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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,522 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
Ratings:
1,522
Reviews:
864
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
13.65%
 
 
Wants:
266
Gots:
225
For Trade:
14
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,522 |  Reviews: 864
Photo of dpnelson1978
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

9.3 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip.
2000 Vintage

$7.99 / ea.

55°F

S: Maple syrup. Extremely sweet caramel, and a bit of roasted barley. Hints of oak peek through.

A: Opaque dark brown body, tight medium head, with nice retention, and good lacing leading to a light creamy cover.

T: Very sweet. Strong maple character, with a hint of caramel and malt, with a smooth booze finish, and low bitterness. Well balanced, but perhaps a little too sweet.

M: Smooth heavy body with low carbonation.

D: Strong tasting beer that should be savored rather than sessioned. Excellent beer and this score should not be interpreted as a weakness. Sweetness is a bit cloying.

O: My first J.W. Lees Harvest Ale was delicious. Would be a great after dinner drink due to its massive sweet maple flavor.

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Photo of Klym
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass. Shared with Cavery. 2006 vintage.

A: Pours a hazy raisin brown with almost no head besides a patch of clear bubbles that dissipate into a microfoam ring around the top of the beer. Looks flat and honestly unappealing. Still, can't knock it since it's quite an old barleywine.

S: A little heat sets on top of a raisin, oregano, cardimom, black pepper and general spicy kick. Spicy dark fruits run the show here but especially raisin.

T: Wow. Kicks in with truckloads of flavor. Very deep and complex spiciness with far more aspects than I could identify or name. Strong dark fruit/raisin sweetness, leather, deep resin. Balanced, deep, almost jam packed sweetness and flavor. Really, unbelievable taste

M: Watery mouthfeel but it's not unexpected of this old of a barleywine. A little bit thicker of a viscosity, which helps support the sweetness/flavors.

O: Really tasty beer. I can see why people age this for long periods. Glad I have some 2010s to age. Definitely have to try this if you like barleywines.

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Photo of ccrida
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage poured into my Meantime Snifter, J.W. Lees Harvest Ale is a dark, murky bronze with very small, large bubbled collar of off-white bubbles leaving on a few flecks of lace. Served at 60F.

Smell is vinous and sweet, caramel malt, butter and boozy vapors.

Taste is robust, intense sweet honey maltiness with an ashy, woody bite, almost smokey. At first it was to much but as I adjust to it I appreciate the nice counter-balance it provides to the sugars. . It is hard to describe the distinct malt taste of the harvest ale, perhaps nutty, maple syrup.

Mouthfeel is on the sticky viscous side, but it's not as sugary and thick as it could be, in spite of leaving a nice coating on the lips. No rough edges either, it's really quick nice, especially for being on the young side.

Drinkability is good, this is a world classic and great example of the style. A quintessential cellar brew, even at only 2+ years old, it's drinking pretty nicely. Overall it's intense but smooth, and while it is made for contemplative sipping, when my enthusiasm results in to large a sip, it still goes down easily.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1999 vintage, big thanks to kecarl7 for this amazing extra!
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- Pours a thick dark amber, brown with a thin beige minimal head. Lacing on the edge of glass resides almost immediately.

S- sweet dark fruits, caramel, toffee, leather and tobacco.

T- crazy sweetness, dark fruits, maple syrup, molasses, some leather as well.

M- full bodied not said lightly, medium carbonation. Thick syrup feel with a smooth finish.

O- a little overly sweet but the body and falvors in this beer is like no other barlewine I have ever had. Believe I have a 2002 which I hope is near as amazing as the 1999!

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Photo of genaro
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A review of the Vintage Harvest Ale 2000. This is a great beer to wind down with on a cold winter night. It has a nice, sweet malty aroma with traces of alcohol and fruit. This cloudy amber/copper beer is capped with a good sustaining head. It has a doughy mouthfeel and I found the taste to be brandy-like with caramel, figs, and oak. The lace is good and it finishes with a slight bittersweet taste. It is a bit pricey, but well worth it. It's potency became apparent as I wrote my original notes.

