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

very good
1,021 Reviews
For Trade:

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-06-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,021 | Ratings: 3,134
Photo of Slatetank
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked this up at Wegmans, enjoyed chilled from a pint glass.

The color is dark copper with off white head which leaves confetti lace and has great clarity with visible carbonation. Retention is good and bead is very fine. The smell is very fragrant of hops with a mild pine accent and very gentle fruity yeast scent. The feel is good with moderate bitterness and carbonation level with mild sweetness and light alcohol tinge with a mostly dry finish.

The flavor is a very good mix of malts with more of a German toasted perhaps vienna flavor with mild herbal and pine hop flavors following with some mild orange rind accents. The flavor of malt is pretty well balanced with the hops with a generally clean yeast taste very nice dry finish with no alcohol in the taste to speak of. Overall this is a different take on the pale style, with more german type munich toastiness and more herbal/noble type flavor than straight citrus, but it is very drinkable and well worth repeat tastes

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Photo of EBeckett3
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - coppery, medium head, decent laces
S- slight citrus, grass
T- balanced, floral, hoppy with medium bitterness, crisp
M- medium body, slight malt soothed the bitter but retained the crisp end
O- very, very good - wasn't long till I opened another one

Served in a 16 oz pint glass

Serving type: bottle poured into glass

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

We crack the top, pouring a deep golden straw colored brew into our Great Lakes pints. It holds a one and a half finger head of creamy, variable khaki colored bubbles, showing nice retention. This leaves wet, sheeted lacing dripping down our glasses. There is a chill, fading haze, but no sediment is noted. Carbonation appears to be active and diffuse. The aroma gives bright and bittering plastic phenols, rubber cement, wet cement, caramel and pale malt base, citric and grassy hops, green gourd skins, herbal leafiness, eucalyptus plantiness, yeasty metallics, sweet yellow corn, and fruitiness of pear, nectarine, and lemon flesh. Our first impression is that the flavoring is perversely ridden with plastics, but does allow enough room for bitterly grassy hops and sweet caramel malt base to shine through. As we sip, the taste opens with candy corn sweetness, pale, dried barley, straw, fructose syrups, wheat table crackers, bench lacquer, plastic phenols, bitter grassy hoppiness, and cloying cinnamon roll icing sweetness. The middle peaks with birdseed, alcohol, continued grassy and herbal hop simplicity, crispy pale malts, sea salt, clove and black pepper, gastric acidity, and sweet, sugary cereal graininess. The end is where most of the hops come through, with bitterly grassy and sweetly nectary varietals sitting atop a simple base of honey, pale and muddied wheat, sweet raw barley and corn, brewer’s yeast, frank metallics, and white breadiness. The aftertaste breathes of booze, plastics, vinyl, popcorn, nutty graininess, yeasty grit, continued pale malts, unsalted peanuts, vinegar acidity, straw and dried lawn, earth, mineral, and lightly resiny hops. The body is medium, and the carbonation is medium to high. Finishing pop stands out for the mouthfeel, as it is crisp, thorough, and robust. Slurp, smack, cream, and froth are all decidedly weak in comparison, but don’t detract from the experience. The mouth is left puckered and cloyed, with satiating salivation and light chalky astringency. The abv is fitting, and drinkability is high.

Overall, what we found to be most enjoyable about this brew was its simplicity through the taste and aroma, and its ease of drinkability. While we’ve had this beer many times in the past, and enjoyed it, today it seems to be striking our palates at a funny angle. The aroma and taste both seem to be wrought with a curious plastic component. This actually faded quite a bit with warmth, but it did simultaneously reveal a heavy malt base, which tended to overwhelm the hop components. These were also a bit more bittering and puckering than we remember, as well, but in the end it didn’t stop of from enjoying this drink and leaving it with fond thoughts yet again.

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Photo of JohnF
4.69/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My wife asked me to buy some of this Great Lakes beer. I did not realize it won some medals and now I see why. A great lower alcohol beer; very smooth and everything a pale ale should be. I usually like heavier beers, but this one is very good for summer drinking and lower percentage.

