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

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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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Reviews: 198 | Ratings: 349
Photo of hman43
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: It pours a cloudy medium brown with little head retention. There is a slight tan head. Smell: It has aromas of toasted and breaded malts along with a strong sherry smell. It also has a nut aroma mixed in as well. There are hints of floral and spice hops. There are also hints of plums.

Taste: There sherry flavor is clearly present in the initial flavor with a sweetness to it and some wood flavors with toast and bready malts. There are nuts in the background. The hops are barely noticeable with some low fruit.

Feel: It has a full body, but not quite chewy. There is very low carbonation with alcohol warmth that is pleasant.

Overall this is a delightful barleywine that has a complex mixture of flavors.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 version poured into a Wicked Weed tulip. A murky, dense brown, with absolutely no head and only a moment or two of a thin lace. Aroma sensory overload commences. Heavy sherry, plum , nuts, cherry. The taste is heavy on fruity nougat, molasses, with hints of vanilla. It seems to change a little but on every sip before settling in as it gets to room temp. The heat is well masked/non existent. Full heft, very low carbonation, with a chewy mouthfeel. Overall, a delicious EB, especially if you don't mind a little extra sweetness.

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Photo of sokol_1993
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A bottle of 2010 vintage into a Duvel Tulip glass.

Smell: sweet molasses, herbal smells.
Taste: Somehow very herbal tasting, with a taste of Chinese herbal medicine (I'm a Vietnamese, I know). Dark fruits: Cherry, peach, raisin. Molasses. Some bitterness, licorice taste.
Feel: chewy, full body.

A beer of extreme complexity. Would recommend it to anyone, and would have it again.

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Photo of chinchill
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cask pour at the 2017 ACAF.
Clear dark brown with a minimal bubbly head.
Fantastic aroma with toffee, bread and sherry. The flavor follows. Superb creamy smooth mouthfeel.
Perhaps a touch too sweet.

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Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in 2012. Pours a hazy maroon/brown with absolutely no head or carbonation. Smells amazing. Sweet with definite sherry notes and some honey. Lots and lots of plum and some cherry notes too. Tastes very sweet upfront, followed by some teasing bitterness. Very viscous and smooth. Absolutely delicious!

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Photo of Furlinator
4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013.
Pours translucent rust copper. A fizzy khaki head forms then quickly disappears completely and leaves no lace. The smell is of caramel and burnt sugar with dark fruit, pipe tobacco and vanilla accents. The taste follows with sweet and sticky caramel, toffee, raisins, cherries and faint vanilla. Full texture with low carbonation. Delicious.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

275 ml bottle into tulip glass; 2012 vintage, bottled on 5/23/2013. Pours lightly hazy deep orange/copper color with a 1 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, golden raisin, plum, fig, apricot, apple, white grape, toasted biscuit, and oak; with lighter notes of leather, tobacco, nuttiness, vanilla, herbal, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of bready malt, fruity yeast, sherry barrel, and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, golden raisin, plum, fig, apricot, apple, white grape, toasted biscuit, and oak; with lighter notes of leather, tobacco, nuttiness, vanilla, herbal, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, golden raisin, plum, fig, apricot, apple, white grape, toasted biscuit, oak, leather, tobacco, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of bready malt, fruity yeast, sherry barrel, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a nice malt/bitterness balance, and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy/slick, and lightly syrupy/grainy/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden minimal warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an excellent English barleywine. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of bready malt, fruity yeast, sherry barrel, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a teku pint. Label says Brewed in 2013.

A- Pours a dark amber color with a 1/8 tan head that soon becomes a paper-thin ring around the edge of the glass and a small wisp of sheer surface foam. Minimal lacing with sticky alcohol legs.

S- Lots of dark fruit emanates from the glass along with a noticeable booze fume. Notes of vanilla, coconut and raisin all blanketed by a biscuity malt overtone.

T- Raisin. Pure, sweet, delectable raisin. Also some brown sugar and maple but mainly just raisin oozing forth and I love it. There's some mild oxidation which actually complements the big sweetness and the alcohol is barely noticeable.

M- Slick and syrupy with medium-low carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- A slow sipper just because of how rich the flavor is, but the flavor is so nice. I wouldn't sit on this vintage very much longer though since the oxidation is slowly but surely creeping in. Still, quite divine.

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Photo of ivegot3Dvision
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

So, I'm writing this on my phone so it's not going to be a huge review.

Look: looks great, amber with light bubbles.
Smell: Sweet, booze, brown sugar, dark fruits.
Taste: Ok, so this is a weird one. It has a flavor like ginseng and peanuts were added. Sticky sweet, which I like.
Feel: Light carbonation, nice mouthfeel.
Overall: If it didn't have that weird ginseng and peanut flavor it would be much higher. It does hit all the other things I want in an English Barleywine though.

