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


on tap

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 1029   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.88   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
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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 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
angus (1) - indianapolis, Indiana, USA - DEC 7, 2004 does not count
This beer is phenomenal. I find the older vintages to be more like butter. I have tried 1988,1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and just found a 2002 vintage in a sherry cask on draft at Buffalo Wild Wings in Downtown Indianapolis. One of the best beer experiences ever. They have the best beer selection in the midwest. It tastes like a glaas of maple syrup and butter with a shot of sherry dropped in it. Amazing!!!

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
Bigsilky (327) - Charleston, USA - JUN 26, 2005
We had the 1997. 1998, and 1999 all in one flight. Just amazing. Layers of flavor in each one. Elements of caramel and chocalate malt with pecan and fresh cream. The 1997 had a mellow wisdom that only comes with age and a seemingly endless finish. The 98 and 99 progressively were a little over the top as the 11.5% carried a lot of spice. If you ever see these buy the place out and sell your port wine collection.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
TheJuggernaut (1) - Maryland, USA - JUL 28, 2009 does not count
This is an incredible brew, I can’t believe it’s so high in abv; the alcohol is so well hidden. The flavor is sweet, but so complex. I tried the 2008, absolutely incredible. I’m going to become a collector of this beer.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
rye726 (21) - Colorado, USA - APR 29, 2010
’99, lovely vintage. Great looking beer, hazy reddish brown color that has a slight glow and a silky tan head. Nice lace along my glass. Nose has lots of ripe fruits, caramel, toffee, bready malts, pecans, brandy and peppery alcohol. So complex. A perfect blend of rich nutty malts, dark fruits, rich candies, cognac and sherry. Thick, silky body with delicate carbonation. Lovely brew. Well aged. Other Vintages(All sampled around the same time) 1998- (4.9) Just as good or better than the ’99 aside from the aroma which is slightly dulled. 2002: (4.8) Good, but stil needs a few years of of maturing. The flavors and aromas have not yet reached full complexity. The body and color don’t share the same richness as older vintages. 2007: (4.7) Young, still an amazing ale. Just doesn’t have the same complexities and body lacks the same depth.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
bobark (10) - - FEB 13, 2012
WOW. Never had a malt so complex - thick, rich, sweet, woodsy, toasted grains.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
nickforlano (1) - New York, USA - AUG 26, 2012 does not count
This is my Cigar smoking, Playboy bunny dating, Chilliing in front of the Fireplace Beer. Can I get an Amen?!

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
JJ1 (4) - - MAY 1, 2014 does not count
This is truly delicious. Super pungent with sweet start And finish plus full of flavor

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
Hildigöltur (5103) - København, DENMARK - OCT 25, 2003
[2002 vintage at The White Horse, Parson's Green, London] Beutiful deep reddish colour. Powerful honeyish mead aroma. The flavours explode in you mouth. Strong, sweet and full bodied. This truly is a complete brew.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
1FastSTi (3343) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 11, 2005
Rating #800. Matt shared his 1986 vintage bottle of this brew. Just think, I was 6 years old when this was bottled! The aroma from the bottle was musty, but when poured into a snifter, it actually smelled quite good. I think that from the aroma, that this beer has actually held up well. I get the typical JW Lees Harvest Ale aroma (yes, I’ve had this before but never rated). Maple syrup, vanilla, scotch, good malts, earthy. The beer pours to a clean looking mahogany body with a thick white head and excellent lacing (in the shaker, and so-so in the snifter). The flavor is really smooth. I don’t get ANY oxidation. None whatsoever. Did I say that the flavor is really smooth. Wow. OMG. The palate is really rich and creamy. It doesn’t get better than this. Back to the flavor, the beer tastes like the best barleywine I’ve had. So hard to describe it’s so balanced and phenominal. Rich and sweet caramel/brown sugar malts with nice malts (Maris Otter?). The flavor is really good. Words cannot describe. Near perfect.

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