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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

2,605 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,605
Reviews: 987
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 96
Gots: 183 | 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: 2,605 | Reviews: 987 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MbpBugeye


4.4/5  rDev +10.8%

A- A slightly hazed amber beer with a white, sticky head that quickly fades. There is some lacing left over.

S- Subdued. Mostly malty for me which is weird for this beer. There is a fruity, citrusy hop profile that is very nice.

T- Similar to the nose. Very biscuity malts balanced nicely with biting, citrusy hops. Neither one overpowers the other too much. In all this is a hoppy, bitter pale, but its not intrusive at all.

M- Medium body, perfect carbonation. Juicy finish. This is a very crisp and clean beer.

D- Clean, crisp, sharp, easy on the palate. This is one of my favorite beers by one of my favorite breweries. One of my go to beers for sure.

01-30-2010 06:37:55 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of mirish72


4.38/5  rDev +10.3%

Part of mixed twelve pack brought home from the midwest by a friend. Down to my last bottle of the Burning River, so I figured I had to review at this point.

Pours an orange amber with a nice head that sticks to the side of the glass. Has a nice hoppy aroma, but with a definite hint of maltiness.

Tastes of nice citrusy hops, but with a bit of the maltiness coming through. This is not technically an IPA, but it seems pretty close and has more of sharp bite than a lot of other pales ales.

Another great beer from Great Lakes, just wish they had East Coast distribution.

01-21-2010 03:55:54 | More by mirish72
Photo of BrewerB


4.35/5  rDev +9.6%

Thanks to twinsdaddy for the hookup on this brew!

A - Brilliant clarity, medium light orange color. Thin off-white head retains well.

S - Tropical fruity hops, touch of caramel, slightly toasty malt.

T - Solid malt backbone - toasty bread with some caramel in the background. Bitterness is moderate and in great balance with malt. Fruity/herbal hops.

M - Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. Smooth.

D - Tasty malt background pairs well with the fruity/herbal hops. Easy drinking with enough complexity to leave me wanting a refill.

01-17-2010 01:53:39 | More by BrewerB
Photo of fastsrt

New York

4.33/5  rDev +9.1%

12 ounce bottle in a great lakes pint glass.
A: Golden brown, decent head.
S: malts, floral hops, grapefruit, alcohol.
T: Sweet malts up front balanced perfectly by the floral hops.
M: light, and dry
D: clean crisp, light biscuity, snappy hops, big on the hops, i have had some ipa's that were less hoppy.
enjoyed with a spicy texas chili the paring was great. the hops cut through the spice in the chili like a hot knife through butter.

01-15-2010 15:18:00 | More by fastsrt
Photo of pokesbeerdude


4.15/5  rDev +4.5%

Huge thanks to kirok1999 for hooking me up with some of this. 12oz bottle.

A: Nice copper in color with a cream colored head, not quite a finger thick. Excellent clarity, nice sticky lacing. Decent head retention. Very nice looking beer.

S: Smells malty up front, pretty decent hop profile but it seems a little subdued, not bad at all though. Nice biscuity/bready profile. Nothing offensive here, nice smelling beer.

T: First and foremost, this is incredibly balanced. Nice malty profiles of caramel and a little roastyness in there as well, some notes of honey and sweetness, then a great kick of hop bitterness. While not overly bitter, its enough to know its there. Slightly citrus, has a nice citrus rind profile. Excellent.

M: Medium bodied, has a fair amount of thickness, medium carbonation, and dry. Excellent here as well.

D: Hmmm...new session beer? Luckily enough Mark gave me three of these, so I'll get to enjoy this again. Excellent pale ale and definitely something I'd be able to drink a fair amount of!

Thanks Mark!

01-15-2010 02:24:57 | More by pokesbeerdude
Photo of Sideswipe


3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

Got this in a trade from Intimidtor. Thanks! Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Smells hoppy as I pour it, this is a good sign. Looks great in the glass, coppery, orange in color. This is probably the clearest pale ale I have ever seen. Small, abundant bubbles make an inch of white head that dissipates leaving no noticeable lacing. Tastes of bittering hops, dry and spicy. Faint citrus, but mostly clean, dry bitterness. Feel is good, if a bit thin. Excellent carbonation gives way to a dry finish. This is a very drinkable Pale Ale. I find it very refreshing, and the 6% ABV means I could enjoy a bunch of them without ending up face down on the floor. If this was available in my area I would have it on a regular basis.

01-14-2010 23:28:57 | More by Sideswipe
Photo of JustinJTisdale

New York

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Very citrusy. Pours clean with a light head smells just as hoppy as it tastes. Slightly hazy in the glass. Not much in terms of lacing or sustained head.

Had this with a garlic pizza during an SU game and it paired nicely. Good game time beer!

Would drink again.

