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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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2,748 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,748
Reviews: 954
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 214
Gots: 326 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001

An amber lager with rich, fragrant malt flavors balanced by crisp noble hops.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,748 | Reviews: 954 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brunite
4.54/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Serving: Bottle with a BB date of 2/28/11. Poured into a Duvel Tulip glass.

Appearance: Deep, rich, amber red. Poured semi-aggressively to yield 2 fingers of nice, tan, creamy head which started to reveal some interesting pitting after a bit. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Mostly sweet malt with minimal hoppiness.

Taste: Initially hit with malty sweetness, vanilla, cracker & biscuit, toffee, caramel. The finish is crisp, clean, and slightly bitter. A perfect balance between malt sweetness, cracker dryness, hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Clean, crisp, smooth. Each swirl brings about a renewed creamy smoothness. Almost chewy.

Drinkability: This is a tasty brew that is not as biting on the finish as some Vienna's I've had. Goes down easy and is certainly satisfying.

Overall: Probably my favorite Vienna to date. I like the fact that there is a tad more sweetness to be had here than with some others I have tried. This will be a regular.

Update: Each bottle increases the realization that this is just about the best lager I have ever had. Other than Celebrator....I can not think of another lager beer I enjoy more. An Amazing beer that will always be in my fridge.

Photo of DannyDan
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A. Pours a red amber with a thin head that quickly disappears that has decent carbonation, but not much in retention and lacing.
S. The smell is caramel, some floral and spicy hops along with some grains.
T. The taste is some hops followed by some sweet caramel. Than get some toasted grains and some sweet sugary malts. The bitterness of the floral and spicy hops are present throughout, but the sweetness of the sugars helps balance the taste ans finishes with a sweet, but yet slightly dry finish.
M/D. The mouthfeel is a smooth soft crisp clean finish that has a pleasant light to medium body feel that gives it a nice drinkable feel. A six pack of this would be more than satisfying while watching a sporting event or to make Eliot Ness proud while watching a police related tv show.

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

Pours a mellow amber with a smooth clear. Light fluff of a head that dissapears quickly. Kinda reminds me of bbc b lager.
Taste is nothing like bbc. Has a sweet presence with a hop finish that slowly creeps down the throat. Tastes of grain. And overall not too sweet.
Very light and drinkable. You most certainly could have a few of these masked abv wonders. All around a great lager.

Photo of lnashsig
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Agold for this extra from our trade. Poured into my Dfh snifter, a deep amber colored pour, very little foam or lacing. Smell- I get a dark apple juice aroma, some pear and breads flavors as well. Taste- the apple juice flavor hits first, followed by some breads taste, finished by some dark spice, maybe cinnamon at the end. Mouthfeel- nice carbonation, appropriate thickness. Overall, this is a good session beer, I was glad to taste it. Would have it again if in the Midwest.

Photo of Lothore
3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep copper color with a nice, 2 finger, off white head that leaves lots of lacing on then way down.

S- Bready, dark fruit

T- Sweet, slightly fruity, hints of roasted malt. A little too sweet on the back end for me.

M- Medium bodied with ample carbonation.

D- This is a decent brew however i'd like a little more of a hop kick to balance it out.

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

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark reddish golden brown, no head, some lacing

Smell - Yeast, some malts and spices, german?hops, some sugar.

Taste - A really smooth and sweet amber lager. Not bitter and bland as most lagers. Has a hop presence along with some sweetness from sugar and spices. The pungent german yeast flavor is very low and only present in the end of the swallow.

Mouthfeel - Mild, flavorful and easy on whole mouth. Great beer to enjoy without ruining mouth or palette. Not bitter nor sickly sweet. Aftertaste doesnt last long, and beer is rather thin so your fine to move on to another beer.

Drinkabilty - The alcohol is good %, the beer is smooth and mild, I can see pounding down a 6-pack no problem. A fine beer again from great lakes.

Photo of afksports
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hey all, checking into Great Lakes Eliot Ness here. My favorite guy to hate when for a brief period of my life I thought gangsters were cool (before the brief period of my life where I thought gangstas were cool).

This is apparently a Vienna Lager, the same style as Sam Adams Lager. Who knew. It is more of an amber appearance, with a half finger head on a pretty hard pour from the bottle. Definitely fresh, it smells of toast, malts, caramel, and subtle hops that don't really peak out too much. The taste is again caramel and malts, with a small bite of hops midway, finishing again crisp and sweet.

It's a drinkable brew, and feels well-sculpted in the mouth. Not quite my style, because it's a bit too sweet to repeat over and over, and not quite dark enough to enjoy solely for its toffee type character. A tweener, of sorts, for me. I'll still try it on tap though.

Maybe at Capone's.

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

Great Lakes came to DC late last year, and I finally got around to grabbing some of this. Given that my palate's changed, I think a re-review is in order, rather than a brief edit. Best by 09 March 2011.

