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: 3,207
Photo of mattcrill
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thank goodness we have such an awesome brewery like GLBC right in our backyard. I feel lucky to have them and looking forward to another fine style from them.

Appearance: Pours clear with deep copper color with carmel/yellow edges. A white rocky head caps this fantastic beer.

Smell: A citrus presence with some bitterness provided by the wheaty and bread-like background.

Taste: Hops up front with a malty backbone. A crisp, bitter, and dry finish. There are some shadows of alcohol as the beer warms up. Finely crafted and a great taste!

Mouthfeel: Medium and crispy. Just the way the write it up in the style guides. There is a definite carbonation presence but not overwhelming.

Drinkability and overall: Thumbs up! What a great beer. I'm a stout/porter guy and I could drink this forever. Good stuff.

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Photo of nomad
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An orange-toned copper beer, it pours a fair head that meanders away leaving some lace.

Smells of a calm balance between crystal and bready malts and citric hop scents, most notably lemons on a sharp herbal background. Flavor continues the balance with a cushion of malt playing nicely with the Cascade hops. On the malt, the blend of pale, crystal, and biscuit creates a deep and soothing core. As for the hops, though their citric and earthy flavors are pleasing at their initial peak, I find that they finish with a little too much lemony and herbal twang. Is there only Cascade in this beer, no Goldings of some sort? Surprising.

A judiciously balanced pale ale, I'm just not fond of the finish though the rest is wonderful session material.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer is a beauty from the tap.

While I was rather unamused by this beer the first time around, on-tap this beer captivates me.

Sturdy in its strength, but not overwhelming for a session GLBC's Burning River is to me the perfect everyday beer. Its malty, creamy for its style, but still hop-burp inducingly citric.

The bitterness here is high, the flavor, even more pronounced. Maybe the first beer I could see fitting a malt and a hop-head.

It has dropped SNPA from its personal place as best 'all around' Pale. I want this put on at my house.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle. Creative and well done label made the experience that much better.

The color is an orange amber with a clean lacy head on top. Aroma is hoppy with a crip malt aroma and some raisin or seed scents mixed in.

The taste is hoppy and dry on the palate. A bit of almond or walnut skin with a very smooth ending. An excellent example of the style and a great 2 row flavor sits in the mouth.

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Photo of Dithyramb
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no drink before date. Arrived via BIF12 (otherwise not to be found in Baltimore)

Hazy amber golden. Nice lacing.

Odors of both a sugary maltiness and a floral hop tone are evident after the pour.

Medium bodied and worth having a few. Very fruity malty flavor (peach and oranges) with some caramel and biscuits. Big hopness here tames those sweet flavors very nicely. This is a lot larger than several of the other APAs I’ve had recently and is very tasty.

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Photo of Crosling
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Mildly aromatic, citrusy and fruity, with notes of orange, lemon peel and pepper.

Defined malt backbone of butter and caramel. The hops are dominant, slightly medicinal, spicy and have notes of orange, tangerine, juniper, peppers and wood.

I enjoyed this.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice golden copper color with a sweet 1 inch head. A nice floral / citrusy hops aroma fills my nose and beckons me to take that first sip. Taste has a wonderful hops presence couple with a great biterness...a damn fine example of a APA. Some floral / piney notes come through as well. This is a awesome brew that has great drinkability. It's up there with SNPA in my book. Two thumbs up to Great Lakes Brewing for this ale. I look forward to trying some of their other offerings as well.

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

Pours a cloudy copper color, nice thick head of small white bubbles, not much lacing. Sweet pine grapefruit cascade, hoppy aroma. Medium body, soft and creamy mouthfeel, great hoppy citrus and caramel flavors, a great session beer, very easy to down a few, another great one from this brewery.

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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 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 OhioBulldog
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearence is golden orange color with a nice light tan head.Nice lacing all around my pint glass.

Aroma gives off a good citrusy hops and some sweeter floral scents

Taste - Wow. First off I catch hops, very piney and citrusy. The malts come in next to give a great balence to the hops, and the finish is very smooth and refreshing, leaving me wanted for more.

This ale is very well balenced, perfect amout of hops, one of the better pale ales ive had, I commend GLBC on a fantastic job.

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Photo of crookedhalo
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly clouded golden orange color with a good, thick light beige head. Lots of tea-like malt tannins and hops in the aroma as well as flowery esters in the nose. Sweetened tea is most dominant in the malt, and the hops take the background, but not too far back. Carbonation is good, which keeps it light and drinkable. Pretty much what I'm looking for in an APA, quaffable, yet having some character in the sense that the citrusiness of the hops meld nicely with the malt.

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Photo of ngandhi
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet, piney hops in harmony with honeyed crystal malt. Herbal nose without much brightness and very British in style -- calm, earthy, delicate.

Roasty, biscuity grain finish accentuates the subtle, lightly citric, resinous hops.

Though modern American Pale Ales have eschewed the meaning of the style, Burning RIver harkens on a more traditional intepretation where the goal is to be quenched and satisfied, not overwhelmed or impressed by hops. Still, there are many examples of British pale ale where the beer is toned down, but still full in flavor and memorable. Burning River falls apart on the finish to a point where it doesn't even seem to take itself seriously.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of wyllder
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First off: Huge thanks go out to Matcrill for the chance to sample this.

Pours a cloudy golden amber with a small white head. Leaves a good bit of sticky lacing on the side of the glass as you go.

