J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Barleywine - English
Ranked #48
ABV:
11.5%
Score:
91
Ranked #3,462
Avg:
4.11 | pDev: 12.65%
Reviews:
277
Ratings:
555
From:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  36
Gots
  90
SCORE
91
Outstanding
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)
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Reviews: 277 | Ratings: 555 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by GratefulBeerGuy:
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
GratefulBeerGuy from New Hampshire

4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

9.3 FL. OZ. 275 ml. Brewed in 2014. Opened on 7/24/2017.

Pours out with a muddy amber and golden coloration. Thin, swirley white bubbles and foam create mostly a bubbly ring around the edge.

The aroma is most unique, an apricot, dates and maple syrup combo is pretty inticing. Sweet malt, maple syrup and dense fruits all over. A classic English old leather and antique oak furniture aroma comes from the house yeast and cask aging. Grandma's spice racK , smoke and freshly baked dark wheat bread. Cinnemon and black pepper pop out later.

The taste of sugar coated dates with maple syrup dominate the palate. The flavor is intense and very, very sweet. A bitter, earthy and tangy edge rolls in soon from the English hops. Black pepper, oak cask, vanilla, maple syrup and more sweet fruity dates makes this complexity high, but dominated by sweetness. The malt is unique with these flavor's, dense and heady but perhaps....too heady? Is that possible? Perhaps a bit more hop kick to balance the sweetness out?
The light, earthy effect becomes bitter and dry very quickly. ...really the only true balance found with the big and sweet malt. Slightly boozy cask, woody and sweet , adds further depth to an already devilish complexity. 11.5 % with a quick, boozy heat tingle and, ever-so-long Port wine boozy punch with a sicky-sweet dense finish.

The mouthfeel is about as "full" and thick as you can get. Slick, malty, sticky and only slightly dry. It literally feels and tastes like light-golden maple syrup is poured into the liquid at the last minute.

Overall, this one is very difficult to rate by points. Much like the first time you have a 120 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head, your not sure if it really falls into any one style. J.W Lee's Harvest ale on Calvados cask just jumps out of any style, becoming some freak of brewing. Although closely related to the English Barleywine, clearly this one goes off in a strange but interesting direction. As a beer geek that enjoys "out there" and extreme aspects to beer, I must say, this one is pretty far "out there" for any style. I will say, although very deep and complex the malt and sweetness just goes a bit too far off the hindges. With slightly more hop balance I see a classic brew. Perhaps in 10 to 20 years of cellering, this one might hit the palate just right.

Jul 24, 2017
More User Reviews:
Photo of floridadrift
floridadrift from Florida

4.83/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2006 POOF!


Almost tart, perfectly mellow with a back-end of alcohol. When I'm not skiing the Alps, I always try to let it warm. This reminded me of a candied apple; this beer was incredibly good, especially with time. One day, this will come in a bomber for $50 and we will all be pissed.

Mar 07, 2015
Photo of bret717
bret717 from Pennsylvania

4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look- pours a cloudy orangish brown w/thin ring of bubbly whit head; no lacing

Aroma- subdued leather, dark bread, apples and booze

Taste- starts out with sweet brown sugar and dark break, then leather and the Calvados come in, followed by a little bit of hop bitterness

Overall- Really nice blend of sweet malty flavors and apple brandy from the Calvados

Mar 12, 2018
Photo of JayWhitson
JayWhitson from Montana

4.99/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sweet apple brown sugar molasses booze malty insanity. Bottle dated 2014. I'm sure it would only get better with age but I have no patience. If you love English barleywine then these are some of the best available and totally worth the over a dollar per ounce price tag.

