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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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2,756 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,756
Reviews: 960
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 215
Gots: 333 | 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: 2,756 | Reviews: 960 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of shadow1961
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Eliot Ness amber pours a finger of foam over a deep amber brew. Carbonation is spritzy, the nose clean fruity malt with a note of spicy hops. The flavor is, again, sweet, bready malt up front, with a nice subdued herbal/meadow kind of hop off the back. Leaving a lot of sticky lace behind on the glass, the brew has a light but round mouthfeel dried out just a bit by those spicy hops. Long mellow herbal tea aftertaste. Altogether a really solid, drinkable beer.

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

Chilled bottle into a glass. A generous extra from Wisconsinality. Thanks, Kylie!

A: Pours a clear reddish amber in the glass. Holding it up to the light reveals tantalizing streams of lazy carbonation rising up the glass, replenishing the finger of light beige head that caps the beer. Retention is moderate; inside of a minute, the head has retreated into a scattered film and medium collar.

S: Caramel malts, toast, cereal, and earthy orange peel.

T: A savory blend of caramel flavor, toasted malts, and cereal grains. While it accentuates the malts with earth and orange peel, this beer is not particularly hoppy. It's only semi-dry; I don't know whether that's a desirable characteristic for the style, but it certainly adds flavor and presence. The finish and aftertaste bring out orange peel once more.

M: Light-bodied. Carbonation is low enough to make the beer creamy, which is interesting. It really brings out the caramel more. I think this would have suffered from having any more bubbles. Well done.

D: I have another and I'm looking forward to enjoying it. I always think highly of Great Lakes' lager output, and this is an outstanding example of why.

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

Bottle from a 6pk poured into a pint glass

beer poured a bright copper colour with white foamy head that lingered

aroma was of nuts, caramel, malts

taste - bitter hop feel up front, followed by a flavor of caramel, malts, roasted nuts

mouthfeel - bitter upfront, slightly sweet in the middle and then bitter in the finish, medium bodied, medium carbonation

drinkability - this is a 2 and done beverage for me

This was my first beverage from GLBC and this was well done, I would revisit this as well as try some of their other offerings

Photo of hardy008
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber color with a one finger off white head with decent retention. Smells of sweet malt with some light hop bitterness in the background.

Sweet malt and light hop bitterness are also prominent in the flavor. Light bodied, decent carbonation, and pretty good drinkability. This is not as good as August Schell Firebrick in my opinion, but is stilll a nice beer. I wish this beer was a bit sweeter, and had a little less hop bitterness.

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

perfectly clear light amber in color, more than an inch of foam quickly retreats until 1/4" of creamy light tan goodness decides to stick around for the whole show.

aroma is mildly sweet and toasty; definitely vienna or perhaps a smaller amount of Munich showing itself here. Light noble hop aroma. Clean, no fruitiness, DMS, or diacetyl.

sweet toasty malt in the front and moderately strong but surprisingly the hop bitterness easily balances it with a bit to spare. No caramel in the sweet flavor. Noticeable floral/earthy hop flavor, and the finish is a sizeable, lasting bitterness on the palate. Delicious, but seems slightly out of style with hop flavor/bitterness, no?

medium light body, moderately creamy and pretty easy to drink. Moderately high to high carbonation could be a touch lower which would increase the drinkability to absurd levels.

Photo of thegodfather2701
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours copper with a thick, rocky, almond color head.

S-Sweet, malty, grainy, caramel, and some hops.

T-More malty than hoppy. Its got a slightly sweet flavor, kind of grainy with some caramel and nuttiness as well. I think there is also a slight alcohol presence.

M-Feels kind of slick and somewhat thick.

D-Pretty drinkable even though I think its grainy alcohol flavor kind of cut into its sessionability.

Overall, its a solid beer that I will drink more of since I bought two mix twelve packs of Great Lakes beers.

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

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A: Pours a one or two finger head, (on a different bottles I was able to generate much more) which slowly dissipates despite active carbonation. Large bubbles and a just off white color. Beer is darkish amber with a golden core and reddish edges. Plenty of active carbonation and decent lacing.

S: Strong caramelly malt scents are THE smell of this beer. Maybe a tickle of hops, perhaps a flavoring hop showing itself in the aroma as well. Toffee, caramel, wheat/grain would all be words for the nose of this beer, and sweet, sweet, sweet. ALMOST too sweet for most beers, but I think it works well here.

T: Still caramel, but more cooked. The taste of caramel-corn popcorn comes to mind. This flavor is really less than I expected when compared to two other fine Viennas, Boston Lager and Firebrick. The popcorn taste may be diacetyl, but I've tasted it in several bottles from different packs, so I doubt it. No hop flavor whatsoever, maybe an element of nuttiness?

