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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

2,870 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,870
Reviews: 1,012
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 111
Gots: 323 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-06-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,870 | Reviews: 1,012 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of steve8robin
2.62/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

GL Extra in a trade:

A: Medium copper color with a small white head that quickly fades.

S: Smells hoppy and grassy. Slight malts on the backend. Not too good.

T: Grassy upfront with a medium hop presence. Grapefruit in the middle. Not one for me.

M: Refreshing, but does not leave much on the palate.

D: A hint too hoppy for me.

All in all, this is a hoppy / grapefruit bitterness type brew. Not for me. If you like hops and dry flavor, then try this one. Otherwise, not worth your time.

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

12 oz. Dark gold pour with a nice cap of white bubbles.
Aroma is mostly piney hops with some floral accent.
Taste. Very resiny. Piney hops abound that mellow into more citrus throug the finish. A solid level of hop bitterness throughout.
Easy to drink with the bitterness kept under control, but enough to be very refreshing. Body is stickier than it would lead on.
A great example of the style, another solid Great Lakes Brew.

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

This is a wonderful pale ale. Nice color, hoppy but not overboard, and a nice finish.

Appearance is a nice medium copper/golden hue, with adequate head.

Smell is a stongly hops and floral/citrus, I know there's hops in it at 10 paces!

Taste is fatastic, strong hops and a pleasantly balanced bitter notes, but not over the top: citrus and strong hops dominate on swallow and very little sweet malt flavors present. Good summer evening beer I'll bet.

Mouthfeel is what I'd expect from this, kinda dry and not very lingering.

Drinkability is fantastic, not so hoppy you want to stop but enough flavor and aftertaste to make drinking an enticing and interesting brew.

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

Poured into a mug.

Pours a clear light copper color with an off white head, has a big head with nice lace and decent head retention. Good looking brew.

Brew smells of citrus/floral hops, fruits, yeasts, malts.

This brew tastes balanced; not overly hopped - not in a bad way (not light by any means). Sweet citrus, nice hops and fruits. Nice crisp taste and dry finish.

This is a very drinkable brew; may not be a hopped up brew for hop heads, but there is enough there to keep a hop head happy. This brew is very sessionable, and is more approachable for some non hop heads. A good party brew - or any time for that matter. Very good.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an effervescent copper that produces a beautiful full finger or two of creamy and thick head that perches atop my beer for the entire length of my consumption. The lacing that it leaves can hardly be called lacing, as it is more a solid wall of foam that is simply more concentrated where the beer sat between sips.

S/T: I find more and more that pale ales try to be IPAs, and as a result, they over-hop on the aroma and in the taste. Not so here. A good amount of citrus and grapefruit hops are nicely balanced by a bready and caramel malt backbone. The taste follows suit, bringing a very nice balance to this beer. There is just enough bitterness to snap you back to the reality that this really is a pale ale despite the balance. There is also a nice twinge of orange in there. I really enjoyed this.

M/D: Gotta be the creamiest pale ale that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The carbonation seems to blend right into the body of this brew, making for a great drinking experience.

The thing I like most about Burning River is the fact that it knows what it is. It excels at it, and doesn't try to be anything else. This is one helluva pale ale, and I might make this a go-to.

Photo of chillwinston
4.52/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle this pours with little head but a fragrant aroma. Light amber color. Hops, citrus and pine (maybe from the Cascadian hops) are the dominate flavors, in that order. It also doesn't seem to impart the dry mouth feel that many pale ales do. Overall, one of my favorite pale ales.

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

Nice pale ale, very well rounded and pleasing.

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle. Black design with white lettering and an image of the Ohio skyline over flames from the burning Cuyahoga River. Side narrative notes awards, naming reference, main brew description, adherence to Bavarian purity laws of 1516, and serving recommendation. Neck label notes historic context of the brew, river restoration, and brewery's annual environmental celebration around it. Notes freshness date (03/28/10), and Alc. by Vol. (6.0%) Served in a tulip glass.

A - Pale amber pour with a good head, fair retention and good lacing.

S - Grapefruit and lemony nose with a biscuity and malty hint.

T - Taste follows nicely with the grapefruit and citrus with a nice malt support, including a light sweet and bready note towards the finish.

M - Medium-light body with medium carbonation and a crisp and slightly dry finish.

D - Rather quaffable. Good casual ale.

