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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.

2,558 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,558
Reviews: 928
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 187
Gots: 219 | 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
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Ratings: 2,558 | Reviews: 928 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HardTarget
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Disclaimer: I've held this bottle longer than I should have. Best by date of 10/14/07, sampled 1/15/09.

A) Dark amber glass with good clarity and a respectable head that dropped to a full cover and laced.

S) Malty, almost a malt extract smell heavy with purple grape and hop leaf.

T) The grape flavor is pretty firm, it's malt driven and pretty clean. There are some leafy hops in the taste as well, it matches the nose.

M) Medium carbonation medium to heavy body, bit oily in the finish.

D) No real problems here. It's held up well past it's best by date, no off flavors. Malty, clean, easy drinking.

HardTarget, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of selecter70
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Delicious amber ale from those Ohio guys (must be all them Germans out there!). Having some family out in Columbus definitely creates some anticipation on family visits, to say the least. A soft, dark-honey pour with unexpected bubbly carbonation that led to a minimal head with just slight lace retention. A sweet hoppy malt with mild hints of nuts was apparent both in the aroma as well as in the tasting. A good, decent ale that could lead to many more. I just wish to get it on draught next time.

selecter70, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Brian for sharing this at the Brick Store Pub. What a well crafted, very nice beer! Pours a beautiful reddish amber with a great head that's off-white and that hangs around. Smells grainy and even crackery with a nice dry, malty snap. The taste is beautifully balanced, being both malty and rich up front, but dry and with a crackery finish. Great for the style. Rich in the mouth but finishes crisp. I haven't enjoyed a beer of this style so much in a long time, if ever. Excellent.

Georgiabeer, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of u2carew
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(A) Clear. Reddish is color. Substantial head - doesn't swell quickly or too large, but maintains is appearance around the edges over the course of 25+ minutes.
(S) Malty sweetness, but balanced. Not too sweet.
(T) Average. Smooth. Very, very little hop bitterness. Milder sweetness.
(M) A good mouthfeel. Not too much carbonation, just a the right touch of fizz. Medium body.
(D) A good, drinkable beer.

u2carew, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of SLeffler27
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fills a pilsner glass with clear, shiny copper, lots of carbonation and a thin almond head that quickly drops to a fine lace.

Fresh-cut straw leads with light citrusy hops, followed by cookie dough.

The light sweetness of entry makes way for the malt character to develop with straw and toffee.
Eliot Ness is a dry, medium-bodied episode with soft carbonation.

This is a great thirst quencher for a warm afternoon while enjoying the fresh air. I think I'm supposed to like this more than I do, but, hey, this is how I perceived it.

date consumed: 14 Oct 2008

SLeffler27, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of JoeMayo
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I usually don't care for most lagers, but this is a pretty solid beer.

A- Pours a really interesting reddish amber. Crystal-clear with not much in terms of head or lacing.

S- Bready with a slightly astringent hop kick.

T- Bready flavors with a warming toasty malt backbone. The hop profile is slightly piney and crisp.

M- Moderate carbonation with a clean, nutty finish.

D- This is a nice beer to sip on while relaxing or socializing

JoeMayo, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of yesyouam
3.2/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Great Lakes Eliot Ness is a very clear, very sparkling amber beer with a very dense, creamy, off-white head that shows outstanding retention and lacing. It has a very fresh, malty aroma with maybe a bit of citrus. It has a medium-light body with a dry finish. It's a mellow flavor that's a touch sweet, with a slightly fruity bitterness.
(rated Nov 28, 2008)

yesyouam, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of jdoncbus
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Freshness date 1/28/09: 4892AM. Another GLBC offering that I have enjoyed many times but have never reviewed.

Poured into pils glass which produces a two-finger, biege head. Color is amber (go figure) & brown, moderate carbonation, and some lacing that lingers.

Aroma is biscuit, caramel malt, grains, with a dash of spice, mainly white pepper. Notes of lemon grass finish off the smell test.

Smooth roasted malt wrapped in creamy caramel leads to a mild crisp that ends with an appearance of some hops. Butterscotch and toffee play well on the palate and balance great with the hops. The mouthfeel is very refined, smooth at the beginning and ending with an ever so slight bitterness.

What a balanced and tasty brew; much like everything that comes from GLBC. If you are looking for a session beer or you want to give your taste buds a hop break, look no further. Smooth.

jdoncbus, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of Clydesdale
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep reddish copper color with a nice, creamy off-white head with good retention and very good lacing.

S: Toasted malts, caramel, toffee, and some grassy sweetness.

T: A huge toasty, caramel malt presence that is on the sweet side. Hints of toffee available. Herbal and faintly earthy hops provide nice balance and a bit of a bite. A touch of nutty flavor also becomes gradually apparent.

M: Full-bodied and smooth, with a chewy, thick malt character. A somewhat dry, toasty finish.

D: This is one of my favorites - big, tasty malt flavors to be had. Great mouthfeel and all around a very strong beer.

