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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
92
outstanding

977 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 977
Hads: 2,939
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.27%
Wants: 250
Gots: 467 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001

An amber lager with rich, fragrant malt flavors balanced by crisp noble hops.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Eliot Ness Alström Bros
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Reviews: 977 | Hads: 2,939
Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have never had a bad brew from this legendary brewpub. Clear freshness dating appreciated. Too bad its not available in Canada. This is a very good German style beer. Goes well with food, perfect for appetizers. Well balanced. Two to three people to finish a six-pack. (270 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to whitenads for sending me this one.

Enjoy by: 8/13/14.

Pours a hazy dark orange-red with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, toast, nut, caramel, and earth aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, nut, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with solid toast and nut qualities all around.

Serving type: bottle. (608 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Shows a date best by 3-19-10 - consumed a month before "expiration date")

Pours a very bright orange amber with a firm tan head. Nose is oranges and honey.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with good carbonation and nice balance of flavors.

Full flavors of underlying fruit and then a nice rich bitter coffee that goes to bitter coffee/bitter sweet finish.

Flavor profile actually has a bit of an "off-putting" character in the finish. However, this is relatively complex and with lots of layers. (506 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev -2%
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. (617 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

G: Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Good, solid amber color that is quite transparent and has a strong off-white head with plenty of carbonation.

S: Strong malt sensation--the grains really come through with a tiny bit of hop bitterness at the end.

T: Quite omplex for a lager. Grassy notes in addition to the traditional malt one would expect from a Vienna. The amber notes are definitely there and enhance the flavor.

M: Fairly smooth with a moderate amount of carbonation. Sort of heavy mouthfeel for a lager. No noticeable alcohol.

D: Definitely drinkable. A little heavy for a lager though. maybe I just wasn't feeling this one last night, I'll have to try it again soon. (691 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a delicious amber ale thats slightly unconventional. has a very rich earthy smell, while lacking that sugary malt character usually indicative of ambers. the taste is great, featuring a layered malt flavor with a hidden hop presence in the background. a very sessionable amber and one of my favorite brews from great lakes. goes great with a bowl of chili (355 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a tight bubbled beige head; the beer leaves a nice pattern of lace

Smell: Caramel malt dominates, but there is a hint of hoppiness underneath

Taste: Opens with a nicely balanced caramel malt and earthy hop character that provide a bitter, almost herb tea flavor; after the swallow, the balanced flavors linger, with a bit of residual caramel sweetness on the tip of the tongue; the herbal tea element hangs on for a while in the aftertaste along with a bit of lager twang

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Rarely encountered, this is a very nice example of the Vienna Lager style

Thanks, rhinos00, for the opportunity (702 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a beautiful clear amber color with an off white head on top. The retention and lacing were very nice on this beer. The smell is malty sweet with some mild earthiness. The taste of the beer is malty with a subtle sweetness and a very mild bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is soft and creamy with a decent carbonation. Overall it's a really good brew, very surprised with this one... Disappointed I didn't try this one sooner. (450 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
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. (544 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a mid-brown color beer with an above average white foamy head with good retention. Nice malty aroma with some roastiness and some nuts. Taste is quite malty with a smooth creamy taste and light bitterness at the end. Body is fuller then expected and probably fuller then most Vienna I tasted before. Overall, this is real good stuff. (348 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear burnt orange in color with a thick head of foam that leaves behind plenty of lace.

Smell: Toast with butter, earthy and grainy, slight sweetness.

Taste & mouthfeel: Caramel and toasted grain with some earthy undertones. Medium-bodied, pretty chewy for a lager but highly drinkable all the same. This one dries up quite a bit in the finish, leaving a mild hop bite on the tongue.

Notes: Thanks Mike, really enjoyed this one. (444 characters)

Photo of emerge077
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice reddish-amber body, Huge frothy head that billows over the rim of the glass. Good clarity as well.

Aroma of malty, toasted cereal grain. Pleasant, not musty, clean.

Taste has a purely malty profile, light residual hop bitterness in the end. Very light spiciness in the middle. Not bad.

