Muskoka Harvest Ale - Muskoka Brewery

Not Rated.
Muskoka Harvest AleMuskoka Harvest Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

64 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 64
Hads: 145
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 15.82%
Wants: 5
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Muskoka Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Viggo on 10-14-2009

Muskoka Harvest Ale was our brewery’s pioneering venture into our limited run series of beers. Now in its fourth year, our Harvest Ale marks the end of the growing season and the process of gathering mature crops from the fields.

Dry hopped and brewed using a selection of premium local ingredients, this ale has a rich malt backbone and a subtle grassy character reminiscent of the freshly cut harvest. It’s our way of celebrating another prosperous growing season. And we’re proud to share it with you.
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Reviews: 64 | Hads: 145
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Volo Cask Days 2009. A good bitterness from cascade hops, this is more of an American pale, with bold taste, a good bitterness, though not very balanced. Reddish with a soapy head. Easy drinking, average mouthfeel. Fresh hop taste to it. Neutral aroma.
Had this on tap a year later at C'est What and it worked fine, nice bitterness.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of fresh green Cascade hops with nice citrus and light resin notes is very well balanced. Taste is also a nice mix between some floral green hops notes with light citrus and resin notes back by a solid malt backbone with semi-dry caramel notes. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Another well balanced beer by an Ontario brewer who keep surprising me.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml flip-top bottle, apparently a slice of all things craft beer in On-tar-i-ari-o, and a bit of a strange and unquestionably new find on discerning Alberta liquor store shelves. The label imagery is very reminiscent of the Henry Ford Museum displays that I toured just last week in the Motor City.

This beer pours a clear, dark reddish copper amber hue, with two fat fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and bubbly ecru head, which leaves a sagging ring of dried suds lace around the glass as it lazily settles.

It smells of semi-sweet caramel malt, biscuity toffee, a bit of oily citrus, a muddled tropical fruitiness, and perky grassy, leafy, and piney hops. The taste is more biscuity, bready caramel malt, thin toffee pudding, a mild orange and grapefruit citrus tartness, and still prominent herbal, piney, and grassy hops. No real sign of the 14-proof alcohol as of yet.

The carbonation is average in its frothy bearing, and yet quite agreeably so, the body a staunch middleweight, and generally smooth, with a suggestion of nascent creaminess as things warm up a tad. It finishes somewhat crisp and certainly bready, a slight undertow of a hallowed booze tug perceptible amongst the lingering, and pleasantly bitter noble and new-world hops alike.

A harvest ale that comes off as a mishmash of ESB and well-bred APA qualities - leave it to the colonies to play around with that (or get it right - your mileage may vary). Anyways, the welcome, gratuitous additional hopping creates aspirations that push this beyond the normal pale ale (oh yeah, they went there), and gives a fitting example of the (thankfully) evolving Upper Canada beer scene. Dude.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 01/07/12 notes. Thanks to whoever shared this one at the last DC RB tasting. Poured into a tulip.

a - Pours a medium amber color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of wheat, grain, floral notes, light citrus notes. Not bad but a tiny bit bland.

t - Tastes of wheat, brains, bready malts, sweet fruity malts, nuts, and toasted malts.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a pretty nice pale ale. Nose was a bit bland but the taste was much better. Worth checking out once.

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Photo of liamt07
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml swing-top into a couple of pint glasses, split with my girlfriend's father after Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend. BBD is stickered overtop the swingtop, reading January 31, 2011.

Poured a clear golden red, with a fluffy and billowing two fingers of offwhite/cream coloured head. Sticky lace and solid, creamy retention. Nose is of grassy and floral hops, sweet toffee and citrus (orange and mango). Taste is a dry and bitter hop attack, less citrus here with more bitterness. More of the aroma in the grassiness, and finishes a touch metallic. Toffee/sweet malt is somewhat evident as well. Mouthfeel is somewhat sticky, with a medium-light body and a touch watery; medium-high carbonation. Good drinkability, ABV is disguised.

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Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The glass looks almost like a blend of cheetah-print and cheap red lipstick (a sure disservice to a beer that is far more attractive than whatever kind of image that description might conjure). By all accounts, this deep but clear and shimmering beer is highly aesthetic and pours with a head nearly as tall as the neck on its swing-top bottle is long. Lacing is thorough.

The brewery tries real hard to sell the dry-hopping, but I’m not buying it entirely. Don't be mistaken, the beer is perceptibly well hopped and exudes a bitter, grassy, resinous hoppy bouquet. But there's enough malt in there to drown hop cones of any size and, as the colour suggests, more than just the hop harvest was meant to be showcased.

