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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.

2,203 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2203
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: 2,203 | Reviews: 914 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of thecheapies


3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

True deep amber with a sudsy top that lays low after a minute. Laces well.

Bright citrus hop notes seem bright overtop a solid toasty grain. Clean and well-lagered with no aromas of husk or must. Good ol' two-row.

Floral hops and pithy citrus also. Lemon, toast, Germanic malts, faint grapefruit, and perfumy notes. Killer flavor. Awesome Vienna Lager that I'll always take over Penn Pilsner.

Easy-swigging with a spicy carbonated finish. Mellowed body measures medium.

A class-of-its-own kind of beer. Very good.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2014 18:41:14 | More by thecheapies
Photo of Chiefy770


4.71/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served on-tap in a pint glass.

Appearance: Red amber body sits beneath a white foam head which leaves thick lacing throughout.

Smell: Toasty. Bread and grains.

Taste: Sweet caramel notes. Full malt and grain flavors. Decent kick from the hops as this one goes down.

Overall: Another great brew from Great Lakes. Full of flavor and does not disappoint!

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2013 00:20:05 | More by Chiefy770
Photo of Kestrel452


4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a malt sweetness which reminds me of Sam Adams Octoberfest, however it also has a hop bitterness which comes through unlike the Octoberfest. This beer gives me flashbacks to the better bodied, sweet and malty Octoberfest style beers I tried (like the Sam Adams) but with a hop character added in. The malt character is very good, and the hop component is tasteful. Overall a great beer!

Serving type: on-tap

08-04-2013 03:27:20 | More by Kestrel452
Photo of MShirokov


2.26/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

I got this beer on-tap at the local bar yesterday based on the reviews, and expected a fantastic lager. At first I thought they gave me the wrong beer, but I double-checked and it was the right one.

It doesn't really taste like a lager to me, at least as far as the usual German lagers go. It tastes like.. well.. cardboard. My girlfriend said it after taking a sip, and I was amazed, because that same description was in my head the instant I tried it. It tastes like a combination of watered-down whiskey and cardboard. I hope something was wrong with the tap at that place, because it's hard to believe this is the beer that's getting such excellent reviews. The color seems to match though - a dark amber. So, it's definitely "unique" but I won't be drinking it again.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2013 04:20:51 | More by MShirokov
Photo of TheBrewo


4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This brew was served from the tap at MacGregor’s Grill and Tap Room in Canandaigua, NY. It arrived in a dimpled house mug, showing a bright reddish amber coloring. It held a one finger tall head of tight light brown bubbles, showing great retention. This left thick sheets and patterns of lacing. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared to be light. The aroma gave appropriately adjuncty grain, with significant contributions from pale malts and mild caramels. There were also notes of milky creaminess, big toasted breadiness, savory saltiness, red apple sugars, freshly picked strawberries, faint booziness, and solidly grassy hops. With warmth came more tinny metallics and straight bitterness of yeast. Our first impression was that there were great, fresh hops to blend, but the real show was in the spice and depth to the malts, and the other complex inclusions. The flavoring opened with apple sweetness, light milkiness, black pepper spice, coriander, toasted pale grain, and sweet nectary hop syrups. The middle came to peak with grassy, earthy, and sticky hops blending well with the toasty pale malts. To mix were clovey and medicinal phenols, and clean honey sweetness to top the balance. The end came with strong penicillin medicinals, plastic phenols, sweaty moldiness, lactics, depth of toasty (and almost roasty) pale malts. Hollow saltiness and cone hoppiness were the last notes to leave the palate. The aftertaste breathed of banana esters, grainy caramel breadiness, pale grain, light adjuncts, sweaty saltiness, musk, moldiness, mineral, and earthy and floral hop sweetness. The body was medium, and the carbonation was medium. There was big foam and cream on the sip, with nice slurp, smack, and finishing pop. The mouth was left cooled, with a sticky coating keeping it wet, and never really drying it. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank nicely.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the nice blending and balance throughout the flavoring, with emphasis on spice and phenols from front to back. This kept things fresh but deep, but made the hops work extra hard for the final mix. The soft slurp was nicely contributory to the experience. This beer stays nice to the style and is easy drinking, making it perfect for a relaxing night watching the game.

Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2013 19:20:26 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of SportsandJorts


4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Type: On-tap pitcher
Glass: pint
From: Old Town in Ann Arbor
Price: ~$13 a pitcher

Appearance: deep amber color, with a nice white foamy head that fades to a lacing. nice clarity and pretty bubbly

Smell: spicy hops, sweet malts, earthyness

Taste: starts of with some sweet caramelly malts, balanced out by hops. some fruitiness and spicy hops. well balanced and complex

Mouthfeel: crisp and clean. refreshing.

Overall: Great Lakes does not mess around with their year round beers. This is another beer that is unbeatable for the price. I haven't had a lager that competes with this one lately. An easily sessional beer that is enjoyable won't break the wallet

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2013 16:17:49 | More by SportsandJorts
Photo of Anker13

District of Columbia

4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1/31/13 | Great Lakes Brewing Company | Eliot Ness | Draft

Appearance- Beautiful amber, really great color, wispy white head, brilliantly clear

Aroma- Super clean and caramel maltiness, slight earthy hoppiness, yeasty fruitiness, light citrus

Mouthfeel- moderate to light CO2, medium-light in body, slightly coating, easy going down

Taste- Crisp and clean, a really great session able beer. Biscuity, slight toffee and caramel, nice bitterness on the end, flavor lingers, juicy.

Residual- Sweet aftertaste, sticky, lingering

Overall- I'm a fan. As with most beers by Great Lakes, this is a high quality beer. Not too sweet for an amber, just enough bitterness to keep your attention

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2013 19:49:05 | More by Anker13
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great Lakes Elliot Ness

LOOK: Copper colored brew, perfectly clear. White soapy froth leaves plenty of bubbly lacing.

SMELL: Bready malts with minty, herbal hops. Light caramel, toffee and toasted malts.

TASTE: Caramel, rich bready malt profile, and solid earthy hop presence. Richly malty, as well as clean and refreshing.

FEEL: Mediun bodied, well carbonated, very smooth.

OVERALL: Another very solid offering from Great Lakes. A perfect lager for any occasion. I can picture this going just fine with baby back ribs and a loaded baked potato.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 21:17:33 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of 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 Hopdaemon39

New York

4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap in Cleveland Hopkins airport- poured a clear dark amber color, with two fingers of bone white head, modest retention, nice even rings of lacing.

Smell is rich and malty- lots of caramel and some roasted barley. A little bit of citrus as well.

Tastes great- consistent with smell but balanced out by some noble type hops. Caramel up front, followed by toasted malt, to finish out somewhat dry.

Mouthfeel is fantastic- medium bodied, light to moderate carbonation. This is a great amber lager. Same style as Boston lager but way more flavorful.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2013 19:48:56 | More by Hopdaemon39
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stopped by a neat little pizza joint in Greensboro, The Corner Slice, and saw they had this one on tap amongst other decent offerings. Thought this would go well with a nice meaty pizza.

Came out a deep copper with a frothy white head on top. This head looks like a nitro-pour with its creamy look. Sticks around and leaves plenty of sip rings on the glass. The nose is basic with floral hops, fruity character, alcohol.

Smooth feel. Good carbonation level. Clean and simple is the order of the day with this one. Mild bitterness from the hops, but they don't just add bitterness. They impart a nice flavor as well. A bit of pale fruits round it out, giving this a well balanced profile. This is a nice simple beer that I think is the perfect beer to pair with any food. Glad I got this one.

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2012 15:18:36 | More by Onenote81
Photo of therica


4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really nice, pours a sort of dark gray-brown with caramel-glow irridescence and a modest off-white head.

The nose is decent and inviting, caramel and burnt toffee, rich malts, hints of noble hops and slight smoke, coffee and grassy notes.

