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

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale AleGreat Lakes Burning River Pale Ale
Very Good
3,256 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,256 |  Reviews: 1,041
Photo of TheHopMonster
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very clear Amber red with a fingers worth of head that stuck around for a fairly long time. Grass and floral aromas are intense and inviting. Decent bitterness upfront with hop and malt fighting for dominance. Excellent use of Cascade hops, with a bright bitterness in the beginning and a toasty malty aftertaste.

A very enjoyable beer with delicious malt and hop characteristics. By far one of my favorite brews from Great Lakes. Wouldnt mind having another.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice candied orange/amber color with a smallish head that is beige in color. Retention and lacing are both very good. On further inspection this beer seems to be just slightly hazy, but overall is quite clear.

The aroma on this beer is very inviting with plenty of ruby red grapefruit and zesty orange aromas. It also carries a nice sort of toasty edge to it and a very clean malt sweetness that makes the grapefruit aromas that much more mouthwatering.

Clean is not usually a word associated with pale ales, but that is how this one tastes to me. Superbly balanced with a wonderful mix of malt, hops, sweetness and bitterness. It starts out understated and a bit sweet with some nice citrus hop flavors, then transitions to a bit dryer finish that is really evident on the back of the tongue. The malt seems very transparent to me in the flavor, with just a bit of caramel sweetness. This is not the brash and hoppy American pales that I have grown accustomed to.

The carbonation on this is perfect for the medium/light body and clean balanced mouthfeel. This beer finishes with just enough bitterness to beg for that next sip.

Burning River is super drinkable and well made. I just keep coming back to the world "clean." This is sort of like a pale ale that was brewed to be like a easy drinking German lager. This is a quality beer and a great one to enjoy if you want the conversation of your company to speak louder than the flavors in your pale ale.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours an amber colour with a large off white soapy head. There is an low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fantastic lacing draping down the sides of the glass. The head on the beer lasted for over 5 minutes before it dissipated.

Smell - hops, fruit/apples, caramel

Taste & Mouth - The is an average amount of carbonation and the beer has an amazing mouth feel. A nice balanced flavour and the beer feel very creamy and velvety. The most noticeable flavours are hops mixed with a fruity sweetness. There is also a light woodiness and mild caramel. The beer finishes with a pleasing fruit and hop aftertaste.

Drink - Just a fantastic pale ale, I'd rank this one up there with Sierra Nevada. It is extremely sessionable and it is a must try for pale ale fans.

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Photo of camp0474
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Light orange amber color with a frothy white head. Some lacing.

S: Herbal earthy hops with semi sweet bready malt.

T: Earthy grassy hops up front. Leaves a lingering bite on the tongue. Faint malt in the background. I personally prefer a more malt balanced IPA, mostly grassy hops with this one.

M: Lighter medium body with good carbonation.

D: Pretty easy to drink but a little bitter in the finish.

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Photo of JRed
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pale orange topped by large white bubbly head. Smells of citrus notes, slight floral, and lemon zest. Tastes citrus notes, floral, lemon zest, some rind but mostly fruit sweetness without the bitter, hops but not too bitter, dry finish. Light in body with medium carbonation. A good representation of the APA. Light, citrus, dry.

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Photo of callmeclemens
4.65/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on Tap at Twelve Steps Down in philly.

Pours a nive Golden color, smells of bready citrusy malts, hops, and a another strong hit of hops.

Tastes is imeadiatley thick of hop with a touch of bready malt and a nice citrus finish. Laced ncley down the glass as I went along

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. The color is a light copper with a white head. Decent enough retention but as it falls there's no real lacing. Nose brings some nice citrus and grassy hops with a moderate pale malt base. The taste really focuses in on some grassy hops, which I always seem to get from Great Lakes hoppy offerings and I can't say that I'm really a fan. Feel is slightly bitter with a bit of lightly-sweet malt backing. Drinks well in the end, but the flavor just isn't quite for me.

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Photo of beer2day
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear orange-gold pour with 1-finger fluffy head. Active carbonation. Good retention and laces fairly well.

Nose is yeast with roast malt undertones. Slightly herbal. Good, but not great.

Lots of malt in the flavor. Surprisingly thick bodied. Faint, faint hint of hops in the finish. Sweet, too. Starts out fairly creamy and grows very rich. Substantial roast barley in the middle. Beer definitely getting better as it warms, with more herbal hops coming out in the finish. Pretty nice.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 10-29-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Poured one finger of foam, good lacing ring. Orange/copper in color and cloudy

S - Orange peel and caramel hit the nose, hops backing this up, couldn't pick up much on the malt

T/M - Medium bodied, well balanced, not over powering to say the least. Pretty smooth brew at finish

D - Pretty drinkable brew, for some reason I wasn't sure if I would like this one. It turned out I did. Got this one in the Great Lakes sampler. I recommend trying it!

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden hue with orange highlights. A big solid foam cap with good retainability. Well carbo'd.
A nice citrus hop aroma with malty undertones.
Aroma is nice and pleasent but unassertive.
Some bready maltiness with a citrusy hop taste.
Hints of fruitiness.
Medium body that has a clean fresh taste and is nicely balanced.