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Photo of Knuckles_Nuclear
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a nonic.

A- Half-inch head quickly dissipated into a thin cap. very little lacing clung to the glass. The color was a pretty, clear amber-golden hue with plenty of lively carbonation.

S- At the nose, I whiffed faint notes of yeasty bread, citrus, bits of piney hops.

T- Caramel, toasted toffee, sweet malt, cut by a noticeable hoppy presence. Maybe some orange peel. Well-balanced and not overly bitter, but enough to cut the malty sweetness.

M- Bubbly, medium body, nothing fancy. Finishes clean.

O- A solid, well-balanced, drinkable APA. A tad hoppy for my personal taste, but keeping with the style. Not spectacular, but quite good.

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Photo of Act25
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow! As an APA fan (dales pale ale). This beer rocked me. Wish it came in cans.

Poured bottle into .5 l cylinder named Spaten.

A: Beautiful, clear, copper amber with large, dense 3 finger lasting head, and sticky lacing all the way down. Close appearance to Dales which is just a shade more copper.

S: Biscuit, bread, with leafy hops rising, but subtle. Stronger as the beer swirls and warms. More sea foam, beach, outdoors kind of head, sea side forest when you give a big swirl.

T: First, biscuity malt which trends to some citrus pith as plenty of hops engage ; the finish is fruity and bitter. Lots of hops tingle leaves you happy. A kissing beer. An original woody, fresh cut heart wood taste is included that give this beer an edge of originality, not unlike the strong pine of Dales.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a strong level of carbonation; crisp feel, great with food, in this case Salmon with garden tomatoes, peppers, basil, onion on toast w ny cream cheese, lemon olive oil and balsamic and pepper.

Drinkability: This is a top APA that everyone must try, and up there with my fave Dales Pale Ale.

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Photo of larryarms847
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden yellow with an ambery hue.

Light citrus, toasted malt, bready, slight sweetness.

Slightly sweet toast and bready malts, with a faint citrusy character and a light earthy dankness.

Light-bodied, medium carbonation, dry, bitter finish.

Overall, a balanced and decent brew.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at Santora's Pizza in Amherst.

Pours a rich gold, off-white head. Foamy, nice retention. Lace is nice. Pleasant-looking pale.

Smells grassy, citric, tangy and slightly savoury. Bit of bread dough. OK.

Tastes quite doughy upfront. Gets a bit of resinous hop midway with citric notes, pine needle, some paprika and dry wood. A bit on the savoury side, could use more tang.

Fizz on there, but the body is OK for the style.

Not quite as refreshing as I'd like, but some nice notes, and some interesting ones as well.

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Photo of WunderLlama
3.74/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into beer stein

Deep honey amber with no visible carbonation. Thick white four finger foam cap slowly subsides with decent lacings on the glass.

Aroma of citrus, lemon or orange peel, and pine.

Immediate taste of hOps but not too bitter. Citrus notes. Clean with no sharp after taste.light to light medium mouthfeel. Very good and worthy of a repeat sampling.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.44/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a deep gold with an orange hue. Mostly clear and effervescing. Good retention and sticky white lace. Nose is not what I expected. Weed like with lots of bread and nutty malt character. Caramel. Citrus is there but faint, a little floral and herbal, a hint of tropical fruit but doesn’t quite stretch out. Taste is grassy, very nutty , herbal, with lots of malt rolling sweetly over the hay like palate. Cracker, biscuit, and a little bit of sweet orange. Finishes crisp and dry with just enough bitter hop oil and sweet honey on a cracker. This is a very big malt Pale Ale that drinks lovely and smooth.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Great Lakes Brewing Company - Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

Look - Pours a mostly clear deep copper with amber hues. Full foamy head that breaks down and leaves huge chunks of lacing. Good retention.

Smell - Deep almost red rich malts with some slight pine and tangy mango hops. Light on the hops.

Taste - Carbonated bready malt and a citrus hop punch, dry and bitter.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium bodied. Dry, chewy, and quite drinkable. Booziness is low at 6%.

