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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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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: 200
Gots: 171 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 12-18-2000)
View: Beers (19) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,218 | Reviews: 793 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JayQue
JayQue

Virginia

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

2000 vintage. Served in a Chimay goblet. Murky dark orange color. Small white head that melts down quickly, no lacing. Smell is strong, caramel and dark fruit. Good taste. Sweetness, especially caramel is strong but not quite over the line as too sweet. Less complex flavor than the Port Wine cask Lees I had yesterday, but still tasty and warming. Some taste of alcohol, especially the closer you get to the end. Mouthfeel is rich and smooth. Drinkability is good for a sweet, high abv beer. A great nightcap and winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 03:26:15 | More by JayQue
Photo of brewcrew76
brewcrew76

Wisconsin

4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2000 Vintage

A - Dark brown cola color with crimson highlights, a tan head and a few spots of lacing.

S - Caramel, raisins, dried fruits, figs, molasses, honey and brown sugar.

T - Very sweet caramel and toffee but not cloying, tobacco, brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses. It has a port like quality. Some dark fruits, raisins and figs but they are not as apparent as in the aroma.

M - Medium body, smooth and silky. Alcohol warming but not as noticeable in the taste as I expected. If this was any heavier it might make the beer to cloying.

D - A great sipper that has held up nicely after 7 years. I am wondering if it might be slightly sweet and sticky fresh.

1999 Vintage - 8/27/08 - not reflected in score since can only review a serving type once

4.0
A - Dark brown cola with ruby highlights and 1 finger of tan head.

5.0
S - Dark fruits galore, rum soaked raisins, figs, prunes, carmalized brown sugar, old overripe blackberries, leather, tobacco and black licorice.

4.5
T - Sweet caramel, brown sugar and molasses with some leather and old dried fruits of raisin, prune, fig and some type of berry I can't place. Somewhat earthy as it warms.

4.5
M - Medium bodied with low carbonation. Smooth with the lightest hint of sticky barleywine. Very nice.

4.0
D - I am guessing this one is past its prime but it is amazing what type of nice flavors develop as these beers get older. A highly enjoyable sipper. Hopefully I can find more vintages.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2007 00:37:25 | More by brewcrew76
Photo of Risser09
Risser09

Pennsylvania

4.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled shared at the homebrew club • Vintage 2000 • Into a tulip

Appearance: This beer pours a hazy brown color with red hues. It has an ivory head that is small and short lived but produces alot of residual lacing.

Smell: Boozy with a strong malt aroma. Caramel, oak, dark fruit, molasses, raisins, fig and licorice. Lots going on and a pleasure just to smell.

Taste: Molasses is quite strong and shares room with all the same aromas above. This beer is a complex one. It is complex and warm. Awesome dark fruit flavors.

Mouthfeel: Vinous, syrupy and boozy. This beer has lots and lots of legs. It is juicy and complex and sugary. Perfect for a sipper like this one.

Drinkability: Best served in a snifter and warmed to room temperature. Quite frankly, I could drink a ton of these. Perfectly aged beer is a beautiful thing.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2007 13:21:10 | More by Risser09
Photo of Lupe
Lupe

New York

4.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2000

Copper brown colored, with a tight and creamy ivory head that leaves behind some lace. Size of the head was a surprise considering the abv and age. Beautiful amber-red hues shine through as it's held up to the light.

Sweet aroma of dark fruit, toffee, and caramel. Doses of honey, raisin, fig, brown sugar, and alcohol are all mixed in. Very inviting.

Lots of sweet malt flavors, like the aroma - dark and tropical fruit, toffee, caramel, and mild coffee. Some honey and brown sugar along with a touch of vanilla and faint woodiness. Herbal hop bitterness as well as spicy alcohol and yeast round thing out. Absolutely delicious.

Full-bodied - velvety smooth, creamy, thick and syrupy. Start with juicy burst and finishes dry with a lingering spicy tickle.

