1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,219 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,219
Reviews: 793
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 14.08%
Wants: 204
Gots: 172 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,219 | Reviews: 793 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bung
Bung

Michigan

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

1999. The oldest vintage brew I've had to date. A thick brown/orange pour. Thin layer of off white head that quickly recedes to a ring. Happy to see the carbonation, I know this one's going to be thick and juicy sweet.

Aroma is incredibly powerful. I can still easily smell it sitting on the counter at hip level. A ton of malt, caramel and raisin.

Taste is malty goodness. Many levels of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, yellow raisins, fruitcake, frangelico, seems like you could just keep going and going. Finishes with a little caramelized brown sugar and toasted oak and rum cake.

Big and sticky, but not overly boozy. It is really smooth and coating. Not as syrupy as I though it might be. Actually quite easy to drink. The warming sensation reminds you that this is a big beer.

Not sure this is a good as my favorite, Arctic Devil, but it's certainly up their for the style.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2010 02:14:19 | More by Bung
Photo of mondegreen
mondegreen

Georgia

4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

1999 Vintage into a Samichlaus Tulip.

A: Deep copper with ruby hues. Even after 11 years, this beer puts up a thick 1 finger head. It recedes after a minute leaving a ring of foam around the glass. No lacing.

S: Dense sweet malts. The layers of sweet malt are enticing and complex. This beer isn't a one trick pony.

T: Much like the nose, there is a deep sweetness. There is nothing fake or artificial about this brew. The sweetness grows into a slighty spicy aftertaste, making this the epitome of English Barleywines.

M: Very thick, borderline creamy. The heaviness helps to carry the complex sweet character of the beer. Superb.

D: Again, the epitome of an English Barleywine. After 11 years, this beer begs to be sipped and explored for hours on end. Thourghly impressive.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2010 00:42:53 | More by mondegreen
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

275mL bottle poured into a snifter. Vintage 2006.

(A)- Pours a murky caramel color. No head formation, just some bubbles.

(S)- Super potent. Caramel, toffee, figs, vanilla, and not yet ripe raisins.

(T)- Rich & buttery-like caramel & toffee. Some raisin-like peach fruit thing.

(M)- A lower carbonation level. Rather sweet & rich. Not as boozy as the smell, but is syrupy.

(D)- Not a bad barleywine, but reminds me more of an old ale. I think it needs more time to smooth out its edges. Wished it had a better carbonation level, but it would at least of helped in how rich & sweet it is.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2010 15:59:32 | More by sweemzander
Photo of jgasparine
jgasparine

Maryland

4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled a 1998 Vintage from the "cellar" on 4/24/2010.

A- Poured from the bottle with a thin tan head, which quickly receded to a haze layer and collar. The body was a heavily sedimented dark garnet color, with no visible carbonation. This beer also exhibits syrupy legs on the sides of the glass, like a liqueur.

S- An incredibly rich and complex, malt-dominant nose. Impressions of stewed malts, leather, dried dark fruit, and heavy sweet madiera and sherry-like aromas.

T- An amazing replicate of the nose with rich stewed malts, treacle, ripe black cherries, and heavy madiera notes. Finishes with some mild ethanol heat and a very faint hop bitterness. The madiera flavor seems to echo on the tongue forever.

M- Medium-plus to full body, with a syrupy viscosity to it; broken-up by a very delicate and soft carbonation. Coats the mouth wonderfully.

D- Incredibly drinkable, particularly for the high ABV. This beer gets better and better with age.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2010 14:18:31 | More by jgasparine
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
PeprSprYoFace

California

4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1999 vintage. Had to buy it online. Can't find it here in CA.

Pours a deep brown color. Nice thin tan head with a little lacing. Pretty good looking beer.

Aroma has alcohol which was surprising for a beer this old. The aroma are so complex. Lots of dark fruits and molassis and brown sugar. Smells great.

