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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

151 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 151
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Moonraker Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 151 | Reviews: 116 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerthulhu
3.78/5  rDev +3%
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.

beerthulhu, Apr 23, 2008
Photo of Bighuge
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Bighuge, Jun 16, 2003
Photo of PEIhop
4/5  rDev +9%

PEIhop, Dec 27, 2011
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.

glid02, Sep 26, 2010
Photo of Brad007
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mild brownish-amber color with a two-finger head that fades down, leaving some lacing in the glass.

Aroma is full of malt that seems quite sweet and perhaps mildly hoppy/aromatic in nature.

Taste is full of sweet, chewy malt with a reminder of molasses and caramel in the middle. Seems quite average.

Mouthfeel is full of the same lingering tastes. Carbonation is rather high. Not quite desirable.

Meh. I've had much better examples of the style. It's not horrible but look elsewhere.

Brad007, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Two year old properly cellared bottle. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark, nearly opaque brown with a half-finger fine light tan head that actually increased in size as it warmed. Massive lacing. Looks nice. Aroma of dark toasted and caramel malts, slight dark and dried fruit. Flavor follows with dark, toasted and sweeter malt, dark fruit. Finishes with malty dark fruit and a hint of wood, spice and hops. Nice medium body. Very pleasant. I would call this an old ale, not a winter warmer. I don't taste much spicing. I really enjoyed this. Wish this was available more often.

LiquidAmber, Feb 28, 2012
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.

scruffwhor, Jun 20, 2006
Photo of avalon07
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a orange-red color and a thick, cloudy texture. There was an inch of fairly long-lasting, foamy, head. OK lacing.

S: A nice aroma of malt, caramel, and some spices.

T: A solid, focused flavor of caramel and malt up front, with toffee and spices in the finish. A bit more noticeable alcohol than I would have expected, but not overly so. A very sweet, pleasant taste.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a super dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A surprisingly flavorful and balanced beer. Drinkable.

avalon07, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of ccrida
4.65/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Caveat - I really love English barleywines, which is what I considered Moonraker for this review.
550ml poured into an imperial pint, Moonraker is a dark garnet with an off-white head that leaves pretty nice lace for the first inch or two.

Sweet malt, sugary esters, damp leafy hops. Simple but nice.

Taste rich malt and wet, herbal hops. Coconut, pears, cotton-candy, honey, fresh grassy, leafy hops, cedar, clean and sweet, wow! This is a really nice balance of full flavors with a rounded softness.

Mouthfeel is slick, pricky hop oils, some drying alcohol, medium bodied.

Drinkability is exceptional, because this beer is exceptional. We just got a new shipment of a bunch of different J.W. Lee's, before which I'd only had them at festivals. Now that I've worked though what they were offering, they might be one of my favorite breweries period, let alone from the U.K.!

ccrida, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of Dogbrick
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Dogbrick, Jan 26, 2004
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.28/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is rich, smoky, with hints of molasses and coffee - what I call "stouty" since I am partial towards porters and stouts. It pours a dark, semi-opaque mahogany with a fine-bubbled and fairly persistent head. Flavor is smoky and malty with a fair amount of sweetness. When it goes down the hatch, it leaves a touch of hoppy bitterness, which complements the sweet rather than clashing. A flavorsome and enjoyable beer, one should sip and savor it, and preferably without a distraction like a party or game.

Cyberkedi, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of DefenCorps
2.48/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

16.9oz bottle received from hwwty4 as the Ugly in the GBU BIF. Thanks, man (maybe?) Into my Duvel tulip

A: Pours a deeep brown with a thin tan head that dissipates very quickly to a ring. Deep crimson highlights. Not much carbonation.

S: Smells loaded with molasses and jaggery sweetness with none of the spices one would expect from a winter warmer. Sweetness is pretty complex but not necessarily appealing with some peaty, smoked notes

T: Starts off with a watery cola sweetness along with a lot of varied sweetness with molasses, jaggery and cola. Finish is thin, sweet and watery

M: Flat, sweet, thin, watery. Nothing to like here

D: Fuck that, 8 sips is about all i can do.

DefenCorps, Oct 14, 2008
Photo of WOLFGANG
4/5  rDev +9%

WOLFGANG, Jul 05, 2013
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....

ZAP, Aug 18, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

RoyalT, Nov 15, 2003
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.

francisweizen, Nov 15, 2004
Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +9%

mrfrancis, Jul 09, 2013
Photo of cokes
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

cokes, Jan 07, 2005
Photo of rfgetz
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%

rfgetz, Mar 25, 2013
Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -18.3%

jophish17, Dec 06, 2011
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.33/5  rDev +18%
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.

UncleJimbo, Feb 07, 2003
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.

merlin48, Jul 23, 2005
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.

Vancer, Jul 17, 2006
Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev +9%

BeerForMuscle, Jun 03, 2013
Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber pour, very little white head. Nutty, citrus with some malt aroma. Upfront is a little bitter with some citrus, green apple. Mellows out into a real nice maltiness. The fruit continues to fade as the beer warms, the maltiness increases with some toffee and prune like flavors. A solid medium body. The abv isn't exactly strong ale like, but I thought this one was a bit under rated. Would recommend a try to anyone who likes a traditional old ale style brew. For those that prefer a strong ale as basically an Imperial IPA, than this is not for you.

Bung, Jan 20, 2009
Moonraker Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.