Sierra Nevada Estate Brewers Harvest Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

304 Reviews
Read the review
Sierra Nevada Estate Brewers Harvest AleSierra Nevada Estate Brewers Harvest Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jmoore50 on 09-05-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 304 | Ratings: 389
Photo of specksnreds
2.85/5  rDev -30%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Amber pour into a pint glass. Two finger head that laced well. It's a beautiful looking beer. Smelled of old pennies and stale bread. Hops were present but muted by a musty odor. Tasted better than it smelled, but the bitterness was too much. No balance to speak of. Great mouthfeel; creamy without being too heavy. I love the "Estate" concept, but this beer costs way too much to be so mediocre.

 396 characters

Photo of RyanC84
3.07/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: One of the better looking beers I've had in quite a long time. Pours a true amber color with a huge two finger head that leaves loads of lace on the glass.

S: Understated. Resiny hops on top of caramel malts.

T: Not big on this one. Very dry, bitter up front followed by burnt malt. A little spicy.

M: Medium bodied with very sharp carbonation.

D: Not interested in having this one again or finishing the last 6 ounces.

 427 characters

Photo of getalife2k5
3.09/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

slightly cloudy brown with some sediment floating about... hmmm... thick foamy frothy off-white head.

not much aroma... some sourness and/or alcohol.

nutty, toasty, sweet maltiness with some faint piney hops. the alcohol adds a pungency that is slightly acrid. nothing unique whatsoever.

fairly full body, a little syrupy.

it tastes a little like a beer that's just starting to turn... that can't be right since i think it was just released and it was refrigerated at Whole Foods... Sierra Nevada still deserves credit for using local ingredients. I wish more brewers would.

 578 characters

Photo of callmescraps
3.13/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I've been really interested in this beer since I first heard about it. I think it's a really interesting concept, and I usually like SN offerings.

Appearance- A rich, deep copper brown color. Surprisingly dark. It has a full, thick inch of tan head. Almost like meringue.

Smell- Very grassy and herbal. A strong malt backbone. None of the citrus pop that often comes with SN IPAs.

Taste- Maltier than expected. Very rich. It has a strong herbal, grassy hop taste. Very green and bitter. The bitterness follows on the finish. No pop.

Mouthfeel- Thin, almost grainy. Unpleasant.

Drinkability- Too grassy and herbal. Nothing terrible, but I'll pass.

This was a very disappointing beer. SN makes some great beers, but this isn't one of them. It's really a shame.

 770 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.15/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 22oz bottle into 10oz glass. Poured a pleasant copper color, slightly darker than most of the style, with a minimum of just off-white head that had minimal retention and lacing.

A pleasingly sharp hop scent greeted the nose, and as usual with SN, the malt foundation is well hidden. For me, the flavors were not as bold as the aroma had led me to expect. The flavors were exactly what I expect in a quality IPA.

The body and drinkability were typical for the style. This beer is certainly worth trying, and I applaud SN for doing as much in-house as they can, but overall this is just an average IPA. Try it when you see it, but not worth effort to obtain.

 670 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.21/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Two fingers of off-white head with a light brown tinge. The body is golden brown with perfect clarity and the foam settles slowly, leaving thick lace on the glass. An unusually attractive beer.

S - Lots of toasted malt and a hint of caramel. Some weak, but fresh and resinous pine hop aromas as well.

T - Lots of dry, tosty malt up front, quickly balanced by strong hop bitterness. Some minor grapefruit hop flavors in the middle that are quickly replaced by the intense malt. The finish is dominated by notes of burnt toast and soapy bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a very dry finish.

D - Well, I have once again been let down by a big, expensive bottle of Sierra Nevada. The hop character is decent, if a bit subdued, in the aroma but in the flavor it is almost totally lacking. There is plenty of bitterness, but little else going on. The malt is one dimensional as well with dry, burnt-toast being the dominant flavor. This beer just isn't drinkable, the flavor is harsh and uninteresting and it borders on being difficult to drink. I liked the original SN Harvest Ale, but Southern Hemisphere was disappointing and this is even more of a let down. I definitely wouldn't drink this again (especiallly at $10 a bottle!).

 1,254 characters

Photo of mgbickel
3.23/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the Pittsburgh Bottleshop. Served in a standard pint glass.

The pour yielded a single finger of bubbly white head that receded quickly; little to no lacing. The body is amber/orange with golden highlights.

