1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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: 322 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,870 | Reviews: 1,012 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Clear medium orange color. One finger of frothy head with less than average retention (but it does leave a small 1/8 inch layer) and moderate lacing.

3.5 S: Nose is full of crystal malt and a touch of graininess. Some herbal and citrus hops.

3.5 T: Good, but run-of-the-mill. Moderately bitter hop backbone with caramel for the malts. Not a whole lot, but some lemony hop flavor.

3.5 M: Medium body, but slightly lighter than I like. Somewhat creamy, but not enough. Good carbonation.

3.5 D: This is the first GL brew that didn't floor me. It's a quality beer and would never be pissed about drinking it, but there are so many better APAs out there that I'll give this one a pass most of the time.

Photo of ClevoPiwo
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a really pretty beer! It pours a rich deep amber color with a big frothy white head that leaves lacing all the way down the glass. The color is also very crisp and clear.

The smell is huge with hops! Floral and citrus notes assault the nose, but there is also a nice malt character in the background if you smell for it. A very complex and pleasant bouquet of aromas.

The taste is just as big as the smell - way more hops than many IPAs I've had, but not done in poor taste. The body is nice and full with a good complimentary malt body and character balancing well with the arsenal of hops. The hops definitely take the forefront of the taste and leave a floral bitterness long into the aftertaste.

One of my favorite by GL!

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Appears burnt orange in color with a lingering soapy white head which provides ample amount of lacing.

Smell is lightly floral. Sweet malt also there.

This beer has a very good balanced flavor, leaning to the hop edge. Caramel and biscuity with a solid citrus hop lending notes of orange sherbert as well as pine.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and finishes semi dry.

Drinkable? Very.. Sessionable, definately. Sure does go down easy hard to have just one.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Beers of the World on a recent family vacation, I should have picked up more!
Pours a clear deep copper/amber color with a bubbly beige head that impales itself to the glass all the way down. Smells of citrus, light sweet fruit, slight mineral. Taste is smooth citrus with a fruity burnt sugar malt sweetness. Great balance! Twinge of hops, bit of malt leaves a hop bite at the end of every sip. Crisp carbonation, sticky, resinous mouthfeel, medium body with a semi dry finish. Great session ale here.

Photo of alcstradamus
2.99/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light golden color with a nice finger of head that recedes quickly. Smell is weak, mainly caramel malt and straw. Taste is slightly better, although that just brings it up to average. Overall, I don't think this beer really has anything going for it. Not much in the way of hops, and the malt profile is nothing special to make up for it.

Photo of beeragent
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a medium gold forming a 1/2 inch off-white head. Medium spots of lace cling to the glass.

S - Citrusy hop aroma dominates the nose. Not much else is detectable.

T - Nice citrusy hop flavor up front, followed by a smooth malty finish. The malts seem to balance out the hops in the finish, reducing alot of the harshness from the hops (not always a plus, but in this case it works).

M - Medium bodied with a slightly harsh finish from the hops. Good amount of carbonation throughout.

D - Overall not a bad pale ale at all. Very refreshing. Nice full flavor thats not overpowering and sessionable ABV.

Photo of washburnkid
3.71/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden with straw edges and a deep red-tinted mass in the body. Really beautiful. The head is 2+ fingers of creamy, bubbly beige that collapses slowly bubble by bubble. There's a thin cap of lace, with a thicker ring and good lacing on the glass.
S: A light and semi-sour fruitiness comes to the fore. Sweeter than I'd want it to be, considering Great Lakes flaunts the use of Cascade hops on their website. I can't pull much of the citrus that I was expecting, but maybe I'll eat my words with the flavor?
T: Roasted bready malt is almost reminiscent of a porter. My mind keeps saying "coffee", but my heart wants more hops! This truly isn't what I expected. The Cascades are there, citrusy and smooth, but they are subtle and seem to be hiding beneath the roasted barley. The bitters do pull through and linger, and they taste of bittersweet grapefruit. Not much else happening here.
M: Medium body with balanced carbonation.
D: I don't know...this beer threw me off. I had certain expectations, I guess. I did enjoy it. I actually cracked open another one as soon as I finished the first. But it's not what I'd reach for when I want a hoppy pale ale.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12 ounce bottle picked up at Abe's in Bethlehem for under $2. Freshest by 9/21/09. Poured into my Imperial nonic pint glass. The pale ale appears a crystal clear golden yellow color with about two fingers of off white head. Nose and flavors consist of citrus, mainly grapefruit with hints of orange peel, a good amount of caramelized malts, medium toasted bready grains, slightly per-fumy and floral hops. Wonderful balance overall. The ale is just about medium bodied and amply carbonated with a bitter-sweet, crisp finish. A great everyday pale ale. Glad that they finally made it to eastern PA.

Photo of callmemickey
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Orange-amber body, moderate frothy white head... receded fairly quickly, moderate lacing left behind.

