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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

2,762 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,762
Reviews: 994
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 105
Gots: 240 | 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: 2,762 | Reviews: 994 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nlmartin
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How I havent reviewed this beer I dont know. The beer was served in an Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance: The beers body pours a delightful caramel coloration. The head is a thin white coloratation. Major lacing remains behind to mark the beers consumption.

Smell: The beers aroma is caramel with a bit of floral and pine resin hops.

Taste: The beer leads with its hops. Bitter hoppyness takes the lead a bit of citrus breaks into the middle. The maltyness has biscuity, caramel character. The beer finishes dry.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: The beer has a medium body that is well served by its active carbonation. This is a beer to sit back and just suck on down. This is a very nice pale ale.

nlmartin, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of u2carew
4.55/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(A) Rust color. Pours with a nice, controlled head.
(S) Before I even read the bottle I knew there had to be Cascade Hops in the mix. Fantastic fruity / citrus aroma with hints of peach.
(T) Smooth hop bitterness combined with malty sweetness. Slight oak and Very mild, close to barely noticeable, bitter aftertaste.
(M) Good mouthfeel. Not too light and not too heavy bodied. Good carbonation balance.
(D) A GREAT pale ale. Would be even more fantastic on a summer / warmer day instead of the middle of winter.

u2carew, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of SLeffler27
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The thin, off-white head caps a clear, amber-copper brew, with significant residual carbonation.

Light caramel leads followed by orange peel, cantaloupe and pear. All are rather subtle but play well together.

The hop profile is stronger than one would anticipate, based on the aroma. Bitterness and a touch of acid clean up in a brief finish.

A hint of alcohol and metallic notes carry through this very dry, medium-bodied ale.

This is ale is easy to drink, but not quite a session. It is worthy of quaffing with friends when beer is merely an accessory to quench one's thirst.

date consumed: 27 Oct 2008

SLeffler27, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of tadowdaddy
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Cloudy amber, huge head, excellent lacing and great retention.

S- Hoppy! Citrus hops, most especially grapefruit and a tad bit of lemon in the scent.

T- Delicious! Very balanced beer. A tad bit of caramel malts and finishes with a bitter citrus hop explosion. Some earthy tones as well. More like an IPA than an APA.

M- Thick, creamy... Leaves a delicious bitter taste in my mouth.

D- Easily drinkable. Drank 3 of them in an hour and a half at Ashley's. No sense of the alcohol... Delicious and easily sessionable.

tadowdaddy, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of yesyouam
3.25/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Flour City Brewers' Fest 2008. Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale is a clear, slightly carbonated golden ale. The head is thick, foamy and off-white. It has great retention and leaves nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is a little muted by the head, but it's mostly fresh citrus, probably Cascade. It is medium bodied, a little starchy in the mouth and the finish is dry. It has pretty good balance, OK bitterness. There is a slight phenolic flavor. Not bad!
(rated Aug 17, 2008)

yesyouam, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of wingman14
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a light orange with a dense white head that fades somewhat slowly and leaves tons of lacing. The smell is of fresh hops that have piney and citrus notes with some sweet aromas. The taste starts hoppy, with hints of the pine flavors, moves toward the citrus and finishes with just a hint of bitterness. The bitter notes come on a bit stronger in the aftertaste, but still are very light compared to other hoppy beers. The mouthfeel is very smooth and somewhat light, great carbonation, nice flavor all through the beer. This one is an easy drinker, a very well crafted beer with great flavors. Definitely worth trying.

wingman14, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of grs8313
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 12oz bottle with no bottling or best by date. Pours a clear copper with some bubbles rising in the glass. Not much head when poured, and only a sparse bubble covering on the top.

Smell: Citrus, hops, and malts. A very aromatic and great smell, the citrus is overtaken by the hops and the blend is great.

