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.
very good

1,009 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,009
Hads: 3,036
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.05%
Wants: 126
Gots: 470 | 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
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Reviews: 1,009 | Hads: 3,036
Photo of MaxBrewell
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a Solid APA in my opinion. Pours a nice amber color with a white head. Lacing is moderate. Off-white head fades quickly.

Nice citrusy aroma backed up with a nice malt character.

Taste moderately hopped, citrus and pine flavor with a little of that malt thrown in for balance.

Light to medium bodied, carbonation is not over done.

The balance of malt and hops makes this a very smooth, medium bodied American Pale Ale. I would have no problem putting a few of these away on a Sunday Afternoon.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of jdflyer06
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Nice golden color. Fairly light body with a foamy head that sticks around and leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S: Light malt backbone with some serious bitterness coming up through the nostrils. Not overly fruity but with some piny aromas. Not like some pale ales that are just watered down versions of IPA's. This is true pale ale with a nice crisp bitter nose.

M: Medium body that lightly coats the palate with a decent amount of carbonation. Really pretty smooth and an easy drinker.

T: A nice bitter wallop up front, followed by some bready notes and some light toastiness. Not overly complex, but not boring either.

O: I really enjoy this beer as an alternative to the sometimes boring IPA's that seem to creep their way into my sessions far too often. At 6% ABV, a pretty easy drinker and a great session beer. A very good example of the style.

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Photo of 5lat5ive
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a Great Lakes "Taster's" 12-pack. 3/4. Bottle into a pint glass.

A - Bright glowing orange. Fast carbonation rushing to the top, like a "burning river." foamy yellow-white head, 1-inch. lots of bubbles.

S - Strong citrus and pine. Very pleasantly floral.

T - Orange-citrus. Strong bitter hop presence, floral hop after taste. Zesty grapefruit note, grows stronger with each sip.

M - Sticky, Medium-bodied.

O - Nice balance of bitter and floral hops. I found the grapefruit pleasant, but I have a feeling that it might ruin it for some. I would drink again.

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Photo of JoshuaJ
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a damn solid beer, this one.

Darkish copper with a decent head and some good lacing.

Smells hoppy. Really hoppy. A little grassy, and a little citrusy. Sweet malts.

Taste starts with a hop bite, fades into a biscuity malt and finshes with crisp, dry hops again. Not overly complex, but just about perfect for a pale ale, or IPA. And speaking of which, I'd say it's more of the latter.

Mouthfeel is really nice. Crisp, not very heavy. Carbonation is good. Very dry.

Drinkibility is good. This is one that'll please hopheads, and one that I could drink all day.

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Photo of HeavyMetalBrew
3.2/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, some head. Golden color.

S: Grains/hay. Some hops.

T: Very grainy. Toasted notes. Citrus hops. Bitter finish.

M: Carbonated. Wet. Easy to drink.

Overall: This is an average beer with nothing special about it. Reminds me more of a pilsner than a pale ale. A decent beer.

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Photo of findlayfan
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with near-white 3/4" head.

Impressive amount of hops in the smell--if they'd labelled this an IPA I wouldn't have been as surprised.

Good, clear body, with moderate carbonation and slight lacing.

Bitterness quite noticible but not at all off-putting.

Goes down easily - could consume several of these in one sitting..

Overall, a good choice in the pale ale/IPA category. Not the greatest brew from GLBC but a very good representation of the style.

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Photo of elginirishpunk
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clar with a golden/amber hue. Thick head and takes a few seconds longer then usual to settle. Has a rather light hop aroma with a lingering hint of caramel and hidden sweetness that is hard to place. If this was a blind tasting you wouldn't know it was a Pale ale till you took your first taste. The hops makes its presents know but then leaves and you are left you the hops coating the tounge, littl more bitter then your usual pale ale.

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Photo of bfree
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%

I am not a big Pale Ale fan. With that said, this is one of the better ones I have had

A: nice deep amber color and poured out a nice head

S: citrus hops with a little malty sweetness and HONEY-nice smell

T: Hops are not too strong, nice mix of bitterness and sweetness

M: very smooth, not too bitter, and good carbonation

D: good drinkability

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Photo of Mickelswit
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear, copper-orange with an inch of foam and good lacing.

S - Seductive citrus and floral notes over bready malts

T - Soft malts, oranges, lemons, and rosy floral flavors. A slight nutty flavor comes through in the aftertaste.

M - This is creamy and velvety with a lower, sessionable carbonation level.

D - It fills up the mouth but goes down very smoothly. A fantastic pale ale.

