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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

2,809 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,809
Reviews: 996
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 105
Gots: 265 | 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: 2,809 | Reviews: 996 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biegaman
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burning River isn't all that fiery. In fact, it's actually a fairly dull and commonplace shade of gold. That's not to say it isn't kindled with just a smudge of amber but don't let the name or label put any pictures in your head. Its complexion is glossy, its clarity immaculate and its head bubbly and adhesive - this doesn't need any glitzy highlighting to look good.

This is supposedly an English pale ale but it's brimming with pungent, piny American North-West hops (Cascades, to be specific). And it gives you a little sample of everything the cones are capable of being: sprucey and piny, fresh and minty, herbal and earthy, zestful and spicy, candied and citrusy. One beer - a dozen different smells.

What ends up making the cut is the mintyness, the citrus and the herbal character. It tastes like a fresh, ripely picked hop cone that was drowned in pineapple and bitter grapefruit juice before being crushed together with fresh mint leaves. If Great Lakes Brewing ever decides to make a salad dressing flavoured like this I'll be sure to buy it.

The malts are tasted but even more so sensed. They are toasty and sweet with a sugary honeycomb flavour and trace nuttiness. The hops are felt too, even for a considerable period after the swallow, as they release their resoundingly bitter resins. Neither hops nor malt seem to dominate; having the presence of both in the same beer is appreciated.

If anyone is looking for a tasty, easily quaffed and highly rewarding pale ale then I might just point them in the direction of Cleveland, Ohio. There are pale ales out there just as good (even better) but there aren't many breweries who turn up as high a number of quality beers as Great Lakes. They either make good beer or they make great beer.

Photo of psyphin
4.68/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Bright copper orange with a fluffy white head with nice lacing.

S - Toasty malt breadiness and oodles of citric american hops.

T - Chewy malt middle mixes very well with the hop combination in this beer. One of the best balanced examples of a true APA and not an ipa light.

M - Perfect carbonation with a medium body.

D - Superbly sessionable pale ale that I come back to time after time.

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

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Clear, bright orange with a half-inch of sticky white head.

S - Sweet caramel and toffee malt with a noticeable, but not overwhelming, citrusy hop presence.

T - Sharp flavor of orange zest and hop bitterness at first overpower the malt, but then some toffee flavor comes through in the middle and meshes well with a lingering bitterness in the finish.

M - Light-medium body, fine carbonation.

D - Quite good. Interesting enough to warrant extended sipping, and light enough to make that possible.

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

A - Pours a golden brown with a nice sized, bubbly head that sticks to the glass.

S - Sharp, fruity smell, with a hint of the hops to come...I'm smelling grapefruit and possibly some vanilla?

T - What a great tasting pale ale! This definitely has a strong hops bite to it, but it i balanced and not overwhelming. The after taste levels out with a nice, bread like taste.

M - Not to heavy, not too light. A very balanced feel.

D - This is very drinkable and enjoyable. Unless you despise tasting hops, this one goes down smooth and leaves you ready for another glass.

Overall - I'm very glad I decided to grab this beer from the local Kroger here in the Cincinnati area. I've heard some good things about the Great Lakes Brewing company, and this certainly didn't disappoint. This is a great example of an APA, and should be on everyone's list if you havn't tried it.

Photo of Tee76
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden cooper color with a beautiful head to it.That reduces to a thin lace

Fruity aroma with a strong smell of hops.

Very dry tasting beer with a fruity, hoppy almost biscuity flavor to it.Not to much of an after taste, but once again a very dry beer.

Dry but smooth mouth feel. For a pale ale this has a full bodied feel to it, most pale ales are on the lighter side, other pale ales should take note of this one.

Drinkability is high.It's easy to sit back and enjoy a few of these.This is what pale ale should taste like!

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

12oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Perfectly amber color, high clarity, 1 finger tan head, massive bubbles!

S: Fruity hops, weed like skunk

T: Mouthfull of cascading hops, grassy finish with grapefruit peel

M: Bitter! Medium bodied

A tasty hophead brew, smells fantastic

Photo of dpodratsky3
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First beer tried out of my nice Great Lakes sampling sent by Auslander. Excellent trade and thanks big time to him.

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Excellent clarity with a pure amber color. Has a big bubbly head that falls pretty quickly.

S: Smells a little mild actually, but with a very pungent, "dank" hop aroma. Has a floral hint to it as well.

T: Hops! Not overly bitter, but a distinctive bite to it. It doesn't taste like a plethora of varieties, but more like one or two powerful ones. Like the smell there is a floral aspect here too. There might be a little malt balance, but not much at all, hops are the star. Bitterness lingers in the back of your mouth for a long time.

M: Pretty light and relatively thin. The hops and nice carbonation create a dry bite-y-ness.

D: An easy drinking beer if you like hops. A little powerful for my liking in a mere pale ale, but all in all good.

Notes: Great Lakes continues to impress me with each beer I drink. While not as good as Eliot Ness, in my opinion, it is a tasty hoppy brew.

Photo of Brad007
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden copper color with a one-finger head into my fluted glass.

