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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,839 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,839
Reviews: 1,003
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 108
Gots: 298 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-06-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,839 | Reviews: 1,003 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tjacobs610
3.38/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

Photo of tastybeer
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of ferrari29
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
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

Photo of Eldalonde
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of elginirishpunk
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of orourkebr
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of Fluke828
3.51/5  rDev -11.1%
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!

Photo of corby112
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Photo of sendsilk
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
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...

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out a beautiful clear dark gold color. It was nicely carbonated with a big, fluffy head that clung well to the sides of my glass. The nose has a faint floral smell of citrus and grain.

Slight maltiness up front which quickly gives way to a nice little rush of hop bitterness. I do detect a bit of graininess, but the hops contribute more than enough dryness to keep it in check. Nice crisp, dry finish that left me tasting lemon and spices.

A good APA. I enjoyed it, but probably wouldn't buy it again (unless it was on sale). I tend to lean towards APAs with a bit more maltiness. When I want hops, I'll get an IPA.

Photo of GallowsThief
3.41/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade from either ChugginOil or RC0032 but I forgot to write it down! Regardless thanks to 2 great traders! Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A – Translucent golden pour with a massive 4 fingers of foamy white head. Sticky lacing all down the glass.

S – Faint smell but I do get some grain and corn. Citrus as well.

T – Sweet malts and citrusy hops. Starts almost with an earthy taste and has a nice bitter bite to it. Small amount of caramel sweetness. Finishes with a piney aftertaste.

M – Medium bodied. Very good carbonation. Bit drying at the end.

O – Good solid APA. Very drinkable. Nothing to make it stand above other APA’s but this makes a great cold brew on a hot summer day.

Photo of aepb1
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Golden-hued body with a creamy white head

S- Citrus and piney hops

T- Citrus hops up front and gives way to a caramel malty body, a little bitter hoppy finish. Quite a balance between the malt and hop tastes

M- Light/medium body, upper end on carbonation

O- Great pale ale, mildly bitter and a nice malt balance.

Photo of TheDantMan
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear amber body with a two-finger, off-white head that retains well. A small lace ring at the top with a few dribbles of lace down the sides of the pint glass.

S: Mild with a citrisy-sweet feel.

T: More sweet than I like but certainly not too sweet. Bitterness is very mild.

M: Light-medium bodied. I like IPA's so this is lacking to me but with good flavor.

O: Good, not great

Serving type: bottle poured into a pint glass

Photo of augustgarage
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Courtesy of northyorksammy. Best before 3/23/11 (oops). Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Orange peel body with a finger of ivory forming an even sudsy head. Dense pasty lacing. Good retention.

Sweet, fruity, floral aromatics suggest nectarines, caramel, cotton candy, with a touch of soap.

Clean bitter taste up front with a touch of citrus, giving way to a pleasing crackery malt profile. Gentle flavors with a dry woodsy finish.

Medium-light bodied, creamy and soft.

Overall, a solid pleasing example of the style - hop forward (probably more so when it's fresh?) with a zesty malty back.

Photo of epicness
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Beer pours a deep copper/amber color with a one finger head with very good rentention. Very sticky lacing is present on the glass.

S: Floral and citrus pretty much dominate the scent. The lemon/grapefruit scent is pretty dominant. Past the floral and citrus notes there is a little bit of malt sweetness to be discovered.

T: Sweet malts up front, which quickly give away to a bitterness of grapefruit and zesty lemon. The bitterness is very mild although lingers for a little while after each sip.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. It's not as dry of a finish as I was expecting, but I won't complain about it.

O: It's a very good offering from what is considered a very good brewery. Is it the best pale ale that I have ever had? Of course not.. but it's not bad by any stretch. It's a very well balanced beer that I wouldn't reject if it were offered to me.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap. So far, I'm loving Columbus...

A: Pours a clear orange-amber body with a pinky finger of off-white head that retains well. A few dribbles of lace down the sides of the pint glass.

S: Lemon zest, grapefruit flesh, bread, and a mild, indeterminate sweetness on the nose.

T: Hops come through as lemon zest and grapefruit, as picked up in the nose. But the taste is grassier than the smell would lead me to believe. I still can't nail down what the malt character is; it's not exactly caramel, but it's not just biscuit and bread. Regardless, the sweetness it imparts firms up the flavor nicely. Bitterness is very mild.

M: Light-medium bodied. It's not as dry as I like, but the flavor makes up for it.

O: I like the tap iteration better than the bottle. I wish I could get this on draft out in CA...

Photo of LacquerHead
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an orange color with a red hue.

Nice hope aroma. It wasn't bursting w/ hopes.

The taste was similar to a Sierra Nevada. However, the flavor was a little more distinct and pronounced. This had a nice smoothness. Basically, it was just an all around good pale ale. For the money it can't be beat. Full of flavor, but not overwhelming...an all purpose pale ale.

