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

1,284 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(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
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Ratings: 1,284 | Reviews: 798 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OregonGrown7
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of TimPell
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 1988

Poured a leathery color with tints of chestnut. There was plenty of floaties despite a careful pour which I suppose made up for the total lack of head. There was seriously zero carbonation in this beer, but no mind I am not the biggest fan of carbonation. The smell was musty licorice, oak and this other funky musty smell I usually get with a lambic. the taste was super dry with vinous flavors rounded out with more of the licorice and a smooth vanilla finish. The alcohol was not very apparent as it had mellowed considerably along with the rest of the flavors in the beer. The mouthfeel of this brew was perfect for the purpose. I could sip tow or three of these without my pallete being worse for the wear.

I think I have to take minute to talk about this beer. I have never tried a beer that was this old. It was certainly a different experience. I am not exactly sure how to rate this beer so I will do my best. However, that being said I would strongly recomend trying experiments such as this. I feel that this is the english equivalent to Lambics in an esoteric nature. But where Lambics should be drank amidst a good conversation at a dark bar, this beer should be drank from a snifter in contemplative solitude on a cold winters eve.

Photo of cofeeguru
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Hefewiseman
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Supergenious
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Abrahammer
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

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.

Photo of MaseFace
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of jtmcgraw
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of geuze_gone_wild
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of dctriman
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of JRod1969
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Docrock
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of jaxon53
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

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.

Photo of cadaugherty
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

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.

Photo of mikeincharleston
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of seanwhite
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of 6demonbag
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of leitmotif
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of raffy313
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of hAle2theWort
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

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.

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