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Harvest Ale - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Harvest AleHarvest Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

588 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 588
Hads: 1,659
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 20.2%
Wants: 53
Gots: 230 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: John on 10-19-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 588 | Hads: 1,659
Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear amber with a two-finger foamy white head. The head lingers to a one-finger ring leaving lots of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is citrus, floral hops, and bready malts.

T - The taste starts sweet with orange, peach, grapefruit along with a decent amount of sweet malts. The sweet juiciness gives way to earthy hops. The hops provide a perfect balance to the beer. The finish has a light bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is soft and creamy with a dry finish.

O - A very strong ESB. The flavors are perfectly balanced. Definetly recommended.

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, no date. Threshold beer glass.

S: Citrus, floral, resin. For a purported ESB, getting very little in the way of yeast esters or malts. There is a little clean pale malt lurking in the background.

A: Pours a crystal clear amber, with two fingers of very foamy, sudsy eggshell/light tan head and very active carbonation. Very nice retention of 1/8 inch of sandy foam. Outrageously excellent lacing.

T: Complex, earthy and hoppy arrival. Hops on the tongue are far more earthy and subdued than on the nose. There are some ale yeast esters here on the palate. A dry, bitter, earthy, complex malt bill presents across the middle with not a hint of sweetness. It turns then to a lingering earthy and slightly medicinal finish.

M: Lighter end of mid-weight; good ale mouthfeel, solid carbonation is not overdone, with a lingering slickness. The lingering slickness is maybe the only thing I don't like about this beer.

O: I love Sam Adams Boston Ale, and Great Lakes Burning River, and this reminds me of the both of them. Citrus hops on the nose, with ale yeast esters, earthy bitter hops and complex malt on the palate and a fluffy mouthfeel. Very nice, and perfect for the season (but really perfect for any time of year). Not really what I think of as an ESB; more like an American Stock Ale; this is a hard one to categorize, but it is my favorite style of ale.

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Photo of dacrza1
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

DATE TASTED: September 19, 2015 ... GLASSWARE: Brew at the Zoo pint... OCCASION: mid-afternoon relaxation following another ugly soccer loss... APPEARANCE: mostly clear, orange amber body (I have the right bottle, but no WAY is this ruby, as the above summary states!) that offers reasonable effervescence... head is off-white, thick, and palpable... lacing forms appropriately,, almost like coral...a good-looking pint... AROMA: no doubt East Kent Golding, with that floral, lavender and lemon... spicy enough to also have Tettnanger or Spaltz... the fruitiness is strong for an ESB.. some clove and thyme work their way in, for a full, pleasing array... PALATE: medium to full-bodied, with a sizzle at the start and a strong, lasting malty finish... active and engaging, some froth too, and unlike many ESBs with lesser character... TASTE: a good, roasted quality sits in the throat, with mild caramel developing an ever-present sweetness that pervades the whole of the experience; the hop profile is decidedly balanced too, though undercut by the malts, with citrus, flower, fruit and earthiness smoothed together in a drinkable blend that begs for pub fare or a game to watch...OVERALL: What must be the "Harvest" quality is the label itself--this is a wonderful approximation of the British standard with enough character to set itself slightly apart from the predictable; at 6.7% ABV deceptively sessionable... sweet and smooth--another success from Southern Tier...

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Photo of MarkQ617
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this poured into a mug. Color is a translucent orange-copper with an off-white head. Flavor was a nice bitter toffee and malt...a little light, but good. Aroma was nice and somewhat hoppy. Mouthfeel was nice for the genre, fairly smooth. Good stuff.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
3.21/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

ESB, so I poured this into a pint glass for its correct glassware style.
The appearance was a semi-hazy burnt orange color with a slight transparency about it. Carbonation could be seen rising at a decent pace to fill a rapidly dissipating head that barely left any lacing.
The smell started off with some toffee, a light grassy touch to some cooked caramel malts.
The taste was semi-sweet through a balancing act of the grassiness to the caramel malts, not bad.
The mouthfeel was about a light on the body with an okay drinkability about it. Carbonation runs light making the beer feel somewhat sticky smooth over my tongue.
Overall, for an ESB that's seasonal, sure it works. I don't mind it, its good for what it is, nice to try this time of year.

