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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

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

2,657 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,657
Reviews: 989
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 98
Gots: 202 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-06-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,657 | Reviews: 989 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RoyalT
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This is a nice, bright orange in color with a very thick white head.

Smell – The hops are big here for an APA with massive grapefruit and a small, toasty malt compliment. The pine, citrus, and grapefruit are in perfect harmony in this hop bouquet and really this is one of the most pleasantly-balanced hop profiles I’ve ever smelled.

Taste – The hops are here at the taste as well. They show tons of depth and overshadow the malts which are quite good actually if understated. This is a strong, hoppy brew though make no mistake about that.

Mouthfeel – This is surprisingly thick, a solid medium-bodied, with little carbonation but it’s not flat. The beer has a very creamy texture but is also quite bitter throughout. If you like smooth, creamy, bitter hops then this burn’s for you.

Drinkability – This went down extremely well but it is a rather big beer so be prepared for that. This is not a light-drinker APA, it is a heavy, thick beer that is best consumed on an empty stomach. If you can take it, or if you are just a big fan of smooth, hoppy ales then you’ll love this beer.

RoyalT, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of philerman
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to British pint glass.

A: Mostly pleasing copper color. Always expect something with Pale and not India in the name to be a bit lighter in color. About 1.5 fingers of frothy head that dissolved pretty quickly.

S: Slightly earthy/floral smell, not too off.

T: Goes down fairly easy.

M: Aftertaste shows some bitterness and also the 6% NAV.

O: Definitely something to add to the rotation. Picked this up at a Sheetz driving through the Buckeye State and would definitely buy again for the same price ($7.99/6).

philerman, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of hoplover82
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a clear copper color with a solid two finger white big, yet tight bubbled that has great retention and lacing.
S-The aroma is very tame at first, just some pale malt aroma, but as it warms, and after a swirl of the glass, the hops come through just a bit, with spicy and citrusy cascade hop notes along with some light caramel maltiness. I'm still within more than a month of the best by date, and it really is a little dissapointing. I'm sure right from the brewery it's a little better, but not in my glass. It's not bad, just not that good.
T-The flavor is much like the aroma with spicy, citrusy hops balanced with the pale and caramel malts. Nothing impressive though at all.
M-A solid medium body with a clean, crisp and slightly bitter finish.
O-I was overall, a little dissapointed by this beer, being a gold medalist of the World Beer Championships, and has over 800 reviews and an A average. Maybe I'll try it again fresher I hope.

hoplover82, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of chefhatt
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has a golden body with a 1"foamy, creamy white head on top of it. The smell is earthy and hops. The taste is very balanced. first the hops comes, them a little spiciness and then a nice bitter after taste. Very nice mouth feel, smooth off the tongue. Overall a good, well balanced beer.

chefhatt, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of WastingFreetime
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transparent like a jewel, coppery amber colored with absolutely no haze and a lovely head that looks as though it belongs on a witbier, its so damn huge and craggy with medium strength lacing. Great appearance that would only need a wee bit more lacing to reach a perfect 5 in my book.
Smell is heavy in the noble hop family of grassy, spice, and a minor chord of earth tones overlaid on top of a lightly toasted malt profile. Taste is more in the floral and citric hops than the spice hops at first, than the spice hops enter in the remarkably dry finish. Of course there is the usual biscuit malt underneath the hopping, as well. Body is on the thinner side of medium, appropriately crisp and carbonated.
Really a damn fine APA, worth checking out.

WastingFreetime, Aug 18, 2011
Photo of harrymel
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by: 07JUL11

A: pours a copper ale with brilliant clarity and two fingers of off white foam. This falls to a sheet of the same with spotty lacing.

S: Woody, grainy, lightly hopped with grassy and noble flavors.

T: Bitter up front, then nice spicy hop flavors with a balanced and delightful malt profile - caramel, pepper.

M: Medium bodied leaning on heavy for the style, moderately hi carb. Lasting wet finish.

O: Despite being over a month expired, this beer held up well. I would guess the smell would improve if more proximal to bottle date, but hey, not in my market. Solid beer nonetheless.

harrymel, Aug 18, 2011
Photo of
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Very clear bright copper with impressive head retention.

Smell - A nice balance of caramel malt and floral hops.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied and moderately carbonated. Full, almost slick mouthfeel complements the flavours nicely.

