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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: 500   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.74/5   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 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Miguel (1181) - Saint-Ours, Quebec, CANADA - JUN 23, 2006
2004. Robe ambrée foncée très claire surmontée d’une mousse blanche mince. Arômes de caramel, de malt fumé, de whisky et de chêne. Saveurs de caramel, d’érable, de malt fumé, de whisky et de chêne. Houblon de soutien.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
bubbleflubber (2154) - 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 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 I’d drink it even if it didn’t 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 can’t wait ’til I get the chance to buy more of these. (Fortunately, that will be in about 4 weeks!) This is so amazing, I can’t recommend it highly enough! Pick one up as soon as you are able.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
mastabass666 (277) - California, USA - DEC 27, 2009
By far the most complex of the different barrel aged versions of this beer I’ve had. Smoke really cuts and complicates the already sweet and complex flavor of the standard. Tons of charred fruit , tar, huge Islay presence. Crazy. v.2008

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
17thfloor (2443) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAY 3, 2010
2004 Vintage. Wow, I’ve heard great things about this one, and this is my most antcipated Harvest. It certainly lives up to expectation and I agree, that this is probably the best of the bunch. Served at room temp. Pours a glowing but murky dark reddish brown with basically no head with some floaties. Aroma of sweet fruits, notes of port and sherry mixed with the medium peaty whisky note, lovely intoxicating sweetness that seems rounder, brighter, and fruitier than the others, some grassy malt oxidation, love that it isn’t overpowering scotch or peaty, it has a great balance, fantastic wood aroma holding it all together. Flavor follows, not as overpoweringly sweet as some of the others either, mixture of well aged port and sherry flavors swirling with the medium/light peaty scotch notes all tied together with an elegant wood flavor, not typical of other wood aged beers, really elegant, some grassiness, a bit toasty under the rich fruit, super smooth, underlaying nuttiness, some lingering tobacco, rich, complex, smooth, wonderful. The easiest to drink of the ones that I’ve tried thus far, still viscous but drinks rather well, faint sparse carbonation, isn’t as syrupy as I remember other Harvest and similar barley wines. Absolutely love it! Delightful rich warming fruitiness! Adult candy.

   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 I’ll 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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
nj_BierMaven (121) - Flemington, New Jersey, USA - SEP 12, 2012
On tap at Somerset Hills Tap Room in NJ. Thank you to Kevin the manager and his management for supporting him in putting amazing off-the-mainstream brews like this on the rotating draft list. Pours a beautiful cloudy amber, with a nose that clearly announces its Scotch barrel ancestry. Mild carbonation does not interfere with the peaty, smoky character that defines this barley wine. Was too cold upon delivery from the tap, but the maltiness revealed itself upon warming, balancing out the smokiness. Not for the faint of heart, but for barley wine and Scotch lovers a reward worth pursuing. I don’t taste the alcohol notes others described, just a malty smoky complexity that defies description.

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