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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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2,714 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,714
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: 2,714 | Reviews: 950 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tedsox31
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a ruby-red color with a white head that quickly dissipates. There is lots of lacing left behind as it is drunk.

The aroma is quite bready upfront, which is followed up by a pleasant amount of malt character and just the slightest amount of citrus hops.

The taste is malty upfront, followed by some bitterness from the hops, as well as some yeast character. A bit of fruitness as well.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, well-carbonated, and finishes dry with a lingering bitterness.

This is a good beer. It is definitely one that you can sit back and relax with.

Photo of jpro
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a magnificent deep amber / ruby red, with a light beige head that dissipates pretty quickly. This brew is crystal clear. Aroma is dominated by sweet malts and breadiness - there's also a touch of hop spice, as well as a tart and fruity (yeast?) character in the nose. Taste is of light caramel malt sweetness, with a touch of toastiness - finish is super clean and noticeably doughy / biscuity. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, and a touch oily / viscous - zingy carbonation. Overall, a pretty good brew and a nice change of pace - although, its a little too sweet for my taste.

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

Nice, clear reddish-brown copper color, pours with a decent head with good retention and light tan color around the edges of a more whitish center. Not much aroma, but the flavor is well balanced between hops and malt with a hint of yeast. Full, tasteful palate with creamy carbonation when swished in the mouth.

Easy to see why it won a gold medal at the World Beer Championships. BBQ baked beans and brats a natural pairing.

Photo of steve8robin
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Extra from a trade...

A: Awesome deep ruby red. Decent 1/2 inch white head that quickly fades.

S: Smells hoppy and sort of like bacon. Weird.

T: Hoppy upfront with a boozy finish. Malts and sugars with a meaty flavor in the middle. Kind of strange.

M: Not too bad, leaves flavor on your palate but not over-powering. Very good.

D: A hint too hoppy for my taste.

All in all, if you like hops, this is an interesting brew to try at least once. Otherwise, this is a brew to avoid.

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

Poured into a mug.

Pours a clear deep amber/copper color, with a nice fluffy, sticky head that leaves a good lace. Good looking brew.

Brew smells of slight hops, grain and yeast, some caramel malt.

This brew is crisp, full bodied. Has a nice hop flavor, slight caramel malt, barley, grains. Finishes clean, only a tad bit dry. Has a slight sweet finish. Great balanced taste.

This is a very, very drinkable brew. Could easily drink this year round by the case. Taste is great, look is great - a great brew. Hands donw the best Vienna Lager I have had. Great Lakes is a new favorite brewery.

Photo of halo21
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: As with many of my reviews, I enjoyed this one out of a Duvel chalice, allowing for not only space for the smells to open up, but also for head stability. This striking redish orange beer looked clear and inviting, with a huge thick khaki head.

Smell: Fruity and floral, with sweet malts behind it. Not too hoppy; lager yeast ads to some complexity.

Taste: A full flavored lager, with a perfect amount of hops. It starts off sweet and big, then finishes drying hop.

Mouthfeel: Big; huge amounts of flavor and is held together by this full bodied beer; a lager none the less!

Drinkability: Medium to high: While it is very smooth and inviting, it is a bit on the higher end of session beers at 6.2%.

Notes: Amazing; one of my favorites. I enjoy this one a bit more than their Dortmunder Gold. One of the tastiest lagers made; reminds me of an offshoot of an Octoberfest beer.

Photo of GRG1313
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Shows a date best by 3-19-10 - consumed a month before "expiration date")

Pours a very bright orange amber with a firm tan head. Nose is oranges and honey.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with good carbonation and nice balance of flavors.

Full flavors of underlying fruit and then a nice rich bitter coffee that goes to bitter coffee/bitter sweet finish.

Flavor profile actually has a bit of an "off-putting" character in the finish. However, this is relatively complex and with lots of layers.

Photo of AmberMan22
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured from a 12oz bottle into my nonic glass.
Unfortunately I just realized this is past the 'for freshest taste' date by a month, but I'm not too worried.

Pours a straight-and-true amber, with a minimal light-khaki colored head. No lacing is left behind, head disintegrates rapidly.

Smell is quite good, though heavily sweet and malty, not necessarily a great balance.

Taste however, is phenomenal. This has got to be one of the best American beers I've had. Wonderfully sweet and malty up front, caramel malts dominating. Nice lingering finish of hoppiness (read happiness).

