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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,309 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2309
Reviews: 975
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.06%

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
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Ratings: 2,309 | Reviews: 975 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of PantherLightning


3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a one finger white with a hint of tan head. Color is a nice light caramel color. Smells light, buttery, biscuity.

On first sip, the beer has a smooth, almost sweet malty flavor that ends with a bit of a sudden hop bite on the finish. The hoppy finish leaves a nice floral taste on the pallet. Mouthfeel is extremely light and smooth.

This beer is very balanced and tame with not too much hop domination (not that it would necessarily be a bad thing). Some pale ales are borderline IPAs, but Burning River finds a good balance.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2010 04:00:50 | More by PantherLightning
Photo of BeerBuggy


3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured a one finger head and has a hoppy and citrusy smell. It is straw colored and the lacing doesn't stick around long. The taste is sweet with a bitter aftertaste. The lacing didnt stay for long. This does not taste as good to me as it did on draft. It is well carbonated. The best by date is almost two months from now.. It tastes cloying to me . There is a bit of citrus taste as well which I am personally not fond of though oddly works well in the aroma for me. Tastes as hoppy as an IPA to me. More then I bargained for. The mouth feel is a moderately dextrinous. The label and concept are cool but again...this does not seem even nearly as good as the Burning River draft I had this past week. I don't think I'll drink this again. Could I have gotten hold of a mediocre batch? I cleaned my glass out and tried another thinking maybee residue was effecting the taste but same result. Only difference is now I'm slightly buzzed.
Post note: next day straight pore gave me a much better head and it lasted a long time.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 01:21:21 | More by BeerBuggy
Photo of 5lat5ive

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2012 00:19:55 | More by 5lat5ive
Photo of JohnF


4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 21:14:29 | More by JohnF
Photo of OhioBulldog


4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearence is golden orange color with a nice light tan head.Nice lacing all around my pint glass.

Aroma gives off a good citrusy hops and some sweeter floral scents

Taste - Wow. First off I catch hops, very piney and citrusy. The malts come in next to give a great balence to the hops, and the finish is very smooth and refreshing, leaving me wanted for more.

This ale is very well balenced, perfect amout of hops, one of the better pale ales ive had, I commend GLBC on a fantastic job.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2004 20:44:03 | More by OhioBulldog
Photo of jgirotto

New York

3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Light caramel pour with light carbonation.
S: Citrus and bitter
T: This is a good IPA. Bitter aftertaste. Citrus flavors here as well
F: Just enough carbonation. Keeps it from being too smooth or watery.

Overall, I prefer the dogfish head 90 IPA - that is my go to IPA. this seems still to have too much bite. But, I am not an IPA fan generally. This is a solid middle of the road for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2011 21:31:51 | More by jgirotto
Photo of MuchoCerveza


3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really enjoyed the Burning River APA, but I could have gone for more hops. The smell was nice and not overpowering and really set you up for what you were about to taste. The appearance was nice, looked like an Amber Ale but a little lighter and didn't leave a whole lot of residual head.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2012 17:36:39 | More by MuchoCerveza
Photo of PaulW


4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drink this all the time because its my favorite style and I'm favorably biased towards GLBC. The nice thing about GLBC Burning River is I can get it anywhere: from the gas station, from the grocery store, from the brewery. I'll try to put my bias on hold and compare to other APAs and IPAs I've enjoyed. I just purchased 6 from the local grocery store, we're a few weeks past the due date but I know it doesn't matter with this heavily hopped brew.

Look: I've probably tipped over 100 of these and they always pour the same: hazy gold with a few inches of foam on top. It settles into a whipped cream, you'll wait a few minutes until you can pour all 12 ozs into your pint glass. It will lace the glass like a good pale ale should.

Smell: Hops with some maltiness in the background. I think the hops are up front. Simply hopped yet strongly hopped.

Taste: Balanced is their trademark. This is not a challenging beer. Its a simple balance of hops and malt. You'll taste hints of grapefruit balanced with simple malt flavoring, perhaps a bit sweet.

Mouthfeel: I think its a working-mans's beer which means you have plenty of carbonation. It covers the palette with plenty of taste as described. The aftertaste is a tad bitter.

Drinkability: You can have more than one. Great after mowing the lawn. Its thirst quenching. This is beer. In my opinion, this should be GLBC's flagship instead of the Dortmunder. But then again, I'm biased towards this style.

