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:
#903
Reviews:
864
Ratings:
1,523
Liked:
1,339
Avg:
4.23/5
pDev:
13.71%
Alströms:
4.6
 
 
Wants:
269
Gots:
225
Trade:
14
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,523 |  Reviews: 864
Photo of stevoj
3.71/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2015 vintage on tap at Churchkey. Dark copper with small airy head. Malt with tons of brown sugar sweetness, maple, caramel, toffee. Sweetness distracts from the 11.5% ABV, which delivers some latent heat. Like a big alcoholic Sugar Daddy. (I love Sugar Daddies)

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

This is a 1999 vintage, bought and drank on the same day (today). With a medium chestnut brown body this beer looks perty darn good. The semi-soapy head does have some density to it, yet it vanishes in a couple minutes never to return. No colar lacing or anything. Too bad...but still the taste is great. A bit of an alcohol nose on it. Caramel and toffee.
A nice calm caramel sweetness surrounds the malt in the taste. Some mocha and faint vanilla as well. Rich, but not thick. I get a hint of smokiness on the end, with a peppering of spices. This is a darn fine beer. At $10 a bottle it's a good beer to enjoy over a celebration or special occasion. Which is what I did.

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Photo of afsdan
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of AngusOg
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

Photo of tobelerone
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of brandoman63
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

Photo of flagmantho
3.4/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2006 vintage; poured from 9.3 oz bottle into a wine goblet.

Appearance: deep woody brown, highly opaque with practically no head. When I poured it, I wasn't aware of how many chunky floaties would been in the bottle: there were indeed a few.

Smell: first off, it smells like late-harvest Riesling or maybe a Gew├╝rztraminer. It's got a lot of syrupy grape, apple and pear. If I were blindfolded I would assume this was wine. That said, it is quite pleasing.

Taste: well, at first it tastes similar to a white wine, then I get the malt and grain, then I get what I can only describe as wood and cigarette smoke; it's almost tinny in that respect. I will say it's very complex, and I feel like I should be doing a lot of glass-swirling and erudite pontificating, but really, I just can't get a handle on it.

As I drink, the pattern stays the same: the beginning is quite wonderful and the finish is highly off-putting.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick body which is pretty smooth.

Drinkability: I really don't know what to put here. I don't want to slam this admittedly impressive beer, but it's just not my style right now.

I really would like to come back to this beer later when my barleywine palate is more developed.

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Photo of outoffocus
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of WesWes
4.74/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a darl cloudy brown color with a thin white head that fades to very little. The aroma is great. It has a warm, malty scent that screams burnt toffee. It's mellow and sweet smelling; very nice. The taste is perfect. It has a rich, malty flavor that goes down so smooth and flavorful and finishes warm with a sweet, burnt toffee taste. This is one tastey beer. The mouthfeel is perfect as well. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is the best English barleywine I've ever had. It exceptional in all categories except appearance. I'm a sucker for at least minimal head retention. This is truely a great beer.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.59/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage from a 275 ml bottle. That says it all. On to the beer:

No head on the pour. The glow of orange is a nice sight though. But don't base your first thoughts on the look, take in its aroma. The nose is loaded with all sorts of flavors. There is apricot, sherry, vanilla, and oak. And if the aroma isn't for you, taste it! Amazing and full flavored at first impression. And smooth as well. Sweet, sherry, apricots, grapes, butterscotch, cherries, a touch of oak. There is a very light touch of bitterness at the very end, but overall this is very sweet. The alcohol is nowhere is be found despite the listed 11.5% ABV. Thre's very little carbonation in this beer. but it's so smooth, and it's medium-heavy malty feel keeps the beer being sipped on.

I expected some very good things from this beer. Not only did this beer do that, it went beyond very good and become of the most tastiest, thought provoking beers that have crossed my palate. An outstanding example of the barleyewine style, and one that everyone should have the opportunity to taste.

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Photo of dar482
3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

(Review of a 1999 vintage).

The beer comes in a dark copper color.