Overall - Meh, this one didn't thrill me, there are far better. That is not to say that it was bad, because it wasn't at all, it just wasn't amazing.

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Photo of Dope
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

06/02/13 best by date.

A: Pours a clear ruby red. Big fluffy offwhite head. Head fades slowly, leaving moderate splotchy lacing behind. Nice retention.

S: Mild grapefruit and pine with a little biscuity malt.

T: A little pungent grapefruit up front. Backed up with just a hint of pine, primarily in the finish really. Dry biscuits for the malt in the middle. A little bitter and dry in the finish.

M: Medium bodied and standard.

O: Not a bad APA. This one's a little old so I gave it a little leeway on the scores. Nice and tasty and easy drinking though.

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Photo of TeamMathis
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Yellowish orange. Clear.
Smell: Flowery honey biscuits.
Taste: Flowery honey biscuits and Cascade hoppiness/bitterness.

I really like this Pale Ale. It's such a good balance of sweetness and hops. The smell is very distinctly flowery and biscuity with a touch of honey. The taste reflects this but adds that excellent bitterness. This is what I want out of an APA. I would definitely get this again.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.46/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into becker pint glass. Golden orange, the color of honey, crystal clear with a medium-thick white head that dissipates pretty quickly leaving some delicate lacing. Smells of clean malts with slight bitter hops in the background. Taste follows nose; clean and smooth malts with a crisp bitter hop finish that rounds off a great-tasting beer. A great drinkable beer, I could easily put away a 6-pack of these.

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Photo of BeerYoss
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Amber/orange, some lazy carbonation, quite clear. the off-white head fairly quickly retreats to the surface and stays there. not much lacing on the way down

S- Strong citrus and pine hop smell.

T- Strong pine hop taste. I am not a fan of super hopped piney pale ales but this one presents the hops in a very clear and strong way without blowing away the rest of the beer. quite enjoyable. something in there reminds me of apples.

M- Clean and refreshing. pretty high on the carbonation. light body, doesn't coat the mouth too much

O- Very approachable. one of my favorite pale ales. it's not trying to be anything too unique. it is just good.

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Photo of thedoubler55
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a copperish orange in color, a nice one finger off white head at the top, and leaves a little lacing around the glass as you sip away.

S: A little bit of floral notes up front and some grassy notes as well, a slight hint of bread as well.

T: A nice mild pale ale, up front some sweetness with some bitterness on the tail end, grassy notes as well as some floral hint as well.

M: Medium bodied and a good amount of carbonation.

O: A very good pale ale, this brewery keeps on surprising me, glad my liquor store stocked up on this stuff, a good session beer.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep orange to gold color. Fairly clear with only a hint of haze. Smaller, one finger head that retains well and laces pretty good. Head is off-white to cream in color.

S- Pretty big doses of floral and piney hop flavors for an APA that's best by date is in just a few days. Hops are dominant through the entire smell of the beer, with an occasional, very faint waft of sweeter malts.

T- Pretty much like the scent. This flavor profile reminds me a lot of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Hops start it off and persist throughout, prominent, but not quite dominant. Very consistent hops that won't overpower you, but also doesn't leave you wanting more. Ends with a crisp hop bite.

M- Crisp, clean, and pretty smooth going down. High carbonation and medium weight from the hops are the only inhibitors to swilling this faster.

Overall, a very solid APA. Like I said, this reminds me a lot of a SNPA. I would say this is the more eastern, or maybe midwestern version of a very standard, very solid pale ale like a SNPA.

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Photo of fitrock2112
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured the Burning River into a pint glass.

A - Nice amber colored beer has a finger and half of golden head. Looks like a pale ale should.

S - Nice hop bitterness, some malt sweetness comes through as well.

T - Very tasty creamy pale ale. Again some hoppiness initially, but the sweet malts come through mid palate. This brew has some body to it. Really nice.

M - I have to admit this is nice and creamy, medium carbonation.

