Eliot Ness | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Eliot NessEliot Ness
3,306 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,306 |  Reviews: 1,054
Photo of clvand0
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of jcalabre
4.15/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of stirgy
4.51/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of cbill
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

this is just about my favorite beer, definately my favorite lager. it was a very deep red color and had a warm roasted smell. tastes very smooth. warms the mouth with a slightly nutty taste. would never guess the alcohol content from the taste, it is definately hidden well. it was just so good i think i'm gonna have to have another

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Photo of jaz
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, deep red amber color with a thin head and minimal lace. Aroma was sweet and smelled somewhat of bready yeast. The taste started out with a sweet, well pronounced carmel flavor, and some bread flavors coming out as well. Mildly hoppy with floral hops, but not enough bitterness to balance out the malt sweetness. Overall a tasty beer, but a little off balance.

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Photo of SheepNutz
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this brew in a 12oz. bottle poured into a spaten oktoberfest glass. The color is a deep red with a large off-white head, which really sticks around, leaving good lacing. The smell is almost a sweet caramel aroma. The taste is a bit sweet and malty. Could use a little bit more hops. The mouthfeel is a little oily. This is a very drinkable lager that is very refreshing.

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Photo of Sixpack595
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm glad I decided to grab a sixxer of this instead of a single. This fine beer pours a deep copper red with a thick tan head that quickly recedes to a thin film. The aroma is sweet and malty just like the taste begins. efore the sweetness gets a hold the hops kick in (just a touch too much for me) and balance it out very well.

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Photo of zerk
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a fairly persistent cream colored head. Does manage to leave behind some lace, and a thin layer of foam sits atop the beer. Aroma is malty, with caramel, toasted malt, and a touch of herbal hops. Flavor is sweet and fruity, some hints of bread mixed in with caramel. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with moderate carbonation, and it has a medium body. I would personally like a touch more bitterness in the finish, but this is a very solid Marzen style beer.

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Photo of chilidog
3.56/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very complex brew, but another good one from GLBC. It pours a very nice cranberry like amber with an off white head just under an inch. Lace is good and plenty through-out the drink. The aroma is floral and of toasted grain. Taste is smooth but with a bite. A malty caramal with a spicy hop flavor. The mouth is left with a hop aftertaste. Like I said, its complex. Alot going on with thisone but in good GL quality manor. I only had one sitting with this, i'd like to try it again now that I know what to expect.

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

Yet another superb offering from GLBC. Rich reddish hued brown color and off-white/biege head. Very aromatic--malty and earthy herbals scents hit the nose. Flavor is a touch bitter but rich and mellow in malts. I detect a touch a light 'nut' taste as well. The body sits heavy on the tongue and carbonation is nearly non-existent. It finishes with a silky feeling down the throat and a dry feeling in the mouth. Extremely drinkable and the best Vienna I have yet had.

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

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium dark golden red with a large dark tan head. The mouthfeel is very firm. The smell is cookie-like and very slightly herbal. The taste is roasted malt with a very soft pleasing hoppy finish. This is a very smooth drinkable vienna style lager.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.85/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful dark lager; a deep golden reddish color. The half inch head is gorgeous with a luscious tan shading that hangs around a short while, but leaves marvelous lacing. The more I drink this beer, the more I realize how marvelously rich, and balanced it is. Each taste is joined by a pleasantly caramel-ly aroma. The fullness of the mouthfeel is enhanced by a slightly sweet, and yet somewhat sour start that ends on a pleasantly bitter note. As it warms a bit, the flavoring builds strength; either cool or warm the great taste lingers long and strong. A warming brew that you can stick with all evening.

I tried this recently on tap and it seemed consistent with the bottled version, although the head lingered longer. Combined with a roast beef on Kaiser, the combo topped off a Friday evening in great form. Does life get any better?

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Photo of Bunnyhop
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A slightly hazy, medium dark, golden red Vienna-style Lager with a medium, dark tan head. The smell is hoppy. The taste is mildly roasted malt with a hoppy finish. The body is very firm in my mouth. Overall, a nice smooth lager.

Brewed in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Named after "the one-time Cleveland Safety Director who used to frequent the bar at the Great Lakes Brewing Co."

(source: PremierGourmet; Buffalo, NY)

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good malty-spicy beer,smelled like bread rising,went great with pizza nice high alcohol content went well with the spiciness of the pizza.I honestly havent had a bad beer from Great Lakes yet.Best brewery in the midwest,with Kalamazoo(my beloved Bells)not far behind.

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Photo of Jdiddy
4.6/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another great beer from what I feel is one of the finest breweries around. Pours a beautiful copper red. Great head that sticks sparingly throughout. Tase is total sweet malt with a hint of caramel. A slight hop taste hits you in the finish. Mega-smooth. Highly recommended!

