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

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask)
451 Ratings
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port 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:
None provided.

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 451 |  Reviews: 234
Reviews by titosupertramp:
Photo of titosupertramp
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks be to Dim for this 2008 vintage.

A: Murky with yeast floaters. No lacing, light carbonation.

S: Toffee, dark fruit, brown sugar. Pretty sweet smelling.

T: Very sweet with toffee, grape, raisins...a little apple. A very minerally, peaty aftertaste. Love it.

M: Thick, smooth

D: The 11.50% ABV is extremely well hidden, but the sweet, thickness keeps this a sipper.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of ajm5108
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Darker golden brown color, just the whisper of lacing, no carbonation. Aroma is delectable & sweet (in a good way) - raisin rum cake, sticky toffee puddy, caramel, classic English barleywine goodness, and the port is a great compliment, that muscat grape smell adds a nice fruity bounce to the heavier smells.

Drinking this is almost like eating grape jam straight from the jar, or some kind of fruit cake, but a good one not the kid you get as a bad Christmas present. The port flavor melds wonderfully with those robust barleywine desert flavors - you get sugar plum & treacle and all kinds of sweet goodness. Ends with just a kiss of alcohol burn from the port. I could totally see this being too sweet for some, and I probably couldn't do more than a glass at once, but it still tastes fantastic.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 vintage. Perfect pumpkin orange topped by a compact beige crown that doesn't come anywhere near the top edge of the snifter. These 275 ml bottles barely wet my whistle. The foam has some creaminess, and a few shards of lace reach the glass, but the appearance is more good than impressive.

The same can be said for the nose. It's starting out on the chilly side, so let's see what happens once it gains a few degrees. The beer smells moderately caramel malty and is wonderfully fruity. Too bad the port cask aging isn't immediately obvious.

Good old J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale never lets me down. Forgot appearance, forget aroma, it's flavor that matters most. This version delivers just like the Sherry Cask version did. I'm not sure how long these classic English barleywines hold up, but 5 years of rest has done wonders for this little beauty.

Such a riot of flavor! Each sip is a muted explosion of deliciousness that is hard to fully wrap one's taste buds around before the finish of the finish arrives. The flavor profile includes toffee pudding, golden brown sugar, candied figs, candied cherries, raisins, sugared pecans and a splash of tawny port. Just like an aged Christmas fruitcake.

The concentrated vinousness of the port is unmistakable on the palate and is what sets this beautiful sipping ale apart. Aging their Harvest Ale in various casks was a stroke of genius. A hint of oxidation lends authenticity and adds much more than it detracts. If there is any beer worth more than 75 cents per ounce, this one is.

The mouthfeel (as with much barrel-aged beer of a certain age) lacks a little fullness. It makes up for it, though, by being velvety, silky smooth and wonderfully sticky on the finish. The understated carbonation is damn near perfect.

Of the four wines and spirits that J.W. Lee's chose to accent their outstanding Harvest Ale, my favorites are (from least to most) sherry, port, Calvados and Lagavulin Scotch. Sherry Cask and Port Cask are spectacular, so the final two should be out of this world.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

probably my favorite of the several harvest cask editions i have had, the port is very strong in this, and its a great fit with the base beer, which i think never quite gets enough credit. this is the 2013 vintage, generously shared by claystation with me. the port has put just a little blush color in this beer, its pretty to look at, and more lively on the head than i remember others in the series being. aroma is strongly woody and mature, with only a little bit of the oxidation i like in these old english barleywines. the malt is sweet and strong in the smell, brown sugar and maple even, with a timeless english yeast strain in behind it. the port is strong as well, lots of oak, dried berries, and tannins that seem to lighten this a little bit. hints of cherry and blackberry on the first sip and a little vanilla, the wood and the port wine have done a lot to this. its bold, but its real compatible with the heavy english grain complexion and the warming alcohol, and this feels very holiday to me, snowy christmas eve sort of beer. more body than i remember the others having too, feels richer. great stuff, thanks for sharing! more port barrel barleywines please!!!

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brewed in 2003. Pours with slight head, body is orange. The port aroma masks the usual scent of this beer(non BA.) More alcohol in the nose than usual.

The port adds sweetness to an already sweet beer. The oak profile is big, with earthy, leafy, tobacco laden sugars. Mouthfeel is full and chewy. Drinkability is as good as that of any beer.

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Photo of PugsandBeer
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bbrown12
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of russpowell
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Goebbels in Wichita

Pours a semi-hazed brown with finger of sand colored head into my duvel tulip. Above average head retention & average lacing

S: Lovely oak & port notes, raisins & other dark fruits

T: Dark fruits by the bushel, brown sugar, dryness up front. Some leafy hops as this warms, a touch of boozeyness, some cinnamon, brown sugar oranges & plums. Finishes dry, plummy with candi sugar, rich toffee, & a little more booze; a little more depth & this would've pulled 5.0

MF: Chewy, slick, low carbonation, some booze warmth

Drinks easy, but I could feel the booze grabbing me from the get-go. Super English Barley Wine from a great English brewery! About a buck an ounce, but a nice indulgence

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Photo of Cyclone8
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Wasatch
4.66/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bought On-line
9.3oz. Bottle
2014 Vintage
Limited Edition

Been 7+ years since last!

