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Harvest Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Harvest AleHarvest Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,035 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,035
Reviews: 400
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.3%
Wants: 25
Gots: 35 | 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:
Dark auburn color, citrus hop aroma, caramel flavor, medium body

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-03-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,035 | Reviews: 400 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of udubdawg
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%

12 oz bottle

pours a clear reddish orange color, tall foamy off-white cap that subsides slowly and laces the glass well - good start. The nose is also pleasant, full of herbal and some fruity hops, with a toasted malt backbone.
I keep thinking of giving the flavor a 4.5, but haven't pulled the trigger. Despite the rampant, almost spicy, hop bitterness there is ample toasty malt. Not too sweet, with a medium body and mildly prickly carbonation that I find I don't mind at all. Quite bitter in the finish.

Highly drinkable beer. Went through about 4 six-packs this fall, which I suppose doesn't sound like a lot, but given the number of alternatives in my house, it is sizeable. The aftertaste is short of harsh and I haven't yet gotten tired of it.
To me this one is a winner, one I could drink all year.

udubdawg, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%

Appearance: Pours a bright, clear amber body with a full, foamy off-white head.

Smell: Crisp hop aroma of citrus fruits, fresh tea leaves, and a pinch of spice backed by a fair amount of caramel malt.

Taste: Subtle caramel malt flavor with a reasonably mild sweetness. Hint of dried breadcrusts. Grapefruit hop flavor with a well-rounded bitterness. A shot of unsweetened Lipton tea. Finishes with a mild, lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Though placed well on the lighter end of harvest-type ales, it was still quite enjoyable.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%

Glossy kumquat with corn shock gold edges. The three finger cap is a shade darker than sandstone and looks like melted ice cream as it begins to deflate. Before long, the glass is festooned with a beautiful patchwork of delicate lace... that is impressively abundant in the end. If any beer looks like a harvest ale, this one does.

Ideally, an ESB should be toasted malty, with either an American or an English hoppiness. I'm happy to report that this Goose Island seasonal fills the bill. In case you were wondering, it's American hoppy (Cascade), although it could be even more so as far as I'm concerned.

Harvest Ale is good, balanced beer. I have to resist the urge to urge the brewery to go bigger. More Cascade would put it into another league, but I guess they know what they're doing and what niche they need to fill in their lineup. Still, I'm pleasantly surprised after being somewhat disappointed by the past few Honker's Ales that I've had.

The flavor profile is dominated by toasted bread (two slices white to one slice brown bread). In addition, there's a dollop of caramel, a hint of cocoa and an almost rye-like spiciness. The grapefruity aspect of the Cascade hops is muted, but still contributes in a meaningful way. If the brewery was going after the 'falling leaves on a crisp autumn day, session beer division', they hit the nail on the head.

I'm on the fence about the body/mouthfeel. There's nothing wrong with it (medium, decently smooth, appropriately bubbled), but when I look at the word 'good' beside the 4.0, it doesn't quite qualify.

Harvest Ale is another solid, drinkable offering from Goose Island. I'm sure it'll never happen, but I'd like to see them switch labels and call this one Honker's Ale. At least then it would be available year-round. Better still, they should just add more hops to both beers and be done with it.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%

Best consumed by date: 3/09/2008

A - Poured out an orange/light brown color with an off-white, bubbly, two-finger head.

S - It smelled of grassy hops and a roasted malt aroma.

T - It tasted somewhat bitter with a subtle sweet/fruity flavor. A nice roasted malt taste was present, too.

M - It was crisp and very sharp. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good representation of the style. It is not the best ESB, but it is certainly drinkable/sessionable.

zeff80, Dec 15, 2007
Photo of jjayjaye
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%

Pours a mid-dark amber color with better than a full finger stiff light tan head that resists fading and leaving a good amount of lacing behind. The smell is really nice too; seemed to have a hoppy edge when the cap was released. Settles out to a balanced slightly roasted malt caramel. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel has got a lot of texture and it complements the malt flavor well. At 5.6% ABV it's a really nice drinking session beer.

jjayjaye, Dec 12, 2007
Photo of domjwl
4.45/5  rDev +19%

Ive had many beers over the years including many in the ba top 100 and I have to say that goose islands harvest ale is one of the best beers that I have ever consumed, It pours a copper color with a nice bubbly head,excellent floral ipa smell and a very nice bubbly head.Could drink this all night.

domjwl, Nov 15, 2007
Photo of uwmgdman
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%

