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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.
very good

1,012 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,012
Hads: 3,062
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.3%
Wants: 135
Gots: 492 | 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
Reviews: 1,012 | Hads: 3,062
Photo of PhillyJay1701
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

1000th and FIRST review LOL...

Poured into a Pilsner style glass (cause I felt like it.... And had nothing else clean)

Look: hazy good like a Wheat beer, surprisingly. White foamy head.

Smell: orange and hops. Not too overpowering but nice enough to remind you it's a pale.

Taste: hops are just right with a malty, orangey sweetness that balances beautifully. Great balance.

Mouthfeel: creamier than one would expect from a pale ale, but that has to do with the malt balance.

Another beautiful beer from Great Lakes. These guys really know what they're doing.

Link to my video review of this beer:

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Photo of chinchill
3.36/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle.

Pours with an over sized foamy head that won't allow me to gently pour the entire 12 oz bottle into into a 18 oz mug. The foamy head lingers on and on, with some settling that leaves it looking like a fitting topping for a vanilla float. The aroma is more earthy, English hop than I prefer but also has an attractive malt aroma that is bolder and darker than expected. The taste follows, with the darker malts coming out in the finish and aftertaste.

O: nice but should revisit with a fresher bottle.

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Photo of JKuras
3.47/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours an effervescent and very clear golden-amber. About an eighth inch of head that lasts for a few minutes.

Smell: First hit by malty chocolate notes and light, sweet caramel. Not too heavy. Very faint traces of citrus.

Taste: Much more bitter and hoppy than I was expecting from the smell. Some light roasted coffee flavors. Clean. The malt and bitterness of the hops come through more than anything else.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel. Slightly syrupy, creamy-smooth effervescence.

Overall: A very clean tasting brew with powerful malt and bitterness characteristics. Doesn’t have the citrus I usually associate with pale ales. Not overly complex, but well done. Might be better drinking in the fall.

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Photo of dacrza1
4.41/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Date: July 2, 2015... Glassware: Barley Creek pint... Occasion: week one of camp year five, in the books... Appearance: clear, golden amber body with steady, singular streams of bubbles... thick, two-finger off-white head rises over the glass's lip before settles a coliseum-evoking lacing; more sporadic lacing as the glass drains... Aroma: beautiful resin and pine cone, with orange peel and caramel slicing through the expected pale ale complexion; surprisingly, toasted cereal malts make for a rounded, balanced promise... Palate: frothy, creamy, slightly brackish--and smooth to the finish; drinkable, dry at the finish but crunchy at the sip; worth savoring...Taste: grapefruit, orange peel and pine resin early and easily; caramel malts and some spices--clove, vanilla?--develop a desirable complexity; not as much floral flavors, suggesting the hops were not added at later stages to produce an overwhelming effect on the aroma; a joy to sip and savor, with enough alcohol to develop the evening...Overall: in my second straight experience, Great Lakes takes a famous Ohio entity and crafts a beer that is a champion in its field; easily a top-five among standard six-pack pale ales I have had in my two decades as a beer drinker; enough nuance and texture with drinkability to satisfy even the most fickle or fearful ale drinkers... I love the body, its cohesion with its flavor, and the enjoyable return on its strength---a different take on the Sierra Nevada model but as big and tasty for an American pale...

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Photo of taters21
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy golden color with a very minimal head that soon disappears into nothing.
Smells of orange, pine, herbal hops
Taste is a creamy herbal hop up front followed by a sweet malt, finishing dry and semi bitter.
Mouthfeel: Moderately thick, this is a creamier pale ale by far
Overall: Excellent, very easy drinking

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Photo of Gote
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had the opportunity to grab different Great Lakes styles while in Columbus and I'm impressed so far. Now I'm not big on pale ales but I really liked this one. Light and refreshing with just a hint of bitterness. Looking forward to their amber lager and porter later tonight.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Brilliant gold to amber under a 1” clingy white foam cap.
S: Grassy, grain, light malt, not a lot of hops, smells like the inside of a malt house as the steep tanks empty into the kiln.
T: No caramel but a light malt sweetness, fresh grain, light fruit, citrus.
F: Very creamy medium light to medium body, medium carbonation, smooth, dry finish
O: A well made and easy to drink American pale ale.

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Photo of hotpauko
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Looking forward to any Great Lakes beer as I am a huge Edmund Fitzgerald fan. But this one left me a little disappointed. Decent flavor, easy drinking but just not the pop I was expecting. Too average for what I was hoping for, just wanted more flavor and bite.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served on tap in a pint glass.

Appearance: Darker amber with a thin white head. Heavy lacing on the glass.

Smell: Light hops with a hint of cloves and citrus.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of bitter hops and mild clove and citrus.

Overall: Excellent brew! Great flavors and very enjoyable.

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Photo of PA-hunter
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 6% abv.

Appearance- Clear amber in color with a fading 2 finger head.

Smell- Bready, sweet malt with a touch of caramel and floral sweetness.

Taste- A sweet toasted biscuit malt goes into a refreshing hop citrus aspect with notes of orange. The malt sweetness blends into a bitter hop kick in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-light in body. Smooth.

Overall- A simple and right to the point PA that demonstrates what a pale ale should be quality-wise. Well done. Good blend of malt and hops. Awesome.

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Photo of fscottkey
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A: [4.00] Full finger of dense white head. The beer itself is orange in color. Very little bubbling from the glass. The bottle has a best by date of 3/12/15 and lists the ABV at 6.0%.

