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 Ricochet
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This smells good. That was the first impression. Poured with little head and average lace but looks like a cloudy amber red/brown. Smelled like a IPA, very grapefruity, almost like there was a charge in this beer, but flowery hops kept it from burning. Watery mouth with very little foam but a biting swallow with very little aftertaste. Pretty good overall.

Taste impression, well, it's very good and fits the style quite nicely. Just enough hops bite to be bitter with the grapefruit not too strong. Good malty profile, carrot stick taste and just the slightest hint of coffee.

I was expecting an Octoberfest because the bottle seems to be that way, but as an ESB, this wins on all corners for me. It's something I'd like to have again. Maybe on tap, this is even better.

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Photo of waldoiverson
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance - Copper color with a bit of cloudiness and a very minimal head

smell - i expected more smell based on the taste, but there is a mild hoppiness followed up with a sweet finish

taste - bitter without being overly hoppy. the hops are earthy and the lingering flavor is of citrus and pine

mouthfeel - light to medium body with a bite of carbonation

drinkability - a nice fall beer with a nice price in the chicago area.

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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 littleshamrocks
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper color with a mostly diminishing, average sized, off white head. Fairly dense with plenty of bubbles rising to the top. Nice lacework all the way down the glass. Moderately malty aroma with some notes of hay and molasses. Some earthy tones and a light floral hoppy scent as well. The taste is well balanced between bready malts and citrisy (possible orange zest) hop flavors with some caramel tones for good measure. Mouthfeel is light to medium body, with a somewhat watery texture and plenty of fizzy carbonation.

A nice change of pace from the traditional fall seasonals. True to style, with the possible exception of the higher carbonation. Well balanced and easy drinking, at 5.6 probably on the high end of sessionable, but I could definitely have a few of this one.

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Photo of Redrover
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown longneck with clear freshness dating. Poured into a pint glass, the beer is a reddish brown with a large, dense off-white head.

Nice aroma of pine, caramel and something earthy. Nice smelling beer here!

The taste is nicely bitter, but is balanced by a substantial malt backbone. There are some pine notes, backed by biscuits, caramel & apple. That earthy taste emerges late and adds a nice finishing touch.

The mouth is chalky and beefy. This is great session beer. It drinks easy, but has plenty going on to hold your attention.

While I will miss the Goose O-Fest, this will help ease the pain. Well done!!

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Photo of bruachan
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

nice head on this guy. tight and creamy and not in any hurry to leave. decent copper color as well

toasty, sweet aroma with a lacing of citrus from late-kettle hop additions

in the flavor, brief diacetyl, but not substantial. the hop flavor and bitterness are significant, though allow the malts some playing time. in the end, however the hops are what seem most prevalent. ESB, really? i'm not so sure. it's very drinkable, to be sure, but seems a little flimsy for an ESB. the hop flavor is good, though

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an autumn like orange copper matching the colors on the label with a thin head and a skim of lace across the top.

S - Sweat bready malts with an earthy, piney hops.

T - Sweet and bready with caramel some bitterness and piney hops.

M - Medium mouthfeel with a dry lingering hop finish.

D - Some earthiness in the flavor fits the harvest name but I was expecting a wet hopped beer. Highly drinkable but I might tire of this one easily.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a tawny amber hue with copper highlights and decent clarity. Above average retention leaves rings of lace. Toasted and fruity nose, with hints of nut, buscuit and leafy english hops. Light caramel sweetness upfront, followed by a toasted pale malt taste and suspect Marris Otter flavor. Some buscuit notes and faint dextrins further enrich the malt profile, with a mellow english ale ester in the background. The aftertaste shows a flash of fresh tobacco leaf and herbal English hop flavor; a solid bitterness keeps the grain-centric character of this beer in check without pushing the malt out of the spotlight. Medium-light in body with a gentle and light carbonation, the mouthfeel relies heavily on increasing grainy notes and drying hops to provide balance- but manages to do so very effectively. Some faint diacetyl buttery taste slowly becomes evident near the finish, but the bitterness and building tannic grain taste dries the palate enough to fend off any slickness. Finishes mostly clean with soft diacetyl and fruity Ringwood yeast becoming more pronounced but thoroughly covered up by the hop oil and now vaugely astringent grain character. I had expected this to be a slightly altered version of the Goose Island Flagship, but in fact is a unique and satisfying entitiy unto itself.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A clear, orange liquid. The streams of rising carbonation are awesome and maintain a very nice and thick head. Leaves some excellent lacing as it works its way down the glass.

