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

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94
outstanding
846 Reviews
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest AleJ.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
United Kingdom (England) | website

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
Reviews:
846
Ratings:
1,476
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
18.35%
 
 
Wants:
262
Gots:
221
For Trade:
14
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Reviews: 846 | Ratings: 1,476
Photo of Billolick
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1997 edition, small bottle, with best before date of Nov. '02, oh well....This tasty nectar pours dark auburn, with minimal head, tan and tiny bubbles. Leaves very fine and light lacing. Nose is strong and well developed, heavy mustyness, malt, caramel, oak. Full bodied and flavors galore. Oak, smoke, vanilla,leather, warming alcohol. Fine creation in brewing, wonderful complexity. a treat for the tongue. High quality sipper, seek,age and enjoy!

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Photo of GClarkage
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12/5/08- Purchased at Weimax Liquors in Burlingame, CA. $4.99 price tag.

Presentation- 2001 Vintage from a 11.2oz bottle. Poured into my JW Lees Harvest Ale snifter type glass.

Appearance- Pureed raisin color. Slightly murky with a small layer of sediment on the bottom of the glass. Poured with a 1/4 inch head which fades to the slightest of rims. Leaves some light watery lace streaks behind.

Smell- Deep sweet caramel nose...roasted marshmallow malt. Light nose of alcohol at the end of the scent. Soaked dark fruits of raisins, dates and plums. Wonderful.

Taste- To the smell to a "T". Caramel sweetness is pushing the boundry of almost too much. Mild taste of butterscotch at the back of the tongue seems like the only drawback...and it's minimal. Lots of booze soaked raisins and dates. Maybe even a slight bite of hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Sticky and ultra sweet. Lips are sticking together. Keeps the mouth nice and moist. Just the perfect amount of minimal carbonation.

Drinkability- I have a 11 year vertical going of this and I will be really happy the day I decide to have them. Excellent beer.

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

This is a 1999 vintage, bought and drank on the same day (today). With a medium chestnut brown body this beer looks perty darn good. The semi-soapy head does have some density to it, yet it vanishes in a couple minutes never to return. No colar lacing or anything. Too bad...but still the taste is great. A bit of an alcohol nose on it. Caramel and toffee.
A nice calm caramel sweetness surrounds the malt in the taste. Some mocha and faint vanilla as well. Rich, but not thick. I get a hint of smokiness on the end, with a peppering of spices. This is a darn fine beer. At $10 a bottle it's a good beer to enjoy over a celebration or special occasion. Which is what I did.

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Photo of WesWes
4.74/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a darl cloudy brown color with a thin white head that fades to very little. The aroma is great. It has a warm, malty scent that screams burnt toffee. It's mellow and sweet smelling; very nice. The taste is perfect. It has a rich, malty flavor that goes down so smooth and flavorful and finishes warm with a sweet, burnt toffee taste. This is one tastey beer. The mouthfeel is perfect as well. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is the best English barleywine I've ever had. It exceptional in all categories except appearance. I'm a sucker for at least minimal head retention. This is truely a great beer.

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Photo of Tone
3.96/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 2000 version of this brew.

Pours a cloudy brown. 1/2 inch head of a light tan color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of alcohol, strong malt, some roasted malt, and some bread aromas. Fits the style of an English Barleywine. Mouth feel is smooth and thick. Low to average carbonation levels present. Tastes strongly of alcohol, sweetness, then some roasted malt comes through, then the bread flavors dominate, and the finish is mostly the sweetness. Hop bitterness is present, but does not come through very strongly. Overall, complex and rich palate - a little too sweet for my taste.

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Photo of Gavage
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Harvest Ale 2003 version.

Appearance: pours a cloudy amber orange color with a thin 1/2" head that falls to a surface foam quickly. No lacing develops.

Smell: loads of alcohol with malt and fruit sweetness.

Taste: huge bready maltiness here. Loads of raisins, plums, honey, and red grapes. Alcohol is quite noticeable and very warming. Nice bitterness helps hold down any over-sweetness that may develop.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth at the start, more syrupy towards the finish. Aftertaste is long on the sweetness and alcohol tones as they seem to be glued to your tongue.

Drinkability: I feel this needed another year or two of mellowing, as the alcohol was a bit too strong which knocks down the drinkability. Interesting offering, and I am looking forward to trying some older vintages.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.59/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage from a 275 ml bottle. That says it all. On to the beer:

No head on the pour. The glow of orange is a nice sight though. But don't base your first thoughts on the look, take in its aroma. The nose is loaded with all sorts of flavors. There is apricot, sherry, vanilla, and oak. And if the aroma isn't for you, taste it! Amazing and full flavored at first impression. And smooth as well. Sweet, sherry, apricots, grapes, butterscotch, cherries, a touch of oak. There is a very light touch of bitterness at the very end, but overall this is very sweet. The alcohol is nowhere is be found despite the listed 11.5% ABV. Thre's very little carbonation in this beer. but it's so smooth, and it's medium-heavy malty feel keeps the beer being sipped on.

