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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

2,602 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,602
Reviews: 987
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 96
Gots: 182 | 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: 2,602 | Reviews: 987 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cooncat


4.33/5  rDev +9.1%

Serving was from a 12 oz. bottle, with a best by date of 12-17-06 (doing review on 1-12-07, so a couple weeks past prime .. no biggy)

A vigorous pour into a 16 oz. glass produced a nice off white, creamy head, that held up pretty well. More impressive is the sheets of lacing left behind ... all the way to the end of the beer. The nose is very enticing, with citrusy and floral hops very prominent. The color is a brilliant orange, or perhaps a 'light bronze' would be a better description. The first sip is a heavenly balance of sweet maltiness and crisp citrus/piney hops. Neither overpowers the other. The mouthfeel is medium full bodied, and that is a wonderful contrast to the thin, watery mouthfeel of macro-brews. The beer finishes crisp and dry to to palate, and beckons you to refill your glass. A very drinkable beer, an excellent pale, and certainly a fine session beer.

I drink a lot of Great Lakes brews, living within 50 miles of their brewpub. Burning River has always been one of my favorites. Highly recommended.


01-13-2007 00:23:28 | More by cooncat
Photo of chadspivey


4/5  rDev +0.8%

picked this up in kentucky over the holidays....
poured in a pint glass

A: pours a clear light copper color with a one finger off white head. I like the way the head settles with big bubbles. leaves a nice lacing all the way down the glass

S: bittering hops, citrusy fruits, slight hints of dark stuff too..maybe chocolate? weird...

T: this is like a creamy, malty, stout like pale ale. Cool. Never woulda thought it would work just hearing about it, but it's really quite good. I think i taste oak. vanilla, and strong hops, but not really too bitter. grapefruit bite at the end, though. The stout taste seems to dissapear the more I drink.

M: really nice mouthfeel, kinda thick for a pale ale

D: To be honest, the taste is getting less impressive as I go. Still, I don't feel like i'd be turned off by it after just a few beers.

Overall, a pretty good beer. seemed to get more bitter the more I drank it....weird. Maybe it was the bufallo chicken I had an hour ago.

01-09-2007 08:38:22 | More by chadspivey
Photo of malcontent


4.28/5  rDev +7.8%

Pours a transparent reddish color with a finger of head and minimal lacing.

Wonderful flowery hop aromas with citrus and spice.

Somewhere between tart apple cider and grapefruit juice is what I'm left with in trying to describe the affect of the hops on Burning River. Lovely tasting beer.

Perfect body/carbonation balance with oiliness well under control. This is easily one of my top-5 session brews.

01-06-2007 02:48:19 | More by malcontent
Photo of longpondbeerman


3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

A friend brought me back from Cleveland a mixed six-pack of the Burning River, Nosferatu, and Eliot Ness. I decided to try the Burning River first, largely because of its [appropriate] name. This pours a diamond-clear amber and is topped off by a modest and fleeting beige head. To the nose there was not much bouquet, a soft malty base and some slight citrus. The taste was fuller and smokier at the outset than I would have expected from the smell (maybe they really did want to capture something of the old burning river), and there was definitely a hint of lime in the aftertaste. I rather liked the balance. The mouthfeel was thin, but not at all unusual for an American Pale Ale. A worthy brew!

12-30-2006 22:18:53 | More by longpondbeerman
Photo of BeerBelcher


3.68/5  rDev -7.3%

This beer pours a deep red color with an abundant fluffy white head of tightly packed bubbles which slowly degrades into nice lacing.

Aroma is a sweet hop aroma which is appealing without being citrusy or piney. The aroma is hoppy but not smack-you-in-the-face bitter.

Flavor is really very mild, and less than I expected from the aroma. It is very pleasing, but not the "big beer" I might have expected from this brewery.

Mouthfeel is very light, but substantial enough to convey the flavor of this beer and a very pleasant experience. This beer seems light enough to make it very drinkable.

