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

very good
1,030 Reviews
Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-06-2001

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Reviews: 1,030 | Ratings: 3,211
Photo of burnonethird
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I absolutely love this beer. If you are ever in Cleveland stop in at the Brewery. Food is great and so is the beer. This beer is naturally carbonated. Makes all the difference. Everything is brewery does, is great to perfect. I think Im in love... lol

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Photo of canoehornpoint
4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorites. Pours a beautiful orange/amber with a thick head and moderate carbonation. This has a nice fruity, malty sweet aroma. The hop flavor is a combination of fruitiness and citrus flavor. The bittering hops tame the malt but not in excess. The beer finishes fairly full but is not filling and is extremely drinkable.

To make this perfect, a bit more citrus than fruitiness would be nice but I wouldn't change this too much.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this bottle from tburkhart.

Poured into pint glass. Pours a brilliant yellow-orange with a one finger white head. Lacing is great, lasts the entire time.

Wow, is this a great pale ale. My favorite by far. It has a nice spicy hope taste up front, but it's very mellow. Malt sweetness is there, but makes a nice balance.

I wish this beer were more readily available here in Texas. I might have to make some trades to get more of this in the future.

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Photo of bobsy
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Burning River pours a rich, deep gold, with a finger of smooth white head. As with all beers from this brewery, retention and lacing is fantastic. The aroma shouts out balance. While there's a large dose of grapefruit, its more than adequately counted by a deep biscuit malt base. Floral and leafy notes elevate things to the next level.

The flavour is relatively simple, but proves that sometimes all you need to do to be exceptional is do simple very well. Sweet grapefruit and tangerine hops add a rich vibrancy to a caramel and biscuit base. Slightly sweet, with a moderate bitterness and a dry, lightly warming finish. I think one of the factors that really pushes Great Lakes over the top is their slightly fuller than normal mouthfeel. A lot of pale ales err towards medium-light, but this one is firmly medium and this certainly helps to bulk up the flavour.

Great Lakes have yet to let me down, and this streak continues. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that they may well be my favourite brewery at this moment in time. To be so consistently excellent over such a diverse array of styles is simply staggering. Burning River Pale Ale is probably one of the best, if not the best, beers I've had in this category. Its drinkability is through the roof, and this is the sort of brew that I'd love to have a permanent supply of should I ever have the fortune to be stranded on a desert island and not be stuck in cold and snowy Toronto.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an amber orange color with a white head. Plenty of hops and more hops, What can I say, I love it. This is a great example of a great style of beer, enough malt to balance things, but alot of hops. Another great beer from Great Lakes Brewing Company.

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Photo of adammills
4.79/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I may have discovered my favorite pale ale.

It pours a faint copper almost bordering on amber. The head disapated a bit quickly, but my pint glass is not beer clean either, so a bit of a pass on that.

There is a tremendous hop aroma, quite citrusy and floral. WOW!

This is a beer that is very well balanced. Great round hop impression. Solid bitterness that is carried by the malt. Great hop flavor that really closes out each sip enticing another as a result.

A great drinking beer. I cant believe it is so big almost an IPA. I love it.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served on tap in a pint glass.

Appearance: Darker amber with a thin white head. Heavy lacing on the glass.

Smell: Light hops with a hint of cloves and citrus.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of bitter hops and mild clove and citrus.

Overall: Excellent brew! Great flavors and very enjoyable.

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Photo of spokeydonkey
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Dark copper, clear. Moderate white head.

S - Floral and piney hops in the nose. Some caramel malt notes.

T - Well-hopped. A lot of flavor and aroma hops without overwhelming bitterness. Malt sweetness balanced with floral hop notes up front. Fades to caramel/biscuit notes with some lingering bitterness. Exceptionally balanced to showcase the flavor hops.

M - Good body on this beer. It's a bit chewy, which goes well with this strong pale ale, and stands up to the hops. Starts off heavier and sweeter, but finishes dry.

D - Very drinkable. Well-balanced and shows off the hops nicely, but with enough malt behind it to give it some meat on its bones. Definitely straddling the IPA/pale ale line, but it's got a bit more backbone and less bitterness than I find in most IPAs.

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Photo of brentk56
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours out a clear light amber color with a nice head that sticks and laces well

Smell: Biscuity, with a generous dose of floral hop leaf aroma

Taste: Starts out with a biscuity malt base which starts to pick up some grapefruit pith as the hops kick in by mid-palate; the finish is fruity and bitter with a good hop presence and a touch of alcoholic warming

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation; crisp

Drinkability: This is one great APA and is up there with Three Floyds as one of my favorite examples of the style

Thanks, vwcraig, for the opportunity to re-visit

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Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy amber color, with fizzy head that contains lots of small bubbles. Heavy flora hop aroma, even from a distance, the sent of cascade hop shines through. Medium body, which is full of hop. Starts very floral, then moves to a nice bitterness and then the bitterness slowly fades away. A very well overall hopped session beer.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I brought a six pack of this to a poker game (revisiting an old favorite pale ale that I haven't tried in years). The beer was medium copper colored with a nearly white wet foam. The smell is toasted malts and citrusy hops, maybe even a hint of what passes for wheat (but I'm pretty sure there's no wheat in this beer). The beer tastes ridiculous, as delicious as a pale ale gets. Very good balance of malt and hops and very tasty versions of both. Toasted malts, biscuit, malt sweetness, light citrus fruit from the hops, so good. Medium body and presence like all good pale ales, very very drinkable. I drank more than I intended to in a short period of time but enjoyed it.

Why did I take so long to come back to this beer, one of my original favorites from the state of Ohio? I'm going to make this my summer beer this year, along with Alpha King.

