Harvest Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

very good
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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 beagle75
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with over one finger of off-white foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Bread is abundant, with complementary yeast that promotes this beer's English-inspired side with evident esters.

T: Begins barely off-dry, with early mixed/cherry fruit and heavy caramel. Sweeter flavors tickle the palate into the middle, with mild acidity after the transition. Malt become generic-toasty, struggling to stand out after the caramel-shock beginning. Bitterness arrives late, not excessive for the style but able to stand up to other flavors.

M: Medium viscosity, slightly sticky and acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This beer is a bold hybrid American amber ale that manages to cultivate some traditional English qualities. Appropriately malt-focused, it is unapologetic in the way it does not try to subdue or conceal the full force of its flavor qualities. While repetitive by itself, this beer would be good company for a savory meal.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured somewhat aggressively into a Guinness -style glass. A very nice copper color with a lightly tanned head, initially 1 1/2" before dropping to an even film.
Smell is hop forward as expected but with a solid malty sweetness countering it. A light floral note with some roast, even smokiness, to the malt and a whiff of citrus and wheat round out the olfactory end of things.
Taste is a little less hoppy but otherwise a carbon copy of the nose. The roasted/smoky malt hint, the whiff of wheat, it's all there. Well balanced, too.
The only knock is in the body. A bit watery before developing a seriously sticky coating of the upper palate and back of the tongue. Medium bodied at best, lightly effervescent, slightly drying with a citrusy note in the aftertaste that is quite appealing. Good stuff.

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

A: Copper hue with a steady two-inch head; lacing is fantastic

S: Subtle but pleasant citrus hop presence up front with a bit of earthy floral hops in the back--kind of an Americanized British hop bouquet; toffee and caramel malt undertone

T: Such a balanced beer; great hop profile but not overpowering with a bready slightly sweet malt backbone

F: Creamy and yet sticky; this has a slightly chewy texture that works well

O: A really nice Fall seasonal: malty and yet slightly hoppy and crisp and perfect for the changing of the seasons; yet another dandy by GI

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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 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 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 Efay
3.57/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Parents had a variety pack of GI, this was in it, and decided to try it out.

A- Pouring into a pint glass, I receive about a finger worth of thick, light caramel frothy foam. Color of the beer is a dark bronze color. Lots of lacing.

S- Spicy notes, that are very toasty and burnt- like. Also smell sweet honey and bread. A great combination.

T- Lightly bitter, and a toasted malt taste. Hints of caramel and honey. It's a very "passive" beer and is not intense at all. A good combination of flavors but needs more intensity.

M- High carbonation and moderate mouth feel. A little heavier to go down.

O- Its a good beer, but nothing special. I'd pick a lot of other seasonal beers over this.

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

12 ounce bottle into a US Pint glass.

A: Crystal clear copper, finger length white head on top, dissipates slowly, nice streaks of lacing.

S: Spicy hops, bready malts. Kind of surprised how much hop presence there is.

T: Almost identical to the nose. Very hop forward, earthy, spicy. The malt is nice in the background, almost wish there was a little more. Touch of gingery-rye bite, no idea where that's from.

M: Smooth, but perhaps a tiny bit too thin for medium body, and a little over carbonated. Minor gripes.

O/D: Something that can get a nice hop fix with an ABV under 6.00%. For a widely distributed beer, it's a good six pack to pick up and drink for the day/evening.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A long lasting half inch white froth leaves a coating on the oversized wine glass while a gem clear, new penny copper beer resides below.

The aroma consists primarily of toasted malt while caramel and light grape can also be detected.

Tastes of toasted grain with a bisquity, quick, sharp finish. Rye bread with caraway is clearly detected in a sweet finish.

This one has a medium body with light alcohol, soft carbonation, and an overall soft texture.

This Harvest Ale could easily make for a session beer as long as one takes their time. It is also a better alternative during a tailgate party.

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

I poured this beer into a chalice glass and got a decent amount of foam (about two to three fingers). The beer is very coppery color with no cloudiness.

The nose on this is pretty malty. I also get a little bitterness in my nose.

This is a very drinkable beer. You get a decent amount of maltiness in the Harvest. There isn't a lot of complexity going on. This would be a good choice for an Oktoberfest party.

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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 TwelveOunces
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a pint glass

This beer is clear amber orange with a one finger white head. The nose doesnt do much for the beer but does light compliment the taste. The beer is quite hop forward for an ESB. A bit of pine and pineapple. An abundance of lemon and lemongrass flavors from the hops. The malt backbone is non offensive and rather light. Its quite sugary and has a slight bit of grainyness. Overall, this is decent fresh hop ale. Doesnt stick out from the rest but will make for a fine drinking brew for a nice price.

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

The beer is transparent and copper hued with a thin, tan head. The aroma brings biscuity malt, caramel, subtle alcohol and spice. The flavor is ok. Some bitterness from the hops, with a sturdy malt bill leading the way. Residual bitterness with a hint of pine. It certainly tastes English in style, but I do prefer most Brit offerings to this. Lacking the delectable character and drinkability I look for in a fairly low abv beer. Overall, this is ok, but I don't see myself having it again.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Arthur's Tavern in Hoboken, NJ

A: Pours a clear deep amber in color with moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces to a medium sized patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of hops - some grassy with lighter amounts of pine and citrus/grapefruit. There is also a light aroma of toasted malts.

