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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

2,893 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,893
Reviews: 1,020
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 113
Gots: 347 | 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: 2,893 | Reviews: 1,020
Photo of jammapamma
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

aroma- pretty much all cascade hops

taste- firm, but not excessive bitterness, which gives way to a little biscuit malt notes, then fades into a slick finish (not a lot of flavor hopping), then finishes with some nice cascade (I assume) hop lingering on the palate. The main thing that surprised me here was the malt profile is very, very much in the background. there is not a tremendous amount of hops, just not much in the way of caramel malts that I'm used to in APAs.

mouthfeel- I have to say a little light on the malt side, kind of slick. Still decent mouthfeel, but by far the worst part of this beer is the mouthfeel.

All in all, I could easily see going through a six pack of this in a day, which says it's better than most pale ales.

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.41/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass from a 12 ounce bottle.

A: One of the clearest pales I have ever seen. Brilliant deep golden hue with a half-centimeter thick white head that settles to a healthy film on the surface. Lacing is excellent, and carbonation dances from the bottom of the glass.

S: Not a ton on the nose. Some sweet caramel and toasty malt notes, followed by fruity, grassy hop aromas.

T: A bit like the smell, but much, much more. Caramel, rising dough, and honeyed hints make up the malt backbone of this brew. Hops kick in with citrus, grassy, and fruity notes. They also lend a crisp bitterness that makes for a finish that rivals any American Pale I have ever tasted.

M: Light to medium-bodied, very silky, and has a long, clean finish.

D: Even at 6%, this beer is one of the most drinkable of any style I have had. Could it be a new everyday sipper? Perhaps. Exceptional stuff!

Photo of Wisconsinality
3.77/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into SA perfect pint.

A- Pours a crystal clear straw gold with a half finger worth of head. The head recedes quickly and leaves a ring around the rim of the glass. Minimal lacing left behind.

S- A fair amount of hops, nice and sweet. A little grass and some biscuit in there as well. Also some citrus in there too.

T- Like the nose, some subtle hops and some sweet malt is present. A little lemon and a little orange. The biscuit is stronger in the taste than in the nose.

M- Not a lot of bitterness and nice bubbly carbonation. A little dry on the finish and a some sweet tinge on the side of the mouth. Medium bodied that is a shade on the lighter side.

D- Though not technically a session beer, this is a very easy drinking beer with good flavor that I would have no problem putting a few back in a sitting.

Photo of Buebie
3.32/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of the bottle into the pub glass somwhat hard producing about an inch of tan head. Head falling back quickly and leaving a thin cap with even thicker collar. Slick thin streaks of lace.
Color is a darker copper orange.
Freshness date clearly marked on the lable, no bottle rub off.

Aroma is mostly malt, not too sweet though with mild hop at the nose.

Taste is a bit more dry then expected. Some mild malt, a bit of biscuity yeast flavors. Hops are much more pronounced in flavor through the middle. Lingering now after the swallow with a bit of melon rind, pine and mostly bitters.

I'm not overly impressed by this one. Flavor is there though, color and appearance are good. I think it stems to aroma and innability to taste much without the help of aroma. Still a good contender for the style, follows it well.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another elite of the elite level APAs, hoppier than most non west coast ipas. Great amber appearance, hazy orange.

Great dry hop aroma for an apa, taste does not crush your palate, but dances with its relatively substantial hop character. A little thicker than your usual apa, but needs balance, hence the aforementioned viscosity. Citrus.

Straightforward, no nuances or unique aspect throughout the bottle, a good price for a good almost if not great beer.

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

pours a clear light amber color with a nice white head and ring with loads of lacing on side of glass..the smell has nice citrus and grass and a great hop aroma i smell malt and bread too..the taste is great big citrus taste with other fruits its crisp with pine and hops then its all smoothed out in the end with tasty malt..this is one solid pale ale it has great hops/citrus and malt with a nice medium mouth feel..it is highly drinkable..a solid/top APA

Photo of ryanblinkbrand
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

What can I say?? This beer is excellent. It has become my favorite beer of all time.

Appearance - Amber colored. Good head to it.

Smell - Great smell. You can smell the malt.

