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

BA SCORE
89
very good
1,028 Reviews
Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale
BEER INFO

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

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:
1,028
Ratings:
3,201
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
11.03%
 
 
Wants:
140
Gots:
602
For Trade:
4
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,028 | Ratings: 3,201
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Some of us are old enough (barely) to remember that fateful summer day in '69 when the Cuyahoga River caught fire. Cleveland has really come a long way since then. It's a great town!

Not quite clear orange-amber with fine carbonation and a firm, French vanilla colored lid that has good staying power and leaves abundant lace. The aroma is bright and hoppy, smelling primarily of lemon and grapefruit zest. The flavor is well-hopped with a lovely bitterness. Again, grapefruit peel (Cascade?) is dominant.

Burning River isn't overly complex, but it's a more than solid, straightforward, high-quality pale ale. The finish is austere, with more than a hint of dryness. The mouthfeel is medium for the style. I could drink this beer all day and all night.

A couple of thoughts. GLBC seems to be incapable of brewing anything but outstanding beer across a wide range of styles. After sampling three of their offerings, I'm convinced that they have absolutely nailed down head/lace and carbonation/mouthfeel. Lastly, this bottle had a 'best by' date of Sept. 18, '03, a full 3 months before I purchased it and 3+ months before this review. I detected no problems whatsoever.

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Photo of russpowell
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this one from pwoods, Cheers Patrick!

Pours amber with a pinky of rapidly falling beige head. Some head retention & lacing

S: Nice orange peel & lemon, with biscuitty malt in the background

T: Follows the nose with nice crispness up front. Biscuitty malt & some crackery notes, comes to the fore as this warms, along with lemons, a bit of grapefruit & dryness. Finishes with a whisper of booze, hops crispness & very nice biscuitty malt, almost pulled a 5.0

MF: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation& great balance!

Very easy to drink, super APA or AIPA, well done Great lakes!

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a 8oz hote water glass, but heck at least it was a glass right?

A - Poured a very nice and deep dark amber with lots of carbonation visible coming up from the bottom of the glass. There was not really much of a head here, rather just a thin film of foam lace covering the top and a tiny bit of side glass lace down the sides. Overall fairly average look for me.

S - The aroma was rather nice. An English IPA type of smell that was muc sweeter then your average british version. Instead of having the huge amounts of floral and citrus hops, this was much more earthy with a a nice grainy and grassy dominance that had a touch of bitter in it towards the end. This was rahter nice and had a good bread like malty back bone coming though in it as well

T - The flavor to was very nice especially for an English IPA. There started out a very nice grainy and grassy like hoppiness that was very dominant even from the beginning. This evolded nicely into a finely grained and bread like base that really pushed the envelope as far as hop much malt could go into this one while still keeping it true to its IPA roots. This then showed a touch of sweetness, almost caramel like, but more toned down then that. The finish was strong with dominant bitter Ero like hops draing out the finish and really drying everything out waiting for you to take the next sip from it.

M - Very nice medium bodied IPA. To be honest I was quite impressed with this one and it really seemed to make a nice little addition to the Great Lakes Brews I have been trying as of late. Rich and almost creamy like in the feel the crbonation held up great throughout the entire session and really have nothing bad to say about this one here.

D - A really nice and different session beer for me here. I normally like the deep citrus bomb for my session ale, however this was quite different and really thoroughly enjoyed every last drop. I could really see this one as a classic session ale if I lived around here. It was really quite tight profile was and had little ABV which made it just about perfect.

Overall this was a pretty damn fine ale. Stayong up here in Ohio for a few days I am getting to try all these nice Midwest brews and this is one I would be glad to try again. A quality ale I will be sure to pick up more of the next time I am around.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked this up at Wegmans, enjoyed chilled from a pint glass.

The color is dark copper with off white head which leaves confetti lace and has great clarity with visible carbonation. Retention is good and bead is very fine. The smell is very fragrant of hops with a mild pine accent and very gentle fruity yeast scent. The feel is good with moderate bitterness and carbonation level with mild sweetness and light alcohol tinge with a mostly dry finish.

