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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.

977 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 977
Hads: 2,940
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.27%
Wants: 250
Gots: 469 | 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
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Reviews: 977 | Hads: 2,940
Photo of Zorro
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz Bottle sampled through the efforts of justcas and BIF across America.

Pours a good clear red colored lager with a thick tan head.

Smell is clean and a bit lemony with a solid citrus zing from the hops. Toasted bread aroma and toffee and caramel smells add to the mix.

Taste is clean and slightly bready at the beginning. Lemony hop flavor is the next thing that kicks in to the taste. Slight sweetness and the flavor of Nobel hops kick in about sip number three and this starts tasting like a lager. A pleasant and mellow toasted bread flavor forms the major flavor of this beer and it is quite pleasant and similar to a less intense version of Sam Adams Imperial Pilsner.

Mouthfeel is quite good.

A very easy to drink beer which is pretty much what lagers are all about in the first place. Tasty yet easy to drink this is a great choice for a session beer. (878 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a bright, vibrant, rich, amber coloring with a slow flow of carbonation bubbling and a filmy, wispy, low profile, off-white head. Looks fantastic. Aromas of rich caramel and nut, blended and balanced very well. Roasted notes throughout. Flavors are roast forward, with nut and toffee all over the forward tongue. Subtle hops bitterness in the tail end of the palate, with an overall tangy sweet feel. The aftertaste is roasted and tangy sweet, with highlights of sugary caramel. Smooth, light, and slightly crisp body, with a slight cloying linger in an otherwise clean finish. Great beer. (642 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When Great Lakes labeled this an amber lager they neglected to mention that it is in fact a dashing, exquisite and, dare I say, very foxy shade of that colour. It combines caramel and candy apple tones and illuminates most resplendently when held into the light. Its head is but a thin draping but is well defined when viewed from the side angle.

There is an underlying candy-like sweetness to the aroma that flutters into the back of the nasal track where it seems to gain passage into the brain and proceeds to tickle the cerebral cortex with a gentle, tingling sensation. Hints of dark fruit, berries and brown sugar assist in this sensory caress. I'm now expecting a big malt presence.

And I am not let down. All the characteristics of the aroma are multiplied at least two fold; their soft, feather-like titillation becomes an unexpectedly intense and all-consuming onslaught of plum pudding, gingerbread, packed brown sugar, black currants, dark toffee and toasty, rich melanoidins. Its port-like sweetness is never too far in the distance.

I don't know of anyone who has ever drooled over the thought of a Vienna Lager before but although it's not common for liquids to fall out of the mouth, you can be sure that plenty gush in, often in one night. What this style (not necessarily this specific offering) may relatively lack in flavour it more than makes up for in drinkability.

That being said, Eliot Ness is a surprisingly weighty and satiating member of the style. For all its sweetness, a crushing, ever-lingering bitterness prevails even longer. Its nuances and heavy-handed maltiness lend it a miniature barleywine-type quality, one that grants the beer a larger appreciation than is customary for most others in the style.

Great Lakes must have as many gold medal winning beers as they do employees. This brewery has a record of consistency for turning-up quality, delicious, true-to-style beers that I doubt could ever be broken (if such records were kept). The town of Cleveland should build a Craft Brewing Hall of Fame and make these guys the inaugural inductees. (2,091 characters)

Photo of liamt07
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with Steve and Josh, into a tulip.

Pours a copper/amber with some off-white head, that falls to some bubbles and a bit of foam. Some sediment in the body. Nose hold some bread, cracker, light caramel malt and light hop character. Some slight red apple notes. Taste is crisp initially with a good hop bite, some fresh bread, a solid pale malt base, slight grassiness. Good clean and refreshing feel, with a moderate lingering bitterness. On point for a Vienna lager, just how I like 'em. Absolutely crushable. (524 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a deep reddish-golden brown body with a good carbonation of big bubbles. The head is a light creamy off-white that last for a good bit.

S- The smell of dry Munich malt with some notes of biscuit come through with a finish of light green hops.

T- The faint bite of green hops and carbonation great the taste buds. Some good complexity of lightly toasted and pale malt with a slight dryness is next to follow. The finish is a light hop bitterness with a dry sulfur note. After each sip there is a slight sweet light malt taste with a faint hint of corn when it warms, that hands on the tongue for a bit.

M- There is a medium mouthfeel but the fizz is really noticed in the texture. The fizz finishes in a slight water texture.

D- This is a smooth soft lager but it has nice depth and good qualities that give in more dimension. (896 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a two-fingered white head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Hoppy nose. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Starts with a mix of hops and malt with the hops dominating, some sweetness, finish is clean and hoppy with some bitter after taste. $1.49 for a 12oz bottle from Liquor Barn Lexington, KY. (327 characters)

Photo of plaid75
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Hilton Hotel, Pittsburgh.

