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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.

2,672 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,672
Reviews: 936
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 201
Gots: 252 | 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: 2,672 | Reviews: 936 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tatoodkelt
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Great Lakes treat from Auslander!

Consumed 11/16/2009- from notes.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

A- Very deep, clear, bright amber topped off by a one finger light tan head that settles to a thin skim.

S- A little caramel, a little spicy hop, and a mild grassy note. Comes together pretty well.

T- All of the nose but with a suprised me with a noticable maltiness as well, again very well balanced.

M- Medium bodied, almost Scottish Ale-ish in feel, a little sticky.

D- Pretty easy to drink, I could see having a sixer at a party.

Photo of eagles22
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 1 1/2 finger white head with deep amber body

Smell: roasted malts, chocolate and sweet caramel

Taste: caramel hits you at first than lingers off into a nice lightly semi sweet chocolate and alos nice citrus hop at the end

Mouthfeel: rich and creamy

Drinkability: very high

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

From a bottle into a pint glass.

Nice brown color that turns deep red when held up to the light. No haze. Deep tan head, half inch. Dissipated slowly, but significant dense lacing. Exceptional - not just a hallmark but a exemplary member of the Vienna Lager style.

Nice light caramel nose, a touch of sweet sugar, and fresh, clean hops with a light lemon flavor.

First, dry toasty malt flavors that evolve into a touch of sweet, light brown caramel. Moves through a touch of lemon and orange zest right into a clean hoppy end note. Savoring only enhances this.

Medium bodied - nice light carbonation and no major alcohol taste.

Excellent beer. I highly suggest having this at some point in your life. Or, better yet, get a six-pack & a few friends and have a big healthy meal of roasted pork chops, green beans, parsley and garlic potatoes, and an apple tart or crisp for dessert.

Photo of biegaman
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When Great Lakes labeled this an amber lager they neglected to mention that it is in fact a dashing, exquisite and, dare I say, very foxy shade of that colour. It combines caramel and candy apple tones and illuminates most resplendently when held into the light. Its head is but a thin draping but is well defined when viewed from the side angle.

There is an underlying candy-like sweetness to the aroma that flutters into the back of the nasal track where it seems to gain passage into the brain and proceeds to tickle the cerebral cortex with a gentle, tingling sensation. Hints of dark fruit, berries and brown sugar assist in this sensory caress. I'm now expecting a big malt presence.

And I am not let down. All the characteristics of the aroma are multiplied at least two fold; their soft, feather-like titillation becomes an unexpectedly intense and all-consuming onslaught of plum pudding, gingerbread, packed brown sugar, black currants, dark toffee and toasty, rich melanoidins. Its port-like sweetness is never too far in the distance.

I don't know of anyone who has ever drooled over the thought of a Vienna Lager before but although it's not common for liquids to fall out of the mouth, you can be sure that plenty gush in, often in one night. What this style (not necessarily this specific offering) may relatively lack in flavour it more than makes up for in drinkability.

That being said, Eliot Ness is a surprisingly weighty and satiating member of the style. For all its sweetness, a crushing, ever-lingering bitterness prevails even longer. Its nuances and heavy-handed maltiness lend it a miniature barleywine-type quality, one that grants the beer a larger appreciation than is customary for most others in the style.

Great Lakes must have as many gold medal winning beers as they do employees. This brewery has a record of consistency for turning-up quality, delicious, true-to-style beers that I doubt could ever be broken (if such records were kept). The town of Cleveland should build a Craft Brewing Hall of Fame and make these guys the inaugural inductees.

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

A- Dark amber/gold with a nice, tan head.

S- Big malty aroma with toasted, caramel and coffee notes.

T- Lots of malt flavors going on. Some toffee and toasted bread. Not a big hop profile, but enough to balance the malts pretty well.

M- Nice chewy feel with a smooth carbonation.

D- A tasty lager; very smooth and drinkable.

Photo of Tee76
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber/copper color, with a thin head

S: Sweet smelling with a hint of caramel and a small nutty aroma

T: Starts off sweet with a hoppy, nutty, caramel flavor but ends with a bitter taste. Lot of flavor goin on here!!

M: Medium body with excellent carbonation. Very crisp yet smooth
D: Overall a great looking and tasting lager, excellent brew all around.Makes for a nice beer on a chilly evening.Highly drinkable!!

