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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

2,754 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,754
Reviews: 994
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 104
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: 2,754 | Reviews: 994 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gmann
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with an average white head that dissipates into a light cap. The aroma is of juicy citrus hops and a light honey malt, very nice. The hops stand forefront in the taste, a nice mellow citrus hop. There is a light malt presence to keep the hops honest. Really this is what an APA should taste like. Nice noticable American hops that don't smash you over the head. Nice moderate feel with semi-soft carbonation giving the brew a creamy texture. A near perfect APA, not overly hoppy and has a great balance

Gmann, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is a semi cloudy orange with good carbonation. The head is full white and leaves some lace.

The smell is of clean fresh malt slightly caramelized, and a good bit of citrus and earthy hops.

The taste follows great malt back bone and a very nice hopy finish of pine and grape fruit.

The mouthfeel is good, nice body and a good carbonated bite.

The drinkability is good, this is a fine go to brew.

Prosit, MK

MuenchenerKindl, Aug 29, 2008
Photo of MDekker
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours out golden brown with a thin layer of head. Looks fine.

S: The aromas of caramel, some apricot(?), and evergreen come through. Smells appealing.

T: All around good, with no real standout flavors. Some hints of bread and molasses, but not rich in either of them. Well-balanced, with a satisfying finish.

M: Very good carbonation. It glides around the palate nicely too.

D: Overall, a very good brew, but not outstanding. Easily drinkable.

MDekker, Aug 26, 2008
Photo of waldoiverson
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into 16 oz us tumbler

A: ruddy orange color with orangish head that dissipated pretty quickly but left lacing all the way through

S: hops are floral but not bitter. well balanced

T: hoppy with strong bittering at the end but the after taste is sweeter than the initial hit would suggest.

M: smooth and dry

D: I find myself wanting to love this beer, but it just is missing something. I can't decide if it just isn't bitter enough or if i would rather it be a little less bitter. still, a very good beer and considering the strong hops i almost expect more ABV.

waldoiverson, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of GilGarp
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a mojito glass by a server at Sergio's in Cleveland. She did so very carefully leaving no head whatsoever.

It had a redish golden color with very good clarity. Some lacing was left behind.

Aroma was nicely hopped, floral, and slightly sweet.

Taste was surprisingly bitter for a pale ale. I tend to think of good APA being hoppy but well-balanced. This was leaning towards IPA with strong bitterness. This wasn't a bad thing, just a pleasant surprise. Had it been as hoppy in the aroma, I would've said it was miscategorized.

Mouthfeel is pleasant and it's easy drinking because of the low level of carbonation and alcohol.

A very good american pale ale.

GilGarp, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of yourefragile
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

A: Crisp, clear amber with a finger of dense white, head that is fairly retentive, leaving a thin white film and thin webs of sticky lacing.
S: Biscuity, caramel maltiness backed up by a floral, hoppy smell. This time its not quite as hoppy as I remember from previous samples.
T: Lighter body with very strong carbonation and hop bitterness results in a creamy, full mouthfeel. Finish is dry and hoppy. Body is well balanced between strong malty, biscuit like flavor, but most surprising for this APA is this very strong citrus hop bite. This is my favorite glbc beer and also one the biggest, most flavorful apa's I've had.

yourefragile, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of Phillyduke
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received as a tag along in a trade with bakerslp. Thanks for letting me try this!

Poured into an Imperial Pint glass. Beer is amber and clear with a one-finger head of dense foam that slowly dissipates to a fine layer. Noticeable fine lacing is a bit on the sticky side and clings to the glass as I drink.

Nose is all citrus and floral hops. Quite yummy and reminiscent of my beloved Nugget Nectar. Taste is an amazing balance of hops and a nice caramel/biscuit malt backbone. Each sip starts off with the floral hops, then the malt comes through before conceding to a dry and pleasingly bitter finish.

One of the bigger Pale Ales I've ever had, but also one of the tastiest. Borders on an IPA, if you ask me, and if they changed the label I probably wouldn't flinch. I wish I had access to this one more often.

Phillyduke, Aug 14, 2008
Photo of GoodKnight1220
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

This is a good looking brew, nice deep gold color. Little head and no real lacing.

Smells of heavy floral and hops.

Taste is a sweet floral up frot then quickly changes to a hoppy bitter dry finish. Great mixture of flavor, not over powering at all.

Mouthfeel is dry and smooth very thin and crisp.

Wonderful beer yet again from Great Lakes.

GoodKnight1220, Aug 11, 2008
Photo of xare
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance is lovely, perfect sized head for an APA and very nice golden color that's a bit more on the caramel side than the yellow side. Even laces and streaks on the sides of the glass.

