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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

2,708 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,708
Reviews: 992
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 104
Gots: 218 | 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: 2,708 | Reviews: 992 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of scottyshades
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Auslander for this nice trade extra!

A: Pours a transparent golden color that produces a massive fluffy, tightly-knit beige head. Great retention and lots of carbonation bubbles floating up.

S: Soft but powerful floral Cascade hop aroma. Amber and Caramel malts back it up nicely.

T: Similar to the nose- powerful yet mellow. Floral, but not bitter, hops over a lightly toasted and sweet malt base. Toasty, slightly nutty, along with a nice citrus twang to it.

MF/D: Nicely balanced, medium body, nice carbonation to make it nice and soft, session beer.

Notes: Nice, smooth, and mellow. One of those examples of keeping it simple!

scottyshades, Aug 11, 2009
Photo of BatsforBeer
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Golden Amber with glints of orange, head off white with good lacing. Beer is clear and not very lively

Nose: pleasant nose with overtones of hops and hint of malt and floral yeast

Taste: Initial taste is a bit malty, with the hops kicking in a bit latter. Notes of citrus are present and add to the many layers of flavor nicely. The beer balances very well and the hops flavor lingers for quite awhile, but is not over bearing.

Mouth feel: Frouthy and a bit slimly, carbonation is good.

Drinkability: This beer is extremely drinkable and is a great summer brew. I look forward to having another.

This is my first attempt at reviewing a beer, I drafted this review before reading any other reviews or the lable. Let me know your opinion or sugguestions!

BatsforBeer, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of Beejay
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice graham cracker color, plenty of carbonation, and a nice white head. Looks tasty!

S: Hops, fresh fruit, grapefruit. Malty undertones with a slight biscuit scent.

T: A slight bit of malt, followed by hops.. bitter, citrus, and licorice notes present.

M: Very clean and crisp, and lots of carbonation.

D: I am not a hop head. But man this is tasty. Just the right amount of hops when you are craving something a little bitter. Nice beer.

Beejay, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Lancaster Brewing pint glass.

A- A pretty, amber/orange mix with a ever rising fluffy semi thick white head. It settled after a few leaving a loose skim. Some bubbles loose bubbles barely sticking to the glass I would not call it a lace.

S- Getting citrus hops plus floral scents with some caramel from the malt. Nicely hopped for a american pale, the best scent from one in recent memory.

T- I first get a nice dose of hops giving off citrus with grapefruit, orange, plus floral tastes. A very nicely hopped APA. Some sweetness from malts with a nice balance. Some bitterness afterwards which is nice.

M&D- The feel is light to medium with a good amount of carb livining things up a bit. Very impressive. I get hops than some sweetness than some bitterness, nothing over the hill. Hmmm, only 6%, sign me up.

BARFLYB, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of tj4288
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

poured from 12oz into standard tumbler pint.

this is a beer i would come back to. classic apa in appearance decent head with some lacing. smell is a perfect harmony between malt and hops. taste is also a good balance. not overly complex. i dont typically prefer strong malt but the malt i was picking up in this brew was very attractive to me, posibly a malt strain i have never tried? mouthfeel is an average apa. med body and med carbonation. goes down more than easy and youll be looking for a second one. at 6% its a perfect blend of flavor/ drinkability/ price (IMO). so if you can get a hold of this brew i highly recomend it.

tj4288, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of theghost3
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to vinyljunkie for this one.

Pours a translucent light copper with a 1-finger white head. Medium lacing.

The smell is mainly roasted caramel malts with a subtle hint of citrusy hops. The flavor is interesting in that the citrusy hops don't overpower the caramel malts. Rather balanced; sweet like toffee. Mouthfeel is crisp, slightly too acidic.

This is a drinkable APA that will surprise you with its malt character.

theghost3, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of BeerImmediately
2.17/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle into thin-walled glass at 40 degrees. Dated as best before 9/21/09. (Had two, just to double-check my initial impressions).

Good looking 2F, white head which took a while to fade to film. Amber-orange in color with plenty of visible carbonation.

