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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Reviews: 1,030 | Ratings: 3,211
Photo of udubdawg
3.57/5  rDev -10.5%
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 philbe311
3.56/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Big chunky, slightly fizzy, off white head... Terrific retention, especially when compared to its style mates... Loaded with chaotic medium carbonation which starts off slow at the bottom of the glass and reaches a quick pace before it reaches the top... A light slightly tarnished bronze color with a faint orange / light red hue... Fully translucent... This is a good looking APA...

S - Fresh baked biscuit... Lightly sweet caramel... Pale malts... Lemon zest... A bright citrus aroma... The malts are first, but the balance leans slightly towards the hoppy... Clean and simple...

T - Pale malts... Slightly soapy... A moderately strong pungent hop bitterness lingers...

M - Medium bodied... Sturdy... The entire mouth is filled with fizzy carbonation... Surprisingly dry...

D - Quite quaffable... Solid and enjoyable... I would gladly drink again... Not my favorite Great Lakes offering, but still a very good one...

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Photo of ColdWaffles
3.56/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint. Haven't tried this before and I'm looking forward to seeing what Great Lakes does for a standard pale ale.

Appearance: Looks like a decent pale ale. A clean looking clear gold-orange ale with a slightly "more than off-"white head. Decent head, didn't stick around too well, but lined the glass well enough.

Smell: Picked up a tiny bit of malt and about an equal amount of hop. Not much though.

Taste: A little less fantastic than I'd have expected from Great Lakes. Certainly not "bad," but it didn't knock me off my rocker either. Well balanced hop/malt levels with a slight citrus level on the end. Hops and citrus linger a little in the mouth.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation how I like it for the style, easy to drink.

This plays it pretty safe, which sadly means the drop-off to something cheaper in the region wouldn't be big. Anyway, if this was more competitively priced for me in my area in terms of bottled beer, I'd probably pick it 4 or so out of 10 times for an American Pale Ale. That's not a bad ratio, I figure, but it wouldn't demand my attention. Would certainly look at this on draft.

Given the ABV and how easy this drinks I feel like I could session this though, so that's kind of cool. That figures into the higher overall.

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Photo of jsanford
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Pizzeria Paradisio in Georgetown, D.C.

A - Pours a clear orange-amber with a medium thick, creamy white head.
S - Subdued aromas of orange and grapefruit, pineapple and caramel malt.
T - Tastes predominately of caramel malt and pineapple, with more grapefruit and orange. Not overly complex, but good nonetheless.
M - Slightly sticky, with a medium body and good carbonation.
D - Drank my glass with no problem. A nice APA, but I've certainly had better.

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Photo of mltobin
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Been a while since I have had something from Great Lakes. It has an appearance of a light amber tone with a one finger had. The nose has pine and citrus hops. While the taste has quite a bit of malt, more hops, orange and other citrus fruit. MF is medium with a nice, crisp, dry fisish. A pretty good pale ale, but nothing special.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Back during my Boilermaker years, my boyz and I believed that if the Wabash ever had a cigarette thrown it, it would explode into an inferno that would make Lucifer consider relocating. This has no real importance, but this beer tends to bring that memory bubbling to the surface. (Seriously, don't swim in the Wabash.) It pours a clear copper topped by a tall bit of thick, light ecru froth, which leaves some decent lacing behind as it subsides. The nose is pretty unspectacular, with notes of caramel, maple syrup, and a light touch of hops (not citrus, not floral, just hops in general). The taste comprises a slight bit o' citrus, some bitterness, and a solidly bready caramel backbone. The body is a light medium, with light carbonation and a crisp finish. Not bad, though I wish the smell were a little better.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to whitenads for sending me this one.

Enjoy by: 6/23/14.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, earth, citrus zest, and herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, earth, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of earthy characteristics in the aroma and flavor.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of CardiacNP
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A decent american ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co. Purchased at Fox & Hound in Ohio

Golden Color Clear nice head and lacing

Lightly hoppy and mild floral aroma.

Spicey hoppy taste

Smooth mouth feel. moderate carbonation Floral taste and mild hop finish

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
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 jcalabre
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
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 SchmichaelJ
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance was dominated by a nice light golden color, with a fair amount of noticeable carbonation. Nice thin head, good retention, but nothing extraordinary to the eye. A subtle fruity hop aroma was detected, but I expected to find a little more in this department. The taste was mildly bitter but with a nice all-around balance. Again, nothing too fancy or remarkable, but not disappointing, either. The mouthfeel of the beer was a little fuller than I expected from the initial appearance, but the added body rounded out the brew farily well. Nice session drink.

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Photo of Fluke828
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip
Bottle Dated Best Before: 07/20/11

A-> Pours a copper/orange color with about 2 fingers worth of frothy, slightly off-white head. Some slow moving nucleation both up through the middle and along the walls of the glass. Very persistent and sticky lace throughout. Actually looks more like an amber than a pale ale.

