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Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,190 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2190
Reviews: 913
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%

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: 2,190 | Reviews: 913 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Jimmys


3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. best before 06/22/13.

A: very clear. bright copper body. head is slightly reddish white and frothy. retention is good. lacing is terrific.

S: just what I would expect from the appearance, lots of caramel in the nose. very sweet. not getting too much hop aroma, however this thing is getting towards the end of its shelf life.

T: a whole heck of a lot of caramel. cant tell if there is some minor oxidation or there is just a shitload of caramelization. sweet, but not cloying. finishes pretty clean.

M: a frothy carb on a medium body.

D: I remember this being slightly more hoppy and that probably has to do with freshness. while this brew is within its shelf-life, it has definitely lost a bit of hop aroma and bite. otherwise, pretty outstanding example of an American made Vienna lager.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2013 01:20:19 | More by Jimmys
Photo of kojevergas


4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard branded pressure cap acquired at a local bottle shop and served into a Uinta pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given current ratings, and to a lesser extent the brewery. 6.2% ABV confirmed. "Best served at 45 degrees F." Enjoy by 03/28/13. Oops. Didn't catch that at the bottle shop. Reviewing as an Amber even though it's currently classified as a Vienna lager; I trust the brewery over beeradvocate's often clunky ratings system.

Served cold, straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 2.5 finger light khaki colour head. Nice soft creamy complexion. Flocculent. Good frothiness. Good thickness. Good (~5 minute) retention. No bubble show.

Body colour is a clear translucent vibrant amber. No yeast particles are visible.

Great appearance all around. Spot-on for the style. Very inviting and appealing.

Sm: Hot damn those malty notes are fresh. Smells like the malt room of a brewery. Lovely German style amber malts. Light toasty malt character. Caramalts. Pleasant graininess. Lightly bready. Live yeast. Extremely inviting; I can't remember ever experiencing an aroma this fresh - and it's two months past its recommended enjoy by date. A fantastic aroma of moderate strength. I can't wait to try it. Near perfect for the style. Wow.

T: A well balanced seamless blend of the primary malts used; German amber malts, caramalts, toasty character. Hop character is light and floral, complementing the other flavours nicely. Full-bodied and tasty, with a refreshing finish. Lots of flavour for an amber. Damn, that's tasty. Excellent balance and good complexity. Fair subtlety to boot. Good creaminess.

Mf: Nicely creamy. Perfect coarseness and wetness, adequately coaxing out maximal depth of flavour whilst remaining refreshing. Good presence on the palate. Decent thickness; if I have any one criticism of this beer it's that it feels a bit too thin - a feature that becomes more noticeable as it warms. Nice full body. Clean and crisp. Very soft and welcoming. Complements the flavour profile excellently - even coming off feeling like it was custom-tailored to do so. Great execution.

Dr: Extremely drinkable and sessionable stuff. I'd definitely get this again and would buy it by the six-pack happily. Every beeradvocate needs to try this; they do so much with so little. Elegant simplicity is admirable here. An impressive gem from Great Lakes, and one I'm told has a good price point where it's distributed. Definitely amongst the best in the style. Wow.


Serving type: bottle

05-29-2013 03:50:22 | More by kojevergas
Photo of boilermakerbrew


4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep amber color that is strikingly red. Small, off-white colored head that reduces to a thin layer on the top rather quickly. Fairly good lacing for the small amount of head left on top of the body.

S- Huge caramel and semi-sweet malts right up front and dominating throughout. Brown sugar sweetness and a hint of molasses flavor towards the end of scent. Really kind of one dimensional, but very delicious smelling.

T- Just like the scent, except stronger. Less sweet than the scent, but still big caramel malt notes right up front. Some hops make a big appearance for an amber ale right after the caramel notes and provide a balancing bitterness. On the back end the hops persist a little and a slight tinge of dark fruits peak in with a little juiciness.

M- Crisp and dark in feel and flavor. Easy drinking lager that is slightly heavier in flavor profile, yet still quite refreshing.

Overall, a solid everyday brew. A little darker and heavier in flavor than most lagers of its type, but still a beer to drink regularly.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2013 01:56:42 | More by boilermakerbrew
Photo of TeamMathis

West Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Gorgeous, deep amber.
Smell: Sweet, slightly hoppy and floral, caramel and honey. Maple syrup.
Taste: Sweet, slightly hoppy and floral, caramel and honey. Maple syrup.
Mouthfeel: Excellent.

