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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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2,717 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,717
Reviews: 950
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 210
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: 2,717 | Reviews: 950 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Wisconsinality
3.36/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into standard pint.

A- Pours a nice deep amber with a finger's worth of fluffy head that stays for the duration of the beer. Also leaves some nice lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Nice sweet malts with a faint roastiness in the background. Some bread dough rounds out the smell.

T- Pale malts, some sweet malt and a lingering hint of dark fruits on the back of the tongue. A nice bready finish with a small amount of corn.

M- Medium bodied with smooth carbonation that slides over the tongue. A little bit of a dry finish.

D- A good looking beer that falls a little short. Decent taste but a little on the sweet side for my liking. I would probably stop after two of these.

Photo of bsp77
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Pilsner glass.

Appearance: Rich, fiery amber with tan colored head and a single lacing ring.

Smell: Very malty smelling, with caramel, bread dough, dark fruit, and a touch of noble hops.

Taste: Loads of bread dough, cherry and caramel upfront before becoming more spicy and slightly bitter, with notes of hay and noble hops. Good malts, good hops, and well balanced.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium to full body, fairly smooth and creamy. Off-dry finish.

Drinkability: This is a massive Vienna Lager, almost seems like a Bock version of one. Very tasty and complex, but not the easiest drinking Vienna out there.

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

A: reddish-brown in color with a fluffy off-white head that quickly fades to a film. Eliot Ness (EN) is very clear and displays just a touch of lacing.

S: the bouquet is a touch on the weak side, but caramel and honey make it through.

T: EN is semi dry, and develops as it sits on the tongue. The experience begins with a battle between caramel malts and citrusy hops, and ends with a subtle sweetness that is quite enjoyable. Honey, caramel, and raisins make this a wholesome brew.

M: medium body with plenty of carbonation to scour your palate between sips.

D: a great brew for sure. It is somewhere between a Munich dunkel and a Vienna. Great Lakes calls it an amber lager, and that is what it should be listed as. despite this, EN is very well made, being both refreshing and rich at the same time. I highly recommend this brew to any beer drinker.

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

Pours a dark amber color with a large off-white head that had excellant retention before settling to a thick cap. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass. This is one good looking lager. Faint hop aroma to compliment the unbaked bread malt profile. Aroma overall is relatively weak. The flavor likewise is weak, even for the style. Slightly sweet malt with just a hint of spicy hops in the finish. Finishes clean and semi-dry. A good lager body. Feels substantial and smooth. A good drinker and high quality lager.

Photo of Mdog
3.18/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear amber, big head, good lacing.

Smell: Bready.

Taste: Has some bready flavors but mostly tea-like bitterness, which I don't particularly like.

Drinkability: Too much tea/metal bitterness for my tastes.

Great Lakes just came to Minnesota, I started with the one I figured I might not like. Unfortunately my guess was true. This is a decent vienna lager, it just focuses on the tea-like hops a little too much. Not my favorite beer flavor. Decent beer, just not for me.

Photo of Parrotbeak
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Copper-orange with a thin white head that quickly fades.
Smell is bready, crackery malts with some faint toffee notes. Trace of hops presence in there as well.
Taste is bready, slightly toasted malts, with some bitterness following. Malts carry to the finish, as well as some residual bitterness. Faint notes of hops, as well as some dry, nutty notes.
Mouthfeel is crisp, with a slightly dry finish. Good level of carbonation. Light body.
Excellent drinkability. Though the ABV apparently is or is not above the cut-off level for what constitutes a "session" beer, this seems like a perfect "session" beer.

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

Amber color a little darker than expected. Great head retention. Crisp aroma.

Caramel and spice on the palate, good hop zest, wish it was more, but this is a more traditional interpretation of the style I guess. Very grainy and carbonated. Heavier on palate than anything in the style I can think of. Then again, I don't think I've ever had anything in this style this strong ABV.