Indeed, malt plays no small role in this production. Lots of toasty, rich caramelly grain comes through in the taste, finishing with a hint of sherry. (That aftertaste, by the way, like Pavarotti on a treadmill, is fat and goes absolutely nowhere.) Of course, hops are up in that too; rank pineapple, bitter herbals and pine serum are noted as well.

Muskoka Harvest Ale 2010 and 2011 vintages don't compare identically, but the differences are negligible and the enjoyment and quality are the same. This is a well balanced recipe, providing both sweet malt and bitter hop, both in generous portions that are, well, well proportioned. It is, in other words, a very enjoyable 750ml to work your way through.

The beer has plenty of 'green' hoppiness that results in just the right number of IBUs. Likewise with the amount of toast: enough to instill a firm, nutty sweetness but not so much as to go overboard with it. And, again, likewise with the alcohol: 6 and some odd percent is reasonable, but enough to add a bit of an exclamation mark to the whole thing.

I hope to see this offering on the shelves every autumn as it's quickly become part of my fall-time drinking rituals. Like the Autumn Wind, this is a beer that "is a pirate, blustering in from sea. With a rollicking song he sweeps along, swaggering boisterously...big and bold, the trees all shake and quiver and quake as he robs them of their gold. He'll knock you 'round and upside down and laugh when he's conquered and won."

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to pint glass.

A - light amber colour, slightly transluscent, one finger of thick, bubbly white head.

S - A mix of crisp earthy bitter hops and some grainy malts that have a slight sweetness.

T - A standard pale ale palate. Some partly sweet cereal grain and buscuity malts and a nice crisp hop bitterness that is present throughout and lingers in the finish. Not much flavour comes through from the hops.

M/D - Light body, average carbonation. A solid EPA.

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Photo of Derek
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good things Gro-o-ow in On-tar-io...

A: Copper with an off-white head, very little retention or lacing on cask.

S: Citrus & floral spicing with a little grainy biscuit.

T: The taste echoes the aroma with a nice citrus & floral spicing overlaying a bicuity malt with a touch of grainyness. Not huge on flavour, but the flavours do work in harmony. Slight bitter balance.

M: The mouthfeel is on the low-side of moderate, and I wouldn't have guessed the abv was much over 5%.

D: Really drinkable.

100% Ontario and it's good!

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Photo of wordemupg
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml pop-top bottle poured into tulip 17/9/11

A clear amber with lots of tiny bubbles and very tiny suspended particles, nice three finger light tan head retains very well leaving several thick rings

S loads of herbal/leafy hops with some melon and citrus with even a little chewing gum

T no gum but other then that I taste what I smell with a little nutty caramel and the earthy notes come out even more

M thick for the color and the perfect amount of carbonation, leaves a slick almost slimy coating in your mouth but its not a bad thing

O 4.25 would have been used once or twice if it were an option for smell or taste so the 4.5 drops here too make up for it. very easy too drink and a pretty well rounded brew

I could drink another big bottle of this with no problem at all, I like the earthy hops in this one and I'm a little surprised it doesn't have a higher rating BA. give this one a go this fall

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Photo of Viggo
3.13/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pale ale made with 100% Ontario ingredients, cool!

Pours a clear light amber, some golden highlights, thin white head forms, quickly settles down to a thin ring around the glass, few lace spots stick as it settles to a thin ring.

Smell is alright, very sweet, sugary, some floral hops, light citrus, a bit of maltiness, but mostly overpoweringly sweet.

Taste is similar, very sweet, light citrus and floral, but not a whole lot going on, light malts in the background, not a whole lot of bitterness, lightly grassy.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation. Not very good I don't think, way too sweet, and not much character besides that.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Appearance - The beer pours a hazy copper colour with a an average size frothy beige coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due to the darkness of the beer and there is some very nice lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, caramel

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts mixed with caramel and some rye. There is also a bit of a citrus flavour and a good amount of hops. It ends with a malty/caramel aftertaste with some lingering hop bitterness.

Drink - I remember this as being a bit better last year, but it's still a very good brew. I can taste a bit of their Mad Tom in this beer for sure. I was happy to try it fresh on tap. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes.

A - Poured amber with strong carbonation and a one finger beige head. Bright. No lace and a film of retention.

S - Light oranges, earth, some toffee.

T - Earthy, fresh bread, caramel, toffee, and dark fruit. Seems like a hoppier version of an EPA.

M - Good carbonation, mild to full body, and a sweetish kinda finish.

O/D - Not bad. I guess it seems - like a few other people have pointed out - like a hopped up ESB or something of the sort. For $9 I won't be buying it again, but worth a shot once.

