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: 3,207
Photo of findlayfan
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with near-white 3/4" head.

Impressive amount of hops in the smell--if they'd labelled this an IPA I wouldn't have been as surprised.

Good, clear body, with moderate carbonation and slight lacing.

Bitterness quite noticible but not at all off-putting.

Goes down easily - could consume several of these in one sitting..

Overall, a good choice in the pale ale/IPA category. Not the greatest brew from GLBC but a very good representation of the style.

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

Apperance: Golden amber, nice and clear. Whitish head with good retention.

Aroma: Slightly vegital in it's hoppyness. The malt characteristics show through in a toasty breadyness that is very pleasant.

Taste: The mouthfeel is full and bready. The hops are noted late in the taste, but they seem to keep the beer from being too sweet. They tingle the tongue throughout the finish and balance out the sweetness. The initial malt attack is slightly nutty, and caramelized.

Notes: Smooth drinking Pale Ale. Almost session style. The body is full, but it doesn't seem to be the body of a 6% beer. Easy drinking Pale. Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for this one.

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

12 oz brown longneck with freshness dating.

The beer pours a nice dark copper with a fair head. Some loose lacing.

Nice smell of fresh citrus/pine with clear malts. This is very nice!

The taste is quite a bit like the smell. The taste is slightly bitter with hints of pine. The beer seems well balanced as the malts are quite prominent and they add a nice sweet compliment. The malt taste becomes slightly more prominent as the beer warms. It reminds me a bit of caramel.

The mouthfeel is bracing and slightly astringent. Nice carbonation levels. Very easy drinker, would be a nice session beer. Well done!

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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 PSUDREW
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange. for lack of anything else, orange is the best way to describe this brew. Not a bad thing, but just what comes to mind.
When i say this, this is what I mean :
pours a hazy, semi-deep orange color. Some head, light lacing.

Nose, floral scents, slightly grassy, and citrus, that citrus? orange. (and, on a side note, applejacks. I smell applejacks for some reason)

The hoppy-citrus taste, a juicy orange flavor, as it were. Not totally, but you get the gist. Solid, slight sweet and malty, but indeed hopped flavor. slight grassyness is even in the flavor. Nice mix, solid blance too.

Intertwines flavor nicesly. medium mouhtyfell, and drinkable even on a summer day. Nice pale ale here, it's a keeper

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from a (rather large) taster.. this beer is a orangey concoction with yellow outline around the edge, like a cloud of flavor immersed in a lager. creamy foam rides on top with the slightest hint of lacing in the glass. nutty in the nose and bitter with hops and a citrusey orange body with some cinnamon in the finish. roasted malts come out big time in the flavor as well as the smoky-flavored hops. this beer was medium-bodied, which added to the enjoyability and savour but allowed the drinkability to remain high as a kite. a surprisingly good pale ale here packed with flavor, and benefitting from it. breaking the style mold here pays off in spades, and leaves me with the memory of one of the best apa i've ever encountered. would have ordered another if the grand cru wasn't such the bomb sh*t.

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

Appearance: Cloudy amber. A fairly dark pale ale. Small white head. Moderate carbonation. Head quickly transmogrifies into the ring. Skinny fingers of lace show up as the level drops.

Smell: The nose is an herbal pine with a vague citrus notion. Ever so slight caramel underneath.

Taste: Grassy and pine laden with a nice bitter quality. There is a slightly caramelesque sweetness that shows its presence just behind the initial bitter strike; milliseconds before being swept away under a dry and bitter finish. Decently balanced properties.

Mouthfeel: Good bite from start to finish provided by the hop bitterness and carbonation tandem. Medium weight with the characteristic Great Lakes feel. Fairly crisp and clean.

Drinkability: Good. No problems here.

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Photo of Star80
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice copper with a touch of pink hue and is a bit darker than most pale ales, probably closer to some IPA's I've had. Head and lacing are decent. Smells like citrus fruit, (lemon?), with some sort of earthiness that is hard to put a finger on. Taste has a definite citrus twang, and some toasty malts. A bit hoppier than most pale ales but it's actually quite balanced. Mouthfeel is fine. Drinkable. Overall this beer is good but a little middle of the road.

