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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

1,236 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,236
Reviews: 794
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 14.12%
Wants: 208
Gots: 179 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,236 | Reviews: 794 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nlmartin
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was the 2000 vintage. The beer was poured into a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance: The beer poured a very lovely ruby coppery coloration. The head was about a finger thick off honey coloration. The head quickly resolved into a ring of foam. Specks of lacing remained on the glass.

Smell: The beer smelled of fresh doughnuts very fruity and sweet. Honey nutty cloves swam in the smell. There is no trace of the alcohol in the smell.

Taste: This is just a wonderful beer drinking experience. The beer is way malty sweet; however, the beer doesnt even come close to being cloyingly oversweet. The beer taste bready with a malty wheat taste. THe beer taste of nutty honey combinations. There is not trace of the alcohol in the taste.

Mouthfeel: This beer is just simply the master of the palate. The beer is supper full bodied. The beer has a very silky buttery mouthfeel. If I did not know this beer was 11.5% I wouldnt be able to tell in the consumption.

Drinkability: This beer is a very dangerous drinking experience. It is the kind of beer that should be a savor and sip beer. I just couldnt keep my hands off of the beer. I am not a religious man in any since of the word. I think I know at last what a religious experience feels like. I dont believe in God but I believe in the Beer Gods.

nlmartin, Mar 09, 2006
Photo of Joecaddie
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1999 vintage bottle served in Weyerbacher tulip.

A - Reddish brown with very little head when poured out of the bottle.

S - Sweetness with caramel and alcohol tones.

T - Very well balanced, malt, caramel with hidden alcohol taste.

M - Perfect carbonation for this style, thick and malty but extremely smooth.

D - This is a very easy beer to drink and must hold back to take small sips of it. Truly one of the best barleywines that I have ever had.

Joecaddie, Aug 14, 2010
Photo of Viggo
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage 1997. The most spectacular beer I've ever had the pleasure of trying. Pours a pretty clear mahogany brown, with a small thick tan head, spotty lace and plenty of legs. Smell is mollasses, vanilla, super malty, grape, plum/raisin, little bit of alcohol, very vinous. Taste is bitter chocolate/coffee, raisins, plums, dates, spice, figs. Mouthfeel is very full bodied, low carbonation. Fucking amazing, and bottled the same year i graduated elementary school! Thanks DrJay!

Viggo, Dec 08, 2005
Photo of shippos
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1997 vinatge, 275ml bottle, sampled 12-04-2003

poured with a dark ruby amber color with a thick dense tannish head that kept producing even to the last drop. chocolaty sugary aroma with wood vanilla molasses and brown sugar showing through. has a rich mocha chocolate taste with an excellent thick but not not syrupy mouthfeel. for 11.5% this is amazingly hidden and just enough hops to give a little balance to the huge amount of malt but restrained enough to let the malt be the dominant flavor in this beer.

this is an amazing beer, the past 6 years have done this beer wonder. you just can't get any perfect than this. 5.0

1998 vintage, sampled on 04-11-2004

has a more pronounced vinous sour wine-like aroma that completely envelops the malt aromas. huge sugary sweet taste, brown sugar chocolate...chewy with an warmth of alcohol in the finish. 4.4

shippos, Apr 12, 2004
Photo of MarcatGSB
5/5  rDev +17.6%

MarcatGSB, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Hastur23
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Hastur23, Apr 10, 2013
Photo of HopStoopid120
5/5  rDev +17.6%

HopStoopid120, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of mullenpc
5/5  rDev +17.6%

mullenpc, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of TubbyDullard
5/5  rDev +17.6%

TubbyDullard, Mar 12, 2012
Photo of bluntedboywonder
5/5  rDev +17.6%

bluntedboywonder, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of strohme2
5/5  rDev +17.6%

strohme2, Apr 27, 2013
Photo of bigdaddypolite
5/5  rDev +17.6%

bigdaddypolite, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of DrJay
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage 1997:
This beer poured a deep ruby red, mostly clear, and was topped by a thin reddish brown head made up of extremely fine bubbles that produced tiny dots of lace throughout. It was intensely malty, with plum and raisin balancing sweet toffee and caramel, all very English in character. Hints of molasses and vanilla crept in as well. The first flavour that hit me was chocolate covered figs, followed by malty sweet toffee and caramel with some nuttiness. Tobacco, plum and raisin character all appeared, creating a very complex flavour. There was even a bit of bitterness left to balance the overall sweet flavour. The very low carbonation was incredibly fine and completely integrated into the body and texture, which was incredibly smooth. Just a bit of stickiness remained. Drinking this beer was an incredible experience. It felt incredibly light on the palate, almost like there was nothing there, and the flavours were amazing.

