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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

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1,284 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,284
Reviews: 798
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 14.12%
Wants: 221
Gots: 184 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,284 | Reviews: 798 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of badboyrsl84
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 1999 bottle

Pours reddish brown with a small fizzy head

Smell - caramel, alcohol, wine barrels, figs. Overall its smell is appealing.

Taste - its sooo smooth and very tasty. Caramel, figs, cocoa, sugar sweetness and some alcohol.

Overall - its now one of my favorites in the barleywine line up

Photo of mwilbur
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Side-by-side comparison of 2005 and 2006 vintages poured (from 275 mL bottles) into snifters.
A: 2005-Pours a medium-dark caramel with chunks of sediment at the end. No carbonation and no head. 2006-Pours an extremely dark brown (much darker than 2005) with loads of sediment. No carbonation and no head.
S: 2005--Caramel, bourbon, whiskey...heavy with sweet alcohol. 2006-Caramel, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla (sweeter, less dense, and less alcohol than 2005).
T: 2005-Sweet caramel malt, hint of sweet bourbon. I was cringing in preparation for the alcohol wallop...it never came. 2006-Vanilla, soft bourbon, sweet caramel malt, the faintest hint of herbal/medicinal hops, tobacco, dark fruit. More deeper, darker, and complex than 2005.
M: 2005-Medium (and maybe even light-medium) body...much less than anticipated. Smooth, sweet, and slightly oily. Leaves a very pleasant sweet coating on the palate that lingers beautifully. 2006-Medium-heavy body. Chewy, soft, smooth, and slightly oily. Again the pleasant sweet coating on the palate. Heavier and more dense than 2005.
D: OK. This deserves the hype and praise. A truly transcendent beer. You honestly can not tell this is 11.5%...crazy good. Sweet nectar of the gods. Damn near perfection. Not enough words to laud this brew.
Hard to pick a winner between 2005 and 2006. Both are quality, distinct, and different brews.

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

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 2009, on cask at Blind Tiger, New York, on June 15 2011. Outrageously priced at $12 per mug (about 12 ounces, so you do the math). $11 at happy hour, but still... I foresee this beer lasting on the line for a long while.

Appearance: Totally differet from any J.W. ale I have ever had before. Almost a whole finger of foamy bubbly head, good retention, some thick lacing... yeah! Color is a murky orange, like diseased horse piss and expired warm orange juice. Love it!

Smell: Funk, a bit of sour, also clear hops, which I would have never expected in this beer. Lactic acid, wet grass. Very rural! A tad of caramel sweetness/crystallized sugar at the end. Citrus, orange juice, and a whole lot of fruit-flavored soft drink (Fanta, mostly)!

Taste: In the mouth it is much more sweet and less balanced than in the nose, but still delicious. Very flat, again- like a soft drink, Sunkist or the likes. Very bright and citrusy. Barnyard all over! Dirty cow pen, and I suspect even the mythical and elusive horse blanket is present. Funk for sure! A tad of tangy hops at the very end of the sip. Mushroom, umami, earth. "Live cultures". Real ale, baby!

Mouthfeel: Well balanced and beautiful, with full body, flavor and low-but-perfect carbonation. This is a pretty perfect, ideal cask, wet and funky.

Overall: Top rating, because it is so drinkable it is ridiculous. Chuggable, actually! Absolutely no trace of that 11.5% ABV! Wow. Were it not for the nasty price, I would gladly have a TON of this. Much, much more enjoyable than the bottled version.

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty stunning - first time having this - very interested now to try some other vintages. Delighted to find this, unadvertised, by chance, on cask at a Shelton Bros event. 2009 vintage.

Served in a small wine glass - half serving. Chill haze adds cloudy tan highlights to the eventual weathered (less hazy) mahogany color that emerges. Visual carbonation is absent. A still liqueur stance, though lacking legs.

Stale, oxidized worty aromas (which could be a wooden cask derived element, really) prove not, to me, flaws when put up against some of the most wonderfully complex, deep, rich, dried/dark fruit essences I've experienced. I mean, you could present a believable argument that they mashed as much if not more pulpy, stringy dried fruit as malt to come up with this. But I know better. I suppose it falls short of perfection due to the balance of those old, stale smells snuffing out some of the technicolor potential of the dark fruity malt...

Absolutely floored at how stealthily the alcohol slinks into the depths below its thankfully not-anywhere-near-somewhat-sweet, stewy-fruity malt, 5/7ths thick-bodied lusciousness. Port can't help coming to mind, but it's not quite...

