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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

2,871 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,871
Reviews: 1,012
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 111
Gots: 321 | 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: 2,871 | Reviews: 1,012 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice head and retention. Smell is a little faint, but hoppy. Taste is hoppy, with a decent malt backbone to follow. Malt backbone become more pronounced as alcohol warms. Failrly nice mouthfeel and very sessionable. I am growing to like this brewery and wish that they would distribute in texas. Oh well. I'll have to keep trading for them.

This is the typical apa (a sort of dumbed down ipa)

Photo of quikfish13
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a dark orange/copper color with a tan off white head. Very clear not cloudy at all, looks great.

Smells of citrus, oranges mainly, and a malty aroma hit first. A very sweet aroma with some roasted scents thrown in for good measure. My mouth was already watering in anticipation.

Very nice floral hops taste with the citrus coming forefront. Not much bitterness at all. A nice earthy malt flavor comes through at the end with the grains dominating all the way through. A slight hint of mango as well with reminders of perhaps papaya are tasted.

Not thick at all and almost slick as it goes down. Still no trouble actually drinking this as it is one of the smoothest beers I have had yet. Being exeptionally tasting, great looking, and smelling amazing this is a highly drinkable beer. I have bought 6-12 packs of this beverage on a regular basis. Another great brew from Great Lakes.

Photo of jockstrappy
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent copper color with a foamy, eggshell white head that settles to a thin cap. Aroma consists mainly of floral hops, and a sweet malt note. Taste begins with a sweet, buttery malt foundation, that slowly gives way to a floral hop flavor, providing very nice balance. Mouthfeel....this beer is somewhat oily on the palate (but that's how I like 'em), going down the hatch with very little trouble. Awesome!

Photo of prototypic
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured a copper, burnt orange color with a one and a half finger head. Head stuck around quite a while and left decent lacing.

Smell: Classic pale ale aroma. Smells quite hoppy with a hint of citrus scents underneath. Primarily, the citrus scents are orange and mango. There's also a bit of a malty smell too.

Taste: The citrus notes really shine through upon tasting. It gives it a bit of a sweet taste. The hops that follow through give it a nice, bitter taste. There is a slight bit of a malty taste, which balances it out a little. But, it's still nice and bitter.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This one leans in the light bodied direction. It goes down really easy. This is a very drinkable beer, especially during the summer. Overall, one of my favorite Great Lakes beers. It's a regular in my fridge. Try it.

Photo of xav33
3.79/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale
12 oz bottle
Best by 03/07, extinguished 02/07
Medium pour in a tulip glass

Poured a clear amber with a small white quickly diminishing head with a small ring of lacing.

Smelt of moderate orange, lemon and spruce.

Taste was upfront moderate sweet lemon and cookie with a moderate bitter lemon rinds and spruce followed by a strong bitter mold, sweat and pine with a moderately sweet biscuit malt on a long finish

Palate was light to medium bodied,oily, lively and moderately astringent.

Overall, a classic tasting pale ale with little to no flaws.

Photo of scott
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A new favorite...
An easy drinking mild, well executed with a clean pale amber appearance and a light head that quickly rims.
Nothing harsh to the nose, nothing wild on the tongue. Thirst quenching, & delicious! Mild citrus to note.
(I've graduated from the "Extreme Brewing" culture that wouldn't allow such a heavenly review only months ago).
Nicely carbonated.
This is your patio sipper. It's well-versed, but still knows it's place...

Photo of CortexBomb
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

aka; Great Lakes tries their hand at an American classic and does a nice job of it.

Pales are what they are, if you're in the mood for them, they hit the spot, and Burning River is a fine example.

Amber on the pour, nice head, moderately malts (sweet) on the nose. The flavour is a very well-balanced mix of floral hops and malts with a bit of a zing on the edge...I don't really know how to describe it other than sweet and bitey, not sugary sweet, more like subdued caramel. Not a super depthy beer, but for the style it's solid.

The mouth and drinkability are both fine.

The bottom line: As I said in the intro, it's a classic style, and Great Lakes has brought their own twist to it. Good summer style brew.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Much of what I remember from drinking from the bottle. However, on tap, the beer comes across smoother, softer, and much more bready / biscuity than I remember. Moderately malty and yeasty with the anticipated perfumy, citrus, piney hop aromas and flavors. Delicate, nearly Wit-like, textures: creamy, silky, and smooth. Overall, not as in-your-face as Sierra Nevada or Flying Dog, but perhaps better balanced. And to think, I nearly forgot how well this beer tasted. Silly me.

Photo of meatyard
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.
Pours a clear, light amber color with a short, quickly falling head and a bit of lacing. It has a nice, clean, citrusy smell with a little sweet, malt backing. The taste is dry with a slightly bitter citrus flavor. Mouthfeel is medium & dry. It's a very drinkable, good APA.

Photo of cabsandking
4.02/5  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 +4.6%
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
4.31/5  rDev +9.1%
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
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
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 +1.3%
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
2.99/5  rDev -24.3%
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
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
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 +4.6%
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 +2.5%
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
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
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
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
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
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
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 +1.3%
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
4.27/5  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
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
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 -6.8%
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.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,871 ratings.