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

Not Rated.
Moonraker AleMoonraker Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

154 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 154
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 (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 154 | Reviews: 116
Photo of barefootbrewer
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear brown with a thin tan head.

S: The aroma is malty and spicy. Inviting.

T: This is another beer that is heavy on malt/caramel. There are some spice notes and perhaps a hint of sourness. The flavors seem to be fairly balance.

M: Mouthfeel is full and well suited.

D: Easy to drink sweet brew. Solid.

Photo of phisig137
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, almost black color with ruby highlights, and a half finger head. Poor retention doesn't leave anything nice behind, just a flat looking glass of ale.

Aroma is sweet, brightly fruity, and slightly alcoholic. Malty caramel aromas are well blended with an unusually fruity yeast strain... seems almost overly fruity and out of place for a British beer.

Flavor is quite sweet, to the point of being cloying up front. Again, massive fruit flavors here.... peaches, apples, pears, and maybe plums. the finish begins to take on a dryer side, although not hoppy. Finish is lingering. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and smooth. Drinkability is pretty good for the ABV.

not a bad beer at all. I rather enjoy this one. The yeast must be the house strain over at J.W. Lee's, as you can taste some similarities to the harvest ale in this one. I wonder if this has the potential to age as well... I personally love the harvest ale, and this one pales in comparison. BUT, this was 3.99 a pint, compared to $8.49 for 9 ounces. If I'm in the mood and can't afford it, this is a decent back up.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very dark reddish-brown body with a rather short-lived, thin head.

Smell: A malty, refreshingly fruity aroma full of sour cherries, dark fruits, caramel, anise, port wine, and molasses.

Taste: Smooth, sweet malt-driven flavors are really allowed to shine here. Toffee, chocolate-covered raisins, light molasses, rum cake, blackberries, dark fruits, and sherry all wrapped up with a gentle, though noticeable sourness in the background. Only the faintest oaky bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Not much in the way of carbonation here at all.

Drinkability: An enjoyable, highly quaffable beer. I'm not sure this really belongs in the Winter Warmer category, but what's done is done, I guess.

Photo of thetachibro
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
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 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 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 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 garymuchow
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
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 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 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 beerthulhu
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark, cranberry red with a thin, macro-bubbly dirty, beige head that quickly recessed to a sparse layering with no lacing. A slow steady, medium strong carbonation streams upward creating tiny, micro-bubbly eruptions on the surface.

S: caramel, raisins, and cola. The nose is very light and subdued.

T: spicy, dry caramel with some sour malting and ripe fruit (prunes). There was a some spicy alcohol fusels (dark molasses, cinnamon). On the finish was a good dry, whiskey barrel woodiness and alcohol detection after the swallow. Upon warming a syrupy, dark rich caramel dominates the palate.

M: prickly carbonation with a nice syrupy fullness with dry whiskey barrel after thoughts.

D: Drinks bigger then the advertised 7.0%abv. Average drinkability and as per the label pairs nicely with crumbs of strong English cheese, to which I would likely agree.

Photo of John_M
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Don't see this on tap too often, so thought I'd give it a whirl at Max's today.

The beer pours a dark ice tea color with fair head retention and some decent lacing. Don't get a great deal on the nose... mabye some brown sugar, cherry and orange citrus. Really, this beer has a bit of a sweet ice tea aroma to it. The flavor profile is a bit more straight forward and one dimensional, but with a fair amount of brown sugar, vanilla and light sherry. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, and drinkability is OK. The beer is a bit heavy, and in fact the alcohol feels as if it's a higher than it actually is.

I don't know... nothing wrong with this beer, but it just isn't doing a lot for me today. It's really not much better than a lot of English style brown ales out there, which is what this beer reminds of. Nothing wrong with that, but... just seems like it could be so much more.

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 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 andrewm190
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I have toned down my points because I am not sure a beer should taste so much like grape. The beer reminds me very much of a barley wine.

It pours a nice color, a very dark purple/black, that closes towards red as you hold it to the light.

The smell is entertaining. I sense grape, as I said, I am very much reminded of grape juice. There is something else, chocolate? I don't think so, but thats the only other thing coming to mind. So very fruity, the taste matches the smell. There is definitely a high amount of flavor. The bottle boasts a roast malt finish; I however, cannot discern it.
The beer feels fine to the palate, small carbonation. There is no "bottled by" or "freshness" date on the bottle. My only real complaint is that it tastes a little too much like grape juice, or wine. I find it to be sort of a curious ale.

I give it low marks for drinkability because it is so much like grape juice or wine. I hesitate to call it a beer drinker's beer. I can certainly enjoy a pint, but its a beer I can only appreciate in small doses (relatively, i guess), I wouldn't want to have one followed by another.
All in all a good beer; not a bad pick-up.

