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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: 2,989
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 19.8%
Wants: 260
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: 2,989
Photo of breadwinner
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tasty little vienna lager, maybe a touch too filling, but presenting a pleasing caramel sweetness and cleanness that makes for a nice, unobtrusive accompaniment to plate of sliders.

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Photo of bmeehan
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Remember when Yuengling was the cool amber lager to drink? Remember when it fell off a cliff? Eliot Ness is on top of that cliff now and isn't going to fall off of it. It's a beautiful amber color (duh) and is as smooth as it is refreshing.

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Photo of PA-hunter
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 6.2% abv

Appearance- Pours a rich ruby-amber hue with a frothy 2 finger or more head with good retention.

Smell- A sweet malt smell, bits of caramel and toffee in there.

Taste- At first there is much more a grainy flavor than the smell suggests. This transcends into a sweeter finish, with the toffee flavor coming through later. Slight roasted type of qulaity to the taste as well. Some hop bitterness in there ever so slightly. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body; ample carbonation.

Overall- A unique and memorable lager. This is a good one to sip on as it is not super light but has plently of flavor. Not the everyday lager for sure. A great beer to try to divert oneself from the norm. Another Great Lakes home run.

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Photo of JMUbrewz
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%

I prefer their Dortmunder Gold, but this is an extremely well-made and clean representation of a Vienna Lager. Sweet, bready malts, a bit of honey, and a crisp, clean finish. This is on par with Devil's Backbone's Vienna.

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Photo of car2052
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a goblet style pint glass.

A: Clear, dark reddish amber. One finger of tan head.
S: Scent of baking spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, derived from the noble hops. Toasty caramel malt peeks through the nose as well.
T: Toasted caramel malt makes its presence first with a sweet, smoky taste. The malts give this a nice body. The hop presence comes out in the end as a tingle of bitterness on the tongue. Finish is neither too sweet nor too dry.
M: Medium bodied. Slightly creamy. Very drinkable.
O: Very good crisp lager. Reminds me of some of the Marzen beers.

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Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Newly introduced on tap at my local drinking establishment. Here goes nothing:

Appearance: Beautiful, copper red with golden undertone (at least in this light) with a tan head about one finger's width. Minimal lacing.

Aroma: Definitely strong noble hops. I like the slightly sweet, fruity aroma.

Taste: Ah, not bad! Smooth, slightly toasty taste, with some sweetness that doesn't overpower the lager.

Mouthfeel: Some moderate carbonation, medium body, and quite smooth. A very drinkable amber lager.

Overall: This is the way lagers should taste. The macro-brews obviously have nothing on this. I was very impressed with it overall, and the fact that it was on draught made me a very happy man. I would definitely get this again (and probably will).

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Photo of MikeKnauf
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Excellent but not a lot to say.

The commercial description gives you an idea what you are in for. There are many subtle complexities in the malt and hops that give this a really unique taste. I can't really begin to describe it, but it's caramels, breads, aromatic fruits and some bitter.

By far the best of the style I've ever tasted. It might even be the best beer I've tasted. It's not the greatest to eat with due to it's complex hoppiness in the finish.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: [3.25] Pours a reddish-brown color. Looks nice in the light. Forms a 1 finger head that starts to lose steam quickly settling to a white cap. Very little lacing forms on the glass. The bottle clearly lists the drink by date (5 days ago) and the ABV (6.2%).

S: [3.25] Malts, corn, some brown sugar.

T: [3.75] Very sweet on the tongue. The beer has a malt forward sweetness. There is a slight bitter twinge on the finish. The taste is a sweet bready flavor.

M: [3.75] Carbonation and body are in line for a summer type beer.

O: [3.50] This beer is what really opened the door to craft beer for me. It has a special place in my heart. It made me realize not everything is BMC swill. I finally decided to review it (after reviewing 100 other beers). This is a great gateway beer for BMC drinkers. It has some added depth and complexity while not being "scary". The flavor profile is nice and the body, and lack of presense of the alcohol, make it a great lawn mower beer.

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Photo of Taybeh
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%

Great beer (especially in the fall!).
A: Rich Clear Dark Amber, ample head, nice lacing after a vigorous pour.
S: Sweet malt, a little caramel, a little toasty bread, some earthy hops
T: Follows the nose, though a little more nut and spice in addition to the earthy flavor; not too sweet, but plenty.
M: Nice combination of smooth and crisp, just a little bitterness to balance out the sweet malt.
Overall, this is an excellent V. Lager...probably sets the bar for this side of the pond. A very fine beer...another winner from Great Lakes.

