Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Great Lakes Eliot Ness | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Great Lakes Eliot NessGreat Lakes Eliot Ness
3,228 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,228 |  Reviews: 1,035
Photo of xgrigorix
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce brown bottle. Best by date printed on label.

Dark amber, slightly hazy. One finger of tan foam caps it. Large bubbles pop through the head.

Strong malt aroma, some dark fruit, & mild hop aromas.

Malt drives this one start to finish. Some breadiness, a hint of fruit, and just enough hops to keep it from becoming cloying. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

 380 characters

Photo of StevieW
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle at MikeyW's house. Deep, shiny copper color. Glowing. Off-white sticky head. Bubbly. Laced the glass to the bottom. Full toasted carmel malt smell. Perfectly rich taste of toasted malt, very full malt taste. Lots of sweetness, and snap, sticky, quick hop kick. Very balanced, and full flavored. Solid medium bodied, but super easy to drink. Dru finish, but toasted flavors linger on the tongue. I thought this was vienna lager, not a marzen, but there probably isn't really a difference. Whatever category you place it, it was a very impressive beer and worth any efforts to try it. I waited a long time to try it, and it exceded my expectations. A "wow" beer.

 673 characters

Photo of euskera
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle..

Nice rusty-red color with a nice mediun bodied head. Good balance of malt and hop with a slight floral tinge to it. Smooth and eminently drinkable, with a little caramel edge to it at the back end. I'd love to have a keg of this stuff at a party..

 264 characters

Photo of francisweizen
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This marzen-style lager poured a nice copper colour with an off-white head. The aromas were of malts and hops in a nice perfect harmony. The taste is malty of course, a bit fruity, fresh, floral and hoppy. The mouthfeel is a bit light on the tonuge, but heavy enough to slightly coat the throat on the way down. The drinkability is pretty excellent as well. Another good brew from the folks at GLBC!

 399 characters

Photo of Reverand
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep Amber red color with an off white head. Head retention is good, traces of Belgian lace down the side of the glass. A nice balance of noble hop and caramelized malt give this beer a good taste. Very drinkable beer considering the alcohol content.

 250 characters

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Did not even realize this was an Okto beer, thought it was more of a brown ale (but that's a compliment). A nice creamy head, alost stoutlike. Had a good beery smell with a touch of fruitiness that led me to think this was an ale. A complex hop taste that I thought had more American hops that the normal German ones. A delightful brew that stands out at any autumn party,

 372 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.46/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Eliot pours a nice clear amber, like iced-tea. Initially forms a rocky head which dissipates to a bare covering and crown.

Aroma - malty sweet with some caramel presence, too. Kind of light smell-wise, but what is here is good.

Taste - *Very* toasty malt. Oh man, is that good... Fabulous malt depth. Worth the price of admission right there. But wait, there's more! The malty sweetness ducks down long enough for some mellow hoppiness to show through. Drying on the finish but a toasty, lightly hoppy aftertaste. Great balance.

Great body and mouthfeel for the style. No wimpy Octoberfest offering here. Solid and yummy in the mouth and belly.

What a great session beer for the chilly fall months. Nicely warming and comforting. I will be getting more of these for the fall/winter.

 794 characters

Photo of sabrills70
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I first reviewed this in 2003 when I was still a beer novice and scored it at 3.8. Since then I have tried tons of beers and learned that this is as close to perfect as you can get for the style. A beautiful beer.

 215 characters

Photo of brakspear
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An decent amber lager/marzen. Pours a clear deep amber with a tan head which fades and laces somewhat.

The aroma is malty with toasted malts and a very slight clean nuttiness and faint hop nose.

The flavor has a pronounced graininess, with some caramel and toasted malts rising to the fore. It is crisp for a marzen with a decent hop spice. Medium body that finishes a tad dry.