Poured into a goblet a cloudy amber color, pretty nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some minimal sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice oak/port notes, getting a hint of dark fruits. The taste is sweet, malty, nice oak/port notes, and caramel. Medium body, very nice sweetness, a complex brew. Overall, this is a treat to drink, as in all J W Lees brews I've had to date. Glad to see it available to me for shipping. Highly Recommended!

2007 Vintage
9.3oz. Bottle

Poured into a chalice a cloudy amber color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some minimal sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice oak/port notes, getting a hint of dark fruits. The taste is sweet, malty, nice oak/port notes, and caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew.

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Photo of djre4orm
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of grub
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

got this one from Aprilluvsbeer as part of the BC2. thanks april!

275ml bottle. 2004 vintage. sampled may 13/09.

pours deep red-brown, crystal clear until the end of the bottle. a small very fine dark caramel head forms, quickly dropping to a ring around the glass. spotty lace.

aroma is great. definitely port here. tons of dark fruit - date, fig, raisin, plum. caramel and dark toffee. light alcohol. bit of rum-like character too. big wheat bread and biscuit malt. light cracker.

taste is nice. big sweet caramel and port character. dark fruit - date, fig, raisin, plum. the malt is still there, but it's been buried behind the sweet sweet front end. very low bitterness level. light alcohol, but surely not 11.5% worth.

mouthfeel is good. big body, a bit chewy. very fine medium-low carbonation level - much better than in some of their other barrel-aged harvest ales.

drinkability is nice. the sticky sweetness makes it a real sipper. it helps to keep the alcohol at bay. not all that balanced. this might be better with a little more age. still, as a dessert beer it works pretty well as-is. i'll definitely be picking up more of this.

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Photo of ficknish
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


A - A beautiful copper color. Weak head.

S - Figs. Musky wood. Faint grapes. Molasses. Cookies.

T - Sweet dark fruit. Fig newton cookies. Some Alcohol. Raisins.

M - Thick. Sweet. Slight alcohol.

O - I like the port version much more than the Lagavulin. The fig cookie flavors went great with the alcohol and muskiness. Would drink again.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

9.3oz brown bottle. Brewed in 2004. Copper body with a hazed up body. An aggressive pour produces a thin loose head that leaves a central island. Minimal sliding lace.

Butterscotch was my first thought. Cherries were my second thought and truth be told that was the better of the two impressions. Cherries are everywhere. Caramel covered cherries. Caramel covered apples. This is sweet, but it works. This brew has held up very nicely. I wish I had a fresh one to compare it to. To the folks that consider cellaring this I can only say that its excellent 3 years in the hole.

Notes: I did not think once about the 11.5% abv during the consumption of this brew. I am shocked that it is that high based on the whole experience. The only hint I got was a touch of warming after the final pull and late in the aftertaste. Drinkability is amazing for such a big beer. A gem in so many ways but overall for my palate it was above average.

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Photo of Hophead717
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of brewcrew76
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage

A - Pours a murky amber brown with a thin tan head and spots of lacing.

S - Caramel, brown sugar, raisins, figs, molasses and maple syrup.

T - Sweet caramel and raisins with a woody port flavor. Some figs and maple syrup in the background.

M - Smooth and silky with a medium body and slight touch of alcohol. Swwet but just shy of cloying.

D - Having just had a Harvest ale I can really taste the differences in the port version. This one was a bit sweeter but that could be due to it being 3 years younger than the harvest ale.

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Photo of ASUBeer
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of mcallister
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage

A cherry colored elixir that pours with little head of white that leaves a thick ring around my GLBC snifter.

Big caramel and toffee in the nose with fresh date, fig, brown sugar, honey, wood, crystalized ginger, and the slightest bit of milk chocolate.

Delicious and very sweet. A definite dessert beer. A bit of bitterness on the finish that may be from the port. A thick glyceryl quality that I'm assuming is from the port casks as well as a decent amount of alcohol in the mouth. So lush with dried cherry and other fruits, fig paste, orange marmalade, cream, port, brown sugar, honey, and on and on. Very complex and involving. Would be difficult to drink many of for the mere amount of residual sugar but you sure as hell can enjoy a single bottle of it. Rich lush middle and finish. Great beer.

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Photo of DaftPatrick
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kirok1999
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003. Pours a clear dark copper, very little head and no lacing. The port smell jumps out of the bottle and leaps out of the glass. Dark, musky port nose, sweet medicinal alcohol notes.
Taste is exactly what the label says it is. The wonderful, sweet barleywine, mixed perfectly with the musky port notes of the barrels, caramel, nuts, dark fruits, simply wonderful. Mouthfeel is slick and thick, just a touch of carbonation. A sipper in the extreme.

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Photo of OzmanBey
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of JMBSH
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Archemedies
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of RedHaze
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very hazy/murky brownish color. The head is very thin, and is quick to recede to a thin ring and some thin wisps on top. With such a small amount of foam there's hardly any lace to speak of.

Smell; I can smell this from halfway across the room. Huge caramel and brown sugar aromas just come wafting out of my glass. as well as a little bit of cherries. I can also smell the port and oak form the barrels. Very nice.

Taste; wow is this thing sweet. as with the aroma there's just a ton of brown sugar, caramel and toffee. Some of the cherries are noticeable, but they get a little overrun by the sweet malts and the port barrels. Overall I have to say that this is just a little bit to sweet for my taste.

Mouthffel is full bodied and definitely on the syrupy side, and with the sweetness and the very high alcohol content the drinkability of this one suffers a bit for me.

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 451 ratings