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
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,523 |  Reviews: 864
Photo of abanton
3/5  rDev -29.4%

Photo of Jimmys
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

had on cask at the brewpub for the 2nd Annual Barleywine Festival. review from Sunday, 2/12. 2010 vintage.

A: flat, rich orange hue. virtually no carbonation can be seen in the glass. no head. i thought cask beers were supposed to have a nice frothy head....?
S: honey. lots of honey. toffee. a little bit of smoke? sugar in the raw. brown sugar. not a hop in sight.
T: honey, molasses. sesame seeds linger from start to finish and then after that. really unique. maybe even some burnt popcorn.
M: fine bubbles. full bodied.
D: almost drinks like a mead. very sweet, but super complex. great range with sweet, nutty, slightly roasted aromas and flavors. my favorite beer of the evening. #1 of the 4 tried.

 707 characters

Photo of bump8628
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of craytonic
2.32/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2001 vintage in early 2012

Appearance: mahogany-brown pour with a short-lived head

Smell: Sickly sweet with some fruit, port, caramel and toffee

Taste: Super-sweet, unbearably so, at least for a sour head like myself. Figs, raisins, port, carmel and toffee

Mouthfeel: Full body from the sugar, similar to sweet tea or a regular coke

Overall: I can't drink anything this sweet.

 381 characters

Photo of marvin213
3.77/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2001 Vintage

It looks like it should be served with a spoon. It smells like a thick, malty, toffee ball of caramel solid. It actually SMELLS like those things! As if i were alive in the sixties, I can smell in this beer "thick and chewy." It's potent and caloric. Again, you can smell it. It will for me define Engiish Barleywine.

It tastes like sweet, raw sugar toffee with chocolate...mixed with yodels of yeast that ate sugar without oxygen...for 10+ years. It's thick and chewy, and it feels like it'll put hair on your nuts. It makes black coffee a bitch's brew. I'm definitely affected by the "World Class" bro and other reviews, as I'll score it high with no plans to revisit. It's just too big for me.

 712 characters

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

Enjoyed on-cask @ the iTap House in Chesterfield, MO for $6. Tapped from the Stainless Firkin into a 12oz Snifter Glass. Enjoyed two back to back to capture all the characteristics.

2010 Vintage.

Aroma- Tons of complexity and strength hits the nose. Big time fruit and figs with a ton of malt start it out. Even though its high in ABV's, the nose only picked up dried fruits, figs, and an intense blend indescribable. Nice.

Appearance- Received both times with a 1 finger, bubbly head that had average head retention. Leaves a small amount of suds behind.

Flavor- This is when the brew becomes VERY complexed. The upfront taste that I'm getting is a big time Fig fruit with the seeds included. TONS of flavor hit the mouth. Then there is a slight pepper taste on the backend. Alcohol isn't at all a factor in here and the hops are blended in to an unnoticeable state. Light bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Light Carbonation, Smoother than any other Barleywine, and has Figs again in the finish. Awesome!

Overall Impression- Wow. Just when I had an unreal Barleywine last week (with the Commander), this one becomes one of my new favorites! The fruit and fig characters that I sought out stayed with me in both glasses. A very strong brew too! After drinking these, I was surely intoxicated and had to ask for my tab. I HIGHLY recommend the 2010 Harvest Ale if you get a chance. Not sure about the other years or the variety of cask offerings for the 2011 line up, but this was out of this world!

 1,531 characters

Photo of Rickythejeweler
2.68/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 Vintage

A - Slightly cloudy golden-copper, thin soapy head, no lacing. Good amount of carbonation bubbles along the bottom of the glass.

S - Raisons, fermented fruits, yeast funk.

T - Candi sugar, raisons, old fruit, seaweed.

M - Thick, syrupy.

O - Drain pour.