The beer pours a clear copper color with a white head that leaves a nice lacing. The aroma has a moderate spicy, citrus hop character as well as a medium-low toasted malt aroma. The flavor is moderately malty, some sweetness with a pronounced, moderate spicy hop flavor. The bitterness is moderate. The beer finishes crisp with a lingering hop flavor and slight sweetness. The body is medium-full and carbonation is moderate. Overall a nice brew, an Oktoberfest meets an American Amber Ale. I especially like the balance of very robust hop and malt flavors.

uwmgdman, Nov 07, 2007
Photo of pmcadamis
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%

A - This one pours a nice cloudy orange red hue that is actually quite similar to the shade used on the bottle. A two finger white head shows some orange highlights and decent retention. Lacing is pretty abundant and sticks to the glass for the duration of my pint.

S - The nose is well hopped and very fruity. I smell passion fruit, apricot, and peach along with a mild undertone of crisp baguette/hard bread yeast. Very fruity, hoppy, assertive, and tight.

T - Again, very fruity and hoppy. The malt profile is in between crackery and biscuity...makes me think of hard crusty French bread. The fruit flavors are like a tropical fruit salad. Passion fruit and pineapple along with gentler hints of peach.

M - Medium bodied with a mellow English-style carbonation level and a tangy hoppy finish. Pleasing.

D - An outstanding session brew. It's got a good dose of hops and a really nice and firm mouthfeel. It's not super-complex, but it's a quality brew for sure, and it fits the style to a T.

pmcadamis, Nov 04, 2007
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%

Pours a clean orange-ish/ copper color with an off white head. Aromas of sweet maltiness, almost lager like. In the taste, a small sweet malt and just a small bitterness. A small bitter mouthfeel, with a malty sweet to dry aftertaste. Lager-ish more than an ale, but a nice malt presence.

OWSLEY069, Nov 03, 2007
Photo of blakesell
3.48/5  rDev -7%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.
For what it's worth, it's a twist off cap.

Appearance- A clear golden orange with a decent head and good lacing on the glass. Lacing clings well and sticks to the glass in dried splotches.

Smell- Fresh piney hops and a substantial malt content. Not a lot to the smell in this beer. The hops overpower the malt in aroma.

Taste- Nice malt balance for a very hoppy ESB. If this is the style of the beer, then they have overhopped it just a tad, but it is a fine beer nontheless. Goose Island's signature yeast is clearly evident as well.

Mouthfeel- Lightly sticky and full bodied, evenly carbonated and not exactly cloying, just thick. Not warming and easy drinking.

Drinkability- Very, I could go to town on this beer if necessary. This is a fine beer for the falltime/winter swilling needs.

blakesell, Nov 02, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%

This beer pours a massive head into my GABF pint glass. The retention is insane. The color is amber and is very clear.

Smell is of west coast hops. Do not have the same harshness as dry hops. Also tofee and caramel malts come out on the nose.

Taste is of caramel malts with a hint of tofee followed by a cohesive hop bitterness. The wet hops provide a flow from malts to hops that makes the experience smooth as hell.

Mouithfeel is moderately carbonated with a slight creaminess. This clings to the palate incredibly well.

This beer would make for a good session. The flavors are clean and pretty cohesive. It's just an easy drinking beer that is well executed.

jasonjlewis, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of RockyTopHeel
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%

Tasted on tap at the Goose Island Wrigleyville.

A nice, hazy orange-amber in color with a small, off-white head. The aroma is strong hops - much stronger than I expected - and intrigues me. Dry hopping is definitely in play here.

The piney, citrusy west coast hops are balanced nicely by a faintly caramel malt profile, but the hops still are the biggest presence in this beer. Not sure I could have ever guessed this was brewed as an ESB -- it's more like a pale ale to me.

RockyTopHeel, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of hylton44
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%

Like an earlier reviewer, I picked this up expecting an Oktoberfest, but was (I admit) pleasantly surprised to detect the flowery odor of an IPA. Brownish hue, substantial 1 1/2 finger off-white head, and (most importantly) the taste followed suit. Dry, resiney, yeasty malt taste with a slightly grainy mouthfeel and a not-too-clean finish. Gosh - all those descriptors don't make it sound like I liked this beer all that much; but I assure you, it was quite to the contrary. Definitely very much like a tasty pale ale, but with just a bit more body to warm the belly on a cold autumn's eve. Another winner from Goose Island!

hylton44, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of mynie
4.45/5  rDev +19%

Dark red. Really pretty like a nice APA. Giant, milk white head that stretches up in brillaint soap bubbles and doesn't die.

