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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Ratings: 1,095 |  Reviews: 403
Photo of BigJim5021
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

GI's Harvest Ale pours a nice burnt copper with a decent white head. Lot's of lacing, too.

The smell is twangy and a bit hoppy. Not terribly strong on the nose, but what's there is pleasant.

The flavor is more hops than malt, but nothing approaching IPA territory. About the level of hoppiness you'd expect in an ESB. Well balanced would be a good way to describe it.

Carbonation is a little much, but nothing that ruins the party. And while the beer isn't too thin, it's also not quite what I look for in terms of thickness. Nice and dry, though.

Harvest Ale is an easy drinker. You could easily put back a handful of this stuff in an evening. It's pleasant, if not overly great. Solid, but that's good enough.

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Photo of danielharper
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A Chicago beer in honor of a certain Chicago politician.

Appearance: Reddish brown coloration, slightly hazy, some effervescence, moderate off-white head that dissipates immediately. The head leaves no real lacing.

Smell: Dark, malty aroma. Notes of bready grains, somewhat aromatic of dry hops way down deep. Smells sort of like a bock -- I like it.

Taste: A little bit of everything. Sweet at the start, malty in the middle, a nice dose of dry hops at the end. Finishes sweet, leaves a touch of sweet aftertaste. Actually quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Moderate. Very low carbonation.

Drinkability: A very drinkable and enjoyable beer that pairs well with food. Well worth the price.

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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 jeremyd365
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark coppery amber with a very light tan head. The hops are definitely apparent from the smell of this one. It is a thick-medium body and seemingly lightly carbonated. The taste is delicious! Very crisp and hoppy with a solid hop aftertaste but not really bitter at all--more of a sweet-hop that lingers. This one I will definitely buy again and recommend to others without a doubt!

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

Dark orange to ruby red color, depending on the light. A nice finger of rocky, creamy off-white head. Nice to look at.

A really pleasant wet-hop aroma; flowery but with some pine and woody character as well. So far, so good.

An initial piney blast of sweet, woody hops. Quite nice. Sweet, toasted caramel malts. Bitter but with a sweet balaance. Really pleasant. Rich malt; resiny, bitter hop.

Creamy and fizzy. Nice rich body. A terrific harvest, balanced and hoppy. Very good example of the Harvest Ale style.

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

A-Deep copper with a medium off-white head that reduced to a thin cap and left nice lace.

S-Aggressive sweet caramel malt up front followed by a citrus fruit hop aroma. Some toffee and dark fruits in the background.

T-Malt-forward for sure and if this is supposed to be an ESB then this is right on. A decent amount of citrus hops and caramel/toffee taste.

M-Medium body with a nice smoothness from the rather soft carbonation. A decent amount of lingering sweetness and mild hop bitterness.

D-Good with plenty of caramel flavour melding well with just enough of a hop kick to make this one interesting. Not a "classic" harvest brew but if this is to be more of a fresh hopped ESB then this hits the mark for sure.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into DFH specialty glass on 10/27/08. Thanks to Deuane for picking up one of these for me during a recent trip to the Mid-West.

A - Deep hazy copper-colored body with burgundy highlights and two fingers of foamy off-white head that transformed into thick, ornate lacing that reminded me of a coat of chainmail armor for some reason. Solid head retention and sparse amount of carbonation.

S - Huge waft of caramel malt up front, which surprised me, followed by a fruity hop character with hints of citrus and dark berries, as well as floral notes. Some sticky, syrupy pine creeps its way into the mix as well.

T - This is actually pretty malt-forward for a harvest ale. However, there is a decent amount of citrus juiciness and burnt, sticky pine to complement the heavy caramel maltiness. There is also a hint of dark fruit in the backend.

M - Medium body with soft carbonation that builds into a mild prickly sensation across the palate. Slick, oily texture allows the liquid to glide effortlessly down the throat. Finish is mildly bitter with lots of residual sweetness on the tongue.

