J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask) - J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
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Ratings: 379 | Reviews: 219 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by everetends:
4.45/5 rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
3/3 10/12 18/20 4/5 9/10 2008
My buddy and I got a little carried away on Vintage Night at the Brick Store Pub in Atlanta. We started ordering off the vintage menu, but a lot of them had already gone dry so we turned our attention to the J.W. Lees Cask Series. The bottle was served up in a glass I am not familiar with. It could be tulip but the bulb is much more squat and the lip is very exaggerated. 2008 vintage that ran $15 a bottle (yikes!).
A: Pouring the bottle into the glass, it builds a body that is honey in color, giving off light browns and darker yellows/oranges in color. The body is crystal clear. Bit of a surprise, wonder if it was filtered? It bubbled up a little, and thin line of foam that barely covered the top of the body. It was gone rather quickly, but it was somewhat expected since this is an aged BW.
S: Smells like a damned fine BW. The most prevalent aroma was one from my youth and it took me forever to figure out what it was. Candied apples is what finally came to mind. Caramel presence as well. Good amount of wood and and some honey as well. Alcohol brings a bit of heat to the aroma but a pleasant and complimenting one. Smells great.
T: Just more goodness if you ask me. Just a nice caramel/candied apple flavor comes across first and foremost. It isn't crazy sweet like a caramel apple but it has a wonderful richness and sweetness about it. The wood character mixed with the alcohol, kind of brings out a very light whiskey/bourbon presence at times. Caramel malts are in full effect here but the apple brandy Calvados notes (I had no fuggin idea what Calvados was before this beer) really do a great job of cutting the sweetness somehow. Touch of spice rounds things off, I imagine stemming from the hops. Just fantastic.
M: Just what you expect from a J.W. Lee's BW. Full bodied with a wonderful creaminess, viscosity, and thickness. It coats the mouth wonderfully. Carbonation is incredibly light and the ABV just brings a light, slow burn at times. Aftertaste is that wonderful caramel apple flavor.
D: Uh . . . this is probably the easiest drinking really sweet beer I have ever had. It just has this incredible smoothness to it for a beer that has these wonderfully good sweet notes to it. It was impressive from start to finish and I would love to see what some age would do to this beer. Damned nice and so happy I decide to blow a stupid amount of money on this little beer. :) Get you some.
Serving Type: Other Vessel Type: Tulip Price:$15.00
Serving type: bottle
05-23-2010 22:52:41 | More by everetends
More User Reviews:
4.14/5 rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Poured from the 9.3 ounce bottle into a teku glass. Brewed in 2006
The pour produces absolutely no head, and the liquid flows from the bottle like thick maple syrup, at least in color and appearance. The body is repleted with floating yeast that muddies it's dark copper and brown color. Carbonation bubbles stick to the sides of the glass and occasionally work their way upwards. This is by no means a pretty looking beer.
Oak and sherry dominate the aroma. In a blind test, I'd be forgiven for thinking this was a sherry or port. Beneath the sharp spicy pungent smell lies a sweet, caramel-like character.
My first taste of the beer seems to not offer much in the way of variation from the nose---there's still strong oaken and sherry notes---but the back of my palate gets a blast of caramel and chocolate. The chocolate flavor is rich and lingers on the tongue. Some warming does wonders for this beer too as I start to get a smoky, tobacco-like taste that is quite agreeable.
This drinks like a port or sherry, thick, viscous, almost syrupy. There's not a sign of carbonation and the liquid coats the tongue and seems to stick there. Many of the flavors linger towards the finish.
This is mighty tasty as it warms up. I really enjoyed it and appreciated that I could slowly sip it like a harder liquor, savoring it for over an hour.
Serving type: bottle
06-25-2014 04:14:00 | More by ONovoMexicano
4.35/5 rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
A - Almost no head. Light murky brown
S - Raisins, sour grapes, whiskey, smoke, Carmel.
T - Sweet, smokey, whiskey, sour, vanilla, oak...
O - Great beer. Glad some of my BA friends.got me to start trying more Barleywines and other strong\old ales. Prost!
