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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

2,528 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,528
Reviews: 982
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 93
Gots: 155 | 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: 2,528 | Reviews: 982 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of FirstMan


4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Executive review: This is a damn good beer.

This is one of three beers that darlinclemintine was great enough to bring me back from her trip to Columbus. No, Great Lakes is not in Columbus, but distribution is a strange and wonderful thing.

Light clover-honey coloring. Clear with a regular stream of little bubbles rising. Fairly smooth, frothy head with a good deal of retention. Covers the entire top of the liquid for well beyond the normal tenure. Beautiful complex lacing crawling high up the edge of the glass.

Glorious hop flower character is dominant in the nose, but very well balanced by a sweet back. A great example of the American Pale style in the nose. I'm just itchin to drink this.

Taste and mouthfeel just round this thing out beautifully. Big hop flavor up front, but never so much as to overwhelm with bitterness. Clean, malt sweetness is softened just slightly with a yeast undertone. Smooth and creamy in the mouth.

Very good beer all around. Full flavor that sticks it dead-on all the way from the start to the finish. Great lakes is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries. Kudos to the brewer on this.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2005 00:51:08 | More by FirstMan
Photo of becktone


4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours into my glass with a nice orangish/light amber color. Originally a large white head formed up to about an inch, however it quickly diminishes. The beer has fairyl good head retention, it falls to become just a white film over the top of the beer, however when agitated it again forms a small head.

The smell of this beer reminds me alot of sparkling grape juice. The sparkling grape juice aroma is the most dominant smell that I get here, nothing more.

This beer tastes great. The malt which I believe is what gives this beer the aroma of sparkling grape juice and the same taste on the front of the tounge and the feeling on the roof of my mouth or the middle of the tounge after I have swallowed the beer. The sweetness of this beer is perfectly balanced by the hops that this beer uses. It is rater a nice mix. When drinking this I first smell the beer then taste the bitterness of the hops and finally the aftertaste. Its nice because first smell sweetness, taste bitterness, taste the lingering sweetness which doesn't come through when the liquid is in the mouth.

The mouthfeel of this beer is pertty good. I am in favor of the amount of carbonation that this beer has. Overall this beer feels quite good on the palate. I will definitely be buying this beer in the future. I am quite amazed at how much I like it.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2005 20:54:09 | More by becktone
Photo of evanackerman


4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

this is a mighty pale ale. almost IPA hoppiness but definitely a firm malt backing.

appearance is beautiful light amber with a two finger head that stays throughout and leaves lacing.

aroma is of hops.

taste is a delicious onslaught of piney and floral hops, not nearly as fruity as many American Pales, a nice malt presence backs up the hops making this an absolutely delicious pale ale, the Pinnacle of Pales to be sure.

overall, a great APA from my favorite brewery, these people really know what they're doing. excellent beer!

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2005 23:11:11 | More by evanackerman
Photo of macpapi


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

Pours a clear copper color, with a decent white head. Decent bubble action is visible throughout the glass.

Hops are very noticeable in the smell. Also quite a bit of malt, notes of citrus and floral tones are present. Very sharp on the nostrils.

Taste is also quite impressive. Hops with a bit of bitterness are notable right up front. Citrus follows--grapefruit is very much a part of the back end of the quaff. Also a bit of surprising creaminess completes a nice overall flavor.

Mouthfeel is pretty creamy and full. Biting on the tongue. Bitterness remains after the liquid has passed.

Overall, a nice Pale Ale. Bitter and hoppy, but not in any sense unpalatable. Substantial enough to make its presence known, but would be a good session beer, nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2005 02:14:11 | More by macpapi
Photo of UDbeernut

New York

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

Appearance: a very light amber color, almost a perfect orange hue. Creamy 1/4" head than slowl reduces to lacing

Smell: nothing obscene. The most striking smell is that of corn

Taste: light malt and hops with the corn smell converting through to the taste

mouthfeel: as with the other great lakes brews I have tried, smooth

Burning River is a very drinkable beer. I think after this one, I will have another!


Serving type: bottle

10-09-2005 02:11:49 | More by UDbeernut
Photo of Golden2wenty1


4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison.

