Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

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2,675 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,675
Reviews: 937
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 204
Gots: 262 | 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: 2,675 | Reviews: 937 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HotHands
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A - pours an amber-red with a one-finger white head. Good lacing and head retention.

S - smell is a bready, sweet and a bit fruity - maybe cherries (not sour cherries, mind you, that would be a bad sign).

T - a bit of malty, bready sweetness up front with a hint of caramel followed by that fruitiness. Floral and spicy flavors come through from the tasty hops. Tart, kinda bitter finish.

M - good slick feel and body. Carbonation is acceptable.

D - perfectly "sessionable" and drinkable.

This is a very easy, relaxing beer that still packs a great flavor. Another great offering from Great Lakes.

Edit - I had to go back and review this again after drinking it a second time, and it was even better than before. I really like this beer, and at $7.50 for 6 it's an unbeatable value.

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

I have seen it in the store and I just had to try it. If pre-prohibition beer tasted like this then America really lost out for 13 years!

A: Deep amber color. Pours with a glorious head that is thick and creamy. Leaves plenty of lace and the head retention is great! very even carbonation with tiny bubbles.

S: Smells potent. Besides that it has a very flowery/ orange hops smell with a a caramel malt backing. There is plenty to smell here.

T: Orange peels, coriander, a dry hop aftertaste, grassy, and toffee taste swirling in a maelstrom of flavor. Very complex and delicious! This is a connoisseurs beer.

M: Nice prickly spicy hop taste and aftertaste, drying yet pleasant. Smooth and medium bodied.

D: I can pretty much drink this all day no issues. This is just a great beer. By the way this stuff is potent!

Photo of tjsdomer2
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Lots of nice foam in this bright red lager. Wonderful carbonation as well here.

Smell: A very unique Vienna lager smell. Sweet cherries and some caramel malts. Lots of hops as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Again, more sweet cherries and hops. I absolutely love this taste. Possibly my favorite in this style. Smooth and not watery. Very clean taste and feel.

Drinkability: Good session beer, albeit the relatively high alcohol rate, which I can definitely feel.

Overall: The most unique beer in this style. Thumbs way up.

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

A: pours clear golden-amber with a couple fingers of off-white foamy head.

S: toasted malts, a bit of biscuit. faint floral hops - a touch of saaz.

T: a little bit sweet to start, but not as much expected from the smells. a touch of apples, and finishes with mostly bittering hops.

M: medium bodied, slightly soapy. but finishes clean

D: extremely drinkable. This most recent batch i'm having might be a little bit old. This used to be one of my favorite GL beers. The Cleveland water permeates all of the GL beers and it is noticeable in this beer - not necessarily as bad as you'd think though.

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

Would have to say this is now my favorite Great Lakes (year round) product!

Pours a beautiful deep brown but crystal clear.
This beer even has a "balanced" smell to it, slightly malty but nothing overwhelming.
Taste is heavenly smooth and balanced lots of maltiness with a hops balance,pretty cool thing!
Perfect thickness/texture,kinda creamy.
Scary how drinkable this one is, never had a single person bitch or complain after handing them on of these babies, GREAT stuff to have on hand at all times, if not just for yourself, NICE!!!!

Photo of RichieS2
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the taps into a standard pint glass.

A - A pleasing copper, neither too light or too dark with respectable foam and mild carbonation.

S - A nice bouquet of malts serving as a promise of the sweetness to come. This gave way to a faint hop smell.

T - Great, plenty of caramel malt goodness to dance on the tongue and then enough spiciness from the hops to provide balance.

M - The balance was excellent, was neither being too thick or too watery.

D - Would have another one in a heartbeat.

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Rich amber to red in color when poured into the pint glass. Head doesn't stick around too long, but the color of this beer in just tantalizing.

S - Mostly sweet caramel malts and barley with a touch of hops.

T - This brew is just toasty caramel sweetness. Just a tiny bit of hops in there as well as a hing or orange citrus.

M - Super creamy, light carbonation and medium in body.

D - This is my go to beer when it comes to Great Lakes! It never gets old and I always enjoy it. I am primarily a DIPA drinker, but Eliot Ness never disappoints!

Photo of bigswede16
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: a deep amber/copper color with steady stream of small bubbles rising to form an off-white foam on top

S: nothing too strong, but a pleasant malty scent

T: smooth malty flavor with burnt overtones; overall relatively mellow

M: nice thick texture

D: very drinkable

Photo of david131
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A clear amber liquid with numerous streams of carbonation making their way to the surface. The bone white head is thick and has good retention.

S- Apple juice, bread, and a touch of cinnamon. Plain, but enjoyable.

T- Exactly the same as the aroma. Very simple.

M- Smooth and clean with an ever so slight bitterness.

D- A fine beer. Good for the style. Not super memorable, but it gets the job done.

Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 7-02-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Three fingers of foam, nice dark amber copper color, head is a light tan color, carbonation is present

S - Roasted malts, caramel and slight hops

T/M - Medium bodied, roasted malts with a good caramel blend with a slight hop back bone

D - Very drinkable brew, medium bodied good blend of caramel and malt, I can easily have more than one of these in an evening and I recommend this brew

Photo of Phocion
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass with a clear, bubbly dark amber color. The head is light beige, frothy, and small but decent retention and moderate lacing.