Incredible drinkability for such a big and complex sipping beer. Alcohol never gets in the way. Truly special.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2007 01:38:23 | More by Lupe
Photo of BiereBlanche
BiereBlanche

Colorado

4.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A flight of shared 12 oz. bottles of the Dec. 1 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2006 Whiskey-aged (comments under that specific style) courtesy of the owner at Deep Ellum, Allston MA. Served just below cellar temp and allowed to warm in small flutes.

An excellent flight and nice to pick out the subtle differences. All the vintages shared the same great characteristics. The pours were dark, caramelly ambers of slightly varying shades. Cloudy, with yeasty sediment evident at the end of the bottles. Light head was impressive in size for an easy half bottle pour and took minutes to fall. All these drinks were incredibly rich with complex, sweet malt characters, little hops, little carbonation and slight alcohol. Filling and incredibly smooth.
The 1999 was my favorite, the smoothest, richest and sweetest of the flight. The nose and taste were incredibly complex and I'd love to see an ingredients list for all the wonderful flavoring that was picked out for the brew. It brought to mind sweet potato and brown sugar so strongly I could almost picture it in front of me. The drink would be a great desert for a holiday feast. Caramel, lightly burned brown sugar, buttery toffee, a tiny bit earthy. The aging had mellowed and smoothed this vintage so nicely. Almost no alcohol or bitter flavors. Absolutely delicious. To this point, my perfect desert beer.
The 2002 was a little darker, and just the tiniest bit of bitter. Again, almost no carbonation. A bit less caramelly, less burned and a little smoky flavor picks up. This vintage seemed to be the sweetest and least bitter.
The 2005 was the first to have a little alcohol bite to it, surprising in the earlier two, given the still high 11.5 ABV. A bit less smoky. Still really delicious and along side any other beers, this would have been incredible, it was only in this flight that I was able to pick out that it was missing a bit of the complexity of the 1999 and 2002. Caramelly and sticky.
The 2006 had less of the caramelly, burned-brown sugar sweet potatoes notes that were so distinct in the 1999 and was the most different of the flight. Clearer appearance than the rest, lighter malt characteristics. There was an earthy note in aroma and taste that was distinct to this vintage, it was fitting and fairly mild but stood out. Tiny bitter and alcohol bite.

These were all a real treat, I would have been happy with any one of them and having the flight brought out details that wouldn't have been noticed otherwise. Incredibly flavorful, smooth, rich and delicious. They could all drink like fine liquors and I can't think of anything I'd rather have for a desert beer than a bottle of the 1999 vintage.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2007 00:24:35 | More by BiereBlanche
Photo of hwwty4
hwwty4

Missouri

4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2001. Poured a bottle into a Chimay chalice. Poured a dark hazy brown with lots of floaters (I'm assuming yeast). Poured a thin head that stuck around for a while, no lacing. Aroma is of roasted malts, plums, and alcohol. It has a really complex taste. It starts of as caramel/toffee sweet. Then it goes into nuts, and dark fruits. For me it finishes with almost a slight coffee taste. Very interesting brew. Mouthfeel is excellent. Coats your mouth with a nice oily sensation that lingers for quite a while.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2007 04:54:01 | More by hwwty4
Photo of franksnbeans
franksnbeans

Ohio

4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 Vintage

Pours a ruddy cloudy brown with a buttery 1 finger head that dies to a ring and laces. Smells of big caramel, toffee, very sweet, a little creamy and a slight sting of alcohol. Taste is so smooth. Sweet almost syrupy caramel, butter, toffee, earthy and creamy on the finish. Silk in the mouth. ABV is completely hidden which is insane. Those this built as a once in a while sipper, its very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2007 00:33:51 | More by franksnbeans
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

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

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

S - It smelled very floral and very malty.

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

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

Germany

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

poured from a smaller bottle to a snifter, the liquid is a walnut brown, with very good carbonation for a 2002 brew. The head was small, one finger but had great saying power, small bubbles and left great lace.

The smell was heavy of nutty malt and alcohol.

The taste followed, wow what a great tasting brew. I love the nutty flavor with out the crap getting stuck in my theeth. Big alcohol is present and works well.

