Burning River Pale Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Burning River Pale AleBurning River Pale Ale
Very Good
3,269 Ratings
Burning River Pale AleBurning 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:
A toast to the Cuyahoga River Fire! For rekindling an appreciation of the Great Lakes region’s natural resources (like the malt and hops illuminating this fresh Pale Ale). Crisp and bright, with refreshing flickers of citrus and pine that ignite the senses (not our local waterways).

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-06-2001

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,269 |  Reviews: 1,043
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dull copper color with a active, crackling & fizzy head that settles down to a respectable level. Good lacing of the glass. The aromas come back again, reminding me of how much I enjoyed this beer when I first had it this past April. Hops all the way. Citrus and spice stand up and demand to be counted. The malty sweetness sits in a corner and pouts. Flavor is excellent. Distinctly sweet character up front until the hops arrive to steal the show, sitting upon you palate and abusing it like the schoolyard bully. Finishes with zing, too. Hops in the aftertaste. Good pucker factor. Another excellent beer from another excellent brewery.

Huge thanks to AKSmokedPorter for hauling this from Ohio to me.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.64/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Orangey-gold copper body, topped by frothy just-off-white head. Good lacing. The first burst of pine hit me when I popped the cap and poured at full arm's lenght. A closer sniff indicates a grove of grapefruit cleared in that pine forest. Heck of a nose for a pale ale. Imagining an IPA from these folks and my nose is burning like the river. A few healthy swigs reveal a resounding hop character, but not out of balance to leave the pale ale neighborhood. There is indeed a nice malt background the hops are being painted on. Nice hoppy aftertaste. Smooth and full thru the mouth and across the tongue. Oh, no, it's going too fast. Can't make it stop...

A great session beer for hopheads.

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

I know this is a good beer, yet for me another overhopped, pine resin smelling beer, (very redolent of the sticky "bud" I've seen at local police anti-drug demonstrations) that wows then becomes boring. I don't find this sticky,cloying, almost sweet yet bitter, style of pale ale too overly amazing. To me this is more of an IPA tasting beer, and when I'm in the mood for a Pale Ale I don't want a darned IPA. Sorry Hop Heads-I don't mean to come off so bitter. Nice, yet not my favorite in the drinkability category.

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

Orange hue, thin, soapy head, decent lacing. Citrus and floral hops on the nose, some maltiness also. A definitive hops dominated body, crisp, fresh fruit flavoring, mainly grapefruit and orange peel, some malty backbone. Medium bodied, clean, tasty, world class as to be expected from the Great Lakes team.

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

Pours clear copper in color with a foamy white head. Aroma consists of grapefruit/citrusy hops. Medium to full-bodied. Mouthfeel has a nice creaminess to it that sharpens on the edges of the tongue. Burning River seems to reveal its flavor in two stages. The first has a nice malty and light fruitiness to it on the front. Then the beer takes an interesting twist. As indicative of the nose, the Cascade hops take over in the finish. Caramel and a piney bitterness conclude things. Flavor pushes the style of pale ale more towards that of an IPA. Intriguing beer for those who are fond of hops.

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Photo of Shiredave
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Expiration date: Aug-29-03
Medium , golden color, tall, pocked, white head but no carbonation rising in the glass.
Citrusy, Cascade hop aroma with some clean, bready malt notes.
Light+ body up front, mild, biscuity flavors quickly give way to stronger, piney hop and rich grain flavors that slam into the back of my throat like a bug into a Zapper.
Lack of malt body and carbonation makes for a lack luster mouthfeel, at least for me.
Finish is a unique blend of light, fruity malt and tingling hop bitterness leaving a pleasent, not overpowering aftertaste.
A solid, hearty Pale Ale that I bet is even better on tap.

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Photo of MJR
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a brilliantly clear copper with a light tan head that starts out huge and slowly shrinks to a thin cap. Good lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: The aroma has a good dose of Cascade hops, with a floral character and a bit of grapefruit and pine needles. Underneath the hops, crackery and faintly caramelly malt provides a solid foundation.

Taste: Perfect balance between the malt and hops. Citrusy, floral hops sit atop a base of crackery, toasted malt. A touch of caramel is present too. The finish is a bit dry, but still retains a bit of sweetness. Fantastic!

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, with a smooth dryness on the finish.

Drinkability: Extremely good. This is a superbly balanced pale ale that could easily become a beer fridge staple if I had regular access. To be perfectly honest, I usually prefer my pale ales and IPA's to be over-the-top with the hops, but the balance here is just right.

