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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.

1,003 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,003
Hads: 3,013
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 124
Gots: 439 | 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: 1,003 | Hads: 3,013
Photo of JKuras
3.47/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours an effervescent and very clear golden-amber. About an eighth inch of head that lasts for a few minutes.

Smell: First hit by malty chocolate notes and light, sweet caramel. Not too heavy. Very faint traces of citrus.

Taste: Much more bitter and hoppy than I was expecting from the smell. Some light roasted coffee flavors. Clean. The malt and bitterness of the hops come through more than anything else.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel. Slightly syrupy, creamy-smooth effervescence.

Overall: A very clean tasting brew with powerful malt and bitterness characteristics. Doesn’t have the citrus I usually associate with pale ales. Not overly complex, but well done. Might be better drinking in the fall. (741 characters)

Photo of bruachan
3.47/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

lizard tour beer

very light amber color with a weak head that doesn't die altogether

the hop flavor is of sticky pine and the aroma floral, but the overall flavor profile is mild. small malt character and the hops aren't too pronounced either. there's a little sweetness in there and minimal bitterness

definitely one GLBC's weaker offerings (350 characters)

Photo of LeftyBWS
3.47/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured, from a 12 oz. brown bottle with a freshness date on the label, into a shaker pint glass.
A: Amber-orange in color, darkish for a pale ale. Medium amount of bubbly, off-white head that was quick to recede. Not much lacing.
S: Piney hops and some sweet, oaky malt underneath. A warm sweetness fills the nose, and the hoppiness pokes in at various points. There's also a faint but deep berry-ish scent, something floral.
T: Mirrors the smell, mostly. Hoppy up front, and more oaky/malty towards the middle. The finish is a typically nice drawn-out piney taste, but with some of the other malt/floral flavorings chiming in, too. All in all, I can understand why a lot of people like this beer, and it certainly has a unique taste for this style, but it's just not what I'm looking for in an APA. I think it would do better to have the hops more prevalent.
M: Wet overall, with some bitterness up front that lingers slightly. The finish is watery with a not unnoticeable alcohol tingling.
D: Not bad, but not great. There's nothing all that offensive while drinking this brew, except the alcohol-tinged finish, but nothing about it made me want to grab another one right away, either. (1,187 characters)

Photo of pigc
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Straw colored light blond with three finger head.

S - Bready, grainy malt, clove, oats.

T - Grainy malts from the get go. Hops seem very subdued.

M - Light to medium with average carbonation.

O - Decent pale ale offering by Great Lakes. This one was a little past it's prime. I will be excited to try this one fresh. (324 characters)

Photo of mdwalsh
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, golden reddish body. 1.5 finger white head. No active carb, no lacing.

S: Hay, sweetness. No malt, not strong

T: Bitter at first, but sweet. Hoppy aftertaste. Not strong at all.

M: Heavy for its color. Not great, slightly over carbed it feels.

D: Ok, if you like IPAs, but still not great. If not, then not even OK (327 characters)

Photo of dbl_delta
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle dated 6/4/15 so it's about a week past its drop dead date. I really like APAs, but this one doesn't float my boat. I don't get any citrus, not much floral, some dank, bitter pine but that's about it. It's nice and light, but so are a lot of better-tasting APAs.
Great Lakes has some fantastic offerings, but this isn't one of them. (342 characters)

Photo of Looneybiz
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass and I loved the look. Dark bronze hue and a full inch of head that left silky remnants on the glass.

The smell was also very pleasant and made my mouth start to water.

Upon tasting though I liked it, but wasn't crazy as the bitterness of it was not as smooth but actually kinda over bearing.

The mouthfeel was average and the carbonation seemed pretty light.

All in all I'd definetely drink it again but it is not as tasty as some of the other beers from Great Lakes. (498 characters)

Photo of utopiajane
3.44/5  rDev -14.2%
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. (611 characters)

Photo of laituegonflable
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
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. (529 characters)

Photo of BGDrock
3.42/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: chill haze; strong amber colour leaning towards orange; head fades quickly

Aroma: grassy, slightly sweet hops; just a bit tropical; something herbal

Taste & Mouthfeel: resin bitterness is strong and balanced by some caramel malt, but builds to overwhelm the the tastebuds with a very long lasting finish; rough and intense; cutting; pine flavour

Overall: very one dimensional flavour, if strong and vibrant (421 characters)

Photo of masterbruewer
3.42/5  rDev -14.7%
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. (565 characters)

Photo of GallowsThief
3.41/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade from either ChugginOil or RC0032 but I forgot to write it down! Regardless thanks to 2 great traders! Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A – Translucent golden pour with a massive 4 fingers of foamy white head. Sticky lacing all down the glass.

