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

very good
1,030 Reviews
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 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,030 | Ratings: 3,211
Photo of mobyfann
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $13.99 for a 12pk. Great Lakes mixed sampler...

The appearence is a pure amber colored lager with a nice light white foamy head with spectacular lacing. The aroma is pretty light, nice hops smell and a mixed bag of fruit as well.

The taste is classic APA, a little bitter, a little mix of fruity fun, extremely well-rounded and lovely taste. The mouthfeel is both smooth and crisp going down, solid aftertaste, and pretty drinkable as well.

Final Thought: This is a great APA and can't wait to buy a keg of this stuff in the long-run. Great everyday beer!

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Photo of Maestro
4.51/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really enjoy this beer. It is a nice pale ale that is very smooth and well balanced. The ale is amber in color and has a nice foamy white head. The nose is sweet and slightly hoppy with a biscuit aroma. The taste is amazing. I really enjoy the matching of the hops with the malts. This is a very complex pale ale. The mouthfeel is great but I would love to have this on cask with a little less carbonation. Drinkablility is exceptional.

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Photo of euskera
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Nice reddish-brown color. Nice head retention.

Smell is medium hoppy. Can smell the flowers of the hops with just a hint of citrus and some bitter overtones.

Taste is well-balanced and smooth. Hops are the backbone but not all that bitter. A very likeable brew that is extremely drinkable. A great session beer that I'd love to be able to get down here in NC.

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Photo of rlcoffey
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours with a large golden tinted head, 3 fingers tall. Light copper color. Lacing all the way down the glass. Aroma is very noticable; fruity and floral. The taste is what an APA should taste like. Citrusy but not overpouring. Bitter but not "blegh" bitter. Crisp. Just a touch of the hop aftertaste left behind. The mouthfeel is not thick, not thin like water. Leaves a thin film in the mouth. This beer goes down fast. I had two down very fast.

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Photo of abents
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with nice white head and great lacing seen. Smells of citrusy hops and nice grassy notes too. Taste is very smooth. Starts kinda slow, but works into a nice bitterness and citrus hops flavors. Malts are well represented in this brew however as the beer is very nicely rounded out flavorwise. Nice lingering bitterness that works very well for this brew. Medium bodied with moderate ammount of carbonation. Very drinkable brew, solid all around offering again from Great Lakes. Definitly worth a try or two.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Golden amber with a nice head of white foam that lasts. Nice lacing too. A lovely aroma of fresh citric hops, and nice bready/biscuity malts. I smell a hint of caramel in the mix as well. The taste is very hoppy and fresh up front, and bready and sweet in the middle with a lovely/fresh finish. The mouthfeel is amazingly creamy, and this beer slides down your throat like no other. Wow, I am really becoming a huge fan of GLBC aftter this and the dotrmunder gold (not to mention their porter and marzen)

A superior pale ale!

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Photo of Puddleglum
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice Pale Ale with a floral and fruity hop aroma. The appearance was a nice amber gold with a good head on it. The taste was a good floral and fruity hoppy to match the aroma. This seemed like a particularly heavy pale and gave it a sticky mouthfeel that took away from the drinkability. Overall I'd recommend this pale to anybody who likes a good pale.

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Photo of BCMan
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was a golden amber color. A heavy pour generated a frothy white head. The nose was subtle of hops with some fruit notes as well. Liek the aroma, the flavor was subtle with hops and had a smooth mouthfeel. Not much of an after taste and was a nice beer. I appreciated the label very much.

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Photo of aracauna
3.21/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The body is a metallic amber with a nice yellowish-white head that builds easily and lingers for a bit. The aroma is moderately hoppy and the flavor has a nice bit of caramel to supposed the bitterness. There’s just something about it that strikes me wrong. It’s not bad, but I’ve had APAs that I much prefer to this one. One of the few beers by Great Lakes that I don’t like for the style.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really tasty, drinkable APA. And at $4.99 a six pack at my local beer store, really can't be beat!! I think it might be a mistake, but I'm going to tell them. Nice hoppy nose that is probably cascades. A fairly smooth taste with nice malt undertones. The beer's quite bitter, but flavorful as well. Nice cascade hop flavor. Very drinkable...I like it.

