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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Lagavulin)

 (RETIRED)
overall
98
93
style
Formerly brewed at J.W. Lees
Style: Barley Wine
Middleton, England
Serve in Snifter

bottled
common

on tap
unknown

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 484   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.75   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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.


2.8
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
jredmond (6073) - Manhattan, New York, USA - NOV 3, 2013
Bottle courtesy of Paul at his place during some football. Pours a red amber body no head. Aroma is whiskey, oxidation and light fruit. Lots of burning booze. Mouthfeel is thinner with notes of cherries, oak and whiskey barrel.

3.9
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Blairgus (3077) - California, USA - AUG 15, 2013
15 aug 2013, bottle. 2010 edition. Orange, lots of sediment, some bubbles. Nose is meaty, big smoke, sweet alcohol. Very unusual marriage of aromas. Med/thin body and mildly fizzy. Sweet bready malt, seriously smoky malt, slightly earthy. Awesome! ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 5/20
adamah (214) - - JUN 16, 2013
This beer is done really well but not my style at all. Super peaty and smokey, the scotch takes over. The taste is also way to sweet at the end

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
otakuden (1783) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - MAY 26, 2013
Appearance: Pouring slowly and settles into viscous brown with some random suspended dregs. No head and little to no apparent carbonation. Swirls with massive tears.
Nose: Intense – reaches me from the table my glass rests on to my in the chair next to said table. Sweet, malty, smoky complexity. Sophisticated. The Lagavulin influence is subtle and pervasive at the same time. Caramel and apples and sweet cinnamon raisin bread. Moist juicy dates and prunes. Tickle of heat and spice in the back. Smoke weaves in and out.
Palate: Wow! Sweet but not too sweet, smoky but not too smoky, tannic but not to tannic. Dry bitter leathery finish grows during each swallow and continues long after each swallow. Peat smoke in the breath. Apple flesh then caramel then dates while sweet smoke ties it all together. Plums in the back. Peat smoked bacon sizzling over a crackling campfire. Sweet and sticky up front, parching and thirst-inducing in the back. Raisin bread and raisin cake. Warming.
Final Thoughts: I have an intense love for peaty scotches and Lagavulin is one of my favorite. The more smoky the better, in my opinion. Of course, the Lagavulin cask may not be for everybody, but it was definitely for me. Liquid sophistication and class, I envisioned myself in a regal Scottish castle with each sip. Beer for the heart, mind, body, and soul.
(An original written work by Beer Ambassador, LLC. Plagiarism is not tolerated)

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
JohnnyJ (4826) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 28, 2013
Draft at stone bistro. Clear golden amber pour, thin head. Very peaty malt nose. Flavor is very sugary, wood, peat, brown sugar, a bit of apple, and boozy scotch. Not very enjoyable in my opinion.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MikeJslc (767) - USA - APR 20, 2013
Deep copper, clear, thin white head. Aroma: maple syrup, toffee, burnt sugar, tobbacco, leather, dark fruit, almonds and the barrel character is evident. Flavor: bready/toasty malt, strong sweet caramel/toffee flavor, raisins, prunes, leathery aged notes, alcoholic warmth, finishes fairly sweet.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
superspak (3239) - Michigan, USA - APR 15, 2013
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.

3
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
brokensail (12519) - Orange County, California, USA - APR 9, 2013
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.

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
swoopjones (6770) - Buffalo, New York, USA - APR 3, 2013
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

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Glouglouburp (6104) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - APR 2, 2013
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.


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