Poured a deep copper hue with a half finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a robust carMel and toffee with a respectable grassy hop presence.

The taste consisted of a burnt caramel and a lingering drying hop.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a very tasty lager. Think Sam Adms kicked up
a notch. (417 characters)

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

A 12 oz bottle from a recently purchased six pack.

A: The lager is a dark copper color, clear as day with a steady stream of carbonation that is around 1 finger on pour before dissapating.

S: The nose is a grainy, toasted cereal aroma that has a clear sweetness underlying it.

T: The lager is all malts, caramel sweet with a strong body that finishes long. The malts have an added sweetness that goes deeper than the caramel, affecting the entire mouthfeel with a dry honey flavor.

M: The mouthfeel is strong and malty with a clear sweet presence that makes for a satisfying drink.

D: The beer's malty sweetness fits nicely in the style. Frankly, regardless of the style, this beer is a good drink. (713 characters)

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

Thanks BuckEyeNation

Pours a clear dark amber color, nice carbonation, small fizzy head that leaves quickly, some lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet malts, hops, and caramel. The taste follows the nose, sweet and malty, nice touch of caramel. Light-Medium body. Drinkable, a nice offering from Great Lakes. (314 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
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. (1,033 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy copper to an ambered brown with a small light brown rocky head. Sweet malted barley with sugary notes and a hoppy nose with vanilla hints. Warm and sweet creamy caramel flavor greets your tonue with the first draw and leaves you with a creamy hoppiness. Medium-bodied and creamy/fizzy palate. (305 characters)

Photo of Duff27
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8/3/11 8209AL

A- Big light-tan, two-inch head atop a darker ruby-red beer. Well above average lacing and good head retention as well.

S- Vienna malts. Having a hard time detecting any hops.

T- More Vienna (and some caramel?) malts, not too sweet though. Just enough hops to balance nicely. Very well hidden alcohol.

M- Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Creamy, medium carbonation.

D/O- Definitely thirst quenching. I'd rank this one a notch lower than Boston Lager on the tastiness scale. Great Lakes Brewing Company, consistent! (534 characters)

Photo of Tone
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, amber color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, pale malt, yeast, slight pine, and slight hops. Fits the style of a Vienna Lager. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops, pale malt, sweet malt, hint of yeast, and hint of roasted malt. Overall, good body, blend, and aroma. (388 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with garthwaite. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1/2" of beige head over the reddish-brown brew. Dense head shows good staying power, with heavy foamy lacing. Aroma is lightly of sweet malts. Taste is chewy for a lager, with a malty sweetness that reminds me of a good honey pilsner. Also has a crisp, tart close-out that leaves me smacking my lips for more. Mouthfeel and drinkabilty are excellent, hard to beat in my book. (499 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A deep glowing orange shows some light cherry tints while in the glass. The head is khaki, smooth and frothy but short lived dissipating from a solid foamy fingers worth to a skim milky covering in a matter of a minute or two. Visible carbonation was light, spacious, with a moderate pace of rise. Small broken lashes adorn the glass for a lacing.

S: Creamy caramel apple skins first appear on the nose of light to medium strength. Smells pretty much like caramel apples basically.

T: Sweet chewy caramel coated apples first come to mind with a soft noble flowery hopping. Malt forward with a flowery bite of hops occurring on the swallow. Reminds me of a hopped up Sam Adams lager with a little extra specialty malting to boot.

M: Creamy smooth caramel body provides a thick luscious feel on the tongue. Huge specialty malt base provides a good resistance with a thick viscosity along with a defining carbonation factor adding some tingle.

D: Nice session, again brings back memories of my first craft beer Sam Adams circa 1990. Huge creamy caramel malt base with a flowery hop bite and some alcohol mentions which is the only thing limiting me from many more.

End Beer Musings: Again not to harp but when considered by style this has to be an A example in my book, maybe a very good rating overall (B+) but this definitely trumps Sam Adams lager and I can hardly think of any more examples of Vienna lagers that come close. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? (1,464 characters)

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: nice amber hue with just a tiny touch of haze. Head is a thick finger of amber-tinted ivory foam which leaves a good lace as it dissipates.

Smell: rich, sweet caramel malt aroma with little notes of brown sugar. There's also a little bit of earthy hop in there; I like it a lot.

Taste: sweet caramel malt with a nicely balanced bitterness that comes through well at the end. Flavorful yet drinkable.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a good level of carbonation and resulting creaminess. I like it.

