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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,562 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,562
Reviews: 929
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 187
Gots: 220 | FT: 4
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: 2,562 | Reviews: 929 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jasel
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smooth caramely taste, pured with a good 2 finger head, and left some decent lacing.

Tasty beer.

Appearance - Dark amber with a short lasting 2 finger head. Tracings line the glass as the beer is consumed.

Smell - Bitter caramel.

Taste - Very smooth malty, slightly bitter caramel with a touch of coffee.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth again, little fizz.

Drinkability - I could probably drink these all night.

Jasel, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of jfrank85
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a 12oz pint glass. Looks very clean, the way a lager should. Nice head retention and lacing down the side of the glass. Smells of yeast and malt. Very crisp and refreshing but also complex enough to add intrest. Another great brew by GLBC.

jfrank85, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of animal69
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i looked forward to having this one ; pours a clear brownish-copper color w/ a thin, slightly off-white head which dissipates quickly leaving moderate-little lacing in my pint ; a mild malty aroma w/ lightly toasted caramel notes, very faint dark fruit detected as well ; a rich, grainy, full malt flavor, a profile much better than most vienna's i've had, a bit of a nutty, date-like undertone mid-way ; a med body, but drinks a bit fuller w/ the co2 giving it a creamy effect ; this is an exceptional brew, i regret only getting 6...

animal69, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Who knew that a Vienna Lager could taste so good. From the bottle, the beer smells like fruit cake without all of the plastic-y and potpouri flavors. Simple and pure. Rich in dark (dehydrated) fruits of dates, figs, nuts,... Sweet fruits are structured with a big bready flavor and aroma. Full and round in the mouth. Not too sweet or heavy. Finishes very clean for such sweetness. A little added alcohol keeps the beer interesting. Seems to give a little in the body and roundness compared to the tap version. Still, a best-of-Style contender.

BEERchitect, Jun 12, 2006
Photo of KelsoSaaz
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pilsner glass

A: Beautiful, deep, copper-amber. Fine, khaki, 1.5 finger head that leaves patchy lacing

S: Sweet, bready aromas along with earthy hops.

T: Rich, but not overpowering malt flavor with Earthy and spice hop notes following. Very clean and sessionable.

M: Smooth with medium body and moderate carbonation.

O: A very satisfying brew, exactly what you would expect from GLBC. This beer pairs very well with food and is quite versatile. This beer really doesn’t have any flaws actually.

KelsoSaaz, Jun 03, 2013
Photo of langm12
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up on a recent trip to Ohio. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A - Gorgeous ruby color pour. Finger of bubbly head recedes quickly. Great lacing all the way down.

S - Sweet. Caramel and biscuits. Touch of toffee

T - Big caramel and biscuity malts. Touch of hops on the back end is a nice touch.

M - Super rich. Medium bodied with good carbonation.

O - A wonderful beer. Great balance. Super tasty.

langm12, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of PJHOY
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%

PJHOY, Apr 26, 2014
Photo of Apostlebrews
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great lager! The color pours out a copper-amber. The aroma is of toffee, malt, and a slight nutty sent. Taste is fairly complex. Starts with sweet malts and hints of toffee, and caramel. The carbonation carries the sweetness to a more bitter finish where the hops are present. I am most impressed with this beer's finish than anything. Love the bite at the end.

Great Mid-West beer from a great Mid-West brewery.

Apostlebrews, Dec 20, 2011
Photo of Brian700
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep amber with an off-white head that has minimal lacing.

The aroma is of sweet malt and molasses. It has a Maris Otter Barley Wine -like aroma to it.

The flavor is of malt, malt, malt, caramel, molasses, and there is a nuttiness there as well. There is just enough hops to give it a nice balance.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

This is a very drinkable beer and is one I will definately be frequenting after this one.

Brian700, Jul 05, 2006
Photo of mattcrill
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Label states that it's a gold medal winner, gives a little background on Eliot Ness, reminds me of the Bavarian Purity Law, and that I should enjoy it by 6/8/05.

Appearance: Pours crystal clear and amber with a perfect puffy beige two finger head. Edges fade to orange and there is some carbonation bubbles on the bottom.

Smell: Carmel, toffee, coffee with cream, some tea-like hop bitterness all gently fill the nose.

Taste: Nice balance between some hop bitterness, green tea, a lemony bite, some carmel notes, a brush of alcohol in the background, and a touch of a bittering hop finish. Some cool yeasty, wheatbread burps after a few sips.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, a touch creamy, and lively due to the carbonation.

Drinkability: Absolutely a session beer. I could see myself enjoying this all night long.

Notes: It is a great middle of the road beer. I realize saying that implies mediocrity but that's not what I mean. There is enough hop presence and malt balance to satisfy most beer lovers. It's certainly not an "extreme" beer but it definitely scratches the beer itch for me. Another good one from Great Lakes (is there a bad one??)

Strongly recommended.

mattcrill, Apr 26, 2005
Photo of MrOH
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brilliant amber with a finger of off white head. Really good retention.

Toasty malt. Slight hint of tropical fruit (pineapple?). The malt runs deep.

Bready, toasty malt. Slightly sweet, but not caramelly. Somewhat bock-like, but much cleaner in finish. A bit of cinnamon-spice from noble hops, I'd imagine, to compliment the sweetness. An especially great beer for fall.

Surprisingly light-bodied when contrasted with the flavor.

Quite a nice beer for colder weather and activity. It somewhat reminds me of a british winter warmer, but with the lightness and drinkablity of a lager.

MrOH, Oct 11, 2011
Photo of dmfrench
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A sweet and spicy Oktoberish Vienna Lager.

A: Clear copper-orange body with a lovely, persistent, two-finger yellowish-white head.