Taste - Biscuity with caramel and citrus flavours. Finishes slightly bitter with a lingering biscuity aftertaste. Like good APAs, it is hoppy without being aggressively bitter.

, Aug 11, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

womencantsail, Aug 10, 2011
Photo of dbaker61
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Orange-yellow color, with about a finger and a half of rocky head. Good retention. Generous lacing.

Smell: Citrus, pine, and malt, in that order of appearance. Very appealing.

Taste: Big bold yet smooth hops goodness. Not only hops bitterness, but lots of flavor and aroma also. Well balanced hops profile, with a hint of sweetness from the malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied. Lingering hops flavors.

Overall: This is what I've been missing being in China for a year. Pale ales, IPAs, DIPAs, anything with significant hops character has not yet made an impression in China. What a welcome home! Supremely drinkable.

dbaker61, Aug 10, 2011
Photo of WoodBrew
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale is another great offering by the Cleveland Brewery. The appearance is a rich clear copper color. The carbonation is very good that led to at least a finger think head....which laced thoughout the draw. The smell is dominated by pine, but there is a touch of smoke or roast. The taste is very good. There is a good balance of hop and malt that keep the beer from being too bitter. The taste is slightly down graded because I did taste some Alcohol which I though was interesting cuz its not a high ABV. The mouth feel is fine...certainly could session without question. Overall is is a very good beer.

WoodBrew, Aug 06, 2011
Photo of JohnnyBarman
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single bottle from my Great Lakes "The Sampler" pack.

Poured into a nonic. Nice, bright amber-golden in colour, leaves about a 3/4 inch head, nice lacing, good retention. Solid ring remains long after the pour.

Nose is sweet caramel malt coupled with crisp, piney-citrus hops.

A solid pale ale, full of flavor, nicely balanced. Caramel malts, mild citrus hops to cleanse the palate. A bit of earth, resin and chocolate kicking around. Not overly complex, just a great tasting brew.

Medium bodied, slightly creamy.

Though not as mind-explodingly good as Edmund Fitzgerald or Dortmunder, this is nevertheless a great tasting pale, that is light and crisp enough to quench a thirst on a humid afternoon, yet tasty enough to sit and ponder over.

JohnnyBarman, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of goblue3509
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper color with stark white head and some decent lace. The aroma is of a caramel malt backbone with a big piney and citrus hop characteristic to it. The taste follows suit with a caramel malt backbone and a bitterness due to citrus and piney hops throughout. The beer is bitter thoughout but does have balance with the malt. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated with a dry finish. Overall a very soild pale ale. The tatse is balanced and consistent throughout. Very good beer.

goblue3509, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of evanlarkin
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Okay, here we go. My first review in 18 days. I wonder if I'm slipping?


Pours a pale orange with a big-bubbled single finger of head. I poured in and then opened my computer, and the head is already gone gone gone. Very clear as well. In this heat (97F as I type), this beer looks beautifully refreshing.

Malty and ever so slightly sweet. I don't know how to describe it more eloquently, so I'll go with crisp. It smells crisp. Tiny bit of hop aroma, but malt is really the front runner here.

Finally! Okay. Malts are very present, but there is a thin veil of hops that hits your tongue first, and then lingers about in the end. Certainly refreshing. Somewhat bitter, but not overpoweringly so, and in no way reminiscent of an IPA. For some reason I'm getting a slight apple note sitting around in my mouth.

Much thicker than I had expected. It's solid, somewhat creamy, and full. Medium-high carbonation.

I would buy this again for sure. It fits great with the time of year, very refreshing and just a tad fruity. I could see myself drinking a few of these outside on a hot day. I just wish my apartment had a terrace.

evanlarkin, Jul 24, 2011
Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: 6 pack of bottles. I tried one directly from the bottle, and had the rest poured into a Great Lakes pint glass.

