RobertDale (5263) - Lansing, Kansas, USA - JAN 17, 2014
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
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.
Ferris (12151) - Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA - JUN 4, 2014
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
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.
ClarkVV (5574) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - MAY 20, 2004
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
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.
JoeMcPhee (9268) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - FEB 24, 2007
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
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.
jimhilt (2549) - Bow, New Hampshire, USA - APR 4, 2007
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 14/20
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.
pineypower (3036) - Ocean County, New Jersey, USA - JAN 6, 2008
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
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.
BREWMUSKCLES (2538) - New Jersey, USA - JUN 15, 2008
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 12/20
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"!
That1Guy (2192) - Colorado, USA - OCT 1, 2008
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Jakebra crush. Smoky sweet nose. A little too much molasses in the flavor, little too sweet for me, but the finish doesn’t last long, so that helps.
Oakes (15325) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - MAY 14, 2009
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
2004 bottle. Muddy looking, flat, light chestnut. Sweet brown sugar nose but a little oxidized with peat smoke accents. Burly peat up front, then rich brown sugary decadence. Finishes peaty, sweet, alcoholic and a little woody. Lots of fun, but not much nuance. The two characters are not as cohesive as I’d like them to be.
yemenmocha (659) - Glendale, Arizona, USA - SEP 18, 2009
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
gavulin cask bottling, vintage 2004. Tasted July 2006.
Pours a slightly hazy amber orange. Minimal head that dissipated quickly.
Nose is very lambic like with wild fruity aromas. Almost raspberryish.
On the palate I find the distinctive smoky/peatyness that is no doubt from the Islay malt casks, however they do not define the beer exclusively. There’s a pleasant maple syrup sweetness and thickness of body that is noticed at the same time. Late palate into the finish is very malty sweet, some honey as well, with some tartness/bitterness that balances well.
For me this is a dessert beer and unfortunately it’s my first pour of the evening. When the lambic mood strikes, reach for a curious alternative.