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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

2,548 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,548
Reviews: 984
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 96
Gots: 161 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,548 | Reviews: 984 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bigdeuce


4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a temendous brew. High quality to say the least. Some malt on the front, terrific hoppy bitterness on the back. The water, well, it's great lakes!! Almost has a toasted almond flavor in the malt. Great citrusy love down the middle. An awesome brew, an awesome session brew. Very highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2006 00:50:56 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of shbobdb


4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Welp, Great Lakes no longer distributes to Indiana, and I grabbed one of the last Burning River singles in the state.
I can already tell by the nose that this beer is somewhat old -- still the strong, citrusy hop smells are there in abundance, leaping forth from the craggy coffee-and-cream head. When fresh this beer smells like an IPA, currently it smells more like a regular ol' APA.
The taste follows the smell. There is enough of a malt backbone in this beer for it to be balanced and pleasant.
A wonderful brew.
Man, I'm gonna miss these guys.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2006 18:23:29 | More by shbobdb
Photo of shererjt


3.33/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a reddish-copper clear. Nicely carbonated with a big, billowy head and decent lace. Nice toasty caramel aroma with a flowery hop nose. Light-to-medium body. Balance leans to the hops, with a subdued maltiness that could stand to be beefed up a bit. Had a bit of iced tea flavor to it. Not nearly as tasty as it smelled. Mouthfeel was a little flat, and the body was a bit on the light side even for the style.

Pretty good pale ale, though somewhat overrated IMO. The aroma is its best quality; could use a bit more body and malt. Still worth trying, though.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2006 22:09:13 | More by shererjt
Photo of trep

West Virginia

4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A great beer no questions asked.

Pours a red-orange, typical of the style. Frothy head dissapates into a bubbly wring around the inside of the glass. Smells of citrus, grapefruits in particular, light lemon zest aroma, light malt background.

Tastes just like it smells, bitter up front, then a smooth fading effect as it seemingly slides off your tongue and down your throat. What a refreshing beer. It's been a long day and this definitely hits the spot.

6% alcohol, and can't tell at all. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel begs you to take sip after sip. Woah this is going down fast. Great beer from Great Lakes.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2006 04:49:05 | More by trep
Photo of nmyers


3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another fine product form Great Lakes. This is a good pale ale. I mean it when I say good, it didn't captivate me like a great beer would have. It had a nice copper color to it and a nice citrus/hoppy aroma as well. As all APA should it had a nice hop taste to it.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2006 03:26:18 | More by nmyers
Photo of cheers2beers


3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer poured a golden yellow with a soft cream colored head. Settled down from about one to two finger head,to about half finger in height. Minimal laceing can be found along with lots of beading on the inside of my pint glass.

Smell: Citrus hops pop out immediately, followed by some sweet pale malts, light grassy touch. Smells like a good pale to me.

Taste: Not as sweet as I anticipated. A little more piney in its hop profile than citrusy. Crisp and bitter with the hops lingering a bit too long for a pale ale in my opinion. Not bad at all but just a touch unbalanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with good solid carbonation but finishes a bit watery which is surprising considering the oils from the hops that were present in the front and middle of the palate.

Drinkability: Not one of my favorites but definitely a solid example that I would drink anytime.


Serving type: bottle

04-19-2006 23:52:28 | More by cheers2beers
Photo of jyeast101


4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber in color. Flowery in smell with the usual hops overtones in an IPA. Good mouthfeel and incredibly drinkable, as I had 4 in my sitting. One of the best IPA's I've ever had. Incredibly balanced. Nice aftertaste of hops and not over-hopped, which can be a tendency in this IPA climate. I highly reccommend this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

03-30-2006 21:26:05 | More by jyeast101
Photo of klewis


4.58/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a clear dark golden with a massive head that subsides and sustains as a one-finger foamy layer. Tons of lacing.

S: Floral hops and tropical fruits

T: Taste is primarily of pine and a bit of citrus with plenty of hop flavor and bitterness all the way through. Chock full of flavor.

M: The carbonation stays out of the way in this brew, giving it a smooth, almost creamy texture. Nice and chewy with a medium body.

