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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,373 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,373
Reviews: 918
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11%
Wants: 163
Gots: 150 | FT: 3
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: 2,373 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tjwarren


5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at a local bar and grill. 16 ounce draft at $3.00 is a steal. Have had it in a bottle many times.

Appearance - deep amber, almost brownish purple. Unusual and very nice. Not much head.

Smell - exceptional. Caramel, malty, hint of hops.

Taste - knocks your socks off. All konds of things going on. Malty, caramel with just enough hops to keep it interesting but never overpowering. One of the best tasting beers I have ever had. I think the balance is perfect.

Mouthfeel - it is easy going down, no bitterness, nice and thick, not watery, I was going to go less than 5 here just so that there were 5's all the way across but I just couldn't find a legit reason for it.

Overall - you will want another. There is nothing lacking here. Drink it nice and slow. There is no weakness here cold or warmed a little. The best lager I have ever had.

I am not the biggest GLBC fan but this is perfection. Bravo.

Serving type: on-tap

05-16-2011 00:55:24 | More by tjwarren
Photo of spitInTheOcean


4.9/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

what this is is a gorgeous glass of beer.

it smell richly of malty goodness. the caramel and toasted notes are the most pronounced, but the hop note is subtly present.

the taste is sweet and malty. caramel and toast really come through, and i swear, there the finish seems almost kind of nutty, like hazelnut or walnut. its so rich it challenges an ale, but the carbonation is pronounced and unmistakebley crisp.

the finish is also nicely balanced with the 27 IBUs. but even with the IBUs this beer is like a scotch ale recipe made with lager yeast.

all that being said, this is perhaps the best lager i have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 03:41:41 | More by spitInTheOcean
Photo of KAP1356


4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap last night at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh. Served in a pint glass...

A - Poured a clear, caramel-amber color. A nice 1.5 finger, eggshell whit head stuck around a while and left some nice lacing down the glass.

S - Carmel malts, breadiness and some floral compinents right up front. Some hops come out next along with a slightly fruity notes as well.

T - Malty grains, strong caramel malt presence. Hops make a nice showing rounding out the flavor. Nice floral/fruity aroma in the finish.

M - Medium bodied beer with only light-moderate carbonation.

O - Really nice beer and one that I would pick over Yuengling anyday in a bar (can't believe I just said that). Refreshing while giving you a clean malt bill that makes this a solid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-12-2011 14:21:45 | More by KAP1356
Photo of Northsider


3.45/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With all the great reviews on this beer, I expected more from it. To me (and my probably undeveloped tastes), this was nothing spectacular. It's good for sure, but nothing I would rave about. The appearance was for me the best part, as it pour a deep amber and white head.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2011 00:51:34 | More by Northsider
Photo of Rifugium


3.4/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Casey Moran's, Chicago, IL

Nice and smooth, middle of the road amber.
Poured clear, reddish-brown with a small white head. Caramel maltiness aroma with some light nuttiness. Simply caramel malt smoothness in the taste, with a hint of light hops for balance. Bready, with just a touch of fresh cut grass. Light-medium body and easily drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

05-09-2011 16:32:11 | More by Rifugium
Photo of Arithmeticus


4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled in ale glass

A: reddish dark amber; light head; not much carbonation
S: very pleasant aroma of caramel, malt, spicing
T: oh, beautiful; what a very interesting compound of tastes; darker lager; sweet and caramel-malty up front, moving into savory, spiced flavors on the tail end
M: nice buzz, despite the poor carbonation

Overall, a fantastic, brood-worthy beer, a very hearty lager

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2011 04:30:12 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of gabedivision

New York

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz bottle to a Pilsner glass.

Ah, pours a clean brownish red, with a 2 finger head that lays on top of the glass and almost looks like cream as it slimes to the side walls. This fuckers got a big lager scent with a note of spice. Caramel malts, bready, alcohol, cloves, ginger, and a wiff of bittering hops on the end. Sweet and smooth caramel on the tongue, again with the breadiness, nuts and whole grains. Sweet throughout the whole sip until the end, then the hops come into play and give a big biterness on the finish that would otherwise go unoticed. Hearty but not too much, about a medium feel, maybe a light to some, medium carbonation that tickles the tongue, and dry on the finish, pairs fantastic with a big dead animal on your plate. What can i say? Great Lakes cant lose, and this is a home run, cheers!

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2011 02:45:36 | More by gabedivision
Photo of DrewV

New York

4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle (drink by 5/7/11) from my beer fridge (45 degrees) into a Spiegelau Stemmed Pilsner glass (tulip). But I actually prefer it in a SA Perfect Pint glass where the aromas contribute more significantly to the overall tasting experience.

A: I have to admit, this is a sexy-looking beer. Pours a deep ruby-gold color with 2-finger creamy head from a conservative pour. 3- or 4-finger head easily possible with an aggressive pour. Generous lacing that sticks around quite a while.

S: Pure creamy Munich malty goodness! Bready malt hits the nose first and is supported by a lesser amount of caramel. Possibly some noble hops hiding in the background, but tough to distinguish. Some darkish fruity notes are evident when presented from a snifter/tulip glass that don't show up in the SA Perfect Pint glass.