S – Faint smell but I do get some grain and corn. Citrus as well.

T – Sweet malts and citrusy hops. Starts almost with an earthy taste and has a nice bitter bite to it. Small amount of caramel sweetness. Finishes with a piney aftertaste.

M – Medium bodied. Very good carbonation. Bit drying at the end.

O – Good solid APA. Very drinkable. Nothing to make it stand above other APA’s but this makes a great cold brew on a hot summer day. (732 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. The color is a light copper with a white head. Decent enough retention but as it falls there's no real lacing. Nose brings some nice citrus and grassy hops with a moderate pale malt base. The taste really focuses in on some grassy hops, which I always seem to get from Great Lakes hoppy offerings and I can't say that I'm really a fan. Feel is slightly bitter with a bit of lightly-sweet malt backing. Drinks well in the end, but the flavor just isn't quite for me. (508 characters)

Photo of muttyd
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Hazy orange pour with a nice thick white head.

S - As expected, the aroma consists of piney/grassy/earth hops balanced off by a sweet bready malty aroma.

T - Sweet malt flavor upfront followed by a very hoppy bite. More reminiscent of an IPA than a pale ale. Finish is bitter and this beer leaves a slight chewy/sticky aftertaste.

M - Bubbly with a medium body. As mentioned before, sticky finish.

D - Very good beer. Will have to pick up a few more when I'm in the area. (479 characters)

Photo of JDV
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear light orange colored pour. looks kind of thin, but holds a huge white head. Smell opf the hops are nice, but a bit mild for an IPA, I thought, and there was a slight mustiness about it too. Taste was mildly hopped initially too, but picked up a bit after a few sips. Light sweetness, and light bodied as well. Hops come through for a nice flavor and strength, but this still feels too thin and a bit lacking somehow. Good, but not great, I thought. (454 characters)

Photo of camp0474
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Light orange amber color with a frothy white head. Some lacing.

S: Herbal earthy hops with semi sweet bready malt.

T: Earthy grassy hops up front. Leaves a lingering bite on the tongue. Faint malt in the background. I personally prefer a more malt balanced IPA, mostly grassy hops with this one.

M: Lighter medium body with good carbonation.

D: Pretty easy to drink but a little bitter in the finish. (407 characters)

Photo of JG-90
3.39/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear light copper color. Yields an impressive large foamy head with nice retention and heavy lacing. Pale malts, stale bread, a little bit of floral and fruity hops.

Big malt start, then funk, followed by a hint of pineapple and grapefruit, then floral, with a wet-biscuit finish. A little malty for me, but is balanced very nicely. Medium body for a Pale Ale with medium-high carbonation. Not my favorite, but a solid beer. (426 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.39/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with a two finger head that left some chunk soap on the sides and a decent amount of nice stick throughout the drink. Really a fairly nice looking beer. Opaque golden color.

S - Very sweet smelling, pretty heavy on the caramel. Some oranges and maybe a little bit of corriander. Slight citrus hops bite but not a ton going on. Really smells too carmally.

T - Carmal malts and sweet with a little bit of funk that was not expected. Slightly grassy-sour at the end with a muted mild citrus hops that tasted a little skunk with the funk. Touch of orange. Needs some more hops profile and bitterness.

M - A little creamy. Mildly and slightly undercarbonated.

D - It's alright, but for the low ABV, the 12 oz was not the easiest thing to finish and I don't really want another one. (790 characters)

Photo of a10t2
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Was finally able to get my hands on a GLBC sampler after being very impressed by their porter.

A: Pours a light amber with some orange tones, with two fingers of off-white head that clings to the edges all the way through without leaving much lacing. Serious bubbling carbonation that hangs around.

S: Cascade hops are evident right up front, with some other citrus tones. No malt smell to speak of, but an underlying earthiness that I found unpleasant.

T: Very hoppy, but with a malt backbone that falls somewhat short of balanced. A little creaminess afterwards and then a pleasant bitter aftertaste that lingers. Definitely one for the hopheads, but not too much of a "pucker" factor.

M: Still overly carbonated by my standards; I actually let it sit for a while before finishing. Once it had warmed up a bit it was very smooth and even a little creamy.

D: If you like hops this is definitely for you. Very smooth-drinking overall and I could definitely see a couple people polishing off a six pack.