D: This beer is near pefection for an APA. I can't believe it took me this long to try it. I'm stupid.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2006 21:03:09 | More by klewis
Photo of cameraman


3.28/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A lite copper color, with an off white head that disappates very quickly. A slight scent of roasted barley, with a string citrus hop aroma at the end. The taste starts with the sweetness of the malt and then the hop flavor begins to dominate the taste. In the mouth it feels watery with a slight tingle from the carbonation. Even with the lite look and faint scents, the flavor was fairly good. The mouthfeel was surprisingly disappointing, but overal this is at best an average beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2006 07:23:09 | More by cameraman
Photo of fightingwords


4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz American pint.

A--Pale copper. Golden orange. Sticky white head that fades fast to a film. Steady flow of carbonation from the bottom and the lacing is average.

S--Prevailing hop scent. Piney and earthy. Light fruit odors. Couldnt make out many malts at all. "Big" presence for an APA.

T--Super round and more balanced than the smell, but still over hopped. Had a spicyness in the after taste. Again, piney and lightly fruited just as the smell would suggest, but the malts provided a toasty balance to the sharpness of the hops.

M--Nice full bodied beer all the way down. Finishes quick and refreshing, but does leave a taste in my mouth similar to what an IPA might do.

D--Solid, could have several back to back ABV is just right for me.

O--Probably would pair this with some food for future drinks, great "Big" APA. Go for it if you are hop head looking for a lighter fix than a barleywine or DIPA.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2006 03:32:07 | More by fightingwords
Photo of PorterLambic


4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful honey-orange color with a nice, full 1" off-white head. Head drops to a thick ring and several islands of foam with a thick film holding them in place. Really nice lacing.
Smell is hoppy, a bit astringent, with touches of floral, citrus (lemon mostly), malt and a hint of pine and earth.
The tongue gets what the nose promises. Hops, light malt, floral, citrus, earthy and a hint of herbal teas (good to read other peoples' reviews to prod the mind :-) ). Alcohol is noticeable but not heavy. Flavor stands up to most foods.
Fairly smooth, it would be a bit smoother if it weren't quite this hoppy. Not over-the-top hoppy, but a bit high for the style IMO. A medium-bodied offering. Fairly clean finish, would like more aftertaste from such a good tasting brew. It comes across as kind of a weak brother to an IPA in regards to the hop level and the flavor. All over, a good beer, wish it was available in FL.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2006 17:36:52 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of PartyHatjo


4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber--leaning more towards yellow than orange, with some haze. Ample, fluffy, white head that laces very well during the drink.

Aroma: Toasty malts with a nice citrus hoppiness. Grapefruit and lemon prominent.

Taste: Very good biscuit character, not so much caramel sweetness with a fantastic citrus hop characater.

Mouthfeel: Nice dry character, medium in body. Smooth bitterness that gives a good bite to make it a nice refreshing brew. Slight caramel sweetness plays into the palate enough for balance.

Drinkability: Dry mouthfeel leads me to believe this brew is lighter than it is. Very easy drinker (doesn't make you full too quickly), with ample alcohol to give you a slight buzz if you imbibe too quickly or too much.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2006 23:27:43 | More by PartyHatjo
Photo of Zorro


4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled through the efforts of Murrayswine and UTBIF.

Pours a clear deep amber to almost copper colored ale with a tall tan head.

Smell is quite malt and spicy in the first sniff. Lots of malt scent and bready grain smells. Very spicy from the hops chosen for this beer. Individual aromas of caramel and nuts with a little bread dough and vanilla.

Taste is quite malty at the beginning with a trace of smoke and starts out a lot like a Scottish ale. Quickly the hops kick in and add a nice complex bitterness to this brew. Faint lemons in the hops but mostly I taste smoke, malt and drying bitterness. A very tasty APA that isn't just a SNPA clone. Spicy after taste that is cleaned up by a woody bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is very good and surprisingly full.

Drinkability is among the best. A damn tasty beer that isn't extreme in any respect. What makes this beer is a lot of great qualities extremely well executed. A malty spicy and smoky pale ale that doesn't get tiresome at all in your mouth. A superior APA in all respects.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2006 01:47:16 | More by Zorro
Photo of maddamish


4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hops Hops and more hops.

One of the more hoppier beers out there.

Little to no head, even with an agressive pour. (Rusty, your mom is an agressive pour). Dark yellow in color.

