Harveys Elizabethan Ale | Harvey & Son Ltd.

Harveys Elizabethan AleHarveys Elizabethan Ale
Liked This Beer
3.96 w/ 156 Ratings
Harveys Elizabethan AleHarveys Elizabethan Ale

Brewed by:
Harvey & Son Ltd.
England, United Kingdom

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by purplehops on 12-31-2001

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Ratings: 156 |  Reviews: 124
Photo of cofeeguru
5/5  rDev +26.3%

Photo of goethean
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

No date stamp on bottlecap. Served in nonik at 60F. Ruby.

Mouth-watering aroma is bursting with dark fruits and freshly toasted malt. A flavor of toasted malt and rum-soaked raisin, date, prune, plum, fig, currant, and a hint of black cherry? There's even a slight tartness. Massive depth of flavor and richness. Hides the ethanol quite well. Barely-perceptible hop bite at the finish.

Imagine a cask version of this, or one infected with Brettanomyces.

I'm going to have to give this one is a 5.0. I don't see how you mark it down on any attribute.

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Photo of GrindFatherBob
5/5  rDev +26.3%

Photo of VoxRationis
4.96/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Decanted from a 9.3 oz (275 ml) bottle into a conical pint.
A: Pours a clear copper color with little head or lacing.
S: Aromas of cane sugar, caramel, walnut, and maybe chocolate.
T: Tastes of biscuit, caramel, and bourbon. Peppery, but bitterness only evident at end of swallow.
M: Full bodied with gentle effervescence throughout.
O: A really deliciously complex ale experience.

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Photo of HopStoopid120
4.92/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1977 Vintage. Brewed for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. Consumed on 8/4/2011. This is really an OLD Ale. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Pours witha very slight head. Am I seeing carbonation??? This is insane, seeing this beer is eight years older than I am. The carbonation pretty quckly dissapears as does the head. What your left with is a beautiful set of legs, graced over the ruby/brown body. This looks intense. Getting really stoked to get into this one.

This is fantastic. This is one of the best smelling beers ever. Yeah, its very old (34 years), so its a bit oxidized, but it works here. Leather, tobacco, tons of dark fruits, dates, figs, raisins. I can't get enough of this. I probably kept my nose buried in my glass for several minutes without even tasting it. Glorious.

Sweet, oxidized, dark fruits, even a touch of touch of wood. The taste is wonderful. No real bitterness to speak of, of course. This is so impressive. Tastes exactly like I want a 30+ year old barleywine or old ale to taste. The flavors just linger in the mouth.

This is pretty full in the mouth. Thick and slick. Yes. No carbonation, but who cares?

I have been very fortunate in the fact that I have tried many of the Jubilee ales. This has been one of the two best I have had. The other being Ansell's Strong Ale, but unfortunately that beer is not on here to be reviewed. I hope to someday get my hands on another of these, although I'm sure that is very unlikely. Now, I suppose, I should try some of the later vintages of this beer if I can track some down. Amazing stuff.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Brilliant copper amber with a thin white wisp of a head.
S: Nutty toast, some sherry, fruit and earthiness.
T: Big caramel treacle flavors blended with nuts and light toast give way to a grapey, sherry finish. Hints of pear and other light fruit, traces iof tropical fruit and a hint of pineapple.
F: a little above medium on the body and below medium on the carbonation.
O: A very well made and easy to drink old ale.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.75/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of BillRoth
4.75/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1998 vintage; bottle #4650

This beer poured a murky cider brown with some cherry highlights. The thin dirty white head swirled around and stuck in some neat patterns. There was also a ring of larger bubbles around the edges of my tulip.

Smelled of milk chocolate, tootsie roll, caramel, fruit cake, prunes and port, all fantastically blended together so that I had to work to pull apart the smells. There was also a lingering sour fruit that I couldn’t pin down to any specific fruit.

Tastes of musky oak, wild herbs, cinnamon and hazelnut on top of a creamy barley, oatmeal and not-too-sweet brown sugar. There’s also a delicate concord grape. These flavors are fantastically blended, smooth and subtle. In the finish a woody coffee creeps in.

The mouth feel was light but dense with a micro-carbonation that made the beer overall feel very delicate.

This was truly a delight to sip. I’m giving this high marks primarily based on the blended flavors that transport this beer utterly out of the hops/barley/yeast range and into some place completely different. Fantastic beer!

