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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

2,890 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,890
Reviews: 1,019
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 112
Gots: 340 | FT: 4
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: 2,890 | Reviews: 1,019
Photo of Ralphus
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first Great Lakes of Cleveland beer and I'm happy with it. The best before date is a little close at 12/13/10 however.

It's crystal clear. Strikingly clear even. The color is an attractive golden brown with a white head. Some lacing is left behind as the head drops to a carbonated ring around the glass.

The smell has either faded or was understated to begin with. Bread, light floral spice, caramel and pine are all that remain.

The taste is considerably larger thankfully. Sweet caramel malts and fruit are bombarded with a long drawn out earthy bitter finish. The balance is a little skewed towards the bitter end for my tastes but some will really enjoy it I'm sure.

Mouthfeel is very crisp thanks to tight carbonation. This beer would easily cut through thick cream sauces or gravy. Drinkability is good.

Photo of thecarster1
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a- two fingers fades slowly leaving head all of the place and an all over covering of lace, slight haze, orange amber coloring.

s- earthy nose, some slight toasty malts, bitter citrus, pine.

t- earthy citric hops, toasted malts are pretty apparant as well, some grapefruit pith, some spice in here as well, bitterness that lingers, sappy pine.

m- medium bodied, very slick.

d- good, goes down easily, not the best pale ale ever, but it's solid and drinkable.

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

A - clear, golden, sexy.

S - citrusy, heavy lemon, bready & nutty malt, grass.

T - This is a very unconventional pale ale to me, but I love it. The combination of citrus and an incredibly buttery, biscuity and nutty malt character put this in a hybrid category for me. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for ultra citrus and low bitter pales. This is in a different category though - the grassy presence I associate with lots of pale ales isn't there and i'm just smacked in the face with this fantastic balance of citrusy hops and bready malt. I'm pontificating, aren't I?

M - thin - medium body with a lovely amount of carbonation.

D - This has become my go-to pale ale in the last several weeks and a favorite among my almost craft-drinking friends. The lack of bitterness in the hops and the malt forwardness make this a crowd favorite.

Photo of kylehayworth
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I went to Bowling Green for work, and I knew there was no chance I'd be leaving without some Great Lakes. I have been pretty pumped about trying their beers, which explains why I left with their complete line-up plus some Blackout Stout.

A: A rich amber color, a little bolder then I expected for a pale ale, but still nice. The head follows right on cue, mild density that fades slowly.

S: Sweet malts with caramel backdrop. You can smell a bit of citrus.

T: It starts off semi-sweet, with some of the caramel that was in the nose. It then leads to a grassy/citrus middle, and finally finishes with a tinge of bitterness. All in all pretty well balanced in flavors, maybe leaning a little towards the sweet side.

M/D: All of the flavors match well together, with none seeming to overdue the others, which let's the beer shine pretty well. This was a good first beer from Great Lakes, can't wait to get into the rest of them.

Photo of silver0rlead
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before date of 10/10/10 which I will take into account. Pours a clear golden color with a frothy white head that retains well and leaves nice lacing. The aroma has some nice citrus and floral hops upfront, along with some caramel and fruity esters, biscuit and some alcohol, not outstanding but I'm sure it was more impressive when it was fresher. The flavor also has floral and citric hops initially, along with some caramel and biscuit, fruity esters, and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is light and drinkability is really good. Pretty damn solid pale ale, I wish I could have tried a fresher example but it was good nonetheless.

Photo of IronLover
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep yellow color with an amber hue and excellent clarity. Thin white head that reduces to a similarly thin white cap. Floral hoppy aroma with citrus notes. Buttery smooth with refreshing, lively carbonation. Citrus and pine hop flavors along with a bit of malty flavored goodness in there as well. Good balance of hop and malt flavor until the end when the pine flavors take over and leave a dry, mild bitter pine aftertaste.

Photo of Kaiser81
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Special thanks to SpencerDB for this extra (among many extras he sent).

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A - Fiber width of head. A brilliant copper color. the head just sits there like a fluffy pillow with very nice lacing.

S - Lots of citrus. Lemons, some sweet tropical fruit, and maybe a hint of alcohol. Delightful. There is something just at touch off though...can't place the smell, but it's just there.

