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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.
very good

2,765 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,765
Reviews: 994
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 105
Gots: 242 | 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: 2,765 | Reviews: 994 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biggmike
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice copper/amber color with generous white head that stayed a while. Aroma was of citrusy hops. Flavor was a blend of floral, citrusy, piney hops. Pleasant bitterness to it. Mouthfeel is smooth. Decent lacing on glass. I enjoyed. I would definitely have again.

biggmike, Jun 17, 2008
Photo of mgbickel
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. An ivory white head formed on top of the clear, golden-bronze body. The foam retained nicely and covered the glass walls thickly and completely.

The nose has some grainy (barley) characters up front. The citrusy Cascade hops take a backseat, but are still relevant. Toasted, almost caramel malts are also bouncing around in the background.

Hmm...that taste is even more unbalanced than what the nose indicates. Lots of malts, barley and grass like characters dominate the palate. The hops show up at the finish, but very subtle and weak...low bitterness.

The mouth feel is on the lighter side of medium, oily and well carbonated.

This is one easy drinkin' brew! Nothing jumps out and wows you...flavor or complexity wise, but overall a very nice offering.

mgbickel, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of Theniz
3.25/5  rDev -17.9%

Theniz, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of SurlyDuff
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite PA's. Really solid in every respect. Nice orangy golden with a decent head. Sticky lacing clings and hardens to to glass.

Nice floral sweet hop aroma. Sweet honey and spring flowers. Grapefruit and pine deliciousness. Great carbonation and a great bitterness. The balance is superb, with a malt profile that perfectly blends. Juicy aftertaste that really hangs in there. Oh so tasty!

Mouthfeel is full and the aftertaste is amazing. I really wish this stuff was available out here on the west coast.

SurlyDuff, May 21, 2008
Photo of twelvsies
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In Pittsburgh visiting the parents for the holidays I was glad to be able to pick up some Great Lakes, which I can't get in Massachussetts. I haven't had these since maybe high school, and I am rediscovering their greatness. Appears a light and clear orange color, very pale and bubbly with little head to speak of. Smell is a real treat; strong citrus hop scent followed by any fruit you care to conjure up while you're taking your whiff. Pears, apircots, apples, grapefruit... the whole damn fruit basket. Nice fruity malt flavor for sure. Enough already. The taste is also strong citrussy bitter hops, but that's not the entire picture, as in some beers. The point of this beer wasn't to make is overly hoppy, but to balance that flavor with a ripe sweetness of fruity malts. Grassy too. Great complex flavors, all over the place. Mouthfeel is excellent. Almost feels/tastes like a less intense barleywine in terms of thickness and syrupiness. Great smooth and sticky juicy feeling. A real treat to drink. I'm gonna miss this beer when I head back east.

twelvsies, Dec 18, 2004
Photo of Morakaton
4/5  rDev +1%

Morakaton, Nov 19, 2013
Photo of pottergator
4/5  rDev +1%

pottergator, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of Mark5252
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Mark5252, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of happygnome
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: darker golden color with about a half inch of head that dissapears fast with a little lacing
s: the first thing that strikes me is that this has a lot more hop aroma than most pale ales. Citrusy, little malt presence
t: caramel malts at the start, with a big hop presence, more balanced than aroma would indicate
m: medium bodied with average carbonation

overall this is a very enjoyable beer not very sessionable but very very refreshing

happygnome, Apr 11, 2007
Photo of jshusc
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

jshusc, Jun 23, 2014
Photo of steveh
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Another beer in payment for services rendered. I drank this pretty often back when it first came out -- even enjoyed it at the GL pub in Cleveland, surprised I've never reviewed it. Haven't had it in some time, but it's just in time for a hop-fix.

IIRC, this was one of the first beers that was really an IPA disguised as an APA.

Best before 03/12/14 on the label.

A -- Clear, deep amber-gold with a firm, long-lasting, off white head.

