1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

390 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 390
Reviews: 220
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 13.58%
Wants: 27
Gots: 71 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 390 | Reviews: 220 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of artoolemomo
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

artoolemomo, Apr 28, 2014
Photo of KJ2013
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

KJ2013, Apr 27, 2014
Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.29/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

abeeronthebeach, Apr 21, 2014
Photo of ScottP
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

ScottP, Apr 21, 2014
Photo of Adavar
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Adavar, Apr 18, 2014
Photo of anteater
2/5  rDev -50.6%

anteater, Apr 14, 2014
Photo of Jordy777
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Jordy777, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of Samp01
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Samp01, Mar 30, 2014
Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

afsdan, Mar 28, 2014
Photo of polishkaz
4/5  rDev -1.2%

polishkaz, Mar 20, 2014
Photo of Hellpop65
3/5  rDev -25.9%

Hellpop65, Mar 02, 2014
Photo of PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

PEIhop, Feb 26, 2014
Photo of davidwhatshisnam
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

davidwhatshisnam, Feb 26, 2014
Photo of Drknight
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Drknight, Feb 25, 2014
Photo of brianmandell
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

brianmandell, Feb 24, 2014
Photo of kwkurdziel
4/5  rDev -1.2%

kwkurdziel, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of nosavingsaccount
4/5  rDev -1.2%

nosavingsaccount, Feb 11, 2014
Photo of mweso2000
4/5  rDev -1.2%

mweso2000, Jan 29, 2014
Photo of gratefulbeerhead
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

gratefulbeerhead, Jan 29, 2014
Photo of drew74
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

drew74, Jan 17, 2014
Photo of Sludgeman
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage. Poured into chalice.

I am a big fan of the Harvest Ales. This is a port disguised as a beer. A big smooth beer with layered flavors. This vintage did not seem to age well as it had some oxidation flavor/cardboard in the finish. Be careful of the bottle sediment. I look forward to having a more recent vintage or trying another 2006 (maybe this was stored improperly). 4.0

A – Poured a clear light amber (I did pour the sediment into the glass). No head. No lacing. No alcohol legs to speak of. 3.75

S – Sweet, dark fruits, molasses, VERY port-like. No hops. Some alcohol but not solventy. Some cardboard. 4.5

T – Rich, sweet and caramel. Port wine like qualities, but not to the extent that one would expect based on the aroma. No apples as might be expected as the nose portends. 3.75

MF – Syrupy, smooth and coating. Full bodied with some brandy bite in the finish. 4.25

Sludgeman, Jan 07, 2014
Photo of iatethecloudsfor
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

iatethecloudsfor, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of DIM
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 version

a: Hazy, peachy golden color; served with a small fizzy cap.

s: Sugary, stewed fruit; tart apple; brandy; just a touch of wood.

t: Sweet and boozy overall, with just enough tart fruit and woodiness to keep this from being obnoxious. Mellow brandy blankets everything. The fruit flavors are at once sweet and tea like. Long, lingering sugary brandy booziness.

m: Sticky and syrupy.

o: Easily my favorite J.W. Lees.

DIM, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of jhlosito75
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

jhlosito75, Dec 20, 2013
Photo of Slatetank
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed a full pour of this for the Christmas event at Hunger & Thirst, served chilled in a snifter.

the color is cherry red with golden hues with head that comes and recedes to a ring of beads. The smell is very vinous, lots of apple skin tart berry-like fruity yeast esters and mild sweet odors from malt with gentle alcohol in the nose. The feel is great, good body with slight tanginess of yeast and mild malt sweetness with extremely low alcohol influence and the strong ale finishes dry with crisp carbonation level for the high strength.

The flavor of brandy is apparent right away with some woody tannic flavors and light berry-like tangy fruit with a mix of spice and oak adding to the light caramel and malt with slight vanilla earthy character. The vinous flavor is there with subtle alcohol making for a splendid barleywine. Overall I had a hard time keeping myself from downing this it is so flavorful, however it evolves as it warms and opens up to an even more complex strong ale over the course of tasting when it nears cellar temps-worth every cent a truly remarkable beer.

Slatetank, Dec 15, 2013
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
90 out of 100 based on 390 ratings.