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

very good
1,028 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: 1,028 | Ratings: 3,201
Photo of Buildscharacter
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Typically colored pale ale. I expected this brew to be much more subtle in it's character, but I was terribly mistaken. It's a brash and loud hoppy son-of-a-gun.

There's a nice bit of sweetness under the hops, especially if you let the beer warm a little bit.

I was pleased with this beer and it's overall flavor. Reminds me of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.

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Photo of kurtissellen
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a dogfish head snifter. Small half a fingers worth of off white head with small amount of carbonation and body looked a golden amber. At first I got whiffs of grassy hops aromas and then noticed a little citrus zest smell maybe of grapefruit or oranges. Got a little of the grapefruit zest in the first sip as well as the bitterness of the hops. It left my mouth coated after the first sip and had a lingering aftertaste. Seemed like the ending was missing a little something and I can quite describe the after taste. I picked this one up on my way thru Ohio and I would do it again as it's something worth drinking.

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Photo of Eldalonde
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A full dense creamy head develops with the pour and sits atop a deep copper colored nectar.

S - Nice light aroma of hops, some caramel malts, and some nice cereal grains as well.

T - Nice caramel flavor leads to some dry bitter hops and finishes with a dry cereal grain finish. Overall, the taste is a bit light and mild. I prefer a more hop kick in an APA, but this is a nice simple very sessionable APA .

M - A bit sticky with the caramel malts coating the palate. Not saying this is anywhere near oily, but the flavor comes through the palate well.

O - Very nice summer beer - or anytime beer really - that is simple to enjoy. It's not one that you need to sit down and really chew over all the flavors. Yet it still gives enough to make this very enjoyable.

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Photo of bubrewer
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with "best by" date of 3/30/05, I tasted on 7/29/05. Pours a clear copper color with acceptable head. Aroma is citrous and very nice. Bitterness is low, but fits very well with the malt profile. Althought this bottle may have degraded somewhat by age, I'm guessing fresh from the keg this would really be something special.

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Photo of thebarnesbomb
3.37/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle, had straight from bottle. Couldn't say much about appearance for this reason, my guess is a typical IPA yellow/ orange that isn't transparent b/c of the strong smell. I could smell the strong hop element, most apparent of anything else. Has a good body to it, a certain crispness that is associated to pale ales, but this was a little too harsh for me. The strength of the hops and the 6.00 abv took me off guard. Leaves a bitterness from these two elements that I didn't find very pleasant, so an average score for drinkability. I'm definitely not dissing this beer, you just have to know what to expect from it.

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

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. A beautiful golden amber color with a two finger white head that laces the glass through the drinking.

S: Smells great. Floral hops and sweet caramel malt is the main smell.

T: Wow. A very balanced pale ale that starts of with a decent amount of hop bitterness and finishes with an almost biscuit malt flavor. This beer takes what SNPA is and goes a step above.

D: A very well crated pale ale and one of the finest I have had. There will always be room in my fridge for this one. Two thumbs up.

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Photo of PenguinBeerFan
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark side of an APA. Just an inital sign that this beer will push the boundries of the APA style. Two fingers of head, sticky lace on the glass.

S-Pine and pepper. Definetely smells stronger than your average APA.

T-A lot of hops. Definitely tastes like a good IPA. Strongest hopped pale ale I can recall. Bitter on the tongue, bit of alcohol on the swallow. Stays balanced though, and not repulsive to this malt-head.

M-Sticky, resin like. Good density, moves around well.

D-Decent, though a bit hoppy for a long session of swilling. Alcohol is masked well.

Why this is an APA defies me, definitely tastes and smells IPA all the way. A good bridge beer if you don't want something pure hops and don't want something real malty. Enjoyable experience.

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Photo of a10t2
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Was finally able to get my hands on a GLBC sampler after being very impressed by their porter.

A: Pours a light amber with some orange tones, with two fingers of off-white head that clings to the edges all the way through without leaving much lacing. Serious bubbling carbonation that hangs around.