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Photo of wmtxbb
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Clear amber color with lacing and some carbonation that finds its way up to the top.

Smell: Almost like salted peanuts and malt.

Taste: Well hot damn this is a tasty beer. Slight sweetness from the malt followed by a salty flavor and a spiciness from the hops. A little bitter at the end. Great balance of hops and malt.

Drinkability: I'm not sure I would want more than two or three of these in a night of heavy drinking but one hits the spot. Very interesting for a APA.

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Photo of lstokes
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is not your average pale ale. It's orange with decent lacing, but the nose has a surprising smoky/earthy note along with the apricot hops, and the taste picks up on that--oaky toasted malt, bright apricot and peach taste, a hoppy but sweet end, a very creamy mouthfeel all add up to one drinkable beer. I loved it.

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Photo of BillyBob78
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale Ales are one of my many favorite styles of beer and this one doesn't disappoint. Great Lakes is one of my favorite brewery's.

A nice clear golden brown appearance with a nice white head and decent lacing.

Taste was awesome! A great balance between the hops and malt which just makes this a wonderful beer. Nice carbonation.

Smells citrusy and bready. Hint of alcohol.

Very Drinkable. One of my favorite pale ales!

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Photo of rembrant
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Oops...I set the river on fire,hope nobody notices...

I know this beer and brewery by now but I had yet to review.

LOOKS Frothy off white one finger head caps a clear amber body
AROMA Caramel,earthy yeast,bready,a bit if citrus and some dark fruit.

TASTE The exceptional harmony up front is special. Wheat toast with grapefruit jam,and threads of caramel and toffee. I get a little oakish taste and something closer to redwood and spruce than pine I've been trying so many hopped up,hyped up IPA's lately I'm surprised this "mainline pale" outshines many of them.
Besides "Drinks Good", it stands up to critical inspection.

Not a surprise,really,as Great Lakes has a knack for the details that can really define a medium light bodied beer type.

MOUTH Right on. Good Balance. Solid finish>

DRINKABILITY Certainly. I'm not inclined to "pound" 3 beers in an hour but if sent on such a mission,this would be a good weapon to trust.

I'm a little sad this bottle is no more

(sheds a bitter tear)

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Photo of lovindahops
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a golden amber with a nice frothy head of foam. Good lacing on the side as well

S- floral hops and pine blend with some malt flavor

T- fantastic bitter taste is developed amoung the some sweet malt and pine. The hops are complete throughout. I like it

M- carbonated and full of flavor

D- what a bitter brew! A bouquet of hops and delicious malt. Great brew from great lakes

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Photo of EricHeff
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours an golden to amber color that is completely clear with a little bit of white head on top. The smell is not over powering but give hints of citrus and some piney-ness. From the first sip those citrus and pine flavors kick right in. The carbonation adds a good amount of fix to it and makes this beer extremely drinkable. Great Lakes Brewing Co. makes some amazing beers and this one is tied with Eddie Fitz for my favorite right now.

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Photo of Ralphus
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first Great Lakes of Cleveland beer and I'm happy with it. The best before date is a little close at 12/13/10 however.

It's crystal clear. Strikingly clear even. The color is an attractive golden brown with a white head. Some lacing is left behind as the head drops to a carbonated ring around the glass.

The smell has either faded or was understated to begin with. Bread, light floral spice, caramel and pine are all that remain.

The taste is considerably larger thankfully. Sweet caramel malts and fruit are bombarded with a long drawn out earthy bitter finish. The balance is a little skewed towards the bitter end for my tastes but some will really enjoy it I'm sure.

Mouthfeel is very crisp thanks to tight carbonation. This beer would easily cut through thick cream sauces or gravy. Drinkability is good.

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Photo of thecarster1
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a- two fingers fades slowly leaving head all of the place and an all over covering of lace, slight haze, orange amber coloring.

s- earthy nose, some slight toasty malts, bitter citrus, pine.

t- earthy citric hops, toasted malts are pretty apparant as well, some grapefruit pith, some spice in here as well, bitterness that lingers, sappy pine.

m- medium bodied, very slick.

d- good, goes down easily, not the best pale ale ever, but it's solid and drinkable.

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Photo of drewba
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clear, golden, sexy.

S - citrusy, heavy lemon, bready & nutty malt, grass.

T - This is a very unconventional pale ale to me, but I love it. The combination of citrus and an incredibly buttery, biscuity and nutty malt character put this in a hybrid category for me. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for ultra citrus and low bitter pales. This is in a different category though - the grassy presence I associate with lots of pale ales isn't there and i'm just smacked in the face with this fantastic balance of citrusy hops and bready malt. I'm pontificating, aren't I?

M - thin - medium body with a lovely amount of carbonation.

D - This has become my go-to pale ale in the last several weeks and a favorite among my almost craft-drinking friends. The lack of bitterness in the hops and the malt forwardness make this a crowd favorite.

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Photo of kylehayworth
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I went to Bowling Green for work, and I knew there was no chance I'd be leaving without some Great Lakes. I have been pretty pumped about trying their beers, which explains why I left with their complete line-up plus some Blackout Stout.

