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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

2,715 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,715
Reviews: 992
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 104
Gots: 218 | 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: 2,715 | Reviews: 992 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of otersen73
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a crystal clear copper color into a Sam Adams Boston Lager glass. Small, creamy white head that receded instantly. Nice Belgian lace cascading down the side.

Great aromatics...woodsy and nutty.

Beautiful balance between malt and hops here. Not sure I would classify this as a Pale Ale...more of an IPA. Sweet carmel malt up front and then the hops kick in leaving you with a with a subtle dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is great too. Well carbonated, not chewy or over malty...just right.

Would have another...as a matter of fact, excuse me while I indulge.;)

otersen73, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a nice deep amber color from a 12 oz bottle with ABV and "best-by" date on the label. Two finger head which dissipates slowly. Aroma is a blend of hops, pine, citrus with a hint of sweetness. Taste upfront is malty with a nice hoppy finish. Solid carbonation with very nice lacing. Mouthfeel is good and drinkability is very high. This is definitely a beer for any occasion. Another solid beer from Great Lakes, highly recommended.

CaptDavyJones, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of Keffa
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Best by date of 12/14/10. Cutting it close.

Poured into my Unibroue tulip from a 12oz bottle.

A: Bright amberish orange, thick off white head that settles into a 1/4" cap. Lacing everywhere, and it won't let go. Great looking beer.

S: Sweet caramel, toast, and a citrusey hop. Not nearly as hoppy as the last bottle I had. Still not bad.

T: Slightly bitter citrus hop, toast, caramel, and flowers.

M: Slick and decent carbonation. Not bad.

D: Easy to drink, finishes without being overly sweet or bitter.

This is a very good beer for the style. Fresher, it is usually a little hoppier than this, but even in this bottle it is still good. Got 2 more bottles of it to go. Should be a good night.

Keffa, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of Kendo
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got it on tap at the Blue Tusk in Syracuse, NY.

A: Clear honey-amber body with 1+ finger of an off-white, foamy head. Good thick foamy lace sticks to the side of the glass most of the way down.

S: Not terribly strong in the nose, but what's there is pleasant: mild caramel malt with a touch of citrusy and floral hops.

T: First impression: "hop-forward." Solid malt base that I couldn't put my finger on - caramel or maybe crystal, perhaps? Somewhat biscuity malt foundation underneath, then citric (think grapefruit) hops kick in. Finishes lemony and dry, with a clean, dry lingering bitterness on the palate.

M: Medium in heft with a moderate level of fine-bubbled carbonation.

D: This one went down very easily. Once again, I'm impressed with Great Lakes. They just seem to make very nicely flavored, easy-drinking beers. Put this one up there with SNPA and Anchor's Liberty Ale as showcases of the style.

Kendo, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of smakawhat
4.53/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From which this pint glass holds from yonder bottle of goodness comes the appearance of a clear amber/orange color nectar. Antique offwhite head with decent lacing and some solid ice cream cone retention.

Smell is a dominant flavor of toasted grain. Toasted rye or whole wheat bread. Literally this beer smells like toast from the toaster, I want to BUTTER it it smells so good.

That grainy toasty taste comes through in a not overbearing way, with excellent body. It feels as it coats your palate everywhere as the toast aromas finish, and then this mellow aromatic hop flavor comes out that isn't bitter at all. The afterfinish goes on pleasantly for what feels like forever, superior clean finish, and I don't know how but their is a whisp... a hint... of cocoa on the aftertaste, how they did this just blows my mind. This is one of the best mouthfeel/finishing beers I've ever had.

Drinkability is just flat out high.

smakawhat, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of rfgetz
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dulled gold color with moderate cap of white head, minimal lacing. Scent is a balanced mix of bready, lightly roasted malts and grassy and citrus (grapefruit) hops. Taste brings the same balance, but quite bitter notes coming from the grain and hops, somewhat earthy and grassy. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, lingers on tongue. A good pale ale, definitely more balanced than many west coast style APAs that are more common.

rfgetz, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of aficionado224
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer tastes so good it's hard to put down. Full of smoky maltiness, and balanced by exactly the right amount of hoppy bitterness. It's an award-winning brew, and it certainly deserves them. Pale Ales of all types are my favorite styles, and this is one of the best examples of the style I've ever tasted, and flavor is the name of the game.

aficionado224, Nov 30, 2010
Photo of stimulus
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours an unfiltered orange with a thin white head that won't disappear.
S: Bready with a light hop finish.
T: A lot of bread and a little bit of hop flavor with fair bit of sweetness on the finish.
M: Light bodied with medium carbonation and a crisp finish.
D: Light and easy to drink. Sessionable for sure. I have definitely sessioned this in the past without any issues.

stimulus, Nov 24, 2010
Photo of TheHopMonster
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very clear Amber red with a fingers worth of head that stuck around for a fairly long time. Grass and floral aromas are intense and inviting. Decent bitterness upfront with hop and malt fighting for dominance. Excellent use of Cascade hops, with a bright bitterness in the beginning and a toasty malty aftertaste.