T - Some nice fruits are presents mixed with a touch of pine and some nice biscuity sweetness. However, I almost get a flowery type taste on the finish...almost the point of it being rubbery, kind of thing going on. It's weird.

M - High carbonation and light to medium body. The carbonation could be toned down slightly as it leaves a lingering prickly feeling on my tongue.

D - Good, but not overly impressive. Glad to try it...would definitely give it another shot.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A bright orange color sits in the glass revealing a medium strong effervesce that was quickly paced. On top sits a dirty bone colored head, foamy in nature, with some patchy spots with an overall slight statue and average retention. The lacing was weak on the hold, leaving quickly sliding bubbly patches that soon vanished within the drink leaving little to hold interest or impress.

S: Dried toffee and caramel along with some sugary pine hints first opens things up aromatic wise. The strength is light with some fresh soft citrus. With a name like burning river I expected perhaps a bit more feistiness and strength from the nose.

T: Nice sharp delivery and definition of citrus hops come to light with a flavor of sweet caramel malting. Proof you cant judge a beer by its cover, err smell. Sweet start turns to a warm toasted affair of caramel malts on succeeding sips with a warming citrus and alcohol presence. There is a bit of dried ale like fruitiness that comes to light briefly before the close along with some pine oils and a flowery dryness closing with a dose of toasted grains.

M: The mouthful was medium in body, warm citrus oils are detected on the inner cheeks while a good bitterins sense could be determined on the tongue. The carbonation is a bit tame at the start hurting the crispness factor but the swallow makes up for it with a dry flowery bitterness lingering behind.

D: Good drinkability, nice balance of toasted malts and hops that is neither over the top in execution nor under appreciated, seems they got it just right for the drinking factor. You can easily down a few of these with general conversation.

End Beer Musings: though my rating may say differently I did enjoy the flavor aspect of this drink, the most important. When not scrutinizing such factors such as appearance and aroma, you will find this to be a good pale with a moderate strong hopping per style and worthy of a try and to put down in repeats.

Photo of adamette
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Notes: Stamped on the right side of the label is the following: For freshest taste please enjoy by 10 21 09. I am 11 months late on this one. Please consider that when reading the following review.

Live review. Poured from the 12 ounce brown bottle that I bought at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor, OH for $1.51 yesterday into my Brewery Ommegang Witte tumbler.

A Great very light brown creamy head that leaves significant lacing on the inside of the glass over a translucent but light copper body. 4.0

S Floral hops are muted over a malt background. I really wonder if the hops would be more prevalent if it were fresh. 4.0

T Taste flows directly from the smell with the floral hops bitterness (although they are probably muted due to the age) over a nice maple like malt background. The hops bitterness lingers, unchanged, for at least 2 minutes after my previous sip but the malt background is gone almost with the last gulp of liquid. 4.0

M Pretty full mouthfeel with the smooth head, the bitter hops and the malt presence. This is a quality that one does not typically find in this style and I like it. 4.0

D Fairly good for me. I am attracted to many of the qualities mentioned above but I am driven away by the lingering hops bitterness and the slightly elevated ABV of 6%. 3.5

Notes: Good to have this in a bottle after enjoying it on tap at the brewery so long ago. I will be sure to find a fresh one and report back here with any changes.

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

A- Hazy copper with a nice creamy white cap. Head retention is good, very small bubbles in the foam. Nice coat of fine lace.

S- Fruity hops come through first. A slightly nutty/toasty caramel malt backbone.

T- Starts with a good deal of citrus and caramel malt. Ends with more citrus zest, some floral and very grainy/biscuit malt.

MF- Highly carbonated, creamy light body. A decent amount of bitterness in the finish.

DB- A smooth, easy drinking beer. Hop forward but they are definitely balanced by a strong malt finish and backbone. Not too much of anything, balanced and refreshing.

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.21/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a beautiful honey gold with a fluffy frothy white head.

A well balanced hop malt aroma that presents up-front.

Taste starts off pleasantly bitter, ending smooth. Some sharp spice mid-tongue, but very pleasing to drink.

Mouthfeel is medium, with a slightly drying effect upon the tongue.

This is a beer I've had many times, and have always found it highly drinkable. Perhaps my favorite of the regularly-offered beers, I highly recommend it.

