Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd

Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)
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Style:
Barleywine - English
Ranked #16
ABV:
11.5%
Score:
96
Ranked #832
Avg:
4.31 | pDev: 12.99%
Reviews:
906
Ratings:
1,638
From:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  277
Gots
  229
SCORE
96
World-Class
Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)
Notes: Our limited edition vintage barley wine is made but once a year. It's brewed with the first hops to be harvested, and then we add the very finest British malt. Each vintage brings different flavours, which then evolve as they age, so it's no wonder it's gained a cult following among ale enthusiasts. Pop the date in your calendar.
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Reviews: 906 | Ratings: 1,638 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of keithmurray
keithmurray from Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2017 vintage poured into a tulip

Appearance - light brown colour with tan head

Smell - orange marmalade, caramel, tobacco

Taste - candied orange peel, caramel, orange marmalade, tobacco, apricot, fig, booze

Mouthfeel - full bodied, lower level of carbonation, upfront is the orange sweetness, sticky, boozy on the back end

Overall - nice barleywine here, nice flavors of orange marmalade dominate, its a sipper for sure. Try it.

Price point - $9.99/ 9.3 oz bottle

Nov 06, 2021
Photo of hman43
hman43 from North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: It pours a caramel brown that is quite cloud with a tan head. Head retention is very good.

Smell: It has toffee aromas with some dried cherries in support. It has some orange notes with some vinous qualities to it.

Taste: It has bread and toffee flavors with orange and cherry like pipe tobacco notes. There are some low vinous qualities to it with some floral notes.

Feel: It has a full and somewhat chewy body. There is smooth alcohol warming in the finish.

Overall, a well done barleywine with plenty of flavor and it packs a punch.

Oct 29, 2021
Photo of backblast
backblast from Alaska

4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage. Rich sweet malt and caramel up front with fresh fruit - especially apple following. Has an alcohol taste but not boozy, fig and a very nice herbal hop bitter finish that's a bit spicy too. A real treat.

Feb 21, 2021
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim from New York

4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

275ml bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. 2013 vintage.

Pours completely flat. Nose is classic for the style. Hints of green raisin, green grape, brown sugar, molasses, and maple syrup. Robust, rich, fruity, and very aromatic. Beer opens brown sugar, molasses, and maple syrup. Huge malt backbone. A hint of booziness in the back. I also get raisin, other dried dark fruit, and a touch of tobacco and wood at the finish. Big brown sugar on the finish. This is exactly what I want. Body is full with low carbonation. Thick, oily, and slick on the palate and goes down warm and slick with a long, lingering sticky aftertaste.

The classic brewer of the English Barleywine style does not dissapoint. A great beer worth trying.

Feb 20, 2021
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adrock314 from Pennsylvania

4.67/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2017 edition. 275ml bottle.

L: Pours a hazy golden brown. Similar to unfiltered apple cider. Short-lived ivory colored head retreats to a thin ring. This is basically the prototype for what a proper Barleywine should look like.

S: Sweet malt and rich fruit aromas. Red apple, plum, & Luxardo cherries. Vanilla, tobacco, and some leather floating around as well. Waves of cocoa, caramel, and burnt sugar.

T: Big sweetness up front. Dark fruit. Flashes of red wine. Chocolate, caramel, and hints of vanilla. Almost savory at times, but I can't really put my finger on it. Tobacco & leather make appearances late on. Finally finishes with a hint of tannic bitterness - just enough to keep some balance and avoid cloying territory. No real indication of 11.5% abv - no heat whatsoever. Really wonderful and complex.

F: Carbonation is minimal, but present. Mouthfeel is viscous and coating.

O: Really just fantastic all around. This is one of the standards in the category for a reason. Excellent stuff. Absolutely worth the occasional, or better yet frequent, splurge at ~$10/btl.

Jan 29, 2021
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EmperorBevis from England

4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2019 vintage so just over a year old
Bottled, bottle conditioned and poured into a Westvleteren XII gold rimmed chalice
Pours a solid gold looking ale
Aroma is good sugar cane & fruit esters
Flavour is sugary sherry, pure booze and a little bitter kick
So moreish

Jan 13, 2021
Photo of Storm_Rryder
Storm_Rryder from Iowa

4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This looks a lot like the winter warmer I recently had. Same dark brown color with floating bits ! Some resemblance in taste too but this definitely has a wine like feel but not as fruity as real wine, obviously. Low bitterness. This is a 2016 bottle, drinking it in jan 2021, so it is roughly 4 yrs old. It is interesting, in a good way. Not an every day beer, but once in a blue moon, yea sure !