The mouthfeel is full and the arbonation is in the body even if it has a hard time escaping to the head.

The drinkability is great for a sipping beer.

prosit, MK

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2007 20:38:25 | More by MuenchenerKindl
Photo of rye726
rye726

Colorado

5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'99, lovely vintage.

Great looking beer, hazy reddish brown color that has a slight glow and a silky tan head. Nice lace along my glass.

Nose has lots of ripe fruits, caramel, toffee, bready malts, pecans, brandy and peppery alcohol.

So complex. A perfect blend of rich nutty malts, dark fruits, rich candies, cognac and sherry.

Thick, silky body with delicate carbonation. Lovely brew. Well aged.

Other Vintages(All sampled around the same time)

1998- (4.9) Just as good or better than the '99 aside from the aroma which is slightly dulled.

2002: (4.8) Good, but stil needs a few years of of maturing. The flavors and aromas have not yet reached full complexity. The body and color don't share the same richness as older vintages.

2007: (4.7) Young, still an amazing ale. Just doesn't have the same complexities and body lacks the same depth.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2007 18:45:46 | More by rye726
Photo of LittleBreeze
LittleBreeze

New York

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

Vintage 1998

I was a little worried about trying this one. I hate when a good beer has gone down hill.

Not the case with this baby. First sip seemed a bit sweet. After the second...or third sip the complexity...various layers of flavors presented themselves. Burnt sugar is there. Dark fruits. Oak. Plums. A lot going on in this sipper. It is warming and inviting. I shared the bottle. This is a nice one to share on a chilly evening.

Good beer experience.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2007 05:33:15 | More by LittleBreeze
Photo of charlesw
charlesw

New York

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

Obtained in the powerbeer BIF. And, wow. People are really generous and I was very fortunate indeed!

2001 vintage on this bottle. Dark and rich and thick and malty and WOW that's a lot of caramel and sweetness and body... The wife said that it was more like drinking port than drinking beer. I say... That was freaking intense. Seriously. You like intense flavor? Over the top stuff? Yeah, you'll like it. And you won't be alone!

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2007 01:43:28 | More by charlesw
Photo of sinistrsam
sinistrsam

Maryland

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

The appearance was cloudy brown with a small tan head, a pretty good ammount of sediment that was suspended in the almost viscous body.
The smell was tons of honey and brown sugar, some chocolate, caramel and maybe some dark fruits. Very complex.
The taste was a punch of sweetness; burnt brown sugar, molasses, alcohol, sweet malts, wood, raisin, prune. I'm sure there is more there but theres so much going on its hard to really decipher.
The motuhfeel is sweet. And I mean sweet. Begninning, middle and end, and leaves your tongue coated and feeling smooth.
I think I could do only one of these at a time, as you might go into diabetic shock. Very complex, smooth and interesting, though.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2007 18:35:41 | More by sinistrsam
Photo of Phatz
Phatz

Pennsylvania

4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2000

Huge Thanks to mac300 for graciously sharing this delicious treat with me. Most most generous of you.

This beer is always a special experience. every different vintage at various ages makes it a unique experience every taste I get of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale. This Barleywine is sweet. Even at 7 years old, I can still see it holding up to another five years in the cellar. Spectacular.

Appearance: Pours a ruddy coper brown color with a creamy ivory head and spotty lace. It showcases some amber hues as it moves through the light.

Smell: Sweet dark fruits and caramel, with a drizzle of molasses fig and fruit cake. Honey raisins and licorice. A plethora of pleasantness!

Taste: Everything in the nose and more. It is boozy. Sweet alcohol, how I love thee! =) The brandy port attribute does not hide with big sweet malts and sugars and fruits. It is simply large and in charge.

Mouthfeel: Nearly perfect velvety smooth mouth presence with just a touch of alcohol sting and sweet residual sugars left on the palate.

