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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: 98
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 jmdrpi
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool label with a best before date marked as 3/21/10, so I'm drinking a couple of weeks late. My own fault though, as I bought the variety case right before this date. Had all 4 different beers back then, but didn't get a chance to review until these last few bottles.

A - slightly hazy amber orange color. a vigorus pour into a pint glass produces a nice inch thick white head. nice lacing, and a thin head remains thoroughout consumption

S - citrus, hops, sugar

T - as expected, hops up front. spicy finish

M - tingle of carbonation in the back of mouth. lighter body, clean taste

D- still drinking good, even if past the date

jmdrpi, Apr 08, 2010
Photo of curasowa
3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber color with one finger of head that fades slowly with nice lacing. Smells nicely of citrus and flowery hops and a faint background metallic note. Nice body up front with lots of sharp bitterness. The body thins out towards the end and the bitterness becomes more pronounced with a mild metallic taste. The finish is slightly harsh and lingering. Drinkability is good despite the slightly unbalanced hop profile. This beer has a west-coast style vibe going on to me, but I have to say that I like it.

curasowa, Apr 06, 2010
Photo of hosehead83
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass
Bright copper in color, with a decent two-inch head of foam
Aroma-Pleasant, citrussy hops
Taste-Citrus notes,bitter hops and a biscuity, malt backbone that provides a nice balance. Hoppy edge with a fruity, biscuit quality that makes for a tasty refreshing pale ale. Very nice and full of character.

hosehead83, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of SykDoc
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a clear orange color. A 1/8 inch grayish white head forms and quickly reduces to minimal lacing.

The aroma is a blend of citrus/pine hops and some additional floral components. Some sweet caramel malts in the background.

The taste is decent too with the expected culprits of pine/citrus hops although more of the earthy notes. Again the caramel malt sweetness pops up in the middle.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice level of carbonation. It has a leather-like texture that makes it smooth with a clean finish.

Overall, this is a decent beer that is easy to drink but does not stand out as some of the other IPAs.

SykDoc, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of Ryan011235
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter on 3/15/10

Best before 5/2/10

Moderately deep amber-hued, Burning River is essentially brightly colored with but a slight hazy sheen - hardly cloudy, though. The color is rather consistent; not much in the way of highlights. The pour left about 1 ½ fingers of foam which, after several minutes, dissipates to a thin patch of bubbles across the top; such is retention. Lacing is decent at the start & holds up pretty well throughout.

The nose is very good, if just a bit unassuming. Lots of subtle nuances create an aroma that is densely fortified. Hops are featured without being brash, offering plenty of floral & citrus notes - grapefruit, lemon zest, orange peel & ripe tangerine. The hops intertwine with earthy aromas of lemongrass & fresh-cut hay; indeed, it conjures the image of a fresh-aired prairie. Seated in the back is just a touch of sweetness; more so than biscuit, I'd say it's a hint of sugar cookie.

Burning River tastes good, too; it follows the nuances of the aroma (though proportioned differently), as well as the aroma's even-handed approach. This is certainly not a beer geared toward the bold or extreme, which is by no means a fault. It tastes far more floral than it smells, with mild citrus undertones weaving their way throughout. A restrained bitterness picks up in the middle & carries on to the finish. It retains much of the earthy & grassy notes with a modest spiciness most apparent before the beer starts to warm. The malts are a tad more appreciable to taste with a bit of sweetness & a pervasive toastiness.

Just on the lighter side of medium bodied with reasonably low carbonation. Said carbonation offers just enough prickliness to support the flavors & let them shine. As mentioned earlier, there is some bitterness that makes its way to the finish & lingers for a few moments.

Very good drinkability. I've long been a fan of Burning River. One bad thing about being comfortably within the Great lakes distribution area is that I often take their beers for granted & pass them up in favor of something shinier, so to speak. In any case, this is very good beer. Recommended.

Ryan011235, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of TonyReaves
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a perfect head- two fingers' worth rising right to the top of my shaker pint. Love when that happens.

Smells piney with a hint of sweet crystal malt.