T: Deep sweet Munich malt base with a very faint spiciness (hops) near the finish. I would like to roll this around in my mouth all day, savoring the flavors. Caramel malt becomes more intense as the beer warms. Flavor is always sweet, but never cloying. Aftertaste is almost completely neutral and leaves you anxiously awaiting the next sip.

M: Chewy throughout, slightly dry, but finishes oily. Moderate-to-high carbonation suits the beer nicely. Carbonation fades slightly as it warms.

O: Best Vienna Lager on the market, in my opinion. SA Boston Lager can't hold a candle to this in any department. My preference is to serve this a bit on the cold side, as it keeps the sweetness down. But it's hard to go wrong in any way with this beer. My favorite from GLBC, I could drink this every day. A relatively high ABV prevents this from being a session beer, as it does creep up on you, but the 6.20% ABV is 100% hidden in both aroma and taste. Incredible.

Final note: Unfortunately I can't give this 5's across the board due to the slightly unbalanced flavor profile, which might benefit from a slightly heavier dose of hops. But it's damn close to perfect. Grab this whenever you see it available.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2011 01:53:02 | More by DrewV
Photo of bs870621345

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a perfect pint glass.

Pours a moderate amber color with an inch of head. No real lacing to speak of.

Smell is bread, caramel, herbal hops, and light pine and citrus.

Taste is bread and caramel up front, moving into the hop character and finishes extremely clean. Very juicy and clean.

Mouthfeel is light and nicely carbonated.

Overall its good. Very nice and easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2011 23:10:04 | More by bs870621345
Photo of jsh420


3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

best by 06/11/11

pours bright clear caramel with a 1+ finger off white head that left lacing all down the glass

smells nutty caramel malt with some light fruit apples

taste is like the nose - sweet fruit apples up front then the caramel malt decent amount of hop bitterness

mouthfeel was medium full body with lacking carbonation

overall - nice lager at a nice price - call me crazy but i think i would take a boston lager over this

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2011 03:56:06 | More by jsh420
Photo of secondtooth


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Attractive red-amber, with a rich and frothy head. Deep, intricate lace. Lovely.

Rich aroma --- sourdough, rye maltiness, with a touch of caramel. Very nice!

Taste is malty, with some toffee tones up front and a hoppy twang at the finish. Enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2011 18:54:32 | More by secondtooth
Photo of bum732


4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

S: Toasty sweetness, herbal and slightly spicy hops, some caramel.

L: Crystal clear amber, off white tight head with good retention and great lacing.

T: Semi-sweet caramel sweet malt followed by a medium herbal bitterness. Finishes with more toasty sweetness and a touch of hop spiciness. Clean sweet malt throughout.

M: Medium-full bodied for the style, medium high carbonation.

Very Sam Adams lager like with much bolder flavors. Also more malty and less hoppy than SA lager. But overall, just fantastic and the best Vienna lager i've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2011 02:35:37 | More by bum732
Photo of b3shine


3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft to imperial pint glass. Looks good, amber with malty expectations. Smell is its weakest asset. It's almost nonexistent. Tastes good; malty, yet crisp. Goes down nicely. Could make for a good session beer. I enjoyed it overall, although I prefer more of a bitter beer in general. Think of it as Killian's on steroids.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2011 20:42:43 | More by b3shine
Photo of deadonhisfeet


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful crystal clear amber color with a couple fingers of sudsy white head. Beautiful color that is a bit dark for the style. Not much of a nose to speak of. Some toffee.

Very nice flavor and mouth feel. Imagine Sam Adams Boston Lager, except maltier and chewier. The hops make a brief cameo and wave bye-bye as it oozes down your throat.

Very nice beer and an outstanding example of the Vienna Lager style. I'll admit I'm a fan of Sam Adams. This is a nice alternative. An excellent beer. Easy to drink and easy to enjoy. I'll buy this again. It would go perfectly with pizza, pasta, chicken, just about anything.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2011 00:36:06 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of BigDRS


4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Copper in color. Two finger head dies down to nothing, very small amounts of lace.

S - Roasted malt and nuts come across for me. Smell is fairly muted though.

T - Nuts, brown sugar, and caramel. Nutty character lingers in my mouth for a while after each sip.

M - Relatively light and very refreshing. Just enough carbonation.

O - Very high drinkability. Yet another excellent Great Lakes beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2011 22:05:26 | More by BigDRS
Photo of pocwolf


4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very clear light red in color. Had a nice white head that faded to a ring.

S - Slight smell of spicy hops and the smell of toasted malt

T - Very clean on the palate, toasted and sweet finish

M - Dry and crisp

O - A great beer, I really enjoyed it. I could easily session this beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2011 00:27:57 | More by pocwolf
Photo of SpeedwayJim

New York

3.38/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Matt (mtunnell) for this one. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Harpoon pilsner glass.

A: Standard pour yields a 1 finger light brown and creamsicle colored frothy dense head with good retention. Beer is an attractive clear, dark amber. Lacing is stringy and spotty with moderate cling. Head and color are very impressive.

