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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry)

 (RETIRED)
overall
98
94
style
Formerly brewed at J.W. Lees
Style: Barley Wine
Middleton, England
Serve in Snifter

bottled
common

on tap
available

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 360   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 Willoughbys Cream Sherry to impart sweet and nutty flavors. Traditionally many fine malt whiskeys have been matured in sherry casks for the enhancement of both flavor and color.
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.


3.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ferris (4339) - Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 14, 2013
Bottle - Vintage 2006 - Rum, raisin, barrel notes, booze, brown sugar and many vintage port notes. Murky brown with no head. Soured wood, nutty and brown sugar. The woody sour notes are overwhelming, this may be past it’s prime.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
jeremyh70 (719) - Missouri, USA - NOV 21, 2013
2008 edition. Pours a very hazy dark orange color with little head or lacing. Aroma is sweet with toffee and overripe fruit, brown sugar and some mustiness. Taste is the same with big flavors of toffee and fruit with brown sugar sweetness and nuttiness. Also sherry and light alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium full body and low carbonation. A big sweetness from the malt and fruit flavors but very smooth and rounded. Too sweet for my taste.

4.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
S_Side_Smitty (463) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 2, 2013
2010 vintage. Pours cloudy brown with a minimal light tan head. Aroma is old, slightly musty, oak and mellowed malts. Taste is initially old wood, then comes the peppery sweetness followed by milk chocolate-like malts that do this amazing transformation into a beautiful sherry finish. The 11.5% ABV is well hidden. This one and the Port Cask version are top of the line. Stock up on them if you can. They only get better.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
SamP01 (570) - New Jersey, USA - SEP 20, 2013
9.3oz bottle. Pours a dark rusted cloudy orange brown with a quickly fading small white head. Aroma of sweet fruit , caramel and toffee notes, with some sweet alcohol esters. Taste same as aroma with some fine notes of aged sherry cask wood flavors with light hops notes and sweet alcohol. Palate is a full body and flavor, smooth and sweet sherry cask notes with mild carbonation. Finishes is sweet, fruity, with some nice caramel and toffee flavors and sweet aged sherry cask woody notes with alcohol lingering awhile. Overall a very good, flavorful brew.

3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Miked1687 (608) - Buffalo, New York, USA - AUG 19, 2013
Brewed in 2006 bottle. Dark mahogany pour with no head. Nose is rich toffee and tons of Sherry. Taste is sweet fruits, lots of raisin. Sherry notes interwoven throughout. No carbonation, very little bitterness. A little too sweet.

3.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
stchloe (793) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 23, 2013
Its a beautiful pour, sweet like port but heavier, and a heavy note of alcohol and sherry especially.

5
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
BOSSbrewer (1655) - Arkansas, USA - JUL 5, 2013
Fantastic. Beautiful plum color. Sweet but not syrupy. Rich complex flavors. Wonderful beer.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
blutt59 (6020) - Dallas, Texas, USA - MAY 31, 2013
2003 bottle, thanks to brewtopia, orange color with no head, brown sugar, almond biscotti aroma, flavor of gingerbread, cinnamon, brioche, great sherry and biscuit finish

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Blairgus (2622) - California, USA - MAY 20, 2013
20 May 2013, bottle. orange, faint sediment, steady bubbles, no head. nose is nutty, bread, alcohol, some red fruit. wouldn’t say there is any real sherry on the nose. full, syrupy body and almost flat. sherry really comes out in the flavour. med dry sherry, fairly nutty, big syrupy alcohol. decent.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Glouglouburp (6022) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - APR 2, 2013
Common rating for all four Lees Harvest barrel variations. Fun side-by-side comparison I did with all four Lees Harvest barrel variants as well as regular base beer. Separate rating for regular version because just too different from the barrel variations.
How: Bottle 275ml, side-by-side comparison of Lees Harvest and all 4 barrel variants. All bottle aged a couple of years.
The look: Mostly clear dark amber body topped by a small beige head. All four variants had sediments. Calvados version had a little more head. Lagavulin version was a little darker.
In long: Nose has plenty of wood barrels (old wet wood sensation) and fruity esters. Taste is very rich, plenty of caramel, sweet apple pie, pastry, wood barrels, light nutty notes. All barrel variants were very sweet but less sticky-syrupy than the regular base beer. The alcohol was a bit apparent in all four barrel version while it has plenty of places to hide in the uber-thick body of the base beer. Carbonation was on the soft side in all barrel variations. All four beers proposed a very sweet attack leading to a somewhat astringent woody finish.
Calvados barrel (8-4-8-4-16 = 4.0): Somehow the most richly caramelized of the bunch. Rich maltiness more prominent but still some refreshing fruity notes. Wood barrels better integrated. Less astringent finish. My favourite of the bunch.
Lagavulin barrel (6-3-6-4-13 = 3.2): More woody and therefore a bit more astringent. More earthy/peaty, borderline smoky. Presence of phenols phenolic I didn’t get from other barrel variations and alcohol a bit more apparent than in other variations. Might be something wrong with this particular bottle but it was my least favorite bar far.
Port barrel (7-3-8-4-14 = 3.6): More of a fruity dessert character. Somewhat similar to Sherry variant but with fruity flavors less of the “refreshing” kind.
Sherry barrel (8-3-8-4-15 = 3.8): More refreshing fruity flavors (light color tropical fruits and others..) and a mild tartness. Somewhat very similar to Port version except with more refreshing fruitiness.
Bottom line: I was surprised at how similar all four barrel variants were, there are obviously some differences but less than I expected. The Lagavulin had a few off flavors but I a bottle in poor shape. Also I just couldn’t recognize the regular Lees Harvest in any of them, all four barrel variations were totally different from the regular Lees Harvest but similar to each other. A comparison between the four barrel variations is a fun thing to do but adding the base beer to this experience is useless and will just get you more drunk, like I did. Doing this side-by-side comparison was a fun scientific experiment, and my only real regret in donating my body to science is I won’t be there to see the doctor exclaims “what the fuck is that?!?” when he sees my liver.


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