Drinkability: You would be a fool not to realize this is a sipping beer. Drink it like your evening sipping whiskey of choice and it will drink very nicely.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2007 20:10:23 | More by Phatz
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

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

This is the 1998 vintage:

I've had this bottle for about 3 years now so I decided now was the time to try it:

It pours from 275ml bottle a clear very deep brown with lots of red highlights and when I hold my glass up to the light, I see no sediment. The foam whilst pouring looked like it was going to be non existant or at least, very small but when I put my glass down on the table there's a nice 1" layer sitting there all pretty looking. Plenty of sticky lacing on the sides of my glass as well. Btw, the small head of foam stays around for the entire session.

On to the smell and I'm greeted with a very strong nose of caramel malt along with some dark fruit like raisin, plum, and some fig. Nice.

The taste is very sweet because of the huge caramel malt but as in the smell, I can taste some raisin, plum, sherry, molasses, some chocolate. and other flavours that I can't even begin to describe accurately. There's a decent warming during and after the swallow but at 11.50%abv, it comes as no surprise.

The mouthfeel is really chewy and the carbonation is low and it finishes as sweet as it started out. What a sipper! What a Barleywine Style Ale! I *have* to pick up some more of these...any and all vintages I can find...because I'm getting a great drinking experience here and for the price, I think it's a damned good bargain. I highly recommend it!!!

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2007 00:14:05 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

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

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this one.

12oz. Bottle
11.5% ABV
1997 Vintage

Poured into a chalice a dark mahongy color, thick, syrupy, some carbonation, no head, some oil slicks hanging around. The nose is malty, oakey, roasty, some licorice, and caramel. The taste is pretty sweet at first, syrupy. Then the oakey/licorice tones come to play. Nice balance of malt/caramel. Nice warming effect going down, alcohol is hidden pretty well. Full body. Very drinkable, this is a delicious brew. This is also the oldest brew I've had to date. Highly recommended. Thanks again buddy.

Thanks to Bitterbill for this brew.

Vintage 1998

Poured into a chalice a dark brown color, nice carbonation, little fizzy off-white head, basically no sticky lacing, but some oil slicks. The nose is malty, slight licorice/toffee/vanilla, slight dark fruits, and caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, some dark fruit, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body, a complex brew. Very drinkable, another awesome brew, highly recommended.

Thanks to Bitterbill for this brew.

Vintage 2000

Poured into a chalice a dark brown color, nice carbonation, little fizzy off-white head, basically no sticky lacing, but some oil slicks. The nose is malty, slight licorice/toffee/vanilla, slight dark fruits, and caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, some dark fruit, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body, a complex brew. Very drinkable, another awesome brew, highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2007 23:54:37 | More by Wasatch
Photo of basica
basica

Singapore

4.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

J.W Lee's Harvest Ale (AGED: Vintage 2002) (Rating 10/10) - 11.5 ABV - 11 October 2007

I had my 2005 Lee's a few days ago and now trying to cross compare with this one which is 3 years older. Generally the looks between the 2 differed significantly but the taste difference was not really detectable except that I can sense that the 2002 is somewhat a slightly more mellowed down version. I again served this top notch Barley wine in my dainty little snifter glass. The 2002 poured out with an unexpected dark ruby color compared to the 2005's orange color; it had a small head which quickly reduced to mild lacing and finally nothing whereas the 2005 had no head at all. It smells fruity strong of the same fruit composition - Plums, Prunes and maybe raisins; but the difference here is the smell is not as overpowering like the 2005 one; I believe it is more
mellowed down. The taste again hits me first with strong maple sweetness followed by a nice malt backing and the fruits flooding into my palates; plums, prunes, raisins and the malt backing was clear and blended very well with the fruitines. I believe the malts were more pronounced here than in the 2005. The alcohol is definitely less pronounced here as the finish did not leave an alcholic taste and the only aromas driven up my nose was sweet fruity aromas of honey, sugar and fruits including plums, prunes and raisins. The malts were nicely evident in the finish and after taste and clearly the taste is well mellowed down and not as stinging nor alcoholic as the 2005. The after taste was malty, fruity, syrupy and the first thing that hits me is the syrupy candied taste followed by the clear malt backing and of course the multitude of fruits which started off really plumy and ended with a raisiny note with the malt backing and honey candied taste pretty evident. Generally, I think the level of sweetness is just as high as the 2005 version though I think I would have expected it to go down a little over the 3 years. The mouthfeel was clearly rich and thick like the 2005 and was definitely almost syrupy thick but the mellowing also brought down the clear alcohol strength as evident in the 2005. The alcohol is definitely not
jumping out anymore; definitely a prefered property. the 2002 was also surprisingly very smooth, even smoother than the 2005. I guess that the aging mellowed it pretty well; it could use a tad bit more of mellowing and slight downing of the sweetness and syrupy though it is not cloying.
Now, I have sky high expectations for my final 1998 bottle of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale!