 383 characters

Photo of beerguy101
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Amber color, medium head. Aroma is malty and slighlty sweet. A full-bodied Vienna Lager. Big malty flavors, caramel and slightly nutty. Nice hop bite. Well balanced. Great tasting beer. Smooth taste. Finish is clean and slightly dry. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

 268 characters

Photo of canoehornpoint
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber, almost a light brown with red hues. Highly carbonated and a tick rich head. Malty nose. This is a smoothe, full flavored beer with even maltiness and slightly sweet. There is no real hop flavor but this does not make it overly sweet. This is full flavored as stated before but remains refreshing. Another gold for Great Lakes.

An odd note is that this was given to me by a Canadian innkeeper who has guests bring this up from Cleveland.

 452 characters

Photo of beergeek279
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color was a dark amber, with excellent head retention. The smell was malty, with hints of sweetness. The taste was the same sweet malt, with some caramel taste and a wonderfully sweet aftertaste. The mouthfeel was smooth and perfectly carbonated. With drinkability, another one I could have over and over and over again.

Just one of the fantastic beers out of Great Lakes. As much as it pains me to say it, coming from the Pittsburgh area, something from Cleveland isn't really all that bad at all!

 534 characters

Photo of Winter
4.41/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a gem, if you're a Marzen / Oktoberfest fan. Pours a clear deep reddish amber with a thick luscious creamy light tan head. Sweet malt aroma seems almost bock-like, but consists of caramel and raisin. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with just a touch of carbonation. Taste has a real nice sweet rich chewy malt flavor that also consists of dark fruit (raisins) and caramel (this seemed evident from the nose). Hallertau hops provide a mildly dry bitter middle. They provide a good balance to the sweet malt finish. Being a big fan of Oktoberfest beers, this was a real treat.

 587 characters

Photo of MJR
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear deep red with a touch of orange around the edges. A tan head starts off well, and fades to a small cap that laces well.

Smell: The aroma is malty and bready. Toasted malts and a slight nuttiness match well with a faint, spicy hop note. Very clean nose here...

Taste: The flavor is quite rich, with a pronounced graininess and loads of toasted, bready malt. There's some caramel, but it stays mostly in the background. Incredibly crisp and clean. Dries out on the finish with a good, firm bitternes and a spicy hop bite.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, with a firm, clean, and crisp mouthfeel. Finishes a bit dry.

Drinkability: This is a really good brew. It's not 'exactly' to style...but who cares?! This would be one of my regulars if I could get it locally. But I can't. Damn...

A 'thank you' goes out to 'Realale' for the bottle.

 869 characters

Photo of granger10
4.74/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was some amazing stuff! Never before had I had a vienna like this and I'd be hard-pressed to find another vienna that was this high quality. It definitely had a sweet caramel malt that dominated the flavor but was not overbearing. Soothing tea-like hops came in to balance and add to complexity. More flavors ensued but I could not pick up on what exactly they were, they were good though. The beer's finish tasted exactly like the bread I buy from my local bakery. Light honey nut wheat bread that is superb! This one's a classic.

 536 characters

Photo of moulefrite
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful tawny color, and sports a creamy, light golden head-I bet this would make a great color for a lense on a pair of sunglasses! Take a look through the glass towards your favorite light source. The nose is almost that of something sweet baking away in the oven, loads of baking spice here, as well as some caramelized vanilla sugar in the background. Now that I've been smelling this beer, sipping, and enjoying its color there does not appear to be enough to give a proper flavor analysis. I'll open another. Ahhhh! There you go, rich and malty, bordering on syrupy until a spattering of hops clean things up. Alternate malt, hop, vanilla sugar, spice, gulp-repeat as desired. Taste-T stuff!!

 708 characters

Photo of Realale
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep copper. Big, fine beige head settles slowly to 1/4".

Nose is malty sweet, with a big element of Vienna malt. Just a hint of hop in this one.

Very well-balanced in the mouth with the malt, hop and carbonation all forming a lovely coherent whole. Touch too much caramel flavor in this one, but the sweetness of the malt is well-balanced. Great bottle-conditioned mouthfeel and medium weight. Finishes with a hint of calcium/sulphur.

