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Harveys Elizabethan Ale - Harvey & Son Ltd.

Not Rated.
Harveys Elizabethan AleHarveys Elizabethan Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

142 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 142
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 14.36%
Wants: 8
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harvey & Son Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: purplehops on 12-31-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 142 | Reviews: 119
Photo of MPLS
2.55/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Was curious as to how this ale would hold up from it's creation in 1996, that's 13 years of age on it, wow.

A: Opaque, cloudy, darkened brown, spotty to sparse lacing, no head to speak of, smallest signs of carbonation present. Mucky black yeast left in the bottle with some escaping into the glass even with a gentle pour.

S: Mellow alcohol, mild sugary esters, vanilla, kitchen cupboard, and call me crazy a hint of grape kool-aid.

T: A little too much age on this one is what raced to my mind as it touched my palate. Tastes like watered molasses with a finish that is briefer than a sports star meet n greet.

M: No carbonation noticable on the tongue and crosses the line of being too thin.

D: A vintage I would certainly not grab for again, but then again the storage of the bottle is a bit of a mystery. Newer vintages will yield better results I'm sure.

Photo of luchris80
3.24/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Tasting Notes: Stored in the fridge and served in a snifter. My bottle was marked as #02716

Aroma: Sweet malt aroma with a hint of alcohol. Some dark fruit, very much like a port.

Appearance: Amber to brown color (like dark apple cider). Slight (almost no) light brown head. Clear with a few rising bubbles visible.

Flavor: Medium malt and some molasses-like flavor. No real noticeable hop flavors. Sweet at the finish with some alcohol and dryness. Somewhat dark fruit, port-like in flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium (to light) body. Very flat with little carbonation. Slight alcohol warmth.

Overall Impressions: The flavor was fine, but the mouthfeel makes me wonder if the bottle was a bit old or past its prime. It would have been nice to have another bottle for comparison to see if this one was a good example. It does drink a bit like a wine (port). If this is true to this beer, I would not buy again (in the bottle anyway).

Photo of emerge077
3.1/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thankfully there was a decent head on this, I was afraid it would be flat and oxidized. That would be only half true.

It pours into a tulip a really lovely ruby jewel tone, with a finger of offwhite foam (not flat, whew). It receded fast, and left some spotty, soapy lace on the sides, retaining a ghostly skim across the surface. Aroma was unusual, tea leaves, molasses, cookie spice, and sherry. Certainly smelled old. Not much trace of alcohol, but some indistinct fruits and caramel.

Flat, waxy taste, with hints of what might have been. Nutty, raisin... eh. Some tobacco bitterness in the aftertaste, followed by more grape/raisin. Kind of a gross slick/waxy feel to the liquid. Probably won't be finishing this.

Photo of jera1350
2.6/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottled in 1996. I picked this up at my local bottle shop. I thought I should probably try a 13 year old beer and see how it is.

Pours into a snifter a cloudy mud brown with suspended bits. Non aggressive pour to keep out the bottom sediment resulted in a ring of tan suds around the edge of the glass.

Smells like dark Jamaican rum with apple cider.

Wow, major disappointment here. Watered down big time. Some light apple taste, some dark rum, a little brown sugar with a finish of watered down coffee. Lots of watery booze. The taste is a mess.

No carbonation at all leaves this feeling thin and watery.

This may be a drainpour for me. I think I've only had one or two others in my life. I haven't had a fresh one of these, but I would have to say this did not age well at all.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.1/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dark caramel apple with absolutely no head, lacing or visible carbonation observed. Overall not much going on here, flat, lifeless and rather unexciting best sums up the appearance.

S: The nose reeked of fusels with a strong acetic nature (vinegar). Think of dying eggs at easter time. Unfortunately the acetic nature pretty much masks up any other aroma that may have been present.

t: The intial flavor was sweet caramelized grain juice and vinegar (acetic twang). Sour green apples add acetaldehyde hints while a warming alcohol spiciness of apple cider and cinnamon chime in as well. The beer proceeds to finish on notes of caramel raisins, dates, and a bit of syrupy sweetness which does add a bit of complexity to an otherwise mundane start.

m: The mouthful was flat, void of any carbonation and presented a medium fullness that had an oily texture.

