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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

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RATINGS: 465   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.74   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
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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 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
bubbleflubber (1826) - Asheville, North Carolina, USA - APR 5, 2010
2004 Limited Edition release, 9.3 oz. Aged for 6+ years, this pours a muddy mahogany into the glass without a head of which to speak. The bouquet, heavily sweet, contains caramel, whiskey, honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract and Karo syrup. The flavors are of smoked maple syrup, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, vanilla and butterscotch. The burnt toffee finish concentrates nicely on the burnt sugars. The ABV is superbly incorporated, warming the esophagus. The mouthfeel is of thick syrup, with a full body. A superb example of the English Barleywine style. Had to be sampled to believe. Incredibly comforting!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
imeshuggahi (31) - golden, Colorado, USA - MAY 20, 2010
This beer was made for fans of extremely peaty scotch and english style barley wines. The low carbonation brings out so much flavor in this beer that the drinker will have to pause after intitial sip. Near perfect beer, from some of the pioneers of barrel aging .

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
lagermonkey (725) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - JUN 3, 2010
On cask at The Brick Store Pub in Decatur, GA. 2001 vintage. It pours a lightly hazy dark amber with no head to speak of. I could have just smelled this beer and been satisfied. Peaty and earthy, sweet malt and whiskey from the cask. Beautiful. The taste matches the smell. Very boozy and quite sweet but always with that peaty, whisky flavor permeating throughout. Very fruity with hints of toffee and vanilla. Sweetish finish with the whisky flavor lingering. Outstanding.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
WMitty (17) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - NOV 11, 2010
I’m biased. Lagavulin is my favorite scotch. It was pretty much guaranteed that I would like this ale. I lucked into the cask pour at Thirsty Monk in Asheville. The ale was served in a tulip snifter with almost no head. The color was a dark cloudy amber. You could tell it was going to be sweet by the aroma, but I was surprised how well the peat and smoke from the cask balanced out the sweetness. Although the was some heft to the mouthfeel the high 11.5% abv was well hidden in the mix. Three of these babies knocked me on my ass, but it was kinda like getting manhandled by the hot chick in the room - a worthwhile beating.

   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 can’t believe how big this beer still is. It will last forever. Very warming.

   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 You’re 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 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
DocLock (7860) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 11, 2006
Bottle from Super Saver. Turbid coppery amber pour with minimal head. Aroma of oaky whiskey, dark figgy fruit, and honey. The flavor is sweet, with a nice smoky scotchy peaty taste, and a lot of cabernet and vinous fruits as it warms. This is my favorit by far of all the 4 barrel aged JW Lees varieties.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
PilsnerPeter (3028) - Flushing, New York, USA - FEB 6, 2007
2006 Version - Wooden-pin cask at Spuyten Duyvil: Wow, this stuff is awesome. Pours a very deep and hazy orange with no head. The aroma is filled with piney, scotch-like qualities, peat & fresh earth, dirty woodchip and an underlying open fire smokeyness. At the front of the tongue there’s sweet glazed piney notes reminiscent of baked Irish soda bread with raisins. Unbelievably complex layers of flavors that develop more with each sip. There’s an amazing smokeyness that reminds me of burning wood or a fresh open fire. There’s absolutely no indication of alcohol, extremely smooth texture down the throat. Leaves a light maple residue on the lips. This stuff is just absolutely delicious and unparallel in complexity.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
ChainGangGuy (4374) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - JUN 7, 2007
UPDATED: JUN 16, 2009 I’m oh-so terribly fond of the J.W. Lee’s Harvest Ale, so let’s be a good sport, and give this Lagavulin Whiskey Cask-aged version a try. Appearance: A color reminiscent of sweet, gooey, delicious honey. From very talented, very wonderful bees. A tight, compacted khaki-colored head, with minimal head retention - but that’s to be expected. Slight carbonation, with fat, lazy bubbles working their way to the surface. Aroma: Holy moly! What a HONEY pot aroma with some sweet malt and butter smells around the edges. There’s a very slight smokey peat smell to it, but only very slight (far less than I would have imagined). Taste: Wonderful. A good bit of fruit in the flavor, mainly apricots and honey-soaked raisins. Plenty of chewy malt. The Lagavulin adds in a layer of smokiness to the brew’s benefit and makes for a delightful twist on the classic Harvest Ale. A long finish, a graceful finish, and one to simply sit down and cherish. Mouthfeel: Think, warm and always creamy on the tongue, like so much honey. The alcohol is warming, but not overly noticeable for 11.5%. Drinkability: A beer you can really drink yourself into a stupor with and smile all the while. True, this one’s a sipper, but I am guilty of taking whole mouthfuls just to really sink my teeth into it. A great barleywine experience! Thankfully, I purchased more than just a single bottle of this offering, and look forward to enjoying these down the road with a little age on it. I’ll be sure to try Port, Sherry, and Calvados versio-- OWW!! I just got bit by a BEE!!!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
tjthresh (1865) - Greenfield, Indiana, USA - JUL 16, 2007
Brewed in 2005
Pours light amber orange, lots of carbonation, but not head. I yeast floaties. Ooops. Wonderful carmelized fruit aromas. Oak and vanilla. Powerful alcohol sort of singes the nose hair. Wow what a flavor. The toffee fruit character is accompanied byt a new friend. A wonderful peat character that takes and all ready super beer, out of the world. Sweet, but not cloy. Very seductive.

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