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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

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2,746 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,746
Reviews: 954
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 215
Gots: 324 | 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: 2,746 | Reviews: 954 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Duff27
3.79/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8/3/11 8209AL

A- Big light-tan, two-inch head atop a darker ruby-red beer. Well above average lacing and good head retention as well.

S- Vienna malts. Having a hard time detecting any hops.

T- More Vienna (and some caramel?) malts, not too sweet though. Just enough hops to balance nicely. Very well hidden alcohol.

M- Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Creamy, medium carbonation.

D/O- Definitely thirst quenching. I'd rank this one a notch lower than Boston Lager on the tastiness scale. Great Lakes Brewing Company, consistent!

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Single bottle from the Great Lakes sampler pack, picked up on a road trip to upstate New York. So far I've been loving the Dortmunder, Burning River and Edmund Fitzgerald - how will the last one stand up?

Poured into a tall pilsner tulip. A brilliant ruby-amber colour, clear, nice frothy head, a bit of lacing.

Nose is quite malty, with notes of grain, caramel, sugar and earthy hops.

A malty extravaganza, this brew is full of flavor. Caramel, earth, a hearty grain taste, and a clean hopped finish. Reminded me of a wee heavy somewhat. Very tasty brew. Carbonation is a bit high for my liking, but it has a nice crisp feel.

Another solid brew from Great Lakes. As hearty as a non-bock lager as you're ever going to find!

Photo of antlerwrestler19
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a vibrant amber color with a definite red hue to it - this beer bubbles for days - a 1.5 finger thick almost frothy head of foam rests on top of the beer, determined not to leave. As I finally start to take drinks I see the lacing follow the still remaining head down without letting up. Smells of light caramel/toffee with a bit of grassiness playing out from the hops (not at all a "hoppy" beer though). Taste? This beer is amazing! Incredibly balanced, the sweet malts, the caramel/toffee flavor plays through, a nutty spiciness, and subtle hops all bring this beer together to be superb. Mouthfeel is nice - I can get a handle on all the different flavors this beer has to offer - leaves the slightest of bitterness yet sweet tang in the back of the mouth. I better have another drink this beer is so refreshing, mad at myself for only buying a 6er.


Photo of BigPlay1824
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a mug

A: Pours a nice medium amber/orange with a thin head that is off white and lingers creamily on the top, pours entirely hazy
S: Nice and sweet with a slight underlying hopiness, slight caramel malt scent
T: nice maltiness counteracted by the nice sweetness, finishes slightly deep
M: strong carbonation tingle, leaves a nice lingering taste
O: really enjoyable brew, drinks smooth, not terribly complex but has a great depth

Photo of AdamBear
3.79/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark reddish gold, transparent with a nice thin white head...it looks fairly majestic.

S-smells like creamy and milky barley. its a strong scent but not a good scent. i'm getting some berries in here as well.

T-comes in with slightly bitter but really good full flavored tastes of roasted honey and barley of extreme quality. it almost reminds me of cereal. the taste lasts and forms a decent and long lasting after-taste.

M-good creamy medium carbonation with a crisp finish

O-this is a pretty well put together lager. its very different in the tastes than any other lager i've had which i really appreciate. its easy drinking as well...though it might not be something i could drink a lot of at one time. the only other vienna lager i've had has been Sam Adams Boston Lager...which seems to be in the amateur league compared to the Eliot Ness.

Photo of ebby82
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber into a pint glass with minimal head.

The aroma is sweet and malty, perhaps a hint of caramel.

The taste blows me away. The maltiness is complemented by a nice hop presence. First, I didn't smell the hops much in the aroma, yet there they are, second, I love lagers in which you can still taste the hops. One of the tastiest Vienna Lager's I've had. the only one I can remember enjoying as much is my local breweries version.

Mouthfeel is like with nice carbonation. An easy drinker, I just wish I could buy this in VA, but perhaps that day shall come.

Photo of musicforairports
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewpub in Cleveland.

Clear and amber, with a fluffy head that goes quick. Served in a stein.

Smells like nutty, slightly sweet malts.

Flavor is rich and full of smooth, nutty malt flavors. Just enough noble hops on the end to keep it from being too sweet, but otherwise not a hoppy beer. Great example of the style.

Mouthfeel is great--it's full enough to keep this beer from seeming like a light one.

A really great beer overall. Full-flavored and smooth. Glad I got to try it. Compared to the other popular Vienna lager--Sam Adams--this one is more malty, less hoppy, and overall a bit more flavorful.

Photo of tastybeer
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear amber gold pour with a nice one inch head initially. Slight orange tinted in color, and once it settles it leaves a good solid quarter inch and little bits of lace behind. Aroma has that yummy Vienna lager grainy, chewy, caramelly scent that I always like. Light Czech. hops add a refreshing edge to it. Taste is smooth with toasty, roasty and nutty grains and carbonation is fine and prickly. Nice balance between bitter and flavor/aroma hops too. Mouthfeel is sliiightly chewy and mostly slick with a touch of grainy texture. Nice array of textures. Overall I like this. I would be happy to have several more...great session beer.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes.