A very enjoyable beer with delicious malt and hop characteristics. By far one of my favorite brews from Great Lakes. Wouldnt mind having another.

TheHopMonster, Nov 21, 2010
Photo of zoso1967
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice candied orange/amber color with a smallish head that is beige in color. Retention and lacing are both very good. On further inspection this beer seems to be just slightly hazy, but overall is quite clear.

The aroma on this beer is very inviting with plenty of ruby red grapefruit and zesty orange aromas. It also carries a nice sort of toasty edge to it and a very clean malt sweetness that makes the grapefruit aromas that much more mouthwatering.

Clean is not usually a word associated with pale ales, but that is how this one tastes to me. Superbly balanced with a wonderful mix of malt, hops, sweetness and bitterness. It starts out understated and a bit sweet with some nice citrus hop flavors, then transitions to a bit dryer finish that is really evident on the back of the tongue. The malt seems very transparent to me in the flavor, with just a bit of caramel sweetness. This is not the brash and hoppy American pales that I have grown accustomed to.

The carbonation on this is perfect for the medium/light body and clean balanced mouthfeel. This beer finishes with just enough bitterness to beg for that next sip.

Burning River is super drinkable and well made. I just keep coming back to the world "clean." This is sort of like a pale ale that was brewed to be like a easy drinking German lager. This is a quality beer and a great one to enjoy if you want the conversation of your company to speak louder than the flavors in your pale ale.

zoso1967, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of spinrsx
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours an amber colour with a large off white soapy head. There is an low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fantastic lacing draping down the sides of the glass. The head on the beer lasted for over 5 minutes before it dissipated.

Smell - hops, fruit/apples, caramel

Taste & Mouth - The is an average amount of carbonation and the beer has an amazing mouth feel. A nice balanced flavour and the beer feel very creamy and velvety. The most noticeable flavours are hops mixed with a fruity sweetness. There is also a light woodiness and mild caramel. The beer finishes with a pleasing fruit and hop aftertaste.

Drink - Just a fantastic pale ale, I'd rank this one up there with Sierra Nevada. It is extremely sessionable and it is a must try for pale ale fans.

spinrsx, Nov 18, 2010
Photo of camp0474
3.4/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Light orange amber color with a frothy white head. Some lacing.

S: Herbal earthy hops with semi sweet bready malt.

T: Earthy grassy hops up front. Leaves a lingering bite on the tongue. Faint malt in the background. I personally prefer a more malt balanced IPA, mostly grassy hops with this one.

M: Lighter medium body with good carbonation.

D: Pretty easy to drink but a little bitter in the finish.

camp0474, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of JRed
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pale orange topped by large white bubbly head. Smells of citrus notes, slight floral, and lemon zest. Tastes citrus notes, floral, lemon zest, some rind but mostly fruit sweetness without the bitter, hops but not too bitter, dry finish. Light in body with medium carbonation. A good representation of the APA. Light, citrus, dry.

JRed, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of callmeclemens
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on Tap at Twelve Steps Down in philly.

Pours a nive Golden color, smells of bready citrusy malts, hops, and a another strong hit of hops.

Tastes is imeadiatley thick of hop with a touch of bready malt and a nice citrus finish. Laced ncley down the glass as I went along

callmeclemens, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

Thorpe429, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of beer2day
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear orange-gold pour with 1-finger fluffy head. Active carbonation. Good retention and laces fairly well.

Nose is yeast with roast malt undertones. Slightly herbal. Good, but not great.

Lots of malt in the flavor. Surprisingly thick bodied. Faint, faint hint of hops in the finish. Sweet, too. Starts out fairly creamy and grows very rich. Substantial roast barley in the middle. Beer definitely getting better as it warms, with more herbal hops coming out in the finish. Pretty nice.

beer2day, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of FreshmanPour77
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 10-29-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Poured one finger of foam, good lacing ring. Orange/copper in color and cloudy

S - Orange peel and caramel hit the nose, hops backing this up, couldn't pick up much on the malt

T/M - Medium bodied, well balanced, not over powering to say the least. Pretty smooth brew at finish

D - Pretty drinkable brew, for some reason I wasn't sure if I would like this one. It turned out I did. Got this one in the Great Lakes sampler. I recommend trying it!

