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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.

352 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 352
Reviews: 205
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 49
Gots: 79 | 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: 352 | Reviews: 205
Photo of zaphodchak
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of k75
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The only beer I've considered giving straight fives.

2003 vintage from The Farmhouse in Emmaus (brought this home after a Shangy's run)

pours an amazing rich amber that could be mistaken for bourbon or Grand Marnier

aromas of toffee, sweet leaf tobacco, overripe orange peel and brown sugars.

Flavors are deep, rich, full bodied and well married. caramel, toffee, orange, (candied yam sauce?)

WOW - just perfect. Thomas Hardy was always my favorite, and J.W.
is just so much smoother and more palatable.

finish is smooth without an alcohol burn (even at 11.5%)

Truly a masterpiece.


Photo of jpajpajeff
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of scottyshades
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 Vintage

A: Pours a semi-opaque toffee/mahogany color with a tiny white cap. Much lighter than I expected. Floaties in the snifter

S: Heavy and rich port wine right off the bat. Plums, cherry, white grape juice, toffee, caramel, leather. Overall very dark fruity and sweet. Unfathomably complex. Impossible to summarize.

T: "Wow" was the first thing that I said. Much richer and sweeter than expected. The beer obviously soaked up that port in the casks. Toffee, butter, honey, tons of candy caramel. To sum it up: port wine, sweetness, delicious

MF/O: Thick, velvety, flat carbonation. Plummy/port wine finish. A masterpiece.

Photo of freduardo
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of Bolivian22
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of davidwhatshisnam
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of factoide
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of RochefortChris
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at a barleywine tasting event. It was late in the night so specifics on this beer are a bit fuzzy but I do remember it was a world class example of an English barleywine.

Photo of adrian21
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of psumjl269
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of Odysseyalien
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of dogger6253
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 edition:

Dark, orange color. Sort of a depth to it. Gradients of orange swirl among the glass. Not much more than a thin ring for a head, tons of yeast floating around. Gorgeous and inviting.

Immediately smell grapes and plums. Raisins and alcohol come to the front very quickly though. This has a very fruity aroma with a little bit of cherries, oranges, bananas, prunes, figs, pears and apricots. There can also be a strong wood presence described. It's almost like oak, pine and cedar combined. The scent is interesting to say the least, but it just happens to impress me a lot.

The flavor is hard to elaborate on. There's a lot of the same going on with the tongue as there was with the nose. Cherries, plums, apricots, bananas, oak, hops, pine, grapes, lemons, butterscotch and dates. Very sweet, but also kind of sour and tangy. There's not much bitterness going on. The noticeable hops don't really bite at all, they just kind of wipe the palette for new flavors. The tinge of alcohol serves this purpose well also.

This beer feels wonderful in your mouth, very creamy and thick with a little bit of carbonation. It also leaves you with a great warming feel. Amazing taste and the slight dryness to it all keep you going back for more and more. The alcohol doesn't hit nearly as much as the sherry cask Harvest did. Even with this being an obvious "special occasion" beer, I would drink this quite often if it were affordable and available.

Photo of Scout11
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of durwood64
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of MadMel1260
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of MudHobbit
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of jim102864
4.97/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This has become a favorite after discovering it while on business in Milwaukee. It's pricey; it's a small bottle but it's worth every penny. Poured into my Allagash tulip glass, I found lots of floating yeast but it was clearly my bad as I likely was too aggressive, but frankly, who gives a shit with this beauty? A thin pond head but very suprising how much yeast came out of this tiny bottle. The nose was awash with abundent dark, delicious fruitiness; prunes, blackberries, currants; and licorice. The taste was earthy and of course, yeasty, yet sweet like a Dutch chick's.... Mouthfeel was full with cherry sweetness. Viscous and satisfying. Very drinkable but too many rupies to enjoy as a session brew. But what the f, pony up the bucks and have a party. Highly recommended. Never a dissppointment.

Photo of brdc
4.97/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Small bottle, poured into a snifter. 2005; aged one year.

Beautiful orange, although not as clear as some other reviews (?), it is a little turbid, with some small floating particles. Minimal head, as expected given the very high alcohol content.
Comparing to other reviews, it got me worried, but just briefly. After all, it is a little different but still beautiful. The the aroma.
Ah, the aroma. Rich; sweetish malt, honey right up front. Port-like at times, some caramel, alcohol, citric fruits.
Full bodied and incredibly creamy, sweetish malt, mostly honey all over again. Warmingly alcoholic, with port wine notes, some slight bitter tones to keep it in balance.
Incredibly drinkable for something so powerful and tasty; a fantastic nightcap, if not terribly complex, utterly delicious.
I will be getting a case of this to age the next time I have a chance.