Taste is hoppy straight through. There's a fruitiness at the front from both the malt and the hops. As it goes down, there are great buttery/toasty flavors. Ends with a satisfying hop bite. Haven't had a bad beer yet from this brewery.

Carbonation is a little low, which I like here. Dry finish makes each sip as good as the last- I wish I had more than one bottle left.

TonyReaves, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of jpro
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just became available in NC, so picked up a couple of sixers when I was up there last weekend (still no Great Lakes in South Kacky). Cracked one during the first night of the NCAA tournament...

Pours a mix of light amber / straw gold, with a minimal egg shell head; lots of good lacing, though - the bottom third of my glass is one nice, snowy sheet! Aroma is dominated by caramel malt sweetness; there are hints of pine and citrus with a little earthiness, too. The hops become more apparent in the taste - nice citrus / tropical fruit with a touch of woodsy bitterness; bready and sweet malts are there. Mouthfeel is light to medium-bodied and carbonation is fairly high, but not overly zingy. A very drinkable brew - I think this may become one of my go-to pale ales (too bad I have to drive about 3 hours to get some) - great stuff!

jpro, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of drumrboy22
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into an Avery chalice. Beer was a clear orange color, with a one-finger, white head. Lively carbonation and moderate lacing.

Aroma was piney hops, fresh grains, biscuit and light citrus.

Taste was moderate hops, honey and bread. Clean and crisp.

Nice session beer. Tasty and easy drinking.

drumrboy22, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.23/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 6.0% ABV, Serve at 45 degrees F, Best before 02/23/10.

A - The brilliantly clear honey-golden beer is topped by a massive, slightly off-white head. Great retention and thick, clumpy lace all over the three-finger space.

S - The cascade hops really come out with a bright floral bouquet that's green and luscious. A pine hint cant be found as well as a slight grassy-mulch nose and a light fruitiness. Pilsner and caramel malts comprise a fairly beefy backbone.

T - Unfortunately as I suspected, the hops come forwards a bit more in the grassy, mulch-like category to strain my palate. The strong pilsner-like caramel malt backbone is there but fleeting as the finish ends bitter, a touch citrusy, and a bit mulchy.

M - The smooth, soft entry is replaced by a really dry and slow-burning bitter, grassy hop finish with a long finish.

D - I've had this before and can't say the age has been bad to it but I will say I'd love to give a fresh bottle a review. Not one of my favorite pale ales. Not a favorite Great Lakes for that matter.

BeerFMAndy, Mar 13, 2010
Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got another Great Lakes to try thanks this time to thebouch01.

A: Poured into my SA Perfect Pint glass with a nice 1.5 finger rising thick fluffy head that fades slowly and leaves a little lacing. Its a brilliantly clear amber orange color with many bubbles rising from the etch at the bottom of the glass.

N: Nose of a light pale ale. Some light malts, a little toasty malt aroma, some fruity hops a little bit of pale hops, and slight yeastiness. Very light straw grassy hop aroma as well.

T: Starts with a crisp light ale flavor, with some light malts and a little toasty flavor. A slight creaminess too. This is accompanied by some nice pale hops. A slight spicy hop, a little earthy hop, and some grassy hops. A slight yeasty flavor to go with all that too, towards the end. A nice almost British real ale bitterness to it, but American spicy hops.

M: A decent body, a little lighter than medium, and good carbonation.

F: Semi bitter, it gets a little more bitter on the finish. Also pretty dry. The lingering grassy and earthy hop flavors seem to really come out at the end when the other flavors are gone. More of that bitter English real ale character, but lighter on the ale and spicier on the hop. A nice light pale ale overall, drinkable, has a nice hop character. A solid APA. I could see drinking quite a few of these if I could get them around here. If I could complain about anything, it would be the slight yeasty aroma and flavor.

jlindros, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of steve8robin
2.6/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

GL Extra in a trade:

A: Medium copper color with a small white head that quickly fades.

S: Smells hoppy and grassy. Slight malts on the backend. Not too good.

T: Grassy upfront with a medium hop presence. Grapefruit in the middle. Not one for me.

