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

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91
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500 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:
500
Reviews:
256
Avg:
4.08
pDev:
12.75%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
91
For Trade:
4
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 500 |  Reviews: 256
Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting malty, slightly sour barleywine. Pours cloudy orangey with little head. Above average mouthfeel. A fine glass with or after a meal as you would a fortified wine. A bit drying.Alcohol and citrus and port aroma. ABove average for the style.

 253 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
2.25/5  rDev -44.9%

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

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -2%

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 djrn2
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of kjkinsey
2/5  rDev -51%

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the first one of the four that I tried. This brew poured out as a thick looking amberish orange color. The head was only visible for a minute or so. The smell of the beer is full of fresh wooden aromas, sweet malts and booze. The taste of the beer is a little earthy, with plenty of wooden sweetness. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Overall this brew is very big despite the smaller bottle. These could be sold at 8.5oz and they'd be plenty big. Worth trying for sure. Very nice stuff.

 498 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of nmann08
2.75/5  rDev -32.6%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very hazy amber orange in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high dense beige head that quickly died down, leaving a thin film of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: The nose has aromas of caramel and toffee in the nose along with some hints of alcohol from the apple brandy.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is a bit more complex, having notes of calvados and hints of brown sugar flavors. There is some malty sweetness, although this isn’t cloying.
M: It feels a bit shy of full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation with some warming from the alcohol.
O: This is a nice dessert beer to sip, and it seems a bit easier to drink compared to the sherry version because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

Note: 2011 vintage

 859 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The last in the series of cask conditioned J.W. Lees. This one lands close to the Port wine cask with it's sweetness, viscocity, and complexity. The alchohols are amplified by a rum-like sweetness and power. The flavors swirl around fruit cake ingredients: candied fruits (especially cherries) while throwing in peaches, pears, apples, raisons, nuts, and berries. Deeply sweet and rooted in a rum-cake maltiness and breadiness. Lightly boozy and modestly efforvescent. Finishes with a long, lingering sweetness. For me this one ranks second in the series; right behind the port cask.

 583 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Brewed in 2006; tasted in 2010

Appearance: Pours a rather hazy caramel color with neither head nor carbonation

Smell: Caramel and a bowl of mixed fruit - apricots, pears and, of course, apples

Taste: The caramel and fruit flavors blend together from the start, though the wood and the apple brandy elements take over at mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a depth of earthy, tobacco-like character that joins the fruit flavor to keep the sweetness in check; serious apple cider elements in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied but flat

Drinkability: More like a liqueur than a beer, this is an interesting beer but the lack of carbonation reduces it to a sipper that is hard to finish (As the other beers in this series have been much more rewarding, I will need to re-visit this one with a bottle procured from another source.)

 838 characters

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

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 vintage bottle courtesy of Kryptic drank in 2008: Poured a cloudy brown color ale with a small foamy head with light retention and some very minimal lacing. Aroma consists of sweet malt with some light ester of apples which are really well integrated in the beer. Taste is a nice mix between a sweet rich malt base with some nice apples ester coming from the Calvados. Full body with limited filtration with some low carbonation and no alcohol notes. The Calvados is really well integrated with the regular beer and does not clash or completely take over - really well done.

 579 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a small, tan head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of whiskey notes with some sweet caramel notes.

T - Good oak and vanilla flavors with a kiss of whiskey. Good sweet maltiness with a touch of caramel.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry clean finish.

O - This was really good. I preferred this one to an '08 bottle that was not aged in any barrels.

 469 characters

Photo of superspak
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

275 ml bottle into tulip glass, 2007 vintage. Pours very cloudy orange copper color with a small off white head with poor retention, that reduces to a thin lace ring. Minimal lacing on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, apple, fig, prune, caramel, toast, toffee, molasses, light pepper, brown bread, brandy, vanilla, oak, and toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt, cask, and fruity notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, apple, fig, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brandy, brown bread, vanilla, oak, light pepper, and toasted earthiness. Lingering notes of raisin, apple, fig, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brandy, oak, vanilla, light pepper, brown bread, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of malt, cask, and fruity flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Minimal carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very slick, creamy, and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a really excellent English barelywine style. Great balance and complexity of malt and cask flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,252 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.32/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a snifter. The body is a fairly-bright, yet still murky, orangish color with a thin light head that persists for a bit of time before fading. The nose brings a good dose of booze and the brandy comes through quite well. There is a bit of caramel and toffee plus some light fruits. The taste is just a bit boozy and also has a tiny bit of astringency. Feel is a bit boozy with a nice body. Overall, not nearly as good as the original.

 467 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 Vintage

A - A clear, dark brown body topped by a minimal, brownish white head that disappears immediately after being poured.

S - Earthy, fruity notes of apples and toffee with caramel, figs, plums, cinnamon, allspice, and a hint of licorice.

T - Sweet toffee and spice cake. There is a rich caramel note and the distinct syrupy complexity of dark navy rum. The finish is sweet, but not cloyingly so, and is pleasantly reminiscent of a caramel apple.

M - Low carbonation, a thick, syrupy body, and a sweet finish.

D - I am pleasantly surprised by the drinkability of this beer. I was hesitant to buy it because I usually dislike any and all apple flavors in beer, but I went ahead with it because I have always been so impressed by JW Lee's beer and once again they have not let me down. I feared that the apple might make the sweetness of the beer cloying, but it does he opposite. The apple character really only comes out as it would in a brandy with a rich complexity rather than an excessive apple bite and it combines wonderfully with the caramel notes inherent in the harvest beer. I can't say that I want a whole case of this, but it is an exceptional and unique beer and I am very happy to have had the chance to enjoy it.

 1,242 characters

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

Shared 2008 bottle. Cask sample in 2017.
Clear body looks like whisky but with a good light tan head.
Very sweet up front but more moderate by the finish.
Sweet malty aroma with more complexity in the flavor. More boozy and not a good as the sherry version.

 258 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Calvados is one of the best kept secrets in the world of fine spirits, and therefore an introduction may be needed. It's an apple brandy, distilled at least twice from a dry cider that's made from special varieties of apples. It's always aged in French Oak barrels, and then blended and bottled for sale. This special version of the Lee's Harvest Ale has been aged in those casks!

It pours a clear (it's been filtered), medium-amber body with a full head of frothy white that drops slowly but leaves little lace. The nose is malty with some wood and a mild vinous character (but that might just be the alcohol). It's creamy and smooth in the mouth with a restrained, fine-bubbled carbonation and full body. The flavor is intense, and it's almost too much to take in all at once. This is surely a sipper! Some apple from the Calvados does carry through (cold, it appears almost grape-like), but mainly it's the sweeter brandy (sugar/alcohol) that comes through. It finiishes surprisingly drying given the huge amount of sugar there, but its underlying bitterness and alcohol help with that. Very nicely done!

 1,110 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -2%

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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 500 ratings.
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