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J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale - J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd

J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest AleJ.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,189 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1189
Reviews: 787
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 14.08%


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 (18) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 1,189 | Reviews: 787 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of His_Royal_Hoppiness
His_Royal_Hoppiness

United Kingdom (England)

4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2006 vintage.

A: Dark copper colour with lots of sediment - no head whatsoever.

S: Malt, molasses, caramel.

T: Honey, raisins, apples, molasses, marmite - very complex and very sweet - almost resembles a liqueur.

M: Outstanding - lovely thick, syrupy body with gentle carbonation.

This was my first proper barleywine and I found it fairly overwhelming. Absolutely delcious at first, but for me the sweetness was just too much - it was a real struggle to get through. I've got a couple more bottles laid-down, so I'll definitely return to this when I've had a bit more exposure to the style - right now I'm just too much of a lightweight to get the most out of this!

* Have just had a 2001 bottle that was a very different experience to the 2006 - gloriously well-balanced, with a wonderful prune and plum taste - the marmite flavour was barely present and generally it was much less cloyingly sweet. Just shows what wonders age does for this beer! Originally rated this as a 4, but the 2001 was a worthy 4.75.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 20:42:09 | More by His_Royal_Hoppiness
Photo of Mess
Mess

Massachusetts

4.51/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1999 Vintage. Cellar temp, poured into a snifter on a clear chilly night.

A - pours ruby and brown whiskey, frothy white head. light sparkles through beautifully.

S - First thought smelled a waft of soy, but was mistaken. Rum soaked raisins, brown sugar, vanilla. Alcohol.

T - sweet Rumcake. vanilla, shortbread, un-lit swisher sweet cigar flashback to freshman year of highschool

M - smooth as velvet, thin layer sweet syrup on the tongue.

O - Really pleasantly surprised, was half expecting soy sauce given first whiff and 13 years and 3 moves over the years. Wonderful gentle slow slipper. Will look to cellar these again in the future.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 04:05:41 | More by Mess
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

3.71/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2008 vintage. not sure what the big deal is here. this is just a really sweet, yeasty, alcoholic monster. pouring a glittery golden color with a ton of coagulated yeast sediment and a minimal white head. the nose is very sugary, honey sweet, sticky, and yeasty. some fruit notes up front in the taste. alcohol wipes out any other potential subtleties, all i taste is booze and sugar, maybe a hint of vanilla from mid sip onwards. really syrupy in feel, not much carbonation, and more residual sugar that i can handle without turning diabetic. long teeth coating finish. overall not my favorite stuff here, not worth the price or the hype, maybe another decade would make this a star, but im just not feeling it here.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2013 21:17:42 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of Beerandboards
Beerandboards

New Mexico

5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2000 vintage, reviewed 12/29/12

Poured into a snifter

Appearance is dark caramel brown, like the color of dried dates (kind of an obscure reference, but it's honestly the best comparison I can think of). Pours a two finger head, even at 12 years old, but dissipates quickly to some whispy foam on top. Beer looks great, the almost opaque brown shows some golden brown on the edge when tilted against the light.

S - vanilla, caramel and earthy notes dominate when the beer is cold, as it warms up it some dark fruit, ripe apples and pears start to come out. It's crazy complex, smells phenomenal.

T - follows right along the nose. Tons of rich and thick caramel dominates at first, vanilla notes come in on the back end. Again, as it warms up the dark fruit come in, ripe red apple. Brown sugar. Like the smell, just amazingly deep and complex. Finish is silly smooth, some honey notes. It's freaky how tasty this beer is.

M - low low carb. Medium thickness. Perfect vehicle for the flavors going on. Can't find any fault.

O - I'm trying to figure out how not to give 5 across the board here. I cant think of a single improvement that needs to be made. This is a special occasion sipper that I can easily spend an hour enjoying. Just absolutely crazy good.

This is my first venture into JW Lees, I got this as part of a sweet BIF box from nlmartin (thanks again buddy). I will definitely be looking out for other vintages, but I don't know how any other year could be any better. 12 years of age set the bar very high.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 01:53:50 | More by Beerandboards
Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
FeDUBBELFIST

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Vintage, 275mL bottle to tulip
Sampled 16SEP12

[A] A pour down the middle doesn't produce more than a quarter finger's worth of head - and it disappears immediately. The color is light tan. Bubbly foam is the texture. The body is extremely dark brown. Ruby highlights can be seen when backlit - which also shows decent clarity and flecks of sediment clinging to the glass. No film, collar or lacing. The body is completely still.

