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

Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

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

2,317 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2317
Reviews: 975
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.06%

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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,317 | Reviews: 975 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Georgiabeer


4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in West Virginia while I was on vacation there. A great session beer that I wish I could find locally, It pours dark golden with a thin head that sticks around and creates some decent lacing. The smellis lovely, with beautifully balanced earthy hops and a light malt background. Some cherry fruitiness at the finish. The taste is a beautiful example of a pale ale. Relativeley lightbodied, but with a nice fruity and bitter flavor throughout. Cherries and orange zest and earthy hops make this a delightful quaffer. Nicely balanced and crisp but full mouthfeel make this one great to have in the fridge often.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2007 00:41:39 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of superspak


4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best by 5/20/2012. Pours slightly hazy golden amber color with a fairly dense 1 finger off white head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of grapefruit, orange, caramel, apricot, pine, herbal, biscuit, honey, floral, and grass. Very nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of grapefruit, biscuit, pine, floral, honey, orange, caramel, and herbal spiciness. Good amount of spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange, pine, biscuit, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Great malt flavor balance with bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Overall this is a very excellent and balanced pale ale that is highly enjoyable and flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2012 05:43:15 | More by superspak
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
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).

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2013 12:33:05 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At 6% and 45 IBU's, I'd call this an IPA.

A: Gold with a white head; very little retention, no lace.

S: Pine & citrus with a little toffee and bread.

T: Pine, citrus, biscuity malt. Good bitterness (not at all harsh).

M: Moderate body is smooth & creamy with a slight acidity.

D: Very good.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2007 23:05:14 | More by Derek
Photo of dirtylou


4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

single 12oz bottle bought at Steve's (University Ave.) in Madison, best enjoyed by 9/30/05

appearance: pours a see through, yet hazy, amber with a fluffy white head and decent lacing

smell: subdued floral hops similar to many ipa's...citrus, earthy straw aromas...nothing too strong but inviting nonetheless

taste: floral hops, nice citrus flavors ala tangerine, apricot, orange...nice hop profile balanced out by mild malts. Taste follows along the lines of alpha king and pushes the boundary between APA and IPA.

mouthfeel: oily hops, medium body, nice hop bitterness

drinkability: extremely drinkable, not too bitter and very clean finish

another solid offering from Great Lakes that I am just getting around to rating.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2005 04:22:16 | More by dirtylou
Photo of Dogbrick


4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found on draught at the Old Bag of Nails pub here in Columbus. Pours a beautiful dark amber color with a medium thick foamy off-white head. Aroma is all hops baby. I was expecting the hops flavor to snap my head around even more than the bottled version but that was not the case. The flavor here was actually slightly more subdued, although it was served very cold. Either way this is still a killer beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2002 21:01:22 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured golden yellow with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet/skunky malt and wheat. The flavor was of skunky malt, wheat, and sweet malt. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this wasn't a bad brew, but it also wasn't that great either. The skunky aspect on this one hurt this brew overall. I would have loved for it to have a little hop character to help overcome some of the skunkiness going on here. Get rid of the skunk aspect and I would be willing to try again. Until then, not so much...

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2011 13:15:28 | More by thagr81us
Photo of OWSLEY069


2.93/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean orange-ish/ yellow color with a white head. Aromas of a small dryness and a small citrus/ grapefruty hop. In the taste, a dry maltiness, small hops, and somewhat earthy. A smooth, small bitterness in the mouthfeel, with a dry, small hop aftertaste. Not huge in aroma, and decent taste. Somewhat refreshing and and easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2007 22:20:06 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of tavernjef


4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2004 03:47:49 | More by tavernjef
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is strong and malty with a spicy, salty and slightly hoppy undertone. It pours a nice clear golden amber with a thick creamy off-white head that dissipates slowly. Flavor is malty and crisp, with fruity and hoppy tones and just a hint of herbs. Texture is silky smooth yet leaves a nice tingle behind.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2010 00:43:40 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of Bitterbill


4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade with joe1510. Thanks Joe!

It pours an orange amber with a huge head of foam and some nice lacing. Great head retention!

The smell is of earthy malt, some caramel, some fruit, and a light nose of citrus but it also has a bitter smell in there.

