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

J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest AleJ.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,187 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1187
Reviews: 786
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 14.08%


Brewed by:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 12-18-2000)
View: Beers (18) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,187 | Reviews: 786 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by minterro:
Photo of minterro
minterro

Colorado

3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2010 (approximately 3.5-4 years aged)

As a celebrating for cracking 1,000 beer karma (like I need a reason to drink good beer). Bought this gem just a few days ago at Little's Wine and Liquor store in Denver, CO. They have a great cellaring program and this is the oldest beer I've seen them put on the shelves. Poured into a snifter (after letting it sit and warm a bit). Paired with pretzels to cleanse the palate.

A&S: You can see a ton of unfiltered specks floating around the bottle (even when undisturbed) before opening the beer. After cracking this beer there is a immediate and powerful rush of sherry-like red wine tones, cherry fruitiness, very intense sweet. The beer is a semi-transparent murky burgundy color. Understandably not really much going on with the head, pours a fizzy off-white and drops to nothing in a few seconds. Globs of sediment settle to the bottom. As it warms you get whiffs of bitterness, but it is mostly overpowered by sweetness.

T&M: Initially similar to the aroma sherry-like, super sweet, some dark fruit raisin tones. Alcohol is present, but well hidden (but I can feel my face getting flush). But then BOOM surprisingly earthy (and not good earthy, it pretty much tastes like dirt), somewhat metallic tones kick in at anywhere from the mid-taste to the initial finish. The most likely corporate of the not so great taste is oxidation (but it is still hard to get over). Not getting a ton of complexities in the taste cause the flavor is cut so abruptly. The very, very finish is becomes very pleasant (still doesn't make up for the initial finish). Low carbonation, high body. Last sip was pretty good, some of the settled parts actually cut the oxidation characteristics.

Overall: I really have no idea what this beer is like fresh, but at this age I wasn't a huge fan (especially for the price). I trust that Little's cellared this beer properly so I don't think that is the issue. I wouldn't buy this beer again at its price (10$ for less than 10oz), but I'm still glad I experienced this old of a brew. To date this is the oldest aged beer I have ever tasted. After submitting (usually only check rating after reviewing) there seems to be a ton of pDev on this beer, probably due to pushing it past it's limits. Maybe this beer is only meant to be set aside for a couple of years and not a half to a whole decade... just my two cents. I guess I also questions J.W. Lees, I know brewing over seas is based more on tradition, but why not try waxing or corking a beer that everyone is so eager to age... again just my two cents. The smell and initial taste are great, the finish is not, which kinda spoils the beer, which is unfortunate cause I can imagine how awesome this beer could be.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 04:57:25 | More by minterro
More User Reviews:
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TheSleepyMonkey

Tennessee

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

04-16-2014 18:47:37 | More by TheSleepyMonkey
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Fettpopps

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

04-14-2014 01:10:09 | More by Fettpopps
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jeff1973

California

4/5  rDev -6.1%

04-04-2014 03:03:36 | More by jeff1973
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Griffith

Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

04-03-2014 01:41:24 | More by Griffith
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cdean801

California

4/5  rDev -6.1%

04-02-2014 03:42:29 | More by cdean801
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Gonzoillini

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -12%

04-02-2014 02:21:48 | More by Gonzoillini
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brudz2134

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

03-29-2014 01:12:22 | More by brudz2134
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bnes09

Illinois

3.33/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light caramel color. Mostly opaque. Weak head. No retention or lacing.

Sweet, dark fruit aroma.

Deep malt flavor, figs and dates mainly. Hint of roasted almonds. Super sweet character overall. No hops to be found.

Dense, syrupy texture. Weak carbonation.

Decent flavor. Just way too sweet for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 02:14:08 | More by bnes09
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afsdan

Colorado

5/5  rDev +17.4%

03-22-2014 21:39:43 | More by afsdan
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MNMike

Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -12%

03-20-2014 02:51:17 | More by MNMike
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reebtaerG

Maryland

4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on draft at Columbia Ale House in a tulip

A-Pour was cloudy orange/brown with LOTS of sediment. Thin head that stayed thought drinking. Decent lacing.

S-Aroma of brown sugar, dark fruit, raisin, caramel.

T-Taste started sweet and transitioned to tart.

M-Mouthfeel was buttery/oily and full with a lively subtle carbonation.

O-Overall a great barleywine a must get.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2014 12:31:22 | More by reebtaerG
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Buckeye982

Ohio

4/5  rDev -6.1%

03-18-2014 01:48:30 | More by Buckeye982
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CanuckRover

Ontario (Canada)

4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a murky brown. It's not pretty, but it's on style, so can't be too hard on it. Thin film, showing some carbonation, which is promising.

Sweet nose. Aroma of apple pie, honey.

As expected from the nose. Calvados flavours, dates, and just a bit of spice, cinnamon-like. Slightly woody. Alcohol is nowhere to be seen, just a tingle in the finish.

A classic for a reason.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2014 00:08:56 | More by CanuckRover
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AgentMunky

California

3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

03-10-2014 05:51:13 | More by AgentMunky
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justinm4bama

Alabama

4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

03-10-2014 03:02:03 | More by justinm4bama
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JohnnyHopps

Indiana

4.61/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage

Appearance - A golden brown color with sediment floating near the bottom of the glass. The sediment almost looks like fresh wheat.

Smell - The sweetness in the aroma is intense. Laying a backbone to the sweetness are some wood based notes.

Taste - This is a near perfect English barleywine. The first impression I have is, "this is like drinking caramel." The sweetness is amazing, but it is paired with oak, sweet fruits, and hints of malts. I wish it was a little thicker to allow the aftertaste to linger a little longer. For an 11%, there is little burn. The sweetness leans toward dry in the finish.

Mouthfeel - I wanted this to be a little thicker so it could last longer.

Overall - I wish this came in bigger bottles. Though if it did come in bigger bottles, the night could end badly for me. Love this stuff.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 13:48:15 | More by JohnnyHopps
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chuckv

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

03-08-2014 10:50:12 | More by chuckv
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heysuz

Indiana

3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

03-07-2014 23:09:59 | More by heysuz
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brittanylicious

Indiana

3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

03-07-2014 23:07:43 | More by brittanylicious
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bulldogg915

Wyoming

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

03-06-2014 03:02:58 | More by bulldogg915
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July2Nov

Hawaii

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

03-05-2014 22:33:29 | More by July2Nov
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Roy1586

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

03-05-2014 04:20:04 | More by Roy1586
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davidwhatshisnam

New York

4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

02-26-2014 00:48:00 | More by davidwhatshisnam
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KevBot89

Pennsylvania

4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 edition

Appearance: opaque copper/brown, large cream head that dissipates rather quickly

Smell: rich malt, woody/spicy hops

Taste: a lot of malt flavor. rich, dark fruits, light earthy tones. finishes with a caramel/biscuit flavor lingers at length afterwards

Mouthfeel: thick, heavy, moderate carbonation.

Overal: the aroma matches the taste for the most part. Picked up more earthy hops on the back of the palate that I couldn't detect with the scent. Nice bittersweet and caramel finish after beginning with tons of malt and dark fruit flavors.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 01:29:02 | More by KevBot89
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J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,187 ratings.