Sierra Nevada Estate Brewers Harvest Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 379 | Reviews: 303 | Display Reviews Only:
4.1/5 rDev +0.5%
24 oz. bottle into a pint glass
P: Sunshine-infused copper with 2 fingers of off-white foam that looks dense and impressively thick & creamy, with some big soapy bubbles right on top. Shows really good retention before it evaporates to a thin halo with some beautiful notches of lace left behind after each swallow. Looks really nice!
A: Floral hops just leap out of the glass and almost give you the impression that whole flowers were added to the brew kettle instead of whole hops. Also some big citrus & pine notes from the hops that are almost matched in terms of strength by the toasted barley and caramel. If it tastes anything like it smells, I'm going to really like it!
T: And that notion has been confirmed. Its got that signature Sierra Nevada taste to it with juicy citrus fruits right upfront blended with sappy pine notes that put this firmly on the 'bitter' side of the IPA spectrum. Toasted malt follows right behind with a sweet, bready character that also brings some caramel to the table that tries to balance things out. But, the hoppy bitterness wins out easily thanks to an earthy bitterness and some woody notes that override any attempts to provide some substantial sweetness to this one. Finishes with a hop-driven floral presence and a spicy, piney kick that leaves the tongue saturated in hop oil to leave a loooong aftertaste. I wish this rating system had a 4.25, cause that is what I want to give it. But, I gave it the score I did because it becomes a little tiresome after 3/4 of the bottle.
M: Boy, I really can't imagine the mouthfeel of this beer being any better than this! Its a notch above medium-bodied with a really smooth, sticky, rich, mouth-coating feel that features a soft, plush creaminess that just blankets the tongue with flavor. Perfection!
Notes: Big props go out to Sierra Nevada for growing their own ingredients and using them to brew one of the world's only estate ales! Seriously, how f-ing cool is that! This is a very well-made beer that is definitely geared towards the hop-heads, but still manages to maintain some semblance of balance in the profile and features a fantastic mouthfeel that only adds to the enjoyability factor. Very enjoyable! Recommended
09-25-2009 11:34:52 | More by sweetbrew82
4.15/5 rDev +1.7%
A: Nice amber pour with 3 finger head to start, excellent lacing, into Duvel tulip.
S: Pine, new leather, pineapple, cedar, hint of crabapple
T: Lemony grapefruit, nice hop but edgy, nice caramel finish notes - well balanced.
M: Clean, little soapy on the tongue but not in a bad way...
D: Very drinkable, but the price is a formidable obstacle. Still, happy to support the idea/effort - glad we tried it.
09-25-2009 05:21:07 | More by AleWynch
4.18/5 rDev +2.5%
Finally showed up in town... I've been eagerly anticipating this one. However, this one comes with a bit of a sticker shock at $9.99 for a 24 ounce bottle.
Pours a bright and clear gold color, with a nice fluffy white head.
Aromas are light, but pleasant. Some resiny fresh hops, hard candies, and a little pineapple.
Taste is also subtle, but nice. Clean and full flavored. Soft and cream malts are up front, beer then settles into a general grainy sweetness. Finish is crisp and a little dry, with some resin and pine hops on the finish.
Mouthfeel is very nice. Thick, but not at all heavy.
Drinkability is quite good. This reminds me a bit of a very good British IPA. But with an American twist. A bit subtle, with nice malt flavors, but then the hops kick in just enough to make their presence known. Very nice beer, but the price tag keeps me from buying this one again. I'll grab a sixer of Torpedo or Pale instead... still... kudos to Sierra for a great concept, and an excellent beer. Give it a try!
09-25-2009 04:34:29 | More by flexabull
3.93/5 rDev -3.7%
2009 (1st Release) 24 ounce bottle
A: Pours a darker color of brown with a deep reddish hue. Great off white head and some killer lacing to close it out.
S: Kind of mild over all, some pine resin and earthy tone actions.
T: You get a kick of the hop in the front with a rounded malt flavor in the back. Hops are present and noticeable, without be too overdramatic.
