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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.

2,522 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,522
Reviews: 923
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 180
Gots: 210 | 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: 2,522 | Reviews: 923 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MinnesotaRIS
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with average body. Low amount of head that leaves a touch of lacing and very little residual foam. Rich darker amber that is very pleasing. Full aroma of Vienna/Munich grain and caramel. Toasty and well-balanced malt to bitterness.

Grainy taste that is a bit sharp in that it feels like a LHBS grain room. Deep flavor, robust in malt. Not as clean as a lager should be. Leaves a malty, sl. caramel aftertaste.

This one let's the balance of malt to hops stand out. No hop aroma. Tastes like crystal 40-60L. Good beer all around.

MinnesotaRIS, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of alexkeil
3.33/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Its hard to get excited about standard issued lagers...if it was a Marzen then maybe I could talk about the history or the amount of time and craftsmenship that went into making it, or how all the malts create this perfectly smooth, sweet, complex brew. This isn't a bad beer, and as far as lagers go it is everything I'm looking for. Pours smooth, amber color with white head, sweet flavor and clean finish...and when it was done I ordered something more exciting...Burning River. I would say this is a good transition beer when you're going from one style to the other: like going from porter to ipa? I like Great Lakes as a brewery and I'm really impressed with the diversity of the styles they release and the quality of each beer I've tried. Some of those styles, like american pale ale, I point to Great Lakes as a gold standard example (Burning River). So its hard to get worked up over Eliot Ness because Great Lakes has so many other beers that are better.

alexkeil, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of Jayli
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from beerbeerbeerbeer so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!
Poured in to a pint glass.

A: This beer pours a nice amber coloring with a one finger of off white head. Head recedes immediately and leaves minor spotty lacing.

S: Nose is light toasted malts with a massive dose of toffee and caramel malt.

T: Taste starts with a light toasted malt flavoring before the sweetness of this beer moves in. Toffee and caramel malt dominate the middle of this beer, although, it is not overpowering - it's hearty but light and not cloying. Finish brings through a bitter of brown sugar before a mild grassy hop and biscuit flavoring round this out.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, nice and crisp at first with a slight oily but dry finish.

O: Goes down easily, tasty, not too filling, mild kick, nice representation of style. As my palate has changed, this would be a one and done for me, but those enjoying a sweeter beer, this is easily one to sit with for a long time.

Jayli, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.28/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

When we first tried this beer years ago, a buddy of mine made it seem that he was among the Untouchables as well...in that you couldn't bribe him enough to willingly drink this again. Let's see if my tastebuds have evolved since then. This stuff pours a clear copper-amber topped by a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises caramel, toffee, and some very mild and light orange zest. The taste brings the orange forward, mostly in terms of the peel, with the caramel and toffee coming in later. In the end, though, is a short but sharp stab of harsh bitterness. This is probably what turned my buddy and me off so long ago, and not much has changed (though my reaction now is decidedly less vitriolic). The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry-ish finish. Overall, an okay brew, but not something I really wanna go for again.

TMoney2591, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of heebes
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. 05/07/11

Pours a clear amber red with a thin bubbly light tan head. Nice looking body, semi lacking head. Nose is sweet hops, some caramel malt and bread. Taste is similiar to the smell, good balance between the hops and other classic ingrediants. Very well crafted. Medium bodied mouthfeel. A real easy drinking ale. Great balance of the abv. Smooth, tasty and enjoyable. A deserving and well made beer.

heebes, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of dtivp
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a mahogany brown with a very small off white that dissipated very quickly into light lacing on the glass.

Aroma of sweet toffee, malt and bread.

Taste has a nice balance of toffee sweetness and a slight hop bitterness with some earthy, bread malts.

Mouthfeel is light towards medium body with light carbonation and smooth.

Very drinkable beer a nice smooth lager, not my favorite from Great Lakes, however, it was an enjoyable beer over dinner.

dtivp, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of RickS95
2.98/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks like watered down cranberry juice. Mostly clear, with a thin white head.

Has a smokey quality and if I didn't know better, I'd say there's some coffee hiding in the background.

The smoke scent comes through in the flavor, along with a typical lager's sourness in the swallow.

Kind of what I expect from a lager. I get mostly bitter and sourness on the palate, not what I'm really looking for in a beer.

Doesn't do much for me. Decent alcohol, but that's about it. I just don't care for lagers and this one is nothing special.

RickS95, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of claspada
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aromas of subtle yet enticing caramel maltiness underlined with light noble earthy hoppiness. Malt definitely more predominant however.
Tastes follow the nose, but are much more balanced. Subtle caramel maltiness is there again but the earthy spicy hops make more of a showing here. There is a light toasted malt character that emerges as this warms a little.
Mouthfeel is full and quite rich, yet smooth. The carbonation is spot on once again from this brewery and the finish is once again full yet crisp. Not as good as the Pale Ale, but still quite good, really enjoying the brews from Great Lakes.
Overall this is a great session ale if your looking for something for the long haul or this would definitely go well with summer grill-ables.

claspada, Mar 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 brewdoc75
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber-mahogany in color. A just off-white head sits on top. Ample at first, but dies fast to a lace. Some lace down the sides of the glass.