S- Some very piney hops that are well balanced with some malt. Very aromatic. I am picking up on some earthiness as well.

T- A lot of molasses and earthiness with a piney hop bite on the tail end. Nothing special, but it does have some meat to it.

M- This does have some thickness to it, but the carbonation lightens things up just enough and gives it a little extra bite.

D- Could be that earthy aspect to the flavor, but for some reason I picture this being a great beer to enjoy when I'm workin' the fields. Not all that impressive, but better the other Goose Island offerings I have had so far.

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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 karengarys
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours nice clear deep orangish amber / light mahogany leaving a bit of a fluffy head which leaves a ring that sticks to the glass.

Smells somewhat sweet.

Taste is a bit molassis malty, and a bit of a pine hop balance.

Mouthfeel is creamy.

Body is medium, not light and watery, not thick. Very nice.

Finish is clean and creamy, a bit of pine like citrius like lime peel is the final note on the way down.

This is a very nice offering from Goose Island. Definitely a cut above the standards you see from them.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Goose Island Harvest Ale, 12 oz. bottle, "serve in a willi glass", it says...don't know what that is, rightly...so, I serve it in a Surly glass...it'll do...

Clear, dark amber hue, big, frothy, creamy head....looks nice.

Fresh, vibrant, hoppy nose. Bright and pleasant, and intriquingly indistinct. By that I mean, no one or two flavors jump out and name themselves...apples and caramel, herbs and spices, the Colonel's secret recipe, I guess...small sweetness...

Drinking it, now...tangible hop profile, good bitterness on the tongue, but not too much, just enough to make an impression and stay there. Malt is king, though, too... a fresh, lively ESB. Good for that.

Sweet, chocolatey, toffee-ish malt is big here, and drinkability is highly enhanced. This is the first time I've had a self-described "harvest ale" that has taken this approach and there's nothing wrong with that...I just though I'd appreciate the hops being given time to shine. This is more of a malt-dominated feel, after a taste the hops...

I can drink it, and drink it again...but, I'm not wild about it...good one, though...

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Photo of nortmand
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden brown with a fluffy beige head.

Toasty biscuit malts and bright pine resins dominate the aroma.

Very hearty biscuit malt flavors throughout. A bit of astringent hop mid tongue. Ends with a balanced bitterness.

Overall a very nice, malty, sessionable beer that pairs well with the cooler fall temperatures.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. This one pours a deep golden color with a small but full head that falls to a solid coating over top. Clarity is fantastic and there is a light carbonation in the brew. The aroma is a nice malt and hop balance. I get very solid notes of toasted grain with mild breadyness. The hop comes through as a mild earthyness and a moderate citrusy orange as well. I really like the malt character in this one. The flavor is dominated by toasty, light grainyness and a solid earthy hop that pulls the two malt components together very well. Mouthfeel is moderate with a moderate carbonation. It keeps the beer from flowing from my glass too quickly, but also keeps it very approachable. I find this one to be incredibly drinkable. The flavors are nice and prevalent without being too much. It has a fairly low ABV keeping it nice and drinkable. I think this one is a winner.

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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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Photo of hckyfn9999
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber orange with a nice sized white head. The head leaves some decent lacing. Retention is decent as well. Aroma is of pine, citrus, sweet bready malt, and a touch of bubble gum. Taste hoppy up front. The hops are piney, fruity, and spicey. Sweet malt is slightly present in the back. Not really as well balanced as the style generally is, but an easy drinker and a decent brew, though I wouldnt get it if I were looking for a classic example of the style.

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Photo of Vancer
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another nice Gooser – the spices in this one really ramp it up into a cool weather drinker.

The black pepper, coriander and a spot ‘o clove in this bad boy mix together quite well. Only one ding, the finish is a bit harsh from a tad too much hop. Most may not even notice. The sixer paired well with a chicken salad sandwich and football on the TV.

Pour was top-notch; copper amber with a massive foam cap that stuck to the side like gorilla glue.

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

served on-tap, this was a clear deep copper with a creamy tan head that quickly diminished to a nice collar. simple but appealing nose of bready caramel and piney hops. taste strikes a nice balance between the light to moderate sweet malts and matching bitterness. this is a nice, sessionable brew.