All in all, I really enjoyed this beer and would recommend it.

12-19-2006 03:29:27 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of rayjay


3.95/5  rDev -0.5%

Aquired through beer trade with akorsak. Best before 12-05-06

Medium amber, without much head or lace to speak of.

Hops are up front on this one, bit subtle restraint is used. Very enjoyable, refreshing brew, easy to drink and easy to understand. Great beer for "all-around drinking;" not very complex, just a good, simple APA. Tastes like hop plugs were used.

The carbonation is just a bit flat for me, which adds to the slightly sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkablity is very high, and this would be a hit for BA's and bud drinkers alike. This is my 1st beer from this brewery and I'm very happy to have tried it. Cheers!

11-19-2006 19:17:54 | More by rayjay
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.15/5  rDev +4.5%

Acquired via trade from FtownThrowDown, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color, with a thin white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is a blend of pale hops, citrus sweetness and caramelized malt.

T: The citrus sweetness comes out first in the taste and is then followed by a mild burst of hops bitterness. The malt backbone is persistent throughout each sip. After-taste is a little sweet with a bit of residual hops.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean & dry finish.

D: Tasty and easy-to-drink, not too filling, decent kick, this is a good beer to stick with for an evening, unless you're looking for something heavier.

11-19-2006 01:20:27 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of DuqTroops


4/5  rDev +0.8%

Appearance - copperish orangish color. With little white head atop the great body.

Smell - lots of hops and citrusy aromas! great sense of smell.

Taste - malty flavor with a little citrusy orange flavor

Mouthfeel - not a great mouthfeel, too much citrus for this flavors...

Drinkability - could have one or two at a time.. not many...

11-14-2006 03:17:12 | More by DuqTroops
Photo of akorsak


3.68/5  rDev -7.3%

A 12 oz bottle obtained in a trade with jdoolin.

A: The ale is a coppery red color with auburn orange highlight. There is a small ring of white head in the glass.

S: The aroma is a strong biscuit maltiness with a slight hint of hops.

T: The beer has a big malty base, grainy with a cereal finish. The carbonation adds an astrigent sharpness. The hops add a nice finishing flourish without detracting from the malts.

M: The malty graininess is the real winner here, providing thick tasty body of beer.

D: The ale has a nice malty grain flavor that makes it easy to drink.

11-13-2006 01:37:16 | More by akorsak
Photo of PenguinBeerFan


3.95/5  rDev -0.5%

A-Dark side of an APA. Just an inital sign that this beer will push the boundries of the APA style. Two fingers of head, sticky lace on the glass.

S-Pine and pepper. Definetely smells stronger than your average APA.

T-A lot of hops. Definitely tastes like a good IPA. Strongest hopped pale ale I can recall. Bitter on the tongue, bit of alcohol on the swallow. Stays balanced though, and not repulsive to this malt-head.

M-Sticky, resin like. Good density, moves around well.

D-Decent, though a bit hoppy for a long session of swilling. Alcohol is masked well.

Why this is an APA defies me, definitely tastes and smells IPA all the way. A good bridge beer if you don't want something pure hops and don't want something real malty. Enjoyable experience.

11-07-2006 00:54:25 | More by PenguinBeerFan
Photo of TechMyst


4.72/5  rDev +18.9%

FRESH: by 12-17; cons.10-28
COST: $8.50/sixer
HEAD: 1/2" foamy disapating
LACE: slight rings
REFLECTED- beautiful dark copper
AROMA: Pine/floral hop (balanced)
MOUTHFEEL: med; soft cond.
PALATE: slick/resinous
TASTE: hops are balanced; good bitterness
COMMENTS: Most flavorfull PA; soapy undertone. Best PA imo

11-03-2006 02:23:43 | More by TechMyst
Photo of SMark


4.1/5  rDev +3.3%

Very good pour with slight foam. On the darker side of a pale.

