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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.

2,469 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,469
Reviews: 921
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 175
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: 2,469 | Reviews: 921 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beveritt


4/5  rDev -2.2%

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label depicts a fedora wearing man standing at a bar with his head hanging down. Freshness date didn't seem to print on this one.

Appearance: Pours with 1 1/2 fingers of light tan head. This settles to a thin, nearly complete cap of foam, leaving behind very nice lacing coverage. The beer itself is the color of burnished copper and perfectly clear. No sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Sweet caramelized malt with hints of toffee.

Taste: Mildly sweet malt upfront, followed by a more substantial caramel malt backbone. Finishes with a hint of toffee and an ever so slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is very good.

Drinkability: Another very good beer from Great Lakes.

06-24-2009 00:12:05 | More by beveritt
Photo of minterro


3.98/5  rDev -2.7%

A: dark red color beer with a light brown head that dissipates slowly and leaves some lacing.

S: nutty and malty

T: one word to describe this beer would be "interesting". toasty with hints of nuts and chocolate. alcohol aftertaste

M: light-mid body with good carbonation

D: easy to drink and a overall good beer.

notes: not my favorite GLBC beer but it was top 3.

06-18-2009 03:55:17 | More by minterro
Photo of ballewblake

New Jersey

2.6/5  rDev -36.4%

Poured from bottle into my Boulevard pint glass.
One finger cream head on a deep amber body. Head retention seems weak on first glance as it drops lower and lower before even the first sip. Sweet nose, sour taste. Alcohol is noticed right off. Almost a vinegar flavor there, tempted to throw a lime in. Great thick lacing trails the glass while the head has pretty much stuck at a shallow constant crown. Vinegar is telling me this one might be bad, I'm pretty sure this wasn't what it was intended. Though from all appearances it looks fine. First beer of the day and the Drain was fed.

06-15-2009 22:05:28 | More by ballewblake
Photo of macpapi


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

12 oz. bottle. Freshest by 6/5/09 (oh well a couple of days after that didn't seem to hurt.)

Eliot Ness pours a reddish/amber color with a good sized, pretty fluffy tannish head. Quite clear through the glass. Malt is most prominently noticed by the nose. Caramel and some biscuity presence comes through as well. The faint whiff of hops complete a very balanced and full aroma.

The taste is a good mix of malt, caramel, and biscuit, with a bit of molasses-like sweetness. There is just a bit of hop bite as well. Pretty medium body with a very nice presence on the palate.

Overall, this is an eminently drinkable and enjoyable beer. Very balanced and very refreshing. A bit too high abv-wise to be a session beer, but to my mind a slightly shorter session of GL Eliot Ness would not be a bad night.

06-10-2009 14:16:37 | More by macpapi
Photo of endincolorado


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

Appearance- Pale amber, with a decently thick off-white head. Good lacing.

Smell- Very fragrant, malty nose. Caramel, biscuit, and a nice sweetness. Little to no hop-aroma.

Taste- Sweet, crisp caramel malt with a nice toastiness. Again, very little hops. Slightly dry finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, with a nice, slightly creamy texture. Good carbonation.

Drinkability- One of my favorite session beers. Good year-round.

06-09-2009 22:29:44 | More by endincolorado
Photo of LyonsHead


4.63/5  rDev +13.2%

A: pours a perfectly clear amber/red with an orange tinted, white fluffy head

S: malty sweetness, nutty, biscuit and toast

T: warm malty sweetness, subtle earthy hop flavor with a pleasant residual sweetness in the finish

M: medium-light body, smooth. sweet finish but not cloying

D: you can't have just one, this beer has great drinkability about it. wow, this is good!

06-05-2009 22:17:45 | More by LyonsHead
Photo of KBomb


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

Deep red toned amber color, one finger of off-white head, and fine lacing that persists. Quite a bit of malt on the nose: sweet and roasted. Good aroma, a hint of maple and a hint of hops add something to it. It smells like a darker beer than it is! Taste is marked by caramel malts and toasty bread grain (a little sourdough taste perhaps?). A kiss of hops reminds you this is beer. Flavors are nice, but not very deep. Ever so sllightly watery. With the style in mind, I shouldn't fault it too much, but there might have been room in this beer for a little "bigger" flavor. A slightly metalic finish. Smooth, but crisp mouthfeel with a moderately light body despite the ABV. I could definitely pound a few of these.

