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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

2,872 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,872
Reviews: 1,012
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 112
Gots: 325 | 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: 2,872 | Reviews: 1,012 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MrOH
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brilliant burnished gold, thin white head. A little bit of spotty lace.

Caramel malts, some citrus and floral notes.

Malt. Not so much caramel, though. Grapefruit and a little pine with a bitter finish, but the malt lingers.

Medium bodied, Good carbonation.

My least favorite from the GL taster's pack. Not a bad APA, just not my favorite.

Photo of AgentMunky
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into an Ommegang glass. Best before 26 July 2011. From notes. Reviewed 24 June 2011.

A: Good white head, with mediocre rentention. Clearish amber, with an orange-gold hue. Some bubbles and decent lacing.

S: Hops. Sweet grapefruit. Quite IPAish. Nice.

T: Good, but lacking subtlety. Vegetal hops. Smooth, carbonated supporting malts. The aftertaste is slightly [...]

M: Decent. Aside from pleasant citrus and carbonation, there is nothing notable.

O: Above average, but not monumentally so. A decent pale ale, but nothing that sticks out. I wouldn't spend money on a six pack.

Photo of jamescain
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sniffer, thanks to StoneBrewFanatic for sharing this one.

Appearance: Pours a clear orange-amber with a fluffy white head about a finger thick that forms a lacing over the top of the beer and clings to the side of the glass.

Aroma: Pine, citrus, grapefruit, and a nice malt backing coming through.

Taste: Surprisingly hoppy for a pale ale, grapefruit and citrus, but it's all balanced out with a nice malt backbone.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation and a nice malty finish.

Overall: Definitely a good pale ale, balanced enough, but also hoppy enough to please my inner hophead.

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ive been drinking this for so long, and i cant believe i havent reviewd it!

Pours a straw color with a small head and amazing carbonation.

It smells like hop, both bittering and aromatic. Citrus hops really kick you in the face. Grainy GL malt bill kind lurks in the shadows of the hops.

The taste is about as good as a Pale Ale can get. The balance really stands out. I get some bittering hops, but the malt really takes the front. This is the most balanced beer I think you can get. Also has a metallic, earthy feeling on the back end.

it kind of destroys my tongue. A slightly astringent feel kind of leaves my tongue feeling like I drank hot chocolate too soon. The bittering hops leave a slightly bitter feeling in your mouth, but not bad at all.

Best Pale Ale I've had.

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

Pours a touch cloud orange body with a bit of white head (I think the glass did a poor job here). The head left early, but tones of sticky lacing stayed.

Lemon and grapefruit citrus notes with a caramel/bready malt backing, this one comes of a hair metallic.

Fruity opening with citrus flavors, applies, lemons, grapefruit and then a bready crust like finish. This again has a touch of a metallic earthy undertone. This is an exceptional APA with just something a hair off for me that I can’t place.

The carbonation and mouth feel are just perfect. It drinks like there is a body, but not so much that it is hard to drink. It is creamy and smooth and just right.

There is just something here that is bothering me and I think the age on this is a factor. It is right at the best buy date so I’m thinking that a month fresher could really help here. That said this is still much better than the vast majority of pales. Well worth seeking out and at 8 bucks a sixer you just can’t go wrong!

Photo of ckollias
4.62/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: This brew pours a solid amber color with a frothy, white, 2-finger head that quickly dissipates into a wispy lace.

S: Strong citrus hoppy cascade aroma fills the nose with every sniff. Hints of caramel in the background.

T: Surprisingly super aggressive hoppy for a pale ale – tastes more like an IPA. Lots of citrus and fruit in every sip. Hop flavor dominates this bitter brew with a decent amount of malt to back it up.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation

O: Since I love IPAs, and this is what it takes like, this American pale ale was right up my alley. I’ve tasted some IPAs that weren’t this hoppy! Well done.

Photo of Marty30
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 Oz bottle served into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass at fridge temp. Bottle says best before 10-17-11.

A. Very clear sun set orange. With a fluffy offwhite 2 finger head. Nice carbonation. Really good lacing.

S. The nose is not very strong on this. I'm getting some piney hops along with a good amount of earthy,bread crust notes.

T. First I get a sharp hop bit in the front followed by lots of caramel and bread notes.

M. Mouth is nice, medium with the carbonation giving the palate a good sting. Dry finish.

Overall a nice tasting and refreshing APA. In my opinion Great lakes always comes through with solid beers. Easy drinker here.

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

pours a nice dark gold/copper color with a foamy head that does disappear after a slight bit.

good malty nose with some hops. While the hops are there, they aren't overtly pronounced along with some spice tones and citrus'

medium bodied with a good smooth feel to it. Its not lacking at any point and has a good malt based finish

This is a good pale ale. I like that its not just focused on the hops and has a malty character to it.