I expected some very good things from this beer. Not only did this beer do that, it went beyond very good and become of the most tastiest, thought provoking beers that have crossed my palate. An outstanding example of the barleyewine style, and one that everyone should have the opportunity to taste.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this one.

12oz. Bottle
11.5% ABV
1997 Vintage

Poured into a chalice a dark mahongy color, thick, syrupy, some carbonation, no head, some oil slicks hanging around. The nose is malty, oakey, roasty, some licorice, and caramel. The taste is pretty sweet at first, syrupy. Then the oakey/licorice tones come to play. Nice balance of malt/caramel. Nice warming effect going down, alcohol is hidden pretty well. Full body. Very drinkable, this is a delicious brew. This is also the oldest brew I've had to date. Highly recommended. Thanks again buddy.

Thanks to Bitterbill for this brew.

Vintage 1998

Poured into a chalice a dark brown color, nice carbonation, little fizzy off-white head, basically no sticky lacing, but some oil slicks. The nose is malty, slight licorice/toffee/vanilla, slight dark fruits, and caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, some dark fruit, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body, a complex brew. Very drinkable, another awesome brew, highly recommended.

Thanks to Bitterbill for this brew.

Vintage 2000

Poured into a chalice a dark brown color, nice carbonation, little fizzy off-white head, basically no sticky lacing, but some oil slicks. The nose is malty, slight licorice/toffee/vanilla, slight dark fruits, and caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, some dark fruit, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body, a complex brew. Very drinkable, another awesome brew, highly recommended.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter. 1999 vintage out of the cellar. I've had a few versions of this and 99 was my favorite so it's time for a review.

A- 1999 J.W. Lees pours out extremely thick. Not thick like a stout but thick enough for an over the top barleywine almost resembling syrup. A very dark tan to brown out of the bottle while in the glass it appears a dark mahogany. No head whatsoever leaving no lace presumably. Some bubbles are seen popping up at the surface. A few twirls of the glass, this looks like a watered down syrup.

S- The smells on this are out of this world unique. The only brew comparable to this is thomas hardy and even at that they are different. Every smell from this is strong with nothing holding back leaving as bold aroma. The main factors include raisins, caramel malt, molasses, maple syrup and on the lighter side chocolate. A lot of alcohol is packed in the smell as well. I enjoyed smelling this so much I almost did not want to drink it.

T- I'm so glad that I decided to drink this instead of smell it all night. The taste is just as bold as the smell coating my palette with English barleywine goodness. Up front a lot of that maple syrup, molasses and caramel malts make this quite sweet. This is also joined by some raisins at some point. Figs and dark cherries come to mind. A bunch of dry fruits in the middle with some chocolate sneaking through. the alcohol comes out in the finish and is ever present even after 10 years in the bottle.

M- extremely thick and heavy handed. The sweetness coats the mouth and ligers for quite some time while the alcohol creates a overall warming effect. Not much in terms of carbonation which is fine with this old of a bottle. Not bitter in the least bit and I wonder if a fresh bottle would show some hop bite as there is non in this. Why would there be any hops this is 10 years old, they are long gone.

D- The only way I can drink this is in very small sips over a lot of time. Everytime I have a JW I have no desire for anything else be it beer or water or whatever. In other words I am spent after the 10oz or so and ready for bed. This is the best night cap beer ever in my eyes. I can see how the sweetness of this could be off putting for others and it is slighty for me after time. I still love this stuff though and want to try a 20 year old bottle.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 vintage edition, sampled March 2005
Pours a orange copper color that is brilliantly clear and topped by a thin pale tan head. The aroma is richly malty with notes of sugar, toffee, alcohol, and already a bit of oxidation notes that add a richness to the aroma. The taste is sweet up front, with a candied toffee-like concentrated maltiness. This beer is fairly simplistic, with a hint of hoppiness that rounds out this beer a bit. Despite its simple nature this beer is still enjoyable on this night.

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Photo of stevoj
3.71/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2015 vintage on tap at Churchkey. Dark copper with small airy head. Malt with tons of brown sugar sweetness, maple, caramel, toffee. Sweetness distracts from the 11.5% ABV, which delivers some latent heat. Like a big alcoholic Sugar Daddy. (I love Sugar Daddies)

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

275 mL bottle, 2001 Vintage, brewed when I was a senior in high school,

A: Pours a dark brown with a light head that doesn't last too long. Not murky.

