Great Lakes Eliot Ness | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

3,186 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,186 |  Reviews: 1,023
Photo of MrOH
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brilliant amber with a finger of off white head. Really good retention.

Toasty malt. Slight hint of tropical fruit (pineapple?). The malt runs deep.

Bready, toasty malt. Slightly sweet, but not caramelly. Somewhat bock-like, but much cleaner in finish. A bit of cinnamon-spice from noble hops, I'd imagine, to compliment the sweetness. An especially great beer for fall.

Surprisingly light-bodied when contrasted with the flavor.

Quite a nice beer for colder weather and activity. It somewhat reminds me of a british winter warmer, but with the lightness and drinkablity of a lager.

 587 characters

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 AgentMunky
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into an Ommegang glass. Best before 26 July 2011. From notes. Reviewed 23 June 2011.

A: White head; less than decent retention. Brilliantly, beautiuflly red. Damn. Clear and amber in the light. Come lacing.

S: Fruit. CRANBERRY. Tart and pleasant.

T: Strangeish. It tastes like a cranberry spritzer. Sweet malts with tart fruit and only trace hops. By the end, the maltiness gets caramelly.

M: It's fine. But nothing great.

O: Interesting -- a nice beer. I might not drink another, but I suppose I'd tentatively recommend it.

 559 characters

Photo of cosmo4u
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

purchased at the brewery 7/16/11

Pours cloudy copper to an ambered brown with a small light brown rocky head. Sweet malted barley with sugary notes and a hoppy nose with vanilla hints. Warm and sweet creamy caramel flavor greets your tonue with the first draw and leaves you with a creamy hoppiness. Medium-bodied and creamy/fizzy palate.

 340 characters

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, dark amber in color, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: sweet caramel malt and small hops

Taste: big sweet caramel malt with some earthy hops in the back that also jump

Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation and bodied, sweet with small bitterness in the back

Overall: One of the best Vienna Lagers I have had. This one starts like a malt bomb, then surprise the hops rush in. I wish this was around here. I could have several of these.

 460 characters

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the same color as a good pumpkin beer. Solid orange. Thick white inch head that really holds.

Smells malty, yet somewhat balanced. sweet, grainy malt.

Adjunct malts come to mind quickly, but that notion is set aside by strong sense of caramel/toffee I get. Hops arent really there. The Great Lakes grain is there, and it fights whole-heartedly with caramel malt to be in the front. Slightly metallic taste kind of comes in between the initial and aftertaste. The sweetness stays with you the whole time.

Very sweet and malty brew.

Feels lights, but the grain lingers.

 579 characters

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

On-tap at Duckworth's Grill & Taphouse, Charlotte, NC:

The beer appeared a nice, deep amber color, with a nice thick slightly off-white head that was well retained, about a half finger throughout that left some nice lacing. Noticeable carbonation rising to the top of the glass.

The beer gave off a nice malty aroma with hints of hops and spices. Very full and well done.

The taste is very good. A smooth malty flavor that is sweet and very well balanced.

The beer has a medium body and very good carbonation. This has to be one of the smoothest and easiest to drink beers that I have ever had. Overall, defiantly one of the best Vienna Lagers that I have ever had.

 670 characters

Photo of ckollias
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: This brew pours a dark amber with a 1-1/2 finger white head which lingers for awhile and leaves a nice trail all the way down my glass before ending in a solid lace.

S: Spicy sweet malty aroma fills the nose. Enough hoppiness to make it a very pleasant aroma.

T: Smooth malty flavor with caramel and toffee running throughout. Slightly sweet and well balanced. Lot of flavors!

M: Medium body and medium carbonation

O: Another great beer by Great Lakes Brewing Company. You can just tell by tasting this beer that it is made with quality ingredients

 611 characters

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

Thanks to Thorpe for this one.

A: The beer pours a somewhat cloudy copper color with about two fingers of khaki colored head.

S: Nice sweet caramel and toffee malt aromas to this. Plenty of toasted bread/malts are also there. There is a touch of yeast and some floral and spicy hop notes. Very nice nose.

T: Fairly sweet, but not overly so. Caramel and toffee malt flavors are there with some toasted bread. Light floral and spicy hop flavor and very faint bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very crisp.

O: An extremely well done lager. I very much enjoyed this.

 586 characters

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

poured into a pint glass after letting it set for 10 minutes out of the fridge.

A-crystal clear amber color with off-white head.

S- fairly balanced between hops and malts. Not detecting much roast.

T- pick up more on the hops after tasting along with some bittering. Definitely drier than what I was expecting.

M- crisp and smooth. Carbonation is enough so that it works well with the malts and not coming out too sweet.

Overall- First time trying this style so I wasn't sure what to expect. I'ts a pretty well rounded and smooth beer.

