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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.

293 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 293
Reviews: 177
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 14.81%
Wants: 37
Gots: 54 | 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: 293 | Reviews: 177
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5/5  rDev +23.5%

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5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of dogger6253
4.9/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in 2005, this beer poured into my snifter glass a dark peach color with a half-inch of off-white head. The head faded into a ring of large bubbles after a little while. There was a decent amount of lacing left behind. Particles of yeast float calmly near the bottom of the glass. This beer seems to glow, calling out to me. Very appealing.

Up front, I noticed dark grapes in the smell. Plums, raisins, peaches, bananas, cloves, green apples and pears all dance around the nose. On top of this, we get a spicy touch of alcohol and a bread-like, yeast quality.

Intense. Sort of grainy at first, but develops into several fruity flavors; grapes and plums, with pears taking the stage through most of the sip. There's also some other dark fruits mixed in, raisins and cherries... Diving even deeper into the flavors, I find apricots, dates, bananas, corriander, apples, and a sort of woody taste, cedar perhaps? As the beer warms a little more, I can taste a slight hops bite in the finish, mixed in with a peppery, alcohol taste. Even a little bit of cane sugar too... I also can taste brown sugar, molasses, ginger, and honey. The balance is exquisite. No one flavor kills another, each one making its presence known on your palate. Great taste.

Pretty heavy bodied, didn't really notice any carbonation. Very syrupy as well, lingers in your mouth for a while. While this was very tasty and refreshing, the high alcohol makes this a very 'specific occassion' ale. Almost felt like a waste not being able to share it with others, but I thoroughly enjoyed each sip. Very impressive.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.89/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2004 Bottling.
Been wanting to try this one for awhile now, but with over a $8 price tag I've been hesitant. But after drinking this gem, I'm not only going to buy more, but I'm backing up the truck!
Pours a murky reddish brown in color. Smell is heavenly, absolutely wonderful. It took me awhile to take my first drink, because every time I lifted the glass to sip I was hit with wonderful sherry, oak, and that never mistaken JW Lees malt bill. Taste is unforgettable. I don't know why this beer is not talked about more for it's incredible flavor and readily availableness. Taste has the same underlying JW Lees barleywine, but with wonderful Sherry undertones and a woody oak flavor as well. This is one beer I wished would never end.
A true treat that is a definite sipper. I WILL seek more of these out and buy them on a regular basis.

Photo of BeerNemesis
4.82/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask) | 275 ml. | 11.5% ABV | 2009 vintage

Brewer: J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Style: English Barleywine
Glass: snifter

Golden like the barley it was brewed with. And though there is no head to speak of, a ring of sediment hangs suspended midway through the glass.

Wow. Barley, honey, raisins, molasses, gobs of toffee, fruity esters, and a heavy, floral hoppy tinge.

Harvest Ale has an incredible richness to it that should challenge any reviewer's palate. Fermented barley and raw honey hit first, followed by waves of sherry (remember it's been aged in sherry casks for two years), sticky caramel, and plump raisins. Ripe tropical fruits, like pineapple, and floral hops balance out the otherwise excessive orgy of sweet flavors. The finish tastes to me just like halva (made with tahini).

So gracefully smooth and creamy with some gentle carbonation. It is as if a magical shawl of ale had been draped over the sinews of my tongue. Does that give you an idea of how good it feels?

Perfection. Or close too it. To be honest, I have been wary of Barleywines for a while. I don't particularly like excessive honey-sweetness paired with hard liquor. It seems ungraceful for lack of a better word. However, J.W. Lees Harvest ale is a masterpiece of a beverage. It makes me want to take bad all the bad things I've ever said about Barlywines as a style.

Would I get it again?:
Yes. In fact, I'm about to go out and get a few more right now.

Bottled: 2009
Served: July 16, 2011

Price = $11.99 at Whole Foods NYC

Photo of deejaydan
4.77/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Wow.. got this one on BIF 10. Smells of fruit and alcohol and something else.. probably sherry, but I'm not sure what sherry is supposed to taste like.

This is one great treat on the tounge. Slightly spicy and sweet, with a crisp alcohol finish. With the gravity of this beer, no wonder there is some alcohol, but it is well managed.

Mouthfeel is exceptional. It is thick, but carbonated enough so that it doesn't totally coat your mouth.

I think it gets hurt on drinkablilty though... this is a rare treat, but I couldn't see it as an everyday drinker.

Photo of hiphopj5
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of putnam
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed after 24 hours open at room temperature, this "beer" really starts to show what it's got. It can be left open for weeks at room temperature. This is a densely sweet beer with a deeply toasted, burned sugar bitterness. It is peach-tinted brass in color. There is - of course - no "head." It is an unattenuated, high gravity, pure malt, resinated, viscous, aromatic, intensely flavored, orange-colored liquid.
Scorched pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts on the nose fold into concentrated butter, maple and pound cake aromas. On the palate it is sweet and fabulously rich in a viscous, oily-textured way that is not quite accounted for by its evident residual sugar, nor any flavor of alcohol. On the finish it is supported by seed oil-flavored bitterness reminiscent of arsenic-laden apricot and peach pits.

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4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

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4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

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4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

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4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

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4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of jgasparine
4.74/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 2003 Vintage Bottle, which released a wonderfully rich aroma that was detected from a 2-foot distance immediately upon removal of the crown...

A- An aggressive pour yielded a 1/4" tan foamy head, which slowly receded to a haze layer and collar. Some nice little bits of lacing were exhibited above the mildly carbonated, clear (yeast cake was nicely compacted at bottom of bottle) ruby-tinged amber body.

S- An incredibly rich nose of stewed malts, caramel, sherry, madiera, and melanoidins... I am absolutely dumbfounded by how good this smells. No hop aroma... just sweet (not cloying) perfection; perfect for a nightcap.

T- This does not disappoint on the palate either. The stewed malts and sherry-like notes are up-front, with the caramel coming-in midway... then some dark fruit esters and madiera-like notes... finishing semi-dry with an echo of melanoidin, and a kiss of booze. Just wonderful!

M- A medium body, with a slight syrupy texture, complimented by a wonderful soft carbonation. No astringency at all.

D- This quaffable masterpiece is dangerously drinkable. The alcohol is well-hidden... and the 7 years of age has done wonders for it! It's a damn shame I only have one 2003 vintage left in the cellar!!

Photo of Onslow
4.74/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

this will be rating #1000 on Beerpal .... what an amazing beer. Lots of sherry notes with dark fruits ... very sweet and cheeky ... almost no alcohol detected, all the complex flavours worked very well with each other ...one of the most regal and well made cask aged beers around ..

Photo of mrbeermug
4.73/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 Vintage

A - Beautiful color. It's clear from above with a bright golden honey color peeking through the edges, and when held eye level it has a deep orange amber hue. Poured into a snifter, the thin lacing dissipates to a small amount along the outer edges of the glass.

S - Aroma has characteristic fresh honey smell I find in many well-aged brews, along with some light cream sherry, candy sugar, juicy pear, and banana. Smells wonderful.

T - Outstanding. vanilla bean, oak, sherry, slightly bitter green pepper, and a bit of peachiness all melded wonderfully together because the 6 yrs aging has let everything settle down and weave together. Great balance.

M - Very light and fresh, with the normal syrup chewiness reduced significantly. Flavors linger around on different parts of the palatte just like they do as you swallow a velvety Brunello.

D - At 11.50% ABV and made with the big flavor of sherry casks, the aging lets this barleywine drink like a champion.

Exceptional beer.

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
90 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.