Many thanks to 'Realale' for lugging this brew back from Michigan for me!

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Photo of Realale
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Edited 01/23/06: I have sadly had to edit my previous review to reflect what seems to be a permanent change in this beer. My original review remains below, but both aroma and taste are now marked by out-of-balance grapefruit aromas and flavors. What was once incredibly well-balanced, has become yet another over C-hopped APA. I hope the malt returns one day, and the hops again begin complex and well-integrated.

Clear pure copper in color. Huge, very fine slightly off-white head settles slowly to a solid 1/4" cap, and leaves nice lacing.

Nose is slightly sweet crackery malt below very floral hops. There is a touch of spiciness as well. Simply an awesome, perfectly-balanced nose.

Medium weight in the mouth with a firm base of malt. Perfectly integrated hop flavor leads to a long, lingering well-balanced finish. Could be carbonated at a slightly lower rate to give an even silkier mouthfeel, but this is darn near perfect. Easily one of the best balanced, yet complex, beers I've had the pleasure of drinking. Outstanding.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

re-rate 30 Aug 2003: The finish on this bottle was much better than the one I previously drank. It was far more malty. The beer was better balanced and I enjoyed it more.

up front hops w/ a slightly sour finish. a nice American Pale Ale, but nothing spectacular

Originally sampled 10 November 2002. I am writing this review from my notes. Burning River is a nice example of an American Pale Ale. The upfront flavors are hoppy. This brew finishes with a slightly flavor. The color of the beer is golden/amber. This is a good session beer.

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

This beer features a bubbly, concentrated off-white head which sits atop a clear bronze liquid. Nice lacing down the glass. Nose is a balanced mix of hops and malt, with more emphasis on the hops. This pale ale's taste is quite solid and fresh -- it's well-balanced with a strong hop presence followed up with what must be caramel malt holding everything into place. Feel is quite smooth overall, with just a touch of carbonation peeking through the surface. This is a very flavorful pale ale and is easy to drink. A very good effort from Great Lakes overall.

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Photo of steelreign
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is what an American pale ale should be! Pours out a nice tawny yellow brown, followed by a bouquet of a aromatic hops in the off white head. At 65 IBU, this is a hop heads delight. The hops hammer you over the head at first taste, as the malt comes through ever so slightly in the finish. I was impressed with the aroma and taste particularly, as they were very closely connected. I could drink this all night, and if it weren't for the availability in my area, I would more often! A highly enjoyable summertime (or any other for that matter) brew that will appease any pale ale fan. Another victory for the GLBC!

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this fine brew in a 12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. It comes out a light copper color that is only slightly hazy. There is 2 fingers of head that has pretty good retention and a slight bit of lacing. The smell is a rich hop aroma with some citrus. The taste surprised me because it tastes like an IPA, but is listed as a pale. Of course this isn't as hoppy as a ruination or a two-hearted, but ranks up there in IBUs. There are hints of citrus and pine with a good hops bite. This is super refreshing. The mouthfeel is fairly heavy and the drinkability is very nice. I would recommend this to a friend that thinks IPAs are a little too bitter.

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Photo of stirgy
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pushes the pale ale envelope into the realm of an IPA. This is one great pale ale. When we were at the brewpub, they told us that their IPA had just ran out and was a big success. I would of loved to have tried it. This beer poured a deep golden color and was topped with a small cream-like head. Strong citrusy hop aroma with lemons leading the way. Taste was somewhat malty, dry grassy and bitter. Alcohol presence. A very flavorful and well hopped pale ale and overall an excellent beer.

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Photo of AudioGilz
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a deep copper color with a solid half inch head. The aroma allows for the conclusion that this is a pretty damn hoppy beer. Caramel malt pleasantly balances the assertive hops that provide a solid bitterness throughout and floral/crisp feelings. It's definitely more bitter than many other of the style I have tried. It's also very dry and crisp, great stuff here.

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Photo of Gusler
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A transpicuous deep amber color as it sets in my favorite glass, one I borrowed from St. James Gate some time during the Middle Ages.

Head is prodigious in size, creamy in structure, and a beauteous tan in color, as it erodes; the obviation by the lace is complete. The nose a mixture of sweet malt and some hop floral tones, crisp and fresh, a treat to this old schnozzle. Start is sweet and malt laden, the top I feel is middling, the finish smacking in its hop spiciness, moderately acidic, quite dry and long lasting aftertaste, and a fine drinking beer from a fine brewery.

