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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,780 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,780
Reviews: 967
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 220
Gots: 358 | FT: 5
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: 2,780 | Reviews: 967
Photo of mellowmark
3.87/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle to an Imperial Pint glass. Enjoy by 5-26-11. $15.49 for a 12-pack sampler.

Appearance: Pours a Reddish orange color with a 1-finger creamy white head. Moderate retention, decent lacing. Completely transparent with lots of carbonation. Head eventually dies down to a faint ring.

Smell: Strong citrus. Slightly floral with just a kiss of earthy hops. Strong malt backbone. Toffee. Smells great.

Taste: Sweet and bready with a citrus twang up front. Slight bitter earthy hops to finish.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is medium and very smooth with medium carbonation. Semi chalky texture. Crisp.

Drinkability: High

This is more enjoyable to me than SA Boston Lager. Very solid all around.

Photo of WeedKing4
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orangish red with just a little bit of foam in the Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Tastes of slightly sweet caramal malts, with a breadie like finish. For a lager, i'm not used to having one that doesn't have a bad aftertaste. This is quite drinkable. Wish lagers like Great Lakes, were availabe here.

Photo of MattyG85
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Bright amber orange with a big head that is white with tint of tan. Great retention and lacing.

Smell: Strong scent of sweet caramel malt up front followed by a bready orange and citrus aroma. Also a whiff of earthy hops.

Taste: Strong caramel malt followed by bread and finishes with a light citrus hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with a medium carbonation.

Overall: A very good version of a lager.

Photo of scottfrie
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Thanks to jbck109 for this one.

A: Pours a very stereotypical amber color with a billowing tan head that slowly faded into a dense film that left rings of sticky lacing after each sip.
S: Subtle notes of bread crust, doughy biscuits and light, earthy hops with a touch of roasted grains.
T: Follows the nose with a dry bread crust malt flavor and a hint of clean bitter hops in the finish. There is just hint of citrus rind to the flavor and a hint of toffee and marshmallow to the finish.
M: Full bodied with a chewy mouthfeel and soft but ample carbonation. Goes down thick, refreshing and smooth.
O: I was really impressed by this beer. I'm not the hugest fan of Boston Lager so I didn't have high hopes for this one, but I must say that I would drink this often if it was available to me. Thanks again Jay for a great brew!

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

12 oz bottle into pint glass. Best by 4/7/2011

A - Dark copper in color with half a finger of off-white head.

S - Bready and sweet. Grainy with some caramel.

T - Some lightly roasted malt character, sweet caramel and some breadyness. Finish is has bitter hop followed by sweet breadyness with a load of caramel.

M - Light to medium body with nice carbonation. Good feel. Dries out slightly in the end.

O - This is one of the best lagers I've ever had. Absolutely delicious and a joy to drink. Can't go wrong with this beer.

Photo of n2185
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear burnt orange with a finger of white head that recedes into a thin cap with a little lacing.

S: Caramel malt up front with some orange aromas coming behind it. Sweet and a bit citrusy.

T: Caramel malts are first and foremost followed by some bread and biscuit flavors. The finish has some light citrusy bitterness from the hops to accompany the bready flavors.

M: Medium-light body with medium carbonation, this beer is both hearty and crisp.

O: Overall, a pretty good example of the style and a good beer for when you don't want something extremely heavy or light.

Photo of yaegerje
3.84/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a standard pint glass
A - Really nice rusty orange color, pretty clear with maybe just a touch of haze, creamy head that stick around, nice lace,
S - Light grain notes, a little caramel, mostly yeast
T - Excellent taste, very clean, slight burnt malt taste going on, but it adds some character, kind of hard to describe
M - Smooth, nice carbonation, with a little bite, very pleasant

Photo of mdunman
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Orange-brown pours a good head with good linger

S: Roasted malt and some sugar

T: Roasted malt very clean up front and throughout, finishes with a pleasant dryness that makes you want to take another sip.

M: Medium body with good carbonation

Very enjoyable beer, just like pretty much everything else made by Great Lakes. I've been drinking this for years and I won't stop any time soon.

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

Pours a clear reddish orange, one finger of off-white head, spotty lacing. Smell: toffee, buttery, lightly toasty with a light floral hopping. Taste: toffee, toasted grain, a little fruity - yeast not as clean as expected. Fairly sweet with light floral and grassy hopping. Not special but works for the style. Best by 5/7/11.

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

Pours with average body. Low amount of head that leaves a touch of lacing and very little residual foam. Rich darker amber that is very pleasing. Full aroma of Vienna/Munich grain and caramel. Toasty and well-balanced malt to bitterness.

