1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,668 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,668
Reviews: 991
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 99
Gots: 206 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,668 | Reviews: 991 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Marty30
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 Oz bottle served into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass at fridge temp. Bottle says best before 10-17-11.

A. Very clear sun set orange. With a fluffy offwhite 2 finger head. Nice carbonation. Really good lacing.

S. The nose is not very strong on this. I'm getting some piney hops along with a good amount of earthy,bread crust notes.

T. First I get a sharp hop bit in the front followed by lots of caramel and bread notes.

M. Mouth is nice, medium with the carbonation giving the palate a good sting. Dry finish.

Overall a nice tasting and refreshing APA. In my opinion Great lakes always comes through with solid beers. Easy drinker here.

Marty30, Sep 28, 2011
Photo of KDawg
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a nice dark gold/copper color with a foamy head that does disappear after a slight bit.

good malty nose with some hops. While the hops are there, they aren't overtly pronounced along with some spice tones and citrus'

medium bodied with a good smooth feel to it. Its not lacking at any point and has a good malt based finish

This is a good pale ale. I like that its not just focused on the hops and has a malty character to it.

KDawg, Sep 26, 2011
Photo of Retail1LO
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

My first Great Lakes offering. Grabbed a sixer at Whole Foods this afternoon. I missed the chance to have this on tap at TJ's recently, so I'm glad to have a chance to enjoy this. Beer pours a gorgeous transparent amber color. The nose is a bit muted, but there's a very pleasant light citrus nose followed by some malt. The taste in this is definitely on the malty side, although the initial taste showcases some nice hops. The finish is way sweet. The mouthfeel is very light and creamy, with the maltiness mentioned previously hanging around. Overall this is a nice beer. I'd like more hops, but, this is an APA and not an IPA, and it' in line with the style. A good beer bye and bye.

Retail1LO, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a wine glass. Back label stamped 05/27/11.

Appearance - Big white head with great retention. slightly hazy pale copper body.

Smell - Musky hop. Urine.

Taste - Moderate hop. Honey sweet malt. No off flavors.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied.

Overall Drinkability - Decent if completely forgettable middle-of-the-road pale ale.

ZenAgnostic, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 9/6/11
*From notes

A: A good pour yields a 2.25 finger head and some pretty healthy lacing. Clean amber hue.

S: Bready, with a touch of bitter hops.

T: A bit hop forward, then it gives way to a hearty breadiness. A good amount of earth and grain arrive on the mid, and the finish is slightly green. Exactly what I look for in an APA.

M: Thicker then many in the style. Good depth here, and the carbonation is on point.

O: Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale is a damn fine APA. Easy drinking, flavorful and something even some of my BMC friends would enjoy. I'd prefer it at a lower ABV (say 5%), but as it stands, this beer kicks some serious ass.

Yet another winner from the great folks at Great Lakes.

Rhettroactive, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of ahq514
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.

Pours a transparent golden amberish color. A decent amount of bubbles are seen rising to surface. About half a finger head. Good lacing.

Aroma is nicely balanced between malt and hops. The two are very well intertwined as well. Nice juicy citrus hops complement the toasted caramel malt backbone.

Taste is much more in favor of the malt. Bittering hops are ever so slight, but present, more so on the finish. A little bit of that citrusy hop burst that was more prominent in the aroma is there. Like I said before, the toasted caramel malt is just slightly more dominant in the taste.

Moderate carbonation, lighter medium bodied. This is very drinkable, I feel like I could drink these all night.

A pretty well balanced pale ale for the most part. Would have preferred a little bit more of a citrus hop flavor in the taste, but an otherwise excellent APA. Will drink again for sure.

ahq514, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of Jesse13713
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was surprised to see i hadn't reviewed this local beer yet.

Appearance - A nice pale amber orange. Transparent. A foamy, whipped-like head. Slightly pink like grapefruit in certain light.

Smell - Sweet, pleasant hops that tickle the nose. Hints of citrus and pink grapefruit. Slightly piney and cedar notes.

Taste - A citrusy and piney collection of tastes. A slight lemon burn in the background. More malty than I remember but works surprisingly well.

Mouthfeel and overall - Light to medium bodied. A pleasant and easy burn. Citrusy and appropriately carbonated.

Jesse13713, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of GeorgeAldi
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep copper/amber color with a bubbly beige head that impales itself to the glass all the way down. Smells of citrus, light sweet fruit, slight mineral. Taste is smooth citrus with a fruity burnt sugar malt sweetness. Good balance! Twinge of hops, bit of malt leaves a hop bite at the end of every sip. Crisp carbonation, sticky, resinous mouthfeel, medium body with a semi dry finish. Good session ale here.

GeorgeAldi, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of Viciousknishs
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a translucent pale amber color with a pillowy three fingers of off white head. Decent retention.

S- floral hop forward aromas with a note of citrus zest jump out of the glass right into the schnoz. Biscuit pale malt aromas coalesce bringing balance to the force (hops obviously being the dark side). A hint of fruitiness and pine hop on the finish.

T- Balanced but yet again hop forward! Dry biscuit malt flavor hits the palate at first. Floral citrusy hops burst from the malty foundation. Notes of pine and orange zest abound. Finishes dry with a hint of alcohol and a long lasting round hop bitterness that lasts long into the aftertaste.

MF- slick mouthfeel with a medium body and soft fine carbonation.

D- super drinkable with a great balance.

Overall a great balanced hop forward pale ale.

Viciousknishs, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of manitouman84
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a copper amber with slight turbidity and a head that quickly dissipates. Moderate hop aroma, floral and citrus balanced with malt aroma. Clean malt profile, citrus and grapefruit lingering in the background, with a crisp finish on the palate. Overall a very good and very drinkable beer, but I did not personally find anything that stands out about this beer.

manitouman84, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of shand
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic.

This brew pours the standard pale amber color with two fingers of head that quickly drops down. The aroma has some nice hops over some pale malts, but it's a little weak compared to what I'd prefer. The taste is upfront hoppy, with plenty of bitter grapefruit rind to go along with it. The mouthfeel is nice, it's bubbly on the way down the throat, and the drinkability is very good. Overall, a solid brew, and one that I'd keep in rotation if it were local.

shand, Aug 28, 2011
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?

Anyways.

Appearance:
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.

Smell:
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.

Taste:
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.

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

Overall:
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
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,668 ratings.