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Photo of ccg
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Labeled "brewed in 2010." Open June, 2016.

Look: Translucent, caramel brown. Minimal carbonation visible. Thin legs with gritty, sugary-looking residue on the sides of the glass. No lacing. Some bubbles around the edge. Surprisingly watery looking. 3.5

Smell: Syrupy sweet with a smokiness in the background. Some raisin and plum scents as well. 3.75

Taste: Even more smokiness. Meaty sort of savory flavor. It's... kind of like sausage. It's certainly unique, and I respect an opinionated product, but it's a little difficult to drink. There are some tart fruit flavors in the background as well. 3.5

Feel: Syrupy smooth but also rather flat. 3.5

Overall: Normally, I'm a fan of big, sweet, boozy beers, but this was a huge miss for me. Apricots and orange marmalade layered on top of tobacco and sausage? I just can't get into it. 3.5

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Photo of tigg924
3.67/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle. Pours cloudy with sediment, reddish brown in color, with minimal head. Taste is butterscotch, chocolate, wood, and a touch of sherry. Thought this was very similar to their Calvados cask. Tasty but I prefer other Harvest ales.

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Photo of DIM
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brewed in 2011. I strongly feel that J.W. Lee's offerings are MUCH better with the yeast left in the bottle. I cellar them for months after purchase to ensure that this is possible. I left the lees in the bottle so I was left with clear, amber tinted golden colored liquid. A hard pour yielded a small cap of big bubbles that quickly faded.

This smells very sweet with some fairly pronounced booze. I found sugary stewed apricots, brown sugar, lightly charred toffee, and some vinous warmth.

This doesn't taste as sweet as the aroma suggested it would. In fact, while this is still quite sweet, it isn't nearly as sweet as the regular J.W. Lee's. That diminished sweetness is probably why I like these barrel aged treatments as much as I do. Up front I tasted delicately sweet apricot jam and plenty of brown sugar and toffee. The finish is an odd tasting combination of sherry, boozy barleywine, and a slightly tangy charred oakiness.

Aside from the horrible Lagavulin version I had on cask all of the barrel aged varieties have been wonderful. Not my favorite barleywines but worth revisiting on occasion.

 1,114 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In review is a 2007 Vintage

A - Dark amber color, very clear, no carbonation, no lacing.

S - Sherry aroma some alcohol presence in the nose, wood, slight smokiness, and butterscotch.

T - Butterscotch, some smoke buried way down, crisp roasted toffee, no heat.

M - Full bodied, thick, syrup-like texture, velvety.

O - Pretty good, surprisingly no heat.

 356 characters

Photo of tbryan5
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

For me, this one was the closest in taste to the regular version that was not barrel aged. Very sweet and I did not get very much sherry flavor. Good beer but not much barrel character.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

thanks to claystation for sharing this 2010 edition on our road trip. i have been drinking a ton of old beer lately, like three or four or more years old, cleaning out my and some friends' cellars. lots of beer we had high hopes for has not held up all that well, but this beer, and this series more generally, continues to be one of the best beers to age in existence. this is really amazing stuff, maybe my favorite barrel treatment of the beer yet. its hazy and just red, woody cloudy, pulpy looking almost, would be ugly in any other style. holds a decent head too for its age and strength. smells great, the wood and the sherry are both prominent up front, but so is the yeast, which now seems tired and mature in a good way, and the english sweet grain that makes this beer what it is. the flavor is a lot like the nose, sherry blended in better than it does in the smell, less foody, more beery. woody though to the max, wet oak, great mellowing effect on the toffee and brown sugar notes of the base beer. it surprises me every time too how hoppy this beer is, grassy and straw-like in flavor, dried and mild, but dosed pretty hard, and always more bitterness as it finishes than it seems like it should have until that point. the sweet sherry loves this aspect, and the union is brilliant. constantly improving as it warms, this is special beer without a doubt. one of my favorites from a weekend full of excellent brews.

 1,430 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.61/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Vintage 2010.

Deep red and orange body, slight bright copper with some brassy haze color. Head is big bubbled but very fleeting and manages a big bubbled collar that does stay. Airy and fine whispy top on the puck like a fine cloud streaking across the sky. Neat looking brew.

Big fruit notes galore. Huge notes of thick dried apricot, marmalade and dried orange peel. Spiced nutmeg and hints of milky caramel cut in with some real good quality. Slight hints of fruited brandy quality and a touch of alcohol heat but not too much. Real impressive.