A: A rich amber color, a little bolder then I expected for a pale ale, but still nice. The head follows right on cue, mild density that fades slowly.

S: Sweet malts with caramel backdrop. You can smell a bit of citrus.

T: It starts off semi-sweet, with some of the caramel that was in the nose. It then leads to a grassy/citrus middle, and finally finishes with a tinge of bitterness. All in all pretty well balanced in flavors, maybe leaning a little towards the sweet side.

M/D: All of the flavors match well together, with none seeming to overdue the others, which let's the beer shine pretty well. This was a good first beer from Great Lakes, can't wait to get into the rest of them.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before date of 10/10/10 which I will take into account. Pours a clear golden color with a frothy white head that retains well and leaves nice lacing. The aroma has some nice citrus and floral hops upfront, along with some caramel and fruity esters, biscuit and some alcohol, not outstanding but I'm sure it was more impressive when it was fresher. The flavor also has floral and citric hops initially, along with some caramel and biscuit, fruity esters, and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is light and drinkability is really good. Pretty damn solid pale ale, I wish I could have tried a fresher example but it was good nonetheless.

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Photo of IronLover
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep yellow color with an amber hue and excellent clarity. Thin white head that reduces to a similarly thin white cap. Floral hoppy aroma with citrus notes. Buttery smooth with refreshing, lively carbonation. Citrus and pine hop flavors along with a bit of malty flavored goodness in there as well. Good balance of hop and malt flavor until the end when the pine flavors take over and leave a dry, mild bitter pine aftertaste.

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Photo of Kaiser81
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Special thanks to SpencerDB for this extra (among many extras he sent).

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A - Fiber width of head. A brilliant copper color. the head just sits there like a fluffy pillow with very nice lacing.

S - Lots of citrus. Lemons, some sweet tropical fruit, and maybe a hint of alcohol. Delightful. There is something just at touch off though...can't place the smell, but it's just there.

T - Some nice fruits are presents mixed with a touch of pine and some nice biscuity sweetness. However, I almost get a flowery type taste on the finish...almost the point of it being rubbery, kind of thing going on. It's weird.

M - High carbonation and light to medium body. The carbonation could be toned down slightly as it leaves a lingering prickly feeling on my tongue.

D - Good, but not overly impressive. Glad to try it...would definitely give it another shot.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A bright orange color sits in the glass revealing a medium strong effervesce that was quickly paced. On top sits a dirty bone colored head, foamy in nature, with some patchy spots with an overall slight statue and average retention. The lacing was weak on the hold, leaving quickly sliding bubbly patches that soon vanished within the drink leaving little to hold interest or impress.

S: Dried toffee and caramel along with some sugary pine hints first opens things up aromatic wise. The strength is light with some fresh soft citrus. With a name like burning river I expected perhaps a bit more feistiness and strength from the nose.

T: Nice sharp delivery and definition of citrus hops come to light with a flavor of sweet caramel malting. Proof you cant judge a beer by its cover, err smell. Sweet start turns to a warm toasted affair of caramel malts on succeeding sips with a warming citrus and alcohol presence. There is a bit of dried ale like fruitiness that comes to light briefly before the close along with some pine oils and a flowery dryness closing with a dose of toasted grains.

M: The mouthful was medium in body, warm citrus oils are detected on the inner cheeks while a good bitterins sense could be determined on the tongue. The carbonation is a bit tame at the start hurting the crispness factor but the swallow makes up for it with a dry flowery bitterness lingering behind.

D: Good drinkability, nice balance of toasted malts and hops that is neither over the top in execution nor under appreciated, seems they got it just right for the drinking factor. You can easily down a few of these with general conversation.

End Beer Musings: though my rating may say differently I did enjoy the flavor aspect of this drink, the most important. When not scrutinizing such factors such as appearance and aroma, you will find this to be a good pale with a moderate strong hopping per style and worthy of a try and to put down in repeats.

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Photo of adamette
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Notes: Stamped on the right side of the label is the following: For freshest taste please enjoy by 10 21 09. I am 11 months late on this one. Please consider that when reading the following review.

Live review. Poured from the 12 ounce brown bottle that I bought at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor, OH for $1.51 yesterday into my Brewery Ommegang Witte tumbler.

A Great very light brown creamy head that leaves significant lacing on the inside of the glass over a translucent but light copper body. 4.0

S Floral hops are muted over a malt background. I really wonder if the hops would be more prevalent if it were fresh. 4.0

T Taste flows directly from the smell with the floral hops bitterness (although they are probably muted due to the age) over a nice maple like malt background. The hops bitterness lingers, unchanged, for at least 2 minutes after my previous sip but the malt background is gone almost with the last gulp of liquid. 4.0

M Pretty full mouthfeel with the smooth head, the bitter hops and the malt presence. This is a quality that one does not typically find in this style and I like it. 4.0

D Fairly good for me. I am attracted to many of the qualities mentioned above but I am driven away by the lingering hops bitterness and the slightly elevated ABV of 6%. 3.5

Notes: Good to have this in a bottle after enjoying it on tap at the brewery so long ago. I will be sure to find a fresh one and report back here with any changes.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 3,256 ratings