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2007 16:16:59 | More by basica
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2007 15:44:46 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of hoppymeal
hoppymeal

Michigan

4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2000 vintage. Pours amber to ruby red in color, mainly clear with a decent sized buttery cream colored head. Aroma is rich sweet malty prunes and raisins, a salty soy sauce and a worn leather aroma as well that is almost chocolatey with hints of sweet berries. Taste follows with huge rich pruney malts, nice worn leather qualities, and a rich buttery caramel taste as well. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, soft on the tongue, hops or alcohol presence are unnoticeable, just soft rich maltiness dominating. An absolutelt phenomenal beer, not too many brewers putting out a barleywine this big, esp that can age this nicely. Gorgeous beer at the moment will love to see how it continues to develop.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2007 17:57:32 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of meechum
meechum

Georgia

3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this into an oversized wine glass, don't have a decanter. Poured thick and dark with a one finger tan head that quickly fell into a layer above the drink. Smelling this I noticed some fruity smells and a hint of smoke and hops aroma but the alcohol smell was overpowering all of it

I personally didn't care too much for this but I'm pretty sure the brewer achieved what they were after with this as I am new to this style, but reading other reviews it seems that what I smelled and tasted was in line with what the objective was..

I rated this probably higher than my personal preference but that's because it achieved what it was supposed to be..just because my palate wasn't ready for it the beer shouldn't take the blame for that.

I thought that the beer had a nice fruity taste up front that quickly moved to a more complex malt and hops taste but once again the alcohol was just overpowering the entire thing so it was hard for me to get past that smell and taste. The mouthfeel was the one thing I did enjoy..this was thick and smooth and it demanded that you pay attention to it...I did like that

Overall I'm not too keen on trying another one of these soon...but I'm glad I got the experience and the chance..who knows in a year this could be the greatest thing since a nice porter

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2007 02:33:05 | More by meechum
Photo of joebrewer
joebrewer

Massachusetts

3.4/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2007 17:26:55 | More by joebrewer
Photo of andrewm190
andrewm190

North Carolina

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

This limited edition barley wine was brewed specially in 2002.

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

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

North Carolina

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

1999 vintage pours into a snifter with almost no head. Smells are uniquely complex, dates, candied fruit, some alcohol. Syrupy sweet flavors coat the tongue and last forever. Some hop bitterness lingers on the tongue in the finish, but sweet malt predominates all the way through. Alcohol warmth all the way down into the stomach. Syrupy mouthfeel matches the flavors. It's amazing how well this beer has held up after nine years. I have another one from the same year which I'll keep for a year or two to see if it's any different. For such a high abv this is a perilously easy beer to drink. This is an excellent nightcap, a beer to be sipped and savored. $5.65 a bottle and worth every penny.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2007 02:51:49 | More by kwakwhore
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brantadid

New Jersey

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

Poured with little to no head. Rich, dark amber in color. Smelled of figs and dates. Tastes of figs and dates. Flavor really matches the noise. Minimal carbonation with makes it very drinkable. Unbelievably long finish. The flavor just goes on and on. Feels like syrup in your mouth. Almost no heat from the alcohol. Just a fantastic beer. To equate this beer to wine; if the various styles of beer could be compared to the various varieties of wine, this beer would be port. Just a great after dinner drink

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2007 02:58:47 | More by brantadid
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BattleRoadBrewer

Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2007 04:40:02 | More by BattleRoadBrewer
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,218 ratings.