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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,557 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,557
Reviews: 928
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 187
Gots: 218 | 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: 2,557 | Reviews: 928 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bierguy5
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber/reddish color. Thick foamy off-white head. Good retention and lace all about on the glass as I finished. Big rich toasted malt aroma, slightly herbal. Good chewy toasty malt flavor, along with some caramel malt flavors. Slightly sweet in the finish. Very clean flavors, balanced by just a good touch of herbal hops with slight bitterness. Light to medium body, good amount of carbonation. This is top-notch for a vienna lager. Another solid winner from GLBC.

Bierguy5, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of BarrelBrother
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful brew and another winner from Great Lakes Brewing Co. I was already a huge fan of their Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and tried Eliot Ness because I really liked Bell's Amber Lager. Wow, what a tasty treat, but I now have come to expect excellence from Great Lakes.

Appearence: Wonderfully ruby and quite clear. An Amber Gem.
Smell: Very pleasant, with a carmel overtone. Faint hop aroma.
Taste: Mmmm..slight sweetness with a toffee finish. More please..
Mouthfeel: Smooth, velvet like. Crisp & clean after taste.
Drinkability: Well, this is a fine brew that sits easy with spicy food and certainly can be a session beer for me! Lots of character in this brew and that is what GLB seems to do so well in all their offerings. Bravo!

BarrelBrother, Feb 19, 2005
Photo of FenwaySquid
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle with a drink by date on it.

Appearance: Reddish brown, with a nice head that dissipates to a lace that holds for the remainder of the beer.

Smell: Sweet and malty

Taste: Toasty malt flavor, a little bitter but not too bad.

Overall: An excellent brew. I wish I lived closer to Ohio so I could enjoy it more often.

FenwaySquid, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of BeerFink
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice burnt umber color with a creamy two fingers of head. Excellent head retention down to the last with some good lacing. Great estery aroma, with some caramel and roasted scents coming up as well. Slightly sharp up front going into a nice toasted flavor. The hops balance this well, but do not overpower. It stays smooth the whole way through. It finishes dry with little aftertaste.

BeerFink, Jan 29, 2005
Photo of foXXtail
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Eliot Ness the man is most famous for his pursuit of Al Capone. Legend has it that he is responsible for the bullet holes still present in the brew house today. Though I doubt it will ever run for mayor of Cleveland, this beer should be most noted for its achievement of a terrific hop/malt balance.

It pours a gorgeous deep red amber with a generous ivory white head. The smell is a sweet malty aroma without a hint of bitterness, though that may be slightly misleading. The flavor is a perfect balance of caramel malt and earthy hops. At 35 IBU, it’s certainly not an aggressively hopped brew. The experience finishes with a bittersweet chocolate espresso aftertaste.

foXXtail, Jan 28, 2005
Photo of heidelbeerg
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber copper color with a good two finger head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. The smell is good but very subtle. Mostly sweet malts. The taste is absolutely wonderful. Malty sweet with a little more hop flavor than I was expecting, but it worked very nicely. Very tasty and easy to drink. The hop bitterness along with the carbonation makes this beer feel alive in the mouth. I really enjoyed this.

heidelbeerg, Jan 15, 2005
Photo of RBorsato
4.97/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A bit hazy copper/light brown color with a full tan head and nice carbonation that keeps the head present and leaves some lace. Nice biscuit and toast malt aroma with light hops noticeable. Toasty biscuit malt flavor with nice balance. Medium bodied and creamy.

The only negative I found was that it was not as clear as it should be for the style ... a nit.

Per G.L. website: 35 IBU. American Two-row and Belgian Munich, Caravienne and Caramunich malts, and Hallertau hops.

Enjoy By: 04/30/04
Tasted: 01/11/05

RBorsato, Jan 12, 2005
Photo of aquilontendants
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought at Flannegan's Liquor in Oconomowoc, WI. Served cold in pint glass.
Poured a nice thick 2 finger head and smelled faintly of hop aroma, with more malt and caramel coming through. Head is tan. The lager's color is deep amber.
Taste quite bitter compared to other vienna lagers I have tried, but the taste is not at all bad. If someone told me it was an ale I would almost believe them, besides the fact that it tastes so good cold. Elliot Ness provides a good malt flavor though and the alcohol content works well with the beer. Slightly sweet toasted notes come in through the finish. I don't know if it's just me but the bittering hops could be toned down just a hair, and everything else left the same.
The body of this beer is medium-full. The carbonation is tingly, and makes the beer quite thirst-quenshing, for me at least. Having the beer less carbonated would not make the beer taste any worse.
Overall I enjoy this lager , dispite the slight hop bitterness overwhelming the malty flavor and body.

aquilontendants, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of Morris729
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color with a tall and creamy tan head that slowly gives way to a nice lace. Nose is roasted malts and grains with some underlying notes of chocolaty cocoa. Fairly full-bodied with a slightly chewy texture. Taste begins with sweet malts with notes of dark caramel and toffee followed by a bit of bread dough and a hint of roasted pecans giving way to some mildly acidic hops towards the finish to help round out the maltiness. A definite winner.

