Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

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2,878 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,878
Reviews: 991
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 236
Gots: 429 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,878 | Reviews: 991
Photo of Chiefy770
4.71/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served on-tap in a pint glass.

Appearance: Red amber body sits beneath a white foam head which leaves thick lacing throughout.

Smell: Toasty. Bread and grains.

Taste: Sweet caramel notes. Full malt and grain flavors. Decent kick from the hops as this one goes down.

Overall: Another great brew from Great Lakes. Full of flavor and does not disappoint!

Photo of USAF77
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A moderate fast pour with a disappointing head. OK Lacing, "I wonder why mine was so much less then others:?

But who cares? Just a gorgeous golden amber thats very pleasurable to watch in the light.

Even better, the taste is outstanding. The smell also reflects the grainy, bready quality that a fine Lager should have, while also keeping the refreshing taste of a Pilsner. A nice dry after taste as well with just a little bite to it, and you can feel the alcohol with the after taste. For me ABV = taste. I like my brews to be a minimum 5% ABV.

A first class Lager. Maybe the best. I have about 8 types of Lagers in my fridge and I think the others will have to wait. Great Lakes hit it perfect.

Photo of Boggdogg
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber color with hints of orange where light shines through. Big light and airy white head with staying power and excellent lacing.

Smell is musty malt.

Taste is well balanced with malt and hops. One of the better lagers I have tasted and not too bitter. Ends with some sweet aftertastes.

Mouthfeel was smooth light bodied with medium carbonation.

Over all I enjoyed this lager and would drink it again!

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, deep amber color with a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that covered virtually the entire top of the beer in wispy clouds.

Aroma: Very malty and bready with aromas of freshly baked rye bread. There’s a slightly musty aroma too. That’s surprising, or is it supposed to be there? There’s also some sweet floral notes of clover and honey.

Taste: Very malty up front, accented by some spice notes of black pepper and caraway seeds. The bready flavors are followed by some brown sugar-like sweetness, finished with some nicely balanced hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium with a slight chewiness. There is some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds, and with an ABV of 6.2%, there’s just the slightest hint of alcohol on the palate, but not much

Overall: This is another excellent beer from Grate Lakes. I love the perfect balance between the malt and the hops.

Photo of PorterLambic
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy orangish brown color. A long lasting, rocky, tan head floats atop and leaves behind a modicum of lace.
Smell is a well-balanced mixture of sweet, malt, hops, a wood-like note that brings oak to mind but isn't, a whiff of citrus, too.
Taste is malt, hops, a hint of alcohol, oak, some smoke. Good balance and better complexity than nearly any other lager save a schwarzbier.
Medium plus body, very light effervescence. Slightly warming late, a little drying as well. Good brew.

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.

Photo of oldirtycaffrey
3.79/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown/mahogany color with a foamy off-white head that stays for a while. Slight amount of lacing is left behind. Sweet smell of malt, raisins, molasses -- really nice. Taste is also slightly sweet with a raisin aftertaste. Very robust and "thick," but still easy to drink. Could see this as a great Thanksgiving brew.

Photo of BEEER
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice ruby red color with small light tan head and moderate, messy lacing. Aroma has strong maltiness with a bit of deep fruity, vinous notes. Flavor is all malts with a sweet finish. Mouthfeel is light and crisp. This is so refreshing and easy to drink- really great overall.

Photo of jimmah120
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle best by late october

really nice orange-ruby color, with a small off-white head that lasts. smell is a sweetened blend of barnyard malts, english smelling hops, and a hint fruity hops/yeast. taste is malty, sweet, with a good hopping that reminds me of SNPA. finish is creamy/smooth but still has a nice bite to it.

amazing beer here

Photo of dowen17
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful amber color with a thick two finger head. Great retention.

On the nose is sweet malt. Lots of wheat and grain in the nose as well. No hop presence but I sense some caramel.

Taste mirrors the nose. More caramel in the taste than in the nose, though. Very sweet yet has a big grainy taste towards the end. Very sweet.

Mouthfeel is great. Medium bodied. Thick for a lager.

Very good beer. One of the few lagers I actually enjoy. Would definitely drink again.

Photo of Icedogs
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Tied with Samuel Adams Boston Lager as my favorite Vienna-style lager, which is my favorite non-seasonal beers style (although double/imperial IPAs are catching-up). Yes, I am quite biased in favor of Great Lakes Brewing Company because one of my best friends worked there for nine years and I've spent many a fine afternoon/evening at the place. But my preference for GLBC beer is primarily because the beers are almost always outstanding. Cheers!

Photo of CaptainHate
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is my favorite Great Lakes regular offerings. It's a good fallback beer to have if nothing else is available that piques your curiosity. It is an almost perfect combination of malt and hops and is good on all but the most oppressively hot days.

Photo of Offa
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is another incredible beer from Great Lakes and to me pretty much the perfect pizza beer.

Deep reddish copper, it has a big tan head slowly shrinking to rich frothy ring, rich wisps, some lace.

Aroma is strong caramelised toasty bread crust, winy/sough bread dough, woody herb, hint of dried fruit.

Taste is string, rich caramelised toast, strong woody herbal hop, toasty, peppery, woody herbal bitterness. It has frim balanced character, complexity, a warm winy-toasty-dried fruit malty sweetness to round out the hop.

Photo of Dave_in_GR
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance is a dark amber color with a small amount of foamy tan head.

Smell is dominated by caramel malts.

Taste is similar, nice and sweet without being cloying, The beer finishes with just a touch of hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and very smooth on the palate.

Overall an excellent amber lager.

Photo of Ri0
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured 12oz bottle into pint glass

A - Deep, dark amber wood color with 2.5 finger dirty white foamy head with excellent retention. Leaves clumps of foam and a thick collar around the glass. Lacing lines the glass in rings.

