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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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2,780 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,780
Reviews: 967
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 220
Gots: 359 | 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 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.

Photo of ClarkPinnock
4.57/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Pilsner glass. This is an exceptional beer.

A-Amber colored and a little cloudy. Decent lacing.

S-Calls to mind malt and toasted nuts.

T-Nutty with some caramel. Flavor moves from the front to the back of the mouth, leaving a pleasant after-taste.

M-Medium fullness. Carbonation is just right: present but not over-bearing.

D-Incredible. The type of beer that commands you drink only one and drink it slowly--appreciating it's nuanced flavor.

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

Great beer, single-handedly responsible for turning me on to lagers (which even the venerable Dortmunder Gold could not do).

A - Beautiful red, amber tint, clear. No lacing.

S - Toast with a touch of sweetness, maybe brown sugar or toffee.

T - Toasted bread hits up front, turns into something sweet like caramel and toffee, and a subtle spicy/hop finish.

M - Strange but very well done and enjoyable. It starts very malty and bready, almost creamy as if its going to coat your mouth, but then the carbonation and the hops close the flavor out and turn it almost thin, dissipating down your throat.

D - Excellent. ABV is a little high to make it a session (at least for me--I like something in the 4-5 range for a session), but the taste and the craft make it very easy to have 3 or 4 of these. Fantastic work by Great Lakes, one of my favorites.

Photo of dataskatt
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smell: Not very strong. Faint malt mostly.
Appearance: Deep red-brown with a modest head.
Taste: Malty with a touch of hops and sweetness, tastes toasty with a touch of chocolate. Seems very rich for an amber. A little closer to a porter.
Mouthfeel: Very rich and thick.
Drinkability: Very good beer, but a little strong (in taste and ABV) to drink more than 1 or 2 per sitting.

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

A: Cloudy, amber appearance. Not much head, but has milky lacing to it

N: Malty smell to it. Very sweet

T: Malty, fruity taste that stays on the back of your tastebuds. Great aftertaste

M: Soft on the front end, a little dry bite at the back end. Leaves you wanting more

D: This beer is delicious. I love malt, but even if you are not a huge fan, I still think this beer is very drinkable. Has enough bite for you HOP DEVILS but enough smooth, sweetness for us malty types I can't wait to try another from my GL variety pack.

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

From Notes:

Amber with red highlights, and a touch of orange. The beige colored head is nice and leaves a spotty lacing.

The nose is caramel malt and spicy hops.

The flavor is slightly sweet malt with the spicy hops slipping in during the finish.

The mouth feel is creamy and built on a medium body.

Photo of soju6
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Maggies on the River in Watertown, NY.

A: Clear deep amber color with a nicee head that lasts with good lacing. Looks inviting.

S: Malt & caramel aroma, traces of fresh grain & sweetness.

T Full malt and caramel flavor. nice dry finish to offset the sweetness.

F: Medium body, creamy and smooth. Very well balanced with no real hint of the ABV.

D: Great drinker, much better than I ever expected. Goes down very easy. Requested another wihout hesitation.

Photo of rcwhiteky
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance-Deep amber with a frothy white head that stay's to the very end if nothing else a very pretty beer.
Smell-not much smell to this one a hint of malt no hops in the nose
Taste-Wow was I surprized very malty with a hint of fruity sweetness with just enough hops to counter the sweet and a nice dry finish that left a taste that lingered after the beer was gone.
Mouthfeel-Creamy with a nice fizz very pleasing
Drinkability-I could drink this all night

Photo of aranheaney
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass, appearance is darkish orange , think Texas Longhorns Burnt Orange, (only extra burnt), smell is hoppy, citrusy, floral, amazing taste, among the best I've had in a long time. The mouth-feel is amazing, just the right balance of bitter and hops and drinkability is awesome. This is a great beer, regardless of your preference and the season, I think this could be a long-term staple of my collection...

Photo of NODAK
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Smells mostly of hops used in many Euro lagers that I've had. Also a little bit of toasty malt.

Upfront taste is predominantly malty....toastiness and cracker are very evident. From the body through the finish, there's a healthy hop bitterness backbone. Much like the aroma, it's a hoppiness that's reminicent of Euro lagers and pilsners. There's a bit of bread on the finish as well, but somewhat minor. Fairly dry.

I'm a fan of this beer. I like the malt/hop balance, and the dry finish makes it drinkable. I haven't had many beers in this style, but I'm impressed.

Photo of beerisgood2010
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Eliot Ness is the 2nd beer variety I have had from the Great Lkes Brewing company. I bought the first one because of some Gold Medal award on the bottle. I bought Eliot Ness because I like the Vienna style Lager beers.

The Eliot Ness did not dissapoint. It was a little heartier than I normally like but overall an excellent choice and I will definately put it on my list of recurring purchases.

Photo of LairdChisholm
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep amber color with a two finger, tan head that has good retention. Significant lacing here. A good amount of carbonation bubbles going to the top.

S - A pretty good nose on this one. Just a little deceptive from the taste. Malts and grains here. Maybe a touch of alcohol and net meg.

T - Sweet malts up front. Leads to a bold after taste. Consists of bread, caramel, cinnamon, maybe a touch of pumpkin? A bolder more prominent after taste than I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised.

M - Satisfyingly medium body. Good amount of carbonation just nothing out of the ordinary.

D - Not hard to drink and keeps you wanting another.

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.

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