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Harvest Ale - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Harvest AleHarvest Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,354 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,354
Reviews: 557
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.44%
Wants: 42
Gots: 93 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: John on 10-19-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,354 | Reviews: 557 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bounty628
2.55/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer is brewed in the ESB (Extra Strong Bitter) style and it seems to be a bit out of place when conceptually thinking about what a harvest ale should be. To me, a harvest ale should be more about a roasted and filling while almost warming style of a beer, not an ESB on the very pale side that really does little to stand apart from the fray of other ESBs on the market.

With an ABV of 5.2%, Harvest Ale maintains a moderate amount of alcohol but the taste is certainly deceiving as the bitter aspect of the beer seems to be misguided almost as an abundant alcohol flavoring more than anything else.

Harvest Ale pours a very bright yellow straw color and is remarkably over carbonated. The carbonation gives way to a light yet bountiful white head that tends to dissipate much more than it laces the glass.

Once poured, there is little in the way of a noticeable nose to the beer. Faint hints of citrus can be detected off in the background but again there is a feel that something is off with this beer. There is a mild hop background once again to the beer, but nothing that is overly impressive.

The taste of Harvest Ale is tolerable, but again seems to be misplaced. The citrus is noted in the taste more than it is in the aroma and there is a bitter and hoppy component to the beer that seems to be working more in contrast to one another than in unison. Also present is a strange sweetness to the Harvest Ale that once again seems to not fit into the right mix of what the beer perhaps should have been.

Once again, for a Harvest Ale this beer seems to be just too light. There is a very smooth and flowing mouth feel to the beer that holds true throughout. The high level of carbonation upon the pour carries its way throughout the offering and perhaps if the carbonation was toned down a bit this beer would have been a bit better of a story to tell.

Bounty628, Oct 15, 2008
Photo of CrellMoset
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Wine Warehouse, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear bubbly golden-yellow bodied beer with a one-finger foamy snow-white head of average retention that leaves some sticky, fluffy lacing as it recedes. Carbonation is active and plentiful.

Aroma: Pleasant, with lots of citrus (grapefruit and orange zest), faint tropical fruits, and pine. A good west coast hop profile from an east coast beer.

Taste: Nice. A good amount of bitterness, spicy and mellow, a good pale malt backbone - lighter in roast than most harvest ales, which actually lets the hop notes stand out more, I think - and similar hop notes to what was in the nose, citrus, pine, some leafyness. Very Cascade-like. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and slightly oily, medium bodied, with a nice seasonal-appropriate level of crisp effervescence that balances the tastes well. Leaves a bit of a sticky after-feel.

Drinkability: A perfectly decent and drinkable harvest ale with a surprisingly low level of alcohol, a good array of fresh, oily hop notes, a pleasant aroma and mouthfeel ... yep, not Southern Tier's best, but definitely a good beer.

CrellMoset, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of deereless
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pale yellow, almost the color of a light honey, thin layer of foam across the beer - 3.50, S: Some very earthy and musty aromas which I can assume are largely the result of the 'fresh' hops used for dry hopping, quite citrusy, possibly some grapefruit and pineapple - 3.75, T: A touch more bitterness than I'd expect from an ESB, grapefruit, nice balance of caramel and malt, the back of the tongue really jumps alive which again points to the bitterness - 4.25, M: Quite smooth - 4.25, D: If I wasn't going to grab an IPA and wanted to take in some hops, this may well be the beer I'd grab - 4.00

deereless, Oct 11, 2008
Photo of SaCkErZ9
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Lrrr for this one.

Emerges from a 12oz bottle into a pilsner glass a bronze golden color. A small white head forms and is backed by some decent lacing.

Aroma is fresh hops. Citrusy and a little grassy as well. Mostly grapefruit in the nose. A touch of caramel malt and a touch of graininess.

Fruity and slightly hoppy flavor. Some good caramel comes through as well. A good dose of fresh hop flavor seems to be the predominant flavor here. Light bodied and crisp with a bit of hop bitterness in the end.

I gave this all 3's because this really wasnt an ESB (in my humble opinion). Perhaps I am wrong, but based on the other 15 or so examples of ESB I have had, this one is nowhere close to the others. Too light in color, lots of fresh hop aroma, light bitterness, light body. If this were an APA, I would give around 4.2. But, with style in consideration, I dont think this fits at all, but I really enjoyed the beer.

