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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,655 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,655
Reviews: 989
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 98
Gots: 201 | 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
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Ratings: 2,655 | Reviews: 989 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of botham
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap poured into a tumbler at the brewpub in Cleveland. pours a rich golden amber color with a single finger of frothy light tan head that has good retention and leaves moderate lacings.

aroma is of mild coniferous hops and distant caramel malts along with a touch of dark malt thrown in. well put together and pleasant in the nose.

taste follows the aroma with notes of earthy hops and caramel malts. background notes of grass and a touch of chocolate are present as well. very well proportioned in profile.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a semi dry texture and a finish of sticky piney hops. all very fresh on the palate.

drinkability is great. just what an APA should be: mildly hoppy with a solid caramel malt presence. another solid brew at the Great Lakes Brewpub. cheers!

botham, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of Alextricity
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with about a three finger head that eventually falls to one finger and lasts a long while. Patchy lacing.

Smell: A really great light hop and malt aroma. Nothing extraordinary or unique, but pleasant.

Taste/Feel: Almost an IPA, but remains an APA. There's a good bit of hops initially, but the finish is an incredibly tasty bread-like malt flavor that puts this one over the top of most APA's I've had. To me, this is a nearly perfect balance of malts and hops. I even get occasional traces of grapefruit and tea in some sips. Alcohol can also be tasted and smelled, but it's not overpowering. The feel of this one is great. It's about medium bodied, and the carbonation is just right.

Hops mostly in the smell and at the beginning of each sip, but then the carbonation tingles your tongue and you get the bready flavors at the end. A great example of the style -- definitely recommended.

Alextricity, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of bboven
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic pale ale appearance wise; can't give a better praise than that. Great lacing.

Smell is greatly balanced between th hops and malt.

Taste leans a little more towards the malty end, but still pretty well balanced

Mouth feel is once again right where it should be.

Very drinkable, quenching, could use a touch more dryness, but that's just me trying to find something to be picky about with this beer.

bboven, Jul 26, 2007
Photo of csmiley
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep gold bordering on copper. Got about a one half inch head that disappeared immediately. Lacing was only slightly better than average.

S - Nice complex hop aroma. Citrus notes followed by earthy tones. Malt shows up pretty stromg in the background with a little bit of a sugar smell.

T - Complex hops show up in the flavor as well. There is a combonation of citrus and pine that shows up first in the flavor. The malt profile backing up the hops makes for a great balance in flavor. Also got some slight bread and caramel flavors in the background.

M - Medium bodied. Carbonation was average. Finish is dry and bitter.

D - This is a good solid effort from Great Lakes. I think the brew could be closer to an IPA than APA but still a pretty stellar beverage in the drinkability category.

csmiley, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of aerozeppl
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a bottle of this from Half Time. Looks like the rest of NY is finally getting Great Lakes.

A: Very clear light amber color. A quarter finger of white head. Some nice lacing

S: Right on nose for a pale ale. A nice mix of crisp smelling malt and hops with neither really dominating. Very well balanced nose.

T: Lots of vienna malt. The hops are there and are bright but never overwhelm the malt. This is one of the best pale ales that I have ever had. Wonderful balance.

M: Not too light not too heavy. Carbonation is even subtle.

D: This beer has balanced written all over it. I have seen in on tons of best of lists especially by cooks and foodies and now I know why. This beer can pair with anything. Hopefully NY will see more Great Lakes.

aerozeppl, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of dmfrench
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unique if not spectacular floral, grassy, oily hop cornucopia

A: Clear, dulled gold body with a not terribly persistent two finger off white head.

S: Citrus and earthy hops with dry, biscuity malt. Strong off the pour, but fades quickly.

T: Hops are much more floral and grassy on the palate. Really not getting much citrus at all. Oily and resinous hops are also present, and still just a bit of earthy hops. Though hops dominate, a solid dry biscuit malt foundation is down there, holding it all up.

M: A bit grainy and oily, but with a very firm malt body.

dmfrench, Apr 17, 2012
Photo of TonyReaves
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a perfect head- two fingers' worth rising right to the top of my shaker pint. Love when that happens.

Smells piney with a hint of sweet crystal malt.

Taste is hoppy straight through. There's a fruitiness at the front from both the malt and the hops. As it goes down, there are great buttery/toasty flavors. Ends with a satisfying hop bite. Haven't had a bad beer yet from this brewery.

Carbonation is a little low, which I like here. Dry finish makes each sip as good as the last- I wish I had more than one bottle left.

TonyReaves, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of KYBrewgrass
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- 4 Clear golden color. Fluffy white head that dissipates. Sticky, clingy lacing.

S- 3.5 Citrus and hops, but not too powerful. Just not getting enough of it.

T- 4 What was lacking in aroma is made up for in taste! Great blend of citrus and hops balanced by a hint of sweet malt.

M- 4.5 Near perfect carbonation, very smooth. Just under medium body.

D- 4.5 I could enjoy plenty of these. Very well balanced taste and smooth. It isn't heavy. Great session brew.

