Harveys Elizabethan Ale | Harvey & Son Ltd.

very good
123 Reviews
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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Reviews: 123 | Ratings: 153
Photo of rtepiak
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

to be had on the first brisk day of the year as a transition to so thicker drinks. Everything speaks malt honey. An aged but still existent head. Some stickiness of a nearl white head. Palate is chestnut warm, coated in dark sugars. I nice velvet that doesn't coat like a barley wine but carries the carbonation on the palate. For some old and english an exceptional feel. Would go great with mildly seasoned meat.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
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 glid02
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1996 vintage bottle purchased at Green's on Buford in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a thin off-white head. The head quickly recedes into a thin ring around the glass leaving light lacing - I chalk this up to the age on the bottle.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with good amounts of booze-soaked fruits - apricots and golden raisins mostly. Hints of sherry waft out every now and then and as the beer warms deeper chocolate malt aromas kick in.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of medium fruit flavors. The fruit is leaning more toward darker varieties than the smell, golden raisins and plums with hints of lighter apricots. Midway through the sip a solid booze burn makes an appearance and carries through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I was impressed with how well this beer held up and would bet that I like it more now than I would have 14 years ago. Worth a shot if you see one around.

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Photo of avalon07
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a mostly clear consistency. There was almost no head to speak of. Decent lacing.

S: Smelled of malt, alcohol, and possibly a fruit component.

T: Tasted of malt, though not overwhelmingly so, molasses, and dark fruit. The alcohol wasn't as noticable as I would've thought.

M: There's a decided lack of carbonation here, along with a kind of slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Despite some deficiences, this is a drinkable beer.

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Photo of Rayek
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: Deep copper with good clarity. A strong pour netted a small and fizzy cream head that quickly dissipated to a thin ring at the beer's edge. Leaves just a little bit of lace.

S: Very complex if you let your nose linger. Quite vinous initially with aromas of currants and black grapes. Things then get really interesting as scents of tobacco, leather and black tea come on. A mild alcohol tingle rounds things out.

T: The aromas make a nice transition to the flavor. At its core, the beer has a Port quality inspired by the grape, currant and alcohol flavors. Toffee and tobacco add on extra complexity and let you know that this is more than a carbonated wine. Bitterness is very mild and brings on a slightly acidic black tea flavor. Finishes dry and warm, with a lingering bittersweet toffee flavor.

M: The medium body is slightly syrupy and just about the right level of fizz.

D: I liked this beer a lot. It felt like a good candidate for a cool or cold evening in front of the fireplace. Very wine like and a nice change of pace.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.32/5  rDev -15.9%
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 MPLS
2.55/5  rDev -35.4%
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 luchris80
3.24/5  rDev -18%
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 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.

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Photo of jera1350
2.6/5  rDev -34.2%
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 beerthulhu
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
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 coldmeat23
3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
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 DigitalHype
4.36/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

275ml bottle. Bottle label reads, "For Best Before End Date and Lot Number See Bottle Top". But, the are no markings on the cap, or anywhere on the top of the bottle. By the looks of this bottle, this thing has some age to it.

Poured slightly thick, reddish-brown in color with no head. Smell of fresh cherries, apple, bread. Very sweet, and slightly sticky. Lots of yeast, and flavors of dried fruits, and a little smokiness.
This has very nicely balanced bitter finish, that rounds off perfectly. I could easily drink another, if I had it.

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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.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured clear reddish brown color with an average off-white frothy head that was mostly diminished with fair lacing. Moderate spicy malty and alcohol aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Medium sweet dark fruit flavor with a medium sweet finish of moderate duration.

I would recommend this to a freind.

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Photo of Beertracker
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Harveys Elizabethan Ale (2002 Vintage) pours up smoothly with a light carbonation that creates a modest tannish-brown head that proudly tops the ruby-tawny brown body. Lots of tight, lacy bubbles that cling to the sides of the glass. The inviting multi-layered aroma is quite complex with notes of fruitcake, caramel, chestnuts, cherry jam, sourdough bread, oiled leather, oak, vanilla, dry sack sherry, et.al. The flavor starts off with a nice treacle character carried by some dusty maltiness that's underscored by an earthy bitterness. Subtle hints of leaf tobacco, maraschino cherry, figbar, turbinado sugar & molasses keep this one interesting. This medium-bodied old ale has a dry mouthfeel with a touch of astringency. It's lightly warming with a bittersweet, slightly tart finish. Here's to Old Lizzie, may she have a glorious slumber!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of goethean
5/5  rDev +26.6%
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 baggio
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1999 Vintage! Finally got around to trying this brew that i bought in Denmark a few years ago.