A: Poured a copper/brown color with a small, off-white head that dissipated slowly and left behind some nice lacing.

S: Lots of rich malt - some caramel, very sweet with some spices and fruit. Cloves and coriander and the fruit seemed to be dates and maybe some plums. Overall, a pretty earthy aroma.

T: Upfront there is a really nice caramel flavor with some of the spices from the aroma. This sweetness is balanced slightly by a slight hop kick that shows up as a little bit of orange actually. The finish has some nice bready malt and a little bit of dark fruit. Slightly sweet finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sweet finish, but not sticky sweet.

O: A very tasty beer, I was surprised at how much I liked it, but not really sure why (I was surprised that is). Another solid beer from Great Lakes. Extremely easy drinking.

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

Pours a clear, reddish amber under a frothy, lasting off-white head. Sweetish, toasted German malt and nuts aroma...leafy/spicy hop and clean lageriness. Toasted caramel, nutty malt flavor. Earthy, herbal notes with some grassy bitterness and spice. Medium-light and slightly creamy. Another pleasant lager from Great Lakes...

Photo of Eldalonde
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep beautiful amber with a tan creamy head that leaves these terrific legs behind to lust after. Good looking beer!

S - The aromas are rich with smells of biscuits, dough, and fresh baked bread, which is, of course, a wonderful aroma to enjoy. The malts really come out nice in this one. There is also this spring field, flowery smell coming through as well, not so much like a hoppiness, but more the smell of clover flower.

T - The incredible aromas of a bakery transfer terrifically to the palate...not only does it smell like fresh baked bread, but it also tastes like it. There is also a nuttiness that is a real treat and is followed by rich sweet toffee and vanilla. The caramel malts come through and slightly yield to a light chocolate undertone that really adds a nice complexity. There is a very nice dry hoppiness that comes out in the finish along with some light cereal grains.

M - This is clean and crisp beer that kind of snaps on the palate. Flavor changes are pronounced, a little lively on the tongue, and has a good feel to it.

O - Very unique. There is a level of deepness to this beer that is just terrific and I feel as though I didn't capture all there is to capture in this one. This is a really good beer, very sessionable, just all around a real pleasure.

Photo of fx20736
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a glass mug.

I am reviewing this right after reviewing Dortmunder Gold as I bought the sampler 12 pack from Great Lakes. FWIW the GL 12 is about as good a sampler as you can get'3 EF Porters. 3 Dortmunders, 3 Burning Rivers and 3 Eliot Ness and it was only $ 14.69 at Beers of the World.

Pours a 1 inch beige head that leaves nice lacing.

Beer is a gorgeous Reddish amber. Pretty to look at.

Aroma is not strong and mainly bready.

Mouthfeel is fine, a little slippery.

Taste: I am learning that the 1st sip of a beer is always the hoppiest. This beer is not quite as hoppy as Dortmunder and definitely more malty with some nice caramel notes. Again the striking thing about this GL brew is the overall balance between malt and hops and the quality of the beer. It is such a pleasure to sit down with one of these.

I definitely like this better than the Dortmund which is not to say the Dortmunder is not a very good beer. I like the maltiness that comes through on the Ness. I know that this beer is often compared to Sam Adams Boston Lager. I drink Boston Lager by the yard but I think this might be a little better. At 6.2 ABV this one could sneak up on you and take you down pretty easily.

Photo of argock
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass mug. Best by 032511 stamped on front label. Thanks again to my brother Greg for hitting the streets for all these great beers.

A: Inviting amber-light brown with 1-finger off-white, tightly bubbled head with decent retention and nice lacing.

S: Mildly herbal, grassy hops nose with layered, caramel-toffee, slightly sweet malt note

T: An easy drinker for sure with crackery and bready malt sweetness, accented with toffee and nutty notes. The hoppiness is herbal, grassy, and mildly floral but is easily outdueled by the malt components. I imagine this one is probably hurt a bit by being post-best by date.

M: A really creamy, lush mouthfeel for a lager which really shows off the malty, medium body with an even edge of carbonation.

O: A really good beer that I would love to taste at the brewery as I bet it's a knockout fresh. A really stout malty body with a great balance of sweetness and noble hopping.

Photo of chefhatt
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer into a pint glass. It has a amber color body with a nice foamy head that retains quite long. The smell is nice and malty with some spice. The taste is like the smell, malty, sweet, i taste a little spice and some hops. The mouth feel is nice and smooth and goes down very easy. Overall this beer is great.

Photo of Scotchboy
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Steve, thanks bro! Poured into an oversized nonic.

A: Pours brilliant copper-color, transparent and effervescent. The foamy off-white head has a suprising amount of staying power and stick.

