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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: 503   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.75/5   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 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Dedollewaitor (15575) - Odense, DENMARK - JUL 25, 2011
Bottle @ Blindtasting, Odense, July 2011. Pours cloudy golden with a small off white bubbly head. Heavy peated smoked nose and flavor. Sweet and sugary/syrupy with hints of dark fruit. A bit of alcohol warmth. Heavy . .

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Drake (11913) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 6, 2011
Bottle shared by BrewEngineer at Butters Slutfest 2.0, Richmond, VA, 4.23.11. 2009 vintage. Pours a hazy copper color with a thin creamy head. Decent head retention and lacing. Big smoky notes in the aroma along with some peat, fruity notes, caramel and tea. The taste is sweet caramel and fairly strong smoky notes. Comes across much like a honey barbecue sauce. A dry ashy finish. Medium-full bodied. Interesting.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
RobertDale (5518) - Lansing, Kansas, USA - JAN 17, 2014
275 ml. bottle. 2008 version. Pours a cloudy dark orange with a small white head. Aroma of fruit, wood, alcohol, and smoke. Taste is caramel, dark fruit, oak, alcohol, and smoke. A bit too sweet for me. Do want to try other versions now.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ferris (12890) - Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA - JUN 4, 2014
Bottle - Vintage 2005 - Big rich malts, cereal and big oak notes. Cloudy brown with no head. Lots of apple sweetness, tons of oak and a long sweetness. The scotch doesn’t show up at all, although I do get barrel notes. Nice, but not the beer I was expecting.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
djd07 (10500) - Houston, Texas, USA - JAN 28, 2016
2008 bottle. Pours a clear copper with small white head that diminishes quickly. The aroma is toffee, dark fruit, whiskey. Medium mouth, lots of peat, dark fruit, smoke, boozy finish, good.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
ClarkVV (5858) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - MAY 20, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 23, 2006 AOBF 04, Lagavulin Cask aged. This is the best example I’ve tried of using whiskey cask aging to improve a beer. The naturally highly sweet nature of this beer is cut perfectly by the rich, smokey, dry, alcoholic single malt. Complex and stupendous tasting. Pours a lovely amber-auburn with some darker mahogany tinges, smaller head than the regular version due to the single malt no doubt, but still good looking. I just can’t say enough about this one. It’s like milk and cookies, peanut butter and jelly, thelma and louise, etc. . . Perfect match that seems made for each other. Wonderfully complex, powerful and has the typical lee’s harvest ale smooth, creamy mouthfeel. This is pretty close to perfect, but I want to try a larger sample again and then rerate. I think the small sample size may have contributed to my very high rating, as I think this beer may get very overpowering in large quantities. Big downside is that these are highly pasteurised; there is no sediment whatsoever in the bottle. Rerate, finally. The finish is still divine, with a perfect lagavulin flavor rounding it out, but the problem (and the problem with the regular Lee’s Harvest, IMHO) is that it is just too damned sweet, cloying, and a bit too lacking in complexities due to the heavy filtration and pasteurisation. A wonderful combo here, though, I just wish you could taste the lagavulin more throughout the body, not just on the end. I can’t say I find this beer to be a worldbeater; the lagavulin is spectacular, but the beer, not so much.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
JoeMcPhee (9325) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - FEB 24, 2007
Served on gravity cask at Spuytin Duyvil. Deep dark garnet colour, completely still. Aroma is intensely oaky and smokey with more whisky character than I’ve ever tasted in any barrel-aged beer. Smells very alcoholic, but the flavour is sweet and soft. Caramel malt, honeyed sweetness and loads of sweet peaty and heathery character. Rich caramel butter sauce, demerara sugar and smokiness. Retronasally, there is still more smokiness, but this is cut short by a vineous sweetness. It’s a tasty brew, but it tends to get treacly sweet, even in this 4 oz sample.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
jimhilt (2558) - Bow, New Hampshire, USA - APR 4, 2007
Pours a two finger cream head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving a little lace. Cloudy amber color. Light carbonation and very heavy bodied. Raisin/rummy nose. Flavor is sweet rum with alcohol overtones sweet cough syrup finish, cloying. Pricey - $6.99 for a 275ml bottle from John’s Grocery Iowa City, Ia.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
pineypower (3090) - Ocean County, New Jersey, USA - JAN 6, 2008
Thanks to Santa for this one. Pours out a mahogany/brown color with no real head. Consistency of syrup. Aroma is of sweet malts, sweet fruit, slight oak and some alcohol. Taste is just a smack in the face sweet, sweet fruits, caramel syrup. Beer is just over the top sweet lacking any kind of balance, the whiskey was pushed so far in the background by the sweetness that it almost wasn’t there. Probably needs some time to age, but not really my thing.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 12/20
BREWMUSKCLES (2565) - New Jersey, USA - JUN 15, 2008
great as a port. not so great when re-created as a beer. looks and tastes so much like a fine 15 year old port that to describe it further would be disingenuious of me. buttery velvety and caramel so smooth and good. well refined alcohol. from the cask at mugs ale house "happy Fathers day Poppa wherever you are"!

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