S: Rich maltiness. Deep caramel notes. Some dark fruit. Rich melanoidan character. Finishes with some subtle breadiness. Almost smells like a bock. A hint of metal in the end.

T: Beautiful malt flavors. Heavy munich malt character. This beer starts out with rich toffee/caramel flavor which rounds out to a bready flavor. There are definitely some rich melanoidans in this beer. Not quite as strong as you would find in a bock, but definitely there. The hops provide ample bitterness to balance things out. This beer is very flavorful, but at the same time appropriately restrained. Great balance of flavors.

M: Sharp on the tongue at first. Finishes crisp and a little sticky. Dry enough for you to want to drink more. Moderate carbonation.

D: Yet another excellent beer from Great Lakes. This brewery definitely knows how to make their lagers. This is an excellent example of a vienna style lager. Lots of malt flavor, but at the same time restrained enough to be very drinkable. One of the best examples for the style. A must try if you like good lagers.

brewdoc75, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of mschofield
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful caramel gold topped with a one finger creamy khaki head, well carbonated leaves sticky webs of lacing down the glass as the beer is all too quickly drank.

Malty, clean aroma, spicy noble type hop with caramel and toast. Caramel increases with warming.

Malty, bready munichy taste. Spicy hops and there is a fair amount of bitterness, pretty hoppy for a Vienna. Touch of raisiny caramel.

Medium to full bodied, session beer drinkability if it wasn't for the 6.2% ABV

excellent, thanks to radioscooter for the sample

mschofield, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of AwYeh
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, best by 4/6/11, poured into tulip pint. Updated 8/17/12, on a bottle best by 10/18/12.

A: Pours a clear, amber reddish color, with a finger of foamy, dense, off-white head. Good retention and lacing.

S: Delicious fresh bread aroma really carries things, with a significant touch of yeast (which smells like baker's yeast in this context). Sweet caramel malts, hints of brown sugar, and light earthy hops accent the aroma.

T: The caramel flavors from the smell start things off here, before quickly giving way to a bready, earthy, and slightly grassy flavor. Finish is bitter, bready, and lightly tangy. Very strong taste- pass one of these along to anyone who says they don't drink lagers because they're too watery, or anything like that.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation; leads to a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

D: Solid beer from Great Lakes; I'm enjoying this one more after revisiting it a couple of times. I had this bottle from a 12-pack sampler that I bought to revisit some of their beers, but it's tempting me to try this on tap when I get a chance. If you're looking for a beer with strong malt flavors that isn't too sweet, this one's a great bet.

AwYeh, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of zeledonia
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From notes, enjoyed October 2010.

I don't generally like lagers, with a few exceptions. But this beer really wowed me, and will definitely become a staple for me. It's a wonderful golden amber lager, very refreshing, with a smooth but sparkly mouthfeel. Flavor is mellow but surprisingly complex. Clean, crisp, and malty, almost perfectly balanced. Simply Delicious. A fantastic summer session beer.

zeledonia, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of assmandugle
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich amber color with an impressive white head. Has a malted aroma almost like a Killians Irish Red on steroids (both being vienna lagers). Has nice carbonation and a good mouth feel. Taste is remarkable. Goes down smooth. I'd recommend this beer. I'd like to go have it on tap straight from the brewpub.

assmandugle, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of Looneybiz
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass and the look was pretty amazing. Deep amber red with about an inch of head. The head didnt stick around too long but still the color is really pleasant. Its truly a beauty to look at.

Upon tasting I got some rich hop flavor with some sweetness afterwards. Definetely not too bitter but just enough to make me really enjoy it.

I would absolutely buy a 12 pack and Great Lakes has proven to make very tasty beers at an affordable price.

Looneybiz, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of Murrdogg
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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

Murrdogg, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of CPeterson
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A -- A clear rusty amber brew that pours to a single finger off white head that settles to a thin skim and leaves splotchy lacing.

S -- Big toffee and caramel scents, toasted malts, and a smooth sweetness.

T -- Very malt focused, naturally; caramel and toffee are present, along with a hint of toasted graininess and floral / aromatic hops that round out and balance the sweetness.

M -- Full bodied for the style, almost a little heavy. Slightly drying with a light carbonation that equalize each other.

D -- Very nice offering. I have to be honest, I tried a bottle previous to this review and it was off. I'm not sure if it was coded or just a bad seal or what, but I'm happy I tried again. Solid brew.

CPeterson, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of Jesse13713
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearence - Four full fingers of head on this one. Pours a brilliant classic cigar brown that is surpisingly transparent. A slight amber tint as well.

Smell - Overpowering malt with a slight hop smell as well.

