Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

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969 Reviews

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Reviews: 969
Hads: 2,896
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.27%
Wants: 241
Gots: 449 | 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: 969 | Hads: 2,896
Photo of WunderLlama
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Chilled bottle poured into a pilsner glass

Thick creamy two finger cap settles into a sold 1/2 finger tan layer. Active carbonation in a deep copper russet cold. Solid lacings grab the sides of the glass.

Sweet malty aroma with a hint of deep rich figs.

Taste matches the fragrance. Delicious malt taste. Medium mouthfeel but a bit of alcohol is apparent, light carbonation on the tongue, no bitter aftertaste.

A great, delicious beer that I always try to have in my beer cellar. I recommend you try this great tasting beer if you haven't yet. You'll like it! (566 characters)

Photo of scotorum
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

a: deep red-brown amber with an inch plus tan head which receded slowly to a surface film, tan ring and plenty of lacing.

s: Mild malt/fruit. Smells balanced.

t: Confirms the odor. Quite nicely balanced medium strength malt/hops, dark fruit initially becomes more piney. Both malt and hops make a clear statement of their presence. The dark color and hints of dark fruit makes it somewhat reminiscent of the Brooklyn Monster Bayleywine and Flying Dog Barley Style Ale I had recently, but less dark fruit notes and so better tasting than either of those.

m: moderate to heavy. Alcohol evident.

o: A tasty, highly sippable amber ale. I'd definitely buy this again, although it is perhaps less a summer brew than IPAs, Pilseners or lighter Lagers. (801 characters)

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Another beer that Raul can respect, but isn't really into. This is basically like a pure, all organic, non GMO kit-kat. Nice and clean caramel textures, but at the end of the day, if Raul don't like Kit-Kats, Raul don't like Kit-Kats.

I'd recommend it for your mama, but maybe not your dada.

*Another beer that Raul may have indulged in when he may not have had all of his faculties intact when he first drank it. Upon having another, it had slight rich textures, smooth caramel, and was overall very pleasant. (512 characters)

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

Served from the bottle into a nonic glass

A- Poured a clear and very dark mahogany color with off-white frothy head that left splashy lace. Really rich and dark color

S- Biscuity, grainy, caramel, and some tea like notes in the aroma

T- Big biscuit and rich caramel notes, graininess, some herbal, fruity, and floral notes as well

M- Very smooth, medium body, semi-dry finish, pretty crisp

O- Very well balanced and flavorful Vienna Lager. This review is long overdue, probably had this beer more than any other that I had not reviewed yet. Very rich and crisp flavor profile. (582 characters)

Photo of zrbeer1579
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Wonderful auburn-like color, and transparent as well. A one and half finger light tan head. Hold for a little while. Some lacings.

Aroma: A little bready with a slight toasted-ness and sweetness. Faint hops, mostly earthy. Sugar sweetness in the aroma. Definitely has that lager smell.

Taste: Lovely fresh baked bread. Light toasted and caramel malts. Little toffee. The hops is faint, but does make a present. Some earthiness with a slight spice to it. A little nutty. Very little bitterness and a nice malt sweetness. Finish is clean.

Mouthfeel: Feels medium bodied with ample carbonation. Drink very easy and smooth.

Overall: A great tasty lager. Great flavors. A lager I'll always get. Excellent going with this beer, GLBC. (743 characters)

Photo of utopiajane
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear and copper, when held to the light exhibits a ruby hue. Scant finger of foam that fell fast to a thin ring and light dusting on top. Leaving lace though. Nose is outrageous. Lager nose, good malt, bread, grain, sweet toffee. Lightly sugary. Hops are floral elegance with hints of strawberry that remind one of sunshine. Grass, apple and faint spice. Taste is heaven. Really good bread and a deep but light sweetness. Fruits and pale malts dancing with one another on the palate. Hops take the finish with just the right amount of earth, bitter and oil plus a delightful touch of honey for a luxurious aftertaste. Nectar. Carbonation is medium, mouthfeel is thin. It drank simply and light. Honestly one of the best beers I have ever had. (749 characters)

Photo of KelsoSaaz
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pilsner glass

A: Beautiful, deep, copper-amber. Fine, khaki, 1.5 finger head that leaves patchy lacing

S: Sweet, bready aromas along with earthy hops.