Jan 09, 2021
Photo of RaulMondesi
RaulMondesi from California

4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is what a Barleywine should look like. This is what a Barleywine should smell like. And this is what a Barleywine should taste like. Straight up. This is the Elsa Hosk of Barleywines: you look it up and down, and you try and hide your woody.

I’m done.

Jan 05, 2021
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AElfwine_Nerevar from Connecticut

4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2002 Vintage

L: Pours a dark burgundy with a minimal head that dissipates almost immediately.

S: Chocolate, cherries, raisins, caramel, molasses and light notes of tobacco and earth.

T: On the front I get sweet maple syrup mixed with dark fruit (I get raisin, plum, and light cherry notes). Mid palate the chocolate comes in hard and rides to the finish where it mixes with tobacco, dark earth, and molasses.

F: Full bodied, creamy, and sticky. Minimal carbonation and a bit of alcohol warming on the way down.

O: This is pretty much all one could want in a vintage English barleywine. Simply amazing.

Dec 25, 2020
Photo of Bartleby91
Bartleby91 from Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2001 Vintage
This is truly one of the best beers I've ever had. I love a good English barleywine and this is probably the best one I've had.
A: Murky brown with a small head that barely lasted. Just what a Barleywine should look like.
A: Huge raisin, fig, date, sweet caramel, like a fruitcake. Can smell the sweetness and it's wonderful. Has a tiny hint of heat.
T: Follows the nose with a big sweetness that is equal parts fruity and malty.
F: Rich and lasting with a nice and chewy finish. Coats the mouth and lasts for minutes.
O: This is probably one of my top 5 beers ever. Happy I have another bottle or two.

Nov 07, 2020
Photo of snaotheus
snaotheus from Washington

4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2020-11-01
9.3oz bottle served in a WABL sample glass. Brewed in 2012. Cellar release 11-2012. Pretty sure I bought it a month or two ago at Whidby Beer Works.

Pours a murky dark amber with only the tiniest ring of head, no visible carbonation. Didn't even give a gasp when the cap was removed -- moderately concerning. Smell is booze, raisins, maybe some oak, maybe some fig.

Taste is raisins, dates, figs, very slow and subtle bitterness making me think of grape must, fruit skins, and wood. Maybe some dark honey, some toffee (now that I say that, sticky toffee pudding comes to mind).

Mouthfeel is not lively, but not dead. Kind of thick, definitely sticky. Overall, this is really interesting and quite enjoyable.

Nov 01, 2020
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HipCzech from Texas

4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 275 ml bottle (2009 vintage) poured into a 9 oz Libbey Embassy snifter.

Appearance: Murky amber brown with a few big bubbles when pouring, but otherwise no head or lacing.

Smell: Deep aromas burnt caramel, dried dark fruit and faint cellar notes.

Taste: A kaleidoscope of flavors starting with sweet toffee and caramel before diving into tobacco leaf, oak wood, earthy hops and subtle bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodies, a bit syrupy, and only softly carbonated.

Overall: Not a looker, but an amazing sipper full of bold, complex but harmonious aromas and flavors.

Jun 13, 2020
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

3.92/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from 1988.

Pours clear mahogany with zero head, retention, or lacing. The beer is still. Chipped toffee and candied malt in the nose. Medium bodied with a slick, syrupy mouthfeel. Toffee, butterscotch, and sweet malt on the palate. Finishes sweet with lingering toffee and malt.

Mar 04, 2020
Photo of Holderness
Holderness from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage

L -- Tawny brown/amber body with a scant half finger of dense cream-colored head produced with aerated pour. More of a head than expected, and it sticks around for a while too, leaving some lacing on the glass
S -- The epitome of what a barleywine should smell like. Caramel, toffee, molasses, fig, raisin, dried cherry, raspberry, wildflower honey, oak, sherry, brown sugar... it really has it all. Complex without being overly syrupy
T -- Apple juice, molasses, herbal hop, light smokiness, simple syrup, licorice, tobacco leaf
F -- Big mouthfeel, minimal silky carb. Nice fluffiness in the mouthfeel and a mildly drying astringency on the tail end
O -- Might be my favorite barleywine to date. Really like this stuff; a true classic

90/100

Mar 04, 2020
Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
Victory_Sabre1973 from Minnesota

4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing 08', 09', and 10'. Consumed on 12-24-19.