This drinks like something that's been sitting around - the dregs, the leavings, a fortunate hodgepodge - very pleased. It's inspiring. I'll say again that I'm super curious to see what older versions offer.

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

549th review on BA
Bottle to Sinners glass
2002 Vintage

App- It's brown, it's amber, it's golden, it's murky, sludgy looking with a nice head and a couple dots of lace to it.

Smell- A lot is going on in this glass. It's very malt forward with no hop presence. Smells very creamy with the ABV very noticeable as well.

Taste- Over ripe fruit with some cream and big slick malts. Somehow with the ABV and the feel it works. I can feel how big this beer is almost immediately. A little towards the unbalanced malt side but with some candy notes.

Mouth- Big slick oily and sweet medium bodied and subdued medium carbonation level. Nice and bubbly when it needed to be but smoothed out nicely.

Drink- This was pretty good for a 9 year old bottle. I am glad I picked this one up. I am noticing that most of these are all very much tasting the same but some of the cask versions are just a touch better.

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 2000 vintage bottle into a snifter glass. Pours a deep red/brown color with a creamy light tan head. Aroma is very sweet and fruity, lots of big malts coming through with a heavy dose of dark fruits, sweet toffee and some prune and plum characteristics. Tastes rich with maple and oaky notes in the start along with the dark overripe fruits. Very sweet from on set to finish, barely any hops present tiny bitterness in the finish. Boozy but blends perfectly like a nice port. Very rich full sticky body and almost no carbonation. Not my style but glad to have tried this one out! A complex beer indeed.

Photo of megahurts4
3.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

JW Lees Harvest Ale 2009

Appearance: reddish, small head, and a little lacing.

Smell: malty caramel and toffee.

Taste: malty caramel-honey, spices, some fruit, and an earthy-wood flavor.

Mouthfeel: malty and heavy.

This is a very malty and flavorful brew. It starts with a thick spicy caramel blast. There is an odd earthy-wood flavor at the end.

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

Brewed in December of 2000 and sent to me by nlmartin in the Blind Beers BIF. This one’s a ten-ounce-ish bottle labeled “11.5%, Snifter.” I oblige.

Murky milk chocolate brown with some golden highlights when held to the light. A tight half-finger head the color of latte foam fizzles away lickety-split, leaving behind a very thin ring.

Intense nose. Cranberry juice, raisins, brandy, mint, basil, dark chocolate, molasses, candy sugar. Crazy mix of sweet and herbal aromas.

The flavor begins as big and beautiful as you think it would. Very raisiny, with a blend of molasses, cocoa, brandy, port and hints of the herbaceous. The flavors, though good, never seem to fully materialize. The tide of flavor ebbs softly, leaving a lingering sweetness.

Very light, tingly carbonation amidst a soft, buttery medium body. I know the alcohol content is more than 10 percent, but I don’t believe it.

Good flavors and nice complexity. I think age has taken some of the edge off the alcohol content, but it’s also rounded out the flavor a bit too much. Needs more bite.

Photo of scottfrie
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

275ml bottle into AVBC snifter. 2001 vintage.

A: Pours a very dark mahogany red with a thin, eighth-inch light tan head that quickly faded into a collar. No lacing.
S: Big notes of oatmeal-raisin cookies, sweet almost syrupy raisins, honey, vanilla, caramel, orange peel, fermented dark fruits, cinnamon, and a hint of soy sauce.
T: Syrupy sweet and very rich almost meaty flavors. I get big dominate notes of sweet raisins, caramel, brown sugar and honey. The flavors remind me of kettle corn or some kind of sugary meat glaze. The finish contains notes of orange peel, tobacco, barbeque, and candied brown sugar. The flavor coats your mouth and the aftertaste definitely lingers for a while. There is an alcohol presence at the end of the swallow, but it is only slight warm and is non-intrusive.
M: Thick bodied with a heavy, syrupy mouthfeel. Carbonation is low but I find it perfect. Extremely smooth.
O: Wonderful brew that is definitely meant to be sat on for years and years. Most barleywines would not be be this drinkable after 10 years. This is definitely quality.

Photo of pmarlowe
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002 vintage. Tulip glass.

Pours light mahogany with a cap of off-white foam. Pretty good lacing. Aroma is toast and honey, sherry with dark fruit like black currant and fig. Smells good with nice complexity. Taste is... wow, blast of sweetness which hits you up front and then fades into a nice, long honey finish. Honey and sherry are dominant flavors. Full bodied, a minimal carbonation which is fitting for the style, slight acidity which provides some nice structure. Overall, this is a very nice slow sipper for those with a sweet tooth.

