Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

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968 Reviews

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Reviews: 968
Hads: 2,895
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.27%
Wants: 241
Gots: 446 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 968 | Hads: 2,895
Photo of ANiklaus
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a regular pint glass. There are many things to say about this beer. Based on the reviews here I expected a fantastic beer that knocked my socks off, but was left with a beer that was satisfying, but lacked depth.

Appearance: Fantastic amber color with a finger of head that made me extremely excited to try it. The carbonation didn't stick to the glass as well as one should expect though.

Smell: Not much to go into detail about, grainy, malty, with hints of honey.

Taste: In all honesty there isn't too much flavor going on in this beer, it's good but nothing really makes it unique. Malt stands out the strongest.

Mouthfeel: This is probably the beer's strongest virtue. It is very refreshing and takes the heat out of a sultry day.

Overall: This beer is good and better than most in its category, but it really isn't anything too special. It's extremely drinkable but there are beers that ought to satisfy you just as much for much cheaper. Look for Grain Belt Nordeast if you want a similar experience for much less. (1,057 characters)

Photo of allengarvin
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass, this is a walnut-colored beer, which developed a good half-inch of persistent foam on top. Good malt aroma--rather bread-crusty with a caramel hint. I expected more malt in the taste--it's there, but the moderately high bitterness cuts into it a bit. Not much hop flavor, and it's very clean, yeast-wise. A quite drinkable beer, but the taste isn't all that interesting. (396 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer quickly. It is an amber color with good clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Toasted malts, caramel, toffee, lager yeast, and grassy hops.

Taste: Nice toffee and caramel sweetness with bready and chewy Vienna and toasted malts and some bitterness in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, malty, medium bodied, some bitterness, a little chewy, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Nice Vienna lager. Very comparable with Sam Adams with a bit more bitterness. (612 characters)

Photo of slym
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I picked up one of these in a sampler-pack. I am not too keen on lagers usually, but the darker the better, and this one pours up a nice copper colour. Not too much nose, mostly bread, no head nor lacing to speak of. Taste was nicely malty, but they must use different barley or do something to it, as it isn't quite like most other malt-flavours. Finishes crisp and not too sweet.

I'll buy this again, definitely! (415 characters)

Photo of BrewUSA
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes Brewing Elliot Ness pours a murky Amber/Brown...Virtually zero aroma~ Just a touch of yeast and bread on the nose~ mouthful is medium, not to heavy not to watery~Great Lakes balances this 6.2 ABV very well, good hop tones, good malt tones~ Tart, a bit of sweet fruit, a bit of bread, some honey, a touch of caramel, a touch of apple and a touch of citrus~ It's complex, yet no one flavor really is over barring~ clean crisp and smooth~ Just a good smooth beer built for quantity drinking~ Overall: 9.1 (513 characters)

Photo of Mojo
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle -> snifter

A - deep amber with a fluffy two finger head with no retention and small bits of lacing.

S - beautiful nose on this. Very earthy smell, grasses, and grain.

T - champion Vienna Lager. Well balanced between malt and hops.

M - medium thick, no aftertaste whatsoever, very clean.

O - excellent example of Vienna Lager. (349 characters)

Photo of Troy_P
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice lager. Light amber in color. Not much lacing. Good aroma. Smooth taste. Not slit of after taste. A quick drink. Would definitely have this one again. Not a specialty beer it a really nice daily drinker. 6.2 on the the alcohol level, so not a light weight.

This is a really nice beer for general drinking. That's not a bad thing. Good beer. I think I'll go have another. (376 characters)

Photo of redearth329
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured on the cold side, ~40 degrees (F) into a weissen glass

A - medium dark clear reddish bronze, evident carbonation, 1 finger of coarse light brown head that quickly settled into lace with minimal stickiness.

S - not a lot offered on the nose, but in line with the style. Bready malts form the backbone.

T - Tastes very good. Sweetness dominates in my opinion, with notes of toasted bread, caramel malts and a hint of a maple syrup sort of character. Not much in the way of hop notes.

