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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

353 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 353
Reviews: 205
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 49
Gots: 80 | FT: 5
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:
Beer added by: Dantes on 05-07-2004

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 353 | Reviews: 205
Reviews by olympuszymurgus:
Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells of deep fruits, sweet tropical sugar, herbs, dirt, banana. Pours a slightly cloudy amber honey, white head that drops fast and leaves a nearly still looking glass. Taste is light and sweet, some oxidation and sherry notes, a bit of vanilla and a cinnamon spice. The port and oak are coming across as a light vinous flavor and a bright sweetness. Over all a sprightly but low carbonation in the thick body, damn fine.

I dig it. A fine brew from the fine folks of Manchester.

More User Reviews:
Photo of kaimcm
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle edition 2004 poured into St Berny goblet

A: rich brown, almost turning to amber body, creamy whipped egg white head. dissipates quickly, no surprise however at 11.5 % ABV. this beer has a lot of mystique to me and it even looks like a piece of history in my goblet.

S: decadent malt, carmelized sugar, raisons, vanilla, oak, and buttery cream. slight alcohol burn in the nose, gets stronger as the beer warms.

T/M: huge rush of heavy, viscous, dense, and oily malt and sugar. very light alcohol spice on the middle tongue. mouthfeel is full bodied, but also concurrently heavy and prickly. provides a nice frame for so much sugar. a hint of coffee on the finish, which dries slightly. grapes, raisons, and cream all over the place. vanilla extract in thier from the wood, butterscotch, and even a bit of tropical fruit. the cask ageing is evident in the maturity of this beer, though so far of the 3 Lees casks Ive had, the Lagavulin has been the most unique and characteristic.

D: extremely sweet, lots o' booze, and even more money make this a special occasion nightcap at best. I love it and think its extremely drinkable when I have it...which is rarely ever. if I could get half a bottle for half the price I would drink this all the time.

Photo of DaftPatrick
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of shapudding
3.66/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautifully golden-honeyed and clear. Carbonation seen rising in nice straight streams. Not much head, just slight bubbly white foam and then a bit of a ring and just clear. Clean aroma, cannot smell anything at all really. Bit of smooth carbonation, silky and smooth. Fresh and nice, juicy flavors, apricot, orange zest maybe, and hoppiness. Honey sweetness and darkened caramel, yet not cloying. Nice sipper, great flavor with a lot to think about and enjoy. The flavors expand through your mouth and are so enjoyable. Shared this one with my parents who I recently went to a port tasting with, they both really enjoyed it with Mom commenting that she got apricot on the nose with bitter on the tongue.

Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a wooden cask sitting behind the bar at Spuytin Duyvil (sp?) in Brooklyn! Pours still, no carbonation , no lacing. Nose is buttery malt and a hint of warm rum. Mouthfeel is smooth and well rounded. Notes of rum, butter, vanilla and more butter, rum and vanilla. Smooth and warming, tasty stuff. A world class after dinner beer, go find some and enjoy!

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage, picked up at Knightly Spirits in Orlando.

Poured into a short ale glass. An amber, slightly opaque brew, with a dusting of sediment on the bottom. A thin white head, leaves a ring after a few moments. When settled, it looks a great deal like sherry.

Nose is caramel, grapes, sugar, port, a touch of oak.

Tastes and feels just like a glass of sherry. The big caramel and fruit flavor is offset but a smoky, oak backing, which prevents the sweetnes from running away with things. Alcohol is difficult to detect. Very tasty, and with only a slight bite to the finish makes for an enjoyable sipper.

Great stuff, one of the better barleywines I've come across. Would love to check out the older vintages.

Photo of magictrokini
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vitnage. Poured oily copper, darker than the calvados, with the same sparse ring of bubbles. Again, it was impossible to coax a head out of the beer. A tiny amount of lacing. Caramel and honey in the nose, less fruity, but figs and raisins are present. More oak and vanilla in this one. Much more subtle tastes than the calvados. The grain and malt of the beer show through much better. The alcohol is up front, with the port taking hold in the middle and finish. Somewhat vimuous and fruity, but less sweet. Lovely malt and dried fruit flavors blended nicely with toffee and butterscotch. Less vanilla in the taste, but the oak shines throughout. Same lactic mouthfeel, but less stickiness.

Photo of mjtiernan
3/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of beerman240
4.54/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2005 batch..

A. Roughly same color as.bottle..molasses,a strong sweet tea.

Smell. Smells great..vanilla,grapey,maybe some earthy mushrooms.

Taste.. I really enjoy the sweetness with the alcohol. Reminds me of strong Bourbon or whiskey with big splash of Pepsi. Grilled plums.maybe over baked sweet potato with brown sugar.Would go great with cigar.

Mouthfeel.. not alot of fizz. Thick,juicey..enjoy!

Overall.. bought one in Birmingham Alabama..my home town..tomorrow I'm going back to buy all they have and ask them to buy more.. will take this punkin next hunting trip with cigar.. Cheers!

Photo of kpantz
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2005 Series

Executive Summary: My second tasting of the Harvest Ale series. This one is a little nicer on the palate, though it's a little over the top w/r/t sweetness. Cloying, even.

Appearance: Pours an uninspiring deep, cloudy amber with no head - just a few bubbles. Are those floaters I see in there?

Smell: Nice deep barleywine aroma. Dates, figs, grapes. No notes of port here.

Taste: Very, very sweet. Now I get some of the port. Very curious flavor here. I can pick up the figs and dates. Toffee and caramel, too. No hop flavor or bitterness. I wonder if they even used any :)

Mouthfeel: Sticky, but not overly syrupy. Little to no carbonation.