M: Medium bodied, maybe a tad over. Sticky, OK carbonation, ABV blends well.
D: Good IPA through and through for the most part, and I really like the estate aspect of the deal. Don't see why I shouldn't recommend this one... so come and get it while its still fresh.
09-24-2009 05:57:30 | More by BuffaloTapHugger
3.93/5 rDev -3.7%
On tap at City Beer Store San Fran
A: Deep copper-amber body. Hearty off-white cap. Good retention and lacing. Looks very solid.
S: Light citrus and floral hops. Light grainy-malt. Not particularly intense or pungent.
T: Improved over the nose. I don't know if the problem is a lack of hops or low yield in alpha acids from the hops that they did use. Mostly floral, and light lemon-grapefruit notes.
M: Light-medium bodied. A little more carbonation than ideal. Clean finish.
D: Pretty solid. I like the idea of the project, but the price doesn't work when compared with Chico IPA, the original Harvest, and Celebration.
09-24-2009 03:43:21 | More by callmemickey
3.98/5 rDev -2.5%
24 oz. bottle,
A: Pours amber with a fluffy, frothy 2 finger off-white head, great retention and good lace.
S: Heavy floral pine, Christmas tree, cedar-box, grapefruit, passionfruit.
T: White grapefruit, lemon rind, and bitter orange initially. Some earthy hop notes too, giving a rustic feel. Sweet caramel in the finish, almost sugary, with a nice floral hop component at the end too.
M: Creamy, frothy from the carbonation, medium-bodied, like a beer shake.
D: A real nice effort from Sierra Nevada. In the end, it doesn't stand out from all the other Harvest Ales and when they are half the price I think I'll go with them in the future. I liked the idea though, and this beer is worth it to try for that reason.
09-23-2009 16:46:48 | More by Halcyondays
4.08/5 rDev 0%
Bottled on August 31st and consumed on September 22nd.
A- Pours a clear copperish-amber color in my Allagash stemmed glass. A dense, slightly tan head leaves lots of sticky lacing as it settles to a thick, foamy layer that hovers over the beer for a long time.
S- An intensely hoppy aroma. Earthy notes of pine resin that you might smell while hiking in the mountains meets that signature Sierra Nevada yeast that gives the aroma a corse, almost grainy undercurrent. Pithy notes of citrus fruit with the rind rest under the surface. Very little malt backing to provide any sweetness.
T- Loads of hop flavor coupled with a hard hop bitterness makes any balancing malts almost indiscernible, save for a dry and bitter finish that finally leaves a little bit of malty sweetness on the palate after the bitterness subsides.
M- As with all the beers in this series, the feel is full-bodied and slightly oily. Lively but soft carbonation provides some life to the texture.
D- Very drinkable stuff considering just how hop-heavy this beer is. The 6.7% ABV makes this even easier to enjoy.
Another excellent Harvest Ale in the series. Keep 'em coming!
09-23-2009 03:59:12 | More by Tdizzle
3.75/5 rDev -8.1%
Pours clear from a 24 oz. bomber into a pint glass. Tawny bronze in color and with an inch of off white foam. Yes, there may be a hint of green in there indeed. Offers decent retention and lacing though nothing over the top.
Immediate blast of bright fresh hops on the nose upon the initial pour subside quickly, allowing some light malts to sneak into the party. Bit of smoke and orange oil blend with some hops that are oddly more earthen than citric, even offering a hint of chocolate.
Rather unique in flavor as the freshness of the hops is quite evident and offers a spicy floral finish. Bitterness is initially rather light considering though it becomes more evident as the beer warms yielding a long though simple finish. Lots of pine and light citrus on the tongue. Nice feel and drink as the bitterness builds but never overwhelms.
In the end this brew is rather full bodied in texture, offers a dense hop nose and is a bit atypical for an IPA given the richness of the mouthfeel yet is somewhat drying. I prefer the cleaner finish and greater clarity on the nose of the Southern Hemisphere at a better price.