S -- Mellow piny notes up front with biscuit malts back and some earthiness and mild fruit esters mixed in. I sort of wish there were bigger fruit esters in the nose, but this still fits the style bill.

T -- Good blend of piny, spicy hops and biscuit malts with the same underlying earthiness, but the hops win the balance battle in the finish and aftertaste -- resiny bitterness lingering with spiciness through the aftertaste.

M -- Mouthfeel is soft and smooth with a dry finish and medium body.

O -- There's a mild lingering vegetal character in this beer that I often get in many GL beers -- I've been led to understand that it's the house yeast character. It blends well with the mix of flavors in an APA like this, and why I'll give more points to the Burning River than any of GL's lagers.

OTOH, this beer takes me back in time to those first days of micro-brewing when no one was trying to out-do each other for palate-burning hop craziness. However, a couple in a row builds up the resin-burn a little more than I like and becomes palate-fatiguing. This beer hides its ABV and quenches a hop-craving quite well.

steveh, Jan 20, 2014
Photo of madtowndmb1
4.53/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this last night in Madison, WI on tap and I was very pleased. Evrything about this beer was great, smelled of a well hopped beer. The taste was well-rounded and not harsh at any point. I could've stayed and had 5 or 6 of these pretty easily!!!

madtowndmb1, Feb 23, 2008
Photo of heysuz
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

heysuz, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of tbeer40
4/5  rDev +1%

tbeer40, Mar 16, 2014
Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a wine glass. Back label stamped 05/27/11.

Appearance - Big white head with great retention. slightly hazy pale copper body.

Smell - Musky hop. Urine.

Taste - Moderate hop. Honey sweet malt. No off flavors.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied.

Overall Drinkability - Decent if completely forgettable middle-of-the-road pale ale.

ZenAgnostic, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of MichPaul
4.48/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A VERY nice Pale Ale! I usually am not a fan of Pales, but between this and Zombie Dust, I just might become one! Anyway, this Pale is outstanding as far as Pales go. A nice bitter taste and not the full, bready, malt that Pales usually seem to throw at you.
This pours out a tall head, with MUCH lacing. The aroma is also a nice citrus scent that is also inviting.
I am more of an IPA/Stout fan, but if I was to chose only a pale, so far this is one of my faves! (Although, I only think this is my 3rd pale so far...)

MichPaul, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of n00blar
4/5  rDev +1%

n00blar, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of DudMan
3.25/5  rDev -17.9%

DudMan, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of kguard
4/5  rDev +1%

kguard, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of Ricochet
3.23/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a red/amber red that looks more like an amber ale than a APA, little head and fizzes like soda. Smells standard. Hoppy grapefruit in a malt base. Mouth was average also, it has a little bitterness and a clean wash. Taste, this is a good APA, a little better than average but nothing special. Hops and malt are pronounced, fruity flavor is far back there. A strange "processed" aftertaste in the background, like the malt was milled too much?? Best way to describe it.

All in all, an average beverage from GL, prefer the Holy Moses or the darker beers.

Ricochet, Apr 26, 2007
Photo of dbc5
4/5  rDev +1%

dbc5, Jun 06, 2013
Photo of Tracker83
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Tracker83, Jun 26, 2012
Photo of ToddThompson
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

ToddThompson, Sep 23, 2013
Photo of scoobybrew
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a pint glass. It has a clear, light amber color with a decent head that settles quickly with modest retention. It has a nice strong, but gentle, hop aroma with the malt present, but in the background. The taste is a nice full hop flavor, but not too intense followed by a good hop finish. The bittering and flavoring hop combination is very well done. It has a medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is a good example of an American Pale Ale, strong on the hops, but not over-the-top, trying to be an IPA. I think it's a great session beer, albeit a bit strong alcohol-wise.

scoobybrew, Sep 24, 2006
Photo of spedprof
5/5  rDev +26.3%

spedprof, Dec 13, 2011
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,765 ratings.