01-14-2010 01:38:39 | More by JustinJTisdale
Photo of drabmuh


3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

A beer named after an ecological disaster. I suppose that is one way to own your identity. Still a burning river is probably most people in MI would like to forget.

Beer served on draft at a local beer bar. Beer is clear with only a slight haze. Carbonation is low and lacing is high. Head is thin and broken, made up of a single layer of tiny white bubbles.

Tiny aroma of malt and citrus hops, smells fine.

Mild hop flavor and a slight bitterness at the back. High malt character and a slight aftertaste, nothing too bad. This is an OK APA, not great just OK.

01-13-2010 19:06:08 | More by drabmuh
Photo of association330


4/5  rDev +0.8%

12 oz. bottle, "Enjoy By: 02/07/2010"

A - Pours a nice clean amber with a half finger of off-white head. Recedes to a decent cap with solid lacing.

S - Sweet pale malt characteristics - fruity, light caramel, a bit biscuity. Moderate hop presence with a kiss of citrus, but the balance seems to lean towards the fruity esters in the malt.

T - Sweet, slightly fruity malt up front, which balances a long, semi-dry, bitter finish with citrusy hop notes. There is a touch of lingering fruitiness. This is not a hop bomb though - there is a nice balance between the malt backbone and the hops.

M - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth.

D - Nice and balanced APA here. Nothing mindblowing, just a good go-to option. Even at 6%, this isn't completely out of the question as a session brew.

01-13-2010 06:23:17 | More by association330
Photo of Whiteweasel


4.05/5  rDev +2%

Poured from a bottle into a seidel.

Appearance: Light and orangish-amber. Pours with a thick white persistant head that leaves little lacing. Frothy and thick foam, clear body, and steady carbonation rising to the top.

Smell: Rather hoppy and a little fruity. Hops remind me of those from Two Hearted Ale. Perhaps a tad sweet and malty

Taste: Burnt, roasted flavour contrasting with the bitterness of the hops. Must be why they named it Burning River...Only a slight malt character.

Mouthfeel: A little bitter and astringent but still mild and mostly smooth. Nice carbonation and leaves a clean feeling in your mouth. A tasty little bit of booziness but its mostly covered up by the hops

Drinkability: Supremely easy to drink, but just missed the perfect rating because of the burnt flavour, while interesting, doesnt quite lend itself to great drinkability

01-13-2010 05:55:32 | More by Whiteweasel
Photo of philbe311


3.55/5  rDev -10.6%

A - Big chunky, slightly fizzy, off white head... Terrific retention, especially when compared to its style mates... Loaded with chaotic medium carbonation which starts off slow at the bottom of the glass and reaches a quick pace before it reaches the top... A light slightly tarnished bronze color with a faint orange / light red hue... Fully translucent... This is a good looking APA...

S - Fresh baked biscuit... Lightly sweet caramel... Pale malts... Lemon zest... A bright citrus aroma... The malts are first, but the balance leans slightly towards the hoppy... Clean and simple...

T - Pale malts... Slightly soapy... A moderately strong pungent hop bitterness lingers...

M - Medium bodied... Sturdy... The entire mouth is filled with fizzy carbonation... Surprisingly dry...

D - Quite quaffable... Solid and enjoyable... I would gladly drink again... Not my favorite Great Lakes offering, but still a very good one...

01-12-2010 03:19:50 | More by philbe311
Photo of Mora2000


4/5  rDev +0.8%

Bottle provided by hudsonphotog.

Pours light orange with a white head. The aroma is very malty, possibly Vienna malt. You also get some piney hops. The flavor is piney hops with a strong caramel malt backbone. Not too complex but a good APA. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

01-11-2010 20:20:50 | More by Mora2000
Photo of MeisterBurger

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Pours a clear reddish amber with a thin, bright white head that leaves spots of lacing in its wake.

The aroma is grains, caramel and citrusy hops.

The taste is a biscuity caramel malt brushed off by a good wallop of bitterness. Slightly fruity apricot with a bit of lemon zest. Bitterness lingers in the aftertaste.

Nicely carbonated, medium bodied, very refreshing on the palate.

Overall a pretty straightforward, but really good, assertively bitter pale ale.

01-11-2010 03:04:24 | More by MeisterBurger
Photo of TheFightfan1


4.2/5  rDev +5.8%

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a lighter amber color with a very thick creamy looking eggshell colored heading.Lacing is in full force.

Smell is hoppy at first and a biscuity maltiness comes through somewhere in the middle. Fading back in is the hops to finish off slight citric.

Taste is biscuity sweet malt at first. An acidic type hop punches through and dresses the maltiness with simply a good taste.

Mouth is medium bodied. Amazing carbonation feel in the mouth. Does leave a very slight buttery hoppy feel in the mouth.

