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

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Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)
BA SCORE
4.24/5
Exceptional
1,531 Ratings
Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)
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: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 12-18-2000

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#869
Reviews:
865
Ratings:
1,531
pDev:
13.68%
Bros Score:
4.6
 
 
Wants:
268
Gots:
227
Trade:
14
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,531 |  Reviews: 865
Reviews by bonbini26:
Photo of bonbini26
5/5  rDev +17.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of SD-Alefan
4.95/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2001 vintage. Pours a very dark brown. Still a bit of carbonation on this 15-year-old beer. A minimal skiff of tan head.
Aroma is a dream of malt. Fine leather, tobacco, toffee, dark fruit, peanut butter and vanilla. Crazy.
The taste starts off rich, sweet caramel and plum. As it flows over the tongue, I pick up leather, tobacco, peanut butter, chocolate and chocolate cake. Each sip seems to bring new tastes. Sweet and rich throughout.
Mouthfeel is medium and sticky.
This bottle aged beautifully!

 502 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Autumn 2012 edition. Pours hazy, orange-brown in color with minimal head. Taste is cognac, beachwood, cedar, and big toasted malts. Very sweet, heavy bodied, with low carbonation. Overall makes for a tasty malty sipper. Similar to other JW Lee's barleywines. I will get this again and see how this tastes with more age.

 325 characters

Photo of vinicole
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Feb 2017 - Vintage 2007 Overall = 4.58 (as shown)
Bottle direct from the brewery.
Deep auburn with a thin wispy head. Yeast floaters apparent.
Rich aroma. Multitude of rum infused fruit. Alcohol is noticeable. Slightly oxidised sherry notes. Toffee. A mellifluous concoction.
The taste reflects the bouquet and more so. Very sweet.
Unctuous in nature but nevertheless has high drinkability.
A very enjoyable experience and 2008 - 2016 inc' yet to be drunk from my cellar.

March 2017 - Vintage 2008 - More sherry like in taste and aroma. Phenols are noticeable. Bitter finish. Very low carbonation. Overall = 3.9

May 2017 - Vintage 2016 - Dark marmalade colour. Flat. Treacle. Sweet again. Definitely needs ageing. Overall = 4.00

July 2017 - Vintage 2015 - Lighter than others. Reduced aroma and taste. Hint of oak. Very soft. At two years old this one is developing nicely. Overall = 4.25

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Photo of papat444
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

***2000 Vintage***

Big thanks to jtrockchalk for getting me this a few years ago. This will be the oldest beer i've had. Enjoyed on Dec. 1, 11 years after the bottling date (Dec. 1, 2000).

Appearance: A lop-sided light brown head forms, 1-2 fingers. Am opaque body that looks brown but actually has strong deep red hues. Lots of coating on the glass as i swirl.

Smell: Strong leather, musty, earthy, toffee, dark cherries, wood raisins and figs. Constant and strong aroma. Very nice.

Taste: Wow, this is rich! Raisins, fig newtons, caramel, dark fruits (mostly cherries, not tart), caramelized sugar and fruit cake. Decadent, sweet but not cloying and just great.

Mouthfeel: This has literally alcohol heat on it. Deceivingly easy to drink, smoothness is incredible and just a slight bit syrupy but i still like it a lot.

Overall: This drinks so well. Great flavor. One of my favorites and a highlight of this year.

 921 characters

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2002 vintage, 15 years old. Stumbled upon it at Whole Foods...

Lusciously malty and sweet. Tastes heavenly. Dark bread and chocolate. Toffee. Ripe fruit, musky melon and cherry. Lingering sweet chocolate. Modest tea-like bitterness comes through in finish.

Mmmm. Exemplary.

Dark golden brown. Almost no carb, perhaps 2% of a baby beer. Serious yeast cake in bottle. Thick and syrupy.

Such a treat.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2014 bottle poired into a snifter at Hopcat Chicago. Minimal head/retention, cloyingly sweet even for me but still a very satisfying experience and quite representative of the style.

 191 characters

Photo of Jacobob10
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage. "Cellar Release 12-2014." 275 mL bottle.

Look: Deep amber and cloudy. The color is beautiful though, it seems to shine in the glass. Small off-white head with poor retention and sparse lacing on the glass.

Smell: Rich malt aroma. Bread, caramel, toffee, dark chocolate, raisin, sherry, butterscotch, maple syrup, and a hint of alcohol. There's an underlying orange marmalade smell too, possibly from the hops. Complex and awesome.

Taste: Rich malt flavor to match the aroma. Caramel stands out the most but plenty of raisin and maple syrup as well. Sweet, long lasting finish.

Feel: Despite being so rich it's surprisingly light on its feet, landing somewhere around medium to medium-full bodied. Sticky and​ chewy with not much carbonation. Warming at the end.

Overall: A world classic and well deserving of it. A big English Barleywine that boasts a strong and complex flavor profile without ever feeling too heavy. Highly recommended for novice and seasoned barleywine drinkers alike.

