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 Reddanm1
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer overall was very good! It has a very beautiful and interesting color to it. The color is golden brown with a hint of orange. The Aroma was citrus with a little bit of caramel. The taste of Eliot Ness was very good. It tasted like caramel with a little bit of smoke flavor. The beer was a little acidic when it hit the tongue. The aftertaste continued with the caramel taste because it tasted like burnt caramel. Again, overall, it was very good!

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Photo of 1947
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this baby for a lotta years. Fabulous, smooth, tasty Vienna Lager. I'm from SE Pa, have drunk thousands of Yeungling Lagers over the years, which is great for the price. This is, like, it's apotheosis, though for twice the price, at least. Worth it.

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Photo of trygelski1
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a Natty Greene's pint glass:

Look: Pours a nice amber red color that is very clear. Little to no head present and lacing is very minimal. This is the color an amber ale should look like.

Smell: Lots of caramel and toffee notes along with some bready malts.

Taste: Loads of caramel, toffee, and bready malts present along with a minor hop bite which is very nice. Throw in a bit of sweetness as well. This is one of the best tasting amber ales I have had.

Feel: Medium bodied.

Overall: This is one of the better amber ales that I have had. Another solid offering from Great Lakes!

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into shaker pint best by date of 2/13

A: Solid brown caramel body with decent clarity and a little off white head that looks inviting with its creaminess.

S: Lots of sweet doughy breads, light caramel.

T: Lots of a nice deep bready sweetness and maltiness with some grains and caramel finishes with a touch of very light sweet floral hops.

M: Medium bodied with a slightly creamy feel.

O: I really enjoy this beer, but to me the hops are so light in the background and its so bready and sweet in the front I think it drinks more like a doppelbock, so if you are looking for a more classic vienna lager this is probably not it. (Beer might have been getting past its prime as well).

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Photo of q33jeff
2.95/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle to pint glass.

AROMA: Slight Apple,lemon, slight hops.
LOOK: Light brown color.
TASTE: A bit stale. Caramel flavor. Lasting positive aftertaste.
FEEL: A bit flat.

A nice beer.

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Photo of bankboy66
3.69/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Great color. Moderate fizz. Very easy going down with mild hops up front and doesn't burn going down. Not too sweet despite the color. Give it a try.

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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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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber in color, this is a red/amber lager in the Vienna category. Great Lakes usually makes nice looking beer, this is no exception. Aroma has that feel of a cool breeze in fall.

Some caramel and carbonation with noble hop spice. Plenty of grain feels. Not too sweet. Heartier than average for style.

Above average at everything. Manages to do a lot in a light body and a style with nuance.

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Photo of dhannes
3.46/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured chilled into a Perfect Pint.
L=Rich reddish hue, two finger head.
T=I was expecting an amber and this is closer to an amber than a vienna...slightly sweet, but like molasses...moderate barley.
F=Rather sessionable/light.
O=A good offering...not as robust as other ambers...I'd probably try again if on tap, but not worthy of a 6-pack.

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Photo of shanegatter
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very good amber and very subtle on the hops (I do not care for the hops in IPAs). Although I do have the hop aftertaste on this one it is still a very good 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 leantom
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now this is what a beer that combines a lot of malt and hops should taste like. Much better than the maibock I had the other day. Here goes:

A: Beautiful, clear red. Also pours a large, tan head that leaves great lacing.

S: Piney hops and caramel malt. Smells like a milder West Coast IPA. Nothing overwhelming, and still good.

T: Piney hops (with a tinge of grapefruit) give way to a strong caramel malt profile. The hops and malt complement each other very well; neither overwhelms the other, and the beer finishes very smoothly. There's also a fair amount of breadiness from the yeast that's reminiscent of Killian's and other English ales. Good.

F: Great. Smooth and well-carbonated.

O: A very nice beer. Easy drinking on a warm summer day.

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Photo of mlockman
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I'm not typically a big fan of amber lagers, but this beer is darn good! While it is maltier than I expected (a bonus for me), it is spectacularly balanced.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Eliot Ness pours a darker reddish color with a big lacing head. Mellow creamy malty aroma, with hints of skunk. Taste is creamy and smooth, sweet, with some hop flavors. Body is a little flat. Overall its a very nice malty lager.

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Photo of DJChaseTheBase
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a nice malt lager w/ a pronounced amber appearance to it. Was very nice and malty taste w/ surprising hops that were not expected from an amber ale. Nothing overpowering here which it makes it a nice laid back beer.