Wow. I didn't think a beer this old could taste this good. I really need to try some older beers. So cmplex. I can just imagin how big of a beer this was 10 years ago. Lots of molassis and dark fruits. Brown sugar and a little spice. I get alot of that Mexican baking sugar that comes in those cones. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is great. I thought this would be much thinner. Held it's carbonation well.

Overall such a tasty beer. I'm going to try and find older vintages.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2010 02:37:25 | More by PeprSprYoFace
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

2.88/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz bottle split and poured into a Stone RIS tulip. 11.5% ABV, 2006 vintage but not other date.

Thanks to Sweemzander for sharing this bottle with me.

A - Absolutely hazed over with lots of floating particles despite the slow, careful pour. Muddy brown/orange with no head what-so-ever. A ring of loose bubbles around the outside is the only indicator of carbonation.

S - This Harvest Ale has a big, boozy nose that I think I just got drunk from smelling. Deep caramel malt nose with lots of toffee and toast. Minimal hop involvement here with tons of low fruity alcohol notes. It's largely a boozy alcohol aroma.

T - It starts with a big toasted and caramel malt flavor with a low fruity alcohol but big boozy punch. The first part is good but moves to a disgusting plastic and grassy finish. After a few sips I either became used to that gross part (which I'd guess) or it went away. Still, it's off-putting to me.

M - Medium-bodied and round with a very sweet flavor and low carbonation. The finish lingers for a while and doesn't leave tasting very good at all.

D - Not a fan. The back end of the flavor has a gross taste I really don't care for. Not something I want to have again. An example of a beer probably not worth aging past a few years. Or it needs to age even longer.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2010 22:43:28 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

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

1999 Vintage

This has been sitting in my fridge for about a month and a half. Picked up at Beverage Warehouse in Winooski, VT. They recently got in several vintages of this ale and being that 1999 is a year that I hold in relative importance, it only made sense to purchase this, price be damned.

Pours a mild amber color with a very thin head that nearly disappears after about a minute.

Aroma is full of sweet, rich malt with a strong lean towards plums and apples. Very inviting and little alcohol seems to remain on the nose.

Taste is full of sweet malt with grape, plum and raisin being the dominant flavors. What remains of the alcohol has pretty much faded, leaving a friendly, inviting brew. Very tasty and the bouquet obviously shows.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering sweetness and other flavors from this. Nothing funky here. Of course, without the alcohol heat, it's hard to tell if you're drinking a beer or something else altogether.

It seems to have aged quite well. English barleywines aren't known for the use of hops, preferring to rely more on the characteristics of the malt used. This ale is no exception. It just makes me appreciate the style more, especially when fresh.

Worth the price and I'm interested in trying other vintages as well. 1999 was a good year and this beer just seems to preserve that.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2010 04:29:21 | More by Brad007
Photo of Pahn
Pahn

New York

4.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

275ml bottle into Duvel tulip. 2002 vintage. Picked up as a reward to myself for quitting smoking.

Appearance: Moderately strong pour surprises me by yielding a couple millimeters of fizzy, off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a ring of bubbly lace for about a minute. Pours an almost fully opaque brownish amber. Sporadic, short-lived lacing and nice legs.

Smell: Big, pungent aroma of raisin and fig, with some caramel and alcohol. Faintly suggests some other fruits and malt. Strong, inviting smell that I can't stop breathing in and enjoying.

Taste: Smooth, vibrant, and spicy. There's a thick hit of fig and raisin, so particular it tastes like biting into the flesh of a really fat raisin; it's not a note of raisin, it's all the sensory qualities of a fat, juicy and gritty raisin along with more (again, fig, alcohol, brown sugar, molasses). The taste is insistently deep and sugary, but not overwhelmingly sweet as the robust dark fruit and malt flavors dominate the sweetness away. Each sip is an exploration, starting with that syrupy dark fruit goodness, moving into spice and alcohol with gradual hits of chocolate, caramel, other random flavors, then ending in a long, pleasantly burning aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Slick and medium- to full-bodied. More carbonation than I expected, but not much. Hot finish. Carries the huge, lingering flavors perfectly.

