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 Jeffreysan
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, clear amber color with a full finger of white head that quickly dissolved into an eighth of a finger of head that covered the entire top of the beer.

Aroma: Very malty, but surprisingly, there quite a lot of citrus notes too, like orange and lemon peel. I also get notes of clove, brown sugar, clover. Interesting.

Taste: Very hoppy, compared to most other fall or harvest ales. There’s some malt present, but the predominate flavor is hops and the bitterness that comes with it. It’s not offensively hopped, but it is strongly hopped.

Mouthfeel: Medium with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 5.7%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: Pretty decent beer. A little, no, a lot more hoppy than I was expecting, and even prefer. Hop heads should like this beer quite a lot, but I’m not crazy about it. I’m glad I had it, but I probably won’t get it again.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.52/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

LOOK: Pours a copper with a white soapy head and laces the glass well.

SMELL: Has a nice citrus hop smell, with caramel malts beneath. Hoppy scent that reminds one of a fresh bag of hops.

TASTE: In the flavor, earthy, piney hops are upfront with notes of citrus. The bitterness stands up well to a sturdy malt foundation. Has a slight herbal grassiness and hints at lemongrass at times.

FEEL: On the light side of Medium bodied, well carbonated, a bit thin.

OVERALL: An average to good harvest ale that provides enough hop flavor to keep things interesting.

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Photo of Phocion
3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle with a "bottled on" date of September 1st. Poured into a shaker pint a clear medium-dark copper with almost no head to speak of and very light lacing.

Piney/resiny hops are the most powerful aroma, somewhat surprising for an "ESB," but it's quickly clear this isn't brewed with style guidelines in mind (not that that's a problem...). Biscuity, toasted, and caramel malts in the background, but this is primarily hop-forward. Overall pretty well-balanced if not exceedingly complex.

Flavor is more malt-forward than the aroma, but it remains overall pretty well-balanced Toasted, slightly fruity, and caramel malts are present. Nice piney/lemon zest hop for balance.

Light/medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Slick but smooth mouthfeel.

Overall this isn't a bad beer. If I was rating strictly to style, it'd be much worse, so pass if you're looking for a traditional ESB. With that said, it's worth a shot. Very well-balanced and drinkable, but nothing special.

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Photo of Justin23060
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured amber with a 1 finger diminishing ivory head that clung somewhat.

Smell: Wow… Nice blast of Englishy hop with a decent amount of malt.

Taste: Pretty much all malt. Hop is just there to dry it out.

Mouth Feel: Starts off mildly sweet but ends very dry. The semi-sharp carb. helps offset the borderline puckering dryness.

Overall: I was surprised by the “Very Good” rating, even though I agree it is indeed “Very Good”, because it’s an Anheuser-Busch product produced at their Baldwinsville, NY plant and unfortunately that sometimes skews people ratings. This, however is not an adjunct lager by any means. Its tasty & put together well. Not mind blowing, but decent. You need to try this as proof that a Macro can actually make good beer if they just try. Thanks Mike for the great fall offering.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Giant Beer Garden & Eatery, enjoyed chilled from a 12oz in a tulip.
The color is copper with translucent clarity and the bead is fine with spattered lace. The smell is hoppy with a light herbal and fruity scent with subtle yeast ester. The feel is very good with a nice level of bittterness balanced with the malt caramel sweetness and gentle dry moderately carbonated with a light body in general

