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 Chugmonkey
2/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Got a 12pack and it took like 6 months for it to go away in my beer fridge, used a couple bottles for cooking. Just totally underwhelming. Malty, but zero hop character, totally out of balance. This beer bored me to death. By far the weakest Goose Island brew I've had. Harvest ale? I was expecting a nice Oktoberfest with this kind of name and this just did not deliver.

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Photo of jtierney89
2.3/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear copper hue with a sticky off white head. Pungent nose. Strong nose of grapefruit. Some raisin bread touches of dark fruit and caramel, little bit of toasted grain.

Slightly soapy at first. Sour citric fruit on the tip of the tongue. Touch of banana strangely. Cinnamon raised bread with touches of caramel, some toasted grain. Very balanced and smooth but the flavors dont all meld together, layers of strangeness that aren't offensive but just dont seem to work. Full body, interesting but i just feel the flavors aren't melding properly.

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Photo of stxp
2.36/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

appearance: caramel color, not much/any head, foggy, thin lacing

smell: light, hoppy/cascade-y

taste: not super flavorful, taste the hops, very strong

mouthfeel: semi-dry, harsh

overall: nice color, not very bold flavor or scent

reviewed by beth

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Photo of SColl
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Date Dec. 14, 2012
Type/Style Harvest Ale
Package 12 oz Bottle
Location Home
ABV 5.6%

Aroma: Lemon Zest, Orange, Wheat

Appearance: Amber

Body/ Texture: Medium Body, Good Mouthfeel

Aftertaste: Fruit flavors, bitter, caramel, some banana, some sweetness when warm

Overall: 2.5/5 I was very unimpressed, maybe I just had an old bottle but the beer was very bitter and was not well balanced.

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Photo of jrc64
2.63/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a nice amber color and looked quite promising. Initial aroma is very hoppy and makes you say "Whoah!". Lots of citrus in the aroma as well.

Just could not get past the overwhelming grapefruit taste. Hops were there, but the grapefruit was simply too overwhelming for me. Would drink again only if I had too.

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Photo of ibashmuck
2.75/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased as part of "build-your-own-six-pack" at local grocer. Poured a small head on an amber body. Smells very sweet, maple syrup, a touch of citrus, and a bit of hop bite. Although the hoppiness wasn't too overpowering in the taste, none of the other elements could rise to the hops level, much less above it. A bit if a disappointment.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
2.81/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle and served in a tumbler pint, the beer is a bright, vibrant, deep, burnt orange coloring with a thin, filmy, off-white colored head. Aromas of pumpkin sweetness, both rich and creamy, with some very subtle spicing to accent. Flavors are heavily roasted, with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg spicing that doesn't come anywhere close to cleaning this thing up. Tangy, bitter overtones throughout, with a touch of hops in the background. This beer is getting more muddled the more I drink. Unbalanced aftertaste, as well, with a roasty, spiced, and cloyingly sweet character. Slick, slightly bitter finish, but there is a filmy sweetness that lingers behind. Not good.

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Photo of corby112
2.86/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazy copper color with golden orange edges and a two finger off-white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Streaks of soapy lacing are left behind.

Slightly earthy aroma with some spicy, grassy hops countered by a sweet malt backbone. Floral with a subtle pine presence followed by bread, biscuit and caramel.

Medium bodied with a decent balance of earthy hops and sweet malt. The hop presence is stronger than the aroma suggests with a crisp, spicy hop bite that provides some lingering dry bitterness. This is countered by caramel malt sweetness and a touch of buttery diacetyl before a slightly dry finish. There's nothing really wrong with this beer but I found if pretty boring and mediocre.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
2.91/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle. Bottled on date reads 08/30/2012. Got the 12 pack on sale for $6.99. Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Pours a deep reddish copper color with one finger of sizzling off-white head. Tons of bubbles streaming to the top, going crazy. Head settles down to a nice foam with some decent retention. Some decent lacing clinging to the glass.

S - Dusty malts and a vague hop bitterness present. Not a whole lot of action happening on the nose.

T - Very robust crisp malts present. Slight sweetness on the finish. Hop bitterness isn't really present at all on this, except for in the finish.

M - Dry, resinous mouthfeel. Some lingering sticky sweetness hangs out for a while.

Overall, it is nicely bodied with a fair level of carbonation. Not a bad brew, just somewhat on the bland / boring side of things. It would more interesting with some more bitter hop presence for sure. Disappointing, too, is the fact that Goose Island was bought out by AB InBev and is now brewed in Baldwinsville, New York rather than downtown in my home city of Chicago. In accordance with the style, I would prefer the Redhook ESB over this one. Definitely a drinkable and sessionable beer however, with a modest 5.60% abv, although I am glad to have landed this case on sale because this is not something I would want to pay full price for.

Goose Island Harvest Ale ---3/5

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Photo of CHL
2.93/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Nice "bottled on" date on the bottle, and a pretty copper color.

I find the smell hoppy, with much more subdues malt and caramel. The taste is very much citrus hops, some light roast, and fairly thin. Seems more like a pale ale to me, and I found it too bitter to enjoy.

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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 NilocRellim
3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This ale was poured out from the bottle and into a pint glass. It had good clarity and was dark amber in colour. Ale had a malty, citrusy nose and was very upfront in hop flavour; tasting bitter with a slightly underlying element of sweet malt.

Would I buy this beer again? Maybe.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass. Golden copper pour with a loose, white head. Nutty bread aroma with notes of fresh cut wood, allspice, grass, a little sweet caramel, and a bit of spicy hops. The flavor predominantly dry nutty malt with lots of peppery, spicy hops and some grassy bitterness on the finish. I don't really taste any cascade in there. It tastes more like a big dose of hallertau. Medium body, dry, lots of carbonation and a crisp lager style finish. I've had better autumn beers.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was a very decently balanced ESB. There was a distinct floral, hoppy aroma and taste, but it was backed by a solid malty finish.