Drinkability: If you're buying an aged J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale, you probably know what you want from it. It delivers. It's difficult to drink this beer slowly enough.

Just a perfect English barleywine. Endlessly deep and stimulating. The kind of beer where no matter how much I try to get words down to describe its flavor or aroma, I can't do it justice.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2010 00:26:25 | More by Pahn
Photo of CHickman
CHickman

New York

4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Harvest Ale 2000 review:

Pours cloudy mahogany reddish in color with a small beige head; spotty lacing on the snifter.

Smells like raisin, rum, syrup, molasses and some sweet malts; quite pungent and very fruity. Wow, smells like a box of raisins or a port wine.

Tastes like raisins, rum, sweet malt, caramel, syrup, molasses, brown sugar, honey, a hint of cinnamon and the alcohol esters that are not offensive but rather quite tasty. Considering how strong the raisin and rum-like sweetness is present, this is reasonably well balanced and got better as it warmed.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth and creamy, with an overall sweet taste, zero carbonation and a medium body. The alcohol presence is there throughout this beer, and while it has kick to it, it is not overpowering or offensive. This is a definite sipper.

A little too sweet for my liking, but a very interesting and tasty beer. Steep price tag at $19 per bottle at Blue Smoke in NYC, but there was a level of sophistication achieved while savoring this beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2010 04:47:46 | More by CHickman
Photo of Deuane
Deuane

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I can remember back in the day waiting every year to enjoy the J.W. Lee's cask offerings at KClinger's Tavern in Hanover, PA. Ahh...the tastes and aromas of the Calvados aged Harvest and the richness of the Lagavulin aged and the sharp dryness of the Sherry version. Back then I simply "enjoyed" beer and didn't take detailed notes. I finally got the chance to try the "regular" Harvest Ale served on cask, what memories!

A-Hazy, golden orange copper with a thin, wispy white head that reduced to a minuscule ring of retention and left very spotty flecks of lace.

S-Powerful alcohol vapors give a ride to rich, sweet vanilla, astringent oak, deep caramel malt sweetness, some apple/pear noted and toffee.

T-Much like the aroma. Massive, sweet caramel malt base takes the center stage. Along the edges an array of characters form an impressive supporting cast. Toffee, turbinado, black strap molasses and fructose sweetness adds amazing depth. Oak dryness and and alcohol burn in the finish add to the ensemble.

M-Medium-heavy, soft and silky smooth. Rich and luscious with a syrupy viscosity.

D-Rich and bold with a boatload of flavour, what is not to like? A slow sipper for sure and this unfortunately detracts from its drinkibility. I love to have one and maybe two snifters but more---no thank you.

Serving type: cask

04-09-2010 13:22:53 | More by Deuane
Photo of Murchmac
Murchmac

California

4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to lagerdeer for opening this puppy from 2000.

I cant say I remember much about this beers look, or smell. But this had legs and tasted as good as the Southern summer is warm.

Even though it wasn't barrel aged, I thought it was in sherry or something. Great overall mouthfeel, warm, candied earthy notes to it. A warm delicious treat if you can get it.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2010 05:06:45 | More by Murchmac
Photo of MbpBugeye
MbpBugeye

Ohio

3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2006. Really glad to be reviewing this beer. It seems to be one of the standard, traditional English Barleywines. Im making this my 200th review!

A- Nearly flat. A rough pour got barely any head. Some air bubbles but thats just because I started pouring so roughly. I decanted so all those big chunks of sediment I saw in the other cask aged versions stayed in the bottle. The result is a clear deep amber beer. It looks like a spirit more than a beer. No head, no carbonation, no lacing.

S- Very powerful scent. Vanilla extract, darker fruits like prunes and lots of alcohol. Its a spicy alcohol like that of a spiced rum or a scotch.

T- Very deep and caramel-y. Some oak, vanilla, toasted malts and nuttiness. Lots of alcohol, no hops in the taste at all. This is a very sweet beer. Nearly cloying at times.

M- Like the apperance would suggest there is next to no carbonation. The beer is thick as hell and chewy. Not really all that sticky but it remains on the palate because of its sheer thickness.