Malty aroma; toffee, roasted, nutty, and just a bit biscuity.

Flavor is a slight yeasty sourness at first, followed by a caramel/brown sugar malty taste, and finally finishing up with dry, spicy, and herbal but mild hops mixed with a nice nuttiness.

Slick, oily, light/medium-body with a healthy level of carbonation.

Overall this is an amazing beer. Full-flavored and easily drinkable yet fairly light. My idea of a good Vienna up to this point had been Sam Adams or Leinie's Red... compared to those two this is in a league of its own. If anyone ever tells you a lager is flavorless, give them one of these.

Photo of squaremile
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty true copper with a nice white head. Nose is faint but has whisps of dark fruits, barley, and very light hops. Taste is all malts as expected but is fairly one note. I've found vienna lagers to be a difficult style to make good, they are either boring or a mess. This one falls more in the former.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A: A bold, red/copper body with an off white head, good retention.

S: Light on the aroma.

T: The upfront malt, powers over the subtle hop profile. A chewy burnt amber finish.

M: A thick lingering taste that releases subtle flavors of a complexity of malts.

D: This is for sure a quality brew. A bit on the chewy side and not smooth as others, but the tastes do rival. The quality shines through and that keeps me coming back.

Photo of maximum12
3/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up in a mixed six pack on the way to our lakeside resort, & the second brew reviewed in my boat. Popped open after loosing a big pike on a head shake & tossing down my rod with a sigh. Perfect time for a consolation the accompaniment of four loons, a bald eagle, & a beautiful early evening.

Pours like copper piping, simple, quick. Smell is minimal to nonexistent.

Eliot Ness is a nice brew. Bready, with the lagering prominent in the mouth, coating everything it touches with yeast & slightly sweet, bisuity malts. Simple, but not truly satisfying, this is thin & a bit lacking in flavor. And as it warms, a metallic taste creeps into the mix, lowering the appeal further.

Go simple, but give me yum! For an example of a truly good Vienna Lager, I'd take a try at Schell's Firebrick. Pedestrian at best.

Photo of zhooker
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cracked open a 12oz bottle and poured into a pint glass 'round midnight, a solid month and a half before the drink-by date. Very clean and translucent copper/amber in color, with a sparkling, rocky head. The foam dissipated slowly, forming some lovely patterns down the side of my pint.

Sweet malt scent. Like a big pilsener spiked with some bourbon and a little caramel. Not much playing around here. There is some complexity hiding deep in there, but its very subtle -- a little floral. But the malts really do all the talking.

Crisp mouthfeel, with some hops finally asserting themselves on the sides and rear of the tongue, and in the finish. Very mild. The light sweetness makes it eminently swishable; it's a pleasure to keep in your mouth a little longer than normal. Highly drinkable.

I really thought this was an amber ale until I decided to write it up. I even had one as little as two days ago under that assumption. Turns out it's not. Hmmph. Amber lager/Vienna lager. I guess paying a bit more attention to the malt characteristics reveals this. It's a style I would like to sample more widely, as it really is a category-defying brew. At least Eliot Ness is. Now go watch 'The Untouchables.'

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass. Pours a clear amber color with a frothy off-white head that pillows down.

Smells of malt and hops, slightly grassy and earthy, yet fresh. There's no stale or old smell, like I typically smell in a lager.

Taste is sweet malt and mild hops, full (for a lager) yet crisp. Very refreshing and easy drinking, especially on this warm June evening.

Mouthfeel is pleasant, if not a little wan. While my preference is for bigger beers, this one is good as a session beer, though be careful - at 6.2%, it will catch up on you. Another winner from Cleveland's Great Lakes Brewing Company!

Photo of Nightwielder
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a luscious dark amber, kind of like a maple syrup. It has a mild-hoppy, but floral aroma with some various spices coming through as well. This beer has such a clean finish on your palate.. with zero bitterness lingering at all; simply unbelievable. I definitely get some residual sweetness coming through the malts here, very nice. This is just a fantastic beer all-around, and I wouldn't mind having this one everyday with lunch or dinner perhaps. Cheers!

Photo of jjboesen
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This excellent lager is named after Cleveland's former Safety Director, who frequented the brewpubs' bar during his tenure - this was after his stint as an Untouchable, of course.

It is a wonderful beer that opens with a marvelous gusher of froth, one that transcends into a vanilla colored head atop a deep amber body. There is a minimum of lacing with a moderation of carbonation bubbles. It does look nice, I must say.

The nose is overwhelmed by an intense miasma of grass, pine and honey. Palate-wise, one gets a sweet taste of toasty, nut with a smooth and buttery finish. The mouthfeel is suberb in that there is some chewiness, a factor unusual for the style in my humble opinion.