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Photo of akronzipfan
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this as part of the Great Lakes "sampler" 12-pack

a - pours a copper/amber with a whispy cloudiness and a light, foamy off-white head that leaves nice lacing

s - flowery aromas of plentiful hops with splashes of lemon and grapefruit

t - tasty blend of malted hops and citrus overtones

m - full bodied with moderate carbonization

d - a very easy to drink pale ale, flavorful yet very smooth

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Photo of JohnF
4.69/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My wife asked me to buy some of this Great Lakes beer. I did not realize it won some medals and now I see why. A great lower alcohol beer; very smooth and everything a pale ale should be. I usually like heavier beers, but this one is very good for summer drinking and lower percentage.

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Photo of tosshin
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a : Light copper or dark straw color. Lots of bubbles generated half and inch of thin head and nice lacing.
s : Floral, citrus, and pine aroma from the cascade hops. Pleasent smelling, but not very complex.
t : Different than I expected, smooth pine, citrus and cascade bitterness. Also as a bit of a malt backbone, and even what could be a bit of charred oak.
m : Carbonation allows the beer to fill the mouth. It isn't a pallet cleanser. This beer likes to stick around and keep you aware of the bittering hops in the beer.
d : This is my style of choice so I could drink these all night. It is a bit heavy for a session beer, but overall it is pretty good.

This APA is a bit different from others that I have tried. It has a bit added complexity in the flavor that I was expecting, but was not bad by any means.

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Photo of JustinJTisdale
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very citrusy. Pours clean with a light head smells just as hoppy as it tastes. Slightly hazy in the glass. Not much in terms of lacing or sustained head.

Had this with a garlic pizza during an SU game and it paired nicely. Good game time beer!

Would drink again.

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Photo of Gote
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had the opportunity to grab different Great Lakes styles while in Columbus and I'm impressed so far. Now I'm not big on pale ales but I really liked this one. Light and refreshing with just a hint of bitterness. Looking forward to their amber lager and porter later tonight.

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Photo of greenbeaner
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger head that quickly fades to about a finger...decent retention. Transparent orange, very very minimal puffy lacing.

Smell is malty with A fruity sourness, bitter hops in the finish, though they are a bit subdued.

Taste is hoppy up front, carbonation, and a sweet malt finish. Light flavors of sugared grapefruit and peach.

Medium bodied in the mouth, with a crisp dry finish. I'd say it's a pretty drinkable beer, nothing too offensive and the hops are a bit subdued. Worth a try.

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Photo of Grugalug
3.1/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a pale golden and slightly copper color. A nice and fluffy two finger head that dissipates somewhat quickly. Lots of lacing and bubbles are visibly rising to the surface. Looks really appetizing.

S- Citrus is most present, and is largely grapefruit. Some floral notes are evident as well. Somewhat surprisingly, there is actually a noticeable malt presence as well. Just a very slight pine and resin smell. Good but not as aromatic as I was expecting.

T- Not much citrus here as the the more piney characteristics take over. The malt is also still present but is very subtle. A nice amount of strong hop presence, but certainly not overtly bitter. Again it's decent but I'm underwhelmed.

M- Incredibly drinkable. I found the body to be rather thin, but it was largely because of the surprising lack of carbonation. It was definitely carbonated, but almost seemed flat. This might be an opinion-based thing but not my cup of tea (or beer I suppose).

O- I had high expectations going in. Also, it seems to be a really beloved beer, and I seriously doubt that this many people are wrong. I just chalk it up to a difference in opinion. Personally, just not my thing. I recommend this based solely on how much love it gets from most people. However, I probably won't be picking this up again.

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Photo of dataskatt
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first review, and I thought I would start with my favorite APA. A co-worker recommended this one, and the reviews here supported his praise.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle poured into a mug. Freshness date clearly marked.

Appearance: Golden amber with a thick head and nice lacing.

Smell: Toasty malt with light floral hops.

Taste: Very balanced, finishing with a pleasantly bitter hops "bite". Not piney. Complex, but still very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, adequate carbonation.

Drinkability: Easy drinking, but satisfying. A little strong for a session beer.

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Photo of profzoom
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This fine ale pours a nice clear golden brown with a rather small head. The smell is sweet and hoppy, but nothing too spectacular. It tastes of hops and leaves a refreshing bitterness. All in all, a very solid pale ale - definitely the best I have sampled from the great state of Ohio.

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Photo of quikfish13
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a dark orange/copper color with a tan off white head. Very clear not cloudy at all, looks great.

