Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

very good
1,021 Reviews
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Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-06-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,021 | Ratings: 3,131
Photo of hotpauko
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Looking forward to any Great Lakes beer as I am a huge Edmund Fitzgerald fan. But this one left me a little disappointed. Decent flavor, easy drinking but just not the pop I was expecting. Too average for what I was hoping for, just wanted more flavor and bite.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served on tap in a pint glass.

Appearance: Darker amber with a thin white head. Heavy lacing on the glass.

Smell: Light hops with a hint of cloves and citrus.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of bitter hops and mild clove and citrus.

Overall: Excellent brew! Great flavors and very enjoyable.

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Photo of PA-hunter
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 6% abv.

Appearance- Clear amber in color with a fading 2 finger head.

Smell- Bready, sweet malt with a touch of caramel and floral sweetness.

Taste- A sweet toasted biscuit malt goes into a refreshing hop citrus aspect with notes of orange. The malt sweetness blends into a bitter hop kick in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-light in body. Smooth.

Overall- A simple and right to the point PA that demonstrates what a pale ale should be quality-wise. Well done. Good blend of malt and hops. Awesome.

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Photo of fscottkey
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A: [4.00] Full finger of dense white head. The beer itself is orange in color. Very little bubbling from the glass. The bottle has a best by date of 3/12/15 and lists the ABV at 6.0%.

S: [2.75] The nose is very weak. Just some really subdues floral and fruit notes. That is with a huge whiff.

T: [3.00] Upfront is malty and sweet. The back end is a stark contrast - it has a pronounced bitter finish. The taste is following the nose with the lack of distinct flavor components.

M: [2.75] Low carbonation. The key feature of the mouthfeel is the lingering bitter aftertaste.

O: [3.00] I love Great Lakes - but not enough for me to recommend this beer. It is just lacking any character or flavor. I will definitely leave this out of the lineup.

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Photo of EvieE
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Amber orange. Nice lacing, a medium head. Was really orange looking.

S: Heavy grapefruit smell. A little yeasty.

T: A sharp taste, a nice hops finish though.

F: Sharp on the front of the tongue. Heavy carbonation feel.

O: Would have it again, wouldn't mind for a session beer. But wouldn't be my first choice.

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Photo of Mikus
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Medium amber, little bit of white head, good carbonation in pint glass (12oz bottle). Mild nose, hint of pine and light floral notes. Slight taste of piney hops, bit muddled tasting overall, light on hops (enjoy by still has 5-6 weeks...), not too wild about the flavors (even a bit of wet cardboard in there). Maybe fresher, or on a summer day? Clean mouthfeel in general, gently lingering flavors (unfortunately some bit off), easy drinking. Overall ok, but FL can do a lot better! I'll have to try a fresher one sometime, maybe in a mixed 12 pack...

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Photo of bmeehan
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I prefer to cook with this vs drink it. It's got a very bitter profile, which isn't something I tend to gravitate to anyway, but more than that, it just sits on the back of your tongue and annoys your taste buds. As a beer to cook with, though, the hoppiness works in its favor and doesn't overpower whatever meat you use it with.

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Photo of StevensBrewing
2.97/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Holy Cascade! This beer is great for hopheads. It looks fine, smells better than it tastes for a small time hop guy like me. This beer is pallet scorching, so be careful if you're not used to powerful alphas. Overall is is decent for Great Lakes.

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Photo of mchegash
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4/5
Light orange-brown color. 1.5 fingers of head upon initial pour, dissipates down to minimal head. Quite clear, small amount of carbonation can be seen rising throughout the beer.

Smell - 4/5
Nice citrusy hops presenece with slight pine notes. Kind of a mellowed-out smell. It's nice.

Taste - 3.75/5
Piney hops, some sweet darker malts. Overall a decent taste.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium bodied, light carbonation, quite crisp.

Overall - 4/5
Overall, a very balanced pale ale. The hops don't overpower, but are still very present in the taste.

