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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,960 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,960
Reviews: 1,032
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 121
Gots: 408 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,960 | Reviews: 1,032
Photo of dataskatt
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of Grugalug
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

Photo of JimBerry
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Good for a pale ale but I am not a fan of pale ales

Photo of Gote
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Photo of profzoom
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of quikfish13
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

Photo of zhooker
3.95/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of zakery
1.48/5  rDev -62.5%
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.

Photo of tom444
4.03/5  rDev +2%
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.

Photo of slagle9480
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
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."

Photo of thisisshsas
3.61/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

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

Photo of Chris19
2.97/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not as pale as it should be.

Photo of lowbrau
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straw/amber color with good carbonation and a strong head. Lacing remained on the glass throughout.

Smell: Brilliantly hoppy aroma. Floral with some citrus notes.

Taste: Sweet up front with a very faint skunkyness. Well balanced by hops in the finish. Finishes clean with a slight carbonation astringency.

Mouthfeel: Prefect level of carbonation and a creamy head.

Drinkability: Great session beer. Good taste and mouthfeel with a finish that doesn't kill your palate.

Photo of allensr
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A little hoppy for me but good

Photo of GeorgeAldi
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep copper/amber color with a bubbly beige head that impales itself to the glass all the way down. Smells of citrus, light sweet fruit, slight mineral. Taste is smooth citrus with a fruity burnt sugar malt sweetness. Good balance! Twinge of hops, bit of malt leaves a hop bite at the end of every sip. Crisp carbonation, sticky, resinous mouthfeel, medium body with a semi dry finish. Good session ale here.

Photo of Pepper7
2.24/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.25

Overly bitter for an APA no real malt presence overrated pale ale

Photo of EricHeff
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours an golden to amber color that is completely clear with a little bit of white head on top. The smell is not over powering but give hints of citrus and some piney-ness. From the first sip those citrus and pine flavors kick right in. The carbonation adds a good amount of fix to it and makes this beer extremely drinkable. Great Lakes Brewing Co. makes some amazing beers and this one is tied with Eddie Fitz for my favorite right now.

Photo of aficionado224
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer tastes so good it's hard to put down. Full of smoky maltiness, and balanced by exactly the right amount of hoppy bitterness. It's an award-winning brew, and it certainly deserves them. Pale Ales of all types are my favorite styles, and this is one of the best examples of the style I've ever tasted, and flavor is the name of the game.

Photo of mayor55
3/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark amber color with thick head . Poured in to a pint glass. Head over 1" thick. Leaves good rings on glass. very average, one dimensional flavor. burnt malty nose, weak on the hops. My first sampling of Great Lakes. Very average beer. Harsh bitter aftertaste.

Photo of djwilson
4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle exp. date 7-5-07

Appearence: Poured into a pilsner glass. nice copper color thick white head forming high above the glass, head held for several minutes leaving a nice heavy belgian lace on the side of the glass, with tiny bubbles rising to the surface.

Smell: hoppy aroma with hints of citrus, light pine and very light caramel scent.

Taste: Slightly sweet on the front of the tounge, picking up hints of caramel, slighty burnt malt, finishes with a very dry hoopy finish that lingers for several minutes.

Mouthfeel: Very typical for an APA, medium body that may get gummy if served too warm, but at 45 degrees the hop flavor is really starting to explode in the back of my mouth.

Drinkability: My old stand by from GLBC, usually enjoyed from the pub on draft, but represented nicely in the bottle. This one goes down quickly do to the sweetness from the malt but nicely balaced by a slight hop kick. At 6% ABV serveral can be enjoyed without feeling the effects the next day, especially if enjoyed at 3:00 in the afternoon.

Photo of Slar211
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from the B-Side Liquor Lounge on Coventry, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Appearance: Pours dark gold and almost clear in a pint glass with a thick creamy head.

Smell: Floral hops and sweet malt, some citrus as well.

Taste: Big hops give hints of lemon and orange, balanced with just enough sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, dry enough to invite another taste.

Drinkability: This is a good one, very drinkable.

Photo of Rainne
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorites. Still going from notes, but it's burned into my memory anyway.

A- Orange amber color with a sweet head and crazy good lacing.

S- Malt (caramel) with a hops presence citrus and earth.

T- Hops bitterness is the first thing I get followed by caramel malt and earthy and citrus tones hovering. Nice balance. Much like an IPA actually. Grapefruit and pine in there as well and a little bread/toast.

M- Nice. Crisp and refreshing with a great body and perfect carbonation.

D- I might like this even more than SN though it's a close race.

Photo of StevensBrewing
2.97/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Holy Cascade! This beer is great for hopheads. It looks fine, smells better than it tastes for a small time hop guy like me. This beer is pallet scorching, so be careful if you're not used to powerful alphas. Overall is is decent for Great Lakes.

Photo of Kicksmile67
3.37/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was just another beer by my standards. The appearnce was nothing unique with a golden color and a moderate head. The smell was hoppy and almost bitter. The taste was mild at first with a powerful bitter finish. Dominant hop flavors overpower the other notes. The mouthfeel is caulky and thin, but is someone expected from the smell and color so not a bad trait. Over all drinkability isnt fantastic but good for a tasting with friends.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,960 ratings.