Big, very surprisingly stron nodes of grapefruit and citrus hops and a nice, light malt. A very tart smell all around--not quite an APA, but I can't figure out what the other part of it is.

Tastes great! Tons of flavor for the fairly small ABV. Very large grapefruit and citrus hops start things off, shooting into a very, lightly biscuity malt that comes somewhere in between an APA and a marzen. Odd, but it balances itself wonderfully against the hops and dies out on a firm, refreshinng node.

Very nice beer.

mynie, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of Applesauce1
4.68/5  rDev +25.1%

I picked this up at the Pit Stop in Nelsonville, OH, a few weeks ago.

Let's give it a whirl.

I was expecting an Oktoberfest style (which isn't one of my favorites, but i like trying new beers). Anyhow...

Appearance: amber-copper with a 3/4" head on the pour, nice and hazy also
Smell: hops (some citrus and pine)
Taste: yea, this is the stuff. one of the best tasting beers i can remember having....citrus, pine, some caramel and pale malt...all in good harmony
Mouthfeel: medium body
Drinkability: i would like to do three of these in a night....but i only bought one, so i'll need to go buy more for the weekend

A great beer!

Applesauce1, Oct 26, 2007
Photo of Grundle20
4.15/5  rDev +11%

The beer pours a slightly hazy copper color. From a rough pour no head is produced to the beer so there is no lacing or retention to speak of.

A mile caramel malt note builds the majority of the nose but there is a subtle, yet apparent, biscuit character which is coupled well. The hops take a bit of a backseat but they do lend a nice crisp edge to the overall scent.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
The same malt profile from the scent is what I'm picking up in the taste, a good and mellow caramel malt bulk with an appropriate touch of biscuit goodness. The hops again make for a crisp drink but they also add a bit of grassy and herbal flavor mid drink. The finish is again mellow and malty with a bit of lingering caramel and a touch of bitterness in to the finish.

A fine session beer IMO. Nice and mellow flavor with an agreeable ABV. So far, aside from the fresh hop seasonals, this has been my favorite fall release.

Bottom Line:
Another fine beer from GI. I'd like to try the draught version but unfortunately my car is dead : (

Grundle20, Oct 22, 2007
Photo of Pauly2X
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%

A- Poured a nice creamy one finger head which hung around for awhile to leave some coarse lacing. Hazy light amber color.

S- Aromatic blend of spicy and citrusy hops, very pleasing.

T- Hop flavor and bitterness is balanced wonderfully. Malt profile is just right to bring it all on home.

M- Smooth, near prefect carbonation.

D- Too bad I only bought a single of this.

I've only had two ESB's, and with this being one of them its great, so far so good on this style.

Pauly2X, Oct 19, 2007
Photo of Winter
4/5  rDev +7%

Pours amber with a reddish hue. Head shrinks to a light khaki surface covering. Caramel aroma with piney hops, toasted nuts, and malt with overall hints of sweetness throughout. Mouthfeel is medium, yet slight thinner. Carbonation stays mostly along the middle of the tongue. Flavor has a biscuity front with a sweet malt, caramel and grain. Piney hop bitterness emerges in the middle. Finish merges the hop bitterness with a nuttiness that's really satisfying.

This is a nice hearty fall beer. Perfect for pairing with some heartier fare like stews or roasted meats. It would go well with sandwiches on artisinal bread. I'd have to say that this was one of the more enjoyable new offerings from G.I. in the past few years.

Winter, Oct 18, 2007
Photo of joe1510
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%

12oz Bottle
$13.99 12-Pack
Binny's Orland

Goose Islands Harvest Ale comes as a little bit of a surprise to me as it's not a wet hopped IPA or PA like the harvest ales I'm used to seeing. Anyway, on to the review. Pours a faded copper that has a slight chill haze and tiny particules throughout. A two finger soapy off-white head formed on the pour and fell to a skim coat with a fatter collar. Leaves decent lace lines after each sip.

The aroma starts and ends with a moderate hop presence along the lines of sweetened grapefruit, grassiness, a hint of this and that. Maybe some lemon. The grapefruit is most prominent but all the hops are seamless to the point its hard to tell where one begins and one ends. Don't get me wrong this beer smells surpemely balanced with an earthy caramel maltinees that balances things out.

Flavor is along the lines of the aroma. Great balance between the fresh vibrant hoppiness and the caramel sweet maltiness. The flavor sports sme of the sweet pale maltiness and it's very welcome. It's one after the other over and over until this beer ends up down the gullet.

