Harveys Elizabethan Ale | Harvey & Son Ltd.

very good
154 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: 154 |  Reviews: 123
Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
1.43/5  rDev -63.7%
look: 1.25 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Considering everyone else's reviews, I must have gotten a bad bottle. What was inside tasted and smelled more like an adjunct lager than a world-class old ale.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
1.73/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - this ale pours a dark brown with red highlights, too hazy to see sediment or carbonation, thin tan head

S - dark fruit aromas, like dates, raisins, or figs, a strong alcohol kick, and strong vanilla extract aromas, and a caramel background

T - bland at first, then BOOM a very strong offensive sour milk taste, not very appetizing, the aftertaste is sweet, like burnt caramel

M - sour and smooth, more sour though

D - the sourness made it hard to drink

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Photo of rastaman
2/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Piddly appearance, no head, very sticky sweet raisiny malt aroma, syrruppy, not very complex, and just way to sweet for me, not really what i was expecting at all, just one dimentionally sweet and sticky.

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Photo of merlin48
2.42/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bottle cap has three letters which are the key to brewing date, according to the label. No idea how to decipher the code.
Pours a dirty brown body with no head, but a persistent beige film. No lacing at all.
Aroma is malty with toffee, molasses, and rum.
Mouthfeel is very vinous, full bodied, and lacking in carbonation.
Taste features caramel and toffee, and a raw alcohol presence of soured apple cider. Some hop bitterness is apparent, but the raw alcohol is overwhelming and one dimensional.
Must be an inferior bottle, based on the rating. This one is not very drinkable.

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Photo of krberg
2.44/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

275ml bottle. No date or lot number on the top (anymore).

Pours nice. Dark copper with a loose, off-white head. Looks like an old ale.

Smells of strongly molasses and alcohol. I'm worried that it may be too sweet, but we've all smelled a Thomas Hardy's and still loved it.

Hmmm... Molasses and water? No CO2 to pick the flavor up off the tongue. Slightly bitter finish. Cloying. Gross.

It has a thick, chewy mouthfeel, but I would expect that from anything with this many residual sugars.

I can't drink this. Its going into the sink as soon as I finish typing.

It was a risk. Perhaps fresh this beer would shine, but as it is I'll never know.

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Photo of MPLS
2.55/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Was curious as to how this ale would hold up from it's creation in 1996, that's 13 years of age on it, wow.

A: Opaque, cloudy, darkened brown, spotty to sparse lacing, no head to speak of, smallest signs of carbonation present. Mucky black yeast left in the bottle with some escaping into the glass even with a gentle pour.

S: Mellow alcohol, mild sugary esters, vanilla, kitchen cupboard, and call me crazy a hint of grape kool-aid.

T: A little too much age on this one is what raced to my mind as it touched my palate. Tastes like watered molasses with a finish that is briefer than a sports star meet n greet.

M: No carbonation noticable on the tongue and crosses the line of being too thin.

D: A vintage I would certainly not grab for again, but then again the storage of the bottle is a bit of a mystery. Newer vintages will yield better results I'm sure.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.57/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

From 9.3oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 5/27/11
*From notes

I'm not sure of the vintage, as there was a big pricing sticker placed on the label.

A: Purple-amber in presentation, with a tiny .5 finger head and no lacing to speak of.

S: Malty prune juice. It's overly sweet and syrupy on the nose, making me pull away from the glass.

T: Hardcore prunes and raisins. Big time branflakes and rottting black fruit. It feels like this one was aged a bit too long at the brewery, as it's too cloyingly sweet.

M: Rough, like liquid sandpaper.

O: Harveys Elizabethan Ale misses the mark. It's too sweet and lacks any sort of balance. I will say that due to the prune juice like flavor profile, my Grandma would love it.

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Photo of jera1350
2.6/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottled in 1996. I picked this up at my local bottle shop. I thought I should probably try a 13 year old beer and see how it is.

Pours into a snifter a cloudy mud brown with suspended bits. Non aggressive pour to keep out the bottom sediment resulted in a ring of tan suds around the edge of the glass.

Smells like dark Jamaican rum with apple cider.

Wow, major disappointment here. Watered down big time. Some light apple taste, some dark rum, a little brown sugar with a finish of watered down coffee. Lots of watery booze. The taste is a mess.

