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

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Ratings: 155 |  Reviews: 124
Photo of Bitterbill
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A- slowly forming head of foam after the pour, at its max less than an inch and that fades quickly.

S- caramel malt, Port like nose, slight dark fruits.

T- caramel malt with again, Port like flavour, some butterscotch, hints of dark fruits.

M- medium to medium high body, no carbonation.

O- very tasty brew with the alcohol well hidden. I dig it.

 350 characters

Photo of Anvilfarm
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of mikeincharleston
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of matjack85
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of DmanGTR
4.75/5  rDev +20.3%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Daniellobo
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of 7ate9
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With an aggressive pour this pops a quickly receding white head. Falls to a ring that sticks around. This bottle has no date on it so I can't be certain when it was born, but this has no small amount of years on it../ having any sort of head is impressive. Very nice dark mahogany color, Spot on.

Very complex smell of leather, raisin/tawny port/passito (which suggests a slight tart fruit note and touch of balsamic), prune, brown sugar...
a concentrated boozy molasses/rum-like flavor
Dried apricot
All very nice

Palate follows the nose. The age has hollowed out the mid-palate a bit but the finish kicks in big with leather, beef jerky, amaretto, and an unfortunate slight metallic taste that really takes away from it all.

Med body, dried out a bit with the age
Med-minus carbonation

Elizabethan is a great example of a tradional english old ale
Don't go into it thinking barleywine
Don't go into it thinking about old ales like Fruet or Fourth Dementia
It's a very complex, drinkable, moderate strength (but still pleasantly warming) beer that (except for the unfortunate slight metallic finish) is a joy to experience.

 1,133 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I am told this is the 1996 version 8.1% ABV - In a brown 275 ml bottle with “PLEASE RETURN” and three arrows circling the bottle and an “O.K.M” stamped on the gold bottle cap.

Pours a thin slightly murky dark root beer color that is headless. Tons of dark overly ripe fruits dominate the aroma with plenty of age (sherry notes) and some booziness comprise a great nose. First sip is surprisingly good and tasty. Similar to what the nose indicted, the taste is full of those lovely dark overly ripe fruits like plums and figs. It starts super sweet but quickly finishes with a bitter twist that really captures my attention sip after sip after sip. Though thin bodied and lacking some carbonation - I don’t care as this puppy has plenty to offer.

 757 characters

Photo of mitchellaneous
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

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 ajs4bd
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

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 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 jfcaa193
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Samp01
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A ruby amber on the pour with a small short lived head. Aroma is very fruity, with a bouquet of dark fruits, plums, dates, some yeast, caramel malt, and sweet alcohol esters are present, almost like a brandy. Taste is caramel malt, yeast, dark fruits, plums, dates and some light bitterness. Palate is a full body with a rich creamy texture and soft carbonation. Finish is sweet caramel malt, dark fruits, dates, plums, maybe some light chocolate notes, ending with some sweet slightly bitterness and a lingering alcohol presence, flavors become more pronounced as it warms up. Overall a good ale to sip on cold winter nights

 625 characters

Photo of cofeeguru
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #2152, brewed in 1997. Poured into a Swiss wine snifter.

Upon popping the cap there is a slight hiss. When pouring into the glass no head is formed, but a light ring of foam clings to glass around the surface, and bubbles form all over the inside of the glass below the level of the beer. The color is a remarkable dirty ruby when held to light showing just a hint of haze. The fact that this beer retains those beautiful red hues after nearly 15 years is awesome.

The nose is strong, and displays heady notes of old port, oxidized red wine, dried dark fruits, and a slight savory quality that might be smoky and brings to mind dark meat.

The flavors are not nearly as brash as the nose indicated. Old dusty toffee with dried dates, figs, and maybe prunes is the central flavor. All the flavors present have been affected by oxidation (or caused by it). The savory flavor is present as well and manifests almost like chocolate in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly full for the age of this beer, but still shows some of the thinning and watery qualities to old age. There is obviously carbonation left, but very little of it is felt in the mouth.

Conclusion: For not being bottle conditioned, this has taken the years with surprising grace (although the pasteurization helped ensure it didn't end of a sour mess). It is certainly the best 20th century beer I have had (the other was Gale's millennium brew). I love old beer and will continue looking for older and older examples of beers that are known to age well.

 1,538 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 GrindFatherBob
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of weizenbob
4.69/5  rDev +18.7%
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.

 2,549 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of mrfrancis
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear amber with no head. There is not even the slightest hint of carbonation, but one does not exactly expect it in a beer this old.

S: Gorgeous and full on the nose with aromas of leather, tobacco, toffee, dates, figs, and prunes. This is one of the most aromatic beers I believe I've ever encountered.

T: Sweet and sticky on the palate with leather, toffee, molasses, tobacco, raisin, fig, prune, date, oak, and oxidized flavors in abundance. The finish is warming, mellow, and sweet with dried fruit, leather, and port-like characteristics.

M: Full-bodied, slick, oily, and a bit resinous. There is no carbonation, so this ale remains still in the mouth.

O: This is an excellent English old ale. It's a benchmark of the style and well deserving of its reputation as a classic.

 796 characters

Harveys Elizabethan Ale from Harvey & Son Ltd.
3.95 out of 5 based on 155 ratings.
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