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Photo of Overlord
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to RoyMunson for the wondrous extra. A 2001 bottle ... he is truly a beacon of light amongst the darkness of the series of tubes that is the interwebs.

Pours a dark amber/orange with some reddish hues. Some bubbling, but just a thin tan head and a bit of remaining crust on the sides of the glass. Basically, almost no head.

The smell is sweet malt. Tons of it. And maybe some rum and dark fruits. The label says hops, but I can't detect much, if any. This is a sweet beer. I'm surprised again at the dark fruit, figs/raisins, and rum notes. I guess I'm used to barleywines being uberhopped here in the States. Syrupy thick mouthfeel. This is somewhat less sugary than the sherry aged version, but to be quite frank, I don't taste much of a difference. This is probably slightly more drinkable.

This reminds me of a port ... or a rum soaked dark fruit dessert ... moreso than most beers I've had. If I had ready access, I might buy one now and then to lay down for later.

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Photo of yelterdow
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1997 Vintage.

Label says "best before Nov. 2002"... jeez, it's March '06! 250 ml. bottle. Let's see if this $5.99 was well spent or just thrown away.

Served in a grossly oversize brandy snifter at cellar temperature. Paired with Rogue Creamery's Smoky Blue Cheese. Mmmm.

Appearance- Pours a clear dark ruby, garnishing a one finger light tan head... damn impressive for a nine year old barleywine! Island-like lacing clings to the sides of the glass, as the weighty liquid mass beckons me to sip from its royal goodness.

Smell- Holy crap... nine years later, this beer is ready to unfurl. Huger than huge vanilla, old wood, sweet dark figs and dates drenched in aged port wine. Smooth with no alcohol burn in the nose whatsoever.

Taste- Instantly sweet on the tip of the tongue, displaying a gigantic malt character that showcases meat and molasses as the backbone... some vanilla and possibly oak barrels come forth and carry through the finish.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Almost syrupy in the mouth... smooth but thick and viscous. Carbonation levels are tuned down way low, letting the saturation of flavor flow abundantly. Heavy, yet easy drinking. What a fantastic nightcap, paired with a big blue cheese like this one... who needs dinner when you got this to wind down your day?

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Photo of Atron67
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 2001 bottle thats been aging for awhile

A- poured a dark reddish amber with a thin tan head that lasted a little while and didn't leave much head. Foggy with little bit of particulate visible
S- Very malty, little syrupy notes, dark fruits, some figs not much notes of hops, interesting and complex smelling
T- this is dangerous for its alcohol, smooth malty layers with the dark fruits providing complements to the malty character, low hops. a little syrupy but still exceptional
M- a little syruppy, heavy body, light carbonation
D- its very good, its smoothness and body provide a really nice barelywine which goes down really smoothly

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Photo of pershan
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD. It was a bit pricey ($9 for a chalice), but was well worth it, IMHO.

A: Poured a brackish-amber with virtually no head into a chalice.

S: The aroma was of caramel, brown sugar, and alcoholic esters. No discernable hop aroma, so I could tell right away that this way going to be a fairly sweet barleywine.

T: A very sweet profile, as expected, with caramel, toffee, and brown sugar dominating. Big-time alcoholic esters, but really no discernable hop component - not a complaint, just an observation - I thoroughly enjoyed this beer even though I enjoy a nice hoppy brew.

M: Fairly syrupy and thick.

D: A hefty, albeit sweet, barleywine. I would have liked more of a hop component in the aroma and flavor, but still a very enjoyable sipping beer.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on draft at Columbia Ale House in a tulip

A-Pour was cloudy orange/brown with LOTS of sediment. Thin head that stayed thought drinking. Decent lacing.

S-Aroma of brown sugar, dark fruit, raisin, caramel.

