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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.

2,195 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2195
Reviews: 914
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11%

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: 2,195 | Reviews: 914 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of PorterLambic


4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy orangish brown color. A long lasting, rocky, tan head floats atop and leaves behind a modicum of lace.
Smell is a well-balanced mixture of sweet, malt, hops, a wood-like note that brings oak to mind but isn't, a whiff of citrus, too.
Taste is malt, hops, a hint of alcohol, oak, some smoke. Good balance and better complexity than nearly any other lager save a schwarzbier.
Medium plus body, very light effervescence. Slightly warming late, a little drying as well. Good brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2013 22:13:11 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of Slatetank


4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I picked this bottle up at Wegman's enjoyed in a willybecker chilled.

The color is almost bronze with great clarity and thick pale cap with 2 fingers depth. The retention is good and lace sticks well. The smell is very malt-centric with a nice toasted grain aroma there is a mild yeast ester which offsets the sweetness of caramel in the nose. The feel is great with moderate carbonation level and balance of malt with some hops adding to the texture and semidry finish with very low alcohol presence.

The taste is great a good bready quality which has the toastiness of vienna malt with a slight flavor of caramel backing and the malt is balanced well by an herbal hop flavor. The sweetness is a little more noticeable than when I tried this on draft, but I didn't check the bottled on date either. I like this beer a lot it is perfect for a single beer to sip or for pairing with food a very good representation of the style with plenty of flavor.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2013 16:49:01 | More by Slatetank
Photo of oldirtycaffrey


3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown/mahogany color with a foamy off-white head that stays for a while. Slight amount of lacing is left behind. Sweet smell of malt, raisins, molasses -- really nice. Taste is also slightly sweet with a raisin aftertaste. Very robust and "thick," but still easy to drink. Could see this as a great Thanksgiving brew.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 15:10:02 | More by oldirtycaffrey
Photo of BEEER


4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice ruby red color with small light tan head and moderate, messy lacing. Aroma has strong maltiness with a bit of deep fruity, vinous notes. Flavor is all malts with a sweet finish. Mouthfeel is light and crisp. This is so refreshing and easy to drink- really great overall.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2013 23:10:46 | More by BEEER
Photo of jimmah120


4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle best by late october

really nice orange-ruby color, with a small off-white head that lasts. smell is a sweetened blend of barnyard malts, english smelling hops, and a hint fruity hops/yeast. taste is malty, sweet, with a good hopping that reminds me of SNPA. finish is creamy/smooth but still has a nice bite to it.

amazing beer here

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2013 07:58:28 | More by jimmah120
Photo of dowen17


4.31/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful amber color with a thick two finger head. Great retention.

On the nose is sweet malt. Lots of wheat and grain in the nose as well. No hop presence but I sense some caramel.

Taste mirrors the nose. More caramel in the taste than in the nose, though. Very sweet yet has a big grainy taste towards the end. Very sweet.

Mouthfeel is great. Medium bodied. Thick for a lager.

Very good beer. One of the few lagers I actually enjoy. Would definitely drink again.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2013 22:13:23 | More by dowen17
Photo of Icedogs


4.71/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Tied with Samuel Adams Boston Lager as my favorite Vienna-style lager, which is my favorite non-seasonal beers style (although double/imperial IPAs are catching-up). Yes, I am quite biased in favor of Great Lakes Brewing Company because one of my best friends worked there for nine years and I've spent many a fine afternoon/evening at the place. But my preference for GLBC beer is primarily because the beers are almost always outstanding. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2013 02:23:14 | More by Icedogs
Photo of CaptainHate


4.69/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is my favorite Great Lakes regular offerings. It's a good fallback beer to have if nothing else is available that piques your curiosity. It is an almost perfect combination of malt and hops and is good on all but the most oppressively hot days.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 14:44:17 | More by CaptainHate
Photo of Offa


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

This is another incredible beer from Great Lakes and to me pretty much the perfect pizza beer.