Great Lakes has yet to disappoint!!

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

gorgeous light chestnut brown with a bit of mahogany color, crystal clear, thin tan head

malty aroma is very prominent and smells wonderful

deep malt nutty flavor, very intense and rich, finishes with caramel notes

rich smooth medium full mouthfeel

good drinking vienna, very clean but on the full side of the style.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A drop-dead gorgeous beer, the head is a creamy tan thing, big at first and then an eighth-inch layer, on top of a fiery copper-red color, which tricks me into seeing the head as having a red tint as well. Morse code dots-and-dashes of lace on the glass.

It's hard to compare the aroma to anything or things in particular. I get a cherry-like fruit essence, more like hard candy than actual fruit, but it's reined in and muted; and I get that peculiar/particular moist earthy maltiness you can only find in Scotch/Scottish ales; I get something approaching a mess of caramel/toffee taffy, but no, it's not quite that either. Bubblegum? Maybe. It's elusive, but who cares what it's like, it is to be enjoyed for what it IS, and it is absolutely wonderful.

The nose wasn't fooling--all the impressions listed above fly by on the tongue, to some degree or another. But there's also a pronounced hoppiness going on, grassy and bitter in the best way. This gives an interesting slant to the beer, which is mostly malt-driven and completely unique from other Vienna lagers. There's a candy-like essence here, bright and refreshing and playful. Lingering hop prickle in the finish adds to the fun. Something about the total flavor impression doesn't make me score it as high as in the other departments, but this particular "4" shouldn't be taken as anything other than a recommendation to buy on sight.

Rounded, slick, gliding, creamy texture is medium-bodied and fits the flavor it carries to a T. Yep, it's carbonated, but not overly so, and that's a good thing.

One of few lagers (aside from doppelbocks and such) that I would recommend not drinking too cold, and in fact, with barely a chill. This is great. If Eliot Ness (the beer, not the dude) is to be lumped together in the same league with Dos Equis or Sam Adams Boston Lager, I feel sorry for it. Not that those are terrible, but seriously, this is one uncommonly excellent lager. Thanks to kels for the hook-up!

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

Thanks to Ritzkiss for leaving this in my fridge. I should be at a wedding reception now, but the assholes at National and a lack of other rental cars in the city have stranded me at home. Hopefully this brew will take off the edge.

Elliott Ness is an excellent looking lager, striking an amber body and a smooth, creamy tan head. Retention is great for the style, and sticky patches of lace are liberally deposited on the side of the glass. The aroma is dominated by mild caramel malts, which convey the essence of caramel without too much of the sweetness. Behind this I'm getting some breadiness, as well as a hint of grass and pepper.

As soon as you take a quaff you know this is a great beer. A lot of lagers disappoint with the limp bodies and aggressive carbonation, but not this one. The body is quite full for the style (though medium in comparison to other beers), and while the carbonation is high, its more soft than spritzy.

The flavour ticks all the right boxes too. A distinct breadiness forms the backbone from which caramel springs forth. A mild hop bite at the end helps to give it a little punch, and breaks up the long bready finish. Decent residual sweetness. This is definitely one of the more malty lagers I've had, and the better for it.

Cheers Eric!

Photo of webmanspidey
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a pint glass..

This is a medium amber/caramel color with light head. Pretty light and fizzy appearance. Slightly sweet aroma.. I pick up some odd grains like rice. Hops are very prevalent in the flavor, much more than I expected from the smell. Delicious and well balanced, this is sweet at first but hops bite at the back end. There is a lot of flavor here, but light bodied with low alcohol presence and excellent drinkability. Great beer!

Photo of Gavage
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: dark amber in color with a 2" head that slowly falls to some surface bubbles. Nice lace paints the glass during the session.

Smell: light malt sweetness is mellow but pleasant.

Taste: big malt flavors dominate here with some lighter fruit sweetness and a mellow floral bitterness. Fantastic flavors make up a superb beer.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, a bit smoother towards the finish. Meidum bodied beer.

Drinkability: this is a superb session beer that can be quaffed all night long. Absolutely a must if on tap.