Photo of Retail1LO
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

My first Great Lakes offering. Grabbed a sixer at Whole Foods this afternoon. I missed the chance to have this on tap at TJ's recently, so I'm glad to have a chance to enjoy this. Beer pours a gorgeous transparent amber color. The nose is a bit muted, but there's a very pleasant light citrus nose followed by some malt. The taste in this is definitely on the malty side, although the initial taste showcases some nice hops. The finish is way sweet. The mouthfeel is very light and creamy, with the maltiness mentioned previously hanging around. Overall this is a nice beer. I'd like more hops, but, this is an APA and not an IPA, and it' in line with the style. A good beer bye and bye.

Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.07/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a wine glass. Back label stamped 05/27/11.

Appearance - Big white head with great retention. slightly hazy pale copper body.

Smell - Musky hop. Urine.

Taste - Moderate hop. Honey sweet malt. No off flavors.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied.

Overall Drinkability - Decent if completely forgettable middle-of-the-road pale ale.

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 9/6/11
*From notes

A: A good pour yields a 2.25 finger head and some pretty healthy lacing. Clean amber hue.

S: Bready, with a touch of bitter hops.

T: A bit hop forward, then it gives way to a hearty breadiness. A good amount of earth and grain arrive on the mid, and the finish is slightly green. Exactly what I look for in an APA.

M: Thicker then many in the style. Good depth here, and the carbonation is on point.

O: Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale is a damn fine APA. Easy drinking, flavorful and something even some of my BMC friends would enjoy. I'd prefer it at a lower ABV (say 5%), but as it stands, this beer kicks some serious ass.

Yet another winner from the great folks at Great Lakes.

Photo of ahq514
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.

Pours a transparent golden amberish color. A decent amount of bubbles are seen rising to surface. About half a finger head. Good lacing.

Aroma is nicely balanced between malt and hops. The two are very well intertwined as well. Nice juicy citrus hops complement the toasted caramel malt backbone.

Taste is much more in favor of the malt. Bittering hops are ever so slight, but present, more so on the finish. A little bit of that citrusy hop burst that was more prominent in the aroma is there. Like I said before, the toasted caramel malt is just slightly more dominant in the taste.

Moderate carbonation, lighter medium bodied. This is very drinkable, I feel like I could drink these all night.

A pretty well balanced pale ale for the most part. Would have preferred a little bit more of a citrus hop flavor in the taste, but an otherwise excellent APA. Will drink again for sure.

Photo of Jesse13713
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was surprised to see i hadn't reviewed this local beer yet.

Appearance - A nice pale amber orange. Transparent. A foamy, whipped-like head. Slightly pink like grapefruit in certain light.

Smell - Sweet, pleasant hops that tickle the nose. Hints of citrus and pink grapefruit. Slightly piney and cedar notes.

Taste - A citrusy and piney collection of tastes. A slight lemon burn in the background. More malty than I remember but works surprisingly well.

Mouthfeel and overall - Light to medium bodied. A pleasant and easy burn. Citrusy and appropriately carbonated.

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

Pours a clear deep copper/amber color with a bubbly beige head that impales itself to the glass all the way down. Smells of citrus, light sweet fruit, slight mineral. Taste is smooth citrus with a fruity burnt sugar malt sweetness. Good balance! Twinge of hops, bit of malt leaves a hop bite at the end of every sip. Crisp carbonation, sticky, resinous mouthfeel, medium body with a semi dry finish. Good session ale here.

Photo of Viciousknishs
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a translucent pale amber color with a pillowy three fingers of off white head. Decent retention.

S- floral hop forward aromas with a note of citrus zest jump out of the glass right into the schnoz. Biscuit pale malt aromas coalesce bringing balance to the force (hops obviously being the dark side). A hint of fruitiness and pine hop on the finish.

T- Balanced but yet again hop forward! Dry biscuit malt flavor hits the palate at first. Floral citrusy hops burst from the malty foundation. Notes of pine and orange zest abound. Finishes dry with a hint of alcohol and a long lasting round hop bitterness that lasts long into the aftertaste.

MF- slick mouthfeel with a medium body and soft fine carbonation.

D- super drinkable with a great balance.

Overall a great balanced hop forward pale ale.

Photo of manitouman84
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a copper amber with slight turbidity and a head that quickly dissipates. Moderate hop aroma, floral and citrus balanced with malt aroma. Clean malt profile, citrus and grapefruit lingering in the background, with a crisp finish on the palate. Overall a very good and very drinkable beer, but I did not personally find anything that stands out about this beer.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic.

This brew pours the standard pale amber color with two fingers of head that quickly drops down. The aroma has some nice hops over some pale malts, but it's a little weak compared to what I'd prefer. The taste is upfront hoppy, with plenty of bitter grapefruit rind to go along with it. The mouthfeel is nice, it's bubbly on the way down the throat, and the drinkability is very good. Overall, a solid brew, and one that I'd keep in rotation if it were local.

