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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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,652 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,652
Reviews: 989
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 98
Gots: 199 | 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: 2,652 | Reviews: 989 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

Acquired via trade from FtownThrowDown, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color, with a thin white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is a blend of pale hops, citrus sweetness and caramelized malt.

T: The citrus sweetness comes out first in the taste and is then followed by a mild burst of hops bitterness. The malt backbone is persistent throughout each sip. After-taste is a little sweet with a bit of residual hops.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean & dry finish.

D: Tasty and easy-to-drink, not too filling, decent kick, this is a good beer to stick with for an evening, unless you're looking for something heavier.

TheManiacalOne, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%

Pours a very, very slightly fogged copper amber. Nose is mildly perfume toned, but exhibits a much more stronger citrus tone. Flavor has quite a zing to it at first but calms down enough to show some nice hop character. Feel is smooth and it has a fairly full carbonation that stays on the tongue. This is very easy to drink and I consider this a good example of an APA.

RblWthACoz, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of nickfl
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%

A - Poured with a small, white head on top of a clear, copper colored body. The head settles at a moderate pace and leaves light lace.

S - Light, fruity hops with moderately toasted malt and a bit of caramel.

T - Some toasted malt up front with stiff bitterness and some fruity hop character. Notes of grapefruit and orange as well as light, dry caramel. Finishes with richer flavors of caramel and a light roasted character. Lingering toasted malt and hop bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - This is a drinkable, but pretty standard IPA. It has a nice hop flavor, though the aroma is a bit weak. It is a very drinkable and that is probably the most important factor for a beer like this.

nickfl, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%

You have to love Great Lakes, when they make a beer this well balanced and drinkable. I raise one to them. It pours a copper amber with a slightly tan head very nice head retention. The aroma is chalk full of hops that create varying aromas such as citrus tones and pine cones. The flavor brings a lot of hop bitterness to the back of the tongue, very crisp clean finish. The malt just kind of surrounds the palate with warmth and of course the alcohol brings a nice tingling sensation. Awesome brew that I would partake in at any given opportunity. Us West Virginians are thankful to have access to such a fine brewer. Amazingly drinkable, could be one of my favorite pale ales of all time.

WVbeergeek, Mar 03, 2003
Photo of russpowell
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Got this one from pwoods, Cheers Patrick!

Pours amber with a pinky of rapidly falling beige head. Some head retention & lacing

S: Nice orange peel & lemon, with biscuitty malt in the background

T: Follows the nose with nice crispness up front. Biscuitty malt & some crackery notes, comes to the fore as this warms, along with lemons, a bit of grapefruit & dryness. Finishes with a whisper of booze, hops crispness & very nice biscuitty malt, almost pulled a 5.0

MF: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation& great balance!

Very easy to drink, super APA or AIPA, well done Great lakes!

russpowell, Apr 22, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%

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!

feloniousmonk, Mar 27, 2004
Photo of Slatetank
4.06/5  rDev +2.5%

I picked this up at Wegmans, enjoyed chilled from a pint glass.

The color is dark copper with off white head which leaves confetti lace and has great clarity with visible carbonation. Retention is good and bead is very fine. The smell is very fragrant of hops with a mild pine accent and very gentle fruity yeast scent. The feel is good with moderate bitterness and carbonation level with mild sweetness and light alcohol tinge with a mostly dry finish.

The flavor is a very good mix of malts with more of a German toasted perhaps vienna flavor with mild herbal and pine hop flavors following with some mild orange rind accents. The flavor of malt is pretty well balanced with the hops with a generally clean yeast taste very nice dry finish with no alcohol in the taste to speak of. Overall this is a different take on the pale style, with more german type munich toastiness and more herbal/noble type flavor than straight citrus, but it is very drinkable and well worth repeat tastes

Slatetank, Oct 02, 2013
Photo of drabmuh
3.8/5  rDev -4%

A beer named after an ecological disaster. I suppose that is one way to own your identity. Still a burning river is probably most people in MI would like to forget.

Beer served on draft at a local beer bar. Beer is clear with only a slight haze. Carbonation is low and lacing is high. Head is thin and broken, made up of a single layer of tiny white bubbles.

Tiny aroma of malt and citrus hops, smells fine.