SaCkErZ9, Oct 10, 2008
Photo of Pencible
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured a clear gold with a bit of white head. It smelled like apricot and orange hops with light yeast and a bit of malt. It tasted like bittersweet citrus hops with a bit of floral hops and honey malt. It was fairly thick with a bit of carbonation, an a bitter aftertaste. Overall this had a pretty good, clean flavor and nice body. It was more of an IPA than an Octoberfest, and there wasn't anything terribly unique about it. But it was still easy to drink and very enjoyable.

Pencible, Oct 10, 2008
Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to jctribe25 for this brew.

Pours a very nice clean/clear golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice little foamy/fizzy white head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, hoppy, with some spices. The taste is bitter, malty/hoppy, with some slight spicyness. Medium body. Very drinkable, I really like this one, very nice.

Wasatch, Oct 09, 2008
Photo of maddogruss
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this from Cloverleaf.

A: Pours a light, gold body with about a one finger, white head with pretty low retention and decent lacing along the side of the glass.

S: A slightly, sweet, malty smell with hints of some hop bitterness that was pretty complimenting of each other. A fairly balanced smell.

T: The taste was a little bit off-balance. A bitter and hoppy spiciness was attributed to the taste of the beer with a fairly sweet, malty backbone that made itself more evident in the aftertaste. The hops did a decent job of making themselves more evident than the malts.

M: A fairly, full-bodied mouthfeel that was pretty smooth on the palette. While the carbonation seemed a bit thin, overall, it was not too bad.

D: A pretty decent mouthfeel and taste combination makes this beer pretty easy going down. The lacing is nice and the flavor of the beer seems to come out more as you drink it. A decent brew definitely worth a go.

maddogruss, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Blue Point shaker glass from a 12oz. bottle. Appears a clear golden yellow color with about two fingers of thick white foam. Aroma is dominated by fresh hops with lightly toasted grains present as well. Very nice. Tastes of bitter, piney hops, citrus fruits such as lemon, and mild bready grains. medium in both body and carbonation. Body is fuller than the color of this beer would lead you to believe. Finish is crisp and slightly dry with a pleasant lingering bitterness. A very well done beer that has session written all over it. Don't pass this one by.

ClockworkOrange, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of beachbum1975
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was excited to try this one, so I bought a sixer at my local beer and wine store. My label varied greatly from the one pictured on BA currently.

A: This beer poured a crystal clear, light brown/yellow in color. The white head dissipates quickly leaving some lingering lacing.

S: Surprisingly large mix of grapefruit, bitter orange rind, trailed by some caramel sugary sweetness. Very nice and pleasing, I'm excited to taste this one now.

T/M: As expected from the nose, I got a big citrus profile, mostly a grapefruit. A big wave of bittering citrus is followed immediately with nice, sweet caramelized malts and finally a small warming finish... Smooth and slightly sweet, with a little sparkle of carbonation. Good stuff.

Highly sessionable for me. Try this one if you get the chance!

beachbum1975, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden colored and clear, with a crazy thick white head that has some staying power. Lacing is strong.

Aroma is big with grapefruit, sweet and tart at the same time, with some caramel sweet malt behind it. Taste is also bursting with tart citrus flavor. This tartness is joined quickly by a bitter hop and carbonation burn that linger for some time. I don't get a lot of malt with this, just a big grapefruit pucker. Hey I'm not complaining, but this is an interesting style designation for this beer.

Medium bodied, and somewhat thick in the mouth. All adding to the experience. This is an interesting beer to drink. I'm glad to have the chance to try it.

ZimZamZoom, Oct 05, 2008
Photo of Bitterbill
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I got this bottle in a trade with jwc215. Thanks Joe!

This pours a clear light yellow gold with a 1 finger head of foam with some lacing.

The smell has a big fresh hop nose to it. I also get a light graininess.

The taste..well that surprised me. The fresh hop nose that I got is here in the taste but the supporting cast of grain, bready/earthy malt, and nice fruity flavours offsets it and brings it more in to style. Nice. The more sips I take, the less I notice the hop presence and I'm digging it.

Close to medium bodied with a light carbonation, this one is growing on me fast. Drinkability for me is huge on this one. What a delightful brew!

Bottom line: Yum! I had my doubts when I took my first whiff but my first taste *told* me that this is a well crafted ESB. Look, my glass is empty already. Bummer.

Bitterbill, Oct 05, 2008
Photo of Rootdog316
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly orange-ish gold with a medium sized, sudsy head (that dies back fairly quickly.) Aromas are fairly crisp... pine and citrus, but they are kind of subdued. While those hops dominate the nose and would make you think you were headed down the IPA path, flavor is more consistent with an English ESB... kind of a sweet honey and bread malt body with a bitter hops to hold it in check... it stays nice and crisp throughout and is pleasant enough.

