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

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Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)Harvest Ale (Limited Edition)
BA SCORE
4.24/5
Exceptional
1,538 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:
#868
Reviews:
870
Ratings:
1,538
pDev:
13.68%
Bros Score:
4.6
 
 
Wants:
271
Gots:
226
Trade:
15
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,538 |  Reviews: 870
Photo of pwoods
2.95/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

'98 vintage poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep murky brown. 1 finger of tannish head struggles to form and falls fast. Very little lacing.

S: Dark fruits and rummy phenols. A bit of oak/vanilla and a super sweet maple syrup.

T/M: Very vinous, which I personally don't like too much. Some dark fruits and a sweet maple syrup. A touch of oak in the back. Body is syrupy and carbonation is very low.

D: I was really looking forward to this but I don't think it's for me. I had trouble finishing it.

 503 characters

Photo of bschinelli
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of maxpower
2.86/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1988 must have not been stored right, flat no carbonation, sweet sugary caramel aroma, tasted like maple syrup, too sweet two sips and dumped the rest.1997 was much better, very small head, strong caramel aroma, smooth, sweet caramel- toffee flavor, this is what I will rate, the 1988 was ruined.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BuckTuckian
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1999 vintage from Super Market Liquors in Ft. Collins. $9.50. 275ml bottle into my Odell flute glass.

A: Pours a mellow brown color with a sand colored head about a quarter of an inch thick or so that has receded to a ring of bubbles around the edges and a thin cap in the middle. Surprisingly clear. Lots of amber colored accents towards the edges of the glass. Looks stellar.

S: Caramel malt profile and a very pronounced sweetness, smells almost syrupy, maybe molasses, there are also some over ripe fruit smells, I get cherries, and just a hint of alcohol as well. Overall very complex, and not as ragingly boozey as I have heard this beer can be. Smell is complex and welcoming. Excellent.

T: Wow, this is incredible. The malt profile of this beer is insanely deep. So many layers, the initial caramel and brown sugar, some notes of molasses, I get some notes of oatmeal raisin cookies as well. Has a slightly rum like quality to it as well. The flavors of golden raisins really lingers on the tongue. Absolutely spectacular. The last 11 years have treated this exceptionally, and there is almost no alcohol presence in the flavor. Fantastic beer.

M: Thick with a velvety smooth carbonation, slightly warm alcohol on the way down, and a nice bit of dryness from the alcohol in the mouth.

D: Well, the alcohol note definitely is not there for such a high abv beer, and the flavors are phenomenal. I would have a hard time saying no to a second, or third serving of this. An absolutely phenomenal beer. Highly recommended. I'm glad I have a few more different vintages of this, and I am excited to let them mature past the 11 year mark. Fantastic.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Side-by-side comparison of 2005 and 2006 vintages poured (from 275 mL bottles) into snifters.
A: 2005-Pours a medium-dark caramel with chunks of sediment at the end. No carbonation and no head. 2006-Pours an extremely dark brown (much darker than 2005) with loads of sediment. No carbonation and no head.
S: 2005--Caramel, bourbon, whiskey...heavy with sweet alcohol. 2006-Caramel, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla (sweeter, less dense, and less alcohol than 2005).
T: 2005-Sweet caramel malt, hint of sweet bourbon. I was cringing in preparation for the alcohol wallop...it never came. 2006-Vanilla, soft bourbon, sweet caramel malt, the faintest hint of herbal/medicinal hops, tobacco, dark fruit. More deeper, darker, and complex than 2005.
M: 2005-Medium (and maybe even light-medium) body...much less than anticipated. Smooth, sweet, and slightly oily. Leaves a very pleasant sweet coating on the palate that lingers beautifully. 2006-Medium-heavy body. Chewy, soft, smooth, and slightly oily. Again the pleasant sweet coating on the palate. Heavier and more dense than 2005.
D: OK. This deserves the hype and praise. A truly transcendent beer. You honestly can not tell this is 11.5%...crazy good. Sweet nectar of the gods. Damn near perfection. Not enough words to laud this brew.
Hard to pick a winner between 2005 and 2006. Both are quality, distinct, and different brews.

 1,378 characters

Photo of Naerhu
4.84/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2002 vintage consumed in August of 2004.

Amber clear beer with no head and no visible carbonation.
Massive sweet caramel aromas. Toffee and huge herbacous bouquet of hops.

Massive caramel and toffee flavors. This is a masterpiece. Maple syrup and molasses.

The 11.5% alcohol is aparent but integrated. Richness, silkyness and bitterness, this is a fantasy beer.

It took me 2 hours to finish one, but it was a lovely two hours.

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Photo of CityofBals
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Pahn
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

275ml bottle into Duvel tulip. 2002 vintage. Picked up as a reward to myself for quitting smoking.

Appearance: Moderately strong pour surprises me by yielding a couple millimeters of fizzy, off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a ring of bubbly lace for about a minute. Pours an almost fully opaque brownish amber. Sporadic, short-lived lacing and nice legs.

Smell: Big, pungent aroma of raisin and fig, with some caramel and alcohol. Faintly suggests some other fruits and malt. Strong, inviting smell that I can't stop breathing in and enjoying.

Taste: Smooth, vibrant, and spicy. There's a thick hit of fig and raisin, so particular it tastes like biting into the flesh of a really fat raisin; it's not a note of raisin, it's all the sensory qualities of a fat, juicy and gritty raisin along with more (again, fig, alcohol, brown sugar, molasses). The taste is insistently deep and sugary, but not overwhelmingly sweet as the robust dark fruit and malt flavors dominate the sweetness away. Each sip is an exploration, starting with that syrupy dark fruit goodness, moving into spice and alcohol with gradual hits of chocolate, caramel, other random flavors, then ending in a long, pleasantly burning aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Slick and medium- to full-bodied. More carbonation than I expected, but not much. Hot finish. Carries the huge, lingering flavors perfectly.

