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

very good
3,235 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,235 |  Reviews: 1,036
Photo of Lolli1315
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- An amber copper color with no haziness displaying a finger and a half of white foamy head. Head holds with decent lacing.

S- A sweet malty backbone emerges from a lasting floral hope nose. Hints of citrus fruits compliment that sweet malt as well.

T- High hop presence for a pale ale, but still pleasant nonetheless. Sweet caramel malt helps to balance this beer very well. The bitterness strikes up again and more aggressively in the aftertaste as lit lingers.

M- Slightly dry finish with a smooth crisp carbonation really adds to the profile of the beer.

D- Nicely balanced beer with enough hop kick that makes this a great alternative to an I.P.A.

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Photo of jonziefle
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a mild amber with visible carbonation. Clear. One finger white foamy head with moderate retention. Some lacing.

Smell: Dark fruit hops with citrus and sugar molasses. Some adjunct like malts in the very background.

Taste: Dark and roasted malts with a slight adjunct bitterness. Hops are more mild than in the nose and present as a light citrus flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Mild and smooth.

Drinkability: A good pale ale. Definitely on the more maltier and darker side of the style, but it also has a good balance of hops and a great feel.

Buy Again? No.

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Photo of zhooker
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a large footed pilsener glass, with ample time before the drink-by date. Pours a nice, clear dark honey (or, lighter-hued amber) with a mound of craggy, airy foam on top. Nice head retention throughout the glass, but only a little bit of lacing.

The aroma is primarily hops, with a tinge of sweet malt. My previous pint was Great Lakes' Lake Erie Monster (an Imperial IPA) -- and this smells significantly more hoppy. It is not an overly bitter scent, but piney, green, and a little citrus-like (Cascade and Northern Brewer hops, says the info sheet).

Taste was also pleasantly over-hopped (which I think is an apt adjective, considering this is a Pale Ale -- not even an IPA). Citrus comes through more in the taste than was sensed in the nose. Sweet malts also deliver. Leaves a piney residue in the back of the mouth, but nothing egregiously unpleasant. Think IPA.

Relatively clean mouthfeel except for that slight chalkiness in the finish, typical of an over-hopped brew. Carbonation felt just right. As a fan of big and bold flavors, I usually don't pick up many Pale Ales -- but this one was a nice surprise! Recommended.

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Photo of mwagner1018
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Beautiful burnt copper color, reminiscent of the color of the flames on the Cuyahoga...maybe...very fine carbonation rising up through the glass, frothy creamy off white head, pours out at about 2 fingers, settles down to a nice cap. Nice lacing down entire pint.

S- Crisp bitter cascades, bready toasted caramel malt, slight earthy spice.

T- Bold, fresh, bitter up front, malty through, finished with a fresh bitterness, well balanced with a substantial malt backbone, clean and pure, grapefruit and lemon oil, nice zesty citrus of the cascade well presented all the way through, finish is nice and dry with a residual bitterness.

M- Nice medium body to this beer, big and bold for an APA, full flavored, nice carbonation delivers a nice rich malty goodness and crisp hoppy bitterness.

D- Very drinkable, the 6% is nicely situated in this one, almost big enough to be an IPA but drinkable enough to be a daily pale ale, nice balance, refreshing, clean, bitter and hoppy, fantastic beer.

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Photo of kirkpjr
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear golden color with amber and copper highlights. One and a half fingers of head that slowly dissipates, coating the glass with lacing.

S: Floral and spicy earthy hops. A strong sweet malt backbone dominates the smell. Lightly hopped and very pleasant pale ale.

T: Sweet and nutty malts. Light bitterness. Also a spiciness here that blends nicely with the nutty and sweet flavors. There's also a slight grapefruit flavor.

M: Medium body and moderate carbonation. Nice light lingering bitterness.

D: Good APA. Smooth and drinkable. Representative of the style.

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Photo of hardy008
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber color with a small off white head with good retention. Has a nice hoppy aroma, smells of oranges and grapefruit.

The taste also features oranges and grapefruit. There is also a caramel malt backbone which I did not initially pick up from the aroma. Medium bodied, nicely carbonated, and an easy beer to drink. I will seek this out again.

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Photo of udubdawg
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours extremely bright, brilliantly clear, and somewhere between light amber and gold in color. Head is creamy, off-white, leaving intermittent lacing as it recedes.

Underwhelming aroma. Looks like it's got two months until it's best-by date so I expected more. Interestingly pale and lightly toasted malts dominate. Very mild caramel, no diacetyl. And then finally some floral hops. Overall pleasant but too light.