Initial hit of hops tailed off later on but it was a very good start. Then came back later on. Opening up as it gets warmer.

Aroma carried through to the taste which was very satisfying.

Started out as average but continued to improve with time in the glass. Had it too cold to start. Developing nicely and stays with you for a good aftertaste.

Most definitely drinkable. A fine product.

11-01-2006 23:34:20 | More by SMark
Photo of BamaWorKs


3.95/5  rDev -0.5%

Got this with the Great Lakes sampler pack, which I highly recommend. Poured from the 12oz bottle into pint glass, maintained a copper tone, with acceptable lacing and head. The aroma was strong with hints of pine and pepper. Strong flavors in this one, I feel that if you like an IPA you'll be more pleased with this than the average APA drinker. Overall very drinkable and enjoyed this one.

10-29-2006 20:00:20 | More by BamaWorKs
Photo of plaid75

New York

4.22/5  rDev +6.3%

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger pillowy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a very aromatic oily citrus hop. There was a nice peppery element as well.

The taste was upfront oily hop with excellent grapefruit, orange and white pepper elements. There was a solid biscuity grain bill as well.

The mouthfeel was full with a dry finish.

Overall a very good APA experience. This beer has more kick than your average APA. Highlt recommended

10-23-2006 14:08:26 | More by plaid75
Photo of Bones54


4.03/5  rDev +1.5%

Yet another great offering by Great Lakes. This is a very generously hopped pale ale. I would argue that this is even tastes a bit more like an IPA then a pale ale.

Gotta love the name too. Great Lakes takes a dark moment in Cleveland history and turns it into a great beer. That a way GLB, doing your best to boost the Cleveland image!

10-21-2006 04:34:34 | More by Bones54
Photo of Grundle20


3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Pours copper into a Burgerbrau gold rimmed pilsner glass. There's a nice frothy head with mild retention which doesn't really lace the glass.

Big floral hop scent with small touches of apricots and pine. The scent doesn't wander far from the glass.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Crisp and bitter with mild carbonation that meanders about my tongue. There's a very quick rush of apricot hopping which is almost immediately followed by a dry piney quickly diminishing finish. A really fast transition of flavors that ends quite clean.

Crisp, clean, and decent ABV makes this a highly drinkable beer. Possibly too bitter to really achieve "slammable" honors. A pleasant drinking experience.

Bottom Line:
Clean, tasty, lowish ABV. A very good beer in many respects whether it be party application or dinner with the lady.

10-17-2006 23:40:41 | More by Grundle20
Photo of terrabyte


3.13/5  rDev -21.2%

IThis poured a clear, pale brown color with a whitish, foamy head.

A citrus smell with a strong grapefruit presence.

Tasted like carbonated grapefruit juice. Plenty of pine hops, giving it that pleasant bitter aftertaste. I wish there was more in this beer to balance it out. Carbonated grapefruit juice.

Overall, this seemed a bit one dimensional.
Also, whenever I have this much grapefruit and pine in a beer, it's usually labeled an IPA.

10-12-2006 21:27:45 | More by terrabyte
Photo of athensbeermaster


3.95/5  rDev -0.5%

Calling this beer a pale ale sure is modest. It acts more like a Ipa with it's pretty amber/orange hue color. Then the amount of hoppy bitterness with soft tropical fruit tones with a firm malty backbone.
To me this beer is a chugable IPA made to drink several in a row!
so far this is my favorite from Greatlakes besides there blackout stout. This beer makes me proud to be born in Ohio.

10-11-2006 00:23:41 | More by athensbeermaster
Photo of shirfan

New York

3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

No matter what insult is hurled at Buffalo, I've always been able to reply "at least our river never caught fire like Cleveland's". (Although I'd gladly see the Niagara blazing like a torch in exchange for a championship team... both are equally likely)

Clear and light orange, with a good deal of lacing even after several minutes.

Aroma is of mild citrus and... something vague between cranberry and cardboard. This is not the freshest of bottles, so I will try to find a younger one and adjust scores if it turns out to be age-induced.

