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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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2,719 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,719
Reviews: 951
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 209
Gots: 296 | 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: 2,719 | Reviews: 951 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a russet color with a thick off white head. Chunks of foam coat the glass on the way down. Nutty malt notes fill the nose. The taste is a complex mix of chocolatey, nutty, doughy flavors. A subtle noble hop character provides the perfect balast to the malt wall. The mouthfeel is creamy, a full bodied lager this. The finish is lightly bitter with caramel and dough malt notes.

This is a fantastic lager. I'd recommend it to anyone. Really a nice showcase of crystal malts.

Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a stein.

A: A pretty hazelnut brown with a big white head.

S: Toasted malts caramel and muted hops.

T: Smooth and soft malts. Smokey caramel and soft hops.

D: Extremely drinkable. If not for the ABV it would be downright sessionable!

Overall: A great Vienna lager. Supremely well balanced and world class drinkablility. This would be a great introduction to craft beer.

Photo of mcnabb0001
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle with freshness date 9/19/10. Wish I had it fresher for the review but what are you gonna do.

A - poured a murky amber dark orange color. with a small white head that quickly dissipates to a thin lacing.

S- smells of sweet caramel and fruit. almost like a fruit juice. Very sweet smelling beer.

T- The taste again is sweet with a quick bitter bite that quickly gives way to a sweet maltness. Cant quite point out any one particular flavor in this beer.

M - Good consistancy full bodied lightly carbonated fizz with each sip.

D - Very drinkable beer could definitely have a few of these in a sitting perfer this Vienna Lager to Sam Adams Boston Lager in that style category.

Photo of beerdown77
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank From: bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: copper, amber, transparent, good amount of head
Smell: sweet, amber
Taste: bitter, malt
Mouth feel: light body, carbonation
Drinkability: easy to drink

Summary: Great Lakes always delivers a well rounded version of whatever is advertized on the bottle, case in point. I don't have a lot to say about this beer, however. I don't love lagers, amber lager being my least favorite. This could be a crowd pleaser for non-hop lovers. It's available in the mixed 12 pack, and tolerable in that capacity.

Photo of Spider889
4.44/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my old stand-by's and my friend's favorite beer period. This beer is one I constantly take for granted, but each time I have it I am impressed moreso than the previous time it seems.

Tastes like a marriage of their Oktoberfest and Nosferatu; I'll drink to that!

Appearance is a deep amber, almost red color. A small white head that recedes immediately. Not much lace either.

Smell is sweet and full of bready and caramel notes. Similar to their Oktoberfest, but more sweet and less "lagery" if that makes any sense. Very faint grassy hops lay in wait.

Flavor is full of complexity. It begins with a sharp bite - I suspect a bit of rye gets used in this recipe. Then there is an intermittent hop bitterness which is quickly waylaid by a sweet caramel malt profile. Finishes very smooth and rich.

Very highly carbonated (almost too much so), but it plays very well with the hoppiness of the brew. Crisp on the palate, but finishes long a smooth.

This beer is low in abv and certainly sessionable. While not my personal GLBC favorite, I would never object to sharing a sixer of this with my best friend.

Photo of wmtxbb
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: clear amber color with good sized head. Not too shabby.

Smell: Has the salted peanut smell that most great lakes beers have. A little malt, smell isn't extraordinary.

Taste: Amber malts and salted peanuts. I've had 6 beers from Great Lakes Brewing co and they've all had this salted peanut taste and smell. It must be something in their water or they add salt. Definitely some graininess and cream like amber malts that combine with the crisp taste from the lager yeast. A little dryness at the end.

Drinkability: Not a complex beer, but not a bad beer. It's a session beer or a beer you'd have to complement your meal. This beer would be great with some wings. Of all of the beers that I've had from Great Lakes this is my least favorite, but it is good for the style so I can't be too harsh.

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

This is a pretty solid Vienna Lager, with a nice amber color and two-finger head which left lasting lacing. It smells like spicy hops and a bit of caramel malt and is very clean tasting, with toasty malt, a bit of graininess, some spicy but definitely subordinate hops, a little bit of a bite at the end, and fine carbonation which makes it a good drinker. Not incredibly exciting but certainly an excellent beer.

Photo of Hibernator
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Great Lakes Eliot Ness
12 oz brown bottle
Freshness date marked 12/19/10
Served in a 20 oz tulip glass

Pours an amber brown color with a nice head on top that leaves spectacular trails of lace all over the glass.

The nose is pleasant with whiffs of apple, spices and faint hops. I also detect a hint of metal, which is strange.

A nice smooth and creamy mouthfeel from the start with caramel malt sweetness. Toasted malt and grain flavors. A touch of fruity sweetness too, perhaps apples or pears. The finish showcases a hoppy snap bite.

