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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,523 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:
1,523
Reviews:
864
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
13.65%
 
 
Wants:
268
Gots:
225
For Trade:
14
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Ratings: 1,523 |  Reviews: 864
Photo of claytri
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1997 Vintage.

The beer poured an opaque medium brown with ruby highlights with an off white head. The aroma was very vinous, much like a red wine. The taste was a combination of medicinal, vanilla, and wine, with the vanilla winning out. The feel was heavy creamy and wet. A very enjoyable brew, I can't wait to get some more.

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

This beer pours a murky, rust brown color, with a thin light tan head. The head fades fast, leaving minimal lace.

This beer has a very aggressive aroma. It has a very sweet caramel malt aroma. Alcohol is present. It has a dark fruit aroma or raisins, prunes, and figs.

This beer tastes strongly of raisins. Some figs too, but mostly a strong raisin flavor. It tastes of sweet caramel. The alcohol is hidden in the flavor. There is just a hint of licorice in the flavor as well.

This beer is very full bodied. The alcohol warms as it goes down, leaving a sweet raisin aftertaste. The carbonation is low, which is to be expected of a 10 year old beer.

This beer would probably not make a good session beer. First, it is 10 years old, and not readily available. Second, it is very aggressive, and would become cloying after a time. Finally, the alcohol content is pretty high, making it hard to put back a few.

Overall: Thank you Brentk56 for so generously sending me this beer. It was great. I wish I had about a case more. The beer could probably age for a lot longer.

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

1998 vintage, I kept it till the 31st to make sure its at least a 10 year old sample, oldest beer Ive ever had.

Pours a viscous, murky mahogany with an ominous stillness underneath a small foam ring. The ring never leaves and manages to muster up a bit of lacing, pretty impressive for such an old beer. The aroma is a heady mix of rum drenched Christmas pudding, strawberry jam on toast and maple syrup. The taste is very sweet with layers of doughy malts and ripe fruit flavors. After a while toffee covered cashews, roasty dark malts and clover honey shows. Hops are essentially imperceptable against the barage of malt flavors. The mouthfeel is immensely thick and creamy and more briskly carbonated then I expected. The finish is fruity, sweet and a bit warming from booze.

The alcohol is very well hidden for 11.5%, but the intensity of the malt flavors makes it a slow sipper. Tonnes of nuance shows with warmth, with new flavors emerging all the time. Very nice.

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

A - Poured a dark amber color with some floating extras, but produced no head or lacing around the glass

S - Strong alcohol and dates and raisins, barley action going on as well

T - Alcohol tastes, but refined, not hard, some dark fruits, like the scents, and some earthy nature tastes

M - Smooth, medium bodied with slight carbonation

D - Very drinkable and smooth drink, like refined liquor, but with a beer taste

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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1998 vintage, poured into a Duchesse goblet.

Dark auburn body, reddish edges in direct light, with a solid finger of creamy foam. When backlit, there were suspended particles visible, and a central stream of carbonation. After fifteen minutes, it still held an unbroken skim, which was admirable for a 10 year old ale.

Definite aged character in the aroma, sweet rich malty notes, lightly nutty. Taste was sticky sweet, brown sugar and raisins, with a warming nutty finish. Perfect for the chilly holiday season, its like fruitcake in a glass. Rich and creamy feel that is probably it's best attribute. If you can get adjusted to the sweetness, the nutty finish is very nice. One at a time for sure, on special occasions.

2008 vintage:
Has a distinct peanut butter flavor and an earthy aftertaste. Very syrupy and viscous. Light metallic note in the aroma, otherwise all toffee. Plenty of oxidation as expected.
Overall score: 3.7

2011 vintage:
Tasted side by side with the '08 in 2013. Lighter orange color, looks like mead almost. A bit more sharpness from the abv, but overall the flavor seems better than the '08 with only trace amounts of oxidation. Slight fruitiness from the yeast, light apricot and honey comb. Overall score: 4.25

1987 vintage:
Hard to score this, very dark brown but with good clarity. Very molasses forward, sweet and chewy. Tiny bit leathery.
Overall it was unique, seemingly more in the realm of vintage Hardys. Thanks to Kevin for sharing!