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had a 2001 vintage in 2016, and it was unreal. Sweet, mellow, toasted malty, Madeira, caramel. Literally everything I had hoped and imagined an English Barleywine could be. We were blown away, and hadn't expected much for something that sits on shelves for years. But to our taste a far superior beer to BCBW and almost any other Barleywine I've tried.

 352 characters

Photo of LAp
4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Sampled as a vertical in tasters at a barleywine tasting event. 2014 tried alongside 2001.
The 2014 barleywine was delicious - a bright, young barleywine that was not overly saccharine despite having the classic robust malt presence. Trace hints of hop, and a less heavy mouthfeel contributed to an autumnal palate. Excellent.
The 2001 extraordinary. An incredible window into what can happen within the confines of a bottle over a decade and a half. Gone were the light, youthful notes of trace hop and sugars. They were instead replaced with a toffee, caramel syrup. Notes of dates and figs more prominent than in almost any bottle I've tried before. A true treat to try 15 years aged.

This is absolutely a standout barleywine. One of my favorite instantiations of one of my favorite styles.

 803 characters

Photo of oberon
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1998 vintage,I opened a 2003 bottle a few months back and it was just a bit much so I picked this one seeing it was aged already seven years.Pours a deep chesnut brown with just a slight ruby hue with one finger head wich honestly I didnt expect,aromas are incredible walnut and raisin stick out most with a touch of orange,rich and robust flavors but are much more in tune with each other than the 2003 big raisin/prune up front with a roasted nut and maple finish.Thick but not quite syrupy mouthfeel glides down easy,cant think of a better nighttime sipper,just awseome.

 573 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance – Very thick and cloudy orange with a good head that left little pools of foam on top of the body.

Smell – This carries an aroma similar to a strong/old ale. There’s a malt base to it, but also a significant amount of white wine. The fruitiness is light and mellow, but the alcholol undertones indicate otherwise.

Taste – The sweet wine flavor comes out bigtime. This is more like a fine port or apertiff than a Barley Wine. There’s some huge orange and cherry in here. Not the cheap, candy syrup kind that you get with a lot of ales, but refined, high-quality flavors.

The alcohol is strong but mellow, if that makes any sense. A fine 20% port will go down like Courtney Love at a rock concert, and this one does the same.

Beyond that, the malt backbone comes through qutie nicely, reminding the drinker that this is indeed an ale and not a tawny Australian port. The woody character enhances the other sweets such as rich maple, honey, and pure cane sugar (loads of it). This is a fine ale for sure.

Mouthfeel – This full-bodied ale is extremely rich and chewy. It will actually get your jaws working and have you looking for a spoon.

Drinkability – Before or after dinner would be my suggestion. I had this after a nice Claim Jumper meal with leftover Halloween chocolate, and it was the perfect match.

Comments – This was the 2002 vintage, and I happened on it purely by chance. If you like a fine tawny port you’ll love this ale.

Update – 1997 Vintage: Much darker in color, actually a dark brown, with a deeper malt taste. The sweets are especially different. Here we have dark, overripe fruits with big maple and molasses. Less of a port and more like a strong, malty ale is how I’d describe it.

Probably a half a point higher at the nose since it is so much more blended. Definitely a good keeper at six years old (tasted 11/10/03).

Update – I was fortunate enough to participate in a rack of 2002 – 1998 over at weefishhead’s and here are some abrreviated notes.

2002 – Raisin juice w/hvy port flavors. Needs aging.
2001 – Fruits more complex & mellow but still needs aging.
2000 – Fruits & sugars lighten up & ABV pulls back. Can start to drink at this age (4 y/o).
1999 – Flavors are even & ready to drink (5 y/o), although sugars still dominate.
1998 – Malts now dominate; best drinker of the bunch (6 y/o). Same age as the ’97 I had (see above Update) in 2003.

 2,441 characters

Photo of braugon
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Brewed 2011

A - Caramel hue, not as brown as some barleywines, small white head, stayed around as a thin rim

S - Awesome, sweet barleywine scents of rum, raisin, oak, phenol, caramel, slightly musty

T - Lively, sweet, oak, caramel, raisin, port wine,

M - Medium to full, with a present carbonation

O - Really great, if you like barleywines, you will probably like this, 11.5% abv is always a plus when it's this good.

 423 characters

Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of steenkampa
1.37/5  rDev -67.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Ok...a bit of background.

I've tried almost 1000 different beers at this point,...mainly Belgian and pretentious US Microbrews. I love beer. I LOVE Barley wines.

That being said... I tried both the 2007 and the 2002 in the same sitting, and both were just... Rancid.

Looked pretty nice, except for tons of yeast floating around the bottom. TONS...nice dark-ish golden brown, with a great body. No lacing or head to speak of.

The 2007 was a little lighter in color, just barely.