Grainy taste that is a bit sharp in that it feels like a LHBS grain room. Deep flavor, robust in malt. Not as clean as a lager should be. Leaves a malty, sl. caramel aftertaste.

This one let's the balance of malt to hops stand out. No hop aroma. Tastes like crystal 40-60L. Good beer all around.

Photo of alexkeil
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Its hard to get excited about standard issued lagers...if it was a Marzen then maybe I could talk about the history or the amount of time and craftsmenship that went into making it, or how all the malts create this perfectly smooth, sweet, complex brew. This isn't a bad beer, and as far as lagers go it is everything I'm looking for. Pours smooth, amber color with white head, sweet flavor and clean finish...and when it was done I ordered something more exciting...Burning River. I would say this is a good transition beer when you're going from one style to the other: like going from porter to ipa? I like Great Lakes as a brewery and I'm really impressed with the diversity of the styles they release and the quality of each beer I've tried. Some of those styles, like american pale ale, I point to Great Lakes as a gold standard example (Burning River). So its hard to get worked up over Eliot Ness because Great Lakes has so many other beers that are better.

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

Acquired from beerbeerbeerbeer so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!
Poured in to a pint glass.

A: This beer pours a nice amber coloring with a one finger of off white head. Head recedes immediately and leaves minor spotty lacing.

S: Nose is light toasted malts with a massive dose of toffee and caramel malt.

T: Taste starts with a light toasted malt flavoring before the sweetness of this beer moves in. Toffee and caramel malt dominate the middle of this beer, although, it is not overpowering - it's hearty but light and not cloying. Finish brings through a bitter of brown sugar before a mild grassy hop and biscuit flavoring round this out.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, nice and crisp at first with a slight oily but dry finish.

O: Goes down easily, tasty, not too filling, mild kick, nice representation of style. As my palate has changed, this would be a one and done for me, but those enjoying a sweeter beer, this is easily one to sit with for a long time.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

When we first tried this beer years ago, a buddy of mine made it seem that he was among the Untouchables as well...in that you couldn't bribe him enough to willingly drink this again. Let's see if my tastebuds have evolved since then. This stuff pours a clear copper-amber topped by a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises caramel, toffee, and some very mild and light orange zest. The taste brings the orange forward, mostly in terms of the peel, with the caramel and toffee coming in later. In the end, though, is a short but sharp stab of harsh bitterness. This is probably what turned my buddy and me off so long ago, and not much has changed (though my reaction now is decidedly less vitriolic). The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry-ish finish. Overall, an okay brew, but not something I really wanna go for again.

Photo of heebes
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. 05/07/11

Pours a clear amber red with a thin bubbly light tan head. Nice looking body, semi lacking head. Nose is sweet hops, some caramel malt and bread. Taste is similiar to the smell, good balance between the hops and other classic ingrediants. Very well crafted. Medium bodied mouthfeel. A real easy drinking ale. Great balance of the abv. Smooth, tasty and enjoyable. A deserving and well made beer.

Photo of dtivp
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a mahogany brown with a very small off white that dissipated very quickly into light lacing on the glass.

Aroma of sweet toffee, malt and bread.

Taste has a nice balance of toffee sweetness and a slight hop bitterness with some earthy, bread malts.

Mouthfeel is light towards medium body with light carbonation and smooth.

Very drinkable beer a nice smooth lager, not my favorite from Great Lakes, however, it was an enjoyable beer over dinner.

Photo of RickS95
3/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks like watered down cranberry juice. Mostly clear, with a thin white head.

Has a smokey quality and if I didn't know better, I'd say there's some coffee hiding in the background.

The smoke scent comes through in the flavor, along with a typical lager's sourness in the swallow.

Kind of what I expect from a lager. I get mostly bitter and sourness on the palate, not what I'm really looking for in a beer.

Doesn't do much for me. Decent alcohol, but that's about it. I just don't care for lagers and this one is nothing special.

Photo of claspada
3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aromas of subtle yet enticing caramel maltiness underlined with light noble earthy hoppiness. Malt definitely more predominant however.
Tastes follow the nose, but are much more balanced. Subtle caramel maltiness is there again but the earthy spicy hops make more of a showing here. There is a light toasted malt character that emerges as this warms a little.
Mouthfeel is full and quite rich, yet smooth. The carbonation is spot on once again from this brewery and the finish is once again full yet crisp. Not as good as the Pale Ale, but still quite good, really enjoying the brews from Great Lakes.
Overall this is a great session ale if your looking for something for the long haul or this would definitely go well with summer grill-ables.

