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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

184 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 184
Hads: 318
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 19.26%
Wants: 41
Gots: 62 | FT: 6
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.
View: Beers (22) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 184 | Hads: 318
Photo of smakawhat
4.61/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Vintage 2010.

Deep red and orange body, slight bright copper with some brassy haze color. Head is big bubbled but very fleeting and manages a big bubbled collar that does stay. Airy and fine whispy top on the puck like a fine cloud streaking across the sky. Neat looking brew.

Big fruit notes galore. Huge notes of thick dried apricot, marmalade and dried orange peel. Spiced nutmeg and hints of milky caramel cut in with some real good quality. Slight hints of fruited brandy quality and a touch of alcohol heat but not too much. Real impressive.

The palate is fruit huge, without being overbearing, and diverse. Sugared marmalade, and large apricot chewy flavors. A wooden splintered oak and almost cloved spiced and balsam woody character really comes out in the mid palate. Finishes light and clean, mildly sticky fruit like toffee. Large hints of chewy citrus brown sugared rind fruit all over, as if picked from a tree. Not a touch of heat or alcohol on this at all.

Stunning stuff, the sherry has worked incredible natural fruit tones out of this brew. Fantastic.

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Photo of drpimento
4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very rich and delicious. The best parts are the aroma and taste with very volatile bold bursting components. The sherry characteristics match perfectly with those of this beer - fruits, toffee, caramels, oak. Excellent body too.

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Photo of bgold86
2.55/5  rDev -37%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

Was really excited to try this, 2013 vintage, served in a snifter glass at about 55 degrees. Was waaayyyy too sweet, just overly powerful in the sweetness. Unfortunately, this was terrible.

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Photo of Roguer
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish-purplish brew, reminiscent of cherries or plums, very clear, topped by a mild cream-colored head with mediocre retention.

Big, sweet, boozy aroma right off the bat! Brown sugar and syrup; oak and vanilla; fruit and berries and cherries. The initial boozy sweetness continues to dominate, but in a very pleasant way.

Flavor follows: it's incredibly sweet and syrupy. However, the booziness is rather subdued, coming through on the back-end as a pleasant heat. Flavors come in inconsistent waves: coconut and vanilla and oak, cherries, caramel and brown sugar, syrup, red wine grapes.

Thick and syrupy on the palate.

Definitely a digestif or dessert beer. Sure to be too sweet for many.

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Photo of Hop_God
3.21/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

L: ruby amber brown
S: big time sherry. Bread. Brown sugar. Candied fruit.
T: very sherry prominent. Tart fruit. There is a saline acidity I'm not enjoying.
F: moderate carbonation coats the mouth. Finishes crips and tart
O: not too fond of this. Has a licorice like quality and the Sherry is too heavy for my liking.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Surprisingly good head of foam for this 2012 bottle. Pretty long lasting too and it even has a bit of lacing. The brew itself is a a clear copper.

The smell is of big caramel malt that is sure to bring the sweet in the taste. But, its more of a maple syrup like sweetness and I can dig that. Some of the ample alcohol gets through as well.

The taste follows through where the smell left off. Sweet maple that coats my tongue without going overboard. Hints of some kind of nut and a mild woody fruity taste that I find totally enjoyable. Booze is there and I think it compliments rather than detracts.

As full as medium bodied can get with a subtle level of carbonation.

This is very good. $10.15 I do not regret paying.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Lexington Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

2012 edition. The third stop on our trip through the Lees Harvest horizontal, following the standard and Lagavulin editions. This one pours a hazy amber topped by a finger of bone foam. The nose comprises rich caramel, sweet Riesling, mild wood, and honey. The taste brings in more of the same, the wood coming through as a slight vein of balsa forming the floor of the proceedings. The body is a hefty medium, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a full feel. Overall, I didn't get quite as much sherry as preferred, but this is still some solid stuff.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Cellar temperature in my snifter.

What amounts to no more than a thin, fleeting sheet of fizz soon vanishes almost completely over a rich amber-orange barleywine. Its appearance probably has more in common with wine than the typical ale.