Drinkable, but a little pricey.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pilsener glass.

Appearance is a crystal clear amber with a foamy two finger off white head with decent retention and lacing.

Smell appears to have a good balance of caramel like malts and some mild hops. A mildly sweet aroma.

Taste is upfront a somewhat sweet malt flavor that finishes with a nice hop bitterness. There is also a faint spiciness near the finish but overall quite a nicely balanced flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, fairly smooth and has a moderate amount of carbonation.

Drinkability is great. It goes down easy and smooth and is pretty refreshing. Great choice for a session beer and I plan to have it again. Nice example of the style. I do like Sam Adams lager, but I'd say I'd take this over that if I had the choice.

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

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A - bright clear amber color. 1/2" off-white head, nice lacing
S - hops, citrus
T - crisp hops balanced by nice malt body underneath. very clean finish
M - medium carbonation, slick body
D - very refreshing, extremely easy to drink

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

Another addition to MN beer...Happy to have Great Lakes in MN!

Poured from the bottle into the glass producing a frothy off white 2'' head. Long staying power, receding to leave a whipped egg white consistency cap.
Sticky lace coating the glass in thick drapes.
Color is a deeper red with amber hues. A great color on this brew, transparent filtered look aiding to brilliant color.

Aroma is very malty, octoberfest like malt. Faint hops trailing the malt with a good amount of sweetness.

Taste is full of flavor, a good sweetness involved in creating great malt flavor. A bit of toffee and mild fermented fruit with a cereal grain flavor. A rich mildly roasty malt, and hops on the back end.
This is full of really good flavor, but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel is slick and chewy with afull feel. carbonation is moderate.

Great brew!

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A - Brown / Amber-orange color with a small white head

S - Sweet bready smell with a hint of the typical lager nose

T - Sweet flavors over power the hop flavor slightly. Bready caramel flavors are there with a crisp bite. Has that lager aftertaste that I can't really explain.

M - Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation

D - Pretty easy to drink but in general I don't care much for lagers. This beer is OK but nothing fantastic. It beats BMC easily but I don't really see much reason to seek this one out again.

Photo of DoppleJock
4.51/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Poured a clean reddish-amber with quickly dissipating head, even with an aggressive pour. Some lacing. Hope the beer isn't flat...

S: Semi-sweet, with hints of caramel and crystallized sugars up front. Some hops detected as well. Very pleasant.

T: Starts off sweet with malts and finishes with a hint of hoppy bitterness. Nicely balanced. This beer is in control.

M: Super smooth with a small amount of bitter finish. Just the right consistency.

D: Refreshing for a Vienna Lager. One of my favorites of the style. Would be a good session beer.

Photo of kiddynamite920
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pretty dark for a lager, deep red. Thin head, as expected.

S: Smell is of fruits? What's going on here? Picking up apples and some coriander. Sweet fruits are full on the nose. Some savory, malty notes. Some celery and cooked onion.

T: Get flavors of apple juice, a rich malt profile and some crisp hops. Very sweet and malty. Sweetness is overwhelming though.

M: Good, light body for a vienna lager. Very crisp and dry towards the end. Great Lakes continues to impress.

D: This is a six pack beer, great for sessions, very crisp and flavorful. Not too heavy to put you on your ass.

Photo of goblue3509
3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear dark amber color with a nice one finger head that gives way to some lacing. The aroma is of caramel malt and a little toastiness. The taste is of a caramel malt backbone with some bread notes present, and a slight hop bite that is undistiquishable. The mouthfeel is very carbonated. Overall it is a good solid beer terribly complex, but an easy drink.

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

This is a tasty lager. It is a little more carbonation than I like in a beer, but the flavor is full and has a good, floral note to it.

The appearance isn't much to speak of, but the beer smells nice and I'm not a big fan of looking at lagers, anyway.

The taste is dirty enough to satisfy. The first sip tastes kind of watery, but after getting a few swallows, a good garden flavor builds.

