1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

2,657 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,657
Reviews: 989
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 98
Gots: 202 | 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: 2,657 | Reviews: 989 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yourefragile
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

A: Crisp, clear amber with a finger of dense white, head that is fairly retentive, leaving a thin white film and thin webs of sticky lacing.
S: Biscuity, caramel maltiness backed up by a floral, hoppy smell. This time its not quite as hoppy as I remember from previous samples.
T: Lighter body with very strong carbonation and hop bitterness results in a creamy, full mouthfeel. Finish is dry and hoppy. Body is well balanced between strong malty, biscuit like flavor, but most surprising for this APA is this very strong citrus hop bite. This is my favorite glbc beer and also one the biggest, most flavorful apa's I've had.

yourefragile, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of orangesol
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

orangesol, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Cleveland-Hopkins airport

Nice, there's a touch of cocoa in the malt that really sets this pale ale apart nicely. Otherwise, the hops provide a great, piney hops bite. Overall this is a nice change of pace from SNPA wannabe's with the slightly dark grains and more rounded yet more harsh hops in use. It may not be crisp, but it's mighty tasty.

tempest, Apr 08, 2008
Photo of stakem
3.36/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into pint. The brew appears a clear copper color with a slight off-white cap. Some stringy lace sticks to the wall of the glass.

The aromas is strikingly similar to a strong tea than beer.Ffaintly herbal and a little mineral filled. Some slight fruity alcohol emits as it is swirled.

The flavor is also tea-like and astringent like strong tea with a bitterness that creeps in slightly herbal. A bready grain backing is also present to contrast.

This is a light bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is an ok offering but I really dont think I would revisit this.

stakem, Jan 17, 2014
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 Georgiabeer
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Georgiabeer, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of akorsak
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle obtained in a trade with jdoolin.

A: The ale is a coppery red color with auburn orange highlight. There is a small ring of white head in the glass.

S: The aroma is a strong biscuit maltiness with a slight hint of hops.

T: The beer has a big malty base, grainy with a cereal finish. The carbonation adds an astrigent sharpness. The hops add a nice finishing flourish without detracting from the malts.

M: The malty graininess is the real winner here, providing thick tasty body of beer.

D: The ale has a nice malty grain flavor that makes it easy to drink.

akorsak, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

duceswild, Jul 01, 2014
Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a bright light orange hue with a crystal clear body and a small off-white heat that is very creamy. A nice slow carbonation of small bubbles.

S- A nice aroma of green hops and citrus notes with some pale malt notes.

T- Nice grapefruit hops very bold at the begining of the taste. A slight orange hint is mixed with the pale malt flavor and a nice hoppy bitter finish.

M- Medium-full mouthfeel with no astringency or alcohol warmth.

D- This is a very smooth drink with a great juicy hop flavor. A well-built, easy-drinking beer.

rhoadsrage, Sep 10, 2005
Photo of Zorro
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled through the efforts of Murrayswine and UTBIF.

Pours a clear deep amber to almost copper colored ale with a tall tan head.

Smell is quite malt and spicy in the first sniff. Lots of malt scent and bready grain smells. Very spicy from the hops chosen for this beer. Individual aromas of caramel and nuts with a little bread dough and vanilla.

Taste is quite malty at the beginning with a trace of smoke and starts out a lot like a Scottish ale. Quickly the hops kick in and add a nice complex bitterness to this brew. Faint lemons in the hops but mostly I taste smoke, malt and drying bitterness. A very tasty APA that isn't just a SNPA clone. Spicy after taste that is cleaned up by a woody bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is very good and surprisingly full.

Drinkability is among the best. A damn tasty beer that isn't extreme in any respect. What makes this beer is a lot of great qualities extremely well executed. A malty spicy and smoky pale ale that doesn't get tiresome at all in your mouth. A superior APA in all respects.

Zorro, Mar 04, 2006
Photo of ejimhof
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

ejimhof, Oct 04, 2013
Photo of BARFLYB
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Lancaster Brewing pint glass.

A- A pretty, amber/orange mix with a ever rising fluffy semi thick white head. It settled after a few leaving a loose skim. Some bubbles loose bubbles barely sticking to the glass I would not call it a lace.

S- Getting citrus hops plus floral scents with some caramel from the malt. Nicely hopped for a american pale, the best scent from one in recent memory.

T- I first get a nice dose of hops giving off citrus with grapefruit, orange, plus floral tastes. A very nicely hopped APA. Some sweetness from malts with a nice balance. Some bitterness afterwards which is nice.