Photo of BigDRS
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Beer pours a deep copper color with a little over a finger of head. Head eggshell in color. It has excellent retention and leaves a good amount of lace on my glass.

S - Nose has a strong grassy quality right off the bat. I get a slight amount of sweetness and a bit of citrus hops, but not much else.

T - Taste starts out grassy and gets fairly bitter. Mid-way through the sweetness comes through, then finishes bitter again. Bitter taste lingers for a while after each sip.

M - Mouthfeel is mid bodied with a good level of carbonation. Really matches perfectly to the rest of the beer.

O - This is a very well balanced beer. Probably my favorite pale ale, and an easy go to beer as it's local. I've yet to have a GLBC beer that I don't enjoy.

Photo of beergod1
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this a million times, yet I had not rated it yet....hmmmm. I just had the 11 beer sampler at GLB, so I can get caught up on some of these. Nice ruby-golden color with a white head. Very hoppy aroma, some light grass and fruits from the malt as well. Medium body, almost an IPA, But since I drank the Commodore Perry....I clearly see(taste) the Difference. Better on tap. Good Stuff.

Photo of gabedivision
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a SA perfect pint glass

Pours a nice dark copper with a a tight 1 finger head that smears and laces around the glass. Big sweet hops hit the nose, very fruity mix of cherries and berries with a bold malt and bitter hops. So good on the tongue, the malts give almost a woody, and chocoatly taste blended well with distinct hop presence but not overwhelming, bready and sweet. Light to medium on the feel, low carbonation. Overall, this is awesome, its a little bigger than your average APA, with a little more breadiness and a solid hop balance.

Photo of ThirstyBird
3.71/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep yellow orange with a big pale tan head that falls to a thigh blanket. Great lacing. Smells of citrus hops and sweet malt. The taste is not overly complex like the nose. It's mild citrus hops with a sweet malt backbone. Nice lingering fruit with slightly dry aftertaste. Sweetness makes it's appearance after half a glass. Really pretty refreshing on a whole. Body is light/medium with average carbonation level. Overall a nice brew a little on the sweet side if you're drinking several.

Photo of spitInTheOcean
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hops and hops.

pours a beautiful gold with a touch of amber and a nice just-off-white head.

the smell is all hops, but in a good way, nothing crazy avant-garde here. just cascade and northern brewer hanging out, doing their thing.

nice rich hop flavor that just turn more and more bitter as the fish lingers. and yea now that it has been mentioned, a subtle biscuit flavor is briefly apparent. it finishes pretty dry. is the hop bitternes balanced with the sweet malts? my gut tells me 'no.' 45 IBUs is high for this style, perhaps if the gravity had finished higher...?

what is most impressive to me is that they managed to mask a 6%abv so damn well. one could easily approach this as a session beer only to realize five beers late they can barely get off the couch

Photo of DrewV
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (drink by 6/23/11) out of the beer fridge at 45 degrees into a SA Perfect Pint glass.

A: A conservative pour produces a 2-finger frothy cream head that sticks around a while. Color is brilliant golden amber. Lacing is spotty, but produces some dense patches.

S: A somewhat restrained malty sweetness and a mix of noble/floral//cascade hops hit the nose first with the grapefruity cascades standing out a bit more.

T: Sweet malt up front, transitioning quickly into a full grapefruit bitterness. A fairly standard APA, but shows some depth with the malts leading the way.

M: Moderate carbonation and a trailing bitterness produces a fairly dry finish.

O: A good offering from my favorite brewery, but alas, not quite my favorite from their lineup. Fairly pedestrian, but well balanced and highly drinkable. Recommended, but I'd prefer a more complex brew like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Photo of argock
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a 10oz wine goblet. Bottled on 5/2/11 on side of label. Purchased as 6-pack at Binny's (Chicago, IL) for $9.49.

A: Reasonably clear orange-amber with 1-finger off-white head with good retention and a thick ring of lace down the glass.

S: The aroma is light and floral with a hint of citrus but has more in line with an English pale ale as the maltiness is fairly robust with cracker and biscuit aromas.

T: The flavor is pleasant but a bit of a let-down. The crackery malts at least keep up with if not surpass the floral, citrus, and slightly herbal hoppiness. A nicely balanced beer to be sure, but it lack depth of others like Alpha King and nice ambers like Speakeasy Prohibition Ale and Bell's Amber.

M: The mouthfeel is light and crisp without feeling watery. Carbonation is mid-range and the finish is pretty dry for the style.

O: A good beer all-around but not in the great category for the style. Needs more malt depth or hops uniqueness to really bump up to the next tier.

Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.

Appearance: Deep golden amber with a big bubbly white head with decent retention. Good lacing.

Smell: Toasted caramel malts with citrus hops and orange peel. Hints of grapefruit and spices.

Taste: Caramel malt sweetness followed by Citrus and piney hop bitterness. Hints of grapefruit in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Very smooth.

Overall: A very good American Pale Ale.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,839 ratings.