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

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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.

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Reviews: 304 | Ratings: 389
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a stemmed pint glass)
A- This beer has a crystal clear reddish hint to an orange glowing body with a sea of tiny bubbles gliding to the surface. There is a thick creamy tan head that last as a big thick cloud and some sticky lacing that remains on the glass with each sip.
S- The green herbal hops have a soft slightly sweet malt flavor and a honey malt depth to it.
T- This beer has a honey malt sweetness that supports the full green herbal hops flavor. The hops have an interesting depth of flavor that is slightly fruity, more like watermelon, and a green cinnamon spice to them in the finish.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a tight fizz finish that makes this beer more crisp in the body.
D- This beer has full hop flavor with the right balance of sweetness and bitterness and a good unique depth to the hops aswell. The malt really does a nice job of supporting the hops and this is very quaftable.

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Photo of DrewHodges
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 3/16/10 tasting; 22-oz bomber poured to tall lager glass.

A--clear reddish-copper, big light brown head, very light and foamy, remained as irregular mountain, awesome lacing

S--sweet citrus hoppy smell, honey, maybe oatmeal

T--bursting with fresh citrus hops, sweet finish, very little bitterness

M--dry and fruity, medium carbonation, tiny bit watery and thin

D--great, just a little strong to drink 1 after the other

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Photo of Rayek
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Perfect Pint glass.

A: Extremely hazy apricot hued amber. Carbonation is quite apparent, but moderately paced. A dense cream cap starts strong. It slowly settles to a thin blanket that sticks to the end of the glass. Leaves a nice layer of lace.

S: Hops dominate with a healthy dose of grapefruit and lemon, plus a hint of pine. A toasted bread aroma rounds things out.

T: Toasted sweet bread flavors get things going. Bitterness is soon to follow with a moderate citrus and pine bite. Finishes very tart, dry and puckering, with lots of lingering lemon and pine bitterness.

M: The medium body is oily and could stand to have the fizz turned down a notch.

D: This beer struck me as fairly standard IPA fare, but it's better put together than many examples of this style I've had. An overall worthy pickup.

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Photo of MCfunkyJ
4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you can get your hand on this I would recommend letting it sit for a few months longer. I has this brew fresh off the line.

I drank about 14 ($7.99/24oz bottle) out of a case of 24 sent to my local Whole Foods.

That should tell you how good it is.

"Harvest Ale is one of the world's only estate-made beers, brewed with 100% all-natural, hops and barley grown on-site at the brewery in Chico, CA." - Sierra Nevada's Website

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Photo of drpimento
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mmmmm, yessir, this is indeed one fine brew. With an aggressive pour I got just about a perfect head on this beer. It was light tan foamy frothy and thick with good lacing. Color is a hazy copper amber. Aroma is really nice with a pronounced sense of balance even though the malt and hops are so forward, it still smelled like good fresh beer. Flavor is like aroma, but much bigger and the addition of the bitter/sweet characteristics. Body and carbonation are excellent - full and round with the fizz to cut through it. Finish is like flavor except it gets a little boozy.

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Photo of briman
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy copper color, with a huge pillowy head, with exceptional retention.

Aroma has a mellow malt base, leaning more towards hoppy with earthy elements, a hint of citrus, and floral notes all coming out.

Pine and citrus hops dominate the flavor, though the lightly sweet malt base makes its presence known. Hops punchy throughout but not overly intense. Settles into a dry finish accentuated by a characteristic grapefruit rind bitterness that lingers well into the aftertaste.

Medium body, with moderate carbonation that has a bit of a bite. Very refreshing, as it goes down very easy (and quickly). Great balance. I'm especially impressed by how well the malt holds it's own in this brew. Most IPA's are all about the hops, leaving the malt backbone as an afterthought. Here the malt stands up let's you know it's there while still letting the hops run the show. Really a very well done stylistic example.

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Photo of deereless
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A solid mass of thick creamy head with significant lacing, the color is dulled copper to orange, crystal clear - 4.50, S: The first aromas I pick up are some fusel alcohol and citrusy hops, pale malt also evident on the nose - 3.75, T: Nice sharp hop bite, a good bit of pine and grapefruit, agreeably balanced with a thick layer of caramel malt flavors, for a 6.7% beer the alcohol is more noticeable than expected and is ever so 'solventy' - 3.75, M: Nice creamy mouth feel - 4.00, D: An enjoyable IPA, lots of hop bite and quite drinkable - 4.00

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wasatch for sending this brew my way. John is a great BA.

1st bottling. Yet another bottle from line# 2 on August 31 at 1:13 pm. Damn that was a busy line that day.

