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

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

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very good

2,812 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,812
Reviews: 997
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 106
Gots: 272 | 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: 2,812 | Reviews: 997 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cabsandking
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a shade darker than golden and a fair white head. The nose displays a big fruity bouquet, honey, and bitter esters. The mouth is a little hard but smoothes out as the carbonation weaken towards the end. The hop profile here is dry, slightly chalky, perfumy florals, and a nice spice level that is a little acidic. Bready grain sweetness from the pale malts. The finish is dry and spicy with some alcohol flavor. A descent offering from Great Lakes and highly drinkable.

Photo of bjohnson
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade with JAYW. Thanks for the opportunity.

A: Pours a very clean and clear peachish amber color with a frothy pillow like two finger white head. Whirlwind of carbonation coming from the bottom of the glass. Sticky soft looking lacing down the glass.
S: Floral hop presence with a slight bit of grapefruit and pears. Soft candy like notes.
T/M: Floral and citrus fruit hop notes. Toasted grain underbelly. Subtle bitterness that continues to mingle with the toasted grain well into the finish. Dryer finish with a straw or grassylike aftertaste. Medium bodied and extra crisp. A very nice example of a pale ale.
D: One of the better pale ales I've had. Excellent balance of malt and hops. Clean and crisp--all the makings of a nice session brew in the summer. Definitely worth checking this one out.

Photo of jpkoch1962
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brillant light amber, perhaps a tad of red hues can be discerned. The perfect carbonation formed a tight 2 finger white head. The aroma was a mild mixture of spicy and citrusy hops- perhaps a bit of fruity esters in the background.

This is classified as an American Pale Ale, but it could easily pass as an English Pale Ale as well. This Ale begins and ends dry. While the bittering and flavor hops dominate, there is enough of a body to smooth the taste out. The carbonation allows for a complex blend of hops, and pale/crystal malts to come through. This has got to be one of the best commerical Pale Ales I've had. Great Lakes put a lot of effort into this style, and it shows.

Photo of tgbljb
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal clear deep golden color with a alrge slightly off-white puffy head that lasted a along time. Great lacing noted.
Smell is a balanced combination of summer fruity malt and citrusy, grassy hops.
Taste blends the malt and hops together in a perfect ratio.
Great rich full mouthfeel that shows good taste retention,
A very enjoyable beer. Nice balance and good example of the style.

Photo of jjayjaye
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pured a clear light golden orange color with a small head that fades quickly. Very tiny bubble of visable carbonation.

Fairly mild floral and citrus smell, but it is revealing more hop than most pale ales I'm familiar with.

Mouth feel is light, slightly hoppy and effervescent and complements the hop flavor.

Very refreshing beverage with a nice complexity to it. Didn't think that it tasted like a 6%. Recommended.

Photo of Erdinger2003
2.98/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had to pour the beer very hard to get any head and the head left in no time leaving every little behind. The color is absolutely clear and light. You can see right through it very easily. The smell is very nice and hoppy. The taste is a bit off, like it's a little old, but the bottle says best before 2/26/07. It's an ok taste, but it is just off. The mouthfeel is a bit watery and hard. I don't think I would try this again.

Photo of shivtim
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear orange/red with a small white head. Nose is pretty hoppy, with a malt backbone. Taste is a decent hop flavor, slight malts, and some sour citrus. Nice. Mouthfeel is great, super smooth and well carbonated. Drinkability is good. Nice brew from GLBC.

Photo of Phatz
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After several days off of beer reviews due to a cold, I am more than ready to have something nice. Horary I can smell again. Thanks to Akorsak I have a few covetted Great Lakes brews sitting in front of me. Thank you Adam your gift is most generous!

Allowed to warm 15 minutes and served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a golden amber color with an ivory head and lots of carbonation; very little lacing.

Smell: Hint of fruity hops some through a dominantly malty nose. Sweet malts and grains, a drop of buttery diacetyl and some toasted grain aroma are mild but pleasant.

Taste: Sweet toasted grain, browned butter, caramel malts and a floral citrus hop flavor finish very dry and crisp.

Mouthfeel: A creamy well carbonated beer leaves a bitter astringent feel on the palate.

Drinkability: To be honest with you I am often bored by APAs and hold little expectations for them. This one is really exceptional. A large amount of flavor and balance and very sessionable. Maybe it was the lack of beer for several day (due to my cold) but this beer was consumed at quite rapid rate.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of Oxymoron
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love the story line /idea behind this beer. The pour is a darker golden color with good clarity. A nice pour with good tight foam and good lacing throughout the whole tasting.

The nose is on the hoppy side for pales. A mostly citrus appeal but more of a grapefruit appeal then lemony. Some piney finish as well. The malt is also noticed in the background with some lighter caramel notes.

The flavor has a more balanced hop to malt ratio then the nose would indicate but still the hops are more ubiquitous overall. The hops have a nice balance with a good piney bitterness and a more floral finish that slaps of Cascade. The malt is rather limited in overall flavor with limited caramel, but supports the hops just fine.

The body is good with a good a sweeter finish and a nice hidden ABV. Although 6 isn't exactly big, it has a nice flavor overall and a crisp and light wispy finish that helps accentuate the bitterness. I would never pollute a river with this gem.

Photo of olegv40
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden yellow and the thick head clings to the glass. Pine comes through in the aroma. Very hoppy, and quite bitter, in a good way. Just a perfect amount of citrus comes through the bitterness and cuts it quite well. Finishes very sweet and smooth. A fantastic tasting beer that I would highly recommend.

Photo of kennyo
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

part of a variety 12 pack

pours a crystal clear gold color, with a nice white head that disipates fairly quickly. Nice carbonation. Aroma is hops and spice. Taste is malt, some hop bitterness, nice aftertaste. This is a very good example of a pale ale. This could be a good session beer

Photo of cooncat
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.


Photo of chadspivey
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of malcontent
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of longpondbeerman
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of rayjay
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of DuqTroops
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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...

Photo of akorsak
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of PenguinBeerFan
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of TechMyst
4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of SMark
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of BamaWorKs
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of plaid75
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,812 ratings.