ChadPolenz (1677) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - APR 3, 2010
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 Seasonal autumn beers usually fall into two categories: Octoberfest beers (or at least those based on the style) and [nut] brown ales. Usually a beer in the former style will incorporate that into its name, but beers of the latter style often try to have catchy or gimmicky names, such as Red Hook Late Harvest Autumn Ale. Clearly, this is an attempt at making a weak brown ale cheap enough to sell on the mass market while also appealing to casual and serious drinkers alike. However, I just wasnít sold.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
This beer poured surprisingly rough, but has a beautiful shade of copper/burnt umber, clear complexion. Only a minor amount of carbonation was noticeable. The head was a small, off-white and soapy which didnít last long, but did leave quite a lot of lacing on the glass, surprisingly. The smell was faint and unremarkable for the most part with only weak traces of malt and a tiny amount of roasty qualities detectable.
English-style brown ale is one of my favorite types of beer, but when an American brewer attempts to turn the style into a limited seasonal it seems the result is more often miss than hit. Late Harvest Autumn Ale definitely has all the usual signs of a brown ale, but they are very subtle and would be virtually unnoticeable to the casual drinker. For a more experience drinker, I was wondering why the so-called roasty, nutty qualities were so weak. Caramel malts are used to brew this beer, but they were equally weak.
The best way to describe the taste of this beer would be to take just a good brown ale and water it down. Yes, it does retain the basic elements of this niche style (which most beer drinkers really appreciate and enjoy), but without the strength of a true craft beer.
Since the beerís taste is so mild, it really doesnít surprise me Late Harvest Autumn Ale has such a soft mouthfeel and finishes so smooth. Since this former micro brewery is now owned and operated by Anheuser-Busch, it doesnít surprise me a pseudo craft ale such as this might be watery in order to make it more drinker-friendly.
If I beer is going to have a taste like this (i.e. very mild), why have such a heavy body? At 5.9% ABV and 190 calories per bottle, Late Harvest Autumn Ale is quite a heavy body. Yet it seems to be marketed towards a drinker looking for something tasty for session drinking. The three bottles I drank more than filled me up. They definitely satisfied my body, but not my palate.
When American macro breweries attempt to cash in on seasonals or niche brewing styles the result, more often than not, is a let down. Red Hook Late Harvest Autumn Ale comes really close to being what itís trying to be, but this discerning drinker just wasnít buying it.
philbertk (1873) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAR 23, 2010
3.2 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: JUL 30, 2010 Red Hook Ale Brewery, Inc.--Late Harvest Autumn Ale--2008 12 oz. Bottle. 5.90% ABV--32 IBUís. (4.15 / 5.0) Dense rich mild lace head. Clear thin bright rich amber color. Mild hop malt caramel toffee hint front. Crisp mild tangy crusty toasted caramel mild sweet cloying body. Balanced hop spice lingering malt cisp clean satisfying end. Malty Marzen Ale. Sampled 8/5/2008. 6-Pack $6.99.
Red Hook Ale Brewery, Inc.--Late Harvest Autumn Ale--2010 12 oz. Bottle. 5.90% ABV. 32 IBUís. (3.5 / 5.0) Amber Ale--Fest. Lacy off white foamy light head. Clear thin bright rich fall amber color. Mild floral malt hop front. Mild sweet toasted caramel malt smooth black cherry dough hint body. Clean mild hop smooth lingering toasted malt end. Evokes Fall with Color & Flavor. A touch Bland? Sampled 7/30/2010. 6-Pack $8.49.
Red Hook Ale Brewery, Inc.--Late Harvest Autumn Ale--2009 12 oz. Bottle. 5.90% ABV--32 IBUís. (4.2 / 5.0) Amber Ale--Fest. Rich lacy dense off white head. Fizzy clear thin bright dark amber color. Toasted bread mild hop malty front. Crisp toasted caramel smooth mild sweet zesty malty mild fruit bread crust Fest Ale body. Crisp mild hop spice cloying toasted end. Satisfying. Sampled 8/5/2009. 6-Pack $6.99.
SudsMcDuff (7976) - .....Manchester United.........., Texas, USA - MAR 9, 2010
2.6 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 14/20
You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why donít you - why donít you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe youíre afraid to.
Beerona97 (2398) - Washington, USA - JAN 15, 2010
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours clear orange with a frothy white head. Aroma of caramel, apple, biscuit and smells like a Marzen. Taste is roast malt and caramel. Smooth rich texture and mild carbonation.
bb (8506) - Alamo, California, USA - DEC 1, 2009
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Draft. Amber beer with an off-white head. Light hop and malt aroma. Caramel and sweet malt flavor with some earthiness and light hops. Medium bodied. Sweet malt lingers with some caramel.
BroSpud (2039) - , Massachusetts, USA - NOV 23, 2009
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
12oz bottle. Not so sure about this one. Pours a nice dark amber. Taste is sweet and citrusy but not very exciting. meh
yemenmocha (659) - Glendale, Arizona, USA - NOV 20, 2009
1.9 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 5/20
Pours golden colour with a suggestion of amber. Beautiful white head is thick, rocky, and leaves plenty of lace. Appearance is clearly the best feature of this ale. Nose is tepid with some faint caramel and light hops. This beer is incredibly watery and light on the palate. Thereís a sweet fruity flavor (apricot?), light malt, and light bitterness. Easy to drink, but only because it is so watery.
ilovedarkbeer (2701) - Arlington, Virginia, USA - NOV 17, 2009
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Pours and orangy color similar to Oktoberfest marzen beers. Small off white head on top. Very one dimensional flavors. Biscuits, burnt toast, brown sugar, and husky grains. Watery mouthfeel. Not terrible but bland and boring.
bitbucket (2165) - Kirkland, Washington, USA - OCT 27, 2009
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Pours clear orange amber with a thick pale orange head. Noble hop aroma with a bit of citrus. Taste of toffee and citrus.
osu97gp (678) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - OCT 24, 2009
2.6 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Pours a slightly cloudy copper color with a white head. Not much of an aroma. Some hops and malts. Flavor is of caramel and malts and is pretty sweet. Not horrible.