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:
267
Gots:
227
For Trade:
15
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,520 |  Reviews: 863
Photo of TKEbeerman
3.97/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2001:

A: Poured into my sniftner this brew pours a murky brown with little to no head.

S: The aroma is heavy in caramel, dark dry fruits with hints of nuts, some candy sugar, and an all around earthiness.

T: 10 years of age have turned this brew into something truly unique. Hints of chocolate, heavy sweet caramel (maybe a little too sweet), and a lack of a dangerous alcohol burn. The sweetness really cuts this brew down a notch.

MF: The mouthfeel is silky, but a little less than medium, and is lacking carbonation.

D: Because of the sweetness, this brew is a little tough to drink.

Overall, it's the sweetness that kills this brew. It is a great ale to age, and is definitely unique. The nose is it's strong point, a shame the rest of the beer doesn't follow.

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1999 Vintage poured into a snifter

Pours murky mahogany with frothy light khaki colored head that will NOT disappear.

Aroma is like brandied cherries or plum. Lots of big caramel notes, but the fruity notes (above along with figs or dates) dominate. This is just fantastic.

Taste is similar to the aroma. No huge surprises. Tons of sweet caramel and fermented fruits. This drinks almost like a brandy or even a fruit liqueur. However, it is not cloyingly sweet. There is a great bitter finish that helps maintain some semblance of balance.

Mouthfeel is incredibly full-bodied with some big buttery coating left on the roof of the mouth. Light carbonation, but expected for the style and age.

Overall, this is certainly a sipper, but an incredibly complex sipper. So many different fruit and sweet flavors come out as it warms. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of edchicma
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2000 Vintage broken open in honor of Red Sox as World champs. This is the type of beer for a special occasion. Pours a dark cherry amber with a light head that laces on the tulip glass I am drinking from. Smell is caramel, malt, acohol, cherry, molasses..very complex. Taste is equally complex. While high in abv, the alcohol is there but does not dominate. Molasses, caramel, burnt sugar, plums...probably a few more I will notice after a few more sips. Mouthfeel is exceptional. This is a strong brew, but the smooth quality is exceptional also. Extremely drinkable due to smoothness and understated alcohol presence. A must drink for real beer lovers. Go Sox!!!!

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Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of bobhits
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Interesting to try this again. Last time I had one it was a good bit older, I'm hoping there's a bit more bite and maybe some hop presence in this younger version. If not odds are I'll be wishing I let it age more. 2008 vintage.

Poured into a sifter.

Thick, cloudy, full of yeast, a dark copper oranage body. You really can't see through this and that's pretty special for something that isn't brown/black in color. Creates a half finger of head that goes away in less than a minute.

The nose is an assault of fruits. Raises, sweet sugary malt, and lots of other fruity sweet aromas that I can't fully place.

First thoughts, a bit too much alcohol in this far too young bottle. Hops aren't kicking in so what to say about this. Raises, plums, sugary rum like flavors, Carmel. There's an off putting bitter/funky flavor at the end. I have a feeling if this were isolated it would be that earthy flavor that many English beers have, but mixed in this sweet assault it's somewhat off putting. This beer was reasonably warm to start but as it reaches room temp the mix is getting better. Sweeter and far more interesting. This is a great beer to show a wine lover a spin on beer that they may get into.

A wonderful sipper. Smooth, thick, sticky, and well just done flawlessly.

It's amazing to say a 2 year old beer is still a baby and this review may be a bit unfair, but it is what it is as they say. A very english barely wine and a true classic. I think there are some more interesting examples

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Photo of seangibbs60
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Lochnessmonster
3.08/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Heard a lot of hype on this one, had a 2008 bottle and just felt that I've had much better barleywines. No disrespect to J.W.

126 characters

Photo of Goliath
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2004 vintage

Pours a rather hazy dark brown color. A very thin light tan head forms and quickly dissipates.

Aroma is ok, very familiar to the other harvest ales by J.W. Lees. Raisins, plums, figs, caramel, syrup, oak, and just a bit boozy.

Taste is pretty good. Raisins and figs, caramel, and a bit of chocolate. Molases and brown sugar as well. Really quite delicious once it opens up. Little alcohol warmth as well.

Mouthfeel is thick, syrupy, and full bodied. Very lightly carbonated. Really my ideal mouthfeel for such a beer.

Drinkability is moderate. The flavor is great, but the high alcohol will get to you. not to mention, it is a bit cloying. Really a phenomenal brew any way you look at it though.