S: Citrus, caramel and floral notes. Citrus was mostly a grapefruit-orange blend.

T: Dominated by an orange-grapefruit bitterness... some bready-caramel holds things together. Slight herbal character.

M: Perhaps a touch thin, good carbonation. Rounded, soft finish.

D: Easy to session. A nice pale ale indeed. Could of had a tad bit more in the way of body.

Photo of jdg204
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had fantastic luck with my Great Lakes offerings thus far, so I was excited to try another in a PA style that I consider one of my faves. My buddies at Abe's Cold Beer in Bethlehem were my hook-up for this brew.

A: Pale orange with a thin white head that descends to a minimal cover.

S: Light citrus fruits up front with caramel in the back.

T: Citrus fruits are up front grapefruit/orange with a light caramel providing minimal support. Hops really took over in the undertone and IMO dominated the flavor a bit too much.

M: Medium bodied brew with nice carbonation levels.

D: A solid brew to be sure, but I was a bit disappointed considering my usual high expectations for GL. Unfortunately, this beer committed the great beer sin in my eyes, lack of balance (way more hops than the malt can support). This is a pretty classic style Pale Ale, I can see how it would definitely be a staple brew in it's home area. Good offering from GL, but not one to go too far out of your way to obtain.

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

Appearance - Clear, light honey with a one finger off-white head. Nice splotchy lacing.
Smell - Pine, slight citrus and malt sweetness.
Taste - Piney, some citrus and a sweet malt backbone. There is a full hoppy finish.
Mouthfeel - Light-medium body with moderate carbonation. Still has a full type of mouthfeel, not watery.
Drinkability - Very easy drinking.
Overall - This beer is very well balanced and is quite sessionable. A relatively mild beer that maintains both complexity and flavor.

Photo of kegger22
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a respectable head that fades quickly. The aroma is citrusy, but not strong. The taste too, is mild citrus, sweet with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Mouth feel is only average with a little carbonation. Very drinkable because it is fairly mild. Overall there are too many "slight, mild, light, average" used to describe Burning River. It is what it is: an average, bland, APA light. OK, but nothing to write home about.

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

Pours a light peach color with an initial three fingers of head that fades slowly. Scent is mostly hops, earthy, floral, and citrusy. Wow, what a delicious pale ale. Where a lot of other bottled pale ales end up toward the amber style, this is leaning heavily in the IPA direction. Plenty of satisfying bitterness from the cascade hops with balancing malts providing a touch of caramel sweetness. Medium body and carbonation is right on--yet another brew from Great Lakes that would surely be a staple if it were more available to me. Get this one if you can.

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

Thanks to Auslander for this nice trade extra!

A: Pours a transparent golden color that produces a massive fluffy, tightly-knit beige head. Great retention and lots of carbonation bubbles floating up.

S: Soft but powerful floral Cascade hop aroma. Amber and Caramel malts back it up nicely.

T: Similar to the nose- powerful yet mellow. Floral, but not bitter, hops over a lightly toasted and sweet malt base. Toasty, slightly nutty, along with a nice citrus twang to it.

MF/D: Nicely balanced, medium body, nice carbonation to make it nice and soft, session beer.

Notes: Nice, smooth, and mellow. One of those examples of keeping it simple!

Photo of BatsforBeer
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Golden Amber with glints of orange, head off white with good lacing. Beer is clear and not very lively

Nose: pleasant nose with overtones of hops and hint of malt and floral yeast

Taste: Initial taste is a bit malty, with the hops kicking in a bit latter. Notes of citrus are present and add to the many layers of flavor nicely. The beer balances very well and the hops flavor lingers for quite awhile, but is not over bearing.

Mouth feel: Frouthy and a bit slimly, carbonation is good.

Drinkability: This beer is extremely drinkable and is a great summer brew. I look forward to having another.

This is my first attempt at reviewing a beer, I drafted this review before reading any other reviews or the lable. Let me know your opinion or sugguestions!

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

A: A nice graham cracker color, plenty of carbonation, and a nice white head. Looks tasty!

S: Hops, fresh fruit, grapefruit. Malty undertones with a slight biscuit scent.

T: A slight bit of malt, followed by hops.. bitter, citrus, and licorice notes present.

M: Very clean and crisp, and lots of carbonation.

D: I am not a hop head. But man this is tasty. Just the right amount of hops when you are craving something a little bitter. Nice beer.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Lancaster Brewing pint glass.

A- A pretty, amber/orange mix with a ever rising fluffy semi thick white head. It settled after a few leaving a loose skim. Some bubbles loose bubbles barely sticking to the glass I would not call it a lace.

S- Getting citrus hops plus floral scents with some caramel from the malt. Nicely hopped for a american pale, the best scent from one in recent memory.

T- I first get a nice dose of hops giving off citrus with grapefruit, orange, plus floral tastes. A very nicely hopped APA. Some sweetness from malts with a nice balance. Some bitterness afterwards which is nice.

