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

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
499 Ratings
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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask)
BEER INFO

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

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Dantes on 05-07-2004

BEER STATS
Ratings:
499
Reviews:
256
Avg:
4.08
pDev:
12.75%
 
 
Wants:
32
Gots:
90
For Trade:
4
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 499 |  Reviews: 256
Photo of Sweffin
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 edition, apple brandy for days! this is great stuff, obviously pretty bulletproof in the cellar, and a really neat little run of barrel treatments they have set up here. this is really interesting, seems like its always stouts or sours in calvados barrels, which i think prevents the spirit from shining through as much with all the other bold flavors going on. this is a robust strong ale, with a lot of caramel malt notes, bready english yeast, and alcohol, but its not so intense that the barrel cant be center stage. bigtime apple note to this in the nose which is great with the malt, very autumnal, almost baked dessert sort of aromatic, mild spice too, peppery wood, booze, brown sugar, and sight oxidation that i always think is good in these types of beers. the flavor lines up with the nose pretty well. the brandy is really forward, slightly sweet, woody, and with a dried apple complexion, raisin and whiskey too though, and then all the malt, which makes this beer what it is. this is a great beer to showcase a barrel like this, and it has aged really well. still hot, but thats the beer in general. of the several of these that i have not had the pleasure of trying, this is among my favorites. there is a natural fit between the barleywine and the apple brandy.

 1,282 characters

Photo of edthehead
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rypkr
3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014. Snifter pour.

L - murky ass off-orange. Frothy head on the edges, little elsewhere. Super sticky lacing.

S - Apples... cider.... apple cider. Brown sugar, toffee, carmel. Candy corn.

T - Sweet cream, vanilla, sugary, apple pie, oaky. Taates like a carmel covered sweet golden delicious apple or even apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

F - Chewy. Dense. Like a slightly carbonated apple cider.

O - It's ridiculously sweet. Probably too much so. I was hoping for more oak, and smoke when I sought this out. Though overall it's pretty true to style and a good example of an English barleywine.

Probably will not buy it again at $9/11oz though.

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Photo of VoxRationis
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed in 2012; decanted into a conical pint glass. Pours hazy with a medium copper to amber color (similar to unfiltered cider); sediment evident, little head, but substantial legs on swirling. Nose: whisky to sherry; palate: sherry flavor evident with earthy flavor from sediment. Heavy with gritty mouthfeel. Enjoyed it; might make an aperitif or after dinner treat.

 373 characters

Photo of Apellonious
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 version, 9.3 fl oz. poured into a Wicked Weed tulip glass. Pours a dense, murky brownish red with no head and no lace present. This may be the first time I have drank a five year old beer. The smell is of apple, caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruit/molasses/fig. Initially there was some heat, but that dissipated after the first couple wafts. The first sip brought on ash tray, leather, brown sugar, faint pear and apple. Maybe some cherry? Mild heat notes lurk as the sips continue, with less ash, and more fig. Everything becomes pretty balanced as the drink progresses. Odd that the longer the break is between sips, the more chance of the ash/leather aspect to return. The feel is heavy, the carbonation is low but present, and only a tinge of sticky. Overall, an impressive EB. Of the two I have had so far, I preferred the sherry cask, but this one is enjoyable in a different way.

 901 characters

Photo of citizencane
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Doesn't look impressive- no head or lace. Smell is good- fermented apples, sugar, raisins, barrel. Taste is good but a bit of a letdown from the smell. Tastes of sugar, apple, and a hint of grape and malt. Not bad, and much better than I expected from appearance, but the other reviews and the smell left me wanting a bit more. That said I'll happily enjoy the rest of the glass without complaining.

 404 characters

Photo of Zazzi82
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage

12 characters

Photo of drahodo
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of msscott1973
4.34/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kvgomps
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of WastingFreetime
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sokol_1993
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had it during a team happy hour at Churchkey, DC in a tulip glass. 2015 Vintage.
It's still an excellent beer, but I prefer its brother in the Sherry cask.

 155 characters

Photo of JackRWatkins
4.59/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a rich caramel color with a minimal white head (a more prominent head than the other barrel version)
S: Smells like a caramel apple, pure and simple, wonderful
T: A wonderful salted caramel apple with a touch of dry tartness that is a touch unexpected and quite pleasant
M: Dry and surprisingly not all that sticky
O: Wonderful, honestly I would say more, but there's just not that much to explain, there are not that many elements (to me) combined here, but the ones that are present are here in just the right shade and meet at just the right angles, this is not a trip through a maze, it's a (very heavy) walk in the park (perhaps in autumn).

 654 characters

Photo of cjgiant
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On cask:
A nice deep copper, maybe with a light rusty hue. Big bubbles join a thin ring of whitish (too thin to tell) head around the rim. Translucent body.

Nose is caramel and brown sugar with Brandy notes. I don't get apple specifically, but an apple crisp can be inferred from the nose.

A quite sweet opening shows an English BW base, but the attention is grabbed by the Brandy in short order. It adds a sugary note to the caramel base, bordering on being too sweet. A green wood flavor kinda saves the day, turning my tongue a little.

There is an alcohol twinge, but it feels muffled. Coming from the cask, this warmer beer flows nicely over the tongue, while the flavors are bold on the palate. I'd expect more stickiness to the feel with the sweetness, but it's not there for me, which is good.

Interesting, for sure. I think the flavors work as well together as can be expected, though they aren't the most normal flavors I am used to.

 954 characters

Photo of Jerk_Store
4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of emerge077
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of cryptichead
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GuyFawkes
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2006 vintage; drank 7/8/14 @ Deerfield Elementary.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Dark red rust hue; tons of cream flotsam.

Minimal off-white head; no lace.

Dark cherry & burnt sugar nose. Inviting!

Medium thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Dark cherry & burnt sugar are joined by toasted oak on the flavor; sweet cherry settles on the lips. 8 years in; perfection!

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Photo of Mambajahamba
3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of IpeeA
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tbryan5
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Little to no head. Pitch black.
S- Peaty. With raisins and toffee.
T- More booze and dark fruits.
M- Full, slick and smooth.
D- Its a sipper but a very nice one that warms you up.

 183 characters

Photo of Tigerbrau
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of maximum12
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my lovely wife - who I haven’t seen in about thirty weeks, or that’s the message I’m getting from down below - who gives me awesome stuff like this for Christmas. 9.3 oz. bottle, 2006 vintage.

Looks like a ruby glinting in the overhead lights of my basement, with roughly the same amount of carbonation. As the lights, not the ruby. Smells like raisins, butterscotch, & caramel, which sound putrid. Probably is. Nice in the nose, though.

J.W. Lee’s Harvest Ale - Calvados Casks is richer than Donald Trump, & I hope, more popular. Rich, full malts of sweet caramel & unrefined sugar gooses my glucose level right in the prostate. Calvados - which I have never had the pleasure to partake in - is strong, tasty, brandy, & sticky. Mid-palate brings still alcohol, barrel staves, toffee, & flat Coca Cola. Flatness doesn’t hurt this beer for some reason; it’s thick, robust, & sticky (again). Shouldn’t come in sippee-cup size bottles. Wanna more.

The best of the four I’ve had, the Calvados is gorgeous. No apple, but the brandy really shines through. Excellent brew.

 1,098 characters

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
4.08 out of 5 based on 499 ratings.
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