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: The beer is rather hazy mahogany in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that quickly died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a ring of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Light but interesting aromas of dark fruits (plums and prunes) and toffee are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but the flavors are a bit stronger and also include notes of caramel and mineral water.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit thin and watery on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation (similar to what you would expect from a cask ale). No alcohol warming is detectable.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink compared to others in the style because it isn’t that full-bodied and there are no traces of alcohol in the taste.

Note: 2009 vintage

Photo of mdagnew
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Half pint sampled at the Belfast Beer Festival, 17th November 2006...

Poured a deep red / brown colour. Creamy tan head poured quite thinly then faded to pretty much nothing... no real carbonation or lacing...

Aroma - Strong maltiness, quite sweet - treacle / brown sugar, dark fruits (figs, plums), toffee hints. some leathery notes, nutty, some pepperiness...

Taste – Lightly roasted caramel maltiness, nice fruitiness (cherry and faint over ripe banana hints, figs), nice light spicy hop bitterness, light ginger, slight vanilla notes, some breadiness, alcohol comes through a little...

Feel - Smooth and quite oily with a slight sharpness coming through.... At 7.5% probably couldn't drink too many of these in one sitting...

Overall - A excellent winter warmer.... Recommended....

Photo of Atlas1
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hadn't heard of the Moonraker before picking one up at my local beer store this weekend. Classified as a "Winter Warmer," I'm not sure exactly how old this bottle is.

Pours a deep dark brown, with an orange tint at the edges when held up to the light. Really weak head; big bubbles which thin out rapidly and leave nothing but a very thin rinse around the edges of the glass. Nothing special in the pour, for sure. Still, the aroma here is boisterous. Fruity scents take command, with malted tones making a presence, but with much more reserve. Apple, pear, prune. And tasty too. Sweet... some malty sweetness, but mostly this is a fruity sweetness. Not sure how they pull this off without actual fruit in the brewing process (IS there fruit in the brewing process here?) but they do a damn fine job of things. A lightly syrupy mouthfeel. Moonraker would serve as an excellent dessert beer, or after-dinner drink. Not sure I would pair this with a cheese, but definitely a fruit sorbet or plum cake (IS there such a thing as plum cake?). All in all, the Moonraker is a fine brew. Fruity and strong, like the label says.

Photo of EvilKeith
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
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 gueuzeonhigh
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a dark beer-- pours with a black walnut brown color and a foamy but short lived head.
There was a small aroma of fruit and hints of malt in the nose.

The flavor was predominantly sweet malt with very little underpinning-- giving the flavor profile a thin "appearance". The flavor is also rather sedate-- other than the sweet malt I am at a loss to coin any other discerning features.

The finish is mild with the sweet malt tinging and slowly fading. Like the flavor start- the finish had a one dimensional characteristic-- that of predominantly sweet flavor.

The mouthfeel was cordial-- in part due to the sweet malty character.

The drinkability was "good"-- this beer is a very mild mannered character. Although I think that the sweetness would prove tiring after a pint. I don't think I'd reach for another.

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes, January '09.

Pours a very cloudy brown, with a very thin off-white head.

Nose is a bit boozy, with notes of toffee and some over-ripe dark fruits.

Taste is rich with a sweet, bready malt character that sits somewhere between bready and toffee sweet, with a fruitiness like dark fruit that's been lightly soaked in rum, a bit tangy in the finish, with just a bit of yeast in there.

Mouthfeel is smooth, a bit of moderate carbonation - really well done.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Copper to dark brown color with barely any head.

Smells of hay, mild caramel and musty malt.

Packs a malt punch, but retains a lighter body. Sweet, like overripe plum. Malt all the way through. Despite a relatively low ABV there is a little alcohol heat to it.

Lots of bubbles but not very carbonated. A sticky texture, clings to the mouth.

A great winter warmer sipper. Dark and sweet.

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage

Pours a very deep brown that still allows some light through. About a 2 inch head rises.

The smell includes some sweetness, some hay, and some cream.

Taste is similar to an aging barley wine. The sweetness is barely starting to poke through. Hops are calm, not heavy. Tastes like whole wheat toast that is lightly toasted and still has a moist center. Very dim caramel that may be more apparent after a few more years.

Mouthfeel is much like bread. Mouth is full and busy, the beer is not syrupy but is still thick.

Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours ruby with a bubbly patch.

The smell is of caramel, dried fruits, slightly vinuous (red wineish):

The taste is of stewed prunes, dried apricot, sweet caramel with a hint of toffee in the back. Malty, for sure. A touch of alcohol is there, but mellow. Sweet, with some intangible balance.

fuller side of medium bodied with mild carbonation. Smooth.

Very drinkable despite sweetness and booziness.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Moonraker Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 154 ratings.