T: Rich, but not overpowering malt flavor with Earthy and spice hop notes following. Very clean and sessionable.

M: Smooth with medium body and moderate carbonation.

O: A very satisfying brew, exactly what you would expect from GLBC. This beer pairs very well with food and is quite versatile. This beer really doesn’t have any flaws actually. (513 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear, deep red. Huge effervescent light tan head. Head fades fairly slowly, leaving thin walls of spiderweb lacing. Good head retention.

S: Lots of toasted bready malt and raisins. Remarkably like smelling freshly toasted raisin bread if I'm honest. Kind of uncanny in fact.

T: Again, very malty. Grainy toasted bread right from the start with light raisins. Bread crusts in the middle, you can practically feel them crumble with each swallow. Smidgeon of grassy hops in the finish with the lightest bitterness.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. Goes down exceptionally easy.

O: Not many good Vienna Lagers out there but this is one of the good ones. Perhaps the best, I'd prefer this to a Sam Adams Boston Lager, myself. Lighter, smooth and malty beer with just a hint of hops. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect, just well executed and tasty. Very drinkable to boot. (883 characters)

Photo of Jimmys
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. best before 06/22/13.

A: very clear. bright copper body. head is slightly reddish white and frothy. retention is good. lacing is terrific.

S: just what I would expect from the appearance, lots of caramel in the nose. very sweet. not getting too much hop aroma, however this thing is getting towards the end of its shelf life.

T: a whole heck of a lot of caramel. cant tell if there is some minor oxidation or there is just a shitload of caramelization. sweet, but not cloying. finishes pretty clean.

M: a frothy carb on a medium body.

D: I remember this being slightly more hoppy and that probably has to do with freshness. while this brew is within its shelf-life, it has definitely lost a bit of hop aroma and bite. otherwise, pretty outstanding example of an American made Vienna lager. (811 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard branded pressure cap acquired at a local bottle shop and served into a Uinta pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given current ratings, and to a lesser extent the brewery. 6.2% ABV confirmed. "Best served at 45 degrees F." Enjoy by 03/28/13. Oops. Didn't catch that at the bottle shop. Reviewing as an Amber even though it's currently classified as a Vienna lager; I trust the brewery over beeradvocate's often clunky ratings system.

Served cold, straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 2.5 finger light khaki colour head. Nice soft creamy complexion. Flocculent. Good frothiness. Good thickness. Good (~5 minute) retention. No bubble show.

Body colour is a clear translucent vibrant amber. No yeast particles are visible.

Great appearance all around. Spot-on for the style. Very inviting and appealing.

Sm: Hot damn those malty notes are fresh. Smells like the malt room of a brewery. Lovely German style amber malts. Light toasty malt character. Caramalts. Pleasant graininess. Lightly bready. Live yeast. Extremely inviting; I can't remember ever experiencing an aroma this fresh - and it's two months past its recommended enjoy by date. A fantastic aroma of moderate strength. I can't wait to try it. Near perfect for the style. Wow.

T: A well balanced seamless blend of the primary malts used; German amber malts, caramalts, toasty character. Hop character is light and floral, complementing the other flavours nicely. Full-bodied and tasty, with a refreshing finish. Lots of flavour for an amber. Damn, that's tasty. Excellent balance and good complexity. Fair subtlety to boot. Good creaminess.

Mf: Nicely creamy. Perfect coarseness and wetness, adequately coaxing out maximal depth of flavour whilst remaining refreshing. Good presence on the palate. Decent thickness; if I have any one criticism of this beer it's that it feels a bit too thin - a feature that becomes more noticeable as it warms. Nice full body. Clean and crisp. Very soft and welcoming. Complements the flavour profile excellently - even coming off feeling like it was custom-tailored to do so. Great execution.

Dr: Extremely drinkable and sessionable stuff. I'd definitely get this again and would buy it by the six-pack happily. Every beeradvocate needs to try this; they do so much with so little. Elegant simplicity is admirable here. An impressive gem from Great Lakes, and one I'm told has a good price point where it's distributed. Definitely amongst the best in the style. Wow.