It smells delightful. Like maple, brown sugar, brandy, cherry liqueur, caramel, apples, and a hint of orange zest. And the aroma has a little pleasantly musty earthiness to it, like something that's been buried underground for a long time. I don't mean that to sound bad, haha.

Much more of the maple comes through in the flavor, with booze-soaked rasinins, red apples, leathery vanilla (yes the vanilla is leathery), and a finish of caramel-coated, toasted pecans and more earth. It tastes... cozy. If cozy has a taste, it is this.

I really like the body. The carbonation is totally lax, the feel is thick but slick, and everything is just incredibly smooth for a barleywine of such strength.

This is what you sip in the middle of winter nestled in a huge, cozy chair in front of the hearth... or spazzing out to your favorite metal band at bone-rattling volume. It will serve both purposes equally well.

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Photo of kornkid8600
3.3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2009 Vintage

Looked amber color, no head, no lacing, like a glass of sherry wine.

Smelled very sweet, sticky, toffee, minimal wine characteristic, some alcohol.

Tasted very saccharine, too much. Lots of toffee, caramel, vanilla, less sherry. Dominated by the grain sugar far too much. All you can taste is sugar.

Mouth feel was in the middle, some weight, barely any carbonation.

This beer ends up being too one dimensional, the amount of sugar overhelms in the beer, and takes away from any other characteristics.

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Photo of leroybrown10
3.05/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy medium amber. No head even with fast pour into a snifter. No lacing on the glass as I swirl the beer.

Aroma of sweet malt and caramel. No hop notes at all. Some mild sweet citrus notes. Orange, oak, vanilla, and dry red wine.

Taste is syrupy sugar. Almost sickeningly sweet. Caramel, oak, vanilla are prominent. Sherry & barrel comes through on the finish. Sherry provides a dryness after the sugary beginning.

Thick mouth feel with little carbonation. Leaves a chewy coating behind.

Not a beer I was very impressed by especially given the $10 price for a 250ml bottle. Sweetness that is quite unpleasant and so strong that it detracts from the flavors that are more enjoyable like the vanilla, caramel and oaky barrel notes.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Opened my first bottle today. Poured into my teku glass. This unassuming little bottle of beer is wonderful. Unique flavors - earthy, raisins, maybe a little apple. Wished I hadn't waited so long to try it! So good I went back and got a second bottle.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

BOD 2013. Pours a hazy medium amber with a dark ruby hue. Above average head volume, exceptional lacing and retention. Light nose of sweet fruit (plum), caramel and toasted brown sugar over a light sherry alcohol note. Medium body with a texture that approaches creamy. Below normal carbonation with just a hint of effervescence in the finish. The flavor profile is very intense, very complex and somewhat balanced considering the intensity. It begins with a malt bomb assault of sweetness that is caramel and toasted brown sugar. As the sweetness subsides (it never really leaves) notes of plum emerge over a slight note of nuts. The middle is where the alcohol predominates with a sherry undertone over a sweetness that is honey like. The finish is a slow fade of sherry like alcohol over a honey like sweetness. The lack of balance is what holds this one back from being outstanding.

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Photo of Rutager
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

'05 bottle from the pimp daddy bruh that is steasy66. Thanks man! Into the prairie 2nd anniversary stem.

Appearance. Pours a lovely clear burnt orange with some slight rooby tonez. There was a faint skim of a bubbly head right after the pour but it immediately disappeared.

Smell. Nice smooth dry sherry, brown sugar, very light notes of cardboard-like oxidation, dry old wood. Very nice. I just keep going back for more.

Taste. Honey and light smooth sherry, brown sugar, soft barrel notes. Unbelievably smooth and integrated. Light oxidation notes that just add to the flavour. Simple and easy on the palate but many subtle complexities.

Mouthfeel. Pretty full body, a bit syrupy and lightly sticky on the lips. Very low carbonation, just a trace but enough. Everything works well with the flavours.

