Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

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966 Reviews

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Reviews: 966
Hads: 2,894
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: 966 | Hads: 2,894
Photo of Gaisgeil
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A quite good session/staple beer, nice!

Pours a clean amber in color with a thin light tan head with good retention. Nose is a bit floral, definatly a hoppy undercurrent. Taste is slightly bready but definatly bitter, a nice hop bite happening here, wasn't expecting that from this one. This beer actually reminds me a lot of their Conway's Irish Red, only a bit less complex overall.

Slàinte! (400 characters)

Photo of far333
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, dark honey colored, thick looking. A half inch of thick beige foam rises up and then just sits there, not moving. Inviting aroma of banana and butterscotch, sweet malt and honey. Flavor is rich and chewy, heavy malt and caramel, some tangerine in the back of the mouth, followed by a mild hop flourish, and a bitter orange peel linger. Mouthfeel is thick and full, moderate carbonation. Really good beer, very drinkable. (426 characters)

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

Presentation: Label states that it's a gold medal winner, gives a little background on Eliot Ness, reminds me of the Bavarian Purity Law, and that I should enjoy it by 6/8/05.

Appearance: Pours crystal clear and amber with a perfect puffy beige two finger head. Edges fade to orange and there is some carbonation bubbles on the bottom.

Smell: Carmel, toffee, coffee with cream, some tea-like hop bitterness all gently fill the nose.

Taste: Nice balance between some hop bitterness, green tea, a lemony bite, some carmel notes, a brush of alcohol in the background, and a touch of a bittering hop finish. Some cool yeasty, wheatbread burps after a few sips.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, a touch creamy, and lively due to the carbonation.

Drinkability: Absolutely a session beer. I could see myself enjoying this all night long.

Notes: It is a great middle of the road beer. I realize saying that implies mediocrity but that's not what I mean. There is enough hop presence and malt balance to satisfy most beer lovers. It's certainly not an "extreme" beer but it definitely scratches the beer itch for me. Another good one from Great Lakes (is there a bad one??)

Strongly recommended. (1,201 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a mid-brown color beer with an above average white foamy head with good retention. Nice malty aroma with some roastiness and some nuts. Taste is quite malty with a smooth creamy taste and light bitterness at the end. Body is fuller then expected and probably fuller then most Vienna I tasted before. Overall, this is real good stuff. (348 characters)

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours out an attractive clear amber color with a foamy head and lots of bubbles. Strong grain aroma, a little like hay, along with nuts and spice. Nice malt flavor up front with some caramel. Nutty in the body. The finish comes with some slightly spicy hops. Medium mouthfeel. This is a highly quaffable beer, and it's no trouble drinking several. Another good beer from GLBC. They are becoming one of my favorite American breweries. (443 characters)

Photo of karst
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Investigated this Vienna lager along with two other local BA's (Beer Agents?) after picking up a couple of 12 oz bottles in Granite City's Corral Liquors (where they were detained on "ice") . Not expecting as good as beer as Edmund Fitzgerald Porter or Burning River Pale Ale we found that the 6.2 % lager was a "gangbuster" of a beer!

Eliot Ness's career in Cleveland ended with a bang, literally- according to Paul Heimel, of Coudersport, Pa.,Ness biographer and host of "An Evening with Eliot Ness" at the Great Lakes Brewing Company (1997). Heimel stated that America's foremost Prohibition agent had a blossoming drinking problem and late one night, Ness struck another car with his, fled the scene and later tried to cover up the accident. He resigned his post three weeks later.

If what he was drinking was as well crafted as his namesake brew I can understand how it led to his demise.

Coming back in 1947, Ness was trounced almost 2-to-1 in his bid for mayor by incumbent Thomas Burke. Heimel said Ness spent a great deal of his personal fortune on the race.

Eliot Ness the beer is brewed using a three step decoction boiling process, using Munich, Pilsner, Vienna toasted and dextrin malts to produce its sweet toffee, toasted grain aroma. It surrounds the taste buds with its full rich and smooth and chewy mouth feel. Malty flavor backed with toasted grain and caramel. Hops to balance perfectly with their spicy/herbal flavour to adding to great complexity. The toasted grain persists and finally fades to the dry finish. I would guess that wheat is added. judging by the excellent mouthfeel. Style calls for subtle hops, crisp, with residual sweetness. Eliot Ness the beer may be pushing these last characteristics but the result is a fine complex beer that is balanced and finishes well.

Other classic examples Dos Equis and Negra Modelo are no where near this untouchable beer from Great Lakes Brewing Co. Immigrant brewers from Austria have spread the Vienna lager to many parts of the world.

Ness's biographer revealed that "Hoover thought Ness was too much of a glory hound," Heimel said. "Ness was literally blackballed from the FBI." Even after Ness was dead, Hoover kept a running file on him, assigning agents to watch TV's "Untouchables."

This beer is certainly due any and all glory. One that you will want to rerun over and over. A must try for your "folder" from that notorious Cleveland gang. (2,442 characters)

Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle with best before date of March 09 05. Well a week's not that long past the date...

Poured a clear copper with an off-white froth made of tiny bubbles.

My first impression of this beer was the spicy hops showing off in my first sniffs. Creamy, with a definite alcohol smell.

Hops attack right from the top with a coniferus bent. A little toffee flavor in the malt, nice round feel on the palate. Alcohol is noticable, but not in an offensive way. Just right.

This is a hell of a lager! I think I just found a great summer beer. Shit, it doesn't even have to be summer, it would be top notch any time. (625 characters)

Photo of elricorico
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark dark orange or reddish brown colour with a thin tan head that faded into nothingness right away. The beer smells of cherries slightly, almost reminding me of a cherry flavoured cough syrup. There seems to be a bit of cut grass to the smell as well.

Taste is fairly sweet malt up front with a bit of bit of a bitter finish. The sweetness has some toffee to it, along with a bit of the sugary cherry noted in the smell. The finish is fairly dry.

Mouthfeel is nice, not so thin as expected and with a good level of carbonation. The beer goes down easily and is certainly drinkable.

All said this is a nice lager, something that would make a good session drink. Many thanks to Praneel for bringing me this beer from Ohio. (739 characters)

Photo of bnuttz
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful caramel-copper color, with a thick and creamy tan head. Smells of caramel, toasted nuts, and spicy hops. Taste is biscuits, roasted nuts, caramel, all in all, just very malty and delicious. The hops balance this beer out perfectly. The mouthfeel of this beer is very creamy smooth. I would have no problem putting down six of these. Now to find this stuff on tap. (381 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
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. (478 characters)

Photo of BarrelBrother
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
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! (752 characters)

Photo of FenwaySquid
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (351 characters)

Photo of BeerFink
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
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. (393 characters)

Photo of foXXtail
3.61/5  rDev -12%
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. (674 characters)

Photo of heidelbeerg
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (418 characters)

Photo of RBorsato
4.97/5  rDev +21.2%
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 (519 characters)

Photo of aquilontendants
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
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. (1,023 characters)

Photo of Morris729
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
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. (463 characters)

Photo of Tballz420
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (298 characters)

Photo of twelvsies
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
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. (566 characters)

Photo of Maestro
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
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! (523 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
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. (327 characters)

Photo of redmosquito
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (371 characters)

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.69/5  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. (826 characters)

Photo of maxpower
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
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. (323 characters)

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 966 ratings.