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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.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,218 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,218
Reviews: 793
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 14.12%
Wants: 199
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,218 | Reviews: 793 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of polishkaz
polishkaz

Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

01-19-2013 15:41:45 | More by polishkaz
Photo of AlexFields
AlexFields

Tennessee

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

01-13-2013 20:51:48 | More by AlexFields
Photo of JoeySchlitz
JoeySchlitz

Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2005 bottle picked up at Healthy Spirits in SF.

Definitely some floaters in this one - let sit still for a while before pouring. Almost no carbonation in this whatsoever - tried pouring from about 3 feet above glass and nothing. A murky brown, cloudy beverage. The smell is really good, picking up rum soaked plums, dates and figs. Pretty boozy and heavy. The taste is super sweet with a slight bitter mustiness at the tail end - reminds me of my grandparent's basement. This has been the same for all JW HA's that I've had - kind of disappointing. The mouth feel is on the more viscous side and would improve greatly if there were any carbonation in it. Given the high ABV, the super sweet flavor and mustiness I could not drink any more than one bottle max. Overall an interesting beer but not something that I would drink on a regular basis.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2009 06:22:49 | More by JoeySchlitz
Photo of MrNate
MrNate

Florida

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

01-19-2014 23:58:04 | More by MrNate
Photo of heysuz
heysuz

Indiana

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

03-07-2014 23:09:59 | More by heysuz
Photo of match1112
match1112

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

07-08-2013 03:39:37 | More by match1112
Photo of AgentMunky
AgentMunky

California

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

03-10-2014 05:51:13 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of garfscores
garfscores

Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

05-05-2013 17:16:01 | More by garfscores
Photo of brittanylicious
brittanylicious

Indiana

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

03-07-2014 23:07:43 | More by brittanylicious
Photo of Fettpopps
Fettpopps

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

04-14-2014 01:10:09 | More by Fettpopps
Photo of Agold
Agold

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

11-15-2011 22:19:40 | More by Agold
Photo of Sludgeman
Sludgeman

District of Columbia

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

02-24-2013 01:14:08 | More by Sludgeman
Photo of andrewm190
andrewm190

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This limited edition barley wine was brewed specially in 2002.

Pours a rich amber color, good head, good retention.

It smells very fruity. Apricot is the most prominent smell. But all sorts of fruits could be detected here.

The taste is good, but not as good as the 1998. I detect possibly a faint sense of honey, but mostly apricot again. There is a deep, but perhaps to overbearing fruit taste, even though its a barely wine. I don't think it wonderfully balanced.

The mouth feel is crisp, but not fantastic, which also drops in drink ability when combined with the taste. If your going to spend the money on beer, you could do better with some of the older versions of this brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2007 04:46:57 | More by andrewm190
Photo of numenor1
numenor1

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

'98 bottling

Pours a hazy opaque garnet hued brown. And even a modest head! Shocking for its gravity and age. Smell is malty sweetness incarnate. Molasses, honey, very slight roast, typical old beer smell and a very slight metallic hint. Taste is sweeett. Too sweet for my tastes. Incredible malt depth. Slight alcohol up front, then a wave of molasses, brown sugar, candied currants, dried prunes, and slight chocolate through the finish. Alcohol is unnoticeable..so long as sips are small. A very very very slow sipper. Syrupy. Overly cloying. Reminiscent of port, which is something I still haven't developed a taste for. Body is incredibly full with lush soft carbonation. A very slow sipper. I said it twice. Impressive, but still not what i want in a beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2006 00:11:28 | More by numenor1
Photo of AaronHomoya
AaronHomoya

Indiana

3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 bottle. 2004 vintage.

Pours an amber color with decent head for a beer of this strength. Aroma is mostly sweet malt and light fruitiness. Taste is very sweet and malty. A little fruity, alcohol and slight earthy hops in finish, but dominated by almost cloying sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit syrupy. Drinkability suffers from the overly sweetness, but the beer is pretty smooth and hides its alcoholic strength.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2006 20:42:11 | More by AaronHomoya
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

275mL bottle poured into a snifter. Vintage 2006.

