Harvest Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

very good
403 Reviews
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Harvest AleHarvest Ale

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark auburn color, citrus hop aroma, caramel flavor, medium body

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-03-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 403 | Ratings: 1,095
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.46/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes in between auburn and amber. The aroma was Oktoberfest like, got me thinkin this wasn't a hop "harvest" ale, maybe its the barley? Nutty.

Caramel and nuttiness dominate. I know Goose Island makes an Oktoberfest, I think this is just like, a "fresh malt" version? Its a well made beer, it just wasn't at all what I was expecting.

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Photo of DrMullet
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice ESB. Pours a deep copper color. Moderate bitterness with a balanced toasted malt flavor with more than a hint of citrus. Mildly bitter aftertaste. Pleasant and enjoyable. I will buy it again.

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Photo of Samp01
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear dark amber with a medium beige head with good lacing. Aroma of citrus, orange and floral hops fill the nose. Taste is citrus and orange undertones, with good amount of caramel malt as it warms up followed by floral and earthy hops bitterness on the end for balance, A medium body, smooth with moderate carbonation. The finish slowly mellows out to a flavorful caramel malt, a bit of orange peel, some grains followed by some good floral earthy hops bitterness for balance and a bit of a nutty flavor as well. Overall a good, tasty and enjoyable brew.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

So this beer was brought by someone else to my house for a party and left a few extras in the fridge. They said they just bought it from the store yet, when I looked at the bottle on date on label says 9/25/12 (yes 2 years old..WTF?).

So my review is with disclaimer that its a 2 year old ESB.

Its actually semi-drinkable and not horrible. Yes, it doesn't taste very fresh but I could at least down 1 without too much effort.

Rating as 3.5 for now, but hope to find a fresh one at some point and do a re-review.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

BOD 9/1/13. Pours a clear medium amber with a slight ruby cast. Very nice well formed head with lacing that retains well. The slight nose is sweet citrus fruit (mango and orange) and caramel over a biscuit sweetness. The body is almost medium with a smooth texture that approaches a slight slickness. Normal carbonation with little effervescence. The flavor profile is well balanced. It begins with slight citrus sweetness, progresses to caramel and biscuit sweetness and finishes with a nice mild bitterness. The finish is more smooth than crisp and leaves a nice herbal bitterness.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Toned copper with a moderate white head, which retains fairly well; tidemarks adorn the glass walls. The carbonation is fine, vigorous and slow-rising.

Aroma: Cascade or similar hops are out front in the aroma. Lesser toasted malts are present as well. Overall, the aroma seems quite balanced.

Taste: Opens with nicely toasted malts, and a strong, earthy hop presence. A flourish of caramel soon appears to compliment the toasted malts. Throughout the taste, the earthy hops dominate the taste. Earthy and citric hops bring the taste to a close.

As the taste progresses, the hops win out over the sturdy malt backbone.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, full, and pleasant, almost velvety.

Drinkability/notes: A nice presentation, quite atypical of the styles associated with the autumn season, but pleasing, nonetheless.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce brown glass long-neck bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of TheMirrorOwl
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Poured into a pub glass. Rich copper, moderate head, laces the glass nicely.

Smell: The hops shine out, and combine with the malt scent into an apple-like fruit ester aroma. Some pine and citrus make for an enticing and complex fragrance.

Taste: As with smell, slightly surprised by the hoppiness. Lots of forward fruit, nut and pine, with a well-balanced caramel cereal malt that carries over the bitterness in the apricot finish.

Mouthfeel: Round and thick, carbonation makes it seem slightly grainy, but slides nicely around the mouth. Overall great feel, but I object a little to the carbonation. It's not overbearing, but the initial fizz and ensuing 'fluffing,' though slight, distracts a little from the otherwise nicely rounded smooth mouthfeel. Improves as the beer sits.

Overall: A really nice, well-balanced ale. I've come to appreciate Goose Island for their balance and subtlety (rather than nailing you over the head with expeditious, overpowered concoctions), and this ale doesn't disappoint. Extremely tasty hop-malt balance, and easy to drink; I could knock these back all night.

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Photo of slusk
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: this beer pours a nice clear copper with a decent off white head. Very nice lacing.

S: This brew has a nice Hop forward aroma with a pleasant sweet malt background. The hops are citrusy , piney, almost cascade like but not overpowering. The malt is subdued but present

T: Much as the aroma belies, this has a hop forward balance of pine and citrus with a nice semi dry malt backbone of light caramel. It comes across as a mini IPA if you will but a low fruitiness suits the style. The hops jump up in the beginning but the bitterness on the back end is subdued.

M: A medium light body with a moderate carbonation.

O: This is like an IPA in training. If there was ever a hopheads session beer, this would be it. I like this beer quite a lot for straddling the divide and leaning toward the hoppy end of the ESB/ English pale ale style. Like it a lot.

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Photo of Scudmile
2.93/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Nothing about this is reminiscent of a "harvest" ale. It tastes like an average run of the mill IPA. It's not awful, but it doesn't have the roasted taste someone choosing to buy something labeled as a Harvest Ale might be wanting.
If it had been labeled as an IPA, that would've been a good description, and I'd say it meets the same chemical after- twinge as the majority of mass-produced average IPAs.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle with a date on it. About 5 months old.

