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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: 203
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,218 | Reviews: 793 | Display Reviews Only:
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 Brandt
Brandt

Montana

4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage

this beer poured out a darker caramely brown color with very little carbonation and no head to speak of

the noze on this is very rich and smells of figs and rasins strongly and other dried fruits, maybe a hint of dried cherry. there is also an aroma of brown sugar and a bread dough character, a touch of cinnamon and the faintest of woody smells

the taste is of rich toffe and rasin first and foremost followed by astringent tannins that give it a dry feel briefly before it goes down with a warm sweet boozyness

the finish is a stong fulll body that coats the tongue and leaves a great balance of sweet sugars and a drier bitterness along the back of the tongue. i was very interested to find this one and it was a treat to be able to try it. very rich drink but i would like to have some of these that are further down the line to compare.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2009 15:24:48 | More by Brandt
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
ThreeWiseMen

California

3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2002 bottle poured into a New Belgium globe. Most of the yeast sediment was kept in the bottle for the most part.

Appearance: Deep mahogany body turns bright crimson when held to light. Great clarity! A nice column of carbonation can be seen within. Not much head to speak of: just a small, khaki ring.

Smell: Molasses, brown sugar, and other sugary notes. Moist pine, rum, and rust lurk in the background. Very sweet on the whole; smells like candy.

Taste: This tastes like candy, and not in a necessarily good way. The overall flavor - comprised mainly of brown sugar, molasses, and overripe green grapes (much like a dessert wine) - is very sweet and syrupy, with very light toastiness and bitterness coming through on the back end. Alcohol is hidden very well, but it comes at a price.

Mouthfeel: Thick, syrupy, sugary, and a little gritty. Hardly any warmth or dryness for such a high ABV beer. Nice mouth coating. Low bitterness.

Drinkability: The sweetness of this beer is far too high for me to call it drinkable. I suggest splitting a 12oz. bottle amongst two people.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2009 02:24:42 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of darklordlager
darklordlager

Wisconsin

4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Special Beer to celebrate Review #100
1999 Vintage, acquired at Dennis Brothers in Cottage Grove, MN.

Cracking it open, it's weird to think that this beer is 10 years old...

A caramelly alcoholic smell wafts out as it is opened. Pours a nice off white/light tan colored head which slowly recedes to a thin filmy layer. The way the head dissapates is unlike any other beer I've ever seen. Unevely, and in odd patterns and shapes that seem afraid of the liquid below. I can smell this before even putting my nose close to it. A rich smell of dark fruit, (prunes and raisons) is emitted. Wow. Layers of caramel, candied fruit, sweet cherries lingering in the background. Bready/yeasty character is evident as well. Alcohol is masterfully covered up while smelling this directly, which is kind of odd as I smelled it right when it was opened.

All the things going on with this first sip just got me disoriented. Huge chewy body, port-like flavours, and incredible finish. Fruit cake, drizzled with caramel. Cherry, some apple character. It's like a constant barrage of varying degrees of malt flavour attacking my tongue (in the best way possible). Rich, hearty, very sweet--I can see how it covers up the alcohol.

This stuff just sits on your tongue, exuding flavour, refusing to let go. The alcohol is extremely well hidden, and is only there to aid in the balancing of the huge flavors.

As for drinkability, this is Incredibly sweet beer--I'm glad this is only a 9.6 oz bottle, as any more might be hard to stomach.

Those into port that snub their noses at beer--here it is, JW Lee's is about to change your mind....

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2009 01:56:12 | More by darklordlager
Photo of jasonjlewis
jasonjlewis

Texas

4.95/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this beer is epic. no hot alcohols. fruity esters such as apple and plum.

the taste is very very sweet with a big caramel malt sweetness and low hop bitterness.

incredibly creamy mouthfeel.

this beer is truly epic. go try it now. the alcohol is so deceptive, its ridiculous.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2009 03:24:45 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

275mL bottle, 1997 vintage, poured into a snifter.

Pours an opaque dark brown with a small creamy off-white head that recedes slowly to a healthy collar and leaves some legs on the sides after each sip.

The aroma is huge. It's got the sweet caramel malts with tons of toffee and dark fruits as well. I get a bit of chocolate as well, especially as it warms and there is a pronounced sherry character in the nose overall. Boozy and powerful nose.

The taste is much of the same and maybe bigger. The underlying caramel malt backbone is still dominant with lots of sweet booze-soaked fruits, raisins and plums especially. Molasses, caramel, chocolate, just tons of flavors on the palate. Tough to exaggerate how wonderful this taste is.