Notes: Second brew I have from Great Lakes as they reach the DC area and sure enough their brews are good quality so far. This pale ale can be had with the best of them in the style, glad to include in the rotating selection of PAs. This is not my favorite style but it is one that is always iconic and important to have around to offer as a quality and quaffable entry point to craft brews, and a reliable option to have have in any case. Burning River sure is great on that front.

Photo of animalchin
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Has a nice dark (and I mean dark) copper body with a retaining head that becomes a layer of lacing that complements the lining of the glass the whole way though.

S - A lot of floral, almost herbal, hops in the nose with toasted biscuit aromas to follow. Sensing some light citrus as well.

T - Nice toasted hops that is followed with fresh bread or bran muffin. Kind of a kick in the ass actually for a pale ale. Excellent though.

M - Condensed and creamy deal that you can feel going on all the way down.

D - 6% ABV for an APA is reasonable - I think it only takes one to appreciate this fine work though. So much going on here. One hell of a brew.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-a nice golden orange color, hint of haze and some bubble action going on. an off white to light tan head, great retention of pale ale, thick and creamy and leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S-an earthy malt sets in first, touch of caramel, followed by a nice citrus hop of orange and grapefruit. well balanced with a great hop profile!

T/M-light body, very smooth, well carbonated. pale malts up front, hint of earthiness and caramel, light citrus hop backing bringing some orange and grapefruit. the finish also brings some hop bitterness as it is quite crisp.

D-the nose was awesome, the taste fell a little short of that but still extremely good pale ale. I really enjoy Great Lakes and this is definitely a solid offering for the style!

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

A beautiful clear copper color with lively carbonation, a decent head and great lacing. The aroma suggests lots of deep grainy malt and pleasing piney hops. Really edible smelling, very nice. The flavor is pretty much in sync with the aroma. A nice mid-bodied brew with fair woodsy pine hop over biscuit and bready malt. Sweet grass and mellow pine. Almost a seaweed quality but very nice. Highly drinkable. Very nice for some hops and tasty refreshment.

Photo of claminat420
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- poured a copper mixed with an amber color. pretty tough to chose which one dominates. nice foamy white head. medium to heavy lacing.

S- biscuity with some caramel and a squeeze of citrus. not to shabby.

T- same as the smell.

M- medium bodied. decent carbonation.

D- could knock out a 6 no prob.

Overall- i was expecting alil more on the hop end from this beer but not to bad. a great pale ale to get people into the pale category.

Photo of jdflyer06
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Nice golden color. Fairly light body with a foamy head that sticks around and leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S: Light malt backbone with some serious bitterness coming up through the nostrils. Not overly fruity but with some piny aromas. Not like some pale ales that are just watered down versions of IPA's. This is true pale ale with a nice crisp bitter nose.

M: Medium body that lightly coats the palate with a decent amount of carbonation. Really pretty smooth and an easy drinker.

T: A nice bitter wallop up front, followed by some bready notes and some light toastiness. Not overly complex, but not boring either.

O: I really enjoy this beer as an alternative to the sometimes boring IPA's that seem to creep their way into my sessions far too often. At 6% ABV, a pretty easy drinker and a great session beer. A very good example of the style.

Photo of pasdachuri
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a beautifully clear deep golden/copper color with a 1/4 inch white head.

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

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

Light to medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall another quality beer from Great Lakes. This pale ale is real hoppy but crisp and drinkable as well.

Photo of tjd112
3.36/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this beer at some beer bar in downtown Columbus, Ohio. This beer is amber coloured and it is hoppy as hell, with some biscuity malts balancing it out. In fact, I think it may borderline on IPA. Mouthfeel is medium bodied. I couldn't drink a whole sixpack, but I'd like this when I'm in the mood for an IPA/APA hybrid.

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A slightly hazed amber beer with a white, sticky head that quickly fades. There is some lacing left over.

S- Subdued. Mostly malty for me which is weird for this beer. There is a fruity, citrusy hop profile that is very nice.

T- Similar to the nose. Very biscuity malts balanced nicely with biting, citrusy hops. Neither one overpowers the other too much. In all this is a hoppy, bitter pale, but its not intrusive at all.

M- Medium body, perfect carbonation. Juicy finish. This is a very crisp and clean beer.

D- Clean, crisp, sharp, easy on the palate. This is one of my favorite beers by one of my favorite breweries. One of my go to beers for sure.

Photo of mirish72
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of mixed twelve pack brought home from the midwest by a friend. Down to my last bottle of the Burning River, so I figured I had to review at this point.

