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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

823 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 823
Hads: 1,395
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 18.12%
Wants: 249
Gots: 198 | FT: 14
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:
Beer added by: Todd on 12-18-2000

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (22) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 823 | Hads: 1,395
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1998 Vintage. Simply barley and cloying sweet. Peppermint, cinammon, raisin. Not very refreshing nor complex. Full mouthfeel. Little carbonation. Warming did not significantly improve. Saccarin dry aftertaste. I thought this below average for a barleywine, and please don't take offense.

Had 1997 vintage in spring 2006, 4 years past due. Lovely malt complexity and barley, understated carbonation and bitterness. Rating ratched up. I want more.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA.

Billed as the 25th Anniversary edition of this beer.

Pours a slightly murky honey orange-brown with a foamy off-white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, and some light apple-like fruit aromas. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and some fruity flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and full bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is quite strong and rich and has a better smell than taste in my opinion.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.87/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1999 version

A: murky and muddy brown body. No head.

S: sherry and cabernet dominate. some dark fruit, ofee, chocolate and caramel malts. forbodes a strong boozy flavor.

T: wow. This one is strong and not just in the boozy way but also in the tart, sweet and sour way. sherry, tons of dark fruit mostly raisin. The finish has an oak, smokey and cake batter character.

M: so sweet its hard to tell. medium body and light carbonation. oily and thick.

Overall: almost got a headache right away from the sweetness. This one is definitely unique and somehow complex in the finish despite the overwhelming tart and sweetness. I couldnt finish this one.

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Photo of metter98
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: It poured dark reddish brown with no head or evidence of carbonation in rising bubbles. There are lots of visible yeast particles floating near the bottom.
S: There is an intense aroma of raisins, caramel, sugars and boozy liqueur in the nose.
T: The taste has lots of very rich flavors similar to the aroma, although not quite as prominent, and is reminiscent of brandy. There is a moderate amount of sweetness.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate, extremely smooth, somewhat sticky and very boozy.
D: This is a perfect beer for a nightcap, especially if it is aged. Alcohol is definitely evident, yet it is relatively well hidden for the strength.

Note: 1988 vintage (aged 22 years)

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.71/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2008 vintage. not sure what the big deal is here. this is just a really sweet, yeasty, alcoholic monster. pouring a glittery golden color with a ton of coagulated yeast sediment and a minimal white head. the nose is very sugary, honey sweet, sticky, and yeasty. some fruit notes up front in the taste. alcohol wipes out any other potential subtleties, all i taste is booze and sugar, maybe a hint of vanilla from mid sip onwards. really syrupy in feel, not much carbonation, and more residual sugar that i can handle without turning diabetic. long teeth coating finish. overall not my favorite stuff here, not worth the price or the hype, maybe another decade would make this a star, but im just not feeling it here.

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a pretty nice looking murky golden amber color. The head is nonexistent, no lacing here either. The smell of the beer has a lot of wood on the nose, and plenty of boozy sweetness to it. Has a strong malty aroma too. The taste of the beer is sweet throughout, the flavors of honey and some spice. The flavors are very strong which makes this beer a sipper, this beer needs to be enjoyed in moderation over a long cold night. The mouthfeel is thick and has no carbonation. Overall it's a very good brew, and needs to be given time in the bottle and in the glass while drinking.

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Photo of brentk56
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2000 Bottling

Appearance: Pours out a dark amber color with a modest head that dissipates and leaves little lace; not surprising for this type of beer

Smell: Gosh, where to begin...rum-soaked candied fruit, honey, caramel, tobacco

Taste: A very complex liqueur washes over the tongue, almost like drambuie, but not as sweet or alcoholic; flavors of sugary burnt fruits such as apricots, raisins, pears, prunes and then some tobacco bitterness strikes up to balance the sweetness through to the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One small bottle would last an entire evening; a wonderful concoction

Got to try the fabled 1998 bottling on 9/21/12 and was blown away by how tasty a 14 year old beer could be

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.92/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Release '05: Sept. 23, 2007

Still considered very young, yet seductive enough to crack open the bottle. I just can't let these beers age at all. They are magnificent at any age. The 05 is no exception. Expecting a heavy sweet beer with some raw sugars and syrups, perhaps a hop bite and conflict; expecting high amounts of co2 to amplify an already-hot brew. Nope -- got none of that. Instead, the same smooth, brandy-like, port-wine brew with a hint of hop bitterness and flavor, mild heat, and creamy co2. Candied fruits take the form of fruit cake soaked in rum, with the finess of an after dinner congnac. The beer is absolutely amazing. Can't wait to see what the next decade does to the other one that I'll try to stash back.

