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

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask)
Liked This Beer
4.07 w/ 356 ratings
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry 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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Ratings: 356 |  Reviews: 201
Photo of Archemedies
1/5  rDev -75.4%

Photo of His_Royal_Hoppiness
1.25/5  rDev -69.3%

Photo of gpawned
1.5/5  rDev -63.1%

Photo of zrab11
2/5  rDev -50.9%

Photo of shbobdb
2.06/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Well . . . it said that it was conditioned in a sherry cask and . . . it tasted like sherry! My girlfriend likes cream sherries and this beer tasted like a cream sherry that I'd expect to pay around $8 for (that's not a lot for sherry). Yeah, it tastes like a cheap cream sherry. It feels, in terms of mouthfeel, like a fine, full, rich english beer on a delightful beer-engine.

Yeah, not cool. The only thing about it that didn't feel like cheap sherry was the mouthfeel. Not worth it unless you really like sherry.

Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention . . . beer isn't sherry.

 577 characters

Photo of bsuedekum
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

Photo of brother_kenneth
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

Photo of bgold86
2.55/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

Was really excited to try this, 2013 vintage, served in a snifter glass at about 55 degrees. Was waaayyyy too sweet, just overly powerful in the sweetness. Unfortunately, this was terrible.

 189 characters

Photo of fx20736
2.71/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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

Bronze Orange, small head, signs of decent carbonation. Beer was strained prior to serving which may have reduced head somewhat.

Aroma: I smell mellow alcohol which must be the sherry cask.

mouthfeel: soft and syrupy

taste: cloyingly sweet with a warming alcohol vibe. Like a plum flavored syrup.

Notes: Darker, sweeter with less sediment than the Port version of cask aged JWL Harvest. This is simply too sweet to enjoy.

 495 characters

Photo of GreenWBush
2.72/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

16 oz. pint on special - $5.50.

This particular beer, served from what could have only been an ancient cask (literally a wood cask), seems to contradict everything I know and love about beer. Its a high-gravity barleywine, aged like scotch, that I just did not like. All signs led to "i'll love this one", but that surely was not the case.

This beer pours out an onyx mahogany with absolutely no head whatsoever, and was completely devoid of lace throughout. The nose is strongly sherry-influenced, to the point that I thought the marking was wrong and this was in fact no barleywine, but a sherry. Loads of alcohol in the nose as well, along with plums, raisins, slight tones of malt vinegar. Oaky, cherry, vanilla tones all come through as it warms from cellar to room temperature.

As nice as the nose was, I was shocked when I gagged on the first tipple. There are just too many clashing cloyingly sweet elements for me to distinguish them all. Rotten fruit abounds. Rich, meaty malt character blended with overly alcoholic oaky, sherry.

It looked and tasted like sherry, with no satisfying elements. The mouthfeel is sweetly cask-like, with a slightly slimy liquefied candy.

I've been defeated by a beer. I will have to have this in bottles to either affirm my lack of sophistication or confirm my suspicion that this cask was way long in the tooth.

I had to gag this down to finish.

 1,406 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
2.73/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Overwhelming. Palate overload. Good God, what is this? Is this a barleywine or a bad sherry or a dessert port? Definitely a dessert beer. This is an instance of something that was good product and having what seems like is a great idea, but it backfires. Poured brown with a slight red tinge it to. Slight bubbly head on top. Nose is like a glass of sherry or port wine. Flavor is all the wine with a slight hop kick towards the end. The bittersweetness also provides a slight curl to the taste. Very heavy in the mouth and oily--almost greasy. Definitely a slow sipping dessert beer. Aging in a sherry barrel destroys this as a decent barleywine.

 647 characters

Photo of Sammy
2.74/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Disapointing version of something I normally like. Big full mouthfeel, but sourish aroma and only average taste. I cellared with for about 20 months and it has a long shelflife. A bit of sherry, but not too complex. Sorry, not finishable. I guess I am not a sherry fan.

 269 characters

Photo of mjtiernan
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

Photo of herman77
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2008 vintage

A: Clear orange amber with a small off white head. No lacing.

S: Lots of honey, molasses, sugar, raisins. Sherry, candied sherry. A tiny bit of oak

T: Wholly hell is this sweet. Just when you think it can't get any sweeter, it does. Pretty much tastes like complex simple syrup. Has a slight oaky, wet tobacco, wet cardboard taste in the finish that isn't pleasant.

M: Fuller body, low carbonation, but there is some left for sure. Sticky.

O: It's just way too damn sweet for me. I would have liked to try the others, not sure if I want to now. But maybe this is just so sweet from the sherry?

