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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

1,450 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,450
Reviews: 561
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 45
Gots: 128 | 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: 1,450 | Reviews: 561 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thain709
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A bright golden body with a huge head...the white stood about two fingers...very effervescent...nice lacing

S - Bright and fresh hops...a mixture of spicy pine and sweet citrus

T - The hops are more than present in the taste...they start off with the citrus...lots of grapefruit going on...a little touch of lemon...the middle is a little sweeter with a touch of honey...not a lot of malts shining through...the ending is bitter which is provided by the spicy piney hops...it's not too bitter though and this is where the malts make their oh-so-little appearance

M - Medium bodied...a bitter finish...pretty creamy

D - This is definitely a late summer early fall beer...I wouldn't label it as an ESB but rather a pale ale almost...anyways...a very easy drinking beer that favors the hops and has a dash of sweetness

thain709, Oct 23, 2009
Photo of jdavin
2.58/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was thoroughly disappointed with this beer. I've been quite impressed with some of Southern Tier's other beers, so I was really looking forward to their harvest ale. The first surprise was that it didn't look anything like any other harvest ale I've had. It is super light in color - light yellow straw, almost pilsner color.

Southern Tier calls this an English-style ESB. But where is the malty character? I shudder to say it but this made me think Budweiser with a bunch more hops added. It is very light in body - I would guess the FG is around 1.008 or lower.

At the very least they need to do a better job of marketing / advertising this beer. Calling it a Harvest ale when it has hardly any caramel malt or body to it will confuse a lot of buyers. It's more like a light summer blonde ale.

The hop character is also a bit low for a harvest ale. The bitterness is pretty low, and while the aroma is good I'm not sold on the hop taste. It is too woody and piney when I would prefer citrus hops in a harvest ale.

I dumped the second half of the two 12ozers I've had so far (tasted on separate days to make sure my first judgment wasn't just a fluke). I hardly ever dump beer.

A - very light straw color, good clarity. Pilsner-like in appearance.

S - Aroma is woody hops.

T - Taste is overall low in complexity. Hops are earthy, woody. Mild to moderate bitterness.

M - Very low light body. A little undercarbonated I'd say, even for an English-style ESB.

D - drinkable, but not that fun to drink. Too low in body, makes me feel like I'm drinking water or Budweiser.

jdavin, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of BMoney575
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Sampled on 10-19-09

Pours a pleasant golden orange color, with a filmy white head that leaves behind nice rings of lacing. A few bubbles rise to the surface.

Smell is awesome, tons of sweet hops and a candy malt to back it up. I was expecting Oktoberfest, and this is much different.

Taste is sharply bitter, with flavors of citrus and a little pine at the end. Very clean, with a very subtle sweet malt character. Something different.

Mouthfeel is good for the style, thinner with good carbonation to keep it light.

Drinkability is outstanding, a fantastic bitter session beer.

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed, and will have this again.

BMoney575, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of Soneast
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Dexter's Pub in Madison.

Pours a hazy, golden wheat color, with a 2 finger thcik, cream colored head that looks more like jet-puffed marshmallow cream than it does beer. Very dense and creamy, leaving a slick of lace all the way down the glass.

The aroma is very intense and pungent, full of citrus scents, lemons, oranges and some grapefruit but somewhat accentuated by a nice little spiceyness. Not a lot of malt character, except for maybe a touch of caramel.

The flavor is hop-centric, without being all that bitter. Clearly a lot of late boil hop additions and a ton of dry hopping going on with this beer. More citrus centered, the gamut of citrus fruits are noted, lemons, oranges, and grapefruit, but there is also enough of a malt presence to give the beer a good, creamy body with a slightly sweet, almost honey-like flavor to help tame the hops a bit, and not push this into IPA territory.

This beer just feels so good, with a creamy texture and inoffensive carbonation, the hop is the highlight of the beer, but the bitterness is kept in check. An amazing beer, that I would not hesitate to drink again!

Soneast, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of argock
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass mug. No freshness date. Purchased as 6-pack at Market Street Wine Shop (Charlottesville, VA) for $8.55.

A: Sunny yellow-orange with 1-finger off-white head with below-average retention and no lacing.

S: Bright-smelling brew with spicy and orange citrus hops dominating the nose with lush caramel and pale malt sweetness.

T: A delicious brew with honey-sweent pale and light caramel malt sweetness which is overtaken by spicy, orange and lemon citrus, and mildly leafy hoppiness which adds another layer of complexity to a great APA.

M: Medium-to-full body with nice coating action with help from low carbonation and delicious spicy hops aftertaste.

