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

very good
3,226 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,226 |  Reviews: 1,034
Photo of headbucket
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
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 -20.6%
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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Photo of Spider889
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As far a actual pale ales go, this is one of the best available in Ohio I believe. That being said, I'll always grab a Commodore Perry over this when looking to buy GLBC.

Deep orange/amber color to this beer with a decent foamy head and medium retention with good lacing.

Lots of thick resiny hops in the smell, and bitter hops in the flavor profile. Sweet and malty, floral and fruity - some peach and pineapple and maybe some bitter white grapefruit.

Medium bodied and highly carbonated. Overall a good beer that drinks easily.

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Photo of bfree
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%

I am not a big Pale Ale fan. With that said, this is one of the better ones I have had

A: nice deep amber color and poured out a nice head

S: citrus hops with a little malty sweetness and HONEY-nice smell

T: Hops are not too strong, nice mix of bitterness and sweetness

M: very smooth, not too bitter, and good carbonation

D: good drinkability

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Photo of divineaudio
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle into a pint glass. freshness date on label.

pours a nice rich amber color. forms a thin cap of off white head that dies down to a film right away. a few legs of lace here and there.

smell is deliciously sweet, fruity and floral with a hint of honey.

taste is lightly toasted malt with notes of toffee, well balanced by hops. a little biscuity with some pine resin on the back of the tongue to give it a slightly bitter twang. finish is nice and dry.

mouthfeel is a firm medium body with just enough carbonation.

this is a pretty damn good beer. goes down easy and represents the style well. puts a lot of other pale ales i've had to shame.

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Photo of NODAK
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is of a mix between citrusy hops and a bit of caramel malt. As far as this is concerned, it's pretty well balanced.

As expected, the dominant flavor profile from the get-go is floral, citrus hops. However, they are not overbearing at all. I'd put them more in the mid-range as far as aggressiveness goes for style. There's a sweet malt flavor at the same time as well....which leads into a sweet (hint of caramel?), biscuity malt that finishes the beer off. There's a bit of lingering bitterness that hangs around.

As far as APA's are concerned, I'd rate this high for drinkability. The balance is there, the hops aren't overbearing, and it's easy drinking.

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Photo of rmolledo
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Hazy amber with a small white head around the rim of the glass.

S: Piney and Citrus Hop aroma with a caramel malt aroma.

T: Very Malty and sweet but the sweetness ends when swollowed. This is a delicious pale ale. For some reason it reminds me of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Now don't get me wrong, the hops are still very present but not bombarding the spotlight.

MF: moderate carbonation with a very nice body.

D: This is a fantastic pale ale. I could probably drink this all night. I would love to try this on tap. If I were to guess, I'd say this was about 4% but it is 6%.

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Photo of WeisGuy
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a best by date of 9/10/10

a - pours a deep burnt orange color, one-inch ivory head with decent retention and lacing, light haze

s - caramel malt mostly with piney and orange citrus hops, lighter biscuit malt aroma

t - orange and caramel sweetness up front with a substantial citrus bitterness, finish is well-balanced with more orange hop bitterness mixed with toasty caramel malt, trends towards the dry side, alcohol is pretty well-hidden

m - medium-to-light bodied, moderate carbonation, fairly dry finish, but relatively well-balanced, not much alcohol warming

d - pretty drinkable in that it's well-balanced, easy on the palate and somewhat interesting

Pretty good APA overall, and another solid beer from GLBC. Well worth trying if you see it on the shelf.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. 07/04/10 best by date.

(A)- Pours a clear orange color that produced a good fluffy off-white head with decent retention.

(S)- A light dry pine with lemon and pineapple.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A good piney lemon and pineapple citrus with a nice light caramel-like sweetness.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. A good hop presence despite its age. Smooth going down with light bitterness.

(D)- A solid to great pale ale. A good refresher with a solid balance and taste.

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Photo of king75
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a murky gold color, with about an inch of quickly dissipating head. Not much lacing.

Smell is kind of bland, definitely get the smell of some citrus and fruit.

Has a kind of fruity taste, fairly smooth feel, very light in the mouth.

Could easily drink plenty of these without feeling cold.

Not a bad beer, but not the best I have had from great lakes.

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Photo of rjhaupt
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - On the darker side for a pale ale, amber and honey hues. Excellent head with good retention.

S - Smells heavy and musky for a pale, which to me promises a richer flavor than many pales.

T - Taste like a smoot, heavy pale. A bit watery. Good for a pale but disappointing for a Great Lakes beer. Overall feels closer to an IPA than a pale ale save for the fact that I know their IPA is an even stronger presentation of hop character.

M - Feels great, light, airy and smooth.

D - Good hot day sipping beer but a bit light on the flavor for my tastes.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a copper color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of hops. Taste is also of hops, lightly malted, a good balance, slightly bitter at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a quality brew.

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Photo of TripleTap
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle 5 days after its best before date. Tasted quite fresh, though.

It poured with a 1" head that retained nicely. It was a deep golden color. pretty clear.

Aromas of caramel with hints of citrus and a nice malty smell.

This tastes more like an IPA. It is smooth and the malt character comes thru nicely. Giving way to those cascade hops. It finishes dry and crisp. I think this is a very balanced pale ale.

This is a great example of the type. It will be one of my goto brews. It is very drinkable.

