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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,021 | Ratings: 3,168
Photo of Vixie
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a really nice red/amber color with a bit of an off white head that dissipates fairly quickly, leaving some lacing across the top. Really nice looking beer.

Smell is a bit malty with some nuttiness, also a bit of caramel and toffee.

Bit sweet up front, caramel and toffee notes, hint of nutty. There's a bit of a hop bite at the finish to keep things in check and keep it from getting too sweet.

Solid and smooth feel to it, I have had bigger beers that felt less full than this one.

Definitely a very flavorful beer. There's a lot to like here, easily one of the best lagers I have ever tried. Another great beer from Great Lakes.

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Photo of PGD120
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass

Appearance: pours a caramel amber color. Translucent, with lots of carbonation bubbles that dissipate after about a minute . Big 3 finger off shit head

Smell: nutty, caramel, slight piny hop smell, and a distinct lager smell.

Taste: first it's nutty but then you pick up some caramel and brown sugar type sweetness. Defonitlly malty at first but goes to a nice sweet piny hop aftertaste.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with some light carbonation.

Overall: just an awesome example of what an American brewed Vienna lager can be. It's very refreshing but still complex and refeshing. You have no idea it's over a 6abv drinking it. It's follows German purity law and still has great flavor and great refeshment. Just a really good brew.

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Photo of DaneBramage
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark red/amber in color, caramel/nut/malt flavor. Mild bite aftertaste but not offensive at all. Very smooth and drinkable, goes well with meat and potatoes or just some potato chips.

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Photo of timontheroad
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a deep reddish brown clear color, nice one finger head with nice lacing and retention.
Smell: Sweet malty aroma up front, with some slight piney hop notes, also a bit of caramel and toffee.
Taste: Flavor is toasty sweet malt, with some nice caramel presence and some nice hop bitterness in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a nice carbonation bite.
Overall: Quite a nice beer, reminds me a bit of a good German lager. Well done, Great Lakes!

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Photo of tillmac62
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

BBD 2/16/15. Pours a clear amber with a lovely rich dark ruby cast. Excellent head volume, World Class lacing and excellent retention.

Nice light nose of toffee with caramel malt notes over subtle noble hops with a touch of spice.

Heavy medium body with a creamy texture. Slightly above normal carbonation with a touch of effervescence in the middle and a nice burst in the finish.

The World Class flavor profile is intense, complex and a masterpiece in balance. It begins with creamy blend of toffee and caramel against a slight sweetness that has a cracker character. In the middle, a nice noble hop flavor emerges over a mild bitterness. Against a fading bitterness, a nice spicy hop character emerges that is a bit tart, a bit clove like and has a pepper aspect - outstanding. The finish is a bit dry, but also has a sweet biscuit component. A slightly tart note lingers for a bit over a receding caramel and biscuit sweetness leaving the tongue with a slight pucker.

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Photo of 2beerdogs
4.46/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big UPS and Maximum Respect to @WesMantooth for this true gem!
Recieved in the NBS BIF #1

Beautiful amber hue, one finger of frothy oatmeal colored foam. Wow, clean malty sweet with a hint of nuttiness on the nose.
Kinda sweet for an Amber, but in an OH SO RIGHT way. And then comes the nuttiness. Incredible! We agree, this would be an awesome beer to have available regularly.
The finish is much the same. Very consistent through and through.
Overall, I would make this a regular in my fridge to offer to any and all! And I would score points with the wife too. ISO!!!

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Photo of Mikus
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep reddish brown hue, very little head, lots of bubbles throughout. Slightly fruity, slightly spicy hop presence on nose... clean malt profile, slightly bready. Crisp and clean with some nice bite (bit of rye?)...Smooth flavors overall. Malt forward yet nicely balanced. Bit of grassy hop on the finish. Light to medium viscosity, nice bready aftertaste (light). Excellent lager (and I'm not crazy about lager). Great Lakes keeping it classy.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Brown-gold body, clear, white head.

S - Sour grain, caramel, bread, honey.

T - Caramel, toast and a strong tea element, bite of hoppiness, mild bitterness.

M - Bright carbonation, mild drying in the close.

O - A tight, restraind lager, with solid bready flavor, hops, yum.