Photo of herman77
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear dark gold/light amber with a nice off white head. Good lacing coats all around.

S: Biscuit malts with floral and fruity hops. A touch of citrus to it as well.

T: Slightly sweet biscuit and carmel malt to start that is balanced perfectly with mild floral and citrus hops. A little sweet and fruity aftertaste that has some nice bitterness to it.

M: Medium body, moderate to slightly higher carbonation. Slight creamy/slick feel to it. Very crisp and refreshing.

D: Very drinkable. Nothing offensive, well balanced, tasty, can't ask for much more.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #26:

Bright and clear golden-amber color; good showing of the head retention, and it stands three fingers high. Hints of caramel and flowery hop in the nose. Slick and chewy medium body. Bitty smoothness lets the grain and hop bitterness roll around on the taste buds first. Biscuity malt and a spicy, orangey hop bitterness and flavor battle it out. Hey now, these hops are at work here. Clean palate with only a quick flash of fruitiness from the alcohol. A little dry in the finish with a long trail of hop flavor.

Without a doubt, this beer displays its American Pale Ale traits; it's balanced, yet with the hops, always up front. Surpassing the benchmark is our conclusion. Proof that a Mid-American brewery can well hop a Pale Ale like the rest of them. Good use of Cascade hops!

Photo of BeerNinja007
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a mix pack I picked up in late Aug at the Price Chopper grocery in North Syracuse NY. Freshness date on the box: Jul 16 2010. Oops. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

I had this a few months ago on tap, interested to see how bottle compares to tap. The other factor affecting the difference between these two reviews is that a restaurant setting with my parents presented minimal opportunity to take decent notes, whereas here alone at home the opposite circumstance is the case.

I gave this a pretty hard pour because last time I had it was from draft and I'm curious what it'll do. A heavy pour into the center of the glass gives a big 3" of frothy bubbly beige head that lingers pretty well. The head leaves a bunch of spotty chunky lace on the glass. Smell is some soft orangey citrus hop and milky smoothness, like a semi-bitter orange creamcicle. Taste is mild and subdued, much like the nose but dialed back a few big notches, plus a little diacetyl and maybe vanilla. Orange creamcicle indeed. A little sharp pine hop also tries to fight through and, although it is very minor, it stands out quite easily and I wonder if the beer would be better off without it. Mouthfeel is even and smooth, smooth and appropriate carbonation. Finish is smooth and creamy but dry on the tongue. Tasty.

Photo of headbucket
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: very nice lacing as the level of the drink goes down. very clear orange/amber color. thin head in the middle of the beer but more bubbles collect around the outside of the glass.

smell: smell is more subdued than the flavor, nothing too full or crazy going on. A little bready and citrusy from the hops.

taste: light citrus flavor with a good amount of piney bitterness. much more hoppy than many other pale ales. a bit of biscuit/bread flavor from a good amount of malt in here as well, although the hops are more dominant. A bit dry at the end.

mouthfeel: well carbonated yet still goes down very smooth.

drinkability: very drinkable. strong flavor of hops but well balanced with malt, with nothing being too intense or intrusive. At 6% with good flavor while not being too intense it makes it very east to drink a few. However it may be too bitter and strong tasting for some as compared to the lighter or milder tasting pale ales.

Photo of dpnelson1978
3.16/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$9.99 / 6-pk.

A: Bright amber body topped with a big tight head of great retention that leaves behind moderate lacing and a thick creamy cover.

S: Subdued floral hop character and light caramel notes. Solid, but nothing special.

T: Bready malt backbone with a noticeable hop bitterness throughout. Resinous on the back end with a building bitter aftertaste.

M: Medium body and moderate carbonation. Not particularly crisp.

D: Light, highly sessionable brew, but pretty typical for the style. Nice neutral beer for any occasion.

O: This one will please the masses, but doesn't really stick out in my mind.

Photo of Spider889
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As far a actual pale ales go, this is one of the best available in Ohio I believe. That being said, I'll always grab a Commodore Perry over this when looking to buy GLBC.

Deep orange/amber color to this beer with a decent foamy head and medium retention with good lacing.

Lots of thick resiny hops in the smell, and bitter hops in the flavor profile. Sweet and malty, floral and fruity - some peach and pineapple and maybe some bitter white grapefruit.

