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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

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2,757 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,757
Reviews: 960
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 215
Gots: 335 | 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: 2,757 | Reviews: 960 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeefyMee
3.72/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Awesome color. The brightest amber I've ever seen in a beer. Good head, minimal lacing. Decent but one dimensional aroma. Just some stale bread and an idea of hops. Flavor is a big improvement. Sweet and chewy malts dominate. Only drawback is a bit of an annoying floral characteristic like a maibock. Goes down easy and would make a good session beer even thought the abv is a little high.

Photo of Cylinsier
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours a clear dark brown with a thin whitish head. Retains pretty well.

Smells of faintly buttery grains and malts with a tinge of hops in the end.

The taste is surprisingly satisfying. The malt character comes through along with almost ale-like bread tastes. The hops are incredibly subtle and only really noticeable in the aftertaste.

Moderate with mild carbonation throughout.

A good session candidate and so easy and smooth going down. Nothing about this beer makes it niche or novelty. It's not a showstopper, but it's hard to imagine anyone not enjoying it.

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

Pours a clear, amber color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, pale malt, yeast, slight pine, and slight hops. Fits the style of a Vienna Lager. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops, pale malt, sweet malt, hint of yeast, and hint of roasted malt. Overall, good body, blend, and aroma.

Photo of grizzly700
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with about 1/2 inch head...one of the better great lakes beer's having tried a lot of them..Has a little bite but once get first down you get used to it..Won't drink this every day but would recommend buying a six pack to see if you like it..I tried Fitzgerald but did not like it as much as this one...

Photo of tone77
3.41/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has an amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some hops. Taste is good, malts with some hops, a tad bitter at the finish. Well balanced. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a good quality beer.

Photo of TheHopMonster
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Eliot Ness is my first Brew from Great Lakes and let me tell you im hooked even though I like ales more than lagers.

The first impression of this beer was very impressive. It poured very well with just the right amount of Carbonation. The color was a clear red with a decent sized head that didn't stay around for long.

The first mouth full gave me the impression of the high level of malts that they used along with the bready after finish that was very pleasant. The taste lingers in you mouth but its not overwhelming.

I would not mind having this again. It is definitely a very well made beer and im looking forward to having it again and trying some of Great Lakes other brews.

Photo of stimulus
3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle.

A: Pours a deep amber with a foamy beige head.
S: Not much to the nose here, just a bit of malt if anything.
T: Caramel malts dominate the palate with not much else in sight.
M: Light bodied, smooth, and creamy.
D: Despite the limited smell, this beer is well balanced and worthy of a session.

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 ounce bottle.

A: Pours a beautiful crimson amber hue with crystal clarity. Head is thin, but is expected from this style. Lacing is decent, and doesn't dry on the glass. Carbonation is mild as well.

S: Bready, caramel like malt notes with a hint of honey and dried cherry is dominant, while hops take a back seat, giving notes of grass and a bit of zest. There is also a slight metallic aroma at first.

T: Caramel, toast, and dried fruit blast the palate up front. Sweet, yet hops give the beer a dry character. They lend hints of crisp citrus, along with grassy, floral finish. Then it all comes back around for a second assault.

M: A very full-bodied lager, rich and viscous. Finish is long and very smooth. Mild carbonation makes the flavors linger on the palate.

D: Eliot Ness has more character than just about any other Vienna Lager I have tried. Solid through and through, I will be seeking this one out again. Despite it's 6.2% ABV, it's very easy to drink, and one of these is not enough.

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

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A - pours an amber-red with a one-finger white head. Good lacing and head retention.

S - smell is a bready, sweet and a bit fruity - maybe cherries (not sour cherries, mind you, that would be a bad sign).

T - a bit of malty, bready sweetness up front with a hint of caramel followed by that fruitiness. Floral and spicy flavors come through from the tasty hops. Tart, kinda bitter finish.

M - good slick feel and body. Carbonation is acceptable.

D - perfectly "sessionable" and drinkable.

This is a very easy, relaxing beer that still packs a great flavor. Another great offering from Great Lakes.

Edit - I had to go back and review this again after drinking it a second time, and it was even better than before. I really like this beer, and at $7.50 for 6 it's an unbeatable value.

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

I have seen it in the store and I just had to try it. If pre-prohibition beer tasted like this then America really lost out for 13 years!

