J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Calvados Cask) 2009

Posted: January 18, 2017 in English Barleywine, J.W. Lees & Co Ltd, Reviews

Tonight’s selection is a real treat. I picked this up in New York and aged it for a while. Let’s see if this warms me up tonight.


ABV: 11.5%

Style: English Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Harvest Ale is a limited edition vintage barley wine, made once and once only from the first hops of the year and the very finest British malt. The beer quickly gained a cult following of ale enthusiasts who recognised its quality and relish in the different flavours each vintage brings and the evolution that comes with ageing over time. In the past 29 years, the beer has grown in popularity and in some bars around the world it has gained legendary status, with older vintages being highly sought after and changing hands for up to $60 per bottle.”

Random: I’ve never had Calvados. I’m curious to see what it tastes like.

This beer poured with absolutely no head on top of a dark and cloudy deep mahogany body. Since the beer was so dark, I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose reminded me more of a sherry or a brandy than a beer. It had a lot of sweetness along with dark fruit, specifically raisins. There was a significant alcohol note that I picked up too. As it warmed, there was also oak and vanilla. On first sip, I picked up a lot of sweetness with raisins and dates that was quickly followed with alcohol. The oak and vanilla came next with some blackstrap molasses and dark brown sugar. The body was sticky and thick with no carbonation. The finish lasted forever and was sweet with vanilla and molasses. I don’t recall how much I paid for this beer since I’ve aged it for awhile, but this was really a treat, no matter what the price. This is a beer for a cold night by a fire and I think it would even pair well with a cigar. If I see any more of these, I’ll be aging them for a good amount of time.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0


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