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Photo of taters21
4.31/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a nice ruby reddish amber color with a half finger white head, low retention.
Smell: Piney and citrusy hops, sweet malt
Taste: Citrus, tart cherry, with a biscuit dry finish
Feel: About you standard ale feel, but somewhat heavier more towards a creamy mouthfeel, which is unexpected but quite welcome
Overall: Crisp, clean, well balanced, with a nice mouthfeel

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Photo of Jonoesh5
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looks beautiful with a deep amber body and tan head. No suspended yeast or floaties makes for a very polished look. Scent is in the background, nothing pronounced other than a malt blend. Taste begins with mostly malts, then gives way to hops. Notes of red apple were also present. Mouthfeel is soapy and carbonated with significant, and a surprising amount of alcohol warmth for a 6.2% ABV lager. Overall, a solid anytime beer. Great first impression with Great Lakes!

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Photo of breadwinner
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tasty little vienna lager, maybe a touch too filling, but presenting a pleasing caramel sweetness and cleanness that makes for a nice, unobtrusive accompaniment to plate of sliders.

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

Remember when Yuengling was the cool amber lager to drink? Remember when it fell off a cliff? Eliot Ness is on top of that cliff now and isn't going to fall off of it. It's a beautiful amber color (duh) and is as smooth as it is refreshing.

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Photo of PA-hunter
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 6.2% abv

Appearance- Pours a rich ruby-amber hue with a frothy 2 finger or more head with good retention.

Smell- A sweet malt smell, bits of caramel and toffee in there.

Taste- At first there is much more a grainy flavor than the smell suggests. This transcends into a sweeter finish, with the toffee flavor coming through later. Slight roasted type of qulaity to the taste as well. Some hop bitterness in there ever so slightly. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body; ample carbonation.

Overall- A unique and memorable lager. This is a good one to sip on as it is not super light but has plently of flavor. Not the everyday lager for sure. A great beer to try to divert oneself from the norm. Another Great Lakes home run.

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Photo of JMUbrewz
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%

I prefer their Dortmunder Gold, but this is an extremely well-made and clean representation of a Vienna Lager. Sweet, bready malts, a bit of honey, and a crisp, clean finish. This is on par with Devil's Backbone's Vienna.

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Photo of car2052
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a goblet style pint glass.

A: Clear, dark reddish amber. One finger of tan head.
S: Scent of baking spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, derived from the noble hops. Toasty caramel malt peeks through the nose as well.
T: Toasted caramel malt makes its presence first with a sweet, smoky taste. The malts give this a nice body. The hop presence comes out in the end as a tingle of bitterness on the tongue. Finish is neither too sweet nor too dry.
M: Medium bodied. Slightly creamy. Very drinkable.
O: Very good crisp lager. Reminds me of some of the Marzen beers.

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Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Newly introduced on tap at my local drinking establishment. Here goes nothing:

Appearance: Beautiful, copper red with golden undertone (at least in this light) with a tan head about one finger's width. Minimal lacing.

Aroma: Definitely strong noble hops. I like the slightly sweet, fruity aroma.

Taste: Ah, not bad! Smooth, slightly toasty taste, with some sweetness that doesn't overpower the lager.

Mouthfeel: Some moderate carbonation, medium body, and quite smooth. A very drinkable amber lager.

Overall: This is the way lagers should taste. The macro-brews obviously have nothing on this. I was very impressed with it overall, and the fact that it was on draught made me a very happy man. I would definitely get this again (and probably will).

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Photo of MikeKnauf
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Excellent but not a lot to say.

The commercial description gives you an idea what you are in for. There are many subtle complexities in the malt and hops that give this a really unique taste. I can't really begin to describe it, but it's caramels, breads, aromatic fruits and some bitter.

By far the best of the style I've ever tasted. It might even be the best beer I've tasted. It's not the greatest to eat with due to it's complex hoppiness in the finish.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: [3.25] Pours a reddish-brown color. Looks nice in the light. Forms a 1 finger head that starts to lose steam quickly settling to a white cap. Very little lacing forms on the glass. The bottle clearly lists the drink by date (5 days ago) and the ABV (6.2%).

S: [3.25] Malts, corn, some brown sugar.

T: [3.75] Very sweet on the tongue. The beer has a malt forward sweetness. There is a slight bitter twinge on the finish. The taste is a sweet bready flavor.

M: [3.75] Carbonation and body are in line for a summer type beer.

O: [3.50] This beer is what really opened the door to craft beer for me. It has a special place in my heart. It made me realize not everything is BMC swill. I finally decided to review it (after reviewing 100 other beers). This is a great gateway beer for BMC drinkers. It has some added depth and complexity while not being "scary". The flavor profile is nice and the body, and lack of presense of the alcohol, make it a great lawn mower beer.