Taste: Hops, citrus (on the sides of the tongue), and slight malt flavors. An aftertaste of hops. This is a great, well balanced pale ale.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and carbonated and the beer leaves the mouth feeling slightly dry.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, a great pale ale, well balanced and great tasting. At 6% ABV this would not be my first choice for a session beer, but two or three in a night would be a great treat, deffinetly try it if you get the chance.

grs8313, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of jdoncbus
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by 12/25/2008; 4838BL. One of my gateways that I have failed to review for some reason.

Pours amber-burnt orange into my Sam Adams tulip. Finger and a half head that is somewhat loud with a good amount of carbonation. Nice rings around the glass.

Roasted caramel malt, mild biscuit blends well with piney hop and grass. Hints of brown sugar and pepper.

Crisp on the palate with a controlled brown sugar sweetness. Butterscotch gives way to a steady, pine driven hops that leaves the mouth tart. Certainly gives forth an IPA flavor and conjures of images of Sierra Nevada.

Enjoying a GLBC Burning River is like visiting an old friend (cheesey, I know) in that I use to drink it so much. The fact that you can get it at any mini-mart in Columbus shows you how far craft beer has come. A fantastic APA and a must for any BA.

jdoncbus, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of orangemoustache
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This bottle courtesy of Pmcadamis(my local beer mentor)

This APA pours a slightly hazed amberish orange with a big fat pillow of creamy head that slowly recedes leaving tons of sticky lacing as evidence of its presence. This smells sweet with a hoppy profile of pine and some buiscuty malts. This could give my old stand by Sierra Nevada PA a run for its money. SN is very one dimensional in the hop profile and lack of malt,while Burning river is very balanced,with hops conquering the weaker malt in the end. This has a fruity/citrusy middle that adds that third dimension that really puts this one into a league of its own. Creamy and medium bodied with just the right texture and carbonation. High drinkability for such a hoppy brew.

orangemoustache, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of pmcadamis
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Clear, orange-gold, and amber in the light; this brew supports a persistent one finger white head of dense foam. Lots of foamy lace is left on the glass after a good swirl.

S - Pine-y hops jump out of the glass, and the malt notes are nice and biscuity like they should be for the style. Lots of mixed fruit aromas are there at second sniff. Pineapple, melon, grapes, and apple. This smells super hoppy!

T - Big time pine sap hops, followed by crisp apple skin, canned pineapple rings, and some nice thick caramel and biscuit malt flavors. This is EXTREMELY well balanced, but still very focused on the hops. If I didn't know, I would have guessed that this was a northwest coast pale ale or even IPA. Its hoppy as hell, and I like it!

M - Medium bodied and firm on the palate. This one has muscles rippling under its skin like Bruce Lee...not huge and bulky, but striated and strong. Lively carbonation and a super hoppy dry finish clean things up ...but then dirty pine sap hops stain the palate and linger on for days.

D - This is eminently drinkable due to its balanced flavor and nice hop profile. The malty spine and the additional fruity complexity keep this one interesting sip after sip (or gulp after gulp more like it). This has session written all over it. Seriously good beer here.

pmcadamis, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of Clydesdale
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear amber-bronze color with a large, frothy white head with very good retention and impressive lacing.

S: Caramel and biscuit-like malts, with a fresh floral hop aroma. Some citric (orange) notes as well.

T: Sweet caramel malts and again, biscuit notes. A big, aggressive citric and slightly floral hop flavor that rides on and on into the finish. Some definite bitterness, but mostly just loads of orange and floral notes.

M: Fairly crisp, with a medium body. A sharp drying bitterness lingers for a long while. The hop profile lends an oily, wet mouthfeel.

D: This is definitely close to an IPA in style, and it's very well done and extremely well balanced despite the bold flavor. I remember drinking this early in my beer career and finding it horribly unbalanced. But now that I've expanded my palate a bit, this one really hits the spot.

Clydesdale, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of Onenote81
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great brew received from Auslander. Pours a nice deep copper with minimal head, but with excellent lacing/webbing. This beer smells like grassy hops and pineapple. Nice smell. Smooth and crisp. Comes across more like an IPA than an APA, but I love it. Nice bitter hop prescence right up front, but balanced perfectly by the sweet malt that makes this ever-so drinkable. Some citrus also pulls through slightly. I was excited to try this and it did not disappoint.

