J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask) - J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd

Not Rated.
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

397 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 397
Reviews: 220
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 13.58%
Wants: 28
Gots: 75 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rhoadsrage on 06-23-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 397 | Reviews: 220 | Display Reviews Only:
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Photo of Doppelbockulus
4.9/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I wish I could review the 2008 and 2006 vintages separately since the scores are different.

This particular one is the 2008 Vintage.

Color is a coppery amber with sediment and no head. Slight haze that is a 1 or 2 on a 10 scale.

Smell includes honey, raisins, port, and candied fruit. amazing smell.

Tastes of fruits and vegetables, specifically apples, grapes, pomegranate, carrots, and celery. The after taste is similar to sweet vegetables and fine cheese. 3 years and a few months is great for this beer, this on one of the greatest flavors I have found in a beer.

Creamy feel in the mouth. Very smooth and a little like port.

And here is the 2006 Vintage.

Wonderful ruby amber color. It is clear with light bubbling. (5)

The smell is an amazing combination of roses, caramel, dark fruit jam, and apple pie. This is my favorite in terms of smell. (5)

Taste isn't as good as the 2008 vintage, but it is still great. Flavor i fruity and vegetabley. It isn't sweet like fruit, the fruit is dry, it is sweet like caramelized vegetables or caramelized fruits, a darker sweetness. There seems to be some pear, celery, raisins, and sweet bread crust from the malt that still comes through. (4)

Feels like a very smooth brandy, watery. Only faintly tingly, and there is an illusion of fruit skins. (4)

4.5 overall for the 2006 vintage, which is more appropriately a rating for a 5 to 6 year aged one.

This is very good but 2008 was better, seems like 3 to 4 years is perfect....but that is judging from only two data points so far. I still have more setting and waiting.

Photo of santoslhalper
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearence: Pours an attractive dark ruby/copper w tih a very thin off-white head the dissapears quickly. Perfectly clear.

Smell: The smell honeslty reminds me of a very complex, sweet and intriguing mix of a dry, red wine and sweet, malty beer. Brilliant!

Taste and Mouthfeel: From the second it hits your mouth you know it's going to be an intense experience. Immediate sweetness melding quickly into an oak/wood feel, mixed with caramel, vinous, chocolate, vanilla, and nutty notes, then ends with a huge finish of malty sweetness, barleywine alcohol, and wonderful cask tastes. Marvelous. The mouthfeel is full and chewy, not cloying.

Drinkability and Overall: I've been through a bit of a rough spell that past couple of weeks. Things haven't quite been turing out the best for me. Tonight I was in particularly low spirits, and I figured it was time to hit something special. This was it. Perfect tasting beer beyond all aspects of what I know beer to be. My favorite beers are the over-the-top beers that can still be delicious, complex and balanced. And this one fits the bill perfectly. Some breweries go too far in "pushing the envelope", but this one is a standard to which American brewers should look up to. Ale in it's perfect form.

Photo of trh70
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! Truly one of the best beers I have ever had. Saw this at Total Wine. Pulled out my phone, came here to check it out. Bought 6 bottles of the 2008 based on what others had said.
Am I glad I did. This beer is unlike no other.

A: Golden brown in color with a small white head that quickly faded.

S: Caramel, toffee, apples.

T: Caramel, toffee, apples and a hint of lemon zest. Mildly sweet.

M: Coats the tongue like honey.

O: Amazing beer. Tomorrow I will be going back to buy the other 6 bottles. This is not a everyday drinking beer, or one to have with a meal. This is a beer where you put some rhythmic mood music on, turn down the lights, sip and savor. Enjoy every nounce of the beer.

Photo of GClarkage
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

03/22/09- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 9.3oz bottle, vinatge 2004 poured into my JW Lees glass.

Appearance- Lighter colored caramel colored pour. 1/4 inch head with a light rim of foam. Light lace patches left behind.

Smell- The norm of dark fruits, raisins and figs. Sugary spice, a touch of alcohol and some caramel of course.

Taste- Really similar to the sherry cask one I had last night. Only a bit if barrel flavoring was the difference..and that was minimal. Strong sweet caramel flavor with dark fruits mingling around. Light alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel- Nice and thick, very smooth and dessert-like. Creamy as well. Lowest carbonation of the bunch.

Drinkability- The best of the bunch I have had so far. Overall the smoothest and best flavors.

