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

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1,026 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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,026 | Ratings: 3,180
Photo of 99bottles
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

An excellent pale ale, with more hops and bitterness than many so called IPAs out there. The body is a rich red-amber color, with a sticky, fine head of off white. Smell is of juicy hops with a sweet noble air to them (don't quote me on that). Medium body with a nice sugary caramel flavor, though clean and dry. Perfect balance with the sweet and citrusy hops; orange, lemon and pine tar. Outstanding, and deserving of its many accolades. Great Lakes turns out some awesome beers.

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Photo of frazbri
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours deep gold, crystal clear body with a creamy offwhite head. Good lacing. Aromas of lemon zest, grapefruit, and spruce. Flavors of citrus hoppiness, sweet malt and backed by solid bitterness. Medium body and carbonation.

This is a great pale ale that doesn't go over the top. It's the kind of beer that makes me thirst for more. Great Lakes is a brewer that never disappoints.

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Photo of JWU
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into my trusty mug.

A- pretty bright gold with orange hints. nice white head, that leaves a little lacing down the glass.

S- a light, sweet caramel malt with some floral based hops

T- Great googly moogly. Taste-wise, possibly the finest Pale I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. The malt bill is more complex on the taste, taking on the likeness of an ESB. Caramel, biscuit and tea mostly. The floral hops are a bit citric, but are absolutely spot on in their assertiveness, balancing the brew.

M- Great on the palette. Medium bodied and slick, with a light carbonation, and it has a pleasently dry finish.

O- I really, really wish I could get this in Eastern PA, as this would be my go-to Pale. Fantastic.

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Photo of djwilson
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle exp. date 7-5-07

Appearence: Poured into a pilsner glass. nice copper color thick white head forming high above the glass, head held for several minutes leaving a nice heavy belgian lace on the side of the glass, with tiny bubbles rising to the surface.

Smell: hoppy aroma with hints of citrus, light pine and very light caramel scent.

Taste: Slightly sweet on the front of the tounge, picking up hints of caramel, slighty burnt malt, finishes with a very dry hoopy finish that lingers for several minutes.

Mouthfeel: Very typical for an APA, medium body that may get gummy if served too warm, but at 45 degrees the hop flavor is really starting to explode in the back of my mouth.

Drinkability: My old stand by from GLBC, usually enjoyed from the pub on draft, but represented nicely in the bottle. This one goes down quickly do to the sweetness from the malt but nicely balaced by a slight hop kick. At 6% ABV serveral can be enjoyed without feeling the effects the next day, especially if enjoyed at 3:00 in the afternoon.

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Photo of chilidog
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper color with classic notes. A good three-quarter inch head and nice lace. A bit of a bite to this hopped-up brew but still very smooth.Goes with anything on the grill.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed with American 2-row, English Crystal 45 and 77, and Belgian Biscuit malts. Hopped with Cascade.

6.0% ABV, 65 IBU, OG=14P.

Pours out to a clear light copper, forming a tall rocky off-white head with superior retention and lacing. Beautiful looking brew. Aroma is divine...though it states it's hopped with Cascades, the aroma is sharp and skunky like marijuanna and catnip. Touches of vanilla and a well-balanced malt sweetness raises my anticipation. Carbonation is moderate. Mouthfeel is initially brisk and zippy with a medium body. This stuff is just awesome tasting...starts nice with firmly pinous and skunky hops (like a touch of Amarillo), followed by a substantial malt body with nice residual sweetness, touches of vanilla, honey, and sugar cookie, followed by a medium-strong piney bitterness, biscuit malt husk, and a firmly dry lingering hop finish. No off-flavors, and alcohol is imperceptable. Burps are nicely skunky.

An excellent American Pale Ale...this one is solid and satisfying through and through. Great Lakes hasn't disappointed me...how they manage to brew such consistently excellent brews are beyond me. Many of their brews are just stupendous and leaders in the style, and this is no exception. Recommended.

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Photo of rmolledo
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
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 smakawhat
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From which this pint glass holds from yonder bottle of goodness comes the appearance of a clear amber/orange color nectar. Antique offwhite head with decent lacing and some solid ice cream cone retention.

Smell is a dominant flavor of toasted grain. Toasted rye or whole wheat bread. Literally this beer smells like toast from the toaster, I want to BUTTER it it smells so good.

