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Old 07-17-2012, 06:39 PM   #1
igliashon
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Default Harvester Brewing Co.

I just got a shipment from LetsPour.com of beer from Harvester Brewing Co. (yeah, you can mail-order them!). Lots of excitement to get a variety of beers--pale ale, red ale, dark ale, raspberry ale--brewed with oats, chestnuts, and sorghum and lots of northwest hops, so I couldn't help but crack a pale ale even though it's only 11:30 AM here.

My expectations were really high, but I'm sad to say...I'm quite underwhelmed. There's a weird starchy mouthfeel to it, and it's suuuuper dry. The hop profile is pretty underwhelming, more earthy and herbal than bright and citrusy. There's definitely a more "beery" taste to it, but there's also some odd notes of tobacco, and the sorghum twang is in full effect. My homebrew is much better, which is both disappointing and comforting. Disappointing, because I wanted to believe there was much better out there, but comforting because it means if I ever get a brewery off the ground, my competition isn't setting the bar very high.

But then, I haven't cracked the other varieties yet. I'll post here with updates as I do.

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Old 07-17-2012, 07:06 PM   #2
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interesting....I have found that same issue also with other commercial breweries... The first one that comes to mind is Shipyard....Seems like every one of their beers is a diacetyl factory....just slick butter all day....Their IPA is barely drinkable IMHO, the hops mask a lot of the funk in it...I bought a sampler and ended up choking down 1 of each style (IPA, Pale Ale, Old Thumper, and one more i cannot remember). They then sat in my kegorator door for months until one by one over time guests drank them.

But I understand exactly what you mean, IF/When I launch Knucklehead some of the big boys set the bar low, but other set it very high!

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Old 07-18-2012, 02:11 AM   #3
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yup

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Old 07-18-2012, 03:57 PM   #4
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Tried the red ale last night with the girlfriend. A little better, but not much. I'm wondering if they actually mash the oats and chestnuts, or just steep them...by the taste I'd guess the latter, because these beers are really starchy and dry. The hop bitterness is a bit rough and does not feel balanced by any malty sweetness. Neither of us finished our glass, which really says something because I spent $100 on these two cases of beer, i.e. about $8.50 a bottle, which is really expensive even for GF beer. I'm afraid I'm gonna have to give away the rest of the pales and reds...hopefully the dark ale and raspberry ale are better! Dammit, this is really disappointing, I feel bad that I have to give these guys a bad review, as they're clearly really trying to make a quality product...but yeesh, I'm doing way better with just extracts, honey, and candi syrup! I really wonder how much R&D these guys did before launching the business?

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Old 07-19-2012, 05:21 AM   #5
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I bought a few bottles when I was in Portland and the red was decent.

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Old 07-19-2012, 05:43 AM   #6
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Not a big fan gluten free but there is a new line from widmer that i have been seeing around Portland lately. It is called omission, i am sure you have tried it. The nice thing about it is that it is still made with barley, but they remove all the proteins necessary to make it gluten free. I actually don't mind their lager.... Definitely worth a shot if you haven't tried it yet.

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Old 07-19-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
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I've posted about Omission before...it gives me a reaction after 2 beers, and the pale ale is not very good at all anyway (I prefer New Planet or St. Peter's).

The only gluten-free beer I've ever had that I can honestly say I'd be proud of if I brewed it myself was from Deschutes, but it's only available in their brewpub. Judging by the provided ingredients list--"Brown Rice, Sorghum, and Dark Candy Sugar. Hopped with Nugget, Centennial, Cascade, and Citra hops"--it's just about exactly how I brew pale ales anyway, though I haven't yet settled on a hop schedule.

To continue with Harvester: I tried the dark ale last night. It's the best of the bunch so far, but it's got an unpleasantly-sharp roastiness and a very dry finish, and the color makes it look more like a brown ale than a stout. The aroma is much better, though, making me think that roast chestnuts might be a worthwhile ingredient in gluten-free stouts. However, I still couldn't finish a glass, and compared to my own "No-Nonsense Oatmeal Stout", mine is orders of magnitude better.

All that's left is the raspberry ale...will that one win me back? We'll see....

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Old 07-25-2012, 04:40 AM   #8
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Tried the Harvester Raspberry Ale tonight...these guys are 0 for 4, I'm afraid. Lots of friends over tonight, and no one would finish it. If this is what chestnut beers taste like, I'm staying the heck away from chestnuts! I guess the dark-roasted chestnuts might have a place in a stout, but yeesh, the lighter beers are just not doing it for me. Every Harvester beer I've opened, I've had to pour out after a few sips. I don't think I've ever been so disappointed.

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Old 07-25-2012, 04:50 AM   #9
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Truly sad day when you have to pour out beer.

Sorry to hear.

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Old 07-25-2012, 01:43 PM   #10
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The worst part is I still have a fridge full of 'em! I'm gonna open another round to take pictures of 'em for my blog later, but they're probably fated for the drain, too.

I'm just glad I didn't make a pilgrimage to Portland for the sole sake of loading up a case of their beer! I was strongly considering it, so I guess I dodged a bullet there.

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