Many beer drinkers do not enjoy the highly hopped IPAs and DIPA. This beer strikes a good balance between styles. This is something all should strive for.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2009 21:47:08 | More by PaulW
Photo of cdflem

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Nice pinky-width light tan head over a strong copper color with yellow edges. Maybe a little cloudy. Thin lacing goes as I drink it.

S: Nice hoppy smell, with some faint citrus and pine.

T: Hop flavor with a bit of toasted malts at the finish, but more of the hop flavor. Can get a little of the citrus flavor.

MF: Very smooth with a bit of sting from the carbonation, but it balances well.

D: A beer I could drink everyday, but I'm partial to pale ales. Really nice offering from Great Lakes.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2008 01:28:20 | More by cdflem
Photo of ryanblinkbrand


4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

What can I say?? This beer is excellent. It has become my favorite beer of all time.

Appearance - Amber colored. Good head to it.

Smell - Great smell. You can smell the malt.

Taste - Love the hoppyness of this beer, yet goes down so good. It has bitterness and bite but has something of a citrus taste that makes it go down great.

Drinkability - could drink a six pack of these no problem. With a 6.0% easy to do.

Notes- This has become my favorite beer. It is from Great Lakes Brewing Company which is out of Cleveland Ohio. I live in Toledo, Ohio so Great Lakes Beers are abundant. They have yet to dissapoint me. Any that can't get to them let me know and i can help you out.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2010 03:43:05 | More by ryanblinkbrand
Photo of jammapamma

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

aroma- pretty much all cascade hops

taste- firm, but not excessive bitterness, which gives way to a little biscuit malt notes, then fades into a slick finish (not a lot of flavor hopping), then finishes with some nice cascade (I assume) hop lingering on the palate. The main thing that surprised me here was the malt profile is very, very much in the background. there is not a tremendous amount of hops, just not much in the way of caramel malts that I'm used to in APAs.

mouthfeel- I have to say a little light on the malt side, kind of slick. Still decent mouthfeel, but by far the worst part of this beer is the mouthfeel.

All in all, I could easily see going through a six pack of this in a day, which says it's better than most pale ales.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2010 23:34:17 | More by jammapamma
Photo of chillwinston


4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle this pours with little head but a fragrant aroma. Light amber color. Hops, citrus and pine (maybe from the Cascadian hops) are the dominate flavors, in that order. It also doesn't seem to impart the dry mouth feel that many pale ales do. Overall, one of my favorite pale ales.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 00:19:42 | More by chillwinston
Photo of lukekruse1


4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes Burning River is widely available in Northeast Ohio and a part of Great Lakes Flagship lineup.

A - Amber red with decent head retention.

S - Hops but they don't jump out at you. Some citrus and pine.

T - This is not a "hop bomb" pale ale but is perfect for those who appreciate restraint in their Pale Ales. Starts with some malt flavors but finishes with a hop bite.

M - Good carbonation and excellent going down. Finishes clean.

D - High. This is a go to session Pale Ale with a moderate ABV and is great anytime of year.

Overall another fantastic beer by GLBC. Not necessarily a head turner but a superbly crafted brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 02:21:19 | More by lukekruse1
Photo of KoolWhp


4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm gonna go ahead and say it: this is my favorite beer. I think I've gotten a bit spoiled living in Cleveland, where every bar (even the lame-ass ones) carries this on tap. It is hoppy as hell, but drinkability is still totally exceptional. The rare beer that's perfect for every season -- warming enough for a cold winter day like today, and still gets the job done in the middle of the dog days of summer.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 15:50:06 | More by KoolWhp
Photo of ClevelandKidO

4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Its hard to find things that are great in the mistake on the lake. Great Lakes Brewery is the one few things Cleveland has to be proud of.
Burning River is a fantastic Pale Ale, on tap or from a bottle, buying a 12 packs will not disappoint.
It Has a tinted orange presentation, with a delightfully caramel, natural honey type taste. There also is a nice floral hint to it, with an almost transparent citrus like flavor.
It goes really well with mexican food, and highly recommend you try it with with fresh bowl of guacamole and chips.
Although Clevelands last championship in sports was in the 60's, Great Lakes Brewery remains a winner every year, with its fantastic freshness and terrific beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-03-2012 01:44:07 | More by ClevelandKidO
Photo of tmq204

New York

4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber honey with a very small head, a little lacing. Smelling some fruity hops, a bit of strawberry. Maybe some anise? Can I go there? Tastes a great mix of hop bitterness and a bready toasted malt. Nice smooth finish, a bit of alcohol there but no burn. The mouthfeel is just the right amount of carbonation, medium-body.