S: Some sweet and toasty malt, caramel, earthy hops and spices.

T: Very similar to the nose, not very bitter with some caramel malt sweetness and the spices coming thru, as well as some nuttiness. Finishes slightly off to me, don't know if it's the nut flavor or the lager yeast.

MF: Crisp, with a fair amount of body and medium carbonation.

O: A good beer, and a shining example of the style. Recommended.

Photo of IdrinkGas
3.02/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a very clear amber color. It's looks remind me of a Red Ale. About a finger of a creamy off white head. Sweet caramel malt really stands out in the nose. Lots of sugar and a small amount of hops also come through. Taste is mainly sweet malt. Reminds me a lot of an overly sugary fruit punch. Light bodied with a low level of carbonation. An interesting Lager but not my kind of beer.

Photo of aepb1
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Red body with a bubbly off-white head that fades slowly

S- Some roasted malts and some citrus hops

T- Sweet caramel malts with some nuttiness and nice spicing

M- Light bodied and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth.

O- An awesome example of the style and it's very easy to drink

Photo of Tschnab
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Eliot Ness was one of the chief enforcers of prohibition, so I will drink this one in honor of his failed efforts!

A- a deep amber, almost ruby hue with a fluffy head that quickly dissipates to a thin film. A little bit of lacing here and there.

S- nice and bright fruitiness here, maybe strawberries. Also some toffee and caramel, as well as some floral hop aroma.

T- the taste confirms the nose, but everything is a little more pronounced. It's very malty, but balanced by some hops. Very refreshing and quaffable .

O- I was really surprised by how good this lager is, the number one rated Vienna lager for a reason.

Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that slowly died down and left some lacing on the surfaces and down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel malts and spices in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the flavors of caramel malts dominate the taste, which has a slight amount of sweetness. There is some spiciness and a mild amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and goes down smoothly.

Photo of liamt07
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with Steve and Josh, into a tulip.

Pours a copper/amber with some off-white head, that falls to some bubbles and a bit of foam. Some sediment in the body. Nose hold some bread, cracker, light caramel malt and light hop character. Some slight red apple notes. Taste is crisp initially with a good hop bite, some fresh bread, a solid pale malt base, slight grassiness. Good clean and refreshing feel, with a moderate lingering bitterness. On point for a Vienna lager, just how I like 'em. Absolutely crushable.

Photo of Erish
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Best by 04/16/11.

A: clear reddish amber color, 1-finger head quickly falls into a thin but persistent cap with very good lacing.

S: vanilla, woody/oak, rich, bread-like malt, some ripe fruitiness.

T: the rich maltiness hits big up front, along with a generous helping of vanilla/toasty oak goodness, the middle has a gentle earthiness and a supple fruitiness, the finish is dry, gently bitter, and features grassy/herbal hops.

M: medium-bodied, silky texture, plentiful carbonation.

O: yet another wonderful beer from Great Lakes. This brewery exudes quality and good taste.

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How did it take to the third or fourth time having this until I was bopped in the skull with how good a beer this is. And I could've sworn it was an ale with how rich and full its malt goodness is. It's fairly clean-drinking, don't get me wrong, but it sports just enough husk and grit to make you second-guess.

I must have somehow never noticed its awesome autumn-red-amber color. Well, it's awesome. Deep. There was some lace on the glass left by its otherwise ordinary head.

Fruity, bold-hoppy, rich, bold toasty-caramel malt aroma. Super. Bold as well is the caramel and toast malty-as-crunk flavor. Slightly bitter hoppy-toasted in the finish.

Excellent smooth, full body. And it honestly drinks more like an ale. But they say it's a lager.

Gotta try this again and again. I think I rushed through this most recent sipping - too good.

Photo of nezelrac
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into shaker pint

A - deep amber with orange highlights; a nice off-white head; moderate retention

S - malty, lightly toasty grain; some sweetness to it; hops are subtly present; a little citrus rind

T - excellent set of malty flavors; sweet toffee/caramel; light toasty malt note; smooth graininess; hops are totally in the background; good length

M - slightly chewy malt body; medium weight; well-balanced and smoothly firm; CO2 is low

O - really excellent beer; very sessionable; plenty of interest; Great Lakes hits another 4-bagger

Photo of weller1js
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

appearance: pours clear, crisp, and vibrant, deep brown amber in color, moderately carbonated with off-white bubbly foam that remains bubbly with the lacing.

smell: the malt aroma is exceptional, with a sweet toffee-toastiness, and a light yet noticeable earthiness; hops have a light bittersweet sensation.

taste: malts and barley present themselves outright, very toasty with earthy undertones, hops are light but not without character, bittersweetness of both the malts and hops make for a pleasant finish; alcohol was noticeable in taste but not overpowering.

drinkability: high quality lager that one can definitely appreciate, with a higher than usual abv for a lager to go with it, very on-point.

Photo of tjwarren
5/5  rDev +22.5%
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.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,746 ratings.