 542 characters

Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle with a fantastic classic logo of 'Eliot Ness'. Poured into a standard somewhat tall mug.

A - a clear reddish amber. A slightly richer and darker reddish amber. Poured a good off white head that lasted what I thought much longer than other reviews I read prior. Good lacing as well.

S - sweet caramel and maybe some toffee along with a bread like aroma. Toasty grain with some semi grainy hops. Overall a sweet aroma that has a pleasant scent.

T - very tasty malt notes. Caramel notes really make this brew a real good one. Somewhat of a spicy hop taste that fits in very nicely. I picked up a few different citrus hints that were just there. Nothing that stood out. Just something that balances this brew very well. Wonderful toasted grain throughout and comes full force in this finish.

M - medium bodied and very smooth. Nice carbonation and very smooth mouthfeel. Easy to drink and Refreshing.

O - An outstanding Vienna lager. One of the best lagers I've ever had and definitely the best Vienna style I've had. Very smooth and refreshing and combines a nice portion of solid flavors. To me this brew was like a meal in a bottle. Great Lakes Brewing Co claim that, "their flagship beer is more like a fleet", stands true. This is another great year round brew from GLBC.

 1,297 characters

Photo of xnicknj
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at irish pol in philly

Pours a clear deep amber and copper color, with basically no head, retention, or lacing to speak of.

Nose with leafy hops, bread crust and caramel, bit of sweetness too, but fairly soft overall.

Solid malt bill right up front with caramel, toffee, and bready notes. Some citrusy hop tones join in, adding a nice juicy character. Hints of apple and orange with a light touch of cherry. Finishes a little bitter and juicy.

Medium body, decent carbonation, a bit prickly on the tongue. A solid drinker, the fruit tones add a nice edge, and I enjoyed the balance of flavor.

 607 characters

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

Poured into a sniffer, thanks to StoneBrewFanatic for sharing this one.

Appearance: Clear, amber in color with a finger thick off white head that lingers for a while and fades into a thin lacing.

Aroma: Toffee, caramel, malty and bready, with a touch of citrus.

Taste: Bready, caramel and toffee with a bit of spiciness on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation, easy to drink.

Overall: Easily the best Vienna lager I've had to date.

 462 characters

Photo of flagmantho
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: nice amber hue with just a tiny touch of haze. Head is a thick finger of amber-tinted ivory foam which leaves a good lace as it dissipates.

Smell: rich, sweet caramel malt aroma with little notes of brown sugar. There's also a little bit of earthy hop in there; I like it a lot.

Taste: sweet caramel malt with a nicely balanced bitterness that comes through well at the end. Flavorful yet drinkable.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a good level of carbonation and resulting creaminess. I like it.

Overall: this is a smooth, creamy, tasty and eminently drinkable beer. I just wish Great Lakes were available here in Washington.

 689 characters

Photo of ahq514
4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.

Pours a fairly transparent amber color. Lots of bubbles indicating a fair amount of carbonation. Head dissipates to almost nothing quickly. Almost no lacing.

Very simple aroma. Toasted caramel malts. Very faint hops. Malt is showcased here. Smells fairly sweet.

Definitely one of the best vienna lagers I've tasted. Just like the aroma. Simple and perfected. Caramel malts and light floral hops lead the way in, and it nicely transitions into the sweet, toasty malts I detected in the aroma. Clean and crisp.

Mouthfeel was right on for the style. On the lighter bodied side. A little higher carbonation. Very drinkable.

This was a pretty good beer overall. The appearance was pretty unimpressive, but everything else was great. Could see drinking this anytime of year for any occasion.

 839 characters

Photo of bushbeer75
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle

Great Lakes Brewing Eliot Ness Amber Lager poured a “dirty” amber color producing a nice off-white 2-finger bubbly head that held well and produced rings of lacing while I consumed the lager. The aroma was light, sweet toasted malt with a faint hop nose in the background. The taste was full flavored [for a lager], of sweet toasted malts and balanced by a light bitterness from the hops. Mouth feel is medium with fine bubbles of carbonation and finishes crisp.

Eliot Ness Amber Lager is a very flavorful easy drinking Vienna Lager – well done Great Lakes.

 585 characters

Photo of kashmoney
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tall glass

A: Amber with a 2 finger head.

S: Sweet with slight maltiness/hops

T: Initially sweet and malty with a deep hoppy finish

M: Thin, lingers slightly but not off putting

O: Solid brew however not my favorite. Good to sip on and try but wouldn't go out of my way to find it

 301 characters

Photo of Duff27
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8/3/11 8209AL

A- Big light-tan, two-inch head atop a darker ruby-red beer. Well above average lacing and good head retention as well.

S- Vienna malts. Having a hard time detecting any hops.

T- More Vienna (and some caramel?) malts, not too sweet though. Just enough hops to balance nicely. Very well hidden alcohol.

M- Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Creamy, medium carbonation.

D/O- Definitely thirst quenching. I'd rank this one a notch lower than Boston Lager on the tastiness scale. Great Lakes Brewing Company, consistent!

 534 characters

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Single bottle from the Great Lakes sampler pack, picked up on a road trip to upstate New York. So far I've been loving the Dortmunder, Burning River and Edmund Fitzgerald - how will the last one stand up?

Poured into a tall pilsner tulip. A brilliant ruby-amber colour, clear, nice frothy head, a bit of lacing.

Nose is quite malty, with notes of grain, caramel, sugar and earthy hops.

A malty extravaganza, this brew is full of flavor. Caramel, earth, a hearty grain taste, and a clean hopped finish. Reminded me of a wee heavy somewhat. Very tasty brew. Carbonation is a bit high for my liking, but it has a nice crisp feel.

Another solid brew from Great Lakes. As hearty as a non-bock lager as you're ever going to find!

 728 characters

Photo of antlerwrestler19
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a vibrant amber color with a definite red hue to it - this beer bubbles for days - a 1.5 finger thick almost frothy head of foam rests on top of the beer, determined not to leave. As I finally start to take drinks I see the lacing follow the still remaining head down without letting up. Smells of light caramel/toffee with a bit of grassiness playing out from the hops (not at all a "hoppy" beer though). Taste? This beer is amazing! Incredibly balanced, the sweet malts, the caramel/toffee flavor plays through, a nutty spiciness, and subtle hops all bring this beer together to be superb. Mouthfeel is nice - I can get a handle on all the different flavors this beer has to offer - leaves the slightest of bitterness yet sweet tang in the back of the mouth. I better have another drink this beer is so refreshing, mad at myself for only buying a 6er.


 868 characters

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a mug

A: Pours a nice medium amber/orange with a thin head that is off white and lingers creamily on the top, pours entirely hazy
S: Nice and sweet with a slight underlying hopiness, slight caramel malt scent
T: nice maltiness counteracted by the nice sweetness, finishes slightly deep
M: strong carbonation tingle, leaves a nice lingering taste
O: really enjoyable brew, drinks smooth, not terribly complex but has a great depth

 440 characters

Photo of AdamBear
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark reddish gold, transparent with a nice thin white looks fairly majestic.

S-smells like creamy and milky barley. its a strong scent but not a good scent. i'm getting some berries in here as well.

T-comes in with slightly bitter but really good full flavored tastes of roasted honey and barley of extreme quality. it almost reminds me of cereal. the taste lasts and forms a decent and long lasting after-taste.

M-good creamy medium carbonation with a crisp finish

O-this is a pretty well put together lager. its very different in the tastes than any other lager i've had which i really appreciate. its easy drinking as well...though it might not be something i could drink a lot of at one time. the only other vienna lager i've had has been Sam Adams Boston Lager...which seems to be in the amateur league compared to the Eliot Ness.

 851 characters

Photo of ebby82
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber into a pint glass with minimal head.

The aroma is sweet and malty, perhaps a hint of caramel.

The taste blows me away. The maltiness is complemented by a nice hop presence. First, I didn't smell the hops much in the aroma, yet there they are, second, I love lagers in which you can still taste the hops. One of the tastiest Vienna Lager's I've had. the only one I can remember enjoying as much is my local breweries version.

Mouthfeel is like with nice carbonation. An easy drinker, I just wish I could buy this in VA, but perhaps that day shall come.

 573 characters

Photo of musicforairports
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewpub in Cleveland.

Clear and amber, with a fluffy head that goes quick. Served in a stein.

Smells like nutty, slightly sweet malts.

Flavor is rich and full of smooth, nutty malt flavors. Just enough noble hops on the end to keep it from being too sweet, but otherwise not a hoppy beer. Great example of the style.

Mouthfeel is great--it's full enough to keep this beer from seeming like a light one.

A really great beer overall. Full-flavored and smooth. Glad I got to try it. Compared to the other popular Vienna lager--Sam Adams--this one is more malty, less hoppy, and overall a bit more flavorful.

 623 characters

Photo of tastybeer
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear amber gold pour with a nice one inch head initially. Slight orange tinted in color, and once it settles it leaves a good solid quarter inch and little bits of lace behind. Aroma has that yummy Vienna lager grainy, chewy, caramelly scent that I always like. Light Czech. hops add a refreshing edge to it. Taste is smooth with toasty, roasty and nutty grains and carbonation is fine and prickly. Nice balance between bitter and flavor/aroma hops too. Mouthfeel is sliiightly chewy and mostly slick with a touch of grainy texture. Nice array of textures. Overall I like this. I would be happy to have several more...great session beer.

 638 characters

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.09 out of 5 based on 3,186 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.