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

Not Rated.
Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

142 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 142
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 9.82%
Wants: 13
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: yen157 on 03-17-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 142 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has the look of a Porter.
It pours Bible black.
Produces a frothy head that lasts a long time and laced the glass.
The nose is slight with hints of toasted malt and a bit alcohol.
Blindfolded and tasting this beer I declare it a porter or perhaps some sort of an ale-- although the signature of a porter is dominant over that of a strong ale.
While the bitterness of hops is unmistakeable the toasted malt shows through with a hair of sweetness as an undercurrent. I might venture to say I tasted some caramel as well.
The finish is long with a bitter hops note yet tempered by a porter's signature.
Mouthfeel was good but I wish there was more to the flavor body- I suppose that porters are not supposed to be particularly robust or dense.. as a stout should be.
Drinkability was fine-- the alcohol was not overwhelming and the entire presentation was interesting enough to motivate me to look for another bottle of this porter.
Next time I'm at my fave packie-- I'll very likely buy a bottle or two-- unfortunately the price of this import dampens my enthusiasm for stocking my stash with too much of the same brew.

gueuzeonhigh, Oct 10, 2008
Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a 500 mL bottle, poured into an Ommegang Hennepin glass. The porter is close to room temperature.

Appearance: The ale is a deep black color with deep ruby highlights, especially when held to light. There is a nice ring of head around the glass.

Smell: The ale has an unusual aroma, a cross between the roasted porter that I am used to and an older, almost Rodenbach-esque aged ale. Very interesting...

Taste: The ale tastes as intriguing as the smell, a mixture of old and new. The old provides a nice quasi-stale taste, while the new gives a sweet character.

Mouthfeel: The ale's unusual provenance allows it to sit quite well on the palate.

Drinkability: I intend to grab another bottle or two at my next stop at Wells.

akorsak, Apr 17, 2006
Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Aug 2013, so it's a bit out of date. Picked up from Sainsbury's last year as part of their 2012 Beer Hunt and stored in my garage. I'm hoping its strength has helped to keep it in good condition. Described on the label as a revival of an original recipe from 1884 - this beer was one of the two winners of the 2012 Beer Hunt.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A dark chestnut-brown hue that appears almost black in the glass. Produces a large head of creamy beige foam that lasts for a few minutes before reducing to a surface layer. Aroma of rich, fruity malt with hints of prunes, dried fruit, mild molasses, fruitcake, caramel, ale yeast and faint stewed hops. Slightly sweet, with a warming whiff of booze lurking in the background. Fantastically deep and delicious - superb.

Tastes of sweet, fruity malt with a lingering finish. Notes of prunes, raisins, dried fruit, port, fruitcake, caramel, subtle molasses, ale yeast and stewed hops. Faintly sweet, with a hint of warming alcohol in the background and a restrained bitterness upon swallowing. Amazing balance. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with well-judged carbonation and good body. Mildly astringent, followed by an aftertaste of fruity malt, port wine, yeast and booze.

A first-rate effort; just what a strong ale should be. It looks lovely, while the aroma and flavour are rich, sweet and fruity. The booziness adds depth. Great balance and a smooth body. A perfect sipper for a winter's evening - the age of the bottle clearly did this no harm. A top-notch brew; don't pass it up if you see it.

jazzyjeff13, Nov 21, 2013
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500(?)ml brown bottle from Florian's in Auburn. Completely opaque black body with only a thin film of light tan head. Smells of burnt and caramel malts with hints of black licorice. Burnt malt, caramel malt, coffee and chocolate flavors dominate with just a hint of black licorice on the finish (along with coffee flavor). Full bodied, almost to the point of chewiness. Bears some similarity to Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout IMO, though lighter in body and alcohol slightly, and a bit more complex. Fantastic. The great mouthfeel and complex array of flavors make this beer a clear winner. I'll be getting it again - a new favorite porter!

MrHurmateeowish, Feb 04, 2007
Photo of merlin48
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Replicated from an 1884 recipe, in association with Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver, according to the label.
Pours a dark and opaque ebony body with a small beige head that quickly falls into a collar. No lacing.
Aroma is interesting, with notes of dark chocolate, molasses, Concord grapes, and creamed coffee. A few roasty notes appear as it warms.
Mouthfeel is thick and coating, somewhat chewy. Medium full bodied with low carbonation.
Taste is excellent. Medium milk chocolate sweetness, dark fruity figs and dates, soft grassy hops, Concord grapes, and a note of molasses. No hint of the higher abv. A few roasty dark malt notes finally emerge near the finish.
Very tasty and dangerously drinkable. Taste is superlative, but slightly on the sweet side with the dark fruits, Concord grapes, and milk chocolate. Wish this one was not so expensive.

merlin48, Sep 18, 2005
Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a somewhat unique brew (or at least the style is). Not sweet like an English Barleywine (such as the superb J.W. Lees Harvest Ale). Not bitter like an ESB. And nothing like an English porter or stout, although it looks like a stout. It starts just a little hoppy or sweet but grows in complexity and fruity and wine characteristics as it warms. In fact it gets better and better as it goes down. Another excellent offering from a superb brewery.