Taste - Very unique and distinct. Very malty with a smooth bread-like amber red ale taste. Definitely a top competitor for my top amber ales/lagers. The finish is where this brew really shines. It's sweet hop taste in unlike anything else.

Mouthfeel - You can taste more of the hops when you swish it around your mouth. Light bodied.

Drinkability - Absolutely delicious. I could drink this beer all night long and never get sick of it. I look forward to every sip I take.

Verdict - I have had this beer a couple times before and have not once been disappointed with it. My favorite beer from Great Lakes.

Jesse13713, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of Lookalive07
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very tasty beer. Exceptional color and smell, and pretty easy to drink despite its slightly heavier appearance. I would definitely recommend this beer to even a casual beer drinker welling to expand their beer horizons and try something different and interesting.

Lookalive07, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of Sneers
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank 2 months before best-by date; poured into a pint glass.

Pours a brilliant, crystal clear copper capped by a persistent eggshell head, which some amber around the edges.

The nose isn't very aromatic, but that's expected for the style, and it is dominated by the malt. Malty and clean with a little bit of toastiness and just a hint of caramel sweetness. No real hop aroma of which to speak.

Like in the nose, the taste is malt-driven, but unlike the nose, the hops make themselves present (from what I understand, this is a fairly strong version of the traditional Vienna lager, and I'm sure this is a part of that status). The hops do little to impart much of their own flavor, save bitterness, and maybe a slightly spicy taste on the finish; they are assertive, but restrained. While not possessing an aggressive flavor, Eliot Ness is rich and smooth, with a wonderful bland of malt and hop presence. The finish is pretty dry, slightly bitter, and actually feels faintly tannic.

Mouthfeel is medium-thin and very smooth. Oh, so easy to drink as well.

Probably 19/20 beers I have are ales, and Eliot Ness is a pleasant reminder that there's something to be said for a truly well-made lager. Highly recommended.

Sneers, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ah another great Great Lakes brew it seems, how did this one turn out?

Poured from the bottle into a mug. I didn't get to pour it myself so I can't describe a head that wasn't made.

Great amber colored body that is clear showing off good visible carbonation. The few head bubbles are of a creamy faint tan quality color.

Great bouquet on this beer, and instance of faint caramel and this airy malt and grain that just lingers in your nose.

Very unique tasting brew. Had this sweetness like a red ale with a big malt drop and bread. It hits like a bomb it seems for such a fairly light bodied beer. Some slight carbonation on the tongue but with really good body and full and expressive. Hop lingering on the swallow which is a real surprise it seems also.

Easily masked abv, could pound these back with much fun, another great tasting brew from Great Lakes.

smakawhat, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear amber with an enormous yellow head that has awesome retention and leaves excellent lacing. Spicy rye aroma with some strawberries, All-Bran cereal, cream of wheat, caramel malt, cornbread, brown sugar....very earthy. Taste is good: massive hop backbone with rye toast, earthiness, buttered biscuit. Good carbonation and medium mouthfeel.

CuriousMonk, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

BuckeyeSlim, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of Brunite
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Serving: Bottle with a BB date of 2/28/11. Poured into a Duvel Tulip glass.

Appearance: Deep, rich, amber red. Poured semi-aggressively to yield 2 fingers of nice, tan, creamy head which started to reveal some interesting pitting after a bit. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Mostly sweet malt with minimal hoppiness.

Taste: Initially hit with malty sweetness, vanilla, cracker & biscuit, toffee, caramel. The finish is crisp, clean, and slightly bitter. A perfect balance between malt sweetness, cracker dryness, hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Clean, crisp, smooth. Each swirl brings about a renewed creamy smoothness. Almost chewy.

Drinkability: This is a tasty brew that is not as biting on the finish as some Vienna's I've had. Goes down easy and is certainly satisfying.

Overall: Probably my favorite Vienna to date. I like the fact that there is a tad more sweetness to be had here than with some others I have tried. This will be a regular.

Update: Each bottle increases the realization that this is just about the best lager I have ever had. Other than Celebrator....I can not think of another lager beer I enjoy more. An Amazing beer that will always be in my fridge.

Brunite, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of DannyDan
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A. Pours a red amber with a thin head that quickly disappears that has decent carbonation, but not much in retention and lacing.
S. The smell is caramel, some floral and spicy hops along with some grains.
T. The taste is some hops followed by some sweet caramel. Than get some toasted grains and some sweet sugary malts. The bitterness of the floral and spicy hops are present throughout, but the sweetness of the sugars helps balance the taste ans finishes with a sweet, but yet slightly dry finish.
M/D. The mouthfeel is a smooth soft crisp clean finish that has a pleasant light to medium body feel that gives it a nice drinkable feel. A six pack of this would be more than satisfying while watching a sporting event or to make Eliot Ness proud while watching a police related tv show.

DannyDan, Jan 20, 2011
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,522 ratings.