O - Great Lakes does a fine job here, the best Pale Ale I've had to date.
Highly Recommended ! Cheers!

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: a deep orange, a little bit reddish. a finger or so of a white head that fades pretty quickly

Smell: sweet fruits right up front, only distinguishable is apple, citrusy hops.

Taste: sweetness but more from caramel malts not, fruits, none distinguishable but still there and citrus hops. pretty hop-strong and bitter but balanced nicely

Mouthfeel: lighter body and fairly refreshing. slightly bitter lingering but very clean

Overall: This is probably my favorite pale ale not to use rye or toasted malts. the fruitiness from the yeast reminds me of english style yeasts, and it works out nicely here. definitely worth a try if you can spot some fresh stuff on the shelves.

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Photo of gcamparone
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Acquired from a friend on a trip to Ohio.

A- Pours a golden orange slightly hazy body with a thick 2 finger white head that reduces to some uneven foam on the top of the beer. Leaves some uniform lacing.

S- Citrus, yeast, lemon peel, sweet caramel, grapefruit, toffee.

T- subtle pine and citrus sitting on a light caramel malt, honey, nearly vanilla backbone. Not much bitterness of aftertaste. Not much as far as flavor.

M- Medium body, medium-high carbonation.

Middle of the road pale ale. Maybe the hops have faded with time.

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Photo of CardiacNP
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A decent american ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co. Purchased at Fox & Hound in Ohio

Golden Color Clear nice head and lacing

Lightly hoppy and mild floral aroma.

Spicey hoppy taste

Smooth mouth feel. moderate carbonation Floral taste and mild hop finish

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Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smells almost like orange juice. Bright fruity hop nose right off the bat. Notes of grapefruit and citrus.

Super orange hop flavor up front with underlying grapefruit notes. Hop flavor rolls over the tongue and stays consistent through out the sip. Medium bodied with a touch of malt sweetness. Sweetness lingers but bitterness builds with each sip make for quite a balanced beer. Goes down almost too easy.

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Photo of gr0g
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, golden amber in appearance. Nice head formation and retention, with some equally nice lacing left behind. Aroma is floral with a bit of grapefruit rind. Nothing special, really, though it's worth noting this bottle is 3 months old.

A well-balanced take on an APA in terms of flavor. Moderate bitterness from start to finish. Cracker-like grain note from the malt body. A little bit of vague citrus from the hops. Solid, but kind of boring - just like the aroma. The smooth, slick mouthfeel redeems it a bit.

A solid pale ale, but there are better ones around.

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Photo of thlayli87
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes.

A - Amber-orange color with a finger head that fades to a sticky ring. Decent lacing.

S - Fruity with notes of peach and mango, bready malt.

T - Caramel malt, fruity sweetness, bready, with a lingering hop presence that's not evident in the nose.

M - Medium body, some chewiness on the tongue, very drinkable.

O - This is an exceptional pale ale with a pleasant tantalizing fruitiness that doesn't overwhelm. The fruitiness complements the bready and malty flavors very well. Drink this one as fresh as possible to experience all the fruity goodness it has to offer.

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Photo of lunarbrew
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured hard with only about a finger of head. Pours rich amber with. Standard. I'm not really impressed with the smell. The beer's nose is a little stale. I almost get some lagered notes. There are additionally some bready qualities in the scent, followed by a mellow earthy (and somewhat mossy) background. The flavor was not at all what I was expecting. The lagered scent follows through in the taste, but is followed by very rich (medium darkness) malt flavor. There is medium sweetness and a crisp dry finish. The hops are interesting in this beer. Not a large profile, but most present in flavor (as opposed to bitterness or smell). I mostly taste earthiness (fresh cut grass and moss). There is a bit of fruit here too, but not a typical citrus hop bomb. The fruity qualities are subtle, smooth, and complex. The mouth feel is typical and well-executed for an APA: a smooth texture, medium carbonation, and medium body. Overall this is a fine brew. It's not my favorite APA, but it turned out being quite drinkable and interesting.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,021 ratings.