The nose is on the weaker side...lots of grassy/grainy aromas up front. Some hops are also present. The backbone seems to be malts, but the grassy smell dominates.

The taste is like the nose, but once again, I cannot get over the grassiness of this one. Oddly bitter...metallic almost. Not very pleasant.

The mouth feel is light/medium, oily and mildly carbonated.

Meh...I had higher hopes for this beer. Traded it to the wife for her stout about halfway through the pint. Great idea, but I will not buy this one again.

 740 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
3.26/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I grabbed a bottle two days back. At $10, there was definite sticker shock, but I was intrigued by the concept and had to try it.

A: This doesn't really look like an IPA, it's just so deep in its reddish amber hues that I'd mistake it for something else. There's a dense off-white head with rather excellent retention lacework is pretty stellar too.

S: The nose is rather muted, with some hop bitterness, a little astringent in character, and a fair bit of caramel malt. Hop character is primarily citrus peel-like,Disappointingly, there really isn't much character on the nose.

T: Opens with a mild bitterness that's mostly citrus/orange in character with a mildly chalky character. Bitterness is a little too low, though the flavor is OK. Way more sweetness than is needed, and this just amplifies the need for more bitterness here. Sweet caramel, almost syrup-like. Rather disappointing. Sweet on the finish with a touch of bitterness

M: Medium in body with medium carbonation, this is way sweeter than it needs to be, and could use plenty more bittering hops.

D: At $10 a bottle, I feel burned here. Ouch. While I could drink it all, it's not really worthy.
*Edit: I poured out the last 6-8oz of this beer. I just didn't enjoy it too much, it had nothing that I was looking for.

 1,289 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.36/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice orange color with a good head that laces the glass, looks a lot like the chico estate from last year or the regular harvest beer they put out annually. The smell is off-putting at first, burned plastic that then becomes kind of malty. The taste is also quite underwhelming with just a bit of grassy hoppiness. This is not a bad beer its just sort of boring to me for some reason although I felt the same way about the Chico estate and the Southern Hemisphere.

 464 characters

Photo of fastsrt
3.36/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured 25 ounce bottle in pint

A: fluffy, rich, creamy head. amber

S: malty the hops are there but its past its

T: nice english style malts, I feel this one is past its prime as there is a staleness there, it is a solid amber ale though.

M: good lots of carbonation. refreshing

D: goes down with ease, and could drink a good amount of em.

 343 characters

Photo of iammatt
3.36/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a semi-cloudy amber from a bomber into a pint glass. A chewyl, off-white, two finger foam pours and slowly fades to a half finger cap that lingers with the whole beer, leaving behind a lace that lasts as long. Reeks of Cascade hops, piney grapefruit in all of it's glory. A bit of sweet toffee can be picked up as well.

Taste is all hops, all grapefruit in it's bitter glory. Sweet, slightly roasted malt rolls over your tongue, but is quickly smashed face first back in the ground. Spice and Piney hops finish out the IPA bitterness. Sadly, I feel the bitterness hides the flavors of the hops. This is fine with the style, however as a Complete Estate Fresh Hop Ale I'd like to taste the complexity of the hops and malt instead of my palate being conquered by bitterness.

The hops bring around a sloppy bitter kiss to the feel in the mouth, however it's a fairly smooth beer with a bit of alcohol burn. I'd like to see how this beer progresses through it's future releases.

 984 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.41/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft at The Rose & Crown in Palo Alto. Pours a very dark but perfectly clear amber. Sierra Nevada can't seem to restrain themselves with the dark malts. A small white head retains nicely. The nose is caramel, mineral, toast and c-hops. Very light hop aroma here. The taste is caramelly, semi-sweet, toasty and nutty with a subtle but fresh floral hop character. Medium-bodied with a semi-crisp finish. This is a decent beer that probably would have been a hell of a lot better with a simpler malt bill. Hardly worth the $10 they're asking for it.

 547 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
3.46/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

On tap at the Rose & Crown. I wanted to try this beer, but I didn't want to pay $10 a bottle for it without some prior assurance that it would be worth it (i.e. good).

A: Poured a surprisingly dark reddish-amber body, slightly murky, with substantial off-white head and good retention. It left lots of register marks down the sides as I sipped. My first thought upon seeing this was, "Did they pour me an amber ale by mistake?"

S: When first poured, all I could smell were caramel and bread. Worried that I'd gotten the wrong beer, I went up to check. Nope, it's the right beer. As it warms, it develops a subtle floral character... It's blossoming into an APA aroma. It's all right, I guess, but nothing outstanding in the way of hoppiness.