A: Deep amber color. Pours with a glorious head that is thick and creamy. Leaves plenty of lace and the head retention is great! very even carbonation with tiny bubbles.

S: Smells potent. Besides that it has a very flowery/ orange hops smell with a a caramel malt backing. There is plenty to smell here.

T: Orange peels, coriander, a dry hop aftertaste, grassy, and toffee taste swirling in a maelstrom of flavor. Very complex and delicious! This is a connoisseurs beer.

M: Nice prickly spicy hop taste and aftertaste, drying yet pleasant. Smooth and medium bodied.

D: I can pretty much drink this all day no issues. This is just a great beer. By the way this stuff is potent!

Photo of tjsdomer2
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Lots of nice foam in this bright red lager. Wonderful carbonation as well here.

Smell: A very unique Vienna lager smell. Sweet cherries and some caramel malts. Lots of hops as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Again, more sweet cherries and hops. I absolutely love this taste. Possibly my favorite in this style. Smooth and not watery. Very clean taste and feel.

Drinkability: Good session beer, albeit the relatively high alcohol rate, which I can definitely feel.

Overall: The most unique beer in this style. Thumbs way up.

Photo of pitasoup
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours clear golden-amber with a couple fingers of off-white foamy head.

S: toasted malts, a bit of biscuit. faint floral hops - a touch of saaz.

T: a little bit sweet to start, but not as much expected from the smells. a touch of apples, and finishes with mostly bittering hops.

M: medium bodied, slightly soapy. but finishes clean

D: extremely drinkable. This most recent batch i'm having might be a little bit old. This used to be one of my favorite GL beers. The Cleveland water permeates all of the GL beers and it is noticeable in this beer - not necessarily as bad as you'd think though.

Photo of btorsdog
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Would have to say this is now my favorite Great Lakes (year round) product!

Pours a beautiful deep brown but crystal clear.
This beer even has a "balanced" smell to it, slightly malty but nothing overwhelming.
Taste is heavenly smooth and balanced lots of maltiness with a hops balance,pretty cool thing!
Perfect thickness/texture,kinda creamy.
Scary how drinkable this one is, never had a single person bitch or complain after handing them on of these babies, GREAT stuff to have on hand at all times, if not just for yourself, NICE!!!!

Photo of RichieS2
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the taps into a standard pint glass.

A - A pleasing copper, neither too light or too dark with respectable foam and mild carbonation.

S - A nice bouquet of malts serving as a promise of the sweetness to come. This gave way to a faint hop smell.

T - Great, plenty of caramel malt goodness to dance on the tongue and then enough spiciness from the hops to provide balance.

M - The balance was excellent, was neither being too thick or too watery.

D - Would have another one in a heartbeat.

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Rich amber to red in color when poured into the pint glass. Head doesn't stick around too long, but the color of this beer in just tantalizing.

S - Mostly sweet caramel malts and barley with a touch of hops.

T - This brew is just toasty caramel sweetness. Just a tiny bit of hops in there as well as a hing or orange citrus.

M - Super creamy, light carbonation and medium in body.

D - This is my go to beer when it comes to Great Lakes! It never gets old and I always enjoy it. I am primarily a DIPA drinker, but Eliot Ness never disappoints!

Photo of bigswede16
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: a deep amber/copper color with steady stream of small bubbles rising to form an off-white foam on top

S: nothing too strong, but a pleasant malty scent

T: smooth malty flavor with burnt overtones; overall relatively mellow

M: nice thick texture

D: very drinkable

Photo of david131
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A clear amber liquid with numerous streams of carbonation making their way to the surface. The bone white head is thick and has good retention.

S- Apple juice, bread, and a touch of cinnamon. Plain, but enjoyable.

T- Exactly the same as the aroma. Very simple.

M- Smooth and clean with an ever so slight bitterness.

D- A fine beer. Good for the style. Not super memorable, but it gets the job done.

Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 7-02-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Three fingers of foam, nice dark amber copper color, head is a light tan color, carbonation is present

S - Roasted malts, caramel and slight hops

T/M - Medium bodied, roasted malts with a good caramel blend with a slight hop back bone

D - Very drinkable brew, medium bodied good blend of caramel and malt, I can easily have more than one of these in an evening and I recommend this brew

Photo of Phocion
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass with a clear, bubbly dark amber color. The head is light beige, frothy, and small but decent retention and moderate lacing.