Poured into my pint glass the beer is a lightly hazed orange amber. The off white head fills at least three fingers before receding to leave a nice coating of lace around the glass.

The aroma is nice balance of hops and malt. Floral hops with light pine meld with sweet biscuity malt. This was probably alot hoppier when it came of the line.

The flavor is a solid burst of malt that sort of melts inot a piney bitter hop bite. A n ice balance of sweet and sour. I can only imagine the hops blast if you grabbed this fresh.

Medium to full body that has a decent heft to it. Seems a touch sticky in the finish.

Overall a real nice beer. What else can you expect from this brewery? They simply just do things the right way.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

when a man...a legend pulls a difficult answer from you and you are able to put it to him straight somehow out of that trying question, you wonder how he did it. how long has he been in the game? how could he know?
"do you guys want some beer for the trip?"
from steve's private stash...ooh the gorgeous pour, the amber waves, the fields of chico. the slight residual sweetness of the crystal malts, the fresh hops since mellowed into a resiny pine blossom mingled with a general hoppiness not easily distinguishable, a bit of grapefruit. fresh this was wonderful, 6 months later, it still is striking for its presentable handsomeness. a "gray fox" if you will. still holds its head high, still kisses with saliva.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 1st release, 6.7% ABV, 20109 (Seems like the best Julian fit out of the numbers) 2009 bottle.

Thanks go out to the local Sierra Nevada rep Larry for hooking me up with this for a BeerFM review!

A - A tall, vigorous pour unleashed a monstrous three-finger faded sepia-colored head. Just fantastic retention and thick lace covering most of the glass. The beer has a fine haze to the lightly bronzed orange-amber.

S - Big caramel malts on the nose with a well-balanced sweetness to counteract the hops. Smooth herbal and floral balance with a light resin pine hint. With it's age the hops seemed to have mellowed out a bit from what I remember.

T - Again with the terrific balance, the flavor has retained more of the hop power that I remember from sampling it fresh. Lots of bitter resin to the finish makes it dry and a touch pine-flavored while the herbal flavor balanced well with the caramel malt backing.

M - A smooth opening with caramel sweetness leads through the medium body that's lightly carbonated onto the dry, butter resiny finish.

D - Hopefully you enjoy hops like I do! This 24 oz bottle is another example that Sierra Nevada knows what they're doing with hops and it won't be very long til its consumed since it's pretty well-balanced and delicious too!

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Photo of chickencoop
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been sitting on this until I realized that it can't be aged and I didn't want to let it go bad, so here we go. I love Sierra, everything they do, so i am biased. Deep amber, big hoppy dry taste throughout, faint malts on the end. Always solid, another great beer from Sierra.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.54/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Oddly enough (or maybe not so oddly), the bottle date code on this particular bottle indicates that my beer was bottle on the same day, on the same line, only 38 minutes after the beer that the last guy to review this beer reviewed. To be more specific, August 31, 2009, line #2 at 7:43 AM. Since we're both in the Chicago area, I guess it makes sense that we would find bottles made at roughly the same time. Either way, coincidence or not, it seems like things were going quite well on line #2 on August 31:

APPEAREANCE: Poured somewhat opaque, but not necessarily cloudy, and not from yeast. Orange in color with a reasonably thick head that quickly dissipated. Thick, layered lacing covers a good 70% of the glass all the way down.

SMELL: Strong, floral aroma hit's the nose hard upon first whiff. The smell is intense, but not complicated.

TASTE: There is something very Christmassy about the Estate Brewers Harvest Ale. The piney flavor is, of course, part of that, but I've tasted other piney beers and there seems to be something more to this that I can't quite put my finger on. Citrus (especially orange) notes, along with a mild malty flavor serve to push Estate more towards the sweet side. Additionally, the floral aroma translates into solid, sweet, floral flavors that finish with a hint of a bitter after taste. Unlike the simple and straightforward smell, the flavors all add up to a complex, yet nicely balanced beer.

FEEL: Up front, the Estate Ale feels almost like water, but as it sit in your mouth for a moment it livens up and starts to dance around on your tongue. Just like the taste, the feel is a little bit unusual, but unusual in a good way.

OVERALL: Fantastic beer, extremely drinkable, but not necessarily a beer I would drink on a regular basis. The Estate Ale seems like something to be saved (and savored) for a special occasion. This beer, particularly the 24 oz. bottle, is begging to be shared with a long lost friend during a long, meaningful and hopeful conversation. It is an excellent expression of Sierra's personality as a company - and I wish I had bought two...I don't want this beer to end.