 611 characters

Photo of PatYoda
2.81/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

On the handpull at downtown Indy's BW3. Appearance is a nice deep mahogany with a little bit of foam at first that disappears pretty quickly. Smell is...sweet! A few different types of sweetness combine to create a pretty sickeningly sweet smell. Of course the usual JW Lees toffee and caramel smell is very strong in there, and there is a little bit of malty sweetness, but there is also a strong maple syrup type smell and the sherry cask they aged this in must have been an extremely sweet sherry because it has a very strong influence on this beer. There is also a powerful spiced rum smell in there. The smell is very much in your face and powerful, but not appetizing at all to me. Taste is cloyingly sweet, as expected. There is some definitely depth and complexity here, and I'm sure this is probably what the brewers intended to achieve with this combination, but I can hardly stomach it right now. This is more rich and sweet than almost any dessert I've ever tried. Hardly any balancing bitterness in this one. Mouthfeel is nice and full and slippery without any carbonation. Drinkability is not great. I finished my 10oz goblet and decided that I could potentially enjoy it with dessert, but I definitely won't be ordering one again.

 1,245 characters

Photo of Rastacouere
2.9/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Golden amber liquid wears no head. Oxidized wine aroma where floral undertones come hidden under strong alcoholic suggestions and milder bread ones. Light liquorice and wood hints. Taste contains a mild grape tartness that is overshadowed by a strong dry wood character, sometimes reminiscent of paper. Bitter alcohol finish imparts an appealing though rough cigar-like aftertaste. Mouthfeel is creamy, full bodied.

 415 characters

Photo of seeswo
2.99/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2006 bottle. Pours brown with floaties and no head. Ehh. Smells like sugar, apple, caramel. Smells pretty good. Taste is very sweet and smooth in the front - very tasty up front, then the finish dries a bit with a touch of smokiness, though it's still sweet. I can't help but notice the "ham" flavor in the finish. It drives me nuts as it just lingers. Gross. Sugar just hangs out on the tongue with a heavy mouthfeel and almost no carbonation. Not very drinkable because of the ham, but definitely hides booze well. The ham just kills it for me...Hard to get through.

 568 characters

Photo of ConradKenney
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of Hellpop65
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of wrightst
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of Boilerfood
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of cproioi
3.02/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured in a snifter this beer boasts a dark red body with such a little tan head that quickly shrinks to nothing. The aroma is of big sticky malts. Huge sweet fruit notes little to no hops present at all. The taste has faint alocohol notes with a huge malt flavor that reminds me of a lifesaver. Pleasant sweet aftertaste with a large amount of residual sweetness and a slight alcohol warming sensation. This is a sipping beer that would pair wonderfully with a big blue cheese (stilton, anyone?)

 496 characters

Photo of meathookjones
3.05/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

After trying the other 3 cask aged versions I figured this one could use a little time to sit. I guess that might not have been the case. Fairly clear orange with a light tan head that quickly bubbles down leaving no lacing. Very strong syrupy sweet aromas. Some vinous and buttery notes were there but overpowered for the most part by the sweetness. Taste upon first sip was way too sweet. Light fruitiness and more syrupy sweet flavors follow. Light buttery notes before the sweet finish. Cloying but still drinkable. Mouthfeel is pretty thick and sticky sweet. Drinkability not good at all. It was hard enough drinking this bottle let alone ever wanting another one. Oh well maybe this might have been better earlier.

 720 characters

Photo of leroybrown10
3.05/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy medium amber. No head even with fast pour into a snifter. No lacing on the glass as I swirl the beer.

Aroma of sweet malt and caramel. No hop notes at all. Some mild sweet citrus notes. Orange, oak, vanilla, and dry red wine.

Taste is syrupy sugar. Almost sickeningly sweet. Caramel, oak, vanilla are prominent. Sherry & barrel comes through on the finish. Sherry provides a dryness after the sugary beginning.

Thick mouth feel with little carbonation. Leaves a chewy coating behind.

Not a beer I was very impressed by especially given the $10 price for a 250ml bottle. Sweetness that is quite unpleasant and so strong that it detracts from the flavors that are more enjoyable like the vanilla, caramel and oaky barrel notes.

 753 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.16/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

275 mL bottle poured into a Hunahpu snifter. 2009 vintage.

Appearance - Just a hint of a head that got me so excited that I forgot that the chunks would soon start to flow. Sadly, a giant lump of something gross fell into my glass. It burst into smaller chunks and suspended itself into the murky amber liquid. Like a water sample from Lake Erie. Yum.

Smell - Huge sherry aroma. Like an oxidized barleywine, but without some of that cardboard. Harsh alcohol in the back of the aroma. Lots of raisins and sugars.

Taste - Intense sherry flavor up front that fades to raisins and brown sugar. Then the back end kicks in. Bitter cardboard. Rather unpleasant.

Mouthfeel - Syrupy as every other Harvest Ale. The sherry does nothing to cut the sweetness. Definitely a rough finish with the bitterness and the cardboard. Almost a burnt oak flavor.

Overall - Big beer. A sipper. A sugary sipper. It's complex, though. It's one of those beers you can ponder for a while. Maybe the result of the pondering isn't the best, but the activity of drinking it is nice.

 1,056 characters

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 80.3% out of 100 with 356 ratings
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