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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: 362   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.76   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.


3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Blairgus (2688) - 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 (6104) - 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.

2.7
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
DrSilverworm (6818) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAR 26, 2013
9.3oz bottle, shared with taylor. Hazy, darker orange-yellow color. Good, thin, slightly off-white, kind of bubbly head. Decent dots of lace. Definite dark fruit aroma in the nose, pretty fermenty, definitely musty. Some candi-sugar. Definitely smells sweet. Big body. Lighter, smooth carbonation. More dry texture. Some cloying sweetness in the finish. Tolerable with my half size portion, but still just OK

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Westchesterco (1065) - mclean, Virginia, USA - MAR 5, 2013
Sherry amber, minimal head, medium sweetness, medium body, full body, creamy, soft carbonation, long finish,

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Iphonephan (3545) - McLean, Virginia, USA - MAR 5, 2013
From a 275 cl bottle shared at home. Vintage 2005. Pours a hazy dark amber with a quickly receding off white head. Aroma of caramel, candy sugar and sherry. Flavors follow suit with some hints of vanilla. Really a superb desert beer..

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
dreamflower (592) - Steinbach, Manitoba, CANADA - FEB 23, 2013
2009 bottle shared with northropfrye. Bready aroma. Flavour of oak and berries, rich sweet and unlike anything I’ve had before but I definitely would like to have again. I really liked it.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
northropfrye (2279) - Steinbach, Manitoba, CANADA - FEB 23, 2013
2009 bottle. Murky brownish, not so attractive, colour. Nice intense aroma of bread, wine, dried fruit, prunes, kind of a cereal quality. Taste is also an intense sweet malty grainy goodness. Maybe a touch too sweet for me, but overall very tasty. Faintly boozy, but high abv is quite well masked. A bit of a vinous quality. Nice coating, and fairly lively palate considering it’s a barley wine. Great stuff.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Doppelganger (1388) - Dry County, Arkansas, USA - FEB 10, 2013
Bottle with Vila, Guinn, Johnson, Bergstrom. Slightly hazy honey with just a little fine skim of white foam. Almond sweet nose, pollen, toffee, green grass. Heavy sugar sweetness, but so soft and delicate. A nectar to be drunk drop by drop. Refined. Powerful. Happy to have friends to split a bottle with: would be way too much for one. Thanks for sharing Vila!

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
freeofthoughts (667) - Raytown, Missouri, USA - JAN 11, 2013
2005 bottle pours a layered multi color pale to reddish brown with almost no carbonation. Sweet aroma of sherry and grains. Very smooth rich flavors of sweet malt wood sherry with lasting dark fruits. This is by far my favorite JW Lee’s harvest, aging served it well.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
after4ever (6239) - Brier, Washington, USA - JAN 10, 2013
330. Pours a murky dark amber with garnet overtones. Thin tan rim around the edge. Big sweet sherry nose, like condensed fruity vinous jammy pudding. Sticky thick body, soft carb. Caramel, toffee, and jammy sweet strawberry mid palate. Long sticky sweet finish.


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