Pours an orange amber with a nice head that sticks to the side of the glass. Has a nice hoppy aroma, but with a definite hint of maltiness.

Tastes of nice citrusy hops, but with a bit of the maltiness coming through. This is not technically an IPA, but it seems pretty close and has more of sharp bite than a lot of other pales ales.

Another great beer from Great Lakes, just wish they had East Coast distribution.

Photo of BrewerB
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to twinsdaddy for the hookup on this brew!

A - Brilliant clarity, medium light orange color. Thin off-white head retains well.

S - Tropical fruity hops, touch of caramel, slightly toasty malt.

T - Solid malt backbone - toasty bread with some caramel in the background. Bitterness is moderate and in great balance with malt. Fruity/herbal hops.

M - Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. Smooth.

D - Tasty malt background pairs well with the fruity/herbal hops. Easy drinking with enough complexity to leave me wanting a refill.

Photo of fastsrt
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle in a great lakes pint glass.
A: Golden brown, decent head.
S: malts, floral hops, grapefruit, alcohol.
T: Sweet malts up front balanced perfectly by the floral hops.
M: light, and dry
D: clean crisp, light biscuity, snappy hops, big on the hops, i have had some ipa's that were less hoppy.
enjoyed with a spicy texas chili the paring was great. the hops cut through the spice in the chili like a hot knife through butter.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.09/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to kirok1999 for hooking me up with some of this. 12oz bottle.

A: Nice copper in color with a cream colored head, not quite a finger thick. Excellent clarity, nice sticky lacing. Decent head retention. Very nice looking beer.

S: Smells malty up front, pretty decent hop profile but it seems a little subdued, not bad at all though. Nice biscuity/bready profile. Nothing offensive here, nice smelling beer.

T: First and foremost, this is incredibly balanced. Nice malty profiles of caramel and a little roastyness in there as well, some notes of honey and sweetness, then a great kick of hop bitterness. While not overly bitter, its enough to know its there. Slightly citrus, has a nice citrus rind profile. Excellent.

M: Medium bodied, has a fair amount of thickness, medium carbonation, and dry. Excellent here as well.

D: Hmmm...new session beer? Luckily enough Mark gave me three of these, so I'll get to enjoy this again. Excellent pale ale and definitely something I'd be able to drink a fair amount of!

Thanks Mark!

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

Got this in a trade from Intimidtor. Thanks! Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Smells hoppy as I pour it, this is a good sign. Looks great in the glass, coppery, orange in color. This is probably the clearest pale ale I have ever seen. Small, abundant bubbles make an inch of white head that dissipates leaving no noticeable lacing. Tastes of bittering hops, dry and spicy. Faint citrus, but mostly clean, dry bitterness. Feel is good, if a bit thin. Excellent carbonation gives way to a dry finish. This is a very drinkable Pale Ale. I find it very refreshing, and the 6% ABV means I could enjoy a bunch of them without ending up face down on the floor. If this was available in my area I would have it on a regular basis.

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

Very citrusy. Pours clean with a light head smells just as hoppy as it tastes. Slightly hazy in the glass. Not much in terms of lacing or sustained head.

Had this with a garlic pizza during an SU game and it paired nicely. Good game time beer!

Would drink again.

Photo of drabmuh
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beer named after an ecological disaster. I suppose that is one way to own your identity. Still a burning river is probably most people in MI would like to forget.

Beer served on draft at a local beer bar. Beer is clear with only a slight haze. Carbonation is low and lacing is high. Head is thin and broken, made up of a single layer of tiny white bubbles.

Tiny aroma of malt and citrus hops, smells fine.

Mild hop flavor and a slight bitterness at the back. High malt character and a slight aftertaste, nothing too bad. This is an OK APA, not great just OK.

Photo of association330
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, "Enjoy By: 02/07/2010"

A - Pours a nice clean amber with a half finger of off-white head. Recedes to a decent cap with solid lacing.

S - Sweet pale malt characteristics - fruity, light caramel, a bit biscuity. Moderate hop presence with a kiss of citrus, but the balance seems to lean towards the fruity esters in the malt.

T - Sweet, slightly fruity malt up front, which balances a long, semi-dry, bitter finish with citrusy hop notes. There is a touch of lingering fruitiness. This is not a hop bomb though - there is a nice balance between the malt backbone and the hops.

M - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth.

D - Nice and balanced APA here. Nothing mindblowing, just a good go-to option. Even at 6%, this isn't completely out of the question as a session brew.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,870 ratings.