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

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Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)
1,538 Ratings
Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)

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

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

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Ratings: 1,538 |  Reviews: 870
Photo of MattGeleske
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of ZAP
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

F#@ck Yeah!!! I love drinking a GREAT beer for the first time...OUTSTANDING....High in alcohol...the type you want to sip, but the type you can't keep your hands away from grabbing the minute you put it down..fascinating drinking experience....I get a sweet fruity nose with some hints of brown sugar and molasses....the taste is incredible...huge dark fruits...definitely plum...maybe some prunes...dark cherries...the brown sugar is there...as is the molassis....and dare I say some odd hints of coconut....the nose immediately reminded me of a champagne or wine or something...the flavor though is more like a port...or Brandy with a nice hit of brown sugar...this is one of those beers that transcendes the entire beer drinking experience....there is no Barley Wine finer..

 778 characters

Photo of cowboy83
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of afksports
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Dannynoonan123
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of bmoney
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of tat2dhllblly
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of adrian21
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Anvilfarm
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of towlea25
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of lordredsnake
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of KGarrett
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Klourie
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of porterja
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had the privilege of having the 1999 and 2006 versions of the J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale, a beer recommended highly by a close friend of mine, that seemed to appear out of nowhere. I didn't really know what to expect, but as soon as I cracked the cap off of the bottle, I was overcome by the sweet aroma of fermented apples. Then I partook and was completely blown away. Halfway through the bottle, I turned to my friend and told him with all seriousness that the J.W, Lees Vintage Harvest Ale was the best beer I have ever tasted, and this is coming from someone who has indulged in the pleasures of the Westvleteren 12. If this isn't enough reason to pick this beauty up next time you visit your local bottleshop, I'll do my best to describe its components:

My original thought when drinking the J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale was it tastes like a more realized (and better carbonated) Lost Abbey Angel Share. This is primarily due to its pervasive caramel taste, and its syrupy consistency.

A: reddish, golden brown.

S: sweet, fermented fruit, namely apples. spices.

T: perfect balance of caramel, honey, dark fruits, apples, a hint of cinnamon, very much a barleywine.

M: HUGE presence, due to the viscous, syrupy honey nature of the beer.

D: it's delicious, sweet, well-balanced, and complex, but it'd be difficult to drink more than one of these in one sitting.

I recommend this beer highly, and predict that it will soon rapidly climb to at least the top 20 of the Best of BA, so if you're looking for a delicious beer to meet your every expectation, look no further beer enthusiasts, the J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale has arrived!

 1,653 characters

Photo of Jeeb
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Budinetz
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2007 poured into a Teku glass.

A- amazing color on this brew. Very uncharacteristic of the style, but definitely a beautiful straw colored hue with a tight cream colored head that stays for quite a while after pouring. It almost looks as if it was nitrogen infused. Minimal lacing present but some does stick to the glass and due to the active yeast in the bottle it has some fizziness after pouring, much like a sparkling wine/cider. Some sediment present, so be careful when pouring vintages 5 years and beyond.

S- smells of grain, malt, cane sugar, and bread. Has a nice bouquet of malty tones, some yeast, and straw. Almost detect a funkiness like brettanomyces, but not quite.

T- flavors of molasses, caramel, barley, and very biscuity. Refreshing carbonation, not too overbearing. Very smooth on the palate. No boozy alcohol aftertaste at all, which is quite impressive for an 11.5% abv beer. Quite possibly one of the best beers I've had the pleasure of consuming.

M- very smooth on the tongue. Very light, refreshing carbonation that drinks through the head and does not leave any slickness on the tongue or unpleasant feeling in the mouth. Very little to no burn from the high abv, which is yet again impressive.

O- overall, a very well rounded brew with an awesome flavor, a warming abv, but none of the unpleasant after effects of many other brews. Definitely worth aging for years to come! I have two...one I will crack open in another 5 years or so. Enjoy!

 1,484 characters

5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Scout11
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Beastcpa
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This barleywine is awesome! Bust get sone

49 characters

Photo of afsdan
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of tewaris
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle (1999 vintage) poured into a 25 oz snifter on November 23, 2010 at room temperature.

Opened with a hiss! Pours clear and deep ruby-garnet, with a big bubbly light tan head with good head retention and some lacing. Even after 11 years in the bottle, it looks just fine. That's something considering many (other) beers from 2005 or later have the been reported to have the most gross looking sediment at this point. I have had this beer and its other versions before and have seen some floating chunks but this particular bottle had none. Regardless, looks wise it's a 5/5.

The aroma of this beer is like none other in terms of strength. The most prominent notes are of figs, dates and raisins, and of dark caramel, toffee and brown sugar, with some alcohol in the background. This is a familiar aroma, or at least the notes are if not their exact combination, but it is the strength of this intense malty and dried, dark fruity aroma that makes this ale exceptional! The dark sweetness practically jumps out of the glass and keeps inviting to take a sip.

The taste has notes identical to smell, just stronger. Although there were no hops whatsoever in the aroma, there's a nice cleansing bitterness that comes from hops but feels similar to the slight bitterness and slight astringency of dates and figs. Starts quite sweet followed by the said bitterness and some vinous character in the middle and finishes exceptionally clean for its sweetness. The finish is long with an excellent dried fruit flavor. Overall very well rounded and complex. The body is medium with low carbonation and excellent drinkability! This ale offers a great flavor experience and its taste meets and exceeds the expectations set by aroma.

One of my favorites and one of the best I ever had, this ale was an eye opener for me that showed me the level of complexity and deliciousness a malt forward beer could achieve without losing its balance.

 1,943 characters

Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of BenHoppy
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

J.W. Lee you did it again. Another badass barleywine. Back to back I had a 2007 vintage followed by a 2002. In appearance the 2007 was more purpley brown/ruby red. The 2002 was more chocolatey brown. Both had a good amount of carbonation with minimal head but 2007 looked like pop more than beer. The 5 really goes to the 2002 but same beer so it gets a 5. There is also some sediment in both with more sediment present in 2007.

The aroma in 2007 is pure whiskey and tobacco whereas the 2002 I get bourbon barrel, vanilla, chocolate, burnt sugar, and caramel

2007 taste: I get whiskey, tobacco, leather, hay, licorice, caramel, toffee, and some Mary Jane candy.

In 2002 vintage the tobacco, hay, and leather flavors had faded with addition of more vanilla and chocolate flavoring that weren't present in 2007 vintage along with some bourbon

Feel is a bit chewy yet super smooth and creamy. More smooth and creamy in 2002.

Overall a fantastic beer that ages gracefully. My all time favorite barleywines when counting the sherry cask and whisky variants. A brewery that knows how to make a well rounded barleywine for sure. I like the 2002 for the chocolate yet liked 2007 for the tobacco and leather. Almost tastes like 2 different beers. Both could age longer but having it at 10 years followed by 15 was a great experience. Both were super enjoyable and glad I opened them now.

 1,400 characters

Photo of TrickkyGangsta
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Harvest Ale (Limited Edition) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 1,538 ratings
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