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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

2,805 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,805
Reviews: 995
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 105
Gots: 262 | 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: 2,805 | Reviews: 995 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rustymoore
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was given to me by my good friend Maddamish...look him up for reviews.

Pours a golden amber with a medium head that fades quickly. Smells strong of hops and grassy notes are present. Tastes like your slightly above average pale ale but isn't remarkable. Overall a solid beer to drink if you are in the mood for an affordable lighter fare.

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

Pours clear and bright amber, with a nice head that fades to lacing on the edges. Earthy hops and grainy malt dominate the nose. On the tongue, the hops come out first, but then the grains take over, with some intensely cereal-like flavors. It's a bit too grainy for my taste -- the end of the palate and the finish are pure vienna malts. Nonetheless, it goes down smooth and it's interesting enough. Decent.

Photo of SethB2
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Beer is a transparent amber color with a small head that disipates down to nothing fairly quickly. Smell of grassy hops. Some pine in there too covering a subdued malt profile. Tastes much like the smell, but not as strong as I was expecting. The same notes are there, but every flavor is toned down a bit in comparison to what I found on the nose. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. Drinkability is very high because of it's smooth texture and low abv. I would have no problem hammering back a few of these.

Photo of bruachan
3.48/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

lizard tour beer

very light amber color with a weak head that doesn't die altogether

the hop flavor is of sticky pine and the aroma floral, but the overall flavor profile is mild. small malt character and the hops aren't too pronounced either. there's a little sweetness in there and minimal bitterness

definitely one GLBC's weaker offerings

Photo of psinderson
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice amber color, somewhat typical. White head, good lacing.

Smell: Nice citrusy aroma with a slight roasted smell.

Taste: Very nice. Great hop flavor up front perfectly balanced by malty sweetness. This beer finished very clean with almost no residual bitterness. After about half of the beer, a slight finishing bitterness had more or less built up and was noticeable.

Mouthfeel: A solid medium body. Carbonation could be a bit stronger.

Drinkability: The clean finish and non-heavy body helps this go down smooth.

Photo of rabsten
4.78/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass, amber with good carbonation. Tan head with solid lacing.

Smell is a citrusy hop, with faint barley undertones. It sets the drinker up for the flavor.

Taste. MMM. The barley presence is more towards the grain side rather than the malt side. It gives a beautiful floor for the hops to dance on. And boy, do they dance. Citrus, Pine and Lavender all show up to foxtrot across the palate. Makes for a good mouthfeel too.

Drinkabilty is superb. I now try to limit myself to getting this in bars. Why? Because, if I take a six home, I drink them all in a couple of hours.

Bottom line, it's neck-and-neck with SNPA. I still give the APA edge to Sierra Nevada, with Great Lakes' Edmund Fitzgerald a slight favorite over SN Porter. You will not go wrong with this beer.

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves off-white two finger head that recedes to 1/4 inch skim that lingers, and it leaves some nice lacing. Color is an orange-copper-amber.

Aroma - grapefruit hops before I even get close to the glass. Bready tea-like malts in the background.

Taste - like nose promises, citrus hops dominate from the start, with some bread malt just barely hanging in there to provide counterbalance. Tea with lemon in the middle, finishing up with a wash of citrus rind bitter hops (but, good bitter). This is good beer.

Mouthfeel - full to moderate, slight chewiness, moderate carbonation. Moderate hop oil slickness.

Drinkability - this goes down very easy, and I can have several of these in a session. A really good brew, one for the hop cultists, yet mild mannered enough to possibly help your non-BA friends get that old time hop religion.

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

This is a temendous brew. High quality to say the least. Some malt on the front, terrific hoppy bitterness on the back. The water, well, it's great lakes!! Almost has a toasted almond flavor in the malt. Great citrusy love down the middle. An awesome brew, an awesome session brew. Very highly recommended!

Photo of shbobdb
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Welp, Great Lakes no longer distributes to Indiana, and I grabbed one of the last Burning River singles in the state.
I can already tell by the nose that this beer is somewhat old -- still the strong, citrusy hop smells are there in abundance, leaping forth from the craggy coffee-and-cream head. When fresh this beer smells like an IPA, currently it smells more like a regular ol' APA.
The taste follows the smell. There is enough of a malt backbone in this beer for it to be balanced and pleasant.
A wonderful brew.
Man, I'm gonna miss these guys.

Photo of shererjt
3.33/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a reddish-copper clear. Nicely carbonated with a big, billowy head and decent lace. Nice toasty caramel aroma with a flowery hop nose. Light-to-medium body. Balance leans to the hops, with a subdued maltiness that could stand to be beefed up a bit. Had a bit of iced tea flavor to it. Not nearly as tasty as it smelled. Mouthfeel was a little flat, and the body was a bit on the light side even for the style.