S: Bready, buttery caramel malt and just a touch of earthy, spicy hops... there's a bit of that stinky brewery smell in there too... make of that what you will.

T: Sweet at first, caramel malty in the middle, and spicy and bitter at then end. Simple, but not too simple.

M: Perfect as usual for GLBC... full.

D: Oh yeah.

dmfrench, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of dowen17
4.31/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

dowen17, Sep 21, 2013
Photo of mvanaskie13
4.31/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tall pint glass: color is amber, darker side, head is huge and tan in color, very fine bubbles. As its enjoyed there is very good lacing and great head retention.

Smell is very clean, mild notes, mostly vienna malt and clean, crisp, grassy hops. Very subtle.

Taste is also very clean and crisp. Malt presents nicely vienna malt creates biscuit, toast, bready flavors upfront, lighter sweetness and subtle fruitiness on the finish. Hop bitterness is noted, cleaner flavors, mostly grassy.

Mouthfeel is also very good: crisp presentation on the tongue, nice lingering flavors and good presence. Carbonation is just right to clean up any potential sweeter flavors.

Overall, a near perfect amber lager, clean crisp flavors, great mouthfeel and subtle aroma.

mvanaskie13, Jan 08, 2014
Photo of Mister_Falcon
4.31/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a gorgeous ruby-amber color with nice carbonation that resulted in a fluffy 1/2 inch head. Don't smell much that pops out in a good or bad way so I'll take that to mean this is gonna taste "safe" at very least. Nice, crisp, slightly malty, just a pinch bitter, understated. The beer is crisp, a touch watery and goes down easy leaving the touch just a little bitter after all is said and done. This one is really good if you are looking for something in the amber part of the spectrum. Can't imagine this every wearing on me.

Mister_Falcon, Apr 10, 2013
Photo of EliRix
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%

EliRix, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of mdaschaf
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes.

A: Poured a copper/brown color with a small, off-white head that dissipated slowly and left behind some nice lacing.

S: Lots of rich malt - some caramel, very sweet with some spices and fruit. Cloves and coriander and the fruit seemed to be dates and maybe some plums. Overall, a pretty earthy aroma.

T: Upfront there is a really nice caramel flavor with some of the spices from the aroma. This sweetness is balanced slightly by a slight hop kick that shows up as a little bit of orange actually. The finish has some nice bready malt and a little bit of dark fruit. Slightly sweet finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sweet finish, but not sticky sweet.

O: A very tasty beer, I was surprised at how much I liked it, but not really sure why (I was surprised that is). Another solid beer from Great Lakes. Extremely easy drinking.

mdaschaf, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of findlayfan
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium, off-white head.

Good smell, with definite caramel notes.

Nice, clear amber body, with modest carbonation and lacing on the glass.

Goes down very easily - reminds me a bit of Dos Equis amber.

Overall, a good, drinkable lager - one that I'll certainly come back to (and could certainly make a decent session beer).

findlayfan, May 22, 2005
Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A very nice amber look.

S- smell of hops and barley and sweet molasses smell in the back ground.

T- Taste of hops with a sweet molasses taste at the end of the sip but not to over powering just mesh well.

M- Easy drinking hops and molasses iin the background very hearty with the barley very filling.

D- Love this beer good to try other lagers from different states. If you can buy one and try it.


SamuelJackson45, Oct 06, 2010
Photo of fattyre
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium dark golden red with a large dark tan head. The mouthfeel is very firm. The smell is cookie-like and very slightly herbal. The taste is roasted malt with a very soft pleasing hoppy finish. This is a very smooth drinkable vienna style lager.

fattyre, Mar 31, 2003
Photo of CortexBomb
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours out a lovely shade of amber with plenty of frothy head to go with it. Scent is that hoppy floral aroma with nuttiness creeping in as well.

Nice deep taste here, Roast and nuttiness starts to come through, and it continues to build and build to a crescendo pitch on the back with a dash of hops, and a light rememberence left in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is relatively thick for the style, while the drinkability on this beer is excellent, very smooth. I'd label this beer a perfect candidate for 'bridging the gap' between macro and micro drinking, it's not as overwhelming as many micros, yet has more than enough character to keep your palate interested.

CortexBomb, Jan 28, 2004
Photo of aepb1
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Red body with a bubbly off-white head that fades slowly

S- Some roasted malts and some citrus hops

T- Sweet caramel malts with some nuttiness and nice spicing

M- Light bodied and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth.

O- An awesome example of the style and it's very easy to drink

aepb1, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of LacquerHead
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was a very simple, "down to the basics" type of brew. For a Vienne/Amber Lager this was chalked full of flavor. There was a caramel toasted malt flavor but it wasn't so over powering as to distract from the hops. The hops lent a slight bitterness and dryness that gave this beer a great balance. Like many beers from Great Lakes this one would be a solid choice for any occasion.

LacquerHead, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of goz
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear deep amber, with a small tan head that slightly lasts, and leaves a very small bit of lacing. Aroma strong on sweet caramel, lightly nutty, and some toasted grains. Flavor starts with caramel spread on some toasted whole grain bread, ends with a slightly spicy hop finish. Medium body, very drinkable.

goz, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful crystal clear amber color with a couple fingers of sudsy white head. Beautiful color that is a bit dark for the style. Not much of a nose to speak of. Some toffee.

Very nice flavor and mouth feel. Imagine Sam Adams Boston Lager, except maltier and chewier. The hops make a brief cameo and wave bye-bye as it oozes down your throat.

Very nice beer and an outstanding example of the Vienna Lager style. I'll admit I'm a fan of Sam Adams. This is a nice alternative. An excellent beer. Easy to drink and easy to enjoy. I'll buy this again. It would go perfectly with pizza, pasta, chicken, just about anything.

deadonhisfeet, Apr 27, 2011
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,562 ratings.