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: 994   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.88   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.


3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
keepersj12 (2561) - Sicklerville, New Jersey, USA - JUL 27, 2013
Pours a hazy amber with no head. The aroma is butterscotch. The taste has the butterscotch and some booze. Very sticky in the mouth. November 2012 release date from Roger Wilco in Sicklerville. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

2.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
NielsenRatings (8273) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - JUL 9, 2013
Bottle @ home, courtesy of a generous trader. Thanks! 2009 vintage. Pours a murky, orangish brown appearance with a thin light brown head. Chewy herbal, bready, rich caramel, dark fruity, a bit woody aroma. Soy sauce, tobacco, plum, raisin, dark fruity, very woody, quite boozy, very sweet flavor. Quite hard for me to drink more than even a few sips. Not my type of barley wine.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
jhgrantjr (416) - Tennessee, USA - JUL 8, 2013
Poured from bottle purchased at Beverage World: 1999 Vintage. Pours a deep brown color with small tan head. Aroma of dates, sugar, malts, dark fruit, sweet smell. Complex aroma. Taste is really sweet, hardly no alcohol taste. Amazing. Mouthfeel is thick, syrupy, stays on your tongue. I like this beer, but I should have share it with others as a sipping beer. Very similar to a port without the bite. However, I think this one cellered too long. It is awfully sweet. Can't finish the whole bottle. Gets thicker and sweeter as it warms. M - Mouthfeel is pretty full and somewhat sticky. Very smooth. O - It would be interesting to try a fresher bottle to see how the hops integrate with the other flavors, but this was a very tasty brew. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Camons (5045) - Hasselager, DENMARK - JUL 6, 2013
Bottle @ Home. 2008 vintage. Pours deep golden with a fading offwhite head, loads of floaties. Aroma of sweet malt, caramel, wood, some sweet fruit, slight oxidation, madaria, little alcohol. Flavor is rich sweet malts, caramel, wood, coconut, tobaco, little oxidated, sweet dark fruits, booze. Full body, flat carbonation, warming alcoholic finish. 060713

3.8
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
sfontain (770) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JUL 5, 2013
Rating #700. 2009 vintage, 9 oz single bottle, purchased today (7/5/2013) at The Andersons, $6.99. This is an utter freaking monstrosity of a beer, probably the most unusual thing Iíve ever had. So full of floating chunks of yeast that itís nearly opaque; murky brown; smaller creamy off-white head dissipates into a ring; virtually no lacing. One word describes this beer: Tobacco. Itís like drinking an unlit cigar, seriously. First whiff blew my mind, but not entirely in a good way; aroma is tobacco with mulch, rotten banana, earthworms, whiskey, pear or apple, sweet, raisin, brown sugar, malt. Flavor is ridiculously unusual; tobacco, leather, alcohol is barely present in the finish but virtually undetectable, composting vegetables, port, cigar, caramel, dirt, vines. More cloying than 4-year-old Dark Lord. I appreciate how unusual this is, but Iíd be lying if I said I enjoyed drinking all 9 ounces of this. Super oily, thick, almost no carbonation. I get why this is so expensive now, and this may be the most Jekyll & Hyde rating Iíll ever write; I have an intense appreciation for what this is and what it could be, but I simply donít like it. God, do I want to love this, but at the same time it kind of makes me want to throw up, and I even wonder if this bottle might be infected. Wow...

4.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
BOSSbrewer (1314) - Arkansas, USA - JUL 5, 2013
Profoundly sweet. Very bitter. Huge beer. 2011 vintage. Needs time yet but will be a great beer.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 1/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
ThisWangsChung (747) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - JUN 30, 2013
9.3 oz bottle into a snifter. 2009 vintage. A: Pours a rather murky dark brown color. Very little head is featured here, just a thin collar thatís white with big bubbles. Not to mention, further examination reveals some huge white-colored chunks of sediment. This is what we in the business call "ass-ugly". S: Wow. This is hugely sweet - almost like a barleywine thatís been distilled even further. Huge dark fruit and caramel sweetness abounds, with plenty of underlying chocolate. I also detect some toffee and some mellow earthiness. Fascinatingly rich, if perhaps a touch too sweet. T: Indeed, this is one sweet bitch. It opens with plenty of caramel maltiness and dark fruit esters. After the midpoint, the focus switches more to toffee, vanilla, tobacco, and chocolate. Alcohol is mildly prevalent on the back end, but takes on an excellent character, more similar to rum than vodka. After about 3 oz, it does transcend into the realm of "too sweet", with its strong toffee notes ultimately becoming the dominant flavor. Thereís good depth and complexity to compensate somewhat. M: The body does a decent job of keeping the sugary sweetness in check by slightly drying out on the finish, which has a side effect of intruding on the softness of the texture somewhat. Even with that, itís a heavy, smack-your-lips sweet brew, with almost no carbonation. O: Well, itís everything a dessert barleywine should be - big, rich, complex, and decadent. However, even at 9.3 oz, this is best split between two people due to how cloying it is. Compare that to, say, Sucaba, which I can finish a 750ml bottle of with little trouble. Absolutely worth trying...just donít drink it before dinner.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Nekronos (3603) - Xalapa, MEXICO - MAY 25, 2013
Quite good too. Very good brewed and with nice aroma. Some good features in the whole.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Gregis (1279) - Shawnee, Kansas, USA - MAY 11, 2013
Bottle; 2000 release. Pours an opaque mahogany with a thin off-white cap. The nose is of big, round, raisiny malt and brown sugar. Full-bodied and softly carbonated, it finishes with a lingering sweetness and a bit of oxidation/cardboard-iness. The flavor is quite sweet: molasses, sweet sherry and dark fruit malt notes give way to an aftertaste accompanied by lighter notes of Granny Smith tartness and cardboard. One could argue that 13 years in-the-bottle is too long for this beer. Others, myself among them, could argue that the effects of oxidation have added some complexity to the proceedings.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Osprey87 (1178) - London via, WALES - MAY 5, 2013
UPDATED: OCT 25, 2013

May 2013 - Beer number 500 on ratebeer. 2001 bottle, chilled. Dark red/brown, absolutely no head. Initial smell of marmite, which moves to sherry which endures. Flavours are big - probably the most intense flavours Iíve had from a beer so far. Sweet soup to start, moves to intense liquorice, sweet coffee aftertaste. The flavour profile is complex and keeps changing as youíre tasting it. A real experience which I would recommend. If I were a liquorice lover, Iíd probably give this a straight 5. Sadly Iím not, but I enjoyed it anyway. (3.9)

Oct 2013 - The 2006 vintage this time round. Couldnít stop the sediment from getting in unfortunately. Cloudy brown, with a ring of bubbles forming. Smells of liquorice. Body is medium to full, soft carbonation and not frothy at all. Taste is very sweet, earth, honey, ashtray in roughly that order. Coats the mouth. Perhaps a little too sweet, but it needs something to contrast the earthiness. Pretty good. Complex, but not as complex as the 2001. Despite all of the complexity and individuality of these beers, they are a bit sickly and not that drinkable. (3.7)


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