No carbonation at all leaves this feeling thin and watery.

This may be a drainpour for me. I think I've only had one or two others in my life. I haven't had a fresh one of these, but I would have to say this did not age well at all.

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Photo of MONKandTUCK
2.62/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Becoming interested in Strong Ales and Old Ales, which have, on this side of the Atlantic, taken a back seat to Barleywines, I had to pay the premium for this bottle when I saw it at a local beer-and-wine.

Bottled in '98 I hope it has been well-cared for and shows the finer character of long maturation.

A- Amber. Poured freely into a La Trappe chalice. No carbonation, no head. Just a Honey-looking beer.

A- musty. something like cheap old man cologne. some figgyness. alcohol fumes. woody. caramel.

T- alcohol, musk, slight caramel, prune syrup. Lots of syrup and alcohol. This tastes like molasses cookies soaked in ethanol. Then it becomes oily. I guess it has mellowed from something wilder, but after 12 years I assume it has even surpassed sufficient aging to become something blander, or off-flavored.

M- Too heavy for the lack of flavor. I dunno how it does both oily and sappy, and how people enjoy it... but here it is!

0- This beer actually tastes BIGGER and hotter than it actually is. Usually it's the sign of good brewing for a beer to mask it's alcoholic fortitude. Syrupy and tangy, I'm hoping this is just an off batch.

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Photo of Braudog
2.7/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

This poured from my 275ml bottle lifeless and flat, so immediately my radar is up for other flaws. Although the label says to see the cap for "best before date", I can’t find any indication on the bottle of the vintage of this little guy. It seems too watery for a big beer. The color is river-bottom ruddy, virtually opaque and brown. What little head there is lingers and tilting the glass results in some limited cascade. The aroma is off ... granny smith apple, mostly. The first swallow is starkly candied and caramel ... not beer caramel, but like literal candy caramel apple your dad bought you at a state fair when you were a kid. It still seems a bit watery, but the intense flavor quotient would certainly be attractive to some, I suppose. (#2733, 3/6/2007)

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Photo of ygtbsm94
2.88/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Aroma malt, caramel, port, fruity, light figs/raisins, slight oxidation. Taste malt, spice, leather, raisins, bitter woody finish. Ok!

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Photo of atrocity
3/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of beerthulhu
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dark caramel apple with absolutely no head, lacing or visible carbonation observed. Overall not much going on here, flat, lifeless and rather unexciting best sums up the appearance.

S: The nose reeked of fusels with a strong acetic nature (vinegar). Think of dying eggs at easter time. Unfortunately the acetic nature pretty much masks up any other aroma that may have been present.

t: The intial flavor was sweet caramelized grain juice and vinegar (acetic twang). Sour green apples add acetaldehyde hints while a warming alcohol spiciness of apple cider and cinnamon chime in as well. The beer proceeds to finish on notes of caramel raisins, dates, and a bit of syrupy sweetness which does add a bit of complexity to an otherwise mundane start.

m: The mouthful was flat, void of any carbonation and presented a medium fullness that had an oily texture.

D: Overall drinkability was fair if you understood the direction of the beer. Would not recommend to the casual craft drinker as you may get the impression that this beer is bad. I would not consider drinking more then one of these at any given sitting and it is highly unlikely I would be a repeat purchaser here, just not my style.

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Photo of emerge077
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thankfully there was a decent head on this, I was afraid it would be flat and oxidized. That would be only half true.

It pours into a tulip a really lovely ruby jewel tone, with a finger of offwhite foam (not flat, whew). It receded fast, and left some spotty, soapy lace on the sides, retaining a ghostly skim across the surface. Aroma was unusual, tea leaves, molasses, cookie spice, and sherry. Certainly smelled old. Not much trace of alcohol, but some indistinct fruits and caramel.

