Harvest Ale | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Harvest AleHarvest Ale

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by John on 10-19-2003

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Reviews: 600 | Ratings: 1,722
Photo of Mastodactyl
1.03/5  rDev -73.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A- The beer first begins with a one finger head that within 5 minutes disappears completely leaving amazing lacing. The beer has a clear light orange body with a good amount of carbonation bubbles. This is not good.

S- You first smell the pine hops, then the bitter, then the smooth malts. Again, a little too much.

T- There is some hop, but mostly bitterness. Not exactly drinkable.

M- Watery, some carbonation.

D- Couldn't really drink this beer all season, if all day for that matter. Maybe I had a bad bottle. Hopefully Pumking is better.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of gatornation
2/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

poured way to light it was a pale yellow color like a pils with a small white head it all dissipated and left just a flat yellow liquid in the glass ..not impressed the smell was faint in all areas faint hops and malt no real aroma here just plain..the taste was more of the same not a strong or bitter brew not hoppy or malty pretty much tasted like a budwieser ..just awful..do not recommend this one at all

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Photo of claspada
2.38/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a light golden color, with only a small ring of lacing and a small off-white head worth mentioning.
Aromas are lacking indeed; a faint amount of fresh hops with a hint of light, breaded malt. Left me flat and not expecting much for the taste
Flavor consists of a lightly toasted malt and a light floral hop with a fairly bitter finish. Followed the nose as I feared; quite a let down as I expect greatness from ST, maybe too high of expectations on my part. There is also a bit of tangy in the mouth. Smooth but forgettable.
As mentioned several times above, very light in its characteristics. Certainly more could have been done with this recipe. An unfortunately average offering from an otherwise excellent brewery.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.52/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - pale straw yellow, with more than a finger of frothy pure white head held aloft by several streams of carbonation

S - a light and airy aroma that at first hits me as citrine, however a deeper whiff puts it more accurately at spiced malts, not quite as sharp as coriander, but perhaps nutmeg/ginger/clove, or other autumn-esque spices and these rest atop the sweet, wheaty, malty profile

T - the palate is far hoppier than i had expected plus a non-hop spicy bitterness that neither compliments the hops or succeds well on its own. unfortunately this bitterness drowns out any flavors that would be there

M&D - drinkable a bit colder than i tried it at, just too non-hoppy bitter for me, i love southern tier stuff, to me this is just a miss, not bad flavors, just to bitter for me, esp for a harvest ale

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Photo of Bounty628
2.55/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer is brewed in the ESB (Extra Strong Bitter) style and it seems to be a bit out of place when conceptually thinking about what a harvest ale should be. To me, a harvest ale should be more about a roasted and filling while almost warming style of a beer, not an ESB on the very pale side that really does little to stand apart from the fray of other ESBs on the market.

With an ABV of 5.2%, Harvest Ale maintains a moderate amount of alcohol but the taste is certainly deceiving as the bitter aspect of the beer seems to be misguided almost as an abundant alcohol flavoring more than anything else.

Harvest Ale pours a very bright yellow straw color and is remarkably over carbonated. The carbonation gives way to a light yet bountiful white head that tends to dissipate much more than it laces the glass.

Once poured, there is little in the way of a noticeable nose to the beer. Faint hints of citrus can be detected off in the background but again there is a feel that something is off with this beer. There is a mild hop background once again to the beer, but nothing that is overly impressive.

The taste of Harvest Ale is tolerable, but again seems to be misplaced. The citrus is noted in the taste more than it is in the aroma and there is a bitter and hoppy component to the beer that seems to be working more in contrast to one another than in unison. Also present is a strange sweetness to the Harvest Ale that once again seems to not fit into the right mix of what the beer perhaps should have been.

Once again, for a Harvest Ale this beer seems to be just too light. There is a very smooth and flowing mouth feel to the beer that holds true throughout. The high level of carbonation upon the pour carries its way throughout the offering and perhaps if the carbonation was toned down a bit this beer would have been a bit better of a story to tell.

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Photo of chicagoish
2.63/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: It has a bright golden color with a slight chill haze and a small creamy white head. It fades to just a very thin covering that still makes some nice lace on the glass.

Smell: A little lacking. I was expecting more malty with a touch of hops. None of that

Taste/Mouth feel: A bet watery for me. It doesn't go either way. It is smooth and easy to drink, but I was expecting more flavor. More Bitterness

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Photo of jdavin
2.65/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was thoroughly disappointed with this beer. I've been quite impressed with some of Southern Tier's other beers, so I was really looking forward to their harvest ale. The first surprise was that it didn't look anything like any other harvest ale I've had. It is super light in color - light yellow straw, almost pilsner color.

Southern Tier calls this an English-style ESB. But where is the malty character? I shudder to say it but this made me think Budweiser with a bunch more hops added. It is very light in body - I would guess the FG is around 1.008 or lower.

At the very least they need to do a better job of marketing / advertising this beer. Calling it a Harvest ale when it has hardly any caramel malt or body to it will confuse a lot of buyers. It's more like a light summer blonde ale.