Aroma is full of floral hops with a decent amount of biscuity malt underneath. Seems about right.

Taste is full of grassy hops upfront with a good transition into biscuity malt with a good texture to it. Just a tad buttery. Otherwise, has a decent feel to it.

Mouithfeel is full of lingering grassy hops and biscuit malt. Carbonation feels right. Leaves a decent taste in my mouth.

Definitely a good example. Not the best but still quite drinkable. Worth a shot.

Photo of portia99
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle received in trade from brokenleadedcask. Thanks! Poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a nice, clear amber orange with a tight, 1 finger creamy white head that lasts. Fades away down to a thin collar...some sparse lacing as the beer empties from the glass.

S - Smells of dark caramel - surprising given the light color. Some herbal, earthy and a touch of fruity, citrusy hops. Some doughy, bready malt in the aroma.

T - Well balanced. Good malty backbone - very solid. Good breadiness and some sweetness to set the foundation. Not overly bitter, but bitter enough. Some fruity undertones in the background along with a touch of smokiness (just a touch).

M - Mouthfeel is of medium body. Plenty of carbonation keeps things lively. The subtle smokey flavor sits on the palate into and beyond the swallow. Interesting and a bit unique for this style.

D - Interesting beer...smooth and easy drinking. Nice APA. Not overly hoppy, but quite flavorful and balanced. Not the best APA I've ever had, but a really good one. Glad to have the chance to try this, and would happily have another.

Photo of GodOfBeer
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears to be an orange yellow with a decent sized white head, some lacing.

Smells of nice floral hops, mandarin oranges, very interesting!

Tastes of toasted grains mandarin oranges with a perfect bitter and floral hop finish, sort of reminds me of DFH 60 but a lot more complex.

A carbonated mouthfeel and very drinkable, possibly one of the best Pale Ale's I've had, I'll have to try this again for sure.

Photo of alkemy
4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the American Pale Ale that is my measuring stick for all other beers of this style. The pour is a copper amber with an off white head that always sticks to the glass. Big floral hops with some pine and hints of vanilla and grapefruit for me. Hops are boss when it comes to taste. Not overpowering like a DIPA or even an IPA, but this is the focal point. You get some caramel breadiness mixed in, but this has a great dry finish. I could go on and on about this beer, but in my opinion, it's the best I've had of the style.

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

Honey color with a light white head. The head dissipates quickly and no lacing left behind.

The smell has a very pleasant hop profile of citrus and floral hops. There's a light bready malt follow up.

This is a very hoppy PA. The floral hops are showcased and backed by a buttery flavor. It's a smoothe combination.

It's thick and creamy in the mouth. Lightly bitter aftertate. Good drinkability.

Photo of chicagobeerriot
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours gold with a moderate, downy head and no veil to speak of. The smell is classic cascade floral and pine, with just a hint of light vanilla underneath. The mouthfeel is crisp and light with lively carbonation. The taste is very hop forward for the style, venturing toward, if not crossing, the border between APA and IPA. The floral and pine flavors take the lead and fade while the strong bitter flavors come to the fore. The malt backbone suggested by the vanilla smell makes only a cameo appearance. A very nice APA, but, given the lack of balance, only hop lovers need apply.

Photo of PerzentRizen
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big thanks to Auslander for this beer! One great extra! Poured into a Piraat tulip at 45 degrees this beer has a toasted caramel color and lightly off white head that reduces to thin lacing.

The aroma has cascade hops and caramalt in the nose with plenty of grainyness. Green apple, cherries, and faint hint of grapefruit round this pale ale nicely.

The taste is dry, florally hoppy, grainy and a light biscuity flavor is present. The hops are not overwhelming but are omnipresent. The hops are the first and last thing to enter the mouth upon sips.

Mouthfeel is medium to lightly robust for the style. I for one like the fullness and would like to see less watery pale ales like this.

Drinkablity is high. With only 6% abv, lightly hoppy, and a nice mouthfeel you can easily enjoy one or five of these in a night.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Clear medium orange color. One finger of frothy head with less than average retention (but it does leave a small 1/8 inch layer) and moderate lacing.

3.5 S: Nose is full of crystal malt and a touch of graininess. Some herbal and citrus hops.

3.5 T: Good, but run-of-the-mill. Moderately bitter hop backbone with caramel for the malts. Not a whole lot, but some lemony hop flavor.

3.5 M: Medium body, but slightly lighter than I like. Somewhat creamy, but not enough. Good carbonation.

3.5 D: This is the first GL brew that didn't floor me. It's a quality beer and would never be pissed about drinking it, but there are so many better APAs out there that I'll give this one a pass most of the time.

Photo of ClevoPiwo
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a really pretty beer! It pours a rich deep amber color with a big frothy white head that leaves lacing all the way down the glass. The color is also very crisp and clear.

The smell is huge with hops! Floral and citrus notes assault the nose, but there is also a nice malt character in the background if you smell for it. A very complex and pleasant bouquet of aromas.

