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

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,005 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,005
Hads: 3,017
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 125
Gots: 444 | FT: 3
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-06-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 1,005 | Hads: 3,017
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

overwhelmingly citrusy, lots of carbonation bubbles, under a small head. Understated bitter finish to the citrus, and citrus in aroma. bit overcarbonated and lighter mouthfeel.A great summer beer.I have never had a bad brew from this brewery. This is the rerating after not having for 2.5 years. (295 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.54/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to whitenads for sending me this one.

Enjoy by: 6/23/14.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, earth, citrus zest, and herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, earth, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of earthy characteristics in the aroma and flavor.

Serving type: bottle. (632 characters)

Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is crystal clear light amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that hardly died down.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of floral hops in the nose along with notes of caramel malts and hints of citrus.
T: The taste has flavors of pale and caramel malts along with a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a very good representation of the style that is easy to drink and has lots of hops. (565 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. The color is a light copper with a white head. Decent enough retention but as it falls there's no real lacing. Nose brings some nice citrus and grassy hops with a moderate pale malt base. The taste really focuses in on some grassy hops, which I always seem to get from Great Lakes hoppy offerings and I can't say that I'm really a fan. Feel is slightly bitter with a bit of lightly-sweet malt backing. Drinks well in the end, but the flavor just isn't quite for me. (508 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.15/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

definitely more of an english style pale ale, with the dusty like malts and just light fruity cascade hops in the taste. pours a tiny bit amber in color, with a receding white head and inch tall. smells like a bass ale, and tastes similar, just a bit bigger hop flavor. mouthfeel brings it way down for me, weakly carbonated fading to nearly flat as it warms, not a quick finish at all, even a little brassy at the end. definitely not my favorite pale ale and definitely not my favorite great lakes brew, but a decent amalgamation of the english and american syles... (567 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.77/5  rDev +19%
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 (605 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a yellowish gold color with a decent head on top. The smell of the beer was a little hoppy with some a good portion of grainy malts on the nose too. The taste of the beer was clean a crisp with a good bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel of the beer was on the lighter side and was drinkable. Overall this beer was pretty good, It's a nice beer to have when socializing and stuff. Worth trying for sure. (430 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Much of what I remember from drinking from the bottle. However, on tap, the beer comes across smoother, softer, and much more bready / biscuity than I remember. Moderately malty and yeasty with the anticipated perfumy, citrus, piney hop aromas and flavors. Delicate, nearly Wit-like, textures: creamy, silky, and smooth. Overall, not as in-your-face as Sierra Nevada or Flying Dog, but perhaps better balanced. And to think, I nearly forgot how well this beer tasted. Silly me. (477 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Jdoolin: Poured a deep copper color ale with a medium white bubbly head with good retention. Aroma of citrusy hops is quite dominant and quite enjoyable. Taste is quite hoppy with some real citrusy flavour is well backed by some generous caramel malt. Body is quite full with some great carbonation. Overall, I thought this was a well balance amp version of an APA. (384 characters)

Photo of largadeer
3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pale amber, excellent clarity. An inch of head forms from an average pour and then slowly settles into a ring.

Smell: Caramel, breakfast rolls, very subtle citrus.

Taste & mouthfeel: Bready malts, lightly toasted, with subtle earthy/citrus hops. Not a lot of complexity, but I can't fault a pale ale too much for that. Body is about medium and carbonation is just right for the style. This is definitely on the malty and sweet side, which isn't my preference for the style, but it's not a bad brew by any stretch.

Notes: Big thanks to fiver29 for the awesome Great Lakes extras. (593 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Some of us are old enough (barely) to remember that fateful summer day in '69 when the Cuyahoga River caught fire. Cleveland has really come a long way since then. It's a great town!