Mild hop flavor and a slight bitterness at the back. High malt character and a slight aftertaste, nothing too bad. This is an OK APA, not great just OK.

drabmuh, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.18/5  rDev -19.7%

definitely more of an english style pale ale, with the dusty like malts and just light fruity cascade hops in the taste. pours a tiny bit amber in color, with a receding white head and inch tall. smells like a bass ale, and tastes similar, just a bit bigger hop flavor. mouthfeel brings it way down for me, weakly carbonated fading to nearly flat as it warms, not a quick finish at all, even a little brassy at the end. definitely not my favorite pale ale and definitely not my favorite great lakes brew, but a decent amalgamation of the english and american syles...

StonedTrippin, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%

Got another Great Lakes to try thanks this time to thebouch01.

A: Poured into my SA Perfect Pint glass with a nice 1.5 finger rising thick fluffy head that fades slowly and leaves a little lacing. Its a brilliantly clear amber orange color with many bubbles rising from the etch at the bottom of the glass.

N: Nose of a light pale ale. Some light malts, a little toasty malt aroma, some fruity hops a little bit of pale hops, and slight yeastiness. Very light straw grassy hop aroma as well.

T: Starts with a crisp light ale flavor, with some light malts and a little toasty flavor. A slight creaminess too. This is accompanied by some nice pale hops. A slight spicy hop, a little earthy hop, and some grassy hops. A slight yeasty flavor to go with all that too, towards the end. A nice almost British real ale bitterness to it, but American spicy hops.

M: A decent body, a little lighter than medium, and good carbonation.

F: Semi bitter, it gets a little more bitter on the finish. Also pretty dry. The lingering grassy and earthy hop flavors seem to really come out at the end when the other flavors are gone. More of that bitter English real ale character, but lighter on the ale and spicier on the hop. A nice light pale ale overall, drinkable, has a nice hop character. A solid APA. I could see drinking quite a few of these if I could get them around here. If I could complain about anything, it would be the slight yeasty aroma and flavor.

jlindros, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of Rifugium
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured a gently amber color with a slight haze, and a half inch or so of foamy white head. Aroma is grassy, floral, biscuity. Surprisingly drying hop profile in the taste right off the bat, citrus pith, grape skins, bready malts, with a bitter and intensely drying finish. Not necessarily a palate wrecker, but I wouldn't follow this one with a stout. Light-medium body, crisp and clean, and quite good overall for the style.

Rifugium, Apr 30, 2012
Photo of oline73
5/5  rDev +26.3%

oline73, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of WesWes
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%

The beer pours a gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a well balanced aroma of pale malts and floral hops. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth breadlike malt taste that boasts of pale and bisquit malts along with a nice selection of floral hops. The bisquit malts blend well with the hops. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a solid APA. I'm always a fan of the bisquit malts. The hop selection also adds a nice balanced flavor.

WesWes, Sep 20, 2007
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1%

Bottle provided by hudsonphotog.

Pours light orange with a white head. The aroma is very malty, possibly Vienna malt. You also get some piney hops. The flavor is piney hops with a strong caramel malt backbone. Not too complex but a good APA. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

Mora2000, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

mendvicdog, Aug 02, 2013
Photo of jwc215
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%

Freshness date of 06/28/07:

Pours orangish gold with thin white head that descends to barely a cover.

The smell is of light citric fruits with caramel in the back.

The taste is floral and citric - grapefruit/lemon/orange. Sweet caramel blends in well. Bittersweet fruitiness hangs on well into the aftertaste.

Medium to full-bodied. Nice carbonation level makes this very smooth. Refreshingly dry.

A friend brought this back from Ohio. Wish it were available around here. A hoppy, yet sufficiently balanced deliciously smooth pale ale.

jwc215, Jun 01, 2007
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +26.3%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4/5  rDev +1%

DrunkinYogi, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

XmnwildX12, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of Gavage
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%

Appearane: light orange in color with a 1" head that lasts a while. Some moderate lacing develops.

Smell: caramel sweetness and some citrus tones are mild overall.

Taste: caramel, orange citrus, some lemon zest, and sweet red apple in the background. Bitterness levels are moderate, and there is a bit of graininess to this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp to start, less crisp and a bit dry late.

Drinkability: another great session ale from Great Lakes. This beer is refreshing and well balanced.

