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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Educational use only; do not reuse.

985 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 985
Hads: 2,990
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 259
Gots: 513 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Vienna Lager |  6.10% 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Eliot Ness Alström Bros
Reviews: 985 | Hads: 2,990
Photo of chuckpalka
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle a medium to dark brass color with an off white nice head. Smells of bread grains. Taste is a nice combo of sweet at first then quickly a slight bite of hops and then quickly to a dry finish. Kept a very thin head throughout with low carbonation and slight lacing. A buttery mouth feel and with just that slight bitterness. Goes down nice. At 6.2 % it's a lot higher than Sam Adams Lager and Abita Amber which are my other two favorites in this style. Very Good

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Photo of ARoman
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

*transferred from previous notes - 1/2/2014*
12oz bottle poured into an English Tulip pint glass. Buttery caramel, and fruit are the first aromatic impressions that struck me - a faint berry and/or orange citrus aroma. This gives way to a slight dampness / mildewy smell as the head recedes, but the buttery notes are present and eventually turn to a baked cookie smell. There’s also a faint roasted grain in there too. The head is a creamy, slightly yellow/brown shade, a hearty amount of which remains throughout the drink, and it leaves an abundant lacing along the glass. The head sits atop a very clear orange-brown ("deep amber" I suppose) beer. It’s mostly a sweet beer, but a mellow sweet at that.. It has some spiciness to it too - root beer comes to mind as there’s maybe anise or sarsaparilla notes to it, as well as perhaps some molasses? There’s some light roasted bitterness with an ever so slight hoppy kick too, but the hops only appear at the finish. It’s a astringent too. It’s a medium bodied beer with a decent amount of carbonation to it - although it goes down smooth. There’s a roasted flavor that sticks around shortly, but it’s a mostly clean finish. The hops also contribute a slight grassy coating of the mouth, but, again, it doesn’t stick around long. As it warms up, the root beer flavoring disappears and is replaced by maple syrup and butter (pancakes came to mind) with some slight burnt toast hints.

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Photo of tom10101
2.41/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Bottle (12 oz). From Brian, thanks.

Appearance: Muddy reddish-amber with a small ring of off-white foam and little to no lacing.

Aroma: Really metallic at first, it then settles a bit and there’s some citrus and earthy presence.

Taste: Slightly sweet with mineral and earthy presence, toasted malt and a strong metallic presence.

Palate: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Earthy and metallic finish.

Overall: Not really good and definitely "off". Considering the other ratings, I think I got either a bad or an old bottle. I wasn’t able to finish a third of the bottle.

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Photo of Bone53
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Spot on Amber Lager look. Pours a beautiful amber red color with a fingers worth of light beige head

Smell: Sweet (caramel, toffee) and bready malts that balance great with the noble hops

Taste: Sweet bready malts upfront with hops on the finish

Mouthfeel: Pretty full bodied for a lager yet goes down amazingly smooth with a slight bitter finish. Very refreshing

Overall: Iv said it before and ill say it again. Great Lakes makes some of the best lagers i have had from this country. I think a lot craft beer enthusiasts get lost in the double and imperial beers and cant appreciate a well crafted lager. For what this is, its pretty amazing and the benchmark for an amber lager in my opinion. Great balance between malts and hops, yet light enough so you know its a lager. Along with Dortmunder Gold, this is my go to lawn mowing, bbq lager of choice. That's all folks

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.74/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle best by 11/20/2014. Threshold beer glass. Reviewed 10/18/14. Re-reviewed 6-17-15.

Appearance: Deep crimson-copper with a 1/4 inch tan/sandy head and good lacing; retains a thin skim. (retention was significant, lacing excellent)

Aroma: Sweet, slight roast, noble hop and lots of well-toasted Munich malt.

Taste: Sweet on arrival, then dries immediately. Robust, malty mid-palate. Dry, toasty, bitter, clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Firmly mid-weight; ample carbonation.

Overall: I remember why I fell in love with this beer - my first microbrew back in 2002. Perfectly satisfying interplay between malt and hops with a slight tilt toward malt. It's a solid, reliable favorite that I will return to again and again.

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Photo of kgammell1
3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great example of what an amber lager should be like! Slightly hopped, and with some pleasant spicy overtones, it almost makes driving to West Virginia (where I got it) worth it! Nice head as well despite a lousy poor on my part. Good stuff here!