Releases '87, 97, 92 - side by side comparison / Aug. 21, 2007

The '87 shined with higher port-wine, brandy flavors, but much more mellow, and less robust than earlier verisions. The nose was quite light, flavors were muted, with a complex alcohol feel and void carbonation. It looks a lot like prune juice, and tastes syrupy with deep dark fruits (dates, raisons, prunes, plumbs, figs). No hop presence at all. Highly oxidized and musty throughout. Rate 4.4

The '97 has all of the characteristics as the '87, but with richer context, intensity, and mouthfeel. The carbonation rounds out the mouthfeel and makes the beer feel fuller. The fruits are a bit ripe in comparison, but taking on similar proportions. More molassas, maple, wood character persists. Less oxidized, but still characterful with sherry and a touch of soy-sauce. Rate 4.8

The '02 is much sweeter, and has not rounded out fully yet. Rich maple syrup flavors make the beer taste a bit raw. The alcohols come across very warm, nearly hot. Fruits take on fresh fruitcake / dehydrated fruits, pronounced cherry flavor. No oxidation, but more one-dimensional than the earlier versions. Rate 4.25.

What an experiment! The '97 has the best recipe and has aged very well, probably nearing it's peak. The '87, although very nice, has signs of decline. The '02 still needs time to come into it's own. Thanks Clvand0!

Release 1999:

Always a joy to drink. After 8 years of bottle conditioning, great things are anticipated. The sweetness from this brew was fantastic: full of plumbs, grapes, dates, figs, cherries, prunes, and raisons, all swirled around a rum-like liquor. The hops have basically disappeared, leaving a mild bitterness from hop residue, grains, and confectionate sugars. Very rich and syrupy feel with a sharp, hot alcohol thinning. The beer sticks to the insides of the mouth for some time. Though this was a special session, I prefered the 2000 and the Port Cask Harvest Ales better.

Release 2000. Sampled on 06-21-05.

Boy what a terrific beer; best I've had in a while.
Looks brown with amber and tan highlights. Has a smooth, silky viscocity when poured into the glass. 1/2" off white head settles to a trace. Laces well and has legs. Smells fruity and sweet. Fruits resemble dates, figs, and raisons. Mildly alcoholic and spicy. Mouth watering. Tastes sweet and malty. Terrific full and round body. Sweetness hangs around. Mouthfeel is creamy and silky. Complex barley flavors abound. Flavors remind me of dark sweet wines. Quite chewy. Alcohol is hidden well. Finishes sweet and malty. Bittered only to balance; no flavor, no agressiveness. Not as dry as one would expect. Again, mildly alcoholic.

Impression: Probably more akin to an English Old Ale--with a punch. Well matured and melded. Dangerously easy to drink.
I highly recomend. May be substituted for an after dinner Port Wine or a Brandy.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2004 vintage – drank in 2006): Poured a deep amber color ale with a small off-white bubbly head with minimal retention. Aroma of sweet figs with some very sweet caramel malt. Noticeable trace of dry figs and raisins are discernable in the taste but the overall sweetness is personally just too much for my liking. Body is full but could be fuller. Would definitely improved with a lower level of sweetness.

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Photo of largadeer
4.87/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

'98 vintage.

Appearance - Oily and thick, mahogany in color, hazy but still transparent. Pours with a small, short-lived head.

Smell - Earthy and sweet. Caramel and raisins with woody undertones. Very bold, similar to a nice port or sherry.

Taste and mouthfeel - Layers of flavor unfold with each sip. Strawberries, followed by caramel, wood, iron and raisins. Bitter earthy hops provide a necessary touch of dryness in the finish that prevent this from being cloying. Very full-bodied, almost syrupy, with just enough carbonation to keep the mouthfeel lively. Very drinkable despite the syrupy texture and sweetness.

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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1998 vintage, poured into a Duchesse goblet.

Dark auburn body, reddish edges in direct light, with a solid finger of creamy foam. When backlit, there were suspended particles visible, and a central stream of carbonation. After fifteen minutes, it still held an unbroken skim, which was admirable for a 10 year old ale.

Definite aged character in the aroma, sweet rich malty notes, lightly nutty. Taste was sticky sweet, brown sugar and raisins, with a warming nutty finish. Perfect for the chilly holiday season, its like fruitcake in a glass. Rich and creamy feel that is probably it's best attribute. If you can get adjusted to the sweetness, the nutty finish is very nice. One at a time for sure, on special occasions.

