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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.

2,464 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,464
Reviews: 920
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 174
Gots: 185 | 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:
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: 2,464 | Reviews: 920 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Deuane


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

A 12 oz. bottle into my Great Lakes Brewing Company mug club mug.

A-Deep copper with a medium light tan head that reduced to a thin cap. Nice decorative lace and a lively effervescent appearance.

S-Sweet, toasted malt with a bit of spice and a bouncy light fruitiness.

T-Dare I say this is fruitcake like? Spicy and fruity up front with a solid underlying lightly sweet biscuit malt body. Drying hop bitterness in the finish.

M-Medium bodied and sharp. This one leaves a nice lingering flavour of fruit and spice.

D-Damn! This one starts out subtle but the more you drink the more you appreciate this brew and the better it gets. Simply an outstanding example of the style. So crisp and flavourful this brew never gets boring. A masterful beer that could go down bottle after bottle.

01-01-2010 20:28:44 | More by Deuane
Photo of BehindtheFinBrew


4.3/5  rDev +5.1%

Served on tap-to a 16oz American Pint

A: Pour a brilliantly clear mahogany brown with a 1 finger frothy white head. As the session progressed, foamy white lace clung to the glass and the head reduced to a thin crown.

S: Malty with hints of clove and citrus

T: Malty and slightly roasted with wonderful hints of cinnamon and floral hop. Bitterness was slight on the finish but nothing that lingered.

M: A crisp finish was well balanced with a well carbed and well-rounded feel.

D: Mid to long session beer but the heaviness of the beer may become a factor.

Great Lakes Brewing Company rarely disappoints as this was a delicious Vienna.

12-30-2009 16:33:00 | More by BehindtheFinBrew
Photo of philbe311


3.68/5  rDev -10%

A - A little less than a fingers worth of off white head comprised of chunky medium sized bubbles quickly recedes leaving a thin to medium veil of lacing... A modest amount of well dispersed rapid rising carbonation... Fully translucent warm caramel color...

S - A mix of crystal and pale malts... A muted mix of caramel and toffee... Perhaps a hint of toasted nuttiness... A tad soapy... Very weak soy sauce... A very faint piney hop presence...

T - The taste mirrors the aroma very closely... In addition there are hints of tobacco and grass... Also the hop presence is slightly more assertive on the finish...

M - Medium bodied... Smooth... Modest carbonation... Easy drinking...

D - A very tasty and enjoyable lager... Well balanced... I would enjoy one of these any day, but I'm not sure this lives up to all the hype...

12-30-2009 03:07:29 | More by philbe311
Photo of GilGarp


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

Served cold in a pint glass, this beer has a hazy golden orange color.

Aroma is sweet and malt-rich with a little bit of red apple.

Flavor is strong and malty with minimal hop bitterness. Balance is pretty good, considering, with it never tasting too sweet. Most similar to a bock, in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with an appropriate level of carbonation. Alcohol is well-concealed.

Overall a very drinkable strong lager.

12-28-2009 23:26:04 | More by GilGarp
Photo of KickInTheChalice


4.5/5  rDev +10%

Served on tap in a pint glass.

Appearance: Eliot Ness pours a deep burgundy color. When the draught arrived, it had a thick, taupe head, which slowly clung to the side of the glass. A residual ring and thin film remained for the life of the beer.

Smell: A nice, smooth toasted malt aroma, with a bit of spice. A light fruity hop smell is present as well.

Taste: The smooth bready malt flavor is the preliminary and most dominant flavor, nuanced by a light caramel flavor. The hop flavor itself is fairly balanced, with a light citrus flavor. A bitter aftertaste lasts just a moment. Definitely a bold lager, with exceptional balance.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, with a nice balance between the chewy malt and puckering hops feels. Very smooth.

Drinkability: The subtle transition between malt and hops, along with the smooth feel, make this an easy choice for a repeat.

By far the best selection for the style I have ever had.

