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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
common

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 452   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.


2.6
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
BŁckDich (5464) - McCall, Idaho, USA - MAY 31, 2006
Amber, thin head and lacing. Nose of strong peat, licorice, medicinal band-aid. The flavor is overwhelming with peat and sweetness and a horrible, horrible finish. I feel like Iíve used my tongue to comb through the medicine cabinet. Ugh. I like a good peaty scotch but this blended something funky together with it and it just didnít jive.

2.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
blklab2007 (1878) - Connecticut, USA - MAY 29, 2007
UPDATED: JUN 29, 2007 2004 bottle - pours thick, almost no head. smells of sweet port and burnt wood, lightly carbonated. dark amber color with dark orange. thick and sweet on the front of the tongue and overwhelming smoke flavor towards the back. thick oily coating as it goes down. Poured it cold but much better after sitting for a while and warming up. Too much burnt wood taste for me but good for a cold winter day by the fire.

2.6
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 9/20
nick76 (4145) - Tampa, Florida, USA - APR 30, 2008
The aroma is smoky with wood, brown sugar, and malt. The appearance is amber with a small bubbly head. The flavor is like the aroma but not that smoky. The palate is smooth. Overall itís not bad but the smoke smell dominates everything. This is still OK.

2.6
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
jsquire (3337) - St. Marys, Ohio, USA - JUN 28, 2008
9.3 oz. bottle brewed in 2003. Clear amber beer in my snifter with only the lightest of whisp for a head. Nose has noticable alcohol and a syrup sweetness. This is a very sweet beer. Too sweet for my tastes. There is some whiskey, oak, vanilla, and a hint of smoke. It is just so overpowered by the thick, cloying butterscotch sweetness that the other flavors donít stand a chance. The alcohol is very noticable and starts to burn on the tongue as the beer warms. A very odd beer actually.

2.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 1/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
bytemesis (2572) - Sunnyvale, California, USA - JAN 24, 2013
Bottle. I like scotch, I like harvest ale, whats not to like about the two of them together? Plenty. Instead of a match made in heaven, their offspring is more like a deformed leper than anything else. Turns out I should have been able to figure that out for myself. What goes will with a nice peaty scotch? Oh yes - a super sweet desert! Not. The flavors donít mix, and should never have been asked to. Miss. Oh, and chock full of floaties. I thought this was filtered and pasteurized?

2.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
heykevin (1273) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - JUN 4, 2004
Bright golden with a wispy head. Alcohol, perfume, and a touch of peat in the aroma. Some dusty sweetness as well. Sticky sweet, which is not unexpected, with honey notes, but the tandem peat/medicinal blast renders this near drain pour. Yeeesh! If this is ever going to come together, it isnít going to be anytime soon.

2.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
chriso (7344) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 1, 2005
Bottle (courtesy Duff) at St Albans Beer Festival, October 2005. Silk seems to have got in all the ranting before me so Iíll largely confine myself to saying this is an ill-judged, gimmicky nonsense of a beer. Reddish colour. Medicinal, phenolic, loads of burnt rubber in the aroma. I love Lagavulin, but the combination here does nothing for either component and the integration is not harmonious at all.. Very sweet, with an unpleasant alcohol burn. Crude and borderline unpleasant. Not my thing at all. Its giving me indigestion.

2.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 1/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 8/20
NYHarvey (2153) - New York, New York, USA - MAY 7, 2006
Caramel malt and spicy notes int he aroma along with hints of dark fruit. Caramel in color as well with a wispy white slick of a head. Fore is a foul chemical tasting bitterness followed by loads of tainted caramel malt and a big kick of chemically treated wood and whiskey. Flavor is so discordant I literally can not drink it.

2.3
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
SilkTork (5117) - Rochester, Kent, United Kingdom, Kent, ENGLAND - OCT 3, 2005
Duff kept me waiting for this one. Bastard. Heíd shown it to me earlier in the day and was dismayed by my lack of enthusiasm for a pasteurised beer which had been left to go stale in a cask washed out with a few bottles of whiskey. But he knew I had to try it. I had fussed and moaned about this beer so much in the past that I was actually very curious to try it. The history is that the American importer B. United tried selling batches of Lees Harvest Ale infused with Port back in 2001. This is occasionally done with some strong British winter ales. The experiment was not popular. In 2003, B. United shipped a large quantity of pasteurised Harvest Ale to Dupontís facility in Normandy where Dupont stored them for 6 months in wooden casks which had previously held whiskey, or port or sherry. When they were released in the spring of 2004 they came out at the height of the oak-aged fashion. People fell over themselves to get hold of the bottles. And people fell over themselves in praising the beers. B. United have commissioned more. This time J.W. Lees have made up the storage barrels themselves, seasoning the wood with a few bottles of port or whiskey swirled around for a few weeks. My unhappiness with the beers stems from the obvious falseness of the approach. A pasteurised beer will not "mature". The casks are not Lagavulin casks, but casks in which a few bottles of Langavulin have been poured to season the oak. I donít mind the experiment, but I do mind the deceit that has accompanied it. Expressions such as "fully fermented" to conceal the fact that this is a filtered and pasteurised beer makes me angry. And a 11.5% beer does not need filtering! It is one of the daftest things a brewery can do. Godís teeth - it makes me mad that brewers are allowed to get away with such behaviour - and WORSE - that supposedly knowledgeable drinkers fall over themselves to buy the beer, thus encouraging brewers to filter and boil other strong beers rather than leave them to mature and develop naturally. Just imagine what these beers would have tasted had they not been killed. So, we have pasteurised beers slowly going stale in oak barrels. Big deal. And the taste of this one? Well, the strength of the alcohol provides most of the flavour - ugly burnt rubber from the fusel alcohol; and smokey bacon and a dead quality. A lifelessness in the mouthfeel. It tastes like stale beer. (What a surprise!). Itís a heavy unpleasant beer. I had found the standard Harvest Ale to have provided sufficient interest in its very strength and clarity of malt to overcome some of the obvious faults from its crude, undeveloped strength (let the bloody beer develop on the yeast!) - but this stuff just offends me.

2.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 5/20
crossovert (6351) - Illinois, USA - AUG 11, 2012
Nice smoky smell, big peatiness and almost burnt rubber. The flavor is smoky but also vegetal with a sweet pea flavor.


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