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Photo of papat444
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

***2012 Vintage***

Thanks to jrenihan for this one.

Poured from a 750ml. bottle (ABV 7%) and shared a little with my wife.

Appearance: A slightly opaque bright copper body with some great head that kind of creates a moat around a mound of foam in the middle. Side of the glass is slathered with lacing.

Smell: Sweet, sticky hops, bit of grass but mostly a nice, long, juicy aroma reminding me of mango & orange.

Taste: This leans to the resiny, mildly sweet hops. A touch of spice in the finish with some pine rounds things off.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, like drinking a pint in a pub. Low on bitterness but enough to make things interesting.

Overall: Wonderful ale. Straddles the line between a pale ale & a bitter. Balanced perfectly and one i wished they made year round.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another gem from joemcgrath27... Thanks bud!

A - Pours a slightly hazy copper colour with a reddish hue, finger of head with decent retention and some sporadic sheeting lacing.

S - Leafy citrus hops, slightly musty, hint of cotton candy and some caramel on the finish.

T - The fruity citrus hop notes dominate, leafy and earthy. A unique bitterness lingers on the palette and the caramel and toffee notes come through on the finish.

M - Medium bodied, though could come across a tad thin, goes down smooth and finishes nice and wet.

O - A tasty ale that boasts loads of flavour, and certainly captures the essence of the style. I'll be going out of my way to procure more if this next fall once it hits the shelves at the LCBO.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 edition.

Amber colour, almost two finger-widths of slightly off-white head. Head is thick and has pretty good retention. Some lacing.

Nose consists of biscuity caramel malt and fragrant, floral hops with some light, sweet fruit.

Taste is quite malty. Biscuit and caramel. Fairly sweet. Has a slightly fruity flavour to it. Finishes with some bitterness. Has a bit of an earthy flavour, which I often find to be the case with English pale ales/IPAs. Pretty good.

A little high on the carbonation for me. Medium bodied.

Pretty tasty beer. Don't think I will need more than the one this year, but have certainly enjoyed the one.

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Photo of kwjd
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at C'est What's 2010 Fall Festival of Craft Brewers. Pours a copper brown colour with thin head. Nice blast of fresh citrus hops in the nose. Flavour has a nice bitterness with some caramel sweetness. I would call this more of an American Pale Ale than an English Pale Ale.

Edit: a couple days later I bought a bottle of this and upgrading my rating from B+ to A-. Too expensive to buy a lot of this though.

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Photo of peensteen
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber colour, one finger off white head, some lace left behind. Smell is sweet and biscuity, malty, floral hops, pine, slight subtle citrus, dry hops. Taste is of sweet malt, long bitterness, dry hop, caramel notes in the finish, pine/citrus aftertaste, light unpleasant metallic qualities. Medium-prickly carbonation, medium full body, lightly syrupy. Not bad but not as good as last year (at least thats how I remember it anyway)still decent but a bit of a let down.

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Photo of bobsy
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a pint of this at Volo, and while it looks like I enjoyed it more than viggo, I'd still say that its nothing special. Actually, I take that back - the flavour is nothing special, but the fact that its 100% local is. Here's their blurb: "To celebrate the harvest, our brewers have created this fine autumn ale from 100% Ontario grown barley and hops. Our first supply of Muskoka Harvest Ale is very limited and will only be available in draught to a select group of licensees."

Pours a light copper with a small white head, which dies to a film and only leaves a few spots of lace on the glass, which don't have good staying power either. I like the aroma, which has a nice floral hop bite to it, mixing in with orange peel and sweet malts. The flavour consists of a sweet malts background with gently bitter floral, citrus, and tea notes laid overtop. Its quite gentle and balanced, and reminds me of the bitters we get back in the UK. Mouthfeel is at a par for the style - medium-light weight with a moderate carbonation.

Overall, an okay beer, but not one I'd return too. Huge kudos to Muskoka for trying a 100% Ontario beer, though! This is a step in the right direction!

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Photo of IronDjinn
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 750 ml brown bottle, flip-top cap. Pours out a hazed deep copper hue, chunky off-white head that settles to a thick cap.

Dry toasty malt on the nose, mild caramel, sweet pink grapefruit and tangerine.

Sweet orange and grapefruit notes up front in the flavour, dry toasty grains and dry spicy hops in the middle, clean leafy, grassy hop finish.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, full creamy smooth texture, low carbonation.

