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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

2,894 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,894
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: 2,894 | Reviews: 1,020
Photo of philbe311
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Big chunky, slightly fizzy, off white head... Terrific retention, especially when compared to its style mates... Loaded with chaotic medium carbonation which starts off slow at the bottom of the glass and reaches a quick pace before it reaches the top... A light slightly tarnished bronze color with a faint orange / light red hue... Fully translucent... This is a good looking APA...

S - Fresh baked biscuit... Lightly sweet caramel... Pale malts... Lemon zest... A bright citrus aroma... The malts are first, but the balance leans slightly towards the hoppy... Clean and simple...

T - Pale malts... Slightly soapy... A moderately strong pungent hop bitterness lingers...

M - Medium bodied... Sturdy... The entire mouth is filled with fizzy carbonation... Surprisingly dry...

D - Quite quaffable... Solid and enjoyable... I would gladly drink again... Not my favorite Great Lakes offering, but still a very good one...

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by hudsonphotog.

Pours light orange with a white head. The aroma is very malty, possibly Vienna malt. You also get some piney hops. The flavor is piney hops with a strong caramel malt backbone. Not too complex but a good APA. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

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

Pours a clear reddish amber with a thin, bright white head that leaves spots of lacing in its wake.

The aroma is grains, caramel and citrusy hops.

The taste is a biscuity caramel malt brushed off by a good wallop of bitterness. Slightly fruity apricot with a bit of lemon zest. Bitterness lingers in the aftertaste.

Nicely carbonated, medium bodied, very refreshing on the palate.

Overall a pretty straightforward, but really good, assertively bitter pale ale.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a lighter amber color with a very thick creamy looking eggshell colored heading.Lacing is in full force.

Smell is hoppy at first and a biscuity maltiness comes through somewhere in the middle. Fading back in is the hops to finish off slight citric.

Taste is biscuity sweet malt at first. An acidic type hop punches through and dresses the maltiness with simply a good taste.

Mouth is medium bodied. Amazing carbonation feel in the mouth. Does leave a very slight buttery hoppy feel in the mouth.

This is simply an excellent beer. Another score from Great Lakes easily drinkable and easily sessionable.

Photo of farrago
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid finger's worth of creamy white foam, a few islands of very large bubbles, average stickiness to the lacing, moderate retention. Clear amber brown with a swift lightening into orange hues, close to yellow at the outer rims, squeaky clean and transparent. Open and gregarious nose of mandarin orange, toffee, brownies and a counter-balance of rye, grains and witch hazel, suggestion of yellow apple, apricot, peach fruit, not crafted for complexity, rather for consistent harmony. Medium-bodied, solid and barrel-chested, moves with deliberation through the mouth. Fairly active carbonation, however, doesn't break up much of the density. Much hoppier here with grassy notes, grapefruit along with the orange zest, grainy even in texture. The cocoa, mocha powder back into the chorus, more regular "white bread" here than rye. The apricot, peach, apple fruit more pronounced. Touch more bitter at the end, but surely intended. Leaves you thirsty for more.

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

Finally got a bottle of this from Half Time. Looks like the rest of NY is finally getting Great Lakes.

A: Very clear light amber color. A quarter finger of white head. Some nice lacing

S: Right on nose for a pale ale. A nice mix of crisp smelling malt and hops with neither really dominating. Very well balanced nose.

T: Lots of vienna malt. The hops are there and are bright but never overwhelm the malt. This is one of the best pale ales that I have ever had. Wonderful balance.

M: Not too light not too heavy. Carbonation is even subtle.

D: This beer has balanced written all over it. I have seen in on tons of best of lists especially by cooks and foodies and now I know why. This beer can pair with anything. Hopefully NY will see more Great Lakes.

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

I drink this all the time because its my favorite style and I'm favorably biased towards GLBC. The nice thing about GLBC Burning River is I can get it anywhere: from the gas station, from the grocery store, from the brewery. I'll try to put my bias on hold and compare to other APAs and IPAs I've enjoyed. I just purchased 6 from the local grocery store, we're a few weeks past the due date but I know it doesn't matter with this heavily hopped brew.