[S] Dark fruit aromatics lead the way. Particularly prune, but complimented by sun soaked raisin. Caramel pokes through to a small degree but it's more than less masked by the fruity aromas. Light tea leaf. Very little alcohol noticeable.

[T] Dark fruit absolutely dominates. Fig is particularly strong. Light caramel on the back end only. Flavors of red raisin and prune linger long. Very long.

[M] At this age, the mouthfeel is nothing short of absolutely remarkable. Very smooth, very full, soft, velvety. Residual sweetness glides over the tongue, leaves a light coat but avoids being cloying entirely. Carbonation is extremely gentle.

[O] One helluva beer. I prefer less dark fruit and more caramel personally, but damn this works so well as it is. An obvious classic.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 14:20:03 | More by FeDUBBELFIST
Photo of heygeebee
heygeebee

Australia

4.88/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage. BB end of world?

Pours a flat copper. No real head, slight film. Sediment abounds.

Aromas are immediately complex and integrated. Honey, a little vegemite, hint of marmalade, sherry, booze.

Taste to die for. Smooth, complex, no one element stands out. Sherry or port flavours to the fore, less vegemite than nose. More honey, butter, apricot, the list goes on. Dates, figs, prunes... Hop-free zone.

Mouthfeel smooth and non existent carbonation. Full bodied but not cloying. Alcohol is well hidden for ABV.

Best beer I have had in ages. Wonderful. To be savoured.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 10:44:33 | More by heygeebee
Photo of jaasen64
jaasen64

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into oversized wine glass. Special bottle from 1988 pulled out of the Lord Hobo cellar for Zwanze Day 2012!! Bottled a year before I was born over 23 years ago!

A- Pours a fairly still dark slightly brown cherry that is mostly opaque. Not much carbonation or head.

S- Fairly sweet and very aromatic with scents of maple syrup, dark fruits, figs, prunes, and some mustiness from age. This smelled like a fine port and has held up amazing with age. Definitely some oxidation but nothing that subtracts from the aroma.

T- Dark fruits, some figs, a tiny bit of prunes, maple syrup, some light mustiness, definite oxidation but if anything adds a little bit to the taste, tastes more like a fine port then a beer.

M- Not much carbonation, smooth, easy drinking.

O- This was definitely a treat that held up amazingly well with time. There was some oxidation and not much carbonation, but neither of those took away from the overall taste. There were a lot of great dark fruit tastes going on that balanced very well with a sweet maple syrup quality. I definitely enjoyed drinking this beer and it's one of the best English barleywines I've had. I definitely recommend laying one down in your cellar and trying it again in a decade.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 05:12:04 | More by jaasen64
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BeRanger

Michigan

4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a glass at biermkt in Cleveland.

A: hard to tell from bar light but a copper color, decent amount of floating sediment and a white rim.

Smells and tastes of sweet caramel, coffee, honey, malts. An enjoyable barley wine but certainly a little sweeter than I typically prefer.

Overall it's a good one, sweet but not harsh after taste. Has a nice finish

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2012 01:04:41 | More by BeRanger
Photo of abraxel
abraxel

Michigan

4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF 7, courtesy of ShogoKawada.

A - Murky, slightly reddish brown, with a thick, creamy, off-white head that drops very slowly. I accidentally got some glumpy sediment in there... hopefully that won't be a problem. Looks quite appealing, but that sediment or whatever is uuugly.

S - Mmmm, the aroma hit me as soon as I cracked the cap. Super strong, smooth, and decadent -- lots of peanut butter, with maybe some molasses and sweet fruits. I think this is an English barleywine, and perhaps an aged one.

T - Extremely sweet, but it stops short of cloying. The malt is dominant and delicious and somewhat complex. Strong notes of peanut butter, molasses, some caramel and dark fruits. A slight, almost ashy, burnt-caramel flavor lingers afterward. Very tasty.

M - Pretty full mouthfeel. Practically no carbonation, nor a hint of alcohol burn -- this is just silky smooth all the way.

Overall, I like this beer a whole lot. It's just delicious.

Non-blind comment: This was '08 vintage, by the way.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2012 21:58:33 | More by abraxel
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4DAloveofSTOUT

Illinois

3/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured into tulip glass.

Vintage 2008.

Appearance: reddish light brown bodied beer with large floaties. a cap of white head with large bubbles that drops to a ring.

Smell: Malty and fruity. Rubbing alcohol is strong and it almost burns the nostrils with a deep breath.

Taste: Sweet honey mixes with smokey malts. Fairely fruity also. Finishes with a clovingly sweet taste of more honey almost mead like. As a matter of fact, this beer almost tastes like a smokey mead.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low carbonation. Booze is farily mellow compared to what the nose leads you to think.