Like I said, a little more carbonation than I like. So the mouthfeel is not perfect. Even with the plethora of bubbles, I could drink a lot of these easy; very drinkable.

Photo of OnThenIn
3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Two fingers of light brown head that is thick and beautiful. The head stays around for quite some time. The beer is an incredibly dark ruby color. I mean this is wow beautiful.

Smell: A lot of sweetness with maybe a tiny bit of fruits. The aroma is rather faint, but pleasant.

Taste: The flavor is a lot more balanced than I expected from the aroma. There is a caramel sweetness with bready qualities that opens up into hop bitterness. The taste is surprisingly complex with spicy characters from the hops. The beer even has very slight fruity characteristics.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium mouthfeel with a silkyness and a bit too much carbonation for my taste.

Drinkability: The beer is not as easy of a drinker as I would expect, but it is a solid beer that I really enjoyed.

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

Poured a very nice clear amber color with some nice head and nice lacing. Good scent, crisp and clean, with a nice sweet maltiness; a little more robust than most lagers. Excellent taste; nice and clean; good malt crispness; slight chocolate tones and a bit of earthiness that were very nice. Goes down very clean, crisp, and smooth.

EDIT -- for BeerSpy only.
EDIT -- did not fill out BeerSpy... location I got it in isn't listed, as it's not all that great (Ledo's pizza, Morgantown, WV)

Photo of punkindrublic50
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Vienna style lagers are a great style of beer - a little sweeter than your average ale, but still completely drinkable and full of flavor. Elliot Ness is the best that I've had in the style: sweeter malts are used, but absolutely no sugar rush and still a solid bite of hops. Smell, carbonation and appearance are attractive and spot on. What really sets this beer apart though is its balance and drinkability. There are too many good craft beers that are good, but become unattractive or even undrinkable after 2 or 3. However with Elliot Ness you could happily drink it all night long.

Price is very reasonable as well. If you haven't tried the style and happen across a sixer or even a case I highly recommend giving it a try.

Photo of Brenden
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's nice to get a good appearance from a beer on tap; typically it loses some of the head retention and the lacing tends to be lighter and thinner. This one loses just a little in the head and the lacing is consistent down the glass.

The smell is complex, most notably sweet malts and a grainy hops aroma.

The taste is the an excellent balance of sweet malt and citrus hops. It is a little earthy but mostly you get that mild, slightly spicy fruit taste and, again, the hops. Bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue and is nicely balanced out in the end as well.

Mouthfeel is smoother on tap with some thickness and no real grit. Carbonation is light but ever-present.

This is still a very nice brew from Great Lakes and one that remains consistent on tap or out of the bottle.

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

This beer pours a beautiful reddish amber (with the red coming through when you hold it up to light). Good amount of bubbles rushing up towards a light tan head that has now settled to a thin lace, but seems to have a good amount of head retention.

Smell is smooth and bready. A good smelling lager to be sure.

This beer has the perfect balance between hops and malts, and the result is a bold yet highly drinkable beer. Almost reminds you of a red ale until the lager taste washes over the palate on the finish.

Medium mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbontion to support the hops and not too much as to get in the way of the drinkability and smoothness of this brew.

Highly drinkable and/or sessionable.

Morey's Bottom Line: I'm an Ipa (ale) guy, but every so often I'll try a new lager, and this one is without a doubt the best one that I have ever had. Great Lakes Dortmunder is the second. I really enjoyed this beer.

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

Another one of my favorites from GLBC, and glad to have it on tap to give it another review. Review is from the tap and poured to a pint glass, notes taken on 4/3/2010.

Appearance: Pours a caramel brown/dark coppery/toffee color and starts with a 1/2 finger, slightly off-white head that fades relatively quickly to a thin and uneven skim that meets a much thicker ring around the surface; body is a little dark, but the clarity is still strong and it shows light carbonation; loose washes and oily spots of lacing manage to cling here and there.