Look: I've probably tipped over 100 of these and they always pour the same: hazy gold with a few inches of foam on top. It settles into a whipped cream, you'll wait a few minutes until you can pour all 12 ozs into your pint glass. It will lace the glass like a good pale ale should.

Smell: Hops with some maltiness in the background. I think the hops are up front. Simply hopped yet strongly hopped.

Taste: Balanced is their trademark. This is not a challenging beer. Its a simple balance of hops and malt. You'll taste hints of grapefruit balanced with simple malt flavoring, perhaps a bit sweet.

Mouthfeel: I think its a working-mans's beer which means you have plenty of carbonation. It covers the palette with plenty of taste as described. The aftertaste is a tad bitter.

Drinkability: You can have more than one. Great after mowing the lawn. Its thirst quenching. This is beer. In my opinion, this should be GLBC's flagship instead of the Dortmunder. But then again, I'm biased towards this style.

Many beer drinkers do not enjoy the highly hopped IPAs and DIPA. This beer strikes a good balance between styles. This is something all should strive for.

Photo of alleykatking
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap the other night. Review from phone notes.

A- Poured a nice clear deep copper/amber color. Nice one finger white head comes and falls down to just wisps in my glass. Some spotting lacing is on the sides of the glass the entire beer.

S- Pale malts bring out most of the aroma right off the bat. There is also a light bitter and citrus hops in the back end of the nose. Light hints of sweet caramel come and go with this beer.

T- Taste is a little off for me with the APA. The citrus and pale malts crash together right on the front end of this beer. It is balanced for the most part. Sweet caramel malts come in the middle leaving a nice pine like bitter hop bite in the ending. Also light alcohol is in the tail end of this beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Bitter hops and light malts stay on the palate long after the sip has been made. Alcohol and bitter hops stay in the aftertaste for a while as well. Kind of drying in the mouth.

D- This is a drinkable APA for sure. My only problem is I don't think it is as good as everyone makes it out to be. There are many other APA's that I would rather drink. I would recommend this though to someone who wants to try to step into the world of hops.

Photo of jampics2
4.37/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Perhaps one of the beers I have been fortunate enough to drink on the most number of occasions!

A bottle that Pauly was nice enough to leave in my fridge gets the nod for this rating. Super fresh, this one was several months out from the best-by date.

A beautiful pour fills my pint glass. A copper body with beautiful head. 2" of white foam settles down to a nice residual film.

Smell is very nice - nice hoppy aroma, citrusy and earthy, with some caramel malt reminiscent of baked bread.

Taste is only what my notes describe as "bomb diggity". A hop bitterness and caramel sweetness make sweet love, resulting in a toasty money shot. Perhaps the perfect APA IMO, but that's not surprising - Great Lakes has built an empire on this, Dort, and Fitz.

Mouthfeel is good. Carb keeps it fresh. Perfect body.

Close to perfect drinkability. More please :)

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

Received this beer from CSmiley via Review This! BIF so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

A: This beer pours a beautifully clear deep golden/copper color with a 1/4 inch white head that recedes to a small film quickly. Nice wispy lacing is left on the glass.

S: Nose is of pale malts, touch of caramel and citrus hops.

T: Taste is very well crafted - not overly hopped and malts do not dominate. Taste starts with a nice citrus hop flavoring and quickly moves in to a balanced pale malt and finishes with nice sweet caramel malts.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, crisp and clean body.

D: Well balanced, very tasty and goes down easily. I really wish this brewery distributed this way as I could drink this one all night!

Photo of thain709
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
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

Photo of earthboundagain
4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of OatmattStout
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of Buckeyes67
4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of cavedave
4.19/5  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.

Photo of zimm421
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Photo of Viggo
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of billab914
3.97/5  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.

Photo of msubulldog25
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of beerwolf77
3.92/5  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.

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
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!

Photo of semihobo
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

Photo of PDXHops
4.42/5  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.

Photo of nkersten
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of BigMike
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,894 ratings.