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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

320 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 320
Reviews: 198
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 14.08%
Wants: 41
Gots: 66 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rhoadsrage on 08-01-2005)
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Ratings: 320 | Reviews: 198 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of xgrigorix


4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown 275 ml bottle.

Medium copper, clear. Thin white head quickly collapses into a neat halo. Small sporadic bubbles meander to the surface.

Nose has hints of caramel, clover honey, & phenols.

Honey & caramel dipped apples. A touch of nuttiness. Syrupy with very gentle carbonation. Sweet finish, slow sipping, & enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2005 02:12:47 | More by xgrigorix
Photo of sulldaddy


3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I split a bottle of this beer with Stopper. I am surprised it is retired as we both thought it would improve tremendously with about 3 years of aging.
I am sampling a chilled bottle in a snifter. The beer pours the clear gold color of apple juice with just a hint of rose color as well.
The aroma is biscuits and graham cracker with some white grape and pear as well. No wood as could be expected. First sip reveals a big syrupy body with mild carbonation that rolls across my palate. Flavor is VERY sweet up front mostly fruity sugar. The middle gets some hot alcohol and more fruity syrup like in a fruit cocktail. By the finish the alcohol heat is covered again by sweetness that lingers a litte. Truly the definition of a sipping beer.
Again I would let this bottle sit for at least 2 years and try again.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2005 20:54:07 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the sniffer crystal clear almost medium golden with a white and low head that lasted well and laced the glass.

The aroma was much less than expected. A very low malt character coupled with some sweet fruit impression. No real port character to mention.

The flavor was light and fruity with a port flavor, but not a tawny port character, more of a white port. The flavor contained a nice bittering component and a nice maltiness, but was missing complexity in the beer. Not a bad beer at all, but nothing to become excited about. Some fruit and a good bittering, but no more than an English Barleywine or Old Ale.

The finish was almost dry with a lasting malt and light bittering impression. The body was full and almost viscous. The alcohol was lightly present in the aroma, stronger in the flavor and in the warming after consumption.

9.3 ounce bottle. $7.75 at Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, VA. This one was good, but sadly, extremely overpriced. Not a very complex beer, opt for the Sherry version if you have a choice.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2005 00:07:24 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.45/5  rDev +8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2005 03:14:33 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2005 15:44:32 | More by Sammy
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

Serving type: cask

05-15-2005 02:14:39 | More by Billolick
Photo of Sixpoint

New York

3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one "on-cask" at Spuyten Duvyil. Tiny, 4 oz. pour.

Butter, butter, butter! This one smelled exactly like butterscotch!

My sample had no head and no carbonation at all; it was basically flat.

My sample also had a tinge of oxidation.

Basically, I felt like I was drinking a licquer and not a beer...

The complexities from the malt and the nuances from the port made this a very interesting beer.

However, I think I would like more balance in my barley wine, and as a result, I did not find it as drinkable as a mellowed, mature barley wine usually is.

Serving type: cask

04-05-2005 14:19:40 | More by Sixpoint
Photo of lou91


4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer looks just like the others – golden and completely clear with a slight rosy color on the head which formed nice on a forced pour. Thick, sweet and boozy. The port works really well – maybe the best so far. The oak, brandy and grapes all provide a great backdrop to the beer. Honey wine comes to mind immediately – very sweet but not too syrupy. This is like a fine dessert wine with the intense tastes, sweetness and satisfying buzz. Delicious . Not sure how these might age but this one is my favorite so far of the series.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2005 06:38:02 | More by lou91
Photo of shapudding


3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2005 18:37:26 | More by shapudding
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich copper color that is brilliantly clear. It is fairly well carbonated and is topped by a frothy light tan colored head. The aroma is predominantly one of rich concentrated malt and hops, but at the end there is an aroma of concord grapes and tannic red grape skins. The grape aromas seem to meld with the hop notes. The taste is sweet and finishes with a port like finish. This beer has a definite port note to it, it doesn't quite meld with the beer aspect though. The other cask aged versions where better integrated though. The malty notes of this beer remind me of caramel, lightly toasted biscuits. There is a nice bitterness here in the finish that melds with a slight tannic. There also seems to be some subtle hop notes of pine and a hint of citrus. This is still good, just not quite as good a combination as the other beers in this series.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2005 04:56:36 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2005 18:10:23 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

2.8/5  rDev -32%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Light orange color, no head. Strong red wine emanations capture the nostrils. Fruit syrup (apricot, pears) make up for a powerful liquor flavour. Extremely sweet palate, like apricot juice over an oxidized grape liquor. Syrupy medium body contributes to the cloying aspects.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2005 18:15:36 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of dgallina


3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Vintage 2003. Sampled 1/2005.

Pours a translucent golden copper with non-existent head and very minimal lace. Smells very much like the regular Harvest Ale 2003; syrupy sweet and port-like with wood and alcohol undertones. Flavors begin slightly sour and acidic, gradually developing very sweet sherry tones and finishing with alcohol spice and huge alcohol warming. The aftertaste is nicely drying and has good port notes which are lacking in the regular version. Body is quite rich (nearly syrupy really) and somewhat oily. Surprisingly well carbonated for a barley wine, however.