Photo of bonsreeb85
4.94/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this brew poured with virtualy no head(the only notch in it's otherwise flawless score) the body is a light tawny, murky peach/honey color. lots of sediment.

The nose is honey, caramel, toffee, molases, cherries, stone fruit. vanilla, tobacco, oak and some alcohol too.

The flavor is just as complex, sweet and boozey as the nose. there is a nice woody almost smokey flavor to go with the warming of the finish. this is world class flavor!

sticky feel almost like a mead or a wine, with carbonation very low.

This is one helluva brew. if it weren't for the steep price tag I would drink this all the time. Definately one of my favs. I highly recommend savoring one of these delights if you can.

Photo of PatrickJR
4.92/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 9.3 oz bottle into oversized snifter. 2006 vintage, served just below room temperature.

A - Translucent, cola-like brown. A quarter-inch of off white foam forms on the surface and dies rather quickly. Surprisingly though, this brew leaves a bit of lace and legs (reminiscent of wine and spirits) on the glass.

S - Amazing. Fruit is very abundant, spanning a wide range. Everything from apples, peaches, and pears to berries, raisins, and figs are in full swing. Generous amounts of Demerara sugar, molasses, fresh baked dark bread, and almonds come to mind also. There is just a hint of wood hiding as well.

T - Huge fruity flavors come on first, dominated by apple cider, overripe berries, and generous topping of brown sugar. By mid palate the fruit is fading though the syrupy sweet malt remains, accompanied by nuts and dark bread. Late palate the wood from the aging creeps in and reveals oxidized and vinous notes hinting at the port that once rested in the barrels. A very slight alcohol heat appears momentarily, but one would never know it was 11.5%. Finish is of sweet, fermenting fruit.

M - Rich and full bodied with a very low carbonation. Actually, this feels a little more carbonated than other offerings from JW Lee's which isn't a bad thing at all.

D - This stuff could not be any better. JW Lee's never fails to amaze, and this is the best I've had from them so far. Perfect for sipping all night long.

Photo of putnam
4.87/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Upon first opening:
deep honey color - a temporary blanket of cream - Almond butter and butter aromas - Very fresh - Dessert of marzipan whipped cream on caramel pie on a butter pastry shell.

After 24 hours open at room temperature:
Not as desserty on the nose as when first opened. Mild butter and noble nut perfumes emanate from within the tarnished brass liquid. Much chewier and more viscous than a freshly opened bottle, Utterly round, solid, enormous movements of texture that release the most delicate, lyrical cascade of flavor. Fruit wood smoke, apple strudel, allspice, butter, cream and oak appear in turn.

This sample was left out on the bar for 10 days, after which it was consumed with great surprise and enthusiasm. The sweetness converted to pure, molten glacial texture and the lack of fizz revealed a spicy, sherry flavor... reminiscent of WIlliams and Humbert's 15 year old solera Dry Sack. Unbelievable!

Photo of ccrida
4.85/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage bottle poured into my Delirium snifter, the port cask harvest ale is a hazy orange with some small floaties and a decent sized off-white head that settles to a thick, bubbly collar and leaves very light, scattered lace. For the style it's a fairly impressive amount of carbonation, even if scant by most other standards. Still, the skim stays alive (aided by the etched glass) and the collar strong, and has a nice glow.

Smell is sweet honey malt, with some toffee, pineapple and other tropical fruits, slightly vinous. Pretty subtle at cellar serving temp, but it opens up nicely.

Taste is incredible, wow. Cherries, blackberries, tangerines, honey, vanilla, This might be the best barleywine I've ever had! Big flavor, sweet and complex, but so well blended together, a perfect balance. A great fruitiness comes out from the port and goes great with the intense sweetness of the malt, very smooth with none of the biting finish that I noted in the Calavados cask. I much prefer the lighter influence of wine barrels to spirits, and this is an excellent example of what can happen. This is one of the world's greatest beers.

Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, with a medium-light viscosity and dry finish. Goes down like a ghost.

Drinkability is excellent. I can appreciate this whole line-up, but the port cask is the only one that I really love to the point of catching myself drinking it too fast! If this wasn't expensive and rare, I'd give it a 5. Scratch that, this drink is so good I want to drink more of it in spite of it's availability, plus I think it would appeal to almost anyone who drinks any type of alcohol, regardless of what they thought of beer (or were told it was).

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
92 out of 100 based on 352 ratings.