M&D- The feel is light to medium with a good amount of carb livining things up a bit. Very impressive. I get hops than some sweetness than some bitterness, nothing over the hill. Hmmm, only 6%, sign me up.

Photo of tj4288
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

poured from 12oz into standard tumbler pint.

this is a beer i would come back to. classic apa in appearance decent head with some lacing. smell is a perfect harmony between malt and hops. taste is also a good balance. not overly complex. i dont typically prefer strong malt but the malt i was picking up in this brew was very attractive to me, posibly a malt strain i have never tried? mouthfeel is an average apa. med body and med carbonation. goes down more than easy and youll be looking for a second one. at 6% its a perfect blend of flavor/ drinkability/ price (IMO). so if you can get a hold of this brew i highly recomend it.

Photo of theghost3
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to vinyljunkie for this one.

Pours a translucent light copper with a 1-finger white head. Medium lacing.

The smell is mainly roasted caramel malts with a subtle hint of citrusy hops. The flavor is interesting in that the citrusy hops don't overpower the caramel malts. Rather balanced; sweet like toffee. Mouthfeel is crisp, slightly too acidic.

This is a drinkable APA that will surprise you with its malt character.

Photo of BeerImmediately
2.22/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle into thin-walled glass at 40 degrees. Dated as best before 9/21/09. (Had two, just to double-check my initial impressions).

Good looking 2F, white head which took a while to fade to film. Amber-orange in color with plenty of visible carbonation.

Smell is a bit of a disappointment - really had to pull it out. No hoppy character. Some bland vegetables - squash and cooked zuchini.

Did not enjoy the taste either - cooked corn water, with a hint of citrus hop trying desperately to pull through. Finished with a bit of the euro pale lager skunk.

Mouthfeel was ok - little bitter bite, not as smooth as most APA's I've had, hence the score. Sour film left on tongue.

With an unmemorable smell, poor taste and rough MF, overall drinkability landed in the basement.

Have no idea how this beer won a Gold Medal or so many rave reviews - maybe I hit a "bad batch"

Photo of mdwalsh
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, golden reddish body. 1.5 finger white head. No active carb, no lacing.

S: Hay, sweetness. No malt, not strong

T: Bitter at first, but sweet. Hoppy aftertaste. Not strong at all.

M: Heavy for its color. Not great, slightly over carbed it feels.

D: Ok, if you like IPAs, but still not great. If not, then not even OK

Photo of erosier
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big Thanks to CMitchell for this one!

L: Pours a great amber color with a medium sized and medium bodied off white colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet malts, a nice floral and citrusy hop aroma at the end of the nose.
T: Extremely well balanced taste between the sweet malts and the floral and citrus hop flavors that really round the flavor out well.
M: Very crisp, fresh, refreshing, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable, this is what a pale ale should taste like, I absolutely loved it.

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

Golden orange with a fluffy head

Floral hops and pine in the smell, a hint of citrus

Grassy herbal flavors predominate, followed by pine. Little citrus, but a hint of grapefruit rind.

Mouthfeel smooth and crisp.

This is less citrus- and pine- centric than most pale ales I enjoy, but it's well balanced, and easy to drink. Great Lakes has really been impressing me with their well-balanced beers in some of the less typically flavorful styles.

Photo of ajr24
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A trip to the Pittsburgh area has given me the chance to try the beers from Great Lakes.

12 oz bottle poured into a mug.

A- Pours a light amber, golden orange. Moderate head at first that dissipates into a thin and white coating. Slight lacing.

S- Smells of intense Cascade hops. Some malt sweetness sneaks through and very much pleases the senses. Hoppy and biscuity describes it best.

T- Noticeable Cascades in the foreground of the taste. Nice maltiness in the background. Overall, an enjoyable and balanced APA.

M- Zesty and nice carbonation. Easy drinkin' brew.

D- At 6% it's no session beer, but it is damn drinkable.

Photo of damndirtyape
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle with date of 07/19/2009, poured into a tumbler glass. Some foam, but it dissipated in 2-3 minutes leaving a ring of foam on the edges and some lacing on the glass as I drank it down.
Color is a rich orange-yellow. For a pale ale, it's well into a darker shade.
Taste is good. There is indeed citrus tones, as well as hops and just a small hit of bitterness at the end. I know it's the hops, but the beer reminds me just a tad of Earl Grey tea in it's smell and part of its taste (bergamot).
Nicely carbonated and smooth on the tongue.
As for drinkability, I finished this off fairly quickly with dinner and definitely wouldn't mind another one, but, it's not what I was expecting in a pale ale. I guess I was looking for something a little bit more on the crisp and refreshing side, not something with so much flavor and smell. Mind you, I'm not complaining, but I'm surprised that this is called a pale ale due to the color and robust flavors.

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