Smell is a bit of a disappointment - really had to pull it out. No hoppy character. Some bland vegetables - squash and cooked zuchini.

Did not enjoy the taste either - cooked corn water, with a hint of citrus hop trying desperately to pull through. Finished with a bit of the euro pale lager skunk.

Mouthfeel was ok - little bitter bite, not as smooth as most APA's I've had, hence the score. Sour film left on tongue.

With an unmemorable smell, poor taste and rough MF, overall drinkability landed in the basement.

Have no idea how this beer won a Gold Medal or so many rave reviews - maybe I hit a "bad batch"

BeerImmediately, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of mdwalsh
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, golden reddish body. 1.5 finger white head. No active carb, no lacing.

S: Hay, sweetness. No malt, not strong

T: Bitter at first, but sweet. Hoppy aftertaste. Not strong at all.

M: Heavy for its color. Not great, slightly over carbed it feels.

D: Ok, if you like IPAs, but still not great. If not, then not even OK

mdwalsh, Jul 21, 2009
Photo of erosier
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big Thanks to CMitchell for this one!

L: Pours a great amber color with a medium sized and medium bodied off white colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet malts, a nice floral and citrusy hop aroma at the end of the nose.
T: Extremely well balanced taste between the sweet malts and the floral and citrus hop flavors that really round the flavor out well.
M: Very crisp, fresh, refreshing, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable, this is what a pale ale should taste like, I absolutely loved it.

erosier, Jul 19, 2009
Photo of Strix
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden orange with a fluffy head

Floral hops and pine in the smell, a hint of citrus

Grassy herbal flavors predominate, followed by pine. Little citrus, but a hint of grapefruit rind.

Mouthfeel smooth and crisp.

This is less citrus- and pine- centric than most pale ales I enjoy, but it's well balanced, and easy to drink. Great Lakes has really been impressing me with their well-balanced beers in some of the less typically flavorful styles.

Strix, Jul 10, 2009
Photo of ajr24
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A trip to the Pittsburgh area has given me the chance to try the beers from Great Lakes.

12 oz bottle poured into a mug.

A- Pours a light amber, golden orange. Moderate head at first that dissipates into a thin and white coating. Slight lacing.

S- Smells of intense Cascade hops. Some malt sweetness sneaks through and very much pleases the senses. Hoppy and biscuity describes it best.

T- Noticeable Cascades in the foreground of the taste. Nice maltiness in the background. Overall, an enjoyable and balanced APA.

M- Zesty and nice carbonation. Easy drinkin' brew.

D- At 6% it's no session beer, but it is damn drinkable.

ajr24, Jul 07, 2009
Photo of damndirtyape
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle with date of 07/19/2009, poured into a tumbler glass. Some foam, but it dissipated in 2-3 minutes leaving a ring of foam on the edges and some lacing on the glass as I drank it down.
Color is a rich orange-yellow. For a pale ale, it's well into a darker shade.
Taste is good. There is indeed citrus tones, as well as hops and just a small hit of bitterness at the end. I know it's the hops, but the beer reminds me just a tad of Earl Grey tea in it's smell and part of its taste (bergamot).
Nicely carbonated and smooth on the tongue.
As for drinkability, I finished this off fairly quickly with dinner and definitely wouldn't mind another one, but, it's not what I was expecting in a pale ale. I guess I was looking for something a little bit more on the crisp and refreshing side, not something with so much flavor and smell. Mind you, I'm not complaining, but I'm surprised that this is called a pale ale due to the color and robust flavors.

damndirtyape, Jun 28, 2009
Photo of bwd110
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Champps in Cincy (not sure exactly where, just glad a chain had a decent offering, while on business.)

A: Cool! Great head and lacing. Carbonation appears to be spot on for the style. Medium amber in color. Full lacing throughout.

S: Good hop profile for an APA. Citrus peel dominates, caramel breadiness undertones.

T: Good solid, hoppy pale. My first impression of Great Lakes is a good one. I bash Ohio as a beer abyss, but this beer is a great example of a solid APA. Nice balance of citrus and piney hops, balanced nicely with a sweet and tangy malt base. Good.