The flavor is a very good mix of malts with more of a German toasted perhaps vienna flavor with mild herbal and pine hop flavors following with some mild orange rind accents. The flavor of malt is pretty well balanced with the hops with a generally clean yeast taste very nice dry finish with no alcohol in the taste to speak of. Overall this is a different take on the pale style, with more german type munich toastiness and more herbal/noble type flavor than straight citrus, but it is very drinkable and well worth repeat tastes

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Photo of billab914
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz into my Perfect pint Glass. Poured a nice amber color with a foamy white head that dissipates into a fine film that clings to the edges.

Aroma shows notes of some nice citrus from the Cascade hops and a sweet fruitiness from the malts. Taste is hoppy with some sweet fruity flavors that are very good. Nice mouthfeel and drinkability.

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Photo of Jason
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz brown with a drink before date clearly marked.

Appearance: Tarnished amber with a well formed head which clings all over the glass.

Smell: Caramel maltiness with a big floral hoppiness in the nose.

Taste: Crisp and medium bodied yet dries to the puckering point in the finish. Aggressive and sharp hop bitterness dominates the front with some notes of citrus on top. The bitterness pretty much tags along into the finish though there is a decent amount of malt character to add a depth to this brew. Underlying caramel and biscuit flavours come though middle to end which adds to this brews greatness.

Notes: Its funny, some breweries don't even brew their IPA this hoppy and/or strong. A BIG Pale Ale here with a great finish ... very impressive, one of the top pale ales I have tasted in a while.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeff for this one.

A: The beer pours a clear amber color with a finger of white head on top.

S: Slightly sweet aroma with a little bit of toast and bread character. There isn't too much of a hop profile to it, but there is a bit of citrus peel and grass. A light caramel aroma which gives it a slight creaminess.

T: A similar story on the palate. Sweet bread, toffee, and pale, cracker malts. A light floral and grassy hop flavor along with a soft hop bitterness. Creamy caramel notes on the finish with just a touch of orange peel.

M: On the light side of medium in body with a medium carbonation.

O: While this is a drinkable beer, it isn't up there with the better pale ales that I've had.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Back during my Boilermaker years, my boyz and I believed that if the Wabash ever had a cigarette thrown it, it would explode into an inferno that would make Lucifer consider relocating. This has no real importance, but this beer tends to bring that memory bubbling to the surface. (Seriously, don't swim in the Wabash.) It pours a clear copper topped by a tall bit of thick, light ecru froth, which leaves some decent lacing behind as it subsides. The nose is pretty unspectacular, with notes of caramel, maple syrup, and a light touch of hops (not citrus, not floral, just hops in general). The taste comprises a slight bit o' citrus, some bitterness, and a solidly bready caramel backbone. The body is a light medium, with light carbonation and a crisp finish. Not bad, though I wish the smell were a little better.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sometimes wonder what takes me so long in reviewing a beer. By ticking this one, I will have reviewed 10 of the 12 most-reviewed APAs and it is not like this one is some obscure offering that I had to trade for. Hell, in college at Pitt, I would often use this beer as a Saturday (ahem!) morning warm-up prior to tailgating and home games. Speaking of Pittsburgh: Number of rivers in Pittsburgh = 3. Number of rivers in Pittsburgh that have caught fire = 0.

From the bottle: "What do you do when your river catches fire from excessive pollution? Clean it up and throw a hoppin' party! Our annual Burning River Fest is the premier environmental education and music festival celebrating clean water and other eco-initiatives across the Great Lakes region."; "World Champion Gold Medal Winner World Beer Championships"; "Named after the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River, our American Pale Ale combines a citrusy Cascade hops flavor with a fruity assertiveness."; "In keeping with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, this beer is traditionally brewed from all natural ingredients: barley, hops, yeast and water. No chemicals or preservatives are used."

Man and boy, I would just love to take some potshots at Kleveland (backwards "K") in this review, but I frankly love GLBC and their beers! In August 2008, I hit it just right to attend their Brewer's Dinner and their Brewery Tour on consecutive nights. Their brewers know me, their reps know me, I wear a couple of their wristbands, so how can I diss them now? OK, not now, but I reserve the right to hate on Kleveland at will.