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Photo of RedBaron
4.7/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BA 'Marcobrau' for providing me with this rare, vintage ale from Harvey's that presumably dates from 1996. Lord.

Apperance: Ruby-red, fairly dark, no head to speak of. Leaves legs.
Smell: smells like a dark, English countryside at night under a full moon about an hour after a steady downpour: rainy dew, soft aromas of the field's barley, and boozy.
Taste: Waves of raisin, prunes, bready malts through and through. A cornucopia of fruits and grain. Must be something in that yeast strain coupled with aging that provides such a tasteful impact.
Mouthfeel: In a word: complex. Here you have a beer that is noble in bearing through and through. It has so much complexity that it is hard to quantify, suffice to say that it is a full-bodied beer that has a fairly sweet foretaste, but actually finishes kind of dry.
Drinkability: I guess I've gotta get past the mindset that "drinkabilty = often" because this beer is not one you really want to consume very often. In fact I'm having this on the eve of American Independence, and it is probably a beer better served around Guy Fawkes Day. No matter. It's a brilliant beer, and I'm damn lucky - I mean DAMN LUCKY - to have a beer of this quality and vintage to sip on this fine July evening. It has been resting comfortably in my bungalow basement for a long time now, and I finally got around to liberating it. It almost makes me think of chucking the Declaration of Independence in the Delaware, and put a copy of the Magna Carta in my pocket instead. Find this beer, and treat it with dignity and respect.

This beer is in my wheelhouse. I love old ales, particuarly aged old ales.

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Photo of weizenbob
4.69/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This 275 ml bottle was purchased at Beertopia in Omaha, NE for $3.89. According to Harvey’s website this barley wine was originally brewed to mark the Queen's Coronation in 1953. The label states that this contains malted barley and oats, and at 8.1% ABV, I imagine a lot of it. No bottling information could be located, despite the label’s insistence that it should be on the bottle top. This bottle was served at 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It was poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

An aggressive pour yields less than a finger of tan-colored head. Retention is poor, but at this gravity I’m not surprised. Lacing maintains the high water mark on the glass. The brew is a deep amber hue, with surprisingly little translucence.

As soon as the cap came off, this bottle was gushing with aroma. In the glass, this smells richly alcoholic with a high degree of malt complexity. Sweet aromas of caramel and toffee overload the senses while a healthy amount of alcohol quite literally tickles the nose hairs. The combination is mildly paint thinner-esque but not in a way that implies that I’ll be drinking chemicals (or getting high off fumes for that matter). I’m a sucker for big ales that bludgeon the senses. You can throw subtlety out the window; this is uniquely big.

It is also a very tasty brew. The dominant impression that I get from the first sip is that I’m chewing on rye bread. It is a literal bread flavor to a degree of which I have never tasted in any beer. Sweetness ensues, bringing along a complex range of fruity esthers. A mild but persistent woody character adds a nice subtlety. Alcohol is on the tongue but contains absolutely no harshness whatsoever. Hop bitterness is non-existent. It finishes as sweet as any beer I’ve tasted, yet not cloyingly so. I cannot believe how smooth this is. It’s like a big jelly sandwich in a glass.

In the mouth this feels fantastic! It is full bodied and quite heavy. The carbonation level is low. For 8.1% ABV it is not the least bit harsh. It is rich and smooth, yet in no way a burden to drink. I’ve not had a barley wine that was this close to perfection without any required extended cellaring. The price works out to about $5 per 12 ounce serving, and I concede that this is easily the best $5 barley wine that I have ever had the pleasure of imbibing. In this case the small 275 ml (9.3 ounce) bottle actually felt like an unnecessarily large serving. By the time that I was finished, it had warmed to room temperature and was no worse for the wear. This is world-class.

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Photo of marcobrau
4.66/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The 1998 vintage of this beer pours with no head, just a slight flourish of carbonation and a slightly murky brown color. (Note: a second pour created about a quarter-inch thick layer of foam that slowly settled. This pour also greatly enhanced the mouthfeel.) The first whiff of the aroma smells of marzipan and toffee, along with alcohol-soaked fruit. The taste is full of caramel and toffee notes with a raisiny character, which fades to a more nutty, woody character suggestive of walnuts. This is a very complex beer. I'm surprised by the dryness of the finish, which is also a bit tannic. I love the complexity of this beer. There are more flavors here I can quite isolate, but all of them combined make for a very complex an flavorful beer. The strenght is up there a bit and is noticeable, too. To sum up, this is an outstanding old ale and worth seeking out.