D - This is a unique harvest ale that really grew on me the more I drank it. While it is quite malty overall, the flavor is complex with plenty going on to hold my interest. This one possessed more of a subtle hop character that was still quite tasty and enjoyable.

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Photo of ranneyj2
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Had to pour into a frosty plastic cup, but looked good, nice amber/copper color. But the reason why it was exceptional for me was the head. When you tipped in up and set it on the table a new head would form! It was something magical! Seriously though it was beautiful.

S- Good...I guess. The bottle and then plastic cup did not allow me to get a good nose full but it seemed to lack sophistication.

T- Loved it! Great balance, wonderful hoppiness to it but then a subtle sweetness. All I could think about was fall, which to me is the point of something like the Harvest Ale.

M- Nice, kinda lightness so to speak in the mouth. Good crisp/clean qualities, but enough heaviness to fill your mouth and again, make you think of fall for some reason.

D- Bottom line, could drink all day every day! Respect Beer.

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

Pours a dark amber with a soapy two finger head that settles to a thin cap leaving generous lace.

Aroma is of toasty grain and hops. Very fruity aroma with a slightly nutty smell.

Flavor is toasted grain and caramel. Hops are nicely present and leave a nice spicy, piney flavor. The finish is very nice and clean, which I can attribute to the hop flavor cleaning the palette of the grain bill.

Nice beer, a very drinkable ale with a nice clean finish.

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Photo of KBomb
3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A thick brown head tops off a dark amber with high carbonation. Lots of glimmering gold on the edges and lacing that is thick and persistent. This is a beautiful looking beer.

A bright hoppiness jumps right up the nose (almost stings). A tiny bit of floral and citrus accents the bold hops smell.

The sharp and clean hoppy flavor cuts through every sip. A striking but not overpowering bitterness stands out. Its not "piney" like some heavily hopped brews. Though the bite of the hops is impressive and likeable, there is not much nuance to the flavor beyond it. Though there is a tiniest bit of fruity-sweetness up front, I might prefer a little malt sweetness in the background to give it some more landscape. It seems a little more like an American IPA than an ESB. The flavor is strong, but not entirely interesting.

Its sharp and highly carbonated. Its not heavy but a tiny bit syrupy. It feels like an autumn beer.

I can have a couple of these, but I think its a little bit one-note to have more than two rounds. I ended up using a bottle to cook some bratwurst in because I was bored of the flavor but knew it was good enough to add a little something to the sauasage.

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Photo of kels
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bought this on a recommendation. Poured from the bottle into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Clear, bright amber color with continuously rising bubbles of carbonation throughout. 2-finger rocky, fluffy head reduces to a 1/2 inch skim after the first few drinks. Loads of thick sticky lacing all through drinking.

Smell: Lightly grainy with bright citrus. Malts are only mildly hinted at, and there seems to be something spicy standing out.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Taste of toasty grains, lemony hops and syrupy malts. A peppery spice is present on the back of the tongue, especially in the aftertaste, and it's really well complemented by the toastiess. The mouthfeel is a little watery for the carbonation, and it leaves a sticky residue after swallowing.

Drinkability: Pretty high - the stickiness is the only thing that would keep me from calling this session.

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Photo of semihobo
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottled 8/12/08. Just opened the first of my homebrew ESB last night so I am tuned in to the style. "Serve in a Willi glass" on the label... yeah alright. I think a pint glass will be fine. One of the first hits on Google for "willi glass" is from another review of Goose Island Harvest Ale, slightly ridiculous.

Head is fine on the pour, weak staying power, good sheeting on sides of glass. Medium brown color, fairly clear but some yeasty floaters rose to the top.

Sweet caramel malt smell with some fruity yeast esters. Piny west coast hops blend well, smell is strong even at a cold temperature.

Good balance on the taste as well. Fruity caramel taste on the front, met halfway through by a hop profile with a wide spectrum of tastes that carries away the taste on the finish. Some west coast elements, a little resiny but the backup dancers are all about the spice and flat bittering. Has flashes of intense tree bark bitterness.

Mouthfeel is decently chewy, syrupy on the finish. Smooth carbonation. Felt thinner as it warmed.