Smelling notes include hops and orange peel.

Tasting notes include: A in your muoth bazooka blast of hops and a hint of.... heck... nothing else. But there may be an orange-e type of thing going on in the background but my tastebuds haven't reported back to me.

Smooth and clean. The best thing about this APA is that it is not watery at all. Good job! Sweet on the initial tasting and the bitterness hits you in the back of the head with a 2x4 in the aftertaste. Very enjoyable.

Notes: A very solid beer and onme of the best APA's out there if you like them this hoppy. This beer is growing on me and will pick some up in the future.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2006 23:00:07 | More by maddamish
Photo of tkarsies


3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served cool from 12 oz bottle in pint glass on 1/24/06. Clear, copper color with small white head that quickly dissipates, leaving only a slight amount of lacing. Tiny bubbles of carbonation lasting forever. Smell was citrusy and floral hops and not much else. Dominant is floral hops with some citrus; malt is evident more than other APAs I have tried although hops still prevail. Pleasant bitterness. Moderate carbonation and medium mouthfeel. Easy to drink although right now I am not a big fan of hops. No doubt that will change with time and my score of this beer will improve.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2006 15:39:47 | More by tkarsies
Photo of thebarnesbomb


3.38/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle, had straight from bottle. Couldn't say much about appearance for this reason, my guess is a typical IPA yellow/ orange that isn't transparent b/c of the strong smell. I could smell the strong hop element, most apparent of anything else. Has a good body to it, a certain crispness that is associated to pale ales, but this was a little too harsh for me. The strength of the hops and the 6.00 abv took me off guard. Leaves a bitterness from these two elements that I didn't find very pleasant, so an average score for drinkability. I'm definitely not dissing this beer, you just have to know what to expect from it.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2006 01:16:28 | More by thebarnesbomb
Photo of whartontallboy

New York

3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden-coppery body, clear with a big, frothy white head that stuck around really well and left quite a lace. A great-looking APA.

Smell is hoppy, mainly citric and floral, with some grassy notes, and a bit doughy malt scent.

Flavor is hoppy per the style, with some grapefruit flavors coming through with some orange citric notes, but the malt is a little stronger than what I'm used to. Biscuity, almost like pretzels on the first sips. Strong and nice, really well-balanced. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style, I think, but it is refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2006 04:02:17 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of heyitsbyron


3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a bottle from a six pack into a pint glass.

There was a solid inch of head that lingered almost until I finished the glass. The foam was a bit clumpy and inconsistent, but I don't mind. The color was a beautiful orange amber.

I think this beer smells like grapefruit juice. If you put a glass of juice and a glass of Burning River side by side, I'd have a hard time distinguishing the two based on scent alone. Maybe a bit like flowers too, though not as "floral" as other APAs. It's a nice smell.

At first the taste is very bitter and hoppy, then it becomes sweet. It's citrusy all the way though, and maybe a bit of malt too. Nothing fancy or complex, but a very enjoyable taste that gets a bit more mellow as I finish.

It's not a heavy beer, nor is it heavily carbonated. It's a really solid medium body and rather smooth aswell. It smooths a bit as it warms too.

Unfortunately for some reason, I can't drink too much Burning River in one sitting. I enjoy it, but it tends to upset my stomach (much the same way grapefruit juice does) and I feel sick. I love the beer and I love to start the night with a pint of it, but it's not something I can continue drinking. It took awhile for me to come around, but this is a nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2006 23:07:17 | More by heyitsbyron
Photo of blackie


4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The pour into the imperial pint creates a .7" white head that receded to a collar around the glass and a thin layer of bubbles. The beer is a fresh copper color.

smell: A nice APA smell. Good balance between a mildly sweet toasty malt character and semi-fresh smelling hops. Not the floral type, but the more grassy, "darker" variety. Just a slight nuttiness.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the high end of the medium range, and the body on the heavy side of the light spectrum.

taste: Typical pale ale stuff here. A moderate nutty/toasted malt sweetness, well balanced with the hop flavor and bitterness. Well executed, but nothing exciting.

drinkability: Pretty easy drinking and good all around.