Neither the malts nor the hops really jumped out, but rather coexisted so that there was a balance of flavors. It was nice, but I would have liked a little more flavor.

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Photo of tigg924
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark brown, 1/4 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: hops and citrus

Taste: subtle taste of malts mixing with some piney hops

Mouthfeel: light for the style, very high carbonation

Drinkability: Not a favorite and I will be passing on this one in the future. It almost drinks like a pale ale.

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Photo of Mardukk
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber with an abundant offwhite head...limited lacing.

A fairly hoppy smell, almost too hoppy for the style.

Combines a suprisingly hoppy taste with a light/watery mouthfeel...not a good combination. Loaded with piney hop taste. Very light on the roasted malt.

Medium carbonation with a light body and mouthfeel. I would guess this would be very drinkable if you like really light bodied hop heavy beers.

Not my favorite ESB/Marzen whatever it is. The odd combo of watery mouthfeel and high bitterness make this a no go in my book.

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Photo of mentor
3.07/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a 1.5 finger browned-yellow head over a somewhat hazed rust liquid. Smells organes, woody, tangerine, pineapple, and red apple.

Tastes orange hoppiness. Slick malt sweet support. Unpleasant finisih of cheesy oxidation.

Md body and moderate carbonation. Mediocre.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.12/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a copper body with not much head. Smell a lot of crystal malt; a lot of toast. Pretty big citrus hit in the nose. Taste is light in the malt flavor but fairly heavy on the sweetness. There's some good balancing bitterness, but the citrus and herbal combination of the hops kind of clashes. Carbonation is pretty prickly. The big sweetness and fairly jarring bitterness doesn't work for me in this.

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Photo of cnally
3.13/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

this pours with a radiant orange/red and a huge fluffy head that ends up appearing very soapy and sudsy.

very hoppy aroma, mildly sour, but a little like cleaning solution.

hops are massive in the flavor, big and biting, very bitter. finish is sweet and continues bitter.

creamy, slick, with a bit of carbonation.

very bitter, but sweet and not overly dry. I don't see how this would be something I reach for on the shelf. just not that much going on.

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Photo of jurgenhadley
3.17/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I should preface this by saying 1) I bought this in a "Make Your Own 6-Pack" solely to try something new and 2) I have discovered I don't really like the "Special Bitter" category of beers...

A - I drank straight from the bottle, so giving it average
S - Has a nice strong smell
T - Not the most bitter beer I've tasted, but has quite a bite to it. That said, I had no problem finishing it and it was not so bitter as to turn me off immediately
M - Very smooth going down

I wouldn't but this one again, but mainly because I'm not a fan of bitter beers in general. For those of you that are, this is probably a nice, mild one.

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Photo of kingothewoods
3.17/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured nicely into a pint glass with a creamy thick head. The color was a deep copper with some red coloring. Good head and head retention.
Smells very sweet which must have been the malt but you also get a kick of the hops they used.
Tastes OK for a fall type seasonal brew. The hops definitely come through and this beer is heavily carbonated. Liked it but not sure the drinkability was very high.

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Photo of farrago
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Close to two fingers of loose, frothy foam, mild dimpling as it settles down, strong retention across the surface, the lacing is not very broad, however, displays good stickiness. Clear copper brown in color with a few trace bubbles lazily rising, more of a yellow cast around the rims. In the nose you get pretzel dough, salt and miscellaneous bread crust then honey, cocoa malts, peach pits and lemon rinds, oddly neither sweet nor grassy, like it doesn’t want to commit to a specific direction, slightly better than average staying power. Medium-bodied, its firmness creates additional palate presence. Malts, cocoa, caramel, honey yet not that sweet, the carbonation is subtle but effective, scrubs the tongue well. The lemon citrus brings out more earthiness and likely more pit aspect to the apricot, peach, apple, fig fruit. The well baked bread never a major factor, just one of many drying elements. Leaves you wishing it showed more exuberant personality, not that it’s playing it safely but you just sense it could have been more complex with some effort.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - pours a deep copper color with a decent foam that quickly recedes.

S - citrusy bitter hops dominate the nose

T - sweet malt up front with some fruitiness, with a bit of graininess to it that finishes with a nice hop bitterness

M - medium bodied with good carbonation

D - good session brew, decent taste and mouthfeel

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Photo of PirateUlf73
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Semi-hazy amber in color with an off-white head that retained and laced nicely.

S: Earthy, pine-like hops mixed with a sweet toastiness. Soft hints of caramel and toffee as well. Quite balanced.

T: Intriguing balance of spicy hops and sweet, toasty malt flavors. The two keep each other in check quite nicely. Tastes are not particularly deep, but it's still quite enjoyable.

M: Heavier side of light-bodied and adequately carbonated. The finish is somewhat muddy but the aftertastes are pleasant notes of caramel and toasted barley.

D: Definitely quaffable. Drinks pretty easily.

Another decent offering from Chi-town. Nothing really stood out about this beer, and indeed I've tasted better ESB's. That said, it's fairly enjoyable as long as you're not expecting it to set the world afire. Could be a good stepping-stone beer as well.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.26/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean orange-ish/ copper color with an off white head. Aromas of sweet maltiness, almost lager like. In the taste, a small sweet malt and just a small bitterness. A small bitter mouthfeel, with a malty sweet to dry aftertaste. Lager-ish more than an ale, but a nice malt presence.

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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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