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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

2,711 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,711
Reviews: 992
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 104
Gots: 219 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,711 | Reviews: 992 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tjsdomer2
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Copper with orange, red and pink tint to it. A decent amount of foam and head retention. Not a thick beer.

Smell: Caramel malts and lots of hops. A good standard ale.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Good balance of sweetness and spice. Great creamy mouthfeel that gives a nice alcoholic burn at the end.

Drinkability: A refreshing beer that begs you to drink more. The downside is it takes a bit too long to do that.

Overall: Probably the best gateway Great Lakes.

tjsdomer2, Jun 29, 2010
Photo of syrupjoe
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass

Pours a crystal clear deep gold color with a one finger creamy off-white head.

Nose is grassy, grainy, and slightly fruity - pineapple, mango, and a hint of citrus.

Flavor is grainy, malty, and bready up front with a grassy citrus/pine hop bitterness. Pretty well balanced.

Creamy on the uptake, moderately carbonated with a fairly dry but sweet finish.

Overall a solid pale ale. Nothing special, but delicious and well-rounded.

syrupjoe, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of martyl1000
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%

martyl1000, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of Whiteweasel
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a seidel.

Appearance: Light and orangish-amber. Pours with a thick white persistant head that leaves little lacing. Frothy and thick foam, clear body, and steady carbonation rising to the top.

Smell: Rather hoppy and a little fruity. Hops remind me of those from Two Hearted Ale. Perhaps a tad sweet and malty

Taste: Burnt, roasted flavour contrasting with the bitterness of the hops. Must be why they named it Burning River...Only a slight malt character.

Mouthfeel: A little bitter and astringent but still mild and mostly smooth. Nice carbonation and leaves a clean feeling in your mouth. A tasty little bit of booziness but its mostly covered up by the hops

Drinkability: Supremely easy to drink, but just missed the perfect rating because of the burnt flavour, while interesting, doesnt quite lend itself to great drinkability

Whiteweasel, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of TheodorHerzl
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received from Abankovich in trade. Thank you Adam.

This beer pours a slightly hazed orange color with a decent cap of bright white head on it. The scent is really nice for an APA. Loads of fresh citrus, floral notes, and sweet malt in the nose. It is assertive, but it also doesn't cross the lines into other bigger beers like an IPA, and I think it is really nice and refreshing. The flavor profile is a good balance of bitter hops and sweet malt. I get more citrus than pine in the flavor profile that is balanced quite well with the almost bready malt. The mouthfeel is very smooth with maybe slightly above medium carbonation. The drinkability is really nice, and as I said before I would give this beer a permanent home in my fridge if it were available locally.

TheodorHerzl, May 23, 2008
Photo of Lolli1315
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- An amber copper color with no haziness displaying a finger and a half of white foamy head. Head holds with decent lacing.

S- A sweet malty backbone emerges from a lasting floral hope nose. Hints of citrus fruits compliment that sweet malt as well.

T- High hop presence for a pale ale, but still pleasant nonetheless. Sweet caramel malt helps to balance this beer very well. The bitterness strikes up again and more aggressively in the aftertaste as lit lingers.

M- Slightly dry finish with a smooth crisp carbonation really adds to the profile of the beer.

D- Nicely balanced beer with enough hop kick that makes this a great alternative to an I.P.A.

Lolli1315, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of RedBeerHead
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours light amber with a two inch frothy head. The smell is fruity, hoppy and slightly bitter. Good smoky and fruity taste. My only comment is that the weight might be a little heavy considering the flavor. Great lakes beers will generally be on the heavier side, sometimes is works well, sometimes it weighs the flavors down.

And yes for those of you who are wondering, the Cuyahoga river did catch on fire and this beer was thus named.

RedBeerHead, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Much of what I remember from drinking from the bottle. However, on tap, the beer comes across smoother, softer, and much more bready / biscuity than I remember. Moderately malty and yeasty with the anticipated perfumy, citrus, piney hop aromas and flavors. Delicate, nearly Wit-like, textures: creamy, silky, and smooth. Overall, not as in-your-face as Sierra Nevada or Flying Dog, but perhaps better balanced. And to think, I nearly forgot how well this beer tasted. Silly me.

BEERchitect, Mar 08, 2007
Photo of bamadog
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review is from notes - beer drank on 5/27/09. On tap into a pint glass.

