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

Not Rated.
Moonraker AleMoonraker Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

153 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 153
Reviews: 116
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 16.35%
Wants: 9
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:
Beer added by: Todd on 10-15-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (19) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 153 | Reviews: 116 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slyke
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice winter warmer, not the best I've had, but far from the worst. Aroma is fruity, with citrus most noticable to my olfactory. Spicing is on the mild side with a dry finish. A deep garnet color with a creamy white head that starts about 3/4 of an inch, then fades to 1/8 inch. Decent lacing. Perhaps the true test of a beer is "would I buy it again?" Yep.

Photo of cokes
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark chocolate hued with a layer of lively tan foam.
Nose of prune and leather, with rotting raspberries and carob clues in the distance.
At the fore, its a big toffee-coated plum malt monster. It ebbs to a husky raw graininess as the body fades, with an encompassing oak note. Metallic elements appear in the afterwash along with a caramel-chocolate continuation of the malts. It end with a coarse hopping that signals dead weeds. Brandy-ish grapey flares of alcohol pop up on occasion.
Medium bodied (on average), feeling fat up front, but whittles away to a stick figure close.
Ok, but a bit rough around the edges.

Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark plum with a nice tan head of foam that lasted for quite a while. The aroma of this brew was all about the big fruity malts, I got hints of plums, pudding, cranberries, various nuts, and more. Like an excellent winter cake in a bottle. The taste was sweet, fruity, and malty up front, with some complex fruit and nut notes in the middle, and a very smooth finish that left a lingering dark fruit aftertaste on the tongue. The mouthfeel was medium bodied>thick but perfect and the drinkability was good as well. Not as good as their harvest ale, but another winner from Manchester, none-the-less.

Photo of Ahhdball
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Has a nice deep brown color with hints of red. No head to see but left a tiny lacing along the sides which says "resin" to me. Alcohol, dates and maybe some sugary nose. Tasting this made me feel as though I had a cold. Definitely some sort of cough syrup feel and taste. A lot of alcohol followed by a syrup character with yeast and some molasses. Perhaps this is a bad bottle but I really don't agree with the other reviews on this. I've had much better.

Photo of CRJMellor
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a chestnut brown with some maroon hints. No real head and no real lace.
Aroma of dark tropical fruits, caramel nd toffee with some nuttiness.
Flavor is dark fruits, plums, dates, heavy dark malt, deep nutty notes, brown sugar and some molasses. Some resin and citrus hop notes.
Mouthfeel is super sweet with just a hint of resin and hop oil.
Drinkabilityis very nice, smooth and malty. Love to try on cask.

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

Pours with a two-finger light brown head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Deep clear amber color. Good carbonation. Nose is sweet and raisiny. Medium-heavy bodied. Starts sweet and raisiny and finishes on the dry side. $5.75 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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

Pours to a ruby-brown color with a tan head. The aroma is malty with a spicy hop smell. The flavor is of caramel malts with a bit of raisins, and a spicy hop taste finishing it up. It finishes with a dry hop bitterness. It is a warming medium bodied brew. Not too bad.

Sampled 12/13/03

Photo of Dogbrick
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This Barley Wine pours a dark reddish-brown color with a thin light brown head. Thin lacing. The aroma is malty and fruity. Lighter body than most Barley Wines, with flavors of roasted malt, caramel, and fruit. The finish is very sweet and borderline cloying. Not the best of the style, but maybe a "Beginner's Barley Wine" due to the lighter body and more sedate flavors.

Photo of dannyvee
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured a clear, deep copper-maroon with a large, billowy off-white head that stuck around. malty, raisiny sweetness on the nose which was quite strong at cellar temperature. smooth, creamy, full body give quite an inviting mouthfeel. the taste was caramel, sweet malt, dark red fruit and a bourbon quality. all that malty sweetness then snaps to a very dry finish. a nice warming brew that i'll go back to again on a cold night.

