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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

1,009 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,009
Hads: 3,040
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.05%
Wants: 126
Gots: 475 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,009 | Hads: 3,040
Photo of UnionMade
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a brassy gold, topped with a short, modest crown of ivory foam. Very fine bubbling in the head, retaining easily through the entire glass. Sticky cobwebs of lace trail down the glass in a very satisfying manner. Good clarity, perhaps a slight chill haze, but I'm not complaining.
The aroma is rather surprising. I don't know what I was expecting, but from the glass wafts an aroma reminiscent of a log cabin 150 miles from the nearest stop light, in the middle of the woods, home to Oleg the trapper and his pet black bear. Very rough edged and grizzly, with considerably grainy, biscuity malt. The grain takes on a distinct, husky sharpness, with an undercurrent of hazelnutty yeast. A trace of lemon and apple peeks through, very mild, pinned under a fallen pine tree of hoppy bitterness. I suppose I was anticipating a milder, smoother brew, but this does just fine.
The flavor starts with little sweetness, replaced with a grainy, husky biscuit maltiness. A touch of apple fruitiness in the middle, along with a yeast flavor hinting towards hazelnut and walnut. The finish is nicely balanced, with an assertive hopping providing a low pitched bitterness. Very piney, woody and earthy. A touch of toffee and burnt malt notes creep into the finish, the biscuity flavor lingering in the aftertaste forever. A rather dry finish, with an almost powdery feel. The mouthfeel is actually pretty dry throughout, the fine carbonation assisting the feel. Rough hewn and angular. Medium bodied, more or less, but feels a bit more substantial.
I never would have guessed cascade for the hopping, after looking at their website. I would have figured an earthier variety like northern brewer, with perhaps some cascade for flavor and aroma. I don't know if I'd want to drink a beer this harsh all the time, but it's a nice switch from the smoother english styles I've been drinking lately. Another winner from these folks. They're shooting 100% with me so far.
Thanks to oldcrustacean for the bottle!

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

A solid all around beer that is very drinkable if not a little drying in the aftertaste. The beer is a perfect amber without cloud or haze with a nice fluffy white head that settles into some lace. Sparse carbonation bubbles race to the top.

Smell is a moderately fruity hops with a little funk in the background. I'm not sure if this is an off bottle or if it my catbox.

Taste hits with biscuity sweet malt and then the hops hit. The hops in this beer are pretty extreme for a Pale Ale. I'm guessing this gets the APA designation from the generous use of hops. The piney hops quickly turn bitter and drying, making me want to take another sip.

Mouthfeel is slick and carbonation lends some balance to that. Finish is dry and almost tannin-like.

A solid and drinkable beer. A mainstay type.

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Photo of garthwaite
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the brewery. This one was a light golden/orangish with minimal head as it was filled to the brim. Having just walked to the brewery, I was hoping for a somewhat easy-drinking thirst-quencher to start off the evening. I got that & more as this one was not only perfectly crafted & supremely drinkable, but also very well hopped. Aroma of floral, woody hops with a hint of citrus & toasty malts. Flavor follows the nose as this one is a tremendously well balanced mix of toasted malts & muted, but delectable floral, mildly citrusy hops. Medium bodied, very clean, well rounded brew that departs with a lasting dry bitterness. As drinkable as it gets, just an expertly crafted pale ale.

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Photo of ramrod666
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another great brew from great lakes. pours a medium amber with a nice fluffy head. lacing is immense leaving a ring with every drink. smell is hoppy and floral with a slight citrus tinge. taste is good. a decent amount of hops in front with a slight malt backround. mouthfeel is sticky. alittle too much but, still a great drinkin' ale. the more i drank the more i liked this apa. pretty damn good.

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Photo of mobyfann
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $13.99 for a 12pk. Great Lakes mixed sampler...

The appearence is a pure amber colored lager with a nice light white foamy head with spectacular lacing. The aroma is pretty light, nice hops smell and a mixed bag of fruit as well.

The taste is classic APA, a little bitter, a little mix of fruity fun, extremely well-rounded and lovely taste. The mouthfeel is both smooth and crisp going down, solid aftertaste, and pretty drinkable as well.

Final Thought: This is a great APA and can't wait to buy a keg of this stuff in the long-run. Great everyday beer!

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Photo of Maestro
4.51/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really enjoy this beer. It is a nice pale ale that is very smooth and well balanced. The ale is amber in color and has a nice foamy white head. The nose is sweet and slightly hoppy with a biscuit aroma. The taste is amazing. I really enjoy the matching of the hops with the malts. This is a very complex pale ale. The mouthfeel is great but I would love to have this on cask with a little less carbonation. Drinkablility is exceptional.

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Photo of euskera
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Nice reddish-brown color. Nice head retention.

Smell is medium hoppy. Can smell the flowers of the hops with just a hint of citrus and some bitter overtones.

Taste is well-balanced and smooth. Hops are the backbone but not all that bitter. A very likeable brew that is extremely drinkable. A great session beer that I'd love to be able to get down here in NC.