The taste is great, lots of herbal, piney hop flavors meld well with the mild caramel from the malt with a nice mild caramel accent lending a balanced quality with the slight grapefruit essencefrom the hops, mild spice and mellow fruitiness from the yeast. I really enjoy this style and even though this may be more intense the usual for the style it is still highly drinkable and enjoyable beyond my expectations.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle
A- Pours a beautiful clear copper color with a lot of carbonation raising from the bottom of the glass feeding into a large off-white head with great retention and lacing.
S- The aroma is nice and malty with toasted malts and caramel.
T- The taste like the aroma has a big delicious malt backbone with a moderate sweetness coming in the middle and a touch of hops in the finish. Very nice!
M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.
O- Overall, Goose Island created a great seasonal here. This one screams fall and is a great beer to enjoy as the weather begins to change.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to my buddy, Jared, for bringing some of these over the other night! Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a dark copper tone with a finger-width beige head. Notes of grains, floral hops, and touch of metallic notes on the finish. Crisp and clean. Easy on the palate, nothing to note really here. Nice dry bittering flavor start this off, typical for the style. Light fruity quality, some semi-sweet grains, with a lingering bitter pull on the palate at its finish. Nice simple beer here, that's a decent break away from the typical Marzens of the fall.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brewed and bottled by Goose Island Beer Co. in Baldwinsville, NY??? Okay, I guess they are doing some contract brewing in Baldwinsville, NY or AB is brewing at one of their locations to increase production. Regardless the beer in this bottle is good so far, here's some more details. Beautiful copper bronze body forms thick with a light tan head slightly off white head, fine speckled layered lacing forms on the sides of my nonic pint glass. Aroma has citric, herbal/earthy notes that smell great, along with a crisp malt heavy backbone, giving perfect balance to my first few sniffs. Striking fresh hop flavor flows freely through with each sip leaving a nice smooth level of bitterness on each palate starts citric earthy finishes with a bit of spice/mint combo held together with amber roasted specialty grains. Under 8 bucks a sixer and readily available now due to the AB distribution network. I was nervous to try this seasonal because the 12 packs brewed in NY were not matching up this summer, this however shows promise for future endeavors and specialty releases not brewed in Chicago. The Oktoberfest I get in Ohio says brewed and bottled in Chicago, IL it's stellar this year, I haven't had one brewed in Baldwinsville, NY to compare. Mouthfeel is dead on smooth even carbonation slightly slick hop oils glide across the palate, this pairs well with pizza, meat and cheese trays, steaks, and just about anything a very versatile well brewed Harvest Ale (ESB) that should be sessioned and enjoyed by all. Price point is right, quality is on par it's going to be a great stand by this fall season.

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

Dark copper, to solid bronze, in color with a rich soapy bone head. Craggy on-top and fertile enough to lace. Looks of a good consistency. Quite the looker.

Spiny dry German malts with a bitter hop note and crispness. Still, it wields a yeasty kick or some other sort of byproduct that generates chalkiness and near-soapiness in the nose. Toasty, without toast stealing the show. Great balance of aromas with earthiness and light citrus notes playing back and forth. Lightly floral. Quite the copious amounts of nuances in this here Bitter.

Not flashy, as the style goes, but certainly with it's own twist. Citrusy hops impart a spiciness while the earthy grain notes combust with a light roastiness. Sweetness is mild and attenuated by a rather sharp bitterness in the bite. Snappy (almost gingersnap-py) with dank German maltiness, the kind that lagers for many weeks. That hop note really saves the day and breathes fresh air into an well-steeped style. Gentle nuttiness reminds me of pecan while a faint stony fruit note harbors beside it all. Traditional and sound, as ESBs go, but bold. A little daring, just enough so, that it has me won over. A convert to Goose Island years ago, a convert to Extra Special beers only recently, per se.

Drinks with ease. Slurps, even, with a lick of carbonation flutter that spices the tongue with enough gruff and scruff to keep the palate on full-tilt. Hops certainly help the matter. Gotta love the way they make it so breezy, yet sturdy.

Great stuff. Passed on the sixer for weeks now, and I'm hoping they still have some left.

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Photo of jadpsu
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly clean pale amber, light orang or copper with a slightly off white sticky head that has good retention. Smell leads with some piney and acidic hoppiness. Malts (roasty), while present, are a distant second.
Quite dry on the tongue and in the after taste.
Slightly bitter but mostly dry.
Not getting any sweetness or caramel as some suggest.
Enjoyed this beer but, in my opinion, acts and feels more like an I.P.A.