A beautiful deep amber with a large, dense, creamy, light brown head with excellent retention and gorgeous lacing, this is a beautiful beer. Not much carbonation is visible. The nose is great. Spicy hops are immediately noticeable, mildly minty, mildly herbal, rather Germanic in origin. Behind the hops is a rather noticeable malt backbone, rich and complex with a little bit of toffee, caramel and toasted malt. Sweetness is mild here, this is rich without being overbearing. I don't know my Vienna malt too well, but this clearly isn't a typical crystal malt-based beer. There's a delicate fruitiness to go with the sweetness too.

The palate opens with the hops and the malt in perfect harmony. Spicy, minty and earthy hop flavor with mild bitterness parry the richly delicate toasted malt and toffee from the malt. The mid-palate has a mild sweetness, a little burnt sugar-like. Drying on the finish with a light sweetness, the mouthfeel is *perfect*. Creamy and luscious, this beer is medium-bodied, perfectly carbonated (medium-light) and has a brilliant finish - spicy hops and a light toasted malt sweetness. Very, very clean, there are no off-flavors here. Perfectly executed, this beer is rather incredibly drinkable. The alcohol is a little higher than I'd like, but holy hell, this is one great beer.

**Original review dated : 08-24-2008 18:47:49**
12oz bottle received as an extra from OHLRangers. Thanks Ed! Best before 19th June, into my Nugget Nectar pint glass.

A: Deep amber with a thin, beige head that recedes fairly quick to a disk. Not much carbonation is visible

S: Grainy, caramel malts present up front with a mild hop presence. Hops are mostly earthy and mildly mineral-like.

T: Starts off hoppy with earthy, leafy hops. Definite mineral character present. Malts are present and balance out the hops well - grainy, bready, toasty and caramel .

M: Excellent carbonation, great dry finish

D: Easy drinking, I wish i had more

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

A - Poured a beautiful copper color with a nice 1 finger creamy head that dissipated rather quickly. Left a nice lacing on the glass the whole way down.

S - Very malt forward. Smells sweet with no detectable hop presence.

T - Sweet caramel malt upfront. That fades into a nice hop bite that really scrubs the sweetness away. Finishes with biscuit, toffee and caramel. Ends slightly dry and slightly warm from the alcohol.

M - Very crisp, clean and smooth. A tad alcoholic warmth, but nothing overpowering.

D - The crisp finish makes this beer an easy drinker.

Photo of CHADMC3
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice amber body with copper hues and a foamy off white head that leaves a generous sticky lacing behind as vigorous bubbles of carbonation dance below.

The aromas are very simple yet authentic featuring Vienna like malts and barley.

Flavors are very similar featuring Vienna malt and just enough hops to balance.

Medium to light in body with medium carbonation and a crisp finish.

Great example of the style. Great Lakes went right for authenticity it seems.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle date is drink by 12/17/10 ow no it's a bit old.

A - Looks ok. No sediment. Has a nice amber color with an inch if frosty head.

S - Slight hops with a touch of caramel and malt sweetness.

T - That's pretty good. The sweetness and hops really play well and come off slightly bitter. Nice.

M - Light to medium. Kind of bitter.

D - Well I love Great lakes and this beer is good but not something I would seek out again. Much smoother and better tasting on tap. Still a very good brew.

Photo of BB1313
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber w/ nice head and decent lacing. Smells very grainy, not too much else going on. I'm not picking up much hops either.
The taste is malty, grainy, bready; caramel and toffee in the mix. There's a woodiness to it as well. I'm not super impressed, but it's right on for the style. I suppose I've been drinking too many IPAs. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy; medium-bodied. Drinkability is alright, it's clean and refreshing.

This is definitely the best I've had for the style, although I suppose it's not my favorite. Nonetheless, Great Lakes excels with beers like this. If you're looking for a well crafted lager, or just a change of pace, look no further. Recommended.

Photo of Stoutman88
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Standard 12 oz bottle with picture of eliot ness at a bar and a story to go along with it.

A - When I poured this beer I thought this is what beer should look like. The quintessential appearance. Deep amber color with hues of both red and brown. A nice lacing of white foam. Rising bubbles a plus. Can see across the room through glass

S - Grains, citrus, and I think yeast.

T - Caramel and biscuits. hop provide good bitterness, citrus and spice present.

M - Light bodied and smooth. Great Carbonation.

D - Goes down easily. An bitter aftertaste is the only drawback. For the most part, malt and hops are well balanced.

Notes - Probably the best from this brewery (haven't had black out yet) Oddly enough, this beer taste very well in the bottle as well, comparable to when poured.

Photo of Kanyon22
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this bad boy on my trip to my parents house in OH. Well here goes I poured into my brand new Great Lakes snifter glass.

A: Pours a rich redish amber orange color with a tiny white head, suspecting the glass has something to do with that. So far looking really solid.