Overall: this is a smooth, creamy, tasty and eminently drinkable beer. I just wish Great Lakes were available here in Washington. (689 characters)

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

A: Clear copper, off-white head, not much retention, hint of lace.

S: VERY malty (bready caramel), some clean hops, slight sulfur.

T: Bread, caramel, toffee. Slightly sweet, but nicely balanced. Lots of nice flavour; alcohol is on the high side for the style, but it's barely perceptible.

M: Moderate body is somewhat creamy. Light to moderate carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. (387 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.41/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has an amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some hops. Taste is good, malts with some hops, a tad bitter at the finish. Well balanced. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a good quality beer. (278 characters)

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

12 oz bottle, grabbed in Buffalo.

Pours a clear dark amber/orange, honey colour, medium sized off white head forms quickly settles down to a thin collar, no real lacing on the glass, keeps a thin ring.

Smell is nice, big and malty, lots of caramel, light bit of roast, biscuit, corn syrup, floral, orange peel, wafers, a tiny hint of alcohol, really deep maltiness to this, many layers, apricots, light bit of fruitiness, real nice.

Taste is similar, big sweet malts, caramel and honey, biscuit, wafer, bit of bread, touch of roasted malts, a bit of citrus and floral, apricot, solid bitterness, a real rich toffee maltiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Great Lakes has really nailed relatively low ABV beers with a whole ton of flavour. (786 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is a deep amber. Slight tan head caps it and has good retention. It provides a nice belgian lace to view as I drink. This beer has a great sweet malt aroma. That's about it, but it's worth the price of admission. The mouthfeel of this beer is so smooth and creamy. Similar to a good stout. Velvety and silky. Glides over the tongue effortlessly. That characteristic and the great taste of this brew make it one of the more drinkable brews I've had in a while. The flavor has some great contibutions coming from the vienna and I'm assuming some Munich malt as well. Beautiful malt flavor in this beer. The hop bitterness and hop contributions are fairly low, but there nonetheless to keep things in check. If I were to line this up against any of the numerous Oktoberfest beers that are about to come out in a blind taste test, I'd be pretty disappointed if I didn't choose this one over almost all of them. Love this beer.

Well, this concludes my mini-tour of Great Lakes thanks to the great effort put out by my sister in nabbing some of this stuff on her trip recently. I've got to say, after sampling 4 styles from them, they are very impressive. (1,180 characters)

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

A: Bright, clear, caramel-amber color. Poured a 1 finger slightly off-white head that dissipated quickly. Ample lacing. Decanted continuously.

S: Light aroma of toasted malts with some caramel sweetness. Bitter hops.

T: Prominent flavor of lightly roasted malts, caramel sweetness. Bitter hops in the middle and finish.

M: Medium body. Ample carbonation. Crisp and clean.

D: Very drinkable; malt and hops in good balance with refreshing carbonation. (457 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Amber color a little darker than expected. Great head retention. Crisp aroma.

Caramel and spice on the palate, good hop zest, wish it was more, but this is a more traditional interpretation of the style I guess. Very grainy and carbonated. Heavier on palate than anything in the style I can think of. Then again, I don't think I've ever had anything in this style this strong ABV.

Drinkable, but a little pricey. (415 characters)

Photo of Brad007
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful medium-amber color with a thick, frothy head into my fluted glass. Very nice.

Aroma is full of sweet, bready malt with a touch of hops in the nose. A bit grainy as well.

Taste is sweet and there's a bit of caramel as well with a touch of hops. This is all about the malt though. Clean and well-done.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering sweetness from the malt and again, the touch of hops and caramel. Clean and carbonation is just right here.

Very nice for the style. Drinkable and well worth a try. Possibly my favorite out of the stuff I've had from this brewery so far. (590 characters)

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

Wow, what a colro pallete, deep copper amber to mild mahogany stain. Great two finger head after the pour, that very slowly recedes to nothing. The aroma is a beautiful toasted malt that makes me think of toasted biscuits with just a tocu of raw honey. The taste has an aire of peaches mixed in with the lovely toasted, biscuity malts. Fruits and bread in this viennese take on lager. Great sessionbility if they could jus lower the abv a touch. (445 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle with a best by date of 8/14/07. The beer pours an amber/red color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells like toasted malt, some grassy hops and some caramel. The taste starts off with malty sweetness, and then has a good hoppy bitter finish. Good, full flavor with this beer. Mouthfeel is medium, it's a little bit creamy and slick with just the right amount of carbonation. It has a coating finish which sticks around in my mouth for a while. Drinkability is pretty good, it goes down smooth and easy. Great choice for a session beer. I'd recommend it to anyone to try. (634 characters)

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