2008 vintage:
Has a distinct peanut butter flavor and an earthy aftertaste. Very syrupy and viscous. Light metallic note in the aroma, otherwise all toffee. Plenty of oxidation as expected.
Overall score: 3.7

2011 vintage:
Tasted side by side with the '08 in 2013. Lighter orange color, looks like mead almost. A bit more sharpness from the abv, but overall the flavor seems better than the '08 with only trace amounts of oxidation. Slight fruitiness from the yeast, light apricot and honey comb. Overall score: 4.25

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear copper with only a trace of thin white cap. Aroma of malts, alcohol and a bit of smoke. Sweet caramel and smoky flavor on warming. Full body. A slow sipper.

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Photo of zeff80
3.65/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Harvest Ale 1999. Murky raspberry caramel with a butter toffee colored cap that is currently filling most of the snifter. The foam, while not exactly creamy, has a tight-bubbled texture that allows it to linger for quite some time. The look is classic English barleywine.

The nose reminds me of autumn, the season of harvest. Whether that's intentional on the part of the brewers (or whether it's simply my imagination run amok) is anyone's guess. The major characteristics include caramel, dried fruits and an earthiness that puts me in mind of fallen leaves. There's also a refined, tawny port-like quality that should be tremendous on the palate.

Why did it take me so long to drink such a time-honored beer like Vintage Harvest Ale? This bottle has been next-to-forgotten in the back of my beer fridge for too long now. I've decided that I have to see what the original, classic barleywine tastes like before I drink and review the bottles aged in brandy, whiskey, port and sherry casks.

This is surprisingly sweet beer that ventures dangerously close to cloying. It's probably too much to expect a balancing hoppiness, especially in a beer that has seen seven long winters (almost eight) come and go. Even though the tidal wave of malt sugars are threatening to gum up the works, I can still appreciate a fair amount of complexity. Not as much as in the nose, however.

Sticky caramel is the centerpiece around which the rest of the cornucopia is arranged. The fruitiness is on the order of dates, figs and cherries soaking in toffee pudding sauce. It might even be dark enough to include raisins. Also... brown sugar syrup, sweetened pipe tobacco and a hint of molasses. I have a sweet tooth, but man oh man!

Alcohol is barely noticed, other than a spreading warmth that makes me wish it was drinking this bottle during a raging blizzard rather than a crisp autumn morning. The mouthfeel might have been a thick, gooey mess if it wasn't for the beer's age. As it happens, it's a near perfect combination of clinginess and light-medium silkiness.

I have no idea if I'm drinking Harvest Ale 1999 too early, too late or at the exact right time. It's definitely enjoyable beer, but it isn't the world-beater than was expected. Perhaps the 2003 that is resting comfortably in my cellar will define the style like I thought this iteration would.

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Photo of oberon
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1998 vintage,I opened a 2003 bottle a few months back and it was just a bit much so I picked this one seeing it was aged already seven years.Pours a deep chesnut brown with just a slight ruby hue with one finger head wich honestly I didnt expect,aromas are incredible walnut and raisin stick out most with a touch of orange,rich and robust flavors but are much more in tune with each other than the 2003 big raisin/prune up front with a roasted nut and maple finish.Thick but not quite syrupy mouthfeel glides down easy,cant think of a better nighttime sipper,just awseome.

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Photo of mikesgroove
2.46/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2003 poured from a bottle

Poured a cloudy brown with no head at all. Smell was total alcohol, really over powered it and the taste was pretty much the same. There was a bit of a caramel, nutty, sugary taste in there but the alcohol far over powered this. I expected this one to be a bit more rounded out then it was, maybe I am just more of a fan of American Barleywines. Overall it was not bad, but I would pass on a second.

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Photo of oline73
3.35/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of nickfl
4.77/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1998 Vintage

A - Half finger of light brown head quickly dissipates and leaves minor lace. The body is dark brown and opaque.

S - Very unusual musty, toasted oak/ dark caramel aroma. Spicy notes and some vanilla as well.

T - Very smooth milk chocolate like flavor up front along with big, creamy caramel apple character. Spicy, slightly woody notes follow, ginger and cinnamon as well as some roasty toffee notes. Some very rounded bitterness asserts itself towards the end, but fades into a lingering alcohol warmth and amazingly rich caramel notes in the finish.