That grainy toasty taste comes through in a not overbearing way, with excellent body. It feels as it coats your palate everywhere as the toast aromas finish, and then this mellow aromatic hop flavor comes out that isn't bitter at all. The afterfinish goes on pleasantly for what feels like forever, superior clean finish, and I don't know how but their is a whisp... a hint... of cocoa on the aftertaste, how they did this just blows my mind. This is one of the best mouthfeel/finishing beers I've ever had.

Drinkability is just flat out high.

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Photo of chillwinston
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle this pours with little head but a fragrant aroma. Light amber color. Hops, citrus and pine (maybe from the Cascadian hops) are the dominate flavors, in that order. It also doesn't seem to impart the dry mouth feel that many pale ales do. Overall, one of my favorite pale ales.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep orange to gold color. Fairly clear with only a hint of haze. Smaller, one finger head that retains well and laces pretty good. Head is off-white to cream in color.

S- Pretty big doses of floral and piney hop flavors for an APA that's best by date is in just a few days. Hops are dominant through the entire smell of the beer, with an occasional, very faint waft of sweeter malts.

T- Pretty much like the scent. This flavor profile reminds me a lot of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Hops start it off and persist throughout, prominent, but not quite dominant. Very consistent hops that won't overpower you, but also doesn't leave you wanting more. Ends with a crisp hop bite.

M- Crisp, clean, and pretty smooth going down. High carbonation and medium weight from the hops are the only inhibitors to swilling this faster.

Overall, a very solid APA. Like I said, this reminds me a lot of a SNPA. I would say this is the more eastern, or maybe midwestern version of a very standard, very solid pale ale like a SNPA.

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Photo of Walken
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jen for obtaining this beer for me!

Great Lakes: Burning River Pale Ale
12 oz. bottle: poured into a tulip pint.
Appearance: Clear amber with a moderate frothy head that fades down into a millimeter cap with a ring of sticky foam around the edge of the glass.
Odor: Sweet bready malt compliments the bright citrus and earthy hop aromas, pretty intense but straightforward.
Consistency: Though this beer would definitely qualify as having a medium body, it's a very full and rich. Carbonation is spot on, massaging the tongue gently without being too fizzy or bringing out any astringency.
Flavor: Caramel and rich buttery bread flavors echo the aroma, as a firm citrusy/herbal hop bitterness holds the line. Hop flavor slowly creeps in, sweet orange at first, sliding into grapefruit, then a bit herbal into the finish. Caramel and toasty bread flavors linger a bit as well.

This is one of those beers that proves simple can be just as amazing as complex. There's not much going on here, just some great flavors melding perfectly in one hell of a pale ale.

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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 pat61
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Brilliant gold to amber under a 1” clingy white foam cap.
S: Grassy, grain, light malt, not a lot of hops, smells like the inside of a malt house as the steep tanks empty into the kiln.
T: No caramel but a light malt sweetness, fresh grain, light fruit, citrus.
F: Very creamy medium light to medium body, medium carbonation, smooth, dry finish
O: A well made and easy to drink American pale ale.

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Photo of nicholas2121
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Co., 6.00% ABV. This brew pours out a deep golden amber color with a nice off white head. This brew has a nice amount of lacing to it. The smell of this brew is, rich with hops,grain, and malts. This brew has the look and smell of most IPA's on the market. Not saying that is a bad thing. The taste of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale is rich with hops and citrus, from the hops. You also pick up on some nice grains and malts. There is a lot going on in Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale. This is one of the more bolder and smoother than most IPA's I have had. This brew has a nice balance to it, there is nothing overpowering about this brew. The mouth feel of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale, is rich , bold , clean , and refreshing. You really can't pick up on the 6.00% ABV in this brew. Overall I'm giving Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale, a 4.5 out of 5. Great Lakes Brewing Co., did a nice job with this brew. I would buy this brew this again.

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Photo of Jettanbass9
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

American Pale Ale

Color: Dark amber
Aroma: hoppy forefront (can't quite put my finger on it, but smells of german style hop) malty finish
Taste: light on the palate, dry and hoppy... cant quite go wrong here. A very unique dry malt flavor... almost reminds me of a red ale.

This has to be one of my favorite Pale ales... ever. Do yourself a favor and pick up a six pack, scratch that, make it a case.

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Photo of MJR
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
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 mcintire78
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Straw to pale gold in color, with significant carbonation and a one and a half finger head that dissipates slowly and leaves significant lacing.

