1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,764 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,764
Reviews: 994
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 105
Gots: 242 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,764 | Reviews: 994 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of battlekow
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burning River Pale Ale is a hazy copper color capped by a small off-white head that provides good lacing. All in all, it probably looks a lot more potable than the Cuyahoga does. It smells nicely balanced, with the citrusy, spicy hops actually rather subdued. They make their presence known more in the taste, which is also touted by the label to have a "fruity assertiveness." I don't know exactly what that means, but there is a bit of grape juice going on, though the hops are definitely the assertive flavor.

Bad river, good beer.

battlekow, Sep 22, 2005
Photo of sopor
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

By the numbers, I believe this will be one of the best APAs I've had. While it's not my absolute favorite APA (that's Magnum APA from the Keweenaw Brewing Co) this is a very good offering from a wonderful fairly local (to me) brewery.

Crystal clear light amber with a slightly tan 2 finger active head. Very lively bubble action (I think there's a little lint in my glass)

Caramel and toasty maslt nose with a funky rotting bread smell that reminds me of their Dortmunder (vienna or munich malts possibly? I think I'm starting to recognize them and associate them with this flavor)

Caramel and biscuity malt with a hint of sweet fruit. A slight citrus note to an otherwise resinous and herbal hop bite.

Typical Pale Ale moderately light body with deceptively light carbonation.

A great offering from GLBC. Very unique APA, which I find to be the single greatest attrbiute of an APA because theres SO DAMN MANY OF THEM!!! This oe sticks out in my mind though becuase of the slight sweetness and that rotten bread smell. Good beer, but not a session APA IMO. Not as drinkable as an APA should be IMO.

sopor, Sep 18, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my second beer from Great Lakes, I have have to say, these guys are about two steps off from becoming a major contender in the Micro brewing world. Poured out to a nice orange yellow color with a very short lived head. Low carbonation. No lace in the glass. Aromas of orange and clove are very present, as are notes of pine and earth. Flavor was a bit on the flat side, as this beer could have benefited from higher carbonation to liven up the taste. Flavors of hops and malt, with traces of citrus, and a tea like finish. Not bad, but like I said, the addition of more carbonation would really kick this brew up a notch. Decent mouthfeel. I'd have another, but not before trying something else. I really feel Great Lakes is on to something with their beers, but somewhere it's just not connecting... Still, this beer is worthy of a try.

Frozensoul327, Sep 18, 2005
Photo of dirtylou
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

single 12oz bottle bought at Steve's (University Ave.) in Madison, best enjoyed by 9/30/05

appearance: pours a see through, yet hazy, amber with a fluffy white head and decent lacing

smell: subdued floral hops similar to many ipa's...citrus, earthy straw aromas...nothing too strong but inviting nonetheless

taste: floral hops, nice citrus flavors ala tangerine, apricot, orange...nice hop profile balanced out by mild malts. Taste follows along the lines of alpha king and pushes the boundary between APA and IPA.

mouthfeel: oily hops, medium body, nice hop bitterness

drinkability: extremely drinkable, not too bitter and very clean finish

another solid offering from Great Lakes that I am just getting around to rating.

dirtylou, Sep 10, 2005
Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a bright light orange hue with a crystal clear body and a small off-white heat that is very creamy. A nice slow carbonation of small bubbles.

S- A nice aroma of green hops and citrus notes with some pale malt notes.

T- Nice grapefruit hops very bold at the begining of the taste. A slight orange hint is mixed with the pale malt flavor and a nice hoppy bitter finish.

M- Medium-full mouthfeel with no astringency or alcohol warmth.

D- This is a very smooth drink with a great juicy hop flavor. A well-built, easy-drinking beer.

rhoadsrage, Sep 10, 2005
Photo of 99bottles
4.55/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

An excellent pale ale, with more hops and bitterness than many so called IPAs out there. The body is a rich red-amber color, with a sticky, fine head of off white. Smell is of juicy hops with a sweet noble air to them (don't quote me on that). Medium body with a nice sugary caramel flavor, though clean and dry. Perfect balance with the sweet and citrusy hops; orange, lemon and pine tar. Outstanding, and deserving of its many accolades. Great Lakes turns out some awesome beers.

99bottles, Sep 05, 2005
Photo of Applesauce1
3.35/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1st smell - hops, floral smell

1st taste - It was decent, but it seemed to me that this beer needed more hops. The taste of this beer was better than a macro lager, but overall it didn't have that much taste. As I got about halfway through the beer I started noticing a skunky flavor even. This could've been from some light exposure at the store possibly, but, nonetheless, it disappointed me. The expiration date on the beer was Oct. 28, 2005, so it's got about two months left. Anyways, I expected more from Great Lakes than I got from this beer. With American Pale Ale as my favorite style, I know of cheaper and better tasting pale ales to buy.