08'
Pours darker than the other 2. No head, though a slight ring of foam around the edge of the glass. Some carbonation bubbles rising in the glass. Also has some floaties when poured.
The nose is quite strong with a caramel, toffee malt. Quite pleasing.
Taste - Very interesting, and very complex. I won't do justice to it and the flavors. It's got a surprising hop bite up front, but it mellows out into a smooth tasting toffee, and caramel flavor. There's almost a smoke flavor also on the backside. Just a slight hint of that.
Body - Thick and creamy. Fairly smooth. Slight alcohol burn, but minimal.
Solid vintage,
09'
Pours a lighter amber color than the 08', but darker than the 2010. No head, and no ring of foam around the rim. Least carbonated of the 3. Has some floaties when poured.
The nose on this vintage is really similar to the 08', but a bit more muted than that vintage.
Taste - This has a hop bite also up front, but it linger more throughout. More muted on the toffee and caramel flavors. A lot less of that smoke flavor than the 08', but there was a faint hint of it there.
Body - Slightly thicker than the 08'. A bit more of an alcohol burn, but it also not too strong.
10' The lightest of the 3 vintages I'm reviewing. No head, when poured, but like the 08' there's a ring of foam around the rim of the glass. Didn't really have many floaties when poured.
The nose on this one is a bit stronger like the 08'.
Taste - Not as much hop bite as the other 2. There's a decent caramel/toffee flavor. I'm also getting a lot more of that smoke flavor than the other 2.
Body - Thick, about like the 08'. Smooth, some alcohol burn.

Overall of the 3 vintages. First off, they can be aged, and they are amazing aged. I'm glad I was able to try all 3 to compare the vintages. There will be floaties in the beer, but it doesn't distract from the beer at all. If you can get this, try it fresh to see what you think, but, if you can, age this, and see what happens. Very happy with the results.

Dec 24, 2019
Photo of puck1225
puck1225 from Texas

4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2002 version. This stuff tastes great! Very caramel, toffe, dark fruit, raisins, rum, wonderful sweet booziness. No head or lacing but a rich dark golden brown. Nice sweet dark fruit smell.

A good one for Thanksgiving!

Nov 28, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage; drank 7/8/14 @ Deerfield Elementary.

Red rust hue; lots of cream flotsam floating around.

Cream head; nice lace.

Caramel, raspberry & apple brandy nose. Nice!

Medium thick, sticky mouthfeel.

The taste follows the nose; the flavors are good neighbors, melding well. Amazing!

Nov 28, 2019
Photo of GoBearsWalter34
GoBearsWalter34 from Illinois

1.89/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

2007 Harvest ale
Pours a dark, dishwater orange with no head. Lots of floaties.
Big smell you can pick up from a distance. Lots of carmel, dark fruits and booziness in smell.
I think or hope the bottle is bad. Its a drainpour! I have a 2002 that I am afraid to open.

Nov 17, 2019
Photo of Wolvmar
Wolvmar from Michigan

4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mar 2021 Review
2015 edition. Small can purchased at Livonia Liquor.

Very much the same smell and taste. Looks better with lots of clouds and a thick ring. Apple brandy, caramel, stone fruit and hint of bitter hops. Super well balanced. Delicious. Bumped look to 3.25 from 2.75

===========

2001 Edition
Pour: same
Nose: similar but even more sweet stone fruit, molasses
Taste: really sweet malts, stone fruit, toffee and caramel. I loved it.

Mouthfeel: same

Overall: same but liked it even more. Amazingly well aged

==========

Bottle purchased at Barrels & Vines. 2013 vintage.

Pour: reddish-brown, no head, a few bubbles. No lacing to speak of. Unremarkable but not unexpected.

Nose: pretty big dark candies fruit, caramel, molasses, dark malts.