Oct 23, 2017
Photo of Sparky44
Sparky44 from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Mar 24, 2013
Photo of Adavar
Adavar from Alabama

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Apr 18, 2014
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313 from California

3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Nov 12, 2013
Photo of StoutAtTheDevil
StoutAtTheDevil from Alabama

4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jun 09, 2016
Photo of bpfrush
bpfrush from Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -2.7%

Aug 07, 2014
Photo of Seattle_Suds
Seattle_Suds from Washington

3.62/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jan 24, 2015
Photo of KickbacksSteve
KickbacksSteve from Florida

4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Trappeze. Poured into a Southern Tier tulip. White head, oily slick lacing. Bright , golden/coppery body. Aroma is over ripe mango, vanilla and alcohol. Taste is suprisingly not hot, nice malt sweetness, mango, Swedish fish, and vanilla in the background. Very smooth to drink for the abv, no doubt the calvados has completely muted the alcohol from the taste completely. Awesome.

Oct 06, 2012
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DeutschesBier from Maryland

4/5  rDev -2.7%

Dec 13, 2011
Photo of msscott1973
msscott1973 from North Carolina

4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Feb 18, 2017
Photo of alpinebryant
alpinebryant from Connecticut

3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a flat with non existent head hazy caramel brown. There was just a tiny hiss when opened, so small you would think it was never there in the first place. Chunky pour with bits strewn all throughout the bottle, not just the bottom.

Smell of sweet sherry like aromas with oak, peat and pale malts in high abundance.

Taste of ash, sherry, oak, raisins, plums , figs and caramel. Sweet sugars fight with the ash and charcoal characters. Apple cider not only in look but also in flavor , only with an added charcoaled cask aging. Oxidized IMO

Different and worth a try

Jan 25, 2011
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amalburg from Michigan

4/5  rDev -2.7%

May 03, 2014
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millertime416 from Iowa

3.61/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jan 05, 2015
Photo of psoriasaurus
psoriasaurus from England

4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

May 20, 2014
Photo of alpineclimber
alpineclimber from Canada

4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to nhindian for this bottle.

Vintage 2009, a 275ml bottle poured into my favourite chalice. A wispy white head forms on an amber colored brew.

Smell is of apples and liqueur, fairly sweet and slightly woody from the cask.

Taste is fairly sweet, the calvados is fairly strong in the taste. This drinks more like a liqueur rather then a barleywine, the cask conditioning has put a great emphasis on this brew. The carbonation is very light and the mouthfeel is thick giving the beer a slightly syrupy quality again something you would expect from a liqueur.

This would be a great beer to be paired with a desert after an awesome meal.

Sep 01, 2011
Photo of paulish
paulish from New York

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jul 14, 2017
Photo of DucksFan16
DucksFan16 from Alaska

4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, consumed 08/12/2016.

Aug 13, 2016
Photo of Czequershuus
Czequershuus from Minnesota

4.77/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage. This beer pours maple colored with a very small head. The aroma is full of dates, prunes, vanilla, baked apples, cardamom, maple syrup, and candied ginger. The The flavor leads with maple syrup and baked apple, with notes of vanilla, oak, and spices present as well. The mouthfeel is rich and lasting. Overall this is an outstanding contemplative beer.

Dec 25, 2015
Photo of jpajpajeff
jpajpajeff from California

5/5  rDev +21.7%

Jan 22, 2012
Photo of brittanylicious
brittanylicious from Indiana

4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jun 25, 2018
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho from Washington

3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 275mL bottle into a tulip. This is the 2007 vintage.

Appearance: murky brown hue with light effervescence and very little head. Pretty normal for an English barleywine.

Smell: richly malty with a good raisin character and a general dank aspect which I really like.

Taste: raisin, date, tobacco and ash right up front; under this is sort of a bitter green flavor which complements the fruity sweetness and ashy astringence. Nicely complex; Lees does it again.

Mouthfeel: quite thin with little carbonation; there's not much going on here. You really get this beer for the flavor, not the texture.

Overall: tasty, if lacking in some other departments. This beer doesn't hold a candle to the 2008 port cask version, however.

Nov 24, 2013
Photo of Masters
Masters from Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Feb 09, 2015
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 555 ratings