Medium bodied and highly carbonated. Overall a good beer that drinks easily.

Photo of bfree
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%

I am not a big Pale Ale fan. With that said, this is one of the better ones I have had

A: nice deep amber color and poured out a nice head

S: citrus hops with a little malty sweetness and HONEY-nice smell

T: Hops are not too strong, nice mix of bitterness and sweetness

M: very smooth, not too bitter, and good carbonation

D: good drinkability

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

bottle into a pint glass. freshness date on label.

pours a nice rich amber color. forms a thin cap of off white head that dies down to a film right away. a few legs of lace here and there.

smell is deliciously sweet, fruity and floral with a hint of honey.

taste is lightly toasted malt with notes of toffee, well balanced by hops. a little biscuity with some pine resin on the back of the tongue to give it a slightly bitter twang. finish is nice and dry.

mouthfeel is a firm medium body with just enough carbonation.

this is a pretty damn good beer. goes down easy and represents the style well. puts a lot of other pale ales i've had to shame.

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

Aroma is of a mix between citrusy hops and a bit of caramel malt. As far as this is concerned, it's pretty well balanced.

As expected, the dominant flavor profile from the get-go is floral, citrus hops. However, they are not overbearing at all. I'd put them more in the mid-range as far as aggressiveness goes for style. There's a sweet malt flavor at the same time as well....which leads into a sweet (hint of caramel?), biscuity malt that finishes the beer off. There's a bit of lingering bitterness that hangs around.

As far as APA's are concerned, I'd rate this high for drinkability. The balance is there, the hops aren't overbearing, and it's easy drinking.

Photo of rmolledo
4.52/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Hazy amber with a small white head around the rim of the glass.

S: Piney and Citrus Hop aroma with a caramel malt aroma.

T: Very Malty and sweet but the sweetness ends when swollowed. This is a delicious pale ale. For some reason it reminds me of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Now don't get me wrong, the hops are still very present but not bombarding the spotlight.

MF: moderate carbonation with a very nice body.

D: This is a fantastic pale ale. I could probably drink this all night. I would love to try this on tap. If I were to guess, I'd say this was about 4% but it is 6%.

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

12oz bottle with a best by date of 9/10/10

a - pours a deep burnt orange color, one-inch ivory head with decent retention and lacing, light haze

s - caramel malt mostly with piney and orange citrus hops, lighter biscuit malt aroma

t - orange and caramel sweetness up front with a substantial citrus bitterness, finish is well-balanced with more orange hop bitterness mixed with toasty caramel malt, trends towards the dry side, alcohol is pretty well-hidden

m - medium-to-light bodied, moderate carbonation, fairly dry finish, but relatively well-balanced, not much alcohol warming

d - pretty drinkable in that it's well-balanced, easy on the palate and somewhat interesting

Pretty good APA overall, and another solid beer from GLBC. Well worth trying if you see it on the shelf.

Photo of sweemzander
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. 07/04/10 best by date.

(A)- Pours a clear orange color that produced a good fluffy off-white head with decent retention.

(S)- A light dry pine with lemon and pineapple.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A good piney lemon and pineapple citrus with a nice light caramel-like sweetness.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. A good hop presence despite its age. Smooth going down with light bitterness.

(D)- A solid to great pale ale. A good refresher with a solid balance and taste.

Photo of king75
3.79/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a murky gold color, with about an inch of quickly dissipating head. Not much lacing.

Smell is kind of bland, definitely get the smell of some citrus and fruit.

Has a kind of fruity taste, fairly smooth feel, very light in the mouth.

Could easily drink plenty of these without feeling cold.

Not a bad beer, but not the best I have had from great lakes.

Photo of rjhaupt
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - On the darker side for a pale ale, amber and honey hues. Excellent head with good retention.

S - Smells heavy and musky for a pale, which to me promises a richer flavor than many pales.

T - Taste like a smoot, heavy pale. A bit watery. Good for a pale but disappointing for a Great Lakes beer. Overall feels closer to an IPA than a pale ale save for the fact that I know their IPA is an even stronger presentation of hop character.

M - Feels great, light, airy and smooth.

D - Good hot day sipping beer but a bit light on the flavor for my tastes.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,890 ratings.