FreshmanPour77, Nov 05, 2010
Photo of micromaniac129
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden hue with orange highlights. A big solid foam cap with good retainability. Well carbo'd.
A nice citrus hop aroma with malty undertones.
Aroma is nice and pleasent but unassertive.
Some bready maltiness with a citrusy hop taste.
Hints of fruitiness.
Medium body that has a clean fresh taste and is nicely balanced.

micromaniac129, Nov 02, 2010
Photo of wmtxbb
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Clear amber color with lacing and some carbonation that finds its way up to the top.

Smell: Almost like salted peanuts and malt.

Taste: Well hot damn this is a tasty beer. Slight sweetness from the malt followed by a salty flavor and a spiciness from the hops. A little bitter at the end. Great balance of hops and malt.

Drinkability: I'm not sure I would want more than two or three of these in a night of heavy drinking but one hits the spot. Very interesting for a APA.

wmtxbb, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of lstokes
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is not your average pale ale. It's orange with decent lacing, but the nose has a surprising smoky/earthy note along with the apricot hops, and the taste picks up on that--oaky toasted malt, bright apricot and peach taste, a hoppy but sweet end, a very creamy mouthfeel all add up to one drinkable beer. I loved it.

lstokes, Oct 28, 2010
Photo of BillyBob78
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale Ales are one of my many favorite styles of beer and this one doesn't disappoint. Great Lakes is one of my favorite brewery's.

A nice clear golden brown appearance with a nice white head and decent lacing.

Taste was awesome! A great balance between the hops and malt which just makes this a wonderful beer. Nice carbonation.

Smells citrusy and bready. Hint of alcohol.

Very Drinkable. One of my favorite pale ales!

BillyBob78, Oct 27, 2010
Photo of rembrant
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Oops...I set the river on fire,hope nobody notices...

I know this beer and brewery by now but I had yet to review.

LOOKS Frothy off white one finger head caps a clear amber body
AROMA Caramel,earthy yeast,bready,a bit if citrus and some dark fruit.

TASTE The exceptional harmony up front is special. Wheat toast with grapefruit jam,and threads of caramel and toffee. I get a little oakish taste and something closer to redwood and spruce than pine I've been trying so many hopped up,hyped up IPA's lately I'm surprised this "mainline pale" outshines many of them.
Besides "Drinks Good", it stands up to critical inspection.

Not a surprise,really,as Great Lakes has a knack for the details that can really define a medium light bodied beer type.

MOUTH Right on. Good Balance. Solid finish>

DRINKABILITY Certainly. I'm not inclined to "pound" 3 beers in an hour but if sent on such a mission,this would be a good weapon to trust.

I'm a little sad this bottle is no more

(sheds a bitter tear)

rembrant, Oct 27, 2010
Photo of lovindahops
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a golden amber with a nice frothy head of foam. Good lacing on the side as well

S- floral hops and pine blend with some malt flavor

T- fantastic bitter taste is developed amoung the some sweet malt and pine. The hops are complete throughout. I like it

M- carbonated and full of flavor

D- what a bitter brew! A bouquet of hops and delicious malt. Great brew from great lakes

lovindahops, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of EricHeff
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours an golden to amber color that is completely clear with a little bit of white head on top. The smell is not over powering but give hints of citrus and some piney-ness. From the first sip those citrus and pine flavors kick right in. The carbonation adds a good amount of fix to it and makes this beer extremely drinkable. Great Lakes Brewing Co. makes some amazing beers and this one is tied with Eddie Fitz for my favorite right now.

EricHeff, Oct 13, 2010
Photo of Ralphus
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first Great Lakes of Cleveland beer and I'm happy with it. The best before date is a little close at 12/13/10 however.

It's crystal clear. Strikingly clear even. The color is an attractive golden brown with a white head. Some lacing is left behind as the head drops to a carbonated ring around the glass.

The smell has either faded or was understated to begin with. Bread, light floral spice, caramel and pine are all that remain.

The taste is considerably larger thankfully. Sweet caramel malts and fruit are bombarded with a long drawn out earthy bitter finish. The balance is a little skewed towards the bitter end for my tastes but some will really enjoy it I'm sure.

Mouthfeel is very crisp thanks to tight carbonation. This beer would easily cut through thick cream sauces or gravy. Drinkability is good.

Ralphus, Oct 11, 2010
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,715 ratings.