A- (2,677 characters)

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep amber color that is strikingly red. Small, off-white colored head that reduces to a thin layer on the top rather quickly. Fairly good lacing for the small amount of head left on top of the body.

S- Huge caramel and semi-sweet malts right up front and dominating throughout. Brown sugar sweetness and a hint of molasses flavor towards the end of scent. Really kind of one dimensional, but very delicious smelling.

T- Just like the scent, except stronger. Less sweet than the scent, but still big caramel malt notes right up front. Some hops make a big appearance for an amber ale right after the caramel notes and provide a balancing bitterness. On the back end the hops persist a little and a slight tinge of dark fruits peak in with a little juiciness.

M- Crisp and dark in feel and flavor. Easy drinking lager that is slightly heavier in flavor profile, yet still quite refreshing.

Overall, a solid everyday brew. A little darker and heavier in flavor than most lagers of its type, but still a beer to drink regularly. (1,040 characters)

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

Appearance: Gorgeous, deep amber.
Smell: Sweet, slightly hoppy and floral, caramel and honey. Maple syrup.
Taste: Sweet, slightly hoppy and floral, caramel and honey. Maple syrup.
Mouthfeel: Excellent.

This brew absolutely blew me away. Normally lagers and and amber lagers are good, but never really exciting. This is it. The sweet, excellent smells are mirrored so well by the taste. It's been a long while since my expectations were surprised this much. In my opinion this is the best lager available. I will definitely get it again. (537 characters)

Photo of BeerYoss
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Very attractive dark amber color. Nice meaty looking head settles down slowly to a puffy film on the surface. Active carbonation. Great lacing all the way down.

Smell - Great smelling beer; Earthy with a honey sweetness

Taste - Delicious malt and grains up front and subtle hop coming in behind. Great honey throughout.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, the honey sweetness lingers in the mouth. The carbonation lightens things up a bit.

Overall - Really, one of my favorites go-to brews. Drinks so easy. I like the honey/sweetness because there is substance to it but it could be too much for some. (608 characters)

Photo of mooseo
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into pilsner glass.

A - Deep dark amber with a huge off white creamy head.

S - Sweet toasted malt, caramel, earthy hops, hints of grass and herbal spice.

T - A balanced blend of caramel, brown sugar, biscuit malts, and earthy, grassy hops. Finishes with a hint of bitterness and some graininess. Dark fruit and a pleasant nutty flavor come out as the beer warms.

M - Smooth, creamy, medium bodied. Crisp, mild carbonation, somewhat dry finish.

O - A very flavorful, balanced lager. Reminds me of a high quality version of Yuengling. Overall, it ranks as one of the best amber lagers I've ever had. (614 characters)

Photo of hopsputin
4.56/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

* drinking almost 2 months past the enjoy by dat

a: dark amber/mahogeny. burnt caramel and a pale ruby red. 3 finger, white bubbly head

s: sweet caramel and sugar right away. this smells super clean yet also rich. hint of brown sugar, toasted barley and bread. has my mouth watering

t: clean and crisp sweet caramel malt and candy sugar followed by a faint toasted note. very smooth & mild hop bitterness after the sweet punch makes this real refreshing. kind of like in the aroma, its clean and rich at the same time. hint of pepper spice on backend

m: lighter side of medium

o: really nice for a Vienna Lager. its not overly complex, but the flavors smooth and well balanced. you know you're drinking a lager, but you don't mind (735 characters)

Photo of larryi86
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks you tommyguz for this extra!
12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A- A clear amber color with a two finger off-white head.

S- Toasted malts, sweet bready malts, touch of hops.

T- Nice malt sweetness balanced with nice spicy hop finish, not very bitter, but bitter enough. Getting some nuttiness along with toasted malts and bread.

M- Smooth, crisp, light to medium body.

