Harvest Ale
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Harvest AleHarvest Ale
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English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #23
Ranked #15,278
3.87 | pDev: 12.14%
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Very Good
Harvest AleHarvest Ale
Notes: Our celebration of the change of the seasons, a deeply comforting ale to usher in the sunset as the evenings get cooler. In salutation to that special moment in time when the year’s harvest is a gracious cornucopia before us, we brew a classic ESB. Harvest is brewed with a combination of fresh English hops, cracked barley, and hard work. This is a classic English style Extra Special Bitter of the highest order. Harvest’s deep ruby color envokes a bright autumn mountainside where a warm sweater, a good beer, and the gratitude for the seasons are all you need.
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Reviews: 622 | Ratings: 1,777
Photo of williepep
1.57/5  rDev -59.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

It claims to be an English Bitter but it is way too hoppy for this style. More like an American Pale or IPA. Nose is hoppy, cannot smeill much malt. Color is a pallid tan. Thin mouth feel. Taste is quite dry, not very malty. Unimpressed. Very disappointed.

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Photo of Mugman8
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Great looking beer on the pour - deep amber hue with pillowy head and nice lacing. Nice aroma and interesting crisp flavor but has a piney bitter finish. Decent beer for the Fall.

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Photo of EMV
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Nearly clear golden amber pour. 2 fingers of fluffy white head... nice lacing.

S: Grains and hops. Grass and pine.

T/F: Lightly toasted malts and harvest grains... earthy with a strong bitter hop presence. Pine forward... grass and medicinal notes. Earthy... smooth carbonation. Lingering bitterness on the tongue.

O: A fun hoppy ESB... one of the better fall seasonals I've had this year.

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Photo of DrMullet
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a medium tarnish orange with moderate head. Smell is very nice. Slightly sweet, grassy then some grapefruit. Taste is bitter hops and some pine.

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Photo of jpkand
3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Kind of meh. A nice transition beer between summer and fall. Good looking beer, nice hoppy character but maybe it lingers a bit too long and overrides some other flavors. just not totally doing it for me I guess.

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Photo of MoMaMe
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this straight from the bottle, so I didn't get a good look at the color.

Smell is fragrant, reminiscent of apricots.
Taste: Nice balance of a malt beginning mingled with earthy hops and fruit that finishes with a strong, bitter, pine.

A very pleasant beer with a distinct taste that I will definitely get again!

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

(12 oz bottle, DOB 07/16/18... poured into a nonic)

L: crystal-clear pale amber liquid; tall, frothy off-white foam, with great retention, collapsing slowly into rocky beauty... laced like a champ - crusty, jagged - also kept a creamy cap

S: spicy-zesty grapefruit, fresh-cut grass; hearty golden bready undertone, lightly doughy... hops seem to have an American tone

T: potent blend of floral-citrus hops and delicately-toasty, lightly-caramel maltiness... finish is dry and mildly spicy, aftertaste sports a hint of caramel and grassy, vaguely menthol/tea-like hops, and later more of the toasty, grainy, granola character of the malt... rather flavorful, rather balanced

F: dextrinous, resinous textures; light-medium bodied, with an extended finish; mild warmth building in the chest and throat... perhaps best to drink without food? maybe ok if the food is light, not greasy

O: wouldn't mistake it for a true UK pale, but it gets as close to an ideal American version as one would hope for... bought a single bottle, but it sold me on a sixer

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Photo of LifesAnesthesia
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L - Burnt orange with a lot of clarity and a medium light tan head that sticks around and leaves a good amount of lacing behind.
S - Piney hops along with notes of spices and bready malt along with notes of caramel. The smell isn't exactly strong though.
T - Follows the nose with piney hops up front followed by notes of spices and a bready malt backbone. Notes of caramel can be found throughout as well.
F - medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Crisp and smooth
O - I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one, but I've come away pleasantly surprised. While it's probably not the best representation of an ESB, this is one of my favorite beers I've had during the Fall season - it provides just the right amount of spices and notes of caramel along with bitter hops and a bready malt character that truly mixes with the Fall season. Well done Southern Tier.