The mouthfeel is medium to full-bodied and very smooth with a perfectly soft carbonation. The alcohol does start to burn a bit, but it's not overly distracting.

I've been sitting on this bottle for a while and was worried it might be headed downhill. As far as I can tell, this one has never been better. Complex, rich, smooth...exceptional beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2009 05:06:15 | More by gford217
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage from a 275 ml bottle. That says it all. On to the beer:

No head on the pour. The glow of orange is a nice sight though. But don't base your first thoughts on the look, take in its aroma. The nose is loaded with all sorts of flavors. There is apricot, sherry, vanilla, and oak. And if the aroma isn't for you, taste it! Amazing and full flavored at first impression. And smooth as well. Sweet, sherry, apricots, grapes, butterscotch, cherries, a touch of oak. There is a very light touch of bitterness at the very end, but overall this is very sweet. The alcohol is nowhere is be found despite the listed 11.5% ABV. Thre's very little carbonation in this beer. but it's so smooth, and it's medium-heavy malty feel keeps the beer being sipped on.

I expected some very good things from this beer. Not only did this beer do that, it went beyond very good and become of the most tastiest, thought provoking beers that have crossed my palate. An outstanding example of the barleyewine style, and one that everyone should have the opportunity to taste.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2009 05:12:40 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of jeffthecheff
jeffthecheff

Connecticut

3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Edit: I tried the 1999 vintage, and found it to be much better and likely stored in better conditions. I'm changing the numerical scores to my ranking of the 1999, but leaving the original review in.

1999 Vintage.

I found this bottle at a store in a cool area, so I figured it could have been kept well. The bottle was split with others.

The pour had a rich, reddish brown color. The head had a decent white formation, but you could tell the 10 years and 11.5% affected it.

The aroma had a small amount of oxidation present. There was a nice, rich, alcoholic, and dark dried fruit aroma to it. Some spice came through as well, reminding me of poptori.

The flavor of this vintage was a lot better than the 2000 vintage. I'm guessing this had to do with storing conditions, because with only a year difference, the beer tasted entirley different. Deep, nutty butterscotch flavor. It's impressive how this strong beer has the nutty aspect to it. Some toffee is also there. Slight, rusty oxidation flavor. The beer is sweet, mouth coating, and very rich. Alcohol is slightly present.

Mouthfeel is thick, syrupy, and with more carbonation than I would think. The beer is assaulting on the palate, a sure night cap beer.

This vintage was much easier drinking because of the improved flavor. Still a sipper, and still a very aggressive beer.

2000 vintage.

Bought at the store, probably not stored in optimal cellaring conditions but also not bad conditions. Split the 10 oz bottle with a friend.

Pours amber and clear in a white wine glass with some nice ruby highlights. Head is minimal, it just forms a thin lacing around the perimeter of the glass. 4

Aroma is very complex, I've never had a beer aged even close to this long so I was just getting used to the characteristics. It has a strong, liqueur type or aroma but without much burning on the nose. Aromas of dark fruits, figs, prunes and currants. 4

Taste is also of dark fruits, figs, prunes, raisins are all definitley detectable. Burning alcohol flavor with a bit of vinegar. Also a hint of honey. Bitterness is there but taking on a syrupy sweetness to go with it, very dulled down from age but interesting. Some sips are pleasant, some are not, but they are all interesting, deep, and filled with character. 3.5

Mouthfeel is thick, sugary, syrupy, and a little hard to choke down after a while. Carbonation is very low, fits good with warmer serving temp. 3.5

Drinkability is limited to small sips. I'm glad I split this bottle because I don't know if I could finish the whole thing myself. As a matter of fact, I fell asleep with maybe an ounce left in my glass. This beer did a good job of knocking me out for a good night sleep, and I remember thinking it might pair well with ice cream, or a strong dessert. It's kind of tough on its own. I look forward to trying some different vintages of this beer. I could see myself liking this one a lot more in the right time and place with added experience of aged barleywines. 2

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2009 22:07:27 | More by jeffthecheff
Photo of seaoflament
seaoflament

California

4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy Dyan for sending me this vintage beer. Decided to share this one at La Bella this past Tuesday night. This is a 1999 Vintage.

Pours a dark copper color with, surprisingly, nearly an inch of head with fairly good retention. The head falls down to a ring which lasts for quite some time. Very lively beer for being a 10 year old barleywine.