Overall. Insanely good as I was told it would be. As the bruh that gave it to me will point out, I'm very open to suggestion when it come to beer, but this really is great tasting stuff.

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Photo of msquared36
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This was my first JW Lees cask aged beer. Poured the entire bottle into into a tulip glass, which was probably a mistake. Significant amount of yeast ended up floating in the beer. The floating bits were much more distracting than I recall in other beers. It did effect the taste and mouthfeel until everything settled. There is very little carbonation anyway, so a gentle pour wouldn't have any real downside. Taste was surprisingly delicate with no sherry alcohol burn. Caramel sweetness upfront with a lingering sugary sweetness. Heavy soy sauce taste hit the back of the tongue.

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Photo of Samp01
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

9.3oz bottle. Pours a dark rusted cloudy orange brown with a quickly fading small white head. Aroma of sweet fruit , caramel and toffee notes, with some sweet alcohol esters. Taste same as aroma with some fine notes of aged sherry cask wood flavors with light hops notes and sweet alcohol. Palate is a full body and flavor, smooth and sweet sherry cask notes with mild carbonation. Finishes is sweet, fruity, with some nice caramel and toffee flavors and sweet aged sherry cask woody notes with alcohol lingering awhile. Overall a very good, flavorful brew.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.49/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from 2010 shared tonight at the cookout.
Slightly hazy deep brown color with a minimal bubbly off white head. Aromas of caramel and brown sugar with bits of fruity esters and a touch of earthy and sherry. The flavor is rich and sweet with caramel maltiness offset with some fruity vinous notes. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation. Decent beer, my first time having the sherry version. I think its either inferior to the regular harvest ale or in a weird aging stage that leaves a bit to be desired before its a stellar brew again. I'm hoping for the later and an opportunity to try this again with some more age.

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Photo of dar482
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottling.

The beer comes in a strawberry juice light amber red with a small off white head.

The aroma is light and sweet. White raisins, dried apricot, caramel, brown sugar, honey. A peat and woody character in the back.

The flavor is extremely complex. General theme of honey, caramel, toffee, and light brown sugary sweetness. There’s raisins, dried apricot, and apple sweetness. Those notes pair with sweet alcohol of brandy and sherry. There’s a peat and smoke character and then the beer finishes with woodiness drying the beer off. Tinges of alcohol linger throughout, but it is a compliment to the sweetness and complexity.

The body is medium, medium minus for a bigger beer like this. However, it does not take away from the experience.

An absolutely delicious complex beer.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

For purposes of the review, the 2008 and 2010 editions were sampled for the review.

Appearance - The beer was a nice golden color copper color. There was some lacing along the sides of the glass.

Smell - The sherry added a mediciny sweetness. The beer certainly smelled like sherry with an added dimension.

Taste - As an aged English barleywine, the beer had a syrupy sweetness. The 2010 had more of a raw nutty backbone which is right up my alley. Notes of sweet fruit that turned slightly sour were also present with the sherry lingering in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - The beer coats the tongue nicely. One might have to scrub their tongue to get the thick coat off.

Overall - I liked this beer a lot, but it really needs to be shared with a friend or two. Verticals make for interesting comparisons.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 dated bottle from a trip to Hoboken. Pours a deep orange red hue with a tiny ring of white head that fizzes off very quickly. Aroma is big sweetness with lots of sherry, toffee, molasses, maple syrup, and a little hint of fruits. Flavor is surprisingly similar to the Calvados cask. A good bit of bitter hazelnut alongside leather, sweet caramel maple and brown sugar. Sweet but this had a nice balanced bitter and medium level sherry booze and the sherry really accents this nicely. Sweet heavy mouthfeel but with adequate carbonation to keep this from being syrupy. Overall a really nice treatment on this that makes for a beautiful after dinner drink with a nicely complex flavor profile.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 275mL bottle into a pint glass. This is the 2008 vintage.

Appearance: medium brown with a thick haze and light effervescence. Head is virtually nonexistent. Nice color; appropriate for the style.