The taste is at first weaker than I expected for such a dark inviting beer but then it all fell together and I became "enlightened" how amazingly balanced and multi-dimensional this beer is. The flavors seem to swirl and alternate and intermix as though they're alive and dancing for each mouthful which seems slightly different from the mouthful before. Nice malts, sweet and also toasted; toffee or then caramel; noble hops and then a hint of northwest hops in the next mouthful. On and on it goes.

The after-taste is very nice to savor and nothing off-putting-- very smooth yet enjoyable.

Overall I regret that time ran out at last-call and I didn't get to order another!

Serving type: on-tap

09-22-2012 23:00:07 | More by therica
Photo of cmq103

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from my 1/6th keg into a Duvel Belgian Tulip glass.

Appearance: Standard ice tea, dark amber color tap pour resulted in a nice ½” beige head reducing to a thin ring after a few minutes. Lacing was sticky, but minimal.

Smell: Sweet caramel-butterscotch combined with toasty malts and a hint of vanilla. A swirl of my glass provided a gentle hint of booziness once the beer warms. Not a dominant nose, but very inviting nonetheless.

Taste: As with the smell, sweet caramel and toasted malts attack the palate immediately. Mild hop bitterness is present in the middle but the toasted malty/nutty sweetness finishes perfectly. Absolutely delicious…One of the best Vienna Lagers I’ve ever had.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation was perfect for this medium body beer. This beer is extremely well balanced for sure.

Overall: Although a tad higher ABV than most lagers, well worth the exchange for the entire flavor this Vienna Lager has. A lingering sweet malty finish is what I enjoyed the most. I could easily see myself buying another 1/6th keg of this. This quasi-session beer could easily steer me to having a few in one sitting. A great all year round brew from Great Lakes. The Edmund Fitzgerald Porter is still my favorite from this brewery but this one sure comes in a close second. Well done!!

Serving type: on-tap

07-13-2012 01:33:20 | More by cmq103
Photo of Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From tap to nonic pint glass on 3/7/12
*From notes

-- On tap at Justin's Cafe in SE DC --

A: Rustic brownish-amber in hue. A two finger white head lingers for quite a while. Crazy lacing and a dense white collar follows.

S: Rather nutty. A strong malt presence balances a generous amount of earth.

T: Again, it's a bit nutty up front. As it wears off, the gently toasted grains fall in line and take the mid on quite a ride. The finish is bready, and a mild kiss of hops seal the deal.

M: Dense and thick. This is really a big beer at it's core, yet drinks like a lager should.

O: Great Lakes is one of the best in the lagering business, and I can't tell you how lucky we Northern Virginia residents are to finally have this available on our shelves. This beer is a "how-to" for those looking to make complex, delicious and easy to drink beer. Not every beer I consume needs to be crazy and sour or barrel aged. And when I'm looking for a beer drinkers beer, I reach for this a whole hell of a lot.

Highly, highly recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2012 20:54:32 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of claytri


3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer poures a solid opaque browm, just a bit dark for an amber. The aroma was a bit malty but nothing special. The taste is slightly malty with a bit of alcohol burn no additional flavors stand out. The feel is medium and wet. Overall an above average beer but nothing special.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2012 04:10:53 | More by claytri
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Appearance - Clear copper colour with a large size beige frothy head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Hops, breads/grains, grass, raisins, malts

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, nuts, and some raisins. There are some faint hops and a bit of caramel mixed with an earthiness. It ends with a malty/earth aftertaste.

Overall - One of the better examples of the style. It's very drinkable and has the perfect balance of sweet/bitter. Happy I had the chance to try it fresh on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2011 16:16:06 | More by spinrsx
Photo of PhillyStyle


4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Duckworth's Grill & Taphouse, Charlotte, NC:

The beer appeared a nice, deep amber color, with a nice thick slightly off-white head that was well retained, about a half finger throughout that left some nice lacing. Noticeable carbonation rising to the top of the glass.

The beer gave off a nice malty aroma with hints of hops and spices. Very full and well done.

The taste is very good. A smooth malty flavor that is sweet and very well balanced.