Taste - Love the hoppyness of this beer, yet goes down so good. It has bitterness and bite but has something of a citrus taste that makes it go down great.

Drinkability - could drink a six pack of these no problem. With a 6.0% easy to do.

Notes- This has become my favorite beer. It is from Great Lakes Brewing Company which is out of Cleveland Ohio. I live in Toledo, Ohio so Great Lakes Beers are abundant. They have yet to dissapoint me. Any that can't get to them let me know and i can help you out.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Poured a clean amber with 1-finger off-white head. Great lacing and lots of carbonation pitting.

S: Some earthy notes. A little maltier than I expected for a pale ale.

T: Grassy and earthy. Mild hop bitterness.

M: Med-bodied with a mild bitter hop aftertaste.

D: Not a bad pale ale, but plenty of better APAs out there.

Photo of AmberMan22
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So far everything I've tried from Great Lakes has been a winner. Let's hope to keep the tradition rolling.

Pours a slightly hazy macaroni orange (thank you crayola). Rocky read of vanilla creme, leaves scattered patches of lace.

Smells of bright, citrusy hops. Orange/Lemon zest, not too spicy. I need to read more into the different types of hops, but I can guess that centennial hops aren't part of this mixture -- which I feel is good.

Taste is immediately hoppy -- almost surprisingly so for an APA. Tastes closer to an IPA; certainly better than the Dogfish Head 60 Minute I tried recently.
Hoppy, a slight bitter taste, even a tinge of alcohol, which is surprising because it's only 6% ABV. A decent pale malt is evident.

It's especially evident because the mouthfeel is surprisingly thick. not quite chewy, but damn good. Wonderful carbonation plays it's supporting actor role, making this quite wonderful to taste.

Another winner from Great Lakes. 'Nuff said.

Photo of ben68cat
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

this is an excellent american pale ale!if you havent had anything from great lakes let me tell you you are missimg out,they put out great stuff!it pours a brownish,dark red,nice head to it.smells almost like an ipa.taste is some bitterness,hoppy,and drinks incredibly well!it is even better on tap! careful cause this one may make you want to drink them all night.

Photo of Amalak
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another homerun for Great Lakes. I had out of a bottle. It was redish-brown. Very bubbly with a greatly bubbly head. Clear beer.

It has a beautiful floral, bitter taste. Very hoppy. Crisp. There's a vegetable taste to it. This is about as perfect a Pale Ale as I've had. Love it.

Photo of nc41
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm usually an avid IPA guy, but this one impressed me. This brew is far better than Great Lakes IPA. Pours nice, hoppy nose great head and all that good stuff. A fantastic hoppy brew without the slamming bitterness, Flowery, aromatic without being sweet, not one bit of sweet. This is one really great brew, right there with the best PA's on the market, and nicely drinkable.

Photo of muttyd
3.4/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Hazy orange pour with a nice thick white head.

S - As expected, the aroma consists of piney/grassy/earth hops balanced off by a sweet bready malty aroma.

T - Sweet malt flavor upfront followed by a very hoppy bite. More reminiscent of an IPA than a pale ale. Finish is bitter and this beer leaves a slight chewy/sticky aftertaste.

M - Bubbly with a medium body. As mentioned before, sticky finish.

D - Very good beer. Will have to pick up a few more when I'm in the area.

Photo of Turbansurfer
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a better than average APA and this breweries flagship beer.
A light red beer with a medium amount of hops. the beer is one that doesn't have the strongest body with a mild taste overall but- not that strong of a start or finish but a good middle of the tongue taste.

The beer is just very drinkable, can be a bit thick for an APA at times.

I have found that this beer ages well in the bottle and the flavor has gotten a bit more complex when I have forgotten about it for a few months.

The brewery itself is very impressive. Very environmentally conscience, gorgeous building on a brick street in downtown Cleveland. Food much better than average in a 200 year old building that Elliot Ness got shot in. (That's what you get for trying to stop me from my daily intake).

Photo of StarlightSeraph
4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, crystal clear, golden orange, with tons of bubbles and two fingers of slightly off-white head. The head subsided slowly, and left tons of lacing. This is what a pale ale should look like.