Not quite clear orange-amber with fine carbonation and a firm, French vanilla colored lid that has good staying power and leaves abundant lace. The aroma is bright and hoppy, smelling primarily of lemon and grapefruit zest. The flavor is well-hopped with a lovely bitterness. Again, grapefruit peel (Cascade?) is dominant.

Burning River isn't overly complex, but it's a more than solid, straightforward, high-quality pale ale. The finish is austere, with more than a hint of dryness. The mouthfeel is medium for the style. I could drink this beer all day and all night.

A couple of thoughts. GLBC seems to be incapable of brewing anything but outstanding beer across a wide range of styles. After sampling three of their offerings, I'm convinced that they have absolutely nailed down head/lace and carbonation/mouthfeel. Lastly, this bottle had a 'best by' date of Sept. 18, '03, a full 3 months before I purchased it and 3+ months before this review. I detected no problems whatsoever. (1,173 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden orange color with a small, white, foamy head. It left some lace.

S - It smelled of bubblegum, spices and sweet caramel.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel, orange peel and some nice bitter hops.

M - It was very crisp and sharp with a dry finish. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very nice APA. I'd like to try more. (350 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a 8oz hote water glass, but heck at least it was a glass right?

A - Poured a very nice and deep dark amber with lots of carbonation visible coming up from the bottom of the glass. There was not really much of a head here, rather just a thin film of foam lace covering the top and a tiny bit of side glass lace down the sides. Overall fairly average look for me.

S - The aroma was rather nice. An English IPA type of smell that was muc sweeter then your average british version. Instead of having the huge amounts of floral and citrus hops, this was much more earthy with a a nice grainy and grassy dominance that had a touch of bitter in it towards the end. This was rahter nice and had a good bread like malty back bone coming though in it as well

T - The flavor to was very nice especially for an English IPA. There started out a very nice grainy and grassy like hoppiness that was very dominant even from the beginning. This evolded nicely into a finely grained and bread like base that really pushed the envelope as far as hop much malt could go into this one while still keeping it true to its IPA roots. This then showed a touch of sweetness, almost caramel like, but more toned down then that. The finish was strong with dominant bitter Ero like hops draing out the finish and really drying everything out waiting for you to take the next sip from it.

M - Very nice medium bodied IPA. To be honest I was quite impressed with this one and it really seemed to make a nice little addition to the Great Lakes Brews I have been trying as of late. Rich and almost creamy like in the feel the crbonation held up great throughout the entire session and really have nothing bad to say about this one here.

D - A really nice and different session beer for me here. I normally like the deep citrus bomb for my session ale, however this was quite different and really thoroughly enjoyed every last drop. I could really see this one as a classic session ale if I lived around here. It was really quite tight profile was and had little ABV which made it just about perfect.

Overall this was a pretty damn fine ale. Stayong up here in Ohio for a few days I am getting to try all these nice Midwest brews and this is one I would be glad to try again. A quality ale I will be sure to pick up more of the next time I am around. (2,346 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeff for this one.

A: The beer pours a clear amber color with a finger of white head on top.

S: Slightly sweet aroma with a little bit of toast and bread character. There isn't too much of a hop profile to it, but there is a bit of citrus peel and grass. A light caramel aroma which gives it a slight creaminess.

T: A similar story on the palate. Sweet bread, toffee, and pale, cracker malts. A light floral and grassy hop flavor along with a soft hop bitterness. Creamy caramel notes on the finish with just a touch of orange peel.

M: On the light side of medium in body with a medium carbonation.

O: While this is a drinkable beer, it isn't up there with the better pale ales that I've had. (707 characters)

Photo of nickfl
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured with a small, white head on top of a clear, copper colored body. The head settles at a moderate pace and leaves light lace.

S - Light, fruity hops with moderately toasted malt and a bit of caramel.