Deep reddish copper, it has a big tan head slowly shrinking to rich frothy ring, rich wisps, some lace.

Aroma is strong caramelised toasty bread crust, winy/sough bread dough, woody herb, hint of dried fruit.

Taste is string, rich caramelised toast, strong woody herbal hop, toasty, peppery, woody herbal bitterness. It has frim balanced character, complexity, a warm winy-toasty-dried fruit malty sweetness to round out the hop.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2013 04:19:01 | More by Offa
Photo of Dave_in_GR


4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance is a dark amber color with a small amount of foamy tan head.

Smell is dominated by caramel malts.

Taste is similar, nice and sweet without being cloying, The beer finishes with just a touch of hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and very smooth on the palate.

Overall an excellent amber lager.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2013 00:33:16 | More by Dave_in_GR
Photo of Ri0


4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured 12oz bottle into pint glass

A - Deep, dark amber wood color with 2.5 finger dirty white foamy head with excellent retention. Leaves clumps of foam and a thick collar around the glass. Lacing lines the glass in rings.

S - Dark and roasty amber malts, with sweet bread and caramel. I also get a bit of nuttiness.

T - Big roasted amber malts and bread, caramel, crystallized honey, and nuttiness.

M - Smooth, rich and creamy with a medium body.

O - Delicious and balanced, sweet malts. Every now and then this really hits the spot.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2013 00:26:14 | More by Ri0
Photo of Act25

New Jersey

4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz brown btl ex date clearly marked. Poured into a .5l cylinder named Spaten.

A: Crystal clear beautiful reddish amber with a 2 finger head that lasts but didnt lace for me.

S: Church like wooden pew, incense, with toffee, toasted grain and a nutty, dried fruity dark sweetness.

T: Full rich impression of mainly fruit and malt in a chewy mouth feel. It's toasted, caramel, raisins, toffee, and more old church. The bit of hops balance and there's spice/pepper. The finish is dark, sweet, raisin bread, but not cloying. (Altho it's a bit too sweet for me, a hop head). Very original and unique, a must try.

F: Full bodied, heavy without being cloying. Great end of evening beer. I'm not reaching for another.
An hour later, the powerful church-like, walnut/raisin dark flavor of this beer is still resonating, like a fine wine, that really is a bravo moment!

O: Well crafted. Unique, Full body. memorable.
As reviewers wrote perhaps the best in the Vienna lager style, but in the end I prefer Kolsch and IPA. Great brewery.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2013 02:25:32 | More by Act25
Photo of Beer-A-Lot


4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From its beautiful amber color and thick, rich head, to its smooth taste and solid mouthfeel, this is a superb lager. Just the right amount of sweetness and maltiness, and good balance of alcohol and flavors. It's easy to see why this is the top-rated Vienna Lager on BA. I found this thoroughly refreshing and fairly complex for such an easy drinker. Very satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2013 00:31:23 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of jifigz


4.79/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A bottle poured into a pint glass.

This beer pours a beautiful reddish amber color with a nice head that is tan/off-white which, while never grew to be a huge 2-3 finger head, lingered for a long time. This beer is refrigerator cold so i poured it rather aggressively to generate a head. The aroma of this beer is amazing. Malt, toffee licorice, figs, caramel, and other candies all present themselves in a mild and perfectly blended manner. There is little hop presence. The initial taste is malty with hints of caramel and candied fruit. The end has a taste that reminds me of certain Marzens/Oktoberfests and then the finish has just enough hops to kill some of the malt sweetness. There are some basic mild toasted/roasted notes during the drinking experience as well. The MF is light and crisp with carbonation but still has great body and presents itself as a little chewy in the mouth.