Pretty good pale ale, though somewhat overrated IMO. The aroma is its best quality; could use a bit more body and malt. Still worth trying, though.

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

A great beer no questions asked.

Pours a red-orange, typical of the style. Frothy head dissapates into a bubbly wring around the inside of the glass. Smells of citrus, grapefruits in particular, light lemon zest aroma, light malt background.

Tastes just like it smells, bitter up front, then a smooth fading effect as it seemingly slides off your tongue and down your throat. What a refreshing beer. It's been a long day and this definitely hits the spot.

6% alcohol, and can't tell at all. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel begs you to take sip after sip. Woah this is going down fast. Great beer from Great Lakes.

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

Another fine product form Great Lakes. This is a good pale ale. I mean it when I say good, it didn't captivate me like a great beer would have. It had a nice copper color to it and a nice citrus/hoppy aroma as well. As all APA should it had a nice hop taste to it.

Photo of cheers2beers
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer poured a golden yellow with a soft cream colored head. Settled down from about one to two finger head,to about half finger in height. Minimal laceing can be found along with lots of beading on the inside of my pint glass.

Smell: Citrus hops pop out immediately, followed by some sweet pale malts, light grassy touch. Smells like a good pale to me.

Taste: Not as sweet as I anticipated. A little more piney in its hop profile than citrusy. Crisp and bitter with the hops lingering a bit too long for a pale ale in my opinion. Not bad at all but just a touch unbalanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with good solid carbonation but finishes a bit watery which is surprising considering the oils from the hops that were present in the front and middle of the palate.

Drinkability: Not one of my favorites but definitely a solid example that I would drink anytime.


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

Amber in color. Flowery in smell with the usual hops overtones in an IPA. Good mouthfeel and incredibly drinkable, as I had 4 in my sitting. One of the best IPA's I've ever had. Incredibly balanced. Nice aftertaste of hops and not over-hopped, which can be a tendency in this IPA climate. I highly reccommend this beer.

Photo of klewis
4.58/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a clear dark golden with a massive head that subsides and sustains as a one-finger foamy layer. Tons of lacing.

S: Floral hops and tropical fruits

T: Taste is primarily of pine and a bit of citrus with plenty of hop flavor and bitterness all the way through. Chock full of flavor.

M: The carbonation stays out of the way in this brew, giving it a smooth, almost creamy texture. Nice and chewy with a medium body.

D: This beer is near pefection for an APA. I can't believe it took me this long to try it. I'm stupid.

Photo of cameraman
3.28/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A lite copper color, with an off white head that disappates very quickly. A slight scent of roasted barley, with a string citrus hop aroma at the end. The taste starts with the sweetness of the malt and then the hop flavor begins to dominate the taste. In the mouth it feels watery with a slight tingle from the carbonation. Even with the lite look and faint scents, the flavor was fairly good. The mouthfeel was surprisingly disappointing, but overal this is at best an average beer.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz American pint.

A--Pale copper. Golden orange. Sticky white head that fades fast to a film. Steady flow of carbonation from the bottom and the lacing is average.

S--Prevailing hop scent. Piney and earthy. Light fruit odors. Couldnt make out many malts at all. "Big" presence for an APA.

T--Super round and more balanced than the smell, but still over hopped. Had a spicyness in the after taste. Again, piney and lightly fruited just as the smell would suggest, but the malts provided a toasty balance to the sharpness of the hops.

M--Nice full bodied beer all the way down. Finishes quick and refreshing, but does leave a taste in my mouth similar to what an IPA might do.

D--Solid, could have several back to back ABV is just right for me.

O--Probably would pair this with some food for future drinks, great "Big" APA. Go for it if you are hop head looking for a lighter fix than a barleywine or DIPA.

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

Pours a beautiful honey-orange color with a nice, full 1" off-white head. Head drops to a thick ring and several islands of foam with a thick film holding them in place. Really nice lacing.
Smell is hoppy, a bit astringent, with touches of floral, citrus (lemon mostly), malt and a hint of pine and earth.
The tongue gets what the nose promises. Hops, light malt, floral, citrus, earthy and a hint of herbal teas (good to read other peoples' reviews to prod the mind :-) ). Alcohol is noticeable but not heavy. Flavor stands up to most foods.
Fairly smooth, it would be a bit smoother if it weren't quite this hoppy. Not over-the-top hoppy, but a bit high for the style IMO. A medium-bodied offering. Fairly clean finish, would like more aftertaste from such a good tasting brew. It comes across as kind of a weak brother to an IPA in regards to the hop level and the flavor. All over, a good beer, wish it was available in FL.

Photo of PartyHatjo
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber--leaning more towards yellow than orange, with some haze. Ample, fluffy, white head that laces very well during the drink.

Aroma: Toasty malts with a nice citrus hoppiness. Grapefruit and lemon prominent.