T: Tasted like a scotch ale at first, with tons of caramel and nothing else. As it warmed, the flavors fleshed out into a decent assortment of floral hops and earthiness in the initial taste. Bread / toast appeared near the finish.

M: Medium-bodied, medium-high carbonation. Cleanses the palate well. A malty finish overall.

D: I'm not that impressed. I like the concept, but the beer doesn't stand on its own merits. And its weird confusion in identity (looks like an amber, smells like an APA, initially drinks like a scotch ale) is disconcerting.

 1,301 characters

Photo of OlieIPA
3.46/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks Pehlman for sharing and allowing me to pour this fresh brewed beer into my tulip glass.

A: Poured a very deep copper color with fluffy oat hued head and cob web-like lacing.

S: Vegetative aromas up front that reminded me of some sort of spinach leaf. I was also able to pick up some pine-like and sweet malt character, but that vegetative smell dominated this aspect of the beer.

T: Broccoli and spinach upfront, sweet malt in the middle, and extremely hard bitter finish. A palate wrecker to say the least and was at times, hard to even drink.

M: Kind of a surprise, but this beer was full bodied and had a creamy/oily feel. Nice.

D: The over top bitterness was heavy on the palate, but flavor wise, this brew had a nice flavor profile that enjoyed for most of my glass.

Overall: Not a bad beer and something I would probably consume again...but I was a little let down to be honest. Cheers!

 907 characters

Photo of devilben02
3.49/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Edition, 1st release

Every time you get a limited/special edition beer, you want to get a little something special. Coming from Sierra Nevada, which produces such quality products generally, I expected something with a little extra something. Unfortunately, I don't think that this beer is anything special.

It pours a terrific deep copper color, with a thick foamy head. The aroma is light and fruity, and is almost reminiscent of a crisp white wine. The flavor is a little oilier, with a very mild hop taste, with herbal, earthy, and slightly spicy undertones. Again, the taste and mouthfeel are almost like a white wine with a bit of hops in the finish.

Overall, I certainly didn't dislike this beer, but it doesn't meet the expectations I had for a Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale.

 787 characters

Photo of Lerxst
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a deep clear amber with nice two finger head that disappeared quickly and left little lacing.

S-Underplayed piney, citrusy hops with biscuits. Not bad, but the nose is a bit weak.

T-A bit of a hop bite, but not much, more malty than expected with a decent finish of floral and piney hops, but very understated.

M-Light and thin with sharp carbonation.

D-The beer itself is drinkable, but at 10 bucks a bottle it is very cost prohibitive.

I'm a big fan of SN, and honestly expected more from this. Maybe my expectations were to high going in.

 555 characters

Photo of beerdrifter
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at a Wegman's super market while on vacation in NY. Beautiful copper pour with a huge tan head and nice lacing. The nose was not typical Sierra Nevada as the citrusy hops were not the star. In fact, the bready, caramel malt was at the forefront with a grassy background. The taste was much the same. A little less balanced than I'm used to with Sierra Nevada. And there's a grassy bitterness to it that's not typical either. Would have liked to have seen more of the resiny hop bite as opposed to the grassiness. With that said, it is improving as I drink it. The grassiness has faded and it's fairly drinkable. Perhaps it was too cold. Still, not a typical great beer from one of my favorite breweries.

 718 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice golden color with massive carbonation and a big dirty white head, while it looked great the carbonation became annoying since I had to let it settle for 5 minutes. Nose is dry, bitter hops, floral, earthy and grain. Taste is bitter hops, earthy tones, floral. Mouthfeel is warming, bitter. Drinkability is god but not great.

 343 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pricey 24 oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint, the 2009 Estate Brewer's Harvest Ale is a chill hazed dark copper with a large, auburn tinged off-white head that is dense and long lasting, leaving gorgeous lace.

Smell is hoppy, citrus, and sweet fruitiness that I really like.

Taste is pretty good, the hops are much more spicy then fruity like the nose. There's some decent maltiness, pretty clean, but by far the spiciness is the main characteristic. Pretty average tasting IPA really.

Mouthfeel is slick, well carbonated, medium bodied, with a dry finish.

Drinkability is fine, nothing spectacular, and not worth the price, which was as much as a whole six pack of any other IPA at the store...