12-28-2009 07:40:05 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4/5  rDev -2.2%

A: Very clear reddish amber color. Less than a quarter finger of white head with a little bit of lacing.

S: Quite malty with a touch of spice to it. Little bit of hops in the back but not much.

T: Malt is right up front and crisp. Just a very clean and tasty beer. Nice bitter hop finish..

M: Spot on for the style.

D: Really enjoyed this beer. Sam Adam's drinkers should all try this. Not quite as hoppy but much more complex.

12-27-2009 00:00:26 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of MrDanno96


4.35/5  rDev +6.4%

A: Nice looking one finger off-white head that demonstrates good retention. Has a nice amber hue to it when held up to the light. Lots of foamy lacing.

S: Sweet toasted malts and caramel are the primary scents on the nose. Just a touch of hops in there as well.

T: Nice caramel malts, a little citrus, and some nice floral hops. Great balance. Tastes like a slightly better version of SA Boston Lager.

M: Nice medium body and a pleasant bite from the carbonation.

D: I could (and will) session this. It's very comparable to Boston Lager and probably even a little better. Well done.

12-17-2009 03:43:29 | More by MrDanno96
Photo of buschbeer


3.8/5  rDev -7.1%

I poured into a pint glass to a creamy beige head. It has a beautiful reddish amber hue. The aroma is of tasted bread and caramel malt. The taste follows the caramel smell. It finishes with a sweet bready taste and a kiss of floral hops. The mouthfeel is very nice, not watered down. It is a good beer but I prefer other styles (Eddy Fitz) so it is tough to get overly excited about.


12-15-2009 19:30:02 | More by buschbeer
Photo of Kadonny


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

Poured from tap at home into a SA perfect pint glass.

A: A deep copper ruby color with a nice off white fluffy head. Nice glass lacing.

S: Smells of caramel sweetness, bready malts, some fruit and hops.

T: A great tasting lager. The sweeter malt caramel flavors start off with some lighter lemon, citrus and grassy flavors. The body is bready and biscuity malt as the sweetness dies and the earthy floral hops come in. Finish is real nice and bitter with hops. What a different take on a lager, but a great one at that. I get more hops on the draft version of the beer.

M: Medium that coats the mouth and bitterness lingers, but not overly so. No alcohol is detected.

D: Forget it, damn these were real nice to drink at anytime and the great thing is you can have a few at one sitting.

Overall this is an excellent lager that I just love. I drank up my keg in record time (only one I drank faster was Two Hearted) and everyone that tried it, loved it. Another great brew by Great Lakes, they got it going on. I will no doubt be drinking another keg of this in the future.

12-15-2009 15:33:47 | More by Kadonny
Photo of thain709


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

A - A deep copper body with some clarity to it...a small white head formed and settled into a thin cap...decent lacing

S - Sweet caramel malts right off the bat...they are rounded out with a buttery, biscuit malt and a faint earthy hop aroma

T - The taste starts off sweet with the caramel malts...there is a real nice caramel flavor in the forefront of this beer...a grainy presence comes in through the middle...a biscuit flavor comes across too as it is topped with butter and honey...the hop bite at the end of the beer is very nice...light, but strong and earthy in flavor

M - Medium bodied...very smooth with a nice linger bitter sweetness

D - This is one nice lager...the flavors of caramel really stand out and the addition of the hops at the end are great...the beer never became too sweet and has a lower ABV which makes this sessionable

12-14-2009 22:24:37 | More by thain709
Photo of MIbeerfan


4.13/5  rDev +1%

A: Bottle poured into pint glass. Rich red copper color with a healthy one finger head which disappeared quickly.

S: A light hop aroma

T: Hints of citrus with a healthy dose of hops.

