Brewer: J.W. Lees
Manchester, England's J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale is a barleywine built for the long haul and the brewery was one of the first to announce that fact by putting the vintage year right on the bottle. True to its name, the beer is brewed each fall with the year's freshest English malts and hops, then released in time for Christmas. At 11.5-percent alcohol, it's built to last and as the years progress the aggressive malt and alcohol flavors soften into sherry- and port-like notes. Recent vintages aged in casks that formerly held whiskey, sherry, port, and calvados up the ante by adding notes of vanilla from the wood and flavors from the prior residents.