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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.

2,346 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,346
Reviews: 917
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11%
Wants: 159
Gots: 146 | FT: 2
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: 2,346 | Reviews: 917 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jlindros


4.05/5  rDev -1%
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 farrago

New Jersey

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

You get a little less than finger's worth of head, dark tan, loosely knit foam, not a great deal of lacing. Reddish orange hue like a fire's embers, some brown in there, more transparent than translucent but not crystal clear. Maple syrup, caramel and molasses endow the nose with some sweetness, this helps as there's definitely a metallic, iron fleck aspect to it, minimally processed whole grain bread, caraway seeds trump the slighter peach, pear fruit, while not a lot of scent diversity, penetrates like a mortar shell. Medium-bodied with a fine, if active, carbonation which gently prickles the tongue. Has much more of a mineral water, spritzy feel to it and the metallic flavors fit in better with the fizz to back it up. Sourdough and grains, pepper, orange citrus, emphasis on hoppiness until near the end where caramel, brown sugar, honey calm the nerve endings. Touch more presence in the apricot, peach, pear fruit too. A beer that is much more enjoyable taken as a whole than dissected, good distinct personality but not hard to drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2010 00:27:08 | More by farrago
Photo of beergod1


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

Pours a deep translucent burnished copper color, Very Sweet/malty aroma when cracking the bottle, Nice head at first, then subsides quickly making me think maybe it will be flat, boy was I wrong. Big malt up front, riding on just enough hops to carry it through. Well carbonated, Final kick of mild hops really makes this drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2010 12:26:58 | More by beergod1
Photo of deereless


4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Solid half inch of thick creamy head off an easy pour, amber to copper in color, significant lacing - 4.00, S: Lots of grain on the nose, some dry herbal hops - 3.50, T: Slightly sweet, medium hop bite, some mild grapefruit zest and earthiness, significant caramel - 4.50, M: Nice mouth feel, quite creamy - 4.00, D: An exceptional lager, nicely crafted, extremely drinkable - 4.50

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 23:51:33 | More by deereless
Photo of dungledauf


4.93/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12 ounce brown bottle with a drink by date of April 29, 2010

Appearance: Clear, reddish, amber color with plenty carbonation. Nice lacing.

Smell: Very sweet smelling beer which means there are many styles of malt used.

Taste: Full-bodied lager with finishes smooth. Nicely balanced.

Notes: One of the most full-bodied lagers I have ever had. Perhaps decoction mashing is used. My favorite Vienna lager when compared to Penn Pilsner and Sam Adams.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 16:13:29 | More by dungledauf
Photo of tai4ji2x


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

12oz bottle. best by date of 06/14/09. tasted in early june 2009. got this in a trade, but the trader was unaware of the dating due to getting it from a variety pack.

very deep, almost dark, coppery amber. gemstone clear quality. 1-finger of light tan head, fading to wisps and ring. splotches of lace here and there.

aroma: caramelized, toasty, biscuity maltiness, plus slight hint of apple. balanced by mild noble hops. more caramelized malts in back.

taste: still lots of "juicy" caramelized maltiness again, but hops are peeking through more, with crisp, leafy bitterness that matches the toasted, caramelized edge. both linger into the finish, with a trace acidity underneath.

medium body, almost lightly syrupy. light astringency towards the finish. medium carbonation, though almost fizzy, but still helps with lifting up the flavors and with fluffiness that complements the overall smoothness.

not bad, especially considering how old the bottle is.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2010 11:10:18 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of allergictomacros

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear amber/red with a good inch of off-white foam.

S - Nose is caramel, toast and light citrus.

T - Big caramel flavour and light hints of toasted grain. Some fruitiness, fairly pronounced bitterness.

M - Generally moderate mouthfeel in all respects. Nothing special here.

D - Not bad drinking, but doesn't stand out as particularly special.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2010 23:54:21 | More by allergictomacros
Photo of tedsox31


3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a ruby-red color with a white head that quickly dissipates. There is lots of lacing left behind as it is drunk.

The aroma is quite bready upfront, which is followed up by a pleasant amount of malt character and just the slightest amount of citrus hops.

The taste is malty upfront, followed by some bitterness from the hops, as well as some yeast character. A bit of fruitness as well.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, well-carbonated, and finishes dry with a lingering bitterness.