D- Big, powerful, sweet and almost cloying. A real sipper. This is a good ale, but I dont think it quite lives up to its name.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 03:00:39 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

275 mL bottle, 2001 Vintage, brewed when I was a senior in high school,

A: Pours a dark brown with a light head that doesn't last too long. Not murky.

S: Sweet nose with caramel, raisin, maple syrup and Pedro Ximenez sherry. Hints of fig and apricot, very mild oxidation character. Great nose.

T: Caramel, brown sugar syrup and dark fruit for the main flavour. Delicious, still has plenty of residual sugar left. Great note of cocoa on the finish. The ultimate beer for malt lovers.

M: Thick, viscous and chewy. Has a really similar feel to a Port wine on the tongue. Mild carbonation works wonders here. Nice amount of warming alcohol in the tummy and going down.

D: An easy sipper for an after dinner drink. Even at 9 years old this is still drinking very young and I could see it lasting another 10-30 years simply because of the sugar content, liken it to a vintage Port, Sauternes, Tokaji - classic dessert wines. The '99 I had of this a few years back was one of the best beers I've ever had; that beer had a little more complexity and oxidation character, but this '01 is still a damn fine beverage.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 23:23:27 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of mcann2pu
mcann2pu

Delaware

4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1999 Vintage bottle. My 40th review!

Appearance: Poured into my DFH Signature glass a luscious dark rust color, almost brown at first glance, clear looking brew no detectable sediment or "floaties" although a small amount of compact sediment did remain in the bottom of the bottle when I poured, not much in the way of head, but had an impressively strong lace forming a ring around the inside of the glass.

Smell: First on the nose is an appealing heavy dark fruit aroma, with a detectable toffee-like malt smell as well.

Taste: Rich, delicious, the first taste I get is a malty dark fruit taste, like an aged fig or a prune, this is followed by a sweet molasses-like caramel flavor that gives way to a vanilla / wood finish. Great taste, seems like this one cellared quite well.

Mouthfeel: Great, very appropriate for this type of beer, it's a little syrupy, but I think that is to be expected in an aged beer of this style.

Drinkability: The sweetness of the brew might effect the drinkability for some, but I think that it's a good sipping ale with a lot of fairly complex flavors, I can't wait to see how this one continues to age.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2010 02:48:07 | More by mcann2pu
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.25/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 - why let it age.

Beer poured into a snifter. Beer is dark yellow to brown and forms no head. Leaves very little lacing on the glass and carbonation is low. Beer is really hazy. I should have checked for sediment.

Sweet sweet caramel. This beer is really sweet smelling. Raisins and plums. Smells like a homebrew I made a while ago.

Beer is sweet with kind of an odd earthy flavor to it. I'm not really feeling this beer. Caramel note with some forward sweetness and no real bitterness. Beer finishes slightly dry. Drinkability not good. I don't think I'll be able to finish the whole thing. Maybe the aged versions are better or with another 10 years on it it will improve. Right now, not my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2010 04:29:18 | More by drabmuh
Photo of SkeeterHawk
SkeeterHawk

Texas

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

I am reviewing the 2002 vintage that has been in my fridge for at least a couple years, so this could be interesting.

Appearance: Pours a very clear dark garnet color with a small head of tan bubbles that faded quickly back into the beer. After 45 seconds or so, there is no detectable head on the beer.

Aroma: My first impression of the aroma was of sweet aged dark fruit along with a noticeable alcohol presence adding spice to the whole ensemble. Some toasty notes from the obviously British malts are one of the biggest players in the aroma. Lots of caramel is there when the beer is cold, and it is becoming even more of a big player in the aroma as the beer warms. By this point, I am only getting very reserved hops.

Taste: The flavor of the beer is much more complex than I even imagined from the aroma. I get tons of malty sweetness that is derived from caramel and toasty malts along with dark carmelized sugar and thick syrupy malts to sneak up on the back of the throat and linger there until the alcohol decides to make an appearance and keep you warm and fuzzy until late after the sip. There are chocolate notes along with some licorice and overall the residual flavor is like you just ate some fine candy.

