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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

2,616 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,616
Reviews: 987
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 98
Gots: 186 | 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: 2,616 | Reviews: 987 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of iceball585

New York

4.18/5  rDev +5.6%

A- Golden copper color, clear, very thin white ring of head, few tiny bubbles rising

S- Pale malts, lemons, honey, floral hops, hint of caramel

T- Citrus hops, sweet, caramel, toasted malts, biscuits, slight bitter bite

M- Light/medium body, medium carbonation, crisp then semi-oily finish

D- Good session beer

I would consider this a fairly good american pale ale. Good auroma, good flavors, and the hops are not too overpowering.

01-24-2008 23:55:12 | More by iceball585
Photo of chiefydawg


3.88/5  rDev -2%

Orange amber pour with a small but vigorous ivory head. Almost a hint of some haze. Active bubbles for a couple minutes.

This throws out the fresh hop scent even without swirling. A spicy, floral scent grabs my nose and pulls my mouth down to the rim of the glass. I've been seduced.

Quite hoppy for an APA. All the bite without the body of an IPA. The spice is as prominent in taste as it was in smell. Goes down refreshing and crisp as a grapefruit soda. I feel like this could cleanse the palette and stand up to a habanero salsa.

Halfway down, I'm getting a very faint malt/fruit, like someone dipped Hawaiian bread into it - nice counterpoint to the otherwise thin and bitter previous sips. Throughout the glass, there is an aftertaste that I can't say is bad, but I don't feel like it belongs here. It's thin, and I think the low viscosity goes well with this beer.

Overall, a fresh and taste smell, and I like its edginess. I would have like a little more balance and/or complexity. Definitely will drink more. I'd like to be armed with these during Cinco de Mayo.

01-23-2008 03:16:35 | More by chiefydawg
Photo of Slynger


4.18/5  rDev +5.6%

Pours a clear, fiery, light orange / amber color with a fuzzy white head that leaves excellent lacing. The nose is earthy-citrus hops with a biscuit and caramel malt backbone. The taste is sweet caramel malts upfront, with solid biscuit malts backing them up. The hops contribute some lemony citrus flavors, and an earthy pine bitter finish that lingers. The body is light to medium with a fresh, incredible, light oily-smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

This is one of the best APA's I've had. Great Lakes never ceases to impress me. While they don't really have much in the line of beers leaning towards the extreme side of the spectrum, they will always rank in my top 5 breweries by ceaselessly producing great tasting beer that has amazing clarity, balance, and mouthfeel. Another one well done.

01-18-2008 04:25:56 | More by Slynger
Photo of jeonseh


4.22/5  rDev +6.6%

Got this from a GL Sampler pack with a drink before 2/1/08 date on it.

A - A beautiful pale ale with a nice golden, orangey color to it. The color is rather inviting and reminds me of the vats whiskey is made in. Has a nice frothy, one finger head full of bubbles. Leaves a ton of lacing down the sides and rather strong throughout.

S- Smell is of pine and hops. that's about all I get from it. Not too fragrant either but can definitely pick up the hoppy notes on this one

T- wow a good bit of pine and citrus hops in this one. A nice balance between the two flavors as they seem to complement each other rather well. The citrus is a bit more toward the orange end of the spectrum than the lemon side. Am left mostly with the pine as the after taste. A lot more hop taste in this one than I got in the nose. I like this too because it is hoppy without being overpowering.

MF - a light carbonation to this one. Also note that at some point it makes me mouth pucker even though I don't think the taste is overly bitter. leaves a light tingling on the tongue afterwards. Good but don't care for the fact that it makes me pucker that much. Consider that a bit of a negative.

D- A very nice pale ale to just sit back and enjoy the hops. Yet you can enjoy the hops without being destroyed. Would definitely consider this a good beer to drink while eating some pizza and watching the game. Another great and well balance beer from Gl. I swear this brewery just has the ability to make me want to continue to reach for their beer. They all have a ton of drinkability and all are tasty!

01-18-2008 03:03:16 | More by jeonseh
Photo of littleshamrocks


4.05/5  rDev +2.3%

12oz brown bottle with the enjoy by date clearly printed on the label. Served in an imperial pint.

Pours dark gold to medium amber with a large, frothy, off-white head. It is mostly clear with adequate carbonation. The head is generally lasting and leaves abundant lacing. There is plenty of citrus fruit aroma in the nose, along with some piney notes and underlying grainy malts. There is a decent malt base to the flavor, which helps to show off an assertive hop presence. The grapefruit and orange peel hop flavors stand out and there is a lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a somewhat dry texture and lively carbonation. Finishes lightly chalky.