Smell: Nice, toasty and even a little burnt graininess and a slightly sweet maltiness that provides a little support; not especially robust, but still solid enough.

Taste: Nice, toasty/burnt graininess (a little reminiscent of burnt toast, even) and a slightly sweet malt backing that combines with a VERY slight bittering hop presence; another straightforward and simple offering that's super-solid; more burnt grains and bitterness lingering in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: The body is of medium weight and it does sit just a little heavy; carbonation is soft, but still very present and the body is just lively enough; finish is just a little dry on the roof of the mouth and the cheeks; comes across as a little cottony in the end.

Drinkability: Another offering from GLBC I'd be more than happy to drink all day; I love warm flavors and I think this is a great spring and autumn beer as it's a little heavy, but the ABV is pretty moderate at 6.2% and none of the flavors are harsh or overwhelming to the palate. Cheers to Great Lakes!

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

This one thanks to one of the large trades with Noslenwerd. Gotten quite a bit of Great Lakes thanks to Drew.

A: Nice 1 finger semi fluffy and thick head fades somewhat slowly. It's very a clear dark reddish almost maroon/cherry-wood-red color.

N: Some nice slightly sweet malty aromas with that clear lager hint. A slight toasty quality. This one even has some caramel and a hint if some fruit.

T: Starts with quite a bit of dark malt, with some toasty, a little roasty, and lots of caramel malts. A lager flavor, but not as much as others I've had. A slight sweet caramelized sugar flavor with the slightly sweet malts. A hint of a spicy hop character and slight grassy notes. I get a slight hint of booze despite only being 6%, but even that is a little high for a typical Veinna Lager I think. A slight spice and nutty taste too, perhaps a hint of nutmeg. Some juicy fruits on the back of the tongue too.

M: Light to medium body with a hint of syrupy feel, and lower carbonation.

F: Some bitterness starts to hint, with a little spicy and grassy hop presence. It dries quite a bit but leaves a strange syrupy sticky sweet caramel flavor. More lager lingering flavors. A slight toffee and roasted flavor lingering too. A strange amber lager, but tasty.

Photo of farrago
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

You get a little less than finger's worth of head, dark tan, loosely knit foam, not a great deal of lacing. Reddish orange hue like a fire's embers, some brown in there, more transparent than translucent but not crystal clear. Maple syrup, caramel and molasses endow the nose with some sweetness, this helps as there's definitely a metallic, iron fleck aspect to it, minimally processed whole grain bread, caraway seeds trump the slighter peach, pear fruit, while not a lot of scent diversity, penetrates like a mortar shell. Medium-bodied with a fine, if active, carbonation which gently prickles the tongue. Has much more of a mineral water, spritzy feel to it and the metallic flavors fit in better with the fizz to back it up. Sourdough and grains, pepper, orange citrus, emphasis on hoppiness until near the end where caramel, brown sugar, honey calm the nerve endings. Touch more presence in the apricot, peach, pear fruit too. A beer that is much more enjoyable taken as a whole than dissected, good distinct personality but not hard to drink.

Photo of beergod1
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep translucent burnished copper color, Very Sweet/malty aroma when cracking the bottle, Nice head at first, then subsides quickly making me think maybe it will be flat, boy was I wrong. Big malt up front, riding on just enough hops to carry it through. Well carbonated, Final kick of mild hops really makes this drinkable.

Photo of deereless
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Solid half inch of thick creamy head off an easy pour, amber to copper in color, significant lacing - 4.00, S: Lots of grain on the nose, some dry herbal hops - 3.50, T: Slightly sweet, medium hop bite, some mild grapefruit zest and earthiness, significant caramel - 4.50, M: Nice mouth feel, quite creamy - 4.00, D: An exceptional lager, nicely crafted, extremely drinkable - 4.50

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,717 ratings.