Photo of damndirtyape
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single bottle (11/2009 date) poured into a tumbler glass. Poured a 1/4" thick light tan foam that died down to 1/16" thick the whole way down to the bottom of the glass. Nice lacing the on the glass. The color is a dark orange-brown with some red in it. Very nice.

Smell is quite good. Very malty with maybe just a bit something sweet at the end. I can't quite place it but I do salivate thinking about it.

Taste - I get the malt up front followed by a bitter taste and then something at the end after I've swallowed. It reminds me of a buttermilk biscuit but with a hint of something bitter still in it. Either way I really like it because it's well balanced.

Mouthfeel - A little bit thick, very little carbonation on the tongue, nicely refreshing as it coats the mouth and leaves quickly. The flavor lingers but not the texture of the beer (well, at least what I can notice anyway, but I'm admittedly uneducated here).

Drinkability - I'm glad I bought a six-pack of this. This is a beer for enjoying with a meal or by itself at the end of the day, and even going back for another later on. It's a solid high quality beer for both routine and special drinking occasions in my book. I think I'd feel spoiled if I got to have this all the time...and yet I can if I want.

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

12oz bottle, well before the best before date. Pours a dark amber/toffee color with a thin caramel-tinted head with some good staying power, leaves nice lacing down the glass.

Nose is heavy caramel malts, a slight earthy/grassiness, slight metallic note, almost bready.

This has to be one of the maltiest lagers I've ever had grace my lips. Thick bready caramel malts merge with a light bitterness that builds ever so slightly in the finish. Almost fruity, kind of reminds of a rich fruitcake, raisiny. Prickly carbonation, thick heavy mouthfeel, flavor coats the tongue.

Hard to knock this one. A really nice fall drinker, enough heft to combat the cool evenings without going to something overly heavy like a RIS or barleywine. Really tasty.

Photo of jrallen34
2.3/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I drank this from a bottle into a chalice.

This beer pours a very pretty amber with a light white head. The head lastes only about 30 seconds. It is very clear for its color, lacing is pour but it carbonates quickly with a swirl.

The aroma is very light, hard to detect anything. There are notes of light hops but they are kind of skunky.

The taste leaves much to be disered. The taste is very light you hardly taste anything, but what you do taste is tea. Its really not good.

Mouthfeel is ok, but I couldn't drink more than 2 sips before I had to dump it.

Photo of hossua34
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep, dark reddish-brown. Medium sized head that slowly dwindles to nothing. Some lacing, though not much.

S - Predominantly hoppy, with some spice to it. Cracker-like malts balance everything out nicely.

T - Mostly hoppy as well, with an "up" grapefruit-like flavor. Malts are present but not too sweet, more like burnt toast or crackers.

M - Mouthfeel is full and thick. Could use a little more carbonation, in my opinion.

D - At 6.2 ABV, the drinkability is great. Not alcoholic tasting at all. Very hearty. Hoppier than most Vienna lagers, and the hop aftertaste slowed down my consumption.

Photo of dstc
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brown color. Off-white head falls to a minimal one. Minimal lace.

Malts in the nose and mild hops present as well.

Nice full malt flavor. Sweetness lingers on the tongue at the finish.

Full and smooth in the mouth.

Very nice brew by a very good brewery. Looking forward to trying more by this brewer.

Photo of Finn
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says, "best by 11/29/09"

This beer is a brilliantly clear deep burnt orange color. head retention is nice, a thin but dense layer stays with the beer. Aroma is deep maltiness, with slight bit of fruity esters blending in. Flavor? This beer starts with a deep maltiness which is quickly balanced by a hop crsipness. There are also some roasty/dark grain flavors in the mix as well. It's full-flavored and rich, but not to sweet. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth, and this beer goes down nicely. A great fall time lager, which has a bit more depth of flavors than your average dark lager. The drinkability is good on this one, but I don't see this as a session beer, more like a nice treat to have in slightly cooler weather.
Very glad to have tried this one.

Photo of alkemy
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a clear amber/mahogany. I had just shy of a finger of off white head from a pretty laid back pour. Scent is malt oriented with a combination of vanilla, caramel, and some dark fruits...raisins if I had to pick one. Sweet and malty followed by a hint of hops and then back to the malts for the finish. I'm not typically a lager man, but this is quite good. I also get a very slight hint of smoky pumpkin in the aftertaste...that is really the closest I can explain it. Goes down super smooth and the carbonation and flavors have an excellent balance. It's been years since I've had this and can't, for the life of me, figure out why I've strayed from it for so long. This beer actually makes me believe that lagers can
indeed be good.

