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

BA SCORE
89
very good
519 Ratings
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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Lagavulin Whisky Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Lagavulin Whisky 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:
519
Reviews:
279
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
16.62%
 
 
Wants:
40
Gots:
108
For Trade:
8
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 519 |  Reviews: 279
Photo of tylermains
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Max's in Baltimore. Not a big whisky drinker at all, so not sure of the "Lagavulin" taste, but this was a damn tasty beer that's for a sipper for sure. Full flavored and full bodied, with a nice woodsy kick to it, would be a great nightcap and is a delicious barleywine. Would be interesting to compare this at the same time with the other whisky casks... although quite dangerous.

 395 characters

Photo of rodlavers
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2007, poured into a Founders snifter

A. No head or lacing. Perfect caramel scotch coloring, a bit of yellow wen viewed in direct light; translucent. Plenty of sediment floating aroun in there.

S. Lagavulin and peat. Yum.

T. Warm Lagavulin favors, smoke and peat flavors dominate. This is delicious.

M. Very smooth. Syrupy and sweet.

O. This is a great beer. Will need to find it again. At 11.5% ABV, there is a definite warming effect that I enjoyed.

 470 characters

Photo of Chugs13
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of sammo
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Skull40
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in 2007

The appearance is a copper color with very little head retention and not much carbonation either.

There is a wonderfully strong smell of Lagavulin scotch. I am also picking up the smells of peat and vanilla.

The taste includes a strong Lagavulin, along with vanilla, oak, peat, pear, honey and apricots.

The beer is quite viscous.

Overall, I loved this! I'm a scotch lover and Lagavulin is one of my favorites. If you like scotch, there's a good chance you'll like this beer. The many complimentary tastes work wonderfully in concert and make this a very pleasurable drink.

 593 characters

Photo of BeerzMcKenzie
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of farrago
4.29/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serious amount of sediment, like where’s the cheesecloth? Otherwise, bright and clear amber orange coloration with a reddish cast, close to total absence of any head or lacing, even a vigorous swirl gets you nothing, no bubbles visible, looks dead in terms of carbonation. The nose is highly aggressive and gets right in there, beef jerky, leather, pork rinds, candied orange peels, vanilla pudding, very heady and boozy, poached apricots and peaches, honey and licorice, deserves to be allowed to come close to room temperature to truly strut its stuff. Medium-bodied, while heavy in some respects not leaden and certainly moves agilely while it stays aligned with its overall goals. The gamey, leathery qualities persist, it’s like having a smokehouse in your mouth, is this liquid pork? The dried fruit quality peach, apricot, nectarine, apple fruit thick and viscous start to finish. Here the caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, cola bean oak dominant, particularly as it warms. This is a beer meant to be slowly sipped in front of a roaring fire with a cigar in hand. Smoky with its own tobacco and ash qualities. Has to be taken at face value, there’s no great beers, just great bottles of beers. Psyche. (2007 Release)

 1,227 characters

Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2005 version... I was 15 when this beer was bottled... I'm old. Poured into a white wine glass.

A: The most subtle carbonation. Lighter than the calvados version, this beer being a stale blood color. Redish light brown orange. Hazy.

S: Boozy for sure. Sweet. Oak. Certainly powerful but seems somewhat controlled. The alcohol seems to overpower.

T: Oh that's nice. Much sweeter than the calvados but a great progression of flavors. This is prime: likely due to the old age letting those flavors really develop. Hits first with a sugary sweetness almost like figs or so. Then fades to oak, a kiss of alcohol that fades back to sweetness. Grape... The finish leaves a little bitter sting in the back of my mouth.

M: Perfect here. Sits with a big full body. The good flavors develop with that sweetness really coming through.

Overall this is really great. Certainly a sipper. The biggest downfall here is a that gritty bitterness that sits on the back of the palate on the finish. The sweetness is certainly the key player here. Worth checking out if you're feeling bold.

 1,077 characters

Photo of haazer
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Resurrection Ale House for PBW. 2010 vintage.

A - A very turbid, apricot brew. Apple cider with tan highlights, no carbonation from the cask.

S - Dry single malt whiskey. Apple, phenolic, and pure sweet whiskey. A bit of brandy too. Pretty good but one dimensional.

T - The Laguvulin whiskey must be real delicious. Great malt profile, smooth whiskey, vanilla, and charred oak barrel. A cigar would be excellent with this. Some dark fruits, and red apple pulp.

M - Full bodied and ever so smooth. No carbonation, but it drinks perfectly. I would take this over a whiskey on the rocks.

O - Real glad to have had this. The charred oak in the barrel is great. This would go great with a steak. I can't get over how smooth this is. This is whiskey as beer, literally. I think it should be had on cask to see the real transition without the carbonation. Thank you PBW!!

 882 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Regular old JW Lee's is outstanding, so what can a whisky cask do to make the flavor different but still awesome? Served on-tap at Beachwood BBQ in a 10 ounce glass, on to the beer:

Looks dark orange with a small head on top that slowly drops to a semi-creamy lace. The nose smells like good scotch, and it also offers notes of plum, and fruity yeast. It gets better, but in its taste. There's sweet whisky upfront, loads of delicious malt, more fruitiness, and well hidden alcohol. It's full bodied and covers all over your palate.

This was my first time in the cask series of JW Lee's. While I prefer the original over the Lagavulin, make no mistake that this is delicious beer.

 683 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
2.55/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2007 vintage aged in my cellar.

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature. THe brew pours a rich warm chestnut hue with very minimal fizzy head foaming up and fading to nothing in short time. Some small chunks are suspended in the beer but I decant carefully leaving about a 1/2 oz of dredges in the bottle.
Aroma is rich malty with molasses, deep boozy whisky notes and dark fruit. Seems like it will be hot and burny on the swallow just from the nose. I also get small amounts of burnt wood in the background but this is definitely not a dominant scent.
First sip reveals a sticky syrupy texture with very faint gentle almost non-existent carbonation.

