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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

1,230 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,230
Reviews: 794
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 14.12%
Wants: 211
Gots: 179 | FT: 12
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,230 | Reviews: 794 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of maxwelldeux
maxwelldeux

Washington

3.25/5  rDev -23.5%

06-03-2013 01:12:32 | More by maxwelldeux
Photo of LeeG
LeeG

Illinois

3.25/5  rDev -23.5%

01-22-2013 00:46:26 | More by LeeG
Photo of amalburg
amalburg

Michigan

3.25/5  rDev -23.5%

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

Kentucky

3.25/5  rDev -23.5%

06-12-2013 02:42:34 | More by bradfordjohnson
Photo of MCano
MCano

Texas

3.25/5  rDev -23.5%

08-14-2014 18:28:15 | More by MCano
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.25/5  rDev -23.5%

2007 - why let it age.

Beer poured into a snifter. Beer is dark yellow to brown and forms no head. Leaves very little lacing on the glass and carbonation is low. Beer is really hazy. I should have checked for sediment.

Sweet sweet caramel. This beer is really sweet smelling. Raisins and plums. Smells like a homebrew I made a while ago.

Beer is sweet with kind of an odd earthy flavor to it. I'm not really feeling this beer. Caramel note with some forward sweetness and no real bitterness. Beer finishes slightly dry. Drinkability not good. I don't think I'll be able to finish the whole thing. Maybe the aged versions are better or with another 10 years on it it will improve. Right now, not my favorite.

03-19-2010 04:29:18 | More by drabmuh
Photo of dsa7783
dsa7783

New Jersey

3.28/5  rDev -22.8%

Single, slim, slender 11.2 oz bottle copped from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"Limited Edition Brewed in 2005"...
Pours a hazy, cloudy, very murky, dark-amber color with a nicely-sized foamy and frothy head that included a slight bit of carbonation before receding and leaving a fair amount of lacing...
The aroma was very rich and sweet, bursting with strong candied sugars, sweet caramel, vanilla, and cream...
The taste was way too sweet to be truly enjoyable... The flavor was literally bursting with candied sugars and ultra-sweet caramel that made this beer near impossible to drink, even after already downing a few...
Mouthfeel was thick, rich, and creamy, and extremely sweet...
Overall drinkability was rather poor due to the excessive sweetness associated with this brew as well as the cloying, ultra-sugar-laden flavor...
Not my favorite Barleywine for sure...

03-08-2008 23:38:36 | More by dsa7783
Photo of HopEnthusiast
HopEnthusiast

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -22.4%

Marked 2004. Decanted from the bottle into a snifter. Pours a quite dark amber color with zero head as expected. Smells of huge malts, cherries, toffee, and alcohol. I've had very few barleywines, so this aroma is quite unique and interesting. The taste is sweet, with raisins, cherries, toffee, and booze all making an appearance. This is so sweet I should have definitely waited to try it later in the day, like after dinner, as opposed to 2 pm. Mouthfeel is quite thick. Drinkability is extremely low as it would take me forever to even finish one of these. I'm conflicted with this beer. It's obviously an excellent beer, but it's so far out of any style I enjoy, that it's hard for me to get too into it.

03-23-2009 02:19:47 | More by HopEnthusiast
Photo of oline73
oline73

Maryland

3.3/5  rDev -22.4%

I had this on-tap at Max's. Poured into a tasting glass. This was the 2010 batch.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber with almost no head at all.

Smell: Extremely sweet. Some malt and dark fruit along with caramel, port, and some alcohol.

Taste: This one is just a bit too sweet for me. I understand it comes with the territory, but this is a bit much. Malt and ripe dark fruit/wine flavors. The finish is slightly bitter with some warm alcohol and still really sweet.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick and mildly syrupy. Very mild, tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I thought this was way too sweet. I'd like to try an older version to see if things mellow out at all.

11-22-2011 22:49:55 | More by oline73
Photo of Cyberkedi
Cyberkedi

Georgia

3.3/5  rDev -22.4%

I had the 2003 vintage.