- Overall, this beer is drinkable, but I doubt I'll have another in the near future.

Applesauce1, Sep 03, 2005
Photo of brentk56
4.8/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours out a clear light amber color with a nice head that sticks and laces well

Smell: Biscuity, with a generous dose of floral hop leaf aroma

Taste: Starts out with a biscuity malt base which starts to pick up some grapefruit pith as the hops kick in by mid-palate; the finish is fruity and bitter with a good hop presence and a touch of alcoholic warming

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation; crisp

Drinkability: This is one great APA and is up there with Three Floyds as one of my favorite examples of the style

Thanks, vwcraig, for the opportunity to re-visit

brentk56, Aug 30, 2005
Photo of Xadoor
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear dark copper colour in the glass with a thin head that disipated quickly. Very faint aroma. It starts with a slighly sweet malt flavour but finishes very, very dry with slight bitter and grassy flavours. It seems to lean more towards being an IPA then just a Pale. A very good drinkable beer, but the very dry finish left me wanting to follow it with something a little more refreshing.

Xadoor, Aug 27, 2005
Photo of KarlHungus
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden color with reddish hues. A huge white head caps it off. The aroma is big, and of citrusy hops. The taste is hoppy, yet balanced. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample carbonation. Overall, this is a very good APA. It is nice and hoppy without being so hoppy that it verges into IPA territory.

KarlHungus, Aug 17, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excited pour from a cool label that has a freaking blazing rio on it. 12 oz'er browner bottle, pours a golden brazen shiny copper penny topped off with smattered gloppy tacky ivory head slick, leaving painted coating lattice lace.

Bold scents of cascade and some other goodie goodie hops, met with perfectly balanced malt backing. Deliciously smellingcandy like brew.

First swigs: Hoppy brisk and sweet sugar hard candy backing. Pez candy chalky middle.A pale ale that thinks it is an IPA. Fruity apple and delicate lemony dry peel. Clean citrus finish.

Last swigs: Perfectly balanced pale. Outstanding! Gotta git me some more. $1.99 a bottle and worth it for this curious weary beer needing traveler.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

blitheringidiot, Aug 17, 2005
Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours deep amber with an off-white two finger head. Decent head retention followed by mild lacing. Aroma is of floral hops and sweet malt esters. Rich malt taste upfront, followed by pronounced hops and residual sweetness. Fairly well balanced for an american pale ale. Light to medium bodied, the low carbonation and strong aftertaste make this less smooth but more robust.

PBRstreetgang, Aug 10, 2005
Photo of bubrewer
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with "best by" date of 3/30/05, I tasted on 7/29/05. Pours a clear copper color with acceptable head. Aroma is citrous and very nice. Bitterness is low, but fits very well with the malt profile. Althought this bottle may have degraded somewhat by age, I'm guessing fresh from the keg this would really be something special.

bubrewer, Jul 31, 2005
Photo of ybnorml
3.28/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A clean copper colored beer. Has a big foamy beige head with some lace. There is a sweet malty cereal aroma with a creamed corn note in the background. A start of malty sweetness on the tongue followed a a light dry peppery hop finish. Easy drinking but I was put of by the corn note in the aroma.

ybnorml, Jul 27, 2005
Photo of warriorsoul
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Buckspin for this one of many Great Lakes brews.
Pours a real dark copper color w/ two and a half fingers of foamy off-white head...lacing is quite thick and stagnant...impressive.
Smell is faint...a touch of malt and grassy notes.
Taste is pretty decent for the style...not overly hopped, but this one is definitely driven by the malt. The hops do make an appearance to keep it balanced and adds a solid bitter finish.
Mouthfeel is a step above medium bodied...drinkability is great.
This is the brew I would use to intoduce friends and family to the craft brew scene...looking foward to trying their others.

warriorsoul, Jul 23, 2005
Photo of carln26
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured a clear copper color with a thin tan head. Despite the lack of head, there did appear to be a nice level of carbonation. The aroma has a pleasant mix of grapefruit rind from the hops, and toffee/caramel and dates from the malt. The taste has more citrus than the nose suggested. It really comes on strong up front. The caramel malt comes mid-way through the flavor and the finish has a nice sharp bite. The mouth feel is very smooth with a nice richness for a pale ale. All together this presents a nice drinakbility.

carln26, Jul 17, 2005
Photo of lackenhauser
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice golden color-a slight touch of coppery hue to it. Low aroma. More yeast then anything. Very nice hop flavor and a soft malty sweetness to tie it all together. Too many pale ales are "cascadeish" like Sierra Nevada (which is great mind you) or so bitter they just dont "gel". This has a very nice balance of the 2 flavors. Good body as well. A very drinkable beer and a great pale ale example.

lackenhauser, Jul 14, 2005
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear copper with no head to speak of. No lace. Smells of fruity pale malt and agressively bitter hops.

