1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,315 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2315
Reviews: 975
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.06%

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-06-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 2,315 | Reviews: 975 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of canoehornpoint


4.85/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorites. Pours a beautiful orange/amber with a thick head and moderate carbonation. This has a nice fruity, malty sweet aroma. The hop flavor is a combination of fruitiness and citrus flavor. The bittering hops tame the malt but not in excess. The beer finishes fairly full but is not filling and is extremely drinkable.

To make this perfect, a bit more citrus than fruitiness would be nice but I wouldn't change this too much.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2004 00:25:28 | More by canoehornpoint
Photo of tmm313


4.84/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- Almost perfect amber color. Crystal clear. Only poured about a 1/2 finger of head with aggressive pour, but had awesome lacing and trailing.

S- Huge citrus up front. Orange and grapefruit with fresh hop, caramel, subtle floral, tropical fruit and pine rounding it out. Smells amazing.

T- Absolutely delicious. Sweet orange and grapefruit up front, followed by big caramel, pine, slight earthy spice, and some nice bready notes. Subtle pine and orange rind on the finish. Not super complex, but the big flavors are blended almost perfectly. Wonderful, wonderful balance. I could drink this every day.

M- I was enjoying the flavor so much, I almost missed judging the mouthfeel. Medium light body. Creamy and slick on the tongue. Slightly drying with a nice aftertaste.

O- I hereby declare this the greatest Pale Ale on the planet! It was one of those "there you are, I've been looking for you" moments we're all striving for. THE most perfect session beer I have ever found!

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2014 22:16:23 | More by tmm313
Photo of jtw5877


4.83/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an amber orange color with a white head. Plenty of hops and more hops, What can I say, I love it. This is a great example of a great style of beer, enough malt to balance things, but alot of hops. Another great beer from Great Lakes Brewing Company.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2002 13:08:34 | More by jtw5877
Photo of whoneeds8


4.83/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this bottle from tburkhart.

Poured into pint glass. Pours a brilliant yellow-orange with a one finger white head. Lacing is great, lasts the entire time.

Wow, is this a great pale ale. My favorite by far. It has a nice spicy hope taste up front, but it's very mellow. Malt sweetness is there, but makes a nice balance.

I wish this beer were more readily available here in Texas. I might have to make some trades to get more of this in the future.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2008 02:16:32 | More by whoneeds8
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

4.83/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Burning River pours a rich, deep gold, with a finger of smooth white head. As with all beers from this brewery, retention and lacing is fantastic. The aroma shouts out balance. While there's a large dose of grapefruit, its more than adequately counted by a deep biscuit malt base. Floral and leafy notes elevate things to the next level.

The flavour is relatively simple, but proves that sometimes all you need to do to be exceptional is do simple very well. Sweet grapefruit and tangerine hops add a rich vibrancy to a caramel and biscuit base. Slightly sweet, with a moderate bitterness and a dry, lightly warming finish. I think one of the factors that really pushes Great Lakes over the top is their slightly fuller than normal mouthfeel. A lot of pale ales err towards medium-light, but this one is firmly medium and this certainly helps to bulk up the flavour.

Great Lakes have yet to let me down, and this streak continues. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that they may well be my favourite brewery at this moment in time. To be so consistently excellent over such a diverse array of styles is simply staggering. Burning River Pale Ale is probably one of the best, if not the best, beers I've had in this category. Its drinkability is through the roof, and this is the sort of brew that I'd love to have a permanent supply of should I ever have the fortune to be stranded on a desert island and not be stuck in cold and snowy Toronto.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2009 15:19:01 | More by bobsy
Photo of BobLuvBeer


4.8/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy amber color, with fizzy head that contains lots of small bubbles. Heavy flora hop aroma, even from a distance, the sent of cascade hop shines through. Medium body, which is full of hop. Starts very floral, then moves to a nice bitterness and then the bitterness slowly fades away. A very well overall hopped session beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2005 17:59:42 | More by BobLuvBeer
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.8/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours out a clear light amber color with a nice head that sticks and laces well

Smell: Biscuity, with a generous dose of floral hop leaf aroma

Taste: Starts out with a biscuity malt base which starts to pick up some grapefruit pith as the hops kick in by mid-palate; the finish is fruity and bitter with a good hop presence and a touch of alcoholic warming

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation; crisp

Drinkability: This is one great APA and is up there with Three Floyds as one of my favorite examples of the style

Thanks, vwcraig, for the opportunity to re-visit

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2005 20:59:33 | More by brentk56
Photo of adammills


4.8/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I may have discovered my favorite pale ale.

It pours a faint copper almost bordering on amber. The head disapated a bit quickly, but my pint glass is not beer clean either, so a bit of a pass on that.

There is a tremendous hop aroma, quite citrusy and floral. WOW!

This is a beer that is very well balanced. Great round hop impression. Solid bitterness that is carried by the malt. Great hop flavor that really closes out each sip enticing another as a result.

