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: 3,168
Photo of TheFightfan1
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into a stange. Poured a crystal clear amber color with a nice off white heading that sticks around until the bitter end.

Smell is very sweet with caramel malts. A very subtle hop bitterness.

Taste is very basic but extremley effective. Sweet caramel malts at first but the key here isn't the malts it's the hops. I have never had a lager with this much of a hop kick to it.

Mouth is medium bodied great carbonation that is very alive on the palate. Bubbles tingle the teeth frm carbonation and hops. Even better than it's counterpart Dortmunder.

I don't if lagers are supposed to be this hoppy tasting but damn do I like it.

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Photo of champ103
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a brilliant, vibrant hazed orange/reddish color. A perfect two finger white head forms. The head is tightly packed with many fine bubbles cascading up. Rings of lace is left behind. You can't make a beer look better than this from a bottle.
S: Warm toasted malts. Baked bread and biscuit with some caramel sweetness. The toasted malts are amazing, and followed by a light kiss of hops. Lightly floral and grassy. Awesome.
T: Yep, amazing toasted malts, baked bread, and grains. A light sweetness, honey and caramel. Balanced with the perfect amount of spicy/floral hops. The toasted baked bread comes out again towards the end that leaves a perfect dryness in the finish. Again, awesome.
M/D: A near perfect mouthfeel. A medium body with crisp carbonation. So smooth at the same time. Incredibly clean and with a perfect dry finish. So easy and enjoyable to drink. The bottle is gone in no time. All day with this.

I thought Dortmunder Gold was one of the best lagers I have had. This is just as good if not more enjoyable for me because the toasted grains are so amazing. One of the best. I can't recommend this enough.

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Photo of sdface
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

It's been a while since I've had the Eliot Ness as I have been in the bubble of IPAs and DIPAs for some time and all I can say is that this beer put a huge smile on my face and delighted my taste buds. This is sweet and candied and has a super nice perfume like finish...which is amazing! I forgot how good this beer is and how nice it is to step out of the IPA haze and appreciate a style that is different but equally satisfying. This is more malty and is not very bitter. A very delicious beer that I will be drinking more of!

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Photo of ZAP
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When they list Vienna Style in the dictionary, there better be a picture of this next to it. I can't imagine anyone makes a better Vienna. I thought Schell's Firebrick was a fine example of the style(and it is), but that is triple "a" ball..this is major league material...all-star major league material. Brick brown in colorwith a very soft but small lace....nice aroma of toasted malt...Excellent mouthfeel...malty, with caramel and toffee notes...but also some nutty is accentuated by a small, but tantalizing spicy/herbal hop finish....finishes sweet, but not oversweet...a lot of character in this brew...I love Vienna's and Octoberfests and this is one of the best I've had....I WANT MORE!!

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Photo of TheMultiYeast
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours clear amber with two fingers of creamy head..lots of lacing as the beer goes down.

Smell is pretty straight forward..toasted grains, biscuits, light hop character, sweet malt

Biscuity, lightly sweet, malt forward but nicely balanced by a hint of bitterness at the end.

Medium bodied and smooth

Great stuff right here!

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

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Photo of silks636
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from a 12 oz. brown bottle... in my Eliot Ness pint glass, of course. Freshness date clearly stamped.

Pours a crystal clear reddish amber with a gargantuan rocky off-white head. Excellent retention and huge sheets of sticky lace. Bready nose with hints of grain and piney sweetness. Full on caramel malt taste simply balanced with a spicy hop which becomes more prevalent toward the finish. The finish is malty and lingering... somewhat sweet and nutty. Body is substantial, but this beer remains very easy to drink. Wonderful lightly carbonated mouthfeel.

Without a doubt, an amazing beer. A fantastic example of the style, and an all-around well made brew. Great Lakes never disappoints.

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Photo of Illini5596
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

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Photo of Jesse13713
4.66/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearence - Four full fingers of head on this one. Pours a brilliant classic cigar brown that is surpisingly transparent. A slight amber tint as well.

Smell - Overpowering malt with a slight hop smell as well.

Taste - Very unique and distinct. Very malty with a smooth bread-like amber red ale taste. Definitely a top competitor for my top amber ales/lagers. The finish is where this brew really shines. It's sweet hop taste in unlike anything else.

Mouthfeel - You can taste more of the hops when you swish it around your mouth. Light bodied.

Drinkability - Absolutely delicious. I could drink this beer all night long and never get sick of it. I look forward to every sip I take.