This is a good beer. It is definitely one that you can sit back and relax with.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2010 02:26:09 | More by tedsox31
Photo of jpro

South Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a magnificent deep amber / ruby red, with a light beige head that dissipates pretty quickly. This brew is crystal clear. Aroma is dominated by sweet malts and breadiness - there's also a touch of hop spice, as well as a tart and fruity (yeast?) character in the nose. Taste is of light caramel malt sweetness, with a touch of toastiness - finish is super clean and noticeably doughy / biscuity. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, and a touch oily / viscous - zingy carbonation. Overall, a pretty good brew and a nice change of pace - although, its a little too sweet for my taste.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2010 02:03:37 | More by jpro
Photo of tubacharlie


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice, clear reddish-brown copper color, pours with a decent head with good retention and light tan color around the edges of a more whitish center. Not much aroma, but the flavor is well balanced between hops and malt with a hint of yeast. Full, tasteful palate with creamy carbonation when swished in the mouth.

Easy to see why it won a gold medal at the World Beer Championships. BBQ baked beans and brats a natural pairing.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2010 02:33:02 | More by tubacharlie
Photo of steve8robin


3.33/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Extra from a trade...

A: Awesome deep ruby red. Decent 1/2 inch white head that quickly fades.

S: Smells hoppy and sort of like bacon. Weird.

T: Hoppy upfront with a boozy finish. Malts and sugars with a meaty flavor in the middle. Kind of strange.

M: Not too bad, leaves flavor on your palate but not over-powering. Very good.

D: A hint too hoppy for my taste.

All in all, if you like hops, this is an interesting brew to try at least once. Otherwise, this is a brew to avoid.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2010 06:18:56 | More by steve8robin
Photo of magine


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a mug.

Pours a clear deep amber/copper color, with a nice fluffy, sticky head that leaves a good lace. Good looking brew.

Brew smells of slight hops, grain and yeast, some caramel malt.

This brew is crisp, full bodied. Has a nice hop flavor, slight caramel malt, barley, grains. Finishes clean, only a tad bit dry. Has a slight sweet finish. Great balanced taste.

This is a very, very drinkable brew. Could easily drink this year round by the case. Taste is great, look is great - a great brew. Hands donw the best Vienna Lager I have had. Great Lakes is a new favorite brewery.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2010 01:05:41 | More by magine
Photo of halo21

New York

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

Appearance: As with many of my reviews, I enjoyed this one out of a Duvel chalice, allowing for not only space for the smells to open up, but also for head stability. This striking redish orange beer looked clear and inviting, with a huge thick khaki head.

Smell: Fruity and floral, with sweet malts behind it. Not too hoppy; lager yeast ads to some complexity.

Taste: A full flavored lager, with a perfect amount of hops. It starts off sweet and big, then finishes drying hop.

Mouthfeel: Big; huge amounts of flavor and is held together by this full bodied beer; a lager none the less!

Drinkability: Medium to high: While it is very smooth and inviting, it is a bit on the higher end of session beers at 6.2%.

Notes: Amazing; one of my favorites. I enjoy this one a bit more than their Dortmunder Gold. One of the tastiest lagers made; reminds me of an offshoot of an Octoberfest beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2010 21:46:26 | More by halo21
Photo of GRG1313


3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Shows a date best by 3-19-10 - consumed a month before "expiration date")

Pours a very bright orange amber with a firm tan head. Nose is oranges and honey.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with good carbonation and nice balance of flavors.

Full flavors of underlying fruit and then a nice rich bitter coffee that goes to bitter coffee/bitter sweet finish.

Flavor profile actually has a bit of an "off-putting" character in the finish. However, this is relatively complex and with lots of layers.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2010 19:20:55 | More by GRG1313
Photo of AmberMan22


4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured from a 12oz bottle into my nonic glass.
Unfortunately I just realized this is past the 'for freshest taste' date by a month, but I'm not too worried.

Pours a straight-and-true amber, with a minimal light-khaki colored head. No lacing is left behind, head disintegrates rapidly.

Smell is quite good, though heavily sweet and malty, not necessarily a great balance.

Taste however, is phenomenal. This has got to be one of the best American beers I've had. Wonderfully sweet and malty up front, caramel malts dominating. Nice lingering finish of hoppiness (read happiness).

Mouthfeel is exceptionally thick considering the amber color -- and while I haven't had too many vienna lagers, I'd stake money that this is creamier than most.

Fantastic beer, I've been looking forward to trying this for so long.
Great one for my 100th review.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2010 21:31:26 | More by AmberMan22
Photo of ujsplace


4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug

Pours a nice thick head that leaves good lacing and eventually a whispy head atop of a amber/copper brew.

Smells of caramel malts and grainy, herbal hops.

Tastes of sweet toasted malts and grainy earthy hops. Mildly dry finish.

Creamy medium mouthfeel with a crip finish.

Easily sessionable and an easy choice of caseworthiness.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 22:58:08 | More by ujsplace
Photo of mirish72


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of mixed twelve pack brought back from Ohio.

Pours a dark amber, almost red.

