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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.

2,510 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,510
Reviews: 922
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 178
Gots: 204 | 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: 2,510 | Reviews: 922 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ritzkiss
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, well before the best before date. Pours a dark amber/toffee color with a thin caramel-tinted head with some good staying power, leaves nice lacing down the glass.

Nose is heavy caramel malts, a slight earthy/grassiness, slight metallic note, almost bready.

This has to be one of the maltiest lagers I've ever had grace my lips. Thick bready caramel malts merge with a light bitterness that builds ever so slightly in the finish. Almost fruity, kind of reminds of a rich fruitcake, raisiny. Prickly carbonation, thick heavy mouthfeel, flavor coats the tongue.

Hard to knock this one. A really nice fall drinker, enough heft to combat the cool evenings without going to something overly heavy like a RIS or barleywine. Really tasty.

ritzkiss, Sep 28, 2009
Photo of jrallen34
2.3/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I drank this from a bottle into a chalice.

This beer pours a very pretty amber with a light white head. The head lastes only about 30 seconds. It is very clear for its color, lacing is pour but it carbonates quickly with a swirl.

The aroma is very light, hard to detect anything. There are notes of light hops but they are kind of skunky.

The taste leaves much to be disered. The taste is very light you hardly taste anything, but what you do taste is tea. Its really not good.

Mouthfeel is ok, but I couldn't drink more than 2 sips before I had to dump it.

jrallen34, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of hossua34
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep, dark reddish-brown. Medium sized head that slowly dwindles to nothing. Some lacing, though not much.

S - Predominantly hoppy, with some spice to it. Cracker-like malts balance everything out nicely.

T - Mostly hoppy as well, with an "up" grapefruit-like flavor. Malts are present but not too sweet, more like burnt toast or crackers.

M - Mouthfeel is full and thick. Could use a little more carbonation, in my opinion.

D - At 6.2 ABV, the drinkability is great. Not alcoholic tasting at all. Very hearty. Hoppier than most Vienna lagers, and the hop aftertaste slowed down my consumption.

hossua34, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of dstc
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brown color. Off-white head falls to a minimal one. Minimal lace.

Malts in the nose and mild hops present as well.

Nice full malt flavor. Sweetness lingers on the tongue at the finish.

Full and smooth in the mouth.

Very nice brew by a very good brewery. Looking forward to trying more by this brewer.

dstc, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of Finn
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says, "best by 11/29/09"

This beer is a brilliantly clear deep burnt orange color. head retention is nice, a thin but dense layer stays with the beer. Aroma is deep maltiness, with slight bit of fruity esters blending in. Flavor? This beer starts with a deep maltiness which is quickly balanced by a hop crsipness. There are also some roasty/dark grain flavors in the mix as well. It's full-flavored and rich, but not to sweet. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth, and this beer goes down nicely. A great fall time lager, which has a bit more depth of flavors than your average dark lager. The drinkability is good on this one, but I don't see this as a session beer, more like a nice treat to have in slightly cooler weather.
Very glad to have tried this one.

Finn, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of alkemy
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a clear amber/mahogany. I had just shy of a finger of off white head from a pretty laid back pour. Scent is malt oriented with a combination of vanilla, caramel, and some dark fruits...raisins if I had to pick one. Sweet and malty followed by a hint of hops and then back to the malts for the finish. I'm not typically a lager man, but this is quite good. I also get a very slight hint of smoky pumpkin in the aftertaste...that is really the closest I can explain it. Goes down super smooth and the carbonation and flavors have an excellent balance. It's been years since I've had this and can't, for the life of me, figure out why I've strayed from it for so long. This beer actually makes me believe that lagers can
indeed be good.

alkemy, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of lostwars
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours into a hybrid amber/maple syrup-like color with a sandy head. Carbonation is active and adds to the appearance of the beer.

S - Lovely full odor and satisfying warmth - undercurrent of new leather, walnut, and macaroon.

T - dark mocha, cocoa powder that turns into rum-like burnt sugar after 30 sec that gives way to a wonderful cloven hop lick.

M - at first carbonated and creamy, the feeling follows down the throat.

D - Mildly high ABV makes this a fun bottle to session and the flavors mature into the 3rd to 4th helping.

lostwars, Sep 21, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
2.85/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Deep amber pour with 2 fingers of slowly receding head. Smell is musty malts mostly, which is mirrored in the taste. Almost has that expired-IPA feel, with the mustiness and crayon wax flavors. Just not something I really can enjoy. Perhaps if this was in the 4-5% ABV range I would like it more, but at higher than 6 it just isn't worth it.

alcstradamus, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of Brad007
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful medium-amber color with a thick, frothy head into my fluted glass. Very nice.

Aroma is full of sweet, bready malt with a touch of hops in the nose. A bit grainy as well.

Taste is sweet and there's a bit of caramel as well with a touch of hops. This is all about the malt though. Clean and well-done.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering sweetness from the malt and again, the touch of hops and caramel. Clean and carbonation is just right here.