M - Thick, syrupy body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Keeping in mind that this is far from a session beer, it is an extraordinarily sippable sipping beer. Other vintage English beers I have had showed a similar complexity, but never seemed as drinkable as this. The caramel character is nothing short of spectacular and even though it is a very sweet beer it somehow avoids becoming cloying. Despite nearly 10 years in the bottle it shows no signs of oxidation, and has very little of the sherry character that one might expect of a beer this age. Overall, this is a really excellent vintage beer to enjoy on a cold winter night.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is a murky amber color with a small off-white head. A bit oxidized, but a really nice caramel and dark fruit aroma. Good brown sugar and maybe a hint of vanilla. The flavor is also slightly oxidized with a hint of alcohol. Great brown sugar, caramel, and toffee flavors. A nice bit of cherry and plum to go with raisins.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a chestnut brown body topped with a half inch of creamy-looking, beige head, though admittedly, it's a bit short-lived. Hey, but check out those legs!

Smell: Plump, juicy raisins swimming in sherry and tawny port with gobs of earthy caramel and toffee maltiness.

Taste: Ultra sweet, babies! Smooth, blended flavors of concentrated caramel, treacle, toffee, and simple syrup. Some woody hints. Small pinch of herbal hops but at this point they only present a mild bitterness. Rich raisiny fruitiness washed down with a sip of fine aged sherry and port. Soothing, warming alcohol presence, particularly on the smooth, malty finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: J.W. Lees, you've been charged with rampant deliciousness! A perfect late-night, after dinner sipper. Skip the dessert and head straight for a bottle of Harvest Ale instead.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask, via hand pump, @ the Mad Fox Brewing Company (Falls Church, VA) on 2/11/12 during their 2nd Annual Barleywine Festival. Served in a small footed Pils glass. 2010 Edition.

Pours a clear coppery gold, with a thin covering of off-white head. This fizzles out pretty quickly, leaving nothing back in terms of retention or lacing. The aroma smells woody and herbal, with some earthy hops and alcohol up front. This works into sweeter notes of toffee, sugary dough, brown sugars, and dark fruit. The fruit and brown sugar elements are standing out to me the most here, as the nose on the whole here is very rich feeling.

The taste is quite similar, with notes of caramel, dough, brown sugar, dark fruit, vanilla, and herbal hops along the back. The finish is woody feeling and very dry, with an almost parching quality to it. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a slick firm creaminess that glides along quite easily for the size. Some alcohol does start to emerge as this warms but the overall robustness of the flavors do their best to overcome its overall heady presence here.

Wow, this was good. Maybe the quintessential English Barleywine here, this just brings in droves of complex flavor to the senses, with a heavy yet still approachable alcohol presence to it. I think that I tend to enjoy this bear a little fresher before too much heavy sweetness sets in. Having this on cask was a real treat and one of the true highlights of the fest for me.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Lexington Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

2012 edition. The first stop of our trip through the Lees Harvest horizontal. This stuff pours a clear sunshine tawny topped by a finger or so (at best) of khaki foam. The nose comprises sweet caramel and toffee, white grapes, light stonefruits, mild vanilla, and a bit of booze tossed in for good measure. The taste brings in more of the same, the robust sweetness shining through, not unlike a sherry or even a tokaji. The body is a hefty medium, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a full feel. Overall, a damn fine beer, straight up. I remember thoroughly enjoying the 1999 vintage I had in 2010, and even this much fresher this stuff comes charging through. It's definitely sweet, but never comes across as cloying. I wish it were cheaper, just so I could drink and age as many as possible (and I don't age many beers, mind you).

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 vintage, enjoyed straight from the cellar at 55F. A very deep copper-brown body with amber highlights rests gently beneath an average sized head of creamy off-white froth. The head retention is limited, but at 11.5% that's to be expected - and it still keeps a decent collar which is unusual for such a high alcohol beer! The nose is loaded with sweet, caramelized malt and notes of sticky-sweet dried dark fruit as well as some leafy and almost herbal hops. In the mouth it's full bodied to the point of being syrupy; smooth; and quite creamy. The massive flavor assault that J.W. Lees delivers is quite astounding! It's beyond wort-like in its rich maltiness, dripping with sticky sweetness that's like a combination of honey and port wine. The Kent Goldings come through however, and help to dry it with their leafy and grassy character. The bitterness is noticeably limited, but it's there; and there's a mineral-like edge to it as well that helps keep its toffee/caramel/molasses and dark-fruit maltiness in-check. This is an exceptional Barleywine that's not to be missed!

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Photo of kojevergas
2.29/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

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.


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J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 823 ratings.