D: Overall drinkability was fair if you understood the direction of the beer. Would not recommend to the casual craft drinker as you may get the impression that this beer is bad. I would not consider drinking more then one of these at any given sitting and it is highly unlikely I would be a repeat purchaser here, just not my style.

Photo of coldmeat23
3.35/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
VINTAGE: ???? (No markings on cap or bottle)

This one pours a dark amber color. About 1/8 inch of wispy foam forms a head, then dissipates, leaving a nice ring but no real surface covering. Lacing is in tiny spots and somewhat sticky, but also quite oily.

The nose is extremely port-like. If handed this glass, without knowing what it was, I'd guess port, without a doubt. Huge notes of raisins and oak. Mild notes of caramel and treacle. Notes of smoked sugars. Mid-level notes of booziness.

Not exactly what I expected it to taste like, after the nose. Treacle and huge notes of molasses are the dominant flavors here. More oak presence, very woody and a light touch of smokiness. Notes of figs, dates and mild raisins.

Medium-bodied with a very low carbonation level. It's almost still. Very smooth indeed, but no creaminess, which hurts it a little, IMO.

While the abv was detected in the nose, it's almost non-existant in the taste. If you like ports/sherries this is very nice. If you don't, then you should stay away.

Photo of DigitalHype
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

275ml bottle. Bottle label reads, "For Best Before End Date and Lot Number See Bottle Top". But, the are no markings on the cap, or anywhere on the top of the bottle. By the looks of this bottle, this thing has some age to it.

Poured slightly thick, reddish-brown in color with no head. Smell of fresh cherries, apple, bread. Very sweet, and slightly sticky. Lots of yeast, and flavors of dried fruits, and a little smokiness.
This has very nicely balanced bitter finish, that rounds off perfectly. I could easily drink another, if I had it.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I grabbed this one when I was down in Florida. I had never seen these little bottles before so I grabbed a couple and just got around to trying it recently. Served chilled and poured into an oversized wine glass, this one was consumed on 02/22/2009.

The pour was nice, deep, dark brown with a nearly clouded over appearance. Nice little head of tan rose up over the top and settled down quickly into a small, light pillow that covered just enough. The aroma was a mixed bag of earthy malts, hints of a light hop presence and a smooth, delicate profile that was a treat to behold. Light alcohol note as it warms up and lots of caramel as you move in. The flavor was rich. Nice touches of nuts, caramel, hints of cinnamon and spices really liven it up. A very full palate here. A hint of bittering hops as it warms and the long, slow finish was just wonderful. A very solid little beer, well little in size only. I would not mind having another for sure.

Photo of tmoneyba
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured clear reddish brown color with an average off-white frothy head that was mostly diminished with fair lacing. Moderate spicy malty and alcohol aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Medium sweet dark fruit flavor with a medium sweet finish of moderate duration.

I would recommend this to a freind.

Photo of Beertracker
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Harveys Elizabethan Ale (2002 Vintage) pours up smoothly with a light carbonation that creates a modest tannish-brown head that proudly tops the ruby-tawny brown body. Lots of tight, lacy bubbles that cling to the sides of the glass. The inviting multi-layered aroma is quite complex with notes of fruitcake, caramel, chestnuts, cherry jam, sourdough bread, oiled leather, oak, vanilla, dry sack sherry, et.al. The flavor starts off with a nice treacle character carried by some dusty maltiness that's underscored by an earthy bitterness. Subtle hints of leaf tobacco, maraschino cherry, figbar, turbinado sugar & molasses keep this one interesting. This medium-bodied old ale has a dry mouthfeel with a touch of astringency. It's lightly warming with a bittersweet, slightly tart finish. Here's to Old Lizzie, may she have a glorious slumber!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Photo of goethean
5/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

No date stamp on bottlecap. Served in nonik at 60F. Ruby.

