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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)
358 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 358 |  Reviews: 201
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.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to barfdiggs for sharing this one at NoSignsOfPain's birthday bottleshare hosted by mrbubbler.

2009 vintage.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, brown sugar, wood, and sherry/alcohol. Taste is much the same with a nice sherry and woody aftertaste. There is a medium amount of bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that features a nice barrel aged treatment.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -14%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
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 spycow
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.16/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a pretty nice sample of this one not too long ago at the Bethlehem Speakeasy. They had just gotten a shipment in and the bartenders were trying it and offered some to me and another gentlemen who was sitting at the bar at the time. The beer was poured into a sampling snifter. The beer looked like I remembered it when I had it a few years ago. The smell was very sweet and quite inviting. The taste is also sweet with plenty of flavorful malts and some sherry hints in there. The mouthfeel of this brew is just like the others. Minimal carbonation but had a great thick feel to it. Overall this one's my favorite out of all four. I don't really know what it is but I really enjoy this one.

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Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -14%

Photo of t0rin0
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found this quite by accident after leaving stones winter storm on sunday. I stopped by the Holiday Wine Cellar as I always do after leaving stone. Found a 2004 bottle of this sitting on the shelf next to Abyss and the new Bigfoot.

This beer was too much like a really sweet wine to enjoy as much as I would have if there were still some hops to it. That being said I still really enjoyed this beer.

It poured a nice ruby red color and produced little to no foam and was fairly flat. But the color was pretty cool.

The aroma was of sweet redwine as well as some cherry. There was a number of smells underneath that were hidden by the cherry and the aged malt smells. The flavor was real sweet with no hop bitterness or flavor left. Thats the only downside. Everything else, the sweetness, the wine, and the various fruits present made this a really good beer to sip on. Due to the intense sweetness I am not sure that I could enjoy much more than a glass at a time.

The body was a little on the thin side but it had an oily texture. Very drinkable beer in reasonable amounts. Don't see this beer aging much more than it already has though.

 1,144 characters

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy amber orange in color and has some large particles of yeast visible that are floating in suspension. It poured with a quarter finger high dense beige head that gradually died down, leaving a thin film on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: There are sweet aromas of caramel, grapes and toffee in the nose; these become stronger as the beer warms up.
T: Like the smell, the taste is sweet and has an interesting mix of butterscotch, caramel,
sherry and toffee flavors.
M: It feels a bit shy of full-bodied on the palate and has a low to moderate amount of carbonation with some warming from the alcohol.
O: This is a very nice dessert beer to sip. Although it tastes a bit strong, any flavors of alcohol are surprisingly well masked from the taste considering its strength. I thought it could use a slightly stronger body and a bit more carbonation.

Note: 2010 vintage

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Like all other J.W. Lee's Harevest Ales, this one is also a joy and privilage to drink. On a lazy Saturday night, reading some homebrew books and sipping on this English Barleywine -- It's a good night. The beer begins with the expected malty-sweet aroma with slight hints of hops, ripe (or over-rippened) fruits, and a light peppery / alcohol note in the nose. Aromas are quite similar to 1-year standard Harvest Ales. The flavors follow up on the heavy sweetness, but a tawny port wine-like woodyness, booziness, and mustiness soon follows. None of these sherry notes dominate the beer, but add just a hint of added variety. The hops are still young and over-bearing and will need some time to simmer, but the beer is still sublime. The feel is a weighted sweetness that, at times show syrupy textures, and at others a rich maltiness. The hops add a distracting bitterness, metalic, and bitey feel that will fall out over the next year or so. Overall, the beer is terrific but is still quite young and has some maturing to do.

 1,028 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.54/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in 2004; tasted in 2010

Appearance: Pours a caramel color with a thin film of a head that neither lasts nor laces, but who would have expected that from a six year old barleywine?

Smell: Dark fruit (raisins and prune) but so much more, as it reeks of an Oloroso sherry, with fortified grape and oak character

Taste: From the start, the rich caramel English barleywine flavors merge with the Oloroso sherry and blend perfectly throughout, with the grape and sugar sweetness never becoming cloying though maintaining a rich complexity

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Just a superb English barleywine with incredible complexity

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy amber color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention and not much lacing. Aroma consists of sweet malt with some distinctive sherry notes. Taste is a mix between some sherry and sweet English barley. Body is full with some average carbonation and no discernable alcohol which is always welcome for those barrel-aged beers. Well balance overall with not too much Sherry and the base beer is not too sweet - well done.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

 1,789 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This specially casked Harvest ale pours a deep auburn body with amber and gold highlights beneath an average sized head of creamy off-white froth. The head retention is limited, but at 11.5% that's to be expected - and it still keeps a decent collar which is unusual for such a high alcohol beer! The nose is loaded with sweet, delicately caramelized malt and notes of sticky-sweet dried dark fruit as well as some leafy and almost herbal hops. There's no particular evidence of either sherry or wood, but it is somehow lighter or less malty than the regular version. In the mouth it's full bodied almost to the point of being syrupy; smooth; and quite creamy. It's rich maltiness dominates the flavor with a sticky, honey-like character that's balanced by herbal, leafy and grassy hops. The sherry comes through midway across the palate with a spritz of fruit-juice and alcohol. The bitterness is low-key, but has enough ballast enough to balance it. The sherry comes through again in the finish, lending it just a little more complexity than the original; but of the four specially "casked" versions, this is one of the less interesting (with port being the other - the clavados and Lagavulin were actually interesting).

 1,222 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
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 nickfl
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of russpowell
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber to orange with a minmal white head. Some lacing & no head retention

SmeLL; Huge oaky & sherry notes

Taste: Super sweet up front, followed by raisin, vanilla, treacle/honey and tangerine notes. Very complex, but a little too sweet for my tastes

MF: Syruppy, oily, undercarbonated, & slightly out of balance. A little more hops or gas needed.

Okay drinkabilty for the strength, but a few more years of aging are in order IMHO

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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 358 ratings
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