The beer has a medium body and very good carbonation. This has to be one of the smoothest and easiest to drink beers that I have ever had. Overall, defiantly one of the best Vienna Lagers that I have ever had.

Serving type: on-tap

10-04-2011 18:40:54 | More by PhillyStyle
Photo of xnicknj


4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at irish pol in philly

Pours a clear deep amber and copper color, with basically no head, retention, or lacing to speak of.

Nose with leafy hops, bread crust and caramel, bit of sweetness too, but fairly soft overall.

Solid malt bill right up front with caramel, toffee, and bready notes. Some citrusy hop tones join in, adding a nice juicy character. Hints of apple and orange with a light touch of cherry. Finishes a little bitter and juicy.

Medium body, decent carbonation, a bit prickly on the tongue. A solid drinker, the fruit tones add a nice edge, and I enjoyed the balance of flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

09-16-2011 01:19:26 | More by xnicknj
Photo of musicforairports

New York

4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewpub in Cleveland.

Clear and amber, with a fluffy head that goes quick. Served in a stein.

Smells like nutty, slightly sweet malts.

Flavor is rich and full of smooth, nutty malt flavors. Just enough noble hops on the end to keep it from being too sweet, but otherwise not a hoppy beer. Great example of the style.

Mouthfeel is great--it's full enough to keep this beer from seeming like a light one.

A really great beer overall. Full-flavored and smooth. Glad I got to try it. Compared to the other popular Vienna lager--Sam Adams--this one is more malty, less hoppy, and overall a bit more flavorful.

Serving type: on-tap

07-20-2011 03:08:28 | More by musicforairports
Photo of metter98

New York

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that slowly died down and left some lacing on the surfaces and down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel malts and spices in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the flavors of caramel malts dominate the taste, which has a slight amount of sweetness. There is some spiciness and a mild amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and goes down smoothly.

Serving type: on-tap

06-06-2011 01:11:32 | More by metter98
Photo of tjwarren


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 KAP1356


4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap last night at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh. Served in a pint glass...

A - Poured a clear, caramel-amber color. A nice 1.5 finger, eggshell whit head stuck around a while and left some nice lacing down the glass.

S - Carmel malts, breadiness and some floral compinents right up front. Some hops come out next along with a slightly fruity notes as well.

T - Malty grains, strong caramel malt presence. Hops make a nice showing rounding out the flavor. Nice floral/fruity aroma in the finish.

M - Medium bodied beer with only light-moderate carbonation.

O - Really nice beer and one that I would pick over Yuengling anyday in a bar (can't believe I just said that). Refreshing while giving you a clean malt bill that makes this a solid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-12-2011 14:21:45 | More by KAP1356
Photo of Rifugium


3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Casey Moran's, Chicago, IL

Nice and smooth, middle of the road amber.
Poured clear, reddish-brown with a small white head. Caramel maltiness aroma with some light nuttiness. Simply caramel malt smoothness in the taste, with a hint of light hops for balance. Bready, with just a touch of fresh cut grass. Light-medium body and easily drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

05-09-2011 16:32:11 | More by Rifugium
Photo of b3shine


3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft to imperial pint glass. Looks good, amber with malty expectations. Smell is its weakest asset. It's almost nonexistent. Tastes good; malty, yet crisp. Goes down nicely. Could make for a good session beer. I enjoyed it overall, although I prefer more of a bitter beer in general. Think of it as Killian's on steroids.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2011 20:42:43 | More by b3shine
Photo of Murrdogg


4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the GLBC brewery itself

A: golden, slight amber tone. small light head

S: Sweet smell.. I get strawberries.. Reminds me of a framboise. its backed up with slight malt

T: Malt taste up front, yet surprisingly smooth. Light floral hops

M: One word: velvety

D: This was a delicious and crisp Vienna Lager, but has a slight bitter aftertaste, but not as bad as other Vienna's Ive had. The alcohol is well hidden in this lager. Would be exceptional in the summer and in the heat (though, admittedly dangerous with the 6.2 ABV

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2011 17:54:14 | More by Murrdogg
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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,203 ratings.