Photo of photonicgnostic
4.93/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had the pleasure and privilege of pouring this 1999 vintage at Albany Craft Beer Fest (thanks to the organizers for giving us all this treat). Poured into 5oz mini-Pilsner tasting glasses.

It poured hazy gold with very little head. Strong fruity nose with banana in the fore. Tastes more like an aged sherry or mead than what you might normally think of as barleywine. The sweetness is dominated by honey and balanced by the complexity of flavors and good old Kent Golding hops. Mouthfeel is silky smooth and leaves sticky honey-like sugar on the lips and glass. It's easy to forget the high ABV of this barleywine.

One of the most complex and biggest beers I've had. This made me a very popular pourer.

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2001, opened on 5/12/2011. Poured into a Swiss wine snifter.

Pours with just a thin ring of lace around the edges of the glass, no real head. There was a nice hiss when I opened the bottle however, so I expect the ABV is what is killing the head, not the 10 years this spent in the bottle. The body is a rich clear ruby color. Quite outstanding.

Dried raisins, dates, and figs come to mind as I smell this brew. English toffee is present but without any major sweetness in the nose. The sugar takes more of a burnt toffee/caramel aroma. Nothing in the way of hops is detectable. There are some earthy undertones to the dark fruit flavors, and it is this quality that sets the nose of this beer apart.

The sweetness of this ale reaches new heights in my palate's experience. Imagine drenching a dark wheat bread loaf in melted toffee, soaking it in rum and adding blended dried dark fruits to the mixture. In the aftertaste I detect notes of leather and tootsie roll. There is a slightly acrid bitterness in this flavor, and it is very hard to put a finger on what it resembles. Maybe burnt sugar? It tastes slightly burnt but not in any way smoky.

The mouthfeel is syrupy sweet, but there is some mild carbonation that lifts the beer in the mouth and keeps it from being sickeningly syrupy.

Conclusion: Sweeter than I expected from tasting other aged English barelywines. I am now curious to taste how much less sweet it is fresh. This is now the oldest beer I have tasted (though not the oldest in my cellar), and it was a true treat.

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

1986 and 1999 side by side for beerandbourbon's birthday.

Both pours a nice reddish brown. Both are a bit murky with almost no head to speak of. The 1986 is darker slightly. Rest of the review is for 1999 as i liked it just a touch better. Smells so sweet and malty. Lots of dark fruits and a nice raisiny on the nose and the tongue. Some subtle vanilla and almost woody. Some nice earthy tones. No real hops to speak of. Super smooth and a nice solid mouthfeel. Thick, boozy still. Very very good

Photo of MichaelLynBryant
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had the pleasure of drinking 1/3 of a 1999 Vintage bottle with good company.

Pours a clear dark amber with simple carbonation. The white foam rapidly becomes a halo, deifying one hell of a beer.

Aroma - alcohol, prunes, dark grapes, general dark fruit. As it warms, darker.

Taste - prunes & grapes. Blind-tasted, could pass as wine. Sweetness gives a port character, nicely dealt after 12 years of cellaring (final 2-3 years of which it was kept cold). Evolves into honey wine.

Carbonation/Mouthfeel - Good. Steady stream of slow bubbles dance the entire time.

Overall - a delight. Thanks to my wife for the treat.

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

All tastings poured into tulip glasses...

Bottle from 1998 - Reviewed 4/25/2011 (5, 4.5, 5, 4.5, 5)

Pours a rich brown with garnet hues, almost no head at all, though there are hints of bubbles that do form after the pour. Leggy appearance on the glass after a quick swirl. The aroma is toffee, caramel, sweet syrupy malt, raisins, and dates, along with molasses and some absolutely awesome port/fortified wine character. On to the palate, where this is one of the most delicious and complex barleywines that I have ever tasted. Toffee, caramel, raisins, dates, and that brown sugar syrupy flavor all translate from the aroma. Followed by sherry-flavored oxidation and port-like notes, the fruity and sweet flavor is top-notch. Not even a touch of booze after 12 long winters in the bottle. Thick and syrupy and smooth on the palate that leaves a sticky residue, this beer deserves all the accolades it gets.

Bottle from 1999 - Reviewed 4/28/2011 (4.5, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5, 4.5)

Appearance as far as color is much the same as the 98, though there is far more carbonation in this that there was in the 1998 vintage. The aroma, as a result is far more open. There are the same aromas of toffee and caramel, more evident here, with lighter fruit, mainly dates and plums. Again, the port-like aromas are evident. On the palate, this is much more concentrated as far as the toffee and caramel go, with the fruits fading a touch to the background. The palate does open up more bringing in some plums and dates, molasses, a touch of leather, and a hint of vanilla. The finish is syrupy and sweet, but not cloying; I find the sweetness in this vintage more balanced with the malt character than it was in the 98. Overall, I prefer the 98 vintage slightly, though this is no slouch.