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

A slightly hazy, beautiful reddish-orange body is topped by a frothy one-fingered light tan head that holds really well. The aroma offers softly sweet toasted malt with a light touch of background hops. Very clean. The body is medium/full with a fine, median carbonation that's lightly crisp and then creamy in the mouth. The rich, full flavor of lightly sweet toasted malts is balanced by a solid bitterness which dries out the long lingering malty finish. It's not complex, but quite full. This version really presses the limits of the style, but in a good way!

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

On tap at the brewery/pub...

Clear dark copper color, head of 1/4 inch and light in color. A lot of caramel and a little toffee to the aroma. Nicely aromatic brew. Boldly malty for a Vienna, hops are barely evident. Very smooth with a full mouthfeel with tastes that follw the smells closely. I liked the flavor a lot but would probably pinch a few more hop flowers into the brew kettle, myself. Leans more toward a Bock in some aspects, rather than the toasty characters of most Vienna Lagers -- so I thinks its a little off the typical aspects of style. Still, another nice one from a standout brewery...

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Photo of jtw5877
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice light brown, reddish hue, with a off white head. Nice malty aroma. Tastes great, the first Vienna style lager I have ever tried. smooth maltiness, with a little bit of hops thrown in to balance things out. Great Lakes simply makes great beers, I can't say I have ever tried one I didn't like.

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Photo of 49degrees
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Extremely enjoyable Vienna Amber that's worth the search to find it on tap. I regular drink the Eliot Ness and Dortmunder Gold every time I visit Cleveland, but have yet to try either (or any other Great Lakes) brew straight from the bottle although they appear to be readily available citywide. Sadly, these brews are near impossible to find west of the Rockies.

Pours deep red with a real beefy head. Nice blend of hops and malt providing both an enjoyable smell and even better taste. Enjoyable all the way round.

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Photo of Kwak
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Head: Strong thick white holds on for dear life.

Body: Clear reddish/orange color with a nice carbonation.

Taste: A little toffee, a bit of roasted grain and a slight sweetness.
Full rich and smooth with a heavy malt feel. A lot of caramel all the way through, with a little hops nothing to bold. with a spicy dry finish which is just the right end to a good beer.

Nothing wrong with this one highly recommended for this style!!

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Photo of johnrobe
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is my first sample of any Great Lakes brew and I must say I'm quite impressed. It pours a deep reddish brown in the glass with a tan head that maintains a slight cap. The smell is mostly the signature light-medium toasted malt so evident in any good Vienna lager, with some grain lingering in the background. The taste is malt dominated with a praline-like sweetness but there's ample hops to provide a crisp, slightly herbal bitter finish. Personally, I'm partial to hoppy brews, but I know quality when I taste it. Thank You Great Lakes for an outstanding brew. I look forward to rest of my GL sampler pack.

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Photo of mjohn27603
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From 12 fl. oz bottle marked best before 21Nov02. Reddish brown in color, with a hint of maltiness in the aroma. I see no chill haze. First sip - I get some caramel sweetness, toasty flavors, and grainy & malty taste. I also get some toffee flavor and maybe some peppery spiciness taste. I also pick up some nutty flavors. Geez, after taking notes this seems pretty complicated for something I thought was simple. The drinkability is high and you could go through these quick.

Re-review with side by side comparison with Sam Adams Vienna Style: more red in appearance than Sam Adams. The most noticeable difference from the Sam Adams is the extra spicy hops kick in the Eliot Ness. Sam Adams seems a little flat in comparison.

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Photo of aaronh
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a good beer for those who like a lot of malt flavor. As I believe to be true with Vienna-style lagers, this beer is predominantly malt aroma and flavor, with enough hops to clean up the finish. At warmer temperatures, this beer exhibits a wonderful sweetness. But it's difficult to let it sit long enough to warm. Not much of a head to speak of, but that is just a minor detraction from the initial impresion of this beer. A good beer, but possibly the third or fourth best from Great lakes. Try it if you see it, it won't disappoint.

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

dated 21NOV02. Deep copper with crimson core. Powdery, fluffy, sand-colored head. Deep aromas of baked apples, tree bark, and subtle, sweet spices. Rich, creamy mouth with flavors of toffee, roasted nuts, cocoa, honey, and hoppy bitters, the latter making it all clean and dry. Yum.

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

A world class Vienna.
Shimmering copper in color, with an impressive beige head that sticks around the duration.
Lots of sweet malts and caramel on the nose.
Big maltiness ensues on the taste buds. If you are seeking caramelly malt perfection, look no further. Like drinking liquid caramel nougat. Lots of toffee as well. Toasted, bready flavors are evident. Fainter, there is some raisins and nuts, almost leaning this bock-esque, but they remain on the periphery. Splendid tea-like, bitter herb hops wrap this one up flawlessly.
One would be hard-pressed to find a lager with a smoother, creamier body than this. So delightful. Literally slides across the mouth.
Incredibly built.

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Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 3,306 ratings