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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
89
very good
1,022 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,022
Ratings:
3,153
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
19.3%
 
 
Wants:
140
Gots:
565
For Trade:
4
BEER INFO

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,022 | Ratings: 3,153
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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Photo of Bierguy5
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice light-copper color, with a white head. Smells of sweet toasted malt, bread and citrus hops. Great taste of citrus, combined with a sweet malt. Preety good mouthfeel, not to thin. This is a great Pale Ale, that is very, very drinkable. Great session beer. Lucky for me, this is usually available in the area, so this is a good "old reliable". This is one beer that has never let me down.

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

Presentation: Standard 12 ounce brown glass bottle. Dark label that has a black background with white lettering. The picture is difficult to make out, but consists of orange flames affront a purple looking photograph of a town somewhere; blurb to the right of the label explains that this beer is named after the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River. It goes on to explain that this Pale Ale boasts of the character of Cleveland. Recommended Serving Temperature of 45°F (which seemed a little harsh on a cold rainy night), as well as a listed Strength of 6.0%. Enjoy By Date is Dec. 22 03.

Appearance: Dark copper body with orange glimmers from the flicker of radiated light from my desk lamp. At first there is a large off-white head, dimpled and not exactly uniform, but more like a thick layer of imperfect snow it covers the top of the beer with a lunar landscape. Inherent conditioning is good, humungous amounts of bubbles form and dissolute when swirled, replenishing the head, yet it drinks with absolute minimal lacing.

Nose: Oven baked bread with fresh toasted malts that layer a ‘brewers yeast’ like background for the sharp hops that come though in the fore. Hmmm, smells good.

Taste: Lovely fresh juicy malts coat the mouth at first, these soon release a toasted biscuit feel on the tongue though, adding a little astringency. The hops really break through a light caramel feel in the latter third. Bitterness lingers from the middle until well past the swallow. This is a very fruity Bitter Pale Ale that entices the drinker to immediately take another mouthful, so much so that the Drinkability is very impressive. It’s a Session beer this one.

Mouthfeel: Impressive body, a strong malty backbone with a hop bitterness that leaves a raw hop feel on the cheeks at times. Bitterness is floral and astringent.

Drinkability: What a Broadside this Pale Ale has. All Cannons blazing; Malts from the Lower Gun Decks, Fruit and Biscuits from the Middle with a rapid fire of Hops from the Upper Turrets. Bloody Hell this really goes down well, it certainly does want to hang about or stand still for too long. So much so that I found myself examining my glass and the empty bottle and thinking “did I really drink it already?” at a very early stage in this Review. It exhibited the ultimate Drinkability Quotient of 1.0. Very impressive quaffability. Damn this is good.

Overall: I love Bitters and Pale Ales; I drink them all the time when I am in the UK. This is an excellent, very refreshing, extremely tasty Pale Ale that borders on where many IPA’s start, lending it a great Bitterness and a nice Hop Kick. Superb! If this is what it is like past its Enjoy By Date, I wonder what it is was like fresh? This would be great on a Tap/Cask, a real Session Pale Ale.

A 21 Gun Salute to BigHuge for this Battleship of a Pale Ale!!

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This clear golden ale wears a medium sized off-whtie head, fully diminishing unfortunately. Aroma is not so pronounced, I expected a big cascade predominance. We rather face a complex hop blend that I'd describe as earthy, oily, spicy and bold. As it enters the mouth, it's a delight of ever evolving character. A good chunk of malt is always there literally dancing with the complex hops blend as described above in a perfect balance and harmony. The medium body never fails to support those intense sweet toasty cerealic citrus flavors. Medium carbonation. Overall, there's just something about this american pale ale that makes me feel like it's the best I've ever taken, I know you've had that feeling about some beers too:) Big props to ciderguy for this unique opportunity!

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Photo of mrpicklerelish
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance - Poured a light orange honey color with a nice full sized light brown head that left behind a good amount of lace.

Smell - Smell is primarily hops with a few citrus notes thrown in.

Taste - Hoppy goodness for sure. That is what I first taste with every sip. Great hop taste that isn't overpowering in the least. Also has a hint of citrus and malty sweetness that comes out towards the end.

Mouthfeel - Heavier feeling beer that leaves a really great aftertaste in your mouth after every sip. It has a lot of carbonation but not to the point of getting in the way of this great tasting a feeling beer.

Drinkability - Very easy to drink, especially if you are a fan of hops. Despite being a heavier feeling beer it drinks very easy and smooth.

Comments - Thanks are in order to chilidog for sending this great brew my way during this years holiday exchange. If I could only get more of this great tasting beer around my area all would be right with the world.