Smell is of fresh hops and blended so well that I can't wait to dive into the bottle or draft - I've had this both ways and there is almost no difference between on-tap and bottles. That's how good this brew is.

Taste is excellent and just bitter enough to give you a taste of the hops while keeping you wanting more. I think it actually tastes better than Sierra Nevada by far.

Mouthfeel is outstanding. Virtually no aftertaste and is actually very smooth and creamy. Can't get better than that.

Drinkability is outstanding. I have to remind myself to pace myself. Excellent as an one-of or as a session beer. This is a permanent part of my rotation and I try to have it at least every other week at a minimum.

xare, Aug 09, 2008
Photo of sundevilstudent
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden/squash color with a thin head. Lacing is surprisingly persistent. The smell is well balanced between the sweet malty notes and the punch of hops. The taste is silky smooth, especially for a pale ale. The slightly bitter, hop heavy, finish remains in your mouth for quite a while. The finish is a great counter to the exceptionally well balanced taste of the beer as you first drink it. The hops are never overpowering and, instead, work well with the malt and yeast notes to make an exceptionally drinkable beer. Very smooth, I could easily drink a lot of these in the course of a night. Great beer.

sundevilstudent, Aug 09, 2008
Photo of jushoppy2beer
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has a beautiful color and just enough carbonation to keep the bubbles rising. The color is a brilliant orangish amber in the late afternoon sunshine. For a pale ale, the aroma is subtle, but betrays the brew's hoppy character, which really bursts on the palate as a floral blossoming of flavor. A lovely smooth silky texture makes it slide languidly down the back of the tongue, leaving a wonderful bitter accent at the finish. The bitter aftertaste leaves a clean lasting freshness in your mouth. A truly lovely beer.

jushoppy2beer, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of Brew33
4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer numerous times on draft and in bottles.

This is the what a Pale Ale should be. Excellent beer. Incredibly well balanced. It smells sweet and hoppy. The taste is marvelous soooo well balanced. The hops are very prominent but there is a smooth malt character as well. Exceptional beer. Very easy to drink,

I can't say enough about this wonderful brew from Great Lakes, they continue to make wonderful craft beers and this is their flagship. Enjoy!

Brew33, Aug 01, 2008
Photo of kinger
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the better American Pale Ales that I have had. Being in North East Ohio, the beers from Great Lakes Brewing are always readily available and for that I am extremely thankful. Burning River is amber and copper in color, pours with ample head and leaves a nice trail of lacing as I empty my pint glass. The aroma is bursting with hop flavors comparable with most IPA's. Pine and citrus notes are further detected. The flavor is everything a pale ale should be, well hopped with abundant malts. This beer is always an enjoyable experience. Well crafted to say the least.

kinger, Jul 30, 2008
Photo of Hojaminbag
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orangish/copper colored body with an off-white head. Leaves some lacing hanging around.

Smells both hoppy and malty.

Taste is a good balance between hops and malts. Fiarly dry mouthfeel. A nice APA.

Very drinkable; it disappeared pretty quickly from my pint glass.

Hojaminbag, Jul 27, 2008
Photo of giblet
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another gem from GLB. they are one of my favorites and it is convenient that they are close to home. i am not sure why i waited so long to try this. after their Perry IPA i figured why...i am glad i did. poured nice with about one and a half inch head. orangish color with excellent carbonation. nice hoppy aroma. very nice malt and hop flavor. nice balance. i could suck up 2 or 5 of these in a row...yum!

suckem up and movem out.


giblet, Jul 23, 2008
Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear and clean looking light reddish copper with decent bits of carbonation bubbling up from the bottom of the glass. The beer is topped with (at first) a rocky sandy white colored head that fades rather quickly to a thickish ring, leaves no lacing.

S: Well balanced mix of bready malt and citrus and piny hops. Mild to medium phenolic character that is just the slightest bit off putting

T/MF: Again a nice balance between hops and malts, would like to try this a bit fresher than the sample I have in front of me because I feel as if this beer is far hoppier than this beer would indicate. This sort of tastes like a hopped up Sam Adams. I really am enjoying the malt aspect of this beer and the hops are still pretty aggressive and leaves the tongue dry. Its good and has very distinctive characteristics but there is something just a bit out of place to me, a mild vegetal quality that comes in near the finish, might be a result of the age of the beer but still just the slightest bit bothersome.