This could be one of the beer session beers I've had in a long time. Extremely well balanced, flavorful and drinkable.

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

A great beer.
Pours a deep brown color with ruby highlights and a light brown head and nice lacing. Smells of vanilla, roasted barley, and malt. Tastes like malted barley, roasted barley, biscuits, and sweetbread. Mouthfeel is great with a thick texture. Drinkability is high.

Photo of thecarster1
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a- bottle poured into a pint, two finger creamy head, hazy chesnut coloring, great retention.

s- clean, bright amber nose, some sweet fresh baked bread, biscuit, touch of spiced vanilla, no real hops here.

t- taste echos the nose, sweet, a slight hop profile, lingering bitterness.

m- medium body.

d- okay, this is a solid amber ale, easy to drink, and a nice offering from great lakes.

Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A very nice amber look.

S- smell of hops and barley and sweet molasses smell in the back ground.

T- Taste of hops with a sweet molasses taste at the end of the sip but not to over powering just mesh well.

M- Easy drinking hops and molasses iin the background very hearty with the barley very filling.

D- Love this beer good to try other lagers from different states. If you can buy one and try it.


Photo of silver0rlead
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a frothy tan head that retains well and leaves nice lacing. The aroma has some hay and biscuit notes upfront, along with caramel and toffee, herbal hops, raw honey and some alcohol...intriguing if not particularly complex. The flavor is classic vienna lager, with nutty and biscuity malt notes initially, along with treacle and caramel, brown sugar, hay and must, herbal hops and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium but really smooth and drinkability is good but limited by the alcohol presence. Very solid lager from Great Lakes, like a higher octane oktoberfest.

Photo of droomyster
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a bronze-brown with a medium sized tan head with fair retention and lots of lacing properties. Aromas are predominantly toasty, with an interesting nutty element that's almost as strong, and a bit of wood as well. There's a tinge of alcohol on the nose as well, but not enough to detract from the main aromas. Flavors are remarkably complex, with tons of toast and pecans up front, followed by toffee and tea on the mid-palate, and a mostly sweet and slightly woody finish. Medium body is perfectly carbonated. A thoroughly delicious beer. Hands down the best of its style.

Photo of sixerofelixir
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle sampled this week. Updated review.

Pours a deep, amber orange, clear, with a thin beige head. Smell is a little hoppy and yeasty and alcohol-y. First taste is subdued hops, with a nice finish of fruit-like fresh bread. Kind of a one-dimensional hops/malt taste, but good and very smooth. Finish is short with some bitterness. A solid, easily drinkable lager.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A deep glowing orange shows some light cherry tints while in the glass. The head is khaki, smooth and frothy but short lived dissipating from a solid foamy fingers worth to a skim milky covering in a matter of a minute or two. Visible carbonation was light, spacious, with a moderate pace of rise. Small broken lashes adorn the glass for a lacing.

S: Creamy caramel apple skins first appear on the nose of light to medium strength. Smells pretty much like caramel apples basically.

T: Sweet chewy caramel coated apples first come to mind with a soft noble flowery hopping. Malt forward with a flowery bite of hops occurring on the swallow. Reminds me of a hopped up Sam Adams lager with a little extra specialty malting to boot.

M: Creamy smooth caramel body provides a thick luscious feel on the tongue. Huge specialty malt base provides a good resistance with a thick viscosity along with a defining carbonation factor adding some tingle.

D: Nice session, again brings back memories of my first craft beer Sam Adams circa 1990. Huge creamy caramel malt base with a flowery hop bite and some alcohol mentions which is the only thing limiting me from many more.

End Beer Musings: Again not to harp but when considered by style this has to be an A example in my book, maybe a very good rating overall (B+) but this definitely trumps Sam Adams lager and I can hardly think of any more examples of Vienna lagers that come close. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Photo of homebrew311
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a pint at Sheffield's.

A: appears a deep amber with nice clarity, white head with some retention.

S: the aroma features a nice bold malty profile with significant notes of bread, caramel, and toffee. Some earthy hops on the finish. Nice aromatic lager!

T: the taste is big and bold with a nice presence of bready malts. This is one of the more flavorful lagers I have had. It features a nice balance, a nice array malted barley and other flavors as well as the right amount of hop bite.

MF: light to medium body, medium carbonation

D: great brew, very drinkable, nice balance. I would recommend this to anyone who thinks lagers are boring because there's nothing boring about this.

Photo of CBOLAND17
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good full bodied Amber lager

Very distinct amber maltinessin both taste and smell

Good alcohol content but not too much which makes it a good session brew

Not my favorite but it is a good beer to drink

Best served closer to room temperature due to the alcohol content

Photo of IPAescotch
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank from bottle.

Smelled clean and sharp, mild amber maltiness.

