Eliot Ness | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Eliot NessEliot Ness
3,258 Ratings
Eliot NessEliot 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
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Ratings: 3,258 |  Reviews: 1,043
Photo of inebrius
3.11/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've held off buying Eliot Ness for a long time because I was under the assumption that it would be a little too sweet for my tastes.


Since when should a Vienna lager reek of citrus pith and fir trees? It's dry, prickly and more of a chore to drink than I would want or expect from a "malty" beer. Perhaps I've been spoiled by a few too many good lagers lately, but I couldn't see this beer holding up against more balanced versions of related styles.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with garthwaite. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1/2" of beige head over the reddish-brown brew. Dense head shows good staying power, with heavy foamy lacing. Aroma is lightly of sweet malts. Taste is chewy for a lager, with a malty sweetness that reminds me of a good honey pilsner. Also has a crisp, tart close-out that leaves me smacking my lips for more. Mouthfeel and drinkabilty are excellent, hard to beat in my book.

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Photo of ngandhi
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The nutty and herbal caramel nose suggests acidulated, dry, but flavorful malt and fresh German hops. And the truth is a beautiful thing as the palate meets these lofty, half-imagined expectations and more.

The interaction of creme brulee tops (burnt sugar) and roast on the nose with fresh barley malt and oak-aged porter cocoa and vanilla on the palate is exceptional. The thinning, dry hop finish reminds us of what the style really is -- a Vienna lager -- and how much this beer excels, while still remaining true to medal-worthy form.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of jvajda
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Good looking bronze tone with a modest head.
Smell: Malty and rich.
Taste: Good hop-malt balance make this a fine beer, although it does have a slightly simple flavor. Bitterness is good.
Mouthfeel: Creamy and easy on the mouth.
Drinkabilty: Pretty easy to drink, but I can't seem to want another after I finished one.

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Photo of garthwaite
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at the brewery. Poured a deep amber with a light tan bubbly head. Fantastic aroma of dense malts - caramel, toffee, & toasted bread with hints of floral hops & subtle smoke. Light bitterness in the mouth with a ton of big sweet malts overpowering deliciously fresh spicy hops. Somewhat acidic with a monstrously rich caramel flavor, this brew has a beautifully creamy & active mouthfeel. One of the best I've had in the style, which is not typically a favorite.

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Photo of mobyfann
3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $13.99 for a 12pk. Great Lakes mixed sampler...

The appearence is another beauty by GLBC... Bronze-Copper color body with a tanish-white head and great retention and a beautiful lacing effect. The aroma is of a faint malty caramel one, pleasent, nothing great.

The taste is a good solid mix of hops, coffee, caramel, not too heavy, not too light... The drinkability is nice on the palette and smooth for a 6.2% lager. The drinkability is very "do-able" for a mini-session beer...

Final Thought: GLBC has a great mix and diverse tasting beer lineup, and this one never disappoints from start to finish...

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Photo of Bierman9
3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ness has a lovely, deep copper color, with a smidge of haze. Lovely tan head of 1" plus at the start....comprized of fine bubbles and looking frothy. Lasts well, with good lacing too. Aroma has some toasty malt, caramel, and a light nuttiness....though it is mild overall. Mouthfeel/body is a solid medium; no more, no less. Nice, light sweet flavor to start from a solid malt backbone. Toasty and slightly toffee-ish. Mild finish of some floral hoppiness, leaving a pleasant aftertaste. Solid bier, and an easy-drinker. Prosit to Tavernjef for this sample from BIF 3.0...
Zum Wohl!!!

overall: 4
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of Lupe
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish-orange color with a frothy, light tan head that leaves nice lacing. Crisp aroma of toasted grain and light floral hops. Very malty with lightly toasted grains and a caramel sweetness. Touch of hops comes in to add some balance and give an herbal note. Dries up at the end with a lingering breadiness. Medium-full in body, smooth and creamy. Highly drinkable.

After having this one, the Dortmunder Gold, and Edmund Fitzgerald, I am considering moving to Ohio.

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Photo of Afterburner
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: A clear, pretty brown brew, with a smallish light beige head. Minimal head retention, some lacework.

