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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

2,759 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,759
Reviews: 994
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 105
Gots: 240 | 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: 2,759 | Reviews: 994 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thain709
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a hazy, golden yellow body...the head stood about two fingers and was foamy and white...it settled into a one finger head for the entire beer...good lacing

S - A very intriguing aroma that I kept going back to sniff...the hops are very present...the give off a citrus profile...but there are more fruits present...the big ones are apples and grapes...a strong malt profile as well

T - The taste starts off sweet with a nice blend of caramel malts that are balanced out by the fruity hops...once again the apples and grapes are standing out as well as some grapefruit...there is a touch of grain in the middle...and the beer ends with a big bitterness that lingers

M - Medium bodied...lively carbonation, smooth, strong bitterness

D - This was a solid pale ale...I could not wrap my head around the apple taste...but it really added a little extra to the beer...this one is pretty sessionable

thain709, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of earthboundagain
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Freshness date on bottle is marked for December 16th and I bought these on December 1st , best get to drinking. Pours a nice dark amber color with a nice light-tan colored head that dissipates into some decent lacing.

S - Oh hops and citrus, how surprising ; )

T - Big hop waves mixed with some sweetness and malty undercurrents.

M - Very dry but has some good carbonation.

D - Not hard to drink for a hoppy beer, bitterness is not overpowering.

Thoughts: Another solid beer from the men and women at Great Lakes. They are a solid brewery with great pricing.

earthboundagain, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of OatmattStout
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

very clear burnt yellow color

head is nice antique white with steady retention and a real nice veil of lacing

nose is excellent with toasty malt and dried fruits. then real nice grape and pine notes.

really nice mouth feel that renders deep malt complexities of sweetness. then the hops take their turn over the palate and deliver an oily pine bite that really makes the flavors pop.

This is a very nicely put together pale ale.

OatmattStout, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of Buckeyes67
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love to drink this beer simply for the taste of it. It has a great appearance, smell, mouthfeel, and is very is to drink but it all comes down to the taste. I haven't tried a beer from here that wasn't of good quality. I have had a beer or two that wasn't suited to my taste but that was a style differenc not a production flaw.

Buckeyes67, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of cavedave
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish amber topped by thin whisps of off-white foam which settle to sparse islands and a thin ring.

It is a light-medium strength bouquet of mild grain, floral hop, and a sweet fruitiness reminiscent of raspberry that gives it a wonderful aroma. Could be one of those surprises, a bold taste not predicted by a subtle nose.

Ah, I love a taste that is so well blended of such balanced flavors it becomes something that stands apart. This is a refreshing blend of subtle malt tones that sit back to balance a mild yet clean and potent hop profile. The finish is a sneak attack of citrus bitter, then piney, then herbal bitter, done in an underwhelming way that allows complexity to what is a refreshing session beer of highest order. Will need to do a side by side with Dales, SN, others, with friends.

Nice low carb., light resinous mouthfeel, promotes a good finish. As it warmed it got the slightest bit of a metallic feel. This did not detract from enjoyment.

Drinkability for this is very good, another fantastic brew from Great Lakes. So glad we get this here now.

Impression: Good brew, will get this again.

cavedave, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of zimm421
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice dark amber color with a nice light-tan colored head that dissipates at an average rate leaving some lacing on the glass

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

T - Starts off with a nice sweetness and good fruitiness from the malts, but again, the hops really stand out, adding a nice citrus flavor

M - A good dry beer, with a decent amount of carbonation

D - Fairly easy to drink, good tasting and and goes down well

A good beer, something that is good to sit down, drink, relax and enjoy.

zimm421, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of Viggo
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, purchases in Buffalo.

Pours a clear amber orange, some copper, thin white head forms, quickly settles down to a medium sized ring around the glass, a few lace spots stick, looks alright.

Smell is nice, big citrus aroma, orange peel, some lemons, nice sweet malt character, caramel and biscuits, grapefruit, floral, a bit of fruit, pineapple, really nice hop character.

