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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

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2,716 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,716
Reviews: 950
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 210
Gots: 296 | 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: 2,716 | Reviews: 950 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bahumutx
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
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
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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
4.53/5  rDev +11%
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
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
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
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
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
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of Stonebreaker
4.19/5  rDev +2.7%
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
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
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
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
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
4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,716 ratings.