Very nice for the style. Drinkable and well worth a try. Possibly my favorite out of the stuff I've had from this brewery so far.

Brad007, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of william5586
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a very clear, rich, amber red with a small off white head. The color was really amazing.

The smell was of sweet caramel malt and very faint hops.

Had a bit of an earthy taste too it which gave way to a small dose of spicy hops followed by a slightly sweet, tea like finish and aftertaste.

Good mouthfeel all around. Crisp medium body. Very clean easy drinking beer.

This is one of the best lagers that I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. After the first few sips I was not sure how I felt about the beer. The more I drank however, the more subtle flavors I picked up on and the more I noticed how well they were all blended together and perfectly balanced.

I could drink this beer all day and all night long. I need to find a case of this as soon as possible.

william5586, Sep 17, 2009
Photo of claminat420
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- poured a nice transparent amber color with a nice off white creamy color two finger head.

S- a fair hint of malts with the hops battling right next to it. it seems like they clash. it's hard to pick out just one.

T- has a sweet malt taste with a faint hop backup. also leaves alil bloodlike aftertaste. and no my mouth isn't bleeding.

M- light bodied with just the right carbonation.

D- very easy to drink. a six would be no prob. good session beer.

Overall- this is a good solid staple beer but nothing spectacular. this one would be one for a friend who's a bud drinker and you wanna show him/her that there's beers out there that aren't to crazy but really smooth and good.

claminat420, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of dmfrench
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A sweet and spicy Oktoberish Vienna Lager.

A: Clear copper-orange body with a lovely, persistent, two-finger yellowish-white head.

S: Bready, buttery caramel malt and just a touch of earthy, spicy hops... there's a bit of that stinky brewery smell in there too... make of that what you will.

T: Sweet at first, caramel malty in the middle, and spicy and bitter at then end. Simple, but not too simple.

M: Perfect as usual for GLBC... full.

D: Oh yeah.

dmfrench, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of ClevoPiwo
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass - this is a great looking beer. The color is a rich amber, reddish brown or copper with a large and persistent off-white head that leaves beautiful full lacing on its slow decent.

The aroma is rich with a toasted, grainy malt character. There is a barely noticeable hop presence, but just enough to compliment the grainy malt. The smell is neither fruity nor too sweet, but rather toasted and grainy as a lager of this style ought to be.

The taste is fantastic, again with a distinctive grainy and toasted malt presence up front, almost like bread crust. Not much hop presence, and the aftertaste lingers more with a slight dryness from the malt character than with a bitterness from the hops - but that isn't to say that the hops aren't perceivable at all, they peek out through the toasted malt intermittently.

The mouth feel is right on, smooth and clean, yet big and almost creamy. Very drinkable and very enjoyable. Not only is this beer spot on for style, its also damn good.

ClevoPiwo, Sep 09, 2009
Photo of qchic
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rosy copper that is easily seen through with a light layer of foam on top. Aroma is faint (as mentioned on the label) but not absent. Lightly pungent hops and grainy malts are balanced, whereas in the flavor, the malts step up to the hops giving this beer a pleasant sweetness that is never cloying. There is an herbal quality that reminds me of iced tea, along with the earthy hops and a touch of fruit. Finishes bitter. Well crafted. Great Lakes is batting 1.000 with me so far.

qchic, Sep 08, 2009
Photo of bmwats
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tapped into a standard pint.

A: Deep dark brown appearance. Slight foamy, white head. Substantial lacing.

S: Solid full malty nose.

T: Woody, and kind of musty flavor, but not in a bad way.

M: Full bodied and hearty.

D: Great body and flavor balance.

bmwats, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of WalrusJockey
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- clear reddish amber. brings cherries to mind. head is sandy looking, almost doesn't look fluffy, but rough.

S- very malt-forward, with strong caramel aromas and a faint whiff of hops, only. raisins and vanilla are also noticable.

T- much more hops than in the nose, though in keeping with the style, not a ton of hops. The malt starts of mellow and gradually builds to a rich caramel-and-vanilla swirl, which is wonderful. the swallow is malty, but relatively clean, and the aftertaste is a lingering roasted flavor.

thankfully, very true to the style, and not 'americanized' into something else.

M- thicker than the average lager, but mainly in the form of creaminess.

D- this is a style geared towards drinkability, and this beer has it. the style calls for a fairly low hops presence, so for some people it might be too sweet/malty, but that's the style, and it is well done.

WalrusJockey, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of johnnnniee
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby/amber color with a huge bubbly beige that leaves lots o lace on the way down the glass. Smell is a sweet fruity malt aroma with a hint of earthy floral hops. Taste is sweet with malts. Burnt sugar caramel fruity and bready with just enough of a hop bite about midway through to keep the sweetness in check. Crisp carbonation, medium body, Oily almost creamy sensation in the mouth. It's been a while since I've had a great Lager. This is one. Easy drinking smooth sessionable brew.

johnnnniee, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of stegmakk
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice Ruby amber color. Head is nice tan color small bubbles decent retention.