Taste is very bitter and bitingly so. No subtle citrus nuance, no floral complexity, just a cutting, sharp hoppy bitterness...and I like it. After awhile you can pick out some fruity malt but this is a vehicle for delivering hops to the bloodstream. A lingering hoppy bitterness. Very long. Not so hoppy to be an IPA but really close. A hops showcase. Pretty good.

ViveLaChouffe, Jul 09, 2005
Photo of Southernbrew
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with a nice head that leaves some good lacing down the glass.

The aroma shows off some nice caramel sweetness as well as some big floral hops and a bit of bitterness.

Medium bodied and fairly crisp. The hops show up in a pretty big way with some nice bitterness as well as some citrusness. The sweetness shows up in the middle with some nice caramel flavors that meld back into the bitterness at the end.

A nice pale ale, almost bordering on IPA, but not quite there. Nicely done Great Lakes.

Southernbrew, Jul 08, 2005
Photo of AltBock
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle in a Great Lakes sampler 12 pack.
Appearance: Had a nice golden-amber color with a small head of foam with little lacing. Had plenty of carbonation bubbles in the glass that quickly rose to the top.
Smell: Had a strong aroma of hops with a little bit of citrus in it.
Taste: A nice balance of hops and malt with a not too strong bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with carbonation. Hides the alcohol content.
Drinkability: A highly drinkable pale ale, if you are a lover of pale ales. Another good one from Great Lakes.

AltBock, Jun 29, 2005
Photo of tom444
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours: A rich, clear reddish amber color, with a thick off-white head. Excellent head retention, little lacing.

Aroma: Somewhat malty, with a strong hop scent.

Taste: Crisp and fairly bitter, with plenty of floral and citrus hop notes. A bit of lingering hoppy aftertaste.

Overall: A very good pale ale, and yet another excellent brew from Great Lakes.

tom444, Jun 28, 2005
Photo of Buildscharacter
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Typically colored pale ale. I expected this brew to be much more subtle in it's character, but I was terribly mistaken. It's a brash and loud hoppy son-of-a-gun.

There's a nice bit of sweetness under the hops, especially if you let the beer warm a little bit.

I was pleased with this beer and it's overall flavor. Reminds me of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.

Buildscharacter, Jun 16, 2005
Photo of JackStraw22
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Golden-amber body. Good inch of off white head. There was a little bit of lacing, and the head had a presence for the whole glass.

Smell: Quite hoppy, plenty of sweetness as well. Reminds me a lot of an IPA smell actually.

Taste: Very bold in both maltiness and hoppiness, and both are well balanced. Clean bitterness finishes and is quite refreshing.

Great well rounded, highly drinkable, Pale Ale. As others have noted, it is almost in between a Pale Ale and an IPA.

JackStraw22, Jun 15, 2005
Photo of kmpitz2
4.58/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours an ambered golden color with a 2 finger head that falls to a quarter inch of foam over top. Very pretty color. The nose is very clean. Good crisp citrusy hop and a well blended caramel. One of the better APA's I've smelled in a while. The flavor is good as well. A slight bitter on the start, moving to a spicey and peppery hop. The caramel malt dances lightly in the background. The hop carries through as a light bitter in the background. Very nice flavor as well. The feel is moderate to thick with a moderate carbonation. Very drinkable beer. The flavor and nose work very well together. Definately a session beer. I give it an A+.

kmpitz2, Jun 14, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

120z best before May '05 poured into a pint. So I'm a month late, I'm sure she's still fine.

Copper/amber with a two finger head of white that clings to the glass and shows good retention.

The nose is a nice balance of caramel malts and fruity/piney hops, lots of both. Am I sniffing an IPA?

The taste starts off with slightly sweet malt and then juicy hops jump in and ride all the way through to a clean, dry finish. This puppy has depth and character.

The mouthfeel is a bit heavier than most PAs, but this is a good thing. Full enough so that your whole mouth feels it, without any chewiness or residual oil. I gave this one a 5 for drinkability 'cuz its (kinda) low in alcohol and just tastes so damn good.

I can't believe something so tasty is named in honor of a river that was so polluted it caught on fire!

ypsifly, Jun 12, 2005
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,764 ratings.