The aroma has tons of caramel, brown sugar, toffee sweetness. There's a bit of sweet dark raisin there as well.

The flavor follows with just a rush of caramel and brown sugar. I have never had a beer that is so sweet and caramel forward. It literally tastes like drinking watered down caramel.

In the end, the beer lacked a bit of complexity for me. I really enjoyed the sweetness and it would be a great dessert beer. I just wish there was maybe more carbonation, or drying, or something to separate from simply sweetness. It still surely hits its alcohol though.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2000 vintage. Wonderful dark amber with a thin head. Smell is heavy with malt and a touch of soy. Overripe fruit and a whiff of earming alcohol. The flavor is rich with sugars and warming alcohol and rich malt. No hint of soy in the flavor,just big brandyish fruit flavors and honeyed malt. Utterly delicious and meant for a snifter after dinner. Very rich and creamy mouthfeel, but not sticky at all- floats on the palate. Dry and drinkable by this point, but big and rich as well.

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Photo of Derek
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed in 2003.

A: Orangy-brown with a white head. Not much retention, clings to the glass more like a leg than a lace. The Burgundy of Britain?

S: Nice British fruityness.

T: Wow. Very sherry-like, some nice apricot fruit flavour. Balance is slightly tipped to the sweet side. Quality British pale malt in the background, but the yeast really produces the flavours here. I'm not always a fan of the fruity British ales, but this is REALLY nice.

M: Moderate body and carbonation. Very light for its strength (well attenuated).

D: This is a very nice sipper. At 11.5%, you're not looking at a session brew. The taste is easily approachable.

Thanks Kevin... Really, thanks a lot!

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Photo of lupercmda
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of eawolff99
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of puboflyons
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle with the 2002 vintage. Sampled on July 31, 2016.,

The color is am mildly heady brown with red hues. Some cloudiness.

The aroma is more toasted malt forward than anything for a 14 year beer. Crackers, bread, and molasses too. Low to no hop profile.

The body is smooth and around medium.

Even though this is 14 years old it is Jolly British with cracker malts, low hops, and sweetness. This has not faded after so much time.

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Photo of sd123
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Erik-P
4.02/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of enelson
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Photo of BARFLYB
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter. 1999 vintage out of the cellar. I've had a few versions of this and 99 was my favorite so it's time for a review.

A- 1999 J.W. Lees pours out extremely thick. Not thick like a stout but thick enough for an over the top barleywine almost resembling syrup. A very dark tan to brown out of the bottle while in the glass it appears a dark mahogany. No head whatsoever leaving no lace presumably. Some bubbles are seen popping up at the surface. A few twirls of the glass, this looks like a watered down syrup.

S- The smells on this are out of this world unique. The only brew comparable to this is thomas hardy and even at that they are different. Every smell from this is strong with nothing holding back leaving as bold aroma. The main factors include raisins, caramel malt, molasses, maple syrup and on the lighter side chocolate. A lot of alcohol is packed in the smell as well. I enjoyed smelling this so much I almost did not want to drink it.

T- I'm so glad that I decided to drink this instead of smell it all night. The taste is just as bold as the smell coating my palette with English barleywine goodness. Up front a lot of that maple syrup, molasses and caramel malts make this quite sweet. This is also joined by some raisins at some point. Figs and dark cherries come to mind. A bunch of dry fruits in the middle with some chocolate sneaking through. the alcohol comes out in the finish and is ever present even after 10 years in the bottle.

M- extremely thick and heavy handed. The sweetness coats the mouth and ligers for quite some time while the alcohol creates a overall warming effect. Not much in terms of carbonation which is fine with this old of a bottle. Not bitter in the least bit and I wonder if a fresh bottle would show some hop bite as there is non in this. Why would there be any hops this is 10 years old, they are long gone.

D- The only way I can drink this is in very small sips over a lot of time. Everytime I have a JW I have no desire for anything else be it beer or water or whatever. In other words I am spent after the 10oz or so and ready for bed. This is the best night cap beer ever in my eyes. I can see how the sweetness of this could be off putting for others and it is slighty for me after time. I still love this stuff though and want to try a 20 year old bottle.