Gavage, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of kojevergas
3.21/5  rDev -18.9%

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with fun label art and branded silver pry-off pressure cap acquired at Zipp's Liquor in Minneapolis, MN for $1.79 and served into a weissbier glass. Expectations are high given the brewery. Reviewed live. "A handcrafted pale ale." 6.0% ABV confirmed. Enjoy by: 11/13/13. Reviewed as a pale

Served cold - straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a four finger wide head of white colour and nice even consistency. Decent thickness, creaminess and frothiness. Retention is good - about 5-6 minutes. Even lacing coats the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent copper of average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's an appealing appearance and I'm eager to try it, but it's not unique or special. No egregious flaws.

Sm: Clean. Floral hops. Pale malts. Vague fruity hop character.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. A pleasant aroma of average strength.

T: Pale malt backbone is joined by a floral hop profile with hints of fruity hops.

Cohesive and enjoyable, but not gestalt, complex, subtle, or intricate.
Clean, without any real yeast character. No alcohol comes through.

Average depth, intensity, and duration of flavour.

Mf: Smooth, wet, well-carbonated, nicely thick, and medium-bodied. Suits the flavour profile well. Nice unobtrusive presence on the palate.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: Drinkable, but I hoped for better from Great Lakes. It's a quaffable pale ale but offers nothing memorable. Will get lost amist the plethora of superior beers in the style. I might get it again if I'm in the mood for a pale ale, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends. Certainly not world-class, but well above average.

High C+

kojevergas, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev +1%

imperialking, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +1%

InspectorBob, May 20, 2013
Photo of corby112
3.8/5  rDev -4%

Pours a slightly hazy dark golden orange color with a two finger frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. The glass is left coated with large chunks of soapy lacing.

Floral hp aroma with hints of earthy pine and a prominent citrus fruit presence. Hints of grapefruit and orange peel with pale, biscuit like malt underneath.

Medium bodied and very hop forward with a dry, bitter character up front that lingers over the sweet malt into a spicy, dry finish. Slightly resinous with an earthy pine presence that is balanced by sweet citrus fruit. Hints of grapefruit and orange peel balanced by a sweet caramel malt backbone that gives off notes of toast and biscuit.

corby112, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of woodychandler
4.68/5  rDev +18.2%

I sometimes wonder what takes me so long in reviewing a beer. By ticking this one, I will have reviewed 10 of the 12 most-reviewed APAs and it is not like this one is some obscure offering that I had to trade for. Hell, in college at Pitt, I would often use this beer as a Saturday (ahem!) morning warm-up prior to tailgating and home games. Speaking of Pittsburgh: Number of rivers in Pittsburgh = 3. Number of rivers in Pittsburgh that have caught fire = 0.

From the bottle: "What do you do when your river catches fire from excessive pollution? Clean it up and throw a hoppin' party! Our annual Burning River Fest is the premier environmental education and music festival celebrating clean water and other eco-initiatives across the Great Lakes region."; "World Champion Gold Medal Winner World Beer Championships"; "Named after the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River, our American Pale Ale combines a citrusy Cascade hops flavor with a fruity assertiveness."; "In keeping with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, this beer is traditionally brewed from all natural ingredients: barley, hops, yeast and water. No chemicals or preservatives are used."

Man and boy, I would just love to take some potshots at Kleveland (backwards "K") in this review, but I frankly love GLBC and their beers! In August 2008, I hit it just right to attend their Brewer's Dinner and their Brewery Tour on consecutive nights. Their brewers know me, their reps know me, I wear a couple of their wristbands, so how can I diss them now? OK, not now, but I reserve the right to hate on Kleveland at will.

I got a lovely two fingers of eggshell-white head with good retention off of my pour. Color was a classic shade of deep-amber with NE-quality clarity and should be the standard for Lovibond in the style. Nose reminded me of just how fresh this was, courtesy of Sunday's visit to The Fridge. The grapefruit scent cut right through my burgeoning sinus headache and made my eyes pop. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was about as perfectly balanced between hops and malt as I have experienced for a while. You listening, Lazy Magnolia, with your overly hopped Deep South P.A.? Finish was semi-dry as compared to AIPAs which are my go-to, but perhaps dry when compared to others in the style. I am not a style maven, but I know what I like. I like this beer. My name is Woody Chandler and I approve this message.

woodychandler, Oct 24, 2012
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,652 ratings.