Nuts in Your Beer
A Review of Pecan Harvest Ale by Abita Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/30/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
Every now and then as a reviewer, I come across a beer that leaves me torn. One side of me is nothing more than a fan of a great tasting beer, while the other side of me is forced to look at beer as a reviewer or some type of critic. I can find myself liking a beer but when I go to write about it or grade it I have guidelines that I always try to adhere to. If the beer calls itself a certain style, I try to grade it as such regardless of if I like how it tastes or not. And sometimes the exact opposite happens. I'll find a beer that I personally don't like the taste of, but as far as the style goes, it can grade pretty high. This was the case recently at the World Beer Fest when I decided to try the Pecan Harvest Ale by Abita Brewing Company.

When I got it in my glass, the Pecan Harvest had a clear golden brown coloration to it, with a minimal head that didn't leave much lacing at all. Now it should be no surprise to anyone that with a name like Pecan Harvest, the first smell I got was roasted pecans. This was the first instant where the beer started to tear at me. I personally like pecans. I can eat them by the handful. But where I normally love a good roasted nut flavor in a stout or porter and in some cases, yes even a brown, something about a pecan flavor and smell in a brown ale started to play with my brain. I tried to push past it and find some other aromas, and after a few minutes I was able to find a bit of a light caramel malt layer, and even some brown sugar notes bouncing around. Again, my brain was not wanting to accept the pecan in there, but I pushed forth anyway.

The first taste was a bit of a surprise for me. I instantly was able to pick out the caramel malts, even before I could pick up on the pecan. My head relaxed a bit at this point, and let me start to actually enjoy the beer. The light mouthfeel and lively carbonation, along with the creamy caramel and light brown sugar notes were very good for a brown ale. And then all of a sudden it hit me. The pecan flavor came through in a bit of an oily sense, and it didn't work for me personally. It was almost a bit of a shock because the beer was going so well up to that point. There was a bit of a floral hops taste at the end, but I wasn't able to enjoy it due to the pecan flavor lingering around past its welcome point for me.

So here I sit, as I mentioned earlier, torn. Do I grade this beer based on my personal tastes or based on what it says it is and the criteria reserved for its claimed style? I once again will defer to the latter. Based on what it claims to be, Abita Brewing Company has made a pretty decent brown ale with a twist. The Pecan Harvest is exactly what it claims to be. A brown ale flavored with pecans. I can't in good conscience rip it for not being pleasing to my own personal palate. Now as far as recommendations go, I would say its worth a spin for anyone. I don't know that I would seek it out, but if you were about and saw it, give it a whirl. Just keep in mind that the pecan flavor and aroma is pretty prevalent throughout this one. And as the old saying goes, sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you dont. Before you try it, be sure you feel like that nut.

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Pecan Harvest Ale by Abita Brewing Co.
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