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Photo of silks636
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle. Freshness date clearly stamped. Served in a Great Lakes pint glass, of course.

Slightly hazy amber with a frothy white head. Moderate retention and thick sticky lacing. Nose of caramel malt and heavy floral hops. Flavors of sweet bready malt to begin quickly followed by a serious citric hop bite. Very heavy handed in the hops department for a pale ale, but it is so damn well balanced. The malt thins toward the finish and leaves you with a dry piney aftertaste. Mouthfeel has a pleasant sting.

What an extrordinary brew. Wish this was available here in NJ as it would have a permanent spot in my fridge.

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

Some of us are old enough (barely) to remember that fateful summer day in '69 when the Cuyahoga River caught fire. Cleveland has really come a long way since then. It's a great town!

Not quite clear orange-amber with fine carbonation and a firm, French vanilla colored lid that has good staying power and leaves abundant lace. The aroma is bright and hoppy, smelling primarily of lemon and grapefruit zest. The flavor is well-hopped with a lovely bitterness. Again, grapefruit peel (Cascade?) is dominant.

Burning River isn't overly complex, but it's a more than solid, straightforward, high-quality pale ale. The finish is austere, with more than a hint of dryness. The mouthfeel is medium for the style. I could drink this beer all day and all night.

A couple of thoughts. GLBC seems to be incapable of brewing anything but outstanding beer across a wide range of styles. After sampling three of their offerings, I'm convinced that they have absolutely nailed down head/lace and carbonation/mouthfeel. Lastly, this bottle had a 'best by' date of Sept. 18, '03, a full 3 months before I purchased it and 3+ months before this review. I detected no problems whatsoever.

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Photo of masterbruewer
3.42/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a golden amber with thin off-white head.

The smell was citrusy and malty.

The taste was citrusy and malty with a bitter hops flavor in the background. An interesting blend of flavors. Maybe too much of a bitter aftertaste, almost an off-flavor, in this bottle.

The mouthfeel was light with not too much carbonation.

I want to like this beer, the flavor was great, but the bitter aftertaste is a strike against drinkability.

This bottle has an expiration date of Jan. 20, just 18 days away, maybe that accounts for some of the off-flavor notes.

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Photo of Shiloh
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I wish I had access to more of this fine brew, alas, I only have a single. Truly a hop heads delight, which I am one.
Mid amber in colour and just a tad murky. Crown was 2 fingers moving to a full lace.
Carbonation was medium.
Citrus aroma that wont quit.
Taste initially has a taste of grapefruit then moves on to a lighter orange peel.
My compliments to Great Lakes.

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

Pours light amber, with a large creamy off-white head that slowly diminishes, leaves great lacing. Aroma is of pale/bready malts, with a strong amount of cascade pine hoppiness. Flavor starts with some pale malts, a bit of woodiness, and finishes with a strong cascade hop presence. Medium-full body, dry, fairly bitter, very enjoyable.

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Photo of marc77
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper hue with a slight haze. Lofty, pitted, persistent ivory white head leaves frothy, sparse lace. Balmy citrus dominated hop nose comprised of pink grapefruit and sweet lemon, with floral, nectar like tones secondary. Understated light lovibond caramel malt presence. Well rounded and appetizing aromawise. A transient, well baked biscuit note upfront in flavor fades quickly, yielding to a combination of mild toffee and candied lemon zest. Hop bitterness of a gentle nature leaps in mid palate, quickly drying the flavor profile. Leafy, lemon tea like hop flavors surface late, adding subtle earthy hints. Moderate in body, with the well calculated dextrin content lending a soft, lightly viscous mouthfeel. Finishes slightly sweet, with fleeting hints of sweet marmalade and grainy cracker. A tasty, fairly complex pale that remains light on the palate. Not as assertive in hop character as I remember, but very enjoyable and drinkable, regardless. Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for reuniting me with this upper midwest staple.

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Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

overwhelmingly citrusy, lots of carbonation bubbles, under a small head. Understated bitter finish to the citrus, and citrus in aroma. bit overcarbonated and lighter mouthfeel.A great summer beer.I have never had a bad brew from this brewery. This is the rerating after not having for 2.5 years.

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Photo of Onceeven
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a slightly hazy golden/copper hue. Good 1 inch head that dissipated slowly after a few minutes, and left thick lacing down the side of the glass. Smells of caramel maltiness with floral bouquet. Mouthfeel is more on the creamy side and coats the tongue nicely.
Initial taste of carbonation with hop surge. Subtle malt presence, but hops dominates the palate. Crisp finish to a extremely drinkable brew. One is simply not enough!

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,022 ratings.