S: Fairly significant smell of floral hops up front.

T: First taste is beautiful--very well balanced beer with a slightly stronger malt start and slightly stronger hop finish and a bit of a hop bite at the end.

M: Despite the strong indications of carbonation earlier, the beer is actually very smooth. The balance also makes it very, very drinkable.

D: One of my favorite APA's so far--it's not trying to be an IPA. Up there with Alpha King. I mean that.

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Photo of Zorro
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled through the efforts of Murrayswine and UTBIF.

Pours a clear deep amber to almost copper colored ale with a tall tan head.

Smell is quite malt and spicy in the first sniff. Lots of malt scent and bready grain smells. Very spicy from the hops chosen for this beer. Individual aromas of caramel and nuts with a little bread dough and vanilla.

Taste is quite malty at the beginning with a trace of smoke and starts out a lot like a Scottish ale. Quickly the hops kick in and add a nice complex bitterness to this brew. Faint lemons in the hops but mostly I taste smoke, malt and drying bitterness. A very tasty APA that isn't just a SNPA clone. Spicy after taste that is cleaned up by a woody bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is very good and surprisingly full.

Drinkability is among the best. A damn tasty beer that isn't extreme in any respect. What makes this beer is a lot of great qualities extremely well executed. A malty spicy and smoky pale ale that doesn't get tiresome at all in your mouth. A superior APA in all respects.

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Photo of pezoids
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
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 jifigz
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

The appearance is a nice clear orange color with a great head that lingers for a long, long time. The aroma is clean smelling with a nice citrus hoppiness to it. The taste is a wonderful mixture of malty roasted flavors with a slight overshadowing of wonderful floral and citrus hops. The flavor is extremely rich and well balanced. The mouthfeel is crisp and clean and light bodied. This is a wonderful pale ale that would be great at anytime of year, but especially to welcome spring and summer in. This might be my new favorite American pale ale.

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Photo of putnam
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Before launching into a series of west coast beer I thought I'd set my palate on "hoppy." This helped.
Aromas of tanned, scorched biscuits and piney resins compete at the outset. The hop aromatics are bright, dandelion-floral with a trace of ruby grapefruit stitched into the baked red clay, wood and roasted starch bunting. Very clean.
On the palate it is tightly twisted with hard images of Nepalese tea, licorice, sour coffee, cardamon, grapefruit, parsley and root beer. Quite creamy in texture, the admirable mousse dukes it out with the tannins to a very long, potent, liberating finish. Baba Oreilly would be a good tune to play with this beer.
1. What's up with these SHORT "expiration" dates?? This is supposedly not to be consumed after exactly 6 weeks from now! And I just got it from the wholesaler!
2. I SWEAR this used to be labeled "IPA," and not simply "Pale Ale." Did this change about the time Commodore Perry IPA was introduced? Just wondering. I wonder if that peculiarly American phenomenon of "hop infaltion" is at work.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is pretty clear and copper in color. A nice rocky white head tops it off and sticks around for awhile. This is a very nice smelling Pale Ale. Citrus and grapefruit rind and pine all come to mind when smelling this brew. Taste qualities are similar to the nose: rind, citrus, pine, fruity and floral. This has some great qualities to it and is very assertive. This is bordering IPA bitterness. Very nice. Light to medium in body. Easy drinking and great tasting. This is an elite Pale Ale in my book.

Gotta give my sis some credit for hauling this back for me on her trip to Pennsylvania.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Orange-gold color.

Overall: Crisp and smooth beer. Dry with a light bitterness at the end. Not a complex beer. Very solid beer. Excellent APA.

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Photo of BeerFink
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This ale cascades from the bottle a hazy reddish orange with a healthy white head. The aroma is a beautiful hoppy blend of citrous, fruits, and flowers, married to a clean maltiness. Up front, the hops bite sharply. The initial kick is smoothed by well blended malts, leading to a finish of lemon-like bitterness and the slightlest presence of alcohol. A nice medium mouthfeel is about perfect for this style. Good carbonation adds to the sharp and refreshing hops flavor. Chalk up another solid brew for GLBC.

 510 characters

Photo of beernbbq
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong floral hop presence dominated by Cascades but I am sure their are other hop varieties present. Wonderful biscuit malt background highlights this excellently constructed beer. Great for a session. Truly the premier example of the style of the American Pale Ale.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 3,180 ratings.
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