Great hop profile, well balanced. Would prefer a slightly lower ABV for sessions and I am secure in my manhood saying that. Hey Goose Island: I got your "willi glass" right here... but this is tasty beer.

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

12oz brown bottle

Goose Island Harvest Ale was amber in color with and off-white head. The head had good retention with some lacing. The aroma was citrus hops with a little toasted malt in the background. The taste was sweet toasty malt followed closely by citric hops. It was balanced with a dry finish. The mouthfeel was good, a medium body with soft carbonation. Drinkability was very good. This is a fall seasonal that I will be drinking a lot more of.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle (bottled 8/25/08) into my Blue Point shaker glass. Appears a slightly hazy amber color with two fingers of creamy off-white foam. Smells of fresh, citrusy hops and toasted malts. Tastes of lemon, pine, caramel malt as well as a mild floral note. Medium in both body and carbonation. A pretty tasty harvest beer. Try it if you get the chance.

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

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a clear reddish-copper body with strands of carbonation supporting a creamy light tan head that last for a good bit.

S- The smell of green hops during the pour takes on a light patchouli oil quality, and a fresh hop pellets note as well. There is a soft toasted malt note that increases as the beer warms.

T- The taste of green hops is not huge but has a nice presents. There is a hint of tartness along with some softer toasted biscuit malt flavors. There is a soft dandelion bitterness that hits the back of the throat after each sip.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a no alcohol heat and a tight little fizz that enhances the hops at the finish.

D- This beer has a nice fresh full hops flavor with good support from toasted malt. A good autumn sipper.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of hero27 and a brutally awesome LNBA BIF haul - thanks Eric!

The bottle asks to serve in a Willi glass. I'm pretty good with wine glassware but still getting up to speed on the beer glassware, so the closest thing I find is a Sam Adams White Ale glass courtesy of Julio's Wild Six "frequent drinker" progam. Midway through I also put this one into a Reidel Cab glass to see if I notice any difference, and then back - it's great either way but in the Willi glass I agree, it's even better. Enough of that...

Big, bready, dulce de leche 2-finger head that laces nicely atop a bourbon-colored body with ample carbonation.

Big floral hop presence with a fair amount of grapefruit at first. While the citrus dissipates with warmth, the nice rind tones remain backed by creamy, caramel malt. Hops are slightly soapy but this has quite the pleasant texture. With warmth a slight leathery scent?

Big floral hop presence gets a bit grassy on the palate - it's quite strong but by no means treacherous. Nicely balanced with a velvet caramel malt backbone. That leather undertone is still making an appearance. Very enjoyable stuff - quite abundant in its elements but nicely constrained to retain balance. Extremely well-crafted.

Feels like buttah. Luckily it definitely doesn't taste like it. Seriously, the texture is so damn creamy that it neutralizes the expected twang from the nicely huge hop presence to provide quite a calming and comforting influence.

Goose Island has always been a sentimental favorite - probably one of the first craft outlets I ever encountered, courtesy of my crazy cousin in the far north 'burbs. For all the intense flavor profile and abundance, this drinks quite clean. Extremely clean. One of the most well-balanced offerings I've come across recently. Well done!

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

2008 bottle:

A: red, copper color, with a thin white head, very nice lacing

S: Great citrus hop aroma, very fresh

T: Mild front, with the hop flavor that picks up in the middle and carries through to the end leaving a slight bitterns.

M: A little too thin of body for me

D: Very easy to drink, good flavor

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

Bottled on 9/02/08

Appearance: It pours a slightly hazy, darker bronze/copper color. Sitting atop is a very light tan, foamy head that's easily two and a half fingers deep. It was very slow to recede and left a very sticky, thick coat of lace on the glass.

Smell: Initially it has a sweet caramel malt aroma. There's some light toasted notes that add some character. Hops are very prevalent on the nose and feature some citric and piney qualities. There's some earthy and grainy notes present. A hint of some citrus fruit seems to be present. Smells like touch of pineapple. It's somewhat biscuity or yeasty on the tail. Overall, it's not very flashy, but a solid smelling beer nonetheless.