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok so...I found my new favorite beer. Here it is. J.W. Lees Harvest Ale Matured in Calvados Casks. I must admit, after purchasing the bottle I had to look up what "Calvados" was. I had my reservations about this one but was blown away and needless to say, plesantly surprised.

12 oz. bottle poured into a wine glass.

A- Beautiful glowing amber tan color. Creamy succulent rich head. When swirled around in my glass a beautiful blanket coats my beer perfectly.

S- Sweet apple cider. Oak and vanilla. Maybe some maple syrup. Sugary sweet and tart nose.

T- Lucious. Pruney. Fresh vanilla. Tart applie. Caramel. Sugar. Dark fruits. All wrapped into one, not missing a beat.

M- Velvety smooth, savory, and so beautiful. Nice body. Very appropriate.

D- D is for dangerous in this instance. I want more, NOW. And I want some cheese to go with it. This is heaven in a bottle. Absolutely in love with this beer. Big time winner.

Photo of putnam
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I remember first tasting Legends' Alba Scots Pine Ale and wondering where the spruce flavor was. Now it is not to be missed.

This beer's Calvados barrel-schooling also results in enigmatic flavor from the bottle. There is no doubt apple brandy left its mark, only it is a transparent, bitter apple flavor - sort of like what cherries are to Luxardo. I find these Lees products hold up very well for several days after opening. Treat it like a good, dry Sack - served after meals, with a blunt. It dries out and smoothes out.

A gutsy, sticky froth occurs when freshly uncapped and poured. The heady aromas are of apple seeds and skins combined with Spanish solera brandy and raw dough notes. On the palate it expands with a molten glacial texture to reveal flavors of charred pineapple, caramel, intensely bitter tannins and gum.

I suspect this, together with the Sherry Barrel selection, will age the longest of the series due to a healthier balance of acidity.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

9.3 oz. bottle, 2008 Edition

A: Pours brown with a soft white head, nice looking, nothing special.

S: Sweet English malt, caramel and apple cider. Like the best apple pie you ever smelled.

T: Delicious, simply delicious. Caramel malt, good amount of residual sugar in there. Maple syrup type notes, hints of wood and the true green apple/Calvados just brings it all together. The flavours are just beautifully integrated, this is why I love English Barleywine.

M: Gorgeous full-bodied mouthfeel, silky easy smoothness, soft carbonation.

D: If one can not tell already, I loved this beer. Everything came together on this one. Wish I had more to age, but I don't think I'd be able to keep my hands off them. Grab a wedge of Stilton and go to heaven.

Photo of blakesell
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed straight from the firkin at Gravity Head in New Albany, IN. 2006 vintage on this cask, poured into a 10oz. glass.

Appearance- Hazy and tan-orange with no head at all. No lacing to be found. Looks to be entirely flat showing no indication of its power.

Smell- Rich and creamy buttery brown sugar with no hops. Cinnamon, sugar, toasted bread, cocoa, hints of licorice. This thing smells luscious. It doesn't even smell like beer. No real Calvados scent either. It actually smells more like a sweet buttery breakfast pastry.

Taste- Oh, my, Gawd. This thing is magic. Malt gives way to cream, hot chocolate, hazelnuts, rhubarb? No. Cherries, more like dark cherries. Sweet maple syrup. Christmas cookies, complete with frosting. Like God is rubbing my tummy.

Mouthfeel- Sticky, thick, and not carbonated. This elixir was intended for the gods but somehow got to me instead. Warming, but the beer hides that warmth and makes you want more.

Drinkability- If I could give this drinkability a 9 out of 5, I would still be giving this beer a lower score than it deserves credit for. No traces of the power of this monster. I could drink this until I die and be happy about it.

Photo of Roman5150
4.78/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

bottle into tulip

appearance: murky brown/amber with some sediment on the bottom, very slight white head

smell: calvados casks, dark fruits, figs, nuts, apple/pear, oak, roasted notes, sweet

taste: very sweet, lots of cask flavor, also getting some subtle roasted notes, hazelnut, apple, oak, and vanilla on the backend. Alcohol is pleasantly disguised by the sweetness and smoothness for this beer. Wow the aging really makes this super mellow for the ABV.

mouthfeel: low to medium carbonation, medium-full bodied

overall: This is a special occasion beer given the price, but wow does this impress. So smooth, it's not often you can find beer aged for several years at my local stores. The calvados casks really come through on this one and create a truly flavorful, balanced, amazingly smooth beer. Will buy again, if you like any sort of oak, bourbon, or other barrel aged beer, you will absolutely love this.

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
90 out of 100 based on 397 ratings.