Flat, waxy taste, with hints of what might have been. Nutty, raisin... eh. Some tobacco bitterness in the aftertaste, followed by more grape/raisin. Kind of a gross slick/waxy feel to the liquid. Probably won't be finishing this.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not sure on age on this beer as no freshness date is visible but I am certain it has at least a little age on it

Appearance- off the pour its an extremely dark brown with no light at all to be seen through it starts off almost looking flat but with few seconds its slowly slowly bubbles and creates very short lived thin white head that fades to white lacing,

Smell- malts, rum, raisins, malty nose but rather faint overall,

Taste- flavor is all very faint not sure if this could be product of too much age, slight faint malts and very almost gone bitterness on the back end, all the flavors are very faint and muted, slight alcohol flavor of almost a port or brandy, as it warmed the slight bitter hop tones on the finish became slightly more pronounced, also faint chocolate tones to be noticed, overall the flavor is not bad on this and not shot yet but probably getting there as finish of drying is now very faint, overall very mellowed flavor

Mouthfeel- very heavy thick and smooth with very little carbonation

Drinkability- at this point though the beers not horrible its not particular ally great, I have to be totally fair and say I have never had a fresher example of this beer and I guess never will, so cant totally rank this beer at all wouldn't be fair, at any rate this beer has shown it could handle age with out being spoiled, hmm wonder what this once was : )

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.22/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Old bottle I think. It's been in my cellar since 10/2014.

Appearance: poured almost still, deep copper with no head

Nose: tobacco, sweet, leather, caramel, rich toffee, raising, prunes, nutty, port and Madiera sherry

Taste: very sweet, follows the nose, leather, dark fruits, sherry, port, liquid dark fruits, raisins

Overall: I'm conflicted again. This is supposed to be excellent but I think it's oxidized to death. The set alcohol is cloying and overpowering. I'm glad I tried the beer but it is an odd one.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Dark eggplant with drippy lace.
Scent is funky and 10 years old.
Picked up as a bonus bottle.
First swigs: Dark raisins, some pancake flour and a touch of maple syrup.
Feel is rather tacky and sugar sticky.
Last swigs: A traditional English Barley if there ever were one!

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Photo of luchris80
3.24/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Tasting Notes: Stored in the fridge and served in a snifter. My bottle was marked as #02716

Aroma: Sweet malt aroma with a hint of alcohol. Some dark fruit, very much like a port.

Appearance: Amber to brown color (like dark apple cider). Slight (almost no) light brown head. Clear with a few rising bubbles visible.

Flavor: Medium malt and some molasses-like flavor. No real noticeable hop flavors. Sweet at the finish with some alcohol and dryness. Somewhat dark fruit, port-like in flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium (to light) body. Very flat with little carbonation. Slight alcohol warmth.

Overall Impressions: The flavor was fine, but the mouthfeel makes me wonder if the bottle was a bit old or past its prime. It would have been nice to have another bottle for comparison to see if this one was a good example. It does drink a bit like a wine (port). If this is true to this beer, I would not buy again (in the bottle anyway).

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled in 1998, bottle# 4726. Poured from a 275ml ottle.

Appearance- Pours a small, bollowy head that recedes to an odd looking film. Remins me of when people at the coffee bar draw things in your cappucino with the foam. Color is a deep brown/red mix. Like a syrupy rust.

Smell- This was a pretty cool mix of caramel, apples, and spiced cream. Malty, old school sugared goodness.

Taste- Starts out nice and sweet and malty,but then turns a little moldy and tart. Not a good combination. The finish mellows out on the middle of the tongue. But didn't redeem the overall flavor profile.

This was the oldest beer I've ever had. Im hoping the flavor, that didn't meet my expectations, was a result of storage by the retailer.

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Photo of YvesB
3.27/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.32/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Classy, old-school lable, short brown pop top. No freshness date, though I think this is pretty old, as I'm not sure they even brew it anymore. Still, excited to pick it up and give it a try. I'm willing to risk $2.99

Appearance: Dark, slightly murky mahogany beer; a hard pour still fails to produce much of a head

Smell: Definitely a bit oxidized, though there is still some toasted caramel, buttery malt, and fruitiness present as well. It basically just smells like a past-its-peak English barleywine...surprise surprise, right?

Taste: Quite vinous, slightly sour (again, showing the age), but some nice dark caramel malt is still hanging out in the background, even after all this time. There's a nice earthy, yeasty character as well. Overall, aside from being a bit old, this isn't too bad, and probably was pretty darn good within a couple years of its being brewed.