S: Cascade hops are evident right up front, with some other citrus tones. No malt smell to speak of, but an underlying earthiness that I found unpleasant.

T: Very hoppy, but with a malt backbone that falls somewhat short of balanced. A little creaminess afterwards and then a pleasant bitter aftertaste that lingers. Definitely one for the hopheads, but not too much of a "pucker" factor.

M: Still overly carbonated by my standards; I actually let it sit for a while before finishing. Once it had warmed up a bit it was very smooth and even a little creamy.

D: If you like hops this is definitely for you. Very smooth-drinking overall and I could definitely see a couple people polishing off a six pack.

On the whole, this is probably better classed as an IPA, and I had to score it down a notch for being (IMHO) mislabeled. If IPAs are your thing, though, it's one of the better ones in its class.

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Photo of fightingwords
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz American pint.

A--Pale copper. Golden orange. Sticky white head that fades fast to a film. Steady flow of carbonation from the bottom and the lacing is average.

S--Prevailing hop scent. Piney and earthy. Light fruit odors. Couldnt make out many malts at all. "Big" presence for an APA.

T--Super round and more balanced than the smell, but still over hopped. Had a spicyness in the after taste. Again, piney and lightly fruited just as the smell would suggest, but the malts provided a toasty balance to the sharpness of the hops.

M--Nice full bodied beer all the way down. Finishes quick and refreshing, but does leave a taste in my mouth similar to what an IPA might do.

D--Solid, could have several back to back ABV is just right for me.

O--Probably would pair this with some food for future drinks, great "Big" APA. Go for it if you are hop head looking for a lighter fix than a barleywine or DIPA.

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Photo of JDFish
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a beer mug. Strikingly gorgeous clear orange color. Smallish head that disappears rather quickly, leaving half moon lacing. It has a citrusy scent that mixes with grainy hops. Flavor follows the smell. Strong hop presence. Not the easiest to drink, but a great flavor, citrus beginning, quickly dominated by hop bitterness. Full flavor mouthfeel, how a beer should feel. A little dry on the finish. Good brew

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Photo of nmyers
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another fine product form Great Lakes. This is a good pale ale. I mean it when I say good, it didn't captivate me like a great beer would have. It had a nice copper color to it and a nice citrus/hoppy aroma as well. As all APA should it had a nice hop taste to it.

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Photo of tjacobs610
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Golden clear amber color, great head retention, 2 to 3 fingers high. Not much lacing to speak of

S:Has hints of floral and caramel aroma. Very good at bringing the taste to your nose

T:Very strong and aggressive bitter taste. The bitterness lasts throughout the drink but it’s joined by a malty flavor towards the end. There is also some hints of citrus at the beginning of the drink

M:Medium bodied, but yet very light on the palate. Has little noticeable carbonation. Has a dry finish to it and has a hoppy taste as well

O:Very good APA. Definitely shows its Pale Ale characteristics. Has a balanced mix of hops and malts.

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

Poured from the bottle into a glass raising about 1 1/2" creamy white head over a coppery gold (amber?) body, light carbonation. The scent is lemony with some light caramel malt and light bread notes. Very understated but pleasant as is the taste, an initial caramel bread then a light burst of lemony and grassy hops. The feel is full and the aftertaste lingers with the hops at the fore. There's also a little bit of tannin-like feel to the finish. Good stuff...and for what it's worth I got this in Great Lakes Sampler and this is the least favorite of the beers it contains and it's nice to find a sampler without the ubiquitous IPA and Belgian-styled-inspired-copied ale in the mix.

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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 MTMugs
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked this up when I took my daughter to Oberlin College for a weekend visit. It was the highpoint of the weekend since I was stuck in the motel on my own the whole time. It has that great hoppy bite that I love, but just a touch too bubbly for me. Brought another 6 pack back home to NY and dolled it out to myself over a couple of months. Haven't found it since. Bummer

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Photo of olegv40
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden yellow and the thick head clings to the glass. Pine comes through in the aroma. Very hoppy, and quite bitter, in a good way. Just a perfect amount of citrus comes through the bitterness and cuts it quite well. Finishes very sweet and smooth. A fantastic tasting beer that I would highly recommend.

