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.
very good

2,805 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,805
Reviews: 995
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 105
Gots: 262 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,805 | Reviews: 995 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zbodnar1
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of jcalabre
3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

re-rate 30 Aug 2003: The finish on this bottle was much better than the one I previously drank. It was far more malty. The beer was better balanced and I enjoyed it more.

up front hops w/ a slightly sour finish. a nice American Pale Ale, but nothing spectacular

Originally sampled 10 November 2002. I am writing this review from my notes. Burning River is a nice example of an American Pale Ale. The upfront flavors are hoppy. This brew finishes with a slightly flavor. The color of the beer is golden/amber. This is a good session beer.

Photo of matty
2/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Light gold colored beer with a rapidly fading head.Aroma is pine.Taste is grapefruit,pine and hops.This is just another one of those beers that have Pinesol written all over it.I was always under the impression that pine was a scent not a flavor.This is not good to drink but I'm sure it does a hell of a job cleaning floors.

Photo of Slynger
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, fiery, light orange / amber color with a fuzzy white head that leaves excellent lacing. The nose is earthy-citrus hops with a biscuit and caramel malt backbone. The taste is sweet caramel malts upfront, with solid biscuit malts backing them up. The hops contribute some lemony citrus flavors, and an earthy pine bitter finish that lingers. The body is light to medium with a fresh, incredible, light oily-smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

This is one of the best APA's I've had. Great Lakes never ceases to impress me. While they don't really have much in the line of beers leaning towards the extreme side of the spectrum, they will always rank in my top 5 breweries by ceaselessly producing great tasting beer that has amazing clarity, balance, and mouthfeel. Another one well done.

Photo of beerme626
4.48/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 1/2 finger head on top of a gold-amber brew. Head dissipated quickly, but with a light cover of white the whole time.
S: Amazing.
T: Hoppy, but in the best way possible, with a slight alcohol flame for fun.
M: Full, tingles the mouth long after the sip.
O: Absolutely wonderful. A great pale ale; easily the best in my limited experience of five or so good ones

Great Lakes with another win.

Photo of Dirty25
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of mdwalsh
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, golden reddish body. 1.5 finger white head. No active carb, no lacing.

S: Hay, sweetness. No malt, not strong

T: Bitter at first, but sweet. Hoppy aftertaste. Not strong at all.

M: Heavy for its color. Not great, slightly over carbed it feels.

D: Ok, if you like IPAs, but still not great. If not, then not even OK

Photo of Dank26
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of pottergator
4/5  rDev +1%

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...)

Photo of Tracker83
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of Schmuckles
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of DoctorDog
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a nonic. "For freshest taste, enjoy by 03/17/09" stamped on side of label.

A- Clear amber. Pours with ~1 finger of off white head, which fades gradually to a thin cap, leaving ample lacing as consumed.

S- Subdued grapefruit/floral hops, with a solid bready/malty presence.

T- Slightly spicy grapefruit/citrus hoppiness, with a very solid malt backbone. Bitterness is moderate.

M- Very crisp, with quite active carbonation. Goes down smooth.

D- Excellent. Tasty smooth drinker with a moderate ABV. Seems like a very sessionable brew.

Future outlook: Great Lakes seems to make consistently solid products, and are readily available for me, so I anticipate getting this again.

Photo of kguard
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of nineworldseries
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Mark5252
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of qcghost
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of stoutman
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasty Pale Ale with a mild hop aftertaste. Wonderful palate and flavor. Definitely an ale drinkers ale.

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange hue, thin, soapy head, decent lacing. Citrus and floral hops on the nose, some maltiness also. A definitive hops dominated body, crisp, fresh fruit flavoring, mainly grapefruit and orange peel, some malty backbone. Medium bodied, clean, tasty, world class as to be expected from the Great Lakes team.

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.

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.

Photo of spedprof
5/5  rDev +26.3%

Photo of Tyecko
4/5  rDev +1%

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.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,805 ratings.