On the whole, this is probably better classed as an IPA, and I had to score it down a notch for being (IMHO) mislabeled. If IPAs are your thing, though, it's one of the better ones in its class. (1,215 characters)

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my second beer from Great Lakes, I have have to say, these guys are about two steps off from becoming a major contender in the Micro brewing world. Poured out to a nice orange yellow color with a very short lived head. Low carbonation. No lace in the glass. Aromas of orange and clove are very present, as are notes of pine and earth. Flavor was a bit on the flat side, as this beer could have benefited from higher carbonation to liven up the taste. Flavors of hops and malt, with traces of citrus, and a tea like finish. Not bad, but like I said, the addition of more carbonation would really kick this brew up a notch. Decent mouthfeel. I'd have another, but not before trying something else. I really feel Great Lakes is on to something with their beers, but somewhere it's just not connecting... Still, this beer is worthy of a try. (845 characters)

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from the bottle into a shaker glass at Bac Asian Bistro.

A-Clear dark amber color with finger and a half sudsy head with high carbonation. Sticky lacing throughout

S-Piney hops and fruitiness, but not a a citrus fruitiness

T-Very strong kinda funky fruitiness, like grape, plum, and raisin, pine, and nice moderate bitterness on the finish

M-Fairly high carbonation, medium body, and finishes a little watery

O-This was the first beer I could not finish when I started getting into craft beer a couple years ago and I can't believe I thought this beer was too bitter but it was at the time. This is my first time having it since and this time around I thought it a had a very strong fruitiness, that seemed strange for the style. My least favorite of the Great Lakes year-round offerings. (800 characters)

Photo of Applesauce1
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1st smell - hops, floral smell

1st taste - It was decent, but it seemed to me that this beer needed more hops. The taste of this beer was better than a macro lager, but overall it didn't have that much taste. As I got about halfway through the beer I started noticing a skunky flavor even. This could've been from some light exposure at the store possibly, but, nonetheless, it disappointed me. The expiration date on the beer was Oct. 28, 2005, so it's got about two months left. Anyways, I expected more from Great Lakes than I got from this beer. With American Pale Ale as my favorite style, I know of cheaper and better tasting pale ales to buy.

- Overall, this beer is drinkable, but I doubt I'll have another in the near future. (741 characters)

Photo of tjacobs610
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Golden clear amber color, great head retention, 2 to 3 fingers high. Not much lacing to speak of

S:Has hints of floral and caramel aroma. Very good at bringing the taste to your nose

T:Very strong and aggressive bitter taste. The bitterness lasts throughout the drink but it’s joined by a malty flavor towards the end. There is also some hints of citrus at the beginning of the drink

M:Medium bodied, but yet very light on the palate. Has little noticeable carbonation. Has a dry finish to it and has a hoppy taste as well

O:Very good APA. Definitely shows its Pale Ale characteristics. Has a balanced mix of hops and malts. (633 characters)

Photo of Gerberr
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A fairly fresh bottle, pulled from a 12pk sampler pack. Poured into a normal pint glass, 3 fingers of head.
A: Just a beautiful beer, a very clear, a watered down copper color. Nice white head on top, with excellent carbonation while it sits. Just a real pretty beer. Foam laces the glass as it's drank.
S: Not a whole lot of smell. I'm not picking up much, definetly some clean pine coming through. Defiantly more prevalent as it warms. I also pick up a malt aroma in it as well.
T:Good amount of pine here too, also a bitter grapefruit aftertaste hangs around, but bitter in a pleasant way. Sweet after the initial bitter hits your tounge.
M: carbonation quickly dississipates in the mouth, and then turns to a smooth drink, not thick but it almost coats the mouth.

Overall: Just a solid drinking IPA. I can't see purchasing this in a six pack form, due to many other excellent IPA options out there, but will happily take it in a sampler. (943 characters)

Photo of thebarnesbomb
3.37/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle, had straight from bottle. Couldn't say much about appearance for this reason, my guess is a typical IPA yellow/ orange that isn't transparent b/c of the strong smell. I could smell the strong hop element, most apparent of anything else. Has a good body to it, a certain crispness that is associated to pale ales, but this was a little too harsh for me. The strength of the hops and the 6.00 abv took me off guard. Leaves a bitterness from these two elements that I didn't find very pleasant, so an average score for drinkability. I'm definitely not dissing this beer, you just have to know what to expect from it. (627 characters)

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,003 ratings.