J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale - J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
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Ratings: 1,228 | Reviews: 794 | Display Reviews Only:
1.25/5 rDev -70.6%
9.3oz bottle into tulip snifter.
Pours a red orange with a ton of large pieces of yeast sediment floating throughout and a thin off white head.
The aroma is quite malty. Very doughy and biscuity upfront, with some caramel as well.
Something has to be wrong with this beer. Tastes like an ashtray mixed with some bread dough and caramel malt.
Medium-thin mouthfeel with no carbonation.
Absolute drain pour, I have to think there was something seriously wrong with this bottle.
03-12-2012 08:24:01 | More by vkv822
1.35/5 rDev -68.2%
Ok...a bit of background.
I've tried almost 1000 different beers at this point,...mainly Belgian and pretentious US Microbrews. I love beer. I LOVE Barley wines.
That being said... I tried both the 2007 and the 2002 in the same sitting, and both were just... Rancid.
Looked pretty nice, except for tons of yeast floating around the bottom. TONS...nice dark-ish golden brown, with a great body. No lacing or head to speak of.
The 2007 was a little lighter in color, just barely.
The flavor of the 2007 was absolutely offensive in every way. It tasted as if I was drinking the run off of rotted raisins. Not fermented, but ROTTED. I spit it out, gagged...gargled a glass of water, and went in for a second try. Again, gagged, nearly vomited, and gave up...gave the rest to my beer nerd friend, who proceeded to do the same.
"This is disgusting. I would rather drink Bud Light pisswater crap over this."
The 2002 was slightly more drinkable, in that the rotted raisin flavor was slightly more "smooth" if you will. I didn't gag, however it still took me over 40min to finish this horrible brew.
I was bound and determined to finish it, because it was $12 per bottle,...a 375ml...
Overall? I would never under any circumstances buy this again, recommend it to any of my friends, or really do anything but lambaste this bastardization of one of my favorite styles.
This was disgusting and offensive on so many levels that I truly would rather drink a Corona.
EDIT: This beer was so absolutely offensive to me, that I got off my ass and did my first official review. Maybe I'll get around to uploading my notes on the other 999 or so, but that'll be another day.
07-16-2011 06:37:40 | More by steenkampa
1.35/5 rDev -68.2%
Ok, I'm gonna be the weirdo here. I don't like this. I don't know if it's a bad bottle or if it's because I don't like this style. Pours a dark brown, slight reddish tone. Smell is extremly sweet smell. Taste? Way beyond too sweet, like if I was drinking straight malt syrup with a bit of alcohol. Mouthfeel is syrupy. Drinkability is horrid. Spent $6.99 on a 9.6 oz. bottle so I was not going to drainpour, but I was damn close. It may just be me and I do understand if other people do like it but this was just horrible. It only looked nice and that was it.
02-10-2006 03:00:23 | More by Manosbeeroffate
1.55/5 rDev -63.5%
Had the 2002 Vintage in a bottle. Pours a rich brown color with a minimal head. Smell was mostly alcohol as can be expected given the strength of this beer, but did not expect it to dominate as much as it did. Very strong, sweet smell as well. The taste was overwhelmingly sweet. Where is the balance and complexity because I could not find it. Syrupy and no smoothness whatsoever. Very harsh beer that was choked down. Prefer cough syrup over this one.
12-09-2006 02:53:15 | More by jhu1995
1.65/5 rDev -61.2%
A - Pours a nice copper color with a thin head that leaves a ring around the glass.
S: The aroma is pretty much what I expect from the style. Raisins, caramel, molasses.I detect a bit of an earthy aroma hidden away also.
T: This is where I was totally disappointed. The raisins, caramel, and molasses from the nose were in the taste. There was also a bit of toffee and brown sugar. The problem was this underlying taste of an uncooked potato. It was like biting into a raw potato. I found it unpleasant and it had enough of a presence that I couldn't finish this beer. This was a drain pour after only a few sips.