D: A really good APA and a decent value with a bright, spicy hops flavor.

argock, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of bonkers
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. It pours a pale, clear amber with a stciky white head. The aroma is full of citrus and pine. The taste follows, more heavy on pine, the finish is slightly bitter and lingers. The brew is medium bodied, decent carbonation and oh so drinkable. The beer has the aroma of a DIPA and it taste like a bigger beer. IMO a real good harvest style beer.

bonkers, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mini growler pour from DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. Pours glowing golden lighter amber. Clear in the glass under a frothy off white nose that stays around and leaves a thick collar and copious spotted lace. Bright citrus nose, highlighted by notes of oranges. Nice looking and smelling brew. Healthily hopped with citrus infused hops. Flavorful and quite tasty ale, bright hop notes supported and balanced by a more then ample malt under caraige.. More high quality and well worth trying beer from NY states S.T.

Billolick, Oct 12, 2009
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2" dense white head with long lasting retention sits on a glodan beer with great clarity. Plenty of fresh lace down the sides of the glass. Very nice, soft aroma. Very balanced between light, citrusy hops and a nose full of caramel and toasty grain. More of the same in the flavor - citrus hops, some pine flavor - and a very nice light malt backing. Medium bodied, soft mouthfeel with a decent amount of carbonation. This beer is hitting me just right at the moment - it is delicious - I could drink this all day. Great job.

Photo of Tbone
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

In short, one of the best Harvest Ales around.

A light and crisp body that goes down easy, but with a very nice citrusy hop character and lingering bitterness.
I don't get all of the lower ratings (B-) for this beer, but then very few beers that are under 6% have above B+ ratings here.

The beer pours a slightly hazy bright yellow with a nice white head that leaves notable hop lacing. It smells mostly of grapefruity hops that make your mouth water. Taste is more of the same, but with an enjoyable lingering bitterness. The English hops in a beer this hoppy make for an less common experience.

I normally prefer a heavier mouthfeel, but this light mouthfeel suits me just fine. Drinkability is as good as it gets. I've had 2 six packs and a few bar pints of this in the past month, which is probably more of any single beer in a month period than any other beer over the past 10 years.

Tbone, Oct 11, 2009
Photo of OldYoda
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a light clear gold into a standard pint with minimal head and lacing. Looks like a summer pilsner sitting in the glass.

Smell is some citrus hops and a sweet whiff of malt. I don't get much else out of this.

Taste pretty much follows the smell - some citrus hops and a bit of maltly sweetness.

Mouthfeel is too thin for my taste - I expected more from an ESB. This seems much more like a summer seasonal than a fall beer.

Drinkability is excellent. Sessioning this would be fine.

Not a bad beer - just not what I expected it to be. I'd like a little more out of my beer on a chilly fall evening.

OldYoda, Oct 10, 2009
Photo of KTCamm
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours an inviting cloudy orange with 1/2 finger of white foam. Looks and smells like fall.

Smell is hoppy/fruity, but moreso on the former.

Pervasive hop taste throughout mixed with mild sweetness. Bitterness lingers long after the finish. Modestly carbonated in the mouth. Taste is good, but the close if difficult, making this not quite as drinkable as other ESBs out there - for example a Red Hook. But a well made beer.

KTCamm, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of gdfan47
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- pours a nice inviting brown, a little lacing and and a nice frothy head
S- Hops, that nice fresh fall smell that I like, a little pine, a touch of citrus
T- refreshing, crisp, more like an APA/IPA than an esb. Less malty than most ESB's ive had.
M- not overly carbonated, goes down really smooth
D- Can barley taste the alcohol, just like I like it. Extra refreshing, easy to drink

overall a great refreshing session beer, not overly complicated but well done.

gdfan47, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of david131
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- A dark yellow/ pale orange clear liquid with a thin white cape that leaves decent lacing. Looks rather weak.

S- Oats, orange rind, marijuana, and a bit of mint. Everything smells great except for that annoying oatiness floating around in the aroma.

T- Sweet orange candy, and some nice citrus hoppiness with a good malt backing.

M- Dry and clean on the finish with a carbonation bite.

D- A nice take on the style and this drinks really nicely. I am beginning to notice that I enjoy Southern Tier's more basic offerings over their Imperial Series.

david131, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of gory4d
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale golden with a three-finger head that dissipates into a thin cap, leaving lots of lacing down the glass. The smell is fruit sugar, biscuit, greens. The taste is sweetness, grain, a bitter dandelion finish: nothing too complex, but quite pleasant. It's a little thicker than you'd expect, highly carbonated. Easy to drink, but slowly.