The taste starts off bitter with some grass and just a tad of citrus. Another sip in and I notice the malt which has both caramel and earthy flavours and...oh there's some biscuit as well. The mouthfeel is medium and very nice, the carbonation medium, and it finishes with a nice bitterness that lasts through to a shortish aftertaste. Very refreshing and easy to drink.

My second brew from Great Lakes and yet another tasty and interesting brew. My hat's off to them, for sure, for making an APA that kept my interest from first pour to last swallow. I really do like well made APAs. :^)

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2008 23:55:38 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of largadeer


3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pale amber, excellent clarity. An inch of head forms from an average pour and then slowly settles into a ring.

Smell: Caramel, breakfast rolls, very subtle citrus.

Taste & mouthfeel: Bready malts, lightly toasted, with subtle earthy/citrus hops. Not a lot of complexity, but I can't fault a pale ale too much for that. Body is about medium and carbonation is just right for the style. This is definitely on the malty and sweet side, which isn't my preference for the style, but it's not a bad brew by any stretch.

Notes: Big thanks to fiver29 for the awesome Great Lakes extras.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2008 02:50:50 | More by largadeer
Photo of BeerFMAndy


3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 6.0% ABV, Serve at 45 degrees F, Best before 02/23/10.

A - The brilliantly clear honey-golden beer is topped by a massive, slightly off-white head. Great retention and thick, clumpy lace all over the three-finger space.

S - The cascade hops really come out with a bright floral bouquet that's green and luscious. A pine hint cant be found as well as a slight grassy-mulch nose and a light fruitiness. Pilsner and caramel malts comprise a fairly beefy backbone.

T - Unfortunately as I suspected, the hops come forwards a bit more in the grassy, mulch-like category to strain my palate. The strong pilsner-like caramel malt backbone is there but fleeting as the finish ends bitter, a touch citrusy, and a bit mulchy.

M - The smooth, soft entry is replaced by a really dry and slow-burning bitter, grassy hop finish with a long finish.

D - I've had this before and can't say the age has been bad to it but I will say I'd love to give a fresh bottle a review. Not one of my favorite pale ales. Not a favorite Great Lakes for that matter.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2010 00:58:11 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of RoyalT


4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This is a nice, bright orange in color with a very thick white head.

Smell – The hops are big here for an APA with massive grapefruit and a small, toasty malt compliment. The pine, citrus, and grapefruit are in perfect harmony in this hop bouquet and really this is one of the most pleasantly-balanced hop profiles I’ve ever smelled.

Taste – The hops are here at the taste as well. They show tons of depth and overshadow the malts which are quite good actually if understated. This is a strong, hoppy brew though make no mistake about that.

Mouthfeel – This is surprisingly thick, a solid medium-bodied, with little carbonation but it’s not flat. The beer has a very creamy texture but is also quite bitter throughout. If you like smooth, creamy, bitter hops then this burn’s for you.

Drinkability – This went down extremely well but it is a rather big beer so be prepared for that. This is not a light-drinker APA, it is a heavy, thick beer that is best consumed on an empty stomach. If you can take it, or if you are just a big fan of smooth, hoppy ales then you’ll love this beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2011 21:59:33 | More by RoyalT
Photo of DrDemento456


4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A beer like this really makes me want to invest in the variety case.

A - Pours a solid golden amber with at least an inch of the fluffy stuff.

S - Wow very hoppy indeed. Slight citrus and grapefruit hops in the nose with little grain.

T - Ow man this beer drinks good! As most Pale ales make me avoid the style this one comes off as a sweet IPA. Almost as hoppy as Dale's Pale ale but not quite with a solid malt base making it smooth.

M - Light to medium. Enjoyed every drop.

D - I have been impressed by every Great Lakes beer I ever had and this one is no exception. Full of hoppy goodness, solid malt base sweetening the deal, and affordable cost (cases starting at a mere 28 bucks) its pretty much a go to beer. A world class Pale ale!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2011 22:27:28 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of ZAP


4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
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...

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2002 21:40:09 | More by ZAP
Photo of gford217


3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of knight84 poured into a snifter.

