RateBeer
overall
99
97
style
Brewed by J.W. Lees
Style: Barley Wine
Middleton, England
Serve in Snifter

bottled
available

on tap
available

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 1059   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.87/5   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
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.


3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
drismyhero (815) - Tacoma, Washington, USA - DEC 12, 2003
I grabbed a bottle of the 1999 the other day at a wonderful ale house in town ($7.50 though). Clear light red with what appeared to be a lot of carbonation but turned out differently. VERY sweet mouth-coating malt, combined with the high alchohol it reminds me a lot of the DFH 120. Aged very nicely, sits very well on the palate with a fat rotundancy that may be a touch malt heavy, but still very good. Where are these "freshly harvested" hops?

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Sham (1845) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 6, 2003
2001 vintage: Pours a deep mahogany with a frothy white head that dissapates quickly. Big oatmeal nose with some roasted malt aromas. Very nice flavors of roast malt, more of the oatmeal coming through. A bit of a cloying palate, finishing sweet. Nice, I have another bottle that's going to age for awhile.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
bluemeow76 (693) - Lewis Center, Ohio, USA - DEC 2, 2003
Pours a dark amber with a medium tan head. Aroma and flavor are full of sweet caramel and alcohol. The alcohol is well blended.

4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - NOV 29, 2003
1999 Vintage. Sweet, heavy taste. Similar to Dogfish Head 120 Minute. Brandy like smell. Loved it.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
nflmvp (13) - Fox Valley, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 25, 2003
UPDATED: OCT 17, 2008 2001 Vintage....Now this is something you can really sink your teeth into. It pours an amber/orange with a nice tight head that quickly dissipates, leaving a light thin foam. Light traces along the glass reminded me of the wonderful nectar that had once been there. This is a thicker brew, nearly syrupy but missing nothing when it comes to palatability and taste. You want to linger over this brew. Savor it, don’t quaf it. The taste has amazing complexity. Starting with a fruitiness and blending into an alcohol warmth and finally finishing with a sweet seduction. If this brew was a woman, she’d be certain to get you into serious trouble....but it would be well worth it.

4.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - NOV 23, 2003
1999 Vintage - Color sits as a hazy ruddy brownish orange, a finger high dark ivory head foamed up as very loosely formed bubbles and popped down quickly to a whispy haze and a micro thin ring clinging to the edge of the liquid, lace appears from off the thin ringed edge and drips right back in super fast. Smell is malty sweet, strong amounts of caramel and lots of dullish dark fruit overlays with a mix of banana and raisin, fig and plum. Strong warming alcohol, noting ethanol-like, seeps into the nose and opening up your sinuses like a minty strong tea. A potently strong boozy nose...whew! Taste is malty thick and sweet with a great melty-like smooth caramel, great thick feel and flavor of super fresh sweet caramel, stupendously yummy with some notes of dulled dark fruityness of raisin, plum, light orange and banana. Toffee notes mix in with a fresh claro-like tobacco leafyness. Hops show through very easy in a calmly light pineyness and bitterness. The alcohol floats in and out finding areas to sneak in and warm you up. The caramel malts are amazingly candyish and chewy thick. A wondefully full malty mouthful of creamy thick smoothness, oh my...its nice! The finish creeps along with a nice malty sweetness of very dulled orange and caramel hugging your tongue like a big fleece blanket on a chilly evening. Goes down with an incredible ease and soothing creamy smoothness, only the warming alcohol keeps you from bigger swigs, which really wasn't all that hard to do, just that the warming hits you faster. A great sipper which didn't last long in my glass during this years first snow strom, its so damn good!

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
wulfhere (217) - Billings, Montana, USA - NOV 9, 2003
1999 vintage bottle, 275 ml. I could smell the beer from two feet away as I poured it--a subtle hop presence in the nose from that distance, and then a wave of sweet, caramel maltiness. Carefully poured, the ale is clean and crisp in appearence with a beautiful amber/red color similar to Thomas Hardy's. Although the bottle seems to be well-conditioned, the cream-colored head didn't stay around for long and it didn't leave traces of Belgian Lace around the edges of the glass, but vanished within a minute or so. A closer examination of the nose reveals maltiness and alcohol with a hint of the crisp and tasty East Kent Goldings hops so characteristic of fine English ales. The first taste is huge. Malt erupts in your mouth, and if you aren't familiar with barleywines, you might think there's something dreadfully wrong with this ale. There are bold tastes of molasses, carmel, raisin and the heat of alcohol all bursting forth, with more subtle hints of hop bitterness and a slight plastic edge, or perhaps Bandaids in the background. The complexity of this ale is incredible, but make no mistake: if it's hops you want, don't think you'll find it in this ale. J. W. Lees 1999 Harvest Ale is enormous and bold with a very malty ballance and a good deal of alcohol heat. I'm a malthead and I love barleywines, so I'd have to say that this is one of the better barleywines/old ales I've tasted this year. If you like malt and high gravity, buy it!

3.1
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
EddieG (169) - Palos Heights, Illinois, USA - NOV 5, 2003
2002 Vontage...Too sweet for my taste. Thoughts of sweet vermouth ran through my head as I drank the sweet syrupy concoction. Just not my bag of tea

3.9
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
igneous1 (1529) - Davenport, Iowa, USA - NOV 1, 2003
UPDATED: NOV 2, 2003 1997 Vintage...color is like a deep amber/brown mixture with a thin tan head that leaves behind the most interesting pattern on the sides of the glass. looks like pointillism in a Seurat painting..i swear it. alcohol is definitely detectable, loads of caramel and prune. extremely viscous, very sweet with lots of fruit, and a big raisin finish. this very much has a port-like character. 2000 Vintage...color is the same as the '97, but with a little thicker head. aroma is strong on 3 things, raisins, caramel, and alcohol. flavor is cloyingly sweet, sugars are very concentrated. 10-5-6-3-15

4.5
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
BBB63 (6507) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - NOV 1, 2003
UPDATED: NOV 21, 2009 RERATE 1998 Bottle I shared with Shawn: Mahogany hued with good head and oily legs. the aroma has a lovely old bready malts and marzipan. flowery peat, juniper berry and mint, some fruity components of apricot and melon, slight pepper and smoke. The taste displays a lush malt profile backed by spice. The mouth feel is oily and thick. Ah, like is quite good. The flavor and palate is not quite as powerful as that of the 1988 bottle of my first rating but the appearance and overall impression is better. Still, this is the standard for which all English Barleywines are compared.

Original Rating (4.5) Bottle shared with Kinz at the Capital Ale House in Richmond VA: 1988 Vintage. Nice orange and brown multicolored hue with no head but oily tears. As Brian stated "floaties thanks to an overzealous pour by the waitress" which then proceeded to a lesson on pouring old bottle conditioned brews. What a wonderful aroma! Toasted malt, sweet fruit, molasses, dates, honey, vanilla, cassis, minor alcohol and bourbon tones were very welcoming to my senses. Sweet and smooth malt taste with a big bourbon like quality as well, vinous. The finish allowed me to savor some twangy fruit and caramel, hint of some salt as well. The alcohol was hidden very well. Full-bodied and sticky beer had aged gracefully. A knockout sippin’ beer. This beer was worth the $18 price tag, YUMMY!


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