J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados)

Formerly brewed at J.W. Lees
Style: Barley Wine
Middleton, England
Serve in Snifter


on tap

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 473   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.78/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
Only available filtered and pasteurised in bottles.
Matured in wooden Etienne Dupont Calvados casks from the end of October until mid March.
This fully fermented ale has been brewed by JW Lees as a celebration of the brewersí art. Harvest Ale can be enjoyed now or laid down like a fine wine for enjoyment to come.

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willblake (2654) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - AUG 29, 2005
08.29.05 275ml bottle, 2003 bottling. The beer rests a brilliant and clear honey amber touched with glistening golden highlights; a creamy white ring of foam surrounds wisps and waves, a webby maze of surface foam. A steady stream of effervescence rises from the glassís etching. Itís hard to imagine that Iíve heard others state the calvados cask maturation is not evident as Iím enveloped in a fog of apple brandy and wood. Also some biscuit in the background and a fruity marmalade; alcohol is not uncomfortably persistent on the nose, but makes its presence felt. A slick of oil and resin ooze from the glass across the palate. Perhaps I should note that Iím drinking this beer beginning at 60 F. Very sweet to start, then dry cracker, then resin briefly, then old dry and dusty wood. The finish is sharp and the mouthfeel really thins out; a bit too alcoholic (peppery), but plenty musty and the calvados comes through. the result is a beer I could sniff all day but Iím continually let down with each sip. Odd stuff, this.

Crosling (1864) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - AUG 28, 2005
Bright red color. Fairly aromatic, full of deep apple brandy, coconut and vanilla from the wood along with a light aromatic malt presence, with hints of fruits, brown sugar and caramel. The most aromatic of the Harvest cask ales, thus far. Lacking body however, like ever Harvest cask ale. Flavor is very, very sweet, more like a dessert beer and definately more of an after dinner beer. Light apple brandy flavors, caramel and fruit pie with well hidden alcohol. I think these beer need more time in the barrel, perhaps they would take on more depth and body.

wunderbier (1434) - Tampere, FINLAND - AUG 22, 2005
Deep burnt orange hue with a medium, frothy, white head. An interesting wine-like complexion is overlaid onto the usual caramel, toffee, treacle, alcohol aroma. Though, the alcohol seems more noticeable in this incarnation. Heavily sweet, heavily acidic flavor. Moderately sweet, modeately acidic finish. Moderate alcohol burn. Full bodied, sticky texture, moderate carbonation.

Philip (436) - Illinois, USA - AUG 6, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 29, 2005 2004 Vintage on tap at the Blind Pig, Champaign, IL. The nose on this beer was amazing. I appreciate both Calvados and good beer on occassion, and the odor was a pleasant combination of the two, particularly the notes of stewed apples and vanilla. On the palate, brown sugar and honey make for nice additions with a fine hop finish. Midway through my second glass, the sweetness was a bit overpowering. I picked up two bottles at the Corkscrew (Urbana, IL) for the cellar. ---Rerate from one of the cellared bottles. Not as impressed as I was with the tap version. Here the sweetness is quite overwhelming. The Calvados nose and added flavors are less pronounced, rather its mostly the sweetness that remains. Unfortunate. What was a 4.3 for me will lessen to a 4.0

Cornfield (5570) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - AUG 5, 2005
2003 Vintage: Very nice and warming, a thick amber brew with a slight, haloed head. Itís got a "warm" aroma, but not because itís all alcoholic. But the scent is hot and peppery, subdued by a apple & cherry sweetness that makes this more wine-like than liquor-ish. Thick, syrupy, and sticky to drink, it delivers a warm fruity flavor lightly enhanced by earthy hops. The alcohol really only appears as an afterburn in the mouth and on the tongue... and in the blood once it hits bottom.

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ehhdayton (1188) - USA - AUG 4, 2005
A deep amber color and a light brown head. Has a whiskey like aroma. Has a syrup like mouthfeel. A strong alcohol taste but nicely balanced with the hops. Had the 2003 vintage.

austinpowers (2828) - New York, New York, USA - AUG 3, 2005
2003. STRONG taste of alcohol - like drinking 1/2 Absolut, 1/2 beer. Very light copper color, with a thick, syrupy nature. No head, but light carbonation. Much like sipping scotch, and quite sweet. Not my thing.

Lou18 (1353) - West Paterson, New Jersey, USA - JUL 8, 2005
2004. Poured amber with a huge head. The nose was fruity and sweet. The taste though, was all alcohol, to me. Not a big fav for me.

Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUL 3, 2005
"2004 Vintage": The beer pulls a ďsplitsvilleĒ from the 275ml brown bottle and sets in my glass a deep orange-amber color with the head plentiful, the texture creamy and the color a splendiferous light tan, as its dissolves, the resultant lace a silky curtain to drape the glass. Nose has a nice malt presence, a bit of tartness, oak and a hint of caramel, start is decidedly sweet with a nice grain presence, the top is light to medium in feel. Finish is benign in its acidity, the hops overwhelmed by the sweetness and alcohol, quite dry almost vinous, and once again a beer that will age nicely, and a real belly warmer, got to love these beers.

JCapriotti (1379) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUN 29, 2005
2003 vintage. Clear and shiny copper-like amber. Thin soapy head with lots of large bubbles on some edges. Sweet granny apple barley wine aroma. Syrupy sweet J.W. lees taste with some brandy-like cask wood taste in there. Hmm... maybe its the half bottle of bordeaux and the snifter of Calvados I consumed prior to this, in honor of my three-day anniversary that is hurting my taste buds.

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