 441 characters

Photo of BigHead
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice red copper brew sits in my glass with a slightly yellowish head that is thick initially but quickly dies down to about 1/4". Sweet malts come to the nose, with the hops, spices, and hints of fruitiness coming through. Tastes kinda like a sourish sweet malt flavor, with an apple like fruit presence. This beer has an odd complexity that I can't quite put my finger on, seems to be more like an amber ale at first but then finishes with the lager. A different brew.

 471 characters

Photo of Jon
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a glowing amber color with a creamy, off-white head. Nose is mostly sweet and fruity, although some earthy-spicy hops peek their collective heads out to let you know they're present, too. Caramel malt is the featured flavor here, although some red apple fruitiness and spicy hops linger behind. Mouthfeel is somewhat carbonated, but quite smooth overall. This is a very drinkable beer, and one that I find pairs particularly well with Mexican cuisine. If you're a fan of Vienna-style lagers, this one is about as good an American sample as I've come across.

 573 characters

Photo of Mitchster
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Made with American Two-row, Belgian Munich, Caravienne and Caramunich malts. Hopped with Hallertauer. New website says it's made with Harrington 2-row, Munich, C-45, and C-30, hopped with Hallertau.

35 IBU (new website says 27). 6.2% ABV, OG=15P.

Pours out to a brilliantly clear dark red-amber, forming a decent sized dark-beige to light tan head atop medium-sized bubbles with good retention and OK lacing. Aroma is nice....a "fruity" lager ferment with touches of apples, amber malts, some distant spicy German noble hops, toast, grain husk, and toffee. This is definitely fruitier than most lagers in this category, and I'd say it's a stretch from a Vienna Style Lager as they state on their web page. But damn, it's so good, it doesn't matter. Mouthfeel is initially brisk with a smooth, dry finish. Carbonation is moderate. Taste begins with nice spicy hops and a firm malt body, followed by cookie-like residual sugars, toast, grain husk astringency, and ending in a lightly earthy, moderate bittering hop finish.

This is very similar to Bell's Amber Ale with more earth, plus a more intense hop finish. One of the best Amber Lagers out there (Vienna-style or not). Another excellent brew from Great Lakes. They can do no wrong.

 1,239 characters

Photo of steelreign
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As I have tried all of GLBC's brews to date, I must say this is my least favorite. Having said that, it is STILL a great beer - it's just a little different that what I really like. However, if you like a malty, semi-sweet finishing brew that is slightly heavier than a typical lager and has alot more taste, this one should appeal to you. Personally, I feel it has a lot of carbonation, and it kind of takes away from the overall impression. Not my style, but I can appreciate it for what it is.

 496 characters

Photo of tar
3.12/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Eliot Ness pours a clear red amber color with a very thick, fluffy, off-white head. The smell is fairly mild, some malt is present as is an almost bourbon or whiskey type aroma. The taste is somewhat spicy. The primary flavors seem to be those of malt with a bit of hops. The finish leaves an oaky taste and a hint of the bourbon that came through in the smell. A relatively smooth, medium bodied beer. The drinkability has improved since the first time I had it, although it noticeably drops as the beer warms up. I've given this beer several tries at different times, thinking that I should like it more, but never seem to.

 629 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours an amber color with tons of carbonation on the sides of the glass and a small head that oddly centers itself in the center. The aroma is not very strong but I can sense home hints of fruit and light malts. The taste is amazingly smooth and enjoyable. It's a little sweet and the carbonation makes it more interesting. The aftertaste is sweet, but reminescent of something earthy - can't pinpoint it. Very good beer. I could drink this one all night long.

 470 characters

Photo of jcalabre
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally sampled on 10 November 2002. This pours a beautiful amber color w/ a 2" (5cm) head. Crystal clear w/ a big malt nose & well balanced flavors. In my humble opinion, this is a very good example of what an Oktoberfest beer should taste like.

 249 characters

Photo of stirgy
4.51/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured out a clear and deep copper/iced tea color and had a foamy off white and creamy head. This one is deliciously bitter and malty at the same time. Nice pairing of the malts and hops. The alcohol is well hidden here. There’s some caramel sweetness to it, also. An excellent amber lager with a weighty body to it. Highly drinkable and very enjoyable.

 364 characters

Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 3,228 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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