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Photo of TheBeerMaster1
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It was like the goose island Autumn Ale, a good beer that I would definitely drink again and perhaps even buy, however there's many other choices I'd look for beforehand. Might be too early for the seasonal as well.

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Photo of clake
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated 6/22/15 poured into a tulip glass. Pours a hazy, dark amber color with minimum head but does leave behind good lacing. Smells of peach with a bit of bready notes from the malts. Fruity hops up front followed by bitterness with the backing of the malts. Moderately carbonated with a nice dry finish. A very good fall seasonal beer. Might be released too early, as with a ton of fall beers in my opinion, and I wish the weather was bit cooler but it's not the beer's fault. Worthy of a pick up as summer slowly fades into autumn.

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear darker coppery amber color with off-white head. Caramel malt, light fruits notes, and some toffee on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied. Finishes with toffee and fruit notes.

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Photo of fx20736
4.26/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 6 pack from AJ's Beer Warehouse on 8/22/15. Served cold in a Duvel Tulip.

Look: Burnished copper with a natural white head. decent lacing.

Smell: Peaches. Smells like canned peaches with a touch of pineapple juice.

Taste: a bitterness which is neither piney nor tropical fruit but some how a cross of both. Juicy, very juicy.

Feel: soft but solid. Enough carbonation.

Overall: tasty, juicy, yummy

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Photo of pat61
4.44/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: A brilliant amber pour crowned by a 1” sudsy and clingy white foam collar that recedes at a moderate pace. S: Resin, pine and grass. T: A hop forward beer with a firm, bready malt backbone. F: Medium body and carbonation. O: Very clean and smooth bitter with some noticeable bitterness.

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Photo of bobhits
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is one of my favorite Southern Tier offerings.

ESB is an interesting labeling here. The beer has the body and color of an ESB. Decent, not great lacing.

Carmel malt and hops on the nose.

To me this is right at the intersection of pale ale, ipa and esb. Rich powerful flavors of from hops, and malt. Rich caramels for the cooler seasons coming (though it's july here guys, not a harvest time). However this drinks with a lot of IPA joy.

Bottom line, I like this one a good bit. It's a beer I pickup every year and do so without a second thought.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.9/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Forced to make notes due to an outlier rating:

Bready and buttery, with not much going on hop-wise and a lackluster balance. Shallow and simple. Some might even call it plain.

There's no harmony of texture to taste and it's not a gestalt beer, nor does it boast any intricacy, nuance, or subtlety of note. Drinkable but underwhelming.


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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, 2013 edition, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very pretty, golden amber color with a half of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that covered almost the entire top of the beer.

Aroma: Very hoppy. Some notes of malt and freshly baked bread, but the predominate aroma is hops which makes sense as the label says that this beer is brewed with four (4) varieties of hops.

Taste: Like the aroma, the beer tastes predominately of hops, even to the point of being overpoweringly hoppy. There is quite a bit of caramel-like sweetness to try to keep the hops in check, but for my palate, it falls a little short. There’s also hardly any malt flavor to this beer, which makes me not a fan.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.7%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: I’m not too much of a fan of this beer. I’m not a hop head, far from it in fact, and for me this beer is too far in the hops side of the scale for me to enjoy. Hop heads should love it however.

12 oz bottle, 2014 edition, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very pretty, golden amber color with a half of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that covered almost the entire top of the beer.

Aroma: Very hoppy. Some notes of malt and freshly baked bread, but the predominate aroma is hops which makes sense as the label says that this beer is brewed with four (4) varieties of hops.

Taste: Like the aroma, the beer tastes predominately of hops, but there is quite a bit of caramel-like sweetness to try to keep the hops in check. Assisting the hops is a good amount of bready, toasted malt which imparts flavors of whole wheat crackers and toasted 7-grain bread.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.7%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: Wow! What a difference a year makes! Either Southern Tier has changed the recipe for this beer and amped up the malt presence while dialing down the hops, which I doubt, or my palate has really grown over the past year to be much more tolerant of hops, as I found this year’s edition to be really, really tasty!

