Southern Tier’s Harvest Ale is their Autumn seasonal beer which is released every August. It is an Extra Special Bitter (ESB) which is brewed with 4 varieties of hops, 2 types of malt, and has an ABV of 6.7%. Per the Beer Advocate, ESBs have the following characteristics:
“ESBs are essentially more aggressive and more balanced Bitters, both in alcohol and hop character, but nothing overpowering. Color range will be similar, though leaning towards the darker end of the scale; dark golds to copper. Low carbonation. Malts tend to be more pronounced, often toasty and fruity, with maybe some notes diacetyl. And despite “bitter” being in its name, ESBs are not really all that bitter. They key to an ESB is balance.”
Does Southern Tier’s Harvest Ale play by the rules? Let’s find out…
- Appearance: Slightly cloudy. Medium amber color. Little to no head. Minimal lacing.
- Aroma: Orange zest and medium hoppiness.
- Taste: Mild carbonation. Upfront malt sweetness. Dry, lingering finish with a well defined hop bitterness, but definitely not overpowering.
Based upon what I saw, smelled, and tasted, I would say that Souther Tier’s Harvest Ale was well within Beer Advocate’s ESB guidelines. This is a very drinkable beer which straddles the line between a traditional English Ale and an American IPA. I give it a B+.
I do have one question… what the hell is diacetyl and is this something that I want in a beer???