O- I have not had many Vienna Lagers, but this is the best one I have had. Wish I could get this by me. Well balanced, flavor is not overpower, but it is not weak or watered down. (563 characters)

Photo of Goosehunter75
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a red rust color with a 1 1/2 finger tannish head with excellent retention. Moderate lacing

S - Very lightly scented beer. Smells of sweet malts and freshly baked breads

T - Very malty tastying with a hint of spice. Has a slightly bitter finish. Very refreshing lager

M - A medium bodied beer. Felt like it was low in carbonation. Felt almost creamy

O - Very nice lager. Much more flavor than I was expecting. The malt profile was very nice and well balanced. The hops was noticable on the finish. (511 characters)

Photo of Labeorphile
4.57/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a flute glass. Small head, made up of large bubbles that quickly disappears with no lacing. Deep amber color with some reddish ting.

Nose is malty, grainy, and sweet. Very appealing and well balanced between be three.

Flavor follows nose. Full grain flavor with a nicely balanced maltiness. Sweet is more in the nose that the taste, but it is there. Real full flavor with a suitable mouth feel.

Overall a really good lager. I am more of an ale guy, but this one is really solid and may cause me to give more lagers a look. (551 characters)

Photo of Thaddeus
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber colored with an average off-white head.

Aroma & Taste: Average malt and toasty notes, with a thick full-mouth feel. Slight hop and herbal notes to it.

Overall I thought it was more similar in hoppiness to a light IPA, still had solid malt and toasty notes to it. (282 characters)

Photo of CardiacNP
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Elliot Ness lager from Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland OH

Aroma slight sweet malt and slight floral from Nobel hops

Appearance. Amber/red clear with a 2 finger head and nice lacing

Taste mild roasty/sweet caramel with a decent hop finish. Mild bitterness

Mouthfeel moderate combination crispy dry finish

Overall an ok american style lager more flavor and complextivty than mainstream american lagers. A solid beer - (426 characters)

Photo of armiakhe
2.84/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The visual appearance of this beer was a light brown or amber color. The smell of it was very rich and had a slightly malty smell to it. The taste was sour and rich with possibly a little bit of bitterness. This beer overall was just O.K. to me. It did have a very nice aroma to it especially right out of the bottle. (317 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into lager glass, best before 3/4/2013. Pours slightly hazy orange copper color with a 1-2 finger dense cream colored head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with moderate streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, pear, apple, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, floral, and herbal earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance of malt and fruity notes with good complexity; good strength as well. Taste of caramel, pear, apple, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, floral, light pepper, and herbal earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, light fruit, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, floral, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a bit. Great balance of malt, hops, and fruity ester flavors; with a nice amount of robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and lightly creamy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost zero warming after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic Vienna lager! Great balance of malt and fruity ester flavors with good robustness; and very easy to drink. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,207 characters)

Photo of Mister_Falcon
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a gorgeous ruby-amber color with nice carbonation that resulted in a fluffy 1/2 inch head. Don't smell much that pops out in a good or bad way so I'll take that to mean this is gonna taste "safe" at very least. Nice, crisp, slightly malty, just a pinch bitter, understated. The beer is crisp, a touch watery and goes down easy leaving the touch just a little bitter after all is said and done. This one is really good if you are looking for something in the amber part of the spectrum. Can't imagine this every wearing on me. (532 characters)

Photo of KFBR392
4.69/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Beautiful red amber color with very active carbonation. About a finger worth of head on the pour which formed a solid lacing on the outside of the glass throughout. Lacing drags down the glass with each drink.

Smell: Dry hops with a sweet smokey malt presence. The mixture of hops, malt, caramel, and sweet amber seem to mix together so well. The aroma jumps out of the glass and captivates the drinker.

Taste: A light hop front that yields to a wonderfully thick and complex malt body. The transition if flavors happens incredibly quickly and jumps through. Leafy greens blast through, some kale, cabbage, and celery. Many of the traditional touch points of a lager with so much more going on. A very light sweet caramel kiss sits on the palette and keeps coming in waves long after drinking.

Mouthfeel: A dry hops touch, with a medium bodied thickness. Refreshing combination.

Overall: I think this is one of the best beers being made in the United States. Complexity is off the charts. I love that I can get this beer at most places in my area. This is one of the beers I always recommend to those looking to have a great beer without having much beer knowledge. Simply fantastic. (1,201 characters)

Photo of MShirokov
2.31/5  rDev -43.7%
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. (774 characters)

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 969 ratings.