Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask)
437 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: 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

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 437 |  Reviews: 228
Photo of bluntedboywonder
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of jfcaa193
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of chevre
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of beesy
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 edition. Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a pint glass.

a - pours a medium copper with a half finger off white head that dissipates quickly.
Learned my lesson on the amount of yeast trub in these and poured it easy and left enough in the bottle to avoid the yeast mishap with the 08 standard I reviewed a few weeks ago.

s - lots sweetness but not as sweet as the 08 standard. Malt. A noticeable sweet grape/wine aroma. Some oxidation type aromas typical of aged beers - not as stale smelling as the 2008 standard recently reviewed.

t - caramel sweetness mixed with lots of toffee and ULTRA malty with a very strong wheat flavor on the end. The port taste is fairly subtle, leaving some red wine flavors on your lips and showing up in the late palate. No hops or bitteness to speak of. A slight yeast profile in the latter palate. Alcohol detected but very subdued.

m - full bodied, but not as thick as I was expecting.

d - low for me, a tad too sweet but doesn't seem as sweet as the 2008 recently reviewed.

Overall, an interesting beer that has held up well - its seems 3 years might be the peak before it starts to fall off as compared to the 08, this was significantly less oxidized. A malt and wheat bomb with small amounts of the aging barrels present.

 1,272 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: hazy amber.
Smell: oaky and sweet. Picking up something else, maybe imparted by the port. I'm a big port fan but this reminds without being obvious.
Taste: complex, full and much like the nose. Something a little odd in the finish I can't out my finger on.
Mouthfell: full and creamy.
Overall: have a few things I'm aging. Just had a 2002 harvest that was just awesome. I imagine some age will do the same for this.

 429 characters

Photo of Scout11
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of Reason2B
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A – Opaque bronze in color, with sediment. Very thin white head, with nice white lacing.

S – Strong port smell dominates, with a complex sweet fruit smell that I can’t make out.

T – Sweet, a little too sweet for my liking. Very complex in flavor. Caramel, plum and infusions from the port barrel are prevalent.

M – Nearly no carbonation. Heavy in body. This is very much a sipping drink.

O – I was a little disappointed. I really wanted this to be my benchmark, but it is just too sweet. I do find that I am enjoying it a lot more has it warms up. I think I’m going to try some of the other varsities. The sherry, or even better, the whisky may cut the edge a little better than the port adding to the sweetness.

 730 characters

Photo of jpajpajeff
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of bonbini26
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Scrumtralecent
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed in 2008. Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - Very hazy copper with a white head. Some little yeast chunks, but nothing disheartening.

S - Caramel, dark fruit, plum, and they do a good job of getting the aroma out of whatever barrel they put this beer in to. And this is no different, plenty of port aroma coming through, adding a candied sweetness.

T - Blast of candied sweetness, with an oak and peat coming through behind that. The port imparts plenty of sweetness into that Harvest ale, making it very good. I really enjoy that aftertaste, letting the barrel itself get into this beer and not just allowing the port take over.

M - Quite a bit of carbonation to this one, not terribly distracting, but I would want it down a smidge. Otherwise this is a little bit of a sipper, plenty of bold and sweet flavors.

O - I enjoyed this beer. The taste is a little different than what I expected from the smell, but it was good. I've been impressed with JW Lees' barrel aging, I can tell they take their time with it and get it right. I'll be seeking out the other variations.

 1,088 characters

Photo of laituegonflable
2.51/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a burnished amber colour with unfortunate yeast floaties at the bottom. Head is off-white, kind of a swirl on the top more than anything else. Lace is disappointing. Yeah, a bit odd-looking.

Smells pungent and a bit weird. Leathery, with some strong molasses and an odd, nostril chewing menthol hint on the top. Quite boozey and yeah, a little bit chemical. Not a big fan.

Taste is also fairly bizarre. Sticky sweetness upfront with huge caramel malt that develops some really insane flavours - dirt, wet dog and sweaty gym towel among them. Nuts and honey and oats on there as well. It's... look, it's an experience. But it's way too off-the-wall for me and just too sweet. Definitely needs more balance in there.

Sticky, thick and leaves thick and gooey. Decent for the style.

Not my cup of beer. Way sweet, heavy and just some distinctly bizarre characters that I find a bit too much to handle. I can see someone else really enjoying this beer, but it's not for me.

 978 characters

Photo of fx20736
3.11/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 9.3 oz bottle into a pint glass,served at cellar temp.

Clementine Orange, no head or lacing. Beer originally had prodigious sediment which I used a cloth to strain out.

Aroma of of mellow alcohol, plums, burnt toast, walnuts.

mouthfeel: soft and syrupy

taste: port wine, burnt toast, walnuts.

Notes: Interesting but hard to say alot else. Tons of sediment, which I strained out. This is the 1st of 4 of these cask aged JWL Harvests.

 451 characters

Photo of durwood64
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of ajs4bd
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

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.

 347 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very fine orange colour, with a filmy, but incredibly fine head of pure white. Bubbles form on the top, giving a limpid appearance to the very thick body. Powdery fine carbonation through the body, along with some disturbed floating sediment.

Nose is sweet and rich, cut with pleasant bright characters of peach and oak. The barrels give it a lovely decadence—a refined quality to go along with the heavy sweetness. Hints of greenness, dust and a touch of pepper work really nicely too. It's very complex, and rich but very refined and sophisticated.

Taste is gorgeous and very different. Instead of the bold sweetness, it has a bright acidity through the centre, giving more of those peachskin characters, and a brightness much like a really nice dessert wine. On the back, however, comes through a slightly brassy, almost vegetative character like fresh celery. This mingles pleasantly with the oak and the sweet, fruity dried apricot flavours and cleanses the palate ready for the next sip. Wow, what a great beer.

So smooth, so sweet, and so perfectly cut with freshness to balance. It's gooey, luscious, exciting and dangerously drinkable. Lovely brew.

 1,170 characters

Photo of zaphodchak
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of ritzkiss
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of pzymali
4/5  rDev -3.4%

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

2005 Vintage

A: Pours a semi-opaque toffee/mahogany color with a tiny white cap. Much lighter than I expected. Floaties in the snifter

S: Heavy and rich port wine right off the bat. Plums, cherry, white grape juice, toffee, caramel, leather. Overall very dark fruity and sweet. Unfathomably complex. Impossible to summarize.

T: "Wow" was the first thing that I said. Much richer and sweeter than expected. The beer obviously soaked up that port in the casks. Toffee, butter, honey, tons of candy caramel. To sum it up: port wine, sweetness, delicious

MF/O: Thick, velvety, flat carbonation. Plummy/port wine finish. A masterpiece.

 635 characters

Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of drpimento
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good beer. Courtesy of Pat n Karen. Poured with a tiny bit of off white head, no lace. Color is a brown amber. Aroma is figs, dates, malt, caramel, wine, sherry, yeast. Flavor is like nose, quite sweet, with just a little carbonic tang to cut it all. Body is excellent; ditto carbonation. Finish is like flavor, longish and a bit of alcohol warmth at the very end. Excellent stuff!

 386 characters

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 437 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.