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: 3,169
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
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | 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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Photo of lastmango
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful pour that is light ruby with 1finger creamy head. Nose is a faint malt and taste is of caramel malt witj a touch of hops on the end. Medium thickness and carbonation.

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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.

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Photo of rjd722
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Washington Old Engine 12, beautiful deep amber color with a decent head and not much lace. For me, this lager can be summed up in one phrase; super caramelized malts. The aroma is dominated by these malts, not being a huge lager fan it's nice to see this particular offering have so much going on from a sensory perspective. The taste is laced with caramel and some raisin notes, kind of an earthy fruit mouthfeel. A lager with personality!

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Photo of AllDayIPA23
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

Great Amber color. the smell and taste are fantastic. I have not had many lagers, of any form, but this is definitely the best I've ever had. Heck of an all around beer.

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

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

A: Pours a clear and beautiful deep amber color. Head is two fingers of frothy, foamy off-white color. Retention is phenomenal and lacing is plentiful.

S: Aromas of caramel and sweet bready malts greet you initially. Then you get some subtle fruitiness, primarily raspberry, and cherry. On the end you get aromas of cracker like malts and some subtle earthy hop notes.

T: Flavors of caramelized malts, raspberry, and cherry make themselves apparent up front. If you dig deeper the middle of the palate reveals sweet bread like flavors and an ever so subtle hint of cocoa. Finishes with a earthy pepper like spiciness and an aftertaste of caramel.

M: Medium bodies with moderate carbonation. Very slick and smooth on the palate. There is a nice warmth to this brew despite the 6.2% abv. Finishes very pleasantly. A great easy drinker.

O: An incredibly well crafted amber lager. Pours one of the most beautiful shades of amber I have ever seen, truly world class in appearance. The great aromas and flavors you would expect are present and backed up well by a great feel on the palate. Overall this is a great brew with excellent drink-ability, making it a great choice for a got to any season brew.

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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.09 out of 5 based on 3,169 ratings.
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