Very vinous at first with notes of grapes, alcohol, malt, raisins, dates, dark dried cherries, and toast. As it opens up in the glass it gets fruitier and has hints of caramelized yams, brown sugar, sweet cherries, and what reminds me of toasted bread topped with honey. There's also some chocolate coming through as the beers warms up. Intoxicating aroma.

Tastes of toasted malts upfront, toffee and a little earthy chocolate in the middle, and an almond finish. Has a sweet wort flavor. Hints of maple syrup and toffee candy. I like it quite a bit but the 98' vintage I had earlier this year was just slightly better in the taste so I'm thinking this vintage could still develop more. Hardly any carbonation on the palate but it's perfect for this beer. A little syrupy and thick, coating on the tongue. Great sipping beer for a cold day.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2009 21:00:09 | More by seaoflament
Photo of BirdFlu
BirdFlu

New Jersey

3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber, cloudy with little head, good for a barleywine. Smell is very yeasty and sweet, very much like apple cider. Taste is quite sweet and odd, very raisiny as you would expect to find in an eisbock or such. Also fruity and estery. Mouth is medium-bodied with low to medium carb. Fairly straight forward with that strong sweetness having a presence in the feel. The flavor is honestly a bit off-putting (maybe the bottle I had was a bit off after its aging?) Very swwet and malty to an unbalanced extent. That said, its certainly not bad, but a bit syrupy.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2009 04:37:31 | More by BirdFlu
Photo of Yesac
Yesac

Georgia

3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2000 vintage

A- Dark amber brown. Small thin layer of off white bubbly head that is mostly around the ring of the glass.

S- Whoa, this smells fantastic. Like a fine cigar. Barreled wood, sweet brown sugar, caramel and the strong odor of the 11.5%.

T- Very sweet like honey. Strong ABV presence bringing to to a bourbon-like experience. Strong malt backbone with a hint of tartness.This would probably be consumed better with a paired meal. This is a sipper for sure.

M- Probably the thickest beer I've ever had. Goes down easy and doesn't leave much on the palate.

D- Not the easiest to drink. The thickness and sweetness weakens its character.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2009 01:49:26 | More by Yesac
Photo of BobbyBeerman
BobbyBeerman

Illinois

3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I haven't had too many English barleywines before. This one caught my eye at my favorite store and thought I'd give it a go. I was a little apprehensive from experiences of ales with a high alcohol content when they are young. This one is aged so I hoped this would be flavorful and not overbearing.

This is the 1999 vintage.

A: Pours a dark reddish brown with not much head. What head there was reduced to a thin layer. It's clear with thin carbonation trails.

S: Initially I get a molasses sweetness. There's a fruitiness and spiciness in there as well.

T: Sweet malts, a little molasses... If this was young I could see where this might be a little strong. With it being aged the flavors feel matured and mellowed although it is still robust.

M: Heavy almost syrupy. Carbonation is balanced. A surprising slight warming affect from the alcohol with, so far, hasn't really been present. One would thing with 11.5% ABV it would come though more but it hasn't.

D: This is a wonderful experience - eye opening and educational. Over all this is a good beer ranging a little on the sweeter side of things. I would drink only one at a session and have it next to last. This one is worth it.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2009 03:29:45 | More by BobbyBeerman
Photo of webmanspidey
webmanspidey

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the vintage 2006 edition.. a 9.3 oz bottle poured into chalice.

This is a dark thick reddish brown color. Some crumbles of sediment lie at the bottom.

The smell is intense and powerful: vinegar, cider, sour apples, pears, sweet caramel, and loads of alcohol.

Taste is not what I expected at all.. this is very sweet and subtle. A mixture of sweet fruits, honey, and something darker (cocoa?) it hits quickly and fades fairly fast. Carbonation is virtually nonexistent here.. alcohol is masked amazingly well, other than the smell it is barely there.

This is one of the more unique beers I've tried. Very liqueur-like: subtle, mellow and for enjoying slowly.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2009 01:46:20 | More by webmanspidey
Photo of NorCalYeti
NorCalYeti

California

4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

taste- roasted malt, licorice, molasses, prunes, coffee and a hint of eucalyptus in the finish

color- garnet/brown

clarity- clear with little to no sediment at the end of the pour

smell- brown sugar, syrup, oak, toffee, spice

body- light-medium weight, syrupy on the palate, quiet, slow finish

appearance- dark, flat, no lace, oily

overall impression- it still blows me away that some beers hold up after 21 years! granted, the experience is totally different than a fresh beer but there is a group of us loyals that treasure the liqueur-like qualities of the likes of lees and hardy's after a deep nights sleep.

notes- this review is for a 1988 vintage

glassware: tulip

serving temp.- 52.9 degrees

song- "harvest moon"

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2009 03:55:19 | More by NorCalYeti
Photo of DerBayer
DerBayer

Germany

4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally a close competitor for the mighty Aventinus Eisbock albeit different in style. I like the complex malt profile with lots of fruity and mild bitter notes.

