Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

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969 Reviews

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Reviews: 969
Hads: 2,898
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.27%
Wants: 241
Gots: 451 | 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: 969 | Hads: 2,898
Photo of Blakaeris
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear dark copper with a thick off white head.

Smell is tosted malt, earthy nutty notes with a bit of hop bitterness.

Taste is toasted malt, caramel, with strong hazelnut character in the finish.

Mouthfeel is robust with a nutiness that lingers.

This is an amazing malty treat. Very nice. I will be returning to get more of this brew. (353 characters)

Photo of sinistrsam
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copper-gold with a small head which diminishes quickly, leaving some decent lacing. Smelled of sweet malt, and bitter hops, possibly some sour and sweet fruits, amd mild yeast.
The taste was very sweet, with a hop-bitterness undertone. It got slightly more complex as it warmed, but still was a little much on the sweetness. It was clean and crisp with little carbonation and I could easily see myself having a few of these, but only a few. The sweetness might get a bit much, and also I could see it masking a decent ABV. However, overall an good suprise from GL. (574 characters)

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

Appearance: Amber in color. Almost no head at all to this brew. It does retain some lacing though.

Smell: Hoppiness in the nose.A slight sweet/maple syrup smell.

Taste: This is a nice beer. Has some hops to it. The mouthfeel is very nice. A very complex beer with hints of hops, malt and grain.

Notes: A great representation of the style. (343 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours with a brilliantly clear amber color that shows a rich brownish tinged ruby color when held up to the light. It is topped by frothy, almost creamy, light tan colored head. Wow the aroma is quite rich with a malty sweetness that I was not expecting from a Vienna. The aroma is so sweet it almost takes on a fruity note that is a bit like raisins, or even perhaps a hint of cherry. There is also a light spicy hop note here that accentuates the fruit character found in the nose. Underneath the sweetness is a bit of dry toasted malt aromatics that are just noticeable.

The taste is definitely sweet, though thankfully not nearly as much as the aroma might expect. There are fruity notes of raisins and again a hint of cherry. The hops have a nice, though subtle, contribution here that is lightly spicy, every so slightly herbal and a nice balancing bitterness in the finish. As the beer warms up the sweetness picks up a bit, at times it becomes a bit too much. Most of the time it is held in check by the hopping levels and the under-current of dry maltiness; like notes of biscuits and lightly toasted malt. This beer certainly blows most examples of the style out of the water, but I can't help but think that this would be that much better if it had not finished a little bit drier; it would be a bit more in balance and all that much more quaffable. (1,363 characters)

Photo of evanackerman
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

wonderful beer, very full flavored for a lager.

pours a beautiful deep amber with an nice head.

aroma is fruity with a bit of hops, taste is toasted malt with a very fruity character, kind of like a light dopplebock, a nice hop balance appears at the end. mouthfeel is excellent as is drinkability.

another winner from a very fine brewery. (348 characters)

Photo of Xadoor
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a light amber colour with a beige head that slowly melted down to a thin layer of bubbles. Only traces of lacing in the glass. Smooth malt flavour to start but finishes rather dry with a bit of a spicy bite that lingers until the next sip. A very delicious and drinkable beer. (283 characters)

Photo of UDbeernut
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2 bottles poured into my Paulaner Mug

a: clear copper/amber hue. Nice foamy 1/2" head with decent retention, nice amount of carbonation

s: clean scent, mostly malt

t: clean flavor, malt sweetness dominates but is balanced well with clean hop bitterness. Slight touch of alchohol.

m&d: slightly chewy mouthfeel. A drinkable beer, wich it had a bit more fizz.

As I drink more beers, I find that GLBC is more geared toward sweetness. I don't know if this is desired or the yeast is underattenuated. Regardsless, GLBC comtinues to impress with beers that are great for their style and is amond the top craft brewers in the states.

Cheers!!! (643 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10/10/05- Received from Biglove as part of a wedding gift.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with a best by date imprinted on the label. Poured into my Moylan's pint glass.

Appearance- Dark copper in color with some light mahoganey highlights. 1/2 inch head which fades fast and light lace.

Smell- This one smells very sweet and kinda like burnt toast and nuts. Odd smell together, but I like it.

Taste- Pretty damn sweet and pretty damn malty. Maybe even a bit of roasted coffee flavor to it as well. Hops come through right at the end in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carbonation, fairly bitter on the tongue.