Photo of LacquerHead
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was a very simple, "down to the basics" type of brew. For a Vienne/Amber Lager this was chalked full of flavor. There was a caramel toasted malt flavor but it wasn't so over powering as to distract from the hops. The hops lent a slight bitterness and dryness that gave this beer a great balance. Like many beers from Great Lakes this one would be a solid choice for any occasion.

Photo of brewdoc75
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber-mahogany in color. A just off-white head sits on top. Ample at first, but dies fast to a lace. Some lace down the sides of the glass.

S: Rich maltiness. Deep caramel notes. Some dark fruit. Rich melanoidan character. Finishes with some subtle breadiness. Almost smells like a bock. A hint of metal in the end.

T: Beautiful malt flavors. Heavy munich malt character. This beer starts out with rich toffee/caramel flavor which rounds out to a bready flavor. There are definitely some rich melanoidans in this beer. Not quite as strong as you would find in a bock, but definitely there. The hops provide ample bitterness to balance things out. This beer is very flavorful, but at the same time appropriately restrained. Great balance of flavors.

M: Sharp on the tongue at first. Finishes crisp and a little sticky. Dry enough for you to want to drink more. Moderate carbonation.

D: Yet another excellent beer from Great Lakes. This brewery definitely knows how to make their lagers. This is an excellent example of a vienna style lager. Lots of malt flavor, but at the same time restrained enough to be very drinkable. One of the best examples for the style. A must try if you like good lagers.

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

Pours a beautiful caramel gold topped with a one finger creamy khaki head, well carbonated leaves sticky webs of lacing down the glass as the beer is all too quickly drank.

Malty, clean aroma, spicy noble type hop with caramel and toast. Caramel increases with warming.

Malty, bready munichy taste. Spicy hops and there is a fair amount of bitterness, pretty hoppy for a Vienna. Touch of raisiny caramel.

Medium to full bodied, session beer drinkability if it wasn't for the 6.2% ABV

excellent, thanks to radioscooter for the sample

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

12oz bottle, best by 4/6/11, poured into tulip pint. Updated 8/17/12, on a bottle best by 10/18/12.

A: Pours a clear, amber reddish color, with a finger of foamy, dense, off-white head. Good retention and lacing.

S: Delicious fresh bread aroma really carries things, with a significant touch of yeast (which smells like baker's yeast in this context). Sweet caramel malts, hints of brown sugar, and light earthy hops accent the aroma.

T: The caramel flavors from the smell start things off here, before quickly giving way to a bready, earthy, and slightly grassy flavor. Finish is bitter, bready, and lightly tangy. Very strong taste- pass one of these along to anyone who says they don't drink lagers because they're too watery, or anything like that.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation; leads to a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

D: Solid beer from Great Lakes; I'm enjoying this one more after revisiting it a couple of times. I had this bottle from a 12-pack sampler that I bought to revisit some of their beers, but it's tempting me to try this on tap when I get a chance. If you're looking for a beer with strong malt flavors that isn't too sweet, this one's a great bet.

Photo of zeledonia
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From notes, enjoyed October 2010.

I don't generally like lagers, with a few exceptions. But this beer really wowed me, and will definitely become a staple for me. It's a wonderful golden amber lager, very refreshing, with a smooth but sparkly mouthfeel. Flavor is mellow but surprisingly complex. Clean, crisp, and malty, almost perfectly balanced. Simply Delicious. A fantastic summer session beer.

Photo of assmandugle
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich amber color with an impressive white head. Has a malted aroma almost like a Killians Irish Red on steroids (both being vienna lagers). Has nice carbonation and a good mouth feel. Taste is remarkable. Goes down smooth. I'd recommend this beer. I'd like to go have it on tap straight from the brewpub.

Photo of Looneybiz
4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass and the look was pretty amazing. Deep amber red with about an inch of head. The head didnt stick around too long but still the color is really pleasant. Its truly a beauty to look at.

Upon tasting I got some rich hop flavor with some sweetness afterwards. Definetely not too bitter but just enough to make me really enjoy it.

I would absolutely buy a 12 pack and Great Lakes has proven to make very tasty beers at an affordable price.

Photo of Murrdogg
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the GLBC brewery itself

A: golden, slight amber tone. small light head

S: Sweet smell.. I get strawberries.. Reminds me of a framboise. its backed up with slight malt

T: Malt taste up front, yet surprisingly smooth. Light floral hops

M: One word: velvety

D: This was a delicious and crisp Vienna Lager, but has a slight bitter aftertaste, but not as bad as other Vienna's Ive had. The alcohol is well hidden in this lager. Would be exceptional in the summer and in the heat (though, admittedly dangerous with the 6.2 ABV

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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,780 ratings.