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


on tap

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 1042   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.88   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.

ThisWangsChung's rating

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 1/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
ThisWangsChung (826) - 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.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
jamesie1857 (1737) - Sheffield, South Yorkshire, ENGLAND - OCT 9, 2015
275ml bottle - 2013 Vintage - from Beers of Europe - Cloudy amber body, thin white head. Nose is so strong. Sweet figs, loads of spirit, boozy alcohol, barley sugar sweets, caramel, toffee, the lot. Taste is sweet, loads of warmth, boozy, indulgent. Nice thick mouthfeel, sublime. And to think Iíve been putting this one off.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
worldbeertaste (1759) - West Midlands, ENGLAND - OCT 6, 2015
2009 bottle drank in October 2015. 11.5%. Deep chestnut brown with a red tint and a fizzy white disappearing head. Lots of floaties: it looks like a snowglobe. Deep smell of wood, caramel, figs and other dried fruit, nuts, cranberries, with incredible deep heavy malt. Initial taste of soft roast and light nuts with a lingering sweet caramel and moves to a peppery sweet finish. Amazing taste with a full silky body. This beer moves beyond what can normally be categorized as beer and into pure malt sweetness. Not even a hint of alcohol. This one has aged very well. This is rich roasty candy.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
dfearnley (1370) - Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA - OCT 6, 2015
Bottle to pint glass (2013 Autumn limited edition) Iíve tried the BA versions (loved the Calvados) but never have I had the standard barley wine. This smells of orange, toffee, apple, red bell pepper, whiskey, and a mild peatiness. Cloudy amber with a thin white head and very little carbonation and retention. Taste is caramel, toffee, treacle, pepper, apple, and ending with a sweet bitterness. A little to sweet for me.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
hopdog (10105) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 21, 2015
Bottle. 2012 Vintage, Autumn edition. Poured a cloudy amber color with an off white head. Dark fruits, caramel, toffee, and fruity. Sweeter.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
kraddel (4772) - some beerplace, BELGIUM - SEP 15, 2015
If memory serves me right, I got this bottle in a trade. I believe it even might have been an awesome extra, but Iím not sure anymore... Anyways, this is the 2007 version, and Iím pretty excited about this one. Pours Very dark amber / muddy brown. Small (or even none) white head. Clearly some sediment-flakes, but they luckely sink pretty easy. Smell is boozy, walnutty. Taste is sharp, clearly some portorisation went on and holy smokes those walnuts become amazingly intense ! Notes of madeira, and complex, other aspects of this oxidation. Still sweet, but in a very subtile way. Very interesting, intense and complex ale ! Fruit-forward as well ( raisins ) All in a balanced whole.Carbonation is present but not overwhelming. A beer to be savored, not drank. A beer to enjoy by a fire, with a good book. I love it ! I am glad I opened this now since the age clearly has brought this up -as far as my taste is concerned- but I feel like this might be breaking down in the next few years ( AKA turn wattery etc )

   AROMA 2/10   APPEARANCE 1/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 1/5   OVERALL 11/20
TorbenJensen (1307) - Valby, DENMARK - SEP 10, 2015
Immediately it is a barley wine with relatively much foam in relation to the type. The superior flavor of indeterminate fruit as well as clear notes of port wine and dark grapes. A little almond hiding in the amount of flavorings, and it is very promising everything together. The flavor is sweet and has a richness as dessert with predominantly sweet grapes and a sweet vinous flavor more reminiscent of madeira than Port (as flavor revealed). A little distress is represented in the finish. Normally, I like when a barley hide alcohol slightly fruity flavors, but in this case I miss an alcohol that can step on the field and correct sweetness of its ascendancy. In my opinion it is too sweet, even for use as dessert beer. It serves no purpose to save it in a long time, it appeals not really with some character that will evolve over time. However, if you are a real sweet tooth is certainly good, but even for barley wine-drinkers is not a beer I would recommend.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
McWorta (1073) - LUXEMBOURG - SEP 9, 2015
Clear dark amber with a pillowy beige head and good lacings. Aromas of caramel, hay, herbs, lightly burnt toffee and sweet bread develops with noticeable notes of caramelised dates and dried prunes/raisins. Faintly carbonated with a slick-velvety texture and a full body. Sweet throughout with flavours offering caramelised fruit-bread, pretty alcohol aromatic, offers a very light bitter herbal stinge on the back of the palate. Lasting sweet velvety finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Swamp_Thing (45) - Florida, USA - AUG 3, 2015
2013 vintage. Sweet apple on the nose. Caramel, toffee, on the sweet side but well balanced with alcohol. An excellent dessert beer instead of a port, but only then due to the sweetness.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
ManVsBeer (6251) - Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, ENGLAND - JUL 1, 2015
Bottle from Manchester Xmas markets. Orange-bronze with next to no head. Extremely strong tasting, although youíll notice this first in its nose. Has a sticky sweetness with a lingering alcohol aftertaste.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
GTAEgeek (1537) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - JUN 25, 2015
2010 vintage on tap at the Brick Store, for their 18th anniversary. Poured into a teku glass, with a hazy, dark orange color and a medium, beige, off-white head. Nose is heavy caramel, vanilla, orange peel, pine, and uncharred oak. The finish has a distinct quinine character. Sweet and malty flavor, with a surprising amount of bitterness for the age. Heavy body, syrupy, and a little sharp and sugary. This is a very effervescent and wonderfully aromatic beer, with a well balanced flavor.

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