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Photo of CIBoy10
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

By far the most complex Vienna-style I've ever encountered. Points for uniqueness. Heavy biscuit on the front leads to a surprising floral-esque finish. Quite boozy for the style at 6.2% ABV - and it can be felt as the beer is much heavier than say Boston Lager. As far as this style goes, I wish this one was lightened up a little bit. All in all it is a fantastic unique beer. Cheers!

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Photo of sdface
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

It's been a while since I've had the Eliot Ness as I have been in the bubble of IPAs and DIPAs for some time and all I can say is that this beer put a huge smile on my face and delighted my taste buds. This is sweet and candied and has a super nice perfume like finish...which is amazing! I forgot how good this beer is and how nice it is to step out of the IPA haze and appreciate a style that is different but equally satisfying. This is more malty and is not very bitter. A very delicious beer that I will be drinking more of!

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Photo of Jeffrey-Pulver
4.79/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My first Bee, and a beer that I will never forget. A strong dark taste, very special. I could see this being off setting for light beer drinkers, but if you want a full on dark beer look no further.

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Photo of Roguer
3.69/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly dark amber brew, reddish-brown, very clear. Topped with an off-white, almost beige head. Decent size and retention. OK lacing.

Traditional aroma: slightly sweet, with notes of toffee, caramel, and a touch of fruit - banana and figs. Rather strong.

Flavor follows: bready malt, dry spices and fruit, prunes, caramel, and toffee. Lots of bread on the finish.

Slick and somewhat dry mouthfeel. Active.

This is a solid, very flavorful lager. I don't particularly like the mouthfeel, and it comes across a little dry on the flavor, as well, but it's a good brew to pair with food.

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Photo of gangstafaceclay
4.54/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber red with a decent white foamy head.

In the smell you get a good amount of Carmel sweetness and some spices.

For the taste you get Carmel/toffee sweetness, a good amount of toasted nuts, some subtle earthy hops, spices, and breadiness.

For the mouthfeel it's medium bodied, clean crisp finish with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall this is a fantastic lager by Great Lakes..this beer definitely doesn't lack on flavor and is one you can drink and not get tired of. I'll definitely be pickin this up more often

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Photo of justintcoons
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Amber with 1 finger of white head. Moderate carbonation with good clarity.

Caramel, nougat, bread, and brown sugar.

Caramel, nougat, slightly dried biscuit, and a touch of candy sugar. A hint of earthy, leafy hop bitterness along with brown sugar and a slight nuttiness.

Medium bodied, crisp, clean, and refreshing.

Clean, refreshing, and flavorful. A well done Amber Lager.

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Photo of Jgoth34
4.93/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: A dark amber, clear with solid head. Great looking lager.
Smell: Very clean, sweet smell. I get a hint of toffee.
Taste: You get the sweetness at first like caramel or toffee. Then you get hit with a nutty flavor. Solid taste.
Feel: Very warm yet light, could definitely have a few of these
Overall: A fantastic beer, looking to find more by this brewing company.

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Photo of jgebauer110
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rich, clear dark amber color. Solid head retained throughout. Excellent rich malt flavor with just the right amount of hoppy tang. An excellent lager, with the Dortmunder Gold a very close runner up!

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a caramel amber color.

Overall: A little bit sweet at first, with caramel and toffee notes, hint of nut flavor. Solid and smooth feel to it. Just a really good brew.

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Photo of wattoclone
3.36/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Malty sweet with caramel after the initial assault of grapefruit hops which is uncharacteristic of the German version. The hop settles down as the caramel malt and sweetness predominate. Perhaps this should be a new style: "Americanized Vienna Lager". There is also a bitter hop note in the finish but overall an excellent example of the style. As a fan of Negra Modelo and Dos Equis I had to try this based on the glowing reviews here at BA.

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Photo of Vixie
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a really nice red/amber color with a bit of an off white head that dissipates fairly quickly, leaving some lacing across the top. Really nice looking beer.

Smell is a bit malty with some nuttiness, also a bit of caramel and toffee.

Bit sweet up front, caramel and toffee notes, hint of nutty. There's a bit of a hop bite at the finish to keep things in check and keep it from getting too sweet.

Solid and smooth feel to it, I have had bigger beers that felt less full than this one.

