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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.

2,190 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2190
Reviews: 913
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: 2,190 | Reviews: 913 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2003 23:20:09 | More by Sammy
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2004 21:33:30 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2008 00:15:08 | More by mikesgroove
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2011 07:22:18 | More by womencantsail
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

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

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 02:16:08 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2005 15:34:04 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2006 13:56:33 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2009 03:28:13 | More by Thorpe429
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 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!

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 05:37:02 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2003 18:06:45 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


3.28/5  rDev -20%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2011 05:40:53 | More by TMoney2591
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2003 17:46:58 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


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

Perfectly clear, brilliantly ambered hue...delicate, diaphonous lacey, foam, elegantly drifting down in size...aroma bursts out from first cracking the crown, fruity, yeasty, malty, a perfect combination...beautiful...soft, yet still a little spicy...
Time to drink up!
Mmmm!Nice, little hoppiness, then the mouth is washed over with caramel malt, toasty, rich, and smooth...notes of cherries and nuts on the palate...light bodied, but with a luscious, ever-tasty finish, clean and easy, but quite happy in the mouth.
Oh, this is good! Ohioans, you must be slap-happy to have this around, the best amber lager to slip past my lips!

And an extra cheers to tavernjef for procuring this first sample for me!

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2004 01:56:02 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of MasterSki


4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pilsener glass. Thanks to my buddy Robert for buying a sixer of this so I could try one. Best before May 13th, 2009.

A - Two fingers of orange-tinged foam that dissipates slowly and leaves a ton of beautiful rings of lacing. Orange-red colored brew that gets darker and more intense near the top of the glass. A few bubbles lazily rise to the top. Not sure what else you'd want from a Vienna lager.

S - It's got that lager twanginess, Saaz (or noble) hop bite, and plenty of bread, brown sugar, and toffee malts. It's nice but not super unusual.

T - Significantly more of the hop bitterness and spice come out in the taste, but these are well-balanced by the bready maltiness. The 6.2% ABV is pretty much imperceptible. The aftertaste is a touch of bitterness, but not overwhelming. For the style it's great, just not overly complicated.

M - Nice carbonation tingle on the upper lip and top palate - very refreshing (although this may be more because I just got back from the gym). Surprisingly medium-bodied, and very creamy.

D - The carbonation gets a little heavy by the end of one bottle, which would limit the session possibilities, and for me it's just not a style that I'd keep wanted to revisit. But hey, if you like Vienna lagers, this might be as good as it gets.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2009 20:31:56 | More by MasterSki
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2007 03:57:22 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077


3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2007 23:29:23 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell


4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got this one from pwoods, Cheers Patrick! Review based on notes

Pours an effervescent copper with an inch of sand colored head. Some head retention & average lacing

S: Brown bread & herbal hops once warm

T: Toasty malt, breadyness along with drynesss & herbal hops up front. More breadyness as this warms. Finishes toasty with slight nuttyness & herbal hops

MF: medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Great drinkability, really nails this style! Well done Great Lakes!

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2009 18:47:43 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a creamy, pale, Vienna, and crystal malt scent. It's smooth and sweet with a slightly dry lager yeast aroma. The taste is awesome. As far as lagers go, this is one of the best around. It's got excellent malt character as well as a smooth, creamy finish. It goes down easy with a slight breadlike quality in addition to a lager dryness. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good lager. It's full of malt flavor and is easy drinkable; a real gem of a beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2007 00:17:45 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh


4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer served on tap in a Great Lakes shaker pint glass. Beer is clear and reddish. Tight white head made up of small bubbles cling to the glass leaving behind a lot of lacing. Carbonation moderate to low.

There is a pleasant and mild hop aroma to this beer. Cool.

Beer is medium bodied and smooth. No real aftertaste but there is a slight bitterness at the back of the mouth. Good connectivity, slight sour from the carbonation, nice bitterness, clean tasting and really smooth. I would order this again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-13-2010 18:17:17 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000


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

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this beer.

The beer pours an amber color with a cream-colored head. The aroma is lots of biscuit malt. The flavor is toffee, caramel, biscuit malt and some fruit. The beer is slightly sweet. The mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation is medium.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2010 19:05:53 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80


4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2008 17:39:19 | More by zeff80
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2010 00:12:58 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a brilliantly clear amber color that shows a rich brownish tinged ruby color when held up to the light. It is topped by frothy, almost creamy, light tan colored head. Wow the aroma is quite rich with a malty sweetness that I was not expecting from a Vienna. The aroma is so sweet it almost takes on a fruity note that is a bit like raisins, or even perhaps a hint of cherry. There is also a light spicy hop note here that accentuates the fruit character found in the nose. Underneath the sweetness is a bit of dry toasted malt aromatics that are just noticeable.

The taste is definitely sweet, though thankfully not nearly as much as the aroma might expect. There are fruity notes of raisins and again a hint of cherry. The hops have a nice, though subtle, contribution here that is lightly spicy, every so slightly herbal and a nice balancing bitterness in the finish. As the beer warms up the sweetness picks up a bit, at times it becomes a bit too much. Most of the time it is held in check by the hopping levels and the under-current of dry maltiness; like notes of biscuits and lightly toasted malt. This beer certainly blows most examples of the style out of the water, but I can't help but think that this would be that much better if it had not finished a little bit drier; it would be a bit more in balance and all that much more quaffable.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2005 03:48:16 | More by Gueuzedude
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2013 00:30:39 | More by Knapp85
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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,190 ratings.