Brewed by J.W. Lees
Style: Barley Wine
Middleton, England
Serve in Snifter


on tap

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 1052   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.87/5   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
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.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
Uglyradio (791) - Greenville, South Carolina, USA - DEC 18, 2002
UPDATED: FEB 15, 2003 1998 Vintage: Pours a very dark amber color with a medium sized, off-white head that rapidly disappears. Strong aroma of malts, raisons, vanilla, rum, and alcohol. Wow! What a wonderful flavor! Low carbonation with hints of vanilla, molasses, malts, and alcohol. Man, this beer is like eating a cake, fucking marvelous.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Aubrey (3508) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - DEC 17, 2002
1998: Huge, aromatic bouquet, oaken-alcohol nose; high volume smells. Deep, earthy, woodsy, maple-syrup/molasses flavors swirl and dance in the mouth; deeply complex. Heavy, silken texture; soft carbonation. Many dark fruit notes followed by sweet sherry flavors. Port-like flavors linger in the aftertaste. Only complaint is its intense sweetness -- gotta sip it, and I wouldn’t want more than one at a time. But otherwise, quite a fantastic brew!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
Prostman (1077) - Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 3, 2002
I tried the 2000 vintage. Very good. Nice deep red/auburn color, virtually no head, wine/sherry taste. I have a 1986 and a 1987 to try as well. These notes will be updated upon trying them. 12-1-02 I tried the 1987 and it makes it exactly 15 years old. WOW! Totally flat and very smooth. The rating will stay the same for this beauty.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
kmeves (1098) - Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 26, 2002
UPDATED: FEB 7, 2008 1998 Vintage. Stable brown frothy head. Very carbonated amber brown hue. Flavor is raisins and either cooking wine or sherry. The alcohol is hidden so so. Finishes sweet.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
JohnC (3004) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - NOV 22, 2002
1988 vintage: My comments about the appearance & aroma reflect daalamar’s. It definitely has a taste of a sweet liqueur. Very nice, but not quite my style

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
daalamar (405) - new albany, Indiana, USA - NOV 18, 2002
1988 vintage: Picked this one up at a local shop, covered with dust, they had a case of it and I will be getting some more. I was nervous about a fourteen year old bottle, but upon opening I got a good "psssttt" sound letting me know that it hat kept agood seal. Poured a deep brown/red with large particulate matter suspended throughout, I was supprised to get a small lacy head, that lasted quite a long time. Aroma was complex with rasin and caramel, a hint as to the alcohol but not a powerful one.Sweet liquor was also apparent. Flavor was tremendously well ballanced and mellow. Starting off with the sweet liquor, followed with the dark fruits such as rasin and plum. Stays sweet throughout but not cloying or sticky. Ending is warming and the taste lingers a long time on the palate. An absolutly wonderful beer that I would recommend to anyone.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
muzzlehatch (4420) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - OCT 26, 2002
UPDATED: JAN 19, 2005 Oct 26 2002: 1999 vintage. Typical barley wine appearance, muddy brown with little (though lasting) head. Aroma is a wonderful combination of raisins, sherry, caramel, and is quite strong. Flavor just dynamite as well, at least for those who like their barley wines very sweet and not at all bitter. Now I love candy-sweet beer, but this could almost be too much. Alcohol presence becomes quickly known; good body and texture; a world classic and I’m looking forward to the ’97 some day. Next morning slight re-rate: borderline too sweet and syrupy at the end; had a hard time finishing. 9/4/8/4/15 4.0

Jan 2005, 2x275 ml: The Great Montreal Barley Wine Blowout with asheft, beerbuzzmontreal, MartinT, tiggmtl, Rastacouere and Yowie, #8. Bit of head topping clear thick copper body...caramel, a touch of anise, charred smoky hardwood in the huge nose, some dark bread...sugary, maple-molasses on the nose, sweet cherry, but the tarry, charred oak in the finish keeps it real...too sweet? I dunno, I just f**kin’ love it. 4/9/9/5 18 4.5

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
Nate (3827) - Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 25, 2002
Had the 1989 vintage. Unbelievable aromas - red wine, sherry, port and plums. Bit of cider, brown and maple sugars. Looked like crap, though. No head, ruddy brown with chunks. Velvetty palate, though no carb. Very complex tastes - sweet brown sugar, plum, sherry, red wine, chocolate, licorice. A little sourness/bitterness. Considering the age of the beer, and the fact I traded for it earlier this year (God know where all it’s been!), I was very impressed with how it held up. Would like to try one that’s only a few years old.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Kevbo99 (149) - Dunmore, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 24, 2002
Too sweet or my liking. not something i would get again.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Indra (2711) - Overland Park, Kansas, USA - OCT 13, 2002
UPDATED: DEC 20, 2003 This bottle is just like the one in the picture, 1988. Definite sherry-like parts of the aroma, along with candied apple, raisin and alcohol. Deep burgundy red in color and with a very substantial amount of dusty-brown particulate matter, not just at the bottom of the glass but suspended in huge bits throughout. No head forms at all, and there are only a few tiny bubbles. Effervescence is bound to wane over a 14-year period, no doubt. Served in a brandy snifter at cellar temperature. Flavor is almost equal parts sweet and alcoholic, and the consistency is not viscous but thin and smooth on the palate. Sugary date/raisin, lightly toffeeish and a bit of cherry malt flavors with little to no discernible bitterness. Very warming and quite a good choice for a dessert beer or nightcap. Finish goes on forever, and is where the alcohol makes it's presence felt the most. Very much a British interpretation.
A few tasting notes on the 2000 vintage, making this 3 years old, compared to 14 -- seems to have a much thicker, syrupy mouthfeel. Appearance is much clearer, less sediment and particulates. Head is longer lasting and creamier. Maltiness is far more assertive, powerfully sweet, fruity, sticky and toffeeish. Overall, more robust but less complex than the previously rated vintage, perhaps unsurprsingly.

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