A - Very bright Amber to Golden. A lovely snow white head that subsides some as the experience goes on. A lovely looking Pale Ale. Very lush in color, and soothing to my eyes.
S - Citrusy aromoa. With a hint of piney cascade taking over. For some reason almost the smell of grapefruit crept in. I learned why while visiting GLBC.com. A toasty aroma. ANd somewhat of a sweet smell. A solid smelling brew anyway you look at it.
T - Loads of piney and citrusy notes. Strong bitterness due to the hops throughout. A full flavored Pale ale. I got some citrusy/grapefruit in the taste as well as smell. Clean tasting pale ale and this was the best part of the experience.
M - Nice script of carbonation with this brew. Very drinkable. Went nicely on a upper 90s evening even as the sun faded behind the local hills.
O - I really enjoyed this brew. I have become to enjoy Pale ales as I age. I didnt pay much attention to them when I first started drinking quality brews. GLBC have a lot of great tasting brews coming out of Cleveland,Ohio. They always leave me satisfied and I always find myself buying more. Burning River is another one of my favorites and is a true quality Pale ale and brew experience thanks to GLBC.

BradtheGreat7, Jul 24, 2011
Photo of Trystero
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Again, a great beer that for me, personally, is often times over-looked just because it's from Great Lakes and is so readily available. Most bars in Columbus that I have visted due to other, less beer bar minded folks, normally have this in some form, so I do end up drinking a lot of it. Not a bad thing.

A - Amazingly rich amber, copper luster. Pours with a strong creamy white head and crackely carbonation. Leaves thick white laceing as you take each sip.

S - Bouquette of sharp piney hops and slightly distinguishing citrus notes with subtle malt undertones.

T - Follows the aroma perfectly with lingering malt on the front followed by the piney, resin based hops in the middle and the finish. Each sip leaves the refreshing bite of hops and subtle citrus.

M - Very well carbonated. Thin, in a pleasing way that makes this Pale Ale very drinkable, especially on a hot summer evening.

Trystero, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of Treebs
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a hotel water glass (what hotel bar doesn't have ONE pint glass)

A: Pours a clear light copper with subtle dark yellow hues around the edges. Nice little film ring develops on the top.

S: Clear cut malts with a light hop bite to it. There wasn't much else to this.

T: Same as the nose, but more pronounced. Nice oaty malts with a classic light hop bite.

M: Very crisp, clean and refreshing. Light bodied with nice medium carbonation.

O: A very classic tasting pale ale. There weren't any other flavors thrown in there and other flavors weren't dominating. Pretty simple and well balanced.

Treebs, Jul 10, 2011
Photo of tjacobs610
3.35/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Golden clear amber color, great head retention, 2 to 3 fingers high. Not much lacing to speak of

S:Has hints of floral and caramel aroma. Very good at bringing the taste to your nose

T:Very strong and aggressive bitter taste. The bitterness lasts throughout the drink but it’s joined by a malty flavor towards the end. There is also some hints of citrus at the beginning of the drink

M:Medium bodied, but yet very light on the palate. Has little noticeable carbonation. Has a dry finish to it and has a hoppy taste as well

O:Very good APA. Definitely shows its Pale Ale characteristics. Has a balanced mix of hops and malts.

tjacobs610, Jul 09, 2011
Photo of tastybeer
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear amber with visible bubbles rising from the bottom. Head fades fairly quickly but initially it forms a delightful poofy layer. Aroma is nice and refreshing. Hop amount is just where I like it. Solid bready malts as well. I like the taste a lot too. Great balance going on here. Again, very refreshing. Mouthfeel is right where it should be. Smooth with good medium body. I'll certainly pick this up again. It has joined my list of favorite pale ales.

tastybeer, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of ferrari29
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from bottle into Pint shaped glass

A - Beer pours with a healthy looking rocky white colored head; dark golden, slight orange tinge clear colored body; well-carbonated; lots of sticky lacing

S - Hops; citrus and some pine (when the beer warms up); nice crisp scents of typical Pale Ale; smooth buttery biscuit notes hidden, cracker; fruit; caramel malt notes

T - Cascade hop flavor; smooth bitter hop taste; citrus flavors; pine and a nice biscuit malt backbone; hint of orange flavor; hop bitterness carries from start to finish; caramel

M - Plenty of fizz; good solid body, with a lively hop character; plenty of bitter aftertaste and leaves a subtle dry feel on the palate after sips

D - Great beer; even better out of the tap; I've had this plenty of times before while visiting Ohio and if available, I'll grab it; strong, but not too strong hop flavor and perfect for session of beer drinking

ferrari29, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of Eldalonde
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A full dense creamy head develops with the pour and sits atop a deep copper colored nectar.