Mouthfeel is smooth due to the ample, balanced carbonation. Would be a great choice for a summer session. (408 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Gorgeous orange-red-amber with the accent on the orange. The tangerine-tinted beige colored head is large, pitting and sticky. Foam is already starting to stick in clumps to the inside of the pint glass. It eventually settles to a creamy disk and leaves a few unbroken rings.

The nose is an enticing melange of caramel malt and spicy hops. The flavor follows suit, though hops aren't very prominent, which is exactly as it should be for the style. Each mouthful starts off sweet and malty, with earthy and spicy joining the party soon after. Bitter orange peel is the perfect (mild) accent flavor.

The mouthfeel is full, creamy and... perfect! This brewery never ceases to amaze me when it comes the characteristic that I think is second only to flavor in importance.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness is only the fourth Vienna lager that I have ever had... and it's easily the best. There will undoubtedly be many more in my craft beer future, but it's doubtful if any of them will surpass this one for across-the-board quality and drinkability. Simply put, this is beautiful beer. (1,075 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a orange/amber color with a small, off-white, foamy head. It was highly carbonated and left a little lacing.

S - It smelled of roasted caramel malt, citrus and some floral/grassy notes.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel malt, a nice biscuity taste and a spicy/bitter hop bite.

M - It was pretty crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - I'm not a huge fan of most lagers, but this was one that I didn't want to put down. It is very tasty and easy-drinking. (483 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at Applebees tonight and it was poured into a 22oz Pilsner glass.

A - Poured a very nice deep burnt amber with a nice large white foamy head that rose up above it a good three fingers high before finally setting down and relaxing into a thin film across the top and a nice side glass lacing throughout the session. There was nice carbonation streaming up from the bottom.

S - The aroma was full of grain. Lots of earhty cereal grains were the domunant aroma here. There was a slight hint of grassy flavors underneath, but this was only slight and nothing really notworthy about it. There was a hint of some wheat as well.

T - The flavor was not really your classic Vienna lager. I would have thought that was what it was gonna be but it really was more indicative of a red or amber ale more then anything else. A very tight flavor there was lots of grain and herby like flavors mixed in with a earthy grass like flavor that gave it a little extra pop towards the end. The finish was somewhat drawn out with the flavor of bready like malts starting to come through more then anything else.

M - A medium bodied ale the carbonation served to lighten it up some, however there was a nice like slicknes to the finish. I would have thought it would have been a little bit thinner then it actually was but it turned out it was not half bad at all, and was definitly a quality ale.

D - I thought this was a fine session ale. Its profile was not too heavy and the flavors went together very well. I could easily see myself drinking several of these without any issue. A very fine ale indeed and something I would drink more of.

Overall this was good I was very happy to see it on tap and it was defintily very nice going with dinner. I would not say this was excellent, however it was still a fine brew non the less. I would say it was a good call in a pinch. (1,876 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
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. (267 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Thorpe for this one.

A: The beer pours a somewhat cloudy copper color with about two fingers of khaki colored head.

S: Nice sweet caramel and toffee malt aromas to this. Plenty of toasted bread/malts are also there. There is a touch of yeast and some floral and spicy hop notes. Very nice nose.

T: Fairly sweet, but not overly so. Caramel and toffee malt flavors are there with some toasted bread. Light floral and spicy hop flavor and very faint bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very crisp.

O: An extremely well done lager. I very much enjoyed this. (586 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, reddish-hued body with a foamy off-white head.

Smell: A well-balanced blend of sweet-smelling caramel maltiness and a spicy, white pepper hop scent. Faint hint of grains.

Taste: Smooth, sweet maltiness with a toasted caramel taste. Light graininess. A tangy jolt midway. Spicy, herbal hop flavors. Mild bitterness that lingers into the aftertaste. Finishes crisp.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A very lovely Vienna. I would have had another right this very minute if I had one chilled and ready. I would have been GLAD to! (585 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
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. (917 characters)

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

A slightly hazy, beautiful reddish-orange body is topped by a frothy one-fingered light tan head that holds really well. The aroma offers softly sweet toasted malt with a light touch of background hops. Very clean. The body is medium/full with a fine, median carbonation that's lightly crisp and then creamy in the mouth. The rich, full flavor of lightly sweet toasted malts is balanced by a solid bitterness which dries out the long lingering malty finish. It's not complex, but quite full. This version really presses the limits of the style, but in a good way! (563 characters)

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

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Thanks to Chad Ferris for this as an extra.