D: Not a bad beer in any respect, has a decent taste and mouthfeel but looks rather average and the mild off flavor just rubs me the wrong way . I would try this fresh and rerate but as its stands still a pretty decent beer. Could probably drink this all night if I felt like it.

bluemoonswoon, Jul 21, 2008
Photo of thisisshsas
3.63/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- appears blond with a slight reddish tint.
S- citrus smell is stonger than spice smell. THe aroma is there, but it is by no means overpowering.
T- hoppy but under control flavor. creates the desire to have another one in order to be fulfilled.
M&D- swirls around the mouth to create a slight wooden flavor. A beer you could stick to all night. also a great beer to convert the bud crowd, as it is a very easy drink but still has some flavor.

thisisshsas, Jul 21, 2008
Photo of sholland119
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the best pale ales around, second only to Alpha King in my book.

A-Pours a light amber with a generous, foamy white head.

S-A nice malt with hints of piney hops.

T-A great balance. Nice malt flavor throughout, just enough hop presence to make the beer interesting, not so much that it's an IPA in disguise. Nice crisp finish.

M-Nice and light on the tongue, moderate carbonation.

D-An excellent session beer. Flavorful enough to be worth drinking, light enough to keep you out of trouble.


sholland119, Jul 18, 2008
Photo of DrunkenMaster
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Jimmys. Golden colored beer with a creamy head. Aroma is bready malts with grapefruit and pine in the background. Subtle bitterness with more of the bready malts. This beer is easy to drink. I actually get more pine and citrus towards the end than I did in the beginning.

DrunkenMaster, Jul 17, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber in color with a nice, really big rocky head that stays around for awhile. Smell is nice. Some nice, citrusy, juicy hops. Taste is even better. Plenty of citrusy hops in the flavor. Crisp and bittering , but not over the top. Decent amount of carbonation as well. Very smooth IPA. Another fine beer from GL.

FtownThrowDown, Jul 08, 2008
Photo of BoitSansSoif
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice coppery tangerine-amber with a one finger head. Some tracing, and average retention.
Aroma is a pleasant toasted malt with bold, but not overpowering citrusy hops presence.
Flavor is a straight blend of sweet malt (possibly specialty?) and robust hops that is very pleasant, and a great transition into a smooth, even midpalate that opens up into a citrusy, crisp, cleansing finish. The carbonation level is on the higher side of moderate, and affords the perfect complement to the light-to-medium body. This is an excellent summer brew, and I prefer it on the colder side.

BoitSansSoif, Jul 08, 2008
Photo of hiikeeba
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours up a golden amber with a thin off-white head

S - Citrus hops dominate the subtle aroma. A little subtle. Some malt sweetness in the background

T - Sweet malt flavor seems a bit cidery, probably because of the interplay between the malt and hops. Hops are citrusy and strong, but not over powering. There is a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue.

M - A little thin, but balanced by the high carbonation

D - The odd cider flavor makes this one hard for me to drink a lot of. I like it, but probably wouldn't order another one.

hiikeeba, Jul 03, 2008
Photo of toolbrew
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper color with a thick off-white head. Great head retention and great lacing down the glass.

Smells like lots of Cascade hops and a little citrus. Very nice.

Has that crisp hop flavor as well. Slight citrus in there.

Light in the mouth and easy going down. There looks like lots of carbonation in the pour but not in the taste.

A very drinkable session beer. I will have this again. Only wish it were on tap around here.

toolbrew, Jul 01, 2008
Photo of epiinephriine
4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A solid APA; good hop flavor on the back of the pallet, which is not too overpowering, though strong enough to fool you into thinking it might be an IPA. Has a multitude of spices for smell and taste, as well as a hint of caramel. It has a decent mouth feel, and is certainly not light or watery. It reminds me a bit of Stone's Ruination, though certainly milder. This beer is fantastic on its own but do not drink with pasta!

epiinephriine, Jun 25, 2008
Photo of Bockrules
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A- pours a nice deep copper color with a 1.5 finger head. Beautiful elaborate lacing all the down the glass, and the head sticks around as a thin film of bubbles most of the way down.

S- Moderate smell of citrus cascade hops with some hints of fruity ether in the background

T- a bit of alcohol and hop presence on the nose, followed by a very smooth biscuity body. Very dry hop finish with a pleasant lingering aftertaste of citrus hops. It's hard not to take another sip....

M - Moderately carbonated with a medium body. Suits the beer quite well.

D - This is one of the best APA's I've had and is one of my favorite brews. Enough hop presence to make it nice and crisp without assaulting the taste buds. I could easily drink a few of these in an evening. Definitely worth every penny of the $8.50 six. Highly recommended. Hope to find in half cases :)

Bockrules, Jun 25, 2008
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,754 ratings.