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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: 487   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.75   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
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.


3.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
ClarkVV (4210) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - MAY 20, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 23, 2006 AOBF 04, Lagavulin Cask aged. This is the best example Iíve 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 canít say enough about this one. Itís 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 leeís 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 Leeís 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 canít say I find this beer to be a worldbeater; the lagavulin is spectacular, but the beer, not so much.

3.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
JoeMcPhee (9004) - 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 Iíve 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. Itís a tasty brew, but it tends to get treacly sweet, even in this 4 oz sample.

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
jimhilt (2469) - 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 Johnís Grocery Iowa City, Ia.

3.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
pineypower (2733) - Pine Barrens, 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 wasnít there. Probably needs some time to age, but not really my thing.

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
DYCSoccer17 (3489) - Woodland, California, USA - OCT 19, 2004
Very fruity aroma with hints of sweet brown sugar. Slightly rubbery whisky aroma. Transparent orange coor with very quickly dissipating light yellow head into nothing. Smokey, rubbery whiskey taste hits you to start. Very smoked and woodsy campfire notes. Finishes sweet with some spicy pepperiness. This is my least favorite of the 4...

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
wunderbier (1434) - Tampere, FINLAND - AUG 22, 2005
Deep burnt orange hue with a medium, frothy, white head. Smoke, oak, toffee, caramel, alcohol...almosty a meaty quality to this one. Heavily sweet, moderately acidic flavor. Heavily sweet, moderately acidic finish. Full bodied, sticky texture, moderate carbonation, light alcohol. I just donít think an Islay whisky was the right choice here...

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
hippie4beer (162) - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - FEB 20, 2006
Bottle. 2004. Pours a light ruby pink color with a very little head that faded as quick as it came. Aroma of fine sherry, oak, caramel, old grapes, and light hints of chocolate. Flavor is very sweet and smokey. Alcohol notes are predominant, but not harsh. Very smooth. Notes of caramel in the finish. This is medium bodied, and very slick. Nice beer, good for sipping. The more I drank it, the less I liked it honestly. I found it almost undrinkable at one point and refused to drink it anymore. There is too much charred oak taste for me. Good beer, just not my thing. Reminds me of SA Triple Bock.

3.2
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
LePoopie (151) - Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA - MAR 28, 2006
Has an odd aroma, kind of musty and antiseptic at the same time (it actually reminds me of the preservatives they use for pigs that you dissect in high school). Decent dark amber color with a white head. Quite sweet, but not as much as the Calvados. OK body with decent cabonation. The taste is kind of nice, but the aroma puts me off.

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
scania (188) - MalmŲ, SWEDEN - NOV 18, 2006
Bottle. 2004 vintage. Deep ruby with small head. Smoky aroma as anticipated. Flavor is very (too) sweet and smoky.

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Optigon (562) - Bloomington, Indiana, USA - JAN 21, 2007
Orange Brown in color, little head. Strong, sweet whiskey qualities. Very strong alcohol. Rather thick. Not bad, but not something to drink all the time.


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