The hop character is also a bit low for a harvest ale. The bitterness is pretty low, and while the aroma is good I'm not sold on the hop taste. It is too woody and piney when I would prefer citrus hops in a harvest ale.

I dumped the second half of the two 12ozers I've had so far (tasted on separate days to make sure my first judgment wasn't just a fluke). I hardly ever dump beer.

A - very light straw color, good clarity. Pilsner-like in appearance.

S - Aroma is woody hops.

T - Taste is overall low in complexity. Hops are earthy, woody. Mild to moderate bitterness.

M - Very low light body. A little undercarbonated I'd say, even for an English-style ESB.

D - drinkable, but not that fun to drink. Too low in body, makes me feel like I'm drinking water or Budweiser.

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Photo of chillwinston
2.65/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: Dark golden color, no head retention.

S: Floral, bright hops but with a strong alcohol smell and not much else.

T: Very dry with resinous floral hops. Again, strong taste of alcohol and very one dimensional.

M: Light bodied. Oily. Low carbonation.

O: I guess I had something else in mind when I saw "Harvest Ale" written on the six pack. Reminded me of a run-of-the-mill IPA. Similar to Harpoon IPA. However, the strong alcohol bite turned me off. I like Southern Tier's other offering but I can not recommend this.

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Photo of gezondheid
2.86/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A bit early for a harvest ale. Supposed fresh English hops. Not likely. Nice fall look and color. Nose is the first give away that something is missing first taste confirms. Metallic pineapple juice finish. A decent beer. But not a stand out in the harvest category.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.9/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Forced to make notes due to an outlier rating:

Bready and buttery, with not much going on hop-wise and a lackluster balance. Shallow and simple. Some might even call it plain.

There's no harmony of texture to taste and it's not a gestalt beer, nor does it boast any intricacy, nuance, or subtlety of note. Drinkable but underwhelming.


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Photo of SerialHiker
2.93/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance: Golden brown to medium copper, very little action on the inside…light tanned head formed, but quickly dissipated…(2.75/5)

Smell: Floral hops, bitter tones…grassy malts…smells nice, but sort of narrow in aroma…mild pine somewhere in there…(2.75/5)

Taste: Very malty, balanced and easy to drink…cereal, sweet, citrus and grassy flavors…floral hops balance out the malt beginning and actually linger longer than any other flavor…bitter aftertaste that does last…(3.25/5)

Mouthfeel: Bitter…little carbonation explosion in my mouth…kinda feels like a cheaper beer…a very flavored water (if that makes sense)…bitter aftertaste…(2/5)

Overall: This is a beer I would take to a fire on a cool evening and totally enjoy…the malt and hops balance each other very well creating a flavorful beer without being too robust and only for the microbrew lover…a good tasting, commercial beer…(3/5)

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
2.95/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle a bit different from the picture (which, from top to bottom, reads: Special Ale Harvest Seasonal) into a pint glass at low altitude.

A: Pours a clear copper color with a minimal foamy white head that dissipates rather quickly and leaves some spotty lacing.

S: Sweet malts with a citrus peel background. Very nice in this regard.

T: Starts off with some caramel malts, but then all the other flavors are overpowered by very bitter piney resins that stay on the tongue far too long. No balance whatsoever.

M: Medium-bodied with a slick mouthfeel and a bit of carbonation.

D: Not sure if Southern Tier changed the recipe on this, but the bottle I had was grossly unbalanced. They have plenty of better beers to choose from in my opinion.

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Photo of Brezzy24
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- pours a hazy bright copper color with a frothy white head

S- bright citrusy hops combined with a bit of citrus harvest and a bit of grassy woodsy smell

T- great balance of citrus/floral hops and bready sweet malt, a bit of caramel and sweet fruitiness, finishes somewhat dry with a bit of cracker crispness

M- medium body, low carbonation, slightly creamy finish

O- this one had some great balance and was very drinkable, just solid overall

Serving type: bottle

 469 characters

Photo of ajm5108
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Definitely an Americanized version of the classic ESB, which is to say it's over-hopped & lacks balance in the malt / hop ratio. It isn't too abrasive with the hops & it has a good body, but the malt profile is a letdown

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Lrrr for this one.

Emerges from a 12oz bottle into a pilsner glass a bronze golden color. A small white head forms and is backed by some decent lacing.

Aroma is fresh hops. Citrusy and a little grassy as well. Mostly grapefruit in the nose. A touch of caramel malt and a touch of graininess.

Fruity and slightly hoppy flavor. Some good caramel comes through as well. A good dose of fresh hop flavor seems to be the predominant flavor here. Light bodied and crisp with a bit of hop bitterness in the end.

I gave this all 3's because this really wasnt an ESB (in my humble opinion). Perhaps I am wrong, but based on the other 15 or so examples of ESB I have had, this one is nowhere close to the others. Too light in color, lots of fresh hop aroma, light bitterness, light body. If this were an APA, I would give around 4.2. But, with style in consideration, I dont think this fits at all, but I really enjoyed the beer.