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

1998 vintage - consumed 12/24/2008
Poured into a snifter on Christmas Eve, 2008.
A-4.5; S-5.0; T-4.5; M-4.5; D-3.5; Overall-4.45

Surprisingly well-carbonated, the infamous Harvest Ale produces a chestnut-gray head that recedes to a ring of large bubbles and thin wisp of foam. The body is a deep plum color that turns LED-red in the light. Aromatically, a gorgeous bouquet of nutty, caramelized malts, sherry, wet paperboard, raspberry, fruitcake, and floral hops wafts upward from the glass. Both enticing and intoxicating at the same time.

The first bit of flavor to hit the palate is a spicy, boozy blend of sherry and slight hops. Quickly, a honeysuckle sweetness filled with rich caramel malts takes over, giving way to notes of soft vanilla, paper, and sherry from the oxidation. The booziness is detectable, but subtle, adding to the complexity that unfolds sip after sip. The sweetness doesn't get overbearing until the finish, where it lingers for a tad bit too long and wears down the senses. Mouthfeel is thick, and syrupy smooth. Not only is a 10-yr old JW Lee's Vintage Harvest Ale is the definition of a "Malt Bomb", it's also a fantastic beer. Can't wait to drink my '99 in '09.

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1999 Vintage - consumed 12/24/2009
Aroma not nearly as pronounced, although I fear this could be a byproduct of the over-sized wine glass in which I served the beer. Still extremely sweet with a hint of sherry. Not much cardboard, but a slight roasted honey sweetness on the finish. Like the '98, the 1999 vintage is one hell of a sugary malt bomb...I can feel the diabetes kicking in with each sip. Yum.

A-4.0; S-3.5; T-4.5; M-5.0; D-4.0; Overall - 4.2

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2001 Vintage - consumed 12/24/2011

Possibly my favorite experience with this beer. The 2001 batch is sweet with notes of sherry, golden raisin, currant, and figs galore. Oxidation is slight and surprisingly there is still a tinge of hops in the background. Mellow booze. Can't imagine this one getting any better than it is right now...

A - 4.0; S - 4.5; T- 5.0; M - 5.0; O - 4.5; Overall - 4.53

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.6/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed on 8/26/08. Bottle, 1999 vintage. Pours a cloudy amber brown with a small light tan head that dissipated quickly. Aroma of of oatmeal, sweet brown sugar, sweet fruits (raisin, apple, pear), slight alcohol. Flavor is SUPER sweet. Wow. I've never had port or sherry but I imagine that this beer would taste something like that. Syrupy and thick. Not bad tasting but very strong and it was hard to handle more than one sip of a time of this. Much too sweet and I thought that this would have mellowed somewhat in the 9 years since it was bottled.
6/3/6/2/13 (3.0/5)

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Photo of SirSketch
4.19/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My local health food store randomly had a few 2005's on the shelf, and I bought them all, haha

A - Amber brown with all kinds of sediment, since I poured the entire contents of the bottle into the glass. Oops, oh well. Very little head and no real sign of carbonation bubbles.

S - Very complex! Grape, sherry and port wine-type aromas are dominant, with hints of raisin, nuts and esters. Alcohol is apparent, too.

T - Huge raisin flavor, like a port, dark fruits, honey, and caramel flavors. Very sweet altogether.

M/D - Hardly any carbonation. Medium body that is syrupy in texture. A nice after dinner beer.

I look forward to trying another one a year from now!

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Photo of kimcgolf
3.89/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 1999. Pored from the bottle to a murky dark brown with hints of ruby, a thin tan head that dissipated fairly quickly and little lacing. Nose had a strong presence of malty dark fruit, pepper and alcohol, and a touch of chocolate-coffee, with the alcohol becoming increasingly more dominant as the beer warmed. Mouthfeel was tingly and syrupy thick-sweet. Initial flavor picked up the fruits and spice of the nose, but again, the alcohol seemed to taake over late in the glass, and mask other flavors. Finish, while long and warming, was just a tad on the sWeet side for me.

A darn good beer, but I was just not able to appreciate it the way many raters have, though this is not one of my favorite styles to begin with.

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

I saved the 1998 vintage an extra 12 days until my birthday.

A: The bottle was split into 2 small snifters and poured a deep clear brown with little visible head.