Morris729, Jan 01, 2005
Photo of Tballz420
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew has a clear, dark amber colored body, with a big khaki foam head. The scent is clean, lagered sweet malts. Tastewise, mainly clean vienna malts, caramel with bits of chocolate. A nice bitter hop flavor tries to dominate. Nice smooth mouth. This is about as good as it gets for this style.

Tballz420, Dec 21, 2004
Photo of twelvsies
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This amber lager was quite sturdy. A nice brownish reddish amber color, with a nice bit of tan head that rests on top and retains itself pretty far down the beer. Lacing on a lager? I'm impressed. Smells of light but sweet toasted malts and yeast. Taste is very floral and well balanced with the malts and the hops teaming up to create a nice smooth and sweet boquet of goodness. Nice and wheaty too. Great smooth medium mouthfeel and a pleasure to drink. A great session beer in fact, but get the sampler if available because the other beers are pretty awesome too.

twelvsies, Dec 18, 2004
Photo of Maestro
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was quite impressed with this little guy. A nice amber lager with lots of character. The beer has a nice head that doesn't last long but leaves a nice lacing. The smell is a little off...some kind of vegetable in the nose. The taste is great. Lots of biscuit-type tastes in the malt profile. Hops are good...they seem to mask a bit of a smoky taste in this lager. Moving to the middle I can detect some raisin and fruitcake flavors. Almost reminiscent of a barleywine. This is an amazing Amber Lager. Check it out, y'all!

Maestro, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of jdhilt
3.13/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a two-fingered white head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Hoppy nose. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Starts with a mix of hops and malt with the hops dominating, some sweetness, finish is clean and hoppy with some bitter after taste. $1.49 for a 12oz bottle from Liquor Barn Lexington, KY.

jdhilt, Dec 02, 2004
Photo of redmosquito
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear reddish amber in color, with a good white head that left some lace. The aroma is malt, reminiscent of pistachios, and spicey yeast similar to a bock, with a light floral hop fragrance. Taste is smooth toasted and nutty malt with some bitterness, this beer is clean and crisp. There is a nice balance of body and carbonation. A perfect beer for drinking all evening.

redmosquito, Nov 26, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass clear amber with a yellow head that was tall, frothy and coated the glass as it fell and before the first sip was taken. The appearance on this one is the whole enchilada.

The aroma was low with only a slight Vienna malt aroma a faint caramel aroma and a very slight hop presence.

The flavor was Vienna malt, but the bittering was a bit overdone for a Vienna. The bitterness overshadowed the malt and dried out the flavor. The bitterness was also just a slight bit harsh, but the sensation was not quite astringent. Caramel flavors presented themselves as the beer warmed.

The finish was dry with lasting bittering that continued to dry out the beer. The body was medium.

12 ounce bottle. I expected more from this beer, the appearance was killer, but the flavor was not quite there.

GCBrewingCo, Nov 02, 2004
Photo of maxpower
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy bright reddish-copper color with a nice light tan head that last, leaves great lacing in my glass. Toasted nut and brown sugar aromas, nutty caramel flavors, medium bodied with a full and creamy mouthfeel, perfect carbonation, finishes clean with some sweetness. I believe this is the best amber lager I have ever had.

maxpower, Oct 22, 2004
Photo of Skidz
3.15/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out dark orange brown and sits dark reddish-brown in the glass with a small off-white head.

Smells of brown sugar, sweet malts with a light backing of spicy/herbal hops. Meh.

Flavor is malty with light hoppiness. Some fruity esters, apples mainly. Kind of bland. Hopping again, herbal and just enough to get by.

Crisp, medium body with sharp stickling carbonation. A decent beer and would be easy to drink with any good reason.

