Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

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very good

2,811 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,811
Reviews: 997
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 106
Gots: 271 | 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: 2,811 | Reviews: 997 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Cylinsier
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz.

Pours a clear deep honey gold with a white head with so-so retention.

Smells of fresh hops and mild citrus sweet malts.

Taste is of piney hops and fresh grains.

Medium mouth with softer carbonation throughout.

Great IPA, very tasty and refreshing and easy to session. Would recommend.

Photo of n2185
2.6/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A: Lovely transparent honey-orange with about 2 fingers of frothy white head. Head retention as good and clings to the side of the glass nicely.

S: Some bready/wheat-like aromas here with only a bit of piney hop aroma.

T: A bit bland. Bready flavors first and foremost with the hops kicking in on the finish. Some pine flavors and a lot of bitterness of the aftertaste.

M: Medium body with some nice smooth creaminees and a bit of carbonation bite at the end.

D: Goes down pretty easily, but the residual bitterness keeps me from wanting many more. Overall not a very impressive pale ale.

Photo of nezelrac
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into pint glass

A - pours an orange-amber with 1 finger of off-white slightly fluffy head that dissipates quickly to a faint small-bead covering on the surface with some nice lacing on the glass

S - fruity and orange/grapefruit/pineapple hops with a little malt in the background - hints of caramel; the emphasis is on the cascade hops; good aroma, but a little one-dimensional

T - nice hop presence, though nothing too assertive; fruity notes and the citrus hops again; nice balance of malt and hops - there is some more malt on the palate, but still in the background; a slight dryness at the finish gives way to some sweet caramel malt followed quickly by hoppy bitterness; good length

M - balanced, a little firm; good CO2

D - very session-worthy

Photo of ujsplace
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug

Massive, two finger thick off white fluffy head with tons of sticky lace. The color is a bright copper...

Smells of sweet floral hops and citrus...

The taste is descently bitter citrus hops that resonates throughout, leaving a nice consistent - not too hopped flavor. There are also hints of bready yeast and its somehat spicy with a dry finish.

Carbonation hits initially and then mellows somewhat. Light mouthfeel, crisp and refreshing.

This is a very good APA. I could definitely see myself getting a case of this. Overall, this is a helluva good APA.

Poured into a mug

Pours a two-finger thick fluffy, white head that sits on a copper colored brew.

Smells of floral and citrus hops, some malt and buttery bread.

Tastes of bready yeast, oily, earthy, citrus, piney hops with a nice malt presence as well as some good nutty flavor. Good stuff.

Light and crisp, good carbonation levels. The hops stick around for a bit.

Great APA - to me, not overdone in terms of hops - very sessionable. No brainer here...

Photo of jsanford
3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Pizzeria Paradisio in Georgetown, D.C.

A - Pours a clear orange-amber with a medium thick, creamy white head.
S - Subdued aromas of orange and grapefruit, pineapple and caramel malt.
T - Tastes predominately of caramel malt and pineapple, with more grapefruit and orange. Not overly complex, but good nonetheless.
M - Slightly sticky, with a medium body and good carbonation.
D - Drank my glass with no problem. A nice APA, but I've certainly had better.

Photo of DannyDan
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden color with a large white head that has very good retention, good carbonation and excellent lacing. It has a floral hops, sweet malts and earth tones in the aroma. When taking a sip of this beer I get some floral hops at first followed by some caramel and than a citrus orange taste follows. There also seems to be an alcohol and yeast taste in the background while some hops are in the forefront of the taste. The aftertaste is floral hops and an orange citrus taste that is not too over powering. This is a nice and creamy mouthfeel that is pleasing on the palate and even though I'm pretty new to this style, I'll admit it is one of the best APA's I've tried.

Photo of thagr81us
3.2/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured golden yellow with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet/skunky malt and wheat. The flavor was of skunky malt, wheat, and sweet malt. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this wasn't a bad brew, but it also wasn't that great either. The skunky aspect on this one hurt this brew overall. I would have loved for it to have a little hop character to help overcome some of the skunkiness going on here. Get rid of the skunk aspect and I would be willing to try again. Until then, not so much...

Photo of wvsabbath
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Golden tan, dark yellow. 1/2 creamy head.

Smell - Hops, yeast, malts, sugars and spices.

Mouthfeel - Ive had this many times, finally going to sit and drink a bottle and review it.
Nice mild bitter pale ymalty kick, mixed with hops and sugars. Very well balanced, smooth and tasty. Not overboard on any flavor, therefor, not too sweet or bitter, or not hop heavy.