Malty aroma; toffee, roasted, nutty, and just a bit biscuity.

Flavor is a slight yeasty sourness at first, followed by a caramel/brown sugar malty taste, and finally finishing up with dry, spicy, and herbal but mild hops mixed with a nice nuttiness.

Slick, oily, light/medium-body with a healthy level of carbonation.

Overall this is an amazing beer. Full-flavored and easily drinkable yet fairly light. My idea of a good Vienna up to this point had been Sam Adams or Leinie's Red... compared to those two this is in a league of its own. If anyone ever tells you a lager is flavorless, give them one of these.

Photo of squaremile
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty true copper with a nice white head. Nose is faint but has whisps of dark fruits, barley, and very light hops. Taste is all malts as expected but is fairly one note. I've found vienna lagers to be a difficult style to make good, they are either boring or a mess. This one falls more in the former.

3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A: A bold, red/copper body with an off white head, good retention.

S: Light on the aroma.

T: The upfront malt, powers over the subtle hop profile. A chewy burnt amber finish.

M: A thick lingering taste that releases subtle flavors of a complexity of malts.

D: This is for sure a quality brew. A bit on the chewy side and not smooth as others, but the tastes do rival. The quality shines through and that keeps me coming back.

Photo of maximum12
3/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up in a mixed six pack on the way to our lakeside resort, & the second brew reviewed in my boat. Popped open after loosing a big pike on a head shake & tossing down my rod with a sigh. Perfect time for a consolation brew...to the accompaniment of four loons, a bald eagle, & a beautiful early evening.

Pours like copper piping, simple, quick. Smell is minimal to nonexistent.

Eliot Ness is a nice brew. Bready, with the lagering prominent in the mouth, coating everything it touches with yeast & slightly sweet, bisuity malts. Simple, but not truly satisfying, this is thin & a bit lacking in flavor. And as it warms, a metallic taste creeps into the mix, lowering the appeal further.

Go simple, but give me yum! For an example of a truly good Vienna Lager, I'd take a try at Schell's Firebrick. Pedestrian at best.

Photo of zhooker
3.71/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cracked open a 12oz bottle and poured into a pint glass 'round midnight, a solid month and a half before the drink-by date. Very clean and translucent copper/amber in color, with a sparkling, rocky head. The foam dissipated slowly, forming some lovely patterns down the side of my pint.

Sweet malt scent. Like a big pilsener spiked with some bourbon and a little caramel. Not much playing around here. There is some complexity hiding deep in there, but its very subtle -- a little floral. But the malts really do all the talking.

Crisp mouthfeel, with some hops finally asserting themselves on the sides and rear of the tongue, and in the finish. Very mild. The light sweetness makes it eminently swishable; it's a pleasure to keep in your mouth a little longer than normal. Highly drinkable.

I really thought this was an amber ale until I decided to write it up. I even had one as little as two days ago under that assumption. Turns out it's not. Hmmph. Amber lager/Vienna lager. I guess paying a bit more attention to the malt characteristics reveals this. It's a style I would like to sample more widely, as it really is a category-defying brew. At least Eliot Ness is. Now go watch 'The Untouchables.'

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass. Pours a clear amber color with a frothy off-white head that pillows down.

Smells of malt and hops, slightly grassy and earthy, yet fresh. There's no stale or old smell, like I typically smell in a lager.

Taste is sweet malt and mild hops, full (for a lager) yet crisp. Very refreshing and easy drinking, especially on this warm June evening.

Mouthfeel is pleasant, if not a little wan. While my preference is for bigger beers, this one is good as a session beer, though be careful - at 6.2%, it will catch up on you. Another winner from Cleveland's Great Lakes Brewing Company!

Photo of Nightwielder
4.41/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a luscious dark amber, kind of like a maple syrup. It has a mild-hoppy, but floral aroma with some various spices coming through as well. This beer has such a clean finish on your palate.. with zero bitterness lingering at all; simply unbelievable. I definitely get some residual sweetness coming through the malts here, very nice. This is just a fantastic beer all-around, and I wouldn't mind having this one everyday with lunch or dinner perhaps. Cheers!

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,757 ratings.