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Photo of mchegash
3.26/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - 3.8/5
A quite clear amber color. NO carbonation is to be seen rising up in this beer...ok, well there are a few bubbles, but very little. Two fingers of head upon initial pour, and the head retention is decent, and there is some nice lacing.

Smell - 3.25/5
Pine-citrus hops. Not really what I was expecting with this beer.

Taste - 3.3/5
A sweet and creamy pine-citrus hop flavor. Maybe a tiny hint of malts. Overall, the taste is okay, but it basically tastes like a standard quality IPA.

Mouthfeel - 3/5
Medium-bodied, creamy, light carbonation.

Overall - 3.25/5
I picked up this beer because I saw in some random Internet article that this was one of "10 beers you need to have this fall". Well, that article was totally wrong. There is nothing special about this beer. It tastes just like a standard IPA, even though I don't think it's classified as such. I was disappointed by this beer.

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Photo of Taybeh
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%

A: bright pumpkin orange, 1 1/2 finger puffy white head
S: citrus (grapefruit, lemon, tart pineapple) and some caramel malt
T: like the nose, the caramel/toffee malt tones are there throughout, but this is pretty hoppy for the style; also some mineral/earthy notes on the edges and at the very end, and I can't figure out whether I like them or not.
M: pretty dry and bitter; a lot more lively and crisp than the typical round and mellow tones of most ESBs.
Overall: kind of an oddball, but enjoyable quaff taken on its own.

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Photo of redearth329
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Draft in a pint glass.

Dim bar, hard to see, but head is really sticky and rings the glass permanently. Clear amber color.

Smells of grapefruit and some light herbal hops.

Solid malt backbone with a sort of oat-y note mid-palate. Lots of hop bitterness. Sort of like a hoppy Yuengling lager....

Medium to full-bodied. Light carbonation. Long finish.

Another solid offering from S.T., but nothing spectacular.

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Photo of mnrider
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz Brown Bottle.

A: Pours a murky dark copper color. Medium sized head. Thin but bubbly retention with little lacing. Still the color is very nice.

S: Cool and crisp with bitter hops. After the beer has sat for a bit sweet fruity malts come out. Also spicy with a bready aroma.

T/M: Biscuity. Smooth. Creamy. Sweet. Cool. Hops are earthy and bitter. Sugar with some sweetness. Medium bodied. Earthy bitter aftertaste. Very good taste overall.

O: I quite enjoyed Harvest Ale. Nice bitter taste with a balancing of malt sweetness, but not too much that it kills the hops.


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Photo of thedoubler55
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

A: Pours a tannish orange color with good transparency, not much of a head but mostly a nice off white ring around the top that left some nice lacing around the glass.

S: Smells like a lighter pumpkin beer from this brewery"pumking" some pumpkin in the nose and some hops as well, and slight lemon zest on the tail end.

T: Similiar to the nose with some fresh fruit going around as well, green apples and pears came to mind, pumpkin is there throughout the drink.

M: Medium bodied, high carbonation and a little dry.

O: Not a bad beer at all, simple drinker, and a more simple beer from this brewery which tends to make phenomenal brews, good taste and refreshing.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

355 ml bottle served cold into a pint glass. Purchased while in Buffalo. 450th full review. Looking forward to this one, while watching game 7 of the World Series.

Appearance - clear, orangey, yellow color. Topped by a finger or so of fluffy white head. Good retention even without a great deal of lacing. A couple foamy swarthy stay around on the sides of the glass.

Smell - citrusy mostly, a bit of lemon and pineapple. A floral earthy quality too. Inviting and pungent aroma.

Taste - good dose of hops and earthy bitterness which lingers throughout the tasting. A bit of a flowery taste as well.

Mouthfeel - smooth, light bodied, wet in the mouth that has a nice drying feel in the mouth after the fact. Moderate carbonation.