Overall: Not a huge fan of this one. Its just too sweet for me to enjoy and i love malt forward beers just as much as anyone.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2012 12:39:08 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
Photo of vandemonian
vandemonian

Maryland

2.85/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale 2006 is a sweet barleywine with some odd flavours. In particular, I don't like the Vegemite flavour resulting from yeast autolysis.

A: Red brown colour and almost no head. I guess that's to be expected after sitting in the bottle for 6 years. 3.5

S: Sweet toffee and alcohol. Some definite Vegemite aroma from the yeast autolysis. 3.5

T: Sweet malt and umami from yeast autolysis. Bleh. I don't like the flavour at all. Very grainy. 2.5

M: Flat. 2.5

O: 3

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2012 01:46:51 | More by vandemonian
Photo of sukwonee
sukwonee

Washington

4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage - purchased on 10/4/2012 at a local bottle shop. Pretty cool find I guess.

A: looks ugly - reminds me a bit of BB4D but lighter in color. No head.

S: Smells like apple juice, brown sugar, booze, some dark fruits. Mostly, apple juice.

T: Apple, raisin, dark fruits. Very boozy still. Quite good, but very sweet. Edit: I cheated and read other's reviews and they mention honey and maple syrup and I totally agree.

M: Thick, chewy, and hot from the alcohol.

O: I think this could have used even more years in the cellar. It was quite good but too sweet, imo.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2012 01:51:58 | More by sukwonee
Photo of rinhaak
rinhaak

Massachusetts

4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1999 Vintage.

Nose is musty with loads of sherry, oak, wood notes, alcohol. Amazing mouth with prunes, raisins, brown sugar, brandy, and a maple finish. Smooth as velvet in the mouth, and despite drinking like a dessert beer, there isn't a cloying sweetness.

This would be perfect with a creme boule or fine dessert. Amazing beer through and through.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2012 02:01:47 | More by rinhaak
Photo of DavoleBomb
DavoleBomb

Ohio

4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a perfect pint. 1999 vintage. The older beer I've had.

4.0 A: Deep amber color with good clarity. Maybe a 1/8 inch head forms, but that's not too bad given the elderly status of this.

4.5 S: This smells absolutely wonderful! Big aggressive caramel and toffee. Minerally earthiness. Lots of honey and a light sherry. This is oxidized surprisingly little. Plum, prune, and date fruitiness with a slight grape and raisin combo. Moderately sweet and quite clean. Very well rounded.

4.5 T: Taste is even bolder than the nose. Big syruppy sweetness to kick things off. Loads of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Even more honey in the taste. I don't know if they even used honey in this. Again just a slight sherry. Plum galore with nearly as much prune and date. Fig, raisin, and tobacco underneath. Earthy mineral. Still has a mild alcoholic tinge. Quite pleasant and shockingly bold after all these years.

4.0 M: Heavy body. Very good carbonation for the age. A little overly syruppy, but otherwise creamy and smooth.

4.5 D: Really enjoyed this. I'm going to have to pick up a few to age.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2012 21:52:21 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of wd40
wd40

New York

4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage sampled in 2012.

Opaque orange/brown appearance with absolutely no head. The smell is reminiscent of raisins, hints of coffee and chocolate. The taste is quite fruity with a bit of coffee in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is the only thing lacking in this beer since it has nearly zero carbonation right out of the bottle. Doesn't bother me too much since it should only have a little to begin with. Overall a great beer. I'll be getting a few more of these to age.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2012 03:17:22 | More by wd40
Photo of ColForbinBC
ColForbinBC

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, poured into a snifter

I had the 1998 and 1999 side by side. They were practically identical, with the 1998 being a little bolder.

The body sits a rather clear, mahogany color, with some darker brown in the depths of the glass. No head or lacing, just a thin collar of white foam around the edges.

Broad and deep nose. Sherry, lemon, honey, cabernet, sweet toffee, cocoa powder, and a huge layer of booze. Crazy levels of complexity.

Sweet, and not as boozy as the nose let on. I kept coming back to describing this as similar to a Luden's Golden Honey cough drop dipped in sherry, and then mixed with cocoa and toffee.

The feel was syrupy, lending even more credence to the cough syrup/drop comparison. Full, rich body and flavors. The finish is sweet and boozy, but no real warming getting in the way.

These were two of the most complex beers I have come across. Equally delicious, with the 1998 edging the 1999 by a thin margin. Smooth, complex, rich, sweet....simply incredible. Seek out the older vintages.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2012 12:49:36 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

275 mL bottle of the 2005 vintage pours a limpid, fairly clear brown color with a few bubbles around the collar.