Pours a golden light amber with a tight snow white head and a hint of spotty lacing. Nose is full with floral/fruity hops and a solid malt body. Taste continues with the mellow, but complex floral/herbal hops, some tropical fruit, grapefruit, and caramel malt. Mouthfeel is thinnish, with thin, fine carbonation that tickles the tongue. This is a damn tasty APA here. I'm not exactly a hophead yet, so I really enjoyed the subtle but complex and present floral hops. Probably my favorite pale ale of any type to date. Great Lakes has another winner here.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2005 01:24:40 | More by Golden2wenty1
Photo of rousee


3.3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Too bad that this beer actually looks and smells better than it tastes. It has real potential at the outset.

Beautiful orangey-amber, quite transparent, decent head that holds well and good lace. Smell is the nice piney hops I love. Unfortunately, this beer is flat even though it has foam. Another one with no effervescence at all. For this style, its acceptable but not desired. A flat "American-British" pale ale.

This beer is a tough one to judge. I think it could be hitting my palate the wrong way and I might like it better the next time I try it. Probably better on draught too. Worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2005 23:11:01 | More by rousee
Photo of kdog630


3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice copper color with a good head that remained throughout.

Not an overpowering hop odor and the malt flavor was pronounced for the first few sips. Eventually the hops broke through and offered a pleasant finish.

Carbonation was right on with an excellent mouthfeel. Left a nice lace to the end of the glass.

Overall, a very drinkable beer that I will surely offer to my PA drinking friends.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2005 22:42:54 | More by kdog630
Photo of burnstar


4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautfiul clear dark copper with about a finger of white head. Smells very good- citrusy hops some sweet fruit character. taste is mostly nice citrusy hops but there are some complexities here as well. Finishes with a lingering bitterness. Body is medium to full and rather dry. Easy to drink and a very nice pale ale overall.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2005 23:29:16 | More by burnstar
Photo of battlekow


3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burning River Pale Ale is a hazy copper color capped by a small off-white head that provides good lacing. All in all, it probably looks a lot more potable than the Cuyahoga does. It smells nicely balanced, with the citrusy, spicy hops actually rather subdued. They make their presence known more in the taste, which is also touted by the label to have a "fruity assertiveness." I don't know exactly what that means, but there is a bit of grape juice going on, though the hops are definitely the assertive flavor.

Bad river, good beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2005 19:27:09 | More by battlekow
Photo of sopor


3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

By the numbers, I believe this will be one of the best APAs I've had. While it's not my absolute favorite APA (that's Magnum APA from the Keweenaw Brewing Co) this is a very good offering from a wonderful fairly local (to me) brewery.

Crystal clear light amber with a slightly tan 2 finger active head. Very lively bubble action (I think there's a little lint in my glass)

Caramel and toasty maslt nose with a funky rotting bread smell that reminds me of their Dortmunder (vienna or munich malts possibly? I think I'm starting to recognize them and associate them with this flavor)

Caramel and biscuity malt with a hint of sweet fruit. A slight citrus note to an otherwise resinous and herbal hop bite.

Typical Pale Ale moderately light body with deceptively light carbonation.

A great offering from GLBC. Very unique APA, which I find to be the single greatest attrbiute of an APA because theres SO DAMN MANY OF THEM!!! This oe sticks out in my mind though becuase of the slight sweetness and that rotten bread smell. Good beer, but not a session APA IMO. Not as drinkable as an APA should be IMO.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2005 17:12:13 | More by sopor
Photo of Frozensoul327


3.38/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my second beer from Great Lakes, I have have to say, these guys are about two steps off from becoming a major contender in the Micro brewing world. Poured out to a nice orange yellow color with a very short lived head. Low carbonation. No lace in the glass. Aromas of orange and clove are very present, as are notes of pine and earth. Flavor was a bit on the flat side, as this beer could have benefited from higher carbonation to liven up the taste. Flavors of hops and malt, with traces of citrus, and a tea like finish. Not bad, but like I said, the addition of more carbonation would really kick this brew up a notch. Decent mouthfeel. I'd have another, but not before trying something else. I really feel Great Lakes is on to something with their beers, but somewhere it's just not connecting... Still, this beer is worthy of a try.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2005 02:24:57 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of dirtylou


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

single 12oz bottle bought at Steve's (University Ave.) in Madison, best enjoyed by 9/30/05

appearance: pours a see through, yet hazy, amber with a fluffy white head and decent lacing

smell: subdued floral hops similar to many ipa's...citrus, earthy straw aromas...nothing too strong but inviting nonetheless

taste: floral hops, nice citrus flavors ala tangerine, apricot, orange...nice hop profile balanced out by mild malts. Taste follows along the lines of alpha king and pushes the boundary between APA and IPA.

mouthfeel: oily hops, medium body, nice hop bitterness

drinkability: extremely drinkable, not too bitter and very clean finish

another solid offering from Great Lakes that I am just getting around to rating.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2005 04:22:16 | More by dirtylou
Photo of rhoadsrage


4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a bright light orange hue with a crystal clear body and a small off-white heat that is very creamy. A nice slow carbonation of small bubbles.

