Harveys Elizabethan Ale | Harvey & Son Ltd.

very good
155 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 155 |  Reviews: 124
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Quite nice old ale, not too mellow, not too spicy nor too barleywiney. Nice dark colour and malty/spicey aroma. Good late nightcap. Woody, complex with cinammon and ginger, apple, raisin, vanilla, cardammon, starfruit. Sweet spicey dry aftertaste. Modest carbonation.

 267 characters

Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is relatively clear dark garnet in color; close inspection reveals a slight amount of carbonation and a few small particles visible floating in suspension. It poured with just a thick ring of large bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate to strong complex aromas of port wine, prunes and toffee in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and also has some notes of oak and hints of sweetness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a low to moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of warming from the alcohol in the finish. Some hints of syrupiness become noticeable as the beer warms up.
O: I found this to be a very interesting beer—it has the complex flavors that you would expect from a barleywine but is a little more drinkable because it doesn’t feel as heavy on the palate. The alcohol is also well hidden from the taste.

 916 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.39/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An exquisit ale that carries all the flavors, aromas, and appearances that are expected of classic English Barleywines, except with the lighter body and higher drinkability of Old Ales- It's a pleasure to see this shared bottle of '98 vintage, bottle #4287 in front of me.

A pour of dense tawny/rusty brown carries a lowly carbonated and visual weighted haze releases the faintest of delicate creme foa that struggles against the weight and infussed creaminess. No lace, no retention- this ale carries the stately appearances of cognacs and ports.

Bold and succulent aromas of fruity prunes, grapes, and raisons rise from the caramel and biscuity scent. Toffee richness, leathery, and raw tobacco all weave into the aromatic matrix. This in a seriously seductive scent.

Flavors deliver on the promises made by the nose- hearty malt sweetness and bread flavors weave into a port wine-like flavor that borrows complenting flavors of rum, sherry, walnut, brown sugar, soy sauce, brine, toffee, and tobacco. All of these contribute to the beer from either the sweetness of malt, the malliard reaction of boil, or the oxidation of dark grains. Delicious and succulent with only an herbal evidence of hops from underneath.

Full bodied and densely creamy, the fleeting carbonation quickly allows for the full weight of the beer to lay on the tongue and coat the palte for a lightly oily and coated feel somehow allows for a semi malty-dry finish compared to Barleywines.

This is a magical beer that rivals well aged J.W. Lees Harvest Ales and Gales Prized Old Ale in taste but becomed deceptively drinkable with its dryish body and finish.

 1,637 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

 721 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 1998 drank in 2005: Poured a dark brown color ale with a small brown head with minimal retention. Aroma of strong roasted malt and some alcohol is easily distinguishable. Taste of strong malt, molasses and sweet caramel makes up for a nice warming drink. Alcohol is evident but not as much as to ruin it for me. Body is quiet full with some very light carbonation. I suspect a minimal used of hops since there is not much bitterness or maybe this is due to aging. Nice English style barleywine overall.

 509 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Shared 20 year old bottle from 1996! (Thanks Dan!)

Clear deep red-brown body.
Excellent sweet bitter balance.
Rich and complex taste. Lasting malty flavor with hints of molasses, toffee, and vanilla.
Very smooth!

 213 characters

Photo of oberon
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 1998 pours a deep chesnut brown with a few reddish tints but pretty murky looking,caramelly sweet aroma along with perhaps some dried fruit with a light whisky note,very appetizing.Nice subtle sweetness but not overpowering with some oaky flavors with brown sugar flavor in the finish and aftertaste,the alcohol becomes nice and warming after awhile as well.A nightcap beer for sure very very nice.

 409 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
2.88/5  rDev -27.1%
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!

135 characters

Photo of atrocity
3/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of russpowell
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed brown/chestnut with minimal cream colored head. Some head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit, figs dates, raisins

T: Rich dark fruit, a touch of pears, & woody hops, plus a bit of toffee up front. Some treacle sweetness as this warms, leafy hops, pears & figs. Finishes very dry with woody hops & figs with jammy notes

MF: Zero carbonation & medium bodied, sticky, a little warming

This is good English Old Ale, a proto-type for the style

 455 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Murky dark orange-dark caramel with a modest infusion of raspberry red. The head began as large, fragile bubbles and didn't look like it'd last all that long. It was barely one finger in height initially and seems to have compressed rather than actually fallen to its current thick film. A lace-free glass impacts a little on my enjoyment of the appearance, but not much.

I love the way old ales smell. This one isn't spectacular, but it is deep and interesting. There are elements of dark butterscotch, dark caramel, cocoa and concentrated dark fruits such as raisins and figs. I also pick up some spices (specifics escape me).

I'm not sure how long this beer has been in the bottle since it appears that someone has deliberately scratched the 'best before' date and the lot number off the cap. It has, however, been time enough for the flavors to have melded in a most appealing way. Elizabethan is dark malty with the same characteristics found in the nose. The dark fruit is especially prominent; in particular brandy-macerated raisins, plums and, strangely enough, blackberries.

I'm not sure if this beer ever spent time in wood, but it sure tastes like it. It has some pleasant vinous notes that might have been picked up from a port barrel. There's a teasing sweetness (that never crosses the line into cloying), countered by a near equal bitterness that becomes more noticeable as the mouthful progresses into the mouthempty.

