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 Stonebreaker
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a deep amber, every pour is different, I must pour slower to get a feel how the foam will be.

Smell: Nothing particularly special here, retry tommorow.

Taste: The taste is nutty, delicious bitter from the hops very well balanced with burnt chocolate in the finish sweet, but not too sweet.

Mouthfeel: Top notch.

Drinkability: High on the drinkability scale, I picked a helluva time to get into good beers, but to think; I've had some of the best beers in the world on an unemployed wage. Beer is the working class' drink. But back to the point, I now think that, the 10$ price tag for this sixer is cheap, it's a change of mind state.

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

12oz. brown bottle, from a variety pack purchased at the Finneytown Krogers, poured into a Sam Adams pint. Best by 8/29/08

A: Pours a deep amber or bronze color. Good visibility. A nice head forms and holds tight. Good lacing throughout.

S: Very pleasant sweetness along with some malted grains. A touch of crisp hops.

T/M: Very tasty sweetness. A great blend of malts, bready, lightly husky and earthy with a nicely controlled sweetness throughout. Just enough hops to balance things out a bit and bring some brightness(?) to the drink. A zing of spiciness comes through right at the end. Body is medium with a rich and smooth feel.

D: The alcohol is a bit higher than most Vienna Lager's but not by too much and is completely hidden. Regardless of ABV, this is a great brew for any time of the year and probably an even better intro beer. Keep up the fantastic work, Great Lakes.

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

Nice light orange amber color & off white head. Sweet roasty caramel taste invites you to keep sipping right off the bat. Very smooth and drinkable for how sweet it is. Could be more bitter to balance the sweetness, but it has a certain cripsness that keeps the sweet in check. I can't always find this but usually scarf up a 6pack when I do see it. Please start marketing in WI. I would love to find this one on tap.

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

Eliot Ness pours in an amazingly clear ruby-amber with a perfectly proportioned lid of light brown.

Smells of lightly sweet fruit and caramel with a balance of herbal, tea-like, and earthy, spicy hops.

Taste has a light caramel-orange-cherry sweetness to go along with a toasted and Vienna malt base. Nice herbal and spicy, earthy hops finish it lightly bitter and dry. Most excellent medium body with super soft, chewy carbonation that goes down smooth.

Great Lakes Brewing Company does classicly awesome stuff. Best Vienna Lager that I've ever had.

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

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Thanks to Chad Ferris for this as an extra.

Pours a clear amber with 2 fingers of creamy off-white head. Nice retention with some great looking sticky lacing. The aroma is very malt dominant up front with notes of sweetness and toast. I'm picking some light floral hop notes and fruit in the back as well.

The taste is very similar with a thick malt base of sweetness and grain up front that is well balanced by notes of citrus and tingling earthy hops in the backend. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and a fairly crisp feel. Maybe just a touch of thickness to be found from the ABV.

I'm usually not a big fan of beers that gear towards the malty side but the balance and body of this really kept the drinkibility good for me. A very nice offering form Great Lakes.

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

A- clear dirty penny color with rising bubbles, but held up to incandescent light it's a bright fiery scarlet. pale beige head is thick like pancake batter masterfully created once again by they folks at GLBC. there's a real crochet look to the lace like a beer doily or something, easily making a series of concentric rings.

S- very malty and fruity hop aroma, toasted and caramel barley, well water, tart orange and red berries, tomato sauce, and worn leather. the acidic tartness of the tomato flavor tames down the sweetness of the malt and creates a nice balance to the aroma.

T- dry and nutty, deeply toasted cereal grains and herbal citric hops.. dried out wood, tobacco, and peanut skin. the cooked tomato flavor is in the aroma too and it lends a nice sourness to the whole to what otherwise would be a sweet toasty brew adding even more depth to this ale-ish lager. finish is woodsy and hoppy and decently bitter with the taste of both noble and american hops.

