1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,778 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,778
Reviews: 966
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 220
Gots: 353 | 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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,778 | Reviews: 966
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
2.84/5  rDev -30.4%
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
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
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
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
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
3.55/5  rDev -13%
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
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
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
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Photo of qchic
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rosy copper that is easily seen through with a light layer of foam on top. Aroma is faint (as mentioned on the label) but not absent. Lightly pungent hops and grainy malts are balanced, whereas in the flavor, the malts step up to the hops giving this beer a pleasant sweetness that is never cloying. There is an herbal quality that reminds me of iced tea, along with the earthy hops and a touch of fruit. Finishes bitter. Well crafted. Great Lakes is batting 1.000 with me so far.

Photo of bmwats
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tapped into a standard pint.

A: Deep dark brown appearance. Slight foamy, white head. Substantial lacing.

S: Solid full malty nose.

T: Woody, and kind of musty flavor, but not in a bad way.

M: Full bodied and hearty.

D: Great body and flavor balance.

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

A- clear reddish amber. brings cherries to mind. head is sandy looking, almost doesn't look fluffy, but rough.

S- very malt-forward, with strong caramel aromas and a faint whiff of hops, only. raisins and vanilla are also noticable.

T- much more hops than in the nose, though in keeping with the style, not a ton of hops. The malt starts of mellow and gradually builds to a rich caramel-and-vanilla swirl, which is wonderful. the swallow is malty, but relatively clean, and the aftertaste is a lingering roasted flavor.

thankfully, very true to the style, and not 'americanized' into something else.

M- thicker than the average lager, but mainly in the form of creaminess.

D- this is a style geared towards drinkability, and this beer has it. the style calls for a fairly low hops presence, so for some people it might be too sweet/malty, but that's the style, and it is well done.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby/amber color with a huge bubbly beige that leaves lots o lace on the way down the glass. Smell is a sweet fruity malt aroma with a hint of earthy floral hops. Taste is sweet with malts. Burnt sugar caramel fruity and bready with just enough of a hop bite about midway through to keep the sweetness in check. Crisp carbonation, medium body, Oily almost creamy sensation in the mouth. It's been a while since I've had a great Lager. This is one. Easy drinking smooth sessionable brew.

Photo of stegmakk
3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice Ruby amber color. Head is nice tan color small bubbles decent retention.

S - maltiness...thats about it...

T - nice flavors here. Roasted maltiness some caramel, and breadiness. Dry. Crisp.

M - Not overly carbonbated, not too slick, clean finish with slight dry afterstaste.

D - Goes down so smooth, I finished before I finished thinking about the review. Good taste. I could drink a few of these.

Photo of vishneda
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a mug. From a six I grabbed at random on the way to the counter.

Pours to a nice amber or dark red body with a one finger tan head. Fairly decent amount of activity in the glass. There is some lacing as the beer goes down. Sturdy looking vienna.

The nose is a blend of floral notes with sweet wooden aromas. Strong but not overpowering.

Fantastically balanced flavor; everything I look for in a vienna. There is mild sweetness at the start, with hints of nut and maybe a little cherry. Nice transition into the pine and flower hop flavor as the beer rolls through the mouth. These hops do not dominate, but they provide the essential balance that makes this beer a standout.

Eliot Ness is a smooth beer with a firm body profile. Very refreshing and super drinkable, especially at this strength.

(Review from tasting notes dated 07 aug 2009)

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

This beer poured a red-tinged amber with a small head. The smell is candy sweet with a bit of burnt sugar. The taste starts off with a bit of solid malt that's cut by some interesting hop bitterness that seems to give way to even more malt and a bit of nuttiness. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with some moderate carbonation. This is an interesting beer and an uncommon style, it's worth grabbing if you can find it.

Photo of dpodratsky3
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz beer poured into pint glass

A: A clear caramel color with a tan head and lively carbonation.

S: Smells sweet like caramel and bruleed sugar and a nice malt aroma to compliment.

T: Starts sweet like the smell and tastes like caramel. Then a hint of mild hop bitterness with some malty notes comes in. It finished very nicely with a balance of all the flavors. It rolls across your tastebuds affecting each of the areas independently then comes back to taste like everything combined.

M: Medium bodied, but very smooth.

D: Very highly drinkable, tastes awesome and the mouthfeel is great.

Notes: One of my favorite beers I've had and especially for this style. Awesome flavor, I wish I could get this all the time, I could easily see this becoming a regular in my fridge if I could get it.

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

A - Nice, dark amber color. Clear, not a lot of head on it. A little red coming through.

S - Nice malts, mild hops. Very solid smelling lager.

T - Sweet malts, and nice grainy taste. Very deep and full tasting. A little hint of bitter, but nothing more than you would want from a Vienna.

M - Good carbination balances out the lack of bite in the taste. Medium bodied.