Rootdog316, Oct 04, 2008
Photo of wiseguy142
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was surprised when I poured this beer out because I was expecting some sort of Oktoberfest or something really malty. Instead I got a really nicely yellow beer with some fragrant white head that dies down quickly. I definitely like the color for this style, a lot more Pilsnerlike but with a slightly unique touch of amber too it. Smells hoppy like a west coast IPA with good balance. The taste is rich and hoppy but well balanced by the malt. Grassy hops that finish very clean. I'm usually not a huge fan of overly bitter beers, but this is so clean and full of flavor. A little watery towards the finish, I'd like some more malt there to really get the full experience. Mouthfeel is a perfect balance of carbonation on a medium body. I want some more.

wiseguy142, Oct 04, 2008
Photo of sawbones420
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straight 4's. Everything about this beer is just good.

While I might drink this out of a pint every once in a while, I've been drinking these straight from the bottle because I actually prefer the taste.

Sexy packaging is standard for Southern Tier. Looks orangey brown in the glass with a good head and solid lacing.

Smells surprisingly hoppy with a touch of spice. Taste is similarly hoppy. Harvest ale? Certainly not emulating a fest beer, this could easily pass for an American IPA. No matter. A great deal of grapefruit citrus up front that prickles on the back of the tongue in a good way. Leaves a dry slightly resiny hop character in your throat, but well balanced with some lingering sweetness on the middle-tongue.

I've been veering away from hoppier beers the past two years or so, but this reminds me that hops done right can be top notch. I was expecting a maltier autumn brew, but I can see myself picking up a few sixers of this before the winter stuff starts rotating in.

Just keep me away from that spicy pumpkin flavored shit people call beer.

sawbones420, Oct 03, 2008
Photo of Pleepleus
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From Growler (Skibbo's, The Bronx)
Poured into pint glass an amber yellow with a half inch of white foam head that had good retention and spotty lacing. Has a great hoppy smell with grapefruit and some hints of pine. Taste leads off with grassy malts and citrus flavor with a mild bitterness. Very good a bit thin, I thought it would taste a bit stronger due to the strength of the aroma. Minimal carbonation and crisp feel make this an extremely drinkable brew. I will enjoy every drop of this Growler, and will most likely get a few more whlie it is available.

Happy Birthday Hyland! I bet it's good with Chinese delivery food Hammer.

Pleepleus, Oct 03, 2008
Photo of pershan
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured a clear, honey-amber with a thin white head into a pint glass. The aroma was of fresh, piney hops - so far so good for an ESB. The taste was very clean and crisp, with a nice balance between the malt sweetness, hop flavor, and hop bitterness. It would be very easy to drink a lot of these.

pershan, Oct 02, 2008
Photo of Goregazm
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Appearance: This beer has a brown-yellowish color, much like apple juice. It pours with a foamy head that dissipates fairly raipdly and leaves some slight lacing.

Smell: Gives off a sweet and sour smell, almost like a citrus-apple mix.

Taste: Tastes more bitter then the smell would indicate, but not too strong. The aftertaste isn't as good, sort of a sour/bitter mix. The hops are definately predominant.

Mouthfeel: Has a nice, foamy feel in the mouth. Feels thicker then an average ESB, but nothing too heavy.

Drinkability: This is a decent beer to drink with a snack, or while sitting back relaxing. I wouldn't drink this with dinner, but maybe beforehand to get my taste buds rocking. Not my favorite ESB, but not the worst I've had either.

Goregazm, Oct 01, 2008
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours into my glass a light golden yellow with a small white head on top. Good clarity overall. Looks like a fall sunset. Aromas start with crisp, slightly toasted grains and caramel. Herbal, somewhat resinous hops are there with a slight citric aroma as well. Mildly fruity.

First sip brings crisp, somewhat toasted caramel grain malt upfront along with a mildly fruity flavor. It moves into herbal, earthy hops that kick in the bitterness midway through. Flows down with a touch of spiciness and a clean, crisp finish that's slightly dry.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter and more drinkable side with a really nice creaminess that goes all the way through each sip. Overall, a refreshing brew with a nice hoppy bite that goes down easy. I could see a six pack of this going very well with a crisp fall evening. Thanks to afterexile for the chance to sample this one.

orbitalr0x, Oct 01, 2008
Photo of Douglas14
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an unimpressive yellow color with a good head that leaves a little lace. The appearance is easily the weakest point. The aroma is heavily of hops. The taste is the same; dominated by hops with a great bitterness to it. Pretty good beer, definitely happy I was able to try it.