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Photo of ryanflc
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had the 2010 vintage of this. Really big beer with some serious kick. I am a huge fan of Barleywines but this wasnt up near the top for me. Tasted more like a wheat wine

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.97/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh my. This is absolutely incredible. In fact, I have never before tasted its equal. I went into this not knowing what to expect. I will, however, most assuredly be purchasing more of this.
The pour was a slightly cloudy dark red amber colour with a bit of debris floating about. It had a sand coloured head about 15mm thick that remained for several minutes. It was beautiful. The smell was delicious, consisting of sweet grasses such as sugar cane, sorghum syrum, brown sugar, faint spices. Oh my, this just heavenly. The taste is much, much more of the same with sweet malts dominating. The decadent tastes wash gently over your tongue with each sip. Its mouthfeel is smooth and there is nothing about it I can find that needs adjusting. If I were to taste this blindly, I would guess it to be around 7,5% or so. Certainly not 11,5%. I am stunned by the inconceivable greatness of this ale. I will definately buy this again. A far, far cry different than its U.S. counterparts, which don't even come close to this.
*Note: This was the 2002 vintage. For some strange reason, the cap was exceptionally difficult to remove.

 1,125 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Edition. Bought at Premier Gourmet on 11/19/14. Poured into a Chimay chalice, served cool.

Look: Bronze, minimal head.

Smell: butterscotch, vanilla, pecans

Taste: grape skin, smoke, tannins, rich, nutty malts.

Feel: good

Overall: rich, complex, smoky

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Photo of zenithberwyn
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of patm1986
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.71/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Anno 1999.

Appearance -- Pours a deep dark brown, nearly aubergine, with golden highlights and a slim fizzy head upon the hard pour. A bit still.

Smell -- Lots of fig, brandy-soaked prunes, raisin, toffee, bread pudding. Sweet, syrupy, and decadent; on par for the style.

Taste -- An abundance of figs, raisin, prune, light molasses, and brandy. Well-basted bread pudding and challah. Gentle spiciness. Mild herbal bitterness in the finish along with a little bit of mustiness. Alcohol is perceptible, but not remotely sharp and stands as a nice contrast to the rich malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel -- Very full body, quite slick, with a very mild carbonation lending to a very sm.oth feel. In a word: decadent.

Drinkability -- This is incredible, probably the best English Barleywine I've had to date. This truly is the standard bearer of the style. So rich, and with such depth of flavor and velvety body it's hard to see how people could find error in this beer. While not a beer for all occasions, I can't think of a better after-dinner beer. An incredible pleasure to drink, strongly suggested.

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Photo of Winter
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2000 Vintage

9.3 oz bottle. Pours an unfiltered tawny red with a thin light brown head. Aroma of malt, raisins, dark rum ascend from my snifter. Full-bodied mouthfeel. Strong carbonation attacks the tongue upfront then disappears quickly. Flavors of dark fruit, malt and oak are noticed first. Then a feint cherry sweetness emerges for a second and is gone. There's a light punch of alcohol right before just before flavors of caramel and toffee round out the finish. Very smooth for a 11.5% abv.

Even sitting at three years old this barley wine seems young. Not quite raw, but just seems to still be blending its flavors together. I'd let this one sit and continue to mature for a few more years and see what amazing complexities continue to develop. I'd like to shelve some more of these and seek out an older vintage to sample.

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Photo of Strix
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1998 bottle - a 10-year old brew!

Pours a thick, murky orange-brown, with a very nice head.

Smells rich, caramel and syrupy.

Taste does all sorts of things. Sweet and ripe overall, with a caramel/maple syrup flavor. Tastes a heck of a lot like raisin bread as well. Some alcohol in the background somewhere. Very complex and dynamic.

Mouthfeel smooth and viscous.

Definitely one to be slipped slowly. Drinkability hampered a bit due to sweetness and thickness, I wouldn't want any more than they put in the small bottle. This was quite the experience though. I won't be buying another one soon due to the price (almost a dollar an ounce!), but certainly a very nice English barleywine here.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of kkipple
4.06/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

**The score here doesn't reflect each year, just that you should go get this and enjoy it. It's exceptional no matter what year you have.

2004 Vintage.

A. Rich hazy brown, low to no carbonation visible, tiny head hugs the edge of the glass.

S. Alcohol punch to the nose. Very rich and sweet. Tons of brown sugar, toffee, and rich malt. Chocolate and hints of grape and burnt wood. Bit of maple, but the high fusel here runs roughshod over everything.

