I thought I would give a quick post on Founders' heavily sought after Harvest Ale. This is one of Founders' great seasonal beers, a grouping that includes the Backwoods Bastard, Breakfast Stout, and Cerise, among others. My local liquor store only received one case of it and was limiting it to 1 bottle each for preferred customers, of which I was thankfully considered one. I decided to launch into this one the day that I bought it.
I gave a high profile treatment to this one. I poured it into an English style 16 ounce pint glass. My desire was to give this a chance to express its nose. I knew that it would have some serious hoppiness going on, as it's described as a wet hop ale with 70 IBUs. The hops made their presence felt in the nose for certain. It has a light mouthfeel with perhaps a bit more body than a lager, but not as much as you would think. I would describe the flavor as chewy, oily, fleshy hops of the citrus variety. The bitterness sneaks up on you, but turns more harsh at the end. Malts are suppressed but present, providing a softer backbone.
Overall, this is another great Founders beer but I would not call it special or something you should spend a lot of effort seeking out. Port's High Tide Fresh Hop IPA is much more available and compares favorably. Harvest Ale has the sharper bite to it, but the Fresh Hop IPA offered a more powerful nose.
I rate this as 4.5 of 5 stars. A beer of serious quality that's fit for the serious beer drinkers. Don't waste it on your amateurish friends who are still drinking Foster's cans.