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Photo of bozebus17
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden amber. The thin white head lasts for the duration of the beer. Some lacing is evident.

This one smells nice. A strong citrus or fruitlike hops smell dominates, but there is some scent of malt.

The carbonation tickled my tongue. A crisp bitter hoppy flavor comes out at the front with notes of citrus. It does manage to balance itself in the end. This beer has a very crisp refreshing taste. This one could definitely do you good on a hot day.

This beer is medium bodied and sticky. It is full enough to satisfy without being overwhelming.

Another great beer from one of my favorite breweries. It is a nice change from the malty beers I tend to favor. When you're craving something a bit more refreshing that will go down easy this brew will be just fine.

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

Pours a dark golden color with a generous frothy light tan head. Smell is cascades all the way, very appealing. Some caramel malts can be detected in the nose as well. Taste is initially bitter. The malt backbone is there, definitely caramel flavors, maybe some toffee. The hops are the standout of this brew however. For being hopped soley by cascades this one has a nice flavor. Citrusy, mainly grapefruit and lemon, but not overpowering. The sweet malts balance this brew well. Mouthfeel is great for a pale ale, medium body, but not too thick as to limit the drinkability. A very nice pale ale, definitely in my top tier.

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

Hazy dark gold with a decent beige head and slow decent carbonation. Hoppy-bitter aroma and flavor with an almost English style malt-hop balance. Medium bodied and light creaminess.

Fairly average for style (leans English malty) but cool name and label (Named after the infamous 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River).

Per GL website:
- An assertively hopped American Pale Ale with citrusy and piney cascades.
- 45 IBUs.
- 1993 GABF - Silver

Enjoy By: 05/16/04
Tasted: 03/29/05

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Photo of beveragecaptain
3.76/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has a nice, clear amber appearance with a creamy head. The aroma seems a little off, like a cheap lager, but with hops that cover up most of the bad smell. There's also another aroma that's like fruitloops cereal. Pine hop flavor, but balanced. This beer is on the big side for a pale ale. Pretty good, but most of GLBC's beers are more than pretty good.

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Photo of longarm
4.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear amber but carbonation is a little thin.

Hop aroma is dominant and flowery, almost perfume-like. It's driving me nuts that I can't pin down the smell that this resembles, but all I
can think of is gardenias or some other kind of sweet flower. Very nice.

Flavor has an initial hit of bitterness, followed by a little malty sweetness. Grapefruit-esque hop flavor appears at the finish.

A little cloying, but the sweetness is balanced well with the hop bitterness. It coats well and each sip demands another.

An exceptionally drinkable beer resulting in a beer that's greater than the sum of its parts.

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

Pours a clear bright amber with a thin yet persistent tan head. Aroma is sweetly hopped, citrusy and grapefruity, with a background of light pale malt.

Taste is more on the malty side, sweetish pale malts with the hoppy bitterness fading to the back. Light citrus, oranges, grapefruit with sugar and a slice of buttered toast. I'm getting a faint trace of smoke, not the dark peaty kind but the light campfire-y brand. Still with enough juicy hops to pull it back in the end.

Mouthfeel is medium, drinkability is high. Establishes a very good balance, very much ignored in many of the pale ale style, me likey. Much thanks to AKSmokedPorter for sharing.

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Photo of meathookjones
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber with a decent sized light tan head. Some scattered lacing around the glass as the head stays afloat. A bit of citric hops jump out first with the smell before the sweetness of the malt comes in. Nice balanced smell but nothing too spectacular. Citric hop bitterness combines with a caramel sweetness in the flavor. Notes of biscuit, pine and earthy hop under tones could be noticed. Slightly bitter after taste with a touch of grapefruit. Mouthfeel is medium and a tad rough on the tongue with its hops. Solidly drinkable as it is good and flavorfull. I could have a few.

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Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy amber color, with fizzy head that contains lots of small bubbles. Heavy flora hop aroma, even from a distance, the sent of cascade hop shines through. Medium body, which is full of hop. Starts very floral, then moves to a nice bitterness and then the bitterness slowly fades away. A very well overall hopped session beer.