Mouthfeel: Not much in the way of carbonation, but slick and medium-full bodied; I bet this was glorious in its youth

Drinkability: One's good for me I think

Conclusion: This was a crazy-nice surprise that I found at Lukas' in Kansas City. I had always wanted to try this and never thought I'd have a chance. It's definitely a bit past its prime, but I'm guessing this one's been on the shelves for awhile, and probably not under ideal conditions. That being the case, it's held up pretty well.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
VINTAGE: ???? (No markings on cap or bottle)

This one pours a dark amber color. About 1/8 inch of wispy foam forms a head, then dissipates, leaving a nice ring but no real surface covering. Lacing is in tiny spots and somewhat sticky, but also quite oily.

The nose is extremely port-like. If handed this glass, without knowing what it was, I'd guess port, without a doubt. Huge notes of raisins and oak. Mild notes of caramel and treacle. Notes of smoked sugars. Mid-level notes of booziness.

Not exactly what I expected it to taste like, after the nose. Treacle and huge notes of molasses are the dominant flavors here. More oak presence, very woody and a light touch of smokiness. Notes of figs, dates and mild raisins.

Medium-bodied with a very low carbonation level. It's almost still. Very smooth indeed, but no creaminess, which hurts it a little, IMO.

While the abv was detected in the nose, it's almost non-existant in the taste. If you like ports/sherries this is very nice. If you don't, then you should stay away.

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Photo of claspada
3.44/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Aromas of fresh port wine; really spectacular yet subtle. Tons of dark fruit (raisins and figs) followed by a musty earthy oakiness (but the dark fruits are much more predominant). As it warms you get more burnt/brown sugar sweet smells.

Taste is pretty good but a letdown overall. You get the figgy/raisiny dark fruits but you also get some molasses, smokiness and woody notes. Lacks that punch or dominant flavor. This hasn't been brewed for 2 years so maybe the age is catching up with this beer.

The main detractor is the lack of carbonation, I mean zero. It hinders the mouthfeel and makes it seem more syrupy and cloying that originally intended (just guessing).

As far as drinkability goes, I mean you cannot detect an ounce of alcohol but the syrupy texture indicates it's at least 7%.Taste isn't off-putting; I have already finished half of the beer just trying to get all the attributes in this review. Wish I would have found this a year or 2 ago to sample before it's removal from Harvey's normal line-up.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 275ml bottle with a BB of March 2015. ABV is stated as 7.5%. Purchased a while back from the Harvey's shop in Lewes. The label mentions that this was originally brewed for the coronation in 1953 - a barley wine in the style of a 16th century 'October ale'.

A: Poured into a tulip. A deep amber hue with good clarity and medium carbonation. Yields a decent head of frothy white foam that lasts for a minute or two before reducing to a patchy surface layer. Slight lacing.

S: Aroma of sweet, fruity malt with hints of raisins, light sherry, a touch of apricot, dried fruit, sugar, subtle caramel, yeast esters and faint stewed leaves. Malt-dominant but quite nice.

T: Tastes of sweet, fruity malt with a mild, lingering finish. Notes of raisins, sherry, dried fruit, sugar, a hint of caramel, yeast esters and faint stewed leaves. Possesses a subtle vinous quality and a twinge of cardboard in the background. Little bitterness to speak of. Pretty sweet, followed by a lengthy fruitiness upon swallowing.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with soft carbonation and good body. Could be a shade thicker for the style. Mildly astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of sweet fruity malt, yeast esters and subtle stewed leaves/cardboard.

O: Pretty good, though lacking in complexity. Looks alright, while the aroma and flavour are very sweet and fruity with a sherry-like character. No hop notes or bitterness. Body is OK but maybe a tad too thin. A nice strong ale but could be more rounded - it verges on cloying. Might also benefit from conditioning with live yeast. That said, it's a beer of character that deserves to be sampled.

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Photo of mntlover
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

1998 vintage bottle # 3025 it pours a dark burgundy with tan ring of bubbles no real head forms. Aroma of rum soaked fruit cake with wood hints in background. Taste is smooth one would say creamy no carbonation to speak of. Caramel malt with some raisin and plum with a little alcohol warmth in the middle finishes dry woody with a ever so light hop bitterness. Overall I would say taste is a dissapointment just bland. Mouthfeel is great nice full bodied. Drinkability is ok just not much going on flavor wise to excite me. It smells like it should be complex and great tasting maybe I just need to train my tastebud more, who knows.

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Harveys Elizabethan Ale from Harvey & Son Ltd.
3.94 out of 5 based on 154 ratings.
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