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Moonraker Ale - J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd

Not Rated.
Moonraker AleMoonraker Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

153 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 153
Reviews: 116
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 16.62%
Wants: 8
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 10-15-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 153 | Reviews: 116 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of EvilKeith
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into the glass a murky deep dark perfect brown with a batter-like tan head. The head fell off to a wispy cap and a halo of small bubbles along the glass. Yeast sediment is evident in the bottle. The lacing was impressively thick and sticky.

Overall the smell was sweet. Caramel, malts, faint dark fruit notes, and buttery toffee. The alcohol was well hidden.

The taste was faintly chocolate, sweet rich malts, coffee beans, somehow earthy and a bit woody. The hops and alcohol add a nice spicy, bittering dry finish.

Creamy mouthfeel. Lightly carbonated. Medium bodied.

From the sweet smell I was expecting this to be perhaps too sweet. The brewer did a great job using the hops and alcohol to hold the sweetness in check. Well balanced and very damn drinkable.

Photo of sacfly
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500mL, no date. $5.99
Pours a reddish brown. On the dark side. What little head there was is quickly gone. Smell is fruity. Raisins and a bit of toasted malt. A little sherry. First sip is a bit syrupy and slick. Over ripe fruit. Figs. Almost reminds me of a watered down JW Lees Harvest ale. Aftertaste is sticky and sweet. No hops to speak of.

Again, this seems like a little cousin to the Harvest Ale, which I find far superior. This is not bad by any means, but I would never choose this over the Harvest. Especially with the $5.99 price tag.

Photo of Vancer
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour was the downfall of this one – root beer fizz with no head or lacing. But a nice aroma of sour malts in the aroma picked things back up a bit.

Decent tasting brew of caramel, coffee and spices – finishes with a sour mash bourbon kick. Medium bodied brew, has a nice rich malty backbone. Just a tad to tart & sour to make this one a real session drinker – not to mention the 7.5% abv

Saludos to BRoss242 for the sample.

Photo of rajendra82
2.13/5  rDev -42%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Clear, reddish brown body, and a small head, made this beer look stately, but boring. The smell was little too fruity for my liking. Apart from unidentifiable dark skinned dry fruits, this one also smelled woody and sour. The taste was pretty much same as the smell. The mix of sweet, sour, and musty flavors didn’t quite rise to undrinkable standards, but did make me wince every time I took a sip. The body seemed thin at first, but after while it got to be more substantial. Usually that is good, but with this Moonraker, more flavors were not necessarily better. About the only positive was the well hidden 7.5% ABV. Not a beer, I’d care to drink again.

Photo of mattpetti
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a very dark brown with redish tint. It has almost not head other than from splashing and looks to have almost no carbonation. The smell is of ripe dark fruits, roasted malts and maybe a flutter of hops at the end. Medium bodied with the fruits and roasted flavors leading the way. The fruits are almost overpowering border lining on sweet caramel flavors as well. Almost no carbonation makes this beer tast almost juice like at times. There is a tiny bit of bitterness at the very, very end. Nothing seems to balance out the fruit though. Alcohol isnt very apparent in the taste but it is warming. I can see it hard to drink more than one of these beers due to the overpowering fruit flavors. Would be great with some winter food dishes like turkey with cranberry sauce though.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- A Deep, dark amber with a very merlot highlight when held to the light. Very little bubbling. Only a small island of foam after the head disappears.

Smell- A lovely fruity aroma. A well developed malt presence with the usual English hop aromas present.

Taste- A pretty good fruity character. Lots of dark fruits like prunes and black cherries. Maybe a hint of dryness here and there. The hops just adds a dash of bitterness to keep the super sweet malts at bay from cloying the palate.

Mouthfeel- A very surprising mix of drynes and fruity sweetness all over my palate. This was a barley wine ith the drinkability of a bitter or pale ale.

Photo of dgallina
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml brown bottle with no freshness dating.

Pours deep red-brown with zero head or lace, weak carbonation. Smells syrupy sweet; perhaps medicinal cherries candied in caramel. Sticky sweet fruit up front, works through some astringent sourness in the center, but leads to a drier leafy and lightly nutty finish. Flavor is better-balanced than you might hope from the aroma. Medium oily body with bigger carbonation than expected.

Not very well integrated or especially appealing.

Photo of Crosling
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dull brown color with a thin and diminishing white cream. Aromatically gentle, caramel smelling, along with several dark ripe fruits, completely malt-accented. Big, bubbly and heavy feel on the palate, with finely extracted malt tones. Soft caramel and toffee flavors, very sweet and a bit cloying. Brash alcohol as well, which could use a little more hop. Light almond extract flavor as well.