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Photo of gimmehead
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish copper, thin eggshell colored head. Smells of citrus hops and sweet toffee malts. Taste is initially citric hops, followed by a candy like sweetness, regressing to a lingering, bitter resinous finish. Medium body and slightly slick finish. Great session beer.

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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.

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Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Named after one of the USA's most embarrasing environmental events, when the Cuyahoga River caught on fire in 1969. This is one of the more drinkable APAs I've sampled. It pours a hazy, honey amber body with a small offwhite head that retains well and leaves some curtains of lace. Aroma is very enticing, with citrusy grapefruit and orangepeel, some pine cone, and a solid caramel malt background. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very smooth. Taste is well balanced, with lots of citrusy hops and bready caramel malt sweetness. Very smooth, with a slightly bitter citrusrind finish and aftertaste. This is more drinkable than my go-to American Pale Ale, SNPA. Smoother and better balanced. Very nice!

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Photo of karst
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ten days after its clearly printed "please by date" I poured the beer named after Cleveland's burning Cuyohoga River into a fine Corsendonk tulip shaped stemware glass (rinsed with unfinished Dirt Cheap pilsner from yesterdays AM tasting) I knew that the Great Lakes Brewing Co. was going to be a treat. The hops and aromas will magnify in this kind of glass. The beer rinse would insure my best chance to see the head capabilities. Absolute clear copper and head for a cover shot with a nose of sweet citrus hops, herbs, toasted malts and baked bread (not overly biscuit yeast aroma or taste). A Pale Ale taste that rises above the crowd and is as unique as the Sierra. One of the reasons why Europeans are flying to N. America for beer tasting vacations. I would love this cask conditioned and brewery fresh.

I keep reaching for the empty glass wanting more, alas it was sold out my last trip to Granite City Corral Liquors ( where this unpasteurized beer is kept in a chiller ) and I had to settle for a GL Dortmunder Gold which was more yeasty but still pleasing.

I am a body freek and like this medium full body. This beer taste is great (from 45° F to Room temp) in inspite of being old. Worth the trip across Missouri to locate this Champ APA this being said after trying about half of the Other APA rated 4.0+ overall. Burning River is most worthy of being in these good brew's company

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Photo of brewQ
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It has been a while since I had a Burning River.
Used to get a lot a few years ago when I lived in Ohio.

A deep "orange" color with a wispy head.
The aroma was zest, fruity and floral- awakening some memories.

The body was solid but didn't match my recall for fullness.
A very drinkable Pale Ale- always well made...

It's funny how how you can't always match your memoires and expectations, though.

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

Smells very much like sourdough bread, with a hint of my biggest vice (hops).
This has a golden color, a thin but nicely lacing head, and a decent amount of suspended sediment, which I enjoy.
Starts off with a bit of a bready flavor which I believe may come from the beer being slightly old. The hops and lively carbonation wash away this notion before it even becomes a concern. Quite hoppy for an APA. This is superbly drinkable stuff. An "ahhh...hits the spot" type of beer. Bubbly and refreshing on the tongue without ever getting dumbed down. Just plain solid.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew has a slightly hazy copper body, with a cream foam head that leaves behind a nice lace trail. It has a bitter hop aroma, with citrus tones along for the ride. Light sweet malts up front, punctuated by nice bitter hop tones. Bits of fruit as well. Full bodied. This here is a damn good PA.

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

In Pittsburgh visiting the parents for the holidays I was glad to be able to pick up some Great Lakes, which I can't get in Massachussetts. I haven't had these since maybe high school, and I am rediscovering their greatness. Appears a light and clear orange color, very pale and bubbly with little head to speak of. Smell is a real treat; strong citrus hop scent followed by any fruit you care to conjure up while you're taking your whiff. Pears, apircots, apples, grapefruit... the whole damn fruit basket. Nice fruity malt flavor for sure. Enough already. The taste is also strong citrussy bitter hops, but that's not the entire picture, as in some beers. The point of this beer wasn't to make is overly hoppy, but to balance that flavor with a ripe sweetness of fruity malts. Grassy too. Great complex flavors, all over the place. Mouthfeel is excellent. Almost feels/tastes like a less intense barleywine in terms of thickness and syrupiness. Great smooth and sticky juicy feeling. A real treat to drink. I'm gonna miss this beer when I head back east.

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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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