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

Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)
BA SCORE
87.9%
Liked This Beer
4.23 w/ 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
Ranking:
#904
Reviews:
864
Ratings:
1,523
Liked:
1,339
Avg:
4.23/5
pDev:
13.71%
Alströms:
4.6
 
 
Wants:
269
Gots:
225
Trade:
14
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,523 |  Reviews: 864
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1998 Vintage. Simply barley and cloying sweet. Peppermint, cinammon, raisin. Not very refreshing nor complex. Full mouthfeel. Little carbonation. Warming did not significantly improve. Saccarin dry aftertaste. I thought this below average for a barleywine, and please don't take offense.

Had 1997 vintage in spring 2006, 4 years past due. Lovely malt complexity and barley, understated carbonation and bitterness. Rating ratched up. I want more.

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Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kylehay2004
3.87/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1999 version

A: murky and muddy brown body. No head.

S: sherry and cabernet dominate. some dark fruit, ofee, chocolate and caramel malts. forbodes a strong boozy flavor.

T: wow. This one is strong and not just in the boozy way but also in the tart, sweet and sour way. sherry, tons of dark fruit mostly raisin. The finish has an oak, smokey and cake batter character.

M: so sweet its hard to tell. medium body and light carbonation. oily and thick.

Overall: almost got a headache right away from the sweetness. This one is definitely unique and somehow complex in the finish despite the overwhelming tart and sweetness. I couldnt finish this one.

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Photo of Texasfan549
2.75/5  rDev -35%

Photo of jaydoc
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA.

Billed as the 25th Anniversary edition of this beer.

Pours a slightly murky honey orange-brown with a foamy off-white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, and some light apple-like fruit aromas. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and some fruity flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and full bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is quite strong and rich and has a better smell than taste in my opinion.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.71/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2008 vintage. not sure what the big deal is here. this is just a really sweet, yeasty, alcoholic monster. pouring a glittery golden color with a ton of coagulated yeast sediment and a minimal white head. the nose is very sugary, honey sweet, sticky, and yeasty. some fruit notes up front in the taste. alcohol wipes out any other potential subtleties, all i taste is booze and sugar, maybe a hint of vanilla from mid sip onwards. really syrupy in feel, not much carbonation, and more residual sugar that i can handle without turning diabetic. long teeth coating finish. overall not my favorite stuff here, not worth the price or the hype, maybe another decade would make this a star, but im just not feeling it here.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a pretty nice looking murky golden amber color. The head is nonexistent, no lacing here either. The smell of the beer has a lot of wood on the nose, and plenty of boozy sweetness to it. Has a strong malty aroma too. The taste of the beer is sweet throughout, the flavors of honey and some spice. The flavors are very strong which makes this beer a sipper, this beer needs to be enjoyed in moderation over a long cold night. The mouthfeel is thick and has no carbonation. Overall it's a very good brew, and needs to be given time in the bottle and in the glass while drinking.

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Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Photo of metter98
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: It poured dark reddish brown with no head or evidence of carbonation in rising bubbles. There are lots of visible yeast particles floating near the bottom.
S: There is an intense aroma of raisins, caramel, sugars and boozy liqueur in the nose.
T: The taste has lots of very rich flavors similar to the aroma, although not quite as prominent, and is reminiscent of brandy. There is a moderate amount of sweetness.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate, extremely smooth, somewhat sticky and very boozy.
D: This is a perfect beer for a nightcap, especially if it is aged. Alcohol is definitely evident, yet it is relatively well hidden for the strength.

Note: 1988 vintage (aged 22 years)

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.92/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Release '05: Sept. 23, 2007

Still considered very young, yet seductive enough to crack open the bottle. I just can't let these beers age at all. They are magnificent at any age. The 05 is no exception. Expecting a heavy sweet beer with some raw sugars and syrups, perhaps a hop bite and conflict; expecting high amounts of co2 to amplify an already-hot brew. Nope -- got none of that. Instead, the same smooth, brandy-like, port-wine brew with a hint of hop bitterness and flavor, mild heat, and creamy co2. Candied fruits take the form of fruit cake soaked in rum, with the finess of an after dinner congnac. The beer is absolutely amazing. Can't wait to see what the next decade does to the other one that I'll try to stash back.

Releases '87, 97, 92 - side by side comparison / Aug. 21, 2007

The '87 shined with higher port-wine, brandy flavors, but much more mellow, and less robust than earlier verisions. The nose was quite light, flavors were muted, with a complex alcohol feel and void carbonation. It looks a lot like prune juice, and tastes syrupy with deep dark fruits (dates, raisons, prunes, plumbs, figs). No hop presence at all. Highly oxidized and musty throughout. Rate 4.4

The '97 has all of the characteristics as the '87, but with richer context, intensity, and mouthfeel. The carbonation rounds out the mouthfeel and makes the beer feel fuller. The fruits are a bit ripe in comparison, but taking on similar proportions. More molassas, maple, wood character persists. Less oxidized, but still characterful with sherry and a touch of soy-sauce. Rate 4.8

The '02 is much sweeter, and has not rounded out fully yet. Rich maple syrup flavors make the beer taste a bit raw. The alcohols come across very warm, nearly hot. Fruits take on fresh fruitcake / dehydrated fruits, pronounced cherry flavor. No oxidation, but more one-dimensional than the earlier versions. Rate 4.25.

What an experiment! The '97 has the best recipe and has aged very well, probably nearing it's peak. The '87, although very nice, has signs of decline. The '02 still needs time to come into it's own. Thanks Clvand0!