Photo of TastyTaste
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark maroon, still light-penetrable. Head is small, but retentive.

Smell: Fruity, yet somewhat sour and acidic.

Taste: Malty and more mellow than I would expect. Diacetyl is noticeable, yet not that strong yet. Malts are roasted, and the alcohol is weill hidden. OK.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat creamy, OK carbonation, not bad.

Drinkability: Not a bad winter warmer, but I think this might be a little past it's peak.

Photo of ggaughan
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a deep brownish color with a slight white head with good lacing. The beer had the smell of deep fruit and the strong alcohol content. Impressive. The taste is a nice balance of a malty sweetness but with a kick of the ABV which is refreshing and gives you a good mouthful.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear brown with a low white head that barely formed and disappeared in an instant.

The aroma was low with a slightly acidic overtone and fruity esters that emerged as the beer warmed. Just a hint of roast or perhaps smoke was present.

The flavor was malty with a nice crisp mineral profile and some roast that gave the beer a smoky presence. The bittering was not high, but enough to keep the beer from being overly sweet. The flavor was just a bit vinous and fruity with caramel.

The finish was even with a lasting bit of estery fruity character long into the aftertaste with a presence of smoke. The body was just above medium and the carbonation level was low. A bit more complexity would make this one more interesting. There was also some warming that occurred after consumption due to the alcohol content.

500 ml bottle.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer came a dark brown with faint burgundy highlights. The head was very thick, tan and heavy. Smells of earthy dark fruit’s and caramel. Tastes of a sweet smoky molasses and burnt caramel with a slight touch of sourness that runs nicely into a little nip of earthy hops. The mouth feel is medium bodied with a light carbonation. This beer is quite tasty and easy going down.

Photo of brentk56
2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a ruby tinged mahogany color with a little head that quickly disappeared and left no lacing behind as a remembrance

Smell: Burnt caramel, molasses and rum-soaked raisins

Taste: Dried dark fruit flavors, up front, with the burnt caramel and molasses flavors arriving by mid-palate; develops a tartness, after the swallow, that adds an herbal tone

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but syrupy; low carbonation

Overall: I didn't really care for the flavors profile as the dark fruit, molasses and herbal elements really clash

Photo of thetachibro
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A dark red ruby, dark brownish color with a minimal head that is constantly fed by the carbination. A slight alcohol aroma with some caramel. When i first sipped this beer to me it was very sweet. that for me contributes to the average drinkablity. Medium bodied mouthfeel and not bad for a winter warmer

Photo of skynxnex
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large head forms even with a gentle pour. Settles down with some
lacing. Smells of hops, not like an APA, but British. Also a hint of
alcohol. Color is deep ruby/mahogany. Taste is sweet malt with
hops. Slight bitter backing. Has the flavor that has been in the
English Pale Ales and real Altbiers that I've had. Good, but quite
different from normal American ales. Somewhat sour. The alcohol in the smell barely shows its head in the taste. Full, somewhat slippery mouthfeel.

Overall, a good strong ale. Low on the bittering hops so the malt
shines through.

Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark ruby red/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice rich, malty scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It's warm and slightly fruity. The taste is great. It has a warm, yet highly smooth malty flavor that is sweet at the start and dry at the finish. It has a nice roasted feel with some subtle fruity hints. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good seasonal brew. I love the roasted character as well as the complex flavors; a good drinker.

Photo of Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I accept the description on the bottle - this must be great in pies and such. Straight drinking - a suitably hopped dark beer with distinct sourness, smooth mouthfeel. Nice dark colour. Secondary malt and licorice. Somewhat drinkable. Must be shared. Not for everybody.

Photo of merlin48
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark mahogany body that reveals a radiant ruby tone when backlit. Active carbonation is seen when held to a strong light. Sturdy, one inch ecru head is creamy and inviting, having excellent retention. Sticky sheets of lace coat the glass.
Aroma is on the malty side, with notes of brown sugar, toffee, caramel malt, figs, and stewed apples. A floral note of rose water adds some intrigue.
Mouthfeel is almost full bodied, but not quite chewy, with moderate carbonation.
Taste begins sweet, with dark fruits like figs and raisins up front. Some warming alcohol is apparent. Brown sugar and toffee are evident, and some smoky peat adds a nice complexity. Some fruity red apple notes appear in the middle. Earthy and floral hops serve to balance. Roasty malts and mildly bitter hops on the finish.
Very classy Old Ale that is a very nice sipper. Lots of complexity. Another fine English ale from J.W.Lees. Try this with some English sharp cheddar or Cheshire cheese for a real treat.

Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice clear deep amber with a big fluffy off white head that sticks like glue to the sides of the glass leaving globs of lace behind,hints of caramel malt and brown suger in the nose but it doesnt really stick out just there if you know what I mean.A big English malt bomb here brown suger and some butter toffee,the flavors dont hit ya in the face but pleasant and slightly subdued a nice butter toffee aftertaste makes this beer even more tasty.I really like this English strong ale its very drinkable for the style.

Photo of garymuchow
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mark and 3 Corners for this bottle.
Aroma presents witha nice deep rich malt character with fruity tones and hints of alcohol. Nice.
Brownish amber with reds in the light. Smallish brown head that goes to a ring only in time.
Full malty flavors with really nice fruity qualities. A bit of sharpness and finishes with a mild dryness and a mild bitterness. Not particularily complex.
Begins feeling full and rich, but seems to feel thinner in time. Has a bit of viscosity.
Overall just fine. Nothing stands out, but nothing detracts either. Others have noted the price and it is a bit spendy. Probably could do better for less.

Photo of kmpitz2
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a ruby color with brown hints. A finger of creamy head sits atop the liquid. The nose is caramel, brown sugar and raisin with a slight spiceyness in there as well. The flavor is pretty nice, with big bit of brown sugary sweetness and a very big spicy raisiney quality to it. I find this to be very enjoyable. The feel is moderate to thick with a light to moderate carbonation. I like it. Its not a fantastic beer, but above average. Everything melds well together and makes a nice brew.

Photo of clvand0
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish red color with a tall head that falls quickly and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma seems faint, but there is a little caramel, some slight dark fruits. Lots of flavors. Dark fruits, toffee, caramel, quite a bit of bitterness. Possibly a little coffee and/or chocolate. Thick body and good drinkability. Some slightly odd flavors, possibly spices. Interesting beer.

Photo of ppoitras
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

275ml bottle bought from Harrington's Wine & Liquors, Chelmsford, MA.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a minimal uneven tan head over the cloudy, deep red brew. Head and lacing are both lacking, to say the least. Aroma is vinous and dark fruits, reminds me of their Harvest Ale. Taste is somewhat bitter for the style, with a slight spicy flavor. Mouthfeel is relatively creamy, but the bitterness is somewhat off-putting, and drinkability is similar. Not as overly spiced as some Winter Warmers are, but this one has room for improvement.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Swampy root beer brown that looks as if it could be dark amber-bronze if it ever clears. There's a tremendous load of what looks like flocculated yeast in suspension, which makes me think that this bottle might be a bit long in the tooth. The respectable looking cap of foam is the color of sand and is a solid one finger at present. Lace doesn't look likely, but I'll chime in with a lace update if needed.

While it isn't a bad nose, it's nothing too exciting. Malt is uppermost with a stale, somewhat earthy, dark fruitiness that is flinty rather than sweet. No hops to speak of. There might be a hint of spiciness (nothing specific comes to mind). The nose reminds me in some ways of Anchor OSA; a beer that I don't love. The more I smell, the less I like, so I think I'll stop now and take a drink.

I'm not sure what the target flavor was here, but it's one that doesn't appeal to me. Moonraker is still dark fruity with vodka-soaked raisins in the pole position. The malt tastes overroasted with a bitter astringency that appears in some stouts (though this beer isn't at all stout-like). The word stale keeps coming to mind as I drink. It's also moderately metallic, firmly woody and has a too-prominent ethanol presence. It isn't as bad as I'm making it sound, but it isn't much better either.

The mouthfeel makes an attempt at full and rounded... and then loses its way by the finish. It's also slightly more carbonated than I like my winter warmers to be. Lace alert: the thick band at midglass gives some visual interest, even as I'm losing interest in the rest of the beer.

Moonraker is okay, but there are much better winter warmers than this. In fact, I've had a few from lesser known American brewers that could kick its ass to the dark side of the moon and back.

Photo of Wonka
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ML
7.5% ALC VOL
60 degrees

Appearance – cloudy, rust colored; micronized white head isn’t tremendous but its reasonable; a bit of lace

Smell – toffee and caramel; some dark berries; some astringency

Taste – a touch of bitterness but malts are prevalent; more of the dark berries come through in comparison to their standing in the nose; toffee, caramel, molasses and a dose of honey carry the load; nice roasted aftertaste

Mouthfeel – big and creamy at open but thins out a bit late; closes dry

Drinkability – very smooth; very easy on the palate; a bit warming

Moonraker Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 153 ratings.