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


on tap

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 1089   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.87/5   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.

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hackleo's rating

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
hackleo (11) - Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 6, 2002
1987 Vintage is a close to a perfect beer as I've ever had. Too many flavors to describe - maple, oak, raisin, plum, chocolate, toffee, on and on...Can't remember everything...During the hour or so we took to savor this beer, it opened up and changed from great to out-of-this world. 1994 Vintage was a bit thinner, lighter in color and body, but quite impressive in its own right. Maple and oak mostly, with a hint of chocolate and more drinkable than the 1987. I'd give this one about a 17/20.

brigg (708) - New York, USA - NOV 17, 2017
(Bottle) Honey-colored, cloudy, minimal beige head. Aroma is very sweet; honey, lightly floral, touch of bourbon. Flavor is sweet, strong honey, a little musty, whiskey; sweetness mostly hides the alcohol, but a warming aftertaste. Texture is smooth and oily.

MetalNHopHead (2191) - Lincoln, Nebraska, USA - NOV 15, 2017
I enjoyed the 2014 vintage of this classic English brew. My other experiences with the various barrel-aged varieties were from that same happy year. The pour revealed the iconic golden color of the Lees Harvest Ale Barleywine. Big, malty nose. Dark fruit, molasses, vanilla, and toffee flavors. Lots of sweetness, but there's nothing overbearing. Thick, full-bodied texture. An easy-to-appreciate sipper that likes to be warm.

trapped (3614) - New York, TURKEY - NOV 13, 2017
Bottle, 2014 edition. Pours hazy dark orange with very small frothy beige head that disappears fast, woody acidic aroma, low carbonation, sweet woodsy malt taste with alcohol undertones, small body, long sweet woodsy finish. Like a port wine, sweet and rich.

Benters (77) - Leicestershire, ENGLAND - OCT 2, 2017
2015 vintage. Pours a slightly hazy amber-red colour with minimal head and low carbonation. Aroma is rich, fruity, alcoholic, almost Christmas-cake-like. Taste is sweet, chewy, a complex blend of molasses, dark fruits, caramel and a sherry-like warmth. Fruit and malt dominate the palate. Finish is dominated by dry, syrupy sweetness. A really enjoyable beer, great for savouring and one which whilst strong does hide its 11.5% ABV fairly well!

ebone1988 (2126) - Dearborn, Michigan, USA - SEP 11, 2017
Bottle from Merchants, for the book. 2013 Vintage. Aroma is caramel, toffee, sweet, fruity, bready, woody, butterscotch, slight peat maybe, really nice stuff. Appearance is brownish reddish, minimal light brown head, murky. Taste is sweet, toffee, caramel, butterscotch, woody, smooth as fuck, rich, decadent, slight booze, complex and delicious. It reminds me a lot of 4D. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy body, light carbonation, decadent dessert and woody boozy aftertaste. Overall, hot damn I regret waiting for this one.

DiarmaidBHK (5921) - Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 28, 2017
Taster at the Birch. Pours brown with a khaki head. Leaves trace lacing in the glass. Solid peat notes on the tongue. Big scotch action on the tongue. Hides it’s booze well. Nice!

mar (5444) - Dallas, Texas, USA - JUN 27, 2017
2012 bottle. Hazy, deep amber with no head. Thick malts, chewy toffee, caramel and dough. Heavy palate, oxidation, caramel, sweet, toffee pudding in the back, light alcohol in finish.

gopherfan99 (2012) - Minnesota, USA - MAY 20, 2017
Bottle; pours cloudy amber with a beige head; aroma of caramel, fruit, booze, and malt; taste is sweet with caramel, fruits, malt, and brown sugar hints; finish is dry and malty with some alcohol warming

ctipping (2236) - Florida, USA - MAY 6, 2017
1999 275 mL bottle. Pours deep amber and mostly clear. Remarkably few floaty bits and almost no sediment in the bottle. Smells of raisins, brown sugar, caramel, a little oxidation that comes off as sherry and cardboard. Tastes very sweet. Dampened by oxidation. Bitterness builds. Raisins and sherry, but cut again by cardboard bitterness. Heavy with low carbonation. This has held up remarkably well. Impressive for its age, but I don’t know that it’s objectively that great.

Homer321 (5194) - Melboring, Florida, USA - MAY 6, 2017
Bottle to snifter. Intense melanoidin aroma. Lots of Munich malt. Dusty. Lots of dark dried fruit. Light alcohol. Pours brown. Flat. Taste is like chewing raisins. Chewy. Thick. Viscous. Perfect example of an English barley wine and has held up phenomenally for 16 years (2001 bottle). Just wish it had a touch of carbonation. Very pleasant sipper for a night cap.

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