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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
3,249 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:
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Ratings: 3,249 |  Reviews: 1,039
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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Photo of cbutova
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Hazy copper with a nice creamy white cap. Head retention is good, very small bubbles in the foam. Nice coat of fine lace.

S- Fruity hops come through first. A slightly nutty/toasty caramel malt backbone.

T- Starts with a good deal of citrus and caramel malt. Ends with more citrus zest, some floral and very grainy/biscuit malt.

MF- Highly carbonated, creamy light body. A decent amount of bitterness in the finish.

DB- A smooth, easy drinking beer. Hop forward but they are definitely balanced by a strong malt finish and backbone. Not too much of anything, balanced and refreshing.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a beautiful honey gold with a fluffy frothy white head.

A well balanced hop malt aroma that presents up-front.

Taste starts off pleasantly bitter, ending smooth. Some sharp spice mid-tongue, but very pleasing to drink.

Mouthfeel is medium, with a slightly drying effect upon the tongue.

This is a beer I've had many times, and have always found it highly drinkable. Perhaps my favorite of the regularly-offered beers, I highly recommend it.

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Photo of herman77
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear dark gold/light amber with a nice off white head. Good lacing coats all around.

S: Biscuit malts with floral and fruity hops. A touch of citrus to it as well.

T: Slightly sweet biscuit and carmel malt to start that is balanced perfectly with mild floral and citrus hops. A little sweet and fruity aftertaste that has some nice bitterness to it.

M: Medium body, moderate to slightly higher carbonation. Slight creamy/slick feel to it. Very crisp and refreshing.

D: Very drinkable. Nothing offensive, well balanced, tasty, can't ask for much more.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #26:

Bright and clear golden-amber color; good showing of the head retention, and it stands three fingers high. Hints of caramel and flowery hop in the nose. Slick and chewy medium body. Bitty smoothness lets the grain and hop bitterness roll around on the taste buds first. Biscuity malt and a spicy, orangey hop bitterness and flavor battle it out. Hey now, these hops are at work here. Clean palate with only a quick flash of fruitiness from the alcohol. A little dry in the finish with a long trail of hop flavor.

Without a doubt, this beer displays its American Pale Ale traits; it's balanced, yet with the hops, always up front. Surpassing the benchmark is our conclusion. Proof that a Mid-American brewery can well hop a Pale Ale like the rest of them. Good use of Cascade hops!

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Photo of BeerNinja007
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a mix pack I picked up in late Aug at the Price Chopper grocery in North Syracuse NY. Freshness date on the box: Jul 16 2010. Oops. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

I had this a few months ago on tap, interested to see how bottle compares to tap. The other factor affecting the difference between these two reviews is that a restaurant setting with my parents presented minimal opportunity to take decent notes, whereas here alone at home the opposite circumstance is the case.

I gave this a pretty hard pour because last time I had it was from draft and I'm curious what it'll do. A heavy pour into the center of the glass gives a big 3" of frothy bubbly beige head that lingers pretty well. The head leaves a bunch of spotty chunky lace on the glass. Smell is some soft orangey citrus hop and milky smoothness, like a semi-bitter orange creamcicle. Taste is mild and subdued, much like the nose but dialed back a few big notches, plus a little diacetyl and maybe vanilla. Orange creamcicle indeed. A little sharp pine hop also tries to fight through and, although it is very minor, it stands out quite easily and I wonder if the beer would be better off without it. Mouthfeel is even and smooth, smooth and appropriate carbonation. Finish is smooth and creamy but dry on the tongue. Tasty.

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Photo of headbucket
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: very nice lacing as the level of the drink goes down. very clear orange/amber color. thin head in the middle of the beer but more bubbles collect around the outside of the glass.

smell: smell is more subdued than the flavor, nothing too full or crazy going on. A little bready and citrusy from the hops.

taste: light citrus flavor with a good amount of piney bitterness. much more hoppy than many other pale ales. a bit of biscuit/bread flavor from a good amount of malt in here as well, although the hops are more dominant. A bit dry at the end.

mouthfeel: well carbonated yet still goes down very smooth.

drinkability: very drinkable. strong flavor of hops but well balanced with malt, with nothing being too intense or intrusive. At 6% with good flavor while not being too intense it makes it very east to drink a few. However it may be too bitter and strong tasting for some as compared to the lighter or milder tasting pale ales.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.16/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$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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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 3,249 ratings
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