Nose is very sweet and caramely. Bread and toffee play a supporting role and there is an earthy-alcohol thing going on in here too.

Taste is a delicious blend of various malt flavors...from caramel to toast to honey to even a little hint of chocolate. Thick, sweet and syrupy but strangely never gets cloying as the alcohol dries things out nicely on the finish. I did the JW Lees thing a little different as I have had two of the flavored cask versions prior to the regular. I think I enjoyed the cask ones slightly better, but not by much. This is a real treat, I wish this was sold in TX; I'd love to have a case or two of these to drink over the next few years.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2012 00:22:49 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of BarryMFBurton
BarryMFBurton

Indiana

3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This will be my first side-by-side vertical tasting, and with a beer that I’ve been desperately wanting to try: J.W. Lees Harvest Ale. I’ll be tasting a 2004 bottle alongside a 2008 bottle, separating out experiences by vintage, then averaging the scores for the final grade.

A (2004): Pours a thick, translucent caramel color with a ton of bubbles clinging to the side of the glass – looks like the carbonation is more in the body than in the head. What’s left above is a small crescent of shining bubbles on a thin strip around the glass. Slight bubbly lacing with a bit of sediment floating in the body.

A (2008): Pours the same color, but this one has much less sediment in the body – it’s not hazy at all. Plus, this vintage actually has a head, showing a moment stark white foaminess before quickly subsiding. Similar lacing, but this one actually sticks around instead of sliding back.

S (2004): Phenomenally rich, with big scents of buttered raisin bread, thick caramel, butterscotch, and black cherry. A solid base of thick malt, of course, but with alcohol constantly peeking from beneath to show a peppery, slightly oaky underbelly. A nose of sweet and buttery malt in strong, boozy fashion.

S (2008): Oh damn, that is much different. It has a vegetal character – dark caramel is strong, thick, and so cloying that it seems to come out with a moderate vegetable aroma. Other than that, it’s all malt; very caramelly, very buttery (even more so than the 2004). Much less alcohol.

T (2004): Damn sweet: covers every inch of the tongue with thick cherry syrup, caramel, maple syrup, and raisin tastes. Imagine Dr. Pepper syrup that hasn’t been mixed with the soda water yet – yeah, it’s thick. Not cloying, though, which is surprising. Plum, buttered pumpernickel, and honey have a slight moment to shine, as well as a touch of baked apple. Finishes with cedar wood tastes, toasted caramel malts, and sweet, mead-like alcohol.

T (2008): Upon first sip, it’s all dust, cardboard, and corn tastes: nearly unbearable. What the hell? A few more sips and the caramel notes come out, but it’s not enough to overshadow the off-flavors. Underneath, it’s just like the 2004 bottle with more peppery flavors – raisin and toffee are big and beautiful – but nothing is getting over those initial setbacks.

M (2004): Thick – unbelievably syrupy. Feels like what I’d imagine pure wort would be like. Funny thing is, I like it for this style; the beer becomes more of a liqueur. It works well for a traditional barleywine, which is often missing a certain fullness in the body.

M (2008): Identical to the 2004, only with a bit more fizzing carbonation to it.

O: Something’s wrong here. A quick look at the bottles shows that the yeast in the 2008 bottle was chunky, muddy-looking...and with those DMS and oxidation tastes, it’s pretty clear that this bottle was infected. Fortunately, though, the 2004 was damn good – a model barleywine. And even with that bad experience with the 2008 bottle, I’ll definitely try another vintage in the near future.

Note: since the 2004 seemed to be more of what this beer is really about, I weighted the final score based on that experience more than the 2008.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2012 19:11:37 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of MattyG85
MattyG85

Minnesota

4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006 Vintage 12 oz. bottle Poured into a Surly Darkness Chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep and very hazy brownish amber orange. Moderate amount of bubbles. Virtually no head to speak of, but a decent amount of lace sticks to the glass.

Smell: A big sweet malty aroma with lots of caramel and dark fruits. Sweet, slightly roasted malts with big hints of caramel and toffee. Hints of maple syrup, vanilla, and oak. Big dark fruit presence with lots of prunes, figs, dates, and raisin. Also some brown sugar, molasses, and apple hints. Smells pretty boozy. Quite interesting.

Taste: Wow. Quite a rush of strong flavors as soon as it hits the mouth, its almost overwhelming. Really big taste of caramel and toffee from some lightly roasted malts. A little bit of chocolate comes in along with some dark bread. A sweet kick from some maple syrup, molasses, and brown sugar. Some vanilla and oak. Big taste of dark fruits with notes of prunes, figs, raisins, and a lot of dates. Light hop bitterness. Also a taste of booze. Really robust flavors considering this is six years old.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body with a fairly low level of carbonation. Very thick and syrupy. Smooths out a bit midway through the mouth. Definitely a sipper and not a easy drinker, but its well worth the effort. Alcohol heat is actually kind of hidden by the heavy sweetness.

