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Harvest Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Harvest AleHarvest Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,077 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,077
Reviews: 404
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.06%
Wants: 27
Gots: 52 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-03-2007

Dark auburn color, citrus hop aroma, caramel flavor, medium body
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Ratings: 1,077 | Reviews: 404 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kingothewoods
3.17/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured nicely into a pint glass with a creamy thick head. The color was a deep copper with some red coloring. Good head and head retention.
Smells very sweet which must have been the malt but you also get a kick of the hops they used.
Tastes OK for a fall type seasonal brew. The hops definitely come through and this beer is heavily carbonated. Liked it but not sure the drinkability was very high.

Photo of MTNboy
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It smells very hoppy but it is a good hop blend much like the flavor with a little bit of malt sweetness earthiness coming from the background. It has a bronze red hue with a tan almost brown head. There is a lot of head and lace to this beer. I would say about two and a half fingers. The taste is like the aroma but a little earthier but still a good use of hops is very apparent in the flavor. It is almost like an IPA with some bitter citrus tones. Mouthfeel is very fizzy and with that comes a decent amount of burn.

Photo of antilogic
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to drewbeerme for the bottle. Popped it to celebrate pre-Halloween and bring the harvest spirit to southern California. Pours clear amber/copper with a generous, lasting white frothy head. Hops, citrus (lemon) and pine dominate the aroma with a slight yeastyness and earth when I swirl. It smells better than it tastes, but remains very drinkable. Crisp, slightly malty and a kick of hops for flavor fading quickly to a bit dry and bitter on the after taste. In fact, it leaves my mouth slightly dry, but wanting for more. Not a bad ESB.

Photo of MacDomer
3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at happy hour.

A - This one pours a semi-clear bronze color. One finger light tan head that was slow to recede. Left a nice sticky lacing on the glass.

S - Starts off with citrus, and piney hops, as well as some grassy/herb/earthy smell. Some light toasty notes and carmel for balance, as well.

T - Same as the nose. A bit sweeter than I would like. Good hop flavor, good balance with caramel and toasted malts. Hops are more citrusy than piney in the taste - grapefruit, pinapple, orange. A bit yeasty, too. Through the finish it becomes slightly grainy.

M - Light to medium body. Smoooth enough, carbonation is medium/medium-heavy and provides a nice bite. Dry and bitter finish.

D - Pretty high. Goes down easy. ABV is manageable. Light and refreshing. Great? No. But pretty good.

Photo of ohiohophead
4.59/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first thing I noticed when pouring this brew into a pint glass was the wonderful nose on it. Wow! What a fantastic hop aroma!

Poured a very nice 1" head that left nice lacing for the entire beer.

As I lifted the glass to my mouth, the large hop aroma hit my nose again and I expected a beer as bitter as an Imperial IPA. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the malty, bready flavor that stood up nicely to the strong hop presence. The bitterness did slightly overpower the malt flavor, but did not dominate.

This beer was a little hoppy for the ESB style, but it was a true pleasure to drink nonetheless. This harvest ale has a light to medium mouthfeel and is very drinkable.

I am going to run to the store and try to get another 6-pack of this before it is gone and then I will look forward to autumn 2009 when I can get this beer again.

Photo of younger35
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed a pint of this at Goose Island Clyborn for around $4. Surprisingly enough this is my first reviewed Goose Island brew. Drank from a Goose Island pint glass.

Appearance- This one is darker than expected with a reddish orange color and a nice big one finger bright white head. The head lasts the entire beer and leaves plenty of spotty ring-like lacing.
Smell- Wonderfully pungent and piney with loads of citrus goodness throughout. Grapefruit and Orange pith standout, as well as a lightly floral bouquet of hops. A small amount of softly roasted malt adds a bit of light nuttiness and a touch of caramel sweetness.
Taste- Surprisingly this is a fairly well balanced beer. Some grapefruit and orange pith up front with a raw green bitterness. Almost a rose hip type of floral aspect as well that gives the perception of perfume on my tongue. A bit of caramel and toffee back everything up adding a bit of sweetness and a slight nuttiness. The sweetness doesn't last long as the bitterness works its way back to linger on for quite some time.
Mouthfeel- Nice full body with very light carbonation and a nice oily smoothness.
Drinkability- Overall this is a pretty solid Harvest Ale. Usually these fresh hop brews smell quite a bit hoppier than they taste but this one manages both. It was a good beer to start the day with and I'm glad it was on special!

Photo of hooliganlife
3.56/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a bottle. this has my mind blown. color is brown with a hint of amber, light head. smell is malty, light hops. the taste is what throws me off. hoppy up front, light IPA, but the finish is very malty. reminds of an oktoberfest. light carbonation. i must say this caught me off guard. this is very sessionable.

