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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

301 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 301
Reviews: 178
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 14.81%
Wants: 39
Gots: 56 | FT: 4
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: 301 | Reviews: 178
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of Kooz
3.41/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque orane color with a creamy, tight-packed head. Not too much of a nose, but a bit boozy and warm. Tastes sweet with caramel hints. The boozyness continues throughout, but it gives it warmth and isn't unpleasant. The beer isn't over-carbonated, and is nice. It's really smooth and I'd enjoy drinking this again. It's a pretty good beer overall.

Photo of nemetz
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

To start off - I live in Hawaii and it is hot! plus I have no cellar. So it was served well beyond the recommended temperature. About 70F.
The glassware was on the spot though.

A Dark honey color, no head

S. amazing aroma of sweetness.

T. Sweet then instantly strong. rich with warm

M. Very rich and smooth

O. Despite being 11.5% its very pleasant. After half glass it just runs smooth and rich

P.S. My first review - Please message me if I did something wrong.

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dated 2004.

A: Rich dark amber. Large pieces of sediment suspended within the brew. Has a thin but beautiful off-white head of large bubbles mortared together with cream.

S: Strong impression of sherry. Honey, dried figs, soy sauce. Very similar to the nose on the port version.

T: Very sweet. Strong overall sherry flavour. Dried figs. Very lovely solvent alcohol at the back before swallowing. Very refined aftertaste - a nice balance of sherry and hoppy bitterness to remind you it's still an English ale. Perfectly balanced.

M: Sticky and jelly-like but juicy enough at the same time. Very little carbonation.

O: Very similar to the port version only this is slightly less sweet and syrupy and far more palatable. It's very nice but not something I'd drink often.

Photo of herman77
2.75/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2008 vintage

A: Clear orange amber with a small off white head. No lacing.

S: Lots of honey, molasses, sugar, raisins. Sherry, candied sherry. A tiny bit of oak

T: Wholly hell is this sweet. Just when you think it can't get any sweeter, it does. Pretty much tastes like complex simple syrup. Has a slight oaky, wet tobacco, wet cardboard taste in the finish that isn't pleasant.

M: Fuller body, low carbonation, but there is some left for sure. Sticky.

O: It's just way too damn sweet for me. I would have liked to try the others, not sure if I want to now. But maybe this is just so sweet from the sherry?

Photo of maximum12
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a three-bottle J.W. Lees experience my wife bought me last Christmas, & here it is almost this Christmas, & hey, I don't want her to think I don't appreciate it! So here goes the second, 9.3 ounce bottle, 2007 vintage, popped while pecking away at the Great American Novel.

Pour is smooth amber silk until the last ounce or so disgorges dozens of solids, & the liquid turns to a sludgefest; guess I'm going to have a late snack with my beer! Little if any carbonation survived the brewing & bottling process. Nose is whack sherry, along with a heavy yoke of sweetness. Like the Lagavulin Whiskey, the barrel drowns the beer in its infancy. But that's OK.

J.W. Lees Harvest (Sherry Cask) could be reviewed in two words: sweet sherry. But I'll waste a few more. It's sweet, & the sherry is strong. Really? OK, so there's a ton of caramel, sticky sugar-water, honey, touch of raisin. Consistency is thick, strong, & edging towards boozy. When I poured I cursed the midget bottle, but now, I'm appreciative of the brewer's restraint in portion control.

Overall? Good, solid, unique beer. I couldn't name another sherry-aged beer. Now just the Port version to go, & looking forward to it.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.16/5  rDev -22%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

275 mL bottle poured into a Hunahpu snifter. 2009 vintage.

Appearance - Just a hint of a head that got me so excited that I forgot that the chunks would soon start to flow. Sadly, a giant lump of something gross fell into my glass. It burst into smaller chunks and suspended itself into the murky amber liquid. Like a water sample from Lake Erie. Yum.

Smell - Huge sherry aroma. Like an oxidized barleywine, but without some of that cardboard. Harsh alcohol in the back of the aroma. Lots of raisins and sugars.

Taste - Intense sherry flavor up front that fades to raisins and brown sugar. Then the back end kicks in. Bitter cardboard. Rather unpleasant.

Mouthfeel - Syrupy as every other Harvest Ale. The sherry does nothing to cut the sweetness. Definitely a rough finish with the bitterness and the cardboard. Almost a burnt oak flavor.

Overall - Big beer. A sipper. A sugary sipper. It's complex, though. It's one of those beers you can ponder for a while. Maybe the result of the pondering isn't the best, but the activity of drinking it is nice.

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
90 out of 100 based on 301 ratings.