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Photo of rlcoffey
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours with a large golden tinted head, 3 fingers tall. Light copper color. Lacing all the way down the glass. Aroma is very noticable; fruity and floral. The taste is what an APA should taste like. Citrusy but not overpouring. Bitter but not "blegh" bitter. Crisp. Just a touch of the hop aftertaste left behind. The mouthfeel is not thick, not thin like water. Leaves a thin film in the mouth. This beer goes down fast. I had two down very fast.

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Photo of abents
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with nice white head and great lacing seen. Smells of citrusy hops and nice grassy notes too. Taste is very smooth. Starts kinda slow, but works into a nice bitterness and citrus hops flavors. Malts are well represented in this brew however as the beer is very nicely rounded out flavorwise. Nice lingering bitterness that works very well for this brew. Medium bodied with moderate ammount of carbonation. Very drinkable brew, solid all around offering again from Great Lakes. Definitly worth a try or two.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Golden amber with a nice head of white foam that lasts. Nice lacing too. A lovely aroma of fresh citric hops, and nice bready/biscuity malts. I smell a hint of caramel in the mix as well. The taste is very hoppy and fresh up front, and bready and sweet in the middle with a lovely/fresh finish. The mouthfeel is amazingly creamy, and this beer slides down your throat like no other. Wow, I am really becoming a huge fan of GLBC aftter this and the dotrmunder gold (not to mention their porter and marzen)

A superior pale ale!

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Photo of Puddleglum
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice Pale Ale with a floral and fruity hop aroma. The appearance was a nice amber gold with a good head on it. The taste was a good floral and fruity hoppy to match the aroma. This seemed like a particularly heavy pale and gave it a sticky mouthfeel that took away from the drinkability. Overall I'd recommend this pale to anybody who likes a good pale.

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Photo of BCMan
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was a golden amber color. A heavy pour generated a frothy white head. The nose was subtle of hops with some fruit notes as well. Liek the aroma, the flavor was subtle with hops and had a smooth mouthfeel. Not much of an after taste and was a nice beer. I appreciated the label very much.

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Photo of aracauna
3.21/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The body is a metallic amber with a nice yellowish-white head that builds easily and lingers for a bit. The aroma is moderately hoppy and the flavor has a nice bit of caramel to supposed the bitterness. There’s just something about it that strikes me wrong. It’s not bad, but I’ve had APAs that I much prefer to this one. One of the few beers by Great Lakes that I don’t like for the style.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really tasty, drinkable APA. And at $4.99 a six pack at my local beer store, really can't be beat!! I think it might be a mistake, but I'm going to tell them. Nice hoppy nose that is probably cascades. A fairly smooth taste with nice malt undertones. The beer's quite bitter, but flavorful as well. Nice cascade hop flavor. Very drinkable...I like it.

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Photo of Afterburner
2.63/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Nice copper color, with moderate off-white head. Prominent lacework.

Smell: Typical ale fruityness, with strong banana notes. Faint hints of malt. Also a very faint sour sulfur smell, making me wonder if the beer might be skunked (given that it was mailed to me). And, of course, a strong hop character.

Taste: Well, it doesn't taste skunked. However, there's not much here to write home about. Like Lagunita's IPA, there's nothing here but hops. Hops hit you at the start, they stay with you mid-palate, and they're there at the finish. No malt whatsoever to balance out the hop character. It's like drinking hop tea.

Mouthfeel: Sprightly, spritzy.

Drinkability: Couldn't drink more than one of these. I like hops, but I also like other characteristics as well.

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Photo of malty
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Long neck bottle with drink before date stamped on back of label.

Almost glowing orange-copper color which was brilliant and clear with a fluffy off-white head that stuck around quite a while. Beautiful lacework.

Fresh herbally hop nose with a nice fruit aroma also.

Clean, clean, clean. Gentle but prickly hop notes that remain fresh and dry. An undercurrent of bready, nutty malt keeps a nice balance to this somewhat light-medium bodied beauty.

Mouthfeel is soft with the tiniest of bubbles that keep it interestingly airy and playful. Beautiful dry, somewhat long finish.

Drinkability is quite high as I thoroughly enjoyed this ale. The dryness of the hops begs for another, and another quaff.

This beer is superb. It's elegant and graceful enough to be paired with the fanciest foods, or a trusty sidekick while playing cards with pretzels and peanuts. One of the top 5 Pale Ale's brewed in the US, period. Had the pleasure last October to enjoy this and several other Great Lakes offerings - splendid craft brews. These guys really know what theyr'e doing.

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Photo of hustlemuscle
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice golden color with a good head and nice chunky lacing. Hoppy with a trace of an orange scent. Pleasingly hoppy with a touch of citrus. Malts have the a say in the matter, but the hops definatly get the last word. Slightly sharp mouthfeel, with a little bit of a pucker to it. But this one is very easy to drink, a good beer after a lazy Saturday afternoon in front of the baseball game.

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

Nice amber color with a dense foamy head. There was a very fine sediment throughout the entire glass but it did not settle to the bottom, it just hung motionless. The taste is very smooth with a wonderful, crisp hop flavor. This is, bar none, a wonderful pale ale, but I still have my top ten pales, and this one would probably be edged out.

