ClarkVV (6708) - 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. DYCSoccer17 (3697) - Woodland, California, USA - OCT 19, 2004
Very fruity aroma with hints of sweet brown sugar. Slightly rubbery whisky aroma. Transparent orange coor with very quickly dissipating light yellow head into nothing. Smokey, rubbery whiskey taste hits you to start. Very smoked and woodsy campfire notes. Finishes sweet with some spicy pepperiness. This is my least favorite of the 4... wunderbier (1434) - Tampere, FINLAND - AUG 22, 2005
Deep burnt orange hue with a medium, frothy, white head. Smoke, oak, toffee, caramel, alcohol...almosty a meaty quality to this one. Heavily sweet, moderately acidic flavor. Heavily sweet, moderately acidic finish. Full bodied, sticky texture, moderate carbonation, light alcohol. I just don’t think an Islay whisky was the right choice here... hippie4beer (162) - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - FEB 20, 2006
Bottle. 2004. Pours a light ruby pink color with a very little head that faded as quick as it came. Aroma of fine sherry, oak, caramel, old grapes, and light hints of chocolate. Flavor is very sweet and smokey. Alcohol notes are predominant, but not harsh. Very smooth. Notes of caramel in the finish. This is medium bodied, and very slick. Nice beer, good for sipping. The more I drank it, the less I liked it honestly. I found it almost undrinkable at one point and refused to drink it anymore. There is too much charred oak taste for me. Good beer, just not my thing. Reminds me of SA Triple Bock. LePoopie (151) - Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA - MAR 28, 2006
Has an odd aroma, kind of musty and antiseptic at the same time (it actually reminds me of the preservatives they use for pigs that you dissect in high school). Decent dark amber color with a white head. Quite sweet, but not as much as the Calvados. OK body with decent cabonation. The taste is kind of nice, but the aroma puts me off.
scania (188) - Malmö, SWEDEN - NOV 18, 2006
Bottle. 2004 vintage. Deep ruby with small head. Smoky aroma as anticipated. Flavor is very (too) sweet and smoky. Optigon (562) - Bloomington, Indiana, USA - JAN 21, 2007
Orange Brown in color, little head. Strong, sweet whiskey qualities. Very strong alcohol. Rather thick. Not bad, but not something to drink all the time. Palidor19 (3188) - Brandon, Florida, USA - APR 30, 2008
it has a certain frame of greatness, but the whiskey flavor takes down a notch due the fact the cask flavor are too overpowering and distracting. it good, but the flavors are too much to enjoy. BlackDonald (1126) - Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA - MAY 1, 2008
Highly enjoyable if you like Islay Scotch. Extremely peaty nose, overwhelms the beer quite signifigantly. Flinty and lightly smoky, with a flavor of caramel and spicy white pepper. Really heavy mouthfeel, with some earth woody notes, a bit of vanilla, and dark fruits. CanIHave4Beers (4184) - Pouring Bus, Iowa, USA - MAY 19, 2008
This one needs a few years I’m afraid. The scent is fantastic with lots of smoke and sweet malt flavors. The truly remarkable thing about this beer is that it is so two faced at the front of the tongue it tastes almost exactly like the Whisky smoky peaty and a little salty, however the beer takes a remarkably sweet character. In fact the beer becomes so malty sweet that it becomes unpleasant. From everything I’ve read about these Harvest ales, they loose this sweetness over the years, I’ll be very excited to see that happen to my other bottle.