Interesting flavor. Bitter front flavor, but mellows out in the aftertaste. Almost like an amber pilsner.

Smooth and light, yet with some stickyness unusual for lagers

I wouldn't necessarily want to pound these, but i wouldn't mind either

Photo of drumrboy22
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass. Beer was a dark red, amber color, with a one-finger, tan head. Moderate carbonation and thick lacing around the glass.

Aroma was caramel, malt, raisins, rum and flowers. Not what I expected at all. Very pleasant surprise.

Taste was malt, raisins, nuts, caramel and light hops. Well balanced and enjoyable beer.

Light bitter finish. Very easy drinking and well crafted. Nice session brew.

Photo of mwagner1018
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours a beautiful dark copper color with light golden/orange highlights, nice 2-3 full fingers of creamy light brown head, settles down to a mild film on the beer, little to no lacing.

S- Golden raisin notes, light honeysuckle, caramel notes.

T- All malts up front, perceived as caramel, toasty biscuit, golden raisin again present in the flavor, plum, light spicy refreshing hop finish.

M- Smooth, medium bodied, nice creamy malt with a good balanced carbonation that delivers very nicely.

D- Exceptional drinkability, great depth of flavor, definitely malt forward but finishes with a crisp light bitterness to balance it out. Fantastic beer, great representation of the style.

Photo of herman77
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Crystal clear dark amber reddish/orangish with a small off white head that has great retention. Excellent small bubble lacing

S: Mainly sweet carmel malt and a kiss of herbal hops. A little bit of grain as well.

T: Light cereal grains/bready malt with more of a sweet toasted carmel flavor. There is a punch of tangy/spicey herbal hops halfway through. Mildly bitter and a little sweet aftertaste. Finishes crisp.

M: Medium to lighter body. Moderate carbonation.

D: Good drinkability. Easy to drink, well balanced.

Photo of EricCioe
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber, like a dark brandy. Head sticks around for a while with good lacing on the glass. The smell is a sweet, not quite caramelish. The taste is a little prickly but mostly sweet, with the consistency being rather syrupy. It's alright, and I could probably drink a few before the sweetness overpowered my taste buds, and I generally like sweet beers.

Photo of BeerNinja007
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a mix pack I picked up in late Aug at the Price Chopper grocery in North Syracuse NY. Freshness date on the box: Jul 16 2010. Oops. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

I haven't ever been a big fan of Vienna lagers... the few I've had seem to have a sticky kind of sweetness that doesn't appeal to me. Same reason I usually don't like brown ales. Interested to see how this one fairs on my palate.

This clear deep red brew gives 3/4" of frothy dense foam that's tan with an orangey tint. The head sticks around fairly well and generates some lace. The nose has a bit of raw grain, which I'm starting to see may be a characteristic feature of GLBC brews. Also in the smell is some light fruity honey sweetness, maybe some floral stuff trying to come through. Taste is semi-sweet but not as offensive as I was fearing it might be... it is lighter, not (too) sticky. Fairly fruity, strawberry and/or raspberry, and the florals do indeed come through. The taste reminds me of the red ICEE brand slushies I used to like as a kid. Mouthfeel is a moderate body, soft carbonation, dry finish with some lingering lemony hop.

Not as bad as I thought it might be.

Photo of dpnelson1978
3.29/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$9.99 / 6-pk.

A: Bright copper body with a loose one finger head that quickly dissipates leaving moderate lace and a thin creamy cover.

S: The aroma is fantastic. Sweet caramel malt character, and significant raisin character. Really interesting, and enjoyable.

T: Malt character is countered by a strong hop presence that more than makes up for the sweetness leaving a slight bitter aftertaste. A bit boozy, surprising. Raisin notes remain, but are covered up on the back end by the relative hotness. The booziness really ruined the taste for me, it could have been so much better.

M: Light body and heavy carbonation. Oily up front, but crisp in the end.

D: So close, but there was noticeable alcohol that dominated the taste. The aroma was fantastic, and the mouthfeel was very good, but in the end I just can't keep tipping this one back.

O: Could have been so much better. I'm going to give this one another try in a few weeks and see if I got a bad batch.

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

12oz bottle into a pokal. freshness date marked.

color is a deep copper, almost red but not quite. gave me a two finger tan head that rose just above the edge of the glass before settling to a thin film. leaves rings of lace in the glass.

smells a bit nutty with notes of carmel and a slightly peppery hop presence.

taste is mostly sweet with nutty and caramel malts followed by light bitterness and a sticky sweet finish.

medium in body and a little sticky with slightly more carbonation than i would like.

pretty drinkable and seems to fit the style well. not my favorite from glbc, but certainly a solid beer. worth trying if you haven't had it.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,719 ratings.