Taste is similar, heavy on the malts for a pale, caramel and biscuit jump out, quite sweet, some nice fruitiness, apricots, strawberries, grapefruit and orange peel hopping, nice floral, balanced bitterness, a bit peppery going down.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with light to medium carbonation. I like my pales a bit hoppier but this is still damn nice and almost perfectly balanced.

Viggo, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of billab914
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz into my Perfect pint Glass. Poured a nice amber color with a foamy white head that dissipates into a fine film that clings to the edges.

Aroma shows notes of some nice citrus from the Cascade hops and a sweet fruitiness from the malts. Taste is hoppy with some sweet fruity flavors that are very good. Nice mouthfeel and drinkability.

billab914, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of msubulldog25
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured to a pint glass. Thanks to trep for the extra!

Short blurb on the side label about the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire (hence the name), found above the 'Please Enjoy By: 11/26/09' request...opening on 11/27/09, so fingers crossed it survived one more day :)

A: Lovely copper-orange, clear as can be with a myriad of streaming bubbles rising throughout. An initial 1+ finger head of lumpy/creamy ivory fizzles to a short lid, broken and clingy at the edges. Good lace, sticky in places.

S: Interesting - a flowery perfume, an aromatic fruit (sweet lemon/citrus and concord grape(???)). Spiced bread. A light finishing evergreen/cedar bough.

T: Starts with a welcoming dry/cracker-y pale malt, honeyed sweetness, green grass and hay. Cascade hops (a NW staple) shine with a bright spice, a hint of pine and a concluding lemon twist.

M: Medium body, crisp carbonation offers a nice prickle. Seems to build and thicken as the spicy hop oils settle on the tongue.

D: Haven't had all that many Pale Ales of late, but this one ranked among the best for enjoyability. A big flavor profile and wonderful balance, intriguing aroma and beauty to the eye. None garnered a score better than a '4' from me, but all were close enough to more, such that the whole does equal more than the individual parts. A very nice, highly-recommendable ale.

msubulldog25, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of beerwolf77
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint glass the beer is a yellow golden orange. The white head makes it about a half inch before settling to leave a tiny amount of lace.

The aroma is malty with a mix of apples and oranges. Some grapefruit and pine can be picked out as well.

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

Medium to light body. Loads of carbonation.

Overall very easy drinking. A sessionable beer for sure.

beerwolf77, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 10/17, from notes. Thanks Chris!

Pours with a wonderful clarity. Orangey-bronze color, 1.5 finger head fades to a film leaving abstract lacing.

Smell is subtle overall, slight herbal hoppiness. Gentle notes of grapefruit. Taste follows this but is in a very great balance. Low bitterness, toasty malt sweetness and light caramel. Very well balanced with herbal hops.

Not too thin of a mouthfeel like some pale ales suffer from. This is substantial and still has great drinkability. I would definitely love to session this if it were my local. I haven't had a Great Lakes that I don't like yet!

Ineedabeerhere, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of semihobo
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Crystal clear, orange body. Compact cap of off-white head with poor retention, moderate lacing.

Pale malts on the smell with a touch of baker's yeast sourness. Minimal hop spice.

Hops come through on the taste, hops are bitter rather than flavorful but are at least balanced out. Finish is just right, neither too dry nor too sweet. Simple and good, although still a hint of sour. Not bad, not great.

Full, chewy mouthfeel. Subdued carbonation.

Simple but fundamentally good. Many other bottles of this that I've consumed did not have the touch of funk that I experienced here. Sessionable.

semihobo, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of PDXHops
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, courtesy of Ryan011235.

Pours a light and bright see-thru honey color with vigorous visual carbonation. 2 fingers of thick white head with good lacing.

Nice lively bouquet of grapefruit, tangerine and pineapple with a touch of pine and light maltiness. In the mouth, I pick up additional fruitiness of peach and tart apple. Tingly and tangy. Although it's "only" a pale ale, the hoppiness in this brew puts many east coast IPAs I've been tasting to shame. Biscuity malt comes into play mid-swallow, and the finish is crisp and dry with some lingering pine. Medium body with plentiful carbonation.

