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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

2,654 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,654
Reviews: 989
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 99
Gots: 200 | 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: 2,654 | Reviews: 989 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #26:

Bright and clear golden-amber color; good showing of the head retention, and it stands three fingers high. Hints of caramel and flowery hop in the nose. Slick and chewy medium body. Bitty smoothness lets the grain and hop bitterness roll around on the taste buds first. Biscuity malt and a spicy, orangey hop bitterness and flavor battle it out. Hey now, these hops are at work here. Clean palate with only a quick flash of fruitiness from the alcohol. A little dry in the finish with a long trail of hop flavor.

Without a doubt, this beer displays its American Pale Ale traits; it's balanced, yet with the hops, always up front. Surpassing the benchmark is our conclusion. Proof that a Mid-American brewery can well hop a Pale Ale like the rest of them. Good use of Cascade hops!

BeerAdvocate, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of BeerNinja007
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a mix pack I picked up in late Aug at the Price Chopper grocery in North Syracuse NY. Freshness date on the box: Jul 16 2010. Oops. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

I had this a few months ago on tap, interested to see how bottle compares to tap. The other factor affecting the difference between these two reviews is that a restaurant setting with my parents presented minimal opportunity to take decent notes, whereas here alone at home the opposite circumstance is the case.

I gave this a pretty hard pour because last time I had it was from draft and I'm curious what it'll do. A heavy pour into the center of the glass gives a big 3" of frothy bubbly beige head that lingers pretty well. The head leaves a bunch of spotty chunky lace on the glass. Smell is some soft orangey citrus hop and milky smoothness, like a semi-bitter orange creamcicle. Taste is mild and subdued, much like the nose but dialed back a few big notches, plus a little diacetyl and maybe vanilla. Orange creamcicle indeed. A little sharp pine hop also tries to fight through and, although it is very minor, it stands out quite easily and I wonder if the beer would be better off without it. Mouthfeel is even and smooth, smooth and appropriate carbonation. Finish is smooth and creamy but dry on the tongue. Tasty.

BeerNinja007, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of headbucket
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: very nice lacing as the level of the drink goes down. very clear orange/amber color. thin head in the middle of the beer but more bubbles collect around the outside of the glass.

smell: smell is more subdued than the flavor, nothing too full or crazy going on. A little bready and citrusy from the hops.

taste: light citrus flavor with a good amount of piney bitterness. much more hoppy than many other pale ales. a bit of biscuit/bread flavor from a good amount of malt in here as well, although the hops are more dominant. A bit dry at the end.

mouthfeel: well carbonated yet still goes down very smooth.

drinkability: very drinkable. strong flavor of hops but well balanced with malt, with nothing being too intense or intrusive. At 6% with good flavor while not being too intense it makes it very east to drink a few. However it may be too bitter and strong tasting for some as compared to the lighter or milder tasting pale ales.

headbucket, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of dpnelson1978
3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$9.99 / 6-pk.

A: Bright amber body topped with a big tight head of great retention that leaves behind moderate lacing and a thick creamy cover.

S: Subdued floral hop character and light caramel notes. Solid, but nothing special.

T: Bready malt backbone with a noticeable hop bitterness throughout. Resinous on the back end with a building bitter aftertaste.

M: Medium body and moderate carbonation. Not particularly crisp.

D: Light, highly sessionable brew, but pretty typical for the style. Nice neutral beer for any occasion.

O: This one will please the masses, but doesn't really stick out in my mind.

dpnelson1978, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of Spider889
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As far a actual pale ales go, this is one of the best available in Ohio I believe. That being said, I'll always grab a Commodore Perry over this when looking to buy GLBC.

Deep orange/amber color to this beer with a decent foamy head and medium retention with good lacing.

Lots of thick resiny hops in the smell, and bitter hops in the flavor profile. Sweet and malty, floral and fruity - some peach and pineapple and maybe some bitter white grapefruit.

Medium bodied and highly carbonated. Overall a good beer that drinks easily.

