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Harveys Elizabethan Ale | Harvey & Son Ltd.

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Harveys Elizabethan AleHarveys Elizabethan Ale
Very Good
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 inebrius
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

What is burnt sugar, I ask? Toffee, molasses, caramel?

What is burnt sugar and raisin cream and tapioca and fudge and coffee? What happens when you melt this stuff and mix it up and pour a jigger of maple smoked apple brandy over the top of it all?

What does silk feel like on your tongue if you lick it?

Elizabethan Ale.

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Photo of Gusler
3.69/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer emerges from the 275ml brown bottle a beclouded rusty brown, with tons of dross on the bottom and in suspension, the heads is miniscule, the texture bubbly, the color a light tan, with a remarkably thin sheet of lace to seal off the glass. Nose is a potpourri of aromas, sweet malt, caramel, over ripe apples, raison, yeast and maybe a hint of peat, start is lightly sweet, thick with malt, creamy, the top is moderate to full in its feel. Finish has little acidity, the hops light and the aftertaste sweet and dry, drinkable and different for sure!

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Photo of longpondbeerman
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1997. Pours a deep crimson brown. No head, just a thin film that clings to the side of the glass. Very fruity aroma: raisens, figs, courants, with a caramel background. The taste is less sweet than the smell would suggest; there's an earthy, smoky tone settling over chocolate prune juice balanced with buttery malts. Very interesting. Very nice. Mouthfeel is smooth. A nice sipping ale.

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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 BeerBuilder
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 1998

Pours to a murky brown color with just a ring of tan lacing when poured vigorously. The aroma is sweet, malty, fruity…raisins, with an alcohol aroma as well. I get a bit of chocolate too. The flavor is malty, and chocolatey. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. I really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I could not figure out when my sample was bottled, but it certainly had a well-developed character. Poured a turbid, prune/rootbeer brown. Aroma was fruity, with both orchard and dark fruit notes, and a bit a caramel. Flavor was mellow, with aged apple and pear cider. Malt notes were brown sugar and caramel. A very nice sipper, would be a nice after-dinner drink.

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Photo of oberon
4.19/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1996 Bottle (#1207) from Kahn's: Pours a murky dark brownish amber color with a minimal beige head. Very quick and thin lacing. Fruit, caramel and malt in the nose. Medium body with an earthy character and flavors of fruit, malt, alcohol and caramel. The finish is kind of soft and fruity, maybe the age has softened the hops bite somewhat. Overall this was an interesting Barley Wine.

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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 DagFishHead
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 1998.
Appearance: Hazy, dark-brown/amber body with ruby highlights. Substantial, frothy, tan head fades to a broken cap with lots of thick, dripping lace.
Smell: Fusel alcohol tends to overwhelm the old schnoz, an oakey smokiness, drunken raisins and prunes.
Taste: Sweet malt with carmelized sugar, dark fruits and sherry at the start. Light and fluffy at the top. Finish dries to semi-dry with some bitterness and leaves with a spicy/woody dried-fruit aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Lighter in the mouth than expected, very smooth and creamy. Appropriately light and fine carbonation. Alcohol well hidden in spite of strong presence in the aroma.
Drinkability: Price makes it a sipper, but lightness makes it quite drinkable. Very similar to their Christmas Ale, but lighter.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours hazy amber brown. The head only forms around the perimeter of the beer surface, but lasts and laces.

The aroma is sweet caramel malts, slight aged hop aroma in the background. Some sherry-like aromas and slight alcohol presence.

The flavor is somewhat sweet at first with a good bitterness to balance. The sweet caramel flavor lasts into a dry caramel finish that leaves a lasting alcohol warming. The flavors are complex, aged, and well done. The body is medium-full to full, but not quite viscous.

275 ml, 9.3 ounce bottle. The label says the best before date is on the cap, but the cap is marked "BCF".

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1998 - After a rather hard pour, it managed a feeble, though lasting rim of a head. It sits on top of a deep mahogany base, with little specs of what I assume are yeasty and protein goodies. The caramel sweet malt body is lush and rich to an almost oily consistency. Flavors of coffee, prunes, mild lemons, tobacco, coriander, orange zest, toffee and a distant taste of chocolate offer a complexity not found in many brews. The mellow warming alcohol fuminess is light and not at all intrusive or overwhelming. What keeps this year from being in the Top 50 status, IMO, is a slightly salty flavor, which lingers in the background throughout.
Thanks to Genaro for finding this one!

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Photo of DESTRO
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1998 vintage. pours out a hazy deep amber with a small tight creamy head. looking in the bottle you can see lots of goobers stuck to the bottom. the aroma is nice and alcoholic, fruity (raisins, plums, dates and the like) with some toffee and vanilla. taste wise? spicy, sweet and alcoholic. but pleasant all the same. malts and honey, raisins, fruits and alcohol battle it out but none reign supreme. very balanced overall even though big flavors are running all over the place. chewy hearty mouthfeel, smooth and filling. a big beer and a great one to sip on and unwind. a great find.

$2.99 a bottle ( 9oz i believe )

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Photo of shippos
3.72/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1996 vintage bottle #1175

murky brownish color (got some yeast in glass on accident) with a small cream-tan colored head with small dense bubbles. has a soury cidery green apple aroma with some chocolate. smooth rich toffee-chocolate malty taste great mouthfeel. very easy to drink and very nicely balanced, except for the green apple aroma. how they hid the 8.1% is beyond me, I couldn't even detect a hint of alcohol anywhere. an excellent beer.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
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!

