RateBeer
overall
99
98
style
Brewed by J.W. Lees
Style: Barley Wine
Middleton, England
Serve in Snifter

bottled
common

on tap
available

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1010   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.87   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Available filtered and pasteurised in 275ml dark glass bottles. Has appeared occasionally in cask.
This fully fermented strong ale has been brewed by J.W. Lees as a celebration of the brewers art since 1985. Harvest Ale can be enjoyed now or laid down like a vintage wine for enjoyment in years to come.


4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
MOboy (505) - Kansas City, Missouri, USA - JAN 20, 2002
Oh my. 1988 bottle. very alcoholic nose and taste with stong hints of molasses. Beautiful carmel appearance with nice beige head. Definately one of the better older (and stronger) ales I have tried.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
turtlehead (111) - Nottingham, New Hampshire, USA - JAN 7, 2002
The 1998 J.W. Lees Harvest Ale has a warm malty aroma that is slightly masked by the alcohol. The apperance is smokey with an almost non-existant brown head. The flavor is complex with hints of prunes, oak, sherry, brown sugar, molasses, and lots caramel. I feel it is the hint of molasses that give the beer a rum like character. Cheers!

4.8
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
baseballguy (246) - Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 13, 2001
On tap at the Map Room in Chicago: my wildest beer experience to date. The 1998 J.W. Lees Harvest Ale was incredibly strong and fruity (I’m not terribly good at identifying which fruits, but I know there was plum in there!). I had no idea what to expect when I ordered this and it was truly memorable. I am sort of longing to taste it again right now, in fact. Lees Harvest Ale is indeed wine-like and not much like other beers, but I recommend the experience to all without guaranteeing that you will take to its uniqueness as strongly as I did.

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
mikenodak (150) - Fargo, North Dakota, USA - OCT 22, 2001
A big, malty, chutneylike barleywine, balanced by the hops. Carbonation, but not too much. The alcohol is well hidden - doesn’t seem like 11.5%. I had the ’97, and would like to find an older one, not having the patience to age it myself. Cant’ wait - must drink now.

1.8
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 6/20
Shadallion (534) - Sacramento, California, USA - AUG 19, 2001
I had this straight froma wood-cask that was flown in from England. My surmise is that any blindfolded taster would deem this a wine, not a beer. Maybe with 5 years age it would be good, but this beer’s silly flavors of plums and coconuts were over-whelming and completely out of whack.

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
senjiro (35) - Wheat Ridge, Colorado, USA - AUG 12, 2001
UPDATED: MAY 18, 2003 Re-Rate! This time a bottle of well aged 1988 (it's May 2003!) courtesy of Indra. Not going to change the numbers but my impression of the 88: no head at all, kind of to be expected. brown orange color with hundereds of particulates suspendd throughout. The aroma is more reminiscient of Jack Daniels than any beer I've had. The overall barleywine quality has transformed into an very edgy palate. the aftertaste is exremely sweet with almost not taste of hops. You could nearly blind-taste test me into thinking this was port wine, except that hint of hops. incredible. One sidenote: i've been saving this awhile, and am celebrating the purchase of my new 2003 350Z. not driving tonight! Great great beer.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Beeradvocate.com99 (8) - Massachusetts, USA - JUL 27, 2001 does not count
Great whatever year you are enjoying, the 1989 are ripe for the picking though I have had a couple 2000 that are great but raw!

2.8
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
THE BEER BARON (275) - Wisconsin, USA - JUL 27, 2001

1.8
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 6/20
The Friar99 (222) - Wisconsin, USA - JUL 27, 2001

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Oakes (12633) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JUL 6, 2001
UPDATED: FEB 9, 2009 2002 Vintage, rated 2009
Hazy amber. Cookie-ish malt with slight graham crackery honey note and a hint of chocolate. Very sweet and honeyish like a Polish mead. It’s got a lot of style right now, but it can handle another ten years or so given the high level of sweetness still in the beer.

2001 Re-rate
I had a couple of vintages one after the other - a 1997 and a 1988. Both are malty and rich. The former had notes of brown sugar, apricot and burnt raisin toast. The latter had very well-developed flavours. The malts were deep and cohesive, the alcohol strong bu unobtrusive. Thick. Not a complex beer, but given long periods in the bottle it retains a lovely richness of malt. Surely one of the finest malty barley wines around. 8-2-8-5-16 = 3.9


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