Overall: A really great take on the Barleywine. Very thick and sweet but not cloying. Great mix of flavors.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 05:33:14 | More by MattyG85
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womencantsail

California

4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is a murky amber color with a small off-white head. A bit oxidized, but a really nice caramel and dark fruit aroma. Good brown sugar and maybe a hint of vanilla. The flavor is also slightly oxidized with a hint of alcohol. Great brown sugar, caramel, and toffee flavors. A nice bit of cherry and plum to go with raisins.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2012 15:56:22 | More by womencantsail
Photo of jamespub
jamespub

Missouri

4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drinking a 2000 vintage in celebration of my daughter's birth. poured into a Duvel Tulip.

A- Much darker than i recall the 2007 and 2008 bottles I had last fall. Dark brown with low carbonation, but what is there lingers around the edge. A beautiful dark brew....was it particular to the year, or did age somehow do this? I'm not sure.

S- ah....amazing. malt, malt, malty sweetness. it has the distinct smell of an aged brew. toffee, caramel.

T- simply stunning. toffee, grain, caramel. it has the incredible grain flavor that the 07 and 08 years had, but it is so much more refined. the yeast has settled well and leaves a clear brew that tastes absolutely stunning. i could drink this all day, every day.

M- sticks to the tongue. smooth, velvety with a feel that lingers. a faint hint of carbonation. mildly sticky finish due to the sugars.

O-Easily one of the best beers I have ever had. I had one and this was the best occasion to open it on. I wish I had a case more. I will be aging the rest of them as long.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2012 02:16:08 | More by jamespub
Photo of ngeunit1
ngeunit1

California

4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very cloudy orange-brown with a thin layer of fizzy tannish head. The head fades down fairly quickly leaving behind a touch of lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of raisins, prunes, other dark fruits, maple, caramelized malts, brown sugar, caramel malts, a bit of light citrus fruits, and some booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet raisin and prune with some brown and maple sugars with some dark caramel malts and a bit of citrus fruit. Through the middle, some more caramel flavor comes through with some more maple syrup and molasses. The finish is a mix of dark fruits with some caramelized malts and other dark malts, molasses, a touch of citrus and earthy hop, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with mild carbonation. Feels smooth and syrupy with a warming and sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice rich sweet malt backbone with a great balance of sugars and dark fruit flavors.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2012 05:17:38 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of jvillefan
jvillefan

California

4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: One of the hazier beers I've ever had but that is to be a little expected given that the vintage is four years old. There was no head when poured into a 12 oz globe glass.

S: Boozy. It hits you in the face immediately. There is a nice malty and maple aroma.

T: Excellent. There is a fantastic maple start with a nice grain/malt middle and a somewhat strong alcohol finish. This is what a barleywine is suppose to be.

M: Heavy due to the high alcohol and malt profile. A little under carbonated.

O: Excellent beer. If given the opportunity to try this it is a must. This joins the list of great barleywines that I've had with Abacus, King Henry, and Mother of All Storms.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2012 02:41:02 | More by jvillefan
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Whoa, serious beer. Poured this at a good temperature with a small, foamy head that promptly disappeard and no lace. Color is a hazy/cloudy amber brown with a lot of sediment. Aroma is a very volatile blend of caramel, yeast, malt, dark ripe fruit, raisins, bread dough, and seemingly many other things. Flavor's like nose, with sweet out front along with, curiously, a little chili pepper, bitter a little behind that and just a smidgen of carbonic tang. Body is full and lush with some little bitter points that just contribute to the beautiful picture. Carbonation is a little tame, but it works. Finish does get a little boozy, but overall is pleasant and on the long side. Outstanding beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 07:26:06 | More by drpimento
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1999 version

A: murky and muddy brown body. No head.

S: sherry and cabernet dominate. some dark fruit, ofee, chocolate and caramel malts. forbodes a strong boozy flavor.

T: wow. This one is strong and not just in the boozy way but also in the tart, sweet and sour way. sherry, tons of dark fruit mostly raisin. The finish has an oak, smokey and cake batter character.

M: so sweet its hard to tell. medium body and light carbonation. oily and thick.

Overall: almost got a headache right away from the sweetness. This one is definitely unique and somehow complex in the finish despite the overwhelming tart and sweetness. I couldnt finish this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2012 01:02:05 | More by kylehay2004
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,189 ratings.