Clydesdale, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.83/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours brown in color with ruby brown highlights around the edges. Nice frothy inch of head forms on the pour. Smell is all malt and some sweetness. Very metallic/off flavor in the taste. Gets a bit cloying as well. First beer I've had from Great Lakes that has been subpar.

FtownThrowDown, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of TylerAddisonJ13
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - full 31/2 finger off-white head, pretty light amber/caramel brown color. Crystal clear. Extremely inviting overall at first. As the drink progressed, I was very impressed with the presence of the eve lacing left on the glass and the retention of the head to about halfway through.

S - Sweet floral notes with apricot smoothness. Smell, also very inviting.

T - very well balanced taste. At first, a hint of sweet malts hits the tongue with a small touch of honey and nut flavor, followed by a light burst of hop bitterness. Sweet and floral tastes that were hinted at in the smell are drawn out on the finish, leaving a sweet lingering aftertaste. A complex, but not overwhelming taste.

M - Light and crisp like a lager, but it doesn't just disappear like some other lagers. A pleasant feel is left after each sip. It feels thicker than one might expect from its type of lager, and it's a wonderful thing! Very nice.

D - Quite drinkable!!! I wouldn't want to pound drink after drink, but that's just because I would want to save more for another day. It's easy to enjoy, and would be perfect with a meal.

Overall, one of my favorite beers, ever. I'd love to try this with a meal and see how well it complements certain foods. I plan on keeping this on stock from this day forward. Bravo, Great Lakes!

TylerAddisonJ13, Nov 28, 2008
Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a tight bubbled beige head; the beer leaves a nice pattern of lace

Smell: Caramel malt dominates, but there is a hint of hoppiness underneath

Taste: Opens with a nicely balanced caramel malt and earthy hop character that provide a bitter, almost herb tea flavor; after the swallow, the balanced flavors linger, with a bit of residual caramel sweetness on the tip of the tongue; the herbal tea element hangs on for a while in the aftertaste along with a bit of lager twang

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Rarely encountered, this is a very nice example of the Vienna Lager style

Thanks, rhinos00, for the opportunity

brentk56, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of Ohiovania
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - A clear ruby amber in color, mildly carbonated, with a light forming head which receded shortly after poured

Smell - Sweet, thick, inviting, and smooth

Taste - Sweet, mildly malty, balanced well, and a refreshing after taste. Not as thick as it smelled though. It has a slight reminder of a saison but only slightly.

Mouthfeel - Vibrant, you can feel the flavors colliding with you palette. Light but not as light as most lagers.

Drinkability - Very nice. Try to savor the well crafted flavor. This beer obviously had a lot of attention put into it.

Ohiovania, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of Haybeerman
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Bright, clear, caramel-amber color. Poured a 1 finger slightly off-white head that dissipated quickly. Ample lacing. Decanted continuously.

S: Light aroma of toasted malts with some caramel sweetness. Bitter hops.

T: Prominent flavor of lightly roasted malts, caramel sweetness. Bitter hops in the middle and finish.

M: Medium body. Ample carbonation. Crisp and clean.

D: Very drinkable; malt and hops in good balance with refreshing carbonation.

Haybeerman, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of danielharper
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark amber coloration, very clear, no effervescence, tiny off-white head that dissipates immediately leaving only soapscum. Leaves no significant lacing.

Smell: Not a lot of aroma here. Very malty, slightly sweet. Slight notes of apples and a hint of citrus -- possibly grapefruit. Overall not very complex, but certainly not unpleasant.

Taste: Very much a standard amber. Has a strongly sweet flavor up-front, with a healthy dose of dark fruits. Highly malty, no hops present, hints of yeast. Overall a decent amber, nothing special, and slightly cloying in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness, somewhat thicker than a "standard" amber. Low carbonation, low hops, leaves a nice coating on the palate. Slightly dry on the finish. Goes down clean.

Drinkability: The cloying flavor is a bit of a down note for this beer, but overall this is a decent amber and worth a taste for those who are fans of the style. It'd probably pair well with food, or it would be a decent beer for a get-together.

danielharper, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of LordofTime25
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden copper color with a thin off white head.

Smells of caramel malts and a bready aroma. Maybe a honey aroma.

Bready and caramel malts. Has a sweetness almost a honey taste and a bitterness from the hops.

Has a medium body with medium carbonation.

I really enjoyed this beer. I would drink often if it was avalible in my area!

LordofTime25, Nov 07, 2008
Photo of Shumista
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a plain Pint glass.

A- Pours a golden copper color with a 1 finger off white head.
S- Caramel malts and an overall bready smell.
T- Bready and caramel malts. I get both sweetness and some hoppy bitterness towards the end. Leaves a very pleasant aftertaste.
M- Medium bodied, medium carbonation.
D- I could drink these all night. Even though 6.2% is a little bit high for a session beer, this is one of the most sessionable beers I've come across.