Taste: Very good biscuit character, not so much caramel sweetness with a fantastic citrus hop characater.

Mouthfeel: Nice dry character, medium in body. Smooth bitterness that gives a good bite to make it a nice refreshing brew. Slight caramel sweetness plays into the palate enough for balance.

Drinkability: Dry mouthfeel leads me to believe this brew is lighter than it is. Very easy drinker (doesn't make you full too quickly), with ample alcohol to give you a slight buzz if you imbibe too quickly or too much.

Photo of Zorro
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled through the efforts of Murrayswine and UTBIF.

Pours a clear deep amber to almost copper colored ale with a tall tan head.

Smell is quite malt and spicy in the first sniff. Lots of malt scent and bready grain smells. Very spicy from the hops chosen for this beer. Individual aromas of caramel and nuts with a little bread dough and vanilla.

Taste is quite malty at the beginning with a trace of smoke and starts out a lot like a Scottish ale. Quickly the hops kick in and add a nice complex bitterness to this brew. Faint lemons in the hops but mostly I taste smoke, malt and drying bitterness. A very tasty APA that isn't just a SNPA clone. Spicy after taste that is cleaned up by a woody bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is very good and surprisingly full.

Drinkability is among the best. A damn tasty beer that isn't extreme in any respect. What makes this beer is a lot of great qualities extremely well executed. A malty spicy and smoky pale ale that doesn't get tiresome at all in your mouth. A superior APA in all respects.

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

Hops Hops and more hops.

One of the more hoppier beers out there.

Little to no head, even with an agressive pour. (Rusty, your mom is an agressive pour). Dark yellow in color.

Smelling notes include hops and orange peel.

Tasting notes include: A in your muoth bazooka blast of hops and a hint of.... heck... nothing else. But there may be an orange-e type of thing going on in the background but my tastebuds haven't reported back to me.

Smooth and clean. The best thing about this APA is that it is not watery at all. Good job! Sweet on the initial tasting and the bitterness hits you in the back of the head with a 2x4 in the aftertaste. Very enjoyable.

Notes: A very solid beer and onme of the best APA's out there if you like them this hoppy. This beer is growing on me and will pick some up in the future.

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

Served cool from 12 oz bottle in pint glass on 1/24/06. Clear, copper color with small white head that quickly dissipates, leaving only a slight amount of lacing. Tiny bubbles of carbonation lasting forever. Smell was citrusy and floral hops and not much else. Dominant is floral hops with some citrus; malt is evident more than other APAs I have tried although hops still prevail. Pleasant bitterness. Moderate carbonation and medium mouthfeel. Easy to drink although right now I am not a big fan of hops. No doubt that will change with time and my score of this beer will improve.

Photo of thebarnesbomb
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle, had straight from bottle. Couldn't say much about appearance for this reason, my guess is a typical IPA yellow/ orange that isn't transparent b/c of the strong smell. I could smell the strong hop element, most apparent of anything else. Has a good body to it, a certain crispness that is associated to pale ales, but this was a little too harsh for me. The strength of the hops and the 6.00 abv took me off guard. Leaves a bitterness from these two elements that I didn't find very pleasant, so an average score for drinkability. I'm definitely not dissing this beer, you just have to know what to expect from it.

Photo of whartontallboy
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden-coppery body, clear with a big, frothy white head that stuck around really well and left quite a lace. A great-looking APA.

Smell is hoppy, mainly citric and floral, with some grassy notes, and a bit doughy malt scent.

Flavor is hoppy per the style, with some grapefruit flavors coming through with some orange citric notes, but the malt is a little stronger than what I'm used to. Biscuity, almost like pretzels on the first sips. Strong and nice, really well-balanced. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style, I think, but it is refreshing.

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

Poured a bottle from a six pack into a pint glass.

There was a solid inch of head that lingered almost until I finished the glass. The foam was a bit clumpy and inconsistent, but I don't mind. The color was a beautiful orange amber.

I think this beer smells like grapefruit juice. If you put a glass of juice and a glass of Burning River side by side, I'd have a hard time distinguishing the two based on scent alone. Maybe a bit like flowers too, though not as "floral" as other APAs. It's a nice smell.

At first the taste is very bitter and hoppy, then it becomes sweet. It's citrusy all the way though, and maybe a bit of malt too. Nothing fancy or complex, but a very enjoyable taste that gets a bit more mellow as I finish.

It's not a heavy beer, nor is it heavily carbonated. It's a really solid medium body and rather smooth aswell. It smooths a bit as it warms too.

Unfortunately for some reason, I can't drink too much Burning River in one sitting. I enjoy it, but it tends to upset my stomach (much the same way grapefruit juice does) and I feel sick. I love the beer and I love to start the night with a pint of it, but it's not something I can continue drinking. It took awhile for me to come around, but this is a nice beer.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,805 ratings.