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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.

1,248 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,248
Reviews: 794
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 14.12%
Wants: 214
Gots: 181 | 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: 1,248 | Reviews: 794 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Supergenious
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Supergenious, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of Abrahammer
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Abrahammer, Feb 06, 2014
Photo of kwakwhore
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.

kwakwhore, Aug 17, 2007
Photo of MaseFace
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

MaseFace, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of jtmcgraw
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

jtmcgraw, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of geuze_gone_wild
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

geuze_gone_wild, Aug 25, 2013
Photo of dctriman
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

dctriman, Jun 02, 2013
Photo of JRod1969
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

JRod1969, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Docrock
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Docrock, Dec 28, 2013
Photo of jaxon53
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

jaxon53, Jul 12, 2013
Photo of ManekiNeko
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at the closest I could get to cellar temperature in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Dark ruby brown liquid, clear, with a short-lived khaki head. A small ring of foam remains at the edge of the glass throughout. The appearance of the bottled version is clear and redder than the casked version.

Smell: Sour molasses aroma with cherry, tawny port, and prune overtones. The fruity aromas are much more prominent in bottle than on cask and without the woodiness.

Taste: Tart, sugary-sweet caramel taste that gives way to intense fruit flavors of raisins, prunes, plums, and cherries. Lightly peppery. Again, the fruitiness is more prominent in bottle than on cask.

Mouthfeel: Precious little carbonation makes this oh-so thick in body, almost syrupy... but that's how barleywine be. Besides, it lets the intense flavors have their way with your taste buds. The flavors are ones that need time to process.

Drinkability: Too bad I only have 2 more bottles if this vintage. So glad there's plenty of 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 at the store. Until Thomas Hardy's hits the market again and is given time to age, I suspect this will be the exemplar barleywine to have.

ManekiNeko, Oct 28, 2003
Photo of cadaugherty
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

cadaugherty, May 08, 2013
Photo of KarlHungus
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1999 Vintage. This brew pours a cloudy dark amber color. The head is large, creamy and off-white. The lacing is thorough. The aroma is very hoppy. The taste is a bit more balanced than the aroma. It is still hoppy, and there is a distinguishable malt backbone. The mouthfeel full bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a fine barleywine; one of the best I have had to date.

KarlHungus, Nov 17, 2005
Photo of mikeincharleston
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

mikeincharleston, May 22, 2013
Photo of seanwhite
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

seanwhite, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of 6demonbag
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

6demonbag, Oct 27, 2012
Photo of leitmotif
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

leitmotif, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of raffy313
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

raffy313, May 18, 2013
Photo of hAle2theWort
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

hAle2theWort, Oct 15, 2013
Photo of jabocu
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2000 Edition

This has been laid back since 2000 and WOW. Pours a amber/copper color with a nice 2 finger cap. Lots of floral and fruity esters in the aroma with sweet molasses, caramel, and figs. Flavor was full and sweet. Lots of fruit of raisins, figs, and a viscous quality. Very smooth and not very bitter, but just enough to tone done the sweetness. Rich and smooth is the best way to describe this beer. Too bad that was my last.

jabocu, May 15, 2006
Photo of Zach136
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Zach136, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of jabo134
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

jabo134, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1999 vintage from Super Market Liquors in Ft. Collins. $9.50. 275ml bottle into my Odell flute glass.

A: Pours a mellow brown color with a sand colored head about a quarter of an inch thick or so that has receded to a ring of bubbles around the edges and a thin cap in the middle. Surprisingly clear. Lots of amber colored accents towards the edges of the glass. Looks stellar.

S: Caramel malt profile and a very pronounced sweetness, smells almost syrupy, maybe molasses, there are also some over ripe fruit smells, I get cherries, and just a hint of alcohol as well. Overall very complex, and not as ragingly boozey as I have heard this beer can be. Smell is complex and welcoming. Excellent.

T: Wow, this is incredible. The malt profile of this beer is insanely deep. So many layers, the initial caramel and brown sugar, some notes of molasses, I get some notes of oatmeal raisin cookies as well. Has a slightly rum like quality to it as well. The flavors of golden raisins really lingers on the tongue. Absolutely spectacular. The last 11 years have treated this exceptionally, and there is almost no alcohol presence in the flavor. Fantastic beer.

M: Thick with a velvety smooth carbonation, slightly warm alcohol on the way down, and a nice bit of dryness from the alcohol in the mouth.

D: Well, the alcohol note definitely is not there for such a high abv beer, and the flavors are phenomenal. I would have a hard time saying no to a second, or third serving of this. An absolutely phenomenal beer. Highly recommended. I'm glad I have a few more different vintages of this, and I am excited to let them mature past the 11 year mark. Fantastic.

pokesbeerdude, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of SuperCutePanda
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

SuperCutePanda, Mar 12, 2013
Photo of tkarsies
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1999 Vintage

Served cool in my Westy chalice. Allowed to warm over about an hour while drinking.

A: Dark brown, murky. Thin tan head. Can't see carbonation. Like a barleywine should look.

S: Smells rich, sweet, malty. Maybe a hint of alcohol in the nose but this is masked well by the other aromas. I have read reviews talking about leather and tobacco aromas/flavors with skepticism, but I'm pretty sure I can pick up these as I sniff. Very nice. Makes me want to dive in.

T: Wow. Again, the word "rich" comes to mind. Very malt forward, with brown sugar and fruits such as plums and raisins. Slight bitterness from the hops but this is not prominent at all. Don't know how this was new but this is currently complex malty goodness.

M: Thick, creamy, smooth. Minimal carbonation at this age.

D: A good sipper. Don't notice any alcohol although I feel it a bit near the end. This bottle must have been stored well because it is aged to perfection. Great nightcap. Great beer experience. Great example of how beer can have the complexity and aging potential of wine. A real treat and something I will have to try again, both this vintage as well as others.

tkarsies, Feb 02, 2010
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,248 ratings.