Harvester Pale Ale | Ground Breaker Brewing

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Harvester Pale AleHarvester Pale Ale
Harvester Pale AleHarvester Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Ground Breaker Brewing
Oregon, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
30 IBUs ~5.8% ABV

"This flavorful pale ale is handcrafted from chestnuts, sorghum, certified gluten-free oats, and pure cane sugar, and generously hopped with Nugget, Cascade, and Meridian. The chestnuts are sourced directly from an Oregon farmer and hand-roasted at the brewery. The certified gluten-free oats come from a Montana company that grows them in an area isolated from gluten containing grains and are tested by an independent lab."

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 7 | Ratings: 21
Photo of Beaver13
1.86/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

22 oz bottle. Pours clear copper gold with a small creamy white head that goes to a thin film that leaves little lacing.

The aroma is sweet sugary candied malt with some floral earthy hops.

The flavor is sweet sugary candied malts with some green hops in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, too sweet for me with not enough hops.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.89/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Round two of the new offerings now available from this brewery in Alberta.

This beer pours a cloudy, rather pale golden straw colour, with one finger of weakly puffy, broadly bubbly, and mostly fizzy dirty white head, which leaves little beyond a touch of wilting paramecia lace around the glass as it quickly settles.

It smells of peppy pine needle and dry citrus rind bitterness right off the bat, a thin, but still bakery-fresh doughy and nutty, well 'malt' - presumably from the chestnuts employed - a sour cider character from the sorghum, and a further earthy leafiness. The taste is still big on the Cascade hops - tangy citrus and pine tips abound - atop a still bready and nutty malt essence, one now more blended with the stale fruity sorghum notes, with some tapioca pudding and an acrid leafy, weedy hoppiness rounding things out.

The carbonation is pretty tight in its fizzy control over things, the body on the Jenny Craig side of medium weight, and just a tad pithy and clammy in its game attempt at smoothness. It finishes off-dry, I suppose, the 'sweetness' of the malt, and mostly fermented-out sugars hard to ascribe that label - mostly, we're talking dry, edgy nuts, and still perky bitter pine and citrus hops.

A drinkable, and enjoyable hopped-up American Pale Ale, all on its own, even before G-F considerations come into view, and when they do, it seems that the added sugar does well to sublimate the usual sorghum nastiness, and the use of chestnuts and tapioca starts to look like a very fine idea for this sort of thing. I'm tossing in a few extra few points, from a strictly gluten-free product perspective.

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Photo of CookstLiquor
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 650ml bottle. This pours a bright lager yellow colour. This is a gluten-free pale ale and really should have its own category instead of being judged against typical pale ales. The nose offers up tart citrus notes and not a whole lot more. Pleasant. The taste is initially sweet and hoppy with notes of ginger and spice and a good bitterness on the finish. It's very beer-like, but could use a little more carbonation.

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.01/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I get citrus hops and honey-like scents predominantly. It has a distinct a slightly musky scent too, but its not a bad musk, it's good. Not bad overall, and better than I was expecting.

Clear and golden in color with a crisp white head. Lacing is lacking but there is a little bit there. Carbonation streams to the top in a slow, kind of mesmerizing way.

Up front, it tastes like beer, quite nice actually the middle brings a bit of hop bite, but the finish is weird. It has a dry almost peppery finish that is odd. I am guessing it's the sorghum. Its not bad, just something to get used to. Carbonation is moderate. Medium body. Its somewhat lackluster, but I wasn't sure what to expect out of a gluten free beer. It's not too bad, better than what I expected for sure.

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Photo of velosuds
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22 oz. bomber into a clear pint glass. No bottle dating. Unfortunate, since GF beers have questionable shelf life. I take a different approach to this beer. GF is a significant challenge, both for those whose suffer from gluten allergy and intolerance, and for those who choose to brew GF. I applaud Harvester Brewing as the only dedicated GF brewery I am aware of in the US.

A - This looks like real beer, albeit much lighter than expected for style. This pours a golden yellow with nearly a two finger bone white head with decent retention and lacing. Color is lighter than expected for style. Welcome to Sorghum based, GF brewing.

S - Remarkably like real beer. Citrussy Cascade hops and yeast (from bottle conditioning) are the most prominent aromas. There is a "nutty" element I suspect is from the chestnuts used to balance the cidery like quality of the Sorghum.