S-> Malty aromas hit first. A sweet, mild spiciness is also noticeable in the first few whiffs. Upon further examination, some faint hops of the floral and grassy, not quite earthy variety come through. A juicy fruit scent is also there but can't quite place it....more lemony than anything but still pretty faint/mild by most standards.

T-> Follows the nose almost in order. Initial malt sweetness first, followed by a nice, balancing pine hop bitter kick however nothing intense and pretty subdued. Malty through the middle with a great hop finish that lingers with a pine sensation on the tongue. Pleasant balance.

M-> Pretty smooth, nothing terribly exciting, which in this case, is a good thing. Medium bodied with a fairly dry finish. Great carbonation.

O-> This looked and smelled a lot more like an Amber upon first inspection. Only the taste really indicates otherwise. That being said, I really enjoyed my first GL brew. It was a solid American Pale Ale that was very well balanced and refreshing. Perhaps the American Pale Wheat Ale kick I've been on lately threw me off on the smell and appearance on this one at first but that is beside the point. I could quaff the shit out of this brew even on the hottest of days. Cheers!

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Clear medium orange color. One finger of frothy head with less than average retention (but it does leave a small 1/8 inch layer) and moderate lacing.

3.5 S: Nose is full of crystal malt and a touch of graininess. Some herbal and citrus hops.

3.5 T: Good, but run-of-the-mill. Moderately bitter hop backbone with caramel for the malts. Not a whole lot, but some lemony hop flavor.

3.5 M: Medium body, but slightly lighter than I like. Somewhat creamy, but not enough. Good carbonation.

3.5 D: This is the first GL brew that didn't floor me. It's a quality beer and would never be pissed about drinking it, but there are so many better APAs out there that I'll give this one a pass most of the time.

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Photo of thecarster1
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a- two fingers fades slowly leaving head all of the place and an all over covering of lace, slight haze, orange amber coloring.

s- earthy nose, some slight toasty malts, bitter citrus, pine.

t- earthy citric hops, toasted malts are pretty apparant as well, some grapefruit pith, some spice in here as well, bitterness that lingers, sappy pine.

m- medium bodied, very slick.

d- good, goes down easily, not the best pale ale ever, but it's solid and drinkable.

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Photo of taez555
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from Notes. Tasted 3/26/09

This beer poured a clear orange body with a small off-white head.

Nose is simple classic A.P.A. A little bready, mild vegetable and garbage notes and touches of citrus.

Taste is medium body with a quick dry crispness and classic APA citrus hop taste. Bread and caramel, with a strong citric balance. Leafy, a little dirty leaf hop touch. Very dry with a mild chalkiness. Slightly resiny and a little astringent flavors. Ends with a mild lingering hop sting and bitterness.

A little over the top in astringent hops, but a very nice American APA.

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Photo of slagle9480
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer just didn't do it for me. I tried it three different times, but each time I had too high of hopes going into it. The third time around it improved. Rather than a 3.3 it probably bounced up to about a 3.5 in my book.

In my short history of sampling beer, Burning River has thus far been the most disappointing. Try it for yourself though. I don't know every little nuance of an APA.

If you like APA's, try Southern Tier's Hoppe. You'll thank yourself.

"Keep drinkin Southern Tier. Everything will be alright."

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Photo of warnerry
3.49/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes; best by 3/30/11; tasted 2/15/11

A - Pours a clear golden brown with two fingers of head with decent retention.

S - Very faint hop aroma, but surprisingly little going on here.

T - Some citrus hop up front, Nicely balanced with malt. Lingering bitterness with a tea-like aspect to it.

M - Nice medium mouthfeel with good, but not overwhelming, carbonation.

O - Good pale ale. Doesn't really stand out among other pale ales, but it is well made.

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Photo of BeerBuggy
3.49/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured a one finger head and has a hoppy and citrusy smell. It is straw colored and the lacing doesn't stick around long. The taste is sweet with a bitter aftertaste. The lacing didnt stay for long. This does not taste as good to me as it did on draft. It is well carbonated. The best by date is almost two months from now.. It tastes cloying to me . There is a bit of citrus taste as well which I am personally not fond of though oddly works well in the aroma for me. Tastes as hoppy as an IPA to me. More then I bargained for. The mouth feel is a moderately dextrinous. The label and concept are cool but again...this does not seem even nearly as good as the Burning River draft I had this past week. I don't think I'll drink this again. Could I have gotten hold of a mediocre batch? I cleaned my glass out and tried another thinking maybee residue was effecting the taste but same result. Only difference is now I'm slightly buzzed.
Post note: next day straight pore gave me a much better head and it lasted a long time.