09-23-2009 03:01:15 | More by HalfFull
4/5 rDev -2%
Pours a relatively dark copper color for an IPA. Lots of tiny little bubbles rise from the bottom of my glass, and never stop. The head is remarkable, probably the brightest white head I have ever seen. It's pillowy and has a terrific fluffy texture to it. The crazy lacing looks like it's caked on. In addition, it retains a small ring of 1/8 inch head forever. Appearance just can't get any better than this.
A lot of caramel and toffee up front in the aroma. Some citrus is there too for sure, but not as much as I would have expected from a fresh hop Sierra Nevada offering. Herbal and earthy notes are lurking as well. I wish the hop aroma was more pungeant.
A very well rounded flavor profile. The malt actually plays a giant role in this beer, which is a departure from most hoppy Sierra Nevada offerings. Caramel and toffee, along with toasted grain are the main flavors, and they are quite clean and pleasant. Some citrusy tones mix with a slight bit of grapefruit before moving more into a herbal/earthy raw type of bitterness to finish up. Let this beer warm a bit, it starts to open up really well.
I'm loving the feel of this beer. The thickness is spot on, being slightly chewy yet remaining refreshing. Good carbonation levels keep things bright while somehow retaining a velvety texture.
Overall I think this is a good example of an estate ale. Sierra Nevada has managed to showcase the malt and to some extent, the hops. I wish the fresh nature of the hops was a little more apparent, but I dug the malty flavors a lot. I probably won't buy more than a couple of these a year at the pricepoint, but it's definitely worth trying.
09-22-2009 07:43:25 | More by Bubba83
3.23/5 rDev -20.8%
I grabbed a bottle two days back. At $10, there was definite sticker shock, but I was intrigued by the concept and had to try it.
A: This doesn't really look like an IPA, it's just so deep in its reddish amber hues that I'd mistake it for something else. There's a dense off-white head with rather excellent retention lacework is pretty stellar too.
S: The nose is rather muted, with some hop bitterness, a little astringent in character, and a fair bit of caramel malt. Hop character is primarily citrus peel-like,Disappointingly, there really isn't much character on the nose.
T: Opens with a mild bitterness that's mostly citrus/orange in character with a mildly chalky character. Bitterness is a little too low, though the flavor is OK. Way more sweetness than is needed, and this just amplifies the need for more bitterness here. Sweet caramel, almost syrup-like. Rather disappointing. Sweet on the finish with a touch of bitterness
M: Medium in body with medium carbonation, this is way sweeter than it needs to be, and could use plenty more bittering hops.
D: At $10 a bottle, I feel burned here. Ouch. While I could drink it all, it's not really worthy.
*Edit: I poured out the last 6-8oz of this beer. I just didn't enjoy it too much, it had nothing that I was looking for.
09-22-2009 03:03:59 | More by DefenCorps
District of Columbia
4.43/5 rDev +8.6%
a very clean, copper color with an off white head that holds well and leaves vey nice lace. actually, don't want to get too redundant, so i'll say this about this very tasty, very clean hoppy(ish) beer: "terroir" isn't usually a term associated with beer, but here, it is more than valid, and i believe that anyone who has been to chico knows it and anyone who hasn't can experience their gorgeous place through the unique and genuine smells and tastes in this beer. it's really nice. amazing as a matter of fact. a step in the right direction that would be crucial for beer lovers. we've got a brewery here in va that is doing the same thing, and it's also amazing. shout out to full nelson in a can!!! amazing. love it. more.
09-22-2009 02:44:50 | More by timtim
3.93/5 rDev -3.7%
pours deep copper with a fluffy creamy head and incredible lacing. great retention! just beautiful!
i did not get much scent, mainly light floral and citrus hops and deep malts
nice light hop bitterness that starts out light and progresses into more bitterness as you swallow leaving a nice light bitter pine aftertaste. malts are quite hidden actually. not as big as i expected but balanced.
perfect carbonation, great body, and super easy to drink
i could drink this up and down but the price was a bit high. i love this but for 66% less i can get the southern hemi (which i prefer over this) and the regular harvest ale. i am glad i was able to try this and monster kudos to SN what they put into making this. it was a treat to drink.