Bottle from 2000 - Reviewed 6/28/2011 (4.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 4.5)

Bottle opens with a tiny pffft indicating an undercarbed barleywine, but the pour shows otherwise. Light carbonation, but a nice fizzy head does form before vanishing. The aroma is somewhat less integrated than the two previous vintages, even at 11 years in the bottle. Caramel apple, dates, brown sugar, and some molasses. On the palate, the caramel sweetness is especially notable, bordering on candy-like. Deep fruity notes complement brown sugar and molasses in the finish, with just a touch of vanilla and some sherry-nuanced oxidation. Slick and oily, but smooth and lush on the palate. The candy-like sweetness is somewhat tempered by the vanilla and fruit notes, balancing this nicely. This is my second favorite vintage overall behind the '98.

Photo of rtepiak
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pour is a solid orange with about a finger of head. This is a head unlike anything i've ever seen. I girth of a bubbles that hovers just below the head like an american RIS... But longer. Settling after about 8 seconds. Nose pollen, whiskey malt, old furniture and subtle banana. A palate of sweet honey in a transition of floral to thisle bitter earth. There is a nice tang in the finish. A baltic porter hint. A finish of pomagrante earth bitter seeds and hints of lingering toasted sesame. A wonderful earth note in the cask.

Photo of OddNotion
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

9.3 oz bottle
Brewed in 2009
Poured into my Delirium Tremens Bulb Glass

Appearance: Pours a deep brown body topped off with a half a finger off white head. Some floaties are visible in the beer even with my careful transport from my cellar to my fridge and my fridge to my glass.

Smell: Very sweet. Some breadiness. With an extremely light inhalation I smell a lit cigar (new one to me).

Taste: Interesting. A little piney, not like the nice hop pine but legitimately like pine needles at the beginning of the sip. Later on I get some maple syrup that quickly turns to molases. Brown sugar. Ends with that same cigar I noticed in the nose. The 11.5% alcohol is not noticable what-so-ever. Unlike any other beer I have ever had.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel lacks carbonation and it is very thick. I think it either needs to be a little thinner for the beer to taste better OR the beer needs to have less residual sweetness to match the viscosity OR the carbonation needs to be higher. For the first time ever, I can now point to a beer that I think has a cloying sweetness.

Overall: A little expensive for the bottle at about $7 for the 9.3 oz. This beer has such a high average but feels subpar to me, little bit of a let down. However, I may buy another one and let it age longer to see if it improves.

Photo of mlazzaro
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2000 11.2ml bottle
I'm into the well aged barleywines, and this is just a great example of a traditional recipe, aged to perfection. I was worried the bottle was over-aged.
Light brown beer, off white head. Not overly sweet nor dry. Reasonable head retention for a barley wine. Smooth malty caramel toffee notes. Alcohol is warming not burning. I might be able to taste a bit of oak. Mild but apparent bitterness. Very slight yeast character. It seems like a very simple recipe. Nice grain flavor mixed with Kent golding and an English yeast. Satisfying A.B.V.- I caught a slight buzz off a 4 oz sample. Wish I had more. Nice experience.

Photo of Vdubb86
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter

2006 vintage, while I probably should have saved it, I was more curious to see what this beer was all about.

This beer pour a beautiful ruby amber color that you can see through like the gem it's named for. The attempt at pouring so there may be head was only met with large agitation bubbles as this beer had no intention of having or retaining head. The aromatics smelled wonderful. There were to many aromas to name. A list of the major ones would include: raisin, fig, butterscotch, honey, caramel, vanilla, and a touch of raspberry. The caramel flavor translated over into the taste most prominently. The amazing thing about this beer is that dark raisin flavor is almost on par with some of the better Port wines I've had. When this beer hits the right temperature it tastes pretty darn good. But at a bit too cold it was a little off and a bit too warm it was a bit fumy. Overall I really did enjoy this beer, I would say that I'm also rather fond of this style. I wish I could see what one with even more than 5 years on it tastes like.

Photo of lifeboyq
4.9/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2001 vintage poured into a rochefort glass.

Very little head that fades almost instantly.

Nose, holy nose. it is a monster as I can smell it from a foot away. When i put my nose into it, it makes my nose hairs dance and wakes me up as if it were the smelling salt of beers. My eyes open wider with the strong fig, dates, raisins, sorghum, brown sugar, alcohol. Very deep dark fruits intertwined.