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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 wcudwight
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Autumn amber in color with a fizzy sticky 2 finger head that settles to a sticky soapy foam on top. Citrus and floral aromas. Wonderful balance between hops and malts in the flavor. I don't know why I love this beer so much. Nothing really stands out but it's the perfect combination of flavors that make this beer great for any season. Nice crisp mouth feel. Overall great beer where one is simply not enough. Great session beer to welcome the fall season.

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Photo of Walletsworth
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful dark brown with a finger width of nice thick head. Smells slightly hoppy but I mostly got caramel notes. Has a lot of caramel taste and feel. Really smooth to drink. A six pack in one night wouldn't be a problem.

Overall a great fall beer. Definitely would have again.

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Photo of Vixie
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice looking copper color with a large off white head. The head sticks around for a bit, then leaves a lot of lacing on the sides.

Malty and a bit spicy, the smell does remind me a bit of fall.

Starts out a bit sweet, then the hops kick in. There is a bit of spice, as well as floral and pine notes. There is also a hint of citrus and pepper.

The feel is a bit smooth, probably about normal for the style.

Hard to know exactly why, but this beer does remind me of fall. It just has the look and overall character of a fall beer. It does go down pretty easy, although is a little on the hoppy side for my tastes. There is enough balance to keep the hops from overwhelming the taste, reminds me a bit of a toned down IPA. Not a bad beer, but with my personal tastes, would prefer a bit more malt and a little less hops.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 8/2/13.

Pours a clear copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, tea, citrus, and floral aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest and slight floral flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty and very easy to drink.

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Photo of jwc215
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark copper with dark copper with a head that lasts. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of caramel and earthy spicing.

The taste is of caramel and earthy hop spicing that balance each other. there is a burnt touch in the finish. A mild touch of alcohol peeks through in a warming way.

This one is a balance of caramel sweetness with an earthy spicing that is almost like cinnamon. There is a slight burnt edge to it.

Not a bad brew to welcome cool autumn with!

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Light copper, murky, with vigorous bubble streams. Great cover of head on the top, strong lacing.

S: Surprised to find strong piney hop aromas at the forefront, with the malts I was expecting in the background instead. There's a very pleasant component too, a mix between floral and mineral. Not sure what it's from, but I'm liking it.

T: The hops and malt are about equal here; mostly pine hops, a bit of lemon citrus, too. No sweetness, however, from either the citrus or the malt, but the bitterness is kept in check to make it pretty refreshing.

M: Crisp, ample carbonation makes it good for a bottle or two but no more.

O: A fresh take on autumn brews, and done pretty well. Everything is balanced pretty well, and the that undefinable something in the aroma is both intriguing and intoxicating. Just not sure how well it matches this time of year (I think warm spices/malts, not hops). Maybe pick up a case and age it til mid June??

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Photo of bennetj17
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Clear, copper colored brew with a quarter inch thick foam that lasts nicely. Lively carbonation. A good touch of caramel malt sweetness hits the nose with a grassy hop twang as well. Not super intense, but the aroma is rather inviting as it suggests a mild, well balanced beer.

More caramel sweetness in the taste, again balanced nicely by the hops which seem to have a very herbal quality. The finish is fairly bitter, but otherwise doesn't add any other dimension to the overall flavor. The mouthfeel seems a bit thin and perhaps that is why I feel it tastes somewhat watery. The carbonation, however, is quite sharp, but very fine also.

This ale starts out with promise but ultimately falls short. Despite a nice balance of malts and hops, the overall flavor isn't very intriguing and I feel ready to move on to something else before I've even finished the glass.

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Photo of MikeB20
3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: 12oz bottle into a perfect pint glass.

A: Dark gold with a two finger creamy light tan head. Solid lacing.

S: Pronounced citrus rind backed up with a little grassy malt. Not much going on with the nose.