Smell: Subtle malt character and some peppery spiciness.

Taste: Very much a pumpernickel sort of flavor from start to finish, reminding you why beer had the nickname "liquid bread." There is some sweetness that peeks out mid-palate, along with a lemon/citrus character. The hops come out in the finish as usual, but it's mostly bittering hops, not flavor or aroma hops (though those are also present).

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, like other GLBC lagers I've had.

Drinkability: This is a perfectly cromulent beer, but I suspect I'd grow bored with it in short order. It's *good*, but not *interesting*.

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Photo of Ahhdball
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A four time champon in the Chicago WBC, I was anticipating this from the get go and this was absolutely worth it.
Deep amber that made a nice red glow from the light behind. Thick head that left great lacing down the sides and through the drink.
Malty with high caramel nose and thorough hops.
Great flavor! Scalded malt and crisp hop finish but the malt never left the mouth.
Slick dinkability and huge flavors make this one of my favorites from GLBC.

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Photo of budgood1
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours out a hazy dark amber colour...half inch foam head appears and stays. a bit of lacing left after a few sips. floral, fruity,and perfumey nose...followed by a toasted and biscuity malt aroma. upon tasting....earthy malt flavours are accentuated by sour dough and alcohol...very sweet caramel notes subdue any noticeable hops, although there is a definite bitterness in the finish. brewed in the marzen style, this brew reminds me a bit of summit oktoberfest. hearty, sweet, rich and full of alcohol. i like it!

my first great lakes brew....thanks go out to both zap and bighuge for setting me up with this winner.

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Photo of hustlemuscle
3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A good looking beer, amber with golden highlights. A nice head, and good carbonation. Fairly hoppy on the nose, with a few other more earthy scents coming through as well. Nice and smoothly malted, with a hop tang at the end. Tickles the tongue a little bit as you drink it, but not in an unpleasant way at all. Very easy to drink, and delicious. Time to get more!

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Photo of budsboy
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a perfectly clear deep amber with a foamy white head that leaves nice lacing.

Deep malty smell and a woodspice accent.

Sweet malt taste with a nicely balanced hop finish. Carmel and coffee mixture is faintly perceptible.

Medium to full-bodied with a firm level of carbonation.

I'm feeling all of the 6.2% ABV, but it's a smooth, comfortable brew. If I had another, I'd have another.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours crystal clear amber color with moderaate tan lace that for the most part holds steady.
Aroma of toffee, toasted barley and grain and some floral sweetness.
Flavor of toasted caramel candy apple with just enough residual bitterness to cut the sweetness so your teeth don't hurt. Hops are more of the fruity and floral side. The grain seems to impart a nuttiness.
Mouthfeel is smooth with chewy, biscuity feel.
Drinkability is very high. Very nice amber could drink a lot of these on the patio with a cigar.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Perfectly clear, brilliantly ambered hue...delicate, diaphonous lacey, foam, elegantly drifting down in size...aroma bursts out from first cracking the crown, fruity, yeasty, malty, a perfect combination...beautiful...soft, yet still a little spicy...
Time to drink up!
Mmmm!Nice, little hoppiness, then the mouth is washed over with caramel malt, toasty, rich, and smooth...notes of cherries and nuts on the palate...light bodied, but with a luscious, ever-tasty finish, clean and easy, but quite happy in the mouth.
Oh, this is good! Ohioans, you must be slap-happy to have this around, the best amber lager to slip past my lips!

And an extra cheers to tavernjef for procuring this first sample for me!

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Photo of silks636
4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from a 12 oz. brown bottle... in my Eliot Ness pint glass, of course. Freshness date clearly stamped.

Pours a crystal clear reddish amber with a gargantuan rocky off-white head. Excellent retention and huge sheets of sticky lace. Bready nose with hints of grain and piney sweetness. Full on caramel malt taste simply balanced with a spicy hop which becomes more prevalent toward the finish. The finish is malty and lingering... somewhat sweet and nutty. Body is substantial, but this beer remains very easy to drink. Wonderful lightly carbonated mouthfeel.