Verdict - I have had this beer a couple times before and have not once been disappointed with it. My favorite beer from Great Lakes.

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Photo of PatrickCT
4.66/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a can glass.

a: Clear amber body that with a 1 1/2 finger off white head with excellent retention and lacing.

s: Toasted, bready malts, toffee, earthy, grassy, green banana, sweet purple grapes.

t: Toasted bready malts with a nice toffee sweetness, I am getting the same grape/raisin flavor that the aroma suggests...and under ripe bananas. Earthy, medicinal hops.

mf: Medium body with good carbonation. Wonderfully crisp up front, turns in to a creamy fullness and finishes dry with the alcohol being very well hidden.

o: Crazy good.

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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 number1bum
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful deep amber, crystal cleer with a moderate amount of light beige head. Not much in the way of regention or lacing. Smell is subtly sweet, honey and toasted grain. Also a touch of fruity hops in the background. Taste is to die for - toasted grain with a mild malt sweetness - caramel and honey - and a perfect hop balance. Medium mouthfeel, finishes clean and smooth.

This really is an exceptional beer. So smooth and perfectly balanced, I could drink it all night. Fantastic. Maybe the best lager I've ever had the pleasure to drink.

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

Gorgeous orange-red-amber with the accent on the orange. The tangerine-tinted beige colored head is large, pitting and sticky. Foam is already starting to stick in clumps to the inside of the pint glass. It eventually settles to a creamy disk and leaves a few unbroken rings.

The nose is an enticing melange of caramel malt and spicy hops. The flavor follows suit, though hops aren't very prominent, which is exactly as it should be for the style. Each mouthful starts off sweet and malty, with earthy and spicy joining the party soon after. Bitter orange peel is the perfect (mild) accent flavor.

The mouthfeel is full, creamy and... perfect! This brewery never ceases to amaze me when it comes the characteristic that I think is second only to flavor in importance.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness is only the fourth Vienna lager that I have ever had... and it's easily the best. There will undoubtedly be many more in my craft beer future, but it's doubtful if any of them will surpass this one for across-the-board quality and drinkability. Simply put, this is beautiful beer.

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Photo of moodenba
4.64/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Six pack Eliot Ness picked up spring 2016 on Long Island, NY.

This is probably the best pale or amber lager I've tasted in years (maybe ever?). I read the Brothers' review, and I second that; I agree completely. When the "maerzen" beers in Austria are pale shadows of the style, this beer holds up the tradition.

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Photo of kels
4.64/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm on a kick reviewing beers I've drank hundreds of times without taking the time to stop and review them. That would be more or less the entire Great Lakes lineup, for starters. I poured this from the bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Beautiful, simply beautiful. Great coppery red color, clear, with tons of carbonation bubbles running throughout. Delicious 2 finger thick, frothy tan head forms and retains very well at about 1 finger. Tremendous sticky lacing swathes the glass the entire way down.

Smell: Light, toasty grains with a very slight sweetness and subtle floral hops. Hard to really detect, as with many GLBC beers I try.

Taste/Mouthfeel: So great, so dependable - this beer tastes good every time I drink it. I'm never disappointed. Really great toasted malt presence is complemented by a slightly piney/citrusy hop bitterness. There's a distinct lemon character to the hops. The feel is creamy and juicy, well-carbonated.

Drinkability: So high, as good as it gets. It's good alone, it's good with food, it's good when it's hot outside, it's good when it's cold outside, it's good when...well it's always good.

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Photo of NeedBeerHere
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours out translucent brown in color with a small white head that dissipates quickly. Smell is of sweet malt, definitely some caramel in there, really smell sweet. Taste is really nice. Taste is definitely sweet with everything in the nose but a SLIGHT bit of bitterness from the hops that I didn't notice in the nose. Mouthfeel is fairly thin as one would expect from a lager. Overall I really like this beer. Definitely one of the better lagers I have tasted in a long time.

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Photo of frazbri
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes Eliot Ness poured copper, bright and clear in my glass topped by a thick, off-white head. A noble fruity aroma with hints of orange zest & cinnamon. Flavor consisted of caramel with a hint of apricot and leather. Medium-light body with cabonation in the medium range.

This is a clean, balanced beer. It starts sweet, but bitterness comes in at the end. Don't expect to be overpowered by hops though. Eliot Ness doesn't stray from it's german roots. It's an impeccable vienna style lager.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just a wonderful beer and supremely drinkable beer.