Dare I say....a near perfect beer. I think that Great Lakes does some great work provided the experience I have had with their brews (which isn't a whole lot.) This is a beer that I could enjoy any time of the year and it would seem perfectly fitting. To be honest, I can enjoy any beer any time of the year, but this one would seem appropriate in each location and season. It is light in flavor yet rich at the same time. Chewy yet would be very easy on someone who doesn't like a heavy and viscous brew. I tend to lean towards a hoppier beer for everyday drinking (APA, A-IPA and E-IPA) and I also drink a lot of stouts and porters, but this a great lager. I hold this beer on the same pedestal as I would place Victory Prima Pils...another near perfect brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2013 18:37:30 | More by jifigz
Photo of RichD

Rhode Island

4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a perfect pint glass. This is my first Vienna Lager that isn't Samuel Adams

A: Pours an absolutely perfect amber color. I'm not sure I've ever seen a more beautiful amber color in my beer pouring life. There's a small white-ish cap on the top that subsides to a small ring around my glass.

S: This brew is all about the caramel malts. I haven't even tasted it yet and I already know what this will be about. There's a small hop profile that I pick up as well. Some nice stuff here, though.

T: These caramel malts are absolutely incredible. There's a slight hoppy flavor, but caramel malts are front and center and I could not be any happier.

M: Eliot Ness is an incredibly smooth beer with a medium mouthfeel. This is definitely the definition of drinkability.

Overall: I could easily see myself grabbing a few sixers of this every single time I'm out of New England. Actually, I might single handedly try to get Great Lakes to distribute to New England. What an awesome brew and at 8-9 bucks a sixer for such a premium beer is pretty much unbeatable. Wow.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2013 21:19:11 | More by RichD
Photo of Kestrel452


4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a malt sweetness which reminds me of Sam Adams Octoberfest, however it also has a hop bitterness which comes through unlike the Octoberfest. This beer gives me flashbacks to the better bodied, sweet and malty Octoberfest style beers I tried (like the Sam Adams) but with a hop character added in. The malt character is very good, and the hop component is tasteful. Overall a great beer!

Serving type: on-tap

08-04-2013 03:27:20 | More by Kestrel452
Photo of screamking


4.61/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Pours a perfect amber with a 2 finger khaki head, not sure if its the beer or my pour but wow, that looks amazing. As the head resides lacing is clinging to every inch. Smells sweet with a bit of a grassy tone. Taste is top notch, not too sweet or malty, balanced through and through. I've never been a huge fan of this style but this is a hell of a beer. Quality is the key word here. Where i live you can find this in just about every store that sells beer, huge plus. It's also as reasonably priced as craft beer gets at around 8 bucks a sixer. This is a wonderfully crafted and brewed beer that should be tried by anyone who can get their hands on it.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2013 02:07:07 | More by screamking
Photo of Durge


4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hazy, dark orange-amber colored brew with a huge eggshell colored head and decent lacing. The aroma offers a somewhat cider-like malt and maybe a touch of raisin-nutmeg. Nice. The flavor is mnearly identical to what i smell, malt being dominant but some dark fruit hints and a pleasant spice quality. It's a smooth, medium-light bodied brew with vibrant but tasteful carbonation and a fairly lush feel for a lager. Overall an impressive lager, one of the better ones of the new breed of unique lagers in the new craft beer world.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2013 04:26:18 | More by Durge
Photo of WunderLlama


4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle poured into a pilsner glass

Thick creamy two finger cap settles into a sold 1/2 finger tan layer. Active carbonation in a deep copper russet cold. Solid lacings grab the sides of the glass.

Sweet malty aroma with a hint of deep rich figs.

Taste matches the fragrance. Delicious malt taste. Medium mouthfeel but a bit of alcohol is apparent, light carbonation on the tongue, no bitter aftertaste.

A great, delicious beer that I always try to have in my beer cellar. I recommend you try this great tasting beer if you haven't yet. You'll like it!