An excellent beer. Great Lakes beers have been in the Washington, DC for a few months and have taken the place by storm. I intend - I hope - to try as many of their brews as possible. I enjoyed drinking this one. I bet that Elliott Ness would probably have throw down his axe had it been available during Prohibition.

Photo of shadow1961
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Eliot Ness amber pours a finger of foam over a deep amber brew. Carbonation is spritzy, the nose clean fruity malt with a note of spicy hops. The flavor is, again, sweet, bready malt up front, with a nice subdued herbal/meadow kind of hop off the back. Leaving a lot of sticky lace behind on the glass, the brew has a light but round mouthfeel dried out just a bit by those spicy hops. Long mellow herbal tea aftertaste. Altogether a really solid, drinkable beer.

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

Chilled bottle into a glass. A generous extra from Wisconsinality. Thanks, Kylie!

A: Pours a clear reddish amber in the glass. Holding it up to the light reveals tantalizing streams of lazy carbonation rising up the glass, replenishing the finger of light beige head that caps the beer. Retention is moderate; inside of a minute, the head has retreated into a scattered film and medium collar.

S: Caramel malts, toast, cereal, and earthy orange peel.

T: A savory blend of caramel flavor, toasted malts, and cereal grains. While it accentuates the malts with earth and orange peel, this beer is not particularly hoppy. It's only semi-dry; I don't know whether that's a desirable characteristic for the style, but it certainly adds flavor and presence. The finish and aftertaste bring out orange peel once more.

M: Light-bodied. Carbonation is low enough to make the beer creamy, which is interesting. It really brings out the caramel more. I think this would have suffered from having any more bubbles. Well done.

D: I have another and I'm looking forward to enjoying it. I always think highly of Great Lakes' lager output, and this is an outstanding example of why.

Photo of keithmurray
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from a 6pk poured into a pint glass

beer poured a bright copper colour with white foamy head that lingered

aroma was of nuts, caramel, malts

taste - bitter hop feel up front, followed by a flavor of caramel, malts, roasted nuts

mouthfeel - bitter upfront, slightly sweet in the middle and then bitter in the finish, medium bodied, medium carbonation

drinkability - this is a 2 and done beverage for me

This was my first beverage from GLBC and this was well done, I would revisit this as well as try some of their other offerings

Photo of hardy008
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber color with a one finger off white head with decent retention. Smells of sweet malt with some light hop bitterness in the background.

Sweet malt and light hop bitterness are also prominent in the flavor. Light bodied, decent carbonation, and pretty good drinkability. This is not as good as August Schell Firebrick in my opinion, but is stilll a nice beer. I wish this beer was a bit sweeter, and had a little less hop bitterness.

Photo of udubdawg
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

perfectly clear light amber in color, more than an inch of foam quickly retreats until 1/4" of creamy light tan goodness decides to stick around for the whole show.

aroma is mildly sweet and toasty; definitely vienna or perhaps a smaller amount of Munich showing itself here. Light noble hop aroma. Clean, no fruitiness, DMS, or diacetyl.

sweet toasty malt in the front and moderately strong but surprisingly the hop bitterness easily balances it with a bit to spare. No caramel in the sweet flavor. Noticeable floral/earthy hop flavor, and the finish is a sizeable, lasting bitterness on the palate. Delicious, but seems slightly out of style with hop flavor/bitterness, no?

medium light body, moderately creamy and pretty easy to drink. Moderately high to high carbonation could be a touch lower which would increase the drinkability to absurd levels.

Photo of thegodfather2701
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours copper with a thick, rocky, almond color head.

S-Sweet, malty, grainy, caramel, and some hops.

T-More malty than hoppy. Its got a slightly sweet flavor, kind of grainy with some caramel and nuttiness as well. I think there is also a slight alcohol presence.

M-Feels kind of slick and somewhat thick.

D-Pretty drinkable even though I think its grainy alcohol flavor kind of cut into its sessionability.

Overall, its a solid beer that I will drink more of since I bought two mix twelve packs of Great Lakes beers.

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

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A: Pours a one or two finger head, (on a different bottles I was able to generate much more) which slowly dissipates despite active carbonation. Large bubbles and a just off white color. Beer is darkish amber with a golden core and reddish edges. Plenty of active carbonation and decent lacing.

S: Strong caramelly malt scents are THE smell of this beer. Maybe a tickle of hops, perhaps a flavoring hop showing itself in the aroma as well. Toffee, caramel, wheat/grain would all be words for the nose of this beer, and sweet, sweet, sweet. ALMOST too sweet for most beers, but I think it works well here.

T: Still caramel, but more cooked. The taste of caramel-corn popcorn comes to mind. This flavor is really less than I expected when compared to two other fine Viennas, Boston Lager and Firebrick. The popcorn taste may be diacetyl, but I've tasted it in several bottles from different packs, so I doubt it. No hop flavor whatsoever, maybe an element of nuttiness?

M: Smooth, inoffensive, and good for a warmer day when one still wants some depth to their beer. Leaves no alcohol burn or anything of the sort and slides around the mouth easily enough.

D: Good, if you can get over the popcorn taste. I don't know that I can. Still, a worth while beer

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,675 ratings.