1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,672 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,672
Reviews: 936
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 201
Gots: 252 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Eliot Ness Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,672 | Reviews: 936 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep, rusty red yet crystal clear. A off white head caps this lager nicely as it leaves some lacing.

S- Cinnamon, grain, bread crust and faint hops just to balance this lager.

T- Sweet, very nice. Cinnamon and spice, cracker, dough and bread crust. A twang at the end that really helps balance. Overall its on the sweeter side.

M- Medium body, on the full side for a lager. Low carbonation, dry and very smooth.

D- This is one of my favorites in the Great Lakes sampler, behind Edmond Fitzgerald of course.

Photo of samie85
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a clear crimson amber with a white, one finger head.

S- Toasted and caramel malt with hint of floral hops and spices.

T-Slightly bitter hops at first, then toasted and caramel malt with some notes of mild spice, and a slightly bitter finish.

M-Really smooth and mildly carbonated for a lager, but that's not a bad thing.

D- Very enjoyable and easy drinking beer. This was one of my gateway beers and it remains a favorite standby in my fridge.

Photo of Reagan1984
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice 2 finger head that settles immediately but leaves a huge amount of lacing behind. Crystal clear ruby/amber colored beer. No visible carbonation.

Aroma is Malt, cinnamon, minerals and toasted grain.

A little more subdued than I had imagined. Toasted malt, slight cracker flavor and a touch of caramel. Slight sweetness in the middle of the flavor yet finishes quite dry.
Again a slight mineral flavor.

Medium bodied, rather smooth and just a prickle of carbonation.

Pretty good, but I have to say, not quite as impressive as I had imagined.. Did not live up to it's mini hype for me.

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

Poured from a bottle into a seidel.

Appearance: Cloudy reddish amber colour. Translucent, with a small amount of haziness. Head is significant and leaves ridiculous lacing on the sides. Creamy, thick head that stays pretty long.

Smell: Hoppy and sweet. Very malty, but also has a ton of oktoberfest/lager yeastiness to it. Smells a little fruity but mostly like malty grain.

Taste: Very balanced. Malty, mixed with hoppy, mixed with a roasted character. Supremely satisfying taste, with absolutely nothing in excess. Balanced and delicious.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and smooth. Frothy and satisfying in the mouth. No sense of alcohol in the mouth.

Drinkability: Supremely easy to drink. The only thing that hurts this is that its 6.2% abv. Otherwise I could easily drink these all night.

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

A beautiful amber color.

Smells good. There is some sweetness. Bready/Malty.

It has a clean taste. I disagree with the people that say this is a flavorful beer. There's not much on the palate. I was slightly disappointed. This is, however, a lager.

Medium bodied but on the lighter side.

I probably shouldn't have expected a lager to be flavorful. I like this and it pairs well with many food items.

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

Beer served on tap in a Great Lakes shaker pint glass. Beer is clear and reddish. Tight white head made up of small bubbles cling to the glass leaving behind a lot of lacing. Carbonation moderate to low.

There is a pleasant and mild hop aroma to this beer. Cool.

Beer is medium bodied and smooth. No real aftertaste but there is a slight bitterness at the back of the mouth. Good connectivity, slight sour from the carbonation, nice bitterness, clean tasting and really smooth. I would order this again.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into a stange. Poured a crystal clear amber color with a nice off white heading that sticks around until the bitter end.

Smell is very sweet with caramel malts. A very subtle hop bitterness.

Taste is very basic but extremley effective. Sweet caramel malts at first but the key here isn't the malts it's the hops. I have never had a lager with this much of a hop kick to it.

Mouth is medium bodied great carbonation that is very alive on the palate. Bubbles tingle the teeth frm carbonation and hops. Even better than it's counterpart Dortmunder.

I don't if lagers are supposed to be this hoppy tasting but damn do I like it.

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

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass. Dark burgundy color, taupe 1 finger head. Malt aroma with lots of spice. Light fruity hops bready malt and caramel flavor. Nice balance bewteen the malt and hops. Slightly bitter hop finish. Moderate carbonation. Overall a very blanced, very drinkable beer.

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

A 12 oz. bottle into my Great Lakes Brewing Company mug club mug.

A-Deep copper with a medium light tan head that reduced to a thin cap. Nice decorative lace and a lively effervescent appearance.

S-Sweet, toasted malt with a bit of spice and a bouncy light fruitiness.

T-Dare I say this is fruitcake like? Spicy and fruity up front with a solid underlying lightly sweet biscuit malt body. Drying hop bitterness in the finish.