KYBrewgrass, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of AmitC
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Enjoy by date crossed - 3/3/13

Excellent pour. Just a tad thicker than one finger thick off white colored head. A lot of bubbles rising up vigorously. Excellent lacing on the sides. Very clear pale golden color. Looks really phenomenal.

Aroma is a tad bit moderate in strength. Very similar to its elder brother Commodore Perry. A bit rustic, off beat wild weed aroma. A good amount of malt notes.

Flavor is very much the same but with a jest. A nicely balanced flavor that gives a hint of hops but is not bitter. A little bit of orange peel and grape fruit mix towards the end. Finish is very slightly bitter with a lot of dryness.

Mouth feel is light medium. Very easy, smooth and sessionable touch. High on carbonation and effervescence.

Style Rate: 4.25
Personal Rate: 4

AmitC, Mar 19, 2013
Photo of socon67
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Orange\amber pour with a frothy white foam. Lacing is decent on this one.

S - Scents of citrus and some sharp hop bitterness. Some mild spicy notes as well.

T - Pale malts and a tartness of oranges. The bitterness from a blend of hops is consistent but never overwhelming. Crsipness presents a very fresh taste.

M - Light feel but the body of this beer feels like a pretty robust pale ale. Bitter bite stays with you. Slight carbonation.

O - Having tried a few Great Lakes beers from a sampler pack, I'm really liking the products they produce. This is one of the better american pale ales that doesn't come off too dry, or masquerade as an IPA.

socon67, Jan 06, 2013
Photo of bum732
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S: A nice pleasant grassiness, soft fruitiness, pear mostly.

L: Clear copper, bright white dense head, decent retention and lacing.

T: Clean toasty malt sweetness with a grapefruit bitterness. Subtle fruity malt, medium bitterness. Finishes quite dry with some grapefruit pith and touch of bisquit.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Really solid pale ale, different than most west coast pale ales. Really liked this interpretation.

bum732, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of cabsandking
4.03/5  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.

cabsandking, Mar 01, 2007
Photo of BuckSpin
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(part of a sampler at the Great Lakes brewpub)

Poured as pretty as new copper penny, just a beautiful, crisp, clean hue with a clinging head of creamy foam. A very pretty beer. Nose was, of course, hopped, with a sweet accent to it.

Yup, hops on the tongue. Crisp, enjoyable, some malts occassionaly break through, but this beer is about hops. After the mild break on the pallete and the whisper of some spice, more unique hops rise on the throat, with a bitter finish. This is as good a Pale Ale as you'll find, and it goes excellent with a variety of strong, spicy foods. I couldn't drink these one after the other, but one is very nice and worth trying.

BuckSpin, Jun 03, 2005
Photo of PartyHatjo
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber--leaning more towards yellow than orange, with some haze. Ample, fluffy, white head that laces very well during the drink.

Aroma: Toasty malts with a nice citrus hoppiness. Grapefruit and lemon prominent.

Taste: Very good biscuit character, not so much caramel sweetness with a fantastic citrus hop characater.

Mouthfeel: Nice dry character, medium in body. Smooth bitterness that gives a good bite to make it a nice refreshing brew. Slight caramel sweetness plays into the palate enough for balance.

Drinkability: Dry mouthfeel leads me to believe this brew is lighter than it is. Very easy drinker (doesn't make you full too quickly), with ample alcohol to give you a slight buzz if you imbibe too quickly or too much.

PartyHatjo, Mar 20, 2006
Photo of claspada
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aromas of light citrus/flowery hops along with trace amounts of pale and bready malts.
Tastes begin with mild citrus bitterness and a full bodied pale malt backbone. Tastes play "pong" with each other back and forth across your palate fantastically. Subtle flowery and earthy notes along with more biscuit malt. This is a perfectly balanced beer. I usually don't comment on appearance but the lacing is out of this world gorgeous and top 5 I have ever seen from a bottled beer.
Mouthfeel is perfectly carbonated and finished full yet deliciously bone dry. Bitterness lingers so so so minimally which is perfect for the style. Overall, this and Deschutes Mirror Pond are the best 2 Pale Ales I have ever had.

claspada, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of jdflyer06
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Nice golden color. Fairly light body with a foamy head that sticks around and leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S: Light malt backbone with some serious bitterness coming up through the nostrils. Not overly fruity but with some piny aromas. Not like some pale ales that are just watered down versions of IPA's. This is true pale ale with a nice crisp bitter nose.

M: Medium body that lightly coats the palate with a decent amount of carbonation. Really pretty smooth and an easy drinker.

T: A nice bitter wallop up front, followed by some bready notes and some light toastiness. Not overly complex, but not boring either.

O: I really enjoy this beer as an alternative to the sometimes boring IPA's that seem to creep their way into my sessions far too often. At 6% ABV, a pretty easy drinker and a great session beer. A very good example of the style.

jdflyer06, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of dbrauneis
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland, OH

A: Pours a crystal clear pale amber in color with some moderate to heavy amounts of visible carbonation and some golden yellow highlights. The beer has a finger tall off-white head that quickly reduces to a medium patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of caramel malts with some moderate aromas of floral and citrus/orange rind hops.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of pale and caramel malts with just a touch of sweetness. The malts are followed by light to moderate flavors of floral and citrus/orange rind hops which impart a light bitterness which lingers for a short amount of time.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of crispness upfront.

