Tuesday, March 30, 2010

273. J. W. Lees Harvest Ale 1999

Coming to us from J. W. Lees & Co. Brewers, located in Manchester, England. They’ve been in business since 1828. Jolly proper for them.

Pouring a rich clear deep caramel copper with a quickly disappearing white head, Harvest Ale 1999 has a malty toffee nose with low levels of alcohol and a subtle clean fruitiness that adds complexity to the nose. When swirled, short alcohol legs are left along the walls of the glass. The flavor begins with a lighter caramel flavor before shifting to the luscious toffee that dominates the beer, front to back. There is a small bit of bitterness and fruitiness in the middle, and alcohol flavor in the final third of the beer, but all the flavors are rounded by the presence of toffee. Harvest Ale 1999 has a medium to heavy body with medium to low carbonation that still leaves the beer full bodied and chewy, with richness and a smooth alcohol warmth. I’ve had other bottles of the same beer that had a delightful oxidized sherry-like finish; this particular bottle has none of that—instead it is slight caramel with loads and loads of toffee. Nonethless, while this bottle is not as complex, it is still an enjoyable and well crafted beer. The smooth blending of maltiness and alcohol creates an enjoyable and pleasant sipping experience, front to back.

From the J. W. Lees website: “Vintage harvest Ale: Released in limited quantities in Decemeber, Harvest Ale gives a rich, strong flavour, beloved by beer connoisseurs. It can be laid down like a vintage wine for enjoying in later years. We also provide Harvest Ales fermented in casks with sherry, port, whisky or calvados. ”

ABV: 11.5%


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