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Photo of malvrich
3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle - Foothills chalice glass

A: Orange Amber color with an inch of tight foam. Good retention and lacing. Looks great.

S: Toast and baking spice/nutmeg (?). Slight caramel.

T: Dry orange spice with a crackery malt backbone. Slight sweetness. Good balance. Very nice.

M: Medium body. Prickly carbonation. Bitter dry finish. Again very good.

O: Nothing to complain about. Very good overall and worth buying anytime but strong for me at over 6% ABV. GLBC rocks!

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.84/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass at approximately 40 degrees F.

A: Looks like free-flowing honey on the pour, which swells into a beautiful clear amber. Small streams of bubbles rise slowly from the bottom at the start, before dying away to leave the beer a deep amber shading towards russet. A thick head of foam forms, which slowly dies down to a cap. The lacing is minimal, but present.

S: Sweet toasted malt and caramel, wreathed around bready yeast with some faint notes of rich soil and ripe fruit.

T: Mother of god, this is a fantastic Vienna lager. The taste opens with sweet bread and lightly toasted caramel, before some hints of walnut, raisin, and pecan join in. There's some slight bitterness from the malt, as well as an earthen, loamy bitter that offsets the sweetness just enough. Warm yeasty bread with toffee-like tinges form the finish, which lingers a bit without coming close to overstaying its welcome.

M: A light, smooth, silky lager, with exactly the right amount of carbonation to avoid feeling flat without sparkling up too much. It feels heavy enough to impart a feeling of drinking a good beer, while remaining light enough for refreshment duty.

O: I have yet to encounter another Vienna lager that's comparable to this one. It's virtually everything I could look for in this style, from the complex malt profile to the slight hop presence and the silken mouthfeel. This is a staple of my beer enjoyment.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to whitenads for sending me this one.

Enjoy by: 8/13/14.

Pours a hazy dark orange-red with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, toast, nut, caramel, and earth aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, nut, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with solid toast and nut qualities all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pint served in a shaker pint at Pigs in a Fur Coat, Madison Wisconsin, 9/27/2014.

A- Clear amber body with a one finger tan head, good retention, leaves a fuzzy film on top, lots of lacing all around. [4]

S- Sweet toffee malt, earthy noble hops, some caramel, crisp banana bread, yeast. Sweet but not cloyingly so and in a refreshing way. [4.25]

F- Toffee, caramel, hint of raisin, a little banana (hence banana bread in the nose), earthiness, and the signature GLBC yeast flavour. This is excellent, not quite perfect but just about as outstanding as any brewer can make a Vienna lager. [4.25]

M- Medium bodied, refreshing and crisp yet smooth and silky at the same time. They did a great job on this one. Very drinkable, no real effects of the ABV on the flavour at all. [4.25]

O- Excellent take on the style, as I would expect from GLBC and their tradition of brewing excellent lagers. Why I never reviewed this before, I'm not sure, but I ought to get around to reviewing their other offerings as well! [4.25]

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Photo of stewart124
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

Pours a very pretty amber color with white head that forms a nice lace.

Toffee and plenty of toasted malt in the nose.

Smooth with a medium body and chewy mouthfeel. Nice balance of caramel and toasty characters with just enough hops to make it interesting. Plenty of flavor throughout and I cannot get enough of the malt complexity.

I love this beer. It brings back memories as this was one of my early transition beers into the craft beer world. Classic.

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Photo of IronLover
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

Deep, rustic red in color with a light haze. Poured with a creamy, rich, off-white foam that left a ladder of sticky lacings on the glass. Sweet, earthy grain and light herbal hop aromas. Medium bodied with rich, creamy smooth carbonation and a crisp, light tangy hop bite near the end. Sweet toasted caramel malt flavors up front with toffee and herbal hop notes into the middle. Tangy, earthy, crisp hop flavor through the middle that transitions back to sweet caramel and toasted malt. Finished cleanly with a bready, very sweeytoasted malt aftertaste. A generally neglected and underappreciated style that leans to that sweet, maltier side.

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Photo of ANiklaus
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.91/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of slym
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
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!

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Photo of BrewUSA
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
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

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Photo of Mojo
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of Troy_P
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of redearth329
4.01/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of humuloner22
3.06/5  rDev -25.2%
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.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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