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Photo of Lucular
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

9-3-19 update: I had this beer again, about 1.5 months old, and had forgotten I had it before. I loved it, even though the flavors I tasted were exactly the same as I described below. I adjusted my scores accordingly.

I'm sorry, this is NOT an ESB. Way too citrusy/piney and bitter for the style (also it's on the very high edge of the ABV range). You can't throw a bunch of American hops into an ESB and claim it's the same thing. At least Heavy Seas has the honesty to call their version imperial, which may be an oxymoron, but you at least know what you're getting...although if I'm being honest with myself, did I really expect anything different from Southern Tier? (3.52 overall)

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Photo of teromous
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From the side of the label: "DOB 07/17/18 01:02AM"

Appearance: The body of the beer is a lighter brown with hints of orange. It is slightly hazy but there are no suspended solids. The head is a short slightly off-white cap with a creamy texture, good retention, and good lacing.

Aroma: There is a pretty strong grapefruit aroma with a touch of pine. There is a light scent of grain husk or wheat flour.

Taste: There is a slightly tangy grapefruit rind flavor mixed with a bitter pine character. There is just a bit of alcohol flavor in the mix. It is very heavy on hop flavor which dominates as a pine bough.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium-light body with subtle carbonation and very good bitterness.

Overall: The flavor and aroma of the hops are very nice, but it greatly overshadows the character of the malt. There is no real malt flavor. The key highlight of this beer is the freshness and presentation of the hops because they are in force. If you are looking for a hoppy beer then this will work. If you are looking for a great ESB then you will likely be disappointed. I think that the hops are fantastic and I would drink it again based on that merit alone, but I would never pick this up to show a person what an ESB tastes like.

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Photo of BeerWizard
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I'd been seeing this lately and confused by the name, especially since it's been sitting next to the Pumking most of that time. "What is a harvest ale?" I wondered, and the packaging doesn't really give an explanation. My wife ended up getting a bottle we split and after an inconclusive nose-test and much hoppier than I was expecting taste, I said "What is this beer?" And finally had the sense to look it up. It's bitter cause it's an ESB! Of course. Now I get you, harvest ale. Anyway, after figuring out WTH it was I found it quite enjoyable. Hoppy, malty, kind of festbier-ish.

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Photo of izraelc
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

One of my favorite beer seasons of the year. Fall beers are great. As is this one. Pours a nice golden orange. Has a nice thick foam. Has a nice hop presence but with a malty bready character. Good balance. Perfect for a cool September afternoon.

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Photo of Vetbidder
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice see through darker amber color with a decent white head from tap. Citrus edge on the nose of this malty brew. Not knowing what I was drinking exactly, I called the flavor IPAish with a spicy twist. Well carbonated and medium/thin in fell. Pretty decent.

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Photo of drtth
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The clear copper/amber beer pours out into a Duvel glass with a 1/2" white head that soon recedes to an island of foam on the surface and leaves a ring of large bubbled lacing around the glass. Sipping creates a couple of arches and lots of small legs of lacing on the side of the glass and the lacing persists for quite a while.

The aromas include include caramel malt backed up a mixture of piney and grassy hops, along with some floral character and a bit of orange zest.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose with the floral, piney, grassy, orange zest showing up over the top of hop bitterness. The barely noticeable caramel malt sweetness and softens the bitterness just a bit but doesn't really stand out in any other way.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and on the smooth side with some finely bubbled persistent carbonation. The finish begins as the bitterness recedes temporarily to let the hop flavors show through more cleanly. But then as they start to fade the bitterness re-emerges in the back of the palate along with that bit of malt sweetness. The ending is dry as the sweetness and bitterness simply disappear.

On the whole a very enjoyable and drinkable beer that I'll be happy to have again. There's lots of balance and complexity here. The bitter is definitely present but not at all unpleasant and the other flavors all play nicely with each other.

