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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

2,657 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,657
Reviews: 989
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 98
Gots: 202 | 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: 2,657 | Reviews: 989 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tonistruth
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

tonistruth, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of BDIMike
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

BDIMike, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of CDBeerDisappear
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

CDBeerDisappear, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of ffejherb
3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

ffejherb, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of GRPunk
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

GRPunk, Nov 24, 2007
Photo of jaxon53
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

jaxon53, Nov 23, 2007
Photo of OWSLEY069
2.93/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

OWSLEY069, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of BeerTruth
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

BeerTruth, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of brdc
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

brdc, Oct 28, 2007
Photo of kwakwhore
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

kwakwhore, Oct 27, 2007
Photo of pwoods
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

pwoods, Oct 23, 2007
Photo of atrus138
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

atrus138, Oct 10, 2007
Photo of jackorain
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

jackorain, Oct 07, 2007
Photo of WesWes
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

WesWes, Sep 20, 2007
Photo of LeftyBWS
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

LeftyBWS, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Wasatch, Sep 09, 2007
Photo of genog
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from the tap, pours a copper, dark orange color with a creamy white head. Smell is sweet malt along with some floral, hoppy notes. Taste is very hoppy for an APA with a floral hop presence. Some sweet malt is also there. The mouthfeel on this one is highly carbonated as well. This is another great offering from Great Lakes. I like this APA a lot. Its a big beer for a Pale Ale.

genog, Sep 01, 2007
Photo of kellyst
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pale golden color. Medium white head with moderate lacing.

S: Bitter hop aroma, some citrus.

T: High bitterness for a pale ale. Almost ipa like. Nice hop flavor with both citrus and spicy hop flavors. Malt flavors come bout nicely as it warms.

D: Very high.

kellyst, Aug 29, 2007
Photo of Risser09
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burning River IPA On Tap
A: Golden Yellow in color. White head reaches 1” and subsides to leave some moderate lacing.
S: Creamy and almost milk smelling. Hops that smell bitter and not floral.
T: Straw and hay. This beer tastes more like a bitter than an APA. Not much hop profile or juiciness. Nice bitterness of apple and lemon peel though.
M: Smoothe and creamy with a bitter finish. Again, not very close to the style characteristics that I thought it would abide by. Alcohol is apparent in the bitter finish.
D: Great for the summer, although I wouldn’t go out of my way to pursue this one.

Risser09, Aug 21, 2007
Photo of slagle9480
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer just didn't do it for me. I tried it three different times, but each time I had too high of hopes going into it. The third time around it improved. Rather than a 3.3 it probably bounced up to about a 3.5 in my book.

In my short history of sampling beer, Burning River has thus far been the most disappointing. Try it for yourself though. I don't know every little nuance of an APA.

If you like APA's, try Southern Tier's Hoppe. You'll thank yourself.

"Keep drinkin Southern Tier. Everything will be alright."

slagle9480, Aug 17, 2007
Photo of adammills
4.8/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I may have discovered my favorite pale ale.

It pours a faint copper almost bordering on amber. The head disapated a bit quickly, but my pint glass is not beer clean either, so a bit of a pass on that.

There is a tremendous hop aroma, quite citrusy and floral. WOW!

This is a beer that is very well balanced. Great round hop impression. Solid bitterness that is carried by the malt. Great hop flavor that really closes out each sip enticing another as a result.

A great drinking beer. I cant believe it is so big almost an IPA. I love it.

adammills, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a clear golden brown with a light head and light lacing.

Aroma is nice with a healthy piney hop presence.

Bready malts and piney hops are present. It also has a touch of both bitterness and sourness to it.

Light bodied and lightly carbonated with a dryness at the finish.

This is a very drinkable pale ale and my first Great Lakes product.

Monkeyknife, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of wagenvolks
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a beer mug.

A clear, amber pour into the middle of the glass leaves behind an inch of thick, off-white head. The foam is retained extremely well and leaves dramatically draped lacing. This aroma is what I look for in a pale ale: sweet caramel hops, lots of citrusy grapefruit and tangerine, and a kiss of maltiness to balance it all out.

The flavor is near-mild, but it pulls through with a large hop presence on the finish. Some light, wheaty notes coat the sides of the palate while the hops get more aggressive as the beer warms. Some citrus fruit and an almost metallic copper note peek through as well. Mouthfeel is above average for a pale: medium body, well-carbonated and crisp, with a nice little bite to remember the swig by. Overall, this is an extremely drinkable beer. It's tasty, refreshing, and leaves you wanting another, which one can easily manage with the 6% ABV. Nice job, Cleveland.

wagenvolks, Aug 03, 2007
Photo of scaliasux
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Light amber. Clear. Foamy off-white head with good retention.

Smell - Prominent hoppy aroma. Nice.

Taste - Begins with very mild malt which is quickly overwhelmed by strong hop flavor. Orange and pine notes. Very hoppy as may be expected in the category.

Mouthfeel - Moderate. Finishes quite dry.

Drinkability - No complaints about the beer in general. Appears to be a well-made APA, by a company that makes good beer with fantastic names and imagery. A touch too hoppy for my tastes, though.

scaliasux, Jul 30, 2007
Photo of hustlesworth
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

i've had a half dozen great lakes beers and all of em are outstanding in my opinion. living an hour away from cleveland should make it pretty easy to try the rest someday.

A- poured into a cleveland browns pint glass a very nice rusty orangish-amber color (like a dirty football jersey maybe? MAYBE? not quite) with just under 1/2in of soapy off-white head that fizzled quickly leaving minimal lace that slid back down almost immediately. but the color and clarity were very appealing.

S- fruit and malt! without the malt it would have smelled like some sort of tropical fruit cider with prominent passionfruit backed up by apple, pear, and citrus.

T- bitter start to finish. first a slightly metallic bitter pecan with spicy herbal citrus, sweet and sour caramelly malts, with a great aftertaste of more bitter fruity floral resinous hops and roasted sweet corn.

MF- nice medium, slightly syrupy consistancy with alot of carbonation. when i burp it's like a hop is gonna fly out my mouth. i like that.

D- totally sessionable. easy to drink, great flavor, tastes great with lots of different food. anything from great lakes is bound to be a winnner.

hustlesworth, Jul 26, 2007
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,657 ratings.