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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Reviews: 403 | Ratings: 1,095
Photo of McCranky
4.68/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

such a great and refreshing beer...it has the perfect amount of bitterness. this one is a drinker...it goes down easy and it's satisfying to the very last drop! i had always been weary of goose island but lately they've been changing my mind. from their awesome brewpub on clybourn, to their chef collaboration series [featured at the brewpub] they keep on bringing me back. thank you GI!

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Photo of gavinstoub
4.67/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

great head retention that holds to keep carbonation in. Copper color very nice. Smell floral scent cascade dry hopping. Taste: Nearly tastes like autumn if that makes sense? WHich is what I look for in a seasonal. Don't taste as much hop bitterness as I smell I taste more malt tones. Most drinkable ESB i have tasted. Great session beer for the College Football season.

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Photo of Applesauce1
4.65/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at the Pit Stop in Nelsonville, OH, a few weeks ago.

Let's give it a whirl.

I was expecting an Oktoberfest style (which isn't one of my favorites, but i like trying new beers). Anyhow...

Appearance: amber-copper with a 3/4" head on the pour, nice and hazy also
Smell: hops (some citrus and pine)
Taste: yea, this is the stuff. one of the best tasting beers i can remember having....citrus, pine, some caramel and pale malt...all in good harmony
Mouthfeel: medium body
Drinkability: i would like to do three of these in a night....but i only bought one, so i'll need to go buy more for the weekend

A great beer!

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.63/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

also reviewed this beer under "haevest ale" a typo? it says on that one that it's an american red ale and this one says its a bitter. i say it's a little of both. how about a new style: american red bitter.

drove through the bier depot on a hunt for oktoberfest and was surprised to see a newly stocked selection of goose island brews. i've had em all except this one and, being an autumn ale, it fulfilled my desire for a seasonal beer. not to mention all goose island products are $5.99 a 6 pack here and that's a great price for great beer.

A- says to pour into a willi glass but i don't seem to have one so i used the squat imperial pilsener with a mug handle that i use for all goose island brews. it poured out this nice nutty amber brown but when i held it up to the light it transformed in a blaze to a brilliant crystal clear reddish copper way more vibrant than any red ale i've ever had. even with a hard pour i only got 1in of beige soapy head with good retention finally settling to a thin disk surrounded by a broken ring like this: ((O)) lace clung to the glass like the spots on a clouded leopard.

S- the package gives little clue to what's inside so i didn't know what to expect though i assumed that it would be a typical malty seasonal autumn beer. already thrown off by the color, when i smelled this thing my ears perked up and my mouth watered. it smelled like an IPA. immediate earthy grapefruit, apricot, and guava mingled with woodsy pine and herbal citrus. give it a swirl and you catch a faint hint of alcohol along with some bready malt and yeasty notes.

T- right away i got a resinous pine sap grapefruit high quality reefer and mineral water that transitioned beautifully to a toasty burnt wood citrus mint all the while keeping those floral herbal hops on the back of the palate. these tastes slowly fade to a grainy caramelized malty crackery pita bread with those piney hops still bouncing around on the side of the tongue. aftertaste is unoffensive and pleasant like a piece of wheat toast smeared with hop jelly. i don't know what kind of hops are used here, but in my opinion they are supreme.

MF- not oily, not resinous, not even silky. i can only compare it to "heavy water" or maybe fruit punch mixed with champagne or club soda. it is light but not too light. crisp and refreshing yet extremely flavorful. the carbonation level are such that they induce a few burps, but those burps taste so damn good it's like a whole new level of flavor. weird, i know.

D- perfectly balanced with great hop flavor that isn't overwhelming. totally a session beer. pair it with goose island honkers ale and switch on and off between the two with their relatively low ABV you can have a great night with great beer without getting too hammered.

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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 marcpal
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz poured into a Weyerbacher pint glass.

A: Auburn pour with a one inch head that faded very fast. Made up for with strong sticky lacing.

S: A bitter nose with some mild fruity hops. Somewhat malty but dominated most by the sent of apricot. Appetizing and as got warmer, maltiness developed more of a presence.

T: Hops make more of an appearance here but not anything bordering on overbearing for the style. Fruits of apricot I would guess and some honey flavorints. The malts give it some breadiness and is a nice tasting ESB. The hops in the finish really make this one hell of a beer.

