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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: 148
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 16.07%
Wants: 5
Gots: 18 | 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: 148
Photo of StarshipPoopers
3.21/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750mL swingtop. The bottle is pretty quality, it's nice that they include a good way to reseal the bottle if you don't want it all at once.

A - Nice appearance. A rich, dark amber with about a finger of white head. The retention is pretty minimal, the head quickly fades into a patch of film in the centre and a ring. It started out with great lacing but that too didn't last long. The appearance is definitely the best attribute of the beer.

S - It's hard to get a smell off of this. There are sweet malts that show through rather muted floral hops. I'm not sure where people are getting all of the individual flavours from, it smells pretty uniform.

T - Average. If one were to only drink Ontario beer then this would be considered good, but given the wide range of options available I can't help but be less than impressed. There is a hop aspect to the taste, but it is subdued and is by no means overpowering. The hops provide a subtle edge that follows through into the aftertaste as a slight bitterness in the throat. However The malts are present, as well as some subdued spices. Again, hard to put a finger on what they are exactly. Very light citrus and some grassy tones.

M - Average. Nothing special, nothing bad. Pretty light on the tongue, carbonation seems pretty average.

D - The lack of any real pull toward either the malts or the hops means that it is easy on the palate and the relative smoothness and mediumish carbonation makes it go down easy. However the lack of any real discernible taste reduces the drinkability.

Not a bad beer, but nothing really noteworthy. It is nice that it's an all-Ontario beer though, and I would say that it's worth trying once. But not something I really see myself going back to. One glass was enough, and I still have half of the bottle.

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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 pnkHoody
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Fresh off a flight to Sudbury I headed for my favourite (read: the only) place to get a good beer in town: the Laughing Buddha. It's got a weird patio, the paving stones are on a ludicrous 30 degree slope and my table is threatening to fall over. I have sat my 750ml ("standard bottle" they call this size) of Muskoka Harvest on the heater (off) next to me, as it is the only stable structure in this place.

The beer pours a pretty rich orange gold with a dense, almost luminous yellow head that quickly settled to a half inch of scum. It smells somewhere between an IPA and a pilsner: decent amount of orange-rind hops but also a clean lageresque tang. The immediate taste is very promising, with a lot of rich yeasty bread. Orange juice is there too. Sweetness subsides to a baking-soda fresh bitterness. This doesn't linger, but it begs for another sip. Very drinkable and decent.

This beer was not on the menu. It's worth asking these guys for off-the-menu stuff as they make an effort to get a lot of things in. Great little beer oasis, this place, and dang fine pizza-pie to boot. I'd be surprised if I didn't sup another few of these before the week is out. Hell, I might have another tonight. Gotta find some comfort as a depressing two weeks away from my family stretches out in front of me.

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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 ritzkiss
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking 750ml swingtop, pours a crystal clear caramel brown with a couple fingers of rocky head which leaves some sticky lacing. Good looking beer.

Slightly tropical hop profile in the nose, almost a touch like cream soda. Caramel malt, touch of orange, mild and not all that inspiring.

Real interesting ale that serves as a pleasant drinker. Mineral dry malt, almost a touch of brown ale mixed with alt, cocoa and earth, caramel. Served with a nice side of earthy hops, a touch of lemon rind, a hint of tropical fruits. A bit on the sweet side. Nicely balanced, nothing too adventurous in the hops but a nice malt base makes this more than the average pale ale. Creamy mouthfeel with a nice bitter pinch at the end. Certainly no hopped up American pale but a well balanced English ale.

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Photo of korguy123
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml into DFH Signature Glass
Best before date of January 31st, 2011

Part of the LCBO Fall Release.

A- Slightly hazy, dark rich amber pour. Two finger light tan head with a heavy stream of carbonation rising from the bottom. Lacing is wonderful and magical stickyness!

S- Floral hops, sweet malt backing. Fresh citrus presence of grapefruit and lemon. Subtle strawberries. Very well balanced.

T- Fresh hop bitterness, laid back citrus. Sweet malts and a hiding biscuit aftertaste. Again, very well balanced.

M- Creamy and smooth, with a quick juicy feel at first and a short dry finish. Medium bodied with sticky sweet left on the lips.

D- Very drinkable, finished the whole bottle myself. Never got tired of this one. Will have to go and get another 1 or 2 for later.

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Photo of MrHall
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 ed.

poured into a pint glass.

I tried this at C'est what during the fall fest, and didn't think much of it (in fact, I'm realizing that tastings like the ones at c'est what and even the beloved cask days, are pretty bad places to get a good handle on beer. Unless I get to spit and dump - anyone else with me?)

The bottle is beautiful. I LOVE that Bordeaux look of a 750ml beer bottle! And the flip top makes all the difference. And, like a previous reviewer, the bottled version made a much bigger impact taste wise.

While everything else is pretty decent, the appearance is the best part of this beer. A wonder dark gold that verges on amber with a nice fluffy head.

Aroma was a bit of a let down compared to the appearance, but I am suffering from allergies right now.