The flavor of the 2007 was absolutely offensive in every way. It tasted as if I was drinking the run off of rotted raisins. Not fermented, but ROTTED. I spit it out, gagged...gargled a glass of water, and went in for a second try. Again, gagged, nearly vomited, and gave up...gave the rest to my beer nerd friend, who proceeded to do the same.

"This is disgusting. I would rather drink Bud Light pisswater crap over this."

The 2002 was slightly more drinkable, in that the rotted raisin flavor was slightly more "smooth" if you will. I didn't gag, however it still took me over 40min to finish this horrible brew.

I was bound and determined to finish it, because it was $12 per bottle,...a 375ml...

Overall? I would never under any circumstances buy this again, recommend it to any of my friends, or really do anything but lambaste this bastardization of one of my favorite styles.

This was disgusting and offensive on so many levels that I truly would rather drink a Corona.

EDIT: This beer was so absolutely offensive to me, that I got off my ass and did my first official review. Maybe I'll get around to uploading my notes on the other 999 or so, but that'll be another day.

 1,668 characters

Photo of tectactoe
3.45/5  rDev -18.6%

Photo of t2grogan
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MadScientist
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A medium copper colored beer with good clarity and a few chunky yeast blobs floating. There isn't much of a head probably from the high abv but what is there is a tan ring of soapy bubbles.

S: A malty, earth smelling beer with a fair amount of raisin-like fruit esters. There was some chewable-vitamin sort of aroma that calms down into a light anise quality. Some tobacco and light oak aromas as well.

T: Sort of malt concentrate with a lot of sweetness. There is a medium amount of raisin and dried fruit and some orange flavors with a light bit of pipe tobacco. A Medium-strong malt sweetness bring toffee, caramel and a moderately-light cocoa flavor. With a light hops bitterness and the alcohol give a half hearted effort to counter malt the balance ends up being pretty sweet . The finish is sweet and the aftertaste is of malt sweetness, oranges and a a touch of cocoa again.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with a low level of carbonation and a medium amount of alcohol warmth.

O: An elegant and balanced beer if you're looking for a dessert beer. Keep in mind it's a bit sweet even for an English Barleywine. There is a nice complexity to the malt profile.

 1,171 characters

Photo of jono0101
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of brownbeer
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2005 vintage poured into a NB snifter

Tawny in color with a hard pour leaving no head.

Quite a variety of aromas in here, this one's a little tougher. Caramel, tawny port, alcohol, cocoa nibs, cherry fruitiness, vanilla.

Sweet but not cloying. Raisin, rich toffee, a hint of vanilla and maple, and an earthy finish.

Not much carbonation but that doesn't take away from the greatness of this beer. I still don't believe how drinkable this is for how strong it is. True. Age-worthy. World class.

 497 characters

Photo of kaimcm
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lees Vintage 2001, reviewed 8/06. poured into a wide St. Berny chalice. served slightly chilled.

A: dark maple, looks like very thin syrup. no head, but no surprise as well. just kinda sits in the glass, body projects a nice color but not much to look at. though with aged beer I tend to cut some slack.

S: huge maple, brown sugar nose. rich malt, some smokiness and even some barbeque qualities. toffee, caramel, loads of sugar. very nutty, almonds and hazlenut essence mostly. creaminess followed and closed by total decadence. some booze, though surprisinly not much. huge.

T: not that different than nose. the caramel, toffee, nutty sugaryness is the first and largest wave. extremely oily and slick, coats the mouth. a light dryness, almost astringency follows and persists through the finish, which is admittedly not that long for such a complex brew. some wood, bourbon, and even light apple qualities pull through near the end before the whole thing finishes. the mouth is left dry on the tongue, but with sugar stuck to the teeth. a slight alcohol warmth rises just as the swallow disappears. five minutes later you feel it all over your head.

M: as mentioned, oily, slick, coating, full bodied, viscous and dense.

D: doesnt count. a pure joy. expensive, high abv, hard to get. who cares. like I said, this doesnt apply to this beer in my opinion. takes all night though, thats for sure.

 1,412 characters

Photo of tbryan5
4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I thought this beer was very sweet and almost bordered on being a dessert beer. But yes, it is an excellent English barleywine that packs a ton of flavor in a small bottle.

 172 characters

Photo of SkiBum22
1.5/5  rDev -64.6%

Photo of bulldogg915
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

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

2009 vintage stored in a pantry that holds a steady 50 - 55 degrees.
Served in a brandy snifter.
Little to no head. Just lies there. Like brandy. Color is rust/brown. Clear. Not much sediment.
First impression is man, this is really sweet. Figs, molasses, honey notes. A pleasant sipper. If in the mood for a sipping wine - er - beer this will fit the bill but man, is it sweet.
I have another I will be putting down for a year or two to see how it mellows.
In spite of my machinations about sweetness, I like it overall.
I might update my review as I get used to it.

 568 characters

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Harvest Ale (Limited Edition) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 1,531 ratings
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