M: Modest hops felt in the mouth with some carbonation. Smooth downer.

D: Does the job, and would make a great session beer and sure would be great on tap if we could get out here. I really wish more ESBs were like this one. Thanks jtrockchalk for the trade.

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Photo of ohiohophead
4.59/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first thing I noticed when pouring this brew into a pint glass was the wonderful nose on it. Wow! What a fantastic hop aroma!

Poured a very nice 1" head that left nice lacing for the entire beer.

As I lifted the glass to my mouth, the large hop aroma hit my nose again and I expected a beer as bitter as an Imperial IPA. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the malty, bready flavor that stood up nicely to the strong hop presence. The bitterness did slightly overpower the malt flavor, but did not dominate.

This beer was a little hoppy for the ESB style, but it was a true pleasure to drink nonetheless. This harvest ale has a light to medium mouthfeel and is very drinkable.

I am going to run to the store and try to get another 6-pack of this before it is gone and then I will look forward to autumn 2009 when I can get this beer again.

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Photo of Clydesdale
4.57/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a deep, somewhat hazy copper-bronze color. A medium-tall, lightly tan head bubbles up with a very dense, creamy and frothy texture. Retention is very good, and lacing is excellent.

S: Vibrantly toasty maltiness, with pleasing notes of caramel sweetness. Bright, simple cascade-esque hoppiness provides clean, appealing notes of grapefruit rind and citrus pith. Some lightly fruity esters are also present to add complexity.

T: A firm dose of toasted malt up front. Caramel is more present than the nose suggested, adding a pleasant dose of seasonal sweetness. Hop bitterness is moderate and adds a significant crispness along with a juicy grapefruit flavor. Some lightly fruity yeastiness lurks in the background throughout.

M: Fairly full-bodied, but kept quite perky and crisp thanks to a nicely-executed carbonation level.

D: I'm a huge fan of this fall seasonal from Goose Island. Works extremely well as a sessionable fall brew. Simple and straightforward, but in a good way. Simultaneously hoppy and toasty, resulting in excellent balance. A thoroughly enjoyable ale.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sunday Sunday....Da da da da, I dont know...if you can sig the song you will know whee I am coming from. Spring cleaning includes the beer fridge!! And YEAH BABY got some GI Harvest Ale left from teh fall...one of my favorites! It is cloudy amber with nice white head with perfect lacing. The smell is malty with a lil hop! The taste is awesome I love the balance between the malt and hops. Mouthfeel is nice! SESSION....been there done that! This beer is GOOOD!

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle, bottled 08/30/10, served in a standard pint glass.

L - slightly hazed, orange/amber color with a bone white head that leaves a ton of lacing.

S - citrus hop with a touch of malty sweetness in the background.

T - good bitterness throughout that leaves bitterness on the tongue and sweetness on the lips.

F - medium bodied with a light fizziness of carbonation.

D - ETD (easy to drink) is this ESB!

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Photo of Brew33
4.53/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the seasonal beers I can't wait for. This is Goose's best beer in my eyes. It's bright, hoppy, and highly drinkable.

It has a solid, sweet malt character and the depth of flavor is wonderful. This is a damn near perfect beer. It is very well balanced and has a distinct malt sweetness, I'd love to see the ingredient list of this beer. I could drink these babies all night long.

I am again very impressed with this offering. I had it at Goose Island Wrigleyville last year on draft and I hope to get back there again to enjoy it. It is almost as good in bottles as it is on draft. Excellent brew!

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Photo of sixerofelixir
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with a bottled on date clearly printed on the back label.

Thick, fluffy off-white head with very nice retention and lacing throughout. Ultra-clear golden amber/red color, with many carbonation trailers. A pleasant smell greets the nose; almost woody sweetness, both as malt and hops. Very balanced beer, with a great smooth malt balanced with excellent, yet non-demanding hops. Definitely plenty enough of both, though. Overall, very darn tasty. The style almost seems like an amber IPA.. Mouthfeel is medium-thin and nicely carbonated. Finishes dry and begs for another sip. I am very, very impressed with this one in 2010, moreso in any other year that I've had it. An absolute winner.

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Photo of Stygr
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark copper, with an off-white head.

S: Great citrus hop aroma, very fresh, my god do I love the smell!!

T: Great balance, wonderful hoppiness to it but then a subtle sweetness like an Autumn day...reminds me of raking leaves, and then jumping into the pile, that sweet smell of leaves.

