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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,518 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:
1,518
Reviews:
862
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
13.65%
 
 
Wants:
265
Gots:
227
For Trade:
15
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,518 |  Reviews: 862
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

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

2002 Vintage
appearance: Mostly clear reddish copper. No head or lacing to speak of but hey, it's 11.5% and 10 years old.
smell: butterscotch, raisins, and toffee just poppin out. Huge, refined nose.
taste: sweet but not cloying. a big assertive butterscotch finish. Amazingly smooth given the high abv. I've never had this fresh but i have to believe the decade has done wonders to this amazing beast.
overall: one of the best beers i've ever had.

 448 characters

Photo of IHyphySF
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Harvest Ale 2008 Edition.

Nice syrupy medium brown almost like a slightly diluted molasses color poured into a tulip glass it poured thick with no head. Strong scents of golden raisins, currants, molasses, brown sugar, almost like a good subdued bourbon smell to it. First taste was almost like sipping on some extremely sweet golden raisiin cough syrup but it was mellow going down and was pleasant with no veracious alcohol taste which is normally a good sign with barley wines that they have aged long enough. Couple more sips and i got more fruit and almost vanilla flavor out of it and an aftertaste of apricots in the back of my mouth. Overall i wish i had a few more of these it tasted really good and can't wait to open up some more of other j.w. lees barleywines i have sitting at home.

 796 characters

Photo of bonbini26
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of csustar001
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of bschinelli
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of N8DAGR8
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of towlea25
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of claaark13
4.77/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1988 vintage poured into a small taster flute.

Looks like I was poured a thick reddish brown juice into the glass. Not great at all, no carbonation.

Smells like a bag of twizzlers. Seriously smells like a fresh bag. Unbelievable.

Sweet almost port flavor with sweet cherries, raisins and then that beautiful twizzler flavor. Phenomenal.

Has some syrup feel to it, but complements flavor appropriately. Very drinkable.

Very impressed with this. The guy serving it didn't have too many notes on how it was kept, but I was happy with the results.

 548 characters

Photo of afksports
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of thepeter
4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Bottle
A - Dark amber, clear, small frothy head goes still raher quickly

S - Intence toffee, caramel, apples, grapes

T - Malt forward, brown sugar, toffee, autum spices, apples, and sweet bitter coffee towards the end

M - Well carbonated but light and smooth on the tongue. medium bodied overall and really nice

O - A bit sweet overall but that is an Engilish BW for you. looking forward to this with some more age on it. I may also try blending it a bit.

 465 characters

Photo of nihiloexnihil
3.07/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle 2008 vintage poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: brilliant golden/deep amber, with a significant amount of stirred up yeast sediment even after a careful pour. Minimal head. The yeast clumps are a bit distracting.

Smell: apples. I'm sort of blown away by the almost cider-like scent, with a light yeasty component.

Taste: Hm. Initially I'm hit with cinnamon, apple- but not fresh apples, almost like what I imagine rotten apples taste like, a sweet necrotic taste- which then transforms to an almost fungal, mushroom-like non-fruit sensation which is hard to place. Someone mentioned "vegetal" which I think is accurate. A bit unexpected.

Mouthfeel- good carbonation but feels much like a cider.

Overall- I'm honestly not sure what to say about this beer. I'm a fan of barleywines but this seemed more like a strong, sweet cider on the initial attack with an unusual, fibrous, rotten-apple, yeasty finish that didn't quite jive. Just not for me, I guess.

 976 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the cask into a medium sized snifter at ChurchKey DC. Vintage 2010.

No head presented but filled to the brim nearly, giving off a dull dark slightly opaque red rust color, and maintaining just a faint tan collar. Shaking it up or bumping produces some more carbonation, giving a slight fizzy faint body.

Nose is stupidly butter rich and apple jam. But not of the diacetyl variety. Rich rum soaking spirits seem to come out in abundance. Smells fantastic.

Taste is just soft an luscious on the palate, bringing in that warm apple butter richness. Some faint licorice that is chewy on the aftertaste too.

Great drink right out of the cask just wonderful.

 669 characters

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

vintage 2000

pours a deep brown with a slight hint of ruby. cream colored head builds up and then leaves light retention.

super sweet and rich. hints of super sweet toffee and rich caramel. malty.

like liquid candy. loads of toffee, caramel, and butterscotch. very sweet and rich. very sweet malt and light booze in the back.

thick, full, light syrupy feel. mild carbonation.

pretty good but very sweet and rich, a super sipper. aged great though.

 453 characters

Photo of ohtheguilt
2.5/5  rDev -41.2%

Photo of aanakinskywalker
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of touchmeimsac
2/5  rDev -52.9%

Photo of jabo134
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of markrmoser
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of Zono
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The 2010 release, served from the cask in a 12 oz. tulip glass.

The bar-tendress was good enough to give it a generously patient, two-stage pour.

I was impressed by the foaming thickness of the head. It does not last for too long, however, dissipating about halfway through.

The color: pale, ruddy gold, with a fair degree of cloudiness.

The first whiff is strong with cider-y esters. A spiciness prevails amid a fairly hot alcohol presence.

Upon tasting, the malt quality has a distinctly sharp, acidic fruitiness to it. Indeed, the flavor of cider is remarkable, receding to a more fully spicy, almost vegetal character.

The mouth-feel is lightly syrupy. A papery sort of presence is detectable -- herbaceous to woody. Deeply reminiscent of mouldering autumn leaves; apples fallen from trees left to gently rot on an orchard's ground.

Vinous "legs" are virtually discernible. Interestingly, a small amount of sediment was evident in the bottom of the glass.

Overall, I was intensely impressed by this ale, the first, as far as I can recall, I've ever had by JW Lees. I would consider it a fantastic, and fascinating, exemplar of a barley-wine. I look forward to sampling other "vintages."

 1,198 characters

Photo of Telestic
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Harvest Ale (Limited Edition) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
4.25 out of 5 based on 1,518 ratings.
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