T: Fairly light sweet malt flavors with a good amount of hop bitterness. Just a hint of caramel malt but it's quickly overpowered by the citrusy hop flavor. On level with a nice APA in terms of bitterness, I wasn't expecting that in a "harvest ale."

M: Moderately high carbonation that is prickly on your tongue. The beer coats your mouth with a lingering bitterness but I'd say the body is on the lighter side.

O: I'd like some more of a malt backbone in this beer. It's comes off as a too light in malt flavor with a little too much hop bitterness because of it. However it is easy drinking. A good beer, it's just not amazing.

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Photo of Amalak
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A. It has a copper color with a big foamy white head that leaves some solid lacing behind. Semi-opaque with some bubbles visible throughout.

S. A bit of a malty citrus scent.

T/M. It has a bit of a toffee taste, malty. It has a slight bitterness to it. Medium bodied. There's a mild marzen feel to it.

O. It tastes very similar to a regular Goose Island IPA, with just a hint of an burnt autumn taste.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a nice deep amber-copper color with a huge foamy cream colored head. The head has a decent level of retention, slowly fading to leave a nice level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a sweet caramel and a bit of toffee as well as some fruit smells of apple and a decent roasted malt smell. Along with these sweeter and maltier aromas is a moderately strong hop smell of a citrus and floral nature.

Taste – The taste begins with caramel sweetness and a nice roasted malt and biscuit taste. As the flavor advances, the taste sweetens as toffee and apple tastes come to the tongue. Along with these sweeter flavors coming to the tongue, the roasted flavors dwindle, further enhancing the sweeter flavors. While the sweeter is enhanced, it is kept in check/balance by a lightly hoppy taste of a citrus and herbal nature, in the end leaving a very pleasantly balanced bitter-sweet flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer is on the medium side in terms of its thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that was on the average side as well. Both were rather appropriate for the style batching both the sweet and bitter hop flavors nicely.

Overall –Some roast, some sweet and some hop all melding very nicely. A rather enjoyable ESB.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A solid harvest ale, although not as hop-centric as I would personally choose. Bottle pours a beautiful clear coppered amber colour that near glows. It has a respectable off-white head that lingers for a respectable length of time. Aroma is malt-forward, as suitable for the listed ESB style, although not what I'd hoped for in an American "harvest ale". It has a decent caramelized malt graininess and breadth. The flavour also showcases the malt spectrum with a bittering hop presence that lingers into the finish. Few of the citrus or tropical fruit hop notes for which I'd hoped, but still a decently bitter beer.

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Photo of soju6
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear copper color with a solid head that fades slowly with nice lacing.

S: Aroma is a mixture of malt and citrus, with some caramel sweetness.

T: Taste is a nice mix of malt with a bit of citrus, some caramel sweetness and a bit of fruit in the background. Nice bitterness and a very dry finish.

F: Moderate body, crisp, smooth, clean and refreshing. Nicely balanced.

o: This is a very enjoyable beer that goes down easy. Worth checking out.

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

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Deep amber orange body color. Fairly clear with some good rising carbonation. Off white head, only about two fingers tall with little staying power.

Nose is fairly pedestrian but delivers the basics. Slight caramel and light brown sugar with a hint of toasty quality. Clean. A little bit of fruity ester but small.

Taste follows the nose but with a very light flavor. Borderline pilsner feeling crisp, but with light toasty malts and faint fruity quality. Slight banana but very burried. Watery toffee and herbal hop finish compliment nicely on the swallow.

Overall fine for what it is and it is a very light tasting esb which makes for easy drinking.

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Photo of DAllspaw
3.59/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle date two weeks ago, poured into pint glass. Nice solid off white head, really pleasant amber color. Aroma is certainly malt forward, bready with some sweetness, but also a nice, subdued hope character, not too much for the style. Taste is all about he malt, with a nice level of caramel sweetness.

A ver nicely balanced mild, wonderful British malt character with a nice splash of American hops. As a prior reviewer says, would go great with a meal.

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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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