T. Heavy, syrupy malt is the star of the show. Burnt sugars, coffee, cocoa, alcohol lingers and warms. Mild coffee-malt finish with maple. Very rich. Slight oxidization. Did I mention it's sweet? Share a bottle with a friend or two.

M. Syrupy, ultra-low carbonation, lingering boozy sweetness on the tongue.

Extremely tasty. Best in small doses after dinner or on a cold evening.

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Photo of alcstradamus
3.1/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

1999 vintage

A--Pours a deep mahogany/brown with about a finger of head using a fairly hard pour into a pint glass. The head recedes quickly and leaves no lacing

S--I could smell this one as I poured it. Very fruity, dark fruits mostly. Raisins, figs, bourbon soaked cherries, this is a powerful liquid.

T--Lots of dark fruits on the palate, banana bread-like malts, light maple syrup flavor, wood. This is very complex but EXTREMELY sweet, far more so than any other English Barleywine I've had. Notes of lip gloss and acetone.

M--Medium bodied yet has a weird thickness to the consistency like pureed raisins.

D--This is a slow sipper for sure. I have also had a 2007 vintage which was an unbearably sweet drain pour. Overall this beer is just not my cup of tea. I like the style, but something isn't working here.

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

Photo of geexploitation
4.92/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1999 vintage. Pours a very dark, reddish brown with great clarity and a considerable head for a beer of this style and with this ABV. Extremely complex aroma of marshmallow and molasses sweetness, with dried fruits (reminds me of a fruitcake), fresh cut strawberries and smoke. For some reason, I get just a touch of sauvignon blanc-like cat-pee when the beer reaches room temperature. On the palate, fruity malts and a smoky, syrupy sweetness first off. The finish brings out a marshmallow flavor. The whole thing is quite sweet, but with considerable refinement and flavors that keep things just light enough. Mouthfeel is a touch hot and thick and syrupy... but not too much so on any count. For a beer that reaches 11.50 ABV this is incredibly drinkable, with astonishing complexity of flavor. Very enjoyable -- a truly exceptional barleywine.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.02/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Heavy brown pop top with gorgeous label; 2000 vintage; damn, a decade-old beer!

Appearance: Hazy mahogany beer; a strong pour produces a thick, light tan, creamy head with good retention.

Smell: VIBRANT! This is full of sweet, candied cherries and caramel, with a myriad of sweet kitchen spices...this is crazy complex!

Taste: A riot of flavors in the mouth. There's some very earthy woodiness, tons of candied fruit, sherry. This is a SWEET beer, but never becomes cloying. There's nice sweet caramel malt on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Rich, smooth, and full; no burning from the high abv

Drinkability: 1 bottle in snifters split 2 ways = perfect

Conclusion: This beer was challenging, crazy, unique, and complex! At a decade old, I'm not surprised to find some signs of oxidation here, but it's acceptable for the age and the style, and though I didn't LOVE this, I was seriously impressed with it, and would love to try some more vintages of this in the next few years.

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Photo of drseamus
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1998 vintage that I found at a store.

A: It pours a nice dark opaque brown color. I poured it into one of my Chimay glasses to get a bit of carbonation out of it.

S: The smell is very rich, sweet, and malty and there are definitely some wood aging aromas in there too. I get a sherry aroma also.

T: As I took the beer into my mouth, it was initially very hot and I got worried. As soon as it gets in my mouth and I let it sit for a second, it smooths right out and tastes AWESOME!! This beer has the best aftertaste of anything I've had before. There are smooth buttery caramel notes and a whiskey character and it just fades slowly in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied but with a big flavor that makes it seem heavier. This beer is VERY smooth.

D: This is a great beer. I'm due a free case at Mahar's and I think I'll get one of these.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

1988 vintage.

It keeps going through my mind...I'm drinking sixteen year old beer. My oldest beer sampled to date, wow. Loads of very tiny sediment floating in the brew, ruby/amber/mahogany colored with absolutely no head or anything resembling carbonation. Aroma is exquisite...notes of vanilla, port wine, sherry, brown sugar, cherries, and alcohol. Wow, complexity in the nose for sure. Flavor is very sweet the whole way through. Hops are not much of a factor at this point, but it retains a nice, rich maltiness. Candy-like sweetness and warming alcohol take over the aftertaste. Chunks of sediment remaining in the bottle are HUGE. This bottle may be past its prime, but its quite delicious right now. Very impressive. I feel as though I am not worthy?

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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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