Drinkability: This one's a sipper. Tasty, but a sipper. Watch out for those floaters!

Photo of daveytheformer
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of glid02
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a mildly hazy dark copper color with a half-finger off-white head and some floaties. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing and decent legs.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with good amounts of medium to dark fruits, toffee, and butterscotch.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sticky caramel malt flavors up front with strong contributions from toffee and butterscotch flavors. Midway through the sip the Port shines through a bit more with sweet and boozy dark fruit flavors. The ending is on the sweet side.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with soft and grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I split the bottle but could have a whole one myself.

Overall this is my second favorite of the three I've had so far behind only the Laguvalin. Well worth a shot.

Photo of Beer21
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)

A-This beer pours a warm reddish-brown body that has a slight haziness to it. The head is a creamy off-white that quickly disappears. No real legs on this beer.

S- This beer has a sweet thick caramel maltyness that has a note of dark fruit and a very faint dark vinous note.

T- This beer has big malty flavors of caramel and sweetness. This beer finishes with a hint of sweet port and some earthiness. As it warms note of honey and lighter flavors start to come out.

M- Medium mouthfeel but a velvety texture that adds a nice compliment to the faint alcohol warmth.

D- This is a wonderful Barley Wine but I think that the port adds a bit to much sweetness to the already sweet B-wine. The others in this limited series all had nice compliments to off set the sweetness but I feel that the port cask adds more sweetness.

Photo of CoalPorter
4.44/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2007, drunk Aug 14, 2011. Poured carefully from bottle into Harpoon tulip glass.

A - Light brown yeast sediment swirls and settles slowly in pretty large chunks. Just a wisp of head, not much carbonation evident, small bubbles rise fitfully from the depths. Color is a lovely tawny burnt orange base with reddish overtones. Drops quite clear and inviting.

S - Here is where this beer really excells. Alcohol esters and honey sweetness hit first followed by notes of resiny tar and black cherry. The port undertone is fruity and magnificent.

T - Again we find the black cherry and fruit flavors with the alcohol kick. The "beeriness" reasserts itself in the back end as the hops suddenly show up in a lingering bitter finish.

M - Medium feel, made a little slick by the port sweetness. Not much carbonation left.

O - Quite impressive in appearance and aroma, and the first few sips were intensely enjoyable. However as I worked my way through the glass the complexity diminished somewhat I was left with only the impression of sweetness and fruit. I love port and beer so this was a great combination for a special occasion, but will only be a one time sipper.

Side tasting note: One favorite pairing for port is chocolate. A good dark chocolate and a tawny port both compliment and enhance each other's flavors. This experiment did not work very well for this beer. The chocolate overwhelmed the port character and left a muddled impression.

Photo of pourmeup
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage

A- pours a deep reddish burgundy copper color, maintains a thin white ring of head around the glass, very fine lacing is left behind
S- very sweet and honey-like, slight notes of wood and spice
T- sugary sweet from start to finish, a slight hop character in the beginning that resides into a nice dark fruit and wood flavor that really lingers
M- has a thick syrupy start with a heavy carbonation, really coats the pallet
D- very very tasty, but the alcohol shows through just a little so I can't drink them terribly fast, they're also very thick so one is plenty for me in an evening

Photo of Loveyourbeer
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of MrVonzipper
3/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

brewed in 2005 consumed on 12/26/09 9.3 oz fl. bottle for *gulp*....$11.45

a deep amber brown-ish color with a ton of floatie bits, very thin and bubbly head, scatters fast and is gone, which is expected for an older brew.

The age is present in the aroma with sugary, fermented fruits and some slight oxodization with slight cardboard effect. musty, tarnished-hard wood, caramel in the malt, wild tanginess zesty herbs with a zingy heat, kinda hot.

This one is very Port flavored with maple syrup in the malt, sugar-coated plums, deep woody flavored edge. Zesty heat, very warming, not vodka hot but buzzy, with a dry earthy wheat and hop flavor for good balance. a heavy, thick feel, aged indeed! Deep, mature malt flavor's abound!! lazy, heavy feel, grainy in the finish with a malty sweetness with many subtle flavor's to be found.

go slow, sip this one, it's worth it's $$$.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this is a unique barley wine, but i dont think it has quite the strength or power of the flavor of the lag whisky cask version. pour murky amber, and smells like caramel. no head at all, as expected, and lots of lees in the beer. taste of dark fruits and caramel, and a noticable port cask taste. good brew, but if you want the full experience I would get the Lagavulin whisky cask version

Photo of Sammy
3.67/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very nice aroma of a barleywine, pleasant appearance with lace. Alcohol, sweetish, some Rum, figs, Vanilla.Full mouthfeel. Would go well late in a meal. I am encouraged to try the other barrels. Thanks Tim (IPFreely) for sharing. I am still tasting it a day later.

Photo of tdm168
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tylermains
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stunning! It's crystal-clear golden-orange body resembles a glass of Cognac - and the flavor's not too far from the same. It's almost completely headless, but some bubbles are visible, slowly rising from the base of the glass. The nose is rich with honeyish malt; lightly grassy and floral hops; and a slap of alcohol. In the mouth it's creamy and exceptionally smooth with a full body and lightly tingly,restrained carbonation (but it's not bottle conditioned). Lush, juicy, dripping honeyish malt is accented by low-level notes of grassy hops; and peppered with spicy notes of alcohol. Notes of Port are discernable, but quite restrained. Some woodiness does come through, however; yet it's far from overdone, and it just lends enough character to give it a little life while also helping it to dry out in the finish. It's not overtly complex, but it is exceptionally rich and satiating. Superb!

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
92 out of 100 based on 353 ratings.