Overall impression: Top notch, lively and enjoyable APA. Would love to have access to this all the time.

PDXHops, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of nkersten
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Golden orange hue with a creamy white head on a gentle pour. Bubbles remain around edge after head disappears.
S- Lots of light fruity malt and an equal amount of tropical fruit/pineapple hop aroma.
T- Good fruity hop flavor balanced by a not too sweet, light malt. Not too sweet, not too bitter, very balanced brew, excellent APA flavor.
M- Light to medium body with moderate carbonation.
D- Exactly what I expect from an APA. Easy to drink, lots of flavor, good session beer. If you can find this (pretty easy to do) try it out.

nkersten, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of BigMike
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear broze color with some dark orange highlights.
Almost a two finger head with nice lacing and a good head retention.

Smell is pretty hoppy. Almost ipa like. Pine and a touch of floral also. Slight amount of malt.

Flavor is lighter then the aroma. Pretty hoppy overall for a pale ale
with a nice malt presence to balance things.

Mouthfeel is above average. Smooth and light and pretty easy to drink.

Drinkability is good. I could drink a few of these. Overall i would say this is an average to slightly above average pale ale. nothing thats too special but not bad.

BigMike, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of Kadonny
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a tap into a nonic pint glass at TJs.

A: A clear medium orange color with a one finger white head. Ring lacing lingers.

S: Floral and grassy hops with some bready sweet malt smells.

T: Earthy piney hops with grassy and floral flavors coupled with a nice bready malty sweet flavor. Hops bittnerness overtakes for the finish and leaves a slightly metallic hops finish that lingers. This is not a huge beer, it is very crisp and clean.

M: Medium to light mouthfeel that is crisp and dry. No traces of alcohol.

D: High, a nice drinkable pale ale.

Overall another quality beer from Great Lakes. This pale ale is real hoppy but crisp and drinkable. This is a beer you can sit and drink and really enjoy in an evening. Great stuff.

Kadonny, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of biophiliadude
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to a pint.

A: Amber to syrup, bubbly head, lacing.

S: hops, flowers. Bitter aroma

T: Fruit banana, apple. Slightly bitter with caramel on the tongue.

F: Much smoother than i expected. Has a small hop bite and leaves bitters on the tongue

D: Not as bitter as some pale ales, absences of such highlights the caramel aftertaste which gives the beer that unfermented sugary feel that is very delicious.

biophiliadude, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of matty
2/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Light gold colored beer with a rapidly fading head.Aroma is pine.Taste is grapefruit,pine and hops.This is just another one of those beers that have Pinesol written all over it.I was always under the impression that pine was a scent not a flavor.This is not good to drink but I'm sure it does a hell of a job cleaning floors.

matty, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle into a pint glass.

Transparent pale brown with orange highlights. Inch and a half head that subsides to about a quarter inch. Nice lacing.

Nice balance between pine and gentle orange and meyer lemon on the edge of the drink.

Great balance! Nice bitter pine notes with orange rind. A touch of sage, which adds nice depth to the beer. The malt is present but well hidden. It could come out in a warmer serving, but there's a bit of light caramel - with maybe a hint of vanilla.

Great balance between the bitterness and carbonation. A really refreshing beverage - great pairing with chicken. I'll also support a year round serving of this beer - many pale ales are summer choices, but this would go great with a stew or even the thanksgiving turkey (though I'd prefer a French Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais).

Great example of the APA style.

BillyBoysPie, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of armock
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a copper color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of hops on a solid caramel malt backbone

T - Follows the nose caramel malt upfront then a bitter hop finish

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - This is a very good easy to drink pale it reminds me of Pine Belt Pale Ale from Southern Star worth trying sometime if you can get it

armock, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of jhoban19
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

A: reddish-copper color with a thick foamy head and strong lacing.

S: aroma of pine and freshly polished leather shoes (in a good way). nice floral background.