M: This was thick, sticky, and sweet, more so than I expect even for this style.
D: Obviously the underlying taste of a spud was off-putting for me. The thickness and sweetness definitely didn't help. In order to ensure it wasn't a bad bottle, I later picked up 2007 and 2009 vintages from different locations. It seems that something in this beer isn't sitting well on my palate.
02-13-2011 10:47:12 | More by BigTomZ
1.65/5 rDev -61.2%
Wow...this was a dreadful experience. I had somewhat high expectations for this beer but it didn't come close.
Deep reddish brown, somewhat murky with a tannish head capping it off. It falls to a ring and looks pretty nice. Bad thing is I smelled it when I popped the cap. Not so impressive. Big time booze immediately. After it's poured, there is a dominant sweetness along with the booze. Something reminds me of vinegar in there, very subtle underneath the sweetness. Well, the smell was pretty strong, not really in the best of ways. The sweetness continues in the flavor. My reaction would have been classic if I was on video. Just a bit of a cringe comes from the flavor here. Maple syrupy and and fruity sweetness. Big toffee and caramel. All soaked in booze. Mouthfeel is full, thick and chewy. It is strongly hurt by the cloying sweetness of the beer, however. If not for that it would be sublime. No way I can drink this beer. I'm giving it sip after sip, minute after minute. Tried to take a big sip and it caused my reaction from above. Not one I'm planning on returning to.
10-23-2008 04:10:01 | More by ncvbc
1.65/5 rDev -61.2%
This was a bottle Harvest ale 2001 sample. This brew poured a small head of fine to medium sized light brown bubbles that as it receded left very little lacing. Its body was a cloudy dark brown color. It has an aroma of cinnamon and spice with some fruity notes. It had a burnt taste that was awful. Yuck what a drain pour. Was this sample bad? Maybe I'll have to sample another one if I can brave myself to try it again.
07-15-2003 16:11:12 | More by TheDM
1.75/5 rDev -58.8%
2005 bottle. Pours thick & syrupy with no head and a fair amount of floaties, despite an effort to decant. Aroma is a sweet graininess with some sawdust-like smell. I also get some dried fruit and lots of alcohol. Flavor is sweet, boozy, and very malty. Mouthfeel is sticky, alcoholic, and puckeringly sweet. I'm not quite sure why this stuff is so highly thought of; many of its attributes are things that I'm not looking for in this or any other beer - grainy/cerealness, overpowering sweet maltiness, and smack-you-in-the-face alcohol flavor.
I would not recommend this beer. I bought this bottle at Parti-Pak Discount Liquors in Indianapolis (probably Greenwood).
09-19-2008 03:03:48 | More by BeerBelcher
1.78/5 rDev -58.1%
2001 vintage from a trade. Poured from a 275ml bottle. It was a dark opaque brown. It had almost no head and no carb. No lacing. The smell was dominated by raisins and a syrupy sugary sweetness. Not a fan of the overly sweet raisins that I've run across before this one and didn't like it here. The taste was way too sweet to be enjoyable for me. Was like drinking sugar water with a bunch of raisins thrown in. This is my 2nd barley wine and not looking to try another unless part of my Top 100 quest. Don't recommend unless you like the style or very sweet beers. (1.5, NA, ML, N)
07-02-2007 04:37:09 | More by TexIndy
1.86/5 rDev -56.2%
Second one of these I had from the 2011 vintage, and the second was worse than the first.
Looks fine in the glass, light carbonation. Has a pleasant smell of malt I'd expect from a barleywine. The taste starts there, with nice notes of sherry and fig. From there it goes to smokey and leathery notes and finally leaves you with what I imagine licking an ash tray must taste like. Couldn't finish the bottle.
11-26-2013 03:00:57 | More by RichardMNixon
2.23/5 rDev -47.5%
A: Nice rich brown Amber, no head, sediment
S: Fruit first and foremost, rum raisin, liquory, caramel, very complex nose. Smelled like Grandma's minced meat pie.