T - Some toasted malt up front with stiff bitterness and some fruity hop character. Notes of grapefruit and orange as well as light, dry caramel. Finishes with richer flavors of caramel and a light roasted character. Lingering toasted malt and hop bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - This is a drinkable, but pretty standard IPA. It has a nice hop flavor, though the aroma is a bit weak. It is a very drinkable and that is probably the most important factor for a beer like this. (736 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.54/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Back during my Boilermaker years, my boyz and I believed that if the Wabash ever had a cigarette thrown it, it would explode into an inferno that would make Lucifer consider relocating. This has no real importance, but this beer tends to bring that memory bubbling to the surface. (Seriously, don't swim in the Wabash.) It pours a clear copper topped by a tall bit of thick, light ecru froth, which leaves some decent lacing behind as it subsides. The nose is pretty unspectacular, with notes of caramel, maple syrup, and a light touch of hops (not citrus, not floral, just hops in general). The taste comprises a slight bit o' citrus, some bitterness, and a solidly bready caramel backbone. The body is a light medium, with light carbonation and a crisp finish. Not bad, though I wish the smell were a little better. (860 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice appearance with a slightly hazy orange-tinted amber that's capped by a foamy bone-white head. The head holds well and leaves some nice lace. The bouquet displays soflty sweet, caramelized malt over a mildly floral and gently citrusy hoppiness. A medium/full body and smoothly creamy mouthfeel accentuate the lightly toasted/caramelized malt while floral and citrus hop flavor and bitterness balance it out perfectly. Very well done. Although there's alot of malt going on in the mouth, it thins and dries in the finish, and yet still retains a light touch of malty sweetness at the tip of the tongue... really, really nice! This APA exhibits a slightly fuller malt than many examples, and maybe a touch less hop flavor and aroma, but it's all still there and balances exceptionally well. It offers a great amount of drinkability while still retaining a good amount of character! Very well done and well worth trying. (921 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got another Great Lakes to try thanks this time to thebouch01.

A: Poured into my SA Perfect Pint glass with a nice 1.5 finger rising thick fluffy head that fades slowly and leaves a little lacing. Its a brilliantly clear amber orange color with many bubbles rising from the etch at the bottom of the glass.

N: Nose of a light pale ale. Some light malts, a little toasty malt aroma, some fruity hops a little bit of pale hops, and slight yeastiness. Very light straw grassy hop aroma as well.

T: Starts with a crisp light ale flavor, with some light malts and a little toasty flavor. A slight creaminess too. This is accompanied by some nice pale hops. A slight spicy hop, a little earthy hop, and some grassy hops. A slight yeasty flavor to go with all that too, towards the end. A nice almost British real ale bitterness to it, but American spicy hops.

M: A decent body, a little lighter than medium, and good carbonation.

F: Semi bitter, it gets a little more bitter on the finish. Also pretty dry. The lingering grassy and earthy hop flavors seem to really come out at the end when the other flavors are gone. More of that bitter English real ale character, but lighter on the ale and spicier on the hop. A nice light pale ale overall, drinkable, has a nice hop character. A solid APA. I could see drinking quite a few of these if I could get them around here. If I could complain about anything, it would be the slight yeasty aroma and flavor. (1,454 characters)

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

Acquired via trade from FtownThrowDown, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color, with a thin white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is a blend of pale hops, citrus sweetness and caramelized malt.

T: The citrus sweetness comes out first in the taste and is then followed by a mild burst of hops bitterness. The malt backbone is persistent throughout each sip. After-taste is a little sweet with a bit of residual hops.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean & dry finish.

D: Tasty and easy-to-drink, not too filling, decent kick, this is a good beer to stick with for an evening, unless you're looking for something heavier. (781 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked this up at Wegmans, enjoyed chilled from a pint glass.

The color is dark copper with off white head which leaves confetti lace and has great clarity with visible carbonation. Retention is good and bead is very fine. The smell is very fragrant of hops with a mild pine accent and very gentle fruity yeast scent. The feel is good with moderate bitterness and carbonation level with mild sweetness and light alcohol tinge with a mostly dry finish.

