Great Lakes Eliot Ness | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

1,021 Reviews
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
An amber lager with rich, fragrant malt flavors balanced by crisp noble hops.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001

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Reviews: 1,021 | Ratings: 3,171
Photo of JLaw55
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is what all lagers should aspire to be. This was fantastic. A beautiful red/amber color with great clarity and a thin quarter inch of white fluffy head. Flavor was smooth and clean with a slight caramel sweetness. Very refreshing and one of the easiest drinking beers I have ever had. Absolutely stunning.

Would Drink Again: Yes
Would Purchase Again: Yes

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

A - Pours into a hybrid amber/maple syrup-like color with a sandy head. Carbonation is active and adds to the appearance of the beer.

S - Lovely full odor and satisfying warmth - undercurrent of new leather, walnut, and macaroon.

T - dark mocha, cocoa powder that turns into rum-like burnt sugar after 30 sec that gives way to a wonderful cloven hop lick.

M - at first carbonated and creamy, the feeling follows down the throat.

D - Mildly high ABV makes this a fun bottle to session and the flavors mature into the 3rd to 4th helping.

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

I am not a huge fan of pilsners or lagers. Jesus Christ, this lager is so good, it has more bite than a Paulaner, but is still so smooth. I enjoy this beer with a carb rich dinner or lunch. The honey after taste is what really makes me indulge when I start drinking these. I understand why this beer is a stand out across the world, even in Germany.

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

I've been to Munich, Germany and Great Lakes is the next best thing in the U.S. for the greatest lager out there. Perfect, delicious lager and it follows the beer purity laws. This is high quality stuff right here. Highly recommended. The variety pack is a great place to start for Great Lakes wide array of excellent offerings.

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

I sincerely enjoy this beer. It is smooth yet shows good hoppiness for a lager. The color is a nice amber. Truly one of the better amber lagers I have had.

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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 jgebauer110
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rich, clear dark amber color. Solid head retained throughout. Excellent rich malt flavor with just the right amount of hoppy tang. An excellent lager, with the Dortmunder Gold a very close runner up!

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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.

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

Let me start by saying that I am a Pale Ale person...I normally shy away from all-things-lager...with that being said...WOW!

I become more of a Great Lakes fan with every beer I sample...

A - Beautiful crystal clear sparkling carmel-amber...decent 1/2 inch head that lingers...and leaves awesome lacing around the glass.

S - Sweet carmel notes, bready, herbal, slight fragrance of nobel hops

T - Awesome quick sweetness perfectly countered by slight hop bitterness. Definite grainy/breadiness/minerally. Delicious!

M - Perfect...exactly as expected medium bodied lager...not overly syrupy or watered down. just right!

O - I thought their Dortmunder Gold was my favorite I'm torn between the two. Exceptionally drinkable...strength of 6.2 abv very well hidden. An awesome beer that I think most would enjoy! If you see it!

I should also note that the "consume by date" on the sampler case I bought was Nov 7 2011. Today is Nov 1 2011. I was concerned when I saw the date...but the beer is still very fresh and perfect. This tells me that Great Lakes has excellent quality control and really know their product!

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

On tap at a local bar and grill. 16 ounce draft at $3.00 is a steal. Have had it in a bottle many times.

Appearance - deep amber, almost brownish purple. Unusual and very nice. Not much head.

Smell - exceptional. Caramel, malty, hint of hops.

Taste - knocks your socks off. All konds of things going on. Malty, caramel with just enough hops to keep it interesting but never overpowering. One of the best tasting beers I have ever had. I think the balance is perfect.

Mouthfeel - it is easy going down, no bitterness, nice and thick, not watery, I was going to go less than 5 here just so that there were 5's all the way across but I just couldn't find a legit reason for it.

Overall - you will want another. There is nothing lacking here. Drink it nice and slow. There is no weakness here cold or warmed a little. The best lager I have ever had.

I am not the biggest GLBC fan but this is perfection. Bravo.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.97/5  rDev +21.5%
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

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Photo of Jgoth34
4.93/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: A dark amber, clear with solid head. Great looking lager.
Smell: Very clean, sweet smell. I get a hint of toffee.
Taste: You get the sweetness at first like caramel or toffee. Then you get hit with a nutty flavor. Solid taste.
Feel: Very warm yet light, could definitely have a few of these
Overall: A fantastic beer, looking to find more by this brewing company.

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Photo of Uniobrew31
4.93/5  rDev +20.5%
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!

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Photo of dungledauf
4.92/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12 ounce brown bottle with a drink by date of April 29, 2010

Appearance: Clear, reddish, amber color with plenty carbonation. Nice lacing.

Smell: Very sweet smelling beer which means there are many styles of malt used.

Taste: Full-bodied lager with finishes smooth. Nicely balanced.

Notes: One of the most full-bodied lagers I have ever had. Perhaps decoction mashing is used. My favorite Vienna lager when compared to Penn Pilsner and Sam Adams.

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Photo of Dray
4.92/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I bought this at a bottle shop and was looking to cross off some of my, "wants" on my list.

It poured a dark amber with a nice head, but it was the aroma that smacked me in the face. It just said to me, your not gonna forget me anytime soon! Then I drank it. Then I wanted another, but only bought one!