Photo of BigJim5021
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

GI's Harvest Ale pours a nice burnt copper with a decent white head. Lot's of lacing, too.

The smell is twangy and a bit hoppy. Not terribly strong on the nose, but what's there is pleasant.

The flavor is more hops than malt, but nothing approaching IPA territory. About the level of hoppiness you'd expect in an ESB. Well balanced would be a good way to describe it.

Carbonation is a little much, but nothing that ruins the party. And while the beer isn't too thin, it's also not quite what I look for in terms of thickness. Nice and dry, though.

Harvest Ale is an easy drinker. You could easily put back a handful of this stuff in an evening. It's pleasant, if not overly great. Solid, but that's good enough.

Photo of danielharper
3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A Chicago beer in honor of a certain Chicago politician.

Appearance: Reddish brown coloration, slightly hazy, some effervescence, moderate off-white head that dissipates immediately. The head leaves no real lacing.

Smell: Dark, malty aroma. Notes of bready grains, somewhat aromatic of dry hops way down deep. Smells sort of like a bock -- I like it.

Taste: A little bit of everything. Sweet at the start, malty in the middle, a nice dose of dry hops at the end. Finishes sweet, leaves a touch of sweet aftertaste. Actually quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Moderate. Very low carbonation.

Drinkability: A very drinkable and enjoyable beer that pairs well with food. Well worth the price.

Photo of Brew33
4.53/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the seasonal beers I can't wait for. This is Goose's best beer in my eyes. It's bright, hoppy, and highly drinkable.

It has a solid, sweet malt character and the depth of flavor is wonderful. This is a damn near perfect beer. It is very well balanced and has a distinct malt sweetness, I'd love to see the ingredient list of this beer. I could drink these babies all night long.

I am again very impressed with this offering. I had it at Goose Island Wrigleyville last year on draft and I hope to get back there again to enjoy it. It is almost as good in bottles as it is on draft. Excellent brew!

Photo of jeremyd365
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark coppery amber with a very light tan head. The hops are definitely apparent from the smell of this one. It is a thick-medium body and seemingly lightly carbonated. The taste is delicious! Very crisp and hoppy with a solid hop aftertaste but not really bitter at all--more of a sweet-hop that lingers. This one I will definitely buy again and recommend to others without a doubt!

Photo of williamherbert
4.22/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark orange to ruby red color, depending on the light. A nice finger of rocky, creamy off-white head. Nice to look at.

A really pleasant wet-hop aroma; flowery but with some pine and woody character as well. So far, so good.

An initial piney blast of sweet, woody hops. Quite nice. Sweet, toasted caramel malts. Bitter but with a sweet balaance. Really pleasant. Rich malt; resiny, bitter hop.

Creamy and fizzy. Nice rich body. A terrific harvest, balanced and hoppy. Very good example of the Harvest Ale style.

Photo of Deuane
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep copper with a medium off-white head that reduced to a thin cap and left nice lace.

S-Aggressive sweet caramel malt up front followed by a citrus fruit hop aroma. Some toffee and dark fruits in the background.

T-Malt-forward for sure and if this is supposed to be an ESB then this is right on. A decent amount of citrus hops and caramel/toffee taste.

M-Medium body with a nice smoothness from the rather soft carbonation. A decent amount of lingering sweetness and mild hop bitterness.

D-Good with plenty of caramel flavour melding well with just enough of a hop kick to make this one interesting. Not a "classic" harvest brew but if this is to be more of a fresh hopped ESB then this hits the mark for sure.

Photo of ffejherb
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into DFH specialty glass on 10/27/08. Thanks to Deuane for picking up one of these for me during a recent trip to the Mid-West.

A - Deep hazy copper-colored body with burgundy highlights and two fingers of foamy off-white head that transformed into thick, ornate lacing that reminded me of a coat of chainmail armor for some reason. Solid head retention and sparse amount of carbonation.

S - Huge waft of caramel malt up front, which surprised me, followed by a fruity hop character with hints of citrus and dark berries, as well as floral notes. Some sticky, syrupy pine creeps its way into the mix as well.

T - This is actually pretty malt-forward for a harvest ale. However, there is a decent amount of citrus juiciness and burnt, sticky pine to complement the heavy caramel maltiness. There is also a hint of dark fruit in the backend.

M - Medium body with soft carbonation that builds into a mild prickly sensation across the palate. Slick, oily texture allows the liquid to glide effortlessly down the throat. Finish is mildly bitter with lots of residual sweetness on the tongue.

