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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Lagavulin)

Formerly brewed at J.W. Lees
Style: Barley Wine
Middleton, England
Serve in Snifter


on tap

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 490   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.75   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
Only available filtered and pasteurised in bottles.
Matured in wooden casks of Lagavulin Malt Whiskey, one of the most distinctive malt whisky from the island of Islay, characterized by the strong peaty notes which should blend with the Harvest Ale to give an explosion of flavors.
This fully fermented ale has been brewed by JW Lees as a celebration of the brewersí art. Harvest Ale can be enjoyed now or laid down like a fine wine for enjoyment to come.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
badgerben (4651) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - DEC 13, 2005
Bottled 2003 Vintage; Tasted December 11, 2005: Copper color with no head. Sweet aroma of grains and malt, coupled with a peat hit. Take a sip... holy crap... did somebody pour my Lagavulin 16 into my JW Harvest? The sweet malt of an English barley wine is still there, but man does the Lag overpower it. Lagavulin happens to be my favorite Scotch, but it needs to balance and round out the beer, not kill it.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
robertsreality (2460) - Minnesota, USA - DEC 12, 2005
Burnt Orange Coloring with No Head. If Youíre in the Same Room as This, You Know EXACTLY what is Being Sampled. The Peaty Smoke Aroma is an Explosion That is Completely Devastating....in a Very Good Way if You Like Islay Malts..Otherwise This One is Probably Too Harsh. This Extremely Strong Aroma Carries Right into the Flavor and is the Dominate Presence of the Entire Tasting Experience. It Really Tends to Overwhelm the Barley Wine All Together but One Might Argue that It Takes a Solidily Great Barley Wine to Hoist Up Such Cask Finished Flavors in the First Place. Overall Quite Amazing for a Fan of Single Malt Whisky and Beer.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
chriso (7513) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 1, 2005
Bottle (courtesy Duff) at St Albans Beer Festival, October 2005. Silk seems to have got in all the ranting before me so Iíll largely confine myself to saying this is an ill-judged, gimmicky nonsense of a beer. Reddish colour. Medicinal, phenolic, loads of burnt rubber in the aroma. I love Lagavulin, but the combination here does nothing for either component and the integration is not harmonious at all.. Very sweet, with an unpleasant alcohol burn. Crude and borderline unpleasant. Not my thing at all. Its giving me indigestion.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
TAR (2518) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - NOV 30, 2005
Bronzed peach. Retentive collar of foam takes shape as tiny bubbles struggle to find the surface. Heavily aromatic notes of peat smoke, honey, black pepper, and fresh cut wood. Slightly crunchy bubbles gently scrub the palate. Syrupy consistency. Lagavulin immediately inundates the palate with a peat-smoke blanket and tangy medicinal twinge. Vivid woodiness briefly underlines the fat malt structure, though the malt definition slowly succumbs to the heightening sweetness. Alcohol shows no ďoffĒ flavors, admittedly, and does offer a glimpse of brightness. But itís all downhill from there, as the cloying sweetness eventually overrides everything. Finishes smoky and salty with peat, but mostly mushy and under-attenuated with an unrelenting blast of melted rubber and medicine. How can something with such a promising nose be so offensive in all other aspects? Three ounces of this was too much.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Pinnhead (93) - New Jersey, USA - NOV 26, 2005
musky and port like though not sweet. an excellent sipping brew in place of port, sherry or other. a bit overpowering with a meal but as a lead in or after itís on the mark.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - NOV 24, 2005
UPDATED: FEB 16, 2007 Poured a clear orange-copper color with a thin off-white head. Looks thick and oily with nice legs. Aroma is full of the Lagavulin. A good bit of smoke and peat. Some whiskey and alcohol. Sweet malt hides underneath. Flavors starts with caramel malt sweetness and turns peaty and smokey. Finishes with some sweetness and bitterness twisted together. Very warming but overall alcohol flavor is hidden well. 8/4/6/4/14

1998 Wooden Cask Release: This blew away the bottled version. Poured a clear very dark chestnut color with no head. The aroma was sweet and smokey. Notes of vanilla, peat, whiskey, dried dark fruits, chocolate and brown sugar. The flavor was still very sweet with nice complex notes of aged malt, vanilla, dark fruits, whiskey, and smoke. Bitter semi-dry finish. Silky and creamy mouthfeel. Full bodied. I canít believe how big this beer still is. It will last forever. Very warming.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
shadey (1998) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - NOV 20, 2005
UPDATED: JUN 5, 2010 Amber color with no real head. Aroma is strong sweetness and alcohol. Flavor is carmel sweetness and maple syrup. Very easy to drink for the big 11.5%. 7/3/7/4/16

2006 bottle rated in 2010. Pours a deep amber with only a ring of large white bubbles around the edge of the glass. Aroma is sweet and caramelly, with some toffee and a real richness. The flavor is really something special, with smokiness and sweetness that is excitingly well developed and smooth. I think this only gets better with age, as there is no hint of oxidation. The body is chewy and smooth with a mouth-filling quality that lets you know you are drinking something substantial. I donít remember this being this good. I absolutely love the smokiness to the finish. 7/3/9/5/19

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
bigrond (1499) - factoryville, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 13, 2005
this was a shot of whiskey - wasnít like a beer at all. It wasnít good at all. To bitter and to strong

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 5/20
Dough77 (821) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - OCT 31, 2005
Up til this one, this JW Lees harves ale collection has been quite pleasent, then comes this junk. Aroma not so bad to start out, caramel, malts, pretty sweet. Taste is too sweet, with a funky wine like flavor. This was a very expensive drainpour.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
IMtheOptimator (1164) - Bethel, Connecticut, USA - OCT 27, 2005
Poured an almost still clear (clear? this is filtered?) amber with a small semi-creamy off-white head. Aroma of caramel, cherries, brown sugar, red wine, whiskey, peppery alcohol. Flavor is sweet and strong with intense notes of smokey maple syrup, grapes, apples with a sweet alcoholic finish. The sweetness and smoke are almost too much, which is saying something for me, because I prefer sweeter barley wines. Maybe because the alcohol is still hot, the sweetness just seems slightly unbalanced. Of course, Iím not sitting here saying I donít enjoy the beer, because I do. Just not as smooth as the 1997 regular Harvest Ale I enjoyed some time ago.

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