Wow, the taste is a monster. More flavor concentration than you almost ever "see" when tasting a beer. What a huge body on this beer. It almost reminds me of fabio or arnold, but not quite. I could pour this on my pancakes. Holy bajeeburs at the thickness of this beer. Reminds me of maple and raisin toast and fig newtons and just nuances of unrefined sugars dancing on my tongue. I served this intentionally slightly warmer than 55 and the hotness of this beer is slightly present, which doesnt bother me at all.

The mouthfeel is sily smooth, closer to a syrupy texture on the tongue. This beer isnt cloying but it is hugely intense.

Beer experiences dont get much finer. With age, this becomes a glorious thing.

Note, I've had different vintages back to 99 up to 08 and it changes quite drastically. The 08 this year was a bit much for me and wasnt ready. The 99 was even cleaner than this 2001 from my recollection but the tasting wasnt side by side.

Photo of LtCracker20
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Taken from notes.

A- Pours a cloudy copper body with a thin head that falls to a thin cap.

S- Raisins, molasses, toffee, and sugary sweetness.

T- Dark fruits, molasses, toffee, and candied sugar.

MF- Full, thick, and creamy.

Overall, a very nice beer that is definately a sipper.

Photo of harrymel
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2002

A: Pours a deep chestnut brown with reddened hues. Little to no head formation. Scant foam formation. Rimmed edge with burnt cream. Lacing scant. Clarity is near excellent. Flecks of yeast in suspension.

S: Waffles with maple syrup, real maple syrup. Brown sugar, malt. The smell is quite sweet. Evident plums, dark fruits, nuances of hazelnut and praline.

T: Toasted graham, mallows, oral sex - this is that good. Dry, bready malt tones with exceptional weaving of the, once again, waffles with (real) maple syrup. Outstanding. My wife is next to me and I don't really want to share. Oh yeah, praline and nougats.

M: medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. I've likely shaken all the carb out of this. Slicks and numbs my palate - resonating the flavors.

D: If I had another one in the fridge, I would be getting ready to pour it into another glass so it was the right temp when I moved onto it.

Photo of jjanega08
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2002

A= Pours a dark brown color with a finger of head! I didn't expect much head at all if any here but I got a finger that sticks around as a thin skin on the top of the beer for a while and even leaves some lacing.

S= Big sweetness on this one. There's a slight booze note. Tons of toffee. Maple syrup comes to mind as well. I get a bit of nuttyness from it in the nose as well if that makes sense. I feel like a get a bit of woodyness as well... I dunno if this has any wood in it?

T= Big on sweetness again. Loads of tobacco in the taste. Toffee and tobacco. A sweet leathery taste and any wood that I smelled is gone. Just leathery tobaccoy sweetness.

M= Slick and smooth. Low carbonation and not nearly as thick as I expected without being thin either.

D= Wonderful beer. Worth checking out and pairing with a nice cigar. I see why this is so highly regarded and sort of ask myself why it took me so long to try it.

Photo of WorldWideStout
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had various vintages of this through the years, but thought I should finally review one. 2001 vintage.

A: A warm copper and auburn body, slightly murky, with no head or lacing. Just the way a barleywine should look.

S: A delightful aroma greets my nostirls whenever my nose gets anywhere near the glass. Rum raisins, brandy, and various dessert breads soaked in alcohol. The alcohol is not hot or unpleasant in any way, it just enriches the other flavors, much as it does in deserts.

T: Much like the aroma. I can also now pick up a bit of sherry, cherries, and almonds. Not a terribly strong aftertaste, but it lingers in small doses for quite awhile in my mouth. Very rich and tasty.

M: A good amount of carbonation that doesn't overwhelm the flavors but keeps the body from being too heavy. It's not particularly smooth or silky though.

D: Despite the rich flavors, I think I could enjoy a second one of these, as it's so smooth and warming.

A world-class brew right here folks. If you like malts at all, you need to try this one. I've had one that was only a few years old and didn't think it was so great, but once you get 5+ years on it, it's a champ.

Photo of claytong
4.97/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beautiful beer. At least the 1999 guy I had this year. I might get some more recent guys and save them for a while if I don't get too tempted.
The smell was almost like being in a alcohol candy shop.
The beer had so much toffee, cream, malt, a slight hint of chocolate and the best taste of barley I could imagine and so well blended.
It's sweet, so don't expect anything else. Drink it as a desert to finish a meal or as a night cap. Or a celebration beer at a picnic with kids playing soccer around you.

J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,284 ratings.