S - Nice light aroma of hops, some caramel malts, and some nice cereal grains as well.

T - Nice caramel flavor leads to some dry bitter hops and finishes with a dry cereal grain finish. Overall, the taste is a bit light and mild. I prefer a more hop kick in an APA, but this is a nice simple very sessionable APA .

M - A bit sticky with the caramel malts coating the palate. Not saying this is anywhere near oily, but the flavor comes through the palate well.

O - Very nice summer beer - or anytime beer really - that is simple to enjoy. It's not one that you need to sit down and really chew over all the flavors. Yet it still gives enough to make this very enjoyable.

Eldalonde, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of elginirishpunk
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clar with a golden/amber hue. Thick head and takes a few seconds longer then usual to settle. Has a rather light hop aroma with a lingering hint of caramel and hidden sweetness that is hard to place. If this was a blind tasting you wouldn't know it was a Pale ale till you took your first taste. The hops makes its presents know but then leaves and you are left you the hops coating the tounge, littl more bitter then your usual pale ale.

elginirishpunk, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of orourkebr
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is not very much like most pale ales, but it is oh so good. Plenty of nice hop bitterness to it, but the roasty malt in this is what makes me love this beer. The two balance each other out to create a really really strong pale ale that is perfect for Ohio.

This beer is an absolute pleasure to drink, and at 6%, is somewhat of a session beer, so I could drink it all day long.

If you don't get Great Lakes you should definitely do a trade to get this. It's an American Pale Ale at its best, and tastes totally unique at the same time.

orourkebr, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of Fluke828
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip
Bottle Dated Best Before: 07/20/11

A-> Pours a copper/orange color with about 2 fingers worth of frothy, slightly off-white head. Some slow moving nucleation both up through the middle and along the walls of the glass. Very persistent and sticky lace throughout. Actually looks more like an amber than a pale ale.

S-> Malty aromas hit first. A sweet, mild spiciness is also noticeable in the first few whiffs. Upon further examination, some faint hops of the floral and grassy, not quite earthy variety come through. A juicy fruit scent is also there but can't quite place it....more lemony than anything but still pretty faint/mild by most standards.

T-> Follows the nose almost in order. Initial malt sweetness first, followed by a nice, balancing pine hop bitter kick however nothing intense and pretty subdued. Malty through the middle with a great hop finish that lingers with a pine sensation on the tongue. Pleasant balance.

M-> Pretty smooth, nothing terribly exciting, which in this case, is a good thing. Medium bodied with a fairly dry finish. Great carbonation.

O-> This looked and smelled a lot more like an Amber upon first inspection. Only the taste really indicates otherwise. That being said, I really enjoyed my first GL brew. It was a solid American Pale Ale that was very well balanced and refreshing. Perhaps the American Pale Wheat Ale kick I've been on lately threw me off on the smell and appearance on this one at first but that is beside the point. I could quaff the shit out of this brew even on the hottest of days. Cheers!

Fluke828, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of corby112
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy dark golden orange color with a two finger frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. The glass is left coated with large chunks of soapy lacing.

Floral hp aroma with hints of earthy pine and a prominent citrus fruit presence. Hints of grapefruit and orange peel with pale, biscuit like malt underneath.

Medium bodied and very hop forward with a dry, bitter character up front that lingers over the sweet malt into a spicy, dry finish. Slightly resinous with an earthy pine presence that is balanced by sweet citrus fruit. Hints of grapefruit and orange peel balanced by a sweet caramel malt backbone that gives off notes of toast and biscuit.

corby112, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of sendsilk
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a recent trade with Scoot1969, thanks again Scott!

I'm ususally not a big fan of pale ales, but my neighbor is and he happened to drop by today so I thought why not? Looks great on the pour. Beautiful likght orange color, very clear which is surprising considering they are using water from Cleveland! I'll be here all week fols and remember to try the veal!

Seriously, it looks good and tastes great. My neighbor really enjoyed it and I was very impressed as well. Pale Ales are very obscure to me but this had a nice flavor, mouthfeel and everything else to make it a really good beer. My second ever offering from Great Lakes....now I can't wait to try that Edmond Fitz, but alas, I only have 1 so it must be saved for something special...

sendsilk, Jun 16, 2011
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,657 ratings.