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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 GCBrewingCo
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

GCBrewingCo, Jan 29, 2006
Photo of stereosforgeeks
2.55/5  rDev -30.5%
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.

stereosforgeeks, Mar 17, 2007
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.

kmpitz2, Jun 22, 2005
Photo of garymuchow
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

garymuchow, Jun 27, 2005
Photo of Todd
4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
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.

Todd, Oct 15, 2001
Photo of dsa7783
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
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...

dsa7783, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of ADR
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

ADR, Nov 16, 2003
Photo of Crosling
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Crosling, Apr 19, 2006
Photo of CRJMellor
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

CRJMellor, Jun 04, 2004
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.

jazzyjeff13, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of lackenhauser
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Plain, deep amber sort of color. No real carbonation to it. No real aroma-somewhat sharp and wine like. Deep, sweet malty flavor though not overly impressive. Slight bitterness to it though it seems more from alcohol then hops. Somewhat thin body wise. Overall pretty average all around. No big deal.

lackenhauser, Mar 25, 2007
Photo of BretSikkink
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown, a few little clumps of sediment. When held to light, a few highlights of dark reddish amber show. Minimal head is foamy and quite sticky, although retention is not great.

Aroma is very thick and malty, very sweet with notes of caramel and toffee. Ester alcohol apparent as well.

Full, but not as thick as I expected, with plenty of bitter hops to balance the malt profile. Flavors emerge dramatically as the glass warms, with notes of coffee and oak join the fruity sweetness of the nose. There's an herbal sensation in the mouth, with a warming alcohol finish.

Winter warmer...interesting style. Big and well fermented, a complex brew but not as thick as other strong ale types.

BretSikkink, Jun 26, 2007
Photo of Offa
4.8/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an excellent, flavourful, well-rounded ale with good depth and complexity. Called a winter warmer here, the brewer calls it "strong ale" and it could easily be a lower ABV barleywine, somewhat similar to Young's Old Nick (although I can't currently compare the two side by side since Old Nick hasn't been available 'round these parts for some time). Like many "strong ales" the categorising it is rather vague.

Slightly hazy red-brown amber, it has a big tan head shrinking steadily to a foamy ring and wispy top with a little fleeting lace.

Aroma is strong whole wheat bread, fermented prunes and raisins, sweet flowery tea and leaves, sweet rummy hint.

Taste is spicey raisin & prune, with fermented rich whole wheat bread dough and leafy-woody-peppery-spicey character. On the swet side up front, it becomes drier in the middle before a slightly sweet finish nevertheless backed up by a light spicey bitterness with the hop traits noted above. Aftertaste is initially drier and toasty, leafy and peppery with some caramelised prune, before becoming sweeter. Feel is just right, a slight oiliness is just enough to give it enough body without making it heavy. Drinkability is exceedingly high. This is excellent.

Offa, Sep 03, 2010
Photo of TastyTaste
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark maroon, still light-penetrable. Head is small, but retentive.

Smell: Fruity, yet somewhat sour and acidic.

Taste: Malty and more mellow than I would expect. Diacetyl is noticeable, yet not that strong yet. Malts are roasted, and the alcohol is weill hidden. OK.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat creamy, OK carbonation, not bad.

Drinkability: Not a bad winter warmer, but I think this might be a little past it's peak.

TastyTaste, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of Fatehunter
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

Fatehunter, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of mdagnew
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
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....

mdagnew, Nov 22, 2006
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.

clvand0, Jun 22, 2005
Photo of macrosmatic
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a Cigar City pint glass.

A: Hazy deep brown, one finger's worth of off-white head, and low visible carbonation.

S: Boozy, caramel, spicy, brown malts (which smell a touch oxidized/cardboard to me).

T: Sweet brown malt, bready, a little cinnamon or nutmeg and vanilla with some rum raisin flavors. It's quite boozy for such a moderate ABV.

M: Medium body, carbonation on the low side but acceptable, and a little hot.

O: It's not bad, although it doesn't strike me as a winter warmer particularly. This bottle did have some age on it, which makes the booziness even more surprising.

macrosmatic, Mar 31, 2013
Photo of Amalak
2.93/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The beer poured reddish black in color, mainly opaque, and it doesn't have much head to it. Very hoppy scent to it, very nice.

The taste was hops and and berry, actually grape almost. Too grape in fact. It was also mixed with an oak barrel, slightly sweet scot taste to it.

Amalak, Jan 22, 2009
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.

brewandbbq, Oct 24, 2006
Photo of BeerSox
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into nonic.

Deep, dark and cloudy mahogany color with a one finger tan head that rises to just even with the rim of the glass. It slowly settles to a thin cap.

Roasty malty background along with a bit of burnt caramel and cinnamon.

Toasted grains which load in the caramel flavor. Some light spices are in the middle, but a lot so they are noticed. The feel is slightly tart. Hops are on the low end - this is a mostly sweet beer. Full bodied.

Somewhat of a spicy Winter Warmer. Not overdone though. Some roastiness, but mostly sweet caramel.

BeerSox, Mar 13, 2009
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.

ummswimmin, Feb 22, 2013
Photo of brystmar
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

brystmar, Aug 25, 2012
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.53/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Strong ale brewed on 8/13/09 and consumed on 12/27/09

A hazy and vibrant amber, deep color and a minimal, off-white head, dissipates quick, gone later on.

Fermented red fruits and candy apples, Port cask like sweetness, more dank fruits, wild yeastie fruitiness in the middle along with some tang. The malt holds a bunch of fruity sweetness with some minor cork-like aroma's that are pretty subtle.

This one has a very aged and complex malt flavor, sweet caramel along with a fruity edge that is sweet and sour. there is a gentle, very subtle hop balance but it's very subtle. the feel is full, smooth, more medium to full and it certainly feels like an aged brew. Huge complexity, fermented dates, sugar coated raisins, and dank bready malt with a rather heat for being 7.5%.

A great brew, huge complexity, thank you J.w lee's for serious quality.

GratefulBeerGuy, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of LJWalker
3/5  rDev -18.3%

LJWalker, Jul 27, 2012
Moonraker Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.