A great drinking beer. I cant believe it is so big almost an IPA. I love it.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2007 03:49:39 | More by adammills
Photo of spokeydonkey

New York

4.8/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Dark copper, clear. Moderate white head.

S - Floral and piney hops in the nose. Some caramel malt notes.

T - Well-hopped. A lot of flavor and aroma hops without overwhelming bitterness. Malt sweetness balanced with floral hop notes up front. Fades to caramel/biscuit notes with some lingering bitterness. Exceptionally balanced to showcase the flavor hops.

M - Good body on this beer. It's a bit chewy, which goes well with this strong pale ale, and stands up to the hops. Starts off heavier and sweeter, but finishes dry.

D - Very drinkable. Well-balanced and shows off the hops nicely, but with enough malt behind it to give it some meat on its bones. Definitely straddling the IPA/pale ale line, but it's got a bit more backbone and less bitterness than I find in most IPAs.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2009 04:29:32 | More by spokeydonkey
Photo of TurdFurgison


4.8/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I brought a six pack of this to a poker game (revisiting an old favorite pale ale that I haven't tried in years). The beer was medium copper colored with a nearly white wet foam. The smell is toasted malts and citrusy hops, maybe even a hint of what passes for wheat (but I'm pretty sure there's no wheat in this beer). The beer tastes ridiculous, as delicious as a pale ale gets. Very good balance of malt and hops and very tasty versions of both. Toasted malts, biscuit, malt sweetness, light citrus fruit from the hops, so good. Medium body and presence like all good pale ales, very very drinkable. I drank more than I intended to in a short period of time but enjoyed it.

Why did I take so long to come back to this beer, one of my original favorites from the state of Ohio? I'm going to make this my summer beer this year, along with Alpha King.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2009 12:29:42 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of tlazaroff


4.8/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Perfectly clear golden straw color with visible carbonation forming a crisp white head.
S: Big pineapple notes here. I get tropical fruits abundant. Slight bread/grain notes back up this hop-packed APA.
T: Upfront the hops shine, big floral and fruit notes but it isn't too bitter which gives it a strong malt base to work off. This is a very well balanced beer.
M: Perfectly carbonated, medium bodied, and it coats the palate without being sticky or thick.
D: I could drink this all day long, this is in my top 5 favorite APAs.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2010 16:12:01 | More by tlazaroff
Photo of rabsten

West Virginia

4.78/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass, amber with good carbonation. Tan head with solid lacing.

Smell is a citrusy hop, with faint barley undertones. It sets the drinker up for the flavor.

Taste. MMM. The barley presence is more towards the grain side rather than the malt side. It gives a beautiful floor for the hops to dance on. And boy, do they dance. Citrus, Pine and Lavender all show up to foxtrot across the palate. Makes for a good mouthfeel too.

Drinkabilty is superb. I now try to limit myself to getting this in bars. Why? Because, if I take a six home, I drink them all in a couple of hours.

Bottom line, it's neck-and-neck with SNPA. I still give the APA edge to Sierra Nevada, with Great Lakes' Edmund Fitzgerald a slight favorite over SN Porter. You will not go wrong with this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2006 21:58:47 | More by rabsten
Photo of ADR


4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewery/pub...

Very clear amber, refuge head of an 1/8 of an inch of yellow skim. Cascadey-hop aroma. Nice and very solid grapefruit pith flavors early and to the finish, but with an excellent honey and caramel counterbalance. Some sense of light fruit as well. "Out there" but excellent flavor for an APA. This brew is first rate in balance, boldness, and drinkability. Would be my "house" beer if I lived in Cleveland -- a chewy and close match to Summit Extra Pale Ale on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2002 10:45:16 | More by ADR
Photo of GreenWBush


4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer is a beauty from the tap.

While I was rather unamused by this beer the first time around, on-tap this beer captivates me.

Sturdy in its strength, but not overwhelming for a session GLBC's Burning River is to me the perfect everyday beer. Its malty, creamy for its style, but still hop-burp inducingly citric.

The bitterness here is high, the flavor, even more pronounced. Maybe the first beer I could see fitting a malt and a hop-head.

It has dropped SNPA from its personal place as best 'all around' Pale. I want this put on at my house.