A: Deep dark brown/red with a minimal lace.

S: Barley, Raisins, Caramel, Syrup, Malt, Port wine.

T: Sherry, Caramel, Molasses, Figs, Ripe Fruit, Sugar.

M: Very sweet with very low carbonation. Warming.

A fine old ale / barleywine that has aged with grace. Would have been interesting to see how this brew tasted fresh. This makes for a perfect dessertbeer or just something to sip at late at night. Very nice!

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Photo of sgoodship
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Looked for information on the bottle cap as indicated - nothing there. I'm not alone! Would love to hear the trivia behind this.

A: 275ml bottle. No head to speak of - kinda expected that. Murky, dark chocolate brown. Some lacing and spottiness on the glass.

S: I definitely got the alcohol - Sherry. There is also a strong sweetness like a diacetyl butter scotch. Maybe some licorice, vinegary and some nuttiness. Very complex smell.

T: The strength came through pretty quickly. The taste follows the smell pretty closely which seems impossible but it's not.

M: Nice full bodied drink. Very smooth. Finish is very strong alcohol.

D: I get the feeling that this beer can be polarizing to the BA's who sample it. I personally do not like Sherry, so even though I appreciated what a work of art this brew was, I just couldn't enjoy it like I wanted to.

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Photo of biegaman
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1998 Vintage, bottle # 4244, aged a full ten years.

A desolately flush surface, completely and utterly flat even against the sides where perhaps a slight trim might be expected. A muddied tinge hinders much of its allure. It has the complexion of prune juice with a subtle gleam of shiraz to the light.

It smells to me as if a truckload of raisins were left to dry out right there in my glass. The aroma is inarguably that of dried fruits, and not in the general sense, but specifically raisins and prunes. I like the smell enough but I don't think it has the complexity that makes burying your nose in it worthwhile. Large, constant inhalations turn up the same thing each time.

The taste reinforces flavours of dried fruits. Raisins and prunes are still foremost although slightly sweeter notes of plums, figs and dates come through a little more. Both hops and yeast are all but faded. A noting of butterscotch is minimal but seems the only accompaniment to the flavour of sweet and dried fruits.

With absolutely no carbonation, the tannic character imparted by its flavour, and the 8.1% having fewer room to hide with age, this bottle has become something akin to a weak port or fortified wine. Its appearance, its flavours, its sweetness, and its whole all around character resembles that of a port or fortified wine.

Having never seen a fresh bottle of Elizabethan Ale I can't be sure of how well this sample has held up. I do hope my descriptions can provide some clues. Whether old ale or barleywine I felt it fell short of both marks. Still, it was something I enjoyed - albeit less as a beer and more as a sort of British digestif.

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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!

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Photo of RedBaron
4.7/5  rDev +19%
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 Traquairlover
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

275ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A = Clear reddish amber, small off white head dissipates into a light cover of foamy lacing on surface.

S = Good strong malt smells, maple syrup, treacle, molasses, musty basement, some sharper scents of sharp cheddar perhaps. Very complex.

T = Sweet maple syrup, molasses, light bitterness at midpalate, but sweetness continues into the finish. This beer reminds me a lot of JW Lees Vintage Ale.

M = Heavy body, great mouthcoating, creamy luscious feel.

D = Quite good drinkability as a dessert beer or a way to wind up an evening, like a fine port wine.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another beer that has apparantly been retired prematurely. If its still available and a style meant to age, why retire it? Anyway, bottle purchased from John's Grocery in Iowa City. Poured brown, just a dusting of a head with regularly rising bubbles. Small head sticks around lengthily. Spotty lacing. Sweet smelling boozy caramel odor. Very strong and malty. Some nuttiness. Reminds me of Thomas Hardy on the nose. Flavor is very sweet, rummy and milky. Maple syrup, demerara sugar, grass hops bitterness, sweet malt, figs and plums. What little hops there are keep it from being too much of a malt and alcohol bomb. Dry and thinner than expected, but wtill syrupy and i'd say medium bodied. A nice sipper of an old ale, approaching an english barleywine in most qualities. Very tasty and interesting.

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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.

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Harveys Elizabethan Ale from Harvey & Son Ltd.
3.95 out of 5 based on 153 ratings.
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