Smells of citrus, oranges mainly, and a malty aroma hit first. A very sweet aroma with some roasted scents thrown in for good measure. My mouth was already watering in anticipation.

Very nice floral hops taste with the citrus coming forefront. Not much bitterness at all. A nice earthy malt flavor comes through at the end with the grains dominating all the way through. A slight hint of mango as well with reminders of perhaps papaya are tasted.

Not thick at all and almost slick as it goes down. Still no trouble actually drinking this as it is one of the smoothest beers I have had yet. Being exeptionally tasting, great looking, and smelling amazing this is a highly drinkable beer. I have bought 6-12 packs of this beverage on a regular basis. Another great brew from Great Lakes.

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Photo of zhooker
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a large footed pilsener glass, with ample time before the drink-by date. Pours a nice, clear dark honey (or, lighter-hued amber) with a mound of craggy, airy foam on top. Nice head retention throughout the glass, but only a little bit of lacing.

The aroma is primarily hops, with a tinge of sweet malt. My previous pint was Great Lakes' Lake Erie Monster (an Imperial IPA) -- and this smells significantly more hoppy. It is not an overly bitter scent, but piney, green, and a little citrus-like (Cascade and Northern Brewer hops, says the info sheet).

Taste was also pleasantly over-hopped (which I think is an apt adjective, considering this is a Pale Ale -- not even an IPA). Citrus comes through more in the taste than was sensed in the nose. Sweet malts also deliver. Leaves a piney residue in the back of the mouth, but nothing egregiously unpleasant. Think IPA.

Relatively clean mouthfeel except for that slight chalkiness in the finish, typical of an over-hopped brew. Carbonation felt just right. As a fan of big and bold flavors, I usually don't pick up many Pale Ales -- but this one was a nice surprise! Recommended.

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Photo of zakery
1.48/5  rDev -62.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

I'll start with the easy stuff: A white fluffy head pillows on top of a good looking crystal-clear amber brew with low visible carbonation.

Now to the tough part: Let me begin with a little bit of background. In Sweden, there exists a kind of tobacco called "wet snuff". It is Kentucky tobacco that's been matured and ground into tiny particles. This is then moistened and stuffed into small round boxes. When using it you grab some and squeeze it into a loosely compacted mass that you stuff under you upper lip. It also comes in portion sizes in something that looks like a tiny tea-bag. We used to joke about how it would make the most awful drink if one brewed a tea from these portion bags.

Now on with the rest of the review. This beer tastes _exactly_ like one would imagine a tea made from this wet snuff would taste like. I'm not talking subtle over or under tones here... smack bang exactly like the snuff. Both in smell and taste. I do recognize the quality of the beer, and I would generally enjoy a highly hopped beer like this. If I'd never tried the snuff it would've been fine I think. I tried to persist through the bottle, but it was just too much. The more I drank, the more it reminded me of the tobacco. The aftertase of the beer is exactly like when you accidentally swallow some of the snuff. Too bad... I had high hopes for this beer as I love other Great Lakes brews.

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Photo of tom444
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours: A rich, clear reddish amber color, with a thick off-white head. Excellent head retention, little lacing.

Aroma: Somewhat malty, with a strong hop scent.

Taste: Crisp and fairly bitter, with plenty of floral and citrus hop notes. A bit of lingering hoppy aftertaste.

Overall: A very good pale ale, and yet another excellent brew from Great Lakes.

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Photo of slagle9480
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer just didn't do it for me. I tried it three different times, but each time I had too high of hopes going into it. The third time around it improved. Rather than a 3.3 it probably bounced up to about a 3.5 in my book.

In my short history of sampling beer, Burning River has thus far been the most disappointing. Try it for yourself though. I don't know every little nuance of an APA.

If you like APA's, try Southern Tier's Hoppe. You'll thank yourself.

"Keep drinkin Southern Tier. Everything will be alright."

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Photo of thisisshsas
3.61/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- appears blond with a slight reddish tint.
S- citrus smell is stonger than spice smell. THe aroma is there, but it is by no means overpowering.
T- hoppy but under control flavor. creates the desire to have another one in order to be fulfilled.
M&D- swirls around the mouth to create a slight wooden flavor. A beer you could stick to all night. also a great beer to convert the bud crowd, as it is a very easy drink but still has some flavor.

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Photo of Petrislav
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Perfectly amber color, high clarity, 1 finger tan head, massive bubbles!

S: Fruity hops, weed like skunk

T: Mouthfull of cascading hops, grassy finish with grapefruit peel

M: Bitter! Medium bodied

A tasty hophead brew, smells fantastic

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,009 ratings.