Pours a clear amber with 2 fingers of creamy off-white head. Nice retention with some great looking sticky lacing. The aroma is very malt dominant up front with notes of sweetness and toast. I'm picking some light floral hop notes and fruit in the back as well.

The taste is very similar with a thick malt base of sweetness and grain up front that is well balanced by notes of citrus and tingling earthy hops in the backend. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and a fairly crisp feel. Maybe just a touch of thickness to be found from the ABV.

I'm usually not a big fan of beers that gear towards the malty side but the balance and body of this really kept the drinkibility good for me. A very nice offering form Great Lakes. (824 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This one thanks to one of the large trades with Noslenwerd. Gotten quite a bit of Great Lakes thanks to Drew.

A: Nice 1 finger semi fluffy and thick head fades somewhat slowly. It's very a clear dark reddish almost maroon/cherry-wood-red color.

N: Some nice slightly sweet malty aromas with that clear lager hint. A slight toasty quality. This one even has some caramel and a hint if some fruit.

T: Starts with quite a bit of dark malt, with some toasty, a little roasty, and lots of caramel malts. A lager flavor, but not as much as others I've had. A slight sweet caramelized sugar flavor with the slightly sweet malts. A hint of a spicy hop character and slight grassy notes. I get a slight hint of booze despite only being 6%, but even that is a little high for a typical Veinna Lager I think. A slight spice and nutty taste too, perhaps a hint of nutmeg. Some juicy fruits on the back of the tongue too.

M: Light to medium body with a hint of syrupy feel, and lower carbonation.

F: Some bitterness starts to hint, with a little spicy and grassy hop presence. It dries quite a bit but leaves a strange syrupy sticky sweet caramel flavor. More lager lingering flavors. A slight toffee and roasted flavor lingering too. A strange amber lager, but tasty. (1,261 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from JAYW, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright red/orange color with a short foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is full of malt, caramel, spice and hops.

T: The taste is very well-balanced and starts out with flavors of caramel & spices and a light malt sweetness. A strong hops bitterness quickly follows to compliment everything. The after-taste is bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not very filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is a very good beer that I could drink for a whole evening, yet another excellent beer from Great Lakes. (834 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I picked this bottle up at Wegman's enjoyed in a willybecker chilled.

The color is almost bronze with great clarity and thick pale cap with 2 fingers depth. The retention is good and lace sticks well. The smell is very malt-centric with a nice toasted grain aroma there is a mild yeast ester which offsets the sweetness of caramel in the nose. The feel is great with moderate carbonation level and balance of malt with some hops adding to the texture and semidry finish with very low alcohol presence.

The taste is great a good bready quality which has the toastiness of vienna malt with a slight flavor of caramel backing and the malt is balanced well by an herbal hop flavor. The sweetness is a little more noticeable than when I tried this on draft, but I didn't check the bottled on date either. I like this beer a lot it is perfect for a single beer to sip or for pairing with food a very good representation of the style with plenty of flavor. (953 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz brown with a drink before date clearly marked.

Appearance: Crystal clear reddish amber in colour with a well retaining off white lace that holds its own all the way down.

Smell: A bit of toffee, a bit of toasted grain and a touch of sweetness.

Taste: Full rich and smooth with quite a chewy malt mouth feel. Very malty on the palate with toasted and caramel all over, just enough hops to balance and a dose of spicy/herbal hop flavour to add a complexity. The toasted grain seems to go on for a while into the dry finish which is reminiscent of toasted whole grain bread.

Notes: Indeed a awesome brew ... high quality and oh so flavourful, very hard to find anything wrong with this beer. A definite BeerAdvocate pick! (749 characters)

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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 977 ratings.