Drinkability- Truthfully, I'm not sure what a Vienna Lager is supposed to taste like, but it's a pretty tasty brew. The sweetness works good with the malt flavor. Not really a session beer for me, but a nice chance of pace beer for sure. Thanks for the sample Biglove! (896 characters)

Photo of UncleFlip
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper colour, very clear...very even foamy off-white to tan head hits two fingers fast, but quickly falls back to one, then slowly disapates.

The smell is slightly thinck and pungent- with an astringency and a bit of munich malt, hops, and a slight over-ripe banana. Not bad.

Almost a cola-like quality to the flavour off the top- but not as strong a flavour as I'd expect- just ever so slightly watery. The hops really show their colour in the aftertaste, though they are there throughout, though very subtle most of the time. There's also some cereal-graininees on the aftertaste.

This one has just a little more carbonation than I generally like. The liquid underneath is just the thick side of average.

Despite the shortcomings, I find it rather drinkable. It wouldn't be my first choice, but it's ot bad.

Be well
-UF (843 characters)

Photo of rousee
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok an American amber that is called a Vienna lager. I guess I dont know the style too well. No matter what style, this is still pretty good. Amber as described on the bottle. Malty smell and taste. Slight sourness on the finish. A fine amber beer. Pretty basic but good. (270 characters)

Photo of bruachan
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a brilliant copper color with an extra touch of orange, and a slightly orangish head to boot. a frosty collar sits a thumbs from the glass' lip
rich caramel nose from some roasty vienna malts, with a slight musty hop

dry, bitter finish that hangs around until the next sip. probably more so than a style stickler would permit, but i like it

another great one from GLBC (381 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber colored body with a perfectly proportioned beige head made this a very attractive looking beer. The beer was well carbonated, but not fizzy. Aromatically clean and unobtrusive, the beer had a malty, floral, sweetish smell. The taste was also pleasant, with a toffee like sweetness, spicy hops, and a touch of mandarin orange sourness. There was not much hop bitterness, but the well attenuated beer did not suffer much because of it. Very clean and easy drinking beer with a simple but flawless construction typical of classic German styles. (552 characters)

Photo of KarlHungus
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear bright red color. The head is huge, creamy, and white with reddish hues. The aroma is malty and fruity. The taste is sweet with some cherries, but some how lacks complexity. The mouthfeel is light bodied, and slight over carbonated. Overall, this is far from being a bad brew, but I would choose Sam Adams Boston Lager over this one any day. (355 characters)

Photo of mynie
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a fanastic pour! The prettiest amber red you ever did see is topped off by a wonderful, volumous head.

Wonderfully fruity smell. Sweet barley with a light finish of floral hops.

Smooth, very crisp and refreshing taste. Big malt fruit along that's more sweet than anything, mellowed out by caramel. It gets more and more malty as the flavor goes out and eventually ends on a hint of hops.

This would be one hell of a session ale if it didn't pack such a kick. It still goes down like fruit juice, though. (518 characters)

Photo of Illini5596
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An excellent full bodied lager. Very complex taste, filled with an almost fruity, yet deep and sophisticated body. Deep amber color, but a bit light on the head, and the smell was a little weak (though it is tough to be too critical on this point as it taste damn good). The mouthfeel is near perfect. One of the best beers I've had in a long, LONG while. You will not be dissapointed. Be sure to note, my few objections with this beer in the end don't matter a bit, it's damn near perfect. (490 characters)

Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a magnificent shade of red amber, with a two fingers of tan foam crowning over streaming carbonation; leaves delicate patchwork of lace. Medium bodied and nearly translucent. Excellent head retention. Smells of sweet toasted malt, german and floral hops. Marvelous balance of toasted malt and Noble hop flavor. Very smooth with a sweet but mostly clean finish. If you are in the Cleveland area, be advised it is well worth the trip to the brewery for the freshest beer possible. (484 characters)

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

Appearance: russet amber, creamy two finger off-white head

Smell: loads of grainy malts, a little sweet, a bit of spicy hop twang and some yeasty bready notes

Taste: caramel malty goodness; sweet with what seems to be some noble hop bitterness, lots of bready notes and a sticky sweet finish

Mouthfeel: medium body, medium carbonation

Drinkability: very well balanced; makes a fine session (401 characters)

Photo of nomad
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

How many ways can you describe a beer's appearance that falls generally in the category of "red?" Well then, this one pours red with a light crimson hue to it, clear as day and shiny to boot, with a fair-sized head of tight, proteinaceous foam. Retention isn't always spectacular but surely better than most Viennese lagers I've encountered.