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Photo of RedBeerHead
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours light amber with a two inch frothy head. The smell is fruity, hoppy and slightly bitter. Good smoky and fruity taste. My only comment is that the weight might be a little heavy considering the flavor. Great lakes beers will generally be on the heavier side, sometimes is works well, sometimes it weighs the flavors down.

And yes for those of you who are wondering, the Cuyahoga river did catch on fire and this beer was thus named.

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Photo of MaxBrewell
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a Solid APA in my opinion. Pours a nice amber color with a white head. Lacing is moderate. Off-white head fades quickly.

Nice citrusy aroma backed up with a nice malt character.

Taste moderately hopped, citrus and pine flavor with a little of that malt thrown in for balance.

Light to medium bodied, carbonation is not over done.

The balance of malt and hops makes this a very smooth, medium bodied American Pale Ale. I would have no problem putting a few of these away on a Sunday Afternoon.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of jdflyer06
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Nice golden color. Fairly light body with a foamy head that sticks around and leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S: Light malt backbone with some serious bitterness coming up through the nostrils. Not overly fruity but with some piny aromas. Not like some pale ales that are just watered down versions of IPA's. This is true pale ale with a nice crisp bitter nose.

M: Medium body that lightly coats the palate with a decent amount of carbonation. Really pretty smooth and an easy drinker.

T: A nice bitter wallop up front, followed by some bready notes and some light toastiness. Not overly complex, but not boring either.

O: I really enjoy this beer as an alternative to the sometimes boring IPA's that seem to creep their way into my sessions far too often. At 6% ABV, a pretty easy drinker and a great session beer. A very good example of the style.

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Photo of 5lat5ive
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a Great Lakes "Taster's" 12-pack. 3/4. Bottle into a pint glass.

A - Bright glowing orange. Fast carbonation rushing to the top, like a "burning river." foamy yellow-white head, 1-inch. lots of bubbles.

S - Strong citrus and pine. Very pleasantly floral.

T - Orange-citrus. Strong bitter hop presence, floral hop after taste. Zesty grapefruit note, grows stronger with each sip.

M - Sticky, Medium-bodied.

O - Nice balance of bitter and floral hops. I found the grapefruit pleasant, but I have a feeling that it might ruin it for some. I would drink again.

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Photo of JoshuaJ
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a damn solid beer, this one.

Darkish copper with a decent head and some good lacing.

Smells hoppy. Really hoppy. A little grassy, and a little citrusy. Sweet malts.

Taste starts with a hop bite, fades into a biscuity malt and finshes with crisp, dry hops again. Not overly complex, but just about perfect for a pale ale, or IPA. And speaking of which, I'd say it's more of the latter.

Mouthfeel is really nice. Crisp, not very heavy. Carbonation is good. Very dry.

Drinkibility is good. This is one that'll please hopheads, and one that I could drink all day.

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Photo of JohnF
4.69/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My wife asked me to buy some of this Great Lakes beer. I did not realize it won some medals and now I see why. A great lower alcohol beer; very smooth and everything a pale ale should be. I usually like heavier beers, but this one is very good for summer drinking and lower percentage.

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Photo of HeavyMetalBrew
3.2/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, some head. Golden color.

S: Grains/hay. Some hops.

T: Very grainy. Toasted notes. Citrus hops. Bitter finish.

M: Carbonated. Wet. Easy to drink.

Overall: This is an average beer with nothing special about it. Reminds me more of a pilsner than a pale ale. A decent beer.

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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 elginirishpunk
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clar with a golden/amber hue. Thick head and takes a few seconds longer then usual to settle. Has a rather light hop aroma with a lingering hint of caramel and hidden sweetness that is hard to place. If this was a blind tasting you wouldn't know it was a Pale ale till you took your first taste. The hops makes its presents know but then leaves and you are left you the hops coating the tounge, littl more bitter then your usual pale ale.

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Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 3,201 ratings.
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