste is joined by a pleasantly caramel-ly aroma. The fullness of the mouthfeel is enhanced by a slightly sweet, and yet somewhat sour start that ends on a pleasantly bitter note. As it warms a bit, the flavoring builds strength; either cool or warm the great taste lingers long and strong. A warming brew that you can stick with all evening.

I tried this recently on tap and it seemed consistent with the bottled version, although the head lingered longer. Combined with a roast beef on Kaiser, the combo topped off a Friday evening in great form. Does life get any better?

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2003 19:37:55 | More by AtLagerHeads
Photo of bigkingken
bigkingken

North Carolina

4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours deep amber, bordering on mahogany, with a small head that quickly dissipates into a few lonely islands and a ring around the outer edge. Smells sweet and malty with caramel and toffee right up front, giving way to floral notes with a hint of licorice. Full bodied for a lager. Starts a bit thin but then warms up into a medium mouth feel. Sweet up front giving way to malt complexity and perhaps some spices, such as all spice or coriander, which stays on the palette long after the sip has been swallowed. No bitterness in the finish. Extremely well-balanced. Hits every sense a beer is supposed to.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 19:26:09 | More by bigkingken
Photo of AmberMan22
AmberMan22

Minnesota

4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured from a 12oz bottle into my nonic glass.
Unfortunately I just realized this is past the 'for freshest taste' date by a month, but I'm not too worried.

Pours a straight-and-true amber, with a minimal light-khaki colored head. No lacing is left behind, head disintegrates rapidly.

Smell is quite good, though heavily sweet and malty, not necessarily a great balance.

Taste however, is phenomenal. This has got to be one of the best American beers I've had. Wonderfully sweet and malty up front, caramel malts dominating. Nice lingering finish of hoppiness (read happiness).

Mouthfeel is exceptionally thick considering the amber color -- and while I haven't had too many vienna lagers, I'd stake money that this is creamier than most.

Fantastic beer, I've been looking forward to trying this for so long.
Great one for my 100th review.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2010 21:31:26 | More by AmberMan22
Photo of MuchoCerveza
MuchoCerveza

Ohio

4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is by far one of my favorite Amber Lagers as well as one of my favorite beers period. I'm a big fan of almost over the top hoppy Lagers and this takes the cake. As soon as you pour this beer the combination of the smell and the red amber appearance make your mouth water. This is one of those craft beers that goes down like an American Light beer. I could have 6 done and not even realize it. Fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2012 17:40:33 | More by MuchoCerveza
Photo of WMEugene
WMEugene

Virginia

4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Absolutely stunning. Huge fluffy off-white head rests on top of a rich reddish amber color with great lacing. Perfect.

S - Rich malts, a bit of caramel and nuttiness. Some toffee as well. Earthy. A very nice smell for a Vienna lager.

T - Much like the nose; rich malts and a swirl of caramel, nutty, and toffee flavors. Rich and tasty. Perhaps the most delicious Vienna lager I've ever had.

M - Smooth, extremely drinkable. Great aftertaste, medium bodied. Nice carbonation.

O - Great Lakes may have the best "regular" line-up of any beer available in my area. The Eliot Ness is a fantastic Vienna Lager and one of the best lagers I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2012 23:32:38 | More by WMEugene
Photo of Luigi
Luigi

North Carolina

4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out a rich clear deep amber color, with plenty of carbonation bubbles racing to the top. The head is massive at first and through out the life of the beer the retention is perfection. Keeping a one finger head and chunks of lace sticking all around the glass.

The aroma is sweet with caramel malts yet balanced so well with a dry bitter hop.

The flavor is the a more intense version of the aroma. Sweet malt, with caramel and toffee note. Balanced out with a semi dry floral hop with a lingering bitterness.

Medium bodied with a slightly slick feel on the palate. Very easy to drink.