Smell: A surprising amount of bready malt, mixed with grassy and citrusy hops. Nice smelling.

Taste: Definitely maltier than I expected from a pale ale...but very enjoyable. There is a strong taste of the bready/honey malt right away, which fades into grassy hops. This is a very full-flavored pale ale, and one of the more balanced ones I've ever had. Very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is a little prickly, but the feel is nice and creamy. Almost a little bit too heavy for a pale ale, but very nice.

Drinkability: I really enjoyed this. I usually like hoppier pale ales, but this was incredibly balanced and full flavored. Definitely wouldn't mind having a couple of these. Another excellent brew from Great Lakes.

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

Cool label with a best before date marked as 3/21/10, so I'm drinking a couple of weeks late. My own fault though, as I bought the variety case right before this date. Had all 4 different beers back then, but didn't get a chance to review until these last few bottles.

A - slightly hazy amber orange color. a vigorus pour into a pint glass produces a nice inch thick white head. nice lacing, and a thin head remains thoroughout consumption

S - citrus, hops, sugar

T - as expected, hops up front. spicy finish

M - tingle of carbonation in the back of mouth. lighter body, clean taste

D- still drinking good, even if past the date

Photo of curasowa
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber color with one finger of head that fades slowly with nice lacing. Smells nicely of citrus and flowery hops and a faint background metallic note. Nice body up front with lots of sharp bitterness. The body thins out towards the end and the bitterness becomes more pronounced with a mild metallic taste. The finish is slightly harsh and lingering. Drinkability is good despite the slightly unbalanced hop profile. This beer has a west-coast style vibe going on to me, but I have to say that I like it.

Photo of hosehead83
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass
Bright copper in color, with a decent two-inch head of foam
Aroma-Pleasant, citrussy hops
Taste-Citrus notes,bitter hops and a biscuity, malt backbone that provides a nice balance. Hoppy edge with a fruity, biscuit quality that makes for a tasty refreshing pale ale. Very nice and full of character.

Photo of SykDoc
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a clear orange color. A 1/8 inch grayish white head forms and quickly reduces to minimal lacing.

The aroma is a blend of citrus/pine hops and some additional floral components. Some sweet caramel malts in the background.

The taste is decent too with the expected culprits of pine/citrus hops although more of the earthy notes. Again the caramel malt sweetness pops up in the middle.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice level of carbonation. It has a leather-like texture that makes it smooth with a clean finish.

Overall, this is a decent beer that is easy to drink but does not stand out as some of the other IPAs.

Photo of Ryan011235
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter on 3/15/10

Best before 5/2/10

Moderately deep amber-hued, Burning River is essentially brightly colored with but a slight hazy sheen - hardly cloudy, though. The color is rather consistent; not much in the way of highlights. The pour left about 1 ½ fingers of foam which, after several minutes, dissipates to a thin patch of bubbles across the top; such is retention. Lacing is decent at the start & holds up pretty well throughout.

The nose is very good, if just a bit unassuming. Lots of subtle nuances create an aroma that is densely fortified. Hops are featured without being brash, offering plenty of floral & citrus notes - grapefruit, lemon zest, orange peel & ripe tangerine. The hops intertwine with earthy aromas of lemongrass & fresh-cut hay; indeed, it conjures the image of a fresh-aired prairie. Seated in the back is just a touch of sweetness; more so than biscuit, I'd say it's a hint of sugar cookie.

Burning River tastes good, too; it follows the nuances of the aroma (though proportioned differently), as well as the aroma's even-handed approach. This is certainly not a beer geared toward the bold or extreme, which is by no means a fault. It tastes far more floral than it smells, with mild citrus undertones weaving their way throughout. A restrained bitterness picks up in the middle & carries on to the finish. It retains much of the earthy & grassy notes with a modest spiciness most apparent before the beer starts to warm. The malts are a tad more appreciable to taste with a bit of sweetness & a pervasive toastiness.

Just on the lighter side of medium bodied with reasonably low carbonation. Said carbonation offers just enough prickliness to support the flavors & let them shine. As mentioned earlier, there is some bitterness that makes its way to the finish & lingers for a few moments.