S: Massive sweet toffee aroma with hints of sweet dark fruits.

T: A big blast of caramel malt flavors with a bit of a cloying candy-like sweetness. No hop bitterness to speak of. Surprisingly, age seems to have completely removed any alcohol burn.

M: Thick and luxurious on the tongue with light carbonation.

D: Dangerously drinkable and a wonderful nightcap. This beer has really held up well over the years.

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

I meant to drink this on December 1st to celebrate the bottle's 10th anniversary, but my wife was on a 5-day cleanse and I had to wait until she was done. 1998 Vintage obviously, poured into a tumbler.

A - Pours a murky orange-brown, with no head and sparse spiral lace. There's a little bit of carbonation coming to the surface. It's a barleywine, and it's ten years old - what were you expecting?

S - Very sweet malt, with strong presence of dried fruits (raisins, prunes, dates, etc.). There's also a nutty quality and it almost has a bit of a port flavor to it. It's a little boozy, but not as much as you'd think.

T - The strongest taste is raisins, with some of the other dark fruits present in the nose. However it appears that these dried fruits have been doused in caramel, maple syrup, toffee, and candy coating. This is one sweet brew - reminds me of rumcake. I think the high alcohol content implies an oak taste even though I don't think this is barrel-aged (now there's an idea...). The flavor really comes out as this warms up, so don't serve it too cold.

M - Viscous, but not too thick. It has a fresh melt-in-your-mouth bread quality to it that complements the density of flavor. Very smooth - not much burn for something so strong.

D - Uhhh...who would consider having more than one? That's just crazy talk. It's delicious but not something I'd have more than once in a while. On the other hand it goes down easy when I'm drinking it.

Did a side-by-side with a 2004 Old Stock at Thanksgiving dinner and this one came out on top. Great beer for fancy dinners and special occasions.

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

1997 into a snifter at cellar temperature.

Dark brown with a light tan head. Dissipates to just a 1cm ring around the edge of the glass.

Immediately the aroma fills the air: raisins and prunes everywhere. Like a wonderful sweet port.

The flavor is much less ripe fruity and more overripe fruity: old prunes. Extreme complexity here - the fruit is very good. Caramel, some smokiness almost. A little mineral in the burp. Still pretty hot. Just a touch of bitterness to round out the flavor. Super sweet, very rich, deep flavor. You can tell this one is more than 10 years old.

The mouthfeel is very smooth. A very small amount of carbonation remaining.

This is a dessert sipper. Drinkable, but not one you'd drink too much of.

Very good overall.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2001 Version

A - Dark caramel, not much head. Ring is left. Thin leggy lacing.

S - Friggin wow. Deep meaty dark fruits, sweet and thick, booze evident. Yum.

T - Beautiful high volume flavor, sweet and complex, giving you a meal in rich deep fruits and booze.

M - Medium to full, great coating, wish a little more carb.

D -Not a session by any stretch.

1997 and 2000 Version Very similar! :), except the carb was better. LOVE THIS BEER.

Happy to say.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

bottled dec 1 1999. just over 9 years old.

A- very dark and murky brown colored body with some visible carbonation along the sides of the glass. small beige colored head rests on top.

S- lots of sweet malts. some fruits like raisins and figs. slight hint of alcohol.

T- incredibly sweet. no trace of oxidation. very little alcohol in this one. lots of raisins.

M- medium to heavy bodied with alot more carbonation than i would expect on something this old.

D- definitely a beer that lasted a long time. once of these in an evening would be great, i dont think id want more than that. the alcohol is well hidden, i think that 9 years did wonders for this one. check it out if given the chance.

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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 KeefD
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Back of the bottle lists this vintage as 1st December, 1998. Today is 1st December, 2008. Ten year anniversary of this vintage.

Into an oversized brandy snifter. Pours a dark brown with barely any light shining through. Small tan head that recedes quickly leaving behind some spotty lacing. Aroma is of some light chocolate, nuttiness, brown sugar, molasses, burnt caramel, toffee, woody, earthy and a light underlying sourness that disappears as it warms. Extremely complex nose. Taste is very sweet upfront, maple syrup, dark fruits galore of the rum-soaked variety, raisins, brown sugar, light chocolate and very light coffee. So sweet, thick and syrupy, with just slightest hint of carbonation bubbles. Alcohol is completely well hidden in the nose, the taste, and on the tongue. Malty, complex and delicious. A little too syrupy and sweet to be completely drinkable, but it's great one bottle at a time.