It's a decent beer, but with less of a malt backbone than I like in an ESB.

gory4d, Oct 04, 2009
Photo of biegaman
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Southern Tier Harvest is, in my opinion, a tad bright and sunny for a fall-themed beer; a little more depth in colour might have been a little more becoming. Although its tone, it must be noted, is not without a little pumpkin blush. Its head is thin but waxy and as result tacks on a lacing so adhesive I'm starting to doubt even water's ability to pry it off.

Something about this aroma makes it come across as very hearty, which is probably the most appropriate characteristic for a harvest ale. The malt base seems rather substantial (and nourishing) as it exhumes the scent of fresh-baked bread, hot out of the over cookies and mounds of toffee. The hops, too, are in exceedingly ample supply.

In fact, it's hard to say what I appreciate more. This has the blessing of being both heartily malty and also incessantly hoppy. The malts are so thick and chewy and pleasantly sweet, like rich pastry. The hops, supposedly English varieties, are wickedly zesty. A great deal of American qualities are also tasted, fresh pine and candied grapefruit. They may call it an English ESB but there's no fooling, this is as hoppy and ballsy as any American IPA.

The mouthfeel isn't as sensational as the beer on the whole but it need not be. It does its job. Its light, clipping bitterness provides a little snip on the palate and lightly lingers with a pleasant earthy fruitiness all the while staying unimaginably quenching and quaffable. Why didn't I buy more of this? Even with no shortage of good IPA's on the market, including this brewery's own, your damn right I'm wishing this was available year round!

If Southern Tier wants us to understand one thing about themselves it's that they can brew fantastic beers tremendously well. Apart from a couple lackluster offerings in their year-round lineup - which is to be expected - this brewery is responsible for a number of my favourite stouts and hop bombs. If they keep slugging out more of these first-rate ales I'm going to be needing more fingers (and maybe toes) to count all of my favourites on.

biegaman, Oct 03, 2009
Photo of Florida9
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Thin, pale yellow in color. Large, foamy white head with minimal lacking. Extremely clear.

S: Fruity. Floral hops and biscuit malts.

T: Starts with a fruity sourness or twang. Moves into some citrus hops followed by a straw or biscuit flavor. Lingering hoppy finish with a light, but noticeable, bitterness.

M: Thin, light weight and medium carbonation. Dry.

D: A much lighter beer than I was expecting. I am even more surprised to see this one listed as an ESB given how light it is. Never the less for being on the lighter side, this beer does have a good bit of flavor, but is not overly aggressive. An easy drinker and a good session beer.

Florida9, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of BeerPhan86
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a light, clear golden orange with a one finger white head.

S - Citrusy hops, light breadiness, sweet malt and perhaps some honey.

T - Citrus hops dominate but balance well with toasted malts and biscuit taste. Very light tasting and well balanced, refreshing! Hints of tangerine and grapefruit linger.

M - Light bodied and medium carbonated.

D - Very sessionable. Light abv and taste.

Very tasty for a lighter ale. I was expecting a more spicy taste like the other fall styles. A pleasant, hoppy ale for autumn.

BeerPhan86, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of far333
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pale straw yellow, very clear with a low beige head that doesn't rise up much and settles out quickly.

Aroma of tangerine hops and honey.

Initial flavor of citrusy hops, subtle corn and honey malt undertones, flavor morphs to piney hops, with a lingering grapefruit flavor. Above average bitterness, but still very flavorful.

Mouthfeel is a little watery upfront, finishes crisp and tingly. Tasty beer, pretty drinkable. Not quite on the style.

far333, Sep 29, 2009
Photo of pmcadamis
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Editing this one (1-17-2013... no date on the bottle): Trying it again tonight after several years.... saw I gave it a fairly low rating and was shocked. I'm really enjoying this one the second time around.

A - Still not much of a head, but there is a bit of nice lace on the glass. The color is almost identical to the color of the label on the bottle. Cloudy and yeasty.

S - Sharp hop notes jump out of the glass, followed by a spritz of citrus and a crisp cracker or crusty bread note. Round "Belgian-esque" yeast aromas. Musky.

T - Yeasty, bready, and quite hoppy. This one hides its ABV extremely well. I would never have guessed that this was above 6%. Big time biscuity with floral British style hops (although thoroughly American in the level of hoppage. Tasty.

M - Medium-full. Extremely balanced with a big hoppy finish that is not overly bitter, but leaves just enough malt in the mix to balance this brew perfectly.