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Photo of far333
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Apricot colored liquid with fine columns of bubbles rising from bottom to top. A half inch cap of beige foam sits atop, slowly receding, but leaving no lace. Faint aroma of biscuity malts and sweet fruits, some fine hops coming through. Flavor is understated, very subtle. Malt profile is very low and decidely lacking. Hops are all in the finish, very citrusy, mostly orange peel. A light malt and pine flavor lingers in the mouth, and a piney tingle hangs in the back of the throat.

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Photo of claminat420
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- poured a copper mixed with an amber color. pretty tough to chose which one dominates. nice foamy white head. medium to heavy lacing.

S- biscuity with some caramel and a squeeze of citrus. not to shabby.

T- same as the smell.

M- medium bodied. decent carbonation.

D- could knock out a 6 no prob.

Overall- i was expecting alil more on the hop end from this beer but not to bad. a great pale ale to get people into the pale category.

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Photo of JKuras
3.47/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours an effervescent and very clear golden-amber. About an eighth inch of head that lasts for a few minutes.

Smell: First hit by malty chocolate notes and light, sweet caramel. Not too heavy. Very faint traces of citrus.

Taste: Much more bitter and hoppy than I was expecting from the smell. Some light roasted coffee flavors. Clean. The malt and bitterness of the hops come through more than anything else.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel. Slightly syrupy, creamy-smooth effervescence.

Overall: A very clean tasting brew with powerful malt and bitterness characteristics. Doesn’t have the citrus I usually associate with pale ales. Not overly complex, but well done. Might be better drinking in the fall.

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Photo of Raime
3.47/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great Lakes Brewing Company Burning River.

GLBC makes some of my favorite beers of all time and I suspect this one should be pretty okay as well. I've seen it hundreds of times yet never bought it due to the fact I could never find it in a single bottle. But I finally did at a meager $1.69. Sidenote, if you notice some typos and out of place words, I bought a new phone and am still trying to get it to recognize my unique way of typing heh. Lets do it.

Look - From the twelve ounce bottle hare poured into a pint glass. This brew pours a murky amber color with a finger and a half of off white head that leaves some immediate stick as it slowly dies down into the swill. Carbonation appears to be nearly dead...old bottle perhaps? Nope, good till next month.

Smell - The noise is rather buttery without a whole lot of hop presence to speak of. Virtually all buttered bread like if that makes any sense. Never picked that up in a beer until now. Doesn't smell bad but it is quite underwhelming.

Taste - The flavor profile turns up a bit. The hops are quite earthy with the apparent buttered bread aspect still retaining for the long haul of things. There is a noticeable juiciness from the cascade hops that sticks around for a long long year, again followed by some more earthy, but not oniony nor garlicky hops.

Feel - The body is extraordinarily clean for a beer like this though it does retain a bit of depth. Clean with a touch of creamy aspects and a bit of a sprite like flavor coming through as it sits in the mouth. Swallows with a low bitterness.

Overall - Not exactly what was expecting and certainly unique for the style. Not great but certainly not bad. Hops weren't as pronounced as you'd think but what was there was fairly tasty. Easy drinker but I wouldn't buy it again since this isn't my preferred flavor profile. Try it for yourself and come to your own conclusions

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Photo of bruachan
3.47/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

lizard tour beer

very light amber color with a weak head that doesn't die altogether

the hop flavor is of sticky pine and the aroma floral, but the overall flavor profile is mild. small malt character and the hops aren't too pronounced either. there's a little sweetness in there and minimal bitterness

definitely one GLBC's weaker offerings

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Photo of LeftyBWS
3.47/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured, from a 12 oz. brown bottle with a freshness date on the label, into a shaker pint glass.
A: Amber-orange in color, darkish for a pale ale. Medium amount of bubbly, off-white head that was quick to recede. Not much lacing.
S: Piney hops and some sweet, oaky malt underneath. A warm sweetness fills the nose, and the hoppiness pokes in at various points. There's also a faint but deep berry-ish scent, something floral.
T: Mirrors the smell, mostly. Hoppy up front, and more oaky/malty towards the middle. The finish is a typically nice drawn-out piney taste, but with some of the other malt/floral flavorings chiming in, too. All in all, I can understand why a lot of people like this beer, and it certainly has a unique taste for this style, but it's just not what I'm looking for in an APA. I think it would do better to have the hops more prevalent.
M: Wet overall, with some bitterness up front that lingers slightly. The finish is watery with a not unnoticeable alcohol tingling.
D: Not bad, but not great. There's nothing all that offensive while drinking this brew, except the alcohol-tinged finish, but nothing about it made me want to grab another one right away, either.

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Photo of pigc
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Straw colored light blond with three finger head.

S - Bready, grainy malt, clove, oats.

T - Grainy malts from the get go. Hops seem very subdued.

M - Light to medium with average carbonation.

O - Decent pale ale offering by Great Lakes. This one was a little past it's prime. I will be excited to try this one fresh.

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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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