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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
available

on tap
common

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 452   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 brewersí art. Harvest Ale can be enjoyed now or laid down like a fine wine for enjoyment to come.


4.3
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Hoptagon (239) - Arlington, Virginia, USA - OCT 30, 2010
9.3 oz Bottle. 2007 Vintage. Let me start by saying that this is easily the most well balanced Scotch aged beer that I have ever tried. Pours a fairly unappealing murky cider color with zero head and prominent yeast debris. Aside from the lackluster appearance everything else about this one pretty much rules. Canít imagine a much better nose, soft, peaty with a touch of green apple. The whiskey flavor is heavy at the onset but is balanced nicely with flavors of toffee, butterscotch, brown sugar and maple syrup. The carbonation is minimal, but the palate is dead on with a nice softness and impressive depth without being like syrup in a bottle. The peat from the Lagavulin cask creeps back in on the finish and provides a little warmth and smokiness on the back end. Iím definitely going to make this beer a fixture of my beer cellar.

4.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
coldmeat23 (232) - Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA - NOV 3, 2009
VINTAGE: 2006 Man oh man...happy birthday to me! Golden coppery color with almost no head at all (as was expected). Not so unlike apricot nectar. The aroma is quite smokey/peaty, like scotch (duh!) but in a sweet vaporous cloud. The taste is amazing! Very sweet malt taste combined with just the right amount of smoke and peatiness to make it completely enjoyable. There is also plenty of honey-dipped fruit flavor to be found here. Peaches, apricots, pineapple, perhaps a date or even a fig. Tastes almost like smoked butterscotch. (Where is the 11.5% a.b.v.? Certainly not in the taste! Wow! Super smooth!) This is like liquid velvet in your mouth. It feels so good that I think Iíd drink it even if it didnít taste this wonderful. I could easily enjoy several of these in a row, but when something tastes this good you want to savor it and make it last. I canít wait ítil I get the chance to buy more of these. (Fortunately, that will be in about 4 weeks!) This is so amazing, I canít recommend it highly enough! Pick one up as soon as you are able.

4.3
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
leeburg (227) - Juneau, Alaska, USA - OCT 22, 2010
9.3 oz. 2008 vintage. Suspended yeast chunks visible in the bottle. Amber in appearance, very thin white head. Looks very sappy and murky. Aroma of concord grape juice, vodka, sour cherries. Easy to detect whisky also if youíre expecting to. Flavor profile is extremely heavy throughout, very sweet, sticky, and a mix of sour/bitter. Honey, bitter leafy vegetables, light smoked wood and and reminds of a beer frozen to concentrate it. There is also about one second of unmistakable flavor of snow with every sip. No joke, a mouthful of snow has a distinct flavor (beyond just the water itís made of) that I have never experienced with anything other than snow... and this beer. Super interesting and complex. Sad not to pull out more of the peat-smoke characteristic of Lagavulin, my all-time favorite single malt. Nonetheless very interesting and rich brew.

4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
M82 (220) - Kansas, USA - FEB 9, 2014
A minimal yet fairly resilient, soapy off white head crowns a vibrant auburn body with fiery crimson and amber highlights, each swirl creating a flurry of carbonation, recreating the thin sheet of head while each sip leaves a segmented peninsula of lace
-
The peat influence initially dominates the aromas, eventually fading back to reveal a lively whiskey fruitiness embossed with caramel, marshmallow, toasted brown sugar, maple syrup, coffee cake, pecan pie, and fig, with juicy pear and apple nuances rounding out, all the components eloquently flood the palate on a silky smooth medium-heavy body, the oaky peat addition sparks further interest with the bolder notes of the base ale, peat and oak tannin sharpen the sweet components and add a spicy characteristic which is an interesting addition texturally to the smooth, fully coated palate, residuals circle back to the prominent peat and oak tones with maple and caramel syrup complimenting slightly acidic layers of pear and apple juice

275ml capped bottle vintage 2006 consumed February 9, 2014 served at 65ļ into Orrefors Difference Porter snifter


4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
KariCupcake (214) - Lenox, Massachusetts, USA - APR 11, 2006
Smokey taste. Very pretty color. It would make a nice hair color. Only a small head. Very sweet but in a yummy way. I love it! Delish!

3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 5/20
adamah (213) - - 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

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
beastmaster (206) - Florida, USA - MAR 29, 2014
200th rating. Thanks bmillsy! Poured tan khaki brown, with no head. Peat aroma overpowers any caramel, Smoke, whiskey aromas. Malt to the max. You canít get around the heavy peat without the heavy body. Sweet barelywine. This is a whisky/scotch drinkers beer.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
hoplover406 (204) - Crofton, Maryland, USA - JAN 16, 2009
Shared a bottle of this with my mom. I enjoyed this one much more than the port harvest ale. The three words that came to mind were: sharp, woody, and boozy.

4.7
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
Jamesthebrit (196) - Greenville, South Carolina, USA - APR 3, 2014
Sweet earthy fruity note. Woody. Looks amazing (on tap) Taste is complex like the smell. Woody earthy. Palate is sour. Smooth. Medium body. Overall an amazing beer. A must try... even tho its retired. It was 2011 on tap. :) so good.

4.5
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
chaz01 (190) - Miamisburg, Ohio, USA - MAY 16, 2010
Generously shared out by the owner of Belmont Party Supplies in Dayton at a semi-private charity beer tasting event. According to him, this special cask was from a recent vintage from his private collection, originally poured from a small cask. Amber brown in color, very little head or carbonation detected -- instead this is rich, thick and syrupy looking. I hardly ever give a perfect rating in a category so that I can always leave room to rate something higher. But the aroma on this beer takes the cake! Just a wonderful whiskey, raisins, sherry, smoky and port aromas from this beer make me just want to sit and smell this beer. Sweet, smokey, malty with notes of sherry, port, vanilla and oak. Very complex flavor with so much going on. Low carbonation, very full bodied, thick and syrupy. I have a couple of bottles at home, but not sure if Iíll ever get to drink from the cask again. This was a real treat and the highlight of the evening. A very full bodied sipping beer to be broken out on very special occasions.


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