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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.

2,679 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,679
Reviews: 938
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 206
Gots: 268 | 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: 2,679 | Reviews: 938 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chicagoabbot
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz into snifter. Nose reeks of lager yeast mainly. In a wonderful way. Head is frothy and gorgeous over a ruby red very clear and very clean lager. So neat and crisp, with a malty fizzle on your tongue. Really a wonderful example of the style, highly recommended.

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful amber with an off-white head.

In the nose is toasted grain, grass, and caramel - very nice.

Full grain fullness hits the mouth first, followed by malty caramel sweetness, finnishing dry and bitter with the fresh herbal grass notes. Quite a fine beer.

Photo of oakbluff
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely ruby copper with a thin off white head. very good clarity. Nose- biscuit, grains. Taste-Very malt forward, layers of grain. Caramel, nuts, toast. Hops take the background here, but do add some balance to the malts and show up on the finish.

Photo of brown2cu
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Serving Type: Poured from a bottle with freshness date clearly indicated. Pours a rich amber color with a moderate head that becomes almost non existent. has a good bit of lacing that dissolved over time.

Smell: Predominant sweet caramel malts, slight hop scent in the background.

Taste: Sweet really sweet, the alcohol is present and up front. The hop bitterness is pretty well masked but present in the background.

Mouthfeel: perfectly carbonated and pleasant.

Drinkability: Pretty tasty, the ABV on this though inhibits the ability to put more than one or two down on any given occasion atleast for me.

Photo of SylviaFaye
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a pale amber color with little head. That head which exists dissipates down to a thin haze over the surface. A fair amount of carbonation is visible.

The nose speaks little of the taste that is to follow.

Initially a bitterness hits the palate, which fades only to return with a quick buck at the swallow. The aftertaste of black coffee hangs in the mouth for some time afterwards.

The bitterness fades with time, bringing out the toffee undertones. Indeed, the beer seemed different with every swallow but never in an unflattering way.

Mouth feel is smooth and at times almost silky.

This is a beer worth pondering over and certainly worth a try.

An extra note: Someone purchased this for me, and in the time that it took him to complete the rest of his grocery shopping, all of the Great Lakes products sold out except for the porter.

Photo of jdense
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Kramerbooks Dupont Circle DC 11.13.10, $5.50 pint.

1/4 off-white head resulted in a thin broken ring of head around edge of glass, quick dissipation but with significant lacing. Clear medium amber body, minimal carbonation rising from bottom of glass. Nose is malt forward, mainly caramel but some roast and breadiness, very malty, minimal hop presence in the nose. Taste is sweetish caramel up front and a surprisingly hoppy finish, noble bitterness, nice balance. Medium mouthfeel, not a lot of effervescence, a bit sticky. Very drinkable. I thought this was an outstanding beer, I wish I could have this more often.

Photo of zoso1967
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a lovely reddish amber color and is crystal clear. The head is a very light tan, tightly packed, has wonderful staying power and leaves nice lace.

The aroma is clean, simple and inviting. Rich caramel and just a touch of toffee are the dominate aromas, but are accented by a subtle pinch of slightly spicy German hop aroma. Very simple aroma, but sometimes simple is good.

The flavor is much like the aroma in that it is very straightforward with clean and true flavors. The caramel malt is dominant on the front end with the spicy herbal hops fading in a bit near the end. This is a malt forward lager just as it should be, and while not extremely complex, it has a nice simple elegance about it.

The mouthfeel is squarely medium with a nice smoothness to it. The carbonation is right on and though this beer finishes with a good amount of sweetness, it is far from being a weight on the palate.

This is a super drinkable beer and another great offering from Great Lakes. Making solidly brewed and clean beers seems to be there specialty, and I am excited to try the rest of their portfolio.

Photo of camp0474
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours red amber with a tan head.

S: Grainy malt with a hint of hops and toffee.

T: Sweet toffee malt and bitter grainy flavor. Hint of hops way in the back of the mouth, somewhat spicy. Bittersweet.

M: Light to medium body. Medium to high carbonation. Nothing to fancy here.

D: Not my normal beer style, but goes down easy. Pretty well balanced.

Photo of Suds
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a very clear, rich copper color with a faint head. It presents a wonderful malt nose. Toasted malt, with a very pleasant bread-crust scent. Some herbal hops are present in the aroma, but, again, the malt dominates. The taste is slightly sweet and malty, but overall quite balanced. Clean, crisp, malty, and very satisfying. Balanced and easy to drink.