S: Sweet nose with caramel, raisin, maple syrup and Pedro Ximenez sherry. Hints of fig and apricot, very mild oxidation character. Great nose.

T: Caramel, brown sugar syrup and dark fruit for the main flavour. Delicious, still has plenty of residual sugar left. Great note of cocoa on the finish. The ultimate beer for malt lovers.

M: Thick, viscous and chewy. Has a really similar feel to a Port wine on the tongue. Mild carbonation works wonders here. Nice amount of warming alcohol in the tummy and going down.

D: An easy sipper for an after dinner drink. Even at 9 years old this is still drinking very young and I could see it lasting another 10-30 years simply because of the sugar content, liken it to a vintage Port, Sauternes, Tokaji - classic dessert wines. The '99 I had of this a few years back was one of the best beers I've ever had; that beer had a little more complexity and oxidation character, but this '01 is still a damn fine beverage.

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Photo of biegaman
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1998 Vintage opened for Thanksgiving - October 13, 2008.

Against and away from the light reveals two completely different looking beers. What sits in front of me is a beer dismal and dreary. It is a muddied, cheerless ocher brown that refuses to refract any light what so ever, denying even the slightest of highlighting. The beer's collar, even along its fringes, can scarcely be noticed.

To the light, however, it quietly erupts with colour. Tones of raspberry and red apple appropriate the 'Harvest Ale' moniker with thoughts of fall time fruit bounty. I can't help but think two different scores for appearance would only be appropriate. It is rather astounding the sparkle it conceals.

This is less a beer than it is a sweet, sugary nectar of over-ripened fruits and sticky butterscotch pudding. The above does little justice to describe the character of an aroma that seems to incorporate elements of tawny-port, dark rum, calvados, sherry, and especially cognac unto itself.

Smell alone will warn you that what you're about to encounter is rich, but only after tasting it will you realize the full extent of this. Its likeness to a full bodied cognac, vintage tawny-port, or five star brandy really can't be overstated. This is as rich as it is complex.

The flavours are so numbered that one could associate this to a long list of things. I would venture to say foremost on my palate is: mushy pineapple, plum pudding, molasses, shortbread cookies, maple syrup, browned sugar, wine grapes, pecan pie, raisin bread, choke cherries, caramelized fruits as well as dates, figs, and plum all coated in a bitter cocoa fondue. It's a nearly endless list.

It makes me think of oak-aged honey, and whether or not there exists such a thing. It is sweet and nectar-like with a complex depth of flavour. The carbonation has long faded which leaves the tastes to stick on palate. The lingering bitterness adds more persistence. It is both intensely bitter and sweet at the same time. The alcohol is quite well pronounced - especially in smell - but as it should be, no?

This ten year old vintage is my only taste of the J.W. Lees Harvest Ale to date. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it, it is definitely something special and considerably unique. It isn't like other barleywines, it is a beer of its own, one that I can't define yet. Luckily I have a number of other vintages still waiting in the cellar to better become acquainted with.

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Photo of Zorro
4.82/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Year 2000 Version here.

Pours a deep ruby brown with more carbonation than expected.

Truly powerfully smelling beer! BIG dark fruits and Tutty-fruity smell, and big malt smell. Almost like being punched in the nose by it and it stealing your lunch money! You could really spend an entire day just sniffing this beer.

TASTES LIKE A TOP NOTCH PORT WINE. This is like a $40 bottle of old port wine with a bit of carbonation. Also means this is top notch for any recipe calling for Port or Marsalla wine. Strong nutty and floral tastes, yet not too sweet.

Mouthfeel is big, but you NEVER chug this, to good for that!

Very drinkable, but sip it, you will want to taste every drop.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.4/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2006 vintage; poured from 9.3 oz bottle into a wine goblet.

Appearance: deep woody brown, highly opaque with practically no head. When I poured it, I wasn't aware of how many chunky floaties would been in the bottle: there were indeed a few.

Smell: first off, it smells like late-harvest Riesling or maybe a Gew├╝rztraminer. It's got a lot of syrupy grape, apple and pear. If I were blindfolded I would assume this was wine. That said, it is quite pleasing.

Taste: well, at first it tastes similar to a white wine, then I get the malt and grain, then I get what I can only describe as wood and cigarette smoke; it's almost tinny in that respect. I will say it's very complex, and I feel like I should be doing a lot of glass-swirling and erudite pontificating, but really, I just can't get a handle on it.