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

This dark and inviting ale pours a ruby-tinged mahogany with a smallish off-white head. A resinous hop aroma mingles with a bit of caramel malt and fumy alcohol. The slightly biscuity caramel malt reveals a nice nutty flavor, with a light herbal quality to it. The hops are in abundance. Sharp-edged white grapefruit and lemon zest bitterness mix with hints of a metallic bite. A candy sugar sweetness begins to peek through as it warms. A mild dose of a warming sherry-like alcohol backbone stays throughout. I can only guess that J.W. may have a quality control issue, based on the many high and low ratings it has received. This particular bottle is quite good...good to the point where I can't imagine anyone not liking it.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.02/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Slightly darkish red in color, with a nice, fluffy, softly settling, creamy tan head.
Aroma: malty, sweet, caramelly, traces of nuts and fruit, luscious and appetizing, while giving off clues to alcohol content within.
Taste: a big entry on the palate, bold, sweet, fruity, malty, with a neat, brisk hoppiness, but that's pale compared to the forceful-ness of the malt's in here.
Overpowering flavor, that finishes a touch tidily and a bit dry. Medium to full body, nice little texture, and resounding flavor, ever-recurring, ever-pleasing. Though I really had no clue what I was getting before pouring the bottle out, this was a very happy little surprise, one I might be tempted to return to again, on occasion. (But not for the price, for I paid about $6 for this 500ml bottle, though the contents are rather intriguing.)
It's a malty one, and a tasty one, and near the end, the 7.5% ABV starts to get up and drag you out by the trousers....

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

Dark ruby in colour with a healthy white head that lasts quite long before diminishing. Aroma hops and a hint of alcohol on the nose. Rich, roasty, malty flavours on the tongue; chewy even. A nice, warming ale supposedly named for some Mancunians who apparently tried to rake the Moon's reflection out of a river.

Photo of Starchild
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour and head both look good, but a little short. It looks like this beer is only 9.89 oz., not going to lie but I’m little disappointed seeing that I expected 12. The color is blackened brown and the foam looks good. First sip is smooth basically tasting like Newcastle brown ale. Then hints of liquorish, malt, hop, chalk, and vanilla. Sweet delicate flavors then bombarded the taste buds. Man. Be careful pouring, I had some clumps in my pint. Interesting beer and the taste has England all over it.

Photo of putnam
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful roasted sweetness on the nose is characterised by buttery, sweet, toasted brown bread notes.
Velvety, slightly sweet caramel flavors are lifted by creamy mousse and shaped by tangy, roasted bitterness. White raisins, caramel creme and roasted seeds play supporting roles. AS it warms the roasty element begin to assert a stronger counterbalance to the sweet malt.

Well balanced brown ale... a bit sweet. Nice with pudding.

Photo of ADR
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark mahogany brown color, appears slightly clearish overall with light transmission at the bottom of the pint glass. Very soft yellow head of about 1/2 inch to start. Laces thickly. Some cocoa to the deep smell, some carob as well. Lighter mouthfeel than I expected but the flavor is decently full, expressing chocolate powder, light coffee tones, and a burnt profile close to the end. Some slight sense of alcohol but relatively smooth and easy drinking. A good enough beer but I have to admit I was expecting better mouthfeel and a little more complexity to write about.

Photo of RoyalT
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Beautiful dark brown in color and full of carbonation and sediment. The tanned head was huge and relentless, lacing the glass wickedly on its slow ride down. It was a thing of beauty for sure. I hope it tastes as good as it looks.

Smell – The aroma is very muffled, even after warming. I can pick up a solid malt base though with maybe a bit of yeast to it. There’s also some sherry and dark fruits, most notably figs.

Taste – The oak comes out in the taste. The sherry is there as well, and they both work to compliment the strong malt base. This ale is a lot bigger at the tongue than it is at the nose. There’s a warming alcohol flavor to go along with the huge sugars.

Mouthfeel – I liked the fullness of the body here, but the carbonation was quite annoying. It kind of fizzled without satisfying. Otherwise, this felt good.

Drinkability – This is definitely 9 ounces of sipping ale. I enjoyed it very much, but the flavors are a bit strong and clumsy and may not be to everyone’s liking.

Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very smooth and drinkable strong ale from Lees. I liked this beauty very much.

A hazed and deeply bronzed body is crowned by a nice, tightly formed ivory head. The head lingers long and filmy enough to do tight lacing.

The nose is initially fuity and malty and as it warms the maltiness becomes distinctly of a caramel nature, giving deep and rich malt notes. This follows in the flavor that strengthens with warming and builds a very strong sweet maltiness barely in balance with the light hopping. There is no sense of alcohol here, making this a deceptively dangerous brew.