M-Medium bodied and sharp. This one leaves a nice lingering flavour of fruit and spice.

D-Damn! This one starts out subtle but the more you drink the more you appreciate this brew and the better it gets. Simply an outstanding example of the style. So crisp and flavourful this brew never gets boring. A masterful beer that could go down bottle after bottle.

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

Served on tap-to a 16oz American Pint

A: Pour a brilliantly clear mahogany brown with a 1 finger frothy white head. As the session progressed, foamy white lace clung to the glass and the head reduced to a thin crown.

S: Malty with hints of clove and citrus

T: Malty and slightly roasted with wonderful hints of cinnamon and floral hop. Bitterness was slight on the finish but nothing that lingered.

M: A crisp finish was well balanced with a well carbed and well-rounded feel.

D: Mid to long session beer but the heaviness of the beer may become a factor.

Great Lakes Brewing Company rarely disappoints as this was a delicious Vienna.

Photo of philbe311
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A little less than a fingers worth of off white head comprised of chunky medium sized bubbles quickly recedes leaving a thin to medium veil of lacing... A modest amount of well dispersed rapid rising carbonation... Fully translucent warm caramel color...

S - A mix of crystal and pale malts... A muted mix of caramel and toffee... Perhaps a hint of toasted nuttiness... A tad soapy... Very weak soy sauce... A very faint piney hop presence...

T - The taste mirrors the aroma very closely... In addition there are hints of tobacco and grass... Also the hop presence is slightly more assertive on the finish...

M - Medium bodied... Smooth... Modest carbonation... Easy drinking...

D - A very tasty and enjoyable lager... Well balanced... I would enjoy one of these any day, but I'm not sure this lives up to all the hype...

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

Served cold in a pint glass, this beer has a hazy golden orange color.

Aroma is sweet and malt-rich with a little bit of red apple.

Flavor is strong and malty with minimal hop bitterness. Balance is pretty good, considering, with it never tasting too sweet. Most similar to a bock, in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with an appropriate level of carbonation. Alcohol is well-concealed.

Overall a very drinkable strong lager.

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

Served on tap in a pint glass.

Appearance: Eliot Ness pours a deep burgundy color. When the draught arrived, it had a thick, taupe head, which slowly clung to the side of the glass. A residual ring and thin film remained for the life of the beer.

Smell: A nice, smooth toasted malt aroma, with a bit of spice. A light fruity hop smell is present as well.

Taste: The smooth bready malt flavor is the preliminary and most dominant flavor, nuanced by a light caramel flavor. The hop flavor itself is fairly balanced, with a light citrus flavor. A bitter aftertaste lasts just a moment. Definitely a bold lager, with exceptional balance.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, with a nice balance between the chewy malt and puckering hops feels. Very smooth.

Drinkability: The subtle transition between malt and hops, along with the smooth feel, make this an easy choice for a repeat.

By far the best selection for the style I have ever had.

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

A: Very clear reddish amber color. Less than a quarter finger of white head with a little bit of lacing.

S: Quite malty with a touch of spice to it. Little bit of hops in the back but not much.

T: Malt is right up front and crisp. Just a very clean and tasty beer. Nice bitter hop finish..

M: Spot on for the style.

D: Really enjoyed this beer. Sam Adam's drinkers should all try this. Not quite as hoppy but much more complex.

Photo of MrDanno96
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice looking one finger off-white head that demonstrates good retention. Has a nice amber hue to it when held up to the light. Lots of foamy lacing.

S: Sweet toasted malts and caramel are the primary scents on the nose. Just a touch of hops in there as well.

T: Nice caramel malts, a little citrus, and some nice floral hops. Great balance. Tastes like a slightly better version of SA Boston Lager.

M: Nice medium body and a pleasant bite from the carbonation.

D: I could (and will) session this. It's very comparable to Boston Lager and probably even a little better. Well done.

Photo of buschbeer
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured into a pint glass to a creamy beige head. It has a beautiful reddish amber hue. The aroma is of tasted bread and caramel malt. The taste follows the caramel smell. It finishes with a sweet bready taste and a kiss of floral hops. The mouthfeel is very nice, not watered down. It is a good beer but I prefer other styles (Eddy Fitz) so it is tough to get overly excited about.


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

Poured from tap at home into a SA perfect pint glass.

A: A deep copper ruby color with a nice off white fluffy head. Nice glass lacing.