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Photo of RoyalT
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – The dark brown body looks like sugar syrup. It’s gorgeous and very inviting. The head though was non-existent.

Smell – Strong woody/alcohol notes kick things off here. This is followed by big, dynamic sugars of every kind. There are the overripe fruits such as apricots, dates, cherries, browned (sugared) pears, maybe some green apples, and lots of raisins. Chewing tobacco comes to mind as well. These overripe, darkened fruits are soaked in a bath of brown and white table sugar. There’s some toasted malt in there as well but it’s cowering somewhere towards the bottom of the glass.

Taste – The tartness really comes out in the taste. I’m getting a significant increase in the apple characteristic here. Everything else from the nose finds their way to the tongue.

Mouthfeel – Chewy and full in the mouth with a significant alcohol aftertaste. It tastes likes it’s a 10 or 12 ABV instead of the advertised 8.1.

Drinkability – Definitely a winter warmer. This was a nice experience.

Comments – I thought this ale was on the edge of greatness but a few things got in the way. The alcohol flavor was way too much for an 8.1 ABV, and the taste was too tart for my preferences. Otherwise, this was a phenomenal bottle (although a measly 275 ml).

 1,283 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strangely similar to their x-mas ale. This was also a chestnut colour with no real head. Aromas of dark fruits, booze, hops, and malts. A taste of malty fruits and alcohol. The mouthfeel thick, but excellent and the drinkability first class.

Excellent Stuff.

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Photo of ADR
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Vintage 1998, bottle # 0508...

Sedimented dark ginger brown, small tannish head settles out in about 40 seconds to a skim, but leaves big drip laces. Nice spicy brandy aroma, deep and complex. Out of the gate, this packs thick mouthfeel and fundemental alcohol. Flavors combine oak smokiness, vanilla sweetness, and a distinct arid stewed prune fruitiness. Bitterness catches up in the swallow as much as the back of the mouth. Whew, big bad beer here, stresses the vanilla extract part of the profile a little too much to my tastes -- but one of these bottles is just the right amount for cool weather sipping.

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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 Indybeer
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Part of a vintage beer tasting.
Vintage 1996 & 1997 Both pour a deep dark red/amber, with no visible head, but with a touch of lace. Aroma is sherry sweet, the taste is the same sweetness, with some alcohol starting to show through. The 96 has a smoother, mellower taste and mouthfeel. Almost nonexistant carbonation. A very good sipping beer, for after dinner.

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Photo of granger10
3.67/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Wow! As I drink this the spicyness leaps out at me. At first I can't seem to handle or understand these spices. I also feel a warming going through my body and making me feel good all over. The more I drank the more I like. This is a small bottle but it still takes awhile to drink. There's a woodiness (is that a word?) in the taste that becomes more apparent as I drink it. The finish lingers with some hoppiness that makes this a remarkably tasty and different beer.

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Photo of frank4sail
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 1997. Bottle #2402.
Deep dark plum colored with a smallish tan head and a fine tan lace. Unique smell of sweet ripe peaches and a hint of hops . Sweet ripe juicy fruit taste of fermented peaches and plum. sour finish to the taste. Medium to full mouth with a dry sour tongue. The finish also has a hint of smoke. Very nice. Your mouth is left wanting more. Fruit/smoke finish is nice and relaxing. Very fine night cap brew. Quite drinkable at over 8% ABV.
A big thanks to budgood for the sample!

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Photo of Suds
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Small sticker on the neck: 1998 - Bottle # 0326.
This is a malty, thick, big beer. Nose is full of malt and aromatic alcohols. The foretaste is sweet and a little grainy. Nice alcohol warming through the bottom of the glass. Very smooth and soft brew, full mouthfeel with somewhat dry bitter finish. Overall it's a good beer, but something is not as complex or satisfying as a lot of barley wines.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 1996. Bottle # 0624.

1996. A significant year for me. Not only was I married that year, but, dare I say, more importantly, the Packers won the Super Bowl following the 1996 season.

Murky looking brown in appearance. Not a lot of light gets through this one. Only a slight collar for a head. Sweet, phenolic, fruity (apples especially) and cedar-like. The flavor is pleasing. Sweet brown sugar. Acidic. A little like vinegar, but not overbearing. More like a slight green apple presence. Fruit juice is fairly dominant. And sweet malt. The body is a little thin for my liking. Light-medium at best. Drinkability is high due to the nice flavors and low alcohol. Only the slightest tinge of alcohol is present.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

275 mL brown glass bottle, capped. "Bottled in 1996" sticker on the neck. $3.99/bottle.

This ale poured a cloudy, medium brown (iced-tea) color with a little foam that remained as a coating on the surface. The smell was sweet and a little fruity (apples, pears, grapes). The flavor was malty and bready, with some fruit flavors (apples, grapes, pears), some oak, a hint of raisins and figs, and little bitterness and floral flavor in the finish, followed by a very nice lingering sweetness in the mouth. The mouthfeel was sweet and creamy, medium to full bodied. The drinkability was very good. The full flavor came through with larger swigs -- sipping just didn't do this ale justice!

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Harveys Elizabethan Ale from Harvey & Son Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 156 ratings
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