T-Taste started sweet and transitioned to tart.

M-Mouthfeel was buttery/oily and full with a lively subtle carbonation.

O-Overall a great barleywine a must get.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Pencible
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage. This poured a nearly opaque light copper with no head. It smelled like dried apricot and honey wheat, with sugary caramel and orange, and a bit of alcohol and cream. It tasted like sugary caramel and honey wheat and orange concentrate at first, then switched to toasted oat and charred oak and alcohol. It was watery (surprisingly thin) with a bit of carbonation, and a very sweet and slightly tart aftertaste. Overall this was a very sweet but delicate beer that was strong but not overpowering (as opposed to 120 Minute or The Beast). It had a great complex flavor that was very enjoyable to sip, but the noticeable alcohol kept this from being more easily drunk. I wish this beer had more body, but otherwise it was great. This could still probably use a few more years before it's hit its peak, and last much longer than that before it declines at all.

I followed this with a bottle of the 2006 vintage, but that had unfortunately been oxidized. It poured a very dark mahogany. The smell wasn't bad, but the taste was dominated by rusty metallic and moldy flavors. Very sad.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1997 Vintage picked off the shelves of the wonderful Green’s Discount Beverage on Buford Highway today. The body was reddish brown with a little bit of carbonation and no head, as can be anticipated with a seven year old brew. The aroma is a mix of raisins, licorice, and soy sauce. The taste is incredibly bright and fruity for a beer of this age. I can detect grapes, figs, apples, pears, and apricots. There is not even a hint of hop bitterness. The yeast is dusty and zesty, but seems to have thrived for quite a while in the bottle. The beer is definitely a sipper, as the alcohol content is enough to make you keel over unless you are vigilant. The only downfall is the extreme sweetness of the beer, but that comes with the territory I suppose. I will be seeking out more recent vintages of the beer. I may also find and keep another 1997 for 10 or 20 years to see what will happen.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful cask serving, 2009 vintage.

Presentation: 10 oz cask serving. Menu notes offers a succinct description of the brew, and Alc. by Vol. (11.5%) Served into a snifter.

A - Rich deep amber to amber brown pour with a nice frothy head, good retention and fair lacing.

S - Sweet malt caramel nose with faint notes of dark dried fruits with a light earthy sense.

T - Caramel, caramel, with a nicely integrated earthy sense, musty even that works in great sync. Classic syrupy range over its malty base. The long sweetness is broken by a dash that feels a bit more musty than earthy, compared to the 99 vintage, but working again very well.

M - Medium to full body with small but fair carbonation, light stickiness over the syrupy memory.

D - Nice sipper rich without a dash of boredom. The highlight of the day.

Notes: Remembers me of some nuances of the 99 vintage that I had bottled not too long ago, and compares very well to the 06 vintage I´ve tried on tap before. All in all the J.W. Lees Harvest Ale remains a classic work trying, comparing and enjoying.

 1,070 characters

Photo of ummswimmin
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this at the Ginger Man. The review is taken from notes.

This beer had a pretty brown color with minimal head. The head was just scum when it got to my table. They poured this in a small snifter glass which worked perfectly for a stong, fragrant beer.

There was minimal smell here. I picked up brown suger and general sweetness. You can pick up the alcohol when you provide movement to the glass.

The flavor is incredibly rich and very complex. The taste is strong, but the balance works really well. There is a ton of alcohol notes.

This is an awesome barleywine. I recommend it to sip by the fire while narrorating a classic english novel. Just be careful because this beer is still very smoothe.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Lexington Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

2012 edition. The first stop of our trip through the Lees Harvest horizontal. This stuff pours a clear sunshine tawny topped by a finger or so (at best) of khaki foam. The nose comprises sweet caramel and toffee, white grapes, light stonefruits, mild vanilla, and a bit of booze tossed in for good measure. The taste brings in more of the same, the robust sweetness shining through, not unlike a sherry or even a tokaji. The body is a hefty medium, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a full feel. Overall, a damn fine beer, straight up. I remember thoroughly enjoying the 1999 vintage I had in 2010, and even this much fresher this stuff comes charging through. It's definitely sweet, but never comes across as cloying. I wish it were cheaper, just so I could drink and age as many as possible (and I don't age many beers, mind you).