 270 characters

Photo of beesy
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 edition poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass

a - pours a medium copper with a half finger off white head that dissipates quickly.
Tons of yeast trub in the bottle and I poured it with a little too much vigor and
some ended up in my glass - no biggie just extra protein today! By the pour, it seems a little thin.

s - lots of sweet caramel notes. Wheat. Slight stale taste. Some oxidation type aromas typical of aged beers.

t - caramel sweetness mixed with TONS of toffee and ULTRA malty with a very strong wheat flavor on the end.
No hops or bitteness to speak of. A slight yeast profile in the latter palate. Alcohol detected.

m - full bodied, but not as thick as I was expecting.

d - low for me, a tad too sweet.

Overall, an interesting beer that has held up well over the past four years. A malt and wheat bomb
with caramels present. I typically like to consume withintwo years, but reviews of
09 and 10 coming up soon, so we'll see how they stack up.

 981 characters

Photo of thecheapies
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage on tap.

Mead-colored body with minimal carbonation. Hazy and murky. No head, just a thin ring.

Booze, honey sweetness, sherry, peanut brittle, candied fruits, fig, green raisins.

Big sherry notes upfront. Sweet and syrupy. Milk caramel, sweet white grapes/golden raisins, molasses hint, Belgian chocolate, honey mead, vinous characteristics. Lack of carb, but heavy body with a sticky coat. Marvelous complexity.

So lucky to have this on tap. Must try. Epic ale.

 479 characters

Photo of throwback
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of bluntedboywonder
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of tony223366
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage

A: Deep amber red color. Decent clarity but most of the problem was my bad pour. A thin layer of very light tan foam that dissipates into an island.

S: Really rich almost syrupy butterscotch and caramel. Honey. Tons of rich dark fruitiness. Alcohol is present too. Very port-like.

T: Wow, so fruity. Tons of buttery/caramel flavors. So much complexity in a great port-like way. Huge finish with some light, warming alcohol. Some roasted malt flavors and oaky almost vanilla tastes. Finish is very long. Tons of residual sugars. Molasses and a touch of acidity.

M: Unbelievably smooth and full bodied. Carbonation is light but present.

O: I know I throw this word around a lot but this beer is so decadent. As rich as it is though you can tell it could still use another two years or so. I think 5 years may be the sweet spot for this beer. Would love to have it over some ice cream! Not something you want too early but practically a perfect way to end a cold rainy night. Can't imagine a more model English Barleywine.

 1,037 characters

Photo of MikeytotheB
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of jskennedy
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of jmdrpi
4.91/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2002 vintage - 275mL bottle, poured into snifter

appears a muddy chocolate brown, with an off-white head that fades immediately. extremely pungent aroma - huge malt, raisins, brown sugar, toffee. intoxicating smell.

taste is more of the same. buttery sweet, with notes of caramel, molasses, burnt sugar, raisins, milk chocolate. crazily complex and bold flavors. no alcohol taste. thick luscious full body. subtle smooth carbonation.

overall - wow. I am truly amazed by this beer. need to get more! 10 years has done wonders

 529 characters

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

 3,349 characters

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

2008 vintage.

A: Pours a clear light amber with red highlights, with just a touch of white head. What little head there is leaves a few spots of lacing here and there.

S: Very rich, sweet honey, black licorice, and raisins.

T: Complex and rich. Strong honey through the mid palate, with the raisin dominating a bit more through the finish. There are some also some faint notes of cherries, dried fruit, and just the slightest hint of bitterness.

M: Full body, low but noticeable carbonation.

Really excellent. Not quite as rich and complex as the barrel aged versions, but they are also older; I'd like to try this aged another few years as a more direct comparison to the barrel aged versions.

 699 characters

Photo of heff316
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of KAF
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Brez07
2.68/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed as part of the Blind Beer BIF #6. 275ml bottle served in a snifter. 1999 vintage

A: Pours brown/dark caramel. Also initially leaves a 1 finger head that doesn't stick around long (3)

S: Nose is mostly dark fruit. Notes of fig, raisin and plum. A swirl of the glass gives way to cherry. Faint alcohol. Eventually I pick up some malt, but also some cardboard and bubblegum (2.5)

T: Sweet throughout. Candied sugar, figs. Some prune, weak chocolate and oak. Artificial fruit, reminding me of a raspberry fruit rollup. Light booze (2.5)

M: Medium bodied. Basically next to no carbonation (3)

D: A little rough. Drinkable, but only to a certain point. Glad I split this one (3)

 686 characters

Photo of cbeer88
4.92/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed blindly courtesy of Blind BIF #6.

