Harvest Ale
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Harvest AleHarvest Ale
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #28
Ranked #20,443
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.
Reviews: 631 | Ratings: 1,794 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mikeinportc
mikeinportc from New York

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

Clear medium orange-amber, with one finger of off-white head.

Smell is light caramel, bread, floral and fruity hop aromas. A faint hint of piney/solventy booziness as it warms, especially from the open bottle.

Tastes of pine, green onion, molasses, brown bread, with slight fruitiness. Moderate lingering bitterness + some light tang (as with rye or sourdough bread crust).

Feel is light-medium and smooth, with fine carbonation tingle coming in on the latter half.

The label now calls this an "Autumn IPA". I can (sort of) see that, if I squint just right. Apparently, ESBs don't sell that well? Perhaps the old-old label (pictured above) was the best descriptor : " Harvest Ale". In any event, it's a fine seasonal offering, that I've been enjoying since first encountering it many years ago, and expect to continue to do so, as long as STBC continues to brew it. Give it a try!. :)

Sep 03, 2021
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milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear, bright crimson appearance with a small, off white head and good lacing. Spicy hop aroma with some citrus underneath. Hops turn more floral and herbal in the taste, accompanied by some cracker-like malts. Aftertaste is pleasantly bitter. First impression, erroneously, was that the palate was a bit too thin; but there is a good firm body if you give it a chance. "Harvest" = "Octoberfest"? Sounds reasonable, but not here. Think more bitter and less sweet maltiness.

Oct 29, 2020
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Microtron from Ohio

4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I always look forward to the new fall line up of independent craft brewers. Looks like either Southern Tier changed marketing or the formula. It still tastes great. I will tip my hat to the Andrew and the gang in Lakewood another home run. It is not super hoppy like the 2x ipa. Easy drinking on the porch enjoying the season

Sep 19, 2020
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VABA from Virginia

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

Pours a nice clear light amber color with a slight head and lacing
Aroma has slight hop and barley hints
The taste follows the nose with a well balanced hop and barley flavor
A medium bodied decently carbonated beer
A good English Bitter

Sep 05, 2020
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Steve_Studnuts from Pennsylvania

3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 7/14/20
Consumed 8/5/20
Label reads "Harvest Autumn IPA"; this may be a different beer? I dunno, most reviews say it tastes like an IPA anyway and the ABV is right, so I'm just going to review...

Pop the top and you're hit with a smoky blast of dank hops. Damn; was not expecting that at all. Haven't smoked any pot in months and all of a sudden I'm getting the itch again. Well done, jerks! Anyway, we've got a clear deep golden copper body that is rather Autumn-esque in that it looks like a dying leaf. There's little blotches of lace, but nothing significant. Looks decent enough. Smell is, as noted, very dank with some fruity notes hanging out on the margins. Kinda smells like something from SweetWater Brewing's 420 line. Picking up a little peach flavored tea through the haze. Tastes... not at all like expected. It's a little more malt-forward than the nose implies. The hop presence is more piney and earthy. There's a mild lingering bitterness combined with a dry, just hit the pipe finish. It's nice enough, but I'm not bowled over by it. Might just be me; a symptom of having drank too many beers, especially IPAs, and becoming a bit jaded to the style. I'll give them this, though: at least it's not a gimmicky, additive-laced shit show. That's becoming harder and harder to come by.

Aug 06, 2020
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Zylod from West Virginia

3.32/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This is ok beer. But it’s nothing like a bitter. It’s an ipa. I’m seeing this a lot lately, in the US beer market, I pick up a beer labeled a style and it turns out to be a ipa. I hope US brewers will learn at some point, there is more to beer than dumping in a load of hops and calling it good. This is an ok beer but as the marketed style it’s a zero. It’s disappointing more drinkers are not calling it out.

Nov 02, 2019
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nicholas2121 from Ohio

4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Harvest Ale brewed by Southern Tier Brewing Company, with an ABV of 6.70%. This English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) pours out of a 12oz glass bottle into a pint beer glass. The color is a nice deep amber color with a nice white head. There is a nice amount of lacing to this brew. The lacing stick well to the side of the glass. Really digging the copper color of this brew. The smell is Rich with hop bitterness mixed with mirror roasted goodness. So far harvest ale is a nice inviting brew. Now for the taste , it is Bold with flavors. You pick on a nice amount of grains and malts , in the taste of this brew. The hop bitterness is a nice touch to this brew. The body of Harvest Ale is a medium to heavy, buy not to heavy. This brew goes down nice an smooth. The mouth feel is Bold, Rich, Clean, Smooth, Crisp, and Refreshing. Overall I am going to give Harvest Ale a solid 4 out of 5.00. I would definitely look this brew up again givin the opportunity too. Southern Tier Brewing Company did a real nice job with this English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB).

Oct 26, 2019
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williepep from New York

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.

Sep 14, 2019
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Mugman8 from New York

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.

Aug 23, 2019
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EMV from Pennsylvania

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.

Mar 03, 2019
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DrMullet from Florida

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.

Jan 12, 2019
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jpkand from Virginia

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.

Nov 29, 2018
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MoMaMe from Maryland

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!

Nov 10, 2018
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

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

Oct 22, 2018
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

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.

Oct 21, 2018
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Lucular from Maryland

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)

Oct 08, 2018
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teromous from Virginia

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.

Sep 15, 2018
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BeerWizard from Colorado

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.

Sep 13, 2018
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izraelc from New York

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.

Sep 09, 2018
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Vetbidder from Pennsylvania

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.

Oct 06, 2017
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drtth from Pennsylvania

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.

Sep 20, 2017
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CJake from New York

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.

Sep 16, 2017
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theBubba from New York

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.

Sep 07, 2017
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OatmattStout from Connecticut

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.

Sep 03, 2017
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JPVanderbilt from Virginia

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.

Sep 02, 2017
Harvest Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 1794 ratings