Onenote81, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of AgingWarrior
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a nice amber color with some orange highlights into my Great Lakes Stout Glass. Hard pour produced a thin white head that turns into a layer, providing plenty of lace.

Smell hits you in the face with fresh hops, citrus fruit and pine.

Nice balance to this drink with a strong hop presence, but balanced with the malts. Produces a nice crisp hoppy finish, without any alcohol sting.

Medium body with medium carbonation that produces a nice smooth feel from beginning to end.

Easy to drink, left me wanting more.

AgingWarrior, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of whoneeds8
4.83/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this bottle from tburkhart.

Poured into pint glass. Pours a brilliant yellow-orange with a one finger white head. Lacing is great, lasts the entire time.

Wow, is this a great pale ale. My favorite by far. It has a nice spicy hope taste up front, but it's very mellow. Malt sweetness is there, but makes a nice balance.

I wish this beer were more readily available here in Texas. I might have to make some trades to get more of this in the future.

whoneeds8, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of MacDomer
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle into my standard pint glass.

A - Pours a nice, clear amber with hints of orange. A single finger of moderately thick white head, decent retention. About as much sticky lacing as you'd expect from an APA.

S - Opens with a slight caramel maltiness with hints of bread, biscuits. Then comes a nice sharp floral rush of hops. Not huge, just right.

T - Some caramel and buttery tones start things off, followed by a firm hop bitterness - again mostly floral. Orange, grapefruit, and citrus. Delicious and well balanced.

M - Medium body, stronger carbonation. Crisp - this has some backbone but is not astringent at all. Very drinkable. I could (and do) drink 2 or 3 of these at a time.

Great beer, one of the few I keep on hand with some regularity.

MacDomer, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of LordofTime25
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear copper color with a off-white head which shrinks but pools on surface of beer abd leaves lots of lacing.

Has a citrusy hops aroma.

There is a good hops bite with maltiness that is present too. Good Balance

Amedium body with a perect amount of carbonation which makes it smooth.

Very easy drinking and tasty.

LordofTime25, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of WJVII
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass this brew is a light copper color with a thin white head. The smell is extremely floral with strong hints of lively hops. The taste is very flavorful showcasing a wonderful bouquet of spicy hops that also has a smooth balance. The taste is not overpowering, but very balanced. The bitterness is lacking, but made up for with spice. I enjoy this brew, but as far as a pale ale it is a little off. Solid brew for the price!

WJVII, Nov 08, 2008
Photo of jraycee
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this from Auslander for winning SNF Squares Week 8, thanks Chris!!

Pours a light amber with a one inch white fluffy head. Beautiful lacing down my glass. I can almost read what Charlotte wrote in that web.
Smell is light citrusy hops. small grain notes. good, but not overwhelming.
Although tastes are not overwhelming on the hops or malt side, it shows great balance. Its like I was eating my plain lightly buttered white toast, and the juice from my wife's grapefruit squirted over it.
Carbonation seems a little low for the style, so it seems a little watery, but nothing too bad.
This is very drinkable. I could have a couple with dinner, but by itself it may fall a bit flat. A great surprise from a brewery close by the new in-laws.

jraycee, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this brew from Auslander, Thanks Chris!

12oz bottle served in a GL pint glass, Thanks again Chris!

L - clear copper color, off-white head settles to a layer, lots of lacing.

S - citrus hop aroma is good.

T - very well balanced brew, hop bite is strong but there's enough malty sweetness to hold it's own.

F - medium bodied with a refreshing amount of carbonation for a smooth feel.

D - goes down easy and it's mighty tasty.