I am very much considering purchasing several more bottles of this to age even longer. I wonder what this will taste like in 2018?

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a chestnut brown body topped with a half inch of creamy-looking, beige head, though admittedly, it's a bit short-lived. Hey, but check out those legs!

Smell: Plump, juicy raisins swimming in sherry and tawny port with gobs of earthy caramel and toffee maltiness.

Taste: Ultra sweet, babies! Smooth, blended flavors of concentrated caramel, treacle, toffee, and simple syrup. Some woody hints. Small pinch of herbal hops but at this point they only present a mild bitterness. Rich raisiny fruitiness washed down with a sip of fine aged sherry and port. Soothing, warming alcohol presence, particularly on the smooth, malty finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: J.W. Lees, you've been charged with rampant deliciousness! A perfect late-night, after dinner sipper. Skip the dessert and head straight for a bottle of Harvest Ale instead.

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Photo of everetends
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this bottle at Five Points Bottle Shop in Athens, GA. Served up in my new Terrapin snifter.

A: Pours nice cola dark brown, almost black. Pretty clear. Very little hint of carbonation. Poured a thin wispy head that recedes to a ring and some swirls at the top of the liquid. This lasts the entire beer. Lots of sheeting on the glass as you work your way down.

S: Smell is of some serious caramel goodness. Lots of malt. Sweet, buttery bread as well. Then you get the fruit: dates, prunes, raisin, figs. The fruit is almost candied. There is a bit of heavy booze in the nose that is touch off putting, but still overall very nice.

T: Taste is serious malty goodness. So much caramel flavor it is ridiculous. Sweet but not crazy. The fruit is yet again candied but not overly sweet, with dates, cherries, prunes and raisins. There is a touch of brown sugar in here. Also some oak is poking through. So nice and tasty. Touch of boozy goodness on the finish.

M: This is a ful bodied brew. Really creamy in the feel. Coats incredibly well. There is a touch of cherry syrup on the aftertaste but it is mostlly caramel. ABV is here but there is zero burn. The creaminess is what sells this brew.

D: This brew is damned good. So subtle and creamy. Lots of caramel makes this just fantastic. I really enjoyed this beer and glad that Frank suggested it. Will definitely get this one again.

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Photo of nick76
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

1997, 1999, 2005. The aroma is very sweet but not cloying. It's got dark fruit, caramel, vinous qualities, oak, and rum. The appearance is nice too with some haze to a dark copper gold. The flavor is like the aroma but a little bit astringent. The palate is smooth and thick as heck. Overall a nice beer. The 97 had a bit of coffee and the 99 was the sweetest.

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

2003 vintage consumed Aug. 25, '06. Hazy orange copper color with bits of small sediment suspended in the brew. It had a light tan head that vanished to nothing before long. The aroma is rich malt, dates, plums and alcohol. Thick thick oily mouth feel. There is no lack of flavor here. Starts off very sweet and a slight kalamata olive taste. About midway the strong fruit component of dates, figs and plums mixes with a wood smokiness to create a kind of maple syrup flavor. It finishes in a mild way leaving a pleasing sweetness behind. Pretty good. The Lagavulin version I enjoyed more.

12/02/06 Walk the Line Barleywine Festival, Dunedin, FL. 1998 vintage. Poured a deep amber with no head. The aroma was on the light side with sweet caramel. The body was a bit thin. The flavor brought forth lots of caramel, dark fruit, maybe some toffee and molasses.

12/02/06 Walk the Line Barleywine Festival, Dunedin, FL. 1988 vintage. Poured a clear amber color with no head. The aroma had sweet licorice and deep rich dark caramel. The flavor was delicious sweet caramel, burnt caramel and toffee. This beer is really smooth and has stood the test of time very well. Wow, 18 years old and darn tasty.