Pours a clear golden amber with a small dense head that dissipates to almost nothing leaving almost no lacing. Smell is mostly the moderate citrus hops with a significant caramel malt background in the smell. The taste starts with a slight hop bit before giving way to the caramel malts. There was also a definite spice presence in there as well and the finish had the slightest pine hop bitterness. The mouthfeel was light to medium with decent carbonation and the finish was actually on the crisp side of things with less hop bitterness than I'm used to. The drinkability is very high on this one as the hop profile is pretty tame and the mouthfeel is crisp and clean. Though not the most daring or complex APA I've had, it'd be pretty darn nice on a summer afternoon.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2008 20:29:00 | More by gford217
Photo of scruffwhor


3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a middle of the road amber with good clarity. Not much in the head or froth department. OK bubbling though. The aroma has a strong hop with some orange spice and a little white pepper. The taste is about 70% hops and 40% malt. Mild toast flaked grain, but plenty of juicey orange peel hops. Starts sicey, and finishes lemon/lime juicy. Palate is a light juice to thick water, if that makes sense. This beer is great on tap. And very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2008 03:49:54 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of tone77


3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a copper color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of hops. Taste is also of hops, lightly malted, a good balance, slightly bitter at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a quality brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2010 17:27:52 | More by tone77
Photo of flagmantho


3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium golden hue with a light haze and a lazy effervescence. Head is two fingers of frothy ivory foam. Not bad at all!

Smell: malty aroma with a strong biscuity/bready quality; in truth, not my favorite character. Moderately sweet and otherwise pretty nice, though.

Taste: sweetish malt aroma with more of that bready/biscuity quality. Hops are earthy in character with a balanced bitterness at the end. Not bad, but it just isn't my favorite flavor combination.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and creaminess. Good.

Overall: I want to like this beer. I feel like it is well-crafted and could be delicious to the right palate, but mine is not that palate.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2012 03:07:00 | More by flagmantho
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
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!!

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2004 05:01:04 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of cokes


4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A rich looking amber glass that spawns a tight, greasy off-white head. Great retention, sufficent lacing.
Nose of fresh grapefruit juice and perhaps a hints of honey sweetness. Some grain here too, but buried.
Great Lakes pulls an incredible balancing act here. Lots of grapefruit is perfectly evened out by a slightly toasted sweet malt. A pleasant graininess remains on the finish, with lingering, assertive, but not obnoxious hops. Phantom apparitions of vanilla throughout.
Solid mouthfeel. Silky smooth and creamy. Medium-full bodied. Thins out towards the finish. The only chink in the armour.
A beer that can be appreciated and quaffed. But is is hard not to drink this fast. And keep 'em coming.
A favorite among APAs. I love this one.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2002 22:56:35 | More by cokes
Photo of nickfl


3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-22-2010 05:56:13 | More by nickfl
Photo of champ103


3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear amber/copper color. A one finger white head forms, and recedes to a ring that sticks throughout. Light lace is left behind.
S: Plenty of hops in the nose. Citrus, floral, pine, and grassy hops. Grapefruit bitterness. Though balanced with some honey sweetness.
T: Again, very balanced. Hops are up front. Citrus, pine and grapefruit. Bread and biscuit malts with a honey sweetness. Simple, but nice.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. A bit thin for me though. Easy and enjoyable to drink. Just like a good pale ale, something I can come back to again and again.

A very simple, but nice example of a pale ale. Well done, something I enjoy and would recommend.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 22:52:11 | More by champ103
Photo of blackie


4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The pour into the imperial pint creates a .7" white head that receded to a collar around the glass and a thin layer of bubbles. The beer is a fresh copper color.

smell: A nice APA smell. Good balance between a mildly sweet toasty malt character and semi-fresh smelling hops. Not the floral type, but the more grassy, "darker" variety. Just a slight nuttiness.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the high end of the medium range, and the body on the heavy side of the light spectrum.

taste: Typical pale ale stuff here. A moderate nutty/toasted malt sweetness, well balanced with the hop flavor and bitterness. Well executed, but nothing exciting.

drinkability: Pretty easy drinking and good all around.

Best by date of Dec. 02, 2005. Had this single bottle from some local shop during my last night in Madison. I'd like to try a fresher bottle, as it seems that some of the other reviewers found more floral hops in their samples.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2006 06:44:49 | More by blackie
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,317 ratings.