T: mild taste, many subtle flavors of pine and citrus but nothing jumps out at you until the strong bitter hops after taste, which I find enjoyable, kicks in.

M: Initial mouthfeel is full bodied for the first few sips, once the head subsided I found it to be a bit thin.

D: a nice APA. I enjoyed this offering from Great Lakes. I found it to be a solid representation of the style and it certainly holds its own against some of the best in the category.

jhoban19, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of cudmud
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This beer has a nice amber color and is crystal clear. In contrast to the wonderful color, my sample has no head and lacing.

Smell: The smell of this beer is awesome. Lots of pungent hop and cookie-like malt aromas.

Taste: Starts sweet and finishes with the bitter hop attributes. The flavors are balanced and a delight to taste.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a good level of carbonation and dances accross the my mouth.

Drinkability: Very good. You can drink this all night.

cudmud, Oct 30, 2009
Photo of bobsy
4.83/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Burning River pours a rich, deep gold, with a finger of smooth white head. As with all beers from this brewery, retention and lacing is fantastic. The aroma shouts out balance. While there's a large dose of grapefruit, its more than adequately counted by a deep biscuit malt base. Floral and leafy notes elevate things to the next level.

The flavour is relatively simple, but proves that sometimes all you need to do to be exceptional is do simple very well. Sweet grapefruit and tangerine hops add a rich vibrancy to a caramel and biscuit base. Slightly sweet, with a moderate bitterness and a dry, lightly warming finish. I think one of the factors that really pushes Great Lakes over the top is their slightly fuller than normal mouthfeel. A lot of pale ales err towards medium-light, but this one is firmly medium and this certainly helps to bulk up the flavour.

Great Lakes have yet to let me down, and this streak continues. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that they may well be my favourite brewery at this moment in time. To be so consistently excellent over such a diverse array of styles is simply staggering. Burning River Pale Ale is probably one of the best, if not the best, beers I've had in this category. Its drinkability is through the roof, and this is the sort of brew that I'd love to have a permanent supply of should I ever have the fortune to be stranded on a desert island and not be stuck in cold and snowy Toronto.

bobsy, Oct 23, 2009
Photo of Metalmonk
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quintessential APA looks. Rich coppery color with a slight hop-haze; thinnish but creamy head that leaves behind a few splotches of lace and never totally goes away.

Aroma skips the caramel and goes right to the toffee. Loads of that in here, more so than hops, which are present but very polite. Almost one-dimensional, but the toffee element is so impressive that I kept sniffing and sniffing and almost forgot to drink. Almost.

Fear not, hop enthusiasts, the flavor delivers. While clearly no tongue-ripper, bristly pine and tangy fruit sweetness are here in measured but prominent doses. Flavor actually does a reverse from the aroma, as the hops are front-and-center while the malt acts as backup. But it's balanced, and hardly one-sided. Toffee is still there, but the malt has a largely brisk, crispy kind of zing to it.

Creamy as all get-out, yet with a healthy carbonation nip. An airy light-to-medium body, but hardly wimpy.

Freaking excellent. One of the most enjoyable, balanced, well-made APAs I've ever had, and an important reminder that this style should never be overlooked or forgotten amongst all the bigger, hoppier entries in the IPA and double IPA part of this world. (I'm just as guilty of occasionally forgetting that as anyone.) Too bad I can't get this regularly, this would be the ultimate daily/go-to beer choice. Get some!

[Thanks to kels for this freebie!]

Metalmonk, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of Gavage
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearane: light orange in color with a 1" head that lasts a while. Some moderate lacing develops.

Smell: caramel sweetness and some citrus tones are mild overall.

Taste: caramel, orange citrus, some lemon zest, and sweet red apple in the background. Bitterness levels are moderate, and there is a bit of graininess to this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp to start, less crisp and a bit dry late.

Drinkability: another great session ale from Great Lakes. This beer is refreshing and well balanced.

Gavage, Oct 16, 2009
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,759 ratings.