S: Smells of caramel sweetness, bready malts, some fruit and hops.

T: A great tasting lager. The sweeter malt caramel flavors start off with some lighter lemon, citrus and grassy flavors. The body is bready and biscuity malt as the sweetness dies and the earthy floral hops come in. Finish is real nice and bitter with hops. What a different take on a lager, but a great one at that. I get more hops on the draft version of the beer.

M: Medium that coats the mouth and bitterness lingers, but not overly so. No alcohol is detected.

D: Forget it, damn these were real nice to drink at anytime and the great thing is you can have a few at one sitting.

Overall this is an excellent lager that I just love. I drank up my keg in record time (only one I drank faster was Two Hearted) and everyone that tried it, loved it. Another great brew by Great Lakes, they got it going on. I will no doubt be drinking another keg of this in the future.

Photo of thain709
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A deep copper body with some clarity to it...a small white head formed and settled into a thin cap...decent lacing

S - Sweet caramel malts right off the bat...they are rounded out with a buttery, biscuit malt and a faint earthy hop aroma

T - The taste starts off sweet with the caramel malts...there is a real nice caramel flavor in the forefront of this beer...a grainy presence comes in through the middle...a biscuit flavor comes across too as it is topped with butter and honey...the hop bite at the end of the beer is very nice...light, but strong and earthy in flavor

M - Medium bodied...very smooth with a nice linger bitter sweetness

D - This is one nice lager...the flavors of caramel really stand out and the addition of the hops at the end are great...the beer never became too sweet and has a lower ABV which makes this sessionable

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

A: Bottle poured into pint glass. Rich red copper color with a healthy one finger head which disappeared quickly.

S: A light hop aroma

T: Hints of citrus with a healthy dose of hops.

M: Smooth texture light carbonation

D: Great year round beer...defintely hides the high ABV

Photo of Buckeyes67
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours nicely from the bottle leaving a good head. A good dark appearance but not cloudy. An amazingly smooth taste that goes down with ease. It sits nicely on the palate being not to heavy or light. I truly enjoyed this beer from the beer sampler I bought.

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

really nice burnt orange color and light tan head.

very nice toasty nose of layered biscuity malts.

taste is really polished and really balanced. great sweet complex malt flavors mirroring the nose. Just a great beer all around. A much better vienna lager than Sam Adams which isn't bad itself.

great smooth and finely carbonated tongue envelopment.

drinkibilty is really up there and liked this one very much.

Photo of GoldenChild
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

this is a great beer picked it up the other day have thought about buying it for a long time now read some reviews on here on there beers and have decided to try them.

Great color amber/ one finger head on it with no lacing that disappears quickly

Smell of caramel, roast, honey, and possibly nuts .

Has a very nice mouth feel thick carbonated and smooth.

Taste just like it smells caramel, nuts, honey, this is a smooth not overly sweet beer with amazing taste and a clean finish.

I like this beer and would recommend it.

Photo of zimm421
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown, copper, caramel color with a slightly foamy, light tan colored head

S - Not a strong smell, but a great smell. Sweet caramel and honey smell. Along with some nutty scents

T - Follows the nose, a wonderful taste. Hints of caramel, sweet honey, along with some nutty flavors. Not a lot going on hop-wise, but a wonderful taste

M - Medium bodied, smooth, low carbonation, great feel

D - Great drinkability, just right for this beer.

One of the best beers I've ever had. A personal favorite, and I could never turn this beer down.

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

12 oz bottle, grabbed in Buffalo.

Pours a clear dark amber/orange, honey colour, medium sized off white head forms quickly settles down to a thin collar, no real lacing on the glass, keeps a thin ring.

Smell is nice, big and malty, lots of caramel, light bit of roast, biscuit, corn syrup, floral, orange peel, wafers, a tiny hint of alcohol, really deep maltiness to this, many layers, apricots, light bit of fruitiness, real nice.

Taste is similar, big sweet malts, caramel and honey, biscuit, wafer, bit of bread, touch of roasted malts, a bit of citrus and floral, apricot, solid bitterness, a real rich toffee maltiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Great Lakes has really nailed relatively low ABV beers with a whole ton of flavour.

Photo of billab914
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Beautiful amber red color with nice clarity. The head settled and left a small white film top the beer. Not much lacing to speak of.

Aroma is sweet with notes of caramel and roasted malts. Taste follows the nose with lots of caramel sweetness with some roasted malts and bread notes. Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Very drinkable, enjoyed the only one I have thoroughly.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,672 ratings.