Sunday, February 2, 2014

J.W. Lees Harvest

One poplar brewing technique is aging a beer in a spirit or wine barrel. Mostly Stouts, Barely wines, darker Belgian style beer are used in a barrel. Brewers tend to age beer from anywhere from six months to a few years. Depending on the type of wood and or spirit used, a beer can pick up some different flavor characters. He is an English example, J.W. Lees Harvest Ale matured in Lagavulin Whisky Casks, 11.5% ABV and was brewed in 2011. J.W. Lees bottles this Harvest in a smaller 9.3 fluid ounce bottle and in limited numbers. J.W. Lees is am English Barleywine from England. J.W. Lees Harvest pours a bright cloudy orange color with a quarter finger thin off white head that fades quickly. I found tiny amounts of light coming through the glass with no signs of carbonation bubbles. The aroma has nice vanilla oak with hints of burnt caramel sugar, and hints of a strong alcohol scent. J.W. Lees Harvest has mostly a soft burnt caramelized sugar taste that’s followed by a nice vanilla and a strong boozy flavor. I a sure the vanilla flavor is from the Lagavulin Whisky Cask. J.W. Lees Harvest has a full mouth feel that is strong, and finishes with a nice vanilla and a boozy note. The after taste is one that sticks around with burnt caramel sugar flavor and tiny faint vanilla notes, and just a touch of a bitterness on the end of the after taste. I didn’t really think this beer was amazingly good, but I was slightly surprised by it. So I would give J.W. Lees Harvest a C+. The Lagavulin Whisky Casks really made this beer better than is would’ve been with out the maturation in the Casks. It brought out lots of complex flavors and made it somewhat sweet but not overly sweet. I am sure if you keep this beer in your cellar for while would make it even better, and they do say that on the label. So go out and try J.W. Lees Harvest and see what you think of it. Cheers! Please enjoy responsibly!

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