09-20-2009 22:07:07 | More by hooliganlife
4.5/5 rDev +10.3%
Truly an enjoyable beer!
Pours a clear copper color with a big, fluffy tan head. Beers that look this good help me understand why appearance counts. It looks like a solid brew.
I get a nice floral hoppiness as I bring the glass in close, and the taste follows through on the promise. Not as intense as a DIPA, nor should it be, but a solid pine resin flavor that goes well with the citrus of the aroma. Dry, slightly bitter finish, but exceptionally smooth until then.
If this beer were the same price as the wet hop harvest ale from last year, I would be buying cases of the stuff right now. As it stands, I am just happy to be sampling the first bottling of this effort.
09-20-2009 20:53:10 | More by bgjohnston
3.45/5 rDev -15.4%
Thanks Pehlman for sharing and allowing me to pour this fresh brewed beer into my tulip glass.
A: Poured a very deep copper color with fluffy oat hued head and cob web-like lacing.
S: Vegetative aromas up front that reminded me of some sort of spinach leaf. I was also able to pick up some pine-like and sweet malt character, but that vegetative smell dominated this aspect of the beer.
T: Broccoli and spinach upfront, sweet malt in the middle, and extremely hard bitter finish. A palate wrecker to say the least and was at times, hard to even drink.
M: Kind of a surprise, but this beer was full bodied and had a creamy/oily feel. Nice.
D: The over top bitterness was heavy on the palate, but flavor wise, this brew had a nice flavor profile that enjoyed for most of my glass.
Overall: Not a bad beer and something I would probably consume again...but I was a little let down to be honest. Cheers!
09-20-2009 16:34:08 | More by OlieIPA
3.43/5 rDev -15.9%
Draft at The Rose & Crown in Palo Alto. Pours a very dark but perfectly clear amber. Sierra Nevada can't seem to restrain themselves with the dark malts. A small white head retains nicely. The nose is caramel, mineral, toast and c-hops. Very light hop aroma here. The taste is caramelly, semi-sweet, toasty and nutty with a subtle but fresh floral hop character. Medium-bodied with a semi-crisp finish. This is a decent beer that probably would have been a hell of a lot better with a simpler malt bill. Hardly worth the $10 they're asking for it.
09-20-2009 03:41:37 | More by largadeer
4.13/5 rDev +1.2%
Deep reddish copper, lasting off white sticky head.
Sweetish malty aroma; some fruity notes and balancing green hops. Malt is on center stage-- bold, deep, earthy and slightly estery. Soft sweetness in the middle. The hops balance it properly but do not steal the show; hops are fresh, clean, and lend some citrus notes to the esters. A departure from most SN releases in that the malt is really on show here, and it works very well. Its complex and very drinkable. Great idea, great execution...
09-20-2009 02:12:49 | More by bcm119
3.48/5 rDev -14.7%
On tap at the Rose & Crown. I wanted to try this beer, but I didn't want to pay $10 a bottle for it without some prior assurance that it would be worth it (i.e. good).
A: Poured a surprisingly dark reddish-amber body, slightly murky, with substantial off-white head and good retention. It left lots of register marks down the sides as I sipped. My first thought upon seeing this was, "Did they pour me an amber ale by mistake?"
S: When first poured, all I could smell were caramel and bread. Worried that I'd gotten the wrong beer, I went up to check. Nope, it's the right beer. As it warms, it develops a subtle floral character... It's blossoming into an APA aroma. It's all right, I guess, but nothing outstanding in the way of hoppiness.
T: Tasted like a scotch ale at first, with tons of caramel and nothing else. As it warmed, the flavors fleshed out into a decent assortment of floral hops and earthiness in the initial taste. Bread / toast appeared near the finish.
M: Medium-bodied, medium-high carbonation. Cleanses the palate well. A malty finish overall.
D: I'm not that impressed. I like the concept, but the beer doesn't stand on its own merits. And its weird confusion in identity (looks like an amber, smells like an APA, initially drinks like a scotch ale) is disconcerting.
