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)

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

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

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Reviews: 225 | Ratings: 428
Photo of zonker17
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage. Brown with a copper tinge, no head, still. Port dominates the nose. Taste is big raisin, port, sugars, wood, a little bitter. Delivers exactly what I hoped for. Heavy body.

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Photo of FBarber
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruddy orange color - hazy but not opaque. Almost no head when poured, just some fizzy soda like carbonation. Unremarkable in appearance.

Smell has strong notes of port - raisins, dark fruits, grapes, strong wine, and brown sugar.

Taste follows the nose with a strong port presence along with notes of dark fruits, raisins, brown sugar, port wine, oak, brown sugar. Vanilla and toffee on the back end. Strong alcohol burn/flavor on the back end as well. Overall its pretty sweet with the combination of the beer and the port.

Feel is thick and syrupy. Mild to medium carbonation. Strong alcohol burn on the back end with a surprisingly (for how sweet it is) dry finish.

Overall this is a lovely sipper. Not my favorite of the J.W. Lees harvest ale lineup, but its wonderfully crafted nonetheless.

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Photo of Scott17Taylor
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very winey and raisoney with a strong booziness. It's a very typical English barleywine hidden behind a strong barrel character. I'll buy the regular if I find it but this is over priced.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear light amber pour with a very minimal off-white head. Strong boozy aroma. Taste is very port like and sweet with flavors of brown sugar, molasses and caramel dominating. Apricot and raisin flavors also stand out. Can feel a bit of burn in the back end. Full bodied and slightly sticky mouthfeel with a touch of beery carbonation.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.27/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage

A: pours a muddy, lighter cola brown with a lot of sediment and a quickly dissipating, thin line of bubbles around the edge, no head to speak of
S: raisin and dark fruit immediately, some of the characteristic butterscotch and toffee are here as well, but quite understated, the port is not heavy, but is present, there is a touch of booziness here as well, the tannic pinch of port is not really here (if it is it gets married and buried with the other notes
T: the port definitely adds some raisin and wine notes which sits on top of the sweetness quite well, however I am kind of surprised that the combined sweetnesses of these two drinks is not more apparent, there is some pruney flavor here as well and dare I say it, some suggestion of green pepper (and pickle) that is not all that pleasing
M: not quite dry, but not overly sticky either
O: honestly, I did not think that the port barrel did this beer any favors, the Lagavulin version was a revelation, but this I could have done without having, it's not awful, but it sacrifices some of the best flavors it has to offer at the expense of some that are not a very good fit, I know I'm going against the grain on this one, but I'm just calling it like I see it. My advice, buy the Lagavulin version instead, not only is it far superior, but it's incredible outright, pass on this one.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage

Appearance - orange/crimson body with tan head

Smell - toffee, grape, fig, brown sugar, honey

Taste - toffee, brown sugar, honey, grape, port, fig, raisin

Mouthfeel - full bodied, low level of carbonation, honey sweetness upfront, fruits in the middle, slight booziness on the back side. Flavors linger for a great while.

Overall - nice beer here that serves well as an after dinner drink. Recommended. Pricy, but I dont feel like I wasted my money.

Price Point -$9.99/9.3 oz bottle

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Photo of Furlinator
4.59/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage.
Pours hazy dark amber. A fizzy khaki head forms and quickly disappears completely and leaves no lace. The smell is a boozy mix of plum, raisins, pipe tobacco, cherries, oak and burnt sugar. The taste is of brown sugar, vanilla, plums, figs, cherries and port. Full texture, sweet and sticky. Like a booze soaked fruit cake. Awesome.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours an orange amber brown color, nice clarity, micro-thin lacing, no carbonation.

S - Roasted toffee, light molasses, raisins, figs, roasted brown sugar, port cognac. Aroma is thick, boozy, and sweet.

T - Sweet port cognac, raisins, brown sugar, light molasses, figs, dates, roasted toffee and caramel, and the alcohol is fairly well hidden with minor warming on the way down.

M - Thick, silky, sticky, full bodied.

O - Drinks like an after dinner cognac and the best of the series of their cask aged bottles. (IMO)

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Photo of tigg924
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage. Pours hazy, orange-brown in color with minimal head. Taste is deep caramel, toffee, raisin, port, and alcohol. Sweet and sticky. Really tasty barleywine. My first JW Lees, but I see myself getting several more in the future.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Murky reddish brown with no head, but does have active carbonation. Lots of floaters.