This is simply an excellent beer. Another score from Great Lakes easily drinkable and easily sessionable.

01-04-2010 00:43:21 | More by TheFightfan1
Photo of farrago

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%

Solid finger's worth of creamy white foam, a few islands of very large bubbles, average stickiness to the lacing, moderate retention. Clear amber brown with a swift lightening into orange hues, close to yellow at the outer rims, squeaky clean and transparent. Open and gregarious nose of mandarin orange, toffee, brownies and a counter-balance of rye, grains and witch hazel, suggestion of yellow apple, apricot, peach fruit, not crafted for complexity, rather for consistent harmony. Medium-bodied, solid and barrel-chested, moves with deliberation through the mouth. Fairly active carbonation, however, doesn't break up much of the density. Much hoppier here with grassy notes, grapefruit along with the orange zest, grainy even in texture. The cocoa, mocha powder back into the chorus, more regular "white bread" here than rye. The apricot, peach, apple fruit more pronounced. Touch more bitter at the end, but surely intended. Leaves you thirsty for more.

01-03-2010 01:07:27 | More by farrago
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4.05/5  rDev +2%

Finally got a bottle of this from Half Time. Looks like the rest of NY is finally getting Great Lakes.

A: Very clear light amber color. A quarter finger of white head. Some nice lacing

S: Right on nose for a pale ale. A nice mix of crisp smelling malt and hops with neither really dominating. Very well balanced nose.

T: Lots of vienna malt. The hops are there and are bright but never overwhelm the malt. This is one of the best pale ales that I have ever had. Wonderful balance.

M: Not too light not too heavy. Carbonation is even subtle.

D: This beer has balanced written all over it. I have seen in on tons of best of lists especially by cooks and foodies and now I know why. This beer can pair with anything. Hopefully NY will see more Great Lakes.

12-26-2009 23:31:17 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of PaulW


4.35/5  rDev +9.6%

I drink this all the time because its my favorite style and I'm favorably biased towards GLBC. The nice thing about GLBC Burning River is I can get it anywhere: from the gas station, from the grocery store, from the brewery. I'll try to put my bias on hold and compare to other APAs and IPAs I've enjoyed. I just purchased 6 from the local grocery store, we're a few weeks past the due date but I know it doesn't matter with this heavily hopped brew.

Look: I've probably tipped over 100 of these and they always pour the same: hazy gold with a few inches of foam on top. It settles into a whipped cream, you'll wait a few minutes until you can pour all 12 ozs into your pint glass. It will lace the glass like a good pale ale should.

Smell: Hops with some maltiness in the background. I think the hops are up front. Simply hopped yet strongly hopped.

Taste: Balanced is their trademark. This is not a challenging beer. Its a simple balance of hops and malt. You'll taste hints of grapefruit balanced with simple malt flavoring, perhaps a bit sweet.

Mouthfeel: I think its a working-mans's beer which means you have plenty of carbonation. It covers the palette with plenty of taste as described. The aftertaste is a tad bitter.

Drinkability: You can have more than one. Great after mowing the lawn. Its thirst quenching. This is beer. In my opinion, this should be GLBC's flagship instead of the Dortmunder. But then again, I'm biased towards this style.

Many beer drinkers do not enjoy the highly hopped IPAs and DIPA. This beer strikes a good balance between styles. This is something all should strive for.

12-26-2009 21:47:08 | More by PaulW
Photo of alleykatking


3.13/5  rDev -21.2%

Had on tap the other night. Review from phone notes.

A- Poured a nice clear deep copper/amber color. Nice one finger white head comes and falls down to just wisps in my glass. Some spotting lacing is on the sides of the glass the entire beer.

S- Pale malts bring out most of the aroma right off the bat. There is also a light bitter and citrus hops in the back end of the nose. Light hints of sweet caramel come and go with this beer.

T- Taste is a little off for me with the APA. The citrus and pale malts crash together right on the front end of this beer. It is balanced for the most part. Sweet caramel malts come in the middle leaving a nice pine like bitter hop bite in the ending. Also light alcohol is in the tail end of this beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Bitter hops and light malts stay on the palate long after the sip has been made. Alcohol and bitter hops stay in the aftertaste for a while as well. Kind of drying in the mouth.

D- This is a drinkable APA for sure. My only problem is I don't think it is as good as everyone makes it out to be. There are many other APA's that I would rather drink. I would recommend this though to someone who wants to try to step into the world of hops.

12-21-2009 03:08:10 | More by alleykatking
Photo of jampics2


4.38/5  rDev +10.3%

Perhaps one of the beers I have been fortunate enough to drink on the most number of occasions!

A bottle that Pauly was nice enough to leave in my fridge gets the nod for this rating. Super fresh, this one was several months out from the best-by date.

A beautiful pour fills my pint glass. A copper body with beautiful head. 2" of white foam settles down to a nice residual film.