Douglas14, Sep 29, 2008
Photo of rohrbachsfan
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Crystal clear golden yellow with low head but good lacing.

Smell: Malt and strong citrus.

Taste: Bitter malt and notes of grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and refreshing.

Drinkability: Very nice beer. On the hoppy/bitter side but has a wonderful citrus smell and graoefruit taste. I liked it and would drink it again.

rohrbachsfan, Sep 29, 2008
Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a plastic pint glass.

A: Poured a golden, amber yellow with a chilled haze and a one-finger head of white foam which left minimal lacing.

S: Smells a bit like citrus fruits with faint, herbal hop aromas.

T: Taste is a bit tart, with a noticeable flavor of mellow, grainy malts, dominated mid-palate by sticky, grapefruit hops before finishing with a wash of pine and yeasty malt.

M: Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with a bit o a prickly feel.

D: Only a little bitter, not really reminding mee of autumn, and more or less a creamier American IPA. The drinkability isn't great, and given the supposed style, there're a lot better options out there.

A fall seasonal beer that's more or less a tweaked IPA, and not a spectacular one at that. I'd be reluctant to get this one again, just because there are far better year-round IPAs available out there.

Gambrinus1184, Sep 29, 2008
Photo of prototypic
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It pours a very clear, golden color. There's a very minute amount of particles swimming around. It's capped with a foamy white head that's roughly a finger and a half deep. Retention leaned toward the short side, but a pretty impressive amount of lace clung to the glass.

Smell: The nose is very impressive. Loads of citrus sweetness rolls out of the glass. Nice mix of grapefruit, orange, and pineapple. Really impressive. Hops are very vibrant. I have no clue what the hop bill is, but it's very citric and smells delicious. There's a noteable amount of caramel malt that smells sweet. A slight note of earthiness/graininess is noteable on the tail.

Taste: The flavor profile isn't quite as good as the nose, but it's very good. There is indeed citrus orange, grapefruit, and pineapple up front. It's not quite as prominent here, but flavorful nonetheless. Caramel malts are sweet and give it a nice base. But, they're really overcome by the hop flavor. The hops are citric and have a nice, bitter bite. Again, I don't know the hop bill, but it's delicious. No way the malts are keeping up here. It is a little earthy and grainy on the tail.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied, leaning medium. It's nice and smooth. Carbonation is active. For the style (more on that later), the feel is pretty impressive. Drinkability is very high. It's smooth and the abv is just right for drinking quite a few of these. It's been a pleasure.

Southern Tier's crafted a rather unique "harvest" ale. It's not exactly what you'd expect from a release this time of year. I question the style classification here. This is much more of an APA than an ESB. In any event, it's a really good beer that's worth checking out.

prototypic, Sep 27, 2008
Photo of nasty15108
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Gloden with slight orange hues. The pour produced a head of thick white foam and lots of sticky lacing.

S - Grapefruit, with hints of pine and black tea.

T - More of the same. Big grapefruit taste up front mixed in with a little pine and some flowers. Finished off slightly dry.

MF&D - Good carbonation and a slick oily mouthfeel. Although I would hardly consider this ale an ESB, I really enjoyed it. Reminded me a litte of Nugget Nectar.

nasty15108, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of citrus, piney hops and light caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts with burst of pale and grassy hops up front. Then some mildly sweet flavors of citrus and caramel come in to provide a good balance. The malt character is hearty but a bit on the light side for the style. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, there are better hoppy beers out there but this is still a decent beer to drink for a while.

TheManiacalOne, Sep 24, 2008
Photo of beerthulhu
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a lucid pale orange with a thin ½ finger sandy-beige colored head that quickly fell to a sparse, whispy covering with no visible lacing. Visible carbonation was very light.

S: fresh grapefruit, oranges with a beautiful bright fresh citrusy nature.

T: very bitter, flowery with some dried grapefruit and pale oranges. A light grassiness is also detected as well some light dried toasted grains. The finish finds a bitter citric and grassy hopping on the fade that lingered about for a few seconds before fading every so slightly. Overall a massively hopped ale, but was slight on complexity.

M: light, oily slicky, bitter and dry.

D: Overall a light bodied but heavily hopped beer that be limited in multiples unless you are a major hophead. Liked it, but not one I would consider session material.

beerthulhu, Sep 24, 2008
Harvest Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,354 ratings.