Has a malty aroma with hints of toffee and caremel. It is also sweet smelling. Has a one finger head that dissipates quickly.

You can taste the malt backbone in this beer, even with the sweet finish. Very drinkable and this is a very solid beer that you could drink with almost anything.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 03:04:44 | More by mirish72
Photo of animalchin

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber color with a solid white head. Excellent lacing.

S - Caramel. Maybe a little honey as well.

T - Dark caramel with an ample amount of hops to top off. Some light senses of cherry in the after taste; a very nice mix.

M - Carbonation is pretty moderate - just right actually. Feels a little heavy, but nothing too major.

D - Great Lakes never fails to deliver quality brew. Very much a fan of the Eliot Ness. Wonderfully crafted with plenty to offer.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 02:11:46 | More by animalchin
Photo of Mora2000


4/5  rDev -2.2%
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 Kendo

New York

4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured from the bottle into a pilsner glass. Body is clear, ambery-ornage with a small ivory head. Some lace left behind.

S: Caramel malt and toasty, doughy grains. I also get a hint of generic fruit.

T: Nice -- clean. Slight fruitiness over toasted cereal grain and caramel malt/light toffee. Finishes with an earthy hoppiness and slight drying bitterness. Aftertaste, however, goes back to slight sweetness, though barely. Balanced all around.

M: Light-to-medium in heft (perhaps closer to medium, actually). Good creaminess.

D: Over the top. Best Vienna Lager I've ever had. Perfect springtime or early Fall beer, IMHO. And it went well with homemade pizza.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2010 20:43:57 | More by Kendo
Photo of alleykatking


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

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a clear deep amber copper color. One and a half finger off white head comes and dies down to a short cap on the beer. Some light spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Grainy smelling. Some light spicing like cinnamon and the like in the this as well. Some light earthy hops in this beer. Big semi-sweet bready malts in this along with some light caramel presence. Aroma was kind of muted which mad me sad...oh well.

T- This is a simple flavored beer. Caramel malts in the forefront with some light bready notes in the middle. Light hops in the tail end of this along with a light spicing. Nothing less and nothing more...simple and to the point.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was good for the style. Light bready malts left on the palate with some light hop kicks in the aftertaste. This beer was crisp in flavor and clean tasting.

D- This beer has amazing drinkability. I couldn't be more happy with this beer than when I had it over and over again. Lower ABV makes it a craft lover's session beer. I would recommend this to a lot of people...both craft and BMC drinkers.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2010 05:25:10 | More by alleykatking
Photo of cpetrone84


4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-beautiful looking beer, clear w/ hues of red, golden copper color. thick creamy, tight head, light khaki color, great retention and a thick coat of lace.

S-notes of grain, pale malt, and caramel malts, with a light estery backbone that shows some tangerine and orange.

T/M-this is one hell of lager, great flavor and body. medium bodied, extremely smooth and creamy, perfect amount of carbonation. just a touch of grain to taste, sweet caramel, tagerine hops and a touch of orange finishing very clean.

D-by far one of the best lagers I've had to date. this goes down so easy and smooth, what a texture and great flavor! grab a bunch and get your drink on!

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 23:06:59 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of blackie


4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: deep garnet in color, capped with a persistent off-white coating

s: big nutty caramel malt body on a clean lager base, biscuit and toast, balancing earthy hop profile

m: heavy and smooth for a lager, carbonation light to moderate

t: thick malts on the tongue bring a full nutty flavor and caramel biscuit, on the sweet side but balanced with a crisp hop finish, a great flavorful lager

d: no problems here, perhaps a touch heavy for higher numbers

pint at the Big Hunt, DC, in the midst of a blizzard

Serving type: on-tap

02-06-2010 18:35:41 | More by blackie
Photo of Mit

Ontario (Canada)

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

A-Nice coppery red colour. Short lived head with nice lacing.

S-Primarily malty with some spicyness at the finish.

T-Nice yeasty malty flavour rounded out by some nice hops.

M-I think this feels like a 5%er so...a little lite despite the higher abv.

D-Very much so.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2010 23:52:10 | More by Mit
Photo of MbpBugeye


4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep, rusty red yet crystal clear. A off white head caps this lager nicely as it leaves some lacing.

S- Cinnamon, grain, bread crust and faint hops just to balance this lager.

T- Sweet, very nice. Cinnamon and spice, cracker, dough and bread crust. A twang at the end that really helps balance. Overall its on the sweeter side.

M- Medium body, on the full side for a lager. Low carbonation, dry and very smooth.

D- This is one of my favorites in the Great Lakes sampler, behind Edmond Fitzgerald of course.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2010 04:42:20 | More by MbpBugeye
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,346 ratings.