S - maltiness...thats about it...

T - nice flavors here. Roasted maltiness some caramel, and breadiness. Dry. Crisp.

M - Not overly carbonbated, not too slick, clean finish with slight dry afterstaste.

D - Goes down so smooth, I finished before I finished thinking about the review. Good taste. I could drink a few of these.

stegmakk, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of vishneda
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a mug. From a six I grabbed at random on the way to the counter.

Pours to a nice amber or dark red body with a one finger tan head. Fairly decent amount of activity in the glass. There is some lacing as the beer goes down. Sturdy looking vienna.

The nose is a blend of floral notes with sweet wooden aromas. Strong but not overpowering.

Fantastically balanced flavor; everything I look for in a vienna. There is mild sweetness at the start, with hints of nut and maybe a little cherry. Nice transition into the pine and flower hop flavor as the beer rolls through the mouth. These hops do not dominate, but they provide the essential balance that makes this beer a standout.

Eliot Ness is a smooth beer with a firm body profile. Very refreshing and super drinkable, especially at this strength.

(Review from tasting notes dated 07 aug 2009)

vishneda, Aug 19, 2009
Photo of TheTrevor
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a red-tinged amber with a small head. The smell is candy sweet with a bit of burnt sugar. The taste starts off with a bit of solid malt that's cut by some interesting hop bitterness that seems to give way to even more malt and a bit of nuttiness. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with some moderate carbonation. This is an interesting beer and an uncommon style, it's worth grabbing if you can find it.

TheTrevor, Aug 18, 2009
Photo of dpodratsky3
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz beer poured into pint glass

A: A clear caramel color with a tan head and lively carbonation.

S: Smells sweet like caramel and bruleed sugar and a nice malt aroma to compliment.

T: Starts sweet like the smell and tastes like caramel. Then a hint of mild hop bitterness with some malty notes comes in. It finished very nicely with a balance of all the flavors. It rolls across your tastebuds affecting each of the areas independently then comes back to taste like everything combined.

M: Medium bodied, but very smooth.

D: Very highly drinkable, tastes awesome and the mouthfeel is great.

Notes: One of my favorite beers I've had and especially for this style. Awesome flavor, I wish I could get this all the time, I could easily see this becoming a regular in my fridge if I could get it.

dpodratsky3, Aug 18, 2009
Photo of AgentZero
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice, dark amber color. Clear, not a lot of head on it. A little red coming through.

S - Nice malts, mild hops. Very solid smelling lager.

T - Sweet malts, and nice grainy taste. Very deep and full tasting. A little hint of bitter, but nothing more than you would want from a Vienna.

M - Good carbination balances out the lack of bite in the taste. Medium bodied.

D - It's heavy enough for a Vienna that it has some kick, but I could do a few of these pretty easily.

AgentZero, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of kegger22
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with reddish tint and has a respectable head that fades quickly. I am unable to get much on aroma. Some malty sweetness and a slightly earthy flavor. Mouth feel is about medium bodied with a little carbonation over the top of the tongue. Very drinkable, this one could go the entire night. Overall, the taste was not something I expected in a lager, although it was good, just surprising. A little heavier than most lagers, but it did have lager's trademark drinkability.

kegger22, Aug 13, 2009
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottles (sampled two) poured into mug at just over 40 degrees. Beautiful pour, featuring a 2+f tan head that hangs out for a long time, floating above an orange-amber body with noticeable carbonation.

Slightly sweet in the smell with some caramel, buttered biscuit, and a little bit of earthy/leafy quality as it warmed.

Flavor was really nice - switches gears a little from the sweetness in the smell to a light floral hoppy bitterness, and some toasted malt.

Mouthfeel was tremendous - which I find hard to say for most lagers. This one encourages large mouthfills, and goes down crazy smooth with no harsh aftertaste. Simply refreshing.

BeerImmediately, Aug 13, 2009
Photo of garymuchow
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My only fear it age. I bought this at Binny's in June, but much of the other beers I purchased at that time seemed to have a bit of age on them.
Nice caramel aroma. Pretty simple and straight forward, but nice nonetheless. Some lager yeast quality.
Darker color in that it's close to copper than amber. Clear. Nice tan colored dense head.
Vienna malt flavor with less caramel than the aroma. Again with pretty darn simple with ample bitterness for style helping out the extended finish with moderate dryness.
Fully carbonated with a slight prickliness and lending fullness. Light side of moderate for feel.
Hoppiness seems a bit americanized, which is fine. Impacts the aroma less than flavor (when it takes some from malty juicieness). Nonetheless, seems no freshness issues. Drinks well. Goes well with my steak salad with blue cheese.

garymuchow, Aug 09, 2009
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,510 ratings.