Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

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2,675 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,675
Reviews: 937
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 203
Gots: 259 | 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: 2,675 | Reviews: 937 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Clydesdale
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.83/5  rDev -30.6%
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.

Photo of TylerAddisonJ13
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
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!

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -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

Photo of Ohiovania
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of Haybeerman
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of danielharper
3.55/5  rDev -13%
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.

Photo of LordofTime25
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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!

Photo of Shumista
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of bahumutx
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Photo of jdg204
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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!

Photo of ckeegan04
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Photo of Greggy
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of PiecefulToker
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Photo of roadhouse
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
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?!

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

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This lager poured a beautifully clear, caramel-amber color with a 1/2" light tan head. The head quickly dropped to a skim leaving loads of sticky lace down the glass.

S= Muted of course, but significant for a lager style. I found toasty malt and a touch of caramel sweetness.

T= This beer brought big flavors of lightly roasted malts, caramel sweetness, and a flash of spicy hops just in the middle. Beautiful finish of more toasty flavors.

MF= Decent carbonation made this crisp like a fine lager should be, with a medium chewy body.

D= All I can say is wow. This is the first lager I have been truly pleased by in years. Very beautiful, very flavorful. Highly recommended!

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

On tap at the brewery. Review from notes made a few weeks ago. Poured into a clear pint glass.

A Thin head, amber body.

S Malty, pleasing.

T imo, a classic amber taste. Some woodsy, malty tastes in there but really straight forward amber dominates.

M full, heavy mouthfeel for an amber.

D Good, very good.

Notes: if you enjoy ambers or anything related to ambers than you owe it to yourself to try this. As with other Great Lakes Brewing Company beers I do recommend that it is enjoyed from the tap.

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

a: beautiful murky amber/rust w/ light white bubble movement leading up to a light foamy head

s: light alcohol; warm grain; caramel/toffee; spiced cider; honey

t: sweet honey; apple juice; spicy hops; light bitter grassy hops; caramel and toffee; a really great blend

m: syrupy and lightly cloying but enough carb to keepit from getting to be to much

d: very flavorful; a great blend in an amber lager

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

12 oz. bottle with freshness date clearly stamped on bottle. The side of the bottle states this is a Gold Medal Winner at the Word Beer Championships as well as a blurb about Eliot Ness.

This lager poured a clear, beautiful reddish amber with a foamy off-white head that persists perfectly throughout the drinking experience.

A strong, malty sweetness as well as spicy hop aromas explode from the bottle.

The malty sweetness is evident immediately on the tongue followed by a hint of European hop flavor. True to the Vienna style, this one is all about the malt with enough hop flavor to keep everything in balance. There is a slight fruity sweetness that coats the tongue; very complex interplay of flavors, though I am not tasting the oak flavor some reviewers have.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation that leaves an almost syrupy (though never cloyingly so) feel and taste on the tongue.

This lager truly deserves the gold medal: no hype here. The best Vienna lager I have tasted; you can sip on this substantial brew all evening.

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

Yet another wonderful beer from Great Lakes. This lager pours a rich amber color and is topped with a thick creamy tan head. Mild carbonation and minimal lacing, this beer simply looks smooth. The aroma primarily consists of sweet malts, I am not able to catch the faint hop nose that is promised on the bottle. The flavor is outstanding for this style. The sweet malts are dominant, the hops although minimal do make themselves present in the taste. Maybe Mr. Ness just needed to warm up a bit. Thick creamy mouthfeel with a smooth finish. Excellent

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

Dark red to brownish body with an off-white head that leaves some lacing along the glass.

Smell is very nice lots of sweet malts and some floral malts.

Lots of malt in here, reminding me of caramel and molasses. Also and nice amount of hop bitterness. A well-carbonated mouthfeel, appropriate to the style.

Very drinkable, something I could drink all night.

As lagers go, this one is phenomenal.

Photo of zeff80
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a orange/amber color with a small, off-white, foamy head. It was highly carbonated and left a little lacing.

S - It smelled of roasted caramel malt, citrus and some floral/grassy notes.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel malt, a nice biscuity taste and a spicy/bitter hop bite.

M - It was pretty crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - I'm not a huge fan of most lagers, but this was one that I didn't want to put down. It is very tasty and easy-drinking.

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

I just came across a few notes that I made from reviews at Great Lakes Brewing Company this winter. Here we go

Appearance: Reddish amber with a lasting off white head. There is quite a bit of lacing, but very few bubbles rising after the pour.

Aroma: Fresh floral hops with some sweet caramel and some toasty notes to compliment. Very slight earthy notes come out as it warms along with a slight cherry.

Taste: Some hops are the first thing you notice, and then there is a taste of the malt as being both toasty and a little nutty. There is a hint of dark malts before the bitterness takes over and leads into the finish.

Opinion: This is a pretty good with no noticeable flaws. A lot like a Sam Adams Boston Lager being a hop-led Amber Lager. I think that the flavor is more balanced with this one. This is a pretty nice beer and I think that I would drink it again.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,675 ratings.