Crystal ruby-amber with a nice but thin off white lace.

Smells of sweet toffee, toasted grain, hex nuts.

Tastes of tremendously malty toffees and caramels. Nutty.

Mouthfeel is sweet and chewy. Oh so rich and creamy. Mmmm…

Drinkability couldn’t be any better.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First things first I don't drink this beer nearly enough anymore, it used to be available throughout my area of WV brought in by Wine and Beverage Merchants of Weirton. Sadly someone down state decided to turn him in for selling beer above the 6% alcohol law that are fucked laws here in the DUB VEE endorse. Yes a beer at 6.2% alcohol by volume has been off the shelves for a couple years now, due to some asshole in my state. Now that I got to vent, here goes Eliot Ness ruby caramel vibrant bright crystal clear body with a large beige head forming thick in my 1/2 liter mug lacing is even and simply clings to the sides of my glass. Aroma here has it all with roasted nuts toffee/caramel slightly burnt brown sugar flow going on with spicy German hops a flowing in the background. Also a mild air of citrus peel floats around what a great spicy hop profile, thank god I'm living in Ohio at least alcohol laws are in check. Now I have to start convincing stores to carry a selection and get Cavalier Distributing involved in this region of the state. Flavor has a pronounced funky hop flow with spicy herbal edges and tangy citrus peels flowing with mildly bitter darker roasted malts bringing out a touch of dark chocolate melted over one of your favorite toffee or caramel filled candy bar think Heath sans as much chocolate. Mouthfeel is so nice carbonation is perfect creamy layers divide on the palate with slick hop oils also gracing my palate overall beautifully crafted medium bodied micro brewed beer at it's best. Drinkability is butter, it caresses you. The best Vienna style lager I've come into contact with thank god I understand this style due to a single beer because there's not many great representations out there.

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Photo of karst
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Photo of Jdiddy
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another great beer from what I feel is one of the finest breweries around. Pours a beautiful copper red. Great head that sticks sparingly throughout. Tase is total sweet malt with a hint of caramel. A slight hop taste hits you in the finish. Mega-smooth. Highly recommended!

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Photo of raephun
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Obtained a sixpack locally. Beer pours a brilliant amber with fair head visible, frothy and wonderful. Appearance is beautiful.
Aroma is earthy and hits the nose with no particular overtones. Quite enjoyable.
Taste is exquisite, wonderful mouthfeel. I had considered getting the Burning River as from previous experience it was spectacular, but wanted to try something less hoppy.
I could drink this all night long. I am thankful for a great amber ale. Great Lakes has a lot going on, I need to visit their facility.

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Photo of fightingwords
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a fresh bottle in to a .5L siedel.

A--DEEP copper color, like a dark bourbon. Kind of a redish glow when held up to the light and it has a clean transparancy. 1 finger head that stuck around for a few drinks and had an okay lacing.

S--Super malty. Toffee maybe. Toasty and biscuity that finished with a light hopy alcohol scent. Great smelling beer.

T--Really smooth malty tastes. Well balanced with a clean hop finish. Buttery and carmely kinda like a bitter (oddly enough). Not complex just good beer. malts and hops. I could taste the alcohol, but it was all part of the experience. IMHO.

M--Thin to medium bodied depending on your palate. Has a carbonated feel that goes away as the beer warms.

D--I like the tast and I like the body, I could take out a 6 pack--respectfully. I know it's a lager but it just reminds me a of a bitter, but much more malty.

O--Its got malt, so you'd better like malts, but have no fear, just enough hops to finish. Well worth a try. I found it simply awesome. This is in regular rotation. Great Lakes has always impressed me with their traditional tastes and they are right on here.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours clear dark ruby amber with a 2 finger creamy tan head.

S - Toasted malt with toffee, biscuit, nuts and a bit of sweetness.

T - Toasted malt with nuts, biscuit and caramel. There is a bit of a spicy bitterness to balance it out. Hints of complex multi grain breadiness are mixed in.

M - Mouthfeel is rich and creamy. Just the right amount of carbonation.

D - About as good as it gets. This is a very drinkable, very flavorful beer. This one could easily become my everyday drinker.

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Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From tap at Applebee's during the Steelers vs Dallas game with Leah. We love Edmund Fitzgerald, but have never appreciated this one from Great Lakes! Very very nice offering!

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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.09 out of 5 based on 3,168 ratings.
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