Mouth-watering aroma is bursting with dark fruits and freshly toasted malt. A flavor of toasted malt and rum-soaked raisin, date, prune, plum, fig, currant, and a hint of black cherry? There's even a slight tartness. Massive depth of flavor and richness. Hides the ethanol quite well. Barely-perceptible hop bite at the finish.

Imagine a cask version of this, or one infected with Brettanomyces.

I'm going to have to give this one is a 5.0. I don't see how you mark it down on any attribute.

Photo of baggio
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1999 Vintage! Finally got around to trying this brew that i bought in Denmark a few years ago.

A: Deep dark brown/red with a minimal lace.

S: Barley, Raisins, Caramel, Syrup, Malt, Port wine.

T: Sherry, Caramel, Molasses, Figs, Ripe Fruit, Sugar.

M: Very sweet with very low carbonation. Warming.

A fine old ale / barleywine that has aged with grace. Would have been interesting to see how this brew tasted fresh. This makes for a perfect dessertbeer or just something to sip at late at night. Very nice!

Photo of sgoodship
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Looked for information on the bottle cap as indicated - nothing there. I'm not alone! Would love to hear the trivia behind this.

A: 275ml bottle. No head to speak of - kinda expected that. Murky, dark chocolate brown. Some lacing and spottiness on the glass.

S: I definitely got the alcohol - Sherry. There is also a strong sweetness like a diacetyl butter scotch. Maybe some licorice, vinegary and some nuttiness. Very complex smell.

T: The strength came through pretty quickly. The taste follows the smell pretty closely which seems impossible but it's not.

M: Nice full bodied drink. Very smooth. Finish is very strong alcohol.

D: I get the feeling that this beer can be polarizing to the BA's who sample it. I personally do not like Sherry, so even though I appreciated what a work of art this brew was, I just couldn't enjoy it like I wanted to.

Photo of biegaman
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1998 Vintage, bottle # 4244, aged a full ten years.

A desolately flush surface, completely and utterly flat even against the sides where perhaps a slight trim might be expected. A muddied tinge hinders much of its allure. It has the complexion of prune juice with a subtle gleam of shiraz to the light.

It smells to me as if a truckload of raisins were left to dry out right there in my glass. The aroma is inarguably that of dried fruits, and not in the general sense, but specifically raisins and prunes. I like the smell enough but I don't think it has the complexity that makes burying your nose in it worthwhile. Large, constant inhalations turn up the same thing each time.

The taste reinforces flavours of dried fruits. Raisins and prunes are still foremost although slightly sweeter notes of plums, figs and dates come through a little more. Both hops and yeast are all but faded. A noting of butterscotch is minimal but seems the only accompaniment to the flavour of sweet and dried fruits.

With absolutely no carbonation, the tannic character imparted by its flavour, and the 8.1% having fewer room to hide with age, this bottle has become something akin to a weak port or fortified wine. Its appearance, its flavours, its sweetness, and its whole all around character resembles that of a port or fortified wine.

Having never seen a fresh bottle of Elizabethan Ale I can't be sure of how well this sample has held up. I do hope my descriptions can provide some clues. Whether old ale or barleywine I felt it fell short of both marks. Still, it was something I enjoyed - albeit less as a beer and more as a sort of British digestif.

Photo of jwc215
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

275 ml bottle - label states that freshness date is on the cap, but it's not there.

Pours reddish brown with no head. After a slight delay, a head struggles to appear but vanishes to a wisp immediately.

The smell is of damp wood, caramel/toffee, some plum/raisin, a hint of anise, alcohol and a touch of cinnamon.

The taste is of caramel, nuts, some cinnamon and ginger spiciness. Anise and plum/raisin give some darkness to a caramelish maltiness. Alcohol is quite strong - even seems a bit more than the 8.1%. Damp wood lies in the back. There's a slight astringency. Quite the complex one. Sweet, but not overly all things considered.