The taste is just as big as the smell - way more hops than many IPAs I've had, but not done in poor taste. The body is nice and full with a good complimentary malt body and character balancing well with the arsenal of hops. The hops definitely take the forefront of the taste and leave a floral bitterness long into the aftertaste.

One of my favorite by GL!

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Appears burnt orange in color with a lingering soapy white head which provides ample amount of lacing.

Smell is lightly floral. Sweet malt also there.

This beer has a very good balanced flavor, leaning to the hop edge. Caramel and biscuity with a solid citrus hop lending notes of orange sherbert as well as pine.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and finishes semi dry.

Drinkable? Very.. Sessionable, definately. Sure does go down easy hard to have just one.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Beers of the World on a recent family vacation, I should have picked up more!
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. Great 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. Great session ale here.

Photo of alcstradamus
3/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light golden color with a nice finger of head that recedes quickly. Smell is weak, mainly caramel malt and straw. Taste is slightly better, although that just brings it up to average. Overall, I don't think this beer really has anything going for it. Not much in the way of hops, and the malt profile is nothing special to make up for it.

Photo of beeragent
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a medium gold forming a 1/2 inch off-white head. Medium spots of lace cling to the glass.

S - Citrusy hop aroma dominates the nose. Not much else is detectable.

T - Nice citrusy hop flavor up front, followed by a smooth malty finish. The malts seem to balance out the hops in the finish, reducing alot of the harshness from the hops (not always a plus, but in this case it works).

M - Medium bodied with a slightly harsh finish from the hops. Good amount of carbonation throughout.

D - Overall not a bad pale ale at all. Very refreshing. Nice full flavor thats not overpowering and sessionable ABV.

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

A: Golden with straw edges and a deep red-tinted mass in the body. Really beautiful. The head is 2+ fingers of creamy, bubbly beige that collapses slowly bubble by bubble. There's a thin cap of lace, with a thicker ring and good lacing on the glass.
S: A light and semi-sour fruitiness comes to the fore. Sweeter than I'd want it to be, considering Great Lakes flaunts the use of Cascade hops on their website. I can't pull much of the citrus that I was expecting, but maybe I'll eat my words with the flavor?
T: Roasted bready malt is almost reminiscent of a porter. My mind keeps saying "coffee", but my heart wants more hops! This truly isn't what I expected. The Cascades are there, citrusy and smooth, but they are subtle and seem to be hiding beneath the roasted barley. The bitters do pull through and linger, and they taste of bittersweet grapefruit. Not much else happening here.
M: Medium body with balanced carbonation.
D: I don't know...this beer threw me off. I had certain expectations, I guess. I did enjoy it. I actually cracked open another one as soon as I finished the first. But it's not what I'd reach for when I want a hoppy pale ale.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12 ounce bottle picked up at Abe's in Bethlehem for under $2. Freshest by 9/21/09. Poured into my Imperial nonic pint glass. The pale ale appears a crystal clear golden yellow color with about two fingers of off white head. Nose and flavors consist of citrus, mainly grapefruit with hints of orange peel, a good amount of caramelized malts, medium toasted bready grains, slightly per-fumy and floral hops. Wonderful balance overall. The ale is just about medium bodied and amply carbonated with a bitter-sweet, crisp finish. A great everyday pale ale. Glad that they finally made it to eastern PA.

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

A: Orange-amber body, moderate frothy white head... receded fairly quickly, moderate lacing left behind.

S: Citrus, caramel and floral notes. Citrus was mostly a grapefruit-orange blend.

T: Dominated by an orange-grapefruit bitterness... some bready-caramel holds things together. Slight herbal character.

M: Perhaps a touch thin, good carbonation. Rounded, soft finish.

D: Easy to session. A nice pale ale indeed. Could of had a tad bit more in the way of body.

Photo of jdg204
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had fantastic luck with my Great Lakes offerings thus far, so I was excited to try another in a PA style that I consider one of my faves. My buddies at Abe's Cold Beer in Bethlehem were my hook-up for this brew.

A: Pale orange with a thin white head that descends to a minimal cover.

S: Light citrus fruits up front with caramel in the back.

T: Citrus fruits are up front grapefruit/orange with a light caramel providing minimal support. Hops really took over in the undertone and IMO dominated the flavor a bit too much.

M: Medium bodied brew with nice carbonation levels.

D: A solid brew to be sure, but I was a bit disappointed considering my usual high expectations for GL. Unfortunately, this beer committed the great beer sin in my eyes, lack of balance (way more hops than the malt can support). This is a pretty classic style Pale Ale, I can see how it would definitely be a staple brew in it's home area. Good offering from GL, but not one to go too far out of your way to obtain.

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

Appearance - Clear, light honey with a one finger off-white head. Nice splotchy lacing.
Smell - Pine, slight citrus and malt sweetness.
Taste - Piney, some citrus and a sweet malt backbone. There is a full hoppy finish.
Mouthfeel - Light-medium body with moderate carbonation. Still has a full type of mouthfeel, not watery.
Drinkability - Very easy drinking.
Overall - This beer is very well balanced and is quite sessionable. A relatively mild beer that maintains both complexity and flavor.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,809 ratings.