S: [2.75] The nose is very weak. Just some really subdues floral and fruit notes. That is with a huge whiff.

T: [3.00] Upfront is malty and sweet. The back end is a stark contrast - it has a pronounced bitter finish. The taste is following the nose with the lack of distinct flavor components.

M: [2.75] Low carbonation. The key feature of the mouthfeel is the lingering bitter aftertaste.

O: [3.00] I love Great Lakes - but not enough for me to recommend this beer. It is just lacking any character or flavor. I will definitely leave this out of the lineup.

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Photo of EvieE
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Amber orange. Nice lacing, a medium head. Was really orange looking.

S: Heavy grapefruit smell. A little yeasty.

T: A sharp taste, a nice hops finish though.

F: Sharp on the front of the tongue. Heavy carbonation feel.

O: Would have it again, wouldn't mind for a session beer. But wouldn't be my first choice.

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Photo of Mikus
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Medium amber, little bit of white head, good carbonation in pint glass (12oz bottle). Mild nose, hint of pine and light floral notes. Slight taste of piney hops, bit muddled tasting overall, light on hops (enjoy by still has 5-6 weeks...), not too wild about the flavors (even a bit of wet cardboard in there). Maybe fresher, or on a summer day? Clean mouthfeel in general, gently lingering flavors (unfortunately some bit off), easy drinking. Overall ok, but FL can do a lot better! I'll have to try a fresher one sometime, maybe in a mixed 12 pack...

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Photo of bmeehan
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I prefer to cook with this vs drink it. It's got a very bitter profile, which isn't something I tend to gravitate to anyway, but more than that, it just sits on the back of your tongue and annoys your taste buds. As a beer to cook with, though, the hoppiness works in its favor and doesn't overpower whatever meat you use it with.

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Photo of StevensBrewing
2.97/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Holy Cascade! This beer is great for hopheads. It looks fine, smells better than it tastes for a small time hop guy like me. This beer is pallet scorching, so be careful if you're not used to powerful alphas. Overall is is decent for Great Lakes.

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Photo of mchegash
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4/5
Light orange-brown color. 1.5 fingers of head upon initial pour, dissipates down to minimal head. Quite clear, small amount of carbonation can be seen rising throughout the beer.

Smell - 4/5
Nice citrusy hops presenece with slight pine notes. Kind of a mellowed-out smell. It's nice.

Taste - 3.75/5
Piney hops, some sweet darker malts. Overall a decent taste.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium bodied, light carbonation, quite crisp.

Overall - 4/5
Overall, a very balanced pale ale. The hops don't overpower, but are still very present in the taste.

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Photo of Josh012012
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this one because of the decent rating. So I poured it and it looked good. Then I took a whiff. Did not smell that good, did not have the real strong hop presence I was hoping for.. because of the smell I thought the taste would be bad also... but it was very balanced and although there was not a ton of hops or citrus it was still a very respectable beer. I have had 4 in a row. very god but not exactly what I expected.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Orange-gold color.

Overall: Crisp and smooth beer. Dry with a light bitterness at the end. Not a complex beer. Very solid beer. Excellent APA.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a fluffy white head that dissipates quickly but leaves quite a bit of lacing on the sides of the glass. The beer itself is a dark copper color that borders on dark orange. The beer smell has floral hop notes, malt sweetness, and a little bit of earthy notes as well. The malt sweetness and the floral notes mix very well together and very difficult to separate but compliment each other such as that it gives off a nice sweet floral smell. The smell also has a slight yeasty note that comes off as a sweet and bready note. The taste is a bit different from the smell. The taste has a much stronger hop flavor which is earthy and herbal instead of floral and the malt is barely noticeable while the yeast note is stronger. The mouthfeel is fairly medium bodied but on the heavier side. The beer finishes fairly smooth with a bit of carbonation. Overall, a pretty good pale ale worth getting.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

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Photo of mabermud
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Golden orange. White sticky head. Aroma of light, sweet tropical fruit and malts. The taste is better than the smell. The mouthfeel fits well. Very nice and flavorful.

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Photo of joe12pk
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a glass.

A - Orange-gold. One finger head dissipates quickly but good retention throughout. Nice lacing.

S - Light grapefruit, sweet malt

T - Begins with sweet malt and fruit. Ends in a bit grapefruit with minor pine notes. Dry, with a pleasant light bitterness.

O - This is a good one for initiates in the world of pale ales.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle dated 6/4/15 so it's about a week past its drop dead date. I really like APAs, but this one doesn't float my boat. I don't get any citrus, not much floral, some dank, bitter pine but that's about it. It's nice and light, but so are a lot of better-tasting APAs.
Great Lakes has some fantastic offerings, but this isn't one of them.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap into a plastic pint glass at a Williamsport Crosscutters game. Pours orange red with a small white head. Smells of citrus. Tastes of citrus and earthy hops, light malt, good bite. Beer is light bodied good carbonation, smooth finish with bite. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of allengarvin
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Named after the famous river burning, which no one actually photographed--the iconic photos published were from another burning decades earlier!

Anyway, this pours out a clear gold color with a small head. Nice malty aroma with a light grassy hoppiness. The flavor is strongly malty--a nice clean malt with a bit of crystal and a tad of nuttiness, together with medium bitterness and grassy hop taste. Clean finish.

Not a complex beer, but one that is really well done--it's quite an enjoyable beer to drink.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,012 ratings.