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Photo of BlakeA85
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into nonic pint glass, Pours a very attractive amber color, decently clear and carbonated.
Smells of caramel, a lot of hops and some real sweet malt.
Taste follows the nose, with a very interesting kick of bitter at the beginning and end, caramel malt and a nice finish. Very hoppy in taste, but not like an IPA.
Mouthful is medium bodied, very drinkable.
Overall, An excellently hoppy Amber Lager. New to me.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip. best by march 9th 2016, so a little past it's prime.

looks very nice in the glass. reddish amber color with a decent white head which dissipates to a solid ring with a light covering. despite this, it still leaves decent lacing.

not getting much on the nose except the sweetness from the malts.

tastes pretty good, despite the age. nice malty sweetness with a slight pepper bite to it. also, and this is weird, i swear I'm getting peas in there somewhere. no idea how or why.

mouth is between light and medium, finish is a a little dry and tart.

overall, another good offering from a great brewery.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on-tap 03/25/16 at Jet Rock in the Philadelphia Airport, Philadelphia, PA

Appearance - This clear, dark amber brew displaying beautiful ruby highlights was served to me in a pint with a fine, khaki head that didn't take long to dissipate into a broken layer of suds across the top.

Smell - Amazing aroma! toffee up the wahzoo, with lesser honey and a hint of lemon.

Taste - Follows the nose. Amazing toffee depth, highlighted by lesser caramel and honey notes. Hints of lemon pith, giving a touch of bright citrus bitterness that carries over into the finish.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium in body with fair carbonation. Smooth, crisp and mostly dry finish.

Overall - Delicious. I would drink this all the time if it were available out here in California. No doubt the best Amber Lager I've had to date. One I'll have to keep an eye out for if I ever find myself traveling within its distribution area.

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Photo of drtth
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear deep reddish amber, the color of fine piece of cherry wood furniture. The 1/2" light tan head soon recedes to a small ring of foam, an island of foam, and a thin film over a portion of the liquid. Sipping produces creates sheets of foam that become scattered small patches and legs of lacing on the side of the glass. Towards the end of the beer most all is gone except for a ring of foam.

The aromas include some lightly toasted, bready malt, some caramel mingled with a light touch of earthy noble hops.

As expected from the nose, the flavors emphasize that rich toasted malt sweetness, some nice bready character and some almost nut like touches that seem to come and go. The background touch of bitter is earthy in character.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium bodied with some light prickly sensation from the gentle but persistent carbonation. The finish begins as the malt sweetness gradually fades away leaving some earthy, slightly floral hop dryness at the end and in the back of the palate.

This is a nicely drinkable beer that I expect I'll be having again, especially since it is readily available here in SEPA. This also would made a good beer to serve I'm expecting to have time with friends for good beer and good dinner conversation. I'd particularly like to try this with something like a pork loin, red potatoes and some green beans.

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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 GrumpyGas
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated: enjoy by 3/23/16. (Dooh! 2 weeks too late)
A cloudy yellowish amber body with a hint of cream colored head.

Refreshing and inviting odor of sweet malt and citrus.
Flavor loses the citrus, but hops join and match the malt.
Medium mouthfeel with a dry finish. Hops linger slightly on the palette.

Invite Eliot over for poker and cigars with the guys.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, Enjoy by 04/14/16
A - deep amber body capped with a creamy beige head that slowly fades to a foam
S - malt forward nose with toasted grain, bread crust, caramel, toffee, earthy hops and lager yeast
T - malt forward yet perfectly balanced with heavy notes of grain, caramel, and toffee coupled with some spicy & earthy hops, and a mild fruitiness
M - medium bodied, ample carbonation, finishing very dry with some spicy hops lingering on the clean finish
O - it's been years since I had this and I really enjoyed it thoroughly (and it's much better than I remember). This is a fantastic beer and I appreciate a brewer sticking to their guns with a style that isn't brewed a whole lot, keeping it in their year-round lineup, and not giving in to only brewing the fresh-beer-of-the-week hop-bombs that some brewers feel the need to brew these days. This is a great example of the style and I'll buy this again soon.

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Photo of jaypaul522
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours clear golden. The smell is of malt. Taste is strong, clean, and very flavorful. The body is medium, and the drinkability is very good. Good beer with a meal.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful amber color. The nose is caramel, grain and some spicy hops. The taste is malty sweet with caramel and brown sugar notes with a nice hoppy finish. This is a really nice beer.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It has been a joy learning to distinguish this malty lager from the blonder and hoppier styles. And this one, based on BA ratings is at the top. I agree with most reviews that place the premium on Eliot Ness' lingering juicy malt.

MJ's 1999 edition gave it 2.5 of 4 stars and called it "a round, deep Vienna-style lager."

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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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