Serving type: on-tap

09-13-2004 17:38:11 | More by GreenWBush
Photo of BigPlay1824

New York

4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a pint glass

A: pours a slightly hazy golden amber color with a nice amount of head that disappears quickly, leaves a nice amount of lacing

S: nice hoppiness and citrus character

T: great tasting brew, really loved it, nice hop character, slight citrus note, I don't know what it is but there is some depth to it I can't explain

D/M: slight carbonation tingle, very smooth on the pallet, a very easy drinking brew, one of the best pale ales I've ever had

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 02:21:37 | More by BigPlay1824
Photo of TechMyst


4.72/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

FRESH: by 12-17; cons.10-28
COST: $8.50/sixer
HEAD: 1/2" foamy disapating
LACE: slight rings
REFLECTED- beautiful dark copper
AROMA: Pine/floral hop (balanced)
MOUTHFEEL: med; soft cond.
PALATE: slick/resinous
TASTE: hops are balanced; good bitterness
COMMENTS: Most flavorfull PA; soapy undertone. Best PA imo

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2006 02:23:43 | More by TechMyst
Photo of epiinephriine


4.72/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A solid APA; good hop flavor on the back of the pallet, which is not too overpowering, though strong enough to fool you into thinking it might be an IPA. Has a multitude of spices for smell and taste, as well as a hint of caramel. It has a decent mouth feel, and is certainly not light or watery. It reminds me a bit of Stone's Ruination, though certainly milder. This beer is fantastic on its own but do not drink with pasta!

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2008 16:24:21 | More by epiinephriine
Photo of Brew33


4.72/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer numerous times on draft and in bottles.

This is the what a Pale Ale should be. Excellent beer. Incredibly well balanced. It smells sweet and hoppy. The taste is marvelous soooo well balanced. The hops are very prominent but there is a smooth malt character as well. Exceptional beer. Very easy to drink,

I can't say enough about this wonderful brew from Great Lakes, they continue to make wonderful craft beers and this is their flagship. Enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2008 15:11:19 | More by Brew33
Photo of alkemy


4.72/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the American Pale Ale that is my measuring stick for all other beers of this style. The pour is a copper amber with an off white head that always sticks to the glass. Big floral hops with some pine and hints of vanilla and grapefruit for me. Hops are boss when it comes to taste. Not overpowering like a DIPA or even an IPA, but this is the focal point. You get some caramel breadiness mixed in, but this has a great dry finish. I could go on and on about this beer, but in my opinion, it's the best I've had of the style.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2009 00:53:30 | More by alkemy
Photo of jkempton


4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a mug.

Had a nice Orange Brown appearance. Very nice head.

It has a citrus aroma.

Nice on the pallete with a good mix of malt and hops. Very Nice.

Will be a beer I will frequently consume. I reccomend it highly.

I pair it with some Pasta with a marinara sauce. Nice match.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2010 17:41:33 | More by jkempton
Photo of KoolWhp


4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm gonna go ahead and say it: this is my favorite beer. I think I've gotten a bit spoiled living in Cleveland, where every bar (even the lame-ass ones) carries this on tap. It is hoppy as hell, but drinkability is still totally exceptional. The rare beer that's perfect for every season -- warming enough for a cold winter day like today, and still gets the job done in the middle of the dog days of summer.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 15:50:06 | More by KoolWhp
Photo of JustinMatthew


4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Great Lakes Burning River pours a crystal clear golden-orange color with a large white head. Smells sweet and citrusy thanks to the cascades. Hop taste through and through.. Similar to the nose (sweet and citrusy) with a bit more of a punch and a decent hoppy bitterness on the end. Hoppy sweetness and bitterness lingers in the aftertaste begging for another sip. This is one of my top 5 APA's if you haven't had it. Get it!

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 16:15:14 | More by JustinMatthew
Photo of cokes


4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A rich looking amber glass that spawns a tight, greasy off-white head. Great retention, sufficent lacing.
Nose of fresh grapefruit juice and perhaps a hints of honey sweetness. Some grain here too, but buried.
Great Lakes pulls an incredible balancing act here. Lots of grapefruit is perfectly evened out by a slightly toasted sweet malt. A pleasant graininess remains on the finish, with lingering, assertive, but not obnoxious hops. Phantom apparitions of vanilla throughout.
Solid mouthfeel. Silky smooth and creamy. Medium-full bodied. Thins out towards the finish. The only chink in the armour.
A beer that can be appreciated and quaffed. But is is hard not to drink this fast. And keep 'em coming.
A favorite among APAs. I love this one.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2002 22:56:35 | More by cokes
Photo of psyphin


4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Bright copper orange with a fluffy white head with nice lacing.

S - Toasty malt breadiness and oodles of citric american hops.

T - Chewy malt middle mixes very well with the hop combination in this beer. One of the best balanced examples of a true APA and not an ipa light.

M - Perfect carbonation with a medium body.

D - Superbly sessionable pale ale that I come back to time after time.

Serving type: on-tap

10-07-2009 21:17:17 | More by psyphin
Photo of dhannes


4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottled into a standard pint glass.

A=Medium yellow, with prominent 3 finger head. Slight cloudiness.

S=Citrus...orange and lemon.

T=Nice mix of sweet and bitter...reminds me a bit of a Vienna Lager--bitter presence, yet sweet...strong flavor.

M=Perfect body and light carbonation...very drinkable.

O=Another great beer from Great Lakes. I continue to believe that they have the best offering of micros in the U.S.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2012 21:38:08 | More by dhannes
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,315 ratings.