I have to say that after I was finished drinking this heavenly beer I smelled the glass for the next 20 min. While contemplating going to the store and getting more.
Must try!!!!

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Photo of ordybill
4.91/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the tap into a pint glass. The appearance is a beautiful reddish amber color with a small white head. The aroma is a full on assault of malt and hops with some spice, very good. The taste is caramel malt with some fruit. I believe this is the best Vienna Lager I have ever had.

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Photo of Lagerlivesmatter
4.91/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Though not a popular or plentiful style, this is without a doubt the best I've had.(Devils Backbone is a close second and Sam Adams of course is very good)

So smooth, malt foward but with a balancing bitterness. Hop flavor is minimal but there. Mostly bittering. The malt profile is fairly complex and interesting with caramel/toffee and the like. A beer that is more than the sum of its parts.. everything just works together so nicely making it a real pleasure to drink.. perhaps too drinkable at 6.1 ABV I find I have to keep myself from drinking it too quickly. Overall silky smooth greatness.

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Photo of RyFikes
4.89/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance- Clear, dark amber color. Thick beige head.

Smell- Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, with nutty characters.

Taste- Caramel and toffee notes, little cinnamon and brown sugar. Hoppy sweet finish. Bitter coffee after taste, with a roasted nut quality.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation gives way to a lot of residual flavor. Full body flows really well from one flavor to the next.

Overall- Everything blends perfectly. Very well balanced.

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Photo of spitInTheOcean
4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

what this is is a gorgeous glass of beer.

it smell richly of malty goodness. the caramel and toasted notes are the most pronounced, but the hop note is subtly present.

the taste is sweet and malty. caramel and toast really come through, and i swear, there the finish seems almost kind of nutty, like hazelnut or walnut. its so rich it challenges an ale, but the carbonation is pronounced and unmistakebley crisp.

the finish is also nicely balanced with the 27 IBUs. but even with the IBUs this beer is like a scotch ale recipe made with lager yeast.

all that being said, this is perhaps the best lager i have ever had.

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Photo of dtreindl
4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! Everything about this beer is well executed. The head is thin (1/4"), but dense and yeasty, dissipating to an ultra-thin lacing. Color is a beautiful dark amber. Mouthfeel surprisingly creamy and the flavor is spectacular! They pushed the envelope with a flavor of toasted bread with a hint of dark fruit. They walked right up to the edge of the cliff without stepping over. They didn't overdue anything but packed this brew with a great flavor palate. It's just a perfectly balanced flavor. A little sweet on the front, little bitter on the back end. Not too much of either, but also not a victim of a conservative brewer going light on ingredients. The only aspect I could possibly criticize, if I was really looking to do so, I didn't get much out of the aroma. That's another reason the flavor was so surprisingly impressive.

Great Lakes is quickly becoming my favorite brewery if they keep up this superb brewing!

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Photo of bigkingken
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours deep amber, bordering on mahogany, with a small head that quickly dissipates into a few lonely islands and a ring around the outer edge. Smells sweet and malty with caramel and toffee right up front, giving way to floral notes with a hint of licorice. Full bodied for a lager. Starts a bit thin but then warms up into a medium mouth feel. Sweet up front giving way to malt complexity and perhaps some spices, such as all spice or coriander, which stays on the palette long after the sip has been swallowed. No bitterness in the finish. Extremely well-balanced. Hits every sense a beer is supposed to.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful dark lager; a deep golden reddish color. The half inch head is gorgeous with a luscious tan shading that hangs around a short while, but leaves marvelous lacing. The more I drink this beer, the more I realize how marvelously rich, and balanced it is. Each taste is joined by a pleasantly caramel-ly aroma. The fullness of the mouthfeel is enhanced by a slightly sweet, and yet somewhat sour start that ends on a pleasantly bitter note. As it warms a bit, the flavoring builds strength; either cool or warm the great taste lingers long and strong. A warming brew that you can stick with all evening.

I tried this recently on tap and it seemed consistent with the bottled version, although the head lingered longer. Combined with a roast beef on Kaiser, the combo topped off a Friday evening in great form. Does life get any better?

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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 MuchoCerveza
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is by far one of my favorite Amber Lagers as well as one of my favorite beers period. I'm a big fan of almost over the top hoppy Lagers and this takes the cake. As soon as you pour this beer the combination of the smell and the red amber appearance make your mouth water. This is one of those craft beers that goes down like an American Light beer. I could have 6 done and not even realize it. Fantastic.

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Photo of WMEugene
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Absolutely stunning. Huge fluffy off-white head rests on top of a rich reddish amber color with great lacing. Perfect.

S - Rich malts, a bit of caramel and nuttiness. Some toffee as well. Earthy. A very nice smell for a Vienna lager.

T - Much like the nose; rich malts and a swirl of caramel, nutty, and toffee flavors. Rich and tasty. Perhaps the most delicious Vienna lager I've ever had.

M - Smooth, extremely drinkable. Great aftertaste, medium bodied. Nice carbonation.

O - Great Lakes may have the best "regular" line-up of any beer available in my area. The Eliot Ness is a fantastic Vienna Lager and one of the best lagers I've ever had.

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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.09 out of 5 based on 3,171 ratings.
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