Flavor is sweet malt briefly with brown sugar and dark fruit but moves to a lot of fusol heat and earthy peat burnt wood hits. Fairly big flavor profile and finishes hot and makes this a sipping beer for certain. Almost more like a tumbler of scotch than snfiter of beer, and this has cellared for 5 years, cant imagine how hot it is fresh. The finish is actually a little medicinal and bitter, not from hops in my opinion but more the black pepper, alcohol bitter flavor.
While I expected some boozy notes on this beer the whisky is just a little too much for me and reduces the enjoyability of the beer for me. Others may really enjoy it, but you would have to like scotch to really like this beer.
I wont pick up this beer again and leave the bottle fairly disappointed in how unbalanced the beer and whisky qualities are displayed in the brew.

 1,505 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of RebornStussy
2/5  rDev -49.6%

Photo of vivasbeer
1.13/5  rDev -71.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

2009 9.3oz bottle

All kinds of chunky bits floating around

Smelled like a Meat Smoke house. If I wanted Bacon, or Smoked sausage I would have bought that.

Taste was god awful. Like an old campfire that had been extinguished with brown dirty lake water. I am gagging just remembering it.

Overall it was the worst beer I've ever had.

Easy decision = Drain Pour

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Photo of cbutova
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Celebrating 10 Pittsburgh goals since they will probably lose the series and I needed a reason to drink this beer for the Penguins. Next year I guess.

2007 vintage.

A- Poured into my small Cigar City snifter with a dark red-brown colored body. Small tan head forms but doesn't really build much and eventually disappears completely, five year old barrel aged beer makes sense. Some chunks floating around and no lace.

S- Nice smoky whiskey meets halfway with a big, sweet barleywine. Leathery peat campfire notes blended with deep caramel sweets, dark fruit and raisin. Fades a bit.

T- As I have noticed with other versions of this beer, big on the sweetness. It is a bit much for me but the overall flavor of the beer is quite nice. Again, the Lagavulin lends peat smoke, burning campfire, some seaweed and oak notes. Big sweet caramel barleywine with dark cherry and raisin hints.

MF- Thick and slick oily body with carbonation on the low end. Sweet feel on the palate with alcohol warmth.

I love Lagavulin and this delivers great flavors from that whiskey. The JW Lees sweetness still carries in but the whiskey use here just rocks.

 1,141 characters

Photo of jpajpajeff
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

Photo of monketeeth
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of scottfrie
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Thanks Jay!

A: Pours a murky iced-tea color with a thin bubbly collar for a head. I left a ton of yeast in the bottle.
S: A very rich and decadent beer. I get notes of butterscotch, caramel, leather, whisky barrel, raisins, cocoa powder and dark fruits. Not getting much oxidation.
T: Better than the nose. Very sweet and sugary notes of caramel and fruit syrup. Hop resin, butterscotch, toffee, leather, and milk chocolate come through nicely, with hints of earthy peat, apple cider, and honey. Finish is sticky syrupy sweet with flavors of whisky. Aftertaste lingers.
M: Very thick and syrupy mouthfeel, warming alcohol, very low carbonation and a full and heavy body.
O: A great thick little sipper. Very syrupy and smooth. Alcohol warmth is very mellow. Peat flavors are unique but easy to get used to. Pretty good all around.

 848 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

vintage 2010.

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: murky light brown bodied beer that almost looks like apple cider. 1 and a half fingers of head that drops down to a thin cap. lace is thin and spotty.

Smell: Its interesting with a really busy / complex nose. Malty and even a little bit fruity. Smoke, charcoal, earthy, peat moss, and scotch / whiskey notes.

Taste: This beer has a fairely sweet malt profile. Caramel and apples upfront and mostly what I get out of the malt profile. Midpalate the barrel notes show up in the form of heavy wood and earthiness; a little bit of vanilla and even honey adding richness to this already sweet beer. Finish is all about the smoke, you start to get hints of it midpalate, but really starts to build into the finish. The smoke tastes like bacon and is a "meaty" smoke note. Lots of complexity.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with a low end of moderate carbonation. Slick and sticky and thick. Almost syrup here, but it well carbonated so it does quite get all the way there to syrupy mouthfeel.

Overall: Good beer with nice complexity, but the bottom line is...its too sweet for me(never thought I could say this about an english barleywine). I really enjoy this beer style alot, but its just a little over the top sweet.

 1,268 characters

Photo of bluntedboywonder
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of TubbyDullard
5/5  rDev +25.9%

Photo of Jammer42
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of Holland
1.87/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: cloudy orange and brown color with no head and no lacing.

S: apple cider, earthy tones, some sweetness and peaty scotch

T: apple cider and bacon. Later on once I let it settle a bit I get some more scotch, but not much.

M: thick and uncarbonated

O: skip this, it's bad on cask at least. It would be fine if I had it with pancakes in the morning alongside an FBS since it tastes like bacon and apples. At $10 for a pour, forget this garbage.

 449 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copperish body with minimal head on top of a strong whiskey/oak aroma, with a think yeast aroma as well (and touches of honey and sugary sweetness (and black cherry?)). The yeast sediment sticks to the bottom and slowly dissolves every time I take a sip...thick, sticky, has a boozy but not medicinal taste - the sweet malts are great and this is a very sweet and sturdy beer (a great after lunch sipper). Slightly warming as I sip - real nice finish. No dry or bitterness as hops barely noticeable, but a real good sweet and malty beer to relax with.

 560 characters

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Lagavulin Whisky Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
3.97 out of 5 based on 519 ratings.
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