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2013 19:54:10 | More by WunderLlama
Photo of scotorum


4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

a: deep red-brown amber with an inch plus tan head which receded slowly to a surface film, tan ring and plenty of lacing.

s: Mild malt/fruit. Smells balanced.

t: Confirms the odor. Quite nicely balanced medium strength malt/hops, dark fruit initially becomes more piney. Both malt and hops make a clear statement of their presence. The dark color and hints of dark fruit makes it somewhat reminiscent of the Brooklyn Monster Bayleywine and Flying Dog Barley Style Ale I had recently, but less dark fruit notes and so better tasting than either of those.

m: moderate to heavy. Alcohol evident.

o: A tasty, highly sippable amber ale. I'd definitely buy this again, although it is perhaps less a summer brew than IPAs, Pilseners or lighter Lagers.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2013 05:23:09 | More by scotorum
Photo of RaulMondesi


4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Another beer that Raul can respect, but isn't really into. This is basically like a pure, all organic, non GMO kit-kat. Nice and clean caramel textures, but at the end of the day, if Raul don't like Kit-Kats, Raul don't like Kit-Kats.

I'd recommend it for your mama, but maybe not your dada.

*Another beer that Raul may have indulged in when he may not have had all of his faculties intact when he first drank it. Upon having another, it had slight rich textures, smooth caramel, and was overall very pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2013 04:35:21 | More by RaulMondesi
Photo of Hoptometrist


4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle into a nonic glass

A- Poured a clear and very dark mahogany color with off-white frothy head that left splashy lace. Really rich and dark color

S- Biscuity, grainy, caramel, and some tea like notes in the aroma

T- Big biscuit and rich caramel notes, graininess, some herbal, fruity, and floral notes as well

M- Very smooth, medium body, semi-dry finish, pretty crisp

O- Very well balanced and flavorful Vienna Lager. This review is long overdue, probably had this beer more than any other that I had not reviewed yet. Very rich and crisp flavor profile.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2013 03:05:06 | More by Hoptometrist
Photo of zrbeer1579


4.74/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Wonderful auburn-like color, and transparent as well. A one and half finger light tan head. Hold for a little while. Some lacings.

Aroma: A little bready with a slight toasted-ness and sweetness. Faint hops, mostly earthy. Sugar sweetness in the aroma. Definitely has that lager smell.

Taste: Lovely fresh baked bread. Light toasted and caramel malts. Little toffee. The hops is faint, but does make a present. Some earthiness with a slight spice to it. A little nutty. Very little bitterness and a nice malt sweetness. Finish is clean.

Mouthfeel: Feels medium bodied with ample carbonation. Drink very easy and smooth.

Overall: A great tasty lager. Great flavors. A lager I'll always get. Excellent going with this beer, GLBC.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2013 02:02:44 | More by zrbeer1579
Photo of utopiajane

New York

4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear and copper, when held to the light exhibits a ruby hue. Scant finger of foam that fell fast to a thin ring and light dusting on top. Leaving lace though. Nose is outrageous. Lager nose, good malt, bread, grain, sweet toffee. Lightly sugary. Hops are floral elegance with hints of strawberry that remind one of sunshine. Grass, apple and faint spice. Taste is heaven. Really good bread and a deep but light sweetness. Fruits and pale malts dancing with one another on the palate. Hops take the finish with just the right amount of earth, bitter and oil plus a delightful touch of honey for a luxurious aftertaste. Nectar. Carbonation is medium, mouthfeel is thin. It drank simply and light. Honestly one of the best beers I have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2013 11:51:15 | More by utopiajane
Photo of KelsoSaaz


4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pilsner glass

A: Beautiful, deep, copper-amber. Fine, khaki, 1.5 finger head that leaves patchy lacing

S: Sweet, bready aromas along with earthy hops.

T: Rich, but not overpowering malt flavor with Earthy and spice hop notes following. Very clean and sessionable.

M: Smooth with medium body and moderate carbonation.

O: A very satisfying brew, exactly what you would expect from GLBC. This beer pairs very well with food and is quite versatile. This beer really doesn’t have any flaws actually.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2013 22:36:37 | More by KelsoSaaz
Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,195 ratings.