The brew is syroupy but not cloying and surprisingly refreshing on the palate. The aftertaste of alcohol is there but not penetrant and the drinkability is very high for such a strong brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2009 21:58:02 | More by DerBayer
Photo of Tolnik
Tolnik

Colorado

4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this dark muddy brown beer into a pint glass. Little to no head came when poured. Faint wisps of lacing remain on the top as it sits awaiting to be drank. The aroma of ripe fruit greet the nose. The taste of this beer is that of light molasses, fruit, and slight caramel aftertaste. Overall a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 05:08:20 | More by Tolnik
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1999 Vintage. Consumed in May 2009.

A: Medium reddish brown with plenty of creamy head.

S: Lots of sweet malts and some fruitiness as well; slight earthy/woodiness.

T: Very, very sweet. The malts had blended perfectly together and there was the tiniest bit of tartness to it, in a good way.

M: Pretty full with moderate carbonation.

D: Definitely a sipper, but one I was very glad to enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2009 19:39:40 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of joepais
joepais

Maine

4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe this brew is 11 years old. A 1998 bottle poured into a dogfish head snifter produced a light wisp of a tan head that went to a thin lace. The body of the brew was dark amber to brown in color.

I am talking big ass dark fruit aroma, rum raisin is the first thing that comes to mind. The next thing that hits you is the sweet caramel, toffee syrup, cherries and plums flavors hitting your tongue. There is absolutely no carbonation and it is thick and syrupy in the mouthfeel department.

This brew is incredible in its complexity,and a great sippable brew, with absolutely no hint of 11.5% alcohol in it at all. Defiantly a fine experience that I will do again

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2009 02:24:29 | More by joepais
Photo of jdg204
jdg204

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good old Abe's Cold Beer in Bethlehem supplied me with a shot at another great brew. After reading all the great reviews this beer has gotten, I was pretty excited to try it.

A: Dark amber color with a virtually no head that dissipates immeditaly and leaves little lace.

S: Rum-soaked dark fruit, honey, toffee, and smokey tobacco.

T: A lot of flavors come bursthing through in a brew that almost feels like a smooth liquor. Flavors include dark fruits, toffee, lightly roasted coffee, citrus, and molasses. More than anything the flavor is SWEET and a bit overpowering, definitely a sipper.

M: Thick and syrupy with little to no carbonation.

D: Well this was definitely unique, never had a brew quite like this before. While this wasn't really my stle (too sweet, thick, and boozey) and I'm pretty sure I won't venture for anymore, I was glad for the chance to try it. The huge flavors, sweetness, and booze content of the brew make this a slow sipper, I probably should've tried to have this for dessert versus with dinner. An intersting brew to be sure and one all fans of beerdom should try.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2009 02:36:20 | More by jdg204
Photo of nickd717
nickd717

California

4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

1999 bottle from K&L Redwood City.

A - Pours hazy chestnut brown with a small off-white head.

S - Aroma is very nice, dominated by sweet caramel malt and toffee, along with spices, wood, fruity notes, and sherry.

T - Flavor is very sweet, with caramel and toffee, quite a bit of sherry-like oxidation, port wine, wood, spice, and raisin. People may disagree, but I definitely think 10 years of age is a little too much for this one. A little too oxidized, but still very good.

M - Palate is very smooth and creamy with medium-full body.

D - Drinkability a little above average.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2009 20:23:37 | More by nickd717
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

3.35/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

New Hampshire

4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of the 1999 vintage a couple of weeks ago. The Fall season is slowly creeping in out here in New Hampshire, so I thought a J.W. Lees Harvest Ale would be a nice way to enjoy the beginning of the season.

Poured this into a snifter. A strong pour produces a decent off-white head that sits on top of a dark autumn amber. The head thins out quite a bit, but leaves a nice foamy ring around the sides of the glass. Some lacing follows.