Overall - a fine bitter that is certain plenty delicious and enjoyable and the alcohol here is remarkably well hidden. A fine review for my 450th review.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: 4.0 - Slightly hazy reddish amber with medium-height, dense head.
S: 4.0 - Intense piney hoppiness. Sure this is an ESB and not a DIPA?
T: 3.75 - Bracingly bitter flavor with a load of grassy, piny hops, concluding in a very dry finish. I was hoping for malt to put in at least a slight appearance. Really, this is totally a double IPA.
M: 3.75 - Soft creamy texture, medium carbonation
O: 3.75 - Decent hoppy beer. Not what I was looking for from the description.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.43/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a copper color with some chill haze. The head is around a finger high, with an eggshell shade. It has a very foamy texture that leaves behind a nice ring of lacing on the glass, though the retention isn't impressive. (3.25)

Smell: Hoppier than the average ESB, and thank cripes for that. Gentle notes of grapefruit, pine, and flowers helps balance out the caramel-and-toffee laden malts decent. But even better (or worse, because I don't like ESBs - must...be...objective...), it still retains its ESB-ness. This smells like a mediocre IPA - and that means it smells like a solid ESB. (3.25)

Taste: The flavor profile is even hoppier than the aroma suggested. It starts off biting the palate with grapefruit and apricot - and immediately, I have a nitpick. The hoppiness is too acidic and biting, coming off slightly dishsoapy. On the otherhand, it finishes with a subtle upsurge of caramel malt, and even an estery touch. I'm even picking up some tobacco flavor on occasion. The whole time I'm sipping it, I'm glad its imbalanced favoring the hops, rather than the other way around (a problem that plagues a quite a few ESBs). Cut out the slight detergent flavor, and I'd score it even higher. (3.5)

Mouthfeel: Very crisp for the style, and - despite the prevalent malt backbone - dry too. It's bigger than many in the style, and yet more drinkable as well. Though it should be said, carbonation is above average. I don't really care, however. (3.5)

Overall: There are quite a few IPAs on the market that come off like weak amber/ESB ales - this one is the opposite. ST could have called this a fall IPA and I wouldn't be too hard on it. I'd gladly drink it again, and I don't even like ESBs. (3.5)

3.44/5: Why aren't more ESBs this hoppy?

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Photo of bubseymour
4.3/5  rDev +10%

Nice dark copper clear body with small head. Very sweet and hoppy scents. Not of the citrus variety though. Taste is very flavorful and give quite a pow. Nice sweet malt balance to the hop flavorings. Hops lean towards pine. Slight bitter finish but really fairly subtle and ok by my preference. Very high ABV for an ESP variety beer but this works just fine. Definitely would revisit if presented opportunity.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%

Clear medium amber pour coupled with a dash of dark ruby and with a good head. Retention is normal, lacing is above normal. Very nice nose of blended hops (citric, tropical and a touch of dank pine) over a light biscuit. Light medium body with a smooth texture. Slightly above normal carbonation with a nice effervescent finish. Very nice balanced flavor profile that is complex. It begins with a rush of hop flavor - the citric and tropicals lead then flow into a dank note that is much more prevalent than suggested in the nose. The middle is a mild bitterness over biscuit, with a touch of caramel, light sweetness. The finish somewhat dry, but leaves you with the classic English ESB flavors and bitterness over a fading light biscuit. The 6.7% alcohol is completely hidden in this outstanding ESB.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%

12 oz.

Pours a deep clear golden, eggshell film for a head retains very well.

Smells of rich caramel malts and a floral hoppiness.

Flavor is of biscuit malt and some lightly floral hoppiness.

Medium body with tingly carbonation tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

This is a disappointment by Southern Tier standards. It's just not as good as a lot of their other stuff. That said, it's still Southern Tier, so it's still very good and definitely worth trying. It's just not on par with their admittedly high standards.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%

12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Golden with 1 finger of white head that dissipates slowly. Excellent clarity with lively carbonation.

Grapefruit, pineapple, pine, and caramel.

Firm biscuit and caramel malts along with some toasted bread. Grapefruit, pine needle, and hints of pineapple. Dry resin sticks the finish along with some bright florals.

Medium bodied, smooth, semi-dry, and juicy with a medium bitterness.

Bitter and juicy yet well malted. A strange but good "ESB."

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Harvest Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 588 ratings.