Photo of beer2day
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark red pour. Fluffy two-finger medium cream head. Good retention and lace. Light carbonation.

Strawberry twizzler nose. Yeasty and bready, but way underneath. Intersting, but not terribly appealing.

Sweet hit. Clean and very crisp. Lots of amber malt in the finish with a just right pine hop balance.

Very thick body, appropriate for the style, but still very nice.

Despite the nose, I can definitely drink more than one of these.

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

Pours a russet color with a thick off white head. Chunks of foam coat the glass on the way down. Nutty malt notes fill the nose. The taste is a complex mix of chocolatey, nutty, doughy flavors. A subtle noble hop character provides the perfect balast to the malt wall. The mouthfeel is creamy, a full bodied lager this. The finish is lightly bitter with caramel and dough malt notes.

This is a fantastic lager. I'd recommend it to anyone. Really a nice showcase of crystal malts.

Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a stein.

A: A pretty hazelnut brown with a big white head.

S: Toasted malts caramel and muted hops.

T: Smooth and soft malts. Smokey caramel and soft hops.

D: Extremely drinkable. If not for the ABV it would be downright sessionable!

Overall: A great Vienna lager. Supremely well balanced and world class drinkablility. This would be a great introduction to craft beer.

Photo of mcnabb0001
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle with freshness date 9/19/10. Wish I had it fresher for the review but what are you gonna do.

A - poured a murky amber dark orange color. with a small white head that quickly dissipates to a thin lacing.

S- smells of sweet caramel and fruit. almost like a fruit juice. Very sweet smelling beer.

T- The taste again is sweet with a quick bitter bite that quickly gives way to a sweet maltness. Cant quite point out any one particular flavor in this beer.

M - Good consistancy full bodied lightly carbonated fizz with each sip.

D - Very drinkable beer could definitely have a few of these in a sitting perfer this Vienna Lager to Sam Adams Boston Lager in that style category.

Photo of beerdown77
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank From: bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: copper, amber, transparent, good amount of head
Smell: sweet, amber
Taste: bitter, malt
Mouth feel: light body, carbonation
Drinkability: easy to drink

Summary: Great Lakes always delivers a well rounded version of whatever is advertized on the bottle, case in point. I don't have a lot to say about this beer, however. I don't love lagers, amber lager being my least favorite. This could be a crowd pleaser for non-hop lovers. It's available in the mixed 12 pack, and tolerable in that capacity.

Photo of Spider889
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my old stand-by's and my friend's favorite beer period. This beer is one I constantly take for granted, but each time I have it I am impressed moreso than the previous time it seems.

Tastes like a marriage of their Oktoberfest and Nosferatu; I'll drink to that!

Appearance is a deep amber, almost red color. A small white head that recedes immediately. Not much lace either.

Smell is sweet and full of bready and caramel notes. Similar to their Oktoberfest, but more sweet and less "lagery" if that makes any sense. Very faint grassy hops lay in wait.

Flavor is full of complexity. It begins with a sharp bite - I suspect a bit of rye gets used in this recipe. Then there is an intermittent hop bitterness which is quickly waylaid by a sweet caramel malt profile. Finishes very smooth and rich.

Very highly carbonated (almost too much so), but it plays very well with the hoppiness of the brew. Crisp on the palate, but finishes long a smooth.

This beer is low in abv and certainly sessionable. While not my personal GLBC favorite, I would never object to sharing a sixer of this with my best friend.

Photo of wmtxbb
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: clear amber color with good sized head. Not too shabby.

Smell: Has the salted peanut smell that most great lakes beers have. A little malt, smell isn't extraordinary.

Taste: Amber malts and salted peanuts. I've had 6 beers from Great Lakes Brewing co and they've all had this salted peanut taste and smell. It must be something in their water or they add salt. Definitely some graininess and cream like amber malts that combine with the crisp taste from the lager yeast. A little dryness at the end.

Drinkability: Not a complex beer, but not a bad beer. It's a session beer or a beer you'd have to complement your meal. This beer would be great with some wings. Of all of the beers that I've had from Great Lakes this is my least favorite, but it is good for the style so I can't be too harsh.

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

This is a pretty solid Vienna Lager, with a nice amber color and two-finger head which left lasting lacing. It smells like spicy hops and a bit of caramel malt and is very clean tasting, with toasty malt, a bit of graininess, some spicy but definitely subordinate hops, a little bit of a bite at the end, and fine carbonation which makes it a good drinker. Not incredibly exciting but certainly an excellent beer.

