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)
BA SCORE
4.07/5
Exceptional
359 Ratings
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask)J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask)
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#2,986
Reviews:
202
Ratings:
359
pDev:
14.25%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
42
Gots:
68
Trade:
6
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 359 |  Reviews: 202
Photo of cliff1066
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of maximum12
3.82/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a three-bottle J.W. Lees experience my wife bought me last Christmas, & here it is almost this Christmas, & hey, I don't want her to think I don't appreciate it! So here goes the second, 9.3 ounce bottle, 2007 vintage, popped while pecking away at the Great American Novel.

Pour is smooth amber silk until the last ounce or so disgorges dozens of solids, & the liquid turns to a sludgefest; guess I'm going to have a late snack with my beer! Little if any carbonation survived the brewing & bottling process. Nose is whack sherry, along with a heavy yoke of sweetness. Like the Lagavulin Whiskey, the barrel drowns the beer in its infancy. But that's OK.

J.W. Lees Harvest (Sherry Cask) could be reviewed in two words: sweet sherry. But I'll waste a few more. It's sweet, & the sherry is strong. Really? OK, so there's a ton of caramel, sticky sugar-water, honey, touch of raisin. Consistency is thick, strong, & edging towards boozy. When I poured I cursed the midget bottle, but now, I'm appreciative of the brewer's restraint in portion control.

Overall? Good, solid, unique beer. I couldn't name another sherry-aged beer. Now just the Port version to go, & looking forward to it.

 1,197 characters

Photo of Auztan
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%

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

Photo of jrpapajcik
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Alx99
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

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

 915 characters

Photo of wd40
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage.

Pours a nice hazy orange/reddish colour. I love the aspects of the Harvest Ale base that are present in the smell and taste. There was a really nice amount of carbonation that balances out the sweetness of the base nicely. The sherry cask's contribution to the taste is actually pretty well integrated and pleasant, but I don't love the contribution to the nose. It's just a little overwhelming for me. Everything else about the beer is really enjoyable and I look forward to trying the other versions of this beer.

 530 characters

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter; 2008 Vintage

Shared side by side with the Lagavulin 2008

A murky, iced tea brown color with no head or lacing. A thin collar surrounds the glass. The nose is full of sweet sherry, tobacco, raisins, cocoa, brown sugar, and molasses. This versions tends to enhance the sweeter characteristics of the base beer. On the palate, raisins and cocoa hit you up front, then a wave of sweet sherry, with molasses, brown sugar, and dry tobacco in tow. The finish is sweet and boozy. Full body, low carbonation. High complexity. This varietal was more enjoyable than the Lagavulin. The sherry flavors/aromas imparted by the aging process seemed much better incorporated and really enhanced some of the other flavors that weren't present in the other version.

 778 characters

Photo of patjohnfive
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Dope
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle

A: Murky rusty brown with just a tiny tan head. Almost no lacing.

S: Lots of molasses, toffee and fig. Sherry is there but milder than the other barrel-aged versions I've had. Smell isn't nearly as overpowering either, it's actually quite nice.

T: Syrupy sweet molasses and toffee just like all of the variants. Sherry adds a decent fruitiness without being overpowering AND it covers a bit of that ridiculous molasses.

M: Super heavy, syrupy, blah blah blah.

O: Honestly not a bad variant. The sherry is very mild but it helps ease some of the ridiculously cloyingly sweet molasses. Not to say that it's NOT ridiculously cloyingly and syrupy sweet, just less so.

 682 characters

Photo of jrenihan
3.82/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2005 Vintage.

Beer is a murky toffee colour. A vigorous pour results in a bit of bubbly off-white head.

Lots of sweet caramel malt in the nose. Sherry, apple, brown sugar, raisin.

Taste is like the smell, but the sherry flavour is stronger. Caramel malt, brown sugar, oak, apple, cherry. Very sweet. Alcohol is noticeable, even seven years after bottling. Finish has an odd flavour that I can't place, makes me think of leather.