I got a lovely two fingers of eggshell-white head with good retention off of my pour. Color was a classic shade of deep-amber with NE-quality clarity and should be the standard for Lovibond in the style. Nose reminded me of just how fresh this was, courtesy of Sunday's visit to The Fridge. The grapefruit scent cut right through my burgeoning sinus headache and made my eyes pop. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was about as perfectly balanced between hops and malt as I have experienced for a while. You listening, Lazy Magnolia, with your overly hopped Deep South P.A.? Finish was semi-dry as compared to AIPAs which are my go-to, but perhaps dry when compared to others in the style. I am not a style maven, but I know what I like. I like this beer. My name is Woody Chandler and I approve this message.

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Photo of stakem
3.37/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into pint. The brew appears a clear copper color with a slight off-white cap. Some stringy lace sticks to the wall of the glass.

The aromas is strikingly similar to a strong tea than beer.Ffaintly herbal and a little mineral filled. Some slight fruity alcohol emits as it is swirled.

The flavor is also tea-like and astringent like strong tea with a bitterness that creeps in slightly herbal. A bready grain backing is also present to contrast.

This is a light bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is an ok offering but I really dont think I would revisit this.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You have to love Great Lakes, when they make a beer this well balanced and drinkable. I raise one to them. It pours a copper amber with a slightly tan head very nice head retention. The aroma is chalk full of hops that create varying aromas such as citrus tones and pine cones. The flavor brings a lot of hop bitterness to the back of the tongue, very crisp clean finish. The malt just kind of surrounds the palate with warmth and of course the alcohol brings a nice tingling sensation. Awesome brew that I would partake in at any given opportunity. Us West Virginians are thankful to have access to such a fine brewer. Amazingly drinkable, could be one of my favorite pale ales of all time.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Beers of the World on a recent family vacation, I should have picked up more!
Pours a clear deep copper/amber color with a bubbly beige head that impales itself to the glass all the way down. Smells of citrus, light sweet fruit, slight mineral. Taste is smooth citrus with a fruity burnt sugar malt sweetness. Great balance! Twinge of hops, bit of malt leaves a hop bite at the end of every sip. Crisp carbonation, sticky, resinous mouthfeel, medium body with a semi dry finish. Great session ale here.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very, very slightly fogged copper amber. Nose is mildly perfume toned, but exhibits a much more stronger citrus tone. Flavor has quite a zing to it at first but calms down enough to show some nice hop character. Feel is smooth and it has a fairly full carbonation that stays on the tongue. This is very easy to drink and I consider this a good example of an APA.

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Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright orangish-copper with a quarter of an inch of creamy, white head that fades to a thin lacing after a few seconds. The nose light; malty, bready, citrusy with some grapefruit notes. The flavor is lightly malty and toasty up front with smoothly, bitter, piny hop finish. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a crisp, smooth finish.

This is a solid beer. It's balanced, flavorful, and refreshing. It's easy to drink though a little too carbonated for my liking. I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale is another great offering by the Cleveland Brewery. The appearance is a rich clear copper color. The carbonation is very good that led to at least a finger think head....which laced thoughout the draw. The smell is dominated by pine, but there is a touch of smoke or roast. The taste is very good. There is a good balance of hop and malt that keep the beer from being too bitter. The taste is slightly down graded because I did taste some Alcohol which I though was interesting cuz its not a high ABV. The mouth feel is fine...certainly could session without question. Overall is is a very good beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From which this pint glass holds from yonder bottle of goodness comes the appearance of a clear amber/orange color nectar. Antique offwhite head with decent lacing and some solid ice cream cone retention.

Smell is a dominant flavor of toasted grain. Toasted rye or whole wheat bread. Literally this beer smells like toast from the toaster, I want to BUTTER it it smells so good.

That grainy toasty taste comes through in a not overbearing way, with excellent body. It feels as it coats your palate everywhere as the toast aromas finish, and then this mellow aromatic hop flavor comes out that isn't bitter at all. The afterfinish goes on pleasantly for what feels like forever, superior clean finish, and I don't know how but their is a whisp... a hint... of cocoa on the aftertaste, how they did this just blows my mind. This is one of the best mouthfeel/finishing beers I've ever had.