The flavor and bitterness are a bit surprising considering the hops were basically an afterthought in the aroma. Moderate hop flavor, finishes with a decent level of bitterness, slightly drying. More pale bready malt but nothing like the aroma in terms of domination of the sense.

pretty full in body but in range for the style. Soft carbonation. A little stickier than creamy keeps the mouthfeel from getting an exceptional score.

Tasty and hard to sip. I'd drink this anytime, and often with food.

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Photo of thegodfather2701
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a nice gold color with a bright white head that dissipates quickly.

S-Not much going on in way of the nose, but hops dominate the nose. There is also some malty sweetness.

T-The cascade hops provide a nice grapefruit flavor and then a nice semi sweet malt backbone rounds things out. Its crisp and clean.


D-Through the roof, this is a great beer to session. Its perfectly balanced and not very complex.

Overall, this beer is very good. I will be drinking more of it in the future.

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Photo of shadow1961
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Burning River pale ale pours a couple fingers of loose foam over a gorgeous clear orange tea-colored brew. A steady stream of carbonation bring up a citrusy nose of Pacific Northwestern hops. Flavor is typical APA- slightly sweet, bready light malts up front, grapefruit rind citrusy hops off the back. Mouthfeel is light and crisp with a long hop aftertaste. Pretty typical American Pale Ale here- just about every brewery makes one, and honestly, you oughta be drinking the one your local makes- it's fresher that way. If I lived in Cleveland, I'd definitely be rockin' with this one.

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Photo of morimech
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before 07/04/10.

Pours a clear, pale amber color with a large head that had excellant retention before settling to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. Plenty of hop aroma with hints of citrus and pine. The caramel aroma of the malt starts to make an appearance as it warms. The flavor is too one dimensional to warrant a higher score. As it is, it features the hops but lacks suitable malt balance. A good body for a hoppy pale ale. Nice carbonation and texture. A good hoppy drinker. A little more malt would be nice.

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Photo of jera1350
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Coppery orange color with a creamy head that is about one finger tall and leaves some sticky lacing.

Sweet malt with a crisp citrus hop backing.

Very bitter hop forward. Citrusy and piney with very little malt sweetness. For sure, the hops take center stage in this beer. Lots of grapefruit peel bitterness from beginning to end.

The carbonation is a little prickly and harsh. Medium bodied and semi dry.

A good pale ale that is not sessionable due to the high hop bitterness. Sure to satisfy a hop craving, but in my opinion needs more of a malt backbone.

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Photo of LyonsHead
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Strictly orange with a creamy white head and okay lacing. crystal clear

S: The first whiff is all hops but as you move through the drink the aroma becomes more balanced with a malty character. The hop is citrusy and the malt is bready with some caramel undertones.

T: This beer is very malty sweet at the onset with some nice caramel notes. There is a heavy dose of citrus and pine with the hops and then it leaves you with a sharp hoppy bitterness.

M: Medium body that starts sweet and dries out nicely to highlight the hop character

D: I like this beer a lot but when you're judging it to style it seems to big. Its a very sweet beer that they pack a bunch of IBUs into in order to balance it out. It definitely has balance but the final impression is that its very bitter for a pale ale. But thats only according to style! I still like it

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance is clear golden amber with a foamy and frothy two finger off white head. It has decent retention and leaves little bits of lacing.

Smell is citrus upfront, with pine, Its followed by a mild aroma of malt and grassy hops in the finish.

Taste is pretty balanced between semi-sweet malts and citrus hops. The tend to stand out more at first but after a bit of warming it mellows out pretty well. Overall not a bad flavor.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation and leaves a clean finish.

Drinkability is good. A pretty easy drinking pale ale , maybe even a good for a session beer. I've had more flavorful brews from the style but this is still a pretty solid example. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
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 Mdog
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear gold, good head.

Smell: Some citrus, not too strong.

Taste: Nicely balanced between a solid bready malt base and a sharp citrus hop bite.

Drinkability: A nice drinking pale ale, not too heavy or bitter for a short session.

Liked beer #2 of the 3 Great Lakes that I purchased. Burning River is a solid pale ale, nice blend of malty and hoppy, just like an APA should be.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A= The pours is a nice light amber color that is a beautiful translucent. The head is a nice and and a half finger high and holds some nice reatention as well as some really nice lacing on the side of the glass.

S= Lots of hops for sure. A nice floral grapefuity smell to it. This is all balanced somewhat by a good caramel malt character and some plain ol malt sweetness.

T= The taste is very nice. Much more balanced than the smell led on. The taste is of course hoppy but not as much as the smell. Nice floral hops with a little citrus grapefruit as well as a nice malty backbone. Really smooth and just enough balance.

M= Lower carbonation and a little thin without being watery. Pretty good.

D= This beer is excellent. Wow I'm impressed with the balance of this APA. Most APAs I think border the IPA category a little too much but this one is nice and balanced with a light hop character that lets the malts do it's own thing. Really nice. I'll be buying more.

