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

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)
529 Ratings
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)

Brewed by:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Dantes on 05-07-2004

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 529 |  Reviews: 268
Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.49/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.
The appearance was a deep rugged burnt dark orange/copper color with a small white foamy head sliding off fairly quick. Mild lace.
The aroma had some vanilla, spicy woody barrel, dark chocolate nibs, dark fruits, light tobacco and a touch of red delicious apple.
The flavor yields to the sweetness of the prior mentioned aromas. Yet a stifled spicy barrel makes a great play to blend. Slight aftertaste of sweet tobacco, spicy woody barrel and vanilla.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sipping quality about it. Spicy woody barrel does impart some harshness but I didn't mind. Honestly, it felt good. Carbonation felt a bit under but this is a bottle from 2012.
Overall, an absolutely wonderful English Barleywine well worthy to age. I need more of this for my beer cellar.

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Photo of rarigney
4.54/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TheGent
4.04/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of markjknowles
4.73/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

9.3 oz. bottle poured into a pFriem 12oz tulip glass. Hazy unfiltered apple cider like appearance whit only a brief fizz on top. More of an apple smell than I expected and also caramel. The taste of a liquid caramel apple, brown sugar,alcohol bite in the finish. As it warms, its qualities are magnified. Syrupy fizz on the tongue. This exceeded my expectations. Sweet, more apple than I expected. Still a great balance of flavors. The hops temper the malts, the alcohol heats things through. The carbonation offsets the sugar thickness. I want another!

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Photo of brittanylicious
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of heysuz
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rudzud
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Received as an extra in a trade and shared with JLindros. 2013 vintage.

A -Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice slightly hazy dark brown with a thin head that fades to leave light wisps and a thin halo.

S - Big aromas of calvados barrels, sweet apples, brown sugar, butterscotch, caramel sauce.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with excellent calvados barrel, lighter on the apple flavour. Nice very sweet caramel sauce. The finish is lingering bitter hops.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, alcohol hidden excellently.

O - Overall this was a rather surprising beer. Really nice barrel notes and a surprising amount of carbonation for JW Lees.

Serving Type: bottle

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Photo of jlindros
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to rudzud, 2013
Light fizzy head not too much retention, no real legs, super hazy dark brown color

Nose big sweet candy malt and calvados like candy, apple cider like notes, apple skin, but a touch of oxidation in the background, brown sugar all over, butterscotch and caramel too, touch of biscuity toffee and brown malts

Taste super sweet, candy sugar, caramel, a little butterscotch, lots of everything sweet, but also lots of apple, apple skin, nice calvados barrel, just a touch of cardboard oxidation but barely, little bitterness in there, little biscuity toffee too, mild sticky sweet finish, little bitterness too, nagging bitterness is a little irking though

Mouth is heavier bod, bit syrupy, decent carb surprisingly, a touch of alcohol barely

Overall much better than i though, only a touch of oxidation, some carbonation too, nice calvados and good sweet flavors, bit over the top on sweetness but good when sipped, not much alcohol either

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Photo of StoutSnob40
3.02/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of shigg85
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of puck1225
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A treat beer that goes well with steak flatbread pizza! Had it from tap into a small snifter. Golden amber color with a beautiful head and lacing. Very herbal, earthy smell. Taste of toffee, caramel apples, vanilla, warm herbs and some booze. Liked it very much!

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Photo of midlifec
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of bret717
4.29/5  rDev +5.4%
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

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Photo of Jhfinn
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of acurtis
3.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ppavlick
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of stevoj
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2009 vintage at tasting. Dark-ish, kind of flat. Sweet malt, some of the apples coming through. Taste is sweet malt, apples, brown sugar. Warmth comes late. Pleasant and worth the wait.

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Photo of stratusjeans
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Opened 11/4/2017, drinking 2006 vintage. Given as a gift 4 months ago so I can't say how it's been cared for prior to that.

Pours a beautiful Amber color, no head. Smells like honey, tastes of honey, oak, Sherry, raisin. Definitely some oxidation on the finish but not nearly as much as you expect. I understand this beer is 11 years old, but the carbonation is completely gone. Feels like a cocktail, not a beer. Actually tastes like a cocktail too, not a beer.

I'm curious what this tastes like fresh. As is, it's not bad at all but too sweet for my tastes, at least to drink more than a cocktails worth.

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Photo of OzmanBey
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of JayWhitson
4.99/5  rDev +22.6%
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.

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Photo of mltobin
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jason_nwx
3.52/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of fosters9
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 529 ratings