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Photo of Afterburner
2.63/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Nice copper color, with moderate off-white head. Prominent lacework.

Smell: Typical ale fruityness, with strong banana notes. Faint hints of malt. Also a very faint sour sulfur smell, making me wonder if the beer might be skunked (given that it was mailed to me). And, of course, a strong hop character.

Taste: Well, it doesn't taste skunked. However, there's not much here to write home about. Like Lagunita's IPA, there's nothing here but hops. Hops hit you at the start, they stay with you mid-palate, and they're there at the finish. No malt whatsoever to balance out the hop character. It's like drinking hop tea.

Mouthfeel: Sprightly, spritzy.

Drinkability: Couldn't drink more than one of these. I like hops, but I also like other characteristics as well.

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Photo of malty
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Long neck bottle with drink before date stamped on back of label.

Almost glowing orange-copper color which was brilliant and clear with a fluffy off-white head that stuck around quite a while. Beautiful lacework.

Fresh herbally hop nose with a nice fruit aroma also.

Clean, clean, clean. Gentle but prickly hop notes that remain fresh and dry. An undercurrent of bready, nutty malt keeps a nice balance to this somewhat light-medium bodied beauty.

Mouthfeel is soft with the tiniest of bubbles that keep it interestingly airy and playful. Beautiful dry, somewhat long finish.

Drinkability is quite high as I thoroughly enjoyed this ale. The dryness of the hops begs for another, and another quaff.

This beer is superb. It's elegant and graceful enough to be paired with the fanciest foods, or a trusty sidekick while playing cards with pretzels and peanuts. One of the top 5 Pale Ale's brewed in the US, period. Had the pleasure last October to enjoy this and several other Great Lakes offerings - splendid craft brews. These guys really know what theyr'e doing.

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Photo of hustlemuscle
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice golden color with a good head and nice chunky lacing. Hoppy with a trace of an orange scent. Pleasingly hoppy with a touch of citrus. Malts have the a say in the matter, but the hops definatly get the last word. Slightly sharp mouthfeel, with a little bit of a pucker to it. But this one is very easy to drink, a good beer after a lazy Saturday afternoon in front of the baseball game.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice amber color with a dense foamy head. There was a very fine sediment throughout the entire glass but it did not settle to the bottom, it just hung motionless. The taste is very smooth with a wonderful, crisp hop flavor. This is, bar none, a wonderful pale ale, but I still have my top ten pales, and this one would probably be edged out.

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

A name that can reference recent history with a sense of humor. Great Lakes stays true to their region, and cheers for that.

Pours a clear, deep amber with amber-tinged white head and lots of bubbles. Sticky lacing, too.

Smells hoppy, spicy with a buttery malt accent.

Tastes good. Real good. Nearly all piney hops with a dry finish. There's a tough of fruity sweetness, but just at the beginning.

SOme stinging carbonation on the tounge -- maybe a bit too much, but a very drinkable beer.

A 6%ABV, this one could be ahad in fairly quick succession, and if I'd only had more than one ...

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely, hazy golden hue, with a flush, full chalky-white head, thick, but slowly diminishing. Aroma: citrus and straw, a quintessential pale ale smell here, fre. sh, flowery, herbal, even , full of hoppiness, without being too-much-so, i.e., edging into IPA territory, sweet and sour (citric) at once.
Taste: Ah! Let's say it again, loud and proud, AHHH!!!! Bold fruitiness first embodies this palate, peach and apricot, nectarine, orange, with a great hoppiness, too, but so much here is ably matched by the malt, and the sweetness adequately captures any bitter, so that there is no clash, no struggle, no fight for superiority here, no sword-clash for dominance, just a perfectly balanced pale ale. Taste is full and fruity throughout, dominated by peach and apricot, but ever-so delicious and delectably downable all the way.
Definitely a rival for Sierra Nevada PA, certainly a contender along the same style, but, did I ever enjoy this sample! Mmmmm, mmm,,nmnnn!