MF- medium carbonation briefly hides the beer's heaviness but as it goes down you realize how much malt is packed in there. it's got the crispness of a lager and the depth of an ale.

D- totally dude.

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

Received from Abankovich. Thank you!

Eliot Ness pours a clear ruby color and will change to rustic brown when held up to the light. A frothy small tan head sits upon this estically pleasing beer. Upon first smell I get tons of the malt scent hitting upfront with the earthy hops coming into play right behind it. I normally don't think of a beer style like this having this nice of a nose on it. As the beer warmed I got more scents of sweet caramel with toasted grains. The flavor profile is a perfect match when compared to the nose. The toasted grain comes through first with a bit of caramel sweetness to it as well and ends with a slight touch of hops in the finish. The mouthfeel is very smooth with great balance and the medium carbonation. The drinkable is very good on this offering and I would like to replace some IPA's in my rotation with this beer.

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

The last couple of times I had this I was disappointed but I used to really like this, way back when it was available in WV. So, I picked a couple of bottles up this weekend and was happy I did.

Bottle into pint glass, dark amber with good, tan head, some lacing but not much. 4.0

Smell, light malt, light hops, some minor fruit in the nose. Perhaps apple or apricot, dunno for sure. 4.0

Taste, solid, balanced lager. Crisp, hoppy start with rounder, fuller malt finish. 4.0

Mouthfeel, see above. Crisp to start, fuller at finish. 4.0

Drinkable. Could have had more than the two I bought. Several more, in fact. Both went down smooth. Enjoyable drinking experience. 4.0

Glad to experience this one again, in full glory. I guess the recent failed experiences came from bad kegs or something. I know Fatheads does a great job maintaining their stock, but perhaps the turnover isn't as high on EN as it is for the more exotic fare. Anyway, these fresh bottles were quite nice.

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

Shout out to dschuster03 for this extra!

A - Very clear dark copper color. Slightly yellow creamy head dissipates quickly, but never entirely leaves and leaves some lacing.

S - Brown sugar, lager yeast, and some dark fruit (plum?). Slightly sweet and very malty.

T - Follows the smell but with a little bread crust. The finish lingers well with a sweetness.

M - Medium-thin. Carbonation is a little lower than expected.Nice, but not exceptional.

D - I wish this was more readily available around here! This is a great beer.

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

A : Pours a nice dark amber color with good head and lacing

S : Lots of malt. Some bready and grain aromas also

T : Lots of grain and malt flavors. Just a touch of hop bitterness

M : Creamy and smooth

D : Easy to drink. Another fine beer from Great Lakes

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

12-oz bottle poured into pilsner glass. Thanks to adamharbaugh for the beer.

A = Clear dark reddish amber, small bone white head that quickly dissipates, lots of medium sized carbonation bubbles.

S = Earthy hops tones, fresh and toasted grains, fresh baked seven grain bread, light floral notes. Complex and enjoyable.

T = Tart and bitter on front of tongue, the fragrant earthy notes of noble hops in the smell are here in the taste along with a good blend of sweet malt combining to give caramel and bittersweet chocolate undertones at mid-palate with a return to good level of bitterness a good long finish.

M = Medium-light to medium bodied, good mouthcoating, carbonation maybe just slightly too much sting.

D = Very good drinkability. Flavorful, well-balanced, refreshing. A very nice Vienna lager.

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

Appearance: Clear burnt orange in color with a thick head of foam that leaves behind plenty of lace.

Smell: Toast with butter, earthy and grainy, slight sweetness.

Taste & mouthfeel: Caramel and toasted grain with some earthy undertones. Medium-bodied, pretty chewy for a lager but highly drinkable all the same. This one dries up quite a bit in the finish, leaving a mild hop bite on the tongue.

Notes: Thanks Mike, really enjoyed this one.