Smell is very nice - nice hoppy aroma, citrusy and earthy, with some caramel malt reminiscent of baked bread.

Taste is only what my notes describe as "bomb diggity". A hop bitterness and caramel sweetness make sweet love, resulting in a toasty money shot. Perhaps the perfect APA IMO, but that's not surprising - Great Lakes has built an empire on this, Dort, and Fitz.

Mouthfeel is good. Carb keeps it fresh. Perfect body.

Close to perfect drinkability. More please :)

12-17-2009 15:57:02 | More by jampics2
Photo of Jayli


4.33/5  rDev +9.1%

Received this beer from CSmiley via Review This! BIF so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

A: This beer pours a beautifully clear deep golden/copper color with a 1/4 inch white head that recedes to a small film quickly. Nice wispy lacing is left on the glass.

S: Nose is of pale malts, touch of caramel and citrus hops.

T: Taste is very well crafted - not overly hopped and malts do not dominate. Taste starts with a nice citrus hop flavoring and quickly moves in to a balanced pale malt and finishes with nice sweet caramel malts.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, crisp and clean body.

D: Well balanced, very tasty and goes down easily. I really wish this brewery distributed this way as I could drink this one all night!

12-16-2009 01:03:20 | More by Jayli
Photo of thain709


4.15/5  rDev +4.5%

A - Poured a hazy, golden yellow body...the head stood about two fingers and was foamy and white...it settled into a one finger head for the entire beer...good lacing

S - A very intriguing aroma that I kept going back to sniff...the hops are very present...the give off a citrus profile...but there are more fruits present...the big ones are apples and grapes...a strong malt profile as well

T - The taste starts off sweet with a nice blend of caramel malts that are balanced out by the fruity hops...once again the apples and grapes are standing out as well as some grapefruit...there is a touch of grain in the middle...and the beer ends with a big bitterness that lingers

M - Medium bodied...lively carbonation, smooth, strong bitterness

D - This was a solid pale ale...I could not wrap my head around the apple taste...but it really added a little extra to the beer...this one is pretty sessionable

12-15-2009 22:37:52 | More by thain709
Photo of earthboundagain


4/5  rDev +0.8%

A - Freshness date on bottle is marked for December 16th and I bought these on December 1st , best get to drinking. Pours a nice dark amber color with a nice light-tan colored head that dissipates into some decent lacing.

S - Oh hops and citrus, how surprising ; )

T - Big hop waves mixed with some sweetness and malty undercurrents.

M - Very dry but has some good carbonation.

D - Not hard to drink for a hoppy beer, bitterness is not overpowering.

Thoughts: Another solid beer from the men and women at Great Lakes. They are a solid brewery with great pricing.

12-14-2009 00:46:00 | More by earthboundagain
Photo of OatmattStout


4.15/5  rDev +4.5%

very clear burnt yellow color

head is nice antique white with steady retention and a real nice veil of lacing

nose is excellent with toasty malt and dried fruits. then real nice grape and pine notes.

really nice mouth feel that renders deep malt complexities of sweetness. then the hops take their turn over the palate and deliver an oily pine bite that really makes the flavors pop.

This is a very nicely put together pale ale.

12-12-2009 22:58:15 | More by OatmattStout
Photo of Buckeyes67


4/5  rDev +0.8%

I love to drink this beer simply for the taste of it. It has a great appearance, smell, mouthfeel, and is very is to drink but it all comes down to the taste. I haven't tried a beer from here that wasn't of good quality. I have had a beer or two that wasn't suited to my taste but that was a style differenc not a production flaw.

12-11-2009 15:46:35 | More by Buckeyes67
Photo of cavedave

New York

4.2/5  rDev +5.8%

Pours a reddish amber topped by thin whisps of off-white foam which settle to sparse islands and a thin ring.

It is a light-medium strength bouquet of mild grain, floral hop, and a sweet fruitiness reminiscent of raspberry that gives it a wonderful aroma. Could be one of those surprises, a bold taste not predicted by a subtle nose.

Ah, I love a taste that is so well blended of such balanced flavors it becomes something that stands apart. This is a refreshing blend of subtle malt tones that sit back to balance a mild yet clean and potent hop profile. The finish is a sneak attack of citrus bitter, then piney, then herbal bitter, done in an underwhelming way that allows complexity to what is a refreshing session beer of highest order. Will need to do a side by side with Dales, SN, others, with friends.

Nice low carb., light resinous mouthfeel, promotes a good finish. As it warmed it got the slightest bit of a metallic feel. This did not detract from enjoyment.

Drinkability for this is very good, another fantastic brew from Great Lakes. So glad we get this here now.

Impression: Good brew, will get this again.

12-06-2009 22:08:52 | More by cavedave
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,605 ratings.