Smell is an even lineup of light caramel, apple tones, soft-toasted bready malts, and what seems to be a woody, almost floral hop scent (though that could just be the complexity of high-kilned base malts). Aroma is soft in texture but solid in intensity, and residing beautifully when kicked up by a swirl of the glass. Pretty impressive for a bottled lager.

To understand what a lower gravity lager can achieve in balance, flavor, and drinkability, this beer just about sums it up. In an almost perfect replica of the aroma, a row of light caramel, strong red apple notions, robust breadiness, and nips of minty hop flavors stroll across the palate. Smooth and full in flavor but far from filling, the mouthfeel complements the flavor will belying the almost heady alcohol content. Eminently drinkable and perfectly balanced between malty push and just enough hop dryness in the finish with neither impression dominating, but instead leaving you refreshed and ready for more. From ice cold to room temperature it shined and never decreased in quality, a sure sign of craftmanship.

For United States microbreweries Great Lakes ranks close to Victory in quality of lagers and this beer alongside their Dortmunder are prime examples. I struggle to find top-end lagers that are domestic and fresh, and this is one. I will note, even more than ales, a lager like this must be found fresh and due to geography I'm blessed to do so. When I used to get Great Lakes bottles in Philadelphia they were most often toast. (1,860 characters)

Photo of AltBock
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz. bottle that I got in the Great Lakes sampler 12 pack.
Appearance: Poured a dark copper color with a small head of foam that faded quickly. Also had plenty of carbonation bubbles in the glass rushing to the top.
Smell: Not much of a smell, except that of sweet hops. After the beer is finished, you get a nice aroma of sweet caramel.
Taste: Plenty of malts with a nice hoppy aftertaste. Tasted like their Dortmunder, but not as hoppy.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied that finished crisp and smooth. It really hides that 6.2% alcohol content.
Drinkability: This beer would make an excellent choice for a session beer and summer beer. To me this was a little bit better than their Dortmunder. This a beer that I would buy again and easily found in theses parts. (762 characters)

Photo of quasimoto
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer poured a copper/amber color with a light tan head that held it's own for several minutes, and then hung around the rim for the length of the beer. the aroma is of a watered down hops and slight wet paper and caramel. The taste is of toasted malt and caramel. the bitterness leaves it it dry in the end and quite "bitey". Its light bodied which is good, but really slight on the all-around flavor. It's a nice summer time beer. (436 characters)

Photo of Stubbie1
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a nice deep gold color, call it amber. A nice slightly off white head reaches the top of this brew. The head slowly fades a stick lace forms to the end of the glass. Aroma is of toffee and bread and sweet malt. Taste is wonderful sweet malt and a bread and toffee with a small bitter bite in the end.

A real creamy feel in the mouth and easy to sit and enjoy. A great brew with food or alone. (411 characters)

Photo of tom444
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber, with a thick tan head. Head retention is very good, with good lacing.

Aroma is fairly malty, with some decent floral hop notes. Rather sweet-smelling.

Taste is crisp, with a bit of malty sweetness, and some interesting hop flavors - I'm tasting something different, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is. A good finish with a little bit of sweet aftertaste, but nothing bad.

A fine lager to enjoy with a meal, or anytime. (458 characters)

Photo of JackStraw22
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Rich, slightly opaque amber body. Good off white head.

Smell: Nice and malty, but not sweet. Spicy hops really come through, but aren't dominate.

Taste: Very very sweet, but a good hop bite to counter. There's an aftertaste I wasn't thrilled about at first, but it grew on me. (295 characters)

Photo of Backer2004
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(part of a sampler at the Great Lakes brewpub)

One of my favorite from Great Lakes and quite an interesting style. This would probably be the one I would order a second and study (and enjoy) more carefully. Nice lacing and head. Creamy with caramel and toffee scents and tastes. Dances on the tongue. Pretty easy to drink, but not all evening long. (351 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 12 oz bottle pours a clear dark amber body, with a small beige head that retains well for several minutes. Sticky, patch lace hangs on the glass.
Aroma: Toasty, biscuity, malt notes begin with caramel, and move into molasses territory. Spicy, German hops lend a nice background.
Mouthfeel: Solid medium body with good carbonation. Nice malt presence here, that is smooth and almost chewy.
Taste: Heavy caramel maltiness opens the door to some bready and biscuity, malt toastiness. Hopping is equally aggressive, with slight floral and aggressive spicy hop bitterness. Supremely well balanced, overall, with a long and bitter spicy hop aftertaste.
Drinkability: A very well executed German lager style, with excellent taste. Enjoyable drinkability. (764 characters)

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 969 ratings.