Skidz, Oct 21, 2004
Photo of Dithyramb
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was my second beer of the day and only my fourth try at the Great Lakes franchise. I was looking for a beer hearty enough to stand up to bratwursts, cabbage, and perogies, but not hearty enough to muscle in on the flavors. Given I was stuck with driving, I couldn’t try the high-test Belgium triple or the Xmas beers on tap, so our very nice waitress suggested the Eliot Ness.
Presented in a normal pint glass with a deep amber red color and light tan head. It has a very fragrant malt aroma that was both musky and sweet.
This is a medium hearty beer that starts with a deep malt presence. I tasted both cherries and nuts.
The beer finishes with the light hops. It was crisp and clear after a slight wave of acidity. Again, like everything I’ve tasted from these guys, it was well worth a few and very well done.

Dithyramb, Oct 14, 2004
Photo of pootz
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2 inch deep sand colored sticky cap after a hard pour. Beautiful deep copper-red hue. Nose is of toffee-caramel sweet graininess, slight wisps of spicy-mustiness. Nice substantial chewy malt delivery up front...silky mouth feel...malt sweetness is kept in tow with woody, rustic hop departure leaving a light toasty- toffee and fresh cut maple impression. Finish is moderate with the hops coming forward and leaving a musty sweet toasty taste. Damn fine rendition of the Vienna style....I wish this was available in Ontario, It would be my favorite Fall quaff.

pootz, Oct 11, 2004
Photo of Crosling
3.25/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Deep Red.

Moderately aromatic with notes of toasted and caramel malts, slight spice and apples.

Solidly crafted, nice malt body, apples and caramel with toasted malt and berries.

Another well crafted brew from Great Lakes. It wasn't quite what I was expecting but very good nonetheless.

Crosling, Sep 27, 2004
Photo of skybluewater
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmm, I thought I bought a sixer of Edmund Fitzgerald. How'd this one get in there? Anyway....

Bottle says "Jul 9, 04"-Oops! Pours an orangish-amber color. Nice foamy head that leaves a little lace. I'm not crazy about the smell, but it's not obtrusive. Taste is all caramelly malt-very nice and warming on a cold rainy night-with a bit of hops that provides some balance. (This one actually tastes a little like Rogue's Dead Guy, although I like that one better.)

Even though I'm not an amber lager (or ale) type of guy, this one is pretty darn good (glad I have another bottle), and the fact that it's past due doesn't seem to have affected the taste (but maybe the smell). If only it was available locally...

skybluewater, Sep 17, 2004
Photo of crookedhalo
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle dated best before 9/20/2004. Pours a clear reddish amber with big beige head. Husky grain aromas and a fair dosage of grassy hops. Big Vienna malt taste that is biscuity, bold and aggressive; astringency from the malt complements the botanical finish of the hops. Toasty as opposed to roasty in the malt. Decent carbonation keeps it burpy and drinkable. A mighty fine lager. We have a lot of Yuengling drinkers here in Western PA, and I always suggest this as a better, heartier alternative to those that are adventurous enough to try out a different "amber lager".

crookedhalo, Sep 08, 2004
Photo of masterbruewer
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured amber with a thick tan head that faded slowly. Steady light carbonation and solid lacing.

The smell was malty and sweet.

The taste was creamy smooth malt with a light hop bite. It was a simple taste profile, but very well done and well balanced.

The mouthfeel was smooth and light with a slight hop bite and light carbonation.

Above average drinkability. Another solid effort from Great Lakes.

masterbruewer, Sep 06, 2004
Photo of CSquared
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Appearance: Clear amber pour with a very nice off-white head. The head fades, but stays the along for the ride. Amazing lacing too.

Aroma: Not a huge aroma, but what is there is quite nice. Roasted malts and toffee come to mind with some sweetness as well

Taste/Mouthfeel: Slightly sweet, roasted malts and slight caramel up front, turns to a wonderful light hoppiness I wasn't expecting. Well balanced beer, with a medium body and slow dry finish.

Drinkability: Very drinkable beer for the style. Vienna Lagers can sometimes get a bit too malty or toffee sweet for me, but the hop character balances this nicely and would have be coming back for more.

CSquared, Aug 30, 2004
Photo of inebrius
3.1/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've held off buying Eliot Ness for a long time because I was under the assumption that it would be a little too sweet for my tastes.


Since when should a Vienna lager reek of citrus pith and fir trees? It's dry, prickly and more of a chore to drink than I would want or expect from a "malty" beer. Perhaps I've been spoiled by a few too many good lagers lately, but I couldn't see this beer holding up against more balanced versions of related styles.

inebrius, Aug 28, 2004
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,557 ratings.