M - creamy, medium to full bodied (think whole milk), light/fine carbonation, syrupy finish that coats the tongue, but my mind might be tricked by the maple notes I mentioned earlier.

O - Very tasty beer. I would pair it with some fried chicken and waffles. (751 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I guess I am in the minority here. I will try another one, as I have a few. I am not a naysayer in regard to lagers, I cut my teeth on lagers, because our options when I began drinking was not as diverse as it is today. Anyway, I was not overly crazy about this beer. The first sip was not all that great. Too malty for my taste anyway. But as I continued on, I am one to push on through no matter what, it got better, but for it to be a 100 beer I disagree.

Look: Its a beautiful reddish brown color. That is the best part of this beer!

Smell: Not a lot happening here, but it was alright, lagers don't have a lot of olfactory dominance like an IPA or something in that order.

Taste: Eh, it was't great at first but then it opened up some and was better. Maybe I am under appreciating this beer, but that is my take on it. I just don't like a lot of malt anymore. I lean toward beers that get flavor from hops or yeast.

Overall: It was fair, but for a similar style I would pick Yeungling all day over this, its half the price and you can session the hell out of them. To me a lager is meant to be consumed in quantity, maybe they were shooting for quality, but if I go to a lager, its a warm/hot day and I want to drink at least a six pack. This one I could not do that with. (1,284 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a ruby-tinged dark brown color with good clarity. The head is a finger high, and off-white in shade. Retention is a bit weak, but the head leaves behind nice rings of lacing on the glass. I think this one has a great look.

S: At first, it's very caramely and toasty - typical of a Vienna, but somehow more defined. At times, I'm even getting chocolaty hints. Let it open up just slightly, and it will develop that awesome fruit punch character all Great Lakes lagers seem to have (house character?) Everything about this seems more defined than other examples of the style, and that's what makes it so good.

T: I'm getting a goodly amount of toasted caramel to start, along with an undercurrent of brown sugar. The hops here are nicely complex - grassy, zesty, perfumey, and even fruity. Of course, the hop profile is very subtle, never overpowering the malt backbone. This is ridiculously enjoyable in almost all facets.

M: This is so crisp and refreshing it's unbelievable. It's not a bone dry beer in the least, but regardless, it's very drinkable. With just a hair more carbonation, the feel would be damn near perfect.

O: This beer has 'it' - it just seems to have more pizzazz than other examples of the style. Basically, it's the best Vienna I've ever had. The complexity of this really caught me off guard, too. I contemplated buying a 6-pack of this beer - and honestly, I really should have. This one bottle I got isn't enough. (1,483 characters)

Photo of delta490
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a deep clear amber with a thick creamy white head. The head has great retention and leaves great lacing. The aroma is rich and malty, with bread and burnt sugar. The taste is equally rich, with nice caramel malt flavors and just a hint of hops on the finish. It has a great mouthfeel and is all around a top notch amber lager. (333 characters)

Photo of Zetcha7x
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz single purchased from Wegman's in Collegeville, PA. Poured into a pilsner glass.

A-clear amber color. finger thick of white head. nice lacing left behind.

S-malty caramel. fresh bread/yeast. hint of hops.

T-lots of sweet malts. bread. caramel. herbal grassy taste.

M-light-medium bodied. very crisp. nice carbonation. high ABV gives a slight warming quality.

O-another solid lager from Great Lakes. this is very drinkable, looks great, smells great, and tastes great. I've been a big fan of GL's Dortmunder Gold, but this may surpass it. might have to have a few more before I make that official. either way a highly recommended amber lager. (651 characters)

Photo of Ohiolager
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Eliot Ness 6pk bottles $8.99(OH)

12 oz brown bottle poured into a pint glass. freshest taste date clearly marked.

pours a deep red amber color. with a two finger thick head that stays around for awhile. give way to some nice lacing.

i smell malted noble hops, followed by a caramel yeasty smell. smells more like a malted German pilsner than an american malted balanced lager.

the taste mirrors the smell. German noble hops, nicely malted with an amazing finish. it may be warm on the finish for some, but not for me.

the mouth feel is great. for an amber lager with noble hops it is in perfect balance.

overall this is a solid brew. noble hops and all. they are in there. malted to perfection. this brew is great but over shadowed by IPA's and and stouts. (763 characters)

Photo of alphagnome
3.59/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Hazy, rust colored body plays host to a decent stream of carbonation. A thin, tan ring around the top of the brew is only a little less than what was present upon pouring. No lacing to speak of.