Really pleasant aroma and deep flavor so that showcases the port. Raisins, grape, brown sugar. Add caramel and cane sugar. Light apricot.

I'm not one to throw out fives for nothing, but I can't think of a beer with a better body. It's so smooth and creamy, almost like a liquor with light carbonation. Sweet and dry.

A damn fine beer that I enjoyed as a sipper.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. Pouring a dark, murky red with a head that starts decent and quickly fizzles, this beer has the classic scent of a barleywine - a bit sweet with nice bready malt, hints of raisins, and a lot of booze. Not unlike the Bourbon County Stout I had earlier today, though without the richness of the stout/chocolate/coffee profile.

The port comes through nicely in the flavor. It's balanced and smooth, with more grape and raison flavors and that sweet red wine fruitiness, but not at all overpowering or tannic. The finish is a hint dry and very lingering, and is almost the only thing that reminds you that you're drinking a beer and not a "port spritzer." Those casks really did their share of the work here!

Overall, this is really delicious, especially for a port drinker. It's strong, but remarkably smooth. It's sweet but not cloying or harsh, and not too sticky or thick. It's a beer that, for what it is, is made almost perfectly. A bit more carbonation might have been nice, but in the interest of authenticity of being barrel-aged, I suppose there's the tradeoff.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

My second favorite of the Barrel Aged variants next to the Laguvalin Whiskey Cask. The port added a pleasant sweetness and a slight dryness in mouthfeel to this big beer in a little bottle. Pretty nice.

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Photo of BIll_Currie
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

pretty good beer. im usually not a big fan or port but it was a great compliment to this one. very good smell and went down very smoothly. wish i had bought more

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Photo of smakawhat
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Vintage 2013.

Slightly murky and muddy orange, with a big rust brown hue and edge to it. Opaque. Light tan fleeting head goes to a simple collar with a whispy and slightly oily top.

Sweet notes of apricot, and mild sugar. Light hints of booze and grape like warmth. Hints at port but not really distinct, but with excellent big grape aromas. Light toasty brown sugar just peaking out.

Palate brings a lot of sweetness. Slight prickly tongue at first, with the first sips consisting of brown sugar with a hint of spiced clove action coming on the finish. Silky and large honey coating mouthfeel. Deep notes of plum and fig, marmalade action as well excellent fruit flavors throughout. Spicy finish comes as well with a hint of wood and splinters feeling.

Overall real nice barleywine, but doesn't remind me of much Port character. Still a solid brew.

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Photo of Roguer
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a tea-like clear brown; minimal head, leaving only an oily sheen and a bubbly edge.

Boozy, nutty aroma you can smell from a distance. The cask is quite strong, but it isn't clearly identifiable as Port. Caramel malt provides the bulk of the remaining aroma.

The flavor pulls no punches! It's sweet and strong right off the bat: plump, juicy white grapes; chewy caramel; white and wheat bread; pecans; brown sugar. It's extremely sweet, with the Port flavor really shining through on a fruity English barleywine base. Much less alcohol heat than with more typical barrel choices for aging (e.g. bourbon).

Surprisingly thin body; very easy to drink; only a touch of back-end chest warmth indicates the very high ABV. Sticky finish. Exceptionally easy to drink.

The appearance and aroma don't portend great things, but this is overall a very tasty brew. It's likely too sweet for some.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured an orange, copper tinted body with minimal head and no lace. A boozy, similar to butterscotch aroma (the combo of caramel and toffee sometimes reminds me of butterscotch) with some dark fruits like figs and the port wine/wood notes are slightly noticeable. This is a sticky, full bodied beer that requires slow sipping and is best suited for an after meal drink. The sweetness comes across as figs, dates, candied raisins (they still exist), caramel, toffee, possible cherry/vanilla aspect from port wine/wood, and finishes a little hot thanks to booze. Enjoyable beer that was worth the price since it took me a long time to kill the nine ounce bottle b/c it is so thick and sweet.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

