Provision Ale
John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House

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Beer Geek Stats:
American Brown Ale
Needs more ratings
3.87 | pDev: 8.79%
John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Photo of albern
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the best of what was on-tap at Harvards and is a regular offering at least several times during the year. After speaking with the brewer, there is a good variety of malts that go into the beer: crystal, smoked, chocolate, roasted, etc. The beer is quite complex and has a nice segue of flavors from chocolate to caramel to hints of cherry. There is some lacing to the beer and it is medium bodied. This is a sweet malt beer with a nose that is borderline barley wine in sweetness. There are tons of florals in the beer and the aftertaste is quite mild, a touch drying, with hops that are hard to pick out.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Provision Ale is a malt lover's dream. We often hear about Hop Lover beers. This is on the opposite site of the spectrum and very nice.

I notice above that this is listed as "retired." It's not. I just had a pint on August 9th. (Just getting around to posting the review)

It was described to me as a cross between a Brown and a Porter.

I really enjoyed this beer, but also thought that you almost had to chew your way through the thickness.

Very dark brown with reddish highlights. No visible carbonation. A thin one finger head that recedes back into the brew fairly quickly.
Not a great deal of lacing.

Aroma was very sweet and of roasted malt, dark chocolate and deep dark caramel.

Flavor followed suit and was rather sweet, but still nice.
Roasted malts, with smoky burnt notes.
Chocolate & dark caramel again

Medium/heavy in body and sweet yet still surprisingly drinkable.
A little bit sticky feel.
Not a session brew in my mind.

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Photo of danadeny
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on cask at the Harvard square location. This is the first beer I've seen with a great ruby color. Not light enough to be an amber, and not dark enough to be a brown. The head was fluffy and an off white color. Smells a bit sweet and light floral hops. The taste is much the same. A great light maltyness followed by a certain sweetness I have never experienced before and balanced out by a sweet floral hops note. The sweetness is what really got me. I couldn't figure out exactly what the flavor was, but it was damn good. The other highlights are a watery mouth feel in the English style (i.e. Boddingtons) which for me leads to a very high drinkability.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on draft at lunch on December 23rd, on to the beer:

The beer has a dark mahogany color, topped by a little white head. There is light smoke in the aroma, and some semi-sweet chocolate. It's a sweet porter (or is it really a brown ale), more semi-sweet chocoalte with some caramel notes. A little diacteyl made its presence to. Bitterness is light, and there isn't much roasted definition. Thumbs up to this easy drinking beer. Good to have for lunch.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the brewhouse - the beer menu tells me that it is brewed with pale, crystal, smoked, and chocolate malts and hopped with Goldings; 26 IBUs and 6%. It arrives in the pint glass dark brown, approaching black, with light carbonation and a 3/4" tan head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma is light, with chocolate, coffee, and soft hops. On the palate there are additional notes of smoked malts and green hops on top of a medium, almost light body with equal finish, and carbonation that is medium but becomes smooth. Overall a nice porter/brown that is definitely sessionable, but could get a bit boring after a while.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap on 12/13/06.

AP: Dark-roasted chest-nut color with red hues and a small, scattered head with minimal lacing left behind.

Nose: A sweet malt scent with a dark fruit edge.

Taste/feel: A nutty, oakie and bready malted flavor with a pleasant smoothness, rich, yet crisp feeling on this medium body brew. This is an intersting hybrid, basically a combo of the Porter and Pale ale I believe because it really shows the charecteristics of both of those styles. If you can choose between the Porter and the classic Pale Ale...get this one.

DA: interesting ale with two different kinds of beer styles fighting for dominance, well balanced. Easy enough to drink.

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Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Cambridge location.

Appearance: clear brown in color with a nice 1" head that lasts a while. No significant lacing.

Smell: roasted malts are detectable by the nose.

Taste: roasted malts are up front and bold, with some toasted nuts, hints of burnt coffee and dark chocolate, with a touch of smokiness. Mild bitterness levels.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start and smooth at the finish. The toasted tones linger briefly into the aftertaste. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: nice flavorful beer here that is easy to quaff. A solid offering that everyone should try.

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Photo of kmo1030
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i brought home a growler last friday night, because i didn't get a chance to try any while i was there.
a big sticky tan head rests above a very darky reddish brown beer with lots of lacing.
the aroma has a light fresh hoppy smell with an equally light maltyness, including powdered chocolate. i'd like to squeeze a little more out it, but what i get is nice.
the taste is more of the same, but turned up a notch which is welcomed. powdered cocoa chocolatey malts with some caramel backing it up. a nice amount of herbal grassy hops kicks in in the back end balanceing well and cleaing things up a bit. i thik i get a little bit of black licorice too. definitely on the porter end of the spectrum.
medium body with smooth creamy carbonation, very nice.
good drinkability, very emllow, but flavorful. a can't miss beer in my opinion.

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Photo of Truh
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Raided the larder with this one on 10/1/2004. 16-oz. pour in a shaker pint glass.

Told by barkeep that this was a “hoppy, brown ale, close to a porter,” and that it weighed in at 5% abv. Bombastic mocha fluff head at start that eventually leaned to the left as things settled. Deep, dark brown hue that was impenetrable. Crunchy smokiness on nose with a lingering pine pitch and chocolate maltiness added to the mix. Seemed to me that the overall profile was extremely close to a porter, but just lacked the astringency I would normally associate with that style. To taste, oak chips, caramel, toffee, and black licorice were the main components. Funky for style, but eminently likable with a crisp body and clean finish.

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Provision Ale from John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 9 ratings