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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,837 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,837
Reviews: 1,003
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 108
Gots: 295 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-06-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,837 | Reviews: 1,003 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bones54
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of Grundle20
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of terrabyte
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Photo of beerceller99
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

Photo of mjc410
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of Vancer
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Rudgers73
3.4/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of alexgash
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of neenerzig
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark golden clear amber color with a nice white foamy head. The head on mine took a little while to settle. This beer on tap really isn't any different from having it out of the bottle. There are smells of citrus, caramel, and hops present. Hops, malt, citrus, and a bit of caramel make up the flavor. The taste is very well balanced. Has a nice smooth creamy and crisp mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Very easy to drink in a good way. An excellent beer.


Photo of scoobybrew
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a pint glass. It has a clear, light amber color with a decent head that settles quickly with modest retention. It has a nice strong, but gentle, hop aroma with the malt present, but in the background. The taste is a nice full hop flavor, but not too intense followed by a good hop finish. The bittering and flavoring hop combination is very well done. It has a medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is a good example of an American Pale Ale, strong on the hops, but not over-the-top, trying to be an IPA. I think it's a great session beer, albeit a bit strong alcohol-wise.

Photo of Osiris9588
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with a label depicting the famous Cuyahoga River fire of 1969. It has freshness date of 5/06. The color is a clean and clear copper with an amber hue. The one finger white head is somewhat thin, with average retention.

The smell is of malt, hops, with a little citrus and spice, and a floral flare. The bold flavor consists of citrus, malty, and dominant presence of spciy hops. The mouth is medium bodied, bright on the front palate, hoppy, bitter, and dry on the back.

Very drinkable, very flavorful. A damn fine Pale Ale.

Photo of a10t2
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Was finally able to get my hands on a GLBC sampler after being very impressed by their porter.

A: Pours a light amber with some orange tones, with two fingers of off-white head that clings to the edges all the way through without leaving much lacing. Serious bubbling carbonation that hangs around.

S: Cascade hops are evident right up front, with some other citrus tones. No malt smell to speak of, but an underlying earthiness that I found unpleasant.

T: Very hoppy, but with a malt backbone that falls somewhat short of balanced. A little creaminess afterwards and then a pleasant bitter aftertaste that lingers. Definitely one for the hopheads, but not too much of a "pucker" factor.

M: Still overly carbonated by my standards; I actually let it sit for a while before finishing. Once it had warmed up a bit it was very smooth and even a little creamy.

D: If you like hops this is definitely for you. Very smooth-drinking overall and I could definitely see a couple people polishing off a six pack.

On the whole, this is probably better classed as an IPA, and I had to score it down a notch for being (IMHO) mislabeled. If IPAs are your thing, though, it's one of the better ones in its class.

Photo of mjd83goblue
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A: Pours dark gold and perfectly clear. A little red and some yellow depending on how you hold it. Little head from the pour.

S: Predominantly very floral, citrusy, piney Cascades. Some caramel after it warms up a bit.

T: Big hops for an APA. Huge. Pretty well balanced. Pretty bitter finish.

M: Good bodied, pretty crisp, maybe a touch overcarbonated

D: A little big for a APA, which i usually think of as perfect sessioners. Between the huge hops and the 6%, this would run you down quick. With that said, its fantastic.

I have yet to have a GLBC beer that I didn't like. This could just as easily be considered an IPA though.

Photo of jcdiflorio
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with white creamy head. Golden amber color very clear for the color.Piney citrisy aroma.sweet malty taste piney citusy aftertaste just like the aroma. Really makes you mouth water for more.I have this beer on my home draught system several times a year everybody really enjoys this beer.