JoeyBeerBelly, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of scruffwhor
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a middle of the road amber with good clarity. Not much in the head or froth department. OK bubbling though. The aroma has a strong hop with some orange spice and a little white pepper. The taste is about 70% hops and 40% malt. Mild toast flaked grain, but plenty of juicey orange peel hops. Starts sicey, and finishes lemon/lime juicy. Palate is a light juice to thick water, if that makes sense. This beer is great on tap. And very drinkable.

scruffwhor, Oct 22, 2008
Photo of tayner
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz brown bottle, best by 10-30-08

poured into a tulip an orange, amber with a small white head that quickly turned into a very slight film, no lacing to speak of

cascade hops - citrus-y, sweet

malty sweetness abounds. this is nicely complimented by a mouthful of cascade hoppy citrus finishing slightly, pleasantly bitter. full flavor and well balanced APA

mouthfeel is good, well carbonated, creamy, full, thick apa.

this ranks right up there for me as one of the most drinkable APAs out there. easily sessionable. If i could get this all the time it would be a stable in my fridge in the summer.

tayner, Oct 21, 2008
Photo of CrellMoset
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle an extra, courtesy of JohnTravolta21 - thanks!! Poured into a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a crisp Autumnal-colored copper, with a nice one-and-a-half-finger white foamy head that fades slowly and leaves huge massive sheets of fingery white lacing around the edges of the glass. It looks like white flames rising up out of the fiery orange water, and I think I thought of that similarity in appearance before I remembered the name of the beer. The carbonation is sparse but fast.

Aroma: Pleasant and balanced but a little too mild, with some heavily bready, caramel malt notes mingling with some faint orange rind and leafy, piney notes.

Taste: A very nice balance between flavors, even if the flavors aren't mindblowingly awesome. The malts are dry, biscuity, with a slight roasted edge, the hops spicy piney and grassy with a noticeable citrusy finish. Bitterness is present but in check. What's most noticeable about the profile of flavors is, again, the balance - well done here.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, pillowy, soft, despite having a crispness lent both by the effervescence and the "firmness" of the body as a result of the hops. Very pleasant.

Drinkability: A simple and very easy drinking beer, this one went famously with some extra sharp cheddar. It's superbly balanced, of an eminently reasonable alcohol level, and I think it's a damn fine beer. My first experience with Great Lakes and a good one - recommended.

CrellMoset, Oct 18, 2008
Photo of Walken
4.53/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jen for obtaining this beer for me!

Great Lakes: Burning River Pale Ale
12 oz. bottle: poured into a tulip pint.
Appearance: Clear amber with a moderate frothy head that fades down into a millimeter cap with a ring of sticky foam around the edge of the glass.
Odor: Sweet bready malt compliments the bright citrus and earthy hop aromas, pretty intense but straightforward.
Consistency: Though this beer would definitely qualify as having a medium body, it's a very full and rich. Carbonation is spot on, massaging the tongue gently without being too fizzy or bringing out any astringency.
Flavor: Caramel and rich buttery bread flavors echo the aroma, as a firm citrusy/herbal hop bitterness holds the line. Hop flavor slowly creeps in, sweet orange at first, sliding into grapefruit, then a bit herbal into the finish. Caramel and toasty bread flavors linger a bit as well.

This is one of those beers that proves simple can be just as amazing as complex. There's not much going on here, just some great flavors melding perfectly in one hell of a pale ale.

Walken, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of BierFan
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a weizen glass.

Appearance: It poured with a small head, and a copper / orange body. The color is similar to an American style Octoberfest beer.

Smell: All I could smell is the hops. It smells like an IPA which is disappointing for me because even though I love a good IPA I prefer my pale ales to be malty.

Taste: Once again, it's mostly hops. Some malts in the background.

BierFan, Oct 05, 2008
Photo of akronzipfan
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this as part of the Great Lakes "sampler" 12-pack

a - pours a copper/amber with a whispy cloudiness and a light, foamy off-white head that leaves nice lacing

s - flowery aromas of plentiful hops with splashes of lemon and grapefruit

t - tasty blend of malted hops and citrus overtones

m - full bodied with moderate carbonization

d - a very easy to drink pale ale, flavorful yet very smooth

akronzipfan, Oct 03, 2008
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,762 ratings.