M: Smooth texture light carbonation

D: Great year round beer...defintely hides the high ABV

12-11-2009 23:25:38 | More by MIbeerfan
Photo of Buckeyes67


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

This beer pours nicely from the bottle leaving a good head. A good dark appearance but not cloudy. An amazingly smooth taste that goes down with ease. It sits nicely on the palate being not to heavy or light. I truly enjoyed this beer from the beer sampler I bought.

12-11-2009 15:50:36 | More by Buckeyes67
Photo of OatmattStout


4.15/5  rDev +1.5%

really nice burnt orange color and light tan head.

very nice toasty nose of layered biscuity malts.

taste is really polished and really balanced. great sweet complex malt flavors mirroring the nose. Just a great beer all around. A much better vienna lager than Sam Adams which isn't bad itself.

great smooth and finely carbonated tongue envelopment.

drinkibilty is really up there and liked this one very much.

12-09-2009 03:13:45 | More by OatmattStout
Photo of GoldenChild


4.68/5  rDev +14.4%

this is a great beer picked it up the other day have thought about buying it for a long time now read some reviews on here on there beers and have decided to try them.

Great color amber/ one finger head on it with no lacing that disappears quickly

Smell of caramel, roast, honey, and possibly nuts .

Has a very nice mouth feel thick carbonated and smooth.

Taste just like it smells caramel, nuts, honey, this is a smooth not overly sweet beer with amazing taste and a clean finish.

I like this beer and would recommend it.

12-07-2009 01:32:33 | More by GoldenChild
Photo of zimm421


4.38/5  rDev +7.1%

A - Pours a dark brown, copper, caramel color with a slightly foamy, light tan colored head

S - Not a strong smell, but a great smell. Sweet caramel and honey smell. Along with some nutty scents

T - Follows the nose, a wonderful taste. Hints of caramel, sweet honey, along with some nutty flavors. Not a lot going on hop-wise, but a wonderful taste

M - Medium bodied, smooth, low carbonation, great feel

D - Great drinkability, just right for this beer.

One of the best beers I've ever had. A personal favorite, and I could never turn this beer down.

12-05-2009 23:49:29 | More by zimm421
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +1.5%

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.

12-02-2009 01:05:25 | More by Viggo
Photo of billab914


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

Poured from a bottle into my Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Beautiful amber red color with nice clarity. The head settled and left a small white film top the beer. Not much lacing to speak of.

Aroma is sweet with notes of caramel and roasted malts. Taste follows the nose with lots of caramel sweetness with some roasted malts and bread notes. Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Very drinkable, enjoyed the only one I have thoroughly.

11-30-2009 22:36:50 | More by billab914
Photo of tatoodkelt


4/5  rDev -2.2%

Another Great Lakes treat from Auslander!

Consumed 11/16/2009- from notes.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

A- Very deep, clear, bright amber topped off by a one finger light tan head that settles to a thin skim.

S- A little caramel, a little spicy hop, and a mild grassy note. Comes together pretty well.

T- All of the nose but with a suprised me with a noticable maltiness as well, again very well balanced.

M- Medium bodied, almost Scottish Ale-ish in feel, a little sticky.

D- Pretty easy to drink, I could see having a sixer at a party.

11-25-2009 15:41:28 | More by tatoodkelt
Photo of eagles22


4.38/5  rDev +7.1%

Appearance: 1 1/2 finger white head with deep amber body

Smell: roasted malts, chocolate and sweet caramel

Taste: caramel hits you at first than lingers off into a nice lightly semi sweet chocolate and alos nice citrus hop at the end

Mouthfeel: rich and creamy

Drinkability: very high

11-24-2009 04:37:28 | More by eagles22
Photo of BillyBoysPie


4.2/5  rDev +2.7%

From a bottle into a pint glass.

Nice brown color that turns deep red when held up to the light. No haze. Deep tan head, half inch. Dissipated slowly, but significant dense lacing. Exceptional - not just a hallmark but a exemplary member of the Vienna Lager style.

Nice light caramel nose, a touch of sweet sugar, and fresh, clean hops with a light lemon flavor.