D - This is a unique harvest ale that really grew on me the more I drank it. While it is quite malty overall, the flavor is complex with plenty going on to hold my interest. This one possessed more of a subtle hop character that was still quite tasty and enjoyable.

Photo of ranneyj2
4.22/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Had to pour into a frosty plastic cup, but looked good, nice amber/copper color. But the reason why it was exceptional for me was the head. When you tipped in up and set it on the table a new head would form! It was something magical! Seriously though it was beautiful.

S- Good...I guess. The bottle and then plastic cup did not allow me to get a good nose full but it seemed to lack sophistication.

T- Loved it! Great balance, wonderful hoppiness to it but then a subtle sweetness. All I could think about was fall, which to me is the point of something like the Harvest Ale.

M- Nice, kinda lightness so to speak in the mouth. Good crisp/clean qualities, but enough heaviness to fill your mouth and again, make you think of fall for some reason.

D- Bottom line, could drink all day every day! Respect Beer.

Photo of wheatyweiss
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a soapy two finger head that settles to a thin cap leaving generous lace.

Aroma is of toasty grain and hops. Very fruity aroma with a slightly nutty smell.

Flavor is toasted grain and caramel. Hops are nicely present and leave a nice spicy, piney flavor. The finish is very nice and clean, which I can attribute to the hop flavor cleaning the palette of the grain bill.

Nice beer, a very drinkable ale with a nice clean finish.

Photo of KBomb
3.51/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A thick brown head tops off a dark amber with high carbonation. Lots of glimmering gold on the edges and lacing that is thick and persistent. This is a beautiful looking beer.

A bright hoppiness jumps right up the nose (almost stings). A tiny bit of floral and citrus accents the bold hops smell.

The sharp and clean hoppy flavor cuts through every sip. A striking but not overpowering bitterness stands out. Its not "piney" like some heavily hopped brews. Though the bite of the hops is impressive and likeable, there is not much nuance to the flavor beyond it. Though there is a tiniest bit of fruity-sweetness up front, I might prefer a little malt sweetness in the background to give it some more landscape. It seems a little more like an American IPA than an ESB. The flavor is strong, but not entirely interesting.

Its sharp and highly carbonated. Its not heavy but a tiny bit syrupy. It feels like an autumn beer.

I can have a couple of these, but I think its a little bit one-note to have more than two rounds. I ended up using a bottle to cook some bratwurst in because I was bored of the flavor but knew it was good enough to add a little something to the sauasage.

Photo of kels
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bought this on a recommendation. Poured from the bottle into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Clear, bright amber color with continuously rising bubbles of carbonation throughout. 2-finger rocky, fluffy head reduces to a 1/2 inch skim after the first few drinks. Loads of thick sticky lacing all through drinking.

Smell: Lightly grainy with bright citrus. Malts are only mildly hinted at, and there seems to be something spicy standing out.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Taste of toasty grains, lemony hops and syrupy malts. A peppery spice is present on the back of the tongue, especially in the aftertaste, and it's really well complemented by the toastiess. The mouthfeel is a little watery for the carbonation, and it leaves a sticky residue after swallowing.

Drinkability: Pretty high - the stickiness is the only thing that would keep me from calling this session.

Photo of semihobo
3.71/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottled 8/12/08. Just opened the first of my homebrew ESB last night so I am tuned in to the style. "Serve in a Willi glass" on the label... yeah alright. I think a pint glass will be fine. One of the first hits on Google for "willi glass" is from another review of Goose Island Harvest Ale, slightly ridiculous.

Head is fine on the pour, weak staying power, good sheeting on sides of glass. Medium brown color, fairly clear but some yeasty floaters rose to the top.

Sweet caramel malt smell with some fruity yeast esters. Piny west coast hops blend well, smell is strong even at a cold temperature.

Good balance on the taste as well. Fruity caramel taste on the front, met halfway through by a hop profile with a wide spectrum of tastes that carries away the taste on the finish. Some west coast elements, a little resiny but the backup dancers are all about the spice and flat bittering. Has flashes of intense tree bark bitterness.

Mouthfeel is decently chewy, syrupy on the finish. Smooth carbonation. Felt thinner as it warmed.

Great hop profile, well balanced. Would prefer a slightly lower ABV for sessions and I am secure in my manhood saying that. Hey Goose Island: I got your "willi glass" right here... but this is tasty beer.