The body is medium-full and borders on lightly chewy. A mild degree of mouthcoating and a low (but persistent) amount of carbonation fit the flavor profile like a glove. This is a sipper; which is a good thing since the 9 ounce bottle wouldn't last long if one was inclined to gulp.

Harvey's Elizabethan Ale is a fine rendition of an old ale. It has a multi-faceted flavor profile, all elements of which work in perfect harmony. I'm beginning to develop a fondness for this style and this beer did nothing to dissuade me from that opinion. I don't remember where I bought it, but I wish now that I had picked up a few more.

 2,073 characters

Photo of Jason
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
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!

 2,535 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I grabbed this one when I was down in Florida. I had never seen these little bottles before so I grabbed a couple and just got around to trying it recently. Served chilled and poured into an oversized wine glass, this one was consumed on 02/22/2009.

The pour was nice, deep, dark brown with a nearly clouded over appearance. Nice little head of tan rose up over the top and settled down quickly into a small, light pillow that covered just enough. The aroma was a mixed bag of earthy malts, hints of a light hop presence and a smooth, delicate profile that was a treat to behold. Light alcohol note as it warms up and lots of caramel as you move in. The flavor was rich. Nice touches of nuts, caramel, hints of cinnamon and spices really liven it up. A very full palate here. A hint of bittering hops as it warms and the long, slow finish was just wonderful. A very solid little beer, well little in size only. I would not mind having another for sure.

 953 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of jwc215
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

275 ml bottle - label states that freshness date is on the cap, but it's not there.

Pours reddish brown with no head. After a slight delay, a head struggles to appear but vanishes to a wisp immediately.

The smell is of damp wood, caramel/toffee, some plum/raisin, a hint of anise, alcohol and a touch of cinnamon.

The taste is of caramel, nuts, some cinnamon and ginger spiciness. Anise and plum/raisin give some darkness to a caramelish maltiness. Alcohol is quite strong - even seems a bit more than the 8.1%. Damp wood lies in the back. There's a slight astringency. Quite the complex one. Sweet, but not overly all things considered.

It hits full-bodied with light carbonation.

A strong sipper. The interesting complexities, that work well, kept me wanting to sip it!

 776 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 1998, bottle #1196..."B.M.G." printed on bottlecap, meaning that the line that day way back in '98 was handled by Bernhard G. Middlesbury and his professional capping crew...it does too!

color, a deep, dark raisiny brown, showing sides of violet, and the head is slim to nonexistent, becoming just a cream-colored ring around the side of the glass..aroma sticks out from afar and matches the color..raisins first, plum, dates, port wine, deep, dark, and twisted, winey, smokey, leathery...heady, arcane, inviting...
Taste...Huge malt, thick, and sweet, but not too much so, ...intriquing, but lighter on the palate than I would've expected..finish is also not as long-lasting as I'd like, though it sticks around enough to be counted...alcohol doesn't really stick out, either, though it's 8.1%...quite a unique, unusual little bottle of beer...a tasty little nightcap, or after-dinner delight...Due to the expense, (paid almost $4 for under 10 oz!) I probably won't return too often, but don't let that stop you from trying this little treat!

 1,058 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/12/05- Purchased at a wine shop in Sonoma.

Presentation- small 10oz? bottle vintage 1998. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Dark chocolate in color, small 1/2 head at most leaving light lacing.

Smell- Deep and dark fruits....dates, raisin, prunes, figs, you name it.

Taste- Read the smell portion and you've got it. Maybe a bit of cherry flavor added in. Definite figs and dates though.

Mouthfeel- Low carbonation, smooth and sticky.

Drinkability- This was quite yummy. Maybe is more suited as a nice dessert beer. Not as big as a barleywine, but this should do the trick.

 599 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.56/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

 370 characters

Photo of tempest
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass. No head or lacing. cola brown body. The first thing that comes to mind in the aroma is run and coke. Smells strongly of spiced rum. Taste is surprisingly weak at first but then spicey malt/alcohol flavors come through. No hop pressence, just strangely complex malts (I didn't know beer could be like this). Almost no carbonation, but this makes for an unbelieveably smooth beer, reminds me of cask ale.

This beer didn't register as really good or bad, it was just kind of odd and fun to drink. Worth a try if you don't mind the high price and like rum.

 592 characters

Photo of tommy5
4.31/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Review based on brew bottled in 1998.

37 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 1998 Bottle #3589

The beer pours a cloudy brown color with a thin offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has an intensely rich malt scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It has a slightly fruity, raisin scent. It has a warm alcohol aroma to it. The taste is excellent. It has a smooth malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes warm with a buttery aftertaste. It is full of sweet crystal malts and roasted barley. The aging must add more complexity to the flavor. There are some woody notes as well. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. There is so much going on in this brew. The taste is great. I'll get this one again.

 729 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an incredibly viscous murky brown with very little to no head or lacing. The smell is sweet and sherry like with raisins, prunes, and a touch of wood. Taste is very sweet and dessert like. The same fruit detectable in the nose is here, but a little more subdued. Smooth and honeyed malt with a trace of tannic bitterness on the finish. Very little carbonation makes this almost like a rich mead. Fairly complex and quite nice as a digestif. Very smooth mouthfeel and lighter seeming than both the smell and appearance would suggest. Nice.

 544 characters

Photo of BillRoth
4.75/5  rDev +20.3%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Harveys Elizabethan Ale from Harvey & Son Ltd.
3.95 out of 5 based on 155 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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