Mouthfeel - Its thin and coats mouth slighty with hop bitterness and pale malts. Tounge and palate get the hops and pale malts. The aftertaste is hoppy and malty with some light sugars.

Drinkabilty - A fantastic beer, smooth, mild, lower alcohol and great taste. One of the best pale ales you can buy. Very easy to drink a 6-pack in a sitting, so be carefull! A must try pale ale.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A beer like this really makes me want to invest in the variety case.

A - Pours a solid golden amber with at least an inch of the fluffy stuff.

S - Wow very hoppy indeed. Slight citrus and grapefruit hops in the nose with little grain.

T - Ow man this beer drinks good! As most Pale ales make me avoid the style this one comes off as a sweet IPA. Almost as hoppy as Dale's Pale ale but not quite with a solid malt base making it smooth.

M - Light to medium. Enjoyed every drop.

D - I have been impressed by every Great Lakes beer I ever had and this one is no exception. Full of hoppy goodness, solid malt base sweetening the deal, and affordable cost (cases starting at a mere 28 bucks) its pretty much a go to beer. A world class Pale ale!

Photo of brown2cu
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice amber color with a small frothy head that dissipates into sporadic patches of foam. Barely any lacing but nonetheless some is present.

S: Good. It smells more akin to an IPA. Clean with a lot of citrusy hops, not a lot of malt character in the nose.

T: nice and citrusy with a formidable hop and malt character. The hops win over though but not as much to be deemed unbalanced. Again though I find the taste more akin to an IPA.

M: Really pleasant and delightfully quenching.

D: Great drinkability has sessionable potential.

Photo of PhageLab
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a standard pint.

A - Dark amberish coloration, decent amount of head which lasted the duration of the beer. Lace was decent. Was expecting something a bit more on the yellow side, but whatever.

S - Mmmm, big pine hop profile. Not much else going on here, but that isn't a bad thing in my book.

T - Tastes like an IPA to me, and a good one at that. Big hop flavor, some sweet citrus backing, but slightly off balance.

M - Light to medium body, fairly crisp. There is an oily feel afterwards, which reminded me again of an IPA or even some doubles.

D - Pretty good, the beer itself is fairly tasty, but I don't know that I would have more than one or two. Still, glad I got a chance to try it, and if I'm ever in an area that sells it again, I may grab another sixer.

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

12 oz into a snifter. Darker than many pales, it pours an almost amber body that produces a generous frothy head. It's fairly malty in the nose for a pale ale, but that's not to say there is an insignificant hop presence. The hops leave a warm feeling in your nostrils and are quite piney. Burning River is a bit sweeter on my tongue than my preference in a pale, but that's just a matter of preference, the brewers of this beer clearly are on point and made what they intended. What I like about this beer, and the same goes for other favorite 'gold standard' pales like Liberty Ale and Sierra Nevada, is that it is its own unique take on the pale ale style, and although it is not my favorite interpretation, it is its very own in addition to being very clean and quite drinkable.

I've always respected this brewery for their prowess with quite difficult lagers and their ability to deliver them at a reasonable price. They also deserve a pat on the back for this fine pale ale.

Many beer drinkers, when they first move beyond terrible adjunct lagers, look down their nose on pale ales and lagers because they feel it is closer to what they now detest and can barely stand the taste of (industrial plant beer) and espouse a preference for more severely malted or hopped varieties, or bigger beers, but great beers are great beers, plain and simple.

Photo of JDFish
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a beer mug. Strikingly gorgeous clear orange color. Smallish head that disappears rather quickly, leaving half moon lacing. It has a citrusy scent that mixes with grainy hops. Flavor follows the smell. Strong hop presence. Not the easiest to drink, but a great flavor, citrus beginning, quickly dominated by hop bitterness. Full flavor mouthfeel, how a beer should feel. A little dry on the finish. Good brew

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.75/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a pint glass

A: pours a slightly hazy golden amber color with a nice amount of head that disappears quickly, leaves a nice amount of lacing

S: nice hoppiness and citrus character

T: great tasting brew, really loved it, nice hop character, slight citrus note, I don't know what it is but there is some depth to it I can't explain

D/M: slight carbonation tingle, very smooth on the pallet, a very easy drinking brew, one of the best pale ales I've ever had

Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty clear orange yellow color with a huge tan head that doesn't go away quickly and a ton of lacing. Smells of piney hops, and a little citrus. Tastes of hops, citrus, and some hidden malts. Mouthfeel is medium and has a little carbonation. Drinkability is moderate.