This brew absolutely blew me away. Normally lagers and and amber lagers are good, but never really exciting. This is it. The sweet, excellent smells are mirrored so well by the taste. It's been a long while since my expectations were surprised this much. In my opinion this is the best lager available. I will definitely get it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2013 05:06:16 | More by TeamMathis
Photo of BeerYoss


4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Very attractive dark amber color. Nice meaty looking head settles down slowly to a puffy film on the surface. Active carbonation. Great lacing all the way down.

Smell - Great smelling beer; Earthy with a honey sweetness

Taste - Delicious malt and grains up front and subtle hop coming in behind. Great honey throughout.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, the honey sweetness lingers in the mouth. The carbonation lightens things up a bit.

Overall - Really, one of my favorites go-to brews. Drinks so easy. I like the honey/sweetness because there is substance to it but it could be too much for some.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2013 00:42:25 | More by BeerYoss
Photo of mooseo


4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into pilsner glass.

A - Deep dark amber with a huge off white creamy head.

S - Sweet toasted malt, caramel, earthy hops, hints of grass and herbal spice.

T - A balanced blend of caramel, brown sugar, biscuit malts, and earthy, grassy hops. Finishes with a hint of bitterness and some graininess. Dark fruit and a pleasant nutty flavor come out as the beer warms.

M - Smooth, creamy, medium bodied. Crisp, mild carbonation, somewhat dry finish.

O - A very flavorful, balanced lager. Reminds me of a high quality version of Yuengling. Overall, it ranks as one of the best amber lagers I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2013 02:39:06 | More by mooseo
Photo of hopsputin


4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

* drinking almost 2 months past the enjoy by dat

a: dark amber/mahogeny. burnt caramel and a pale ruby red. 3 finger, white bubbly head

s: sweet caramel and sugar right away. this smells super clean yet also rich. hint of brown sugar, toasted barley and bread. has my mouth watering

t: clean and crisp sweet caramel malt and candy sugar followed by a faint toasted note. very smooth & mild hop bitterness after the sweet punch makes this real refreshing. kind of like in the aroma, its clean and rich at the same time. hint of pepper spice on backend

m: lighter side of medium

o: really nice for a Vienna Lager. its not overly complex, but the flavors smooth and well balanced. you know you're drinking a lager, but you don't mind

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2013 20:11:07 | More by hopsputin
Photo of larryi86


4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks you tommyguz for this extra!
12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A- A clear amber color with a two finger off-white head.

S- Toasted malts, sweet bready malts, touch of hops.

T- Nice malt sweetness balanced with nice spicy hop finish, not very bitter, but bitter enough. Getting some nuttiness along with toasted malts and bread.

M- Smooth, crisp, light to medium body.

O- I have not had many Vienna Lagers, but this is the best one I have had. Wish I could get this by me. Well balanced, flavor is not overpower, but it is not weak or watered down.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2013 18:53:03 | More by larryi86
Photo of Goosehunter75


3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a red rust color with a 1 1/2 finger tannish head with excellent retention. Moderate lacing

S - Very lightly scented beer. Smells of sweet malts and freshly baked breads

T - Very malty tastying with a hint of spice. Has a slightly bitter finish. Very refreshing lager

M - A medium bodied beer. Felt like it was low in carbonation. Felt almost creamy

O - Very nice lager. Much more flavor than I was expecting. The malt profile was very nice and well balanced. The hops was noticable on the finish.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2013 00:04:58 | More by Goosehunter75
Photo of Labeorphile


4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a flute glass. Small head, made up of large bubbles that quickly disappears with no lacing. Deep amber color with some reddish ting.

Nose is malty, grainy, and sweet. Very appealing and well balanced between be three.

Flavor follows nose. Full grain flavor with a nicely balanced maltiness. Sweet is more in the nose that the taste, but it is there. Real full flavor with a suitable mouth feel.

Overall a really good lager. I am more of an ale guy, but this one is really solid and may cause me to give more lagers a look.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2013 02:43:01 | More by Labeorphile
Photo of Thaddeus


3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber colored with an average off-white head.

Aroma & Taste: Average malt and toasty notes, with a thick full-mouth feel. Slight hop and herbal notes to it.