As I drink, the pattern stays the same: the beginning is quite wonderful and the finish is highly off-putting.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick body which is pretty smooth.

Drinkability: I really don't know what to put here. I don't want to slam this admittedly impressive beer, but it's just not my style right now.

I really would like to come back to this beer later when my barleywine palate is more developed.

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Photo of John_M
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This is for the 2001.

The beer pours a dark cloudy brown, with minimal head, but with good retention and lacing. There is the usual rich, sweet smell, this time with sherry, chocolate, toffee, prunes and maple syrup. On the palate the beer is nothing less then incredible. There is an intense flavor of chocolate, interwoven with vanilla, toffee and butterscotch. The beer has an exceptional mouthfeel, and is just luscious. It is incredibly soft, plush and creamy. Absolutely decadent. The beer ends with a very long, lingering finish. Exceptional beer. Just incredible.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2000 vintage. Wonderful dark amber with a thin head. Smell is heavy with malt and a touch of soy. Overripe fruit and a whiff of earming alcohol. The flavor is rich with sugars and warming alcohol and rich malt. No hint of soy in the flavor,just big brandyish fruit flavors and honeyed malt. Utterly delicious and meant for a snifter after dinner. Very rich and creamy mouthfeel, but not sticky at all- floats on the palate. Dry and drinkable by this point, but big and rich as well.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A generous extra from rsquared618. 1998 vintage. The beer appears dark copper with a light beige head.

The aroma is of toffee, dates, figs, and dried fruits. It smells very sweet and sugary, with some notes of oxidization and alcohol. Hops are nowhere to be found.

The taste is very sugary sweet, reminiscent of dates and toffee, with a strong alcohol presence. Other flavors are of candied sugar and dried fruits. This is a classic English Barleywine that's mellowed with age. The finish is sugary sweet, almost cloyingly so, with toffee and alcohol.

The beer is medium-full bodied with low carbonation.

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Photo of weeare138
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1998 Harvest Ale...
Appears a dark amber and crimson with a 2 finger beige head that fades to a fluffy cap. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is syrupy, lightly oxidized, maple syrup, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, cherries, red grapes, nougat, and rich toffee.
Taste is of rich, boozy, caramel, vanilla, cocoa powder, rum soaked raisins, nougat, and cherries.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, syrupy, sugary, dessert like, with cherry concentrate and a boozyness that hangs on. This is the equivalent of a tawny port wine. Delicious stuff.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.97/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage 1/23/2012 similar to 2009 Vintage but flavor is alcohol, sweet dark fruit and hints of cardboard. Also $8.99 for a 275ml bottle from Julio's Liquors, Westborough, Ma.

2009 Vintage 1/5/2012. Pours a one-finger cream head that fades quickly to a ring leaving traces of lace. Brown murky color. Light carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Alcohol and dark fruit nose and flavor is alcohol and sweet dark fruit, paper like finish. Pricey, $8.99 for a 275ml bottle from Julio's Liquors, Westborough, Ma. Rates a 4.

2005 Vintage 10/26/2010 Straight up pour and no head, no lace. Cloudy dark brown color. No carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Dark fruit and alcohol nose. Flavor is sweet dark fruit and alcohol, slightly cloying with no carbonation. $13.99 for a 275ml bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT. Rates a 4.

2008 Vintage 10/12/2010 Pours a one-finger cream that fades quickly to a ring leaving a little lace. Cloudy amber color. Very light carbonation and medium bodied. Dark fruit and alcohol nose. Flavor is sweet raisins and alcohol, almost cloying because there is not enough carbonation. $7.99 for a 275ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. This rates a 4.

2002 Vintage 9/22/2010 Pours with virtually no head and no lace. Cloudy brown color with some yeast left in bottle. Very light carbonation and heavy bodied. Sweet alcohol and dark fruit nose. Flavor is dark fruit and alcohol, almost cloying. $10.99 for a 275ml bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT. This rates about 4.

2007 Vintage 3/21/2010 Pours a one-finger white that fades quickly to a ring leaving a little lace. Almost clear amber color with a ton of floaties. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Alcohol and raisin nose. Flavor is dark fruit and alcohol. Cellared well. $11.60 for a 275ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. This rates about 4.5

2006 Vintage 3/17/2010 Pours without a head so no lace. Deep brown/amber color with a ton of floaties. No carbonation and medium bodied. Alcohol nose. Flavor is sweet alcohol, with some dark fruit; strong alcohol finish. Did not cellar well, good flavor but the carbonation is gone. $10.40 for a 275ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. This rates about 3.5.