Lagers are usually one of my least favorite types of beer, but Great Lakes has two that I buy on a regular basis in this beer and their Dortmunder Gold. Both are great session beers which I highly recommend.

Shumista, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of bahumutx
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper with a small head.

Smell: Malt, bread and a slight caramel aroma.

Taste: Nice and malty. There is also a bread and slight caramel flavor. Much like the aroma. Somewhat toasty and also a little spiciness from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Good mouthfeel with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable.

This is a great Vienna Lager. Another great beer from the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Keep up the great work.

bahumutx, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got a few bottles of this brew thanks to JohnTravolta21 and jcjwebster, Thanks Sara and Thanks Jeff!

12oz bottle served in a pilsner glass.

L - clear amber color with a beige head that fell to a light layer, carbonation bubbles kept rising from the bottom of the glass.

S - malty sweetness with a touch of earthy hops.

T - bitter upfront finishing sweet and malty.

F - light/medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - easy to drink and very refreshing.

JoeyBeerBelly, Oct 17, 2008
Photo of scruffwhor
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a colro pallete, deep copper amber to mild mahogany stain. Great two finger head after the pour, that very slowly recedes to nothing. The aroma is a beautiful toasted malt that makes me think of toasted biscuits with just a tocu of raw honey. The taste has an aire of peaches mixed in with the lovely toasted, biscuity malts. Fruits and bread in this viennese take on lager. Great sessionbility if they could jus lower the abv a touch.

scruffwhor, Oct 08, 2008
Photo of jdg204
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My second Great Lakes review from my trip to Rochester (the outstanding Edmund Fitz Porter was #1) and it's safe to say I'm a fan. Once again big props to the Rochester beer scene.

A: DEEP copper color, like a dark bourbon. Kind of a redish glow when held up to the light and it has a clean transparancy. 1 finger head that stuck around for a few drinks and had an okay lacing.

S: Super malty. Toffee maybe. Toasty and biscuity that finished with a light hopy alcohol scent. Great smelling beer.

T: Really smooth malty tastes. Well balanced with a clean hop finish. Buttery and carmely kinda like a bitter (oddly enough). Not complex just good beer. malts and hops.

M: Thin to medium bodied depending on your palate. Has a carbonated feel that goes away as the beer warms.

D: Overall fantastic beer, definetly the best Vienna Lager and likely the best Lager that I've had period. I actually thought this was an Amber Ale at first and I was even more impressed when I found out what it was. Big thumbs up, this would be one of those always on hand brews if the brewery was closer. Definetly need more Great Lakes!

jdg204, Sep 28, 2008
Photo of ckeegan04
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Rich golden brown color with a solid one finger head. Head quickly fades and leaves decent lacing.

S - A caramel and earthy maltiness with hints of spicy hops.

T - Caramel sweetness up front. A somewhat spicy/somewhat earthy hop bitterness comes through before finishing with a mildly astringent taste.

M/D - Medium bodied and very crisp. Excellent carbonation.

ckeegan04, Sep 17, 2008
Photo of Greggy
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice amber golden color. Crystal Clear. Nice sticky cream colored head.

S- Nice caramel malt and surprisingly, a cherry note, with some czech (?) hops.

T- Very nice caramel and slightly fruity malt of green apple and pear, then moves very gradually into a slightly dry finish with the previous characteristics.

M- Nice low carb, very malty finish.

D- 6.2% alc, isn't terribly sessionable, but it's a nice Vienna.

Greggy, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of PiecefulToker
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by 9/8/08.

A: Amber copper, pretty clear with slight haze, nice thick head that leaves a substantial layer on top, deposits sticky lacing.

S: Sweet malt, some caramel, honey notes, slight hoppiness.

T&M: Clean, crisp, delicious. This beer is amazing on first sip. Deliciously smooth and malty, but with a slight hop backbone that balances it perfectly. Light graininess with flavors of caramel and burnt sugar. Some alcohol at the very end with lasting hop bitterness, slightly dry finish. Very smooth and light, but extremely flavorful. Perfect carbonation and body to make this very drinkable. This is probably the best amber lager I have ever tasted.

D: Very, very high. I could down these all day and night.

PiecefulToker, Aug 27, 2008
Photo of roadhouse
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pilsener glass.

Appears a clear copper tinged orange with a one and a half finger off-white head that leaves some decent lacing down the glass. Some floaters are noticeable on closer inspection.

Aroma is bready, with hints of caramel malts. Nothing overly exciting, but it's pleasing.

The taste is very toasty at first then gradually branches out into bready malts with some caramel sweetness. The finish is very clean, perhaps a bit of earthy hops.

Mouthfeel is pretty light, smooth drinking, fitting level of carbonation.

What can I say, it's pretty damn good for an amber lager. It's one of those that you could start drinking and keep drinking all night. Alas, Great Lakes, why must you skip Indiana on your way to Illinois?!

roadhouse, Aug 26, 2008
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,558 ratings.