Look I can't comment on, drankin it out tha bottle. Smell has herbal flowery hops and grain. Sweet woody malts, spicy yeast, medicinal hops. Medium feel, well carbonated.

Easy drinking, spicily hopped. Give it a try.

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Photo of jucifer1818
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Yet another goose Island beer. I've been enjoying 6th day a lot around here (along with X2mas, X2IPA, and ruthless rye, they form the backbone of rehabs good beer selection), and I'm honestly hoping to like this one. I do, in fact, love harvest ales. I hope that this one is hoppy!

Appearance: Beautifully clear amber...and let me stress it, this beers clarity is AMAZING. As a homebrewer myself, its nothing to scoff at. it took work to make the beer look this good. Combined with its fluffy white head that seems to withhold the test of time (aka it lasts for quite a bit) I honestly have to give this beer a 5/5 for clarity.

Aroma: ohh wow...this one does the trick! lots and lots of damp, fresh smelling hops.... heavy on the fruit. i smell a fruit cocktale, citrus, and apricot. easily worth a 4.25/5

Taste. ll admit, I had to do this before aroma. I couldn't help it...my glass was just too full to properly smell the stuff. and I also have to say, I love this stuff. It tastes amazing. Their is something...idk...juicy about this beers taste too. Kinda like Juicy fruit! not a bad comparison if I do say so myself! anyho, its A good combination of both hops and malt, with a clean lingering bitterness, I can defiantly give this one another 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: The beer looses me a bit here, but not by much. Its just too carbonated, and you can really feel it as the bubbles bite into your tongue. Still, 15 minutes after you've poured out this beer, and their should be no problems. Still, it gets docked points. 3.25/5

overall: I thought that this beer was an excellent offering. Lots of good hops aroma, flavor, and with a sweet malty body to keep it all together. A easy 4.25/5, and personally give it a 91/100. Hope that the rest of goose Islands stock beers can come out like this.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Review taken from notes: Fall 2013(late October)

12 oz brown bottle with traditional classic series Goose Island Style labeling. Fall colors of oranges, reds, browns with white and gold. GI classic series logo with a field freshly harvested with the city of Chicago in the background. Terrific label from Goose and one of my favorites. This was poured into a Becker style pint glass or a Willi glass as they call it.

A - clear copper orange body. Almost a light auburn color. Looks a lot like an Autumn evening. Totally transparent. Off white to the lightest of tan head had some size on the pour and left a sturdy ring of lace leaving excellent thick splotches of stick on the walls of my glass.

S - floral like hops on the front with the slightest hint of pine and a blast of citrus hop whiffs. A real grassy character to the aroma that adds that bit of freshness that reaches the nose. Big, Sweet shot of caramel malt along with a distinct nuttiness play their part well in balancing this fine nose. More floral hops and a touch of earthiness in the back part of the nose.

T - while not as superb as its nose Goose Island's Harvest ESB is very solid in flavor. Floral and soft pine hops to start followed quickly by the balance of sweet caramel malts. Fresh grassiness adds to the overall refreshing flavor. Hints of nuts and earth toward the middle depths. The crisp finish lets off more floral notes from what I'm assuming is a Cascade style hop that was used.

M - medium bodied and refreshing. Just right in texture for the style as are all Goose Island beers. It coats the mouth nicely in all its flavors. They fit the bill with about everything they do and this mouthfeel is very enjoyable and makes for one of the best ESB's ever created. Crisp clean finish and perfectly balanced throughout

O - I've had Harvest Ale before from Goose Island, but I don't remember it being this good. I really appreciate the classic take on classic styles. While Goose Island can blow you away with some of their more creative ales they also really do extremely well crafting great beer in the somewhat forgotten styles. Harvest Ale is perfect for the Fall season and I am almost greatly appreciative that we get a wider variety of Goose Island brews here at home. Ill buy a pack of this every single Autumn. It's one of the best ESB's ever created. No more to say. Try it

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Photo of BryanCarey
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Orange in color and completely clear, Goose Island Harvest Ale emits a mild nose of caramel, toasted malts, and citrus with some floral notes. The foam does manage to leave some lace even though the carbonation is light.

This beer has a flavor profile that emphasizes the tastes of bready malts, grapefruit and orange, with pine and earthy notes and toasted malt. The beer’s flavor leans mostly on the hoppy side, but the overall taste at least attempts to balance and doesn’t do a half- bad job.

This is a good beer from Goose Island and while not much like other Harvest ales, it is still good in its own way. The body is medium and the beer is easier- drinking than other examples of its style, which are often a little too bitter. Goose Island Harvest succeeded in locating a good balance for this style and it is easily one of the brewery’s better products.

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Copper color, with a decent head and lacing. Noticeable carbonation.

Smell: Caramel malts, grass.

Taste: Caramel malts, biscuits, grass, and citrus.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with the bitter aftertaste of an IPA.