Spider889, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of bfree
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am not a big Pale Ale fan. With that said, this is one of the better ones I have had

A: nice deep amber color and poured out a nice head

S: citrus hops with a little malty sweetness and HONEY-nice smell

T: Hops are not too strong, nice mix of bitterness and sweetness

M: very smooth, not too bitter, and good carbonation

D: good drinkability

bfree, Sep 08, 2010
Photo of divineaudio
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle into a pint glass. freshness date on label.

pours a nice rich amber color. forms a thin cap of off white head that dies down to a film right away. a few legs of lace here and there.

smell is deliciously sweet, fruity and floral with a hint of honey.

taste is lightly toasted malt with notes of toffee, well balanced by hops. a little biscuity with some pine resin on the back of the tongue to give it a slightly bitter twang. finish is nice and dry.

mouthfeel is a firm medium body with just enough carbonation.

this is a pretty damn good beer. goes down easy and represents the style well. puts a lot of other pale ales i've had to shame.

divineaudio, Sep 05, 2010
Photo of NODAK
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is of a mix between citrusy hops and a bit of caramel malt. As far as this is concerned, it's pretty well balanced.

As expected, the dominant flavor profile from the get-go is floral, citrus hops. However, they are not overbearing at all. I'd put them more in the mid-range as far as aggressiveness goes for style. There's a sweet malt flavor at the same time as well....which leads into a sweet (hint of caramel?), biscuity malt that finishes the beer off. There's a bit of lingering bitterness that hangs around.

As far as APA's are concerned, I'd rate this high for drinkability. The balance is there, the hops aren't overbearing, and it's easy drinking.

NODAK, Sep 03, 2010
Photo of rmolledo
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Hazy amber with a small white head around the rim of the glass.

S: Piney and Citrus Hop aroma with a caramel malt aroma.

T: Very Malty and sweet but the sweetness ends when swollowed. This is a delicious pale ale. For some reason it reminds me of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Now don't get me wrong, the hops are still very present but not bombarding the spotlight.

MF: moderate carbonation with a very nice body.

D: This is a fantastic pale ale. I could probably drink this all night. I would love to try this on tap. If I were to guess, I'd say this was about 4% but it is 6%.

rmolledo, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of WeisGuy
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a best by date of 9/10/10

a - pours a deep burnt orange color, one-inch ivory head with decent retention and lacing, light haze

s - caramel malt mostly with piney and orange citrus hops, lighter biscuit malt aroma

t - orange and caramel sweetness up front with a substantial citrus bitterness, finish is well-balanced with more orange hop bitterness mixed with toasty caramel malt, trends towards the dry side, alcohol is pretty well-hidden

m - medium-to-light bodied, moderate carbonation, fairly dry finish, but relatively well-balanced, not much alcohol warming

d - pretty drinkable in that it's well-balanced, easy on the palate and somewhat interesting

Pretty good APA overall, and another solid beer from GLBC. Well worth trying if you see it on the shelf.

WeisGuy, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of sweemzander
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. 07/04/10 best by date.

(A)- Pours a clear orange color that produced a good fluffy off-white head with decent retention.

(S)- A light dry pine with lemon and pineapple.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A good piney lemon and pineapple citrus with a nice light caramel-like sweetness.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. A good hop presence despite its age. Smooth going down with light bitterness.

(D)- A solid to great pale ale. A good refresher with a solid balance and taste.

sweemzander, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of king75
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a murky gold color, with about an inch of quickly dissipating head. Not much lacing.

Smell is kind of bland, definitely get the smell of some citrus and fruit.

Has a kind of fruity taste, fairly smooth feel, very light in the mouth.

Could easily drink plenty of these without feeling cold.

Not a bad beer, but not the best I have had from great lakes.

king75, Aug 16, 2010
Photo of rjhaupt
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - On the darker side for a pale ale, amber and honey hues. Excellent head with good retention.

S - Smells heavy and musky for a pale, which to me promises a richer flavor than many pales.

T - Taste like a smoot, heavy pale. A bit watery. Good for a pale but disappointing for a Great Lakes beer. Overall feels closer to an IPA than a pale ale save for the fact that I know their IPA is an even stronger presentation of hop character.

M - Feels great, light, airy and smooth.

D - Good hot day sipping beer but a bit light on the flavor for my tastes.

rjhaupt, Aug 16, 2010
Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a copper color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of hops. Taste is also of hops, lightly malted, a good balance, slightly bitter at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a quality brew.

tone77, Aug 08, 2010
Photo of TripleTap
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle 5 days after its best before date. Tasted quite fresh, though.

It poured with a 1" head that retained nicely. It was a deep golden color. pretty clear.

Aromas of caramel with hints of citrus and a nice malty smell.

This tastes more like an IPA. It is smooth and the malt character comes thru nicely. Giving way to those cascade hops. It finishes dry and crisp. I think this is a very balanced pale ale.

This is a great example of the type. It will be one of my goto brews. It is very drinkable.