09-19-2009 16:40:13 | More by Arbitrator
4.08/5 rDev 0%
Bottle enjoyed at 33.
Poured from the bottle a deep clear red-copper color with a big rocky off-white head.
Big aroma of citrus and piney hops along with pineapple and a hit of caramel malts.
Much like the aroma, the taste is big with citrus and resinous pine along with caramel malts for a nice balance.
Medium bodied, sticky, and moderately carbonated.
Quite enjoyable. Bright hoppiness with a touch of bitterness that goes down easy.
09-19-2009 00:38:11 | More by Monkeyknife
4.18/5 rDev +2.5%
Ah, so happy to see this in a local store.
Pours a brilliant reddish coppery goldenish orange thing. Huge long lasting off-white head. This is a great looking beer.
Smells shockingly floral. I mean, it's just abundant with flowery hops, with a hint of citrus, and a bit of pine in there ... but mostly floral. Really powerful aroma as it warms.
Taste is surprisingly bitter and earthy for such a light, flowery aroma. There's a bit of tangerine .. maybe some pineapple .. but mostly earthy/bitter/piney-ness. Actually, the flavor is a bit of a letdown, and I blame the malt. There's maybe a trace of sweet resiny caramel, but it's just a splash. Needs more to balance it out.
The chico estate remains my favorite of the series, and this isn't the crazy uniqueness of the Southern Hemisphere version, but a very good brew nonetheless.
09-18-2009 04:17:00 | More by Overlord
4.35/5 rDev +6.6%
Why is it that Sierra Nevada stuff so rarely fails to look anything other than amazing? The mouth just waters looking at this: a toasted off-white head, which retains well and leaves plenty of lace streaks and strips as it slowly diminishes to a quarter-inch layer. The color is coppery sienna. The head never totally dies.
Hops are mostly flowery and seep into the nostrils like a delicate perfume instead of the citrus rind bulldozer of other IPAs. As this is the dominant feature, the malt tends to wander in the background, although they're fine, kind of nutty/husky and with only light caramel character. A fresh, buoyant aroma, very much how I'd imagine such a beer (with the ingredients grown on the brewing premises. I think "estate" is a term adapted from wine-world, but I wouldn't really know. I'm kind of ignorant in that realm and should probably educate myself, but for now there's way too much beer in the world to bother.).
Lots of spicy character in the flavor, with cinnamon and allspice coming to mind, and lots of pine and mild mint elements in the background and through into the finish. Malt remains a firm base that lets the hops do their thing on top. Even though it's hop-forward, balance is excellent. And whereas some other S.N. IPAs and pale ales have a harsher carbonation than I prefer, this one is smooth and gentle, yet there's sufficient vibrancy too. Gives the flavors a really pleasing tone.
What's not to like here? I feel like most S.N. stuff in this stylistic range only varies in small increments--it's amazing how many different kinds of beer they've done in this vein--but it's a testament to the subtle touch they have as brewers, and impressive that most every one is nothing less than impressive. Seek this out. (And I totally dig the bottle size...it's 24 ounces, and rightly so; who could drink just one 12-ouncer of this?)
09-16-2009 22:12:55 | More by Metalmonk
3.63/5 rDev -11%
First release. $10.
Pours red amber with a towering off-white head. Two and a half fingers of thick foam that is going absolutely nowhere. I could eat this head like it's ice cream. Lively carbonation bubbles up beneath it as the head ever so slowly falls, creating an even thicker head as it does.
The nose has zesty hops qualities, some pineapple, some pine, some earthiness, all with a nice sweet malt character behind it. This beer is showing off both their own hops and their own barley.
The taste reaffirms what the appearance and smell indicated--this is a balanced IPA with a healthy malt bill in addition to a nice bitter hopping. Do not expect something purely showcasing the hops, as was more the case with the Chico Estate Harvest Fresh Hop Ale. The initial taste has a pleasant malt sweetness alongside a pine hops bite, which further develops with an earthy and floral character. The floral hops goodness subsides for a bitter piney hops finish. For a "balanced" IPA this is quite good. Medium body that gets lightened up with plenty of smooth carbonation. Somewhat sticky finish.