Taste strikes a really nice balance -- juicy without being too sweet, mild carbonation, and a light mixture of piney/floral hops that stay well within sane APA bounds. Very light hints of pepper towards the finish. Stands out in the crowd of "just another" pales for its almost perfect equilibrium.

10-10-2006 01:35:54 | More by shirfan
Photo of beerceller99


3.88/5  rDev -2.3%

Clear amber color with a wispy, off white head.
Has a mild hop and sweet malt aroma.
Light -medium body with a very smooth mouthfeel.
Nice sweet malt grainy taste here with a subtle hop essence.
Finishes with a nice mild bitterness.
Another tasty and highly drinkable pale ale, as they all should be.

10-06-2006 18:07:06 | More by beerceller99
Photo of Westsidethreat


4.13/5  rDev +4%

A: Very well carbonated, you could tell by looking at the bottle as the cap came off. Pours a slightly hazed (from the chill) tangerine copper with a solid butter cream thick head.

S: I can smell the citrus without putting the beer to my nose. Straight up orange, lymon and grapefruit...all in magnitude of the order presented.

T: Crisp, refreshing and clean. Begins a bit buttery with a nice marmalade thing going on. Spritzy bursts of lemon and lime welcome the tongue, reminding the drinker of summertime. Some biscuity malts balance the citrus out. Finishes with gentle bitter grapefruit rind and

M: A bit thin but smooth.

D: I must say, not an aptly named beer. Not usually a big fan of pale ale's but I like this one. Actually has some character to it.

10-04-2006 03:31:21 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of mjc410


4.15/5  rDev +4.5%

The pour into my Spaten becker raises a fast-falling one finger white head with some large bubbles, over a bright golden-copper body. Lacing is sticky but thin. The smell is midly caramelly and sweet, but dominated by the piney, grapefruity, resinous hops. Actually, there seems to be a balance here. The taste is actually quite mild, not as sweet as expected, but not as hoppy either. GL's beers are certainly showing a lot of balance in today's triple tasting. THe mouth is medium, with again, some very fine, smooth carbonation. The hoppiness does build, perhaps hurting drinkability a bit. They know how to build good drinkers in Cleveland!

10-03-2006 20:51:49 | More by mjc410
Photo of Vancer


4.3/5  rDev +8.3%

Hmm, ya know, ya just can’t go wrong with anything from Great Lakes. This PA was a beauty, nice and amber pour, tannish head, sexy lacing.

Piney with citrus in the aroma, and the taste – first rate. Additionally, it has some earthy wood hints that are different and unexpected – but pleasant.

Crisp and refreshing PA, I’m looking forward to a few more six packs next spring. This is a good warm weather drinker. Crap, I’m getting thirsty just remembering the brew.

09-27-2006 16:14:36 | More by Vancer
Photo of Rudgers73

New York

3.4/5  rDev -14.4%

Poured on tap in Pittsburg.

A- Amber-reddish clear. Fluffy thick head.

S- Very vegetabley and herbal. It kinda worried me when I smelled it because I really didn't think it was going to taste good at all.

T- Thick, malty, creamy and very buttery. All I could taste was the overwhelming biscuit taste. Really unique.

M- Thick and creamy rolled around like a ball of bread dough in your mouth. Warming and coating.

D- It was fun to try, but not really my taste.

09-24-2006 23:00:48 | More by Rudgers73
Photo of alexgash


4.4/5  rDev +10.8%

Copper amber body with a dense, light sandy flecked head that sticks around. Caramel and fruit malts prominent. Light buttered bread. Citrusy and spicy hops. Toasted caramel sweet maltiness up front. Citrusy hops come in and provide solid balance. Fruity malt in an otherwise bitter finish. Well-balanced and very drinkable. Medium body with a slightly creamy feel.

09-24-2006 18:14:38 | More by alexgash
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,602 ratings.