Pours a nice clear coppery amber with a fairly thick but not too persistent pale tan head. Aroma is crisp and fruity, mainly of sweet apple, more like a cider than a beer. Strong alcohol bite overwhelms the rather sweet, fruity flavor, so it is rather like drinking brandy mixed with fruit juice. Flavor does have a hint of malt and a hint of hops, but is somehow not really beer-like; nevertheless it is acceptable, if not my cup of tea, er, ale. Texture is syrupy, smooth and thick, yet edgy thanks to the strong bite of alcohol. It leaves a rather sweet aftertaste coupled with some alcohol and hop bitterness.

02-05-2009 21:56:02 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of mctizzz
mctizzz

California

3.33/5  rDev -21.6%

2006 Vintage.
This great brew has diminished into a flat sweet syrup with almost no hint of booze. I would like to try it after 2 years but this makes me question whether cellaring a brew for 7 years is even worth it. I have only had 3 beers now that have been cellared for over 5 years and this is the only one I know was far over the hill, live and learn...

05-08-2013 22:12:26 | More by mctizzz
Photo of gamblor21
gamblor21

New Jersey

3.33/5  rDev -21.6%

Dark in color, Smell of Raisins, as well as the taste. Also hints of cinnamon. Not easy to find, had from a bottle. Can also detect the Kent Golding's hops. The flavor is strong, and the high alc/vol makes it hard to drink more than one in a night, It feels like it would be a good winter beer after a day on the mountain

07-02-2007 01:30:04 | More by gamblor21
Photo of bnes09
bnes09

Illinois

3.33/5  rDev -21.6%

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.

03-28-2014 02:14:08 | More by bnes09
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

3.35/5  rDev -21.2%

2006 vintage; poured from 9.3 oz bottle into a wine goblet.

Appearance: deep woody brown, highly opaque with practically no head. When I poured it, I wasn't aware of how many chunky floaties would been in the bottle: there were indeed a few.

Smell: first off, it smells like late-harvest Riesling or maybe a Gewürztraminer. It's got a lot of syrupy grape, apple and pear. If I were blindfolded I would assume this was wine. That said, it is quite pleasing.

Taste: well, at first it tastes similar to a white wine, then I get the malt and grain, then I get what I can only describe as wood and cigarette smoke; it's almost tinny in that respect. I will say it's very complex, and I feel like I should be doing a lot of glass-swirling and erudite pontificating, but really, I just can't get a handle on it.

As I drink, the pattern stays the same: the beginning is quite wonderful and the finish is highly off-putting.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick body which is pretty smooth.

Drinkability: I really don't know what to put here. I don't want to slam this admittedly impressive beer, but it's just not my style right now.

I really would like to come back to this beer later when my barleywine palate is more developed.

09-09-2009 02:26:56 | More by flagmantho
Photo of thickerfreakness
thickerfreakness

Texas

3.38/5  rDev -20.5%

1998 bottle purchased from Sam's in Chicago.

Rich amber brown color. Pours with more head than expected but it fades to a ring of foam around the glass.

Smells really sweet off the bat. Rich toffee, candy, doughy malts, creamy vanilla caramels. Very, very sweet.

Really similar to the smell with the caramels becoming the main flavor component for me followed by other things from the smell and then some really rich overripe fruits like strawberries and cherries. Sweetness just gets to me as it lingers for quite a while after drinking.

A creamy medium bodied beer with more carbonation than expected for a 10 year old beer.

Just gets way too sweet. I don't think I can finish the end of this glass. Really high ABV as well.

06-27-2008 04:02:25 | More by thickerfreakness
Photo of OnThenIn
OnThenIn

Ohio

3.38/5  rDev -20.5%

2009 served on cask.

A: It was an extremely orange color and a bit hazy. Did not have a head when it arrived at my table.

S: Smells very sweet with a ton of a caramel and brandied plums. There was also a fig aroma the was present.

T: Tons of caramel with a solid backing of fruits. I mean this was almost painfully sweet. The fruits seemed like plums with a bit of apple as well.

M: Full bodied without a lot of carbonation, which made the beer a bit syrupy.

D: The mouthfeel made this is a sipper and the sweetness really made it difficult to drink. I was expecting a bit more from this beer. I thought it was going to be mind blowing, especially on cask; however, that did not happen. The sweetness was too much and I ended up cutting the last bit of my glass of this with a sour beer to make it more palatable.