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Photo of Josh012012
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this one because of the decent rating. So I poured it and it looked good. Then I took a whiff. Did not smell that good, did not have the real strong hop presence I was hoping for.. because of the smell I thought the taste would be bad also... but it was very balanced and although there was not a ton of hops or citrus it was still a very respectable beer. I have had 4 in a row. very god but not exactly what I expected.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Orange-gold color.

Overall: Crisp and smooth beer. Dry with a light bitterness at the end. Not a complex beer. Very solid beer. Excellent APA.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a fluffy white head that dissipates quickly but leaves quite a bit of lacing on the sides of the glass. The beer itself is a dark copper color that borders on dark orange. The beer smell has floral hop notes, malt sweetness, and a little bit of earthy notes as well. The malt sweetness and the floral notes mix very well together and very difficult to separate but compliment each other such as that it gives off a nice sweet floral smell. The smell also has a slight yeasty note that comes off as a sweet and bready note. The taste is a bit different from the smell. The taste has a much stronger hop flavor which is earthy and herbal instead of floral and the malt is barely noticeable while the yeast note is stronger. The mouthfeel is fairly medium bodied but on the heavier side. The beer finishes fairly smooth with a bit of carbonation. Overall, a pretty good pale ale worth getting.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to whitenads for sending me this one.

Enjoy by: 6/23/14.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, earth, citrus zest, and herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, earth, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of earthy characteristics in the aroma and flavor.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of mabermud
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Golden orange. White sticky head. Aroma of light, sweet tropical fruit and malts. The taste is better than the smell. The mouthfeel fits well. Very nice and flavorful.

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Photo of joe12pk
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a glass.

A - Orange-gold. One finger head dissipates quickly but good retention throughout. Nice lacing.

S - Light grapefruit, sweet malt

T - Begins with sweet malt and fruit. Ends in a bit grapefruit with minor pine notes. Dry, with a pleasant light bitterness.

O - This is a good one for initiates in the world of pale ales.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle dated 6/4/15 so it's about a week past its drop dead date. I really like APAs, but this one doesn't float my boat. I don't get any citrus, not much floral, some dank, bitter pine but that's about it. It's nice and light, but so are a lot of better-tasting APAs.
Great Lakes has some fantastic offerings, but this isn't one of them.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap into a plastic pint glass at a Williamsport Crosscutters game. Pours orange red with a small white head. Smells of citrus. Tastes of citrus and earthy hops, light malt, good bite. Beer is light bodied good carbonation, smooth finish with bite. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of allengarvin
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Named after the famous river burning, which no one actually photographed--the iconic photos published were from another burning decades earlier!

Anyway, this pours out a clear gold color with a small head. Nice malty aroma with a light grassy hoppiness. The flavor is strongly malty--a nice clean malt with a bit of crystal and a tad of nuttiness, together with medium bitterness and grassy hop taste. Clean finish.

Not a complex beer, but one that is really well done--it's quite an enjoyable beer to drink.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a light copper with a 3/4" foamy off-white head. Crystal clear with steady carbonation. Lacing down the glass, and retains a thick frothy cap.

Aroma: Fruity/citrusy/hoppy. "Cascadey," orange pith. Not just hop fruitiness, I think some of this is yeast, too.

Taste: Tight, dry arrival; flash of sweetness across mid-palate. A little grassy.

Mouthfeel: Mid-to-full bodied. Heavier than I remember, but very refreshing.

Overall: Tremendously well-balanced APA, with a tilt toward hops. Love this beer and will be buying again. Sweeter than Columbus Brewing Company's pale ale.

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Photo of Beric
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into pint
Served: 18 Jul 2014

Appearance: Pours with a nice orange-ish amber color with a nice two finger cream colored head. Head dissipates slowly into a slight sheen of bubbles across the top of the beer which facilitate mild lacing on the side of the glass. Slight carbonation slowly rising from the bottom of the glass really makes this one a sight.