A more interesting drink than the regular Harvest Ale 2003. The port-aged variant is a bit rounder, with less sharp initial bitter notes and a *much* better aftertaste. Not the best barley wine I've had, but significantly more palatable than the "plain" Harvest Ale 2003.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2005 01:48:28 | More by dgallina
Photo of benmiliron


3.13/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Paid $6.99 for a 9+ oz. bottle.

Ruby-brown color. Smell isn't as strong as I expected, slightly grapy. Taste is had to describe. Very sweet, sticky, syrupy & sugary. Still a beer, but just barely. More like a liqueur. An interesting experience nonetheless. I'll not try it again though.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2004 02:08:59 | More by benmiliron
Photo of aracauna


3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The whiskey in the Lagavulin was subtle, but the port in this one is practically non-existant. This is basically the same sugary and alcoholic beer that the normal JW Lees Harvest Ale is. The clear red gold amber is topped by a small, fleeting white head. There might be the slightest bit of grapes in the finish of this beer. It’s a nice barley wine just like the original, but I’m not seeing the cask aging having added much to the beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2004 20:40:52 | More by aracauna
Photo of ppoitras


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9.3oz bottle from Vienna Whole Foods, Vienna, VA.

Poured into a Rapscallion snifter, formed a 1/8" head over the clear copper brew, with slight lacing. Slightly sweet malt aroma, with fruit and alcohol notes. Taste is of sweet malts, followed by the alcohol warmth, and a discernable fruitiness, which I assume is from the port. Flavor is very complementary to the usual JWLees Harvest. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good for the style. My favorite of the cask-aged Lees.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2004 01:48:41 | More by ppoitras
Photo of putnam


4.88/5  rDev +18.4%
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2004 21:35:03 | More by putnam
Photo of Afterburner


4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very light for a barley wine. Very much a beige color rather than a yellow or an orange. Thin, crackly head with minimal head retention.

Smell: Robust malt character with some winy notes. Rounded, unspecific fruitiness, along with a mild smoke character.

Taste: Strong malt character at the beginning, not unusual for a barley wine. Very firm, sweet malt aspect that stays with you throughout. Pronounced woody texture shows up mid-palate and stays to the mildly bitter finish, accompanied by a rounded fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: Thick, viscous, syrupy. You can see that the carbonation bubbles rise more slowly to the top of the beer than they do in other beers. I like thick, viscous, and syrupy, but others may find it cloying.

Drinkability: Outstanding beer, wonderful flavor. The only drawback is the heaviness, which would get wearing after two or three, assuming you were still sober.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2004 00:50:37 | More by Afterburner
Photo of meathookjones


3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

275ml bottle with black text and a black cap. This one pours a clear deep amber orange color with a decent off white head that quickly falls to a collar. Leaves a sparse lacing around the glass as it is consumed. The aroma had a nice fruity sweetness and a bit of alcohol with the Port flavors present as well. There was also a buttery biscuit and yeasty notes mingling with the sweetness. The taste starts of with a bit of an alcohol bite that is quickly overcome by a huge sweetness, a little too much so in my opinion. There is also a strong buttery flavor to this with a slight nuttiness as well. Mouthfeel is very full and heavy with good carbonation. I feel the drinkability was hurt as the sweetness became too much even with the smaller sized bottle. Overall a good beer though and I shall pick another one up to lay down for a few years.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2004 13:21:04 | More by meathookjones
Photo of Dantes

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Package:275 ml brown, crowned bottle, much like a 7/8ths scale longneck. Parchment-like, cream-colored label with black lettering. Boldly labelled “Harvest Ale 2003" and “Port.”

Cost: NA

Presentation: Riedel Port glass at ~50°

Appearance: The Port cask version of this was a touch darker than the Sherry cask version (although I didn’t compare them side-to-side), with a plummy, oxblood-like coloring. It poured with a similar, beige-foam, sticky head, that lasted well-through the glass.

Smell: The Port was a little less aggressive than the Sherry, but still noticeable in the aroma. I’m not familiar with Willoughby’s Ports, and I don’t think “crusted port” is a regulated age statement, but this contributed some pruney, raisiny notes to the bouquet, while being less assertively fruity than the Sherry was. The expected Lees malty, yeasty notes were also detectable, meshing nicely with the Port.

Taste: Slightly less sweet than the Sherried version on the tongue, it allowed a bit more of the hoppy tang to peek through. The nuttiness is also more apparent, which complements the Port excellently. It also allows the toasted, biscuit-like malt to come through. The finish is long, warming, and fruity.

Mouthfeel: Again, this is an ale with an extremely heavy, viscous body. Carbonation is surprisingly good for such a heavy ale, but never overpowers what this ale is really about: malt and fruit.

Drinkability: Another fine ale that combines a high ABV, complex flavors, and a heavy body in a package that is highly drinkable, if not in great quantity, at least in desirability. Any of these limited-edition beers would be a superb accompaniment to a cheese platter or a fine cigar.

Backwash: Another example of remarkable craftsmanship, this is a beer that can hold its head high in ANY company. It conjures up visions of the English Borders, roaring fires in massive stone fireplaces,.and a damp dog at one’s feet. Likely to improve greatly with further cellaring and well worth the effort to find.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2004 17:15:44 | More by Dantes
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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
92 out of 100 based on 320 ratings.