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


4.9
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
noelcb (271) - Toledo, Ohio, USA - SEP 29, 2005
2004 bottle. Nice dark copper color with little head. Aromas of malt, whisky, peat, smoke, wet grass, toffee, butterscotch, alcohol, leather and maple syrup. Flavor was exqusite sweet caramelly malt, island scotch, chocolate, sweet wine, ripe dark fruits, candy corn, butterscotch, toast, and a hint of yeast. No hops to be found, save in the slightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel was syrupy thick and velvety smooth. This barleywine is sweet but not cloyingly so. The whisky barrel aging adds a marvelous peaty/smoky character. To me thereís also the sweet alcohol bite of a good bourbon as well. Finally thereís a note of fine cognac -- warm and sweetly fruity -- that makes a great barleywine.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
omnivore (270) - San Francisco, California, USA - FEB 26, 2006
STRONG whisky color. A little darker than the others. VERY smoky, definate hint of whisky. A friend says it tastes like bacon.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
meathookjones (245) - Sterling, Virginia, USA - MAY 7, 2005
Pours out amber with about an inch and a half of off white head. It shrinks down but manages to keep a small head through the consumption of this brew. Scatterings of lace were left as well on the glass. Strong smells of smoke rise from the glass accompanied by a malty sweetness and a bit of a woody scent. The alcohol and smoke really start to stand out as this warms. Taste is similar to the aroma as the smokiness and sweetness make up the majority of the flavor. There are notes of alcohol as well, this is quite the warming brew good for a cold rainy day. The sweetness is not cloying here like some of the other cask JWís. Aftertaste is sweet with a slight bite of alcohol. Mouthfeel is syrupy and full. Drinkability was pretty good at first but once it warmed the smokiness and the alcohol were a bit too much. Overall a good brew though.

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.

4.3
   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 (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 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.

4.5
   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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