S: Nose is very muted. Caramel, brown sugar, and some pureed citrus and nuttiness. Pretty plain and again, barely detectable.

T: Opens sweet caramel, brown sugar, and some toffee. Strong malty body with near no hop bitterness. Nutty towards the middle with more brown sugar. This carries to the end unchanging, finishing with a slight yeasty spiciness and some fresh plum and more brown sugar. Aftertaste is sweet and nutty. Reminds me of a brown ale with a more robust malt profile.

M: Light bodied with good carbonation. Smooth in the mouth but with little bubbles erupting every once in a while. Slightly abrasive going down. Finish is accented and aftertaste lingers pleasantly. Light, crisp, and refreshing.

O: To me, this beer is what the big companies wish they could make. Light, refreshing, tasty, and highly drinkable. Worth a try and a great beer for lounging around during the warmer months.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2011 21:40:23 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of mellowmark


3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle to an Imperial Pint glass. Enjoy by 5-26-11. $15.49 for a 12-pack sampler.

Appearance: Pours a Reddish orange color with a 1-finger creamy white head. Moderate retention, decent lacing. Completely transparent with lots of carbonation. Head eventually dies down to a faint ring.

Smell: Strong citrus. Slightly floral with just a kiss of earthy hops. Strong malt backbone. Toffee. Smells great.

Taste: Sweet and bready with a citrus twang up front. Slight bitter earthy hops to finish.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is medium and very smooth with medium carbonation. Semi chalky texture. Crisp.

Drinkability: High

This is more enjoyable to me than SA Boston Lager. Very solid all around.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2011 03:05:25 | More by mellowmark
Photo of WeedKing4

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orangish red with just a little bit of foam in the Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Tastes of slightly sweet caramal malts, with a breadie like finish. For a lager, i'm not used to having one that doesn't have a bad aftertaste. This is quite drinkable. Wish lagers like Great Lakes, were availabe here.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2011 20:55:46 | More by WeedKing4
Photo of MattyG85


4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Bright amber orange with a big head that is white with tint of tan. Great retention and lacing.

Smell: Strong scent of sweet caramel malt up front followed by a bready orange and citrus aroma. Also a whiff of earthy hops.

Taste: Strong caramel malt followed by bread and finishes with a light citrus hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with a medium carbonation.

Overall: A very good version of a lager.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2011 04:29:10 | More by MattyG85
Photo of scottfrie


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Thanks to jbck109 for this one.

A: Pours a very stereotypical amber color with a billowing tan head that slowly faded into a dense film that left rings of sticky lacing after each sip.
S: Subtle notes of bread crust, doughy biscuits and light, earthy hops with a touch of roasted grains.
T: Follows the nose with a dry bread crust malt flavor and a hint of clean bitter hops in the finish. There is just hint of citrus rind to the flavor and a hint of toffee and marshmallow to the finish.
M: Full bodied with a chewy mouthfeel and soft but ample carbonation. Goes down thick, refreshing and smooth.
O: I was really impressed by this beer. I'm not the hugest fan of Boston Lager so I didn't have high hopes for this one, but I must say that I would drink this often if it was available to me. Thanks again Jay for a great brew!

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2011 02:49:13 | More by scottfrie
Photo of greenmonstah

New Hampshire

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

12 oz bottle into pint glass. Best by 4/7/2011

A - Dark copper in color with half a finger of off-white head.

S - Bready and sweet. Grainy with some caramel.

T - Some lightly roasted malt character, sweet caramel and some breadyness. Finish is has bitter hop followed by sweet breadyness with a load of caramel.

M - Light to medium body with nice carbonation. Good feel. Dries out slightly in the end.

O - This is one of the best lagers I've ever had. Absolutely delicious and a joy to drink. Can't go wrong with this beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2011 23:15:13 | More by greenmonstah
Photo of n2185

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear burnt orange with a finger of white head that recedes into a thin cap with a little lacing.

S: Caramel malt up front with some orange aromas coming behind it. Sweet and a bit citrusy.

T: Caramel malts are first and foremost followed by some bread and biscuit flavors. The finish has some light citrusy bitterness from the hops to accompany the bready flavors.

M: Medium-light body with medium carbonation, this beer is both hearty and crisp.

O: Overall, a pretty good example of the style and a good beer for when you don't want something extremely heavy or light.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2011 15:37:10 | More by n2185
Photo of yaegerje


3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a standard pint glass
A - Really nice rusty orange color, pretty clear with maybe just a touch of haze, creamy head that stick around, nice lace,
S - Light grain notes, a little caramel, mostly yeast
T - Excellent taste, very clean, slight burnt malt taste going on, but it adds some character, kind of hard to describe
M - Smooth, nice carbonation, with a little bite, very pleasant

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2011 17:44:15 | More by yaegerje
Photo of mdunman


4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Orange-brown pours a good head with good linger

S: Roasted malt and some sugar

T: Roasted malt very clean up front and throughout, finishes with a pleasant dryness that makes you want to take another sip.

M: Medium body with good carbonation

Very enjoyable beer, just like pretty much everything else made by Great Lakes. I've been drinking this for years and I won't stop any time soon.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 01:38:07 | More by mdunman
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,373 ratings.