And seperate cheers to tavernjef for sneaking it across the WI border for me!

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Photo of JackTheRipper
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear amber color. Smallish off-white head, trace lacing.

Smell: Definite citrusy hop notes, a bit of a malty/bready undertones.

Taste: Very nice hoppy taste, there's enough maltiness to give this beer a nice balance. Finish is a lingering hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth. Alcohol level is pleasantly warming. Carbonation level is great. Full bodied.

D&N: Another awesome offering from Great Lakes Brewing Co. Tasty, easy to drink. Definitely a beer to try out.

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Photo of canoehornpoint
4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorites. Pours a beautiful orange/amber with a thick head and moderate carbonation. This has a nice fruity, malty sweet aroma. The hop flavor is a combination of fruitiness and citrus flavor. The bittering hops tame the malt but not in excess. The beer finishes fairly full but is not filling and is extremely drinkable.

To make this perfect, a bit more citrus than fruitiness would be nice but I wouldn't change this too much.

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Photo of bditty187
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coppery-honey gold hue with a slight haziness, the vaguely off-white head reached almost two fingers in height, the retention was very good; it slowly faded to a long lasting cap. However the lacing was a little spotty but still this is a lovely looking beer. Juicy citrus aromas charge ahead of the toasty-biscuit maltiness, there is also an occasional hint of floral, as a whole the bouquet is very inviting; it smells like a Pale Ale should. Good potency as well. The palate is tremendously tasty with a big bite of hoppy bitterness, juicy as well; I am impressed with the potency of the hops, why can more breweries make IPAs this good! It is true the hops steal the show and it is unbalanced in a blissful way but it must be noted that the maltiness is detectable, a little bit of toasty crackers and a hint of a caramel too. But seriously, this is a nicely hoppy Pale Ale. Yummy! It would be a stretch to say this is a complex beer but how many of this style are? The slight burn of the alcohol at the back of the tongue is charming. The mouthfeel is very sturdy, this might be the most impressive attribute of all the GLBC beers I’ve had, medium/medium-full in body, natural modest carbonation. Appetizing aftertaste, it is making me yearn for a good cookout. Burning River is tremendously drinkable, this is a top-notch Pale Ale, easily one of the best APAs I’ve had. I wish I had more. Thank you PhantomVodoo!

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Photo of tavernjef
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice clean and clear soft copper color with a gargantuan soft yet crusty whitish top that sits a good while before fading down to a haze and coated the glass decorously with thin whispy curtains.

Aroma is soft as well, everything is soft in this beer, but in a good way, a very good way! Pleasant toasty malts that are breadish in tone and the hops are slightly floral and dry with some favorable dulled citrus and wood. Very nice nose...I believe this has some Hood hops abounding.

Taste is soft and well rounded, yet solid in body and feel to keep that charge of character going strong. And this is characterized in a gratifying presence of both a super nice toasty warm malt profile and pleasantly soft and milding hop balance that brings in refined and subtle layers of wood and dulled floral citrus; quite yummy...scratch that, very yummy! Feel is dead on for a pale, clean, soft, full, well rounded, yielding toasty malt warmth, smooth bite of bitterness and quaffable to the fullest. One hell of a pale!

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A golden/orange color (clear), with a light rocky head that diminishes quickly to a fine layer. Lace is clingy. Low carbonation. Aroma is of hops and bread. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a crisp finish. Taste is slightly sweet with some tartness and a dry hop finish.
IMHO: Better than many other American pale ales, but still a little over the top with the hops. A decent balance of flavors.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice light-copper color, with a white head. Smells of sweet toasted malt, bread and citrus hops. Great taste of citrus, combined with a sweet malt. Preety good mouthfeel, not to thin. This is a great Pale Ale, that is very, very drinkable. Great session beer. Lucky for me, this is usually available in the area, so this is a good "old reliable". This is one beer that has never let me down.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Standard 12 ounce brown glass bottle. Dark label that has a black background with white lettering. The picture is difficult to make out, but consists of orange flames affront a purple looking photograph of a town somewhere; blurb to the right of the label explains that this beer is named after the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River. It goes on to explain that this Pale Ale boasts of the character of Cleveland. Recommended Serving Temperature of 45°F (which seemed a little harsh on a cold rainy night), as well as a listed Strength of 6.0%. Enjoy By Date is Dec. 22 03.