Drinkability is just flat out high.

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Photo of jwc215
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Freshness date of 06/28/07:

Pours orangish gold with thin white head that descends to barely a cover.

The smell is of light citric fruits with caramel in the back.

The taste is floral and citric - grapefruit/lemon/orange. Sweet caramel blends in well. Bittersweet fruitiness hangs on well into the aftertaste.

Medium to full-bodied. Nice carbonation level makes this very smooth. Refreshingly dry.

A friend brought this back from Ohio. Wish it were available around here. A hoppy, yet sufficiently balanced deliciously smooth pale ale.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely, hazy golden hue, with a flush, full chalky-white head, thick, but slowly diminishing. Aroma: citrus and straw, a quintessential pale ale smell here, fre. sh, flowery, herbal, even , full of hoppiness, without being too-much-so, i.e., edging into IPA territory, sweet and sour (citric) at once.
Taste: Ah! Let's say it again, loud and proud, AHHH!!!! Bold fruitiness first embodies this palate, peach and apricot, nectarine, orange, with a great hoppiness, too, but so much here is ably matched by the malt, and the sweetness adequately captures any bitter, so that there is no clash, no struggle, no fight for superiority here, no sword-clash for dominance, just a perfectly balanced pale ale. Taste is full and fruity throughout, dominated by peach and apricot, but ever-so delicious and delectably downable all the way.
Definitely a rival for Sierra Nevada PA, certainly a contender along the same style, but, did I ever enjoy this sample! Mmmmm, mmm,,nmnnn!

And seperate cheers to tavernjef for sneaking it across the WI border for me!

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Photo of Tone
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, copper color. 5/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of resin-y hops, sweet malt, slight alcohol, hint of smoke, and earthy malt. Fits the style of an American Pale Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of earthy malt, sweet malt, resin-y hops, hint of alcohol, and a hint of yeast. Overall, great appearance, but only average aroma and body.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beer named after an ecological disaster. I suppose that is one way to own your identity. Still a burning river is probably most people in MI would like to forget.

Beer served on draft at a local beer bar. Beer is clear with only a slight haze. Carbonation is low and lacing is high. Head is thin and broken, made up of a single layer of tiny white bubbles.

Tiny aroma of malt and citrus hops, smells fine.

Mild hop flavor and a slight bitterness at the back. High malt character and a slight aftertaste, nothing too bad. This is an OK APA, not great just OK.

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Photo of stevoj
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Crisp and sharp, leaves a nice bitterness on the back of the tongue. Clear golden color with minimal head and lazy carbonation. Hops come through on first taste and stay with you til the "bitter" end....

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Photo of Gavage
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearane: light orange in color with a 1" head that lasts a while. Some moderate lacing develops.

Smell: caramel sweetness and some citrus tones are mild overall.

Taste: caramel, orange citrus, some lemon zest, and sweet red apple in the background. Bitterness levels are moderate, and there is a bit of graininess to this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp to start, less crisp and a bit dry late.

Drinkability: another great session ale from Great Lakes. This beer is refreshing and well balanced.

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Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Cleveland-Hopkins airport

Nice, there's a touch of cocoa in the malt that really sets this pale ale apart nicely. Otherwise, the hops provide a great, piney hops bite. Overall this is a nice change of pace from SNPA wannabe's with the slightly dark grains and more rounded yet more harsh hops in use. It may not be crisp, but it's mighty tasty.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to a Leffe tulip glass

A - Poured a somewhat cloudy amber colour with a half finger of creamy white head.

S - Citrus hops up front that are well balanced with sweet caramel malts.

T - A good balance of bitter citrus hops and sweet bready, caramel malts. Bitterness lingers on the finish.

M - Light to medium body, moderate carbonation.

D - A very good pale ale. Not a single complaint about this one. Another great GL beer.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to JAYW for this brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice creamy one-finger head, with some nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is hoppy, malty, slight piny, and lots of caramel. The taste is a good balance of hops and malts, with lots of caramel. The finish is very dry and bitter. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a nice Pale Ale, glad to have a chance to try it.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 3,201 ratings.
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