The feel is distinctly smooth and creamy, with no sense of overload from the fullness of the body. This is a delightfully rich and drinkable ale. Very nice.

Photo of ZAP
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep red with floaties all over the pace....little whisp of a head...Nose is malty...woody....like it was oak aged in bourban barrels almost....low carbonation....relatively smooth and firm mouthfeel....flavors are pretty complext....some berry fruitniess....also the oak/bourban flavor....bitter dark cocoa...pretty malty but finishes on a strong dry note..

Add it all together and it's pretty good....just doesn't blow my socks off...tastes very alcoholic...like drinking bourban....worth trying one bottle...I will not buy this one again....

Photo of Bighuge
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Turbid and murky brown appearance. Just a collaring of light brown head. Aroma has caramel, wood, toffee, smoke and prunes. Good is a bit of an understatement. The smoke and toffee are the primarys on the buds. Some bitterness enters the equation. Leather as well. Raisins and rumcake. Licorice as well. Decent enough, but nowhere near the class of their Harvest ales.

Photo of PatandDavid
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had three of these on cask at Redbones. Didn't know it was as strong as it was, but after the first few sips, I knew it had to be a pretty big beer.

Cola colored, with a nice head that quickly dissipated, this brew was pretty easy to drink, and I kept right at 'em.

This was one of the best casks I've had in a while: very smooth, a bit of malty sweetness, not bitter. I liked it because the taste was fullbodied. Little bit of a hopkick and slight alcoholic taste in the finish. I want to go back to England...now!

Try this on cask if you can.


Photo of UncleJimbo
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 9.89 oz bottle. Unknown vintage.

Appearance: Hazy, cararmel brown with light tan (off-white) foam.

Smell: Sweet malt with a hint of fruit (mild banana) and yeast.

Taste: Sweet, malty, yeasty. Hint of oak and musty grapes. Slight hop bitterness in finish.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, mellow, and creamy. Low carbonation. Full body. Warming, but with a dry finish.

Drinkability: Very good. A ver nice strong ale.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle conditioned; enjoyed at 50F.Carefully poured, the body is a slightly hazy, rich mahogany with an orange-cast and crimson highlights. It's topped by a thin but creamy light-tan head that holds surprisingly well and leaves thin and spotty lace throughout the glass. The aroma displays toffee, mild dark fruit, and alcohol. It's quite estery. As it warms, however, some more caramel notes begin to appear. A full body, coupled with a very fine and gentle carbonation, gives an exceptionally soft and creamy mouthfeel that emphasises the maltiness. The flavor is far more complex than the nose alludes to with notes of dark fruit (prune, raisin), toffee, scortched caramel, honey, oak and a touch of alcohol. It finishes with a rising bitterness and unique hop flavor that's not unlike wet, leafy, whole hops left in the wort at the end of the boil... lightly earthy, herbal and resiny - but dripping with malt. It combines with the residual semi-sweet dark malt to give a lingering licorice note. Well balanced and quite unique. A splendid, rich and complex old ale that's not quite accessible as Old Peculier, but ultimately more rewarding to those willing to delve a little deeper. If old ale is your tipple, this one is not to be missed!

Photo of paceyourself
2.12/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

It was the first and probably the last time i'll drink this brew. It starts with a unappealing sweet molasses aroma. Roasted malt, molasses and toffee are all apparent at first then a strong alcohol feel takes over. It has more chunks and sediment than any beer i have ever seen, it wasn't a very enjoyable sight. Drinkability and mouthfeel don't seem to important at this point.

Photo of Jdiddy
1/5  rDev -72.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Ok, I know that this review will be harsh but take it as a warning. Do not get an old bottle! The bottle I purchased must have been sitting at the store for years. It poured very thick with no head at all. It had huge chunks all throughout. It went right down the drain. I returned the other bottle I had purchased.

Photo of John
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

275mL. bottle, bottle conditioned. Cloudy dark brown, minimal head. Dark ripe fruit, notes of prune, raisins and pear...some medicinal alcohol. These notes are also present in the flavor along with some sticky caramel and molasses and more strong alcohol. For a brew at 7.5% abv, this tastes like a much stronger beer, almost like a barleywine. Full mouthfeel. A unique, belly warming brew.

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