S: Has a nice fresh grainy super sweet malty smell to it. Not much hops going on here though. Just a clean sweet malty goodness here.

T: Those sweet grains I was smelling hitcha up first then you get a nice hoppy bite and finishes off with a lovely toffee caramel taste on the back end, which lingers wonderfully. Super clean all the flavors are really distinct on this one, they fire off in perfect order every time beautifully.

M: This is what sets Great Lakes from everyone else is the wonderful viscosity smoothness that they give to there beers. This beer has a full drying mouthfeel that is divine.

D: Its a little high on the abv. at 6.2% but you would never know it. This one is definitely a creeper. Would drink this all day, loving that toffee taste on the back end here.

One reason why I miss Ohio so much is this wonderful brewery. Please Great Lakes distribute to MA soon.

Photo of Shrews629
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Clear amber/copper color with an off white head that had average girth and retention, but left some patchy lacing. Some burnt orange and yellow highlights caress the sides and bott of the glass. The head settled to a fine film.

Smell - A sweet, rich smelling malt is the first fragrance I pick up on. Some fruity hops abound. Almost smells like a mild Oak barreled Kentucky Bourbon. The fruitiness seems to be a cross between grapes and peach. Not really sure.

Taste - With the taste, I am again picking up the very sweet malt with some fruity, bitter tinges. Picked up the Oak flavoring of Bourbon again. It's mild, but in there.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel. Nicely smooth and dry with a sophisticated alcohol warmth. The flavor is wrapped across the palate gently. The brew has an almost slick or oily feeling.

Drinkability - This is a nice little beer. A complex beer in my opinion in both aroma and taste. It seems to be rather sweet, so that may get to me after a while, but I could set a few back with relative ease.

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

12oz bottle, Sam Adams perfect pint, best by 12/19/10, and received from drabmuh in Secret Santa 2010.

Copper highlighted ruby beer with a greyish head. The head isn't the star here; the body is pretty brilliant.

Largely caramel up in here. A bit of buttery biscuit and lager yeast. The low key nose may be age related. I wouldn't be surprised to find a bit of earthy, spicy hops in fresher samples.

Nice rich flavors; salted caramel, biscuit, lighter fruit, hop spice. A bit too much diacetyl and esters it seems but everything is well integrated. Floral and pepper hopping.

It's a hit on a crisp, bubbly mouthfeel here. Not much lingers, leaving the palette clean and dry.

I dig it. It's different than Boston Lager but just as well crafted. Sure wish Great Lakes was available somewhere in these parts.

Photo of philmorepunk87
4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- a beautiful dark orange color with a nice two finger head

S- has a caramel smell with maybe a little tinge of alcohol

T- really pleasant caramel malt taste, it reminds me of an octoberfest but better

M- nice and smooth, highly carbonated with a thin/light body

D- decent this kind of beer is not really my forte but overall I was impressed with this beer.

Photo of steveh
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Labeled as a Vienna, I'll review as such. Best by 02.16.11 on the label.

A -- Pours a deep, copper amber color with a light tan head that settles quickly to a fine bubbled cap.

S -- Nutty malts with some vague breadiness and mild fruit esters back. Mild DMS with warming.

T -- Same chewey, nutty malts up front and a smooth breadiness in the middle. Finishes vaguely tart with some bitterness and breadiness in the aftertaste. Not as clean as I'd expect a Vienna, but the malt breadiness and vague tartness/fruit esters is similar to a Bock.

M -- Medium to light-heavy body with a soft mouthfeel -- very nice to style, if not a bit chewier than expected from the style.

D -- Great drinkability if you're looking for malt backbone. Good enough hop bitterness to let you know it's there, but the malt is the king in this beer.

Photo of Swedes21
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 fl oz served in a chilled glass

Appearance - beer pours a gorgeous auburn clear crisp colour. The head is about 1 finger and quickly disappears. Its slightly off-white in colour. There is not much carbonation occurring in the beer. Some nice lacing as well.

Smell - definite caramel combined with earthy tones. The beer has a sweet smell as well. There is a slight hop smell as well, but you gotta go looking for it.

Taste - what a full bodied tasting beer! Despite the clear and crisp appearance, this beer is packing a taste. The caramel and earthy tones hit you right away. It follows up with the earthy/hops and finishes bitter.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation adds a velvety taste to this beer. The same taste is present as in the tasting with a little more added bitterness. The sweetness comes fwd again,

Drinkability - Found this to be a fantastic beer and could have a few. The beer itself is nice and full bodied.

Photo of jfrank85
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a 12oz pint glass. Looks very clean, the way a lager should. Nice head retention and lacing down the side of the glass. Smells of yeast and malt. Very crisp and refreshing but also complex enough to add intrest. Another great brew by GLBC.

Photo of chicagoabbot
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
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
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
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
3.42/5  rDev -16.2%
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
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,748 ratings.