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Photo of CJake
2.18/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

What should you know about this "special ale" It's an IPA. Lots of hops. Definitely not what I was expecting when I poured it. If you like IPA I'm sure you'll like it, but it's no ale.

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Photo of theBubba
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

What's in a name? Or a label, for that matter. Here's one all dressed up in fall colors suggesting a pumpkin ale or perhaps an Oktoberfest. There's no description on the label (unless you think "Special Ale" means something). But pop the cap and take a whiff. No fair Southern Tier. Another over hopped IPA in sheep's clothing. Nothing here that suggests a harvest unless it's a hop harvest. Buyer beware.

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Photo of OatmattStout
4.34/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really tasty ESB. True to style with a nice amount of bitterness in the end but not over the top. really nice full mouthfeel. Some typical fruity notes. This one is just really good and I've tried most available ESB's near me.

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Photo of JPVanderbilt
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So this is an IPA. Looks like an IPA, taste like an IPA, and it's a fairly good IPA. Yet it's classified as an Extra Special Bitter, huh? Taste is citrus, grapefruit, pine, fresh, tasty. Good IPA.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Brewing Co. "Harvest Ale"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, "DOB 07/12/17" and sampled on 08/16/17
$2.17 @ Giant Eagle, Indiana, PA

Notes via stream of consciousness: Nice looking glass of beer: clear deep-amber/copper colored body beneath a two-finger thick head of foamy off-white that seems to hold well. The aroma is fresh and clean displaying a combination of lightly caramelish malt and softly piney and grassy hops. The flavor follows, and it's fairly subdued and basic for a seasonal beer but I appreciate that because it's highly drinkable. There's some light citrus to it as well, mainly orange, and because the caramelish and lightly toasty malt isn't overdone it works really well. The malt is just lightly sweetish and a median bitterness balances it, leaving a dollop of sweet malt to fade in the finish as softly piney and spicy hop notes rise. I was really expecting something different, a more amped up version, and I kind of remember it being a bit fuller in the past, but this is perfect. Looking back there's some very nice lacing left behind on the sides of the glass. Medium-light in body and gently crisp. Well done! Superbly balanced and quite drinkable.

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Photo of Ob512316
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into glass.
Look: amber with a continuous medium sized white head.
Smell: pine and citrus with a hint of Carmel
Taste: Pine and citrus at first, then caramel, toffee, buterscotch
Feel: Sold, not too week not too strong
Overall: outstanding beer.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. This beer was poured into a pint glass. The appearance was a nice hazy but almost transparent orange to brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipates within less than a minute leaving some decent foamy lacing. The smell had rich English malts that seem to be slightly roasted in a sense. There is a decent nuttiness coming out as well. The taste was roasty, malty and nutty with a delicate toasty bready note on the backend. There was no aftertaste but a quick dry finish. On the palate, it sat about a light to medium in body with a decent sessionable quality to it. The carbonation was fairly smooth which is good for they style and for me. Overall, good ESB that I would have again.

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Photo of Ale_Lover
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A premium British style beer bursting with malt flavours and citric notes from what seems to be a unique blend of hops which dominate this deep golden ale with a subtle hint of lemon. Southern Tier is a very high quality brewery and Harvest Ale is no exception. Two thumbs up.

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Photo of wattoclone
3.17/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy deep amber with moderate foamy head. Potent fragrant aroma of pine and citrus hops. Grapefruit hop heavy up front with a thick sweet fall finish.

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Photo of Fee
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is an interesting beer - a good ESB. Not a lot of smell to it, but well hopped with a little bitterness as would be expected. Smooth, not very strong in either direction - happy or bitter. It's a bit dry.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clean caramel amber body with a tight little foamy off white head. Good retention.
Nose presents with some slightly floral slightly spicy hops and earthy dusty malts.
Starts off with the malts stepping forward slightly sweet and kind of earthy again. Bitter finish builds through spicy hops into a long American finish.
Thin but sticky with a lasting finish.
I don't drink ESBs that often, but this is enjoyable and refreshing.
Thanks to @TongoRad for sending this along in that box of his!

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Harvest Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 1777 ratings