S - Dark and roasty amber malts, with sweet bread and caramel. I also get a bit of nuttiness.

T - Big roasted amber malts and bread, caramel, crystallized honey, and nuttiness.

M - Smooth, rich and creamy with a medium body.

O - Delicious and balanced, sweet malts. Every now and then this really hits the spot.

Photo of Act25
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz brown btl ex date clearly marked. Poured into a .5l cylinder named Spaten.

A: Crystal clear beautiful reddish amber with a 2 finger head that lasts but didnt lace for me.

S: Church like wooden pew, incense, with toffee, toasted grain and a nutty, dried fruity dark sweetness.

T: Full rich impression of mainly fruit and malt in a chewy mouth feel. It's toasted, caramel, raisins, toffee, and more old church. The bit of hops balance and there's spice/pepper. The finish is dark, sweet, raisin bread, but not cloying. (Altho it's a bit too sweet for me, a hop head). Very original and unique, a must try.

F: Full bodied, heavy without being cloying. Great end of evening beer. I'm not reaching for another.
An hour later, the powerful church-like, walnut/raisin dark flavor of this beer is still resonating, like a fine wine, that really is a bravo moment!

O: Well crafted. Unique, Full body. memorable.
As reviewers wrote perhaps the best in the Vienna lager style, but in the end I prefer Kolsch and IPA. Great brewery.

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From its beautiful amber color and thick, rich head, to its smooth taste and solid mouthfeel, this is a superb lager. Just the right amount of sweetness and maltiness, and good balance of alcohol and flavors. It's easy to see why this is the top-rated Vienna Lager on BA. I found this thoroughly refreshing and fairly complex for such an easy drinker. Very satisfying.

Photo of jifigz
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A bottle poured into a pint glass.

This beer pours a beautiful reddish amber color with a nice head that is tan/off-white which, while never grew to be a huge 2-3 finger head, lingered for a long time. This beer is refrigerator cold so i poured it rather aggressively to generate a head. The aroma of this beer is amazing. Malt, toffee licorice, figs, caramel, and other candies all present themselves in a mild and perfectly blended manner. There is little hop presence. The initial taste is malty with hints of caramel and candied fruit. The end has a taste that reminds me of certain Marzens/Oktoberfests and then the finish has just enough hops to kill some of the malt sweetness. There are some basic mild toasted/roasted notes during the drinking experience as well. The MF is light and crisp with carbonation but still has great body and presents itself as a little chewy in the mouth.

Dare I say....a near perfect beer. I think that Great Lakes does some great work provided the experience I have had with their brews (which isn't a whole lot.) This is a beer that I could enjoy any time of the year and it would seem perfectly fitting. To be honest, I can enjoy any beer any time of the year, but this one would seem appropriate in each location and season. It is light in flavor yet rich at the same time. Chewy yet would be very easy on someone who doesn't like a heavy and viscous brew. I tend to lean towards a hoppier beer for everyday drinking (APA, A-IPA and E-IPA) and I also drink a lot of stouts and porters, but this a great lager. I hold this beer on the same pedestal as I would place Victory Prima Pils...another near perfect brew.

Photo of RichD
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a perfect pint glass. This is my first Vienna Lager that isn't Samuel Adams

A: Pours an absolutely perfect amber color. I'm not sure I've ever seen a more beautiful amber color in my beer pouring life. There's a small white-ish cap on the top that subsides to a small ring around my glass.

S: This brew is all about the caramel malts. I haven't even tasted it yet and I already know what this will be about. There's a small hop profile that I pick up as well. Some nice stuff here, though.

T: These caramel malts are absolutely incredible. There's a slight hoppy flavor, but caramel malts are front and center and I could not be any happier.

M: Eliot Ness is an incredibly smooth beer with a medium mouthfeel. This is definitely the definition of drinkability.

Overall: I could easily see myself grabbing a few sixers of this every single time I'm out of New England. Actually, I might single handedly try to get Great Lakes to distribute to New England. What an awesome brew and at 8-9 bucks a sixer for such a premium beer is pretty much unbeatable. Wow.

Photo of Kestrel452
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a malt sweetness which reminds me of Sam Adams Octoberfest, however it also has a hop bitterness which comes through unlike the Octoberfest. This beer gives me flashbacks to the better bodied, sweet and malty Octoberfest style beers I tried (like the Sam Adams) but with a hop character added in. The malt character is very good, and the hop component is tasteful. Overall a great beer!

Photo of screamking
4.59/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Pours a perfect amber with a 2 finger khaki head, not sure if its the beer or my pour but wow, that looks amazing. As the head resides lacing is clinging to every inch. Smells sweet with a bit of a grassy tone. Taste is top notch, not too sweet or malty, balanced through and through. I've never been a huge fan of this style but this is a hell of a beer. Quality is the key word here. Where i live you can find this in just about every store that sells beer, huge plus. It's also as reasonably priced as craft beer gets at around 8 bucks a sixer. This is a wonderfully crafted and brewed beer that should be tried by anyone who can get their hands on it.

Photo of Durge
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hazy, dark orange-amber colored brew with a huge eggshell colored head and decent lacing. The aroma offers a somewhat cider-like malt and maybe a touch of raisin-nutmeg. Nice. The flavor is mnearly identical to what i smell, malt being dominant but some dark fruit hints and a pleasant spice quality. It's a smooth, medium-light bodied brew with vibrant but tasteful carbonation and a fairly lush feel for a lager. Overall an impressive lager, one of the better ones of the new breed of unique lagers in the new craft beer world.

Photo of WunderLlama
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
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!

Photo of scotorum
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,878 ratings.