Great Lakes Eliot Ness | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

3,200 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,200 |  Reviews: 1,029
Photo of bigpoppa67
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tjacobs610
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark caramel color, with a reddish hue. Minimal head, but what is there is a whitish creamy color

Smell: Has a grainy odor, with a very sweet aroma that is also very pungent

Taste: Very rich taste. Perfect mix of hops and malts. Also has herbal hints toward the end of the taste, which ends very dry

Mouthfeel: Very good feel, has a very frothy and chewy feel. Has a great ending, perfect mix of dryness and flavor

Overall: Very good brew overall; this is one of my favorite beers around. Not many things to pick at, it has a great mixture of flavor, color and aroma

 582 characters

Photo of bobsy
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ritzkiss for leaving this in my fridge. I should be at a wedding reception now, but the assholes at National and a lack of other rental cars in the city have stranded me at home. Hopefully this brew will take off the edge.

Elliott Ness is an excellent looking lager, striking an amber body and a smooth, creamy tan head. Retention is great for the style, and sticky patches of lace are liberally deposited on the side of the glass. The aroma is dominated by mild caramel malts, which convey the essence of caramel without too much of the sweetness. Behind this I'm getting some breadiness, as well as a hint of grass and pepper.

As soon as you take a quaff you know this is a great beer. A lot of lagers disappoint with the limp bodies and aggressive carbonation, but not this one. The body is quite full for the style (though medium in comparison to other beers), and while the carbonation is high, its more soft than spritzy.

The flavour ticks all the right boxes too. A distinct breadiness forms the backbone from which caramel springs forth. A mild hop bite at the end helps to give it a little punch, and breaks up the long bready finish. Decent residual sweetness. This is definitely one of the more malty lagers I've had, and the better for it.

Cheers Eric!

 1,278 characters

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of deereless
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Solid half inch of thick creamy head off an easy pour, amber to copper in color, significant lacing - 4.00, S: Lots of grain on the nose, some dry herbal hops - 3.50, T: Slightly sweet, medium hop bite, some mild grapefruit zest and earthiness, significant caramel - 4.50, M: Nice mouth feel, quite creamy - 4.00, D: An exceptional lager, nicely crafted, extremely drinkable - 4.50

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Photo of Stonebreaker
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a deep amber, every pour is different, I must pour slower to get a feel how the foam will be.

Smell: Nothing particularly special here, retry tommorow.

Taste: The taste is nutty, delicious bitter from the hops very well balanced with burnt chocolate in the finish sweet, but not too sweet.

Mouthfeel: Top notch.

Drinkability: High on the drinkability scale, I picked a helluva time to get into good beers, but to think; I've had some of the best beers in the world on an unemployed wage. Beer is the working class' drink. But back to the point, I now think that, the 10$ price tag for this sixer is cheap, it's a change of mind state.

 656 characters

Photo of williamjbauer
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass, bottled.

A - clear bronze amber with 1 finger white head with moderate retention and moderate foamy lacing.

S - caramel and honey malts with bready yeast and wheat

T - honeycomb and beef jerky, caramel malts and bready yeast.

M - light body, moderate carbonation, crisp

O - a very solid sweet lager light and crispy

 345 characters

Photo of Dr-Jan-Itor-
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of RJGaible
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Masonz223
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mchanz99
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sleazo
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A_Pours a medium brown with hints of orange. What is that siena? The nice foamy head recedes a bit too quickly to a nice slick that floats to the end.

S_Despite the small head the beer produces a strong aroma. The malt is the dominant factor here with its' biscuit and sweet caramel. Some grassy hops are noteworthy in the background.

T_The hops appear up front here, grassy and slightly medicinal. The follow through is a nice sweet caramel and toffee malt. The whole of the matter is very well balanced. Slight hint of alcohol is the only detracting note.

M_On the thicker side for a lager with an above average carbonation.

D_This is a very nice lager, sweeter than Sam Adams or Brooklyn but well balanced. I would drink this a lot if it was around more often. Thanks to Pimpp for the sample.

 799 characters

Photo of Ilafan
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good malty-spicy beer,smelled like bread rising,went great with pizza nice high alcohol content went well with the spiciness of the pizza.I honestly havent had a bad beer from Great Lakes yet.Best brewery in the midwest,with Kalamazoo(my beloved Bells)not far behind.