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Photo of OttoBomb
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

24 oz "heavy bomber" bottle poured into Dogfish Head signature glass. Serial number on the label says "924320705" so it's bottled 7:05am PST, August 31st, 2009 on bottling line #2, (see here:

Estate beer? Interesting, but does it really matter if the hops and barley were grown on site? I do like the fresh hopped thing though. After several recommendations about this particular beer, I finally decided to try it. This is the 2009 vintage.

Eyes: Pours a slightly hazy rich copper color. The clingy, amber-white head reaches a full two and a half fingers to the top of the glass, and forms a craggy mass. Lacing and retention are heavy. A very good looking IPA.

Nose: Classic American IPA nose, though a bit muted. Grapefruit, pine, some mango, and a barely evident malt presence. I also get a mild hemp smell.

Tongue: A bit more assertive than the nose and very tasty! It has a classic west coast IPA hop profile, and very similar to a few other Sierra Nevada IPAs in the market save for Torpedo. Lots of citrus here; grapefruit, mango, orange peel, and lemon, with some floral and pine aspects. It's mildly bitter, and while serios hop-heads might want more, the level is appropriate for the style. Some balance is provided by pale and toasted malts, though the hops will this battle hands down. Savory and tasty.

Mouth: A very good carbonation and a moderate thickness that clears the palate well for an IPA.

Libation: A solid IPA in all respects. Aggressive hHop-heads will want to stick to DIPAs, but this is a well balanced, flavorful and extremely drinkable IPA. According to the label this IPA is just over six months old, but it doesn't seem to have faded, as it gets high marks from me in all areas. I'll be keeping my eye out for the 2010 Estate release.

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Photo of jtrem14
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice clarity in he body, with a nice thick white head, and excellent lacing.

The fresh citrus aromas of the wet hops really come through.

Nice bread flavors mix in with the floral hops to add to a really nice flavor. A good amount of sweetness that doesn't overpower the hops.

Good mouth feel, with a distinct carbonated crispness.

Solid IPA.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

924320912 Bottle Code; Sampled September 2009
A solid pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a fat-four-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a darkish amber hue that shows a clear, amber hued dark copper color when held up to the light. The aroma has a bright hop note to it as well as a caramelized grain and toffee note; pale toasted malt character & ample biscuit-like malt flavors are also fairly noticeable in the nose. Notes of herbal pine, raw grapefruit zest, grassy up front hop notes, lemon zest and bergamot towards the finish round out the hop components of the aroma. This is not as aggressively hoppy as I was expecting it to be; it is actually fairly balanced between the malt and hop components.

The beer comes off as nicely bitter as it first hits my palate; there is a solid backbone of lightly sweet caramelized grain here to balance this though. The beer feels light bodied up front, but the malt sticks to the mouth and provides a lingering palate presence. The hop notes that are dominant are a definitely grassy, herbal and it has a green bitterness; this last tends to linger on the palate. Underneath these notes are an oily citrus character that is a mix of grapefruit, greenish tangerine, a touch of kumquat and some lychee notes. This has a really resinous hop character to it that is more pine like than anything, but there is some hemp and a solid herbal note as well as a peppery hop character. The flavor is not as balanced towards the malt as the aroma is, but it still plays a noticeable role with touches of toffee, brown sugar, browned barley bread that has been lightly sweetened and a solid biscuit-like maltiness. For some reason a distinct, whole grain malt character comes through here; sort of in a grassy, whole grain character that I can't quite describe way, but it is definitely here in quite a distinct way.

This is an interesting beer. In some ways it was not what I was expecting, but the estate aspect is certainly quite cool and my overall impression certainly gets a boost from that.

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Photo of berley31
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured with a fairly large, white, creamy head that had very good lasting power. Body is an amber / copper color, and mostly clear except for a slight touch of haziness.

s: Pleasant aroma of malt breadiness, light hops, and a fairly prevalent scent of citrus as well.

T: Extremely smooth, very well-balanced flavor of malt, citrus, and a bitter finish. I couldn't detect any alcohol, and while the finish WAS bitter, it still remained as smooth as the beginning of the tasting.

M: Medium-to-full bodied, and extremely creamy, with average carbonation. Fantastic on the palate.

D: Yet another winner from SN. This is one smooth beer.

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Photo of JordanEllwanger
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark copper amber color with a full fast rising thick off white head. Smells like a veracious blend of hops and malts. The malt tones come through in a rich way. I remember drinking this when it first came out and had much more hop dominance. Now there is a beautiful blend between the two. I am very glad I had one a bit ago and again now. I can really tell the difference a couple moths can make in the hops. Awesome stuff.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of BeanBone
4.31/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A lightly hazy, coppery-orange body capped by two solid fingers of off-white head that feature excellent retention and lacing.