M: The mouthfeel is right where it needs to be. nice long finish.

D: Easy to drink and easier to love. A perfect beer for the Fall season.


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Photo of generallee
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The label has a "Bottled On" date (08/30/10) but no ABV%

Appearance: The body has a rich hazy amber color with some nice visible carbonation and a light beige head on top. This head is about two fingers tall at the end of the pour and fades slowly making some nice lace patterns on the way down the glass.

Smell: The aroma has some herbal/earthy/leafy hops up first with some mellow fruity/estery and light caramel like malty sweetness in the background.

Taste/Palate: The flavor reflects this with a great balance or mix of bready, yeasty and fruity (apricot/peach notes) maltiness with herbal and slightly citrusy floral hops. Its medium bodied and smoothly textured with a well blended mild finish.

Notes: The subtle complexity and great drinkability make for a fun rounded drinking session.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a bottle and poured into a GI tulipglass.

A - the color is copper with a two finger head that settled down to about an 1/8 of inch sitting on top. There is a good amount of carbonation sitting on top as well.

S - Smells like a mix of pine hops with a hint of caramel malt.

T - Taste is a mix of light citrus hops and pine. It is a mild hops though that gives just enough hops to bring flavor but that is not overpowering. There are also hint of caramel malt that sweetens it up. this is one great tasting beer and one that you could just drink one after another.

MF - a big and chewy MF with a nice hint of resin that sits on the tongue and there is a small bit of carbonation. Nice creamy feel

D - Overall this is probably one of the best GI beers that I have ever had. It has great flavor, a good mouthfeel and it is super drinkable. I would definitely buy this over and over again. One great beer.

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Photo of domjwl
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ive had many beers over the years including many in the ba top 100 and I have to say that goose islands harvest ale is one of the best beers that I have ever consumed, It pours a copper color with a nice bubbly head,excellent floral ipa smell and a very nice bubbly head.Could drink this all night.

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Photo of naterock
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pours a nice dark orange with a thin head, dissapears quickly but leaves that nice ring. there is a haunting quality about this beer. I have trouble describing this color.

smells like Special K said "leafy" weird but I'm not kidding, a nice citrusy hop in the nose as well

tastes like a autumn day, a bit of spice and hop bite but a fully complex flavor, such a fantastic brew.

mouth feels medium and crisp, I could drink this all autumn long.

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Photo of mynie
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark red. Really pretty like a nice APA. Giant, milk white head that stretches up in brillaint soap bubbles and doesn't die.

Big, very surprisingly stron nodes of grapefruit and citrus hops and a nice, light malt. A very tart smell all around--not quite an APA, but I can't figure out what the other part of it is.

Tastes great! Tons of flavor for the fairly small ABV. Very large grapefruit and citrus hops start things off, shooting into a very, lightly biscuity malt that comes somewhere in between an APA and a marzen. Odd, but it balances itself wonderfully against the hops and dies out on a firm, refreshinng node.

Very nice beer.

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Photo of schellsbeer
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What is there not to like about this beer. Excellent all around.

A - Copper Brown Orange. Nice head that stays with you as a thin lacing all the way through. Coats the entire glass. Very Nice.

S - Hops!!! Orange. Bitter smelling but a little sweet. Citrus. Very Very Nice.

T - Great tasting Seasonal ale. Bitter - You can definitely taste the hops. Very fresh and crisp. Lemon with orange. Really enjoyed this brew. One of the best from Goose Island. Could also be classified as a cross between an APA and IPA. Very good.

M - Taste is all over the nouth. Not too thick but better than your average American Lager. Good.

D - YES....At only 5.6% alcohol, this is right around where a drinkable beer should be. Not overpowering on the alcohol. And not too strong so one can enjoy a few and not get the big buzz rush that many beers give. Nice balance.

Well worth the price I paid for a random 6 pack for around $9 at Dennis Brothers in the Twin Cities. Thanks guys.

Thanks Goose Island.