Without a doubt, an amazing beer. A fantastic example of the style, and an all-around well made brew. Great Lakes never disappoints.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Gorgeous orange-red-amber with the accent on the orange. The tangerine-tinted beige colored head is large, pitting and sticky. Foam is already starting to stick in clumps to the inside of the pint glass. It eventually settles to a creamy disk and leaves a few unbroken rings.

The nose is an enticing melange of caramel malt and spicy hops. The flavor follows suit, though hops aren't very prominent, which is exactly as it should be for the style. Each mouthful starts off sweet and malty, with earthy and spicy joining the party soon after. Bitter orange peel is the perfect (mild) accent flavor.

The mouthfeel is full, creamy and... perfect! This brewery never ceases to amaze me when it comes the characteristic that I think is second only to flavor in importance.

Great Lakes Eliot Ness is only the fourth Vienna lager that I have ever had... and it's easily the best. There will undoubtedly be many more in my craft beer future, but it's doubtful if any of them will surpass this one for across-the-board quality and drinkability. Simply put, this is beautiful beer.

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Photo of Gusler
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer after seceding from the bottle pours a deep translucent burnished copper color, the head cyclopean in size, the texture spumescent and the color a resplendent light tan with the lace a glutinous sheet to eclipse the glass. Nose is a slightly musky with a big malt sweet backing and the start mildly sweet with a pleasing malt presence, the top moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish is pesky in its acidity, the hops bountiful and pleasing in their spiciness, droughty aftertaste that lingers long on the palate, a great beer from a great brewery.

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Photo of bditty187
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear coppery-amber hue, it is a lovely color; the tan head reached two fingers in height on a soft pour, that is impressive. The retention of the foamy mass was very good; it took a long while before it dissipated to a cap. The subsequent lacing was organized and very widespread. The nose has that typical Lager cleanliness to it, no complains as it is appropriate for the style, behind this feature are notes of toasted caramel-grain and nuts, a faded hint of hay, there also seems to be a kiss of hops spice. The potency is small but workable, the aromas are inviting. The first sip of this beer sold me on its merits, the palate was well blended with toasty caramel malts, hints of grain, hay, and husk, the maltiness is plenty deep, at the finish is a good bite of hops. The hoppines might be a bit much for a Vienna, maybe. Still they work well in this offering and that is all that is important frankly. The finish is clean with just enough of a suggestion of the beer I’ve been quaffing. The body is medium-full and quite impressive in its fullness, the carbonation is moderately low, as a whole the mouthfeel is very pleasing and more noteworthy than most beers. It is tremendously drinkable. Eliot Ness is a great beer, sometimes life can be so simple… now I will sit back and savor this dandy. Thank you, PhantomVodoo!

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Photo of tavernjef
4.73/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Solid rust/coppery color with a slight chill haze, medium, softly topped yellowy chicken meat colored head that sits a good while before settling to a favorable skim and thin, speckled curtains of lace sticking as we go. Aroma starts a tad light on the nose with some light toasty grains and bread with just a bit of sweetened fruitiness. As it warms a nice smokey-like dryness of multi whole grains, roasty hazelnuts, and hard caramel appear in the nose making it much nicer and even a bit stronger. Taste is mild but eagerly built with some f*ckin' great malts! One of the best profiles of bready/grains ever encountered, wow! Has an easy start that remains in some mixed maltyness of slight sweetness and light toastyness, but that gains with a gradual presence of uniquely thick seven grain pancake-like, toasty wild rice roundness. Spectacular malts! Perfectly milding light grassy spice and hops poke through. Add in the teriffic finish of smokened grains and malts slightly drying and lifting into the finish with mixed roasty nuttyness. Very intriguing flavors indeed, well put together with a delicately rich and smooth body that keeps convalescing. A true showmanship of the meaning behind hand crafted. Wow, what a recipe, great stuff! Try it and see, you'll be impressed no doubt! Absolutely drinkable to the fullest! My new Vienna/Marzen to keep around at all costs! Yum times ten!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Standard 12 ounce brown glass bottle. Dark label that has a black background with white lettering. The picture is a sepia photograph of the man himself enjoying a Pint. Brewery blurb to the right of the label explains that this beer is named after one time Cleveland Safety Director. It goes on to explain that this Amber Lager has a feint hop nose and a slightly sweet finish. Recommended Serving Temperature of 45°F, as well as a listed Strength of 6.2%. Enjoy By Date is Jan. 01 04, wow, a New Years Eve beer this one!!

