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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
available

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 464   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.


4.5
   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.

4.5
   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 Iíve 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

4.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
17thfloor (2430) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAY 3, 2010
2004 Vintage. Wow, Iíve 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 isnít 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 Iíve tried thus far, still viscous but drinks rather well, faint sparse carbonation, isnít as syrupy as I remember other Harvest and similar barley wines. Absolutely love it! Delightful rich warming fruitiness! Adult candy.

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.

4.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
nj_BierMaven (100) - 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 donít taste the alcohol notes others described, just a malty smoky complexity that defies description.

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - MAY 25, 2004
UPDATED: NOV 25, 2004 Poured an almost gold color with a very small head. Aroma of light smokiness and believe it or not, Lavavulin. The taste was like other JW Lees Harvests with the same smokiness of the aroma, in the taste. Warm and smooth. I had to try it alongside the scotch, as I have a bottle on hand. Although young, worth drinking now and once matured. A true gem.

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
scraff (2121) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - MAY 31, 2004
Sparkling clear amber body, very thin white head. Nose is rich and complex, with notes of peat smoke, whiskey, vanilla, and wood. Flavor almost matches aroma, but itís a bit on the sweeter side. Hops make a brief appearance, but never find their way out completely. Full bodied, syrupy, soft carbonation, sweet whiskey smoke finish. Take note that if you donít like whiskey, this probably wonít be your thing. Obviously though, I loved it!

4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
npdempse (934) - St. Petersburg, Florida, USA - NOV 26, 2004
Clear gold, with a large off-white head. Strong nose of peaty scotch whisky. Sweet, with a strong smoaked peat scotch flavor.

4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
shadey (1881) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - NOV 20, 2005
UPDATED: JUN 5, 2010 Amber color with no real head. Aroma is strong sweetness and alcohol. Flavor is carmel sweetness and maple syrup. Very easy to drink for the big 11.5%. 7/3/7/4/16

2006 bottle rated in 2010. Pours a deep amber with only a ring of large white bubbles around the edge of the glass. Aroma is sweet and caramelly, with some toffee and a real richness. The flavor is really something special, with smokiness and sweetness that is excitingly well developed and smooth. I think this only gets better with age, as there is no hint of oxidation. The body is chewy and smooth with a mouth-filling quality that lets you know you are drinking something substantial. I donít remember this being this good. I absolutely love the smokiness to the finish. 7/3/9/5/19

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Pinnhead (93) - New Jersey, USA - NOV 26, 2005
musky and port like though not sweet. an excellent sipping brew in place of port, sherry or other. a bit overpowering with a meal but as a lead in or after itís on the mark.


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