Full bodied, but with a low carbonation that makes it feel quite thin. Syrupy sticky.

Overall, too sweet for me. Some very nice flavours, but too sweet and sherry is not one of my favourite flavours. Worth checking out but I don't expect I would buy this again.

 698 characters

Photo of Rick760Sd
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of mrfrancis
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy, ruddy amber with no head.

S: Aromas of sherry, apple, caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, and brown sugar fill the nose.

T: Notes of sherry, apple, milk chocolate, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla bean, black currant, plums, raisins, figs, and Medjool dates. The finish is sweet and long with plenty of port, chocolate, and dark fruit notes.

M: Full in body, sticky, and syrupy. Carbonation is very gentle, but even after eight years in the bottle, is still present. Alcohol presence is decidedly restrained.

O: This is a fantastic English barleywine, and may very well be my favorite of J.W. Lees' cask-aged ales. Definitely worth a try.

 661 characters

Photo of ajs4bd
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy brown-orange color with a bit of bubbly white head. The head fades away fairly quickly leaving behind barely any lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of rich sweet caramel malts with some white grape, dark fruits, some oak, brown and caramelized sugars, a bit of vanilla, and some booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of rich sweet caramel malts, caramelized sugars, grape, and some raisin and other dark fruits. Through the middle, some oak comes through with some more sherry flavor alongside some vanilla and a bit of brown sugar. The finish is a mix of sherry, sweet caramel malts, brown sugar, oak, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with mild carbonation. Feels smooth and syrupy with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. The Sherry adds a nice complexity to the base beer. Overall nicely bold and fairly balanced.

 844 characters

Photo of bmur112
4/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

 641 characters

Photo of tylermains
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of BostonHops
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

9.3oz bottle served in a snifter.
2006 vintage.

pours a murky russet brown tone with a fair amount of flakes/sediment; no head whatsoever. not entirely unexpected so i'll keep style in mind but, judging solely on appearance, this is one unappealing looking beer! good thing appearance is the least important judging criteria. nose is sweet and malty with notes of caramel/toffee, brown sugar, sherry, and some dark fruit-like qualities.

taste follows the nose, very rich and buttery with a tasty range of flavors, from the toffee and brown sugar to the sherry and fruity notes. medium-full bodied mouthfeel with below average carbonation, the latter being (beside the appearance) one of my few criticisms.

overall a tasty, tasty beer; while far from flawless - or cheap - it's rich and complex. worth the occasional splurge.

(originally reviewed: 08-23-2011)

 862 characters

Photo of MystikCelt
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of RebornStussy
3.5/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Archemedies
1/5  rDev -75.4%

Photo of mdfb79
3.18/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 vintage, 9.3 oz. bottle poured into a taster glass. Tried side by side with a 2008 Calvados version.

a - Pours a dark reddish amber color with a few bubbles of off white head and light carbonation evident. Darker then the Calvados, and with less carbonation and head.

s - Smells of sherry, oak, clay, light fruity malts, dark fruits, sugar, and molasses. Not bad, but the clay smell is a littl weird. I think I like the Calvados smell a little better as it is a little sweeter and doesn't have that clay smell to it.

t - Tastes of sherry, sweet dark fruits, fruity malts, molasses, sugar, clay, light smoke, and toasted malts. Again decent, but I think I like Calvados better again.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Thick and some alcohol to it.

o - Overall a decent beer but my least favorite of the variants so far. I like the normal Harvest Ale, and love English barleywine's in general, but for some reason can't get into the variants at all; I really don't think they add anything good to the base beer. This one had some weird clay-like smells and tastes to it. I'd personally rank them the normal Harvest Ale, Calvados, Port, and then Sherry. Wouldn't seek it out again.

 1,191 characters

Photo of TubbyDullard
4/5  rDev -1.7%

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry Cask) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 359 ratings
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