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

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BA SCORE
89
very good
1,024 Reviews
Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,024
Ratings:
3,170
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
19.55%
 
 
Wants:
138
Gots:
573
For Trade:
4
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,024 | Ratings: 3,170
Photo of terrabyte
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

IThis poured a clear, pale brown color with a whitish, foamy head.

A citrus smell with a strong grapefruit presence.

Tasted like carbonated grapefruit juice. Plenty of pine hops, giving it that pleasant bitter aftertaste. I wish there was more in this beer to balance it out. Carbonated grapefruit juice.

Overall, this seemed a bit one dimensional.
Also, whenever I have this much grapefruit and pine in a beer, it's usually labeled an IPA.

 450 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

definitely more of an english style pale ale, with the dusty like malts and just light fruity cascade hops in the taste. pours a tiny bit amber in color, with a receding white head and inch tall. smells like a bass ale, and tastes similar, just a bit bigger hop flavor. mouthfeel brings it way down for me, weakly carbonated fading to nearly flat as it warms, not a quick finish at all, even a little brassy at the end. definitely not my favorite pale ale and definitely not my favorite great lakes brew, but a decent amalgamation of the english and american syles...

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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.
45°F

$9.99 / 6-pk.

A: Bright amber body topped with a big tight head of great retention that leaves behind moderate lacing and a thick creamy cover.

S: Subdued floral hop character and light caramel notes. Solid, but nothing special.

T: Bready malt backbone with a noticeable hop bitterness throughout. Resinous on the back end with a building bitter aftertaste.

M: Medium body and moderate carbonation. Not particularly crisp.

D: Light, highly sessionable brew, but pretty typical for the style. Nice neutral beer for any occasion.

O: This one will please the masses, but doesn't really stick out in my mind.

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Photo of Mikus
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Medium amber, little bit of white head, good carbonation in pint glass (12oz bottle). Mild nose, hint of pine and light floral notes. Slight taste of piney hops, bit muddled tasting overall, light on hops (enjoy by still has 5-6 weeks...), not too wild about the flavors (even a bit of wet cardboard in there). Maybe fresher, or on a summer day? Clean mouthfeel in general, gently lingering flavors (unfortunately some bit off), easy drinking. Overall ok, but FL can do a lot better! I'll have to try a fresher one sometime, maybe in a mixed 12 pack...

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Photo of claytri
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer poured golden with an off white head. The aroma was light malt with some fruitiness, and hops. The taste is a little bit of malt up front, a small rush of fruit, and then a big hit of hops leaving a bitter aftertaste. The feel is light and dry. A bit over hopped for my taste, I could do with more of the malt and fruit. A pretty typical hoppy pale ale.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into pint glass. Best by date: 9/12/07 (a little late).

A - Clear amber body with two-finger head that quickly shrunk to a thin, whispy rim that held on to the end. Very modest carbonation.

S - Hops are predominantly citrus with grapefruit being at the forefront. There is also some sweet caramel and bready malts present, but the nose is primarily citrus.

T - Sweet initial flavor with a lightly bitter finish that lingers for quite a while for a pale ale. Nothing spectacular. Mostly sweet malts and grapefruit.

M - Light body with modest carbonation and a creamy, though a tad watery, texture. Finish is a bit metallic and bitter.

D - Decent pale ale with a pretty long-lasting bitterness for the style. Just a bit watery on the palate, possibly due to the date being two months past its prime. Not overly complex - mostly caramel and bready malts with citrus hops. Still, it's tasty and drinkable.

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Photo of bort11
3.17/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to DuqTroops for this one.

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Not a whole lot of head here, only about a half inch at the most. Quickly recedes to a thin film. Color is a clear copper.
Smell is faintly sweet with a hint of bitterness in the back. Taste is predominantly malty and sweet up front, and the hops finishes out to give it some balance.
Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, which really adds to the drinkability. Goes down very smooth, I could session this easily

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Photo of LAp
3.18/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours an almost amber color, with a half-finger head that quickly recedes, leaving only a trace amount of lacing. Nose is relatively nondescript, almost floral or light fruits, with a sweet, malty undertone. On the palate, a base level of malt continues all the way through, from the slight hop outset to the mildly fruity finish. The beer has a malt aftertaste almost reminiscent of a cheap lager. It's been a year or so since the last time I had this beer, and not only is the label changed, but the beer tastes less hoppy than I recall. What I remember was a good but not great pale ale. What I taste now is thoroughly meh. Drinkable. Inoffensive. But nothing I'd buy again.

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Photo of cameraman
3.2/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A lite copper color, with an off white head that disappates very quickly. A slight scent of roasted barley, with a string citrus hop aroma at the end. The taste starts with the sweetness of the malt and then the hop flavor begins to dominate the taste. In the mouth it feels watery with a slight tingle from the carbonation. Even with the lite look and faint scents, the flavor was fairly good. The mouthfeel was surprisingly disappointing, but overal this is at best an average beer.