Appearance: A very dark but exceptionally clear amber body with some polished copper burnishings when twizzled in the light. Just as with my first Great Lakes beer, the head is awesome. A solid tan head that is large, fluffy and caps the beer well. Cloud like; it leaves a little lacing on the glass walls, but not much. Great staying power. Average levels of dissolved carbon dioxide, but curiously the bubbles appear to be trapped near the surface of the beer like air bubbles in blown glass. Looks great.

Nose: Toasted malts and ‘brown’ nutty odors fill the air. Some grain and a heavy odor of freshly baked wholemeal bread aromas mixed with a sweet feel in the ending. Like a thick Nut Brown Ale.

Taste: Sweetish start, toasty malts, grain and biscuit to start with, it rises a notch in the middle when hazelnuts together with a spicy caramel middle take over completely. Bitter hops linger in the background, but they race through and stick to the cleft of the mouth once the beer is swallowed, whilst all the time a very nutty finish with a hint of the caramel fudginess from a half chewed Curly-Wurly mixes with a solid Malt feel in the ending.

Mouthfeel: Easy going smooth licks, even creamy at times, yet bitter with a husky nuttiness mixed with biscuit and grain at others. Finish is astringent, bitter and it lingers, it won’t let you forget the experience too quickly. Above average body with a fulfilling sturdy frame that is very robust.

Drinkability: I love the malty finish in this beer, slightly sweet, nutty malty and creamy. Has a solid high quality feel about it that impresses.

Overall: Only my second offering from Great Lakes, and I am already very impressed. Well worth seeking out if you get chance. Recommended!

”They sip one of ours, we imbibe one of theirs, they drink one of ours, we quaff one of theirs, they sink one of ours, we “down-in-one” another one of theirs”.
A Sean Connery ‘Untouchable’ Thanks to BigHuge for this one!

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Photo of CortexBomb
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours out a lovely shade of amber with plenty of frothy head to go with it. Scent is that hoppy floral aroma with nuttiness creeping in as well.

Nice deep taste here, Roast and nuttiness starts to come through, and it continues to build and build to a crescendo pitch on the back with a dash of hops, and a light rememberence left in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is relatively thick for the style, while the drinkability on this beer is excellent, very smooth. I'd label this beer a perfect candidate for 'bridging the gap' between macro and micro drinking, it's not as overwhelming as many micros, yet has more than enough character to keep your palate interested.

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Photo of Reneejane
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a nice reddish orange topped with a beige-orange head that was fluffy and thick, it seemed to last. I've had this beer on tap as well as in the bottle, but I'm reviewing bottle. Anyway, starts with a definite hoppy taste. The hop is somewhat earthy but mostly floral. It finishes with a nutty malt. I just love the nuttiness afterwards.

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Photo of JackTheRipper
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark amber, very nice head which dissipated fairly quickly. Lacing is pretty good for what little head is left.

Smell: a bit spicy, a bit toasty.

Taste: Very nice balance of sweetness and bitterness. Finishes a bit hoppy.

Mouthfeel: Big, full but not too heavy. Carbonation is really good. Alcohol is noticeable, but not too heavy, but does give a wonderful warming feeling in the belly.

Drinkability: So far, I've really enjoyed everything from Great Lakes Brewing, and this is no exception. This is a very easy beer to drink, not too much going on to overwhelm my still-in-training beer sensors, but good enough that I'll be picking up a few more on my next trip to D's.

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Photo of goz
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear deep amber, with a small tan head that slightly lasts, and leaves a very small bit of lacing. Aroma strong on sweet caramel, lightly nutty, and some toasted grains. Flavor starts with caramel spread on some toasted whole grain bread, ends with a slightly spicy hop finish. Medium body, very drinkable.

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Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 3,258 ratings