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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: 491   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.75/5   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 brewers’ 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 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
asheft (2776) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 20, 2005
Bright light orange with little head that quickly becomes a wispy film, leaving some lace. Pete really obvious in the aroma that dominates but doesn’t completely hide the spicy malt. The flavour is also dominated by pete which is in an interesting balance with the high alcohol taste and feel and the thick sweetness, though a lot of the pumpernickely malt is hidden by the smoke. The pete flavour also lingers on the tongue. A bit salty up front, full bodied, medium to low carbonation. The best of the cask aged series but still inferior to the regular Harvest (2001).

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
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, #12. Darker and a bit thicker looking than the other BA versions, with a fairly powerful smoky/earthy nose and some underlying sugar...in the flavor, whiskey, vanilla sweetness, peppery earthiness, with still a touch of unpleasant metallic bitterness, but overall by far the best of the series.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
beerbuzzmontreal (3488) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 17, 2005
Clear copper color with no head. Aroma of smoked malt, caramel and alcohol. Flavor of smoked malt, caramel and alcohol. Medium body, liquorous texture, very soft carbonation. This is my favorite cask aged Harvest Ale, of course it helps that I love scotch, especially scotches from Islay.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 16/20
tiggmtl (4545) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JAN 17, 2005
Intense peat, nutty malts strong dark fruitiness, incredible sweetness and some alcohol in the aroma. Clear, dark orange-copper with thin but lasting tan head. Smoked flavour is a pleasant counterpoint to the underlying thick maple sweetness. This was was fairly heavy in the mouth and still and sticky. There we go! Sampled last in a comparison of the regular harvest ale followed by the four barrel aged versions. This one has character. Bottle sampled with asheft, beerbuzzmontreal, MartinT, muzzlehatch, Rastacouere and Yowie. Thanks, Dorwart!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
MartinT (8736) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 17, 2005
The Lure:
Luscious peat-smoked wood infusions hovering suggestively over the orange rinds and nascent alcohol. Definitively the most complex aroma of the 4 barrel-aged Harvest ales.

The Festivities:
A grassy hop bitterness nicely emerges from the prevalent peatiness and diversifies the usual alcohol and sweet caramel malt stickiness. An earthy soil can even be perceived under it all, to officially salvage, for me, this entire line of barrel-aged Harvest Ales. At least this one really worked.

Probably the only second-hand smoke I’ll ever love.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Rastacouere (6162) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 16, 2005
Clear orange, a shade darker than the others apparently, not much head, but at least it tries. Deeply peaty aroma. Finally one of those BA JW Lees lets some uniqueness of character shines through. The vegetal tones I’ve met in the others is there as well, but more subdued amongst the smooth earthy scotch-like profile. Sweet leather and almost cheesy hints adds to the richness. More leather and caramel on the tongue. Very earthy and peaty, smoky even with plenty of iodine medicinal character. Like the others, it remains very syrupy, oily and alcoholic, though perhaps not as stale. Flavourful beer without a doubt.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Ungstrup (31467) - Citizen of the universe, DENMARK - JAN 16, 2005
A dark orange beer with a disappearing beige head. The aroma is slightly smoked and with notes of whiskey. The flavor is sweet with notes of whiskey and peach and with hints of smoke. The end is slightly woody and the alcohol burns the tongue slightly.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Cornfield (5570) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - JAN 13, 2005
UPDATED: AUG 6, 2005 9.3 ounce bottle: This poured a deep, rich amber color with more of a tan "film" than a head. Beneath it small bubbles slowly drifted to the top during the entire drink. There’s a bit of smokiness blended into this sweet and fruity aroma. I didn’t really notice the high abv until the ale entered my mouth. Very smooth. There’s a sweet, smokey malt flavor with hints of juicy fruits, spices, and alcohol. The finish is smooth, sticky, sweet, and alcoholic. A very warming drink.

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   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
madsberg (11067) - Søborg, DENMARK - JAN 12, 2005
Bottled: Deep clear golden almost orange coloured. Small beige head. Wood, alcohol, fruit in the aroma. Quite smooth. Reminds me a lot of Lagavulin Scotch (We took a bottle and sniffed!!!). Flavour is fruity, light smoked, has light notes of alcohol and spice. In the end the thoughts again goes to of the Lagavulin barrels. Nice one

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Kinz (3567) - Glen Allen, Virginia, USA - JAN 9, 2005
Interesting. Someone poured a little barley wine in with my scotch to cut it. Orange in color, perfectly clear, very faint head fades completely. Faint aroma of caramel is overwhelmed by the familiar scent of Lagavulin (a favorite Scotch of mine). The whiskey notes are marked by wood, iodine, salt, and seaweed. When cooler, the whiskey component completely overwhelms the rest of the beer. When this sipper eventually reaches room temperature, the caramel notes come through, wrapping sweetly around the ocean tinged peat flavors of the Scotch. Amazing how much of the character of Lagavulin carries through cleanly in this experiment. Long lingering flavor. As fascinating as this beer was, however, I didn’t like it as well as either the normal J.W. Lees Harvest Ale or normal Lagavulin. Though a balance was achieved between the distinct flavors, the two companions never seem entirely at ease with each other. I guess I’m partial to the flavors of bourbon when it comes to aging a beer in whiskey casks.

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