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Photo of mJJJJJJJ
4.63/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Higravity
4.63/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The best part about this beer is the way it melted in your mouth and the longer you let it sit on your tongue the more flavors it produced. Red brown that I manage to get a head out of and there is even a touch of carbonation in the body. This beer is definately oxidized but duh. It smells of melting chocolate with prunes and raisins and old sherry, the alcohol is present though subdued it seems to drive the smell. No soy sauce here, just good old stock, lush folds of malt hold flavors developed over the past 8 years. Sherry, oak, raisins, opium, and hints of chocolate like I haven't had since the plantation I visited in Panama. I am floored by this beer and I sip it slowly letting it absorb into my tongue until my mouth is steeped in the flavors, slowly but surely making my way through becuase I might have to wait a while to get another bottle.

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Photo of Darkale
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep malty aroma, low and slightly musty. Almost smells wine-ish, as if it were a strong cabernet.

Dark, cherry-red body, mostly clear, khaki head. Thick lacing.

Coffee, brandy, plums and raisins mix in the mouth, all chewy and frothy, with a tip of the tongue bitterness. To me, this rivals the best of the dark Belgian beers.

If this were available to the citizens of Elizabethan England, one has to wonder how they stayed sober enough to beat the Spanish... or even to leave port!

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Photo of garymuchow
4.59/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

I've had my eye on this for awhile and now seems the time. 2008 version poured into a Boulevard tulip.
Sweet caramel, toffee and a bit of must. Deeper richer fruit, like figs and dates. Not overpowering but pleasant and calming.
Pours with no apparent carbonation, but a small thin head does appear and then settles out to a white ring. Garnet colored and glows like a gem.
Tastes very similar to the aroma. Yummy. Much like candied fruit all around, with just a hint of drying on the finish-that actually grows through the glass. The toffee and caramel are now more background.
A bit thin, but that is as much about the low carbonation as anything. Flavor fades on palate in time leaving me ready to place that joy producing elixir right back on there as soon as possible. I will fight those urges and make this wonderful glass of beer last. And I'm going to buy some more. Worth the price I paid.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.57/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 275ml (9.7 fl.oz) brown glass bottle. The bottle has the words please return embossed on its shoulder, I just might have to do this and get back to England. Plain light brass crown cap has the letters ‘B.G.M.’ printed in dot-matrix fashion on it. The main label is a gold, red, white and blue affair that has a resplendent seafaring Galleon of kinds on the front with a crown atop it and the date 1953. Listed at 8.1% ABV. Called Elizabethan Ale, for reasons that are patently obvious, well at least to those of us who were born and lived in the Great Isle.

A small white adhesive sticker on the neck contains the following information:

Bottled in
Bottle # 0521

Appearance: Awaken from a 7 year sleep, it poured with a very sleepy Cold Tea mixed with Coca-Cola texture at first. A few seconds later it arose, wiping its comatosed eyes clean, a fine rush of carbonation almost fizzed the beer into life and helped to form a slick light tan head that was comprised of incredibly small bubbles. As was to be expected from an aged master, the head did not hang around for too long, and it soon fell back into a deep sleep leaving on a thin halo ring of finely attenuated bubbles clinging to the meniscus at the edge of my McEwan’s Scotch Ale Glass. Light swirls revealed minimal but finely dissolved carbonation just underneath the beers surface. The body of the beer is of red mahogany, dark but clear of any matter; it looks pretty good in a Goblet, even without a head.

Nose: Aromas are of sweet malts but there is no alcohol to be detected anywhere. Deeply inhaled I get prune juice, Mmmm, the entrance has lots of dark fruits, Figs, Sultanas, Currants mixed with a soft Toffee and Caramel fudge. Lovable!

Taste: Complex but finely balanced into an aged masterpiece. Dark fruits again, toffee, caramel-chocolate, mature malts, all these components are mellow in nature but somehow they all syngerize into something that is far greater than the sum of its parts. Absolutely delicious - almost in a seriously wicked way.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth, silky, it positively coats the mouth, and its appearance belies the effect that the finely dissolved carbonation adds to the whole mouthfeel. Ever so light alcohol based warming feel in the swallow, but it is barely detectable. Quite superb!!

Drinkability: The 8.1% is quite simply nowhere to be seen. This is a lovely Old Ale, age has mellowed the flavors and allowed them to mix into a complex emulsion, but they do not loose any of their attraction. It disappeared all too easily. Damn, I wish I had a Bomber of this beauty! I could quite easily manage it.