 484 characters

Photo of HeavyMetalBrew
3.2/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, some head. Golden color.

S: Grains/hay. Some hops.

T: Very grainy. Toasted notes. Citrus hops. Bitter finish.

M: Carbonated. Wet. Easy to drink.

Overall: This is an average beer with nothing special about it. Reminds me more of a pilsner than a pale ale. A decent beer.

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Photo of Ricochet
3.2/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

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Photo of aracauna
3.21/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The body is a metallic amber with a nice yellowish-white head that builds easily and lingers for a bit. The aroma is moderately hoppy and the flavor has a nice bit of caramel to supposed the bitterness. There’s just something about it that strikes me wrong. It’s not bad, but I’ve had APAs that I much prefer to this one. One of the few beers by Great Lakes that I don’t like for the style.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.21/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with fun label art and branded silver pry-off pressure cap acquired at Zipp's Liquor in Minneapolis, MN for $1.79 and served into a weissbier glass. Expectations are high given the brewery. Reviewed live. "A handcrafted pale ale." 6.0% ABV confirmed. Enjoy by: 11/13/13. Reviewed as a pale

Served cold - straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a four finger wide head of white colour and nice even consistency. Decent thickness, creaminess and frothiness. Retention is good - about 5-6 minutes. Even lacing coats the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent copper of average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's an appealing appearance and I'm eager to try it, but it's not unique or special. No egregious flaws.

Sm: Clean. Floral hops. Pale malts. Vague fruity hop character.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. A pleasant aroma of average strength.

T: Pale malt backbone is joined by a floral hop profile with hints of fruity hops.

Cohesive and enjoyable, but not gestalt, complex, subtle, or intricate.
Clean, without any real yeast character. No alcohol comes through.

Average depth, intensity, and duration of flavour.

Mf: Smooth, wet, well-carbonated, nicely thick, and medium-bodied. Suits the flavour profile well. Nice unobtrusive presence on the palate.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: Drinkable, but I hoped for better from Great Lakes. It's a quaffable pale ale but offers nothing memorable. Will get lost amist the plethora of superior beers in the style. I might get it again if I'm in the mood for a pale ale, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends. Certainly not world-class, but well above average.

High C+

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Photo of thagr81us
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured golden yellow with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet/skunky malt and wheat. The flavor was of skunky malt, wheat, and sweet malt. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this wasn't a bad brew, but it also wasn't that great either. The skunky aspect on this one hurt this brew overall. I would have loved for it to have a little hop character to help overcome some of the skunkiness going on here. Get rid of the skunk aspect and I would be willing to try again. Until then, not so much...

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Photo of david131
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A clear orange liquid with a few streams of carbonation making their way to the surface. The head is thin and splotchy and has decent retention. Looks about right for the style.

S- Caramel, flowers, and cut grass. A little on the mild side.

T- Sweet caramel, grass, light fruit, and a touch of steamed vegetables. Tastes a little homebrewed.

M- A nice carbonation bite accompanies the bitterness. Some of the flavors persist.

D- A decent beer that is drinkable, but just a bit forgettable. There is nothing wrong with this by any means, it will just get lost in the shuffle.

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Photo of Infamous7100
3.24/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This review comes from someone who is not a huge fan of pale ales, so take that for what's its worth.

A: A light amber color with about a finger and a half head. Lacing was minimal.
S: Some citrus and pine on first whiff. A little alcohol peeks through as well.
T: The citrus and grapefruit are apparent but not overwhelming. Bitterness is a factor, but not the defining factor.
M: Very crisp and clean, lager like. Bitterness fades rather quickly. Moderately carbonated.
D: For a pale ale, I would say this is highly partakable. Enjoy this as an introduction to the style and beyond.

 585 characters

Photo of djmichaelk
3.24/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a lowball glass (hey, it's all I had in the hotel room). Best by date area was blank -- looks like the bottler or printer missed it on this bottle.

A - Poured a slightly hazy amber-straw color, with a big, fluffy, two-finger head. Took several minutes to dry down to a thick cap, which left nice rings of lacing down the glass. Very pretty.

S - For a pale ale, it's okay. Very little in the way of hops, more maltiness than anything else. A bit of earthiness that doesn't necessarily benefit it.

T - More malt, with a fairly bitter backbone but missing the usual highlights from the hops. It has elements of toasted oats and cereal in the finish. Fairly dry, and as expected no detectable alcohol.

M - Fairly thick, coating the inside my my mouth and heavy on the tongue. Kind of creamy feel due to somewhat low carbonation. Sticky.

D - At 6%, it's not definitively sessionable, but seems light enough that I could go through a 6-pack if I liked the taste more.

O - It's not bad by any means, it just doesn't seem remarkable in any way to me for the most part. It's possible that I got an old bottle, since there was no date.