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Photo of stxp
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

appearance: orangy warm color, good head, lacing- foamy/thin

smell: floral, earthy, a little fuity, wintery/piney

taste: light, sweet in the beginning, smooths out to more or a woodsy floral

mouthfeel: creamy, smooth, a little thick


(bethany's review)

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours out a clear amber/copper color that supports 1 1/2 fingers worth of soft,eggshell white foam.Moderate retention with stringy but gummy lacing on the glass.

S-Not much here.Mostly muted,dull,earthy hops with
only a slight citrus character peaking through.Some straightforward caramelized grains and a very soft pine note to finish.

T-Mediocre,fleeting flavors of whole grain toast,brown sugar,watery pine,Hen House oj and some grassy hops.

M-Light bodied with a transient flavor profile and no real substance to speak of.


 549 characters

Photo of engagechad
3.06/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as a single from Tom Leonards in Glen Allen VA - tulip

Pours an orangey yellow with decent head and not much lacing.

Smells like wine. in a bad way. not enjoable for me

Tastes bitter and stingy and feels the same

Overall this is probably the first beer that I didn't like from ST.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.06/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

A= The pour is a nice orange color with a great looking slightly off white head on it that holds some great lacing on the side of the glass.

S= Hop heavy for sure. There is a lot of tropical fruit hops in it but they are balanced by a little malt sweetness and some popcorn smell.

T= The taste is very similar to the smell. A little too light for an ESB that's 6.4% There is a little hop bitterness as well as some of the sweet malts but not much of either. There is also a little butter popcorn in the finish.

M= Far too thin. Watery.

D= The drinkability is decent. I could drink a lot of them but I dunno how interested it would keep me. Good beer but a one and done for me.

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Photo of JDV
3.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Miketd. Thanks!
Pours yellowish gold with a lasting white head. Lighter than expected and looks much like a lager. Smell is grassy, earthy hoppiness, and mildly so. Taste is somewhat mild, and not very "green" or spicy like I like fresh hop beers. Melon and tea flavored hops mostly with some earthiness and mild bitterness. A bit watery and muted flavorwise, but this is very drinkable with no offensive qualities. Decent Pale.

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Photo of DIM
3.11/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a: This was a slightly chill hazed, golden amber color. It was served to me with a small, wisp of a head.

s: Biscuity aromas with some caramel and mild, leafy hops. There just isn't all that much to the aroma.

t: Mild overall, kind of bland actually. Pale malts with a biscuit-like note backed by more bitter than flavorful herbal hops.

m: Medium body with fizzy carbonation.

o: My bad for ordering this, I was hoping for a hopped to hell harvest ale. This wasn't bad, just more balanced the the name led me to believe.

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Photo of JRed
3.11/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Transparent orange in body with bubbly white head. Smells of grains, corn, and slight honey. Tastes of grains, slight honey, sone malt sweetness, grass, and hop resin. Medium bodied with light carbonation. A pleasant autumn beer but a terrible aroma and cheap malt taste make for an average experience.

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Photo of jwc215
3.12/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours golden with a thin white head that vanishes, but leaves spots of lacing.

The smell is of mild pine and citrus, with that ST house character (which happens to be nice).

The taste is of mild pine and citrus with mild malt/husk that becomes a bit soapy. The malt backbone diminishes, leaving a bitterness that lost the flavor-part. Not quite enough there to round out the bitterness.

It is on the thinnish side with fairly aggressive carbonation.

This just didn't "do it" for me. I was left with an almost aspirin-y bitterness without much else. The flavor started out fine but slipped to almost soap-ish and aspiriny.

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Photo of farrago
3.12/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very loose foam, rises quickly to around a finger and falls back just the same, very little retention, off-white color, close to no lacing as well. The liquid is crystal clear and sparkles like freshly cleaned glass, for as fast as the head rises, close to zero visible bubbles inside the glass, light amber orange in hue. The nose features orange peel, ginger root, scones and baked bread, hoppy in an herbaceous way, not much sweetness here, black tea leaves, more metallic than earthy. Light to medium-bodied, the carbonation is average at best, while clean there’s little life and spring to its step. Malty with cocoa, coffee bean, toffee accents, the orange to lemon citrus noticeable, more pine here as well as peach, apricot, cherry fruit. About half and half grains versus full-on bread, lacks honey or bread glaze. Finishes with an increase in florality and blanched nuttiness, that metallic edge about as close to bitter as it gets. Flat mouth presence contributes to its inability to interest you. Still, no real annoying flaws just the absence of any superlative element.

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Photo of jp32
3.12/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Copper penny in color with a huge white fluffy head on top.

Aroma is very well balanced between caramel malt sweetness and a mild hop tartness.

The flavor is more hop forward than the aroma led on. Citrus hops dominate the flavor with subtle hints of pine. Very herbal (I'm not saying mediciney, but close) in the finish.

Mouthfeel is approaching medium bodied.

A decent beer, but much hoppier than I was expecting. Being called "harvest ale" with an orange label I was expecting something much maltier, but I suppose that's what I get for judging a book by its cover in the first place.

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Harvest Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 1,722 ratings.
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