The aroma is at first a mixture of burnt malts and sweet fruits. Plums, figs and grapes are the strongest notes that come out, followed by some honey sweetness and a bit of estery alcohol. A complex nose that is very enjoyable. I still haven't even taken a sip yet, really enjoying this.

The taste is, well... amazing. Delicious! Thick, syrupy, sugary fruits intertwined with a very hefty amount of malt. Some wood flavors are also coming through, not very strong, but adding to the robustness of the flavor. Hops are there as well, adding a little bit of floral aroma and bitterness, but mostly washed out by the honey laden fruits. Very sweet most of the time, but interrupted occasionally by roasty/burnt malts, keeping it interesting and drawing me back for more.

The mouthfeel is much like I was describing in the taste. Thick, syrupy, creamy. Very filling. A bit of alcohol sharpness here or there, but for the most part the 11.5% ABV is hidden well. Drinkability is good, but with the high ABV, the sugary sweetness and the price, you'll only want one of these for the night. But drinkability is good for what it is.

All in all I am very impressed with this beer. It looks beautiful, the aroma is complex and pleasing and the flavor is delicious. I will be picking up more of this for special occasions and hunting down the other vintages. J.W. Lees 1999 Vintage Harvest Ale is truly a great English barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2009 01:17:50 | More by sisuspeed
Photo of abuliarose
abuliarose

New Hampshire

4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

'99 vintage, poured into a Duck Rabbit snifter. Opaque burnt caramel tones in the body with a little white head, this one smells a little like burnt caramel, anise and nutty toast (the malt coming through) with a nice hoppy bite over effervescent alcohol.

Mmmm tastes delicious, sweet. Again with the subtle burnt caramel and hints of roasted fig. Very warming. Gentle bitter aftertaste laced with malt. All of the flavors are very complex and well-rounded, reminding me of belgians. Maybe it's the age. A light carbonation accents these flavors very well and makes the mouthfeel smooth without being too heavy. Body is medium to heavy without smothering. It would be a little more drinkable if I could detect the alcohol less (as a barleywine, though, it has excellent drinkability); so overall it is an excellent sipper comparable in serving suggestion to port.

I must try more years of these!

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2009 01:08:03 | More by abuliarose
Photo of PartyBear
PartyBear

United Kingdom (England)

4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought four 2008 vintage a couple of weeks back, with the intention of cellaring them, so I figured I should try one fresh first.

Poured from a cellar temperature 275ml bottle into a chalice (Bush brand).

A - Amber in colour. Pours with a small head that completely vanishes after a couple of minutes. Carbonation seems very lively. Looks almost like brandy after it has settled.

S - The first thing that hits you is a bourbon alcohol smell, which is quite potent. There is a clear sweetness, maple syrup, toffee, butterscotch, caramel, you get the idea. There is a hint of apple in there, and maybe plum. The aromas are incredibly complex, I've never smelt anything like it.

T - The taste is sweet at first, with a syrupy honey taste, which has a slight vanilla quality to it. This makes way for an earthy bitterness in the finish, with a hint of green vegetables.

M - It feels very thick and syrupy. No real carbonation in the mouth.

D - Probably the biggest aromas and flavours I have experienced in a Barleywine. It is incredibly sweet, it makes your teeth ache just at the thought of it; maybe this will lessen with cellaring. Can't wait to taste it again in a few years after it has had chance to mature.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2009 21:40:30 | More by PartyBear
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TheFightfan1

Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found this douzy at Thr Iron Abbey in Hatboro PA.Vintage 2007.

Poured into a snifter.Pours a darker copper color with a insane chunky sediment in the bottom of the glass. Very little heading that dissolves to nothing at all. Very thick and syrupy looking with an oil coating that looks like a big puddle in the city.

Smell is very boozy with a maltiness. Raisiny and molasses. I get a tequila aroma towards the end.

Chew ... I mean taste is all the above and then some. Extremely heavy syrup taste with a sweet and roasted malt blend that tastes amazing. Slight hoppiness that kind of takes over then is replaced by an extreme fruitiness. Some chocolate is tasted as well.

Mouth is full bodied with NO carbonation but once you swoosh it around foams up very nicely with a prickley bitterness on the tongue. Very heavy syrup finish.

Drink is good but a little to heavy for a session beer but with that said it is easy to go down for such a high ABV. I was a little disappointed in the looks of this beer being thick and flat but it makes up for it in the taste.

Amazing tasting beer and definite must try for everyone who drinks.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2009 23:12:23 | More by TheFightfan1
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,218 ratings.