Definitely a very flavorful beer. There's a lot to like here, easily one of the best lagers I have ever tried. Another great beer from Great Lakes.

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Photo of PGD120
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass

Appearance: pours a caramel amber color. Translucent, with lots of carbonation bubbles that dissipate after about a minute . Big 3 finger off shit head

Smell: nutty, caramel, slight piny hop smell, and a distinct lager smell.

Taste: first it's nutty but then you pick up some caramel and brown sugar type sweetness. Defonitlly malty at first but goes to a nice sweet piny hop aftertaste.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with some light carbonation.

Overall: just an awesome example of what an American brewed Vienna lager can be. It's very refreshing but still complex and refeshing. You have no idea it's over a 6abv drinking it. It's follows German purity law and still has great flavor and great refeshment. Just a really good brew.

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Photo of DaneBramage
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark red/amber in color, caramel/nut/malt flavor. Mild bite aftertaste but not offensive at all. Very smooth and drinkable, goes well with meat and potatoes or just some potato chips.

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Photo of timontheroad
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a deep reddish brown clear color, nice one finger head with nice lacing and retention.
Smell: Sweet malty aroma up front, with some slight piney hop notes, also a bit of caramel and toffee.
Taste: Flavor is toasty sweet malt, with some nice caramel presence and some nice hop bitterness in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a nice carbonation bite.
Overall: Quite a nice beer, reminds me a bit of a good German lager. Well done, Great Lakes!

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Photo of tillmac62
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

BBD 2/16/15. Pours a clear amber with a lovely rich dark ruby cast. Excellent head volume, World Class lacing and excellent retention.

Nice light nose of toffee with caramel malt notes over subtle noble hops with a touch of spice.

Heavy medium body with a creamy texture. Slightly above normal carbonation with a touch of effervescence in the middle and a nice burst in the finish.

The World Class flavor profile is intense, complex and a masterpiece in balance. It begins with creamy blend of toffee and caramel against a slight sweetness that has a cracker character. In the middle, a nice noble hop flavor emerges over a mild bitterness. Against a fading bitterness, a nice spicy hop character emerges that is a bit tart, a bit clove like and has a pepper aspect - outstanding. The finish is a bit dry, but also has a sweet biscuit component. A slightly tart note lingers for a bit over a receding caramel and biscuit sweetness leaving the tongue with a slight pucker.

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Photo of 2beerdogs
4.46/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big UPS and Maximum Respect to @WesMantooth for this true gem!
Recieved in the NBS BIF #1

Beautiful amber hue, one finger of frothy oatmeal colored foam. Wow, clean malty sweet with a hint of nuttiness on the nose.
Kinda sweet for an Amber, but in an OH SO RIGHT way. And then comes the nuttiness. Incredible! We agree, this would be an awesome beer to have available regularly.
The finish is much the same. Very consistent through and through.
Overall, I would make this a regular in my fridge to offer to any and all! And I would score points with the wife too. ISO!!!

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Photo of Mikus
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep reddish brown hue, very little head, lots of bubbles throughout. Slightly fruity, slightly spicy hop presence on nose... clean malt profile, slightly bready. Crisp and clean with some nice bite (bit of rye?)...Smooth flavors overall. Malt forward yet nicely balanced. Bit of grassy hop on the finish. Light to medium viscosity, nice bready aftertaste (light). Excellent lager (and I'm not crazy about lager). Great Lakes keeping it classy.

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Photo of taters21
4.31/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a nice ruby reddish amber color with a half finger white head, low retention.
Smell: Piney and citrusy hops, sweet malt
Taste: Citrus, tart cherry, with a biscuit dry finish
Feel: About you standard ale feel, but somewhat heavier more towards a creamy mouthfeel, which is unexpected but quite welcome
Overall: Crisp, clean, well balanced, with a nice mouthfeel

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Photo of Jonoesh5
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looks beautiful with a deep amber body and tan head. No suspended yeast or floaties makes for a very polished look. Scent is in the background, nothing pronounced other than a malt blend. Taste begins with mostly malts, then gives way to hops. Notes of red apple were also present. Mouthfeel is soapy and carbonated with significant, and a surprising amount of alcohol warmth for a 6.2% ABV lager. Overall, a solid anytime beer. Great first impression with Great Lakes!

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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 985 ratings.