The flavor is a very good mix of malts with more of a German toasted perhaps vienna flavor with mild herbal and pine hop flavors following with some mild orange rind accents. The flavor of malt is pretty well balanced with the hops with a generally clean yeast taste very nice dry finish with no alcohol in the taste to speak of. Overall this is a different take on the pale style, with more german type munich toastiness and more herbal/noble type flavor than straight citrus, but it is very drinkable and well worth repeat tastes (990 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz brown with a drink before date clearly marked.

Appearance: Tarnished amber with a well formed head which clings all over the glass.

Smell: Caramel maltiness with a big floral hoppiness in the nose.

Taste: Crisp and medium bodied yet dries to the puckering point in the finish. Aggressive and sharp hop bitterness dominates the front with some notes of citrus on top. The bitterness pretty much tags along into the finish though there is a decent amount of malt character to add a depth to this brew. Underlying caramel and biscuit flavours come though middle to end which adds to this brews greatness.

Notes: Its funny, some breweries don't even brew their IPA this hoppy and/or strong. A BIG Pale Ale here with a great finish ... very impressive, one of the top pale ales I have tasted in a while. (829 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very, very slightly fogged copper amber. Nose is mildly perfume toned, but exhibits a much more stronger citrus tone. Flavor has quite a zing to it at first but calms down enough to show some nice hop character. Feel is smooth and it has a fairly full carbonation that stays on the tongue. This is very easy to drink and I consider this a good example of an APA. (370 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this one from pwoods, Cheers Patrick!

Pours amber with a pinky of rapidly falling beige head. Some head retention & lacing

S: Nice orange peel & lemon, with biscuitty malt in the background

T: Follows the nose with nice crispness up front. Biscuitty malt & some crackery notes, comes to the fore as this warms, along with lemons, a bit of grapefruit & dryness. Finishes with a whisper of booze, hops crispness & very nice biscuitty malt, almost pulled a 5.0

MF: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation& great balance!

Very easy to drink, super APA or AIPA, well done Great lakes! (589 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured a gently amber color with a slight haze, and a half inch or so of foamy white head. Aroma is grassy, floral, biscuity. Surprisingly drying hop profile in the taste right off the bat, citrus pith, grape skins, bready malts, with a bitter and intensely drying finish. Not necessarily a palate wrecker, but I wouldn't follow this one with a stout. Light-medium body, crisp and clean, and quite good overall for the style. (463 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.21/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with fun label art and branded silver pry-off pressure cap acquired at Zipp's Liquor in Minneapolis, MN for $1.79 and served into a weissbier glass. Expectations are high given the brewery. Reviewed live. "A handcrafted pale ale." 6.0% ABV confirmed. Enjoy by: 11/13/13. Reviewed as a pale

Served cold - straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a four finger wide head of white colour and nice even consistency. Decent thickness, creaminess and frothiness. Retention is good - about 5-6 minutes. Even lacing coats the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent copper of average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's an appealing appearance and I'm eager to try it, but it's not unique or special. No egregious flaws.

Sm: Clean. Floral hops. Pale malts. Vague fruity hop character.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. A pleasant aroma of average strength.

T: Pale malt backbone is joined by a floral hop profile with hints of fruity hops.

Cohesive and enjoyable, but not gestalt, complex, subtle, or intricate.
Clean, without any real yeast character. No alcohol comes through.

Average depth, intensity, and duration of flavour.

Mf: Smooth, wet, well-carbonated, nicely thick, and medium-bodied. Suits the flavour profile well. Nice unobtrusive presence on the palate.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: Drinkable, but I hoped for better from Great Lakes. It's a quaffable pale ale but offers nothing memorable. Will get lost amist the plethora of superior beers in the style. I might get it again if I'm in the mood for a pale ale, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends. Certainly not world-class, but well above average.

High C+ (1,869 characters)

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,005 ratings.