Photo of lostwars
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours into a hybrid amber/maple syrup-like color with a sandy head. Carbonation is active and adds to the appearance of the beer.

S - Lovely full odor and satisfying warmth - undercurrent of new leather, walnut, and macaroon.

T - dark mocha, cocoa powder that turns into rum-like burnt sugar after 30 sec that gives way to a wonderful cloven hop lick.

M - at first carbonated and creamy, the feeling follows down the throat.

D - Mildly high ABV makes this a fun bottle to session and the flavors mature into the 3rd to 4th helping.

Photo of alcstradamus
2.85/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Deep amber pour with 2 fingers of slowly receding head. Smell is musty malts mostly, which is mirrored in the taste. Almost has that expired-IPA feel, with the mustiness and crayon wax flavors. Just not something I really can enjoy. Perhaps if this was in the 4-5% ABV range I would like it more, but at higher than 6 it just isn't worth it.

Photo of Brad007
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful medium-amber color with a thick, frothy head into my fluted glass. Very nice.

Aroma is full of sweet, bready malt with a touch of hops in the nose. A bit grainy as well.

Taste is sweet and there's a bit of caramel as well with a touch of hops. This is all about the malt though. Clean and well-done.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering sweetness from the malt and again, the touch of hops and caramel. Clean and carbonation is just right here.

Very nice for the style. Drinkable and well worth a try. Possibly my favorite out of the stuff I've had from this brewery so far.

Photo of william5586
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a very clear, rich, amber red with a small off white head. The color was really amazing.

The smell was of sweet caramel malt and very faint hops.

Had a bit of an earthy taste too it which gave way to a small dose of spicy hops followed by a slightly sweet, tea like finish and aftertaste.

Good mouthfeel all around. Crisp medium body. Very clean easy drinking beer.

This is one of the best lagers that I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. After the first few sips I was not sure how I felt about the beer. The more I drank however, the more subtle flavors I picked up on and the more I noticed how well they were all blended together and perfectly balanced.

I could drink this beer all day and all night long. I need to find a case of this as soon as possible.

Photo of claminat420
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- poured a nice transparent amber color with a nice off white creamy color two finger head.

S- a fair hint of malts with the hops battling right next to it. it seems like they clash. it's hard to pick out just one.

T- has a sweet malt taste with a faint hop backup. also leaves alil bloodlike aftertaste. and no my mouth isn't bleeding.

M- light bodied with just the right carbonation.

D- very easy to drink. a six would be no prob. good session beer.

Overall- this is a good solid staple beer but nothing spectacular. this one would be one for a friend who's a bud drinker and you wanna show him/her that there's beers out there that aren't to crazy but really smooth and good.

Photo of dmfrench
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A sweet and spicy Oktoberish Vienna Lager.

A: Clear copper-orange body with a lovely, persistent, two-finger yellowish-white head.

S: Bready, buttery caramel malt and just a touch of earthy, spicy hops... there's a bit of that stinky brewery smell in there too... make of that what you will.

T: Sweet at first, caramel malty in the middle, and spicy and bitter at then end. Simple, but not too simple.

M: Perfect as usual for GLBC... full.

D: Oh yeah.

Photo of ClevoPiwo
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass - this is a great looking beer. The color is a rich amber, reddish brown or copper with a large and persistent off-white head that leaves beautiful full lacing on its slow decent.

The aroma is rich with a toasted, grainy malt character. There is a barely noticeable hop presence, but just enough to compliment the grainy malt. The smell is neither fruity nor too sweet, but rather toasted and grainy as a lager of this style ought to be.

The taste is fantastic, again with a distinctive grainy and toasted malt presence up front, almost like bread crust. Not much hop presence, and the aftertaste lingers more with a slight dryness from the malt character than with a bitterness from the hops - but that isn't to say that the hops aren't perceivable at all, they peek out through the toasted malt intermittently.

The mouth feel is right on, smooth and clean, yet big and almost creamy. Very drinkable and very enjoyable. Not only is this beer spot on for style, its also damn good.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,672 ratings.