S- A nice aroma of green hops and citrus notes with some pale malt notes.

T- Nice grapefruit hops very bold at the begining of the taste. A slight orange hint is mixed with the pale malt flavor and a nice hoppy bitter finish.

M- Medium-full mouthfeel with no astringency or alcohol warmth.

D- This is a very smooth drink with a great juicy hop flavor. A well-built, easy-drinking beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2005 23:40:39 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of 99bottles


4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

An excellent pale ale, with more hops and bitterness than many so called IPAs out there. The body is a rich red-amber color, with a sticky, fine head of off white. Smell is of juicy hops with a sweet noble air to them (don't quote me on that). Medium body with a nice sugary caramel flavor, though clean and dry. Perfect balance with the sweet and citrusy hops; orange, lemon and pine tar. Outstanding, and deserving of its many accolades. Great Lakes turns out some awesome beers.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2005 02:12:15 | More by 99bottles
Photo of Applesauce1


3.35/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1st smell - hops, floral smell

1st taste - It was decent, but it seemed to me that this beer needed more hops. The taste of this beer was better than a macro lager, but overall it didn't have that much taste. As I got about halfway through the beer I started noticing a skunky flavor even. This could've been from some light exposure at the store possibly, but, nonetheless, it disappointed me. The expiration date on the beer was Oct. 28, 2005, so it's got about two months left. Anyways, I expected more from Great Lakes than I got from this beer. With American Pale Ale as my favorite style, I know of cheaper and better tasting pale ales to buy.

- Overall, this beer is drinkable, but I doubt I'll have another in the near future.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2005 14:39:21 | More by Applesauce1
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.8/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours out a clear light amber color with a nice head that sticks and laces well

Smell: Biscuity, with a generous dose of floral hop leaf aroma

Taste: Starts out with a biscuity malt base which starts to pick up some grapefruit pith as the hops kick in by mid-palate; the finish is fruity and bitter with a good hop presence and a touch of alcoholic warming

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation; crisp

Drinkability: This is one great APA and is up there with Three Floyds as one of my favorite examples of the style

Thanks, vwcraig, for the opportunity to re-visit

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2005 20:59:33 | More by brentk56
Photo of Xadoor


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

A clear dark copper colour in the glass with a thin head that disipated quickly. Very faint aroma. It starts with a slighly sweet malt flavour but finishes very, very dry with slight bitter and grassy flavours. It seems to lean more towards being an IPA then just a Pale. A very good drinkable beer, but the very dry finish left me wanting to follow it with something a little more refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2005 19:32:33 | More by Xadoor
Photo of KarlHungus


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

Pours a clear golden color with reddish hues. A huge white head caps it off. The aroma is big, and of citrusy hops. The taste is hoppy, yet balanced. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample carbonation. Overall, this is a very good APA. It is nice and hoppy without being so hoppy that it verges into IPA territory.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2005 21:11:42 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of blitheringidiot


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

Excited pour from a cool label that has a freaking blazing rio on it. 12 oz'er browner bottle, pours a golden brazen shiny copper penny topped off with smattered gloppy tacky ivory head slick, leaving painted coating lattice lace.

Bold scents of cascade and some other goodie goodie hops, met with perfectly balanced malt backing. Deliciously smellingcandy like brew.

First swigs: Hoppy brisk and sweet sugar hard candy backing. Pez candy chalky middle.A pale ale that thinks it is an IPA. Fruity apple and delicate lemony dry peel. Clean citrus finish.

Last swigs: Perfectly balanced pale. Outstanding! Gotta git me some more. $1.99 a bottle and worth it for this curious weary beer needing traveler.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2005 04:59:59 | More by blitheringidiot
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,528 ratings.