Eliot Ness is plenty likeable. Great for washing down tacos and pizza. Doesn't entirely stand out as a beer to seek out, but I'm more than happy to keep this around as a "go-to" lager on a hot summer day.

06-04-2009 20:33:38 | More by KBomb
Photo of PrAndo


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

At this point in the beer tasting, my notes deteriorate. I apologize for a less than thorough review.

A - great eggshell colored head, fluffy, amber body

S - yeast and sweet malt

T - bitter hops up front, but couched in pleasant maltiness

M - light body. Lawnmower beer?

D - yeah, I could get into this all day.

06-04-2009 02:58:20 | More by PrAndo
Photo of asabreed

New York

4.15/5  rDev +1.5%

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: A nice dark copper color with an off-white, almost-tan head that keeps nice retention and soapy lacing around the edges of the glass.

Smell: A nice balance between caramel malt flavors, along with some mild chocolate, possible vanilla and maple, and big breadiness and sweet dough coming through, yet there's a nice citrus hop bite to add some depth and some balance. The quality is there too; it's clean and loves to get more complex as it warms, like good brews should.

Taste: Like the aroma, the malt flavors are dominant, though the sweetness isn't too sweet, thankfully. Good dough and bread flavors add depth to the caramel malt and maple and vanilla coming through. Almost like a good Oktoberfest brew. Yet there's a sharp enough citrus and hop bite to add balance and complexity, making it entirely too easy to sip despite being a bigger brew. A long and sustained finish of intermingling goes on.

Mouthfeel: Bigger and creamier than expected, with a good amount of carbonation and enough of everything to keep you going back.

Drinkability: One of my favorite beers to drink when I'm back in western Pennsylvania, since you can't get Great Lakes in the South. A bigger, bolder beer for a Lager, but one to sip and savor, and yet one that I can certainly session and love live for it.

05-29-2009 21:17:56 | More by asabreed
Photo of eberkman


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured a beautiful burnished copper with a nice, thick cream-colored head of a richer hue than you typically get for this category. Invitingly aromatic caramel maltiness in the nose balanced by some grassy notes. Nice rich malt presence on the palate -- good melange of toffee and caramel with a bready yeasty presence as well. Nicely measured tinge of hoppiness in the finish. Satiny smooth with the right amount of carbonation bite. Plenty of heft in the mouth -- almost like an English ale. I'd love to have downed more, but you've got to pace yourself with this one -- it's pretty darn big for a lager.

The best I've had in this style and possibly the best American lager I can recall off the top of my head.

05-29-2009 01:29:31 | More by eberkman
Photo of jharmon110


4.5/5  rDev +10%

Pours a nice amber red with a finger's width head. Short lived head that subsides to a cap with minimal signs of lacing. Pretty active carbonation.

Smell is a bit of yeast like fresh baked bread.

Has a yeasty taste, but has a very even balance.

Feels extremely smooth. The carbonation is active, but doesn't over power the flavors. It feels like a medium/dark beer.

Very good beer! Enjoy this one anytime!

05-21-2009 23:40:15 | More by jharmon110
Photo of flexinwext


3.55/5  rDev -13.2%

I very much enjoyed this beer. Very clear copper/gold color. Very malty caramel smell with a thin tan head. Taste is slighly metallic but sweet. Hint of a grain aftertaste. Moderate mouthfeel. Overall, one of my favorite from Great Lakes to have a sixer of.

05-21-2009 00:14:06 | More by flexinwext
Photo of cooncat


4.15/5  rDev +1.5%

Served on tap at Brennan's Fish House in Grand River, OH. Served in standard pint glass.

Nice orangish-copper color (deep orange?), with a creamy tan head of modest size. Lacing already evident as head slowly subsides.

In the nose I detect caramel malts, with a hint of spiciness which I can't put my finger on. Very subdued earthy hop notes, which is appropriate for the style.