Beer-A-Lot, May 04, 2014
Photo of silver0rlead
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a descent tan head that doesnt retain well. The aroma is mostly composed of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee, with some dark fruits, floral hops, and minerally burtonized water. The taste starts off with expresso and milk chocolate notes, as well as dark fruit (plum, fig, raisin), burnt bread, and some minerals and metallic water. I was dissapointed initially, but this is supposed to be a traditional porter that the english would have drank in the late 19th centruy. This beer feels very authentic, the mouthfeel is lighter than expected and the drinkability is good. A very nice interpretation of a late 19th century english porter.

silver0rlead, May 09, 2006
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a deep dark black with red highlights and two fingers of frothy tan head.

Aroma of sweet malts, raisins, caramel, and a hint of butterscotch.

Tastes of sweet malts, molasses, vanilla, cocoa, raisins, nuts, and dark ripe fruit. Finishes surprisingly clean.

Full bodied, rich and creamy, with a modest fizz to the carbonation.

You'd be hard pressed to stop after only one of these. This is a quality porter from J.W. Lees. Try one when you get the chance.

Monkeyknife, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of cvstrickland
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into a pint nonic glass yields an opaque brunette body with faint brown-amber highlights and a thick finger of fine-bubbled khaki foam that scatters a little lacing onto the glass.

Smell is sweet and earthy with dark raisins, sugary dates, and overripe figs dusted in cocoa, then drizzled with molasses.

Taste is chewy, sweet, and nutty with caramel, husky toasted malt, cola nuts, and a twang reminiscent of unsulphured molasses. As the drink warms, flavors of dark wheat toast with a little butter, and a dry, powdery note of unsweetened instant hot cocoa mix emerge. This might make a great breakfast drink! J

Medium-bodied, milky, mouth-coating, and just a bit sticky, this savory drink is a prince among porters.

cvstrickland, Jul 13, 2008
Photo of francisweizen
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle.

Cola brown with not much of a head to speak of. The aromas remind me of an interesting melange of things. Tire rubber, biscuity malts, cocoa, weak coffee, a bit of smoke, and more. The taste is more coffee and chocolate than the aroma leads on to belive. But the malts are there in full force, and the interesting rubber flavor comes back on the back side as well. Well integrated and nice, but a bit thin in the mouth. Drinkability remains good though. Truly an interesting brew, that I hope to sample again. I wonder if they will produce casks of this for the UK market? One can only hope!

francisweizen, Mar 29, 2005
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased at Acme Bar and Pizza in Rochester, NY.

Pours a dark black, with a light brown slowly rising head that sticks to the glass as I gulp this beauty down.

Smells include sweet, earthy dark fruit, chocolate, and coffee.

The taste follows suit. Roasted malt, along with chocolate and some mild coffee, come to the forefront, with the dark fruit flavors coming on the back end of each sip. The fruit gives the beer a slightly sour twang. Some licorice too.

Medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel. Very drinkable. Low carbonation.

One of the best English porters. Awesome.

GreesyFizeek, Sep 30, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a stout-like dark dark brown with a bubbly tan head that leaves some shard of lace

Smell: Burnt brown sugar and dark fruit (fig, black raspberry and prune) aromatics supplemented by some vanilla, maple and a touch of anise

Taste: Starts out treacly, with a dark fruit character that has a touch of Flemish Red to it without the sourness; vague hints of maple, vanilla and anise also appear underneath; after the swallow, the flavors converge into a sweet, but complex, flavor combination

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A really interesting combination of flavors; really like the unusual fruit character that blends with the sweet malts

brentk56, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of Tumble
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Tumble, Jun 27, 2012
Photo of Brad007
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a thin head into my glass. It's certainly a porter.

Aroma has hints of cream, chocolate and roasted coffee upfront. Very inviting on this cold night.

Hints of chocolate and roasted coffee greet the mouth. It's slightly coarse from the alcohol but otherwise on target style-wise.

Mouthfeel is full of chocolate and roasted coffee notes. Very mellow. The malt shines as it should for the style.

I really enjoyed this porter. I don't drink as many porters as I used to but it's always nice to have a subtle, drinkable example.

Brad007, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of Bryfind
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Bryfind, Jul 11, 2012
Photo of PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

PEIhop, Sep 17, 2013
Photo of WOLFGANG
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

WOLFGANG, Jul 05, 2013
Photo of Phishagonia
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Phishagonia, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of ypsifly
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Undated pint bottle purchased at Merchant's in Dearborn and poured into a pint glass.

Black under an inch or so of tan that settles to a couple CMs and just sits there. Good retention with thick webs of lace.

Roasted malts and some lactic aromas that turn a bit sour. Suggestion of lightly roasted nuts and coffee. I like the complexity and aromas overall.