9.3oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Cap cracks with a nice hiss, and I slowly pour into the glass careful to watch out for sediment once I see the dark liquid and smell the liquor. Head is a fluffy finger and a half of very light tan. Lacing is pretty and covers most of the glass.

Smell: I immediately smelled some sort of liquor when I popped the cap. I get notes of vanilla, caramel, and sweet dark fruits - dates, prunes, raisins - a lot going in here. There is a hint of wood and some definite must. This guy is both barrel aged and cellared for a while. The aroma is simply intoxicating.

Taste: How does one quantify "awesome"? Lots of that delicious dark fruit in the flavor, plus wood, slight oxidization, caramel and toffee, vanilla, maple, and a very smoothly blended liquor that is rather difficult to pin at this point. I'm going with port, but this could be sherry. Alcohol taste is smooth but strong - definitely a potent beer.

Mouthfeel: Good carb and full bodied. Nice and smooth, but syrupy.

Drinkability: High. This is a sipper all the way, but wow is this drinkable. Each sip makes me yearn for the next. It's just the right mix of sweet and alcohol.

Overall: This beer is sublime. I could happily drink this for the rest of my life.

 1,318 characters

Photo of Hopstout
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This review is based upon a J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale Vintage 2001.

Appearance - Wine colored and clear. Colored water. Limpid. Barely any carbonation. No head with massive legs.

Aroma - Strong scent of port wine and quality bourbon whiskey. A firm wave of vanilla ice cream and caramel creme brulee. Pure sweet dessert with strong scent of alcohol topping.

Taste - This is filled with a variety of powerful flavors. Massively sweet and porty. Layers of vanilla bean and warm caramel and hot butterscotch and cool cream. Brandy. Molasses. Maple syrup. Dark fruits. Dollop of oak.

Mouthfeel - Huge body with a silky and suave finish. There is a hefty dose of alcohol mid-swallow then it fades to a sweet and buttery aftertaste.

Overall - This ale is one of the most curious and unique "beers" that I have ever had which makes it difficult to rate. It is nothing like a "beer". It is more like a port. A boozy and sweet rare treat. A twelve ounce serving is plenty. A little too sweet to drink alone, more of a novelty beer. Share this with another beer enthusiast.

 1,073 characters

Photo of nightwing002
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of pjs234
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage. Poured into my DFH Signature glass. The beer is a very murky brownish/red color. There was little to no head, but there was a fair amount of sediment suspended virtually motionless in the glass. The smell is good and very sweet, with an overall molasses aroma with hints of raisins, toffee and caramel.

The taste is very sweet. The molasses flavors are very noticeable. There is also a slight bitterness. Hard to place the exact flavor, but it keeps it from being way too sweet. Honestly, this is a real nice barleywine, it is almost like a very nice dessert wine. Please let this one warm up before your first sip. When a little too cold, there is a very odd flavor to it, almost a cardboard taste. This goes away as the beer warms. Also, regardless of temp, there is no hint of alcohol.

The mouthfeel is good, although the carbonation is almost gone. I guess this is to be expected with a 5 year old barelywine.

Overall, this is very good. I am glad i tried it. From a personal standpoint, I think I prefer fresh barelywines, as I like the alcohol bite of them. Also, I would love to try this one fresh, just to see how it changed over the past five years.

 1,176 characters

Photo of grittybrews
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 bottle, opened 01/2012. South Sound tasting notes:

Poured a clear amber with a thin slick of head. Aroma of sugar cookie, toffee, raisin, and a hint of cider.

Lower carbonation and a creamy, sticky mouthfeel. Super sweet up front with lots of toffee, honey, molasses, and hints of dark fruit. Definite but not overpowering boozy warmth.

A nice treat but with the sweetness this intense, a little goes a long way.

 420 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.