M: Refreshing, but does not leave much on the palate.

D: A hint too hoppy for me.

All in all, this is a hoppy / grapefruit bitterness type brew. Not for me. If you like hops and dry flavor, then try this one. Otherwise, not worth your time.

steve8robin, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of Bung
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Dark gold pour with a nice cap of white bubbles.
Aroma is mostly piney hops with some floral accent.
Taste. Very resiny. Piney hops abound that mellow into more citrus throug the finish. A solid level of hop bitterness throughout.
Easy to drink with the bitterness kept under control, but enough to be very refreshing. Body is stickier than it would lead on.
A great example of the style, another solid Great Lakes Brew.

Bung, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of Scrapss
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful pale ale. Nice color, hoppy but not overboard, and a nice finish.

Appearance is a nice medium copper/golden hue, with adequate head.

Smell is a stongly hops and floral/citrus, I know there's hops in it at 10 paces!

Taste is fatastic, strong hops and a pleasantly balanced bitter notes, but not over the top: citrus and strong hops dominate on swallow and very little sweet malt flavors present. Good summer evening beer I'll bet.

Mouthfeel is what I'd expect from this, kinda dry and not very lingering.

Drinkability is fantastic, not so hoppy you want to stop but enough flavor and aftertaste to make drinking an enticing and interesting brew.

Scrapss, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of magine
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a mug.

Pours a clear light copper color with an off white head, has a big head with nice lace and decent head retention. Good looking brew.

Brew smells of citrus/floral hops, fruits, yeasts, malts.

This brew tastes balanced; not overly hopped - not in a bad way (not light by any means). Sweet citrus, nice hops and fruits. Nice crisp taste and dry finish.

This is a very drinkable brew; may not be a hopped up brew for hop heads, but there is enough there to keep a hop head happy. This brew is very sessionable, and is more approachable for some non hop heads. A good party brew - or any time for that matter. Very good.

magine, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an effervescent copper that produces a beautiful full finger or two of creamy and thick head that perches atop my beer for the entire length of my consumption. The lacing that it leaves can hardly be called lacing, as it is more a solid wall of foam that is simply more concentrated where the beer sat between sips.

S/T: I find more and more that pale ales try to be IPAs, and as a result, they over-hop on the aroma and in the taste. Not so here. A good amount of citrus and grapefruit hops are nicely balanced by a bready and caramel malt backbone. The taste follows suit, bringing a very nice balance to this beer. There is just enough bitterness to snap you back to the reality that this really is a pale ale despite the balance. There is also a nice twinge of orange in there. I really enjoyed this.

M/D: Gotta be the creamiest pale ale that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The carbonation seems to blend right into the body of this brew, making for a great drinking experience.

The thing I like most about Burning River is the fact that it knows what it is. It excels at it, and doesn't try to be anything else. This is one helluva pale ale, and I might make this a go-to.

NittanyBeerFan, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of chillwinston
4.55/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle this pours with little head but a fragrant aroma. Light amber color. Hops, citrus and pine (maybe from the Cascadian hops) are the dominate flavors, in that order. It also doesn't seem to impart the dry mouth feel that many pale ales do. Overall, one of my favorite pale ales.

chillwinston, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice pale ale, very well rounded and pleasing.

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle. Black design with white lettering and an image of the Ohio skyline over flames from the burning Cuyahoga River. Side narrative notes awards, naming reference, main brew description, adherence to Bavarian purity laws of 1516, and serving recommendation. Neck label notes historic context of the brew, river restoration, and brewery's annual environmental celebration around it. Notes freshness date (03/28/10), and Alc. by Vol. (6.0%) Served in a tulip glass.

A - Pale amber pour with a good head, fair retention and good lacing.

S - Grapefruit and lemony nose with a biscuity and malty hint.

T - Taste follows nicely with the grapefruit and citrus with a nice malt support, including a light sweet and bready note towards the finish.

M - Medium-light body with medium carbonation and a crisp and slightly dry finish.

D - Rather quaffable. Good casual ale.