M&D- The feel is light to medium with a good amount of carb livining things up a bit. Very impressive. I get hops than some sweetness than some bitterness, nothing over the hill. Hmmm, only 6%, sign me up.

BARFLYB, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of superspak
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

superspak, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to JAYW for this brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice creamy one-finger head, with some nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is hoppy, malty, slight piny, and lots of caramel. The taste is a good balance of hops and malts, with lots of caramel. The finish is very dry and bitter. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a nice Pale Ale, glad to have a chance to try it.

Wasatch, Sep 09, 2007
Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev +1%

wrightst, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Appears burnt orange in color with a lingering soapy white head which provides ample amount of lacing.

Smell is lightly floral. Sweet malt also there.

This beer has a very good balanced flavor, leaning to the hop edge. Caramel and biscuity with a solid citrus hop lending notes of orange sherbert as well as pine.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and finishes semi dry.

Drinkable? Very.. Sessionable, definately. Sure does go down easy hard to have just one.

Stinkypuss, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Gonzoillini, Aug 04, 2013
Photo of ppoitras
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle obtained via SS08 from kirok1999. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" beige head above the slightly cloudy orangey amber brew. Head lasts and lasts, with goodly amounts of chunky lacing. Aroma is balanced, leaning slightly towards piney hops. Taste is slight vegetal upfront, citrus hops in the middle, and then combination through the close. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, and drinkability is about the same. Things just don't come together quite as well as I would hope.

ppoitras, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev +1%

mdaschaf, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

BillRoth, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev +1%

brandoman63, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of biegaman
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burning River isn't all that fiery. In fact, it's actually a fairly dull and commonplace shade of gold. That's not to say it isn't kindled with just a smudge of amber but don't let the name or label put any pictures in your head. Its complexion is glossy, its clarity immaculate and its head bubbly and adhesive - this doesn't need any glitzy highlighting to look good.

This is supposedly an English pale ale but it's brimming with pungent, piny American North-West hops (Cascades, to be specific). And it gives you a little sample of everything the cones are capable of being: sprucey and piny, fresh and minty, herbal and earthy, zestful and spicy, candied and citrusy. One beer - a dozen different smells.

What ends up making the cut is the mintyness, the citrus and the herbal character. It tastes like a fresh, ripely picked hop cone that was drowned in pineapple and bitter grapefruit juice before being crushed together with fresh mint leaves. If Great Lakes Brewing ever decides to make a salad dressing flavoured like this I'll be sure to buy it.

The malts are tasted but even more so sensed. They are toasty and sweet with a sugary honeycomb flavour and trace nuttiness. The hops are felt too, even for a considerable period after the swallow, as they release their resoundingly bitter resins. Neither hops nor malt seem to dominate; having the presence of both in the same beer is appreciated.

If anyone is looking for a tasty, easily quaffed and highly rewarding pale ale then I might just point them in the direction of Cleveland, Ohio. There are pale ales out there just as good (even better) but there aren't many breweries who turn up as high a number of quality beers as Great Lakes. They either make good beer or they make great beer.

biegaman, Oct 11, 2009
Photo of smakawhat
4.53/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From which this pint glass holds from yonder bottle of goodness comes the appearance of a clear amber/orange color nectar. Antique offwhite head with decent lacing and some solid ice cream cone retention.

Smell is a dominant flavor of toasted grain. Toasted rye or whole wheat bread. Literally this beer smells like toast from the toaster, I want to BUTTER it it smells so good.

That grainy toasty taste comes through in a not overbearing way, with excellent body. It feels as it coats your palate everywhere as the toast aromas finish, and then this mellow aromatic hop flavor comes out that isn't bitter at all. The afterfinish goes on pleasantly for what feels like forever, superior clean finish, and I don't know how but their is a whisp... a hint... of cocoa on the aftertaste, how they did this just blows my mind. This is one of the best mouthfeel/finishing beers I've ever had.

Drinkability is just flat out high.

smakawhat, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of rab53
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

rab53, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of plaid75
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger pillowy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a very aromatic oily citrus hop. There was a nice peppery element as well.

The taste was upfront oily hop with excellent grapefruit, orange and white pepper elements. There was a solid biscuity grain bill as well.

The mouthfeel was full with a dry finish.

Overall a very good APA experience. This beer has more kick than your average APA. Highlt recommended

plaid75, Oct 23, 2006
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,657 ratings.