I had to go back and change everything about this review. I don't know why I didn't like this one the first time around. Bad bottle? Bad timing? Bad food pairing? Who knows. I LOVED this beer tonight, and I really enjoy ESB's in general as a food/session beer. This is a winner for sure.

pmcadamis, Sep 29, 2009
Photo of kshankar
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours gold with a nice white head..not too big. Decent retention. Minimal lacing

Aroma is of citrus hops with a malt backing

Taste follows this aroma. I get a good dose of the hop flavor profile with a nice amount of the malts coming through, balancing fairly well

Mouthfeel is oily/slick with a light to medium body. Carbonation is there, but not overpowering

Drinkable..flavor profiles balance well, mouthfeel is good.

kshankar, Sep 29, 2009
Photo of birchstick
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - clear, golden yellow with an average head after an aggressive pour

S - smells awesome. There are some sweet malts and loads of citrusy, grapefruit hops.

T - taste follows the nose. This is a nicely balanced ale--some toasted and caramel malts that interact with citrusy hops to form a solid-tasting brew. There is also a weird cookie-ish tasting malt in this as well that seems a little out of place but doesn't disrupt the taste too much.

M - 3 goes down smoothly, albeit a little thin. Very average mouthfeel.

D - this is a pretty solid ale. I was very impressed at first, but found that as it continued to warm some weird flavors came out (the cookie-tasting malts). However, the hops are more bold in their presence than their malt counterparts. Good beer - I would definitely purchase again.

birchstick, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of Brad007
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pale gold color with a two-finger head into my fluted glass. Very nice color.

Aroma is full of citrusy hops that dominate the nose. Very nice choice of hops for this beer.

Taste is full of citrusy hop aroma once again that unearths a very mellow bitterness underneath with a feel of biscuity malt. Very nice and subtle.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering citrus hops and biscuit flavor. A bit sweet towards the end. Otherwise, seems balanced.

Very nice for the style and easy to drink on a cold fall day. Certainly worth a try.

Brad007, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of superdedooperboy
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this one on 22 September 2009, as a celebration of the Fall equinox. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter glass.

Bright, slightly hazed golden color, reminiscent of the aura the earth seems to take on on an autumn afternoon. Quite gorgeous and fitting, really. Gives rise to a small, quickly-dissipating off-white head that leaves just some faint traces of lacing behind.

An aroma as bright as the color issues from the glass. Fragrant hop notes abound: floral, somewhat piney, a tad citrusy, and mildly earthy. Quite a bit English in the hop character, though kicked up a few notches to give it some American flair.

Medium-bodied and moderately carbonated, the flavors throw back to the aroma, with a pronounced hoppiness that is balanced well by a base of biscuity grain. The hop bitterness leaves the finish a bit dry, with a lingering herbaceous, hay-and-grass hop fade.

Certainly a pleasure to drink, this would make a perfect beer to sip on while sitting outside and watching the leaves fall, and with the hot Georgia summer lingering well into autumn, it is a great thirst-quencher as well. A great beer to straddle the seasons.

superdedooperboy, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of ffejherb
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Al's of Hampden on 9/18/09.

A - Clear golden/amber body with moderate carbonation and one-finger creamy off-white cap that reduced to a quarter inch ring of retention and left some spotty lace around the glass.

S - Fresh wet hops with plenty of citrus notes and a hint of floral characteristics. Malt character suggests sweet caramel and toasted grans. Subtle alcohol notes also enter into the mix as the liquid warmed up a bit. Quite a zesty aroma overall.

T - Melange of fresh, oily hops with a bold citrus character as well as a backing of sappy pine and some floral attributes. This got quite sappy as the liquid reached room temperature.

M - Wet and sticky with a light oily texture and medium body. Carbonation is moderate overall. Subtle alcohol warmth on the palate. Finishes with lingering bitterness on the tongue.

D - This is one flavorful Harvest Ale, especially fresh on tap. It also produced some tasty hop burps. One of the best of its kind for sure.

ffejherb, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of bbeane
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a 16oz tumbler... golden color with 1/4 inch white head that almost recedes completely, not leaving much lacing

S- After a couple swirls of the glass, a hint of sweet citrus, but mostly strong smell of hops

T- Good, but not all that complex... very little sweetness, mostly just a hoppy

M- Light bodied and pretty light carbonation. Hoppy flavor lingers in your mouth, clinging to your palate

D- Very drinkable and tasty, though IMO, it isn't the typical fall beer, nor does it in anyway taste like it should be called harvest


bbeane, Sep 21, 2009
Harvest Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,450 ratings.