Opinion: This beer is incredible! This particular example I would guess is in its prime as the complexity is there and any contribution from Oxygen is helping. I would drink this beer regularly if able to, but it does give one something to strive for in homebrew. Man, this is a nice beer and I would highly recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2010 06:24:17 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of GilGarp
GilGarp

Colorado

4.72/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2000 vintage. Easily the oldest beer I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

275mL brown bottle with golden-yellow label and black cap.

Served cool into a Belgian globe, Vintage Harvest Ale has a deep redish brown color with good clarity when held to the light. The head is creamy and dense but pretty short-lived.

Aroma is sweet and pungent. It's so full of greatness here - all sort of dark and dried fruits - raisins, plums, prunes, figs, cherries, and so on. The alcohol is evident here too but it's pleasant like a port wine.

Flavor is equally amazing and really strengthens the port similarities. Strong in the dark fruits again, especially cherries and figs. There is a hint of toasted malts and some gentle bitterness but any bit of sharpness has been rounded off over the past 10+ years. Raisins, caramel, chocolate... the depth of flavor is amazing.

Mouthfeel is medium-full in body with soft carbonation that just keeps it above being flat.

What a beer. This isn't what I was prepared for but I'm so glad I finally got to try it. Just fantastic from start to finish.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2010 01:06:53 | More by GilGarp
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2000.

A: The beer pours a reddish brown with a nice head and lingering lace. It appears to be going strong after ten years.

S: Sweet malt, raisins, alcohol, buttery toffee

T: A splendid example of English Barleywine. This beer is still sweet, but ten years has mellowed this beer out quite nicely. There is a buttery, caramel sweetness that could become cloying, but for now it's delicious. There is definitely an alcohol presence that I'm guessing will not go away regardless of how long the beer is aged.

M: Low carbonation, sweet, sticky, alcohol finish. Pleasant lingering aftertaste of caramels, dark fruit, toffee.

D: A small serving is plenty for me. If I'm in the mood for an English Barleywine, this is the first beer that comes to mind.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2010 00:29:33 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of 05Harley
05Harley

New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Brewed in 2005

Purchased @ Julio's liqours, Mass

Price - $7.49

Appearance: Pours headless with a dark orange/copper hue. A thin white ring appears on the edge of the glass and remains throughout the experience. Sediment visible both in suspension as well as on the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Heavy sweetness. Candy sugar and caramel come to mind. A hint of alcohol in the backround.

Taste: A strong sweetness hits first followed by a mild warming sensation. Flavors of brown sugar toffee and molasses. Alcohol is well hidden for 11.5%.

Mouthfeel: Quite viscous with no carbonation what's so ever.

Drinkability: A little on the sweet side for my taste. A bottle split amongst friends is perfect.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2010 21:36:58 | More by 05Harley
Photo of jacobseyb
jacobseyb

Alabama

4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2001 Vintage

Poured cloudy brown with ruby hints. Virtually no head. Great aromas of malty sweetness, very little if any hop aromas. Malty aromas are dark fruits. Definite alcohol in the aroma as well. Taste is very sweet, with some fig, raisin type fruity flavor as well. Alcohol doesn't really appear until the end, pretty well masked. Feel is smooth, syrupy and has very little carbonation. Overall a very good Barleywine with great characteristics. Really enjoyed the beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2010 04:33:47 | More by jacobseyb
Photo of PBoegel
PBoegel

New York

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

2002 Vintage

First JW Lees Harvest Ale, with just over 7 years in the bottle.

Nice pop of carbonation from this well aged bottle, poured into a Brooklyn brewery Snifter. Deep amber to reddish brown hues. No head forms whatsoever.

Aromas are incredibly rich maple, honey, faint woody oak like characteristics, but not at all like beer aged in oak, think more of when you cut wood. There are no hops left in this beer, it is all malt. Very reminiscent of port wine character. Faint alcohol, well masked in the nose.

