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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados)

 (RETIRED)
overall
98
94
style
Formerly brewed at J.W. Lees
Style: Barley Wine
Middleton, England
Serve in Snifter

bottled
available

on tap
available

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 451   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.78   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Only available filtered and pasteurised in bottles.
Matured in wooden Etienne Dupont Calvados casks from the end of October until mid March.
This fully fermented ale has been brewed by JW Lees as a celebration of the brewers’ art. Harvest Ale can be enjoyed now or laid down like a fine wine for enjoyment to come.


3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - FEB 5, 2005
Pours a clear bright copper bronze with a thick frothy and lightly-lacing white head. Intense richly caramel butterscotch sweet aroma with a touch of fruity green apple tartness. Starts with the normal rich, syrupy candy-like sweetness revealing a touch of wood and apples. NIce carbonation throughout leading to a mildly dry, sticky, oaky finish that hides the alcohol quite nicely.

3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
heemer77 (5174) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - FEB 5, 2005
Poured a surprisingly lighter amber color with plenty of carbonation. A thin white head. Aroma of a lighter stilton cheese. Hints of oak and fall leaves. Also alcohol is certainly noticed. The taste is A rather straightforward taste of oak and some buttery wine. The aftertaste has that stilton character again. This is not nearly as sweet as the older versions of the Harvest Ale I have had before. Bready mouthfeel. Nice, but not worth the price tag.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Nuffield (3835) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - FEB 2, 2005
The color is inbetween the Sherry cask Lees (darker amber) and the Lagavulin (lighter yellow); bits of head make an appearance. Vintage aroma with suggestions of sourness, though the overall character is close to the Sherry. Slightly more plastic quality, staying on the sweeter side of the barleywines. Decent palate, smooth and somewhat vivacious on the tongue.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
FlacoAlto (3849) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 21, 2005
2003 Vintage, Sampled January 2005
Pours a brilliantly clear full copper color, it is topped by a very thin pale head and is actually fairly well carbonated. The aroma is thick with alcohol as well as notes of thick chewy malt, and perhaps a hint of cidery apple in the finish. Actually the apple aroma slowly builds over time. This is a thick viscous brew, it is lightly sweet up front and almost light as it first hits the tip of my tongue. As it flows across my mouth it becomes quite full and thick. The apple notes from the calvados cask are certainly here, though they are a bit restrained, and really become full in the finish. This beer is quite malty as well, almost caramel-like in its malty sweetness. There is a certain soft butteriness to this beer, perhaps some hints of vanilla, and a soft hop bitterness in the finish, which helps to make the sweetness more palatable. This is a pretty tasty beer, though the Calvados casks are not overwhelming, and if I did not now in advance of it, I would have assumed that the apple notes were just a normal part of this beer.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
muzzlehatch (4420) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - JAN 19, 2005
Jan 2005, 2x275 ml (2003 vintage): The Great Montreal Barley Wine Blowout with asheft, beerbuzzmontreal, MartinT, tiggmtl, Rastacouere and Yowie, #9. Bright clear copper, very very sweet and somewhat simple caramel-maple nose...baked sour apples, caramel in the flavor, also much more bitterness than in the regular Lees, a bit of metal late...somewhat syrupy. Quality is still there, but definitely not close to the "original."

3.2
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
asheft (2705) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 19, 2005
Bright light orange with no head, but speckles the sides of the glass. Bready and caramely in the nose with some spicy malt and apple notes. High ABV obvious in aroma. This beer tastes a bit salty up front, with sweet raisin and pumpernickel and barely detectable whiskey characteristics. A bit metallic and syrupy. Surprisingly, the barrel aging made this beer less enjoyable.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
beerbuzzmontreal (3488) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 17, 2005
Clear copper color with no head. Aroma of apples and alcohol. Flavor of caramel, apples and aclohol. Medium body, syrupy texture, very soft carbonation. It’s good but not in the league of the regular Harvest Ale.

3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
tiggmtl (4545) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JAN 17, 2005
Nutty, maple, caramelized oranges and alcohol in the aroma. Clear orange with thin, fine-bubbled, off-white head that recedes to cover. Strong bitterness doesn’t hide the candy-like orange sweetness. Quite hot and alcoholic. Body is a touch on the thin side and rather still. This was the first of the four barrel-aged versions, sampled immediately after the 2001 version. It seems that the barrel-aging has dumbed this one down. Bottle sampled with asheft, beerbuzzmontreal, MartinT, muzzlehatch, Rastacouere and Yowie. Glad to have tried it. Thanks, Dorwart!

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MartinT (8550) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 17, 2005
The Lure:
A filtered orange colour emits a prominent Calvados waft and some sweetened oranges.

The Festivities:
A sweet fruity syrup borders on candy origins. Mouthfeel is slick and much thinner than the regular JW Lee’s Harvest, and promotes more alcohol flavors. Still a salient sipper, but somehow it seems like the source ale is Scroogier.

Transcendence:
A learned aristocrat proudly buffs his nostrils but at the size of the inflated price tag.

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Rastacouere (6159) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 16, 2005
Amber, totally clear. Interesting aroma with appealing apple notes, honey and wood. It’s overall quite warming, but bears nowhere the charm of a regular JW Lees, has nowhere near the malt richness, depth. On the palate, it feels thick, buttery with a harsh syrupy apple juice component. Complex notes of honey, earth, peach and a much stronger bitterness than the non-barrel aged version. Medium carbonation level, full bodied, very sweet. Unmemorable, but perhaps the second best of the lot to me.


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