superspak (1892) - Michigan, USA - APR 15, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
275 ml bottle into tulip glass, 2005 vintage. Pours very hazy and cloudy reddish copper color with no head and some minimal lacing bubbles sticking to the side. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, prune, fig, toast, toffee, molasses, oak, whiskey, vanilla, peat, light smoke, and dark earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt notes with barrel character. Taste of big caramel, molasses, toffee, toast, raisin, fig, prune, vanilla, oak, whiskey, peat, light smoke, and dark earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, molasses, toffee, toast, dark fruits, vanilla, oak, whiskey, light smoke, and earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance and complexity of malt notes with dark fruits; with a fair amount of barrel character that isn’t overwhelming; and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Minimal carbonation and full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and fairly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice English barleywine. All around nice balance and complexity of malt and barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on slowly. A very enjoyable offering.
brokensail (9106) - Orange County, California, USA - APR 9, 2013
3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Draft @ Oakquinox 2013. Hazy orange pour with a white head. Extremely scotch forward. Very heavy on the peat and smoke. Some wood, sweet brown sugar, bread, and hints of fruit. Lots of apple, as well. There’s a strong peat flavor to the beer, too. Scotch, oak, apple, and lots of sugar. Smoke, a bit of bread and toast, and a nearly cloying finish.
swoopjones (4885) - Buffalo, New York, USA - APR 3, 2013
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draft at blue monk. 2011 version. Flat orange pour. Big scotch notes in aroma and flavor. Orange and sweet maltiness. Scotch cuts into barley wine maltiness. Sweet and Scotchy. Overly sweet IMO
Glouglouburp (5867) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - APR 2, 2013
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Common rating for all four Lees Harvest barrel variations. Fun side-by-side comparison I did with all four Lees Harvest barrel variants as well as regular base beer. Separate rating for regular version because just too different from the barrel variations.
How: Bottle 275ml, side-by-side comparison of Lees Harvest and all 4 barrel variants. All bottle aged a couple of years.
The look: Mostly clear dark amber body topped by a small beige head. All four variants had sediments. Calvados version had a little more head. Lagavulin version was a little darker.
In long: Nose has plenty of wood barrels (old wet wood sensation) and fruity esters. Taste is very rich, plenty of caramel, sweet apple pie, pastry, wood barrels, light nutty notes. All barrel variants were very sweet but less sticky-syrupy than the regular base beer. The alcohol was a bit apparent in all four barrel version while it has plenty of places to hide in the uber-thick body of the base beer. Carbonation was on the soft side in all barrel variations. All four beers proposed a very sweet attack leading to a somewhat astringent woody finish.
Calvados barrel (8-4-8-4-16 = 4.0): Somehow the most richly caramelized of the bunch. Rich maltiness more prominent but still some refreshing fruity notes. Wood barrels better integrated. Less astringent finish. My favourite of the bunch.
Lagavulin barrel (6-3-6-4-13 = 3.2): More woody and therefore a bit more astringent. More earthy/peaty, borderline smoky. Presence of phenols phenolic I didn’t get from other barrel variations and alcohol a bit more apparent than in other variations. Might be something wrong with this particular bottle but it was my least favorite bar far.
Port barrel (7-3-8-4-14 = 3.6): More of a fruity dessert character. Somewhat similar to Sherry variant but with fruity flavors less of the “refreshing” kind.
Sherry barrel (8-3-8-4-15 = 3.8): More refreshing fruity flavors (light color tropical fruits and others..) and a mild tartness. Somewhat very similar to Port version except with more refreshing fruitiness.
Bottom line: I was surprised at how similar all four barrel variants were, there are obviously some differences but less than I expected. The Lagavulin had a few off flavors but I a bottle in poor shape. Also I just couldn’t recognize the regular Lees Harvest in any of them, all four barrel variations were totally different from the regular Lees Harvest but similar to each other. A comparison between the four barrel variations is a fun thing to do but adding the base beer to this experience is useless and will just get you more drunk, like I did. Doing this side-by-side comparison was a fun scientific experiment, and my only real regret in donating my body to science is I won’t be there to see the doctor exclaims “what the fuck is that?!?” when he sees my liver.
Miked1687 (452) - Buffalo, New York, USA - MAR 30, 2013
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
On tap at blue monk. Pours a hazy orange with little to no head. Smells heavy on peat,berries, fruit. A little sour? Tastes smooth. Sweet, smokey peaty, sweet. Very sweet. Interesting idea. I love lagavulin, but it should probably stay away from beer. Beef jerky beer. Good idea, poor execution
Iphonephan (2203) - McLean, Virginia, USA - FEB 7, 2013
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
From a bottle enjoyed in Key Largo FL. 2005 vintage. Pours a murky brown with a feint off white head. Caramel and a hint of smoke in the nose. Molasses, raisins, dark cherries, vanilla, and a hint of peat wisky. Medium smooth mouthfeel. Lingering boozy finish. Quite nice.
maxwelldeux (2694) - Spokane, Washington, USA - JAN 30, 2013
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Draught. Pours an orange-copper color with a moderate white head. Nose is rather woody and peaty. Taste has some smoked elements to it. Vastly different from the original version.
bytemesis (2133) - Sunnyvale, California, USA - JAN 24, 2013
2.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 1/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Bottle. I like scotch, I like harvest ale, whats not to like about the two of them together? Plenty. Instead of a match made in heaven, their offspring is more like a deformed leper than anything else. Turns out I should have been able to figure that out for myself. What goes will with a nice peaty scotch? Oh yes - a super sweet desert! Not. The flavors don’t mix, and should never have been asked to. Miss. Oh, and chock full of floaties. I thought this was filtered and pasteurized?
barn0216 (298) - California, USA - JAN 22, 2013
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Cloudy hazelnut brown, some floaties from the bottle, zero foam or lacing. Not very pleasant to look at to be honest. Aroma is much better - rich fig, almond, vanilla, molasses, mixed with peatiness and alcohol from the lagavulin. A bit heavy but interesting. Flavor is somewhat sweet, similar notes as the aroma, but with the sharp smokiness of the lagavulin featured more prominently. This is a sipper, certainly not something i would drink regularly, but it is unique and interesting in its own right.
vickvega82 (30) - Maine, USA - JAN 5, 2013
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a beautiful golden color with no head at all. It smells fruity like apples, figs, and maybe prunes with a hint of caramel from the cask. The taste of the casking is the predominant taste and the fruity taste is quite subtle but is so subtle you miss it. Very smooth with a sweat and crisp after taste.