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Photo of tlazaroff
4.76/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Perfectly clear golden straw color with visible carbonation forming a crisp white head.
S: Big pineapple notes here. I get tropical fruits abundant. Slight bread/grain notes back up this hop-packed APA.
T: Upfront the hops shine, big floral and fruit notes but it isn't too bitter which gives it a strong malt base to work off. This is a very well balanced beer.
M: Perfectly carbonated, medium bodied, and it coats the palate without being sticky or thick.
D: I could drink this all day long, this is in my top 5 favorite APAs.

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Photo of rabsten
4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass, amber with good carbonation. Tan head with solid lacing.

Smell is a citrusy hop, with faint barley undertones. It sets the drinker up for the flavor.

Taste. MMM. The barley presence is more towards the grain side rather than the malt side. It gives a beautiful floor for the hops to dance on. And boy, do they dance. Citrus, Pine and Lavender all show up to foxtrot across the palate. Makes for a good mouthfeel too.

Drinkabilty is superb. I now try to limit myself to getting this in bars. Why? Because, if I take a six home, I drink them all in a couple of hours.

Bottom line, it's neck-and-neck with SNPA. I still give the APA edge to Sierra Nevada, with Great Lakes' Edmund Fitzgerald a slight favorite over SN Porter. You will not go wrong with this beer.

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Photo of ADR
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewery/pub...

Very clear amber, refuge head of an 1/8 of an inch of yellow skim. Cascadey-hop aroma. Nice and very solid grapefruit pith flavors early and to the finish, but with an excellent honey and caramel counterbalance. Some sense of light fruit as well. "Out there" but excellent flavor for an APA. This brew is first rate in balance, boldness, and drinkability. Would be my "house" beer if I lived in Cleveland -- a chewy and close match to Summit Extra Pale Ale on tap.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer is a beauty from the tap.

While I was rather unamused by this beer the first time around, on-tap this beer captivates me.

Sturdy in its strength, but not overwhelming for a session GLBC's Burning River is to me the perfect everyday beer. Its malty, creamy for its style, but still hop-burp inducingly citric.

The bitterness here is high, the flavor, even more pronounced. Maybe the first beer I could see fitting a malt and a hop-head.

It has dropped SNPA from its personal place as best 'all around' Pale. I want this put on at my house.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a pint glass

A: pours a slightly hazy golden amber color with a nice amount of head that disappears quickly, leaves a nice amount of lacing

S: nice hoppiness and citrus character

T: great tasting brew, really loved it, nice hop character, slight citrus note, I don't know what it is but there is some depth to it I can't explain

D/M: slight carbonation tingle, very smooth on the pallet, a very easy drinking brew, one of the best pale ales I've ever had

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Photo of KoolWhp
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
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.

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Photo of TechMyst
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

FRESH: by 12-17; cons.10-28
COST: $8.50/sixer
HEAD: 1/2" foamy disapating
LACE: slight rings
REFLECTED- beautiful dark copper
AROMA: Pine/floral hop (balanced)
MOUTHFEEL: med; soft cond.
PALATE: slick/resinous
TASTE: hops are balanced; good bitterness
COMMENTS: Most flavorfull PA; soapy undertone. Best PA imo

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Photo of Brew33
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer numerous times on draft and in bottles.

This is the what a Pale Ale should be. Excellent beer. Incredibly well balanced. It smells sweet and hoppy. The taste is marvelous soooo well balanced. The hops are very prominent but there is a smooth malt character as well. Exceptional beer. Very easy to drink,

I can't say enough about this wonderful brew from Great Lakes, they continue to make wonderful craft beers and this is their flagship. Enjoy!

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Photo of alkemy
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the American Pale Ale that is my measuring stick for all other beers of this style. The pour is a copper amber with an off white head that always sticks to the glass. Big floral hops with some pine and hints of vanilla and grapefruit for me. Hops are boss when it comes to taste. Not overpowering like a DIPA or even an IPA, but this is the focal point. You get some caramel breadiness mixed in, but this has a great dry finish. I could go on and on about this beer, but in my opinion, it's the best I've had of the style.

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Photo of epiinephriine
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A solid APA; good hop flavor on the back of the pallet, which is not too overpowering, though strong enough to fool you into thinking it might be an IPA. Has a multitude of spices for smell and taste, as well as a hint of caramel. It has a decent mouth feel, and is certainly not light or watery. It reminds me a bit of Stone's Ruination, though certainly milder. This beer is fantastic on its own but do not drink with pasta!

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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 JustinMatthew
4.66/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Great Lakes Burning River pours a crystal clear golden-orange color with a large white head. Smells sweet and citrusy thanks to the cascades. Hop taste through and through.. Similar to the nose (sweet and citrusy) with a bit more of a punch and a decent hoppy bitterness on the end. Hoppy sweetness and bitterness lingers in the aftertaste begging for another sip. This is one of my top 5 APA's if you haven't had it. Get it!

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Photo of jkempton
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

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Photo of xare
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance is lovely, perfect sized head for an APA and very nice golden color that's a bit more on the caramel side than the yellow side. Even laces and streaks on the sides of the glass.

Smell is of fresh hops and blended so well that I can't wait to dive into the bottle or draft - I've had this both ways and there is almost no difference between on-tap and bottles. That's how good this brew is.

Taste is excellent and just bitter enough to give you a taste of the hops while keeping you wanting more. I think it actually tastes better than Sierra Nevada by far.

Mouthfeel is outstanding. Virtually no aftertaste and is actually very smooth and creamy. Can't get better than that.

Drinkability is outstanding. I have to remind myself to pace myself. Excellent as an one-of or as a session beer. This is a permanent part of my rotation and I try to have it at least every other week at a minimum.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 3,211 ratings.
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