Overall I thought it was more similar in hoppiness to a light IPA, still had solid malt and toasty notes to it.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2013 13:32:31 | More by Thaddeus
Photo of CardiacNP


3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Elliot Ness lager from Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland OH

Aroma slight sweet malt and slight floral from Nobel hops

Appearance. Amber/red clear with a 2 finger head and nice lacing

Taste mild roasty/sweet caramel with a decent hop finish. Mild bitterness

Mouthfeel moderate combination crispy dry finish

Overall an ok american style lager more flavor and complextivty than mainstream american lagers. A solid beer -

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2013 01:52:16 | More by CardiacNP
Photo of armiakhe


2.75/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The visual appearance of this beer was a light brown or amber color. The smell of it was very rich and had a slightly malty smell to it. The taste was sour and rich with possibly a little bit of bitterness. This beer overall was just O.K. to me. It did have a very nice aroma to it especially right out of the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2013 19:40:06 | More by armiakhe
Photo of superspak


4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into lager glass, best before 3/4/2013. Pours slightly hazy orange copper color with a 1-2 finger dense cream colored head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with moderate streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, pear, apple, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, floral, and herbal earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance of malt and fruity notes with good complexity; good strength as well. Taste of caramel, pear, apple, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, floral, light pepper, and herbal earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, light fruit, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, floral, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a bit. Great balance of malt, hops, and fruity ester flavors; with a nice amount of robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and lightly creamy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost zero warming after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic Vienna lager! Great balance of malt and fruity ester flavors with good robustness; and very easy to drink. A highly enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 07:40:28 | More by superspak
Photo of Mister_Falcon


4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a gorgeous ruby-amber color with nice carbonation that resulted in a fluffy 1/2 inch head. Don't smell much that pops out in a good or bad way so I'll take that to mean this is gonna taste "safe" at very least. Nice, crisp, slightly malty, just a pinch bitter, understated. The beer is crisp, a touch watery and goes down easy leaving the touch just a little bitter after all is said and done. This one is really good if you are looking for something in the amber part of the spectrum. Can't imagine this every wearing on me.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2013 18:17:02 | More by Mister_Falcon
Photo of KFBR392


4.69/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Beautiful red amber color with very active carbonation. About a finger worth of head on the pour which formed a solid lacing on the outside of the glass throughout. Lacing drags down the glass with each drink.

Smell: Dry hops with a sweet smokey malt presence. The mixture of hops, malt, caramel, and sweet amber seem to mix together so well. The aroma jumps out of the glass and captivates the drinker.

Taste: A light hop front that yields to a wonderfully thick and complex malt body. The transition if flavors happens incredibly quickly and jumps through. Leafy greens blast through, some kale, cabbage, and celery. Many of the traditional touch points of a lager with so much more going on. A very light sweet caramel kiss sits on the palette and keeps coming in waves long after drinking.

Mouthfeel: A dry hops touch, with a medium bodied thickness. Refreshing combination.

Overall: I think this is one of the best beers being made in the United States. Complexity is off the charts. I love that I can get this beer at most places in my area. This is one of the beers I always recommend to those looking to have a great beer without having much beer knowledge. Simply fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2013 23:34:57 | More by KFBR392
Photo of MShirokov


2.26/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

I got this beer on-tap at the local bar yesterday based on the reviews, and expected a fantastic lager. At first I thought they gave me the wrong beer, but I double-checked and it was the right one.

It doesn't really taste like a lager to me, at least as far as the usual German lagers go. It tastes like.. well.. cardboard. My girlfriend said it after taking a sip, and I was amazed, because that same description was in my head the instant I tried it. It tastes like a combination of watered-down whiskey and cardboard. I hope something was wrong with the tap at that place, because it's hard to believe this is the beer that's getting such excellent reviews. The color seems to match though - a dark amber. So, it's definitely "unique" but I won't be drinking it again.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2013 04:20:51 | More by MShirokov
Photo of Gold

New York

5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been to Munich, Germany and Great Lakes is the next best thing in the U.S. for the greatest lager out there. Perfect, delicious lager and it follows the beer purity laws. This is high quality stuff right here. Highly recommended. The variety pack is a great place to start for Great Lakes wide array of excellent offerings.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2013 02:52:15 | More by Gold
Photo of lilmissbeer


4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I love this beer. Great Lakes is an awesome brewery, I love that they're actually trying to do something for the environment/be sustainable/etc. and are still making great beer. This is the best lager, hands down. All-around great, highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2013 23:09:46 | More by lilmissbeer
Photo of TheBrewo