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Photo of bsp77
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Summit multi-purpose glass.

Appearance: Clear amber-gold with nice foamy white head and some nice lacing.

Smell: Citrus, pine and grainy malts. Mostly dry smelling with a sweet tinge.

Taste: Well rounded orange hop character with sweet grainy malts providing a counterpoint. Ends somewhat bitter with pine and spruce. Nice showcase for Cascade hops, but just slightly too sweet for me.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, only a semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: Pretty solid example of the APA style. Worth having, but I prefer others, especially ones with a drier finish.

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Photo of jammapamma
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

aroma- pretty much all cascade hops

taste- firm, but not excessive bitterness, which gives way to a little biscuit malt notes, then fades into a slick finish (not a lot of flavor hopping), then finishes with some nice cascade (I assume) hop lingering on the palate. The main thing that surprised me here was the malt profile is very, very much in the background. there is not a tremendous amount of hops, just not much in the way of caramel malts that I'm used to in APAs.

mouthfeel- I have to say a little light on the malt side, kind of slick. Still decent mouthfeel, but by far the worst part of this beer is the mouthfeel.

All in all, I could easily see going through a six pack of this in a day, which says it's better than most pale ales.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.41/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass from a 12 ounce bottle.

A: One of the clearest pales I have ever seen. Brilliant deep golden hue with a half-centimeter thick white head that settles to a healthy film on the surface. Lacing is excellent, and carbonation dances from the bottom of the glass.

S: Not a ton on the nose. Some sweet caramel and toasty malt notes, followed by fruity, grassy hop aromas.

T: A bit like the smell, but much, much more. Caramel, rising dough, and honeyed hints make up the malt backbone of this brew. Hops kick in with citrus, grassy, and fruity notes. They also lend a crisp bitterness that makes for a finish that rivals any American Pale I have ever tasted.

M: Light to medium-bodied, very silky, and has a long, clean finish.

D: Even at 6%, this beer is one of the most drinkable of any style I have had. Could it be a new everyday sipper? Perhaps. Exceptional stuff!

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into SA perfect pint.

A- Pours a crystal clear straw gold with a half finger worth of head. The head recedes quickly and leaves a ring around the rim of the glass. Minimal lacing left behind.

S- A fair amount of hops, nice and sweet. A little grass and some biscuit in there as well. Also some citrus in there too.

T- Like the nose, some subtle hops and some sweet malt is present. A little lemon and a little orange. The biscuit is stronger in the taste than in the nose.

M- Not a lot of bitterness and nice bubbly carbonation. A little dry on the finish and a some sweet tinge on the side of the mouth. Medium bodied that is a shade on the lighter side.

D- Though not technically a session beer, this is a very easy drinking beer with good flavor that I would have no problem putting a few back in a sitting.

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Photo of Buebie
3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
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 Beerandraiderfan
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another elite of the elite level APAs, hoppier than most non west coast ipas. Great amber appearance, hazy orange.

Great dry hop aroma for an apa, taste does not crush your palate, but dances with its relatively substantial hop character. A little thicker than your usual apa, but needs balance, hence the aforementioned viscosity. Citrus.

Straightforward, no nuances or unique aspect throughout the bottle, a good price for a good almost if not great beer.

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Photo of gatornation
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a clear light amber color with a nice white head and ring with loads of lacing on side of glass..the smell has nice citrus and grass and a great hop aroma i smell malt and bread too..the taste is great big citrus taste with other fruits its crisp with pine and hops then its all smoothed out in the end with tasty malt..this is one solid pale ale it has great hops/citrus and malt with a nice medium mouth is highly drinkable..a solid/top APA

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Photo of ryanblinkbrand
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

What can I say?? This beer is excellent. It has become my favorite beer of all time.

Appearance - Amber colored. Good head to it.

Smell - Great smell. You can smell the malt.

Taste - Love the hoppyness of this beer, yet goes down so good. It has bitterness and bite but has something of a citrus taste that makes it go down great.

Drinkability - could drink a six pack of these no problem. With a 6.0% easy to do.

Notes- This has become my favorite beer. It is from Great Lakes Brewing Company which is out of Cleveland Ohio. I live in Toledo, Ohio so Great Lakes Beers are abundant. They have yet to dissapoint me. Any that can't get to them let me know and i can help you out.

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Photo of DoppleJock
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Poured a clean amber with 1-finger off-white head. Great lacing and lots of carbonation pitting.

S: Some earthy notes. A little maltier than I expected for a pale ale.

T: Grassy and earthy. Mild hop bitterness.

M: Med-bodied with a mild bitter hop aftertaste.

D: Not a bad pale ale, but plenty of better APAs out there.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 3,235 ratings.
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