It hits full-bodied with light carbonation.

A strong sipper. The interesting complexities, that work well, kept me wanting to sip it!

Photo of RedBaron
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BA 'Marcobrau' for providing me with this rare, vintage ale from Harvey's that presumably dates from 1996. Lord.

Apperance: Ruby-red, fairly dark, no head to speak of. Leaves legs.
Smell: smells like a dark, English countryside at night under a full moon about an hour after a steady downpour: rainy dew, soft aromas of the field's barley, and boozy.
Taste: Waves of raisin, prunes, bready malts through and through. A cornucopia of fruits and grain. Must be something in that yeast strain coupled with aging that provides such a tasteful impact.
Mouthfeel: In a word: complex. Here you have a beer that is noble in bearing through and through. It has so much complexity that it is hard to quantify, suffice to say that it is a full-bodied beer that has a fairly sweet foretaste, but actually finishes kind of dry.
Drinkability: I guess I've gotta get past the mindset that "drinkabilty = often" because this beer is not one you really want to consume very often. In fact I'm having this on the eve of American Independence, and it is probably a beer better served around Guy Fawkes Day. No matter. It's a brilliant beer, and I'm damn lucky - I mean DAMN LUCKY - to have a beer of this quality and vintage to sip on this fine July evening. It has been resting comfortably in my bungalow basement for a long time now, and I finally got around to liberating it. It almost makes me think of chucking the Declaration of Independence in the Delaware, and put a copy of the Magna Carta in my pocket instead. Find this beer, and treat it with dignity and respect.

This beer is in my wheelhouse. I love old ales, particuarly aged old ales.

Photo of Traquairlover
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

275ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A = Clear reddish amber, small off white head dissipates into a light cover of foamy lacing on surface.

S = Good strong malt smells, maple syrup, treacle, molasses, musty basement, some sharper scents of sharp cheddar perhaps. Very complex.

T = Sweet maple syrup, molasses, light bitterness at midpalate, but sweetness continues into the finish. This beer reminds me a lot of JW Lees Vintage Ale.

M = Heavy body, great mouthcoating, creamy luscious feel.

D = Quite good drinkability as a dessert beer or a way to wind up an evening, like a fine port wine.

Photo of aforbes10
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another beer that has apparantly been retired prematurely. If its still available and a style meant to age, why retire it? Anyway, bottle purchased from John's Grocery in Iowa City. Poured brown, just a dusting of a head with regularly rising bubbles. Small head sticks around lengthily. Spotty lacing. Sweet smelling boozy caramel odor. Very strong and malty. Some nuttiness. Reminds me of Thomas Hardy on the nose. Flavor is very sweet, rummy and milky. Maple syrup, demerara sugar, grass hops bitterness, sweet malt, figs and plums. What little hops there are keep it from being too much of a malt and alcohol bomb. Dry and thinner than expected, but wtill syrupy and i'd say medium bodied. A nice sipper of an old ale, approaching an english barleywine in most qualities. Very tasty and interesting.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an incredibly viscous murky brown with very little to no head or lacing. The smell is sweet and sherry like with raisins, prunes, and a touch of wood. Taste is very sweet and dessert like. The same fruit detectable in the nose is here, but a little more subdued. Smooth and honeyed malt with a trace of tannic bitterness on the finish. Very little carbonation makes this almost like a rich mead. Fairly complex and quite nice as a digestif. Very smooth mouthfeel and lighter seeming than both the smell and appearance would suggest. Nice.

Photo of BDTyre
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ummm...BA says this is retired and an Old Ale? Brewer's website lists this as still active and a barley wine?

Slightly cloudy copper colour with a thin, weak head. True, the head is not like any barley wine I've had, but the colour is a bit thin and light for an old ale. It looks watery and a bit thin.

Vinous, sweet malty scent. Faint hop bitterness...it smells like most of the other barley wine's I've had.