T - As a GF beer I would rate this 4.5 since this is the best tasting GF beer produced domestically I have had. It tastes very much like "real" beer, which is not easy given Sorghum syrup is the primary fermentable. The cane sugar no doubt helps eliminate the residual cider like taste of most GF beers brewed with Sorghum. At 30 IBUs (according to brewery's website), the taste is much more bitter with a residual nuttiness that is from the chestnuts. I suspect the chestnuts are used to address the cider like tendency of Sorghum, and Harvester may have overdone the chestnut presence.

M - The use of cane sugar in the wort tends toward a drier ale, which is necessary when Sorghum is the primary fermentable. Carbonation is very adequate, but mouthfeel will always be lacking in GF beers compared to barley, but this comes close to real beer. For style, I would rate the mouthfeel 4.5 if GF.

O - This is the best GF beer produced domestically. Anyone with a GF intolerance or allergy should give this real ale a try. It is better, for all its style deficiencies, than many beers in this style that are brewed with barley. Aside from the lingering chestnut taste, this would be very good beer. As GF, it is very good,

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.79/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 22 oz. bottle from Portland's newest craft brewers ~ one of few breweries anywhere in the world dedicated to making ONLY gluten-free beers. Poured to a pint glass.

Label: "Ale made with Chestnuts, Certified GF Oats, Sorghum, Cane Sugar, and Hops ". And in case you're wondering: to find the brewery, 45° 30' 28.8" N, 122° 39' 27.9" W will get you there!

A: Hmmm, kind of a strange look when compared to a 'regular' pale ale: a lighter shade of golden than almost any I recall and remarkably clear with very few rising bubbles. Head is a fizzy, gently crackling white that builds to only about a finger, before fading to a skinny ring and a Rorschach-ian patch of film that bears a striking resemblance to David Crosby (I kid you not). The clarity, color and lack of lasting head/lace remind me of an adjunct lager or -more so- a malt liquor. (Of note: the complexion grew hazier at the very end of the bottle - not sure if this beer is meant to be swirled a bit to mix any sediment???)

S: Nose is notably nutty - not a surprise when ground chestnuts replace malted grains in the recipe! It's an odd honeyed sweetness that results, hinting at blackberries and a light syrup (Karo?). A curious herbalness, tea and sweet flowers. First sniff was a head-scratcher, but each one after grew more appealing.

T: No surprise, it's unlike any other APA I've tasted. A curious sugary nuttiness - starchy breakfast cereal - as a base then a splash of grassy/herbal hops that have a tea-like finish. Flavors like basil and fennel flicker, with an oily residual that resembles roses. Hops offer a nice balance from the 'spice' and 'nut' notes. I'm grappling with the intangibles here, but the end result is a flavor I like more with each passing sip.

M: I really want to get past the slick feel yet gummy finish that seems inherent with these gluten-free beers... but I can't quite yet. Mouth seems medium and holds a latent spicy tingle; it shows little, if any, sign of an alcohol-by-volume that approaches 7%. Just a little coating film, and a refined smoothness/crispness after a while.

O: I'm giving this one some leeway from familiar examples of the APA style... and from my own prejudices. The GF beers I've tried before (probably a half dozen at most over 6+ years) have generally been unimpressive representations of what I know as 'beer'; something too pasty, sweet or otherwise unappealing. This isn't bad at all. For the beer-loving men and women out there who, for health/dietary reasons, need a substitute - enjoy! Worth a try by anyone, regardless of your tolerance of gluten.

Not sure if I'll have this again, but it's interesting to try; supposedly an Amber and Stout are to be released soon.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle shared by a Harvester employee at Belmont Station, Portland, OR

This beer poured a clear golden yellow with a fizzy white head. Aroma of pale malts, grains, nuts, and light sugar. Taste was surprisingly unique...definitely not your run-of-the-mill pale ale. The qualities of the aroma followed through in the taste: pale malts, grains, with definite notes of cane sugar, chestnuts, and a sweetness I take to be from the sorghum used in the brew. Very earthy and organic. A generous hoppage provided a clean, bitter finish. Light-medium mouthfeel, and very drinkable overall. Good inaugural brew.

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Harvester Pale Ale from Ground Breaker Brewing
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 21 ratings