D - It's heavy enough for a Vienna that it has some kick, but I could do a few of these pretty easily.

Photo of kegger22
3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with reddish tint and has a respectable head that fades quickly. I am unable to get much on aroma. Some malty sweetness and a slightly earthy flavor. Mouth feel is about medium bodied with a little carbonation over the top of the tongue. Very drinkable, this one could go the entire night. Overall, the taste was not something I expected in a lager, although it was good, just surprising. A little heavier than most lagers, but it did have lager's trademark drinkability.

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.46/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottles (sampled two) poured into mug at just over 40 degrees. Beautiful pour, featuring a 2+f tan head that hangs out for a long time, floating above an orange-amber body with noticeable carbonation.

Slightly sweet in the smell with some caramel, buttered biscuit, and a little bit of earthy/leafy quality as it warmed.

Flavor was really nice - switches gears a little from the sweetness in the smell to a light floral hoppy bitterness, and some toasted malt.

Mouthfeel was tremendous - which I find hard to say for most lagers. This one encourages large mouthfills, and goes down crazy smooth with no harsh aftertaste. Simply refreshing.

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

My only fear it age. I bought this at Binny's in June, but much of the other beers I purchased at that time seemed to have a bit of age on them.
Nice caramel aroma. Pretty simple and straight forward, but nice nonetheless. Some lager yeast quality.
Darker color in that it's close to copper than amber. Clear. Nice tan colored dense head.
Vienna malt flavor with less caramel than the aroma. Again with pretty darn simple with ample bitterness for style helping out the extended finish with moderate dryness.
Fully carbonated with a slight prickliness and lending fullness. Light side of moderate for feel.
Hoppiness seems a bit americanized, which is fine. Impacts the aroma less than flavor (when it takes some from malty juicieness). Nonetheless, seems no freshness issues. Drinks well. Goes well with my steak salad with blue cheese.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice sized light tan head, but it doesn't have the best head retention. Clear dark amber body.

Smell: Abundance of flowery hops. Caramel malts.

Taste: Very balanced between the hops and malts. Slight toastiness. Finishes with a modest bitterness. Great example of the style.

Photo of generallee
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass. It was sampled on 6-4-09 and had a best before date of 6-19-09 on the label.

Appearance: The body has an inviting deep reddish amber color with very good clarity. On top there is a modest sized, just off white colored head that hangs on well and makes some nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: The aroma has some sweet and toasted malty character with light mineral and leafy hop notes.

Taste/Mouth: Its flavor has a sweet malty and toasted bread base with notes of brown sugar, caramel and toasted malt. Hop flavor is solid and matches the sweetness of the malt with earthy, leafy and mineral flavors and balanced bitterness. The finish has toasted grains and hops fading slowly off the tongue. Its texture is smooth and slick with soft carbonation.

Notes: This is an outstanding Vienna Lager!!! The balance of sweet, toasty and hops is spot on. Well done Great Lakes!!!

Photo of deapokid
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite a profound pour. Boasts a big rich head with a deep red coloration. This model looks a little darker than most lagers I've encountered, even more so than Sam Adams and Brooklyn.

Scent is of sweet hops backed by a nice buttery richness, which, not surprisingly, is exactly what could be said of the flavor. Although I'm really not much of a lager enthusiast, this is absolutely delicious and a massive step forward for session lager as a whole.

This rich, but never heavy, liquid effortlessly rolls down the throat, masterfully melding smoothness and flavor. This rare combination is often what is missing from lagers, in my opinion, and I think it's a testament to Great Lakes amazing output.

Might be the best drinking lager on Planet Earth.

Photo of plaid75
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Hilton Hotel, Pittsburgh.

Poured a deep copper hue with a half finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a robust carMel and toffee with a respectable grassy hop presence.

The taste consisted of a burnt caramel and a lingering drying hop.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a very tasty lager. Think Sam Adms kicked up
a notch.

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

Poured into a pint glass. Appears a copper color with a medium size head. Aroma of mostly caramel with some very light citrus. Taste has more of caramel and also some maple syrup. Very smooth and creamy to drink. Leaves a very nice sweet aftertaste. This is the best Vienna lager I've had. Excellent - also a great session beer.

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

Light amber in color with a huge off white fluffy head leaving mass cling and lace on the glass when it finally dies down. Picture prefect!

Nice, malty, roasty aroma consisting of roasted grains, fragrant malt coupled with citrusy hop wafts. Hints of hibiscus, caramel and toffee. Quite a combination of interesting smells. Beautifully combined. The taste is really malty, clean and smooth. Slides down the throat with the roasty grains, caramel, toffee and some citrusy hops.

Slick and silky mouthfeel. Really nice, medium bodied with some hop in the after taste. Goes down so easy and with so much flavor it could only be called a beautiful beer.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,778 ratings.