Appearance: Dark copper body with orange glimmers from the flicker of radiated light from my desk lamp. At first there is a large off-white head, dimpled and not exactly uniform, but more like a thick layer of imperfect snow it covers the top of the beer with a lunar landscape. Inherent conditioning is good, humungous amounts of bubbles form and dissolute when swirled, replenishing the head, yet it drinks with absolute minimal lacing.

Nose: Oven baked bread with fresh toasted malts that layer a ‘brewers yeast’ like background for the sharp hops that come though in the fore. Hmmm, smells good.

Taste: Lovely fresh juicy malts coat the mouth at first, these soon release a toasted biscuit feel on the tongue though, adding a little astringency. The hops really break through a light caramel feel in the latter third. Bitterness lingers from the middle until well past the swallow. This is a very fruity Bitter Pale Ale that entices the drinker to immediately take another mouthful, so much so that the Drinkability is very impressive. It’s a Session beer this one.

Mouthfeel: Impressive body, a strong malty backbone with a hop bitterness that leaves a raw hop feel on the cheeks at times. Bitterness is floral and astringent.

Drinkability: What a Broadside this Pale Ale has. All Cannons blazing; Malts from the Lower Gun Decks, Fruit and Biscuits from the Middle with a rapid fire of Hops from the Upper Turrets. Bloody Hell this really goes down well, it certainly does want to hang about or stand still for too long. So much so that I found myself examining my glass and the empty bottle and thinking “did I really drink it already?” at a very early stage in this Review. It exhibited the ultimate Drinkability Quotient of 1.0. Very impressive quaffability. Damn this is good.

Overall: I love Bitters and Pale Ales; I drink them all the time when I am in the UK. This is an excellent, very refreshing, extremely tasty Pale Ale that borders on where many IPA’s start, lending it a great Bitterness and a nice Hop Kick. Superb! If this is what it is like past its Enjoy By Date, I wonder what it is was like fresh? This would be great on a Tap/Cask, a real Session Pale Ale.

A 21 Gun Salute to BigHuge for this Battleship of a Pale Ale!!

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This clear golden ale wears a medium sized off-whtie head, fully diminishing unfortunately. Aroma is not so pronounced, I expected a big cascade predominance. We rather face a complex hop blend that I'd describe as earthy, oily, spicy and bold. As it enters the mouth, it's a delight of ever evolving character. A good chunk of malt is always there literally dancing with the complex hops blend as described above in a perfect balance and harmony. The medium body never fails to support those intense sweet toasty cerealic citrus flavors. Medium carbonation. Overall, there's just something about this american pale ale that makes me feel like it's the best I've ever taken, I know you've had that feeling about some beers too:) Big props to ciderguy for this unique opportunity!

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Photo of mrpicklerelish
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance - Poured a light orange honey color with a nice full sized light brown head that left behind a good amount of lace.

Smell - Smell is primarily hops with a few citrus notes thrown in.

Taste - Hoppy goodness for sure. That is what I first taste with every sip. Great hop taste that isn't overpowering in the least. Also has a hint of citrus and malty sweetness that comes out towards the end.

Mouthfeel - Heavier feeling beer that leaves a really great aftertaste in your mouth after every sip. It has a lot of carbonation but not to the point of getting in the way of this great tasting a feeling beer.

Drinkability - Very easy to drink, especially if you are a fan of hops. Despite being a heavier feeling beer it drinks very easy and smooth.

Comments - Thanks are in order to chilidog for sending this great brew my way during this years holiday exchange. If I could only get more of this great tasting beer around my area all would be right with the world.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 3,211 ratings.
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