Serving type: bottle
06-02-2014 21:41:35 | More by Bowers-Brew
4.19/5 rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Appearance- Received with a finger's worth of head which looks to have good retention. The head is a pure cotton white while the body is a hazy (almost chunky) pale to medium amber that appears as a pale amber in the light. No lacing is left behind.
Nose- Started off with a good amount of peaches and other fruit notes (light citrus, other stone fruits) and some white grapes. Not exactly what I expect from an English Barleywine but this was aged on Calvados casks and I certainly get that. Some apple to the nose as well. Some toffee, caramel, and vanilla starts to appear in the background as the fruit esters begin to fade. However, the fruit (especially stone fruits) make a comeback later.
Taste- Starts off with a mouthful of the fruit notes of the nose and moves into caramel and toffee which then transition into pine and resin and hints of smoke. Not your typical English Barleywine but this definitely an interesting beer with a good amount of complexity. Lots of apple that seems to coat the entire flavor profile. Nice oak from the cask on the finish. Not as heavy as a lot of English Barleywines; it seems a bit like a barrel aged quad that doesn't have an over insistence on lemon. The Calvados is definitely a good touch to such an iconic barleywine as it takes it in a different direction that is equally enjoyable. Lots of white grape gives this a vinosity that promotes its accessibility and drinkability. Notes of honey, caramel, and toffee blend in perfectly with the fruit esters and the slight kiss of oak gives a smokiness which is the perfect finish for this beer. I think age has done a lot for this beer as its integration is astounding. I prefer more traditional English Barleywines but this is incredibly enjoyable nonetheless. Really good to great beer with an inclination toward being a great beer. This seems to be worthy of the price that I'm sure its vintage commands. Maybe a little sweet- could be a great desert beer. Has tendencies toward a liqueur. This beer almost cleans up in each department and falls just short of being great in my mind.
Mouthfeel- A little more than medium bodied with light carbonation that makes it seem even thicker. Perfect compliment to the flavor profile.
Drinkability- This is a scary beer. I really don't get any of the 11.5%- maybe a little bit on the finish but not really. 5 bucks for a 6 oz pour might seem steep but the prices in the bottle seem higher. I would get this again at this price.
Overall- Almost a great beer. I love the way the Calvados pervades every aspect of this beer but still allows the subtle complexity of the other notes to come through. Definitely worth a try and something I would buy again.
Serving type: on-tap
04-28-2014 22:19:23 | More by artoolemomo
4.29/5 rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
2011 vintage on tap at APEX bar, Portland.
A - Glows golden orange. Could almost be sherry occupying my glass. Head vanishes, leaving no trace.
S - Apple infused brandy on the nose. Apricot and peach accompany. Sweet and surprisingly fruity. Heather honey and a little apple juice sourness.
T - Sweet caramelised apples underpinned by a thin layer of malt. Delicious flavours, if fairly straightforward. Not much dark fruit or wood characteristic.
M - Lightly carbonated. Syrupy but it's not in your face. Dangerously drinkable; 11.5% is nowhere to be seen.
O - This beer comes together excellently and I consider it greater than the sum of its parts. Lovely, sweet and smooth.
Serving type: on-tap
04-21-2014 02:24:23 | More by abeeronthebeach
3.85/5 rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
9.3oz bottle. Pours a brownish burnt caramel with a small slowly fading white head with some lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt, yeast, light citrus notes up front that give way to a sweet dark fruit and figs and a sweet alcohol essence. Taste is sweet caramel malt, yeast, dark fruit, figs, brown sugar with some barrel aged woody and calvados notes and mild bitterness. A medium bodied. smooth and slightly creamy mouth feel on the palate with light carbonation. Finished with a sweet caramel malt, dark fruits, figs, brown sugar, ending has a lingering sweet caramel, figs and aged woody flavor. This is not an overly sweet and cloying drink.Overall a fairly smooth, flavorful, palatable and enjoyable after dinner drink.
Serving type: bottle
03-30-2014 18:05:42 | More by Samp01
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
91 out of 100 based on 379 ratings.