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Photo of cretemixer
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber orange in color with a prodigious off-white head. After several minutes, I'm left with a solid layer and a clingy lace.
A citrusy hop aroma dominates with a sweet malt back.
Nice bitter taste. Almost more like an IPA than a pale. Grapefruit and caramel hinted malts. The bitterness gives way to a sweeter presence mid-glass. Finishes with a mild lingering bitter aftertaste.
A quality beer that is worth seeking out. Another fine Great Lakes brew.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLBC rules - never a bad beer. This is an IPA look-alike in sheep's clothing. Kick-butt hopping, great look, and a fair nose. Lacing that sticks like glue all over the glass. I'm glad this one is shipped down state in bottles because is a real winner and Cleveland's too far away. Clear amber and off-white head. The taste is citrus at the start and finishes dry due to the great hopping. Super!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
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 jackndan
3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burning River: Very tasty beer, prominent malts and crisp tang o’ the hops. Reddish amber beer, thick head that lasted and lasted. Left some thick lace on the side of the glass. The aroma, unfortunately, not so much, kind of a dampish malt sack aroma. The taste, as previously noted, is extremely well balanced, and a very nice beer. Get out there, find this beer and buy it.

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Photo of allboutbierge
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The only beer of this style I have to compare it to is Yard's Philly Pale Ale. I believe this is significantly better (not to say Yard's is w/o charm).

Body is a deep copper with a slight red tint. Head is small and bright white. Aroma is attractive--floral with a citrus bite and tickle of pine. Flavor is much the same with a slight bite of grapefruit flavor. Very very drinkable. Medium-light body and light carbonation does not fill the stomach while flavor keeps the drinker yearning for another, and another, and quite possibily another.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brownish gold in color with a nice off-white head.
Nice aroma of citrusy hops and grainy malts.

Bold AND beautiful. This one is balanced to near perfection, although the hops stay in the forefront. Big citrusy grapefruit and pine hop flavor throughout. Toasted malt sweetness that really comes through middle to end. Dry, hop bitterness and malt sweetness continue to both show their strength at the finish. Very clean and smooth.

Good medium body with a nice, somewhat creamy mouthfeel. The good malt backbone shows here.
Good drinkability; excellent considering the 65 IBU's. I'd be happy with this one anytime, no matter what my mood.
Overall, a great pale ale in a great line of beers from Great Lakes Brewery.

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Y'know, before I started paying attention to the craft beers I'd been drinking I thought I'd hate Pale Ales. I was wrong. Loved it. Not exceptional but very tasty. I had this at a pub down the street from where I used to live and had never heard of it before so I tried it.
Color: Reddish Copper hue with a fair head which dissapated fairly fast.
Taste and Mouthfeel were very pleasing with a nice crisp hop flavor and a good malt finish.
I'll definetly have this beer again. Goes great with F&C!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice appearance with a slightly hazy orange-tinted amber that's capped by a foamy bone-white head. The head holds well and leaves some nice lace. The bouquet displays soflty sweet, caramelized malt over a mildly floral and gently citrusy hoppiness. A medium/full body and smoothly creamy mouthfeel accentuate the lightly toasted/caramelized malt while floral and citrus hop flavor and bitterness balance it out perfectly. Very well done. Although there's alot of malt going on in the mouth, it thins and dries in the finish, and yet still retains a light touch of malty sweetness at the tip of the tongue... really, really nice! This APA exhibits a slightly fuller malt than many examples, and maybe a touch less hop flavor and aroma, but it's all still there and balances exceptionally well. It offers a great amount of drinkability while still retaining a good amount of character! Very well done and well worth trying.

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Photo of ADR
4.72/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewery/pub...

Very clear amber, refuge head of an 1/8 of an inch of yellow skim. Cascadey-hop aroma. Nice and very solid grapefruit pith flavors early and to the finish, but with an excellent honey and caramel counterbalance. Some sense of light fruit as well. "Out there" but excellent flavor for an APA. This brew is first rate in balance, boldness, and drinkability. Would be my "house" beer if I lived in Cleveland -- a chewy and close match to Summit Extra Pale Ale on tap.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found on draught at the Old Bag of Nails pub here in Columbus. Pours a beautiful dark amber color with a medium thick foamy off-white head. Aroma is all hops baby. I was expecting the hops flavor to snap my head around even more than the bottled version but that was not the case. The flavor here was actually slightly more subdued, although it was served very cold. Either way this is still a killer beer.

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Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 3,269 ratings