J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Lagavulin)

 
overall
97
92
style
Formerly brewed at J.W. Lees
Style: Barley Wine
Middleton, England
Serve in Snifter

bottled
available

on tap
unknown

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 508   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.75/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Only available filtered and pasteurised in bottles.
Matured in wooden casks of Lagavulin Malt Whiskey, one of the most distinctive malt whisky from the island of Islay, characterized by the strong peaty notes which should blend with the Harvest Ale to give an explosion of flavors.
This fully fermented ale has been brewed by JW Lees as a celebration of the brewers’ art. Harvest Ale can be enjoyed now or laid down like a fine wine for enjoyment to come.

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3.4
b33r (875) - Ohio, USA - NOV 22, 2007
Light brown color with no head, lacing, or carbonation. Aroma is fantastic, rich malts and whiskey notes. Flavor is sweet and malty, but something was a little strange and unappealing. Just okay overall, but very expensive for a sub-par beer.

3.4
Angeloregon (2055) - Portland, Oregon, USA - AUG 19, 2008
Small bottle from By the Bottle in Vancouver, WA--Poured a murky, hazed amber-copper with a thin wispy whitish head. Nose of sticky sweet smoky malts and whiskey heat. Doughy sticky, cloying body with some fruit and wood complexities. A real sipper. Not my favorite. Lots of sugars that became harder and harder to gut as the beer warmed up.

3.4
lithy (2996) - Capital of Appalachia, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 23, 2009
2006 Bottle. Light copper orange-red with a very small ring of white bubbles. Oaky, pepper, some raisins, whiskey. The whiskey dominates with a slightly oxidized finish, some wood underneath.

3.4
Dedollewaitor (16171) - Odense, DENMARK - JUL 25, 2011
Bottle @ Blindtasting, Odense, July 2011. Pours cloudy golden with a small off white bubbly head. Heavy peated smoked nose and flavor. Sweet and sugary/syrupy with hints of dark fruit. A bit of alcohol warmth. Heavy . .

3.4
Drake (13741) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 6, 2011
Bottle shared by BrewEngineer at Butters Slutfest 2.0, Richmond, VA, 4.23.11. 2009 vintage. Pours a hazy copper color with a thin creamy head. Decent head retention and lacing. Big smoky notes in the aroma along with some peat, fruity notes, caramel and tea. The taste is sweet caramel and fairly strong smoky notes. Comes across much like a honey barbecue sauce. A dry ashy finish. Medium-full bodied. Interesting.

3.4
freeofthoughts (688) - Raytown, Missouri, USA - OCT 12, 2012
UPDATED: JAN 10, 2013 2008 Pours burnt orange copper with no head. The smell is rich, strong fermented apples and oaked whiskey. The taste is very strange, but in a good way. Near vinegar funky with some peat oak, a good bit of cidery Apple and some plum. I?m going to steal from another great rating and say there is a light saline, some dried leather, a near nutty feel that leads to a drying finish with a heavy palate. Strange up front taste but finished good and fruity with a warming lingering musty peat. The base beer is alright but doesn’t quite highlight the cask and visa versa.

3.4
RobertDale (6483) - Lansing, Kansas, USA - JAN 17, 2014
275 ml. bottle. 2008 version. Pours a cloudy dark orange with a small white head. Aroma of fruit, wood, alcohol, and smoke. Taste is caramel, dark fruit, oak, alcohol, and smoke. A bit too sweet for me. Do want to try other versions now.

3.4
Ferris (15413) - Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA - JUN 4, 2014
Bottle - Vintage 2005 - Big rich malts, cereal and big oak notes. Cloudy brown with no head. Lots of apple sweetness, tons of oak and a long sweetness. The scotch doesn’t show up at all, although I do get barrel notes. Nice, but not the beer I was expecting.

3.4
djd07 (14569) - Houston, Texas, USA - JAN 28, 2016
2008 bottle. Pours a clear copper with small white head that diminishes quickly. The aroma is toffee, dark fruit, whiskey. Medium mouth, lots of peat, dark fruit, smoke, boozy finish, good.

3.3
ClarkVV (6710) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - MAY 20, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 23, 2006 AOBF 04, Lagavulin Cask aged. This is the best example I’ve tried of using whiskey cask aging to improve a beer. The naturally highly sweet nature of this beer is cut perfectly by the rich, smokey, dry, alcoholic single malt. Complex and stupendous tasting. Pours a lovely amber-auburn with some darker mahogany tinges, smaller head than the regular version due to the single malt no doubt, but still good looking. I just can’t say enough about this one. It’s like milk and cookies, peanut butter and jelly, thelma and louise, etc. . . Perfect match that seems made for each other. Wonderfully complex, powerful and has the typical lee’s harvest ale smooth, creamy mouthfeel. This is pretty close to perfect, but I want to try a larger sample again and then rerate. I think the small sample size may have contributed to my very high rating, as I think this beer may get very overpowering in large quantities. Big downside is that these are highly pasteurised; there is no sediment whatsoever in the bottle. Rerate, finally. The finish is still divine, with a perfect lagavulin flavor rounding it out, but the problem (and the problem with the regular Lee’s Harvest, IMHO) is that it is just too damned sweet, cloying, and a bit too lacking in complexities due to the heavy filtration and pasteurisation. A wonderful combo here, though, I just wish you could taste the lagavulin more throughout the body, not just on the end. I can’t say I find this beer to be a worldbeater; the lagavulin is spectacular, but the beer, not so much.


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