Not a lot of complexity here, just a very drinkable beer with plenty of hop flavor and enough malt to allow the hops to shine. It is an extremely well crafted example of the style and another top of the line brew from Great Lakes Brewing. This is an excellent APA for those who love the taste of citrusy hops. I'll be having many more.

01-17-2008 01:55:14 | More by littleshamrocks
Photo of RedBeerHead


4.05/5  rDev +2.3%

Pours light amber with a two inch frothy head. The smell is fruity, hoppy and slightly bitter. Good smoky and fruity taste. My only comment is that the weight might be a little heavy considering the flavor. Great lakes beers will generally be on the heavier side, sometimes is works well, sometimes it weighs the flavors down.

And yes for those of you who are wondering, the Cuyahoga river did catch on fire and this beer was thus named.

01-12-2008 22:18:59 | More by RedBeerHead
Photo of SilentSabre

North Dakota

3.58/5  rDev -9.6%

This is a pretty nice APA. It poured up a light bronze orange colour with a one finger thick layer of froth. Smell was rather well balanced with an equal presence of hops and sweet malt. Taste, too seemed balanced nicely with sweet malts up front a lovely hop biterness on the finish. Everything about this seemed well proportioned, making this very drinkable.

01-10-2008 23:15:16 | More by SilentSabre
Photo of csmiley


4.05/5  rDev +2.3%

A - Pours a deep gold bordering on copper. Got about a one half inch head that disappeared immediately. Lacing was only slightly better than average.

S - Nice complex hop aroma. Citrus notes followed by earthy tones. Malt shows up pretty stromg in the background with a little bit of a sugar smell.

T - Complex hops show up in the flavor as well. There is a combonation of citrus and pine that shows up first in the flavor. The malt profile backing up the hops makes for a great balance in flavor. Also got some slight bread and caramel flavors in the background.

M - Medium bodied. Carbonation was average. Finish is dry and bitter.

D - This is a good solid effort from Great Lakes. I think the brew could be closer to an IPA than APA but still a pretty stellar beverage in the drinkability category.

01-10-2008 17:52:00 | More by csmiley
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -0.3%

12oz bottle poured into a 8oz hote water glass, but heck at least it was a glass right?

A - Poured a very nice and deep dark amber with lots of carbonation visible coming up from the bottom of the glass. There was not really much of a head here, rather just a thin film of foam lace covering the top and a tiny bit of side glass lace down the sides. Overall fairly average look for me.

S - The aroma was rather nice. An English IPA type of smell that was muc sweeter then your average british version. Instead of having the huge amounts of floral and citrus hops, this was much more earthy with a a nice grainy and grassy dominance that had a touch of bitter in it towards the end. This was rahter nice and had a good bread like malty back bone coming though in it as well

T - The flavor to was very nice especially for an English IPA. There started out a very nice grainy and grassy like hoppiness that was very dominant even from the beginning. This evolded nicely into a finely grained and bread like base that really pushed the envelope as far as hop much malt could go into this one while still keeping it true to its IPA roots. This then showed a touch of sweetness, almost caramel like, but more toned down then that. The finish was strong with dominant bitter Ero like hops draing out the finish and really drying everything out waiting for you to take the next sip from it.

M - Very nice medium bodied IPA. To be honest I was quite impressed with this one and it really seemed to make a nice little addition to the Great Lakes Brews I have been trying as of late. Rich and almost creamy like in the feel the crbonation held up great throughout the entire session and really have nothing bad to say about this one here.

D - A really nice and different session beer for me here. I normally like the deep citrus bomb for my session ale, however this was quite different and really thoroughly enjoyed every last drop. I could really see this one as a classic session ale if I lived around here. It was really quite tight profile was and had little ABV which made it just about perfect.

Overall this was a pretty damn fine ale. Stayong up here in Ohio for a few days I am getting to try all these nice Midwest brews and this is one I would be glad to try again. A quality ale I will be sure to pick up more of the next time I am around.

01-09-2008 11:33:47 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of tonistruth


3.7/5  rDev -6.6%

A- 1/2" thin and soapy white head with little retent comes and goes above a clear copper brew

S- citric, bready and floral

T- subtle citric bitterness throughout, bready and toasted malt flavors, well balanced brew

M- lively carbonation throughout with a dry, hop abused palate at the finish

D- well balanced, flavor comes out much better at warmer temps, though hops feel aggressive the flavor is mellow, enjoyable pale ale, not a bad choice

12-29-2007 06:14:29 | More by tonistruth
Photo of BDIMike


3.98/5  rDev +0.5%

Dull copper brown color. No head at all.

Smell of nice hops and very pale malts.

Tastes of a great hop taste. Much like an IPA with slightly less hops, as I like.

