Sunday, January 28, 2018

J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (2014 vintage)


Fill date: 12/2014

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 17D English Barleywine

AROMA: Strong maltiness in the form of rich confectionery notes. There is a classic British yeast ester fruity presence which adds to the complexity. Subtle alcohol and oxidation notes complement the palette. No hops. Very faint tang. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Murky rusty copper/brownish hue (17-22 SRM). Small, off-white foam mostly dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: Rich confectionery sweetness throughout. Caramel, toffee, treacle, brown sugar and peanut brittle all seem to the be present. Palette is cloying, but not to the point of annoyance and does not degrade drinkability. Fruity esters are much more subtle than nose would imply. Alcohol and oxidation combine with natural flavors so as to be complimentary, not distracting. Low hop presence with just enough bitterness to notice, but hop flavor is obscure by the maltiness. Aftertaste is sweet and a little cloying. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Full-bodied; low carbonation with a silky smooth texture. Best enjoyed in sips, but not a requirement. The 11.5% ABV is impossible to ignore, but not obtuse or abrasive. The small bottle (275ml) serving size is ideal. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This beer epitomizes the English Barleywine style. Delicious and fun to drink. 10/10

TOTAL SCORE: 45/50

NOTE: See my 2010 review of a 2000 vintage here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2010/02/jw-lees-harvest-ale-vintage-2000-chad.html

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