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Photo of animal69
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a lightly hazed med. orange-copper color w/ a fluffy off-white head that settles into small pools of lace which cling to the sides of my stange

S- smells like fresh brewed tea with notes of pine, citrus, toffee and caramel throughout, a bit of darker fruits as well

T- taste is quite similar to smell, starts out w/ a strong tea-like bitterness with a touch of grapefruit balanced by a bready "whole grain bread" malt backbone, notes of sweet caramel and toffee shine through, also detected was a dark fruit and a faint "meaty" undertone poss. from the yeast

M- a bit heavier than light body with a decent amount of co2 leaving a slightly creamy feeling on the tongue

D- an extremely drinkable brew, i didn't know how the cascades would play on a classic english style, but it works out quite well in this one, in fact i'm making this my new session brew

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Photo of boomer31
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Love this beer every time I get it. Finally reviewing it. Fresh, bottled 9/29/10.

A - Copper red with an off white head. Semi sticky on the glass. Transparent and very pretty. Looks like an autumn sky.

S - Big fruity hop aroma. Lots of citrus and grapefuit.

T - Very nice balance between rich malt and fruity hops. Very little bitterness which works great for an ESB. The nose is misleading.

M - Nice high carb, rich but not dry.

D - The nose makes you think you're in for a hop bomb but the bitterness never really comes. Malty and a nice touch of hops make this a very sessionable brew.

I love this beer and think if the bitterness intensity would match the nose this would make an incredible American IPA. As this stands as an ESB, very nice option for the style.

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Photo of nsmartell
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from the comfort of my living room. From bottle to pint glass.

Appearance: Nice reddish brown with a solid head.

Smell: Very nice aroma.

Taste: Just the right amount of bitter taste. Very good tasting fest beer.

Mouthfeel: Nice substance and goes down smooth.

Drinkability: Very nice drink. This will make a great session beer. The first time I tried this beer I had a few more to follow the fist.

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Photo of bobhits
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly shocked that I haven’t’ reviewed this one yet. One of my favorite seasonals and hands down my favorite non extreme goose island beer!

Pours a bright and intensely colorful orange body, topped with a creamy head, all this with lots of fairly large bubbles racing to the surface. Lacing, check….clarity yep.

Aromas of hops and toasted bread with hints of caramel.

The flavor is where this beer shines. The opening is a firm and solid citrus American forward hop bill, this then perfectly fades into the toasted bread and caramel of the body. The two flavors are in near perfect harmony, yet both are strong enough to excite.

Minor issues in the mouth feel I hate to say. The body is a touch too thick and almost flat on the way down. The active carbonation I can see doesn’t last and it gives this one a bit of a heavy feeling. It is drinkable, but it seems to have the body of the season without the flavors if that makes any sense.

This one reminds me a lot of zombie dust I have to say. Less hops goes without saying but they have similar bodies, mouth feels, and they both have a clean change from the hops to the malt profiles. Certainly different flavors but very similar drinking experiences.

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Photo of Huffs
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Sam Adams glass, developed a nice frothy head which lasted, was tan in color with good lacing. Color was a clear copper / amber hue and aroma was malty and sweet. Taste was malty and sweet with caramel notes. Mouthfeel was full and creamy with the aftertaste having a hoppy, slightly bitter, character.

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Photo of malty
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before 021308

Pours a brilliantly clear orange amber color with a foamy dense 1" cream colored head. Moderate visible carbonation of which the rising bubbles look a little bit larger than most I've surveyed. Thick sheets of lace decorate every square inch on my glass.

The fresh scents of caramel apples and toffee burst to life as soon as my nostrils hover the rim of the glass. There's a fruity hop essence that stands out too. Vanilla, toffee and nougat make their sweet and sultry presence known also.

The sweet flavors aforementioned in the nose are all on queue, but not as pronounced as I suspected - which is a good thing. The hop component adds a welcomed dryness to this somewhat sweet and toasty ale. There's also a rustic leafy hop flavor that blends beautifully with everything else that's going on. The balance of hops (dry and bitter) and malts (sweet, camelish) gallop gracefully together.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium bodied (thanks to the hops) with a welcomed dry, long and flavorful finish. Carbonation is spot-on - playful and fine.

Drinkability is awesome. It's like someone took classic pale ale and blended it with a rich, hearty amber - two styles that are highly drinkable in my book.

Overall a very nice brew. If it would have been title 'Oktoberfest', I might frown a bit due to the hoppy profile. This is a perfect beer to help welcome the colder months to soon follow. It's got a little bit of summer charm with a somewhat bolder underbelly. It really works well with my palate and mood right now. Great 'simple' beer with a couple tricks up its sleeve. Bravo!

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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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