Roasted malts upfront that is briefly tempered by hazelnut and then balanced out by a slowly building hop flavored dryness that lingers in the finish yet doesn't block out some bitter chocolate residuals.

I especially like the mouthfeel as it works very well with the flavors despite the low carbonation. A very enjoyable English Porter that I will be sure to revisit.

ypsifly, May 23, 2006
Photo of FanofHefe
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a pint bottle into a Duvel tulip. Very carbonated and produces a two-finger, dense dark tan head. The head has decent retention and leaves rings of lacing along the glass. The body is dark and no light gets through. Dark brown, almost black body, with just a hint of red hue along the edges.

Superb aroma. Dark, roasted malts and sweet dark fruit. Plum and raisin are prominent along with some light notes of toffee and chocolate.

The flavor is very solid overall, but just a little less than I would have expected from the aroma. Dense, dark malted flavors combine with some earthy fruitiness. No real coffee flavor, but the toffee notes are present. The rich flavors blend nicely and are even better as it warms up a bit.

Dense mouthfeel that is very smooth overall. Great brew that is one I would love to have for an after dinner drink. Would pair well with a nice mild pipe tobacco.

FanofHefe, May 27, 2011
Photo of yoko
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The pint, point 9 oz. (can't forget the ounces) pours a dark brown/black with red/orange highlights not allowing for much light to come through. The short foamy tan sudsy head melts to a collection of varing size bubbles that collect around the glass leaving a thin whisp wash center. The nose was not tremendously big yet rich and soft of coffee mocha/cola and a subtle banana. The mouthfeel was rich with taste coming midway through as the malts reached high up in the palate. This is where the taste was greatest and remained. The finish was clean. What filled the senses was a soft, smooth, short, almost a creamy coffee yogurt/cola float. The dark malts synergestically brought a spicy/bitter to the sweet harmony of malts. Nice. The alcohol was woven well in the mix.

At $6.95 a pint I won't be revisiting as I would like to. Enjoy!

I appreciated the weight of the empty bottle, which energetically I find adds to the rootedness of the brew.

yoko, Apr 07, 2005
Photo of HappyHourHero
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 Pint .9 oz bottle with a short little story on the back that says the recipe was reintroduced after J.W. Lees visited Brooklyn Brewery in 2001. This is the second batch since then.

Pours a small dense light brown colored head that fades quickly to a film. Roasted malt aroma mixed with some vinuous tobaco notes. Deep black colored beer with a ruby hue when held to the light. Roasted malts, some cocoa and marshmallow, and some vinuous tobacco mix and mingle up front. Soft light body. Tons of flavor that reminds me a bit of Storm King, only a bit sweeter.

HappyHourHero, May 30, 2005
Photo of yen157
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Based on an 1884 recipe, revived in 2001 at the Brooklyn brewery and brought back into regular production by JW Lees.

Impressively dark brown with only the faintest cola-colored highlights shining through. Foamy beige head quickly melts back into the pint. Rich, sweet, treacle-y nose with notes of buttery toffee and artificial coffee (you know, like a coffee scented candle or somerthing). Decently sweet up front with the flavors reminiscent of chocolate. Finish is very coffee-n-cream with bitterness coming from the dark malts.

Pretty nimble mouthfeel considering the depth of the malt contributions and the 7.3% alcohol. I would love to come across this on tap or even cask conditioned. Great beer!

yen157, Mar 17, 2005
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours totally black with a miniscule brown/tan head. Nose is one dimensional molasses and malts. One odd thing that hit me on the flavor: vanilla!? Wouldn't have expected that with an English Porter, but hey: Garrett Olivers name is on the back label. This is going to bring something like you would expect it to as an American. (to the non-Americans, this is a prime example of the prowess of what the best American brewmasters can do with old world styles - just be ready for something a bit 'more') Feel carries a slightly thicker liquid body. Carbonation is lower, but it's appropriate. Very easy to drink. I like this beer. I like it a lot.

RblWthACoz, Sep 11, 2008
Photo of FightingEntropy
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: guest beer on tap at Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

A: No head at all when it arrived, but a slight ring around the edge that was brown like the inside of a malted milk ball.

S: solid toasted malt, biscuity and a spiceness (alcohol??), and very prominent on top was a sourness like a lambic. Interesting.

T: Sourness is continues in the front of the mouth, strong but not overwhelming at all. Tasted and slightly roasted malt, a bit of chocolate and burnt cherry underneath. Complex.

M: medium plus but not chewy or oily at all. Light enough to clearly be a porter.

D: slow sourness builds and lingers with the malt in the mouth. Very pleasant.

Overall: an excellent and very unique beer. It's like the flavor are in a tug of war but in a stale mate. I can see that some of the scores for this one would be low because of the shock of the sour notes, but if you like lambic and porter, jump on this one.

FightingEntropy, Sep 23, 2007
Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 142 ratings.