Drinkability: If you're buying an aged J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale, you probably know what you want from it. It delivers. It's difficult to drink this beer slowly enough.

Just a perfect English barleywine. Endlessly deep and stimulating. The kind of beer where no matter how much I try to get words down to describe its flavor or aroma, I can't do it justice.

 1,742 characters

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.87/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! This is an intense brew.

Vintage 2001.

Pours a deep brown with ruby red haziness through the light. appears very thick and has little head. The nose is a glorious mix of dark fruits with raisins and dates. Caramely and sugary with some slight smoke taste. liquid candy. mouthfeel is very, very thick and creamy as hell. goes down smooth and is very drinkable for its 11.5 abv. The finish lingers forever and leaves a sugary residue on the lips that takes a while to lick off. An excellent offer from JW Lees. Much better than any of the recent cask aged lees brews. I would say this is my favorite english barleywine behind arctic devil. Great brew.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another from augustgarage. Thanks! I was tempted to sit on this one, but screw it, 9 years is enough!

A- Fizzy on the pour, cap gave a little 'pfft'. 12oz into flute, by the way. Appearance... zero head, but active carbonation. Thin, tiny bubbles are cropping up on the sides. Beer is a ruby/chestnut color, almost a zesty pumpkin when held up to the light.

S- Honey, maple sugar (??) or brown sugar and a very fruity, berry-juice sweetness. Pretty inviting.

T- Whoa. A big rush of flavors... floral, almost. Caramelized sugar. Candied plums. Overpowering, oppressing (in a good way) malt. Rasins, dried cranberries. Hints of chocolate, coffee bean, and sweet cream.

M- Smooth as all hell, no sign of ABV... so this is what a good aged beer tastes like. Fantastic mouthfeel, incredible flavor, yet so smooth and mellow. Wow.

D- Surprisingly high for +11%. Prob. the smoothest beer I've ever had... incredible. I would say this is drinking pretty damn good 9 years in. I'll have to see if I can pick up some other vintages. A wonderful beer.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 2005 edition pours a honey amber with a smallish white head. The smell has a very strong alcohol, dark fruit,prune or raisin, aroma with some wood and wine like scents. The taste is much smoother than I expected. This is creamy with no harsh alcohol flavors,just a whiskey barrel aged smoothness with some sweet malt and fruit flavors. This is very good. indeed. The m/f is heavy and very well balanced. This is one of the most drinkable barleywines on the market and I would buy this again in a second.

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Photo of Tom-Peters
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Dougwillhike
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of dnb128
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of birdsellam
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of strohme2
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

1999 vintage bottle served in Weyerbacher tulip.

A - Reddish brown with very little head when poured out of the bottle.

S - Sweetness with caramel and alcohol tones.

T - Very well balanced, malt, caramel with hidden alcohol taste.

M - Perfect carbonation for this style, thick and malty but extremely smooth.

D - This is a very easy beer to drink and must hold back to take small sips of it. Truly one of the best barleywines that I have ever had.

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Photo of touchmeimsac
2/5  rDev -52.8%

Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

275ml bottle, 1998 vintage

Pours a murky chestnut brown with a very thin tan head that fades. Very slight lacing on the glass.

Aroma is bursting with malt, caramel, dark fruits, and even a hint of toffee. A treat for the olfactory senses.

Sweet upfront, with incredibly rich malt and caramel flavors. A plethora of dark fruit flavors add to the mix and just a slight bit of buttery toffee sneaks in. Finishes sweet as it began with a pleasant lingering caramel malt flavor. Alcohol not really detectable in the flavor, but definitely warms as it travels.

Full body, creamy texture. Mild carbonation.

Regardless of the ABV, this is immensely drinkable. I can't stop smelling it, which leads to another sip with each smell. The complexity of this beer is truly a rare treat.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2002 bottle poured into a New Belgium globe. Most of the yeast sediment was kept in the bottle for the most part.

Appearance: Deep mahogany body turns bright crimson when held to light. Great clarity! A nice column of carbonation can be seen within. Not much head to speak of: just a small, khaki ring.

Smell: Molasses, brown sugar, and other sugary notes. Moist pine, rum, and rust lurk in the background. Very sweet on the whole; smells like candy.

Taste: This tastes like candy, and not in a necessarily good way. The overall flavor - comprised mainly of brown sugar, molasses, and overripe green grapes (much like a dessert wine) - is very sweet and syrupy, with very light toastiness and bitterness coming through on the back end. Alcohol is hidden very well, but it comes at a price.

Mouthfeel: Thick, syrupy, sugary, and a little gritty. Hardly any warmth or dryness for such a high ABV beer. Nice mouth coating. Low bitterness.

Drinkability: The sweetness of this beer is far too high for me to call it drinkable. I suggest splitting a 12oz. bottle amongst two people.

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Photo of KG710
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of aforbes10
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had the 1998, and felt it had gotten a little too old (oxidized, cardboardy, etc), but i felt i should go for the 2000 to give it another shot. Pours an extremely dark red. Short ring of a tan head. Lazy slow lacing. I can smell it from several feet away. metallic fruitiness, very pungent. malt underneath, ethanol. very much the odor of a beer liquor. Taste is strong and aggressive. cherries and malts mixed in with warm alcohol, quickly mellowing and transitioning to a warming, biscuity and chocolate/nougat flavor. Some roastiness. a decadent taste experience. Full bodied and heavy. Yeah, this is a great drinking experience. very nice. Like i said, i thought the 1998 had gone over the hump, age-wise, so it was nice to have one that tasted as i expected it would.

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Photo of Richter525
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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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