12-14-2010 02:24:54 | More by OnThenIn
Photo of PatandDavid
PatandDavid

Massachusetts

3.4/5  rDev -20%

This is a bottle of the 2000 vintage, shared today between David and I. Dark copper penny color, no head. Aroma is intense: leather, sweet syrup, yeast getting slightly funky. Thick mouthfeel, initial impression is of that leathery taste, ends in some of that sweet syrup. Some fruit as well, dried apricots in there. I'll be honest, it's a bit too weird for my tastes. I know a lot like this complexity, but I find it disjointed. I don't think I'm a big fan of a leather taste in my brews.

10-16-2005 20:00:20 | More by PatandDavid
Photo of joebrewer
joebrewer

Massachusetts

3.4/5  rDev -20%

1998 vintage.

Smell: relatively mild malt notes. little hint of alchohol.

Overall I really appreciated the complexity of this bottle. However, there was a strong sweet maple flavor that made it difficult to pick out some of the softer initial flavors. Toward the end of the bottle I felt the hop bitterness to be a little distracting. I now plan to age my JL Vintage bottles a few more years to see how things mellow out. I'm surprised to feel that this still has legs to age after 9 years. I also think that the perfect serving size would be half the bottle. I'll need to find a few friends and do a vertical next time. Drinking a whole bottle is like drinking a similar volume of port. I think it's too sweet to enjoy from first to last.

08-26-2007 17:26:55 | More by joebrewer
Photo of GooberMcNutly
GooberMcNutly

Florida

3.43/5  rDev -19.3%

An amazing little bottle. Rich, round aromas of dried fruit (apples and raisin with some currants) and treacle. Initial taste was of heavy maltiness bu the hop level keeps the palate clear without coating the tongue. I wish I had a case of this to put away for the future.

11-14-2006 21:22:15 | More by GooberMcNutly
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
BattleRoadBrewer

Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -18.1%

Served cool from 12 oz amber bottles, vintages 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 courtesy of mjgardner and BRoss242--thanks guys, shared with Prufrock.

Pours with great body generating a slight head that doesn't leave lacing.

Aroma is thick and heady with fruity maltiness and a hint of maple.

Flavor is dominated by the malt, a bit fruity, maybe spicy.

Mouthfeel is rich and heavy. This is a sipping beer, slow going down. The 2000 has a healthy bitterness and is very well balanced, with 2002 being a bit less bitter and 1998 and 2001 being notably lacking in bitterness. None exhibit any high alcohol character--deceptively strong. The 2000 was my favorite, it was best balanced. All four are good sipping barleywines and recommended.

08-01-2007 04:40:02 | More by BattleRoadBrewer
Photo of Gmann
Gmann

New York

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

2002 Vintage. Pours a murky brown color with some yeast floaters, small white head that settled quickly into a ring. The aroma is meaty, marinated in soy sauce, and raisins. Quite strong. The taste is of candied cherries and honey which slowly transforms into a savory marinade. A bit salty and peppery and sort of like teriyaki sauce. Brown sugar is present and a brown bread malt. The brew has a full body, a bit thick and almost syrupy. The carbonation is still kicking after 7 years. Very sweet and then savory. I feel like I am drinking a candied marinated steak. Definitely has bold flavors but not sure this is what I am looking for in a beer.

03-08-2009 03:58:32 | More by Gmann
Photo of JonNunes
JonNunes

Nevada

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

02-02-2013 08:41:01 | More by JonNunes
Photo of jcalabre
jcalabre

California

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

1988 Vintage. Originally rated on 22 November 2002. I'm writing this review from my notes.
Poured a deep brown/red with a small head, that lasted quite a long time. Aroma was sweet with raisin and caramel.
The flavor was definitely sweet, perhaps a bit too sweet for me.

This beer is a bit different, but I could see why many like it. It's a must-try for any serious beer drinker.

06-22-2003 21:20:55 | More by jcalabre
Photo of AngusOg
AngusOg

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

01-28-2013 17:05:41 | More by AngusOg
Photo of brandoman63
brandoman63

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

11-30-2011 22:15:02 | More by brandoman63
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,230 ratings.