The Verdict: Not bad. A well balanced beer that goes along well with a crisp fall day. A good solid brew.

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Photo of a0lbudman
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-clear copper with an off white head that leaves a heavy lace
S-Hops with some malt coming though
T-Hops with malt mixed in. Hop bitterness in the aftertaste that slowly takes over, leaving with a dry pear finished
M-medium carbonation with a light to medium body
O-the balance of the beer was great. Not too much hops or too much sweetness

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A rich autumn amber color. A khaki color forms on the pour which is pretty tall fading to a small surface film. Not much carbs going on here.
Aroma was malty with some subtle bright hops lingering in the background.
The taste was bitter quite bitter I think for this style and had some off metallic taste.
Nothing special here.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 8/2/2013. Bit of a gusher upon opening. Pours lightly cloudy orange copper color with a 2 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of caramel, grapefruit, orange zest, pear, toast, biscuit, floral, light pine, and floral earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of hop and malt notes; with decent strength. Taste of caramel, grapefruit, orange zest, lemon zest, floral, toast, biscuit, light pine, and floral earthiness. Fair amount of earthy floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, citrus, floral, toast, biscuit, and light pine on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of malt and hop flavors; with a very nice malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good ESB style. Good balance of malt and hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of MistahBeah
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear golden chestnut color. Foamy off-white head with some streaks of lace and mild retention. Mildly carbonated

Smells of crisp fruit. Picking up citrus and honeydew melon. Toasty bread notes. Caramel. Herbal with notes of wet grass

Taste is bready at first with buttery diacetyl shining through nicely. Sharp citrus bitterness which fades into lingering herbal tea and grassy notes. Burnt caramel notes keep the bitterness from overpowering the flavor. Superbly-balanced

Feels crisp and clean. Sharp carbonation. Lively. Medium bodied and medium dry finish

Overall an extremely well-balanced example of the style. Very nice hop profile, slightly atypical of the style, with a great clean malt bill. Wish I had more

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Photo of mjurney
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper color, clear. Lots of small bubbles rising up. Thick frothy head.

Cirtusy, fruity, caramel malts.

Bitterness from start to finish, cirtus, grassy, a little earthy. Malt background, caramel-toasted. Very sharp finish, dry. Body is medium, dry, smooth, well carbonated.

It's a very good beer.

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Photo of BrewAskew
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Label says brewed in Baldwinsville, NY on 7/16/2013. Today is Nov. 15.

Pours out to a rocky head that retains well and leaves some bits of lace; brilliant copper-orange color. Aroma is bread and jam, floral/citrusy hops and caramel malt. Flavor is balanced and refreshing, with toasty, biscuity malts perfectly balanced with citrusy/earthy hops. Pleasant alpha acid finish. Mouthfeel is light and CO2 is right for style, but it seems a bit rough on tongue. Good everyday ESB.

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Photo of fx20736
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bought as part of a case fromm Beers of the World on 11/7/13.

Appearance: pretty copper with a pale khaki/ offwhite head. A magnificent shroud lacing.

Aroma: pleasing, fruity, malty.

Mouthfeel: structured, bouyant, silky.

taste: a faint whisper of grapefruit on top of a thick breadiness with a return of grapefruit pith and rind.

overall; fantastic, tasty, well built, awesome. This is as good a beer as I have ever had.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear copper hue, frothy khaki head, a little bit of lacing.

Pleasant grapefruit and orange peel scents. Sweet tea. Caramel.

The balance swings in favor of the caramel malt with accents of the citrus hops and bready notes.

Mouthfeel is light with moderate-heavy carbonation.

It's one of my seasonal favorites because of it's price and accessibility. A verb solid and approachable esb.

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Photo of Spikester
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

First time I have seen this out west. Nice clean copper color with less than one finger of white head. Some spots of lace. Spells grainy with a touch of hop aroma. Small amount of malt for an ESB but the hops lean forward in this brew. Medium dry bitter finish. The brewed on date was Sept. 15 so about 7 weeks old. I may change some of the review points when I have finished the sixer. Overall an interesting and tasty brew but lacking in the malt department for the style.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a clear copper color with a thin head which quickly dissipates. Light lacing, low carbonation.

The smell is floral and citrus hops, orange, grapefruit and lemon dominate. There is also an earthy smell.

The taste follows the nose, moving from orange, grapefruit then lemon. I can't taste any real malt character. This brew tastes balanced but nothing really pops. There is also a slight anti-stringent quality and some hop oil left on the tongue after swallowing.

The mouthfeel is is thin, creamy and oily. Some hop oil is left on the tongue after swallowing.

Overall this is an okay harvest ale, nothing bad but nothing really blows me away.

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Photo of JimKal
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A : Pours and amber brown with a two finger tan head. As head dissipates there is some really nice lacing left behind.

S: not a lot of aroma, sort of light grain.

T: there is some real meat to this taste that identifies this as an ESB. A great blend of malt and hops.

M: great mouthfeel. This is one of the better GI offerings.

O: I will be getting more of this while I can. Again, a really nice ESB.

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Harvest Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.82 out of 5 based on 1,095 ratings.
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