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

Not Rated.
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest AleJ.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,218 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,218
Reviews: 793
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 14.12%
Wants: 202
Gots: 171 | FT: 11
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 (19) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,218 | Reviews: 793 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by sulldaddy:
Photo of sulldaddy


4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am going to review two seperate vintages at once. It is kind of a decade tasting. I have a bottle of 1992 and 2002. I did the beers side by side and did not finish one before starting the other. Ate some pretzel and water in between brews. I will do each review seperately.

1992 vintage
I poured the beer into my tasting glass. It was chilled to just below room temp. Absolutely no head. WOuld have thought it was bourbon if I didnt see it pour from the bottle. dark mahogany in color with slightly rubyish tints. Very strong malt and alcohol aromas. Also maple syrup and some smokiness. No hop presence whatsoever.
First sip. Zero carbonation. Very viscous and thick mouthfeel. Maybe even oily characteristics, definitely syrupy, actually coats my gums a little. Alcohol warmth all the way down into my belly. no hop flavor either. Very vinous overall. SOme medicinal characteristics. As the bottle warms the alcohol flavor gives a little to bourbon flavors and oak as well. Very rich beer. I find the beer to much more drinkable as it warms. Very sweet and tasty. Great experience!
Appearance 4
Smell 4
taste 4.5
mouthfeel 5.0
drinkability 4.0

onto the 2002 vintage (2003 sampling)

This beer pours with a creamy orangish tan head. Very tight bubbles in the foam. THe color is also orange,maybe copper and is kind of bright, very clear pour as well.
The aroma is rather tangy with some hints of oak and again alcohol aromas. The maple syrup is also in there.
First sip. Very mild carbonation. very smooth brew! THis is a lighter bodied brew and the alcohol is not as dominant. I actually taste some earthy hop flavors on the finish in this one. Makes me think of working in the garden. I find this brew to be more drinkable while it is still chilled and the warming only makes it tastier. I am glad I cellared a bottle of this one as well. It will be nice to compare ina year or two to these notes.

2002 bottle sampled in 2009

This is a vintage 2002 bottle. I am splitting with Stopper. Pour at cellar temp into a snifter. A mostly clear rich mahogany color with fizzy beige head that fades rapidly to an edge layer.
Aroma is immediately eveident with dark rum soaked raisins, toffee, and a little booze. Maybe some apple brandy and molasses mixing in there too.
Very complex and enticing nose.
First sip reveals an average body and texture with very fine carbonation, very smooth easy drinker. Flavor is also very complex as the nose aadvertises.
All malt hits with toffee, molassess, rum soaked raisins or prunes again, some red grape as well. No reall alcohol heat anywhere. Very smooth and tasty. Wish I had bought more than this bottle 6 years ago. Absolutely excellent experience!

Appearance 4.5
Smell 4.5
Taste 5.0
Mouthfeel 5.0
Drinkability 4.5

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2003 00:15:21 | More by sulldaddy
More User Reviews:
Photo of Kuaff


4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Harvest Ale 2012, cellar temperature in a snifter.

This barley wine has a modest one-finger white head of foam which subsides unhurriedly. The color is a marvelous brownish, brackish, deep amber orange that looks clear and gem-like, though it isn't totally translucent.

The aroma is a superb one, filled with vanilla, caramel, toffee, ripe red apples, butterscotch, raisins, cider, and lemon zest. There may be a subtle earthy, leathury oak note too. Truly a pleasure to take in.

I taste sweet fruits at first; the sweet, juicy apple mixes with dark red cherries and, surprisingly, a grape flavor that bursts more in the middle, right before the finish sets in, which is something quite special: caramel, smoky leather, and earth abound, lingering prominently with some wonderful toasted nuttiness. And all the while those sweet fruits remain light in the background.

The feel is full, substantial, and a bit sticky.