Taste : follows the nose with even more complexity. Add some burnt toffee, sweet malt, leather. There’s a ton you can take from this beer. I didn’t get any oxidation but can’t say I’m an expert. Awesome.

Mouthfeel: low carbonation, not syrupy but some viscosity. Smooth, easy to drink.

Overall: you probably need to love barleywine to love this beer. But, if you are a barleywine lover, you should absolutely try this. Complex, balanced, subtle yet powerful. A great beer that has aged well.

Sep 20, 2019
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HardTarget from Texas

4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Cellar release 11 -2013 (purchased 2019).

Appearance: Chestnut brown glass doesn't have haze as much as just depth of color making it translucent, with a warm glow. No head, no signs of carbonation, slightly murky.

Aroma: Brown sugar, toffee, perfumed alcohol, autumn leaves.

Taste: Super sweet, barley wine profile, purple grape juice, toffee, leather, dust, gravitas.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body, no carbonation, solid chew, warming note.

Overall: Malt bomb, a glorious one. It's a slow sipper, but goes down easy, kind of builds in intensity as you go forward, heady alcoholic kick. J.W. Lee's? Yes please and thank you.

Jun 13, 2019
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2017 Vintage

Are you kidding me this is a 9 oz beer bottle, I feel cheated oh well on to the review. The pour is dark orange / copper with a tiny white head of foam that dissipates rather quickly into the snifter. I can see lots of sediment in the snifter as well. The aroma is of 2 week old soaked fruits. Wow that flavor is interesting, I agree with the honey note, i'm also tasting some caramel, sweet candied fruits, it's a little medicinal, some earthy spicy tobacco & the finish reminds me of pizza crust. I must admit that the taste is better than the aroma. It taste quite different from Thomas Hardy's Vintage Ale. Cheers! A-

May 07, 2019
Photo of VABA
VABA from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a hazy amber color with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has sweet grain hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a sweet grain flavor
M-A medium bodied well carbonated beer
O-A nice Barleywine

Mar 17, 2019
Photo of CaptainHate
CaptainHate from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2007 bottle poured into a DFH tulip. No carbonation over a reddish brown body with floaters at the bottom.

Smell was of raisins over a boozy sherry aroma. Taste mirrored the smell but had almost no alcohol but this is the first ale I've had that I could taste leather and tobacco that I've heard so much of previously but never experienced. No cardboard or oxidation tastes that I could detect. Mouthfeel was fine as it lingered nicely while not being as thick and oily as other British Barleywines I've had.

Obviously this is something special. I don't know if 12 years is the optimum cellaring time but it's difficult to imagine how this can be improved on.

Mar 10, 2019
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed as part of BJCP training. 17D English Barleywine. 2013 vintage
Pour basically no head, very hazy dark reddish chestnut color

Nose obvious aged aroma, soft aged malt, mild vinous oxidation like notes, rich darker malts, plenty of caramel and Maillard notes, mild toffee, lots of dried fruits, apple, little raisin, hint papery, no hops, a mild smooth alcohol, as it warms a touch of earthy hop and more dried fruits, and more sherry like notes

Taste high sweetness, big sweet malts and sweet flavors, rich toasty and caramel malts, toffee, molasses, bread crust, mild oxidation vinous notes and faint papery, mild but smooth alcohol, a touch of bitterness and mild earthy hop notes but very little, plenty of dried fruits, fig, raisin, dried apple/pear, hops getting a touch earthy spicy later, with fair bitterness ramping a bit. Finish is still fairly sweet, a bit more bitterness and alcohol.

Mouth is fuller bod, a bit chewy thick, but smooth texture and smooth alcohol warmth, lower alcohol but within style esp for age

Overall very sweet and hard to drink, but as expected for the style, nice fruits, nice aging, all around well done example of English Barleywine

Feb 16, 2019
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socon67 from New York

4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 poured into a Firestone Walker mini snifter.
Tawny brown pour. Scents of almonds, dry sherry, and sugar cookies. Flavors of maple candy, almond paste, and candied fruit. Feel is cough syrup thick is it coats the tongue and lingers. Perfect sipper to end 2018, and ten years of age have served this bottle well.

Jan 01, 2019
Harvest Ale (Limited Edition) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1638 ratings