Photo of Hibernator
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Great Lakes Eliot Ness
12 oz brown bottle
Freshness date marked 12/19/10
Served in a 20 oz tulip glass

Pours an amber brown color with a nice head on top that leaves spectacular trails of lace all over the glass.

The nose is pleasant with whiffs of apple, spices and faint hops. I also detect a hint of metal, which is strange.

A nice smooth and creamy mouthfeel from the start with caramel malt sweetness. Toasted malt and grain flavors. A touch of fruity sweetness too, perhaps apples or pears. The finish showcases a hoppy snap bite.

This could be one of the beer session beers I've had in a long time. Extremely well balanced, flavorful and drinkable.

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

A great beer.
Pours a deep brown color with ruby highlights and a light brown head and nice lacing. Smells of vanilla, roasted barley, and malt. Tastes like malted barley, roasted barley, biscuits, and sweetbread. Mouthfeel is great with a thick texture. Drinkability is high.

Photo of thecarster1
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a- bottle poured into a pint, two finger creamy head, hazy chesnut coloring, great retention.

s- clean, bright amber nose, some sweet fresh baked bread, biscuit, touch of spiced vanilla, no real hops here.

t- taste echos the nose, sweet, a slight hop profile, lingering bitterness.

m- medium body.

d- okay, this is a solid amber ale, easy to drink, and a nice offering from great lakes.

Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A very nice amber look.

S- smell of hops and barley and sweet molasses smell in the back ground.

T- Taste of hops with a sweet molasses taste at the end of the sip but not to over powering just mesh well.

M- Easy drinking hops and molasses iin the background very hearty with the barley very filling.

D- Love this beer good to try other lagers from different states. If you can buy one and try it.


Photo of silver0rlead
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a frothy tan head that retains well and leaves nice lacing. The aroma has some hay and biscuit notes upfront, along with caramel and toffee, herbal hops, raw honey and some alcohol...intriguing if not particularly complex. The flavor is classic vienna lager, with nutty and biscuity malt notes initially, along with treacle and caramel, brown sugar, hay and must, herbal hops and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium but really smooth and drinkability is good but limited by the alcohol presence. Very solid lager from Great Lakes, like a higher octane oktoberfest.

Photo of droomyster
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a bronze-brown with a medium sized tan head with fair retention and lots of lacing properties. Aromas are predominantly toasty, with an interesting nutty element that's almost as strong, and a bit of wood as well. There's a tinge of alcohol on the nose as well, but not enough to detract from the main aromas. Flavors are remarkably complex, with tons of toast and pecans up front, followed by toffee and tea on the mid-palate, and a mostly sweet and slightly woody finish. Medium body is perfectly carbonated. A thoroughly delicious beer. Hands down the best of its style.

Photo of sixerofelixir
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle sampled this week. Updated review.

Pours a deep, amber orange, clear, with a thin beige head. Smell is a little hoppy and yeasty and alcohol-y. First taste is subdued hops, with a nice finish of fruit-like fresh bread. Kind of a one-dimensional hops/malt taste, but good and very smooth. Finish is short with some bitterness. A solid, easily drinkable lager.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A deep glowing orange shows some light cherry tints while in the glass. The head is khaki, smooth and frothy but short lived dissipating from a solid foamy fingers worth to a skim milky covering in a matter of a minute or two. Visible carbonation was light, spacious, with a moderate pace of rise. Small broken lashes adorn the glass for a lacing.

S: Creamy caramel apple skins first appear on the nose of light to medium strength. Smells pretty much like caramel apples basically.

T: Sweet chewy caramel coated apples first come to mind with a soft noble flowery hopping. Malt forward with a flowery bite of hops occurring on the swallow. Reminds me of a hopped up Sam Adams lager with a little extra specialty malting to boot.

M: Creamy smooth caramel body provides a thick luscious feel on the tongue. Huge specialty malt base provides a good resistance with a thick viscosity along with a defining carbonation factor adding some tingle.

D: Nice session, again brings back memories of my first craft beer Sam Adams circa 1990. Huge creamy caramel malt base with a flowery hop bite and some alcohol mentions which is the only thing limiting me from many more.

End Beer Musings: Again not to harp but when considered by style this has to be an A example in my book, maybe a very good rating overall (B+) but this definitely trumps Sam Adams lager and I can hardly think of any more examples of Vienna lagers that come close. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,679 ratings.