Taste is very smooth and balanced. Initially, the malt character steals the show, but creeping up in the background is that same spiciness I mentioned in the nose. Not sure if it's something with the hops used, but they (the hops) are definitely playing second fiddle to the malts. There's a nice sweet finish which is not at all cloying. Mouthfeel is medium, and just right for this beer (not thin like a lot of mainstream lagers). Drinkability is rated high, as this is maybe just over session brew strength. You can easily enjoy many of these in a session.

Great Lakes is one of the most under appreciated breweries in the nation, imho. I'm always impressed with their beers, and always have some of it in the house.

Na Zdravje!

05-17-2009 11:24:41 | More by cooncat
Photo of DoctorDog


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

Thanks to beveritt for yet another brew.

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Boston Lager Pint Glass. "For freshest taste, please enjoy by:" is seemingly left blank....but I am certain it is fairly fresh.

A- Pours a brilliant clear amber, with 1 finger of light tan head. Head fades gradually into a thin cap, leaving minimal traces of lacing.

S- Yeasty bread dough/grainyness. Hints of sweetness

T- Very malty and bready. Slightly floral / herbal notes. Bitterness is moderately low.

M- Moderate carbonation and a medium feel. Very smooth.

D- Decent. Not groundbreaking in the taste and nose, but moderately low ABV, good flavor, and easy drinking. Could be a good all-around session brew.

Future outlook: Vienna Lagers don't rank close to being amongst my favorite styles, but like all Great Lakes beer, this one is still very solid. Probably won't ever seek this one out, but I'll be happy to have it again if the appropriate situation arises.

05-15-2009 03:00:38 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of greengorilla


4.05/5  rDev -1%

I poured a 12 ounce bottle in to a mug.

The appearance was exceptional. The redish amber color was offset by an impressive 2 finger white head that lasted until the bottom of the mug. The lacing was also impressive.

The smell was good with a hint of toffee.

The beer was quite tasty with a roasted malt taste and a hint of hops.

This was a great overall beer and very drinkable.

05-12-2009 16:04:29 | More by greengorilla
Photo of WakeandBake


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

A bright copper color body with a medium sized white head,medium carbonation,nice spotty lacing . Aroma is awesome light toasty grains and bread with just a bit of sweet fruit and spicy hops. Flavor is as good as the aroma fruity,spicy,smokey,very balanced,very complex,toasty nutty caramel, a crisp full mouthfeel,very quaffable, A very very good brew

Thank you GLB , nice work !

05-10-2009 00:39:38 | More by WakeandBake
Photo of Ragingbull


3.3/5  rDev -19.3%

Light brown in color. Fruity character to the nose that is consistent with the initial attack of the flavor. Something about it makes me think "raspberry." The fruitiness to the flavor is complemented by some sour notes. The finish is a little bitter or sour with that carrying through to the aftertaste.

05-02-2009 18:48:14 | More by Ragingbull
Photo of kbeals

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

Pours out a deep amber/copper color. About a finger of creamy white head, decent lacing and head retention. Smells are of sweet malts, a bit of hops and spices also. Taste is relatively sweet. A bit of a bite from the hops, but the sweetness seems to dominate, a bit of alcohol and spices finishes off the flavor. Mouthfeel was smooth and light-medium bodied, a great lager. Definitely drinkable.

04-24-2009 13:31:35 | More by kbeals
Photo of projectflam86


4.13/5  rDev +1%

A- Pours deep amber/red color with a a fluffy foam head that leaves nice sticky lacing.

S- Sweet caramel malt nose with some honey and toasted scents. A bit of floral hops present.

T- Malted caramel sweetness intially. A tiny amount of hop bitterness in the finish which balances well. Toffee and grain flavors along with some biscuit and spice.

M- Medium/light, smooth, and well carbonated.

D- Nice malty brew that is easily sessionable and full of flavor.

04-23-2009 02:36:00 | More by projectflam86
Photo of littleshamrocks


4.15/5  rDev +1.5%

A: Deep reddish copper color with about an inch of rocky white head. Head settles quickly and leaves behind copious amounts of lace. Close to sparkling clarity with an abundance of carbonation bubbles.