T: Upfront there is a moderate amount of toasted malts with some lighter notes of pine and citrus/grapefruit hops. Light amounts of bitterness are observed but they do not linger.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Very easy to drink and sessionable - there are some very enjoyable notes of hops along with the toasted malts. A nice fall seasonal beer.

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Photo of cyclonece09
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tall 500ml glass. Pours a nice red amber with a small white head. Smells of dark roasted malt with hints of caramel and choco. Really pleasant taste, a little dark roasted malt but also some nice hop bite. Beer is perfectly carbonated for its light body and finishes really well. Overall an excellent beer.

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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 dcloeren
3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright, clean and crisp orange with a finger of bright white head.

The aroma is a little subdued but it still has a nice sweet fall smell to it with a touch of hops in the background.

The taste is malt forward with a hint of spice, caramel and hops on the back end.

The mouthfeel for this beer is spot on. Light to medium in body with a good amount of carbonation. Very easy drinking. I can imagine a ton of Bears fans pounding these while tailgating on game day.

Over all, good not great. Easy drinking and would make for a good sixer to drink on a fall day watching football.

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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 fallopia
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the J. Ford's Black Angus bar in an etched ale glass.

Appearance: Clear, orangish-brown color

Aroma: Nice, hoppy, aroma

Flavor: Well-balanced, muted hops with a very pleasing taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a nice finish.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer and would like to drink it again and again.

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Photo of gcamparone
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams pint glass. Purchased at Wakefield Liquors in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

A- Pours a clear amber body with a cream colored, 2 finger head with medium retention and some thin lacing.

S- Citrus, pine, big hop characteristics. Some lightly roasted caramel malt in the background.

T- Starts out with a hoppy bitterness and ends with a smooth, buttery-caramel vanilla flavor. Very enjoyable. Demands another sip.

M- Extremely smooth, crisp, refreshing. Highly drinkable. Medium high carbonation with slightly thin body that works for this brew.

Overall this was a highly flavorful, highly drinkable fall brew. Superb balance between the hops and malt. Session-able. Pick some up!

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep clear amber body with a sticky off-white head.

S- Caramel malts and a nice spicy hop presence dominate most of the nose. Slight tropical fruit note is there as well.

T- Malts take over most of the taste with a crisp spicy hop flavor. Bitter flavors come through, but not in the way of hops.

M- Very crisp mouthfeel, medium bodied, medium-high carbonation. Very drinkable with full flavor.

O- I think this is my first ESB and while it isn't a style that blows me away, I could see drinking this offering again.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz, 9/11/12 bottle date
Alchemist pint

A: Pours a pretty orange, amber looking color. Initially getting two fingers of off white head. It leaves some sticky lacing sheets. Seems to be nice carbonation.

S: Nice little nose on this one. Get some mild piney hop aromas. Also some mild citrus. Light caramel malts. Slight toffee hints.

T: Nice flavor here. Tastes like a solid red ale with piney hop character. Then you get light toffee/caramel flavors. It's got a fairly dry finish.

M: Medium bodied, but drinks really easy.

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Photo of RodneyFarva
3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

a: pours a light copper brown with a nice 2 finger head that reduces to a quarter inch. decent lacing.

s: lots of biscuity malts, some toffee and caramel sweetness, strong hops presence as well, with grassy and citrusy aromas. quite nice.

t: chewy malts, a bit watery, high carbonation, and a strong bitterness as well. it's nicely balanced, but finishes with an off-putting astringency.

o: an above average ESB, but I would have liked a bit more body and a smoother finish.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 9/16/12 Tasting Notes... Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass. Served chilled.

A) Copper colored brew with a little haze. About a finger of off white head, with pretty good retention. Not much lacing.

S) Sweet/Bready/Toasted grains. Earthy hops and some citrus. Nice aroma...

T) Near the nose. Sweet caramel malt. This was very toasted and had ample earthy hop flavor as well. The finish and aftertaste are earthy and bitter.

M) Lighter medium body with a good amount of carbonation, maybe a little too much for me. It's pretty crisp, goes down well enough. The finish is a bit dry and bitter.

O) This is a pretty decent brew, but honestly not one I would go out of my way for in the fall. There are just so many excellent brews this time of year, which of course is a good thing. This is kind of middle of the pack.

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Photo of marcobrau
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A hazy, amber ale that pours with a light, fluffy head. It has fruity nose with some orange in particular and maybe a touch of candied ginger. I love the fresh, leafy Cascade hoppiness of this ale. I love how the candy corn sweetness mixes with fruitiness imparted by the yeast and citrus and pine hoppiness. This beer starts out hoppy and ends hoppy, but with a hard candy dollop of sweetness right at the end. A hoppy ESB, but not that bitter, at just 38 IBUs.

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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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