I do not know if I can criticize this beer at all. Just get some and enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2012 01:04:16 | More by Luigi
Photo of brianlg
brianlg

Ohio

4.83/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Have had this beer in bottles and on tap at the brewery. It pours a reddish amber color with a nice white head. It smells very breadlike and grainy. It taste very smooth and malty. You can taste caramel, bread, hops, and malts. It is extremely well balanced. I can drink this beer all day every day. This is my favorite Great Lakes beer, and quite possibly my favorite all around beer. I can't say enough about this. I wish I could give this a perfect 5, but I that's something I can't see myself ever giving. Please try this beer if you haven't. I will keep this in my fridge until the day I die!

Serving type: on-tap

03-22-2009 19:56:46 | More by brianlg
Photo of GreatLaura
GreatLaura

Ohio

4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love this beer, It is a lager but rprised it was a lager.gain, sureally reminds me of a micro ale. A bit of a burned carmel te color is medium, the taste is burnt carmel but lighter than say Rouge ead Guy Ale. Again, surprised it ws a lager. Great Lakes won't stand out as the best brewery ever but, you can trust what they put out as great quality and true to style.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2008 09:44:50 | More by GreatLaura
Photo of erosier
erosier

Connecticut

4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

L: Pours a nicer darker amber color with a medium sized and medium bodied off-white colored head that laces the glass very nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet malts, caramel, and light hops.
T: Really nice base of caramelized malts, other sweet malts, then a nice finish of floral/earthy hops.
M: Very smooth, light, perfect carbonation, very refreshing.
D: Very drinkable, if I had a 6pack of this and if I could get this around here, it would be one of my go-to beers for sure.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2009 12:00:06 | More by erosier
Photo of jifigz
jifigz

Pennsylvania

4.79/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A bottle poured into a pint glass.

This beer pours a beautiful reddish amber color with a nice head that is tan/off-white which, while never grew to be a huge 2-3 finger head, lingered for a long time. This beer is refrigerator cold so i poured it rather aggressively to generate a head. The aroma of this beer is amazing. Malt, toffee licorice, figs, caramel, and other candies all present themselves in a mild and perfectly blended manner. There is little hop presence. The initial taste is malty with hints of caramel and candied fruit. The end has a taste that reminds me of certain Marzens/Oktoberfests and then the finish has just enough hops to kill some of the malt sweetness. There are some basic mild toasted/roasted notes during the drinking experience as well. The MF is light and crisp with carbonation but still has great body and presents itself as a little chewy in the mouth.

Dare I say....a near perfect beer. I think that Great Lakes does some great work provided the experience I have had with their brews (which isn't a whole lot.) This is a beer that I could enjoy any time of the year and it would seem perfectly fitting. To be honest, I can enjoy any beer any time of the year, but this one would seem appropriate in each location and season. It is light in flavor yet rich at the same time. Chewy yet would be very easy on someone who doesn't like a heavy and viscous brew. I tend to lean towards a hoppier beer for everyday drinking (APA, A-IPA and E-IPA) and I also drink a lot of stouts and porters, but this a great lager. I hold this beer on the same pedestal as I would place Victory Prima Pils...another near perfect brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2013 18:37:30 | More by jifigz
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

4.78/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A world class Vienna.
Shimmering copper in color, with an impressive beige head that sticks around the duration.
Lots of sweet malts and caramel on the nose.
Big maltiness ensues on the taste buds. If you are seeking caramelly malt perfection, look no further. Like drinking liquid caramel nougat. Lots of toffee as well. Toasted, bready flavors are evident. Fainter, there is some raisins and nuts, almost leaning this bock-esque, but they remain on the periphery. Splendid tea-like, bitter herb hops wrap this one up flawlessly.
One would be hard-pressed to find a lager with a smoother, creamier body than this. So delightful. Literally slides across the mouth.
Incredibly built.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2002 22:34:39 | More by cokes
Photo of granger10
granger10

Wisconsin

4.78/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was some amazing stuff! Never before had I had a vienna like this and I'd be hard-pressed to find another vienna that was this high quality. It definitely had a sweet caramel malt that dominated the flavor but was not overbearing. Soothing tea-like hops came in to balance and add to complexity. More flavors ensued but I could not pick up on what exactly they were, they were good though. The beer's finish tasted exactly like the bread I buy from my local bakery. Light honey nut wheat bread that is superb! This one's a classic.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2003 07:39:53 | More by granger10
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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,194 ratings.