(A)- Pours a murky caramel color. No head formation, just some bubbles.

(S)- Super potent. Caramel, toffee, figs, vanilla, and not yet ripe raisins.

(T)- Rich & buttery-like caramel & toffee. Some raisin-like peach fruit thing.

(M)- A lower carbonation level. Rather sweet & rich. Not as boozy as the smell, but is syrupy.

(D)- Not a bad barleywine, but reminds me more of an old ale. I think it needs more time to smooth out its edges. Wished it had a better carbonation level, but it would at least of helped in how rich & sweet it is.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2010 15:59:32 | More by sweemzander
Photo of CampusCrew
CampusCrew

Florida

3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well I had the honor of doing a special night with a friends and he featured a 10 year vertical from back till 98. he was missing 2 years. 93, 94 if i remeber correctly. Started off with an 2008. Keep in mind he did not age them himself, Bought them in the store aged.

Most of them were oxidizes but some were still pretty good. tasted loads of molases and carmel. Like a milano cookie. Very sweet, but the default with the aging creating a plastic tatse in most. Nice crimson coloring.

I'll grab a fresh one and re score later

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 20:33:36 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of mrasskicktastic
mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2004 Harvest Ale

A - A relatively clear brown thick syrup with no head. The beer displays some viscous action when swirled.

S - Red grapes, blackberries and faint brown sugar. Smells a bit like some better port wines or a brandy (without the alcohol).

T - Sweet - very sweet. There is some strong brown sugar and extremely strong toffee flavor with some maple syrup underneath and even under that, a the very faint, there is some dark red fruit (blackberries). The flavor is, though very sweet, very good. The first sips are amazing, but ti can be a tad cloying.

M - Smooth, thick, pretty refreshing.

D - Though a good beer, I have to dock it here. I will definitely have this, or one of its casked varieties again. It is basically the gold standard of the english barley wine. Honestly thuogh, it isn't easy to drink, just too sweet. Maybe with some years under its belt it would be a bit better. Would be fantastic on pancakes (not that I'd ever waste it).

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2006 22:36:02 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of deltatauhobbit
deltatauhobbit

Maine

3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1999 Vintage

Pours a clear amber color with a decent sized tan head, head seems a bit creamy and fades at a decent rate, leaves a thin cap, no lacing.

Smell is predominately malty, bit of alcohol is present which is surprising considering this is a 10 year old vintage, lots of dark fruit and candied sugar.

Taste is very sweet, like lots and lots of sweetness, caramel comes through quite strongly along with dark fruit (such as raisins), bit cloying from the sugary sweetness, the alcohol isn't as noticeable in the taste as it was in the aroma.

I'd be very interested in seeing how this develops by having a mini-vertical. I need to see if I can get a hold of some 1998's still since I know I can get 99-03 no problem.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 03:10:31 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

3.58/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2001 Vintage purchased at Whole Foods Columbus Circle in NYC.

A: Clear nutty brown color with red highlights with a small tight creamy off-white head. The lacing is minimal.

S: Tons of sweentess, this one may be cloying. Sweet aromas waft from the glass. Tons of toffee, caramel and molasses. This one is all about the malt. Very malty no matter how you look at it. Besides the sugar there are some dark fruits.

T: Malty, Sweet, downright cloying. Wow the sweetness of this beer. Fresh honey and brown sugar right from the start. Tinges of sweetned milky caramel and rich molasses. There are some massivly ripe fruits beneath. The finish tastes like you just popped a handfull of sunsweet raisins in your mouth. Wow there is a lot of raisin in the finish.

M: Big bold and thick. Very smooth in a syrupy sort of way.

D: Not really. Beers this sweet are hard for me to finish.