Caramel, toffee, vinouous notes and a good dose of malt. Barely wine taste: big malts, low hops. Sweet but bitter, sour notes. Oily but thin mouthfeel. No carbonation to speak of. On the watery side to be a barley wine. Nice ale, but not an old ale. Needs to be brought out of retirement and reclassed as a barley wine.

Photo of wl0307
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I wonder why this beer is listed as "retired" here, as it's still been brewed very year and readily available in most Harvey's pubs. This bottle is picked up at Harvey's Brewery Shop in Lewes, BB DEC 07, served cool in a large wine goblet.

A: coming with no beer head what-so-ever apart from rimmed bubbles; the hue is like semi-infused black tea, while the carbonation is next to flat - looking very standard for this type of ale in its bottled form.
S: caramel, raisins, plum jam, and a touch of prunes dominate the aroma, while Harvey's distinctively sour-sweet yeast-malt (best illustrated by Harvey's Best Bitter) mixture hides behind; hops are next to non-existence. All elements are blended in a harmonious state, giving little hint about its real strength.
T: an assertive taste mixed of golden syrup, melted brown sugar, a trace of fresh sugar-cane, and Chinese black herb-jelly accompanies the sour-sweet prunes and longan-fruit tea; the semi-dry, roasted-tea-ish and woody-tannic hoppyness gradually minifests itself, rendering a mildly dry and very long, soothingly bitter finish. BTW, not a single touch of alc. is felt on the palate.
M&D: rather lubricating on the mouthfeel without being sticky/heavy at all; at 8.1%, it somehow tastes like 6%-something, as the alc. as well as fizziness have both been softened greatly by the aging process, while the hoppyness and woody-tannic mouthfeel both make the palate all the more interesting and not quite boring. Overall, this ale tastes more like a barley wine than old ale to me. Yet, whichever style, this is a very enjoyable, albeit somewhat understated, strong ale IMHO!

Photo of Braudog
2.7/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

This poured from my 275ml bottle lifeless and flat, so immediately my radar is up for other flaws. Although the label says to see the cap for "best before date", I can’t find any indication on the bottle of the vintage of this little guy. It seems too watery for a big beer. The color is river-bottom ruddy, virtually opaque and brown. What little head there is lingers and tilting the glass results in some limited cascade. The aroma is off ... granny smith apple, mostly. The first swallow is starkly candied and caramel ... not beer caramel, but like literal candy caramel apple your dad bought you at a state fair when you were a kid. It still seems a bit watery, but the intense flavor quotient would certainly be attractive to some, I suppose. (#2733, 3/6/2007)

Photo of riversider76
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 1998. Pours brown with orange hues. Not much head,and only a bit of lacing. Smells is wine like. Body is on the thick side and is smooth and silky. Taste is of dark fruits, very much like wine. I believe this is the first time I've tried this style of beer.Excellent.

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.23/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Dark eggplant with drippy lace.
Scent is funky and 10 years old.
Picked up as a bonus bottle.
First swigs: Dark raisins, some pancake flour and a touch of maple syrup.
Feel is rather tacky and sugar sticky.
Last swigs: A traditional English Barley if there ever were one!

Photo of marcobrau
4.66/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The 1998 vintage of this beer pours with no head, just a slight flourish of carbonation and a slightly murky brown color. (Note: a second pour created about a quarter-inch thick layer of foam that slowly settled. This pour also greatly enhanced the mouthfeel.) The first whiff of the aroma smells of marzipan and toffee, along with alcohol-soaked fruit. The taste is full of caramel and toffee notes with a raisiny character, which fades to a more nutty, woody character suggestive of walnuts. This is a very complex beer. I'm surprised by the dryness of the finish, which is also a bit tannic. I love the complexity of this beer. There are more flavors here I can quite isolate, but all of them combined make for a very complex an flavorful beer. The strenght is up there a bit and is noticeable, too. To sum up, this is an outstanding old ale and worth seeking out.

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Harveys Elizabethan Ale from Harvey & Son Ltd.
89 out of 100 based on 142 ratings.