First, dry toasty malt flavors that evolve into a touch of sweet, light brown caramel. Moves through a touch of lemon and orange zest right into a clean hoppy end note. Savoring only enhances this.

Medium bodied - nice light carbonation and no major alcohol taste.

Excellent beer. I highly suggest having this at some point in your life. Or, better yet, get a six-pack & a few friends and have a big healthy meal of roasted pork chops, green beans, parsley and garlic potatoes, and an apple tart or crisp for dessert.

11-19-2009 16:49:14 | More by BillyBoysPie
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

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.

11-13-2009 21:58:21 | More by biegaman
Photo of TommyW


4/5  rDev -2.2%

A- Dark amber/gold with a nice, tan head.

S- Big malty aroma with toasted, caramel and coffee notes.

T- Lots of malt flavors going on. Some toffee and toasted bread. Not a big hop profile, but enough to balance the malts pretty well.

M- Nice chewy feel with a smooth carbonation.

D- A tasty lager; very smooth and drinkable.

11-09-2009 14:30:55 | More by TommyW
Photo of Tee76


4.18/5  rDev +2.2%

A: Dark amber/copper color, with a thin head

S: Sweet smelling with a hint of caramel and a small nutty aroma

T: Starts off sweet with a hoppy, nutty, caramel flavor but ends with a bitter taste. Lot of flavor goin on here!!

M: Medium body with excellent carbonation. Very crisp yet smooth
D: Overall a great looking and tasting lager, excellent brew all around.Makes for a nice beer on a chilly evening.Highly drinkable!!

Great Lakes has yet to disappoint!!

11-06-2009 19:58:55 | More by Tee76
Photo of Naugled

New York

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

gorgeous light chestnut brown with a bit of mahogany color, crystal clear, thin tan head

malty aroma is very prominent and smells wonderful

deep malt nutty flavor, very intense and rich, finishes with caramel notes

rich smooth medium full mouthfeel

good drinking vienna, very clean but on the full side of the style.

10-31-2009 13:22:38 | More by Naugled
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%

A drop-dead gorgeous beer, the head is a creamy tan thing, big at first and then an eighth-inch layer, on top of a fiery copper-red color, which tricks me into seeing the head as having a red tint as well. Morse code dots-and-dashes of lace on the glass.

It's hard to compare the aroma to anything or things in particular. I get a cherry-like fruit essence, more like hard candy than actual fruit, but it's reined in and muted; and I get that peculiar/particular moist earthy maltiness you can only find in Scotch/Scottish ales; I get something approaching a mess of caramel/toffee taffy, but no, it's not quite that either. Bubblegum? Maybe. It's elusive, but who cares what it's like, it is to be enjoyed for what it IS, and it is absolutely wonderful.

The nose wasn't fooling--all the impressions listed above fly by on the tongue, to some degree or another. But there's also a pronounced hoppiness going on, grassy and bitter in the best way. This gives an interesting slant to the beer, which is mostly malt-driven and completely unique from other Vienna lagers. There's a candy-like essence here, bright and refreshing and playful. Lingering hop prickle in the finish adds to the fun. Something about the total flavor impression doesn't make me score it as high as in the other departments, but this particular "4" shouldn't be taken as anything other than a recommendation to buy on sight.

Rounded, slick, gliding, creamy texture is medium-bodied and fits the flavor it carries to a T. Yep, it's carbonated, but not overly so, and that's a good thing.

One of few lagers (aside from doppelbocks and such) that I would recommend not drinking too cold, and in fact, with barely a chill. This is great. If Eliot Ness (the beer, not the dude) is to be lumped together in the same league with Dos Equis or Sam Adams Boston Lager, I feel sorry for it. Not that those are terrible, but seriously, this is one uncommonly excellent lager. Thanks to kels for the hook-up!

10-23-2009 22:21:30 | More by Metalmonk
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,464 ratings.