Very malty with caramel being dominant and sharp. Yeast and fresh bread and trace notes of herbal hops. Light funk. Very clean and simple.

Much like the aroma, with a malty caramel backbone supporting light toffee notes and lemon zest. Finishes with quick, earthy hop bite.

Crisp and refreshing. Light to medium body with subtle carbonation. Sweet finish and aftertaste.

East to drink lager that won't offend anyone. An acceptable amount of character here, but I'd personally prefer a bit more vibrancy. Worth checking out if you're in the market for a session beer that won't weigh you down. (837 characters)

Photo of Uniobrew31
4.93/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark amber with a thick tan head. Good retention throughout and nice lacing. Hoppier than most lagers but not overbearing. Taste is awesome. bold malt profile balanced with an almost sour hop profile on the back end. Mouthfeel is perfectly smooth with a great aftertaste. Overall this is the best lager out there today. This beer is what Sam Adams is trying to be, Great beer! (376 characters)

Photo of thegodfather1076
4.49/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Awesome label in the Great Lakes tradition with eye-catching artwork/graphics. Label gives ABV info, a short back story on the beer, serving temp recommendation, web info, a bit of brewery info, states “Gold Medal Winner World Beer Championship”, Best by Date 10/3/13. Neck label has GLBC logo and gives a small description of the beer. 25th Anniversary Cap.

Appearance: An aggressive pour from its 12oz brown bottle into a 20oz dimpled beer mug led to a 3 finger white-ish tan head of a medium density resting atop a deep rust copper color beer that is crystal clear. Head retention was a solid 3min 16sec before fading to a thick coating and ring with excellent lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smells of toasted grain and malts with a bit of breadyness and a sweet toffee scent. Also has a slight bit of earthiness to it.

Flavor/Taste: Taste is very malty heavy with hints of toastyness and sweet toffee on the front end along with an earthy herbal hop bitterness that is the perfect counterpoint. Toastyness is prevalent throughout the mid point along with a bit of spicy nuttiness on the finish.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: Thick and on the full bodied side of medium bodied with a smooth and chewy mouthfeel. Perfect amount of carbonation. Very drinkable.

Overall/Comments: Another awesome brew from GLBC that is an excellent example of the style and a world class must try offering. Has an excellent flavor profile that is just complex enough to keep you coming back for more! Classified as a Vienna Lager @ 6.2% ABV. Consumed 8/13/2013. (1,569 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Perfectly clear ruby, light tan head, sparse sticky lacing. No visible carbonation.

S: Mixed malts, mild toffee sweetness, background breadiness. Fits the style perfectly, but somewhat plain.

T: Lots of malt providing ample sweetness, some bready undertones with caramel notes. Rich but, again, plain.

M: Smooth and somewhat velvety.

O: Great for the style, but not up my alley. Malt is needed, but doesn't do it for me as a lead role. (442 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a red ruby and amber color with a fluffy white head.

The aroma has toasted malt, some caramel and lightly toasted sugar sweetness, a bit of apple, strawberry and fruit esters. Grass. Floral.

The flavor follows with light caramel sweetness, lots of toasted bready malt, lots of herbal, a bit of grass and a gentle dry finish and slight bitterness. The highlight is the gentle balanced sweetness that balances with the herbal and piney hops.

A delicious lager. Tons of flavor for 6.2%. (513 characters)

Photo of mvanaskie13
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tall pint glass: color is amber, darker side, head is huge and tan in color, very fine bubbles. As its enjoyed there is very good lacing and great head retention.

Smell is very clean, mild notes, mostly vienna malt and clean, crisp, grassy hops. Very subtle.

Taste is also very clean and crisp. Malt presents nicely vienna malt creates biscuit, toast, bready flavors upfront, lighter sweetness and subtle fruitiness on the finish. Hop bitterness is noted, cleaner flavors, mostly grassy.