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Photo of bigdeuce
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Goose Island is very underrated, in my opinion. The Harvest ale being no exception. It pours a beautiful red amber/orangish color. Great head and nice lacing down the glass. Sweet malts kick in on the nose followed by perfect balance and a bit of hoppy goodness. A very clean, smooth, brew and highly sessionable. I enjoyed this one and it will be in my fridge more often.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this beer and found it pleasantly surprising. It had a really pleasant citrus-hop aroma, and a light maltiness balanced with a lot of very crisp and pleasant lemon-y hop. Color was a nice amber, with a lot of head. I found the mouthfeel to be just a bit thin and watery, but I would still call this one a winner. I would definitely recommend giving this beer a try.

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Photo of sweethome
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Looking at the bottle, I assume this replaced Goose Oktoberfest - RIP. This pours a deep copper color. Decent off-white head. Nice lacing as I consumed from my Sam Adams glass.

Nose is grassy, with a backing of candied nuts. The grass charachter dominates the nose.

Decent entry of big hop flavors. Mouthfeel is quite thin, lacks the malt backing to support the hops. A nutty, tea flavor. A bit of yeast.

Finishes long. Bittering and carmel malts.

Mouthfeel detracts, but an easy drinking beer with distinct hop flavors.

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Photo of morimech
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

09/05/08 Review
Maybe I have a fresher sample than last years but this is a great ESB. Overall a better example than the one I reviewed last year and I bumped up the score considerably. The only complaint is the thin mouthfeel and lack of any interesting texture.

Pours a nice red color with a small head. Bubbles disapate quickly and there is not much carbonation. No lacing evident. Kind of disappointed in the presentation.

A very piney hop aroma. A lot of pine. After the pine I get a touch of citrus on the finish.

It starts out with the typical hop bitterness but the pleasant surprise is the toasted malt that comes through after the bitterness wears off. Many subtle flavors make this a complex beer.

This does have a heavy feel because of the lack of carbonation. If finishes dry with little aftertaste.

A good brew but could be better with just a little bit better carbonation. Therefore I don't consider this a good session beer. Just feels a tad heavy.

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Photo of crayphish
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally found the new fall seasonal from Goose Island. The brew poured a nice clean red with a fluffy thick cap. Decent lacing is left on the glass. Smell is a fruity resin coated hops, a bit of bready malt tempers the aroma. Very nice. Taste has a nice fruity hop start, grapefruit mostly. The piney hops are also very present. Again the over all feel has the malt balancing it out. Easily one of the best tasting G.I. brews I've had. Mouthfeel is a crisp and clean. I found this offering extremely drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into nonic pint glass, no freshness date.

A: Pours a nice dark and clear copper with a two inch incredibly bubbly bone white head that fades into a ring in a few minutes, leaves some really nice lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Smells a bit different than other ESBs, this one has a bit more of a floral aroma with a bit of crusty bread.

T/MF: This is pretty nice but I thought is tasted more like a pale ale than an ESB. The hop character dominates the initial sips then as the beer warms in the mouth hints of apple and nice toasty flavors. The beer feels pretty active in the mouth with the carbonation and hops biting the tongue, nice and balanced and tastes quite fresh.

D: Solid offering, pretty complex with well balanced flavors even though its a bit hoppy initally, good and solid seasonal from Goose Island.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint glass. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a burnt orange color that reminds me of fall. Small yet pillow-y one finger head that is off-white in color.

S: Excellent piney hop aroma. As it warms, a bready malt aroma emerges. Also discovered was a noticable citrus hop quality.

T: I found this to rather hoppy for the style. Citrus, resinous pine, and a slight tropical fruit hop flavor were all present and accounted for. Before long, an excellent, balancing, toasted-bread malt flavor steps out from behind the hops and makes its' presence felt.

M: Bitter and spicy from the generous use of hops and creamy from the malt.

D: An extremely welcome replacement for the tired GI Oktoberfest. Great job guys!

HeatherAnn and I also drank this, on draft, at the GI sponsored "Hideout Block Party" last night (9/07/07). We noticed that the draft version of this that they were serving was even hoppier! We could've sworn that they were pouring their IPA until it warmed slightly and the maltiness came about. Excellent!

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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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