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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 timbro81
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2003 vintage:
Pours a soft caramel color with a slight amount of haziness (avoided pouring in the sediment). The head is not really all there, it resembles an iced tea. However, with some agitation a fine film can be produced. There doesn't appear to be much carbonation. I understand that most of these observations could be due in large part to being aged for five years. The nose is very strong and can be picked up from a few feet away. Smells of candied/carameled dried fruit, figs, apricots, prunes. Some alcohol is detectable in the nose as well. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly viscous. The taste is very similar to the nose except that there is a brief and subtle amount of earthy hops in the begining and near the end. The finish is nice, not too long and not too short.

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

9oz bottle 1999 vintage $4.99. Dark, red, chestnut, whatever. Smells like syrupy barleywine, nuts, cardboard, oddly good. Taste is syrupy, malty raisins, reminds me of aged Old Stock. Only problem with this beer is the ABV, too high but its a good English barleywine. I ate some Oregonzola and Blue Stilton and preferred the Oregonzola.

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Photo of charlzm
3.69/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle labeled December 1st, 2001 - consumed October 26th, 2008.

Beverage poured a cloudy, sediment-laden orange/brown into "special" Samuel Adams Boston lager glass. Minimal carbonation, but more than I would have expected from a seven year old barleywine. A thin skin of off-white foam does not quite cover the surface of the beer, but the small ring around the edges performs some minimal lacing duties.

Aroma is strong and sweet; brown sugar and dates, raisins and prunes. Is that a whiff of cinnamon? Bready, too, like a fresh golden fruitcake hot from the oven. A trace of booze, like dark rum as well.

Very thick in the mouth, which was not surprising. The surprise was that the finish was very clean for a beer of this heft.

Flavor: strong and intensely sweet. Alcohol presence. Pitted fruits as in the nose. A bit bready. A slight wood character. But really, the sweetness is overwhelming, making the flavor cloying.

With a bit less sweetness, this would have been awesome. As it was, I still finished the glass, but I did not particularly enjoy it.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.79/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale Vintage 1998...poured out of 275 mL into a snifter.

"Nectar of the Gods'"

A- Dark, murky brown. When held in light a nice blood red complexion turns in the glass. Inch of nice cream colored head gathered and dissipated into a nice ring as the beer was consumed.

S- The smell was insane! So complex that I don't even no where to start. Almost smelled like homemade cider. It had a sweet smell along with aromas of caramel, malt, and several fruits (cherries, plums, raisins). Oh yea, I forgot to mention the alcohol.

T- If not better then just as good as the smell. A nice sweet fruit/caramel/malty flavor hits the palate, followed by a nice gush of warm alcohol.

M- Judging by the smell, I figured it would be super thick and syrupy and to my surprise it wasn't. While it was close to being full-bodied, it went do so smoothly.

D- With a taste like this, I only wished it would come in a bottle bigger than 9.6 oz. Every time I took a whiff, I didn't want to put it down.

Overall, one of the best experiences I have ever had with beer...period. If all barlywines taste like this, I think I may have a new favorite style of beer.

Part 1 of rhinos00 vintage night. 1988 vintage. Poured from a 275 mL bottle into a snifter.

A- Poured a gorgeous dark, copper/amber. Very clear with plenty of visible flakes throughout the glass. Imagine a snow globe except with a nice, vintage barleywine.

S- There is just something about JW Lee's that appeals to my senses. Very potent and pervasive. Deep candied malts with lots of rich raisin, plum aromas. Most akin to an aged port. Little bit of alcohol in the finish.

T- Mmmm mmmm good. After 20 years in the cellar, this has held up pretty damn well. A lot of rich dark fruit flavors and heavy malts. Yes, there was quite a bit of oxidation, but it still held its own after all these years.

M- This aspect of the beer seems to have suffered the most after all these years. Virtually no carbonation, which yielded a rather thin mouthfeel for a rich tasting barleywine.

D- The taste was there, but the mouthfeel coupled with the oxidation hampered the overall drinkability of this beer.

Overall, I can't tell you how privileged I felt when I poured this beer into my snifter. I mean this beer was made when I was 3 years old. That being said, this vintage is way past it's prime. It can hold it's own in the taste department, but the oxidation is a rather large detriment to this beer. I would stick to the 1997 or 1998 vintage as of now.

4/5/4/3.5/4 = 4.15

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Harvest Ale (Limited Edition) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
4.25 out of 5 based on 1,523 ratings.
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