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Photo of tlazaroff
4.76/5  rDev +19.6%
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 PantherLightning
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a one finger white with a hint of tan head. Color is a nice light caramel color. Smells light, buttery, biscuity.

On first sip, the beer has a smooth, almost sweet malty flavor that ends with a bit of a sudden hop bite on the finish. The hoppy finish leaves a nice floral taste on the pallet. Mouthfeel is extremely light and smooth.

This beer is very balanced and tame with not too much hop domination (not that it would necessarily be a bad thing). Some pale ales are borderline IPAs, but Burning River finds a good balance.

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Photo of dataskatt
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first review, and I thought I would start with my favorite APA. A co-worker recommended this one, and the reviews here supported his praise.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle poured into a mug. Freshness date clearly marked.

Appearance: Golden amber with a thick head and nice lacing.

Smell: Toasty malt with light floral hops.

Taste: Very balanced, finishing with a pleasantly bitter hops "bite". Not piney. Complex, but still very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, adequate carbonation.

Drinkability: Easy drinking, but satisfying. A little strong for a session beer.

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at a great beer store, Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor, Ohio. Clear orange-yellow pour with a nice head and decent lacing. Very odd nose for a pale ale. Kind of earthy and salty with none of the typical perfumy, floral pale smell I love. Really had to strain to get anything remotely hoppy. The taste was much better than the smell. Lots of caramel malt with a touch of fruitiness and just enough bitterness to balance it out. Great, slightly chewy mouthfeel and highly drinkable if you can get past the nose.

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Photo of sonata2008
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at a local bar. The color was a clear amber with very little foam. There was a mild hops aroma, with no malt in the smell. The taste was of rich malt, but not too sweet, and a bitter finish, mildly spicy and floral. There was nothing special in terms of mouth feel. A typical pale ale, very drinkable.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another great offering from a great brewery that just came to the Twin Cities Market. This pale is toasty and rich, slightly honey-sweet. The hops appropriate and harmonious with the big hit of hops at the tail end of this treat. Clean copper color, Nice white head. Great Lakes really has a handle on every style I have tried from them. Thanks for remembering that we are on the Great Lakes, Great Lakes Brewing Company!

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Photo of nickfl
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured with a small, white head on top of a clear, copper colored body. The head settles at a moderate pace and leaves light lace.

S - Light, fruity hops with moderately toasted malt and a bit of caramel.

T - Some toasted malt up front with stiff bitterness and some fruity hop character. Notes of grapefruit and orange as well as light, dry caramel. Finishes with richer flavors of caramel and a light roasted character. Lingering toasted malt and hop bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - This is a drinkable, but pretty standard IPA. It has a nice hop flavor, though the aroma is a bit weak. It is a very drinkable and that is probably the most important factor for a beer like this.

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Photo of Erish
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into an English pint glass.

A: orange-amber, rocky cream-beige 3 finger head that lasts and lasts.

S: earthy yeast funk, sweet malt, grass, undertone of citrus.

T: the funk is up front, along with sweet citrus, cracker-like dry malt, the middle releases grassy hops, some vinous notes, the finish is slightly astringent, also a little metallic, and the grassy hops linger on the tongue a good long while. There is a lot going on here, and it is all in good balance.

M: very oily (must be the hop oils), with good carbonation, palate-clearing.

D: this is a serious ale, and could be great with food, too.

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Photo of djmichaelk
3.24/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

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Photo of NuggetNectar22
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At least Cleveland still has the Great Lakes Brewery... This is a great tasting beer that is extremely drinkable. You can enjoy a few of these.

It has a nice amber color with a 1/2 inch head. You will taste the hops in the after taste.

Cleveland Rocks!

Enjoy - T

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Photo of schoolboy
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As a Clevelander, I have been drinking this since it came out (in the late 80's or early 90's??) but I never bothered to review it since the reviews I do are for me and I think I'll remember this one - it's kind of in your face around here. Just kind of - Dortmunder is the Great Lakes Brewing that every decent bar around here has on tap. The great bars might have this on tap too, and I believe I've had it.

This is a good, consistent APA that won't put you in a stupor (immediately) and has a nice drinkable character. I love their Commodore Perry, but it is too strong for yard work, and I have some to do. Like EVERYTHING from Great Lakes, it is extremely well made. They truly are a classy outfit.

So enough of my BS, for anybody reading this who is considering buying some, do it. You can't go wrong. It's a beautiful, tastey brew. Get a 12 or a case! Off to my yard work and another Burning River. Reach for a river! (Oh, that was the Crooked River folks, but they are gone now).

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Photo of AgentZero
3.39/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with a two finger head that left some chunk soap on the sides and a decent amount of nice stick throughout the drink. Really a fairly nice looking beer. Opaque golden color.

S - Very sweet smelling, pretty heavy on the caramel. Some oranges and maybe a little bit of corriander. Slight citrus hops bite but not a ton going on. Really smells too carmally.

T - Carmal malts and sweet with a little bit of funk that was not expected. Slightly grassy-sour at the end with a muted mild citrus hops that tasted a little skunk with the funk. Touch of orange. Needs some more hops profile and bitterness.

M - A little creamy. Mildly and slightly undercarbonated.

D - It's alright, but for the low ABV, the 12 oz was not the easiest thing to finish and I don't really want another one.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 3,226 ratings.
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