Notes: Second brew I have from Great Lakes as they reach the DC area and sure enough their brews are good quality so far. This pale ale can be had with the best of them in the style, glad to include in the rotating selection of PAs. This is not my favorite style but it is one that is always iconic and important to have around to offer as a quality and quaffable entry point to craft brews, and a reliable option to have have in any case. Burning River sure is great on that front.

Daniellobo, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of animalchin
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Has a nice dark (and I mean dark) copper body with a retaining head that becomes a layer of lacing that complements the lining of the glass the whole way though.

S - A lot of floral, almost herbal, hops in the nose with toasted biscuit aromas to follow. Sensing some light citrus as well.

T - Nice toasted hops that is followed with fresh bread or bran muffin. Kind of a kick in the ass actually for a pale ale. Excellent though.

M - Condensed and creamy deal that you can feel going on all the way down.

D - 6% ABV for an APA is reasonable - I think it only takes one to appreciate this fine work though. So much going on here. One hell of a brew.

animalchin, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-a nice golden orange color, hint of haze and some bubble action going on. an off white to light tan head, great retention of pale ale, thick and creamy and leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S-an earthy malt sets in first, touch of caramel, followed by a nice citrus hop of orange and grapefruit. well balanced with a great hop profile!

T/M-light body, very smooth, well carbonated. pale malts up front, hint of earthiness and caramel, light citrus hop backing bringing some orange and grapefruit. the finish also brings some hop bitterness as it is quite crisp.

D-the nose was awesome, the taste fell a little short of that but still extremely good pale ale. I really enjoy Great Lakes and this is definitely a solid offering for the style!

cpetrone84, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of Durge
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful clear copper color with lively carbonation, a decent head and great lacing. The aroma suggests lots of deep grainy malt and pleasing piney hops. Really edible smelling, very nice. The flavor is pretty much in sync with the aroma. A nice mid-bodied brew with fair woodsy pine hop over biscuit and bready malt. Sweet grass and mellow pine. Almost a seaweed quality but very nice. Highly drinkable. Very nice for some hops and tasty refreshment.

Durge, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of claminat420
3.48/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- poured a copper mixed with an amber color. pretty tough to chose which one dominates. nice foamy white head. medium to heavy lacing.

S- biscuity with some caramel and a squeeze of citrus. not to shabby.

T- same as the smell.

M- medium bodied. decent carbonation.

D- could knock out a 6 no prob.

Overall- i was expecting alil more on the hop end from this beer but not to bad. a great pale ale to get people into the pale category.

claminat420, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of jdflyer06
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Nice golden color. Fairly light body with a foamy head that sticks around and leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S: Light malt backbone with some serious bitterness coming up through the nostrils. Not overly fruity but with some piny aromas. Not like some pale ales that are just watered down versions of IPA's. This is true pale ale with a nice crisp bitter nose.

M: Medium body that lightly coats the palate with a decent amount of carbonation. Really pretty smooth and an easy drinker.

T: A nice bitter wallop up front, followed by some bready notes and some light toastiness. Not overly complex, but not boring either.

O: I really enjoy this beer as an alternative to the sometimes boring IPA's that seem to creep their way into my sessions far too often. At 6% ABV, a pretty easy drinker and a great session beer. A very good example of the style.

jdflyer06, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of pasdachuri
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a beautifully clear deep golden/copper color with a 1/4 inch white head.

Citrus smell from the cascade hops stand out as well as a slight sweet scent.

The flavor is very clean. Smooth malt goes right along with piney hops and grapefruit. Very nice balance of the two.

Light to medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall another quality beer from Great Lakes. This pale ale is real hoppy but crisp and drinkable as well.

pasdachuri, Feb 04, 2010
Photo of tjd112
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this beer at some beer bar in downtown Columbus, Ohio. This beer is amber coloured and it is hoppy as hell, with some biscuity malts balancing it out. In fact, I think it may borderline on IPA. Mouthfeel is medium bodied. I couldn't drink a whole sixpack, but I'd like this when I'm in the mood for an IPA/APA hybrid.

tjd112, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

MbpBugeye, Jan 30, 2010
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,654 ratings.