 708 characters

Photo of RJLarse
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I bought a 24 oz bottle of Sierra Nevada Estate Ale at Enoteca. $10.99. Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a rich copper color and is slightly hazy. Many bubbles are rising in the glass. Thick two finger frothy off-white head, is very resilient. Sheets of lace are left on the glass.

Smell is a sweet caramel candy aroma, with some spice notes. Peppermint and pine scents.

Taste is a subtle sweet malt flavor that is eventually overtaken by a bitterness. There is a grapefruit flavor on the finish.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied and slightly cloying. The bitter aftertaste lingers.

This is a drinkable brew, but I don't think it's worth the price it apparently commands. I think the Celebration and the Anniversary ale are easily as good, and fraction of the price, in six-packs.

 777 characters

Photo of Cresant
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this 24 oz. brown bottle into a Sierra Nevada Hops glass. The body was a beautiful, clear, rich copper color. The irregular, lumpy head was tan and left sheets of lace down the glass.

Smell was earthy. Tobacco. Citrus. Organic leafiness. Wheat bread as it warmed further.

Taste was well balanced but with a long grassy finish. So this is what Chico, CA tastes like. Chico terrior. Soft grapefruit and mildly sweet grains. Solid but not extreme in any way.

Mouthfeel was medium in body with a moderate amount of fine carbonation. This is not one I plan to seek out again due to the price. I'd rather drink a SN Celebration! However, I am impressed with this project and with SN's innovation as brewers and as a business.

 731 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 11/26/2009 (2009 Bottle, 1st release):

Pours a non-turbid golden brown color body. Big foamy off-white head, good sized bubbles, good lacing, very lasting. Hoppy aroma, grapefruit, earthy, citrus. Not overwhelming. Earthy, musty, some fruitiness too. Somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Some citrus bitterness, but subtle, some spiciness. I was expecting an IPA bit this is good, more of an APA. Pretty light tasting.

 418 characters

Photo of mlazzaro
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Fluffy head over an amber colored beer. I got a cloudy glass due to the bottle conditioning. Pungent sweet malty aroma. Tastes pretty good, mostly malt coming through. Good alcohol content. Maybe because I just had a southern hemisphere harvest ale, but I detect very little hops for an American IPA. I feel like the S.N. Pale Ale has a more noticeable hop aroma and flavor.

Also I have a pet peeve with some beers: when you have a great looking head, but it sits back in the glass when you take a sip. I couldn't get a sip with head (I was only served 1/2 a glass.) I could be weird for caring about this. But I find it to be a tease, and don't like it when that happens in beer.

I always appreciate it when brewing companies take on the responsibility of aging their own beers before distribution. To give the public a better chance of drinking properly mature beer. And to age the beer under ideal conditions.

I was really excited about this beer and it kind of disappointed me. Very expensive for what it is.

 1,017 characters

Photo of BeerThursdays
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one on 2-27-10 with dinner. Poured from 2009 bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours a hazy orange with a thick white head. Smells pretty good for an IPA, definitely not a double. Has a good citrus hoppy smell with malts and caramel. Taste is a bit underwhelming. Nothing bad here at all, just not very strong. Good grapefruit flavor coming from the hops as well as the malts that were alluded to by the smell. Finishes nicely with a good bitter aftertaste that will hang on until the next sip. Hints of alcohol on the pallet, making it more enjoyable than one may foresee.

Overall a brew worth buying. Extremely drinkable and not harsh in any aspect of the brew.

 673 characters

Photo of TexIndy
3.61/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 24oz bottle into a pint glass. 2009 edition and labeled as 1st release. It was a rich amber color with some tiny floaters. Good carbonation and lacing. It had a large beige head that slowly settled into a foam top.

The aroma was citric hops, pine and toffee. It had more malt than I expected but I liked it. Could stand to be a bit stronger in the nose. The taste was also good and again had more malt than I expected but a good balance. Starts out with toffee malt then the hops quickly kick-in. Nice hop flavor without being bitter that is balanced by the toffee malt. Nice finish. Mouthfeel was creamy with good carb level.

Overall, it was a good AIPA that had good aroma and flavor but it didn't really stand out compared to other recent AIAP's. It's good and worth trying if you can easily get but nothing that demands to be tracked down. Also, it's pricey so I didn't get the bang for the buck to really want another. Rotation: avail TX, limited release. Good but one is enough.

 1,000 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sierra Nevada Estate Brewers Harvest Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.07 out of 5 based on 389 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.