M: Perfect carbonation - really nailed. Medium body spot on to style.

D: Could drink 10 of these in a row... Certainly a good APA, just shy of upper echelon brews.

bwd110, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of tai4ji2x
3.23/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i believe this bottle was from vwcraig. someone correct me if i'm wrong.

12oz bottle with best by date of 5/10/09. tasted in mid-april 2009

clear, pale golden amber. 2+ finger, off-white head, puffy and bubbly, fades to thin layer. some thin rings of lace, esp up top.

aroma: floral hopping with only hint of grass, and even less of pine and citrus. gives way to malty caramel and toffee, but does finish with more hints of piney resins.

taste: resinous and piney hop is moderate, but a bit one-noted in flavor, with moderate bitterness (again, resinous). light caramel malt, just a bit watered down though. metallic notes in the resinous finish.

not too thin, some resins into the finish, but getting astringent. lightly prickly carbonation.

still ok, but seems to be way past its prime, even though it was technically consumed before the "best by" date.

tai4ji2x, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of tatoodkelt
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one as an extra in a trade with Auslander. Thanks again man!

Never really had this style so I'll give it a go.

Bottle dated 06/26/09 poured into a pint glass.

A- Light amber, 1 finger off white head that faded pretty quick into a thin cap. Active carbination the whole time.

S- Piney, something else I couldnt nail down, like a banana or flower aroma.

T- Alot of the smell but more bitter.

M- Not too thick but sticky, crisp.

D- Not my style but not sorry I had it.

tatoodkelt, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of bamadog
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review is from notes - beer drank on 5/27/09. On tap into a pint glass.

Appearance: Came to me a nice penny-copper color with a 1 and 1/2 finger head with a decent amount of rention that eventually fades to a pretty thick skim on top; a thick curtain of lacing is left behind; fairly clear body with moderate carbonation bubbling throughout.

Smell: Very piney in terms of the hops; smells nice and bitter and has a slight, but muted, citrus aspect (more grapefruit than anything else) to it as the pine really dominates the nose.

Taste: Very nice and bitter, as I would expect coming from the smell, with the firm hop presence -- very piney, earthy/grassy (citrus is essentially lost in the mouth); a very faint toasty maltiness is way in teh back, but largely buried by the bitter, but I like the way it balances it out just a little bit.

Mouthfeel: A pretty creamy body for an APA with a nice sticky finish, leaving a thick coating on the tongue and roof of mouth.

Drinability: Pretty high - a nice refreshing beer that was drank outside with some typical bar food fare and it really cut through all of the flavors.

bamadog, Jun 14, 2009
Photo of buschbeer
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured into a pint glass to to very little white head. It is an orangish-amber color and clear. It smells floral and fruity with a bit of malt. It tastes bitter but after a few drinks the malts come through. It is a nice pale ale, quite drinkable.


buschbeer, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of endincolorado
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Clear, pale amber with one finger of off-white head. Good retention. Moderate lacing.

Smell- Pleasant, fragrant hops hit with some floral aromas and an inviting fruitiness, backed well by some toasty caramel malt.

Taste- Nice, fruity hops with a slight astringency, balanced well by a crisp, light maltiness.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, complemented by appropriate carbonation.

Drinkability- Though hoppy for a Pale Ale, this is another greatly versatile beer by Great Lakes, as it goes well with a wide variety of foods, and is refreshing anytime.

endincolorado, Jun 11, 2009
Photo of Hoagie1973
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light orange-amber in color. Lighter than your average APA. Head and lacing are a bit lackluster in that the head was smaller than expected and didn't last too long. Lacing was light and stringy.
Has a decent malt presence that gives you a flash of caramel sweetness. Goes fruity in the middle with a citric-hop flavor that reminds me of mandarin oranges. Finished dry and crisp with a lingering hop bitterness.
This one was drinkable and somewhat enjoyable, but didn't knock my socks off. I still hold to the opinion that this brewery is somewhat overrated. Each of their beers that I have tried are decent, but there's always a little something lacking that I can't quite put my finger on that keeps them from being really good.