Overall: Maybe not the “King of Beers”, but it certainly deserves its Regal Association with Queen Elizabeth and the House of Windsor.

This one is Jolly Marvelous. Spend the money if you see it, it is well worth it!!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.56/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Black Raven pint Pours a medium red amber. Minimal off-white head and hints of lacing. Malty aroma, caramel, dark fruits. Nice mellow caramel and sweet malt, dark fruits, a port like element. Faint woody flavor, no hops. Very well integrated and balanced. An excellent old ale. This bottle had no bottling date, but has been stored refrigerated for a year.

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Photo of Fish113d
4.52/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, we capped off the evening with this treasure. To start, on the pour it left me NO head at all at room temp and was a dark amber in color. The smell was very oakey, much like a dry, red wine w/ tones of fruit and berries. Most of the taste was wooden oak taste (dry) w/ a smooth caramelly or butterscotch flavor that came through as well up front, and ended like a dry sherry w/ berries mixed throughout. The feel of the beer was interesting as well. Besides the dryness of it, it had a bitey alcohol w/ slight carbonation. It was smooth, full-bodied, w/ a nice burn to finish...great night cap!

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Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of ajs4bd
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of Daniellobo
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.49/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

1998 vintage...just turned up all of the sudden at Big Red here in Bloomington. Really a wonderful smelling beer. Really fantastic. Nice, big fruity nose. Definately winey, makes for an interesting smell. Definately old. Very mellow flavors, but very nice. Very mellow fruitiness, get a really nice, soft raisin flavor, very ROUND and mellow. Reminds me a bit of a belgian dubbel. Definately winey too, but not overwhelmingly so. Little alcohol too, even though this is only 8.1%, but that's ok. The one "really bad" character (not really that bad) was a lack of mouthfeel. Kind of thin for a beer of this caliber, but I suppose its not suppose to be huge. Sort of straddles the line between big pale ale and barley wine.

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Photo of Jason
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

1999 bottle # 3975.

Appearance: Mildly hazed profound brownish amber thin tan bubbly and patchy lace from a hard pouring, sediment is well compacted and stayed at the bottom of the bottle.

Smell: The aroma is of lemon pound cake, alcohol soaked raisins and the maltiness flexes with caramel and again that cake like aroma. As it warms up more there is a mild solvent and woody smell to the brew.

Taste: Full bodied with a smooth and creamy mouth feel off of a light carbonation. A woody flavour wants to be first but everything else crowds in with it. Big cookie maltiness with caramel and honey coming through next. Sweetness is big but the woody and nutty yeast flavour tame it a bit. Alcohol has a big hand in both sides to balance with big fruity esters and a slight spicy undertone. Hops are a faded memory but still seem to put in a touch of bitterness. In the finish there is a good share of residuals but not in an excessive way, the warmth of the alcohol comes through stronger in the finish also but in a balance level with the sweetness.

Notes: This beer is as close as you can get to beer heaven, the beer gods have blessed this brew as well as me for I have partaken of such a special brew. Three years is a nice ripe age for this vintage. I have a few more of the same but feel now is a good time to partake.

1996, bottle # 0298.

Appearance: Slightly hazed deep brownish amber with a creamy yet patchy off white lace from the hard pour, sediment was well compacted and did not get stirred up while decanting.

Smell: Hearty alcoholic fruit aromas, pungent and tropical in smell with a mild tart twang in the nose. Vodka soaked raisins and pineapple can be picked out with an undertone of caramel.

Taste: Exceptional creamy mouth feel with a somewhat heavy syrupy malt palate, carbonation is minimal and adds to the smoothness. Ripe pear fruitiness, hints of pineapple and caramel with a vague hop bitterness and flavour that gives an earthy flavour. Hops have faded significantly though have not degraded and have added to the complexity. Alcohol is deceiving though starts to warm more and more towards the bottom of the glass. Handful of residual sweetness helps the fruitiness linger, husk of the grain and remnants of hop bitterness bring up the slack in the finish.

Notes: Big and chewy, a serious beer for all you beer geeks out there. Fours year later and this brew still has held up very well, oxidation is not noticeable. The time is now, this beer is ripe and ready for full enjoyment!

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Harveys Elizabethan Ale from Harvey & Son Ltd.
Beer rating: 78.2% out of 100 with 156 ratings
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