Overall: This is one big rich bold full bodied barleywine. It is off the scale when it comes to malt and sweetness. It is a bit overthetop for me, but very unique nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2008 18:13:57 | More by tpd975
Photo of Antilochus
Antilochus

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2006 - reviewed July 2008. 11.5% abv, 275mL bottle. Room temp. Served with Stilton.

Clear dark copper body under a thin cap of bubbles - tiny bubbles stick to the side of the glass. If this isn't a barleywine, what is?

Aromas of toffee, dark fruits, burnt sugar. Yum... dark, sweet grains... rye, nuts. Raisins. Superb.

Feel is remarkably thin, but lots of flavour - raisins, molasses, peaches, prunes, cake mix, rotten apples, burnt sugar. Finish is on mincemeat pie, a hint of astringency. Gigantic malt presence.

A bit young yet, but some things about this 06er are to be greatly admired.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2008 20:51:06 | More by Antilochus
Photo of desertbronze
desertbronze

Idaho

3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

9.3 oz. bottle - 2001 vintage.

Copper color in the glass - thin head fades almost immediately.

Smells extremely sweet - oxidation notes in the background.

One dimensional sweet taste with some oxidation noted. Not surprising given the age of the beer.

Cloying on the tongue - sweet taste lingers after the swallow. Oxidation in the aftertaste.

Too sweet to be drinkable in any quantity - I split this bottle with a friend - could have split it four ways without cheating anybody.

I bought 2 of these in 2003 - drank one in 2006 - thought it was good but too sweet. Saved this one - still too sweet and starting to oxidize as well. Seems like laying this down for 2-3 years is about right.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2009 07:05:27 | More by desertbronze
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - It poured out a burgandy color with a caramel colored, bubbly, one-finger head. It left some rings of lace.

S - It smelled very floral and very malty.

T - It was sweet and malty. It was almost too sweet. It was candy-like.

M - It was smooth and soft. It had a warm alcohol presence. It was a very heavy-bodied beer.

D - This was a bit too sweet and too heavy for my taste.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2007 02:54:06 | More by zeff80
Photo of Brew33
Brew33

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra in a trade, thanks Travis! 2007 Vintage. The color was a muted peach/amber. The aroma was brown sugar, ethyl alcohol, and sweet fruit. The taste was sweet, VERY sweet. Syrupy sweetness. I get a lot of brown sugar and raisin. Slight spicyness. An almost Brandy like finish. Little to no hop character. Completely unbalanced but that is somehow okay here. The alcohol was disguised well but the warming effects were evident. I felt like I'd just had 3 highballs.

This is a good beer. I'm glad I had the pleasure of trying it. It is ridiculously sweet though. Be prepared for a sipper. It gets better the closer it gets to room temperature too.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2009 13:40:56 | More by Brew33
Photo of NCBeernut
NCBeernut

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

1998 vintage poured into a tulip glass. JUST 10 years old. Nearly opaque, but put up against a light, it glows a deep dark hazy amber. There is a bit of a cascade that forms the head, but nothing to the extent of Guinness Draught. A one finger head falls in under a minute, just leaving a ring that leaves behind some spotty lacing. Just what I expected at 11.5% abv.

Smell: Sourdough, raisins, dark fruits, brown sugar, honey, some alcohol. Very sweet smelling.

Taste: Nice and sweet, actually cloying sweetness after a few sips. Brown sugar, maple syrup, dark fruits, molasses and a touch of honey. A bit toasty on the finish. It's like a gourmet candy in a bottle. Not really much for hops of course. I really enjoyed the flavor and complexity for a couple sips but it is a little sickening after a while.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth. Syrupy.

Drinkability: I couldn't really enjoy a whole bottle due to the sweetness. I have an '05 that I am going to forget about for a couple more years and see how that goes.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2008 21:22:13 | More by NCBeernut
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,218 ratings.