The palate is fruit huge, without being overbearing, and diverse. Sugared marmalade, and large apricot chewy flavors. A wooden splintered oak and almost cloved spiced and balsam woody character really comes out in the mid palate. Finishes light and clean, mildly sticky fruit like toffee. Large hints of chewy citrus brown sugared rind fruit all over, as if picked from a tree. Not a touch of heat or alcohol on this at all.

Stunning stuff, the sherry has worked incredible natural fruit tones out of this brew. Fantastic.

 1,133 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very rich and delicious. The best parts are the aroma and taste with very volatile bold bursting components. The sherry characteristics match perfectly with those of this beer - fruits, toffee, caramels, oak. Excellent body too.

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Photo of bgold86
2.55/5  rDev -37.2%
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.

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Photo of Roguer
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish-purplish brew, reminiscent of cherries or plums, very clear, topped by a mild cream-colored head with mediocre retention.

Big, sweet, boozy aroma right off the bat! Brown sugar and syrup; oak and vanilla; fruit and berries and cherries. The initial boozy sweetness continues to dominate, but in a very pleasant way.

Flavor follows: it's incredibly sweet and syrupy. However, the booziness is rather subdued, coming through on the back-end as a pleasant heat. Flavors come in inconsistent waves: coconut and vanilla and oak, cherries, caramel and brown sugar, syrup, red wine grapes.

Thick and syrupy on the palate.

Definitely a digestif or dessert beer. Sure to be too sweet for many.

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Photo of Hop_God
3.21/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

L: ruby amber brown
S: big time sherry. Bread. Brown sugar. Candied fruit.
T: very sherry prominent. Tart fruit. There is a saline acidity I'm not enjoying.
F: moderate carbonation coats the mouth. Finishes crips and tart
O: not too fond of this. Has a licorice like quality and the Sherry is too heavy for my liking.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Surprisingly good head of foam for this 2012 bottle. Pretty long lasting too and it even has a bit of lacing. The brew itself is a a clear copper.

The smell is of big caramel malt that is sure to bring the sweet in the taste. But, its more of a maple syrup like sweetness and I can dig that. Some of the ample alcohol gets through as well.

The taste follows through where the smell left off. Sweet maple that coats my tongue without going overboard. Hints of some kind of nut and a mild woody fruity taste that I find totally enjoyable. Booze is there and I think it compliments rather than detracts.

As full as medium bodied can get with a subtle level of carbonation.

This is very good. $10.15 I do not regret paying.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Lexington Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

2012 edition. The third stop on our trip through the Lees Harvest horizontal, following the standard and Lagavulin editions. This one pours a hazy amber topped by a finger of bone foam. The nose comprises rich caramel, sweet Riesling, mild wood, and honey. The taste brings in more of the same, the wood coming through as a slight vein of balsa forming the floor of the proceedings. The body is a hefty medium, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a full feel. Overall, I didn't get quite as much sherry as preferred, but this is still some solid stuff.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Cellar temperature in my snifter.

What amounts to no more than a thin, fleeting sheet of fizz soon vanishes almost completely over a rich amber-orange barleywine. Its appearance probably has more in common with wine than the typical ale.

It smells delightful. Like maple, brown sugar, brandy, cherry liqueur, caramel, apples, and a hint of orange zest. And the aroma has a little pleasantly musty earthiness to it, like something that's been buried underground for a long time. I don't mean that to sound bad, haha.

Much more of the maple comes through in the flavor, with booze-soaked rasinins, red apples, leathery vanilla (yes the vanilla is leathery), and a finish of caramel-coated, toasted pecans and more earth. It tastes... cozy. If cozy has a taste, it is this.

I really like the body. The carbonation is totally lax, the feel is thick but slick, and everything is just incredibly smooth for a barleywine of such strength.

This is what you sip in the middle of winter nestled in a huge, cozy chair in front of the hearth... or spazzing out to your favorite metal band at bone-rattling volume. It will serve both purposes equally well.

 1,149 characters

Photo of kornkid8600
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2009 Vintage

Looked amber color, no head, no lacing, like a glass of sherry wine.

Smelled very sweet, sticky, toffee, minimal wine characteristic, some alcohol.

Tasted very saccharine, too much. Lots of toffee, caramel, vanilla, less sherry. Dominated by the grain sugar far too much. All you can taste is sugar.

Mouth feel was in the middle, some weight, barely any carbonation.

This beer ends up being too one dimensional, the amount of sugar overhelms in the beer, and takes away from any other characteristics.

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Photo of leroybrown10
3.05/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
4.06 out of 5 based on 349 ratings.
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