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Great Lakes Eliot Ness | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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1,016 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,016 | Ratings: 3,134
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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Photo of PeterBA
2.66/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not sure why I don't like this, it doesn't seem like a Vienna Lager at all.
Seems a bit weak with weird flavors, maybe it's the sweet fruit, spice, and floral hops.
Doesn't belong in a Vienna Lager, give me more of a pure, clean beer, maybe hold the hops!

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Photo of Slowjamcdub
3.4/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very Drinkable beer! Orange. If you don't like Oranges this is not the beer for you. Smooth great drinkable mouth feel. You can drink a 6 pack of these very easy. Light, reminds me of a better made BlueMoon Belgium white. 7.9/10 beer here. Very good beer.

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

Poured into tulip glass. It pours an attractive clear amber with a two-finger, bright white head and extensive lacing which barely dissipated throughout the pour. It smells of toasted malt, fruit, and a whiff of caramel. The taste is a very nice blend of earthy malt, sweet fruit, spice, and floral hops. It is tangy and slightly bitter at the finish. As the glass warms, there is also a hit of caramel. This lager is medium-bodied and carbonated, and is very easy to drink with a moderate ABV of 6.1% Overall, it is an easy drinking and very tasty lager. It could be enjoyed equally with a good meal or on its own. I would certainly drink this again.

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Photo of adroc
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma: Moderate grainy maltiness with a hint of alcohol.

Appearance: Amber crystal clear color. Minimal tan head that faded almost instantly for me.

Flavor: Sweet and toasty malt character. A bit off for the style. Minimal spicy hop flavor with moderate bitterness and a dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation along with some heat from the alcohol.

Overall: Bit hot and biscuity for the style. Decent beer but not one I would drink again.

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Photo of Zylod
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very little to add here that most haven't already said, maybe the best beer from one of the best brewer's in the US(depending on the style you prefer). Doesn't get much better.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - Copper/amber color. Clear in appearance. Two, almost three finger fluffy head
Smell - bread, toast, earth, caramel, some roastiness, some fruitiness
Taste - Toast, spice, earthy, herbal, some floral notes, slightly sweet caramel malts
Feel - Nice and crisp

Overall - One of my favorite lagers. Super tasty which in my opinion, is hard to find in a lager. Great Lakes does a great job with this one.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Great Lakes imperial pint.
6.1% ABV, 27 IBUs, Enjoy By: 01/17/16

A - Like many other Great Lakes' beers, it's a wonder how the tall head is kept afloat for so long considering it's obvious lack of carbonation feeding it. Eliot Ness is a still and perfectly clear gorgeous deep amber color with ivory foam that leaves lace on the glass quite nicely.

S - German malts offer a burst of bready simplicity with complex undertones - a beer that upon first whiff can either be a no-brainer, easy drinker or, should you take the time, a deeper, nuanced brew. Toasted bread crusts pulled from the Vienna malt are reminiscent of brittle wheat bread, fresh from the toaster, drizzled with honey and caramel. Noble hops offer a quick and earthy balance to the sweetness however, and finish out with lingering dryness.

T - Eliot Ness leans more towards the malty side in aroma but in the flavor the use of Noble hops come forward quite a bit more overlapping the rich toasted bread qualities with a woody, almost grassy herbal spice complexity that hangs onto the palate for some time. Upon the swallow, the bolder earthy characteristics really show themselves when the brew is retronasally exhaled.

M - Crisp and smooth from the start, Eliot Ness is a clean lager with no yeast presence, only a fairly firm medium malt body that's balanced out by earthy and dry, lingering hops on the long finish.

O - Through the whole experience of Eliot Ness it's easy to see that not only is it a very well brewed Vienna Lager but its recipe is so finely tuned that it makes for a pretty simple and straightforward, drinkable amber lager all while being nuanced and complex for a clean beer worth pondering.

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Photo of Caveworm
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this beer's head is 1/2 finger thick, with lateral lacing, and a very deep amber body.

I smell full bodied grains with a touch of roasted malts.

Tastes nearly identical with mild floral hops that balance the flavor very, very well.

The mouthfeel is lighter, with mild carbonation, and a smooth finish.

Overall, I'll give Great Lakes Eliot Ness - Great Lakes Brewing Co. a 4.25. A staple offering by this brewery IMO.

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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 EMH73
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very full bodied and balanced lager with a little extra hops to it. Nice fruity notes that do not overpower. Very smooth, Great Lakes hit the nail on the head again.

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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 maedhros09
4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Deep dark amber with 1-2 fingers of light tan head
Smell: Round caramel and bready, almost fruitcake like aromas
Taste: Big maltiness but not oversweet, somewhat tangy. Finishes with mild herbal hops. Awesome blend of flavors
Feel: Medium to full body with average carbonation

Overall: My memory of this one was that it was a solid but not very exciting. Maybe I have a greater appreciation for lagers now or maybe it was fresher, but this time it blew me away - it was just what I wanted in a dark lager. Lots of malt flavor and complexity without too much sweetness, a big body and drinkable all a the same time. Delicious.

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

Excellent lager with great look, creamy texture. Rich traditional lager taste with malts and some hops. Color of a nice sweet tea with thin one finger clingy head.

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Photo of R2-the-Bruce
4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a Rocket Republic pints glass.

L: caramel color with thick head that dissipated slowly.

S: lots of caramel malt

T: caramel/bready malt with a bit of hop bitterness on the finish. As the beer warms, hop bitterness disappears.

M: medium body, clean and dry finish.

O: Exactly as expected, based on other reviews. It's a rich man's Sam Adams (no disrespect to Sam - it was the first craft beer I ever loved). Excellent take on the Vienna Lager style.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Decent head with a moderate pour from a 12oz bottle (1-2 finger head). The head leaves abruptly, but nice lacing continues on. This lager is a deep copper color and crystal clear.

Nice floral, fruity, and malty aroma. The fruity aroma is slightly tart.

Slight hop bite at first that leads to a strong caramel malt flavor. It is nutty and almost smokey. Fruit flavors are tart but fade into a nice sweet medley of caramel. The beer ends up finishing a bit dry.

Full bodied and thick for this style of lager.

This was surprisingly interesting and I was not expecting it. It is classified as a Vienna Lager, but it seems maltier and has more of a roasted grain flavor than some that I have had. I really like this one and would recommend highly. I have a clone recipe for this one and will brew it in the near future.

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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.09 out of 5 based on 3,134 ratings.
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