Aroma: Grapefruity, piney, and tropical-fruity hops over a solid caramel malt body.

Flavor: Up front, lots of lovely Cascade-heavy hops that are characteristically floral, citric, and piney. Underneath, there's a solid caramel malt backbone keeping everything grounded. As usual with Sierra Nevada, this is balanced perfectly. Biscuity malt and mildly resiny hops in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and a little creamy with good carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: For a hop-lover such as myself, this is a great session choice--I could drink this all night and never get bored.

Verdict: No cobbled-together experiment, Estate is a legitimately good beer. It's a shame that this is limited in quantity by the production of the brewery's (understandably) meager agricultural efforts, as this makes for a thoroughly delicious brew.

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Photo of bruachan
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

smells like hops glorious hops! and i'm all about the principle of the project!

very nice rich copper color with a (to-be-expected) good froth above. a little sudsy a little creamy

plenty of cascade aroma, caramel. a little spicy a little woody and a good amount of malt depth. some darker variety of honey seems to make itself known, as well

ooh, the hops are restrained in the flavor. the whole experience is quite soft and relaxed. the bouquet hadn't exactly convinced me to the contrary but i still would have expected more punch (read "expected", not "desired"). malt fruitiness is kept to a minimum, staying in the cleanmalty range. a touch of rye bread. you know, a fruity element does make its way through but it's all in the date-type spectrum. a touch of strong butterscotch

bitterness is strong in the rearview mirror but doesn't seem to wish any interference with my tasting of the brew. good mouthfeel, though certainly on the thick side according to style. a touch lighter in body might be nice. that being said, drinkable!

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Photo of albern
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very good American style IPA that is flavorful and plenty hoppy. The beer pours a slightly orange amber haze with a nice thick off white foamy head that retains very well and laces thickly around the glass. There isn't much to find fault with in its appearance. The nose is also very nice, with piney and orange blossom hop notes dancing about. The nose is a touch subtle, not overpowering, but could also be a tad more assertive. The beer has some carbonation to it and is medium bodied.

As for the taste, the beer is a little too tipped towards the hops without enough malty and bready balance needed underneath. The hops are estery, a touch piney, have some grapefruit like acerbicness to them and leave a slightly bittering and leafy residue in the mouth. There is a definite hop complexity going on in this beer and it is impressive. There are some florals in the beer, a bit of thickness that helps with the balance, but doesn't compensate enough for the bittering hops. This beer is very good but not stellar. The hops are very nice, the ABV is well under control, I just wish there was a bit more chewiness and malt complexity underneath to take some of my attention away from the hoppy imbalance.

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Photo of lightindarkness
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gleaming copper with just a light haze. Tall frothy khaki head settles to a dense rocky mass. Lots of compact lace.

Nice biscuity and cereal grains on the nose. A little nutty with some pine and peach. Mild resin aromas and warm sugar. Round, balanced, full and light at the same time. Great malt/hop presentation.

Taste is good, even a little mild up front, with some thin graininess in the back and just a touch of fruity sweetness, pear, peach, cotton candy, etc. A unique sweet profile, actually, not too strong, but airy and sweet. This quickly submits to hop bitterness and resin flavors, more sensation than taste.

Feel is appropriate, even a little thin and watery in the swallow, but not unappealing with a nice medium body. A little stickier in the finish with a coating left all over the mouth. Carbonation is very subtle, but lively all the same.

Very drinkable. Refreshing and well balanced. It offers good sippability and yet drinks well in bigger mouthfuls. Overall a very solid offer of the style, and I'm really impressed by the estate nature of the beer, quite a feat in my opinion to generate a beer this notable.

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Photo of 1759Girl
4.6/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance- reddish gold, hazy and lively. Gorgeous white head that dissipates but leaves behind nice lacing.

Smell- sweet and hoppy. Delish!

Taste- awesome! Hoppy and syrupy with the right balance of everything. The alcohol heat is there, but it is covered with sweetness. It's remarkably good.

Mouf- good :)

drinkability- mmm

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Photo of riored4v
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 1/27/10

Poured into a pint. Clear, amber colored body. 1 finger, rocky, tan head that held tight. Good lacing.

Smell was grassy and citrusy. Some maltiness and caramel.

Taste had a mild lingering, resiny bitterness. Citrusy and piney hop flavor. Some mild nuttiness and caramel malts.

Mouthfeel was a medium body with good carbonation and a dry finish.

The resiny, sticky bitterness seems to limit the drinkability a tad. So signs of ABV. Otherwise, a very easy to drink beer.

Hope to see more of this beer.

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Sierra Nevada Estate Brewers Harvest Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.07 out of 5 based on 389 ratings.
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