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Photo of budsboy
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A name that can reference recent history with a sense of humor. Great Lakes stays true to their region, and cheers for that.

Pours a clear, deep amber with amber-tinged white head and lots of bubbles. Sticky lacing, too.

Smells hoppy, spicy with a buttery malt accent.

Tastes good. Real good. Nearly all piney hops with a dry finish. There's a tough of fruity sweetness, but just at the beginning.

SOme stinging carbonation on the tounge -- maybe a bit too much, but a very drinkable beer.

A 6%ABV, this one could be ahad in fairly quick succession, and if I'd only had more than one ...

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely, hazy golden hue, with a flush, full chalky-white head, thick, but slowly diminishing. Aroma: citrus and straw, a quintessential pale ale smell here, fre. sh, flowery, herbal, even , full of hoppiness, without being too-much-so, i.e., edging into IPA territory, sweet and sour (citric) at once.
Taste: Ah! Let's say it again, loud and proud, AHHH!!!! Bold fruitiness first embodies this palate, peach and apricot, nectarine, orange, with a great hoppiness, too, but so much here is ably matched by the malt, and the sweetness adequately captures any bitter, so that there is no clash, no struggle, no fight for superiority here, no sword-clash for dominance, just a perfectly balanced pale ale. Taste is full and fruity throughout, dominated by peach and apricot, but ever-so delicious and delectably downable all the way.
Definitely a rival for Sierra Nevada PA, certainly a contender along the same style, but, did I ever enjoy this sample! Mmmmm, mmm,,nmnnn!

And seperate cheers to tavernjef for sneaking it across the WI border for me!

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Photo of JackTheRipper
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear amber color. Smallish off-white head, trace lacing.

Smell: Definite citrusy hop notes, a bit of a malty/bready undertones.

Taste: Very nice hoppy taste, there's enough maltiness to give this beer a nice balance. Finish is a lingering hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth. Alcohol level is pleasantly warming. Carbonation level is great. Full bodied.

D&N: Another awesome offering from Great Lakes Brewing Co. Tasty, easy to drink. Definitely a beer to try out.

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Photo of canoehornpoint
4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorites. Pours a beautiful orange/amber with a thick head and moderate carbonation. This has a nice fruity, malty sweet aroma. The hop flavor is a combination of fruitiness and citrus flavor. The bittering hops tame the malt but not in excess. The beer finishes fairly full but is not filling and is extremely drinkable.

To make this perfect, a bit more citrus than fruitiness would be nice but I wouldn't change this too much.

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Photo of bditty187
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coppery-honey gold hue with a slight haziness, the vaguely off-white head reached almost two fingers in height, the retention was very good; it slowly faded to a long lasting cap. However the lacing was a little spotty but still this is a lovely looking beer. Juicy citrus aromas charge ahead of the toasty-biscuit maltiness, there is also an occasional hint of floral, as a whole the bouquet is very inviting; it smells like a Pale Ale should. Good potency as well. The palate is tremendously tasty with a big bite of hoppy bitterness, juicy as well; I am impressed with the potency of the hops, why can more breweries make IPAs this good! It is true the hops steal the show and it is unbalanced in a blissful way but it must be noted that the maltiness is detectable, a little bit of toasty crackers and a hint of a caramel too. But seriously, this is a nicely hoppy Pale Ale. Yummy! It would be a stretch to say this is a complex beer but how many of this style are? The slight burn of the alcohol at the back of the tongue is charming. The mouthfeel is very sturdy, this might be the most impressive attribute of all the GLBC beers I’ve had, medium/medium-full in body, natural modest carbonation. Appetizing aftertaste, it is making me yearn for a good cookout. Burning River is tremendously drinkable, this is a top-notch Pale Ale, easily one of the best APAs I’ve had. I wish I had more. Thank you PhantomVodoo!

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Photo of tavernjef
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice clean and clear soft copper color with a gargantuan soft yet crusty whitish top that sits a good while before fading down to a haze and coated the glass decorously with thin whispy curtains.

Aroma is soft as well, everything is soft in this beer, but in a good way, a very good way! Pleasant toasty malts that are breadish in tone and the hops are slightly floral and dry with some favorable dulled citrus and wood. Very nice nose...I believe this has some Hood hops abounding.

Taste is soft and well rounded, yet solid in body and feel to keep that charge of character going strong. And this is characterized in a gratifying presence of both a super nice toasty warm malt profile and pleasantly soft and milding hop balance that brings in refined and subtle layers of wood and dulled floral citrus; quite yummy...scratch that, very yummy! Feel is dead on for a pale, clean, soft, full, well rounded, yielding toasty malt warmth, smooth bite of bitterness and quaffable to the fullest. One hell of a pale!

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A golden/orange color (clear), with a light rocky head that diminishes quickly to a fine layer. Lace is clingy. Low carbonation. Aroma is of hops and bread. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a crisp finish. Taste is slightly sweet with some tartness and a dry hop finish.
IMHO: Better than many other American pale ales, but still a little over the top with the hops. A decent balance of flavors.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,009 ratings.