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 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 avalon07
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

Photo of ccrida
4.6/5  rDev +25.3%
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.!

Photo of DefenCorps
2.5/5  rDev -31.9%
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.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

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 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 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 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 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 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.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
2.59/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – Dark brown with a mild red hue. There was very little carbonation. Nonexistant lacing.

Smell – The aroma is very muffled but from what I can tell there are some caramel malts, with some nuts and fruit (fig or raisin?)

Taste – The caramel malts provide a strong backbone for some sherry and oak notes. This is pretty sugary and while the nuts and dark fruit seem present they are in the background.

Mouthfeel – The full bodied beer was almost sticky in the mouth and there didnt seem to be anything to help light the load on your palate some sort of carbonation would have been nice. Maybe this beer was a little too old?

Drinkability – This one was a bit lackluster. Maybe a fresher bottle will change my mind.

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 merlin48
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
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 Vancer
3.29/5  rDev -10.4%
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 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 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 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.

Photo of Todd
4.38/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 275ml brown bottle. No freshness date. It's got a little "Camra" logo on it -- I guess stating that this is a "real ale."

Appearance: Rich, dark amber, near absolute brown in colour. The off-white head is crazy, thick, foamy, creamy, patchy, sticky and it seems to not want to go away. There's some clumps as this is a bottle-conditioned ale. Pour carefully.

Smell: Huge caramel, toffee, coffee and esters in the aroma.

Taste: Smooth, with some bittiness in the mouthfeel. Body is rich, thick and full. Malt profile is very sweet and robust with toffee, coffee, caramel, honey, chocolate, vanilla, oak/wood, fruity esters and raisin. Toasted and roasted notes tag each other into the tastebud ring as the complex flavours shift around the palate. Bitterness is just enough to balance things out, but not too much as to spoil the malt character -- a sort of semi-herbal, raw hop flavour and feel. Alcohol presence is strong, prickly and warming. Finishes with residual malt flavours, then turns dry.

Notes: This is an insanely delicious ale! A must for big beer lovers, and a fine addition for any beer cellar. Too bad it's so damn expensive at $5.45 a bottle here in the US.

On the back it says it won as a winter ale, and as a barley wine. I'll just call it a strong ale and straighten things out.

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 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 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 dsa7783
3.12/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice-sized bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"Award Winning Strong Beer" on the front logo sticker...
A thoroughly aggressive pour resulted in a crisp, clear, lucid coca-cola-colored, dark purple appearance with no head at all or any visible lacing or carbonation...
Strong, alcohol-laden, fruity smell, rather dark, with a noticeable suggestion of dehydrated fruits...
Taste strongly complemented the aroma, with an obvious suggestions of prunes, dates, figs, plums, Sherry, and caramel...
Rich, creamy mouthfeel, with a noticeable suggestion of the 7.5% ABV...
Drinkability was average to say the least due to the presence of powerful alcohol, and the cloying sweet flavors...

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 Crosling
3.31/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

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