A brilliant British barley wine with distinctive fruity and nutty traits.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2014 06:58:19 | More by Kuaff
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4.25/5  rDev 0%

07-01-2014 02:45:48 | More by Bilco
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4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

06-29-2014 01:59:21 | More by MaseFace
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2.5/5  rDev -41.2%

06-21-2014 23:52:22 | More by Hellpop65
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2.25/5  rDev -47.1%

06-19-2014 21:57:14 | More by sia478
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New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev 0%

06-18-2014 19:26:49 | More by Syracuse12
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3.25/5  rDev -23.5%

06-15-2014 00:38:17 | More by amalburg
Photo of monketeeth


5/5  rDev +17.6%

06-13-2014 02:46:34 | More by monketeeth
Photo of 22Blue


4/5  rDev -5.9%

06-13-2014 01:06:25 | More by 22Blue
Photo of woodenbones


4.25/5  rDev 0%

06-10-2014 08:50:13 | More by woodenbones
Photo of emalc


2/5  rDev -52.9%

06-01-2014 20:27:02 | More by emalc
Photo of FLima


4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006, finally! I could not wait more, but anyway it should be excellent by now. Let's see if it holds true against my expectations...
Brown ochre color with an almost inexistent head, so far no sediments. Almost showing some lacrima effect falling down the glass.
Wonderful aroma of Port wine, lots of high grade cocoa chocolate, licorice, molasses, oak, dry fruits, a hint of cinnamon and plums. I could mistake this by a chocolate panettone. I cannot get tire of sniffing this.
Surprisingly, flavor doesn’t entirely follow nose. Some new slightly smoked notes of charred wood or even tobacco. Also, molasses, very subtle earthy English hops, Port Wine, walnut, coconut, figs, cinnamon, prunes, apple juice, pears, licorice and maple syrup. Maybe some pleasant musty. Dry and sticky aftertaste with residual notes that mutates a bit.
Liquorish body with a very low carbonation, but it is still there. Alcohol of 11.5% abv is much better hidden than a bottle of wine given its malty body.
Extraordinaire beer, a sweet malty sipper with great complexity. Bold but still mellow. Highly recommended if you are into Barley Wines. This was in perfect condition after roughly eight years, I can’t wait trying one much younger and another one older.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2014 01:10:28 | More by FLima
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4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

05-27-2014 17:35:12 | More by OregonGrown7
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4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

05-24-2014 03:24:23 | More by unclekeith
Photo of SnifterLifter

New York

4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2000 Vintage. 275 ml bottle poured into snifter, very excited to try this one.

Pours dark reddish brown, no murkiness, very little sediment. Leaves lacing and has a very quickly dissipating pinky sized head.

Nose is strongly of sherry, very very slight alcohol presence. I think there would be more to say, but I have a poor sense of smell.

Up front is the butterscotchy sherry flavor, dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar. Possibly a slight tobacco note in there that I didn't expect.

Mouthfeel is not particularly thick, leaves a coating of flavor on your tongue and lips which is pleasant.

This is a wonderful beer. I spent 8.50 on it and I was satisfied. Definitely a sweet sipper for a special occasion. I haven't had this before now but I suspect the age did this beer wonders. Very satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2014 21:52:55 | More by SnifterLifter
Photo of DerelictPI

New York

4.76/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage.

Look: A beautiful reddish orange color. Almost like a honey color. I poured it straight out and it developed a nice head that went away immediately.

Smell: Sweet, dried fruit.

Taste: Follows the smell. I've been sipping on this 750 ml for about an hour and a half, so it has changed as it has warmed (and as I have warmed). Rich malty sweetness that is in line with dried fruits. The booze is well hidden. This is not a terribly carbonated beer but it does go down easy. I am glad I bought two more bottles to age!

Overall: If you like sweeter barleywines, quads and dopplebocks, do yourself a favor and grab this!

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2014 00:50:21 | More by DerelictPI
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3/5  rDev -29.4%

05-15-2014 04:30:18 | More by cultclassic89
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4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

05-12-2014 05:04:32 | More by seangibbs60
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3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

05-11-2014 18:37:09 | More by kybeerdrinker
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New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev 0%

05-11-2014 01:24:37 | More by iL0VEbeer
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New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev 0%

05-07-2014 16:38:31 | More by Dougwillhike
Photo of morebeergood


2.29/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Purchased three bottles: 2008, 2007, 2006 a couple years back and have aged them in my proper beer cellar since then. Cracked them all open last night. All three were flat, overly sweet, and metallic tasting. They did not age well at all. I bought them at a decent price, so no big loss. But I expected more since this was a beer that the label says can be laid down for years.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2014 13:58:32 | More by morebeergood
Photo of InspectorBob

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev 0%

05-05-2014 13:10:55 | More by InspectorBob
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4.25/5  rDev 0%

05-02-2014 23:36:07 | More by psumjl269
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J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,218 ratings.