Smell: Sweeter malts overlayed with a mild assertion of floral and citrus hops. The hops in the nose do not overpower you but add a nice soft roundness, which is exactly what I'm looking for in an APA.

Taste: Crisp and smooth beer with a solid malt backbone and great levels of floral and citrus hops. The side of the bottle says cascades are used in this, and you can definitely tell- the hop profile is extremely similar to an SNPA, however, I will say that SNPA is considerably maltier and more bitter than Burning River. Sweet malts start coming out as the beer warms up, though this compliments the medium hoppiness. Finishes semi-sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and solid body.

Overall: A very serviceable APA that should be admired by most beer drinkers, craft lovers and those new to craft alike. The hopping levels are perfect for an APA, leaving a nice lighter beer with considerable flavor and body without being cumbersome or abrasive. Would recommend, especially as a cookout beer.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a puffy layer. It is a pale orange color with great clarity and vision of lots of bubbles coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Citrus, herbal, grassy hops followed by toasted and pale malts.

Taste: Toasted and pale malts forward with all the hop characteristics and bitterness in between. Balanced and drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, crisp, refreshing, bite, light to medium bodied, and medium carbonation.

Overall: There is a nice balance to this beer and I wish I had more. Will have to put in some requests with friends driving through Pennsylvania again.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear copper with a finger of white head

Smell is pine, bread, toasted bread, grapefruit like citrus punch, a definite caramel

Taste opens with a nice dose of citrus, orange and grapefruit. then transfers into toasted malt, bread, and caramel, last Is a light pine bitterness

Mouthfeel is a hefty medium, nicely carbonated, feels a bit heavy for a APA but it works

Nice APA, reminds me of a maltyer versoin of SN PA, really works and is defenitaley solid!

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Photo of Gerberr
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A fairly fresh bottle, pulled from a 12pk sampler pack. Poured into a normal pint glass, 3 fingers of head.
A: Just a beautiful beer, a very clear, a watered down copper color. Nice white head on top, with excellent carbonation while it sits. Just a real pretty beer. Foam laces the glass as it's drank.
S: Not a whole lot of smell. I'm not picking up much, definetly some clean pine coming through. Defiantly more prevalent as it warms. I also pick up a malt aroma in it as well.
T:Good amount of pine here too, also a bitter grapefruit aftertaste hangs around, but bitter in a pleasant way. Sweet after the initial bitter hits your tounge.
M: carbonation quickly dississipates in the mouth, and then turns to a smooth drink, not thick but it almost coats the mouth.

Overall: Just a solid drinking IPA. I can't see purchasing this in a six pack form, due to many other excellent IPA options out there, but will happily take it in a sampler.

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Photo of burnonethird
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I absolutely love this beer. If you are ever in Cleveland stop in at the Brewery. Food is great and so is the beer. This beer is naturally carbonated. Makes all the difference. Everything is brewery does, is great to perfect. I think Im in love... lol

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Photo of robear
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into 8 oz taster. 1 month prior to expiration.

Appearance:Straw-to-dark-straw. No amber. 3 finger head dissipates to 1 finger in about 1 minute.

Smell: Lager-ish. Pale malts through-and-through. Very faint detectable hops- a touch of freeze-dried strawberry. Lacing is thick and persistent.

Taste: A ton of strawberry, followed by your standard American hop bitterness. Not sure what hop imparts the berry flavors that I'm getting (and enjoying). I am a bit distracted by the flavor, though, so maybe it is a by-product of an older bottle. Bread after berries.

Mouthfeel: Falls short of being memorable. Sticks a bit.

Overall: A pint of this would pair well with a robust salad featuring Mandarin Oranges or a roast Salmon filet. Not a beer-only beer, I would advise having at least crackers and preferably crackers and cheese with this beer.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,021 ratings.