M: Smooth, inoffensive, and good for a warmer day when one still wants some depth to their beer. Leaves no alcohol burn or anything of the sort and slides around the mouth easily enough.

D: Good, if you can get over the popcorn taste. I don't know that I can. Still, a worth while beer

Photo of DrewHodges
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 5/7/10 tasting; bottle poured to pint glass.

A--beautiful clear reddish-amber, light brown foamy head, settled to spotty thin ring;

S--generally light aroms of toasted toffee malt and some straw hops;

T--very similar to smell, caramel malts;

M--exceedingly smooth, medium body and low carbonation for a lager, almost chewy mouthfeel;

D--type of beer you can drink one after the other, tasty enough for craft drinker but great entry for macro lover

Photo of turkob
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: One finger head that fizzes as it subsides. Little to no lacing. A beautiful redish-amber color.

S: A lot of malt sweetness. Some fruitiness, a little honey too. The nose was very impressive though it faded very fast.

T: A deep, toasted malt flavor. A touch of hops as it leaves the palate, stingingly bitter but fleeting.

M: Coats the mouth beautifully. Quite full bodied for an amber. It finishes surprisingly dry. Too dry, leaves you puckered.

O: From the look and smell I thought it was going to be a real treat, but it just didn't blow me away. The malt character is outstanding, but the dryness of the finish made it hard to get a full grasp of the malts.

Photo of jjanega08
2.2/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A= The pour yeilds an average finger high head that has some average retention and average lacing. The color of the beer is a magnificent ruby red however. Sort of looks like a few framboise I've had it's so red.

S= Interesting. I haven't read any reviews on this beer yet so I'm not sure if other people are getting it but this beer smells like Play Doh to me... It smells sort of salty and Play Doh like. I dunno how else to explain it but it's loaded with play doh.

T= Luckly it doesn't taste as much like play doh. There is still a very play doh like character to it. Not as salty. Sort of average maltyness to it and a balanced bitterness.

M= Smooth and a nice carbonation level. Prolly the best part of it being in my mouth.

D= Yes I have tasted play doh and yes this beer smells and somewhat tastes like it. I dunno what's going on here. I'll try this beer another time to sure just to make sure it's not a fluke but if this is what the beer actually tastes like I don't think I'll be having much of it.

Photo of gatornation
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours an amber tan color with a minimal head but has a nice fresh beige ring..the smell is toffee and caramel some toasted bread and roasty malts with a little sweetness as in fruit or molasses..the taste is toffee and malt mixed with some hops and toast.molasses and honey round things out..the mouth feel is medium its creamy and smooth with well balanced malts and some crisp hops..this one is tasty and easy to throw back a few ..i like this one

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

from notes. 12oz into pint.

A- A nice burnt toast amber. Minimal head, thin but well-presented lacing. Nice rings as it goes down.

S- Malt, faint toffee, a kiss of honey? Mild floral notes as well.

T- Rich, malty. A good dose of bittering hops, a touch of orange zest.

M- Great body/carbonation. Well-balanced. Right where it should be.

D- High. I wish I had access to this one, a stellar example of a craft lager. I much prefer this to Sam Adams Boston Lager. And that's not a knock against Sam... just a testament to the awesomeness of this beer. Would be a go-to if I had it around in my stores.

Photo of tykees88
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep rich amber color. No head. No lacing.

S- Malts and dark fruit. I smell barley and yeast.

T- Tastes good, it is a maltmouth dream I think. It has a malty start and finish. I get a good amount of barley too.

M- Thinner bodied. Good carbonation in the mouth.

D- I could drink a few of these with some good food and company. I would love to have this on tap. Good beer and a good price.

Photo of suretolose
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours well into a pint glass. It leaves a nice head of about an inch of cream colored foam that lasts a long time.
Not much scent maybe a little carmel and yeast.
Taste has light yeast flavor with fruit that is hard for me to identify. Almost like dark fruits like a plum. It has a fairly long finish. Fairly sweet as well.
Over all pretty good.

Photo of jera1350
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lovely tan head sits atop a dark copper body. Fair amount of lacing around the glass.

Creamy caramel malt and some floral hops round out the scent.

Toasted nuts and caramel sweetness come from the malt. Crisp and moderately bitter hops. A bit of alcohol presence. Lightly sweet and bitter in the aftertaste.

Crisp and creamy feel wrapped together. Very smooth, medium bodied beer that dries the tongue on finish.

A very good beer that has to be the benchmark for the style. Nicely balanced, this one will please most beer geeks.

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!

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,756 ratings.