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Photo of John_M
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This is for the 2001.

The beer pours a dark cloudy brown, with minimal head, but with good retention and lacing. There is the usual rich, sweet smell, this time with sherry, chocolate, toffee, prunes and maple syrup. On the palate the beer is nothing less then incredible. There is an intense flavor of chocolate, interwoven with vanilla, toffee and butterscotch. The beer has an exceptional mouthfeel, and is just luscious. It is incredibly soft, plush and creamy. Absolutely decadent. The beer ends with a very long, lingering finish. Exceptional beer. Just incredible.

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Photo of biegaman
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1998 Vintage opened for Thanksgiving - October 13, 2008.

Against and away from the light reveals two completely different looking beers. What sits in front of me is a beer dismal and dreary. It is a muddied, cheerless ocher brown that refuses to refract any light what so ever, denying even the slightest of highlighting. The beer's collar, even along its fringes, can scarcely be noticed.

To the light, however, it quietly erupts with colour. Tones of raspberry and red apple appropriate the 'Harvest Ale' moniker with thoughts of fall time fruit bounty. I can't help but think two different scores for appearance would only be appropriate. It is rather astounding the sparkle it conceals.

This is less a beer than it is a sweet, sugary nectar of over-ripened fruits and sticky butterscotch pudding. The above does little justice to describe the character of an aroma that seems to incorporate elements of tawny-port, dark rum, calvados, sherry, and especially cognac unto itself.

Smell alone will warn you that what you're about to encounter is rich, but only after tasting it will you realize the full extent of this. Its likeness to a full bodied cognac, vintage tawny-port, or five star brandy really can't be overstated. This is as rich as it is complex.

The flavours are so numbered that one could associate this to a long list of things. I would venture to say foremost on my palate is: mushy pineapple, plum pudding, molasses, shortbread cookies, maple syrup, browned sugar, wine grapes, pecan pie, raisin bread, choke cherries, caramelized fruits as well as dates, figs, and plum all coated in a bitter cocoa fondue. It's a nearly endless list.

It makes me think of oak-aged honey, and whether or not there exists such a thing. It is sweet and nectar-like with a complex depth of flavour. The carbonation has long faded which leaves the tastes to stick on palate. The lingering bitterness adds more persistence. It is both intensely bitter and sweet at the same time. The alcohol is quite well pronounced - especially in smell - but as it should be, no?

This ten year old vintage is my only taste of the J.W. Lees Harvest Ale to date. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it, it is definitely something special and considerably unique. It isn't like other barleywines, it is a beer of its own, one that I can't define yet. Luckily I have a number of other vintages still waiting in the cellar to better become acquainted with.

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Photo of Zorro
4.82/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Year 2000 Version here.

Pours a deep ruby brown with more carbonation than expected.

Truly powerfully smelling beer! BIG dark fruits and Tutty-fruity smell, and big malt smell. Almost like being punched in the nose by it and it stealing your lunch money! You could really spend an entire day just sniffing this beer.

TASTES LIKE A TOP NOTCH PORT WINE. This is like a $40 bottle of old port wine with a bit of carbonation. Also means this is top notch for any recipe calling for Port or Marsalla wine. Strong nutty and floral tastes, yet not too sweet.

Mouthfeel is big, but you NEVER chug this, to good for that!

Very drinkable, but sip it, you will want to taste every drop.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 vintage edition, sampled March 2005
Pours a orange copper color that is brilliantly clear and topped by a thin pale tan head. The aroma is richly malty with notes of sugar, toffee, alcohol, and already a bit of oxidation notes that add a richness to the aroma. The taste is sweet up front, with a candied toffee-like concentrated maltiness. This beer is fairly simplistic, with a hint of hoppiness that rounds out this beer a bit. Despite its simple nature this beer is still enjoyable on this night.

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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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