1999 Vintage 12/31/2009. Pours a two finger cream head that fades slowly, leaving some lace. Deep brown color. Good carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Dark fruit and alcohol nose. Flavor is dark fruit and alcohol with a strong alcohol finish. Cellared very well. $10.40 for a 275ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. This rates about 4.5

1998 Vintage 12/31/2008. After ten years this is as fresh as the day it was bottled. Pours a three finger brown head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Deep mahogany color. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Raisin/plum nose. Flavor is sweet raisin almost like a port. The high ABV comes through but does not overwhelm. Pricey at $6.99 for a 275ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, ME. This rates about 4.5

2000 Vintage 3/31/2007. Pours a two finger light brown head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Almost clear mahogany color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Raisin/rummy nose. Flavor is sweet rum and raisins with alcohol overtones. Pricey - $5.99 for a 11.5oz bottle from John's Grocery Iowa City, Ia. This rates about 4.5

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage, purchased in the USA and brought back to Australia to drink with @LaitueGonflable and @thescotdownunder. Served alongside the 2005 Vintage Calvados Cask version to compare.

Pours a hazed deep orange-gold colour, with a fine-bubbled if filmy head of slightly tenuous yellow-white. Lacing is suprisingly good for the gravity of the brew, and it has some crackling large bubbles to it. The colour is divine, however, and the haziness makes it glow. It's a lovely looking brew.

Nose is pungent with booze and a ripe mandarin orange acidity, which underpins a profound and syrupy sweetness. It's very deep and extremely rich, but surprisingly stays away from the huge malt backbone I expected. Instead, the phenolic notes and the acidity drag it into an unusual lightness, which is welcome, and very appealing.

Taste is ripe with an amazing blend of light citrus on the front - the mandarin makes its presence felt - before delving into this amazing almond nuttiness that gives off all the malt sweetness without the heaviness. Indeed, it balances extremely well between these flavours, lending light grain organics, crushed tea tannins and candied citrus to the syrupy body. The feel, from the syrupy body to the bite of light acidity, is divine, and it makes an absolutely impeccable companion to the flavour.

This is a bloody amazing beer - one which both refines and expands the brewer's art. Such fantastic flavours, such a depth of character, and so well balanced. It's an artisanal item; something to be cherished. Truly remarkable, and one of the very best beer experiences it has been my pleasure to have.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.56/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle with the 2002 vintage. Sampled on July 31, 2016.,

The color is am mildly heady brown with red hues. Some cloudiness.

The aroma is more toasted malt forward than anything for a 14 year beer. Crackers, bread, and molasses too. Low to no hop profile.

The body is smooth and around medium.

Even though this is 14 years old it is Jolly British with cracker malts, low hops, and sweetness. This has not faded after so much time.

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Photo of Derek
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed in 2003.

A: Orangy-brown with a white head. Not much retention, clings to the glass more like a leg than a lace. The Burgundy of Britain?

S: Nice British fruityness.

T: Wow. Very sherry-like, some nice apricot fruit flavour. Balance is slightly tipped to the sweet side. Quality British pale malt in the background, but the yeast really produces the flavours here. I'm not always a fan of the fruity British ales, but this is REALLY nice.

M: Moderate body and carbonation. Very light for its strength (well attenuated).

D: This is a very nice sipper. At 11.5%, you're not looking at a session brew. The taste is easily approachable.

Thanks Kevin... Really, thanks a lot!

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1999 vintage sampled on January 21, 2010.
Poured a hazy deep orangish brown color with good carbonation and a dirty white head. Nose is tons of honey and brown sugar, caramel and maybe some dark fruits. Very complex.
Taste was a punch of sweetness,burnt brown sugar, molasses, alcohol, sweet malts, wood, raisin, prune. Motuhfeel is sweet.
///

1998 vintage sampled on August 5 2008. Heavy oxidation,dried fruits,malts and subdued hops. Ten years is to much for me. Bigger dried fruits here, caramel, molasses burnt brown sugar.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.61/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage, Autumn Limited Edition. Purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a golden ruby amber, with a small half inch head, and basically no lacing.

Smells wonderful, slightly oxidized, giving off sherry impressions, with caramel, toffee, and some grassy hops.

I can't believe I'm finally trying this beer, I clearly should have a long time ago. It's excellent, and really quite smooth. Silky toffee and caramel, some port-like flavors, molasses and maple, and a little bit of grassy hops. I also get some prune, oak, smoke and brown sugar, a little bit. Finishes very clean. Clearly brewed to perfection.

This is medium bodied and slightly syupy, with a full mouthfeel, and a lower level of carbonation.

This vintage has clearly aged marvelously. It's one of the best barleywines I've ever had. Everything intensely in moderation.

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J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
94 out of 100 based on 846 ratings.
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    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

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