Photo of drxandy
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

had on tap at clara's in lansing, mi - this was their rotating "guest" tap for micros - clara's is like a train depot restaurant with a huge menu mainly around american foods, the battle creek location is way cooler, but anywho

served in a clara's branded pint, no head, thin (making me think they needed their lines cleaned.. which they probably did)

deep brown color, but very low carbonation (probably due to clara's)

smell was of malts, and a slight nuttiness, little alcohol tang

taste was creamy, fresher than from the bottle, yeasty, smooth ambery and slightly bitter hopping.

mouthfeel was oily, thick and vicious

a great brew from great lakes overall, but i wouldn't order again from clara's - bottle is way better in comparison

paired with clara's black n bleu burger (which was fantastic), they matched nicely as the black n bleu was cajun seasoned meat

Photo of Baileyuk
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours well and leaves a good head. Lacing is average at best but nothing too extreme. Color is a dark amber.

S - Malt, Malt, Yeast, Yeast, Malt. It is definately like being in a bakery. After I got used to this their was a faint fruity smell.

T- Okay taste, nothing special. Had a slight hop taste. There was a slight metallic taste but it was very weak and as it was not consistent I am putting this down to a tainted palate.

M - Smooth going down, good carbonation.

D - It would be easy to drink if I liked the taste. I would normally say I would not revisit it but may to see if by any chance I had an off bottle.

Photo of garcia2a
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice ruby color, clear with a light amount of carbonation that quickly dissipates. The beer rimmed about a half inch head that also dissipated rather quickly.

The bouquet has quite a bit of slightly roasted malt and slight yeast, I'd have to agree partly to the bread analogy. This translated into a decent taste that had a balance between the malt and yeast, leaving a nice light roasty backtaste.

Mouthfeel was good, again I think for this beer balance seems to be the way to think. This is a highly drinkable beer and one of a nice field of offerings from great lakes.

Photo of Pauly2X
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep ruby amber, one finger head.

S- Sweet caramel malts with hints of dried fruit and noble hops flutter in the background.

T- Sweet malt dominates lending way to a slight nuttyness in the middle making way for a nicely dry noble hop finish.

M- Slightly fizzy otherwise very smooth.

D- Shoulda bought the six pack.

I was honestly supprised by this one. This is a great example of the style. Plus, it has complexity yet it is very approachable.

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

A: Pours a nice dark amber color with a light white head

S: Good variety of malt smell, some bready, caramel and biscuit scents

T: Has a good malt flavor, caramel and toast.

M: Good carbonation, medium body

D: Really easy to drink several in a sitting.

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

Appearance: It pours a gorgeous dark amber color with just a touch of red in it. It's very clear. The head is a little off-white and about two fingers deep. It receded pretty quickly and left a light coat of lace lining the glass.

Smell: Frankly, this is its weakest feature. It's just too light to warrant a "4." It's a nice aroma to the extent you can dissect the smell. It features a nice caramel malt smell that's sweet and inviting. Hops are more lively than I expected, but still a little underwhelming. It does have a spicy element that elevates it above average and gives it some much needed depth in this department. Technically, it probably falls somewhere between and a 3 and a 3.5. Unfortunately I don't have that option and it's certainly closer to a 3.5.

Taste: This is clearly its strong suit. Caramel malts are sweet and give it an excellent base. The spicy element appears early on. It tastes a bit like a touch of clove and pepper, but it's tough to tell. Hops are excellent and bitter. They work extremely well with the malt flavor. It's well balanced, but in an interesting way. It's malty and sweet early on, but bitter and dry late. The hops definitely have a bite to them and the bitterness is not at all consumed by the malt base. Excellent.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: By my standards, this is an excellent "session" beer. It's light bodied, extremely crisp, and refreshing. Carbonation is great and it goes down so smooth and easy. At 6.2%, it's primed for mass consumption.

I've had this offering from Great Lakes numerous times and have just never gotten around to reviewing it. Each time it continues to impress. The only constructive criticism that I have is that it's too light on the nose. Other than that, it's a hell of a fine beer. My hat's off to Great Lakes....once again.