Taste: Up front it features a nice mix of caramel and toasted malts. They're sweet and have a nice flavor. It does have a nice hop flavor that's citric and a little piney. It's not a strong hop flavor, but it adds some punch that's needed. There's some light pineapple and grapefruit flavors present. It is biscuity and somewhat yeasty. That aspect comes across pretty light, but it is there. An earthy and grainy flavor indeed appears late. It finishes sweet and slightly bitter. None of the flavors featured really overwhelms the other. They all work together to produce a nice end product.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and features a smooth feel. Carbonation is active and gives it a nice crisp bite. It's not one of the smoothest beers I've had, but it goes down really easy. Drinkability is very high. I could easily tackle this six pack in a night if I were so inclined.

I really enjoy this time of year and all of the seasonal harvest ales that hit the shelves. This is solid release in the bunch. There's a few others I prefer simply due to stylistic differences. But, this one's good. I think the hop and citrus fruit flavors could be amped up a little. But, it's a small complaint. This is a good beer. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of BierFan
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a weizen glass.

Appearance: Dark copper / orange, with an off-white head. Left good lacing.

Smell: Smell is entirely bitter hops. I couldn't smell any malts or adjuncts.

Taste: Very sweet caramel malts and abundant hops. Kinda like an overly hopped marzen.

It's an ok beer, but nothing I'll probably buy again.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear orange amber with a sticky white head.

Aroma is caramel malt with a surprising degree of citrus hop. Orange, apricot, and grapefruit notes.

Taste is initially sweet and malty. Nice bit of caramel and toffee, with a subdued nuttiness. Hops are earthy, and bring a spicy finish.

Mouthfeel is medium full.

A pretty decent American version of an ESB. Balanced and smooth with an interesting earthy quality. A good session brew.

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

Poured a hazy amber with a thin light tan head, good carbonation and mild sticky lacing.

Has a light bit of bread with a bit of grapefruit and pine.

The flavor is mild with a light and toasty caramel malt body with a bit of oak and a touch of lightly sweet fruit and a hint of butter, then a light and clean citrus hop flavor takes over.

The mouthfeel is light with just a touch of oilyness that gives the beer a nice long finish.

Easy to drink, pretty good job at creating that classic ESB flavor. A nice change of pace fall seasonal.

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Photo of lbkornlb14
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is delicious, a great hop finish. I get a little apricot taste on the finish. Great effort by goose island. It pours an amber color and has a great smell. I equate this beer as a mix between 60 Minute, Magic hat #9 and a splash of octoberfest. I love this beer. any hopheads must try this as an Ofest/Autumn beer.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Stopping by Goose Island Clybourn every chance I can get before it closes down for good.

Picked up a free growler as part of my Master of Beer Appreciation.

Beer is described as:

Harvest Ale (5.7% ABV)
As summertime fades, the sun shines less bright, and evening comes a little sooner. Harvest time arrives - it's a time to reap the benefits of a great summer. Fresh picked cascade hops from Washington and the richest Midwestern males makes Goose Island Harvest Ale an extra special beer worthy of your devotion.

Light brown color. Great creamy head. Nose is amazing from addition of wet hop cascades; very earthy (musty) and oily. Taste is nothing like I expected. I'm not a big fan of cascade hops but this really grew on me. Spicy, earthy taste that didn't have the intense grapefruit backbone. Doesn't linger on the tongue either which I liked. A bit thin in the finish but all-in-all a very decent beer.

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Photo of jpkoch1962
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very solid amber, and nicely carbonated with a thick two finger head and lacing. Strong whiff of Cascades and Centenial hops dominate the aroma. A firm, smooth body balance the citrus bitterness of the hops. The malt base provided enough balance. The finish was a bit dry and not at all cloying. One of Goose Island's finest. Served at cellar temps (50-55 deg) in pint glass.

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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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Harvest Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.82 out of 5 based on 1,095 ratings.
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