The flavor profile is equally rich, very nuanced with layers of maple, vanilla, faint hints of tobacco. Again very similar to quality ports with an obvious differenc being the lack of grape characteristic. But very similar sweetness and texture.

The mouthfeel is full bodied, with very faint carbonation and absolutely a bare minimum remaingin bitterness which is slightly detectable before a bit, very small bit of dryign from the alcohol. The latter is beyond well masked at this point. Very sweet from start to finish.

A beer worth gathering vintages, cellaring and sampling over the years. Drinkable but it is a night cap, not a beer that is going to mix in with a night of others by any stretch.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2010 15:13:26 | More by PBoegel
Photo of kingcrowing
kingcrowing

Vermont

3.1/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

275ml bottle, 199 vintage poured into a tulip.

Pours a very ruddy/cloudy red with a very thin off white head, almost none, but for an 11 year old bottle it's ok. Nose is still very boozy, theres some sweet maltiness as well.

Taste is not quite as boozy as I thought, it's full and sweet with a strong malt backbone. Really can't get any hops here at all. Son't seem to be any off flavors but it's a bit cloying on the finish.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 20:14:46 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of HappyBivouac
HappyBivouac

Iowa

4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage. 9.3oz bottle into an Ommegang Chalice.

a- pours an amber orange with a minimal off-white head that goes away fast. very little lacing on the glass.

s- deep, rich caramel, a heavy done of bready, sweet malts, prunes, figs, tart cherries, and honey all fill the nose. A very sweet, caramelly, bright, and fruity aroma.

t- The first impression is an extremely sweet beer, very much like this was actually brewed with thick caramel. It's almost hard to get past this sweetness as it really dominates, but it's so damn delicious. Whole wheat bread comes though, and a faint tartness like cherries enters in late along with the unexpected but distinct taste of florida oranges, lingering on in the finish. Heat is there to a perfect level; I suspect being masked by the intense sweetness. There is but a faint grapefruit bitterness throughout that intensifies long after the beer goes down. Will the sweetness of this beer be tamed in several years? I have no idea, but I'd like to grab a couple more bottles and find out.

m- Thick, syrupy, chewy. Carbonation is just a faint tickle on the center of the tongue.

d- My overall impression is this is a great, complex beer. There are a lot of flavors in there, but it can be hard to find them underneath the cloying, overpowering caramel sweetness. I have to sip this one really slowly, which is I guess what was intended. Very high quality stuff, and this fresh bottle just screams that it was meant to be aged a long time.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2010 21:59:25 | More by HappyBivouac
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

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

I drank this 1999 version from a 12oz bottle into a Chimay glass.

The beer pours a medium brown with a light tan head that comes about only a quarter of a finger and is gone right away. Lacing is medium, much stronger than I thought with such a weak head.

The aroma starts off pretty malty light toffee but then overwhelms you with a ton of yeasty bread. At the end you get the lightest whiff of alcohol and vanilla.

The taste starts off pretty malty, pretty bready and yeasty with a bitter alcohol finish.

The feel is medium, semi lasting finish, pretty smooth.

The drinkablility is good for 11.5 abv.

Overall, this is a pretty great bw, can't wait to buy some to age for a long time.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2010 03:29:49 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Onenote81
Onenote81

North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2000. Sampled on 2/15/10.

Bottle received from BDLbrewster in a trade awhile back. Thanks!

Poured into a snifter. Pours a thick, syrupy mahogany with a thin tan head on top. This disappears to just a ring around the edge. Little spotty lace. Scents of toffee, molasses, syrup, and wet wood.

The body still retains a good amount of carbonation, but the finish is extremely smooth and warming. This is a very sweet beer after all these years. Big toffee and caramel notes. Sugary syrup finish. Sort of a chalky mouth on the back end. This is almost too sweet for me. It's definitely a slow-sipper. Not a bad bottle to split among friends, and enjoy by the fire.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2010 18:30:44 | More by Onenote81
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
95 out of 100 based on 1,219 ratings.