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Photo of Taybeh
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%

Great beer (especially in the fall!).
A: Rich Clear Dark Amber, ample head, nice lacing after a vigorous pour.
S: Sweet malt, a little caramel, a little toasty bread, some earthy hops
T: Follows the nose, though a little more nut and spice in addition to the earthy flavor; not too sweet, but plenty.
M: Nice combination of smooth and crisp, just a little bitterness to balance out the sweet malt.
Overall, this is an excellent V. Lager...probably sets the bar for this side of the pond. A very fine beer...another winner from Great Lakes.

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Photo of malvrich
3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle - Foothills chalice glass

A: Orange Amber color with an inch of tight foam. Good retention and lacing. Looks great.

S: Toast and baking spice/nutmeg (?). Slight caramel.

T: Dry orange spice with a crackery malt backbone. Slight sweetness. Good balance. Very nice.

M: Medium body. Prickly carbonation. Bitter dry finish. Again very good.

O: Nothing to complain about. Very good overall and worth buying anytime but strong for me at over 6% ABV. GLBC rocks!

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.84/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass at approximately 40 degrees F.

A: Looks like free-flowing honey on the pour, which swells into a beautiful clear amber. Small streams of bubbles rise slowly from the bottom at the start, before dying away to leave the beer a deep amber shading towards russet. A thick head of foam forms, which slowly dies down to a cap. The lacing is minimal, but present.

S: Sweet toasted malt and caramel, wreathed around bready yeast with some faint notes of rich soil and ripe fruit.

T: Mother of god, this is a fantastic Vienna lager. The taste opens with sweet bread and lightly toasted caramel, before some hints of walnut, raisin, and pecan join in. There's some slight bitterness from the malt, as well as an earthen, loamy bitter that offsets the sweetness just enough. Warm yeasty bread with toffee-like tinges form the finish, which lingers a bit without coming close to overstaying its welcome.

M: A light, smooth, silky lager, with exactly the right amount of carbonation to avoid feeling flat without sparkling up too much. It feels heavy enough to impart a feeling of drinking a good beer, while remaining light enough for refreshment duty.

O: I have yet to encounter another Vienna lager that's comparable to this one. It's virtually everything I could look for in this style, from the complex malt profile to the slight hop presence and the silken mouthfeel. This is a staple of my beer enjoyment.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to whitenads for sending me this one.

Enjoy by: 8/13/14.

Pours a hazy dark orange-red with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, toast, nut, caramel, and earth aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, nut, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with solid toast and nut qualities all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pint served in a shaker pint at Pigs in a Fur Coat, Madison Wisconsin, 9/27/2014.

A- Clear amber body with a one finger tan head, good retention, leaves a fuzzy film on top, lots of lacing all around. [4]

S- Sweet toffee malt, earthy noble hops, some caramel, crisp banana bread, yeast. Sweet but not cloyingly so and in a refreshing way. [4.25]

F- Toffee, caramel, hint of raisin, a little banana (hence banana bread in the nose), earthiness, and the signature GLBC yeast flavour. This is excellent, not quite perfect but just about as outstanding as any brewer can make a Vienna lager. [4.25]

M- Medium bodied, refreshing and crisp yet smooth and silky at the same time. They did a great job on this one. Very drinkable, no real effects of the ABV on the flavour at all. [4.25]

O- Excellent take on the style, as I would expect from GLBC and their tradition of brewing excellent lagers. Why I never reviewed this before, I'm not sure, but I ought to get around to reviewing their other offerings as well! [4.25]

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Photo of stewart124
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

Pours a very pretty amber color with white head that forms a nice lace.

Toffee and plenty of toasted malt in the nose.

Smooth with a medium body and chewy mouthfeel. Nice balance of caramel and toasty characters with just enough hops to make it interesting. Plenty of flavor throughout and I cannot get enough of the malt complexity.

I love this beer. It brings back memories as this was one of my early transition beers into the craft beer world. Classic.

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Photo of IronLover
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

Deep, rustic red in color with a light haze. Poured with a creamy, rich, off-white foam that left a ladder of sticky lacings on the glass. Sweet, earthy grain and light herbal hop aromas. Medium bodied with rich, creamy smooth carbonation and a crisp, light tangy hop bite near the end. Sweet toasted caramel malt flavors up front with toffee and herbal hop notes into the middle. Tangy, earthy, crisp hop flavor through the middle that transitions back to sweet caramel and toasted malt. Finished cleanly with a bready, very sweeytoasted malt aftertaste. A generally neglected and underappreciated style that leans to that sweet, maltier side.

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Great Lakes Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.09 out of 5 based on 3,168 ratings.
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