Overall, this is a great Pale Ale, buy one!


Serving type: bottle

09-02-2012 23:45:14 | More by tmq204
Photo of TripleTap


4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle 5 days after its best before date. Tasted quite fresh, though.

It poured with a 1" head that retained nicely. It was a deep golden color. pretty clear.

Aromas of caramel with hints of citrus and a nice malty smell.

This tastes more like an IPA. It is smooth and the malt character comes thru nicely. Giving way to those cascade hops. It finishes dry and crisp. I think this is a very balanced pale ale.

This is a great example of the type. It will be one of my goto brews. It is very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2010 01:56:41 | More by TripleTap
Photo of granger


4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burning River is a pale ale that has a one finger head with average carbonation following the pour. It has a bronze color, slightly deeper than the Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold. This beer has a strong citrus and hoppy smell that is consistent with the taste. As you taste, the crisp bitterness of the hops will stick around. Recommended to anyone who enjoys pale ales.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2013 01:29:13 | More by granger
Photo of ischoz


3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Great pale ale. It has some bite to it. This a good beer to start your journey into craft beer. If you are looking for the bridge from the big three, give this a try. Its not too aggressive and it tastes clean and smooth. Another great offering from Great lakes.

This is the beer that pulled me away from not only the big brands, but also the lower end craft beers. I have not had it for a few months, I've moved onto IPAs but I'm sure I will visit this again in the future.


Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 02:56:07 | More by ischoz
Photo of sundevilstudent


4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden/squash color with a thin head. Lacing is surprisingly persistent. The smell is well balanced between the sweet malty notes and the punch of hops. The taste is silky smooth, especially for a pale ale. The slightly bitter, hop heavy, finish remains in your mouth for quite a while. The finish is a great counter to the exceptionally well balanced taste of the beer as you first drink it. The hops are never overpowering and, instead, work well with the malt and yeast notes to make an exceptionally drinkable beer. Very smooth, I could easily drink a lot of these in the course of a night. Great beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2008 00:04:08 | More by sundevilstudent
Photo of TheDantMan


3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear amber body with a two-finger, off-white head that retains well. A small lace ring at the top with a few dribbles of lace down the sides of the pint glass.

S: Mild with a citrisy-sweet feel.

T: More sweet than I like but certainly not too sweet. Bitterness is very mild.

M: Light-medium bodied. I like IPA's so this is lacking to me but with good flavor.

O: Good, not great

Serving type: bottle poured into a pint glass

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2011 01:01:31 | More by TheDantMan
Photo of orourkebr


4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is not very much like most pale ales, but it is oh so good. Plenty of nice hop bitterness to it, but the roasty malt in this is what makes me love this beer. The two balance each other out to create a really really strong pale ale that is perfect for Ohio.

This beer is an absolute pleasure to drink, and at 6%, is somewhat of a session beer, so I could drink it all day long.

If you don't get Great Lakes you should definitely do a trade to get this. It's an American Pale Ale at its best, and tastes totally unique at the same time.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2011 04:19:40 | More by orourkebr
Photo of pjmitch


4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had the opportunity to purchase this pale ale a number of times in the last few years. I really enjoyed a couple of pints last weekend at Yardhouse in Glenview, IL . Give it a try if you like an easily drinkable but flavorful ale. I was a Bass Ale guy for my take-home brand but the new product they make in New York does not taste like the original pale ale from England. I'm looking for a replacement...any recommendations?

Serving type: on-tap

10-10-2012 02:53:08 | More by pjmitch
Photo of jkempton


4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a mug.

Had a nice Orange Brown appearance. Very nice head.

It has a citrus aroma.

Nice on the pallete with a good mix of malt and hops. Very Nice.

Will be a beer I will frequently consume. I reccomend it highly.

I pair it with some Pasta with a marinara sauce. Nice match.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2010 17:41:33 | More by jkempton
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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 2,309 ratings.