I don't like it as much as Sierra Nevada's fresh hop ales, but I was very glad to try this. A very nice balanced version of an American IPA, and one of the rare and impressive Estate Ales of the world.
09-16-2009 04:00:44 | More by vacax
3.7/5 rDev -9.3%
A - Red-amber in color, pours with a dense butterscotch head. Even carbonation and nice sticky lacing.
S - Very bright hop notes - lots of grapefruit and flowers. Absent of the astringent character I generally associate with an IPA smell.
T - The first thing I notice is cleanliness - SA beers always have that crisp, 'spring water' taste and I notice it here even more than anywhere else. The hop flavor is well balanced and even with a clean finish, but the taste isn't very complex.
MF/D - The bright flavor and easy finish make this one of the most drinkable beers I've ever had, in terms of a "session beer" type of drinkability. For an IPA, I'm not so sure this is a good thing.
I think this is a really fun idea and a good beer. It's not a great beer, but I'm really interested to see them try to grapple with the idea of an Estate beer. I would recommend this more for the idea and experience than the taste itself, which is interesting, and different, but not amazing.
09-13-2009 18:37:43 | More by FuzzyGuy84
3.95/5 rDev -3.2%
Good ass beer, sorry I balked for a week cuz of sticker shock.
Pours a regal amber almost, with sticky icky legs on the pint glass. Who'd a thunk it? Some cedar wood highlights.
Smells fresh, bready, hoppy, like an earthy sweetness to it.
This is a hybrid IPA/DIPA. Thinner body like an IPA, but that coating sticky resin like a DIPA. Bready malts thrown in. It tastes like a wet hop, but no lumps!
Good beer, got a bite to it. You can spell big, you can spell pig, you can spell big pig, you can take a bite.
09-11-2009 04:46:01 | More by Murchmac
4.33/5 rDev +6.1%
Sampled this on-tap at the brewery this past Thursday (09-03-2009). Following review written from notes.
Appearance: Body is a deep reddish amber - shows flashes of crimson and mahogany. As with all of the beers at the SN brewery, the carbonation is constant and active; however the column of bubbles is not quite as dense. A big, fluffy, white, foamy head sits on top - looks just like a bubble bath. Great head retention and tons of clumpy, foamy lace all the way down. I can find no flaws.
Smell: Cascade hops, warm buttered toast, and some moderate citrus zest. Smells nice, but it's really nothing special.
Taste: Really bitter piney hops, toasted barley, and tangerine. Leafy, earthy, woody undertones throughout. The bitterness is much higher than I expected. Simply put: tangy, earthy, and bitter. Mmmmm...
Mouthfeel: Quite resinous. Each swish douses my palate with a fresh coat of piney bitterness. That aftertaste is loooong lasting, too. The carbonation is on the lower side, but this IPA has plenty of creaminess to it. Finishes dry and rough.
Drinkability: I haven't had an IPA this intense in a while. (I feel like a fuckin' wimp!) I'm so glad I got the chance to try this one. While the Estate version isn't the smoothest IPA out there, it is really addictive. Enjoy!
09-10-2009 05:26:08 | More by ThreeWiseMen
4.65/5 rDev +14%
Just had this beer on Tap at City Beer SF - Thanks Beth!!!
Let me start by saying to me all sierra nevads beers have the same finish and that the torpedo is a bit over-rated.
Then I had this beer Brewer's Estate Harvest.
What made this beer great was the fact that it tasted FRESH as if the beer was brewed yesterday and the taste was just that...green - slick and earthy without that typicle sierra aftertaste (although you kew it was sierra). A breakthrough beer for Sierra Nevada.
Without a doubt the best beer made by SN.
The way it coated my mouth was the most impressive aspect of this beer.
$10 a wee bit high for any 22oz bomber but well worth the experience to have a higher standard in the rhelm of SN. After the pint on tap - I had to grab a bomber $10 or not.
09-08-2009 23:42:16 | More by RBassSFHOPit2ME
Sierra Nevada Estate Brewers Harvest Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 379 ratings.