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J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Sherry)

Formerly brewed at J.W. Lees
Style: Barley Wine
Middleton, England
Serve in Snifter


on tap

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 378   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.77/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
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.

soulgrowl's rating

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 9/20
soulgrowl (52) - Kitakyushu-shi, - JUN 1, 2008
Aroma: Woody pipe tobacco wreathed around a ripe, fruity essence: baked apples, pears, prunes, a touch of peach and some raisins, sweetened by a hint of maple syrup and dark rum, shine their way through a curtain of velvety, earthy, oaky, resiny notes from the hops and sherry casks. Alcohol comes through only slightly, mingling with the dry-yet-robust pome fruit scents to lend the impression of Calvados. (I wonder what the Calvados cask version smells like...) Appearance: Deep, plummy chestnut brown with a bright ruby shine to it. Head is blanched almond-colored, smooth but volatile, and surprisingly large and stalwart - not huge, but big for the style and the ABV. Flavor: Sweet as hell but full of fruity barleywine goodness and woody, nutty, resiny sherry flavor. Gushingly sweet flavors of white sugar, apple juice, honey, and sponge cake dominate, but the varnishy, walnutty tweak of sherry offers a pleasant distraction. This beer does not have what I would call depth or complexity, but it isn’t boring. I must say, though, it is too sweet. Palate: Suitably thick, with subdued carbonation. And yet it’s also quite dry - the finish, though sweet, is surprisingly not syrupy. Overall: I do like the sherry flavor, but unfortunately it doesn’t really do enough to buoy the leaden sugars that overwhelm this beer - nor is it interesting enough to warrant those sugars, or the big ABV, for that matter. I suppose this deserves some points for its totally undetectable alcohol, but then again, a little spicy heat might help to fence in its out-of-whack sweetness.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Lukaduke (2791) - Gray, Maine, USA - NOV 29, 2015
Pours a medium copper color with a finger of white foam. Sweet toffee, rich honey and layers of maple, nutty, soft prune and dried fruit. A bit sticky and less cohesive than some of the other variants.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
drpimento (2637) - La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 6, 2015
Very rich and delicious. The best parts are the aroma and taste with very volatile bold bursting components. The sherry characteristics match perfectly with those of this beer - fruits, toffee, caramels, oak. Excellent body too.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
JoeTheYounger (1173) - Lake Arrowhead, California, USA - SEP 7, 2015
2012 bottle. Solid orange pour with no head. Aroma is sweet brown sugars and toasted nuts. Taste is very earthy, woody, and very sweet... Like cloying sweet. Very low carbonation. Having a hard time finishing because of the sweetness. The alcohol is well hidden. Would love to try different versions. It’s probably the sherry making it too sweet for my liking.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Bill Becker (610) - Casper, Wyoming, USA - JUL 15, 2015
Surprisingly good head of foam for this 2012 bottle. Pretty long lasting too and it even has a bit of lacing. The brew itself is a a clear copper. The smell is of big caramel malt that is sure to bring the sweet in the taste. But, its more of a maple syrup like sweetness and I can dig that. Some of the ample alcohol gets through as well. The taste follows through where the smell left off. Sweet maple that coats my tongue without going overboard. Hints of some kind of nut and a mild woody fruity taste that I find totally enjoyable. Booze is there and I think it compliments rather than detracts. As full as medium bodied can get with a subtle level of carbonation. This is very good. $10.15 I do not regret paying.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jackl (6112) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - JUL 10, 2015
Bottle split @ Clerko. Thanks to whoever shared this. Amber pour with a tiny white head. Nose is full of banana nut bread. Toasted buttered nuts. Some sweet/tart plum skin and baked apple pile. General woodiness shows in the flavor that wasn’t so apparent in the nose. A touch of black pepper. More banana nut bread and sweet plums. Pretty hot and approaching cloying sweetness, which brings down the experience a bit. Thick and oily. Pretty interesting to try.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
mixmasterob (1004) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - JUL 1, 2015
2005 vintage. Murky brown pour with little carbonation. Aroma was big sweet fruits, cake, brown sugar, booze, caramel. Flavors were sweet with big sherry notes throughout. Super smooth and mellow with good boozy notes. More sweet fruits and cake. Syrupy mouthfeel with light carbonation. Finish was sweet, lightly bitter. Not bad for a ten year old barley wine. Super smooth.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
alexsdad06 (7462) - Ohio, USA - MAY 31, 2015
Bottle 2005 vintage. Pours a deep amber color with a small off white head. The nose is all barleywine; sweet caramel malts, fruits, raisins, some vanilla, and vinous character. The sherry is there, but not up front. The flavor is just the opposite with the other flavor working hard to appear from behind the wall that is sherry. Overall I enjoyed this beer, but the sherry could be less in your face with this one. Thick and syrupy in the mouth. Definitely a sipper.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
czar (6211) - Québec, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 5, 2015
pours clear golden orange with a nice reviving off-white cap, nice lacing. candied golden raisins, honey and barley sugars - cloying; lightly smoked and salty maltiness, charred wood, umami hint. light to low carbonation, medium-full body - oily and syrupy; cloying spicy-smoky finish. alcohol is well integrated but smokiness is almost embarrassing. then again, perhaps sherry casks also held a scotch? tasting regular harvest proved to also be smoky. mysterious.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
johnnymusky (676) - Minnesota, USA - APR 19, 2015
bottle from dusty...2012 vintage...crazy good beer...Brian the regular gives it 5 stiffees...one of the best beers i have ever tried....wow!...(#455)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
tmoreau (3150) - Lombard, Illinois, USA - APR 2, 2015
Shared 9.3 oz. 2008 bottle poured to snifters, showing a cloudy, brown tone, with a light, quickly diminishing layer of tan foam, light dots, and a lightly viscous, leggy film on the glass. The nose was toffee, caramel sweetness, some dried fruit, and a hint of smoky ham. The taste was similar, adding some alcohol/sherry warmth, and syrupy sweetness to the palate. A mellowed but tasty sipper.

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