4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This brew was served from the tap at MacGregor’s Grill and Tap Room in Canandaigua, NY. It arrived in a dimpled house mug, showing a bright reddish amber coloring. It held a one finger tall head of tight light brown bubbles, showing great retention. This left thick sheets and patterns of lacing. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared to be light. The aroma gave appropriately adjuncty grain, with significant contributions from pale malts and mild caramels. There were also notes of milky creaminess, big toasted breadiness, savory saltiness, red apple sugars, freshly picked strawberries, faint booziness, and solidly grassy hops. With warmth came more tinny metallics and straight bitterness of yeast. Our first impression was that there were great, fresh hops to blend, but the real show was in the spice and depth to the malts, and the other complex inclusions. The flavoring opened with apple sweetness, light milkiness, black pepper spice, coriander, toasted pale grain, and sweet nectary hop syrups. The middle came to peak with grassy, earthy, and sticky hops blending well with the toasty pale malts. To mix were clovey and medicinal phenols, and clean honey sweetness to top the balance. The end came with strong penicillin medicinals, plastic phenols, sweaty moldiness, lactics, depth of toasty (and almost roasty) pale malts. Hollow saltiness and cone hoppiness were the last notes to leave the palate. The aftertaste breathed of banana esters, grainy caramel breadiness, pale grain, light adjuncts, sweaty saltiness, musk, moldiness, mineral, and earthy and floral hop sweetness. The body was medium, and the carbonation was medium. There was big foam and cream on the sip, with nice slurp, smack, and finishing pop. The mouth was left cooled, with a sticky coating keeping it wet, and never really drying it. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank nicely.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the nice blending and balance throughout the flavoring, with emphasis on spice and phenols from front to back. This kept things fresh but deep, but made the hops work extra hard for the final mix. The soft slurp was nicely contributory to the experience. This beer stays nice to the style and is easy drinking, making it perfect for a relaxing night watching the game.

Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2013 19:20:26 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of RyFikes

New York

4.9/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance- Clear, dark amber color. Thick beige head.

Smell- Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, with nutty characters.

Taste- Caramel and toffee notes, little cinnamon and brown sugar. Hoppy sweet finish. Bitter coffee after taste, with a roasted nut quality.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation gives way to a lot of residual flavor. Full body flows really well from one flavor to the next.

Overall- Everything blends perfectly. Very well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2013 16:52:36 | More by RyFikes
Photo of barczar


4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with garnet highlights and a frothy one inch khaki head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of foamy lacing.

Sweet, nutty, bready, toasted caramel malt dominates the aroma. Melanoidin caramelization notes usher in buttery toffee scents. There's a hint of floral hops, but it's very subtle.

Flavor follows suit, but adds in some fruity character and a bit of bitter, lightly roasted malt dryness at the finish. Fairly sweet initially, the dark fruit dampens the sweetness, transitioning well into the finish. Toffee, toasted breadcrust, roasted pecans, and a touch of caramel sweetness form the backbone.

Body is moderate, with slightly higher carbonation than expected, and a fair amount if alcohol warmth.

Very malt dominant brew that has a good amount of sweetness, but maintains a good balance due to the roasty, dry finish. Well developed malt character. Fruitiness is slightly more than I prefer.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2013 02:02:39 | More by barczar
Photo of SportsandJorts


4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Type: On-tap pitcher
Glass: pint
From: Old Town in Ann Arbor
Price: ~$13 a pitcher

Appearance: deep amber color, with a nice white foamy head that fades to a lacing. nice clarity and pretty bubbly

Smell: spicy hops, sweet malts, earthyness

Taste: starts of with some sweet caramelly malts, balanced out by hops. some fruitiness and spicy hops. well balanced and complex

Mouthfeel: crisp and clean. refreshing.

Overall: Great Lakes does not mess around with their year round beers. This is another beer that is unbeatable for the price. I haven't had a lager that competes with this one lately. An easily sessional beer that is enjoyable won't break the wallet

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2013 16:17:49 | More by SportsandJorts
Photo of Anker13

District of Columbia

4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1/31/13 | Great Lakes Brewing Company | Eliot Ness | Draft

Appearance- Beautiful amber, really great color, wispy white head, brilliantly clear

Aroma- Super clean and caramel maltiness, slight earthy hoppiness, yeasty fruitiness, light citrus

Mouthfeel- moderate to light CO2, medium-light in body, slightly coating, easy going down

Taste- Crisp and clean, a really great session able beer. Biscuity, slight toffee and caramel, nice bitterness on the end, flavor lingers, juicy.

Residual- Sweet aftertaste, sticky, lingering

Overall- I'm a fan. As with most beers by Great Lakes, this is a high quality beer. Not too sweet for an amber, just enough bitterness to keep your attention

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2013 19:49:05 | More by Anker13
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great Lakes Elliot Ness

LOOK: Copper colored brew, perfectly clear. White soapy froth leaves plenty of bubbly lacing.

SMELL: Bready malts with minty, herbal hops. Light caramel, toffee and toasted malts.

TASTE: Caramel, rich bready malt profile, and solid earthy hop presence. Richly malty, as well as clean and refreshing.

FEEL: Mediun bodied, well carbonated, very smooth.

OVERALL: Another very solid offering from Great Lakes. A perfect lager for any occasion. I can picture this going just fine with baby back ribs and a loaded baked potato.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 21:17:33 | More by Stinkypuss
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,190 ratings.