Photo of RoyalT
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This is a nice, bright orange in color with a very thick white head.

Smell – The hops are big here for an APA with massive grapefruit and a small, toasty malt compliment. The pine, citrus, and grapefruit are in perfect harmony in this hop bouquet and really this is one of the most pleasantly-balanced hop profiles I’ve ever smelled.

Taste – The hops are here at the taste as well. They show tons of depth and overshadow the malts which are quite good actually if understated. This is a strong, hoppy brew though make no mistake about that.

Mouthfeel – This is surprisingly thick, a solid medium-bodied, with little carbonation but it’s not flat. The beer has a very creamy texture but is also quite bitter throughout. If you like smooth, creamy, bitter hops then this burn’s for you.

Drinkability – This went down extremely well but it is a rather big beer so be prepared for that. This is not a light-drinker APA, it is a heavy, thick beer that is best consumed on an empty stomach. If you can take it, or if you are just a big fan of smooth, hoppy ales then you’ll love this beer.

Photo of philerman
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to British pint glass.

A: Mostly pleasing copper color. Always expect something with Pale and not India in the name to be a bit lighter in color. About 1.5 fingers of frothy head that dissolved pretty quickly.

S: Slightly earthy/floral smell, not too off.

T: Goes down fairly easy.

M: Aftertaste shows some bitterness and also the 6% NAV.

O: Definitely something to add to the rotation. Picked this up at a Sheetz driving through the Buckeye State and would definitely buy again for the same price ($7.99/6).

Photo of hoplover82
3.59/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a clear copper color with a solid two finger white big, yet tight bubbled that has great retention and lacing.
S-The aroma is very tame at first, just some pale malt aroma, but as it warms, and after a swirl of the glass, the hops come through just a bit, with spicy and citrusy cascade hop notes along with some light caramel maltiness. I'm still within more than a month of the best by date, and it really is a little dissapointing. I'm sure right from the brewery it's a little better, but not in my glass. It's not bad, just not that good.
T-The flavor is much like the aroma with spicy, citrusy hops balanced with the pale and caramel malts. Nothing impressive though at all.
M-A solid medium body with a clean, crisp and slightly bitter finish.
O-I was overall, a little dissapointed by this beer, being a gold medalist of the World Beer Championships, and has over 800 reviews and an A average. Maybe I'll try it again fresher I hope.

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

This beer has a golden body with a 1"foamy, creamy white head on top of it. The smell is earthy and hops. The taste is very balanced. first the hops comes, them a little spiciness and then a nice bitter after taste. Very nice mouth feel, smooth off the tongue. Overall a good, well balanced beer.

Photo of WastingFreetime
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transparent like a jewel, coppery amber colored with absolutely no haze and a lovely head that looks as though it belongs on a witbier, its so damn huge and craggy with medium strength lacing. Great appearance that would only need a wee bit more lacing to reach a perfect 5 in my book.
Smell is heavy in the noble hop family of grassy, spice, and a minor chord of earth tones overlaid on top of a lightly toasted malt profile. Taste is more in the floral and citric hops than the spice hops at first, than the spice hops enter in the remarkably dry finish. Of course there is the usual biscuit malt underneath the hopping, as well. Body is on the thinner side of medium, appropriately crisp and carbonated.
Really a damn fine APA, worth checking out.

Photo of harrymel
3.71/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by: 07JUL11

A: pours a copper ale with brilliant clarity and two fingers of off white foam. This falls to a sheet of the same with spotty lacing.

S: Woody, grainy, lightly hopped with grassy and noble flavors.

T: Bitter up front, then nice spicy hop flavors with a balanced and delightful malt profile - caramel, pepper.

M: Medium bodied leaning on heavy for the style, moderately hi carb. Lasting wet finish.

O: Despite being over a month expired, this beer held up well. I would guess the smell would improve if more proximal to bottle date, but hey, not in my market. Solid beer nonetheless.

Photo of
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Very clear bright copper with impressive head retention.

Smell - A nice balance of caramel malt and floral hops.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied and moderately carbonated. Full, almost slick mouthfeel complements the flavours nicely.

Taste - Biscuity with caramel and citrus flavours. Finishes slightly bitter with a lingering biscuity aftertaste. Like good APAs, it is hoppy without being aggressively bitter.

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

Thanks to Jeff for this one.

A: The beer pours a clear amber color with a finger of white head on top.

S: Slightly sweet aroma with a little bit of toast and bread character. There isn't too much of a hop profile to it, but there is a bit of citrus peel and grass. A light caramel aroma which gives it a slight creaminess.

T: A similar story on the palate. Sweet bread, toffee, and pale, cracker malts. A light floral and grassy hop flavor along with a soft hop bitterness. Creamy caramel notes on the finish with just a touch of orange peel.

M: On the light side of medium in body with a medium carbonation.

O: While this is a drinkable beer, it isn't up there with the better pale ales that I've had.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,872 ratings.