O: This is an easy drinking beer that pairs up well with the food served in the brewpub at Great Lakes - I think this beer would go with just about anything. Easy to drink and refreshing, enough hops to be interesting but still enjoyable and not overly bitter. This is just about sessionable (just a touch high on the ABV to really be a session beer).

dbrauneis, Mar 06, 2013
Photo of shadow1961
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Burning River pale ale pours a couple fingers of loose foam over a gorgeous clear orange tea-colored brew. A steady stream of carbonation bring up a citrusy nose of Pacific Northwestern hops. Flavor is typical APA- slightly sweet, bready light malts up front, grapefruit rind citrusy hops off the back. Mouthfeel is light and crisp with a long hop aftertaste. Pretty typical American Pale Ale here- just about every brewery makes one, and honestly, you oughta be drinking the one your local makes- it's fresher that way. If I lived in Cleveland, I'd definitely be rockin' with this one.

shadow1961, May 24, 2010
Photo of 57md
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a standard copper with a half finger of head. The nose is pleasantly hoppy. There is a definite hoppiness in the flavor profile, but it is not as strong as the nose would suggest. Rather, this APA is malt forward, but still delivers with a crisp, dry and bitter finish.

A very good example of a sadly overlooked style.

57md, Nov 06, 2012
Photo of brown2cu
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice amber color with a small frothy head that dissipates into sporadic patches of foam. Barely any lacing but nonetheless some is present.

S: Good. It smells more akin to an IPA. Clean with a lot of citrusy hops, not a lot of malt character in the nose.

T: nice and citrusy with a formidable hop and malt character. The hops win over though but not as much to be deemed unbalanced. Again though I find the taste more akin to an IPA.

M: Really pleasant and delightfully quenching.

D: Great drinkability has sessionable potential.

brown2cu, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of UDbeernut
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: a very light amber color, almost a perfect orange hue. Creamy 1/4" head than slowl reduces to lacing

Smell: nothing obscene. The most striking smell is that of corn

Taste: light malt and hops with the corn smell converting through to the taste

mouthfeel: as with the other great lakes brews I have tried, smooth

Burning River is a very drinkable beer. I think after this one, I will have another!


UDbeernut, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of dfillius
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass
A: Moderate pour yields 1/2 finger of off-white head that quickly dissipates :-( Chill hazy orange-gold. Pretty color. More head please.
S: Strong malt, mild hop: pineapple and grapefruit.
T: Moderate cascade hop. Decent and balanced flavor overall. Slight off flavor like bad breath from a macro lager.
M: Decent, not spectacular, Bitter, but bad breathy.
D: Pretty good easy drinking session beer.

dfillius, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of WastingFreetime
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transparent like a jewel, coppery amber colored with absolutely no haze and a lovely head that looks as though it belongs on a witbier, its so damn huge and craggy with medium strength lacing. Great appearance that would only need a wee bit more lacing to reach a perfect 5 in my book.
Smell is heavy in the noble hop family of grassy, spice, and a minor chord of earth tones overlaid on top of a lightly toasted malt profile. Taste is more in the floral and citric hops than the spice hops at first, than the spice hops enter in the remarkably dry finish. Of course there is the usual biscuit malt underneath the hopping, as well. Body is on the thinner side of medium, appropriately crisp and carbonated.
Really a damn fine APA, worth checking out.

WastingFreetime, Aug 18, 2011
Photo of paco1029384756
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden orange color with two fingers of foamy white head.

Scent of piny, juicy hops, citrus, and some bready malts. An effective scent, balanced well with a good hop profile, very fitting of the style.

Taste of hops, citrus, bready malts and a hint of spice in the finish. Very nice balance, hops are noticeable but blend marvelously with the malts.

Mouthfeel light bodied and slightly oily with some carbonation.

paco1029384756, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of farrago
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid finger's worth of creamy white foam, a few islands of very large bubbles, average stickiness to the lacing, moderate retention. Clear amber brown with a swift lightening into orange hues, close to yellow at the outer rims, squeaky clean and transparent. Open and gregarious nose of mandarin orange, toffee, brownies and a counter-balance of rye, grains and witch hazel, suggestion of yellow apple, apricot, peach fruit, not crafted for complexity, rather for consistent harmony. Medium-bodied, solid and barrel-chested, moves with deliberation through the mouth. Fairly active carbonation, however, doesn't break up much of the density. Much hoppier here with grassy notes, grapefruit along with the orange zest, grainy even in texture. The cocoa, mocha powder back into the chorus, more regular "white bread" here than rye. The apricot, peach, apple fruit more pronounced. Touch more bitter at the end, but surely intended. Leaves you thirsty for more.

farrago, Jan 03, 2010
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,655 ratings.