Appearance: Came to me a nice penny-copper color with a 1 and 1/2 finger head with a decent amount of rention that eventually fades to a pretty thick skim on top; a thick curtain of lacing is left behind; fairly clear body with moderate carbonation bubbling throughout.

Smell: Very piney in terms of the hops; smells nice and bitter and has a slight, but muted, citrus aspect (more grapefruit than anything else) to it as the pine really dominates the nose.

Taste: Very nice and bitter, as I would expect coming from the smell, with the firm hop presence -- very piney, earthy/grassy (citrus is essentially lost in the mouth); a very faint toasty maltiness is way in teh back, but largely buried by the bitter, but I like the way it balances it out just a little bit.

Mouthfeel: A pretty creamy body for an APA with a nice sticky finish, leaving a thick coating on the tongue and roof of mouth.

Drinability: Pretty high - a nice refreshing beer that was drank outside with some typical bar food fare and it really cut through all of the flavors.

bamadog, Jun 14, 2009
Photo of genog
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from the tap, pours a copper, dark orange color with a creamy white head. Smell is sweet malt along with some floral, hoppy notes. Taste is very hoppy for an APA with a floral hop presence. Some sweet malt is also there. The mouthfeel on this one is highly carbonated as well. This is another great offering from Great Lakes. I like this APA a lot. Its a big beer for a Pale Ale.

genog, Sep 01, 2007
Photo of littleshamrocks
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle with the enjoy by date clearly printed on the label. Served in an imperial pint.

Pours dark gold to medium amber with a large, frothy, off-white head. It is mostly clear with adequate carbonation. The head is generally lasting and leaves abundant lacing. There is plenty of citrus fruit aroma in the nose, along with some piney notes and underlying grainy malts. There is a decent malt base to the flavor, which helps to show off an assertive hop presence. The grapefruit and orange peel hop flavors stand out and there is a lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a somewhat dry texture and lively carbonation. Finishes lightly chalky.

Not a lot of complexity here, just a very drinkable beer with plenty of hop flavor and enough malt to allow the hops to shine. It is an extremely well crafted example of the style and another top of the line brew from Great Lakes Brewing. This is an excellent APA for those who love the taste of citrusy hops. I'll be having many more.

littleshamrocks, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of ZAP
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(Just noticed I reviewed this in the wrong spot...there are two of these listed)

Tastes like a west coast pale ale to me..copper in color with a nice little creamy head...nose is citrusy...maybe a little pine needles on the nose too....the mouthfeel is nicely balanced....good maltiness supports the citrus hoppiness....very enjoyable and well above average...

ZAP, Jul 30, 2002
Photo of Oxymoron
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love the story line /idea behind this beer. The pour is a darker golden color with good clarity. A nice pour with good tight foam and good lacing throughout the whole tasting.

The nose is on the hoppy side for pales. A mostly citrus appeal but more of a grapefruit appeal then lemony. Some piney finish as well. The malt is also noticed in the background with some lighter caramel notes.

The flavor has a more balanced hop to malt ratio then the nose would indicate but still the hops are more ubiquitous overall. The hops have a nice balance with a good piney bitterness and a more floral finish that slaps of Cascade. The malt is rather limited in overall flavor with limited caramel, but supports the hops just fine.

The body is good with a good a sweeter finish and a nice hidden ABV. Although 6 isn't exactly big, it has a nice flavor overall and a crisp and light wispy finish that helps accentuate the bitterness. I would never pollute a river with this gem.

Oxymoron, Jan 25, 2007
Photo of Kadonny
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a tap into a nonic pint glass at TJs.

A: A clear medium orange color with a one finger white head. Ring lacing lingers.

S: Floral and grassy hops with some bready sweet malt smells.

T: Earthy piney hops with grassy and floral flavors coupled with a nice bready malty sweet flavor. Hops bittnerness overtakes for the finish and leaves a slightly metallic hops finish that lingers. This is not a huge beer, it is very crisp and clean.

M: Medium to light mouthfeel that is crisp and dry. No traces of alcohol.

D: High, a nice drinkable pale ale.

Overall another quality beer from Great Lakes. This pale ale is real hoppy but crisp and drinkable. This is a beer you can sit and drink and really enjoy in an evening. Great stuff.

Kadonny, Nov 17, 2009
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 Grodd87
4.04/5  rDev +2%

Grodd87, Oct 12, 2014
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
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,711 ratings.