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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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2,510 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 eberkman
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

eberkman, May 29, 2009
Photo of jharmon110
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

jharmon110, May 21, 2009
Photo of flexinwext
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

flexinwext, May 21, 2009
Photo of cooncat
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

cooncat, May 17, 2009
Photo of DoctorDog
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

DoctorDog, May 15, 2009
Photo of greengorilla
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

greengorilla, May 12, 2009
Photo of WakeandBake
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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 !

WakeandBake, May 10, 2009
Photo of Ragingbull
3.3/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Ragingbull, May 02, 2009
Photo of kbeals
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

kbeals, Apr 24, 2009
Photo of projectflam86
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

projectflam86, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of littleshamrocks
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

littleshamrocks, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of Jasel
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Jasel, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of taez555
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

taez555, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of Thorpe429
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Thorpe429, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of joepais
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

joepais, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of sarahspat
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

sarahspat, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of storksonm
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured in a clear glass mug.

A: Nice head retention. Kept it for what seemed forever (Not that it took me long to drink this one down) Very nice amber lager.

S: great smell with a nice touch of hops to it.

T: Great rich taste of roasted barley and the bit of hops in it just a great tasting amber really, one of the best ambers i've tasted.

M: Very nice rich and smooth with slight coffee overtone.

D: I could drink this all day everyday, but either the brewery would run out of beer or my liver would give out. Either way things don't look very good on that front. Its a great beer and very drinkable.

storksonm, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of brianlg
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Have had this beer in bottles and on tap at the brewery. It pours a reddish amber color with a nice white head. It smells very breadlike and grainy. It taste very smooth and malty. You can taste caramel, bread, hops, and malts. It is extremely well balanced. I can drink this beer all day every day. This is my favorite Great Lakes beer, and quite possibly my favorite all around beer. I can't say enough about this. I wish I could give this a perfect 5, but I that's something I can't see myself ever giving. Please try this beer if you haven't. I will keep this in my fridge until the day I die!

brianlg, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pilsener glass. Thanks to my buddy Robert for buying a sixer of this so I could try one. Best before May 13th, 2009.

A - Two fingers of orange-tinged foam that dissipates slowly and leaves a ton of beautiful rings of lacing. Orange-red colored brew that gets darker and more intense near the top of the glass. A few bubbles lazily rise to the top. Not sure what else you'd want from a Vienna lager.

S - It's got that lager twanginess, Saaz (or noble) hop bite, and plenty of bread, brown sugar, and toffee malts. It's nice but not super unusual.

T - Significantly more of the hop bitterness and spice come out in the taste, but these are well-balanced by the bready maltiness. The 6.2% ABV is pretty much imperceptible. The aftertaste is a touch of bitterness, but not overwhelming. For the style it's great, just not overly complicated.

M - Nice carbonation tingle on the upper lip and top palate - very refreshing (although this may be more because I just got back from the gym). Surprisingly medium-bodied, and very creamy.

D - The carbonation gets a little heavy by the end of one bottle, which would limit the session possibilities, and for me it's just not a style that I'd keep wanted to revisit. But hey, if you like Vienna lagers, this might be as good as it gets.

MasterSki, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of tpd975
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice amber hue with a nice creamy head. Okay retention and very light lace.

S: Very malty. Lots of caramel, with hints of brown sugar. A touch of bittering hops as well.

T: Wonderful balanced brew. Lots of wonderful sweet malt with tones of toffee and caramel. Wonderful breadiness as well. Light pine hops finish it off. Nice and tasty brew.

M: Medium to light in body, smooth great carbonation.

D: Very drinkable, damn tasty.

tpd975, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of Domingo
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh MAN is this a great beer.
Pours a copper color with a decent size sheen of foam.
Smells malty and sweet, but the noble hops are also there.
Dare I say this is a perfectly balanced beer. Just the right amount of caramel malty sweetness and the bitter noble hops to keep it in control. A little bit of roasted flavor, but only a hint lingers in the finish. More please!
This is a 6% beer? I'd have never known it. This has session written all over it.
I really wish I could get Great Lakes in Colorado. This beer and their Dortmunder would be permanent staples in my fridge.

This is about as good as an American session lager gets, seriously.

Domingo, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of dfillius
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a pint
Drink by 12/04/08, That is the date I drank it!

A: Aggressive pour yields 3/4 finger of white pillowy head with good retention. The best retention I've seen from a lager! Crystal clear dark red liquid. Very pretty.
S: Buttery caramel and bread. Slight hop tang. Some cooked veggie smell.
T: Starts strong with good malt character and finishes with an off, "bad breath" taste - bummer. Much better with airing out and time. Enjoyable, but not stellar.
M: Funky from the bad breath-iness part. Smooth overall
D: Decent. A good beer that I could have a couple of. I wonder if it was better fresher?

dfillius, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of PerroGrande
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a delightful amber shade with hints of red. Absolutely beautiful color offset with a tan-colored foam. The foam forms aggressively, and tapers to a moderate lace with decent adhesion to the glass.

The smell of this beer is light, with a hint of hops -- a very appropriate aroma for a beer of this variety.

The taste is fabulous. Some sweet caramel is noticeable, but not obnoxious. Malty overtones are also obvious. A nice touch of hops endures in the finish, which tends ever so slightly on the bitter side.

A fine beer, no doubt about it.

PerroGrande, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of Imsothirsty
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First off, this is not as good as the Edmund Fitzgerald, so lower your expectations.
Poured into a tulip glass, its a dark amber orange, I would call it rusty in color. Head is slightly frothy and creamy. Aroma was bitter and roasty, good but not phenomenal.
At first taste a refreshing bitter, then comes the amalgamation of flavors. Bitter piney hops, very brief fruit, coffee, smoky roasted, and a hint of dark chocolate. Excellent complexity overall.
The carbonation is just right for me. One glass was fairly filling though. An IPA will always be my session beer of choice so I am quite biased.
Overall a distinguished brew that I will absolutely drink when given the opportunity.

Imsothirsty, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of KTCamm
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle with a clearly marked "drink by"date. Color is deep red amber with 1 finger foam. Lacing down the side.

Smell is sweet malt with a faint hop note.

The taste is absolutely fantastic. Sweet caramel malt with a very light hop finish. Bready, buttery, everything you'd want in a beer of this style. There's a medium buzz in the mouthfeel from the carbonation.

Supremely drinkable. This is one I'd keep going back to.

KTCamm, Mar 05, 2009
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,510 ratings.