I find all of Goose Islands beers to have great mouthfeels. This is no exception. Mild carbonation keeps this beer smooth and creamy while allowing every flavor to work its way through nicely.

This is a good easy drinking very sessionable brew from Goose Island. The balance makes it one to pick up and drink the day away with.

This is a surprise of a harvest ale from Goose Island. Not the resiny one sided hoppiness like you might expect from a harvest ale but more supremely balanced and subtle making it highly drinkable.

joe1510, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of csmiley
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%

A - Nice copper color. Good head that stuck around for a while.

S - Nice hop smell at first. Malt background. Nice on the nose.

T - Very nice. Hop taste is immediate but in no way too strong. The background of caramel malt is a is a great balance.

M & D - I would say this is a medium bodied beer that goes down easy. Carbonation is mild but plays off the flavor of the beer nicely.

csmiley, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of 1fastz28
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%

pours a beautiful coper color with a fluffy white head that has a nice amount of lacing. has a really nice scent to it, lots of piney hoppiness to it and a little malt undertoe. tastes pretty good, just the right mixture of bitter hopness and sweet maltiness. mouthfeel is really good, thick and rich not watery. very good all around beer.

1fastz28, Oct 16, 2007
Photo of ultralarry2006
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a two finger tan head that has excellent retention, and leaves excellent lacing. Body is an orange amber.

Smell - citrusy and floral hops, and a mildly intense aroma of toasty malt biscuits.

Taste - pretty much as promised by the aroma. Citrusy and floral hops flood the tongue, with a toasty malt biscuit backbone. Towards the finish, there is brewed tea with lemon.

Mouthfeel - medium to full bodied, very slick from the hop oils.

Drinkability - this is good and very sessionable. It is listed here as an ESB, but it seems to be to be a hoppy American Amber/Red Ale. Nonetheless, it is a sessionable, hop-centric, and satisfying ale.

ultralarry2006, Oct 15, 2007
Photo of chilidog
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%

First of all...the setting or timing of this beer, for me, was awesome. Perfect fall weather, parades, fall festivals and autumn sports. So at days end, or during, haveing this Harvest ale handy was awesome.

It poured a good looking autumn orange or harvest copper color. The head was tan and full. It would fade alittle so not to get in the way but left a good film atop and laced mostly all glass long.

The aroma was sweet caramelized malts. Some grain or biscuit.

The taste was good malts, caramel, while a good crisp hop pricks at your mouth. A slight alcohol note towards the finish.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are good. Smooth to drink, crisp and refreshing. Goes good with most if not all tailgate foods.

chilidog, Oct 14, 2007
Photo of neonbrown82
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%

I really don't know what to think about this beer. Literally. This is the 6th one I've had, and the last in the pack. Each one has been very different. The first one I had was hoppy and delicious. A couple others have been moderately hoppy with a toasty malt profile ranging from subtle to huge. Some have had little to no hoppiness with a nasty toasty biscuit malt. This is one of the latter. This presents a problem in terms of the numbers, so I'm trying to average it out, but I can't honestly give it that good review with such inconsistency, even despite how delicious the first one I had was.

The beer pours to a nice peachy orange color with just the slightest hint of a haze. Decent sized head with a reasonably good retention. Lacing is fairly good as well. Shows a little carbonation as well. This is one of the few consistent parts of this beer, not surprisingly. If that weren't the case, then I'd be truly worried.

The smell has a very nice floral hops aroma. The hops smell fairly green and slightly grassy, which makes sense considering it is supposed to be a wet hop beer. Underlying, however, is a very intense, slightly buttery toasted biscuit malt. The taste is very similar in that regard.

The mouthfeel is light to medium. Unpleasant balance. Could use a little caramel malt to add to the body and sweeten it up a bit, thus downplaying some of that nasty toasted biscuit malt. Brewing an English style doesn't mean that you have to toss in a full baking pan of butter and biscuits. If the hops hadn't faded so quickly, this review would probably be a lot more favorable, but what can you do?

neonbrown82, Oct 12, 2007
Photo of TurdFurgison
4/5  rDev +7%

I poured this into my brand new Boston Beer Company glass. The beer was light copper colored with a thin head which left some trails of lace. The aroma was more IPA than ESB, fairly strong hops. The taste was also IPA-ish, a little biting bitterness mixed in with caramel tones from the malt. Nice balance in this beer, but again it doesn't seem like an ESB to me. I say it's an American IPA, and a good one.

This scores 4's across the board, a solid "good" rating..

TurdFurgison, Oct 11, 2007
Harvest Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
84 out of 100 based on 1,035 ratings.