 1,150 characters

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.24/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i believe this bottle was from vwcraig. someone correct me if i'm wrong.

12oz bottle with best by date of 5/10/09. tasted in mid-april 2009

clear, pale golden amber. 2+ finger, off-white head, puffy and bubbly, fades to thin layer. some thin rings of lace, esp up top.

aroma: floral hopping with only hint of grass, and even less of pine and citrus. gives way to malty caramel and toffee, but does finish with more hints of piney resins.

taste: resinous and piney hop is moderate, but a bit one-noted in flavor, with moderate bitterness (again, resinous). light caramel malt, just a bit watered down though. metallic notes in the resinous finish.

not too thin, some resins into the finish, but getting astringent. lightly prickly carbonation.

still ok, but seems to be way past its prime, even though it was technically consumed before the "best by" date.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.26/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A clean copper colored beer. Has a big foamy beige head with some lace. There is a sweet malty cereal aroma with a creamed corn note in the background. A start of malty sweetness on the tongue followed a a light dry peppery hop finish. Easy drinking but I was put of by the corn note in the aroma.

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Photo of yesyouam
3.26/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Flour City Brewers' Fest 2008. Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale is a clear, slightly carbonated golden ale. The head is thick, foamy and off-white. It has great retention and leaves nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is a little muted by the head, but it's mostly fresh citrus, probably Cascade. It is medium bodied, a little starchy in the mouth and the finish is dry. It has pretty good balance, OK bitterness. There is a slight phenolic flavor. Not bad!
(rated Aug 17, 2008)

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Photo of largadeer
3.28/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pale amber, excellent clarity. An inch of head forms from an average pour and then slowly settles into a ring.

Smell: Caramel, breakfast rolls, very subtle citrus.

Taste & mouthfeel: Bready malts, lightly toasted, with subtle earthy/citrus hops. Not a lot of complexity, but I can't fault a pale ale too much for that. Body is about medium and carbonation is just right for the style. This is definitely on the malty and sweet side, which isn't my preference for the style, but it's not a bad brew by any stretch.

Notes: Big thanks to fiver29 for the awesome Great Lakes extras.

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Photo of musicforairports
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz best by 11 Jan 2011 from a 6-pack.

Pours amber in color. Very small head, no lacing despite a pretty vigorous pour. Head is gone quickly.

Smells like crystal malt and some nuttiness. No discernible hop presence.

Tastes like an amber ale. A nice, mildly nutty taste of caramel from the crystal malt, but I don't get much else. If this weren't dated (and I know Great Lakes dates this beer good only for a 3-month window) I'd think this was old or something, because there's only a hint of hops here, and not the citrusy kind mentioned on the label. If you told me this was brewed with a bit of Fuggles, I'd believe you. However, the flavor present is good: this would make a great amber ale, or perhaps a British Pale Ale.

Mouthfeel is medium.

This isn't hard to drink at all, and nothing here tastes bad. But I stopped to pick some Great Lakes up while out of town because they don't distribute where I live, and I was expecting a hoppy beer here. The other stuff I got from them (namely Edmund Fitzgerald) was great. But this doesn't taste like what it's billed as, and it's relatively fresh. I plan on heading to the Midwest next summer, where I will likely have this again. I hope my opinion changes once I have this from the source at GL.

 1,252 characters

Photo of Rudgers73
3.32/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured on tap in Pittsburg.

A- Amber-reddish clear. Fluffy thick head.

S- Very vegetabley and herbal. It kinda worried me when I smelled it because I really didn't think it was going to taste good at all.

T- Thick, malty, creamy and very buttery. All I could taste was the overwhelming biscuit taste. Really unique.

M- Thick and creamy rolled around like a ball of bread dough in your mouth. Warming and coating.

D- It was fun to try, but not really my taste.

 475 characters

Photo of Buebie
3.32/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of the bottle into the pub glass somwhat hard producing about an inch of tan head. Head falling back quickly and leaving a thin cap with even thicker collar. Slick thin streaks of lace.
Color is a darker copper orange.
Freshness date clearly marked on the lable, no bottle rub off.

Aroma is mostly malt, not too sweet though with mild hop at the nose.

Taste is a bit more dry then expected. Some mild malt, a bit of biscuity yeast flavors. Hops are much more pronounced in flavor through the middle. Lingering now after the swallow with a bit of melon rind, pine and mostly bitters.

I'm not overly impressed by this one. Flavor is there though, color and appearance are good. I think it stems to aroma and innability to taste much without the help of aroma. Still a good contender for the style, follows it well.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.32/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look - Copper color, clear in appearance
Smell - Sweet malts, floral, earthy, lemony, hints of spice
Taste - Follows the nose. Huge floral, lemon notes, earthy, spice, caramel malts

Overall - Nothing special at all about this pale ale.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,024 ratings.
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