Taste was good but surprising. Based on what I've read here, and even from what Muskoka writes, (i.e. dry hopped, cascade, etc) I expected it to taste like an APA, but it's pretty clearly English in style. While there is some nice hoppy bitterness, the maltiness I think wins out.

In fact, the first beer I thought of when I tasted it, was Mill St. Barley Wine. Obviously, it isn't a barley wine at all, but the fruity honey notes made it reminiscent of an old English ale. In fact, I think if next year, Muskoka upped the abv to 7%+ I think it would be all the better.

I'm definitely going to have this on my table on thanksgiving.

The last thing I'll say about it, is that it almost seems to be a nice marriage of an English and American IPA, which is really cool.

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Photo of StephenRich
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The Muskoka Cottage Brewery, located in Bracebridge Ontario (pure cottage country) has a slogan that states "The taste of cottage country". Not only is that their motto, but it is also the idea behind their newest seasonal beer, the Harvest Ale. This could actually be the first of its kind from Ontario; all the malts and hops used in this brew were grown here in Ontario. I love the idea. This is the second year that Muskoka has released the Harvest, and this version comes in a very handsome 750ml swing cap bottle.

It is now floating through LCBO locations and will be available while supplies last at select pubs and restaurants. Muskoka has designed a richly hoppy and bitter pale ale at 6.4%. Right now it is probably the biggest, and most bitter pale ale offering available from Ontario in LCBO locations. It offers up different flavors than that of the typical American Style Pale ale, which I expect Muskoka would like to say is uniquely Canadian. I'm not sure what Ontario's hop farms are like, but I do hope that this inspired more brewers to create seasonal beers sourced locally - everyone benefits.

As mentioned, when you pull the Harvest out of your fridge you will have a 750ml bottle ready to enjoy with friends. This is actually what I would like to see most of all out of the Ontario Brewers - more unique packaging! The 750ml bottles are beautiful, and it really brings your beer up to a new level of aesthetic design and perception. Don't get me wrong, its what inside that counts, but packaging can help those who previously didn't look to craft beer to give it a shot.

I opened the Harvest cool around 8C (45F) and poured it slowly into a snifter. The pour was very smooth, falling out of the bottle with a heavy oily texture. It build up richly in the bottom of the glass showing creamy and silky lines and a gentle rumbling of dense foam. What I created was an glowing amber red beer with huge rays of bronze and sunshine beaming though it. It was transparent with a golden brown shimmer at every glance. The condensation on the outside of the glass fogged my view, but every wipe away revealed rich colors in depth and maturity. A creamy, and long-standing 2 inch head built up on the beer with a off-white, cream color fading to very light khaki. It peaked just above the glass with a dense cap and great retention. Ok, very well done so far Muskoka. This beer was a sight for sore eyes.

Those nose is richly bitter with a pungent mix of bitter and floral hops, light brisk notes of citrus, and a fresh earthy field like aroma. Waves of dark malts bring brown sugar and marmalade in and show reasonable depth, but lack complexity. Overall the nose is dry and bitter, slightly one sided, but seemingly very crisp and refreshing.

My first sip was mostly head, which had a great deal of rich flavors in it mimicking the nose. The next brought a lushly silky wave of beer with it and also a robustly bitter wave of hops. This showed a big and rich bitter sensation, but a relatively narrow flavor. It was potent and full, but only has subtle notes of citrus, soft floral flavors, and a round earthy bite.

Malts come in right down the center and briefly show pale malt sweetness, but quickly made into a more caramelized feeling. Lightly burnt brown sugar and biscuits round off my tongue and full my cheeks in a robust flushing of browned malts. This again was a bit more one sided than I would have liked to see. The balance between hop bitterness and malt sweetness was there, but I didn't love the hop flavors, not was I enamored by the malt.

The finish is crisp and very quenching bringing out the power of the hops in a dry, longstanding breath. Overall the beer is clean and slightly warming, with great construction and a unique take on a Canadian Pale Ale. It brings bitterness that we haven't seen before, but it is too one sided for me. I would have enjoyed more hop flavor compared to the hop bitterness, and a bigger range of malt sensation to bring juicy richness to my palate. Nonetheless, a great 2nd edition, and I will be excited to see what happens next year.

Pics at: http://wp.me/pNKWo-1gh

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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 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 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 JohnnyBarman
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm a sucker for seasonal ales, so when I saw this one on tap I had to go for it. On tap at the University of Waterloo Grad House.

A - A terrific looking beer. Lingering, thick white head (about an inch) that leaves terrific lacing. Deep amber-red, a fine fall coloured draught. Good start!

S - Nothing to write home about. Hops and spices, perhaps a bit of nutmeg. Hard to detect.

T - For the first few sips the bitterness dominates, but after a third of the pint the sweetness takes over. Both hoppy and fruity, perhaps apple and a bit of current.

D - A decent ale, fairly drinkable as a session. However, as a previous poster mentioned, not particularly special. I'm not convinced there's much here to immediately identify it as a "harvest" ale, rather than simply a pale. Still, a fine offering from one of my favorite Ontario brewers.

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