T: Strong Sherry taste, rum raisin, sugar, I fear this BW is past it's prime
M: Heavy body, Warming
D: Couldn't finish it.
02-20-2011 01:57:40 | More by ToasterFork
2.25/5 rDev -47.1%
2010 vintage 275 ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a nonical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live, because it fell out of me fridge and foam started building so I knew I had to open it.
Bottle acquired at Hi Time Liquor in Costa Mesa, California.
Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured lightly given extra caronbation was expected.
A: Pours a half finger head of bad thickness, no real cream, and bad retention (maybe 20 seconds). Murky copper-brown colour. Floating yeast particles are certainly visible, with strange white floaters present. Not at all appealing.
Sm: Malty and yeasty. Malt dominates - a mixture of mildly dark malt and bright barley methinks. No roasting or toasting comes through. A mild strength aroma.
T: Heavy on the lees - sweet jaysus. Toffee is also a big element here. A sort of raisiny grapey fruit tone dominates the finish, with a hint of apple. I don't like the third act at all as a result; it feels really awkward and off. The remainder of the beer is merely clean malts. Lees were a bad call for this beer; even after two years of aging they're still quite dominant. It's a lot like drinking pure malt syrup to a degree. No alcohol comes through, which is impressive given the ABV. Overall, it's horribly balanced and badly built for the style.
Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours of the body nicely I suppose. Adequately carbonated. Thick enough but not quite ideal. It dries on the finish due to the lees, which is pretty nasty.
Dr: Very drinkable for the high ABV - perhaps its best trait. It was nowhere near as good as expected, and I wouldn't have it again unless a friend recommended it and it had a few years on it. The malts make it feel like a base for a better beer. A bastardization of barleywines as a style. Incredibly disappointing.
Overpriced, at least in the U.S.A.
I'll try the cask aged versions in the hope that they're better than this. I don't recommend this for aging or food pairing. A poor example of the style.
03-17-2012 01:05:27 | More by kojevergas
2.29/5 rDev -46.1%
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.
05-07-2014 13:58:32 | More by morebeergood
2.3/5 rDev -45.9%
2002 vintage, 9.3 ounce bottle purchased at Holiday Wine Cellar for $6.99 some time last year, put in the fridge for about forty minutes before cracking, split with my dad about an hour ago, poured into the new Sam Adams glass
A-Light to medium brown with an orange tint, 3/4 inch creamy off white head, suprisingly stuck around for a while which I did not expect because it is six years old, decent retention, no lacing
S-Huge amounts of caramel, toffee, butter, brown sugar, cognac, salt, soy sauce, vanilla, milk chocolate, plums, dates, figs, grainy bread, hint of brandy, aroma was so complex but it almost made me sick to my stomach due to its sweetness
T-I would hope that this beer gets better with even more age because I could barely handle it but then again it could have just been my palate, started off with a big caramel sweetness, along with strong dark fruits and toffee in the middle, finish was hot and burned a little going down, some serious booze here with an aftertaste that just does not want to leave, did not expect hoppiness after this long of an aging period but it needed some kind of dryness to balance out all the sweet accents, each sip made me cringe a little
M-Super sweet, boozy, and pungent mouthfeel, really could have used some carbonation, body was medium to full and very hazy in appearance, taste lingered far too long, also spicy and warming later
D-Could barely get through four ounces of this stuff, extremely heavy on the stomach, way too sweet in my opinion, alcohol is very present and is hotter than it even smells, not smooth, just flat out strong
Alcohol by volume was what it is listed at here but seemed like much more, one of the older beers I have tried at six years, to be honest this was a big let down for me and you can probably see that with the scores, far from a barleywine that I am used to, I would not drink this again, not recommended mainly because it is not my thing
06-05-2008 03:54:49 | More by Floydster
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,228 ratings.