Mouthfeel is exceptionally thick considering the amber color -- and while I haven't had too many vienna lagers, I'd stake money that this is creamier than most.

Fantastic beer, I've been looking forward to trying this for so long.
Great one for my 100th review.

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

Poured into a mug

Pours a nice thick head that leaves good lacing and eventually a whispy head atop of a amber/copper brew.

Smells of caramel malts and grainy, herbal hops.

Tastes of sweet toasted malts and grainy earthy hops. Mildly dry finish.

Creamy medium mouthfeel with a crip finish.

Easily sessionable and an easy choice of caseworthiness.

Photo of mirish72
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of mixed twelve pack brought back from Ohio.

Pours a dark amber, almost red.

Has a malty aroma with hints of toffee and caremel. It is also sweet smelling. Has a one finger head that dissipates quickly.

You can taste the malt backbone in this beer, even with the sweet finish. Very drinkable and this is a very solid beer that you could drink with almost anything.

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

A - Dark amber color with a solid white head. Excellent lacing.

S - Caramel. Maybe a little honey as well.

T - Dark caramel with an ample amount of hops to top off. Some light senses of cherry in the after taste; a very nice mix.

M - Carbonation is pretty moderate - just right actually. Feels a little heavy, but nothing too major.

D - Great Lakes never fails to deliver quality brew. Very much a fan of the Eliot Ness. Wonderfully crafted with plenty to offer.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this beer.

The beer pours an amber color with a cream-colored head. The aroma is lots of biscuit malt. The flavor is toffee, caramel, biscuit malt and some fruit. The beer is slightly sweet. The mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation is medium.

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

A: Poured from the bottle into a pilsner glass. Body is clear, ambery-ornage with a small ivory head. Some lace left behind.

S: Caramel malt and toasty, doughy grains. I also get a hint of generic fruit.

T: Nice -- clean. Slight fruitiness over toasted cereal grain and caramel malt/light toffee. Finishes with an earthy hoppiness and slight drying bitterness. Aftertaste, however, goes back to slight sweetness, though barely. Balanced all around.

M: Light-to-medium in heft (perhaps closer to medium, actually). Good creaminess.

D: Over the top. Best Vienna Lager I've ever had. Perfect springtime or early Fall beer, IMHO. And it went well with homemade pizza.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a clear deep amber copper color. One and a half finger off white head comes and dies down to a short cap on the beer. Some light spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Grainy smelling. Some light spicing like cinnamon and the like in the this as well. Some light earthy hops in this beer. Big semi-sweet bready malts in this along with some light caramel presence. Aroma was kind of muted which mad me sad...oh well.

T- This is a simple flavored beer. Caramel malts in the forefront with some light bready notes in the middle. Light hops in the tail end of this along with a light spicing. Nothing less and nothing more...simple and to the point.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was good for the style. Light bready malts left on the palate with some light hop kicks in the aftertaste. This beer was crisp in flavor and clean tasting.

D- This beer has amazing drinkability. I couldn't be more happy with this beer than when I had it over and over again. Lower ABV makes it a craft lover's session beer. I would recommend this to a lot of people...both craft and BMC drinkers.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-beautiful looking beer, clear w/ hues of red, golden copper color. thick creamy, tight head, light khaki color, great retention and a thick coat of lace.

S-notes of grain, pale malt, and caramel malts, with a light estery backbone that shows some tangerine and orange.

T/M-this is one hell of lager, great flavor and body. medium bodied, extremely smooth and creamy, perfect amount of carbonation. just a touch of grain to taste, sweet caramel, tagerine hops and a touch of orange finishing very clean.

D-by far one of the best lagers I've had to date. this goes down so easy and smooth, what a texture and great flavor! grab a bunch and get your drink on!

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

a: deep garnet in color, capped with a persistent off-white coating

s: big nutty caramel malt body on a clean lager base, biscuit and toast, balancing earthy hop profile

m: heavy and smooth for a lager, carbonation light to moderate

t: thick malts on the tongue bring a full nutty flavor and caramel biscuit, on the sweet side but balanced with a crisp hop finish, a great flavorful lager

d: no problems here, perhaps a touch heavy for higher numbers

pint at the Big Hunt, DC, in the midst of a blizzard

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

A-Nice coppery red colour. Short lived head with nice lacing.

S-Primarily malty with some spicyness at the finish.

T-Nice yeasty malty flavour rounded out by some nice hops.

M-I think this feels like a 5%er so...a little lite despite the higher abv.

D-Very much so.

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.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,714 ratings.