Nose is a nice mix of caramel offset by citrus bitterness and a sawgrass smell.

Taste is, well, damn good. Palate is perfectly balanced, with the caramel from the malt arriving at the same moment as the slight citrus bittering and some grassy notes behind that. Aftertaste is mildly bitter and IPA-like.

Mouthfeel is very good as well.

I could drink this all night, if only it were local.


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Photo of BitteBier
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper-amber color with gold highlights. Disappointingly little head even after an aggressive pour. A rather assertive nose highlighted by citrus hops and biscuity sweetness. Taste is complex and balanced, with a nicel, citrusy crush of hops that endures. Malty sweetness shows up it the middle and fades to a smooth finish. Nice mouthfeel in this one, with a pleasant combination of smoothness and just enough clingy hopes to keep things interesting.

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Photo of profzoom
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This fine ale pours a nice clear golden brown with a rather small head. The smell is sweet and hoppy, but nothing too spectacular. It tastes of hops and leaves a refreshing bitterness. All in all, a very solid pale ale - definitely the best I have sampled from the great state of Ohio.

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

Many thanks to WVbeergeek for this sample.
Nice beginning with an appealing aroma. Starts with the sweet/sour combination from the hoppy citrus, that also includes some grassiness. In time some sweetness from the malts appear.
Amber gold, clear and a one inch head. Minimal lacing.
Hos beginning to end. Mildy better, grassy somewhat citrus with a steady and firm malt foundation preventing excess. Hnt of malt sweetness up from. slightly fruity. This increases as it warms and it's quite pleasing.
Soft from the malt and carbonation, which also lends a fluffiness. Maybe just a bit thin.
Someday I'm gonna' have to admit to myself that this is probably my favorite style. It's always so satisfying. This one works for me.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a brassy gold, topped with a short, modest crown of ivory foam. Very fine bubbling in the head, retaining easily through the entire glass. Sticky cobwebs of lace trail down the glass in a very satisfying manner. Good clarity, perhaps a slight chill haze, but I'm not complaining.
The aroma is rather surprising. I don't know what I was expecting, but from the glass wafts an aroma reminiscent of a log cabin 150 miles from the nearest stop light, in the middle of the woods, home to Oleg the trapper and his pet black bear. Very rough edged and grizzly, with considerably grainy, biscuity malt. The grain takes on a distinct, husky sharpness, with an undercurrent of hazelnutty yeast. A trace of lemon and apple peeks through, very mild, pinned under a fallen pine tree of hoppy bitterness. I suppose I was anticipating a milder, smoother brew, but this does just fine.
The flavor starts with little sweetness, replaced with a grainy, husky biscuit maltiness. A touch of apple fruitiness in the middle, along with a yeast flavor hinting towards hazelnut and walnut. The finish is nicely balanced, with an assertive hopping providing a low pitched bitterness. Very piney, woody and earthy. A touch of toffee and burnt malt notes creep into the finish, the biscuity flavor lingering in the aftertaste forever. A rather dry finish, with an almost powdery feel. The mouthfeel is actually pretty dry throughout, the fine carbonation assisting the feel. Rough hewn and angular. Medium bodied, more or less, but feels a bit more substantial.
I never would have guessed cascade for the hopping, after looking at their website. I would have figured an earthier variety like northern brewer, with perhaps some cascade for flavor and aroma. I don't know if I'd want to drink a beer this harsh all the time, but it's a nice switch from the smoother english styles I've been drinking lately. Another winner from these folks. They're shooting 100% with me so far.
Thanks to oldcrustacean for the bottle!

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

A solid all around beer that is very drinkable if not a little drying in the aftertaste. The beer is a perfect amber without cloud or haze with a nice fluffy white head that settles into some lace. Sparse carbonation bubbles race to the top.

Smell is a moderately fruity hops with a little funk in the background. I'm not sure if this is an off bottle or if it my catbox.

Taste hits with biscuity sweet malt and then the hops hit. The hops in this beer are pretty extreme for a Pale Ale. I'm guessing this gets the APA designation from the generous use of hops. The piney hops quickly turn bitter and drying, making me want to take another sip.

Mouthfeel is slick and carbonation lends some balance to that. Finish is dry and almost tannin-like.

A solid and drinkable beer. A mainstay type.

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Photo of garthwaite
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the brewery. This one was a light golden/orangish with minimal head as it was filled to the brim. Having just walked to the brewery, I was hoping for a somewhat easy-drinking thirst-quencher to start off the evening. I got that & more as this one was not only perfectly crafted & supremely drinkable, but also very well hopped. Aroma of floral, woody hops with a hint of citrus & toasty malts. Flavor follows the nose as this one is a tremendously well balanced mix of toasted malts & muted, but delectable floral, mildly citrusy hops. Medium bodied, very clean, well rounded brew that departs with a lasting dry bitterness. As drinkable as it gets, just an expertly crafted pale ale.

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Photo of ramrod666
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another great brew from great lakes. pours a medium amber with a nice fluffy head. lacing is immense leaving a ring with every drink. smell is hoppy and floral with a slight citrus tinge. taste is good. a decent amount of hops in front with a slight malt backround. mouthfeel is sticky. alittle too much but, still a great drinkin' ale. the more i drank the more i liked this apa. pretty damn good.

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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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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 3,207 ratings.
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