Smell: outstanding. Raisin, tobacco, toffee, vanilla, cherry, dates, brown sugar ... complex, sweet and extremely enticing.

Taste: sweet, musty, dank and delicious. Plums, toffee, caramel, wood, and a delicious dusty-basement kind of character that I find irresistible. Wonderful.

Mouthfeel: plenty of body, next to no carbonation. I guess this is normal for the style; not much to recommend this otherwise.

Overall: tasty and extremely drinkable. Bam!

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Limited Edition 2011

Pours a hazy orange-ish to amber color with a light tan head. In the aroma, dark fruits, small hop presence, and an alcohol presence. In the taste, dark fruits, caramel like malt and a small alcohol presence. A small bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry caramel and alcohol like aftertaste. Big dark fruits, caramel malts, a small hop and a nice amount of alcohol in the flavor.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours with a light to medium body. Zero head on pour or retained while drinking. Brownish color with some orange brightness to it. Looks like a barleywine that has aged gracefully.

Smell: There is a caramel and molasses sweetness on the front of the aroma. The sherry casks add some unique tangy tones. Some earthy and leafy tones are found on the undertones.

Taste: The front is an incredibly sweet sherry, caramel, and butterscotch feeling. The body rounds out with some earthy tones and tobacco leaves. The back end is some bright barley and a slight alcohol dryness left on the palate. The earthy tones are stick out and are the most memorable.

Mouthfeel: Dry with a grainy texture.

Overall: An interesting brew. The years have taken well to this beer, making in a unique journey for the palate. I was really surprised how pronounced the earthy tones were, a lot of maple, leafy greens, and tobacco.

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Photo of KForlino
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

'08 vintage

A- Deep apricot / vermillion. Absolutely no head whatsoever, as expected for brew with this abv and aged 5 years. Poured this one about as slow as possible but still wound up with a couple little floaters.

S- Oak and sherry. Very woody, sweet, caramel, alcohol.

T- Oh boy. Just like the nose, but, even sweeter than I expected. Caramel, molasses, brandy. Just wonderful. Heat isn't very strong. Leaves a bit of the barrel taste behind.

M- Heavy, sticky, not much carb to speak of.

O- Excellent barleywine, At 11.5 %, I'm glad I had this 5 year old one instead of fresh. Only aged barley wine I've had and liked more was an '04 Stone Old Guardian tapped at the brewery new years eve 2010.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottling

A: center-poured into a snifter, hazy deep amber body with orange accents, off-white big-bubbled head that slimmed quickly into a collar

S: sherry and fruit, caramel and toffee

T: follows nose - sherry and wood, orchard fruit-like suggestions, delicate malt sweetness akin to toffee and chewy caramels

M: light bodied, slick, faint stickiness, no notable carbonation, smooth and airy

O: another fantastic ale, similar to some old ales I've had, and not a typical barleywine - thinner, lighter, more refined - excellent, almost cordial-like ale

2007 bottling

A: into snifter - poured carefully so as not to dump the dark sediment into the glass - amber brown beer with no head

S: notes of the original sherry, but lots of sweet aromas, reminiscent of candied fruit

T: very sweet and fruity, accents of sherry still evident

M: smooth, slick, light-medium body

O: this aged better than the Lagavulin cask edition, retaining some of the barrel flavors and aromas; I knew to be more watchful of the sediment, although I don't know if that matters in any way that affects the flavor/aroma - whatever the sediment was going to impart has been long imparted. A fine drink.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.51/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage, 275mL bottle. poured into snifter

appears a dark chestnut brown color, kinda murky. no head whatsoever. rich sweet aroma of caramel with dark fruits - figs, black cherry, raisin. taste is not as sweet as the smell. complex. brown sugar, tobacco, boozy fruity finish.

overall - you can taste the contribution of the grapes from the sherry. fruit notes added. great, but just not as good as the normal version when aged.

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
90 out of 100 based on 184 ratings.