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Harvest Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Harvest AleHarvest Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,048 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 1,048
Reviews: 403
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.03%
Wants: 24
Gots: 37 | 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: 1,048 | Reviews: 403 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jeonseh
4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a bottle and poured into a GI tulipglass.

A - the color is copper with a two finger head that settled down to about an 1/8 of inch sitting on top. There is a good amount of carbonation sitting on top as well.

S - Smells like a mix of pine hops with a hint of caramel malt.

T - Taste is a mix of light citrus hops and pine. It is a mild hops though that gives just enough hops to bring flavor but that is not overpowering. There are also hint of caramel malt that sweetens it up. this is one great tasting beer and one that you could just drink one after another.

MF - a big and chewy MF with a nice hint of resin that sits on the tongue and there is a small bit of carbonation. Nice creamy feel

D - Overall this is probably one of the best GI beers that I have ever had. It has great flavor, a good mouthfeel and it is super drinkable. I would definitely buy this over and over again. One great beer.

jeonseh, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of botham
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap into a pub glass at the Clybourn brewpub in Chicago. pours a rich amber color, crystal clear, with ruby red highlights and a single finger of light tan head. good retention, with mild lacings.

aroma is of mild coniferous hops, imparting a light spiced quality, along with a rich caramel malt base and light notes of citrusy hops and roasted malt in the background. very well proportioned in the nose.

taste is a wonderful mix of cascade hops and caramel malt, along with a touch of chocolate and a flutter of roasted malt. the hops are just spicy enough to balance out the smooth malt profile. superbly porportioned!

mouthfeel is smooth and lightly creamy, along with mild CO2 levels and a light spice from the hops upon finishing.

drinkability is great. this is a solid fall brew, be it an ESB or a marzen. the brew is smooth and rich in profile, with an excellent balance and a very drinkable profile. cheers!

botham, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of tedsox31
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Goose Island brewed this beer for the first time last year, and I liked it then. It appears to have only gotten better with age.

Poured into a pint glass. The appearance is a nice copper color. There is about a finger of white/cream head at the top that slowly dissipates as I drink the beer. Some lace and rings as the beer is drunk.

The smell is very nice. I can smell both the floral hops smell, as well as the malts, although I smell more of the hops.

Taste is very similar to the smell; I can taste the hops more on my tongue than the malt, although to me it is a nice balance. The hops are felt more at first taste, while it seems to finish with a malty flavor.

Mouthfeel is also nice. Creamy with a nice bit of carbonation. There is no clinging feel after I swallow.

This is a beer that works well for a session. It has a pleasant taste that isn't overwhelming and warms me on the inside as I finish the beer.

tedsox31, Aug 30, 2008
Photo of schanker21
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Two finger head slowly dissipates. Light lacing throughout. Clear and dark copper in color.

S- Smells of grapefruit hops and diacetyl.

T- Tastes of roasted malts, diacetyl, and those grapefruity hops. Very well balanced.

M- Crisp and refreshing.

D- A very drinkable and sessionable beer. One that might be good for introducing someone into the wonderful world of hoppier beers without being intimidating or overwhelming. I don't know if I would have made this a Fall seasonal, but it's a good beer.

schanker21, Aug 28, 2008
Photo of roadhouse
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this one last year and was very excited to see it on the shelf again. Poured from a 12 oz. bottled on 8/20, just a week ago, into a pint glass.

Appears a mostly clear copper color with a one finger off-white head that sinks down to a cap and leaves very little lacing.

Aroma is quite fruity, with citrusy hops reminiscent of Cascades, a bit of breadiness, biscuit, and some sweet caramel in the background.

Taste is quite similar to the aroma. Starts off with some citrusy hops, a slight spiciness and then the bready, caramel flavors come out only to be pushed back by the hops as they return to leave a nice citrusy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium-light, good carbonation level makes it quite creamy in the mouth.