Mouthfeel is slightly thin, but a good sharp taste that is prefect with a pale ale.

Good drinkability. Very nice beer.

12-25-2007 22:40:50 | More by BDIMike
Photo of CDBeerDisappear


3.8/5  rDev -4%

Clear red amber color with a thin layer of foam that quickly dissipates to a ring. Not a lot of lacing. Might as well put this one in a mug since there is nothing to see. But if you don’t look at it, this is a great everyday beer. Aroma is of citrus hops and floral undertones. Nice balance between malt and hops. Good mouthfeel and nice carbonation. A very drinkable beer. A great beer to drink with snacks while watching football.

12-14-2007 22:14:32 | More by CDBeerDisappear
Photo of ffejherb


3.15/5  rDev -20.5%

12oz. bottle into pint glass. Best by date: 9/12/07 (a little late).

A - Clear amber body with two-finger head that quickly shrunk to a thin, whispy rim that held on to the end. Very modest carbonation.

S - Hops are predominantly citrus with grapefruit being at the forefront. There is also some sweet caramel and bready malts present, but the nose is primarily citrus.

T - Sweet initial flavor with a lightly bitter finish that lingers for quite a while for a pale ale. Nothing spectacular. Mostly sweet malts and grapefruit.

M - Light body with modest carbonation and a creamy, though a tad watery, texture. Finish is a bit metallic and bitter.

D - Decent pale ale with a pretty long-lasting bitterness for the style. Just a bit watery on the palate, possibly due to the date being two months past its prime. Not overly complex - mostly caramel and bready malts with citrus hops. Still, it's tasty and drinkable.

11-30-2007 02:30:36 | More by ffejherb
Photo of GRPunk


4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

On tap poured into a pint glass.

A- It poured a nice red-orange color with a thin white head that became a nice lace that stuck to the side of the glass.

S- It seemed pretty balanced. Definite floral hop presence was countered by a sweet malt aroma.

T- A bit less balanced than the aroma would let on. This seemed like one of those beers that blurs the line between an American Pale Ale and an IPA. Lots of grapefruit flavor from the hops with a lighter bready taste from the malts.

M- Nice solid feel.

D- Easy drinker. I could have more than one in a sitting.

Overall- A very solid beer that goes nicely with food. It can be a real "go to" beer.

11-24-2007 03:26:08 | More by GRPunk
Photo of jaxon53


3.95/5  rDev -0.3%

Thanks to whoever sent me this beer in whatever BIF it was sent in. Served chilled in my new Sam Adams pint glass, from a twelve ounce brown bottle. Poured a beautiful clear, rusty copper color. Noticed tons of carbonation bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass. Beer was topped off by a solid inch and a half head that was super white. Head had great retention and left huge amounts of sticky white lace behind. Smell was of floral hops, minor citrus notes, and tons of sweet malt and bread. Taste was quite good as well. A nice mild hoppiness balanced almost perfectly with plenty of sweet malt. Also noticed slight hints of yeast, orange peel. Seemed a bit grainy. Finished rather smooth with a bit of bitterness. Mouthfeel was a bit on the thin side and prickly. A very good drinkable beer.

11-23-2007 20:03:52 | More by jaxon53
Photo of OWSLEY069


2.93/5  rDev -26%

Pours a clean orange-ish/ yellow color with a white head. Aromas of a small dryness and a small citrus/ grapefruty hop. In the taste, a dry maltiness, small hops, and somewhat earthy. A smooth, small bitterness in the mouthfeel, with a dry, small hop aftertaste. Not huge in aroma, and decent taste. Somewhat refreshing and and easy drinking.

11-17-2007 22:20:06 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of BeerTruth


3.88/5  rDev -2%

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a super clear burnt sunset gold with a one finger head that dies down to a thin layer of almost nothing. Stickiness is decent, a bit of webbing on the sides. Smell is a creamy almost peanut butter odor with a nice subtle citrus tingle in the nose. Caramel malt with a hint of bread in the nose. Taste is much of the same. The peanut butter flavor emerges again on the tongue with a bit of a hop bite, but is quickly taken over by some caramel malt. Aftertaste is actually pretty dry with a bit of a grassy flavor. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good carbonation feel, but the bubbles are non-existant to the eye. Much more of a malty pale ale than a hoppy pale ale. Great Lakes makes amazing stuff. This one doesn't disappoint.

11-13-2007 01:59:14 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of brdc


3.88/5  rDev -2%

The usual interesting name, along with its history on the bottle.
Poured into an inappropriate glass which interfered somewhat with the appearance judgement.
It is a bright orange brew, with a foamy, quickly dissipating white head.
Nice aroma, floral and citric hoppiness, some (but not much) malty overtones.
Taste is reasonably well balanced (keep in mind I am not a big IPA fan); the same citric and floral hops, intermingled with some mild caramel sweetness.
All in all a nicely done pale ale, just not my preferred style.