S: Aroma of bready malts, slightly sweet caramel malt, floral hops, and just a hint of honey.

T&M: Solid medium body with a good balance to the flavors. Excellent bready/ biscuity malt backbone aptly supports the complementary herbal/ floral hops as well as a slight spiciness reminiscent of black pepper. Finishes with a whisper of sweetness. Tasty.

D: One of the best lager beers that I have every tried. Outstanding in almost every way. This is one brew that I wouldn't mind having around all the time. Another top notch offering from a superb brewery. Well done Great Lakes!

04-10-2009 20:50:48 | More by littleshamrocks
Photo of Jasel


4.3/5  rDev +5.1%

Smooth caramely taste, pured with a good 2 finger head, and left some decent lacing.

Tasty beer.

Appearance - Dark amber with a short lasting 2 finger head. Tracings line the glass as the beer is consumed.

Smell - Bitter caramel.

Taste - Very smooth malty, slightly bitter caramel with a touch of coffee.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth again, little fizz.

Drinkability - I could probably drink these all night.

04-10-2009 00:44:02 | More by Jasel
Photo of taez555


3.98/5  rDev -2.7%

Reviewed from Notes. Tasted 3/26/09

This beer poured an amber body with a small white head.

Nose is muted but rather fruity with a strong honey smell. Very sweet malt smell. Pretty nice.

Taste is light to medium bodied. A very nice bready, cracker, caramel, fresh malt flavor. There's a big bitterness but it only sits slightly up there with the malt. Not over the top, but big enough to show it's authority. Hop taste gives some mild earth to balance.

This is an outstanding amber lager. Tons of body, tons of flavor, not overly bitter and far from bland. Yum.

04-08-2009 19:56:14 | More by taez555
Photo of Thorpe429


3.68/5  rDev -10%

G: Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Good, solid amber color that is quite transparent and has a strong off-white head with plenty of carbonation.

S: Strong malt sensation--the grains really come through with a tiny bit of hop bitterness at the end.

T: Quite omplex for a lager. Grassy notes in addition to the traditional malt one would expect from a Vienna. The amber notes are definitely there and enhance the flavor.

M: Fairly smooth with a moderate amount of carbonation. Sort of heavy mouthfeel for a lager. No noticeable alcohol.

D: Definitely drinkable. A little heavy for a lager though. maybe I just wasn't feeling this one last night, I'll have to try it again soon.

04-03-2009 03:28:13 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of joepais


3.88/5  rDev -5.1%

Thanks George.
I poured this bottle into my Pilsener glass and it produced a finger worth of white head that turned to a thick lace. The body of the brew was amber to brown.

Aromas of caramel malts and bread filled my head. The flavor was malt forward and with a light bitter finish. It had a nice light and crisp feel in my mouth with great carbonation.

I really like drinking these great lagers; it is a great change of pace

03-28-2009 21:02:26 | More by joepais
Photo of sarahspat


3.98/5  rDev -2.7%

After I pored this bottle (into a stein glass) about 3/4 an inch of a thick off-white head appeared, which mostly departs within a couple of minutes. This beer leaves decent amounts of lacing in its wake. The color is deep, dark rudy reddish orange; not cloudy.

Wow! Prior to taking my first whiff of this brew, I never would have expected a lager to have a scent this rich. I'm definitely not an expert in this style (yet), but compared with Sam Adam's Boston Lager, the smell here is much more pronounced and enjoyable. It smells of flowers, caramel and biscuit. Very pleasant nose here.

To me, it tastes more hoppy and bitter than I would have expected of a lager (a least it's easily the hoppiest of the few Vienna Lagers I have had)... it could maybe pass for a pale ale. The flavors I detect are predominantly floral, with a mellow, but assertive caramel/toffee/biscuity malt backbone. Well-balanced, but still much more hoppy than I expected. One thing is certain: this is a tasty brew.

The smoothness of this brew and its medium mouthfeel lends to the drinkability.

This is a nicey, for sure. But doesn't seem to stand out to me too much. I don't know if this will become a fave.

03-28-2009 04:03:13 | More by sarahspat
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,469 ratings.