Very drinkable beer, definitely qualifies as a session ale. I'd recommend trying it.

roadhouse, Aug 27, 2008
Photo of Chugmonkey
2/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Got a 12pack and it took like 6 months for it to go away in my beer fridge, used a couple bottles for cooking. Just totally underwhelming. Malty, but zero hop character, totally out of balance. This beer bored me to death. By far the weakest Goose Island brew I've had. Harvest ale? I was expecting a nice Oktoberfest with this kind of name and this just did not deliver.

Chugmonkey, Jun 30, 2008
Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium copper hue with some chill haze and a one and a half finger creamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a citrusy hop and a light caramel malt.

The taste was rather well balanced with a full doughy malt, some caramel sweetness and a clean fruity hop.

The mouthfeel was toward the creamier side of the style.

Overall a tasty and easily quaffed ale.

plaid75, Jun 12, 2008
Photo of BigBry
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Single 12 oz bottle from a mixed pack. Label as pictured above.
Deep orange color with a short but dense cream colored head. Foam lasts a long time with thick lace left on the glass. Some floral and earthy hop smell. Taste is a solid malt, biscuit and bready. Nice floral hop bitterness to balance. A bit of grapefruit in the end. I would say medium bodied, smooth, well balanced. A very drinkable ESB, perfect for a cool evening.

BigBry, Apr 27, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy amber body topped by a finger of thick white froth, with thick rings of lace adorning the pint glass. Toasted malt combine with hints of fruit and caramel to confront the nose. Thick malt taste dominates, with caramel smoothness helping to keep balance. Nicely carbonated and smooth.

This is another winner from Goose Island, more Special than Strong in the ESB acronym. There's much to enjoy about Harvest Ale. Goose Island proves itself consistent, creative, and delicious. Well done, and well worth trying.

Gehrig, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of JDV
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber tp a light maroon color and a small whitish head. Light sticky toffee, malt, and a noticeable hope presence on the nose. As it sits the smell turns medicinal, and band-aid like, but then after 10 more minutes becomes pleasant again. Very odd.. Hops are present in the taste initially, are mild, and then the finish kicks in with a light, nutty, toffee like malt flavor. A bit different for the style than what I expected, and quite good because of it. Nice beer.

JDV, Mar 01, 2008
Photo of grub
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

my wonderful wife picked this up for me on a trip to minnesota. thanks jenn!

12oz bottle. sampled feb 29/08.

pours deep orangey amber with a big dense cream coloured head. the head drops slowly and leaves tons of lace the whole way down the glass.

aroma is great. biscuit and bready malt. almond and peanut. bit of alcohol. floral and earthy hops.

taste is good. big biscuit and bready malt base. nice nutty character - almond and a bit of peanut. bit of alcohol. nice floral hop character. a bit of grapefruit. medium-low bitterness level.

mouthfeel is good. medium bitterness level feels a bit high, but that may be my own bias to this style being best on cask. medium-light body.

drinkability is great. nicely balanced and very enjoyable. i'd happily drink this one all the time if it were available locally.

grub, Mar 01, 2008
Photo of mentor
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a 1.5 finger browned-yellow head over a somewhat hazed rust liquid. Smells organes, woody, tangerine, pineapple, and red apple.

Tastes orange hoppiness. Slick malt sweet support. Unpleasant finisih of cheesy oxidation.

Md body and moderate carbonation. Mediocre.

mentor, Jan 30, 2008
Photo of marcpal
4.65/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz poured into a Weyerbacher pint glass.

A: Auburn pour with a one inch head that faded very fast. Made up for with strong sticky lacing.

S: A bitter nose with some mild fruity hops. Somewhat malty but dominated most by the sent of apricot. Appetizing and as got warmer, maltiness developed more of a presence.

T: Hops make more of an appearance here but not anything bordering on overbearing for the style. Fruits of apricot I would guess and some honey flavorints. The malts give it some breadiness and is a nice tasting ESB. The hops in the finish really make this one hell of a beer.

M: Modest hops felt in the mouth with some carbonation. Smooth downer.

D: Does the job, and would make a great session beer and sure would be great on tap if we could get out here. I really wish more ESBs were like this one. Thanks jtrockchalk for the trade.

marcpal, Jan 25, 2008
Photo of udubdawg
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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
Harvest Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
84 out of 100 based on 1,048 ratings.