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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,520 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:
1,520
Reviews:
863
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
13.65%
 
 
Wants:
268
Gots:
227
For Trade:
15
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,520 |  Reviews: 863
Photo of captaincoffee
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Doing three reviews on the 2015, 2011, and 2008 vintages over the next three days, and I'll be updating my scores with each.

Starting with the 2015, it pours a very pretty mahogany with a dense half-inch head, tiny packed bubbles, and ultimately leaves a ring around the beer glass but only spotting lacing. Nose is boozy, rich malt, and some earthiness from the EKG that makes it past the malt overtones. Not very complex, but this vintage is very young (just released last month). Taste is sweet, malty, boozy. A bit more bitterness on the finish than anticipated helps it from being too cloying. Brown bread and honey. Mouthfeel is full and thick...about what you'd expect from an 11.5% barleywine, but the higher-than-expected carbonation also helps keep it from being cloying. Overall, a good beer that should improve with time. Fingers crossed on the next one. Look 4.25, Smell 3.75, Taste 4, Feel 4.25, Overall 4. Total 3.98 at this point.

Next is the 2011. The appearance seems lighter in color with some orange. In fact, the JW Lees website notes the 2015 is darker than most previous years. The nose is still malty and earthy, but less boozy. I'm not going to change my scores for either of these categories. The taste has evolved, however. Richer caramelized sugars. Still lots of brown bread and honey. Worth an extra .25 in my opinion in both the taste and overall scores. Look 4.25, Smell 3.75, Taste 4.25, Feel 4.25, Overall 4.25. Total 4.13 at this point.

Finally, the 2008. Pour is darker again, more like the 2015, but there is very little head anymore. Some bits of stuff in the bottom. Nose has really changed; it is very raisin/prune and sweet. Taste is also like liquid raisins. Port/sherry comparisons now obvious. Worth an extra .5 on the nose and .25 taste, with a minus .5 on look. If this beer was a little less over-the-top sweet, I could give even higher scores. Look 3.75, Smell 4.25, Taste 4.5, Feel 4.25, Overall 4.25. Total 4.32.

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Photo of MunsonRoyE
3.99/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Can_has_beer
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2001 Vintage, poured from the bottle into a rinsed glass tulip.

This poured dark brown with no head and a slight murky edge. Not bad looking at all, for a 15 yr old. The aroma is very complex. It is an amalgam of tobacco, toffee, honey and candied almonds. The prominent flavor is honey, lots of sweet honey tones. The mouthfeel is very appropriate, as its viscous and syrupy. Upon a few imbibes, the taste has quite a long finish that keeps radiating flavors of black tea leaves. It's surprising for how sweet the beer tastes, it is not cloying and I think it's because it's supported by those dark tea-like tannins.

This was very interesting. Its quite amazing when you get to drink a perfectly cellared vintage beer. This is definitely a dessert sipper, not a post-workout or shower beer. A nice splurge.

 809 characters

Photo of BKotch
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of thatoneguymike
3.59/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of mig100
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Klourie
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of chinchill
3.71/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Cask of 2015 vintage.
Sweet and near cloying but acceptable given style and ABV.
High abv is not hidden but the ale is not hot.
Complex aroma is better than the flavor which would probably benefit from some aging.

 213 characters

Photo of cduffy201
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Korbynlehr
1.27/5  rDev -70.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

That is the worst tasting thing since scrapple

46 characters

Photo of Nunya
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Cdidden
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet but amazingly drinkable

29 characters

Photo of deNerval
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Photo of majorlance
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Hoppsbabo
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mine's a 2013 vintage. I have three more bottles that I shall age.

A: Pours out nice and gloopy. Lovely clear bright amber with an off-white bubbly head.
S: Bready yeast and loads of rum. Cannot overstate how rummy it smells.
T: Yup, very rummy indeed. Very sweet, but not as sweet as the cherry/whisky cask aged versions I've tried. Gloopy and almost flat but has a very classy effervescence. Drinks like it's on cask. Very cough-syrup like. The mouthfeel is just perfect. Liquorice makes a late appearance.
O: It's taken a couple of years to hunt down one of these buggers but the wait was worth it.

 603 characters

Photo of tbryan5
4.04/5  rDev -4.9%
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 BIll_Currie
3.93/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had a hard time finding this one. great smell when the cap came off. English barleywines are a bit different that us barelywines in my opinion. takes a little getting used to. great taste. also found some barrel aged versions.

 227 characters

Photo of dleigh
3.23/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dirty brown red-ish tea color. Fizzy carbonation that quite quickly fades to nothing. Quite nice smell--lots of toffee. Tastes sweet but with an kind of off grassiness to it. Maybe it's me, but I don't love it. Swing and a miss.

This is like a steak that's been aged too long--I want to like it, and I feel like I should like it, but maybe the flavor is just too "challenging" for me. But, on the premise that a beer is supposed to be enjoyable rather than challenging, I am forced to give the taste a (relatively) low rating.

Bottle of the 2012.

 548 characters

Photo of CaptFrothy
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sublime, a 2004 vintage that cost me $15 and was worth every penny. Toffee, biscuits, burnt brown sugar, just a spectacular fireworks on the taste buds.

Pulled out a Goose island BBCS with 3 years on it for comparison, the JW lees is just in another class, although sweeter, I can't imagine anything that can measure, a beaut of a tipple, every sip a lip smacking wonder.

 372 characters

Photo of ajm5108
4.66/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich toffee amber with good foam. Lots of fruity esters on the nose, raisin bread, honey and peat. Very enticing. It has a creamy, sticky mouthfeel like caramel, very smooth. Starts out very boozey, almost abrasively so, but opens up fantastically. Started at slighlty below room temp but it's a whole different beast once it sits for 15 minutes or so. Toffee-covered nuts, butter, & butterscotch, vanilla from the oak, a faint hint of peat & caramel malt, rum raisin, sherry Decadent. Lots of flavors battling it out but it works wonderfully.

 553 characters

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mcrawford
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of allenson21
3.71/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Dogleg
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of dcisco44
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Harvest Ale (Limited Edition) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
4.25 out of 5 based on 1,520 ratings.
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