Hoagie1973, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of botham
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap poured into a tumbler at the brewpub in Cleveland. pours a rich golden amber color with a single finger of frothy light tan head that has good retention and leaves moderate lacings.

aroma is of mild coniferous hops and distant caramel malts along with a touch of dark malt thrown in. well put together and pleasant in the nose.

taste follows the aroma with notes of earthy hops and caramel malts. background notes of grass and a touch of chocolate are present as well. very well proportioned in profile.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a semi dry texture and a finish of sticky piney hops. all very fresh on the palate.

drinkability is great. just what an APA should be: mildly hoppy with a solid caramel malt presence. another solid brew at the Great Lakes Brewpub. cheers!

botham, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of xhcadamx
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - orangeish amber with a creamy head that settles to a ring around the beer and some lacing

S - lots of grapefruit and a bit of grain in the background

T - grapefruit dominates with a strong carmel taste which I think is overwhelming. Not as bitter as you would think.

M - the carmel background makes this feel a little heavier than normal

D - very good but wasn't mind blowing for me.

xhcadamx, Jun 04, 2009
Photo of WakeandBake
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A slightly cloudy golden orange with a one finger white head,lively carbonation. Aroma is of nice floral,pine and citrus hops. Flavor is crisp,fresh piny hops,citrus,grapefruit and a hint of orange zest,just enough pale malt to add some balance,not overly bitter just nice and crisp,Medium bodied with a nice, pleasing mouthfeel , fresh hoppy finish is slightly dry, very drinkable. One of the better APA I have had.

WakeandBake, May 26, 2009
Photo of tpd975
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice golden hue with a nice fluffy white head. Litte retention with spotty lace.

S: Very floral, with a big blast of grassy hops. A touch of citrus with bready grainy malt.

T: Hoppy Goodness. Lots of grassy hops of front with a bit of floral hops and citrus. Nice caramel malt with hints of bready yeast. The finish is more floral hops with a touch of earth.

M: On the thinner side of medium, smooth, tasty with great carbonation.

D: Good, a tasty, floral, APA.

tpd975, May 23, 2009
Photo of wheatyweiss
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a nonic type pint.

Pours a golden honey with a frothy and substantial head that looks like whipped cream and laces the glass with sticky webs. Clarity is perfect and the carbonation actively climbs the sides of the glass. The bubbles in the middle of the glass do a sort of "St. Vitus' Dance" up to the head, replenishing it perfectly. Very pretty beer.

Smell is floral hops, with a crackery bready aroma. Big whiff of fruity yeast that has to be helped out by the hops on the middle.

Flavor vcenters on the hops which are not piney or oiley, but fresh, fruity and floral. Tannic acid flavor like a nice iced tea creeps in the middle. Big biscuity, bready flavors balance the hop bitterness/sourness.There is a decent amount of grapefruit and lemon bitterness, but not earthy or dank. Finishes dry and quenching, lip smacking actually.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side. but not horribly so.

Drinkability is awesome. This is a tastey APA, that is refreshing and borderline sessionable. Excellent flavor and aroma it makes me want more after each quaff.

wheatyweiss, May 22, 2009
Photo of OnThenIn
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: A finger of head with good lacing. The head was just a tiny bit off white. A nice orange copper like color to this beer.

Smell: The bulk of the smell seems to come from the hops. I get some pine and citrus smell, which makes me think of grapefruit. I also smell a little bit of sweet malt.

Taste: Some malt taste upfront, but quickly followed by some citrus flavor. It has a nice bitter finish. The hops in the taste are very similar to the smell.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and perfectly carbonated. A nice dry finish and it has a close to medium body.

Drinkability: I found this beer to be exceptional. So far this might be my favorite APA. It also is so easy to drink that splitting a sixer with a friend while watching some golf sounds like the perfect thing to do.

OnThenIn, May 17, 2009
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,708 ratings.