J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Lagavulin)

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Lagavulin)

Rated 3.734 by BeerPals
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Brewed by J.W. Lees & Co. Brewers

Manchester, United Kingdom

Style:  English Barleywine

11.5% Alcohol by Volume

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Originally brewed in 2003... Matured in wooden casks of Lagavulin Malt Whiskey, one of the most distinctive malt whiskey from the island of Islay, characterized by the strong peaty notes which should blend with the Harvest Ale to give an explosion of flavors.

ID: 10860 Last updated 16 years ago Added to database 18 years ago

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Overall Rank856
Overall Percentile98.3
Style Rank27 of 358
Style Percentile92.5
Lowest Score2.3
Highest Score4.5
Average Score3.856
Weighted Score3.734
Standard Deviation0.561

Rating Distribution

Beer vs Style

18 Member Reviews

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  • RICHSBEER 1749 reviews
    rated 2.7 9 years ago

    Aroma: 6 | Appearance: 6 | Mouthfeel: 5 | Flavor: 5 | Overall: 5

    Pours an orange tinged red with a small head of coarse white bubbles with lots of sediment and little head. The aroma is peat smoke, whiskey and cherries over a rich malt background. There is a bit of a chew-able vitamin smell to malt sweetness and moderately light fruitiness and a soft alcohol sweetness that is slightly floral. The taste there's honey sweetness, lots of cloying honey sweetness of a pile of sugar. The alcohol and moderate whiskey is all that's left to check the malt sweetness but both fall well short. A light hops bitterness and no hops flavor. The moderately light oak flavor is there but you kind of overlook it with the smoky whiskey note. The balance is very sweet and the finish is sweet. The mouth feel is moderately full bodied with a pretty low level of carbonation. (Brewed in 2011)

  • RAINMAN 892 reviews
    rated 4.0 11 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 8

    2009: Pours the same and looks quite the same as most other Lees, the exception being that all in all I was expecting a bit more…whisky. Kinda pricey or I am having an off night, not sure I will bother with this version again.

  • CHOPZ 6185 reviews
    rated 4.2 11 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 8

    2008 edition. My GF Lilihel brought this back for me from the States (1 of 3 different Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees). Pours a deep amber colour with loads of chunky pulp floating all over. Medium off-white head that disappears quick enough and does not leave much lacing. Big nutty nose with notes of dark fruits (raisins, plums, prunes), oak and a light touch of whiskey (which vanishes quickly after the pour). Creamy mouthfeel that is quite smooth. The taste is very, very sweet. Loads of caramel and dark fruits. There is a nice burnt wood finish which lingers lightly. The whiskey is pretty faint in the aftertaste. I am a fan of Lagavulin, so this is a huge treat for me.

  • SLOWRUNNER77 5682 reviews
    rated 4.1 11 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 9

    too agressive on the pour, so we unleashed the floaties...and the beer is so thick they never settled. again, port/sherry like sweetness, just a hint of hops, but i really like the peaty smokiness in the aroma and flavor. it adds more complexity than the other barrels cuz it goes in a different direction. the scotch isn't overdone like mikkeller black hole was. probably my favorite harvest ale...the flavor and aroma are really 8.5...hence the 4.1 overall.

  • SUDSMCDUFF 3781 reviews
    rated 4.4 13 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 9 | Flavor: 10 | Overall: 9

    2005 bottle::: i love the jw lees!! .. pours a dark apple juice ,.. overipe apricot and caramel ... so sweet and dreamy soft .. . "i eat tacos and burritos" ... .wheres the abv? .. a wonderful beer, this barrel really works .. "i don't know you do i?"...no you don't...

  • BEERCRONIC 895 reviews
    rated 4.1 13 years ago

    Aroma: 6 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 9 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 9

    Courtesy of Phil B! Yes, I may have begged..

    What is this? An English barley wine aged in casks from the legendary Lagavulin? Jesus! What more could I ask for? Poured out exactly zero head and a deep amber brew. Odd - I dumped in the sediment almost 15 minutes ago and its still totally suspended with zero settling occouring to this point. Interesting aroma for sure - I can smell the Lagavulin - I'd say that tonight I'm hyper sensitive to it as I absolutely love Lagavulin. First off, the aroma instantly reminds me of some old Hardy's Ale that I had from 1991 (I wish I had late 90's for the comparrison) as it is the only brew that I have had that has some of these characteristics. Incredibly sweet, tolerable malts that lean to the soy sauce side, sweet plums, strawberries, peat, smoke, dirt and salt. Ever take a big whiff of a brew and it goes from thick sweetness to, peat and smoke and then back to sweet? How odd. I'm very happy that this offering has absorbed the salty characteristic of the neighbouring Islay distilleries. Don't forget the caramel. The taste is a bit overwhelming at first go - massively sweet and thick but then you realize there is so much more here even though I think the cast aging has dulled a lot of the English BW qualities in a good way. Thick sweet malts that make me think of soy sauce but then I realize that this is far from the truth - sweet and peaty is what dominates here with heavy caramel malts backing that up. Thick and sweet. Then there is the Lagavulin factor - peat, smoke, sherry and obvious saltiness. Awesome variation of flavours. Man, this stuff is thick! Leaves a heavy heavy coating everywhere. The aftertaste is just excellent with endless sweetness and the overshadowed but still bluntness of what the aging has added. Honestly I wish there was more Lagavulin here but it is a beer after all. This is how a beer that is aged in a cask should be - a strong, powerful beer with character that can handle the addition of such dominating qualities. Chased with another glass of 16yr.....

  • PHILB 2479 reviews
    rated 3.8 13 years ago

    Aroma: 7 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 7 | Overall: 8

    Bottle: Poured a cloudy amber color ale with a small foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of sweet English style malt with some whiskey notes. Taste is a complex mix between some sweet English style malt with some distinctive arming notes of whiskey and barley. Full body with limited filtration and average carbonation but no apparent alcohol. Very well done but I still prefer the Port version.

  • STOUTLOVER72 2327 reviews
    rated 4.0 15 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 8

    NorCal tasting Feb 07 - The 4th and final Harvest ale of the evening, and much like the first 3, the sweetness dominates both the nose and the flavor. There was a clear cut smokiness to the aroma and flavor of the beer, no doubt due to the Lagavuliln casks along with some peat and whiskey. Very smooth in the mouthfeel, ths beer overall was nice.

  • JMPOUNDERS 27 reviews
    rated 3.8 16 years ago

    Aroma: 9 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 7 | Flavor: 7 | Overall: 7

    8/4/06: Brewed in 2004. The beer poured a mahogony color, with a whisky aroma wafting up as soon as I opened the bottle; about half an inch of creamy head. The whisky aroma is hard to miss, mixed with sweet malty notes and raisins. Very thick mouthfeel and very sweet! Maybe let it age a little longer? Reminds me of a port more than any beer I've had. Maybe I've been drinking too many IPA's this summer, but I can't get past the sticky sweetness of this one. Very interesting beer, but I should have saved it for a cold winter night.

  • VAC 2186 reviews
    rated 2.3 16 years ago

    Aroma: 6 | Appearance: 3 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 3 | Overall: 3

    Pours with an amber body topped by a medium thick head with little lacing. It tastes and smells like steak sauce mixed with cough syrup...yuck. Medium bodied, smooth and warming.

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