10-28-2007 16:02:35 | More by brdc
Photo of kwakwhore

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

Beautiful copper pour. Smallish white head leaves some lacing on the glass.
Hops dominate the smell of this beer. Hoppier than most pale ales.
Hops are the first element in the flavor as well. Bitter grapefruit with some sweet malt and biscuit malt. Again this is a good bit hoppier than most pale ales.
Nice mouthfeel but nothing exceptional here.
Easy to drink and a really delicious ale. I brought some back to NC with me from Ohio. Can't wait to get back so I can drink some more. Another quality offering from a brewer that needs to expand their distribution so we can get some in NC.

10-27-2007 02:47:24 | More by kwakwhore
Photo of pwoods


4.22/5  rDev +6.6%

12oz. brown bottle from a variety pack poured into a pint.

A: Pours a "burning" copper. Good visibility through the glass, too. 1 1/2 fingers of white head hangs out for a bit and drops down to a slight froth. Little bits of patchy lacing.

S: Much stronger hop smell than in normal pale ales... closer to an IPA than anything. I'm sure I'll like this one. Enough malts to hold their own.

T/M: Yep, bigger hops than normal but it not a bad thing at all. Hops aren't as bitter as an IPA which are helped by a great biscuity malt character. Malts are also slightly nutting, leaving just a subtle sweetness. Very good brew. Body is below medium yet creamy. Slight drying finish.

D: Tastes great, readily available and very sessionable. I'll be getting more.

10-22-2007 23:20:14 | More by pwoods
Photo of atrus138


4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

Poured this from a 12 oz brown bottle with expiration date on the label. Nice amber color with a finger head that stuck to the bottle.

Nice caramel aroma with a strong presence of hops, but not as strong as most pale ales.

Taste consisted of caramel malts with floral hops, though not too strong. A nice balance. Definitely easy to drink. Another great contribution from Great Lakes. I have yet to have a sub-par drink from them.

10-10-2007 02:56:34 | More by atrus138
Photo of jackorain


4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Clear copper, 1/2 inch head fell to a nice bubbly head in average time.

S-Biscuit malt, green hops, floral hops. Not strong nor complex, but nice.

T-Big floral hops and big green hop bite, caramel maty biscuit malt props this up in the middle. A nice long bitterness finishes it up.

M-nice medium body, perfect carbonation.

Overall-this is more like an IPA in bitterness and strength but I really like it. Another quality brew from Great Lakes. I am really starting to like this brewery

10-07-2007 20:08:21 | More by jackorain
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.38/5  rDev +10.6%

The beer pours a gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a well balanced aroma of pale malts and floral hops. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth breadlike malt taste that boasts of pale and bisquit malts along with a nice selection of floral hops. The bisquit malts blend well with the hops. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a solid APA. I'm always a fan of the bisquit malts. The hop selection also adds a nice balanced flavor.

09-20-2007 22:20:12 | More by WesWes
Photo of LeftyBWS


3.45/5  rDev -12.9%

Poured, from a 12 oz. brown bottle with a freshness date on the label, into a shaker pint glass.
A: Amber-orange in color, darkish for a pale ale. Medium amount of bubbly, off-white head that was quick to recede. Not much lacing.
S: Piney hops and some sweet, oaky malt underneath. A warm sweetness fills the nose, and the hoppiness pokes in at various points. There's also a faint but deep berry-ish scent, something floral.
T: Mirrors the smell, mostly. Hoppy up front, and more oaky/malty towards the middle. The finish is a typically nice drawn-out piney taste, but with some of the other malt/floral flavorings chiming in, too. All in all, I can understand why a lot of people like this beer, and it certainly has a unique taste for this style, but it's just not what I'm looking for in an APA. I think it would do better to have the hops more prevalent.
M: Wet overall, with some bitterness up front that lingers slightly. The finish is watery with a not unnoticeable alcohol tingling.
D: Not bad, but not great. There's nothing all that offensive while drinking this brew, except the alcohol-tinged finish, but nothing about it made me want to grab another one right away, either.

09-11-2007 22:49:34 | More by LeftyBWS
Photo of Wasatch


4/5  rDev +1%

Thanks to JAYW for this brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice creamy one-finger head, with some nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is hoppy, malty, slight piny, and lots of caramel. The taste is a good balance of hops and malts, with lots of caramel. The finish is very dry and bitter. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a nice Pale Ale, glad to have a chance to try it.

09-09-2007 22:25:50 | More by Wasatch
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,616 ratings.