Monday, September 19, 2011

Southern Tier Brewing Company - Harvest Special Ale

Purchased From: Harvest Fine Wines & Spirits
Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass

The seasonal Harvest Special Ale from Southern Tier is billed as an Extra Special Bitter, a classic English style. The beer pours a tawny copper body with a slightly yellowed, medium-sized head. The despite the frothy consistency, the retention and lacing on are both light. It has a bitter, almost piney hop nose. The maltiness is moderate with toasted caramel and slight cocoa hints.

The nose hinted it, but the taste confirms, the hop profile seems a bit off from that of a traditional ESB. Hops are pungent and piney, giving this beer the feel of a moderate IPA or a hoppy amber ale. The malts aren't pronounced, compared to the hops. A slight toasty biscuit profile is present, but not distinguishing. An ESB true to the style should have a more developed malt character that strikes a balance with the hops. While bittering is important and central to the style, a more reserved, less pungent, hop profile would've given this beer a more spot-on feel.

Final Verdict: B-

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