Solid Pale Ale, seems more American from the present hop bill than an English style, most likely listed wrong.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - mildly hazy copper amber, respectable fluffly head retained very nicely with random clumps of lacing
S - a mix of grassy and orange citrus aromas, light toffee in the background
T - gentle orange citrus up front, then fresh grass, biscuity and earthy flavours round it out, all flavours are subtle but the sum is greater than the parts in this case
M - medium to light body and medium carbonation, juicy and slightly bitter
O - this is a solidly built ale where the individual flavours are gentle but the combo makes for a nice full flavour that goes down very easy, this would be something I would drink regularly were it available

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Photo of SebD
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice orange/copper/amber colour to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderatly and has some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of earthy and floral hops with some grainy and caramely malts and some citrusy notes.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a very nice sweet malt flavor with caramel notes. The floral hops give it a nice lingering bitterness with some citrusy and grapefuite notes.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavours and aromas. Another great beer from Muskoka.

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Photo of pootz
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

750ml swing top bottle:

Pours a deep copper ale in the glass...2 finger tight off-white cap, fair retention, moderate lacing.

Aroma is gorgeous...fresh...big malts over earthy leafy hopping, some demure pear and peach fruity tones...light toastiness...light sweetness...very nice.

Big front side...large malts (no caramel or crystal) in good balance with earthy hop bittering..toasty malting mingles with leafy hops in near perfect balance...back side goes clean dry and bitter.

A well made ale done with local ingredients...drinks well, pairs well.

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Photo of TerryW
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish copper under a good sized head. Looks appetizing. Also smells appetizing with a pretty big nose - sweet caramel malt, flowery hops nicely balanced, fruitiness. Very nice way to start a beer.

My bottle is a bit older, so it appears that the hops have given way to the malt. Still a decent enough brew. Nice mouth presence, evenhanded malt and a nice bitterness from the hops. Overall quite tasty and easy drinking.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle from the LCBO; listed at 7.0% (2012 edition). This is one I've been looking forward to for months, and fortune seems to be on my side as it was quite easy to find this year. One of the two Muskoka seasonals I have yet to try (or review).

Pours a beautiful, transparent amber-orange colour, with nearly two fingers of billowy, puffy off-white head seated atop the liquid. It's resilient stuff, hanging around for more than a few minutes before finally wilting into a bumpy, foamy cap on the surface - and as an added courtesy, it leaves behind a delicate web of lacing on the sides of the glass. Definitely a very fine-looking pint of beer, and the aroma is nearly equally impressive - plenty of orange, grapefruit and caramel; very floral, very fruity, and very enticing to boot.

Very tasty stuff; the hops are quite prominent, but the malts remain a fixed presence, particularly at the start of the sip. Their sweet caramel and vaguely nutty notes, though, are soon overtaken by pink grapefruit, lemon citrus and floral, slightly piney hop flavours. Finishes with floral hops and earthiness lingering into the aftertaste. Medium-bodied, with a slick mouthfeel and mild carbonation, making one very smooth-drinking ale. The abv is nowhere to be seen - this is absurdly drinkable stuff, and the large bottle is appropriate for gradual consumption over a crisp fall evening.

Final Grade: 4.33, an outstanding A grade. I anticipated that this would be pretty good, but probably not worth the nearly $9.00 pricetag. Still, this is easily one of the best American-style pale ales I've ever tried. If you are looking for a sturdier, relatively balanced ale with some hop bite to it then Muskoka Harvest Ale is a perfect choice for the coming autumn and winter months. Very impressed with this stuff; like all of their seasonals the big bottle is pricy but potentially worth it, especially if you plan to share with friends.

[Update Oct. 3 2013]

I've shared two bottles of the 2013 vintage over the last few weeks, and it is just as superb as last year's. I know that they started putting their Summer Weiss in six-packs recently, and I hope that a similar treatment is on the way for this one in the near future.

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Photo of mick303
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml corked bottle that took quite a bit of work to decork. Excellent head retention and lacing over a burnished caramel colored ale.

A- earthy dry hop notes, caramel malt, some rustic malty sweetness, baking spice, some drier citrus notes. Robust and complex.

T- some rich malt notes, dextrinous and rich English malts, more dry lemon and grapefruit and also earthy spice. Hops really play a nice role with a thorough earthy character. Dry caramel, mango, drying hay and apple, full and rich fruity character that compliments the malt character. Smooth bitterness throughout growing toward the finish.

M- quite robust and also a well balanced harvest ale, quite an assertive hop bitterness over the malts, very drinkable with a warming satisfying character.

All around this is a highly satisfying and balanced treat. Rich earthy and ripe fruity hops compliment a well balanced caramel malt character that remains really tasty. Good complexity.

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Muskoka Harvest Ale from Muskoka Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.