TripleTap, Aug 06, 2010
Photo of tlazaroff
4.8/5  rDev +21.2%
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.

tlazaroff, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of PantherLightning
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a one finger white with a hint of tan head. Color is a nice light caramel color. Smells light, buttery, biscuity.

On first sip, the beer has a smooth, almost sweet malty flavor that ends with a bit of a sudden hop bite on the finish. The hoppy finish leaves a nice floral taste on the pallet. Mouthfeel is extremely light and smooth.

This beer is very balanced and tame with not too much hop domination (not that it would necessarily be a bad thing). Some pale ales are borderline IPAs, but Burning River finds a good balance.

PantherLightning, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of dataskatt
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first review, and I thought I would start with my favorite APA. A co-worker recommended this one, and the reviews here supported his praise.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle poured into a mug. Freshness date clearly marked.

Appearance: Golden amber with a thick head and nice lacing.

Smell: Toasty malt with light floral hops.

Taste: Very balanced, finishing with a pleasantly bitter hops "bite". Not piney. Complex, but still very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, adequate carbonation.

Drinkability: Easy drinking, but satisfying. A little strong for a session beer.

dataskatt, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of beerdrifter
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at a great beer store, Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor, Ohio. Clear orange-yellow pour with a nice head and decent lacing. Very odd nose for a pale ale. Kind of earthy and salty with none of the typical perfumy, floral pale smell I love. Really had to strain to get anything remotely hoppy. The taste was much better than the smell. Lots of caramel malt with a touch of fruitiness and just enough bitterness to balance it out. Great, slightly chewy mouthfeel and highly drinkable if you can get past the nose.

beerdrifter, Jul 27, 2010
Photo of sonata2008
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at a local bar. The color was a clear amber with very little foam. There was a mild hops aroma, with no malt in the smell. The taste was of rich malt, but not too sweet, and a bitter finish, mildly spicy and floral. There was nothing special in terms of mouth feel. A typical pale ale, very drinkable.

sonata2008, Jul 27, 2010
Photo of TastyTaste
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another great offering from a great brewery that just came to the Twin Cities Market. This pale is toasty and rich, slightly honey-sweet. The hops appropriate and harmonious with the big hit of hops at the tail end of this treat. Clean copper color, Nice white head. Great Lakes really has a handle on every style I have tried from them. Thanks for remembering that we are on the Great Lakes, Great Lakes Brewing Company!

TastyTaste, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of nickfl
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

nickfl, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of Erish
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into an English pint glass.

A: orange-amber, rocky cream-beige 3 finger head that lasts and lasts.

S: earthy yeast funk, sweet malt, grass, undertone of citrus.

T: the funk is up front, along with sweet citrus, cracker-like dry malt, the middle releases grassy hops, some vinous notes, the finish is slightly astringent, also a little metallic, and the grassy hops linger on the tongue a good long while. There is a lot going on here, and it is all in good balance.

M: very oily (must be the hop oils), with good carbonation, palate-clearing.

D: this is a serious ale, and could be great with food, too.

Erish, Jul 17, 2010
Photo of djmichaelk
3.23/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a lowball glass (hey, it's all I had in the hotel room). Best by date area was blank -- looks like the bottler or printer missed it on this bottle.

A - Poured a slightly hazy amber-straw color, with a big, fluffy, two-finger head. Took several minutes to dry down to a thick cap, which left nice rings of lacing down the glass. Very pretty.

S - For a pale ale, it's okay. Very little in the way of hops, more maltiness than anything else. A bit of earthiness that doesn't necessarily benefit it.

T - More malt, with a fairly bitter backbone but missing the usual highlights from the hops. It has elements of toasted oats and cereal in the finish. Fairly dry, and as expected no detectable alcohol.

M - Fairly thick, coating the inside my my mouth and heavy on the tongue. Kind of creamy feel due to somewhat low carbonation. Sticky.

D - At 6%, it's not definitively sessionable, but seems light enough that I could go through a 6-pack if I liked the taste more.

O - It's not bad by any means, it just doesn't seem remarkable in any way to me for the most part. It's possible that I got an old bottle, since there was no date.

djmichaelk, Jul 15, 2010
Photo of NuggetNectar22
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At least Cleveland still has the Great Lakes Brewery... This is a great tasting beer that is extremely drinkable. You can enjoy a few of these.

It has a nice amber color with a 1/2 inch head. You will taste the hops in the after taste.

Cleveland Rocks!

Enjoy - T

NuggetNectar22, Jul 10, 2010
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,654 ratings.