275ml bottle into tulip glass, 2012 vintage bottling. Pours hazy deep ruby red color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, prune, fig, apple, date, brown sugar, molasses, brown bread, toffee, toast, leather, tobacco, red wine, oak, light vanilla, and oak/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity yeast, dark/bready malt, and wine barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of huge caramel, raisin, prune, fig, apple, date, brown sugar, molasses, brown bread, toffee, toast, leather, tobacco, red wine, oak, light vanilla, and oak/toasted earthiness. Slight spicy oak/herbal hop bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, molasses, dark fruit, brown sugar, brown bread, toffee, toast, leather, tobacco, red wine, oak, light vanilla, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible robustness, complexity, and balance of fruity yeast, dark/bready malt, and wine barrel flavors; with a great malt/oak balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, fairly slick/syrupy, and slightly tannic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an awesome English barleywine. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity yeast, dark/bready malt, and wine barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of DIM
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brewed in 2011. I left the bottle in the basement for at least six months to make sure that the sediment had all settled firmly on the bottom. I was then able to pour all but an ounce or so out of the bottle with no yeast chunks.

This was a slightly hazy amber tinted golden color; it poured with a short lived fizzy head that faded to a ring around the glass.

I found a somewhat subdued aroma, oxidation, sugary toffee, and lightly vinous quality all are in balance and harmonious.

The taste offers all that the smell promises and a bit more. There is oxidation present and there is sharply sweet toffee aplenty. The port barrel presence though is more prominent than the smell suggested it would be. I taste a little oak, some grape and musty port that has a lingering hint of smokey char

The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and syrupy. Overall this is a pleasant surprise, the port barrel is a beautiful addition to the overly sweet base beer.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Lexington Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

2013 edition. The fourth stop in our trip through the Lees Harvest horizontal, following the standard, Lagavulin, and Sherry editions. This one pours a clear tawny-orange topped by a finger or so of khaki foam. The nose comprises rich caramel, sweet honey, mild ruby port, vanilla bean, and a touch of wood. The taste brings in more of the same, the port lending a nice bit of subdued jamminess to the proceedings. The body is a hefty medium, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a full feel. Overall, a very nice variant on the classic, one that adds some Porto goodness without overdoing the addition.

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Photo of brianmandell
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed in 2011. Murky pour. Strongly sweet with notes of brown sugar, fig, date, sherry and a hint of tobacco and port wine with a tannic oaky dryness in the finish. Nice as a nightcap or dessert.

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Photo of RochefortChris
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at a barleywine tasting event. It was late in the night so specifics on this beer are a bit fuzzy but I do remember it was a world class example of an English barleywine.

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Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage poured into a snifter.

Look- Dark amber color pours with a few soapy bubbles that totally disappear. This looks totally still and flat, but the color is deep and rich and nice.

Smell- Tobacco, cedar, dates, figs, caramel, butterscotch toffee, candied nuts, and finished with big spicy grape port notes.

Taste- Big fruity port grape sweetness at first, and the rest is all brown sweetness. Figs, Dates, caramel, pralines, and cane sugar. Muted coffee and cane sugar notes linger on the palate.

Feel- A bit dense and slippery. If there's a lower point on this one, this is it. A bit much, but only solidifies this one as a sipper.

Overall- Very well done beer. I am just now breaking my palate into barleywines, and this one is a true gem. A bit on the candy-sweet side, but pretty remarkable. A benchmark for the style for sure, considering all that the American craft brew scene has done with barleywines. A great barrel-aged barleywine.

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Photo of floridadrift
4.81/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2005 POOF!

Nine point one ounces of decadent dessert. Buy a case if you can, so it doesn't hurt so bad. In my own opinion, a real panty dropper. Pour more for yourself but share with your girlfriends or boyfriend and then do it. Not to be drink on a week day, too much when into this beer, especially with time.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brewed in 2011.

Pours a murky dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, port wine, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with sweet caramel, toffee, honey, dark fruit, wood, and slight port wine flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a solid but sweet port wine presence that is more noticeable in the smell, but the flavors are a bit more well integrated to me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.61/5  rDev +10.8%


It pours close to a pitch black. good tannish head of foam, near a finger's worth.

The nose is sweet Port. Just as intended, I suspect.

The taste is very much of the Port, strictly....Port. Meant to be, eh? Maybe a tad too sweet as my rating will reflect. Never the less, a grand brew.

Full bodied, light carbonation. Superb mouth feel.

My first variant of the JW Lees Harvest Ales. A winner.

Beautifully sweet Port notes in the taste. Perhaps a bit too sweet, as my rating will reflect but grand all the sam

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
4.16 out of 5 based on 428 ratings.
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