Photo of afinepilsner
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle

Goose Island Harvest Ale was amber in color with and off-white head. The head had good retention with some lacing. The aroma was citrus hops with a little toasted malt in the background. The taste was sweet toasty malt followed closely by citric hops. It was balanced with a dry finish. The mouthfeel was good, a medium body with soft carbonation. Drinkability was very good. This is a fall seasonal that I will be drinking a lot more of.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle (bottled 8/25/08) into my Blue Point shaker glass. Appears a slightly hazy amber color with two fingers of creamy off-white foam. Smells of fresh, citrusy hops and toasted malts. Tastes of lemon, pine, caramel malt as well as a mild floral note. Medium in both body and carbonation. A pretty tasty harvest beer. Try it if you get the chance.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a clear reddish-copper body with strands of carbonation supporting a creamy light tan head that last for a good bit.

S- The smell of green hops during the pour takes on a light patchouli oil quality, and a fresh hop pellets note as well. There is a soft toasted malt note that increases as the beer warms.

T- The taste of green hops is not huge but has a nice presents. There is a hint of tartness along with some softer toasted biscuit malt flavors. There is a soft dandelion bitterness that hits the back of the throat after each sip.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a no alcohol heat and a tight little fizz that enhances the hops at the finish.

D- This beer has a nice fresh full hops flavor with good support from toasted malt. A good autumn sipper.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.27/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of hero27 and a brutally awesome LNBA BIF haul - thanks Eric!

The bottle asks to serve in a Willi glass. I'm pretty good with wine glassware but still getting up to speed on the beer glassware, so the closest thing I find is a Sam Adams White Ale glass courtesy of Julio's Wild Six "frequent drinker" progam. Midway through I also put this one into a Reidel Cab glass to see if I notice any difference, and then back - it's great either way but in the Willi glass I agree, it's even better. Enough of that...

Big, bready, dulce de leche 2-finger head that laces nicely atop a bourbon-colored body with ample carbonation.

Big floral hop presence with a fair amount of grapefruit at first. While the citrus dissipates with warmth, the nice rind tones remain backed by creamy, caramel malt. Hops are slightly soapy but this has quite the pleasant texture. With warmth a slight leathery scent?

Big floral hop presence gets a bit grassy on the palate - it's quite strong but by no means treacherous. Nicely balanced with a velvet caramel malt backbone. That leather undertone is still making an appearance. Very enjoyable stuff - quite abundant in its elements but nicely constrained to retain balance. Extremely well-crafted.

Feels like buttah. Luckily it definitely doesn't taste like it. Seriously, the texture is so damn creamy that it neutralizes the expected twang from the nicely huge hop presence to provide quite a calming and comforting influence.

Goose Island has always been a sentimental favorite - probably one of the first craft outlets I ever encountered, courtesy of my crazy cousin in the far north 'burbs. For all the intense flavor profile and abundance, this drinks quite clean. Extremely clean. One of the most well-balanced offerings I've come across recently. Well done!

Photo of Roeters
4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 bottle:

A: red, copper color, with a thin white head, very nice lacing

S: Great citrus hop aroma, very fresh

T: Mild front, with the hop flavor that picks up in the middle and carries through to the end leaving a slight bitterns.

M: A little too thin of body for me

D: Very easy to drink, good flavor

Photo of prototypic
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 9/02/08

Appearance: It pours a slightly hazy, darker bronze/copper color. Sitting atop is a very light tan, foamy head that's easily two and a half fingers deep. It was very slow to recede and left a very sticky, thick coat of lace on the glass.

Smell: Initially it has a sweet caramel malt aroma. There's some light toasted notes that add some character. Hops are very prevalent on the nose and feature some citric and piney qualities. There's some earthy and grainy notes present. A hint of some citrus fruit seems to be present. Smells like touch of pineapple. It's somewhat biscuity or yeasty on the tail. Overall, it's not very flashy, but a solid smelling beer nonetheless.

Taste: Up front it features a nice mix of caramel and toasted malts. They're sweet and have a nice flavor. It does have a nice hop flavor that's citric and a little piney. It's not a strong hop flavor, but it adds some punch that's needed. There's some light pineapple and grapefruit flavors present. It is biscuity and somewhat yeasty. That aspect comes across pretty light, but it is there. An earthy and grainy flavor indeed appears late. It finishes sweet and slightly bitter. None of the flavors featured really overwhelms the other. They all work together to produce a nice end product.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and features a smooth feel. Carbonation is active and gives it a nice crisp bite. It's not one of the smoothest beers I've had, but it goes down really easy. Drinkability is very high. I could easily tackle this six pack in a night if I were so inclined.

I really enjoy this time of year and all of the seasonal harvest ales that hit the shelves. This is solid release in the bunch. There's a few others I prefer simply due to stylistic differences. But, this one's good. I think the hop and citrus fruit flavors could be amped up a little. But, it's a small complaint. This is a good beer. Definitely recommended.

Harvest Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
84 out of 100 based on 1,077 ratings.