Best by date of Dec. 02, 2005. Had this single bottle from some local shop during my last night in Madison. I'd like to try a fresher bottle, as it seems that some of the other reviewers found more floral hops in their samples.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2006 06:44:49 | More by blackie
Photo of dmamiano

West Virginia

4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excellent example of an American Pale Ale. This beer has an excellent nose to go along with it great hoppy characteristics. Burning River is very true to style. A good beer to serve when introducing novices to different styles of beer. Stands well against its big brother, Nosforatu, another of Great Lakes offerings.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2005 18:49:55 | More by dmamiano
Photo of badturtle


4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After popping the top, my first thought was I was smelling a porter. There is a hint of chocolate and citrus, mostly orange. It has a good blast of hops. The color is dark amber. The head was small and didn't last long. I bought this on sale. The normal price is a little high. It is good, but not $8 per six pack good.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2005 04:19:24 | More by badturtle
Photo of OSUbrewman


4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undoubtably one of my favorite offerings from Great Lakes.
Smell: Fruity Hops, hints of citrus
Taste: Nice balance of bitterness and fruityness. A nice, citrusy finish that lingers pleasently.
Mothfeel: Creamy and satisfying. Goes down very smooth.
Drinkability: This is one that I never get tired of. A great session brew from the north coast.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2005 19:49:50 | More by OSUbrewman
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear amber-orange with nice fluffy head and moderate carbonation. Floral, pine, and citrus zest in the nose. Bicuity malt, too. The first sip is quite sturdy in hop content, biscuit dough malt in the middle, and a wonderfully bitter citrus hop finish. Bergamot and grapefruit pith. The flavors are superbly balanced in this one. A not unpleasant mineral taste lingers for just a second. The mouthfeel is doughy and medium bodied. Quite nice. More than adequate lacing down the sides of the glass, too. Drinkability: very high. If the price were comparable, I’d pick this one over SNPA (the extra hoppiness of this pale ale gives it a slight edge over that champ in my book). This would make an excellent session beer for hopheads.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 22:10:19 | More by orfeu
Photo of DrJay


4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Short, dense, off-white head with plenty of clumpy lacing. Clear golden amber colour. Citrus hop aroma, slight floral character with sweet, biscuity malt. Good balance between hop bitterness and malt sweetness to start, citrusy flavour with a bit of floral hop and pine resin fill out the middle. Bitterness grows and lingers in the finish, but never overwhelms the rest of the flavour. Medium/light body, moderate carbonation. This is a solid pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2005 00:03:16 | More by DrJay
Photo of Px2GrafX


4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

presentation: 12oz. bottle with a black label. "great lakes brewing co." is large across the top with "burning river, a handcrafted pale ale from cleveland, ohio" across the bottom. in between there is a cheesy photo of the cuyahoga river with photoshoped fire at the bottom. "world champion gold medal winner beverage tasting institute". "silver medal winner great american beer festival". there is great lakes' interpretation of their pale ale on the right of the label. abv is displayed at 6%, and freshest taste by date is oct. 29, 2005. well whaddya know? today's the 29th.

appearance: pours a clear pale copper with bright yellow-orange highlights in a pint glass. head is a big 2 inches and is fluffy and just a tad off-white. retention is good and lacing is even better. there aren't any bubbles rising through the beer. a little odd.

smell: first whiff is of citrusy and lightly floral hops. there is also a caramelly biscuity malt undertone.

taste: second night in a row i've been surprised by the malt flavors in a beer. very malty up front. caramelly, grainy and bready. the hops are bitter and spicy with a touch of grapefruit. malts are in your face at first, but the hop spices and bitterness carry through to the finish. finish is bitter a tad yeasty and dry.

mouthfeel: nice medium mouthfeel for an apa. still crisp, though. rolls and swallows surprisingly just a tad harsh for the body. very nice overall, though.

drinkability: great drinkin' beer. balanced flavor, no hindering alcohol, and a finish and aftertaste that will keep you drinkin'. excellent session brew.

overall: this is a great apa. ipa quality hoppiness and bitterness, but not quite as much as alpha king. actually, this brew is only just a small step down from the alpha king. balancing malts with easy to drink characteristics make this a helluva session brew. i prefer the alpha king, but i know i could drink this one all night.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2005 01:37:05 | More by Px2GrafX
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,548 ratings.