Photo of grub
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got this bottle in a trade with nlmartin. thanks nate!

pours a nice amber colour with a half inch of dense off-white head. only takes it a few minutes to fade to a ring around the glass, but leaves fine lace down the glass.

smell is great. resinous piney hops.

taste is good. the piney hops from the aroma are there, and a nice malt backbone. the alcohol is a little more present than i'd have expected in an apa. good bitterness level. as it warms i usually expect it to get a little fuller and maltier, but this one seems to get a little more one-dimensional. great fresh out of the bottle though.

mouthfeel is good. body is about right for the style.

drinkability is good. not too big or heavy. if i was in ohio i could easily see this being a regular purchase.

Photo of xzqrut
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beer pours a nice clear golden brown. It gives an excellent head that is nice and creamy, with excellent retention and lacing. Smell has nice floral and hoppy auromas, which is the same with the taste, which has a good hoppy bitter ending. Mouthfeel is somewhat flat, medium bodied. Overall a nice pale ale.

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

a: This poured a clear as hell golden with moderate carbonation. The head is light, foamy, frothy and white. Great lacing. Also, the label with the cuyahoga on fire is awesome.

s: Citrusy, floral and hoppy.

t: The taste is fruity and hoppy. Kinda dough-like too. A little malt to balance.

mf/d: This is a tad dry but overall pretty slick. This is very drinkable and i do agree that it gets better as it warms.

Photo of Deconstructionis
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very solid pale ale. It's a little different from all all the SN clones without being another misguided attempt to distinguish by gratuitously overloading on hops and/or alcohol.

It's a mostly clear, rich amber with a nice dry, stiff head almost like beaten egg white. The aroma is rich and complex-- warm malt scent, fresh hops and a hint of spice and earthiness. It's perhaps a little more full bodied than most APAs with relatively low carbonation but just enough to tingle in the mouth. The taste is excellent, full and well balanced. You taste sweet malts, tart hops a bare spark of alcohol and a perfect yeasty bite in the aftertaste, but none steps on the others. It's extremely well-crafted and as with all GL products it's a great value.

Photo of ElGordo
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty golden-orange color with a pretty, creamy white head that takes its time sauntering down to a thin layer. Beautiful aroma of crisp floral hops, light sweet malt, and notes of caramel, pine, and grapefruit. Palate is a tasty blend of crisp, floral hops and light sweet caramel malt. A tangy, piney finish comes through with a hint of zesty citrus. Body is light, yet creamy, with a clean finish. Good lord, I wish I had purchased more than one of these. Hopefully they'll expand distribution to the west coast soon.

Photo of dgfair
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle, drink before date of 6/30/06

A - Beautiful color between gold and amber, about an inch of head that dissipates rather quickly but leaves nice lacing around the glass.

S - Nice hop smell upfront, sweet and a little bit fruity, a little bit citrusy.

T - Wow...a pale ale with a nice kick in the front. Good hop on the first taste that settles into a more subdued and balanced malt/hop mix as it relaxes in my mouth. Sweet citrus is another flavor that comes to the forefront as the beer warms.

M - Smooth feel, decent carbonation that is pleasant and slightly tingly, but not overpowering.

D - Even at 6%, this is a beer that I could drink quite a few of. It's easy going down, and the taste is more delicious as it warms.

Overall, this is just a fantastic pale ale. One of the best I have had in a long time, if not the best. Fairly priced, so don't hesitate to pick this one up when you see it.

Photo of watermelonman
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured to a great light orange and gold color. The head is medium, and lace is minimal.

The smell is fantastic. It brings a solid amount of hops, with big grapefruit flavor, on top of a pale malt base that doesn't get left behind. The taste is again a great mix between malt and hops. The mouthfeel is big and full, while drinkability is excellent.

This is right up there with Stone Pale Ale. Fantastic beer.

Photo of shroompod
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a sampler , and I found this to be my favorite out of it.

Pours a clear golden color. A good head , carbonation is evident.

Detecting some sweet citrusy hoppiness

Taste is hoppy , not overly done, good balance with the malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel is crisp , pretty light , good carbonation.

Drinkabitly is great. A very good session beer except for maybe the 6%. Overall a great APA.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,837 ratings.