Very good drinkability. I've long been a fan of Burning River. One bad thing about being comfortably within the Great lakes distribution area is that I often take their beers for granted & pass them up in favor of something shinier, so to speak. In any case, this is very good beer. Recommended.

Photo of TonyReaves
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a perfect head- two fingers' worth rising right to the top of my shaker pint. Love when that happens.

Smells piney with a hint of sweet crystal malt.

Taste is hoppy straight through. There's a fruitiness at the front from both the malt and the hops. As it goes down, there are great buttery/toasty flavors. Ends with a satisfying hop bite. Haven't had a bad beer yet from this brewery.

Carbonation is a little low, which I like here. Dry finish makes each sip as good as the last- I wish I had more than one bottle left.

Photo of jpro
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just became available in NC, so picked up a couple of sixers when I was up there last weekend (still no Great Lakes in South Kacky). Cracked one during the first night of the NCAA tournament...

Pours a mix of light amber / straw gold, with a minimal egg shell head; lots of good lacing, though - the bottom third of my glass is one nice, snowy sheet! Aroma is dominated by caramel malt sweetness; there are hints of pine and citrus with a little earthiness, too. The hops become more apparent in the taste - nice citrus / tropical fruit with a touch of woodsy bitterness; bready and sweet malts are there. Mouthfeel is light to medium-bodied and carbonation is fairly high, but not overly zingy. A very drinkable brew - I think this may become one of my go-to pale ales (too bad I have to drive about 3 hours to get some) - great stuff!

Photo of drumrboy22
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into an Avery chalice. Beer was a clear orange color, with a one-finger, white head. Lively carbonation and moderate lacing.

Aroma was piney hops, fresh grains, biscuit and light citrus.

Taste was moderate hops, honey and bread. Clean and crisp.

Nice session beer. Tasty and easy drinking.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.26/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 6.0% ABV, Serve at 45 degrees F, Best before 02/23/10.

A - The brilliantly clear honey-golden beer is topped by a massive, slightly off-white head. Great retention and thick, clumpy lace all over the three-finger space.

S - The cascade hops really come out with a bright floral bouquet that's green and luscious. A pine hint cant be found as well as a slight grassy-mulch nose and a light fruitiness. Pilsner and caramel malts comprise a fairly beefy backbone.

T - Unfortunately as I suspected, the hops come forwards a bit more in the grassy, mulch-like category to strain my palate. The strong pilsner-like caramel malt backbone is there but fleeting as the finish ends bitter, a touch citrusy, and a bit mulchy.

M - The smooth, soft entry is replaced by a really dry and slow-burning bitter, grassy hop finish with a long finish.

D - I've had this before and can't say the age has been bad to it but I will say I'd love to give a fresh bottle a review. Not one of my favorite pale ales. Not a favorite Great Lakes for that matter.

Photo of jlindros
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got another Great Lakes to try thanks this time to thebouch01.

A: Poured into my SA Perfect Pint glass with a nice 1.5 finger rising thick fluffy head that fades slowly and leaves a little lacing. Its a brilliantly clear amber orange color with many bubbles rising from the etch at the bottom of the glass.

N: Nose of a light pale ale. Some light malts, a little toasty malt aroma, some fruity hops a little bit of pale hops, and slight yeastiness. Very light straw grassy hop aroma as well.

T: Starts with a crisp light ale flavor, with some light malts and a little toasty flavor. A slight creaminess too. This is accompanied by some nice pale hops. A slight spicy hop, a little earthy hop, and some grassy hops. A slight yeasty flavor to go with all that too, towards the end. A nice almost British real ale bitterness to it, but American spicy hops.

M: A decent body, a little lighter than medium, and good carbonation.

F: Semi bitter, it gets a little more bitter on the finish. Also pretty dry. The lingering grassy and earthy hop flavors seem to really come out at the end when the other flavors are gone. More of that bitter English real ale character, but lighter on the ale and spicier on the hop. A nice light pale ale overall, drinkable, has a nice hop character. A solid APA. I could see drinking quite a few of these if I could get them around here. If I could complain about anything, it would be the slight yeasty aroma and flavor.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,893 ratings.