 267 characters

Photo of punkindrublic50
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Vienna style lagers are a great style of beer - a little sweeter than your average ale, but still completely drinkable and full of flavor. Elliot Ness is the best that I've had in the style: sweeter malts are used, but absolutely no sugar rush and still a solid bite of hops. Smell, carbonation and appearance are attractive and spot on. What really sets this beer apart though is its balance and drinkability. There are too many good craft beers that are good, but become unattractive or even undrinkable after 2 or 3. However with Elliot Ness you could happily drink it all night long.

Price is very reasonable as well. If you haven't tried the style and happen across a sixer or even a case I highly recommend giving it a try.

 730 characters

Photo of Brenden
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's nice to get a good appearance from a beer on tap; typically it loses some of the head retention and the lacing tends to be lighter and thinner. This one loses just a little in the head and the lacing is consistent down the glass.

The smell is complex, most notably sweet malts and a grainy hops aroma.

The taste is the an excellent balance of sweet malt and citrus hops. It is a little earthy but mostly you get that mild, slightly spicy fruit taste and, again, the hops. Bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue and is nicely balanced out in the end as well.

Mouthfeel is smoother on tap with some thickness and no real grit. Carbonation is light but ever-present.

This is still a very nice brew from Great Lakes and one that remains consistent on tap or out of the bottle.

 788 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have never had a bad brew from this legendary brewpub. Clear freshness dating appreciated. Too bad its not available in Canada. This is a very good German style beer. Goes well with food, perfect for appetizers. Well balanced. Two to three people to finish a six-pack.

 270 characters

Photo of animalchin
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber color with a solid white head. Excellent lacing.

S - Caramel. Maybe a little honey as well.

T - Dark caramel with an ample amount of hops to top off. Some light senses of cherry in the after taste; a very nice mix.

M - Carbonation is pretty moderate - just right actually. Feels a little heavy, but nothing too major.

D - Great Lakes never fails to deliver quality brew. Very much a fan of the Eliot Ness. Wonderfully crafted with plenty to offer.

 467 characters

Photo of jds16
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

How easily we neglect the beauty that's always available...picked up a mixed 12 pack of hometown GLBC to have some more "regular strength" beers on hand. I've had this beer 1000 times, and forgot how simply excellent it is. Beautiful clear caramel color, off white head fades slowly. Smells of sweet grain, caramel, noble hops. Taste: caramel, toast, slightly sweet, just enough hops to balance the sweetness. Smooth, chewy full body for a lager.

 446 characters

Photo of plaid75
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Hilton Hotel, Pittsburgh.

Poured a deep copper hue with a half finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a robust carMel and toffee with a respectable grassy hop presence.

The taste consisted of a burnt caramel and a lingering drying hop.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a very tasty lager. Think Sam Adms kicked up
a notch.

 417 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle date is drink by 12/17/10 ow no it's a bit old.

A - Looks ok. No sediment. Has a nice amber color with an inch if frosty head.

S - Slight hops with a touch of caramel and malt sweetness.

T - That's pretty good. The sweetness and hops really play well and come off slightly bitter. Nice.

M - Light to medium. Kind of bitter.

D - Well I love Great lakes and this beer is good but not something I would seek out again. Much smoother and better tasting on tap. Still a very good brew.

 492 characters

Photo of Phatz
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

served on tap at Capone's.

Appearance: Served a luminescent copper amber color with a creamy frothy thick off white head on top. Very nice. Lacing as well.

Smell: Sweet Vienna malts clean and light with a touch of fruit, bread, cake and even a drop of caramel.

Taste: Bready malts and fruit attribute lead with a bit of dry grain, nut and toasted caramel with a berry hint in the finish and a nice lingering aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth crisp lager built for easy drinking.

Drinkability: This is a very easy drinking beer. I think it'd make a great transition beer for Yuengling drinkers and it'd even please the BAs. Well done!

Hope this is helpful.

 693 characters

Photo of RichieS2
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the taps into a standard pint glass.

A - A pleasing copper, neither too light or too dark with respectable foam and mild carbonation.

S - A nice bouquet of malts serving as a promise of the sweetness to come. This gave way to a faint hop smell.

T - Great, plenty of caramel malt goodness to dance on the tongue and then enough spiciness from the hops to provide balance.

M - The balance was excellent, was neither being too thick or too watery.

D - Would have another one in a heartbeat.

 505 characters

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.09 out of 5 based on 3,200 ratings.
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