Photo of nrbw23
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a clear copper color with a nice amount of head that leaves nice thin amount of lacing down my glass.

S- Nice smells here. Sweet roasted malts, bready and some spicey hops. When I poured this it smelled like I just got done baking a loaf of bread.

T- Nice balance here between the malts and hops. Follows the nose here.

M- Medium body with good carbonation.

D- One of favorite Great Lakes. Easy to put these away.

Photo of JayQue
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear amber color with a medium size white head. Good head retention and lacing. OK smell, bready malts.

Nice crisp taste mostly malty, slightly sweet with a hint of floral hops at the end. Mouthfeel is not particularly rich but not watery either....light and crisp.

Drinkability is good. Tasty, light crisp balanced. A nice session beer.

Photo of tempest
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Cleveland-Hopkins airport

Appears dark amber with a thin white head. Very smooth lager. There a hint of vegetl DMS in the aroma with bready and light caramel malts. The flavor has a dry bread crust note and finishes with a mixture of balancing hops and juicy candy sweetness. This is so nice and sweet, it's almost like a sugar cookie with a touch of caramel.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at Stony River in Dublin, OH. The beer was dark orange color and clear, medium sized head. The smell was a bit like an ESB, kind of muted but included both malt and hops, more of the former. The taste was nice, toasted malts and a little nutty, just a bit of hoppiness in the aftertaste.

I've had this many times but never reviewed it, it's one of the reasons I love Great Lakes so much. Never a bad choice in any number of restaurants in OH.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The Untouchables? Poured a deep burnt amber color with some lighter highlights throughout. A good pour leaves an ample soft, white head. Ok retention that remained around the edge of the glass and limited lacing over time.

The nose is sweet with malty undertones. Mostly caramel but limited in its complexity, especially for style. Some sugary residual but smoother. No really yeasty undertones. No real hop aroma.

The taste is off on style, more of an amber. Some sweeter malt with more of a caramel flavor. No real Vienna flavors at all. Some grainy and light honey flavors. Some grassy finishing hops with a light earthy flavor as well. Some light spicy almost peppery finish. Very smooth with next to no yeasty/estery undertones.

The body feels light but still has a lot of sweetness. Although does not have that unattenuated feel more with an under balance of bittering hops. To me, not a Vienna. Maybe fermented cold but nice amber.

Photo of schroe58
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into typical pint glass

a- dark amber with thin head that disappears almost instantly but lacing stays till the end

s-sweet and malty with a little bit of hop, very very simple and nice, great balance, love it.

t-beautiful malt flavor with just the right amount of sweetness finished out with a good balance of very light hops

m- light carbonation and light smooth feel

d-this beer is my go to since i live about 1/2 hour from the great lakes brewery. the beer is an amazing balance of flavor, feel, and taste and it can be had for sub $10 for a six. the taste is extremely pleasant, sweet but not too sweet, just a great blend. straightforward beer that delivers great balance and taste. highly recommended for anyone that appreciates good beer. 6.2% abv so you can enjoy a few. very pleasant any day beer.

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

A_Pours a medium brown with hints of orange. What is that siena? The nice foamy head recedes a bit too quickly to a nice slick that floats to the end.

S_Despite the small head the beer produces a strong aroma. The malt is the dominant factor here with its' biscuit and sweet caramel. Some grassy hops are noteworthy in the background.

T_The hops appear up front here, grassy and slightly medicinal. The follow through is a nice sweet caramel and toffee malt. The whole of the matter is very well balanced. Slight hint of alcohol is the only detracting note.

M_On the thicker side for a lager with an above average carbonation.

D_This is a very nice lager, sweeter than Sam Adams or Brooklyn but well balanced. I would drink this a lot if it was around more often. Thanks to Pimpp for the sample.

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