DrJay, Dec 25, 2005
Photo of bifrost17
5/5  rDev +17.6%

bifrost17, Apr 23, 2013
Photo of Rempo
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Rempo, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of russwbeck
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1987 Vintage, enjoyed on 4/10/12 at Monk's Cafe Beers of the Cellar event. I was born in 1988, so this is pretty cool.

It's a beautiful, very deep dark ruby pour that is completely clear and devout of head. 5

I was just bombarded by the aroma at first. This is a big change from the sours we've been working on. It smells very roasty and velvety smooth. Caramel, molasses, and a blend I only expect from perfectly aged beers. Is this melted toffee or is it alcoholic? 5

Guys this is, wow, a completely new experience with beer. I'm just, blown away. Toffee, caramel, butter, slight roast, melted candy-like taste that stands on its own. A 25 year old beer that is just out of this world. I can't believe it. 5+

It feels like velvety chocolate on the palate. Absolutely sweet, drinkable, and delicious. For the first time tonight I'm getting hints of booze. 5

Paired with a steak culotte, my drinking buddy noted he's getting a balsamic vinegar type taste here, sweet and dark, and I don't disagree. The steak and leaks have a great flavor and pair wonderfully. Apparently steak culotte is a very difficult meat to cook, and I’ve never had it. Still rare in the middle, this meat is really melt in your mouth good. The food has been out of this world do far. Ladies and gentlemen here you have it, my first and probably only perfect 5. Perfect pairing, setting, look, aroma, taste, and feel. It's like I've reached a plateau. I hope I'm wrong. 5

russwbeck, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of roadhouse
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 9.3 oz. bottle into a tulip snifter. 2005 vintage.

Appearance is a slightly hazy copper color with a half inch off-white head, even with a pour straight into the glass. Tons of sediment in the bottom of the bottle that I refused to drink for fear of the morning shits. Loss of an ounce and a half or so. Lacing is basically nonexistent.

Aroma is very complex. There's a brown sugary sweetness overall with hints of candied fruit, figs, raisins, and a bit of alcohol.

The taste is even more intense than the aroma. Huge sweetness up front again it's quite brown sugary, but also somewhat like toffee. Lots of figgy, raisiny fruitiness that is complimented by a taste that I can't quite put my finger on other than it being a sweet doughiness, that dominates the finish. Maybe a touch of tobacco in the linger.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, thick and chewy, with a fairly light carbonation lending to a soft feel.

This exceeded my expectations greatly. The only thing I regret is not buying it sooner.
---
I had the chance to drink a 1988 Harvest Ale not too long ago and just had to write that it was the most amazing thing I have ever tasted. 22 years on it and it was sublime. It was the same flavor character as previously described but everything was just working perfectly together. Perfection indeed.

roadhouse, Jan 28, 2009
Photo of ScottP
5/5  rDev +17.6%

ScottP, Apr 21, 2014
Photo of Buddha22
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Buddha22, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of JC5886
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers of all time. Got the 2006 bottle. Looks syrupy, thick, sugary with specks in it. Amber darker brown color. Smell is on point, like dark fruits. Taste is Incredibly. Sugary, dark fruits, light alcohol, oily, malty with nice hop aftertaste. Mouthfeel is thick and warming. Drinkability is very high for the high Alcohol level. In my top 10 beer list.

JC5886, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of rye726
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.

rye726, Nov 24, 2007
Photo of MattGeleske
5/5  rDev +17.6%

MattGeleske, Nov 16, 2012
Photo of ZAP
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

F#@ck Yeah!!! I love drinking a GREAT beer for the first time...OUTSTANDING....High in alcohol...the type you want to sip, but the type you can't keep your hands away from grabbing the minute you put it down..fascinating drinking experience....I get a sweet fruity nose with some hints of brown sugar and molasses....the taste is incredible...huge dark fruits...definitely plum...maybe some prunes...dark cherries...the brown sugar is there...as is the molassis....and dare I say some odd hints of coconut....the nose immediately reminded me of a champagne or wine or something...the flavor though is more like a port...or Brandy with a nice hit of brown sugar...this is one of those beers that transcendes the entire beer drinking experience....there is no Barley Wine finer..

ZAP, Aug 07, 2002
Photo of cowboy83
5/5  rDev +17.6%

cowboy83, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of afksports
5/5  rDev +17.6%

afksports, Jan 07, 2012
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,236 ratings.