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

Not Rated.
Moonraker AleMoonraker Ale

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: 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 153 | Reviews: 116 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of arkansastroy
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of PEIhop
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +9%

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 mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of adrian21
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of WOLFGANG
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of Cubatobaco
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of magnusdave
4/5  rDev +9%

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 jazzyjeff13
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Jan 2012, although given the strength of this brew I prefer to think of it as vintage rather than old. The label mentions a tale of farm hands attempting to rake the moon from a stream, thinking it was cheese.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A deep ruby-brown hue with medium carbonation. Forms a huge head of creamy light-tan foam that remains for a few minutes before reducing to a surface layer. A sweet, slightly cloying aroma of dark malt with notes of molasses, dried fruit, brown sugar, liquorice and yeast. A background whiff of booze. Posseses a vinous, wine-like quality.

Tastes of rich dark malt with a dry finish. Notes of dried fruit, molasses, prunes, liquorice, dry yeast and stewed hops. A dry, slightly harsh bitterness upon swallowing, with a warming hint of alcohol in the background. Fruity and vinous. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth, with a pleasing creamy sensation and tingly carbonation. Pretty astringent; dries the palate. Aftertaste of sweet, fruity malt.

A rich, fruity experience - quite intense, definitely one to sip and savour. A pleasing blend of flavours that rounds out nicely. A quality strong ale; goes down nicely on a cold winter night. Well worth trying.

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

J.W. Lees Moonraker is best served at warmer cellar (50-55°F) temperatures from a brandy snifter or pint glass. This award-winning offering from J.W. Lees from Middleton pours up with ample carbonation followed by a long lasting tannish-white head that engulfs the deep russet-brown body. The sweet, caramel malt aroma is filled with a nice intermingling of fruitiness (candied yams, Shropshire plums, treacle pudding) and spicy (ginger, mace, cinnamon) notes. In addition, there's some notable alcoholic warmth underlying the slightly winy (oxidized) character . The rich, satifying flavor starts off with a wallop of caramel/nougat maltiness which evetually gives way to a light touch of bitterness from continental hops with a light alcoholic warmth to color the cheeks. J.W. Lees Moonraker is a finely crafted example of the style and is the perfect accompaniment to some tangy Stilton cheese. James Bond (007) never had it so good!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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

Update 11/22/06: I decided to crack another bottle with a proper fill level, and it was excellent. Still not alot of carbonation, but definitely at the right level for the style. Flavor was rich and the mouthfeel was thicker than than before. Gritty sediment was still present, but most was left in the bottle. Now I am glad I bought more, and the experience has tought me to pay attention to fill levels. I still feel the $7 price tag is a bit steep for the beer, but nevertheless, a great offering.

10/01/06, original review: This bottle was a low fill (beer only up to the base of the neck) so I didn't quite know what to expect. No immediate off aromas or tastes, but there was a definite musty, woody quality about it. Slight fizz when poured, but almost no head to speak of. In checking the other reviews I would say that this bottle is on par and the low fill was not detremental. Slightly malty, but thinnish on the on the toungue. There's some faintly gritty sediment as well. There's the slight alcohol warming after sipping, but is well hidden up front.

Not bad, but in seeing other reviews, I know this beer is capable of having more carbonation and is probably much superior in that case- very much like Gale's Xmas brew- my first one was brought over from England and was excellent- everything else I bought here in the US was flat as a board. Maybe the same goes for this one. I feel that when this beer is at it's peak it would be awesome, but I'm not sure how many $7 bottles I'd want to buy to find out. (That and I bought 3 others for the cellar with higher expectations- maybe they have faired better- I can only hope.)

Update 11/22/06: I decided to crack another bottle with a proper fill level, and it was excellent. Still not alot of carbonation, but definitely at the right level for the style. Flavor was rich and the mouthfeel was thicker than than before. Gritty sediment was still present, but most was left in the bottle. Now I am glad I bought more, and the experience has tought me to pay attention to fill levels. I still feel the $7 price tag is a bit steep for the beer, but nevertheless, a great offering.

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 feloniousmonk
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
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 barleywinebrewer
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - bold reddish purple in color - think dark ripe plum, a touch of off white head ringing the glass that quickly fades to a trickle of bubbles.
S - Huge aromas of ripe dark fruits and rich malts. If you've had the harvest ales this will come across very familiar.
T - similar to the aroma but much deeper in the ripe fruit feel.
M - medium bodied, sweet but not cloying
D - I think I'd prefer this in a 12 oz size. Like the barleywine, this is a sipper. It's great and one I'd have again.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard English Pint glass with an initial plop, releasing a fluffy off-white head that reduced to 1/4" then held firm. Big aromas of ripe and dark fruits with a bold malt base that hinges on toasty and caramels. A mild, tart fruitiness (berry-like) shows complexity and age. The flavors verify the caramel, toffee, toasted character. Fruit flavors of figs, peaches, almonds, and raspberries swirl around the malts and add varity to the taste. The feel is a solid and persistent bold maltiness with firm creaminess that is tempered only by the berry tawny tartness. Finishes quite malty flavored, yet intriguingly light and dry on the toung. Good Warmer for any season.

Photo of ummswimmin
4.06/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served in a fluted glass at the Ginger Man in NYC (review is from notes).

This beer had no foam when served to me. The coloring is brown with some decent light at the edges.

This beer is pretty rich, while being decently thin. I get dark fruit upfront while retaining some good mouthfeel as it eases off.

This one makes for a very good sipper.

Photo of fx20736
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a goblet, served at 63f.

Lovely tawny port brown with an offwhite head.

Aroma: baking in the oven molasses-gingerbread cookies and faint suggestions of toffee, earthy Fuggles hoppiness, caramel and diacetyl.

mouthfeel: silky and smooth

taste: bready malt, molasses sweetness, with a slightly sour twang and a finish that is Treacly sweet with just a kiss of prunes.

Notes: Is this a Barleywine, a Strong Ale as the bottle suggests or a Winter Warmer as BA calls it? I guess it doesn't matter, this is another malty, sweet beer like a Wee Heavy but without the peatiness or a Belgian Strong Dark Ale but without the spices. The sweetness of this beer and 7.5% abv make this a sipper. Don't drink this if you're in a hurry, it's a beer to lay down and avoid a bit, then a sip and then another laydown. Good stuff.

Photo of brewandbbq
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 1999

Pours murky mahogany with a beige head of pourus density.
An exaggerated pour produced a head of approximately 3/8", which faded to medium and large bubbles barely covering the surface.
Within two minutes, only a few scant bubbles remained around the edge of the glass, with no lacework.
Aromatics are fruity and malty.
Cherries and dried caramel dominate the nose, with figs, raisins, and a hint of wet leather.
Mouthfeel is syrupy and lightly carbonated, tacky.
Pallet is thick and chewy with over-ripe dark fruits and mild sugary notes.
Caramelly malt and toffee are large components, and vineousity is quite apparent.
Bitterness is subdued, and the brew is slightly warming.
Only a slight papery note hints at the age, beyond the complex, mellow character.
More attenuated than the Harvest ale, and holding it's own for a seven + year old brew.

Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Porter in Atlanta.

Pours a hazy brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of red wine barrels with dark caramel malts with hints of toastiness. Also present are slight amounts of dark fruit aromas that intensify as the beer warms.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Medium malt flavors with solid amounts of toasted malts kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are mildly tart fruit flavors that segue into softer dark fruit flavors. Finally, hints of indistinct spices and cocoa powder come into play before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I didn't know what to expect from this beer and was pleasantly surprised by the complexity. An interesting beer that's well worth a shot.

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 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

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.

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