Mouthfeel is also very good: crisp presentation on the tongue, nice lingering flavors and good presence. Carbonation is just right to clean up any potential sweeter flavors.

Overall, a near perfect amber lager, clean crisp flavors, great mouthfeel and subtle aroma. (771 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

True deep amber with a sudsy top that lays low after a minute. Laces well.

Bright citrus hop notes seem bright overtop a solid toasty grain. Clean and well-lagered with no aromas of husk or must. Good ol' two-row.

Floral hops and pithy citrus also. Lemon, toast, Germanic malts, faint grapefruit, and perfumy notes. Killer flavor. Awesome Vienna Lager that I'll always take over Penn Pilsner.

Easy-swigging with a spicy carbonated finish. Mellowed body measures medium.

A class-of-its-own kind of beer. Very good. (517 characters)

Photo of NeedBeerHere
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours out translucent brown in color with a small white head that dissipates quickly. Smell is of sweet malt, definitely some caramel in there, really smell sweet. Taste is really nice. Taste is definitely sweet with everything in the nose but a SLIGHT bit of bitterness from the hops that I didn't notice in the nose. Mouthfeel is fairly thin as one would expect from a lager. Overall I really like this beer. Definitely one of the better lagers I have tasted in a long time. (476 characters)

Photo of JJKBeerLvr
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Deep amber, with nice thick and light colored head. The head lasted a very long time, and left a nice coating on the inside of the glass.

Smell: Pleasant, with a nice balance of hops bitterness in the aroma. There is some sweet malty aroma, which balances the hops for a nice aroma.

Taste: A nice mix of hops, malts, and herbs in the flavor, that make for an interesting and complex lager, but with a little bit of sweetness. There is a nice after-taste, that lasts for a while but not too long.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp, with a medium body.

Overall: This is an interesting and complex lager. I definitely prefer this over the brewery's Dortmunder Gold. (711 characters)

Photo of xabyss
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: A gorgeous copper amber with two fingers's worth of creamy white head that's a bit quick to dissipate but pretty nonetheless.

S: Toasty malts, bread, with some musty notes that are just a bit off putting.

T: Toasty malts and some sweetness up front. I feel like I"m drinking toast. Caramel, bright but subtle hops, a touch of honey in he depths. Quite a complex brew for the style. Tasty stuff!

M: Very smooth, medium bodied with subdued yet biting carbonation.

O: Not my favorite GLBC brew, but a great, solid lager. (524 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a bright, vibrant, rich, amber coloring with a slow flow of carbonation bubbling and a filmy, wispy, low profile, off-white head. Looks fantastic. Aromas of rich caramel and nut, blended and balanced very well. Roasted notes throughout. Flavors are roast forward, with nut and toffee all over the forward tongue. Subtle hops bitterness in the tail end of the palate, with an overall tangy sweet feel. The aftertaste is roasted and tangy sweet, with highlights of sugary caramel. Smooth, light, and slightly crisp body, with a slight cloying linger in an otherwise clean finish. Great beer. (642 characters)

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

I poured a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass

A: This beer has a deep clear brown amberish color with a light tan head which reduced to a thin layer of bubbles.
S: This beer has a great aroma with a nice malty smell that is rich, toasty, nutty, and caramel-like. There is some hop aroma but not too much. The characteristics are much like a light brown ale.
T: The flavor here is top of the line. It is crisp like a larger and so refreshing with a very smooth delicious malty start that carries through. This beer delivers flavors of roasted nutty biscuit and subtle hops. The finish for this beer is about a medium as the flavors turn very smoothly to a pleasant hop flavor that lingers only for a short time leaving you feeling refreshed.
M: Crisp, refreshing, and with light carbonation. Overall a dry beer with malty sweetness in all the right places.

Overall, they knocked this one out of the park. I would buy this any day of the week. This beer has the characteristics of a good English Brown Ale and combines them seamlessly with the light, refreshing crispness of a lager. Delicious.

Hallabrew (1,103 characters)

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 968 ratings.