Release 1999:

Always a joy to drink. After 8 years of bottle conditioning, great things are anticipated. The sweetness from this brew was fantastic: full of plumbs, grapes, dates, figs, cherries, prunes, and raisons, all swirled around a rum-like liquor. The hops have basically disappeared, leaving a mild bitterness from hop residue, grains, and confectionate sugars. Very rich and syrupy feel with a sharp, hot alcohol thinning. The beer sticks to the insides of the mouth for some time. Though this was a special session, I prefered the 2000 and the Port Cask Harvest Ales better.

Release 2000. Sampled on 06-21-05.

Boy what a terrific beer; best I've had in a while.
Looks brown with amber and tan highlights. Has a smooth, silky viscocity when poured into the glass. 1/2" off white head settles to a trace. Laces well and has legs. Smells fruity and sweet. Fruits resemble dates, figs, and raisons. Mildly alcoholic and spicy. Mouth watering. Tastes sweet and malty. Terrific full and round body. Sweetness hangs around. Mouthfeel is creamy and silky. Complex barley flavors abound. Flavors remind me of dark sweet wines. Quite chewy. Alcohol is hidden well. Finishes sweet and malty. Bittered only to balance; no flavor, no agressiveness. Not as dry as one would expect. Again, mildly alcoholic.

Impression: Probably more akin to an English Old Ale--with a punch. Well matured and melded. Dangerously easy to drink.
I highly recomend. May be substituted for an after dinner Port Wine or a Brandy.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.29/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2010 vintage 275 ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a nonical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live, because it fell out of me fridge and foam started building so I knew I had to open it.

Bottle acquired at Hi Time Liquor in Costa Mesa, California.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured lightly given extra caronbation was expected.

A: Pours a half finger head of bad thickness, no real cream, and bad retention (maybe 20 seconds). Murky copper-brown colour. Floating yeast particles are certainly visible, with strange white floaters present. Not at all appealing.

Sm: Malty and yeasty. Malt dominates - a mixture of mildly dark malt and bright barley methinks. No roasting or toasting comes through. A mild strength aroma.

T: Heavy on the lees - sweet jaysus. Toffee is also a big element here. A sort of raisiny grapey fruit tone dominates the finish, with a hint of apple. I don't like the third act at all as a result; it feels really awkward and off. The remainder of the beer is merely clean malts. Lees were a bad call for this beer; even after two years of aging they're still quite dominant. It's a lot like drinking pure malt syrup to a degree. No alcohol comes through, which is impressive given the ABV. Overall, it's horribly balanced and badly built for the style.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours of the body nicely I suppose. Adequately carbonated. Thick enough but not quite ideal. It dries on the finish due to the lees, which is pretty nasty.

Dr: Very drinkable for the high ABV - perhaps its best trait. It was nowhere near as good as expected, and I wouldn't have it again unless a friend recommended it and it had a few years on it. The malts make it feel like a base for a better beer. A bastardization of barleywines as a style. Incredibly disappointing.

Overpriced, at least in the U.S.A.

I'll try the cask aged versions in the hope that they're better than this. I don't recommend this for aging or food pairing. A poor example of the style.

D

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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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 brentk56
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2000 Bottling

Appearance: Pours out a dark amber color with a modest head that dissipates and leaves little lace; not surprising for this type of beer

Smell: Gosh, where to begin...rum-soaked candied fruit, honey, caramel, tobacco

Taste: A very complex liqueur washes over the tongue, almost like drambuie, but not as sweet or alcoholic; flavors of sugary burnt fruits such as apricots, raisins, pears, prunes and then some tobacco bitterness strikes up to balance the sweetness through to the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One small bottle would last an entire evening; a wonderful concoction

Got to try the fabled 1998 bottling on 9/21/12 and was blown away by how tasty a 14 year old beer could be

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Photo of oline73
3.35/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at Max's. Poured into a tasting glass. This was the 2010 batch.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber with almost no head at all.

Smell: Extremely sweet. Some malt and dark fruit along with caramel, port, and some alcohol.

Taste: This one is just a bit too sweet for me. I understand it comes with the territory, but this is a bit much. Malt and ripe dark fruit/wine flavors. The finish is slightly bitter with some warm alcohol and still really sweet.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick and mildly syrupy. Very mild, tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I thought this was way too sweet. I'd like to try an older version to see if things mellow out at all.

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Photo of zeff80
3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - It poured out a burgandy color with a caramel colored, bubbly, one-finger head. It left some rings of lace.

S - It smelled very floral and very malty.

T - It was sweet and malty. It was almost too sweet. It was candy-like.

M - It was smooth and soft. It had a warm alcohol presence. It was a very heavy-bodied beer.

D - This was a bit too sweet and too heavy for my taste.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.92/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2004 vintage – drank in 2006): Poured a deep amber color ale with a small off-white bubbly head with minimal retention. Aroma of sweet figs with some very sweet caramel malt. Noticeable trace of dry figs and raisins are discernable in the taste but the overall sweetness is personally just too much for my liking. Body is full but could be fuller. Would definitely improved with a lower level of sweetness.

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Photo of largadeer
4.87/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

'98 vintage.

Appearance - Oily and thick, mahogany in color, hazy but still transparent. Pours with a small, short-lived head.

Smell - Earthy and sweet. Caramel and raisins with woody undertones. Very bold, similar to a nice port or sherry.

Taste and mouthfeel - Layers of flavor unfold with each sip. Strawberries, followed by caramel, wood, iron and raisins. Bitter earthy hops provide a necessary touch of dryness in the finish that prevent this from being cloying. Very full-bodied, almost syrupy, with just enough carbonation to keep the mouthfeel lively. Very drinkable despite the syrupy texture and sweetness.

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Harvest Ale (Limited Edition) from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 87.9% out of 100 with 1,523 ratings
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