Photo of KoolWhp
4.7/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm gonna go ahead and say it: this is my favorite beer. I think I've gotten a bit spoiled living in Cleveland, where every bar (even the lame-ass ones) carries this on tap. It is hoppy as hell, but drinkability is still totally exceptional. The rare beer that's perfect for every season -- warming enough for a cold winter day like today, and still gets the job done in the middle of the dog days of summer.

Photo of Swedes21
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 fl oz served in a chilled pint glass

Apperance - beer pours with a great amount of head, about 3-4 fingers. The beer is a clear ale colour with minimal carbonation. The head is a nice white fluffy head. Head retention appears to be very good, with some nice lacing.

Smell - I can smell some hops, little pine and some citrus tones. As well, slight earthy base to this beer.

Taste - What a smooth tasting beer, this is nice. The beer starts with the pine/citrus and finishes quite smooth and fruity. Very balanced taste to this beer.

Mouthfeel - nice mouthfeel, not a tremendous amount of carbonation, but it does add a a velvety feel.

Drinkability - This would make for an unreal session beer, why can we not stock this at the LCBO?! Major props to Spinrsx for finding this beer and sharing it with me, i am blessed and honoured to have you in my beer life :)

Photo of BB1313
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a beautiful color similar to honey; nice white head w/ sticky lacing. Floral blast! Hints of pine, along w/ fresh citrus; taste matches. Great use of cascade hops! Very hoppy, but subtle enough. Flavorful! Very crisp and refreshing, goes down smooth; nice carbonation. Drinkabilty is very good, easy to put back.

Like I said, this is hoppy. Maybe hoppier than alot of IPAs. In the end, it works and GL doesn't go overboard. Super flavorful; easily one of the best pale ales out there!

Photo of Hophead101
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drank on 12.17.10.

poured into DFH edged snifter. beautiful clear copper color with an equally as beautiful off white head - which was quite frothy and lasted a good while. lacing was also very prevalent. smell was hoppy but mostly malty. some pine hops come after the initial smell.

decent taste. a good mix of hop and malt (as indicated by the smell). a good balance of flavors. good mouthfeel - nice crisp flavor with good carbonation leaving a pleasant bitter aftertaste.

Photo of lukekruse1
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes Burning River is widely available in Northeast Ohio and a part of Great Lakes Flagship lineup.

A - Amber red with decent head retention.

S - Hops but they don't jump out at you. Some citrus and pine.

T - This is not a "hop bomb" pale ale but is perfect for those who appreciate restraint in their Pale Ales. Starts with some malt flavors but finishes with a hop bite.

M - Good carbonation and excellent going down. Finishes clean.

D - High. This is a go to session Pale Ale with a moderate ABV and is great anytime of year.

Overall another fantastic beer by GLBC. Not necessarily a head turner but a superbly crafted brew.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a transparent amber. The head forms but quickly resides to the glasses edge.

The aroma is nice full of fresh malt toasted crystal malt make a hint of butter and citrus

The carbonation id upfront on the tongue it builds and lingers on the tongue. The taste starts malty pale and a slight butter crystal malt finish

Photo of musicforairports
3.33/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz best by 11 Jan 2011 from a 6-pack.

Pours amber in color. Very small head, no lacing despite a pretty vigorous pour. Head is gone quickly.

Smells like crystal malt and some nuttiness. No discernible hop presence.

Tastes like an amber ale. A nice, mildly nutty taste of caramel from the crystal malt, but I don't get much else. If this weren't dated (and I know Great Lakes dates this beer good only for a 3-month window) I'd think this was old or something, because there's only a hint of hops here, and not the citrusy kind mentioned on the label. If you told me this was brewed with a bit of Fuggles, I'd believe you. However, the flavor present is good: this would make a great amber ale, or perhaps a British Pale Ale.

Mouthfeel is medium.

This isn't hard to drink at all, and nothing here tastes bad. But I stopped to pick some Great Lakes up while out of town because they don't distribute where I live, and I was expecting a hoppy beer here. The other stuff I got from them (namely Edmund Fitzgerald) was great. But this doesn't taste like what it's billed as, and it's relatively fresh. I plan on heading to the Midwest next summer, where I will likely have this again. I hope my opinion changes once I have this from the source at GL.

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 a matter of fact, excuse me while I indulge.;)

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.

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.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,811 ratings.