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Photo of Warren2621
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kwjd
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of akk14
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Johnct
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2008 bottle served into a snifter.

The head is creamy, pale and white and dissipates quickly. I guess that's not unreasonable given the 7 years of age. At least there was head and carbonation at all. The body is medium amber and full of yeast particles. Ain't no thang, I'ma slurp those bad boys down. 4

Quite the lovely smell coming from this: tobacco, oak, caramel and vanilla with a bit of a spicy edge. Takes me to the caribbean for tabaco y ron. There's certainly a vinous quality as well though, port-like oxidation. 4.5

A mishmash of flavors circle on this and they take the beer in a number of different directions. There's a heavily oxidized caramel flavor that is entirely port-like and the hops have faded to the point of imparting a tad of grassy but almost vegetal flavor, but this quickly settles into the background. The deeper I get in the more it becomes a delicious play between rich caramel and port. 4.25

This beer is practically a port. Thick, creamy and smooth almost to perfection with so little carbonation yet it drinks wonderfully with feeling as if something is lacking. There's a tiny amount of bitterness and the sweetness isn't overdone, so it really just drinks like the smooth sipper and warming beer that you'd want and expect. 4.5

Fantastic and ages splendidly.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 2005 edition pours a honey amber with a smallish white head. The smell has a very strong alcohol, dark fruit,prune or raisin, aroma with some wood and wine like scents. The taste is much smoother than I expected. This is creamy with no harsh alcohol flavors,just a whiskey barrel aged smoothness with some sweet malt and fruit flavors. This is very good. indeed. The m/f is heavy and very well balanced. This is one of the most drinkable barleywines on the market and I would buy this again in a second.

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Photo of Brandt
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage

this beer poured out a darker caramely brown color with very little carbonation and no head to speak of

the noze on this is very rich and smells of figs and rasins strongly and other dried fruits, maybe a hint of dried cherry. there is also an aroma of brown sugar and a bread dough character, a touch of cinnamon and the faintest of woody smells

the taste is of rich toffe and rasin first and foremost followed by astringent tannins that give it a dry feel briefly before it goes down with a warm sweet boozyness

the finish is a stong fulll body that coats the tongue and leaves a great balance of sweet sugars and a drier bitterness along the back of the tongue. i was very interested to find this one and it was a treat to be able to try it. very rich drink but i would like to have some of these that are further down the line to compare.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

vintage 2000

pours a deep brown with a slight hint of ruby. cream colored head builds up and then leaves light retention.

super sweet and rich. hints of super sweet toffee and rich caramel. malty.

like liquid candy. loads of toffee, caramel, and butterscotch. very sweet and rich. very sweet malt and light booze in the back.

thick, full, light syrupy feel. mild carbonation.

pretty good but very sweet and rich, a super sipper. aged great though.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

99 vintage: Pours a hazy copper color with a thin tan head (looks good for a 6 year old barleywine). The aroma leaps out of the glass, with a huge malt presence of molasses, dark fruits (plum, fig, blackberry, grape), toasted breadm, some floral and citrus hops, fruity esters and a not overwhelming alcohol. The flavor starts out with an intense molasses sweetness, followed by a big malt character, with notes of toasted bread, almonds, dark fruits (fig, plum, grape), some light citrusy hops, fruity esters, and ethanol. The mouthfeel is chewy and thick, with light carbonation and drinkability is good . A nice barleywine for sure, but a bit sweet for my taste (reminded me a bit of eku28).

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Harvest Ale (Limited Edition) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
4.25 out of 5 based on 1,522 ratings.
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