Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Founders Harvest Ale - Gus #18

In keeping with the fresh or wet hopped IPA theme that I've just decided to do this week, I'm going to review Founders Harvest Ale today.  This is a brew that they take fresh whole-cone hops and use them to add aroma and flavor.  They do this as apposed to dry or pellet hops.  It really brings in the freshness aspect even more to the brews.  I've become a big fan of this style and look for them, as long as they are fresh, anywhere I go.  This is a pretty highly touted example from one of my favorite breweries.  Let's see how it does in today's review.

How it rates with others:

YouTube Review:
Joseph via Proper Hops

ratebeer review:

Information from the Founders website:
"This liquid dream pours a hazy golden straw color with a white, two-finger head.  Your first sip rewards you with a super juicy hop presence bursting with fresh citrus, then finishes to introduce toasted malt undertones."

ABV:  6.5%
IBUs:  70
Availability:  October

I poured this brew into my stemmed Jester King glass.  This is a new glass for me and I really like it for IPAs/Pale Ales and Stouts.

Appearance:  A good, solid finger of a bright white head came from the pour.  Mostly small bubbles but some larger ones mixed in to give it that fizzy, soapy look.  It does have some haze to it.  Clear around the edges with the haze covering the body.  Golden in color almost the straw yellow color.  Really light in color for an IPA.  Not a ton of carbonation streaming up the glass but there is a little bit.  Decent lacing but nothing really heavy.  All-in-all a good looking brew.

Aroma:   First initial sniff yielded really piney notes.  Like fresh pine needles or a fresh green pine cone.  Citrus notes followed after, mostly grapefruit with a little lemon zest.  Starts to give off some of those dank, wet grass type aromas.  Some other earthy/grassy notes in there too.  This brew is tropical, piney and earthy all in one.  Really nice aroma.  Don't really have to dig through it much.  It puts everything right out there.

Taste:  Hops hit your right in the front like you put a handful of fresh pine needles in your mouth.  Pine resin qualities just coat the mouth.  Then mid palate it brings in the citrus and juicy flavors.  Grapefruit and orange with a hint of lemon zest.  Maybe something like lemon grass.  You do get kind of that wet grass earthy taste in there as well.  Malt sweetness comes through with a little bit of caramel and it really has a cracker type flavor to it.  Very similar to Victory's Hop Devil in that aspect.  Good carbonation in the mouth with a medium mouthfeel.  Aftertaste is more hop bitterness that fades into a solid sweetness just before it disappears.  Super drinkable and refreshing.

Verdict:  Really one of the most refreshing IPAs I've had in a long time.  I could drink this one as a session beer I'm pretty sure.  I'm really starting to like these fresh/wet hop brews.  This one just has every aspect of an IPA nailed down.  Then the wet hopping gives it a super big juiciness that is amazingly good.  It's not very dry finishing but it's not too sticky in the mouth either.  If you can get this one I'd say pick it up and give it a try.  The fresher the better.  End of November it may start to fade some but still worth a try if for some reason it is still sitting on the shelf.  I'm going to give Founders Harvest Ale an A.  It's super solid and holds it's own.  For pairings I'm going to say this would be perfect to pour yourself after you have finished that last yard day for the year.  Maybe fix some Cajun seasoned fish with some steamed vegetables.  That would go together nicely.  Really anything spicy would work well.

Let me know if you have had this one from Founders.  It is limited in availability as far as distribution and only being available for one month..  It's also a great one to try if you haven't had a wet/fresh hopped IPA yet.  Remember to comment, subscribe and follow!  Thanks for reading!