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

bottled
common

on tap
common

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1021   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.


3.8
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
thedm (4971) - Fort Wayne, USA - MAY 5, 2003
UPDATED: JUL 7, 2004 Originally rated 5-4-1-1-1: This was a bottle of 2001 Harvest ale. This brew poured a small head of fine to medium sized light brown bubbles that, as it receded, left very little lacing. Its body was a cloudy dark brown color. It has an aroma of cinnamon and spice with some fruity notes. It had a burnt taste that was awful. Yuck what a drain pour. Was this sample bad? Maybe I'll have to sample another one if I can brave myself to try it again. Well, I finally braved this one again. This time it was a 1997 version and wow what a difference a few years make! This sample was much much better. Maybe the 2001 bottle was bad or it had not aged enough. So I will over-write my previous 5-4-1-1-1 rating with this new rating of 6-5-7-4-15 on the average of the two brews. This time the brew poured a large head of fine to medium sized light brown colored mostly lasting bubbles. The body was hazy softly carbonated dark brown colored and had a vinuous caramel malty aroma. The mouth feel was mildly vinous smooth thick and chewy. It had a strong deep rich caramel flavor. Much much better than the 2001. Age definitely does it justice. It has the most caramel flavor of any of my last 1100 ratings. Third bottle previous average was 6-5-7-4-15. This bottle was a 16 year old 1988 vintage bottle. Its cap was rusted, but the retailer told me it was still good. OK, time to put that to the test. 16 year old beer! Here we go! The rusted cap was rusted only on the outside. The inside cap was clean. This brew poured a very small head of clear medium sized mostly diminishing bubbles that left behind no lacing. The body was very hazy with a few small chunks of yeast, or other matter, in it. The aroma was vinous with a mild caramel note. The mouth feel was smooth with a mildly burning sensation of port like wine. The flavor contained notes of malt vinous alcohol, port like wine and was quite tasty for a 16 year old beer. The alcohol content was subdued but very noticeable. This beers ratings were 7-4-7-5-16 for an average of 6-5-7-5-15. Moving up just a hair on my ratings list.

4.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
pivo (2592) - GERMANY - MAY 3, 2003
2002: This is a pretty frickin good beer. Potent nose of dough - like a big prezel. Not convinced if it was a good aroma though. Lush, reddish-amber color and a low tight lathery head. Big rich sweet malt body with hints of honey and plums. Complex spiciness towards the end with a peppery finish. This all gets a kick from the perceivable alcohol. Very thick and syrupy. Interesting for sure.

4.8
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
Cobra (1100) - - MAY 1, 2003
Had this on tap at RFD in Washington, D.C. It came from a hand pulled keg in a big glass door cooler. No added carbonation to this beer, only natural residual carbonation from the keg itself. Pours out a deep copper color, some chill haze. Maybe it was shivering in that big cooler, huh? Nice rosy head on it, aromas were all over the place. This beer reminds me of a Samichlaus because of the complexity of the aromas and tastes. Every kind of fruit you can imagine was present in the nose of this beer. Kiwi, strawberry, pineapple, and I smelled the mint notes as well. Mesmerising just to look at, because as it settles down, it changes colors as well. Unbelieveable tastes here. Caramel, dried fruit, new leather wallet, malts, and of course, alcohol. Vineous, warming burn as it goes down. You owe it to yourself to find this beer on tap, if you can.

4.1
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Dogbrick (8682) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - MAY 1, 2003
UPDATED: SEP 24, 2003 December 2001 Bottle (Sampled 5/1/03 - 4.0): Pours a dark copper color with a medium and dense beige head. Aroma is very sweet malt and caramel, and the alcohol is well masked. Full-bodied and chewy with flavors of caramel and rum, along with some malt. As with the aroma, you don't really get a sense of the alcohol level in the flavor. Finish is long and sweet (borderline cloying). $4 for a 9.6oz seems a little high but it was worth it.
1999 Bottle (Sampled 9/23/03 - 4.1): This vintage is a ruddy dark amber color with a medium beige head. Thin lacing. Aroma is very sweet, mostly caramel with some malt as well. The richness of body is similar to the 2001 vintage. Very rich and chewy. The flavor is very sweet caramel and malt along with some plum. Alcohol is well hidden. The finish is full and sweet. I am giving this vintage a slightly higher score.

4.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
YogiBeera (2500) - New Jersey, USA - APR 27, 2003
WONDERFUL - malt and rum, grain and hops nose. Red amber color with little head, soft carbonation. Chocolate-honey taste. Liquorice, syrupy, dessert wine like....more!!!

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
JCW (1275) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - APR 27, 2003
Vintage 1997:Dark in Color, reddish brown, thich head for the style. Wine aroma - Sweet. Almost a "port" in beer. Sweet finish.

4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Rockinout (966) - Kent, Ohio, USA - APR 15, 2003
2001 vintage. Clouded coper tan color, head dissipated quickly. Nose of apple, plum, raisin, with a slight bing cherry taste. Starts of with a sweet edge, then stops. Creamy smooth on the palate. Opened up as it came to room temperature. I also sampled the 1988 aged with port at Buckeye Brewing and it was something I'd like to have again. It was like a thicker wine, the port intensified the ale.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 14, 2003
1986 VINTAGE I have to say I was a little skeptical about trying this one because of its age, but all I can say to myself about that is "why". This beer pours with an amber brown bady topped by a thin quickly disappearing sodalike head with some lace left on the glass. Suspended yeast was observed in the body. A slightly sweet and fruity brandy like aroma filled my nose and strong alcohol notes followed. A Very sweet and syrupy malt flavor with fruity accents and alcohol notes flowed across my tongue. I was amazed at how great this beer stood up to the test of time. 17 years does this beer good. Full bodied and syrupy yet amazingly smooth.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
JasonG (776) - Salt Lake City, Utah, USA - MAR 11, 2003
UPDATED: MAY 16, 2003 2001 vintage: Pours a beautiful brownish/red color, cloudy, with a very small tan head with nice lacing. Aroma is very sweet, with strong caramel, apple, honey. Flavor is extremely sweet, caramel and vanilla notes present, but overwhelmed by the sweetness. The palate is syrupy thick, kinda coats the mouth. Overall it's interesting, but too sweet and syrupy. I also had two interesting versions of this brew (the rating is based on the normal brew): one aged with port and one with calvados, both 1998 and both out of wooden pins (very small barrels, I think about 5 gal. each). I guess the brewery actually pours in the liquor before aging. I'll describe them seperately below. 1998 AGED WITH PORT: No head at all on this, with a dark brown/amber color. Full bodied aroma, sweet and vinous, with caramel notable. Flavor is a lot like port, extremely sweet as well. Palate is almost syrupy thick, feels like it coats your mouth after you swallow. Palate was just too viscous for me, and flavor was too sweet. 1998 AGED WITH CALVADOS: Dark amber color with no head at all. Strong aroma, whiskey/brandy like, super sweet, with apple notes. Flavor is very strong with alcohol and very sweet, with maybe some vanilla in there somewhere. Again palate is very syrupy sweet. These were both interesting to try to broaden my horizons of what can be considered beer, but not quite something I'd want to have again.

4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
beerstop (173) - Roanoke, Virginia, USA - MAR 5, 2003
1997 Bottle. Strong malt and alcohol aroma's. Pours a ruby-brown with a quickly diminishing head. Flavor is strong with malt and alcohol. Sweet and strong. Almost syrupy texture. Alcohol shows its presence as it warms. A must try.


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