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

Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale

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

134 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 134
Reviews: 97
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.8%


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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 134 | Reviews: 97 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of thecheapies
thecheapies

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

This beer is quite dark! Has a rich dark brown/black color with some thin purple light seeping through. Sepia foam gathers with some difficulty around the surface.

British maltiness with some scotch ale notes, roastiness, spicy hops, gooey toffee, chicory coffee, dark fruits, meaty nuttiness, and some soft chocolate. Subtle alcohol. A very good nose.

Toffee malts with a browned apple backing. The hops are very mild, very aged, but with a husky spiciness. Nuances of nutty coffee and chocolate and cognac. Hints of dried fruit and black strap. Not too sweet; very balanced. Yeast has a drier, powdery finish that really sops up leftover flavors.

The body could use sturdied up, a bit. It feels a little thin. The carbonation is definitively too weak. There's room for improvement.

One of the better English Strong Ales that I have had. Worth buying.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 15:38:40 | More by thecheapies
Photo of jazzyjeff13
jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
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A 500ml bottle with a BB of Aug 2013, so it's a bit out of date.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.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2013 01:21:30 | More by jazzyjeff13
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek

New York

4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2013 23:49:31 | More by GreesyFizeek
Photo of StJamesGate
StJamesGate

New York

4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Chocolate black with a motionless clingy tan carpet of froth.
Raspberry, grilled steak, and wood on the nose.
Purple plum, liqueur-filled chocolates, sweet liqourice, then a big cream soda hit, followed by tea leaf and cedar chip hops.
Sambuca finish with undertones of port and vanilla and drying woody linger.
Medium, smooth, plenty of chew.

A tug of war between the sweetness - both fruit and chocolate - and the bitterness - both roast and hop, with the sweetness winning. I've read there's some impressive hop character in this, but with a Dec 15, '12 bottling date, that was never going to happen here. Real depth - even some old ale notes - out of a historic recipe, though, and one I'd be willing to investigate again fresh.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 19:33:32 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of mjryan
mjryan

Minnesota

3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

First off, a porter this beer is not. Sure, it's dark and well, that's where the porter comparison needs to end. Then what the hell do we call this thing? Not sure actually. Maybe an historical English black ipa? It is pretty hoppy, has the tell tale muted, well traveled old school English hop character. A bit fruity, a bit earthy or even herbal, English is what I call it. Fairly bitter as well. Tastes a bit like chocolate (ok, score another point for porter), but it's mild, smooth, nuanced even. Not at all roasty, no acrid burntness (burntness? Maybe someday it will be a real word). It's sweet chocolate, milk chocolate lite. Hops in the flavour as well. Quite hoppy actually, or perhaps surprisingly. Bitter end, lingers. Ok, perhaps porter might be the best place to put this thing. As it warms, the roast wakes up and yawns a bit before going back to sleep. Also, I have no idea how old this shit is. Really fresh I'm sure it's easier to define, maybe. I'll sum it up here. It's very dark, pleasantly hoppy, has some nice milk chocolate notes, faint roast, bitter and sweet at the end. It's a super bloody strong, hoppy English porteresque beer! Oh, it's also very good no matter what it is.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2013 22:26:25 | More by mjryan
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chilled 500ml bottle with three days to go before it's BBD: poured into an Abbot Ale glass tankard at home on 1st Aug 2013.

Looked great: lovely dark body with a huge tanned head of large bubbles, smooth foaming top to the head.

Dry but malty nose and taste: bitterness comes through from the start. Mild burnt feel to the flavour, but not overpowering. Dark chocolate and young Port came to mind mid-tasting, very nice!

Really impressed: full of interesting flavours and although my palate is on the sweet side this beer still hit the spot for me.

It is warm and sunny outside as I drink and write this: even though this is a coal fire and winter brew in my eyes, it can also be taken during the summer months.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2013 12:36:10 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is close to near black in color—reddish colors are visible near the edges of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a thin tan head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark fruits—raisins seem to stand out in particular—are present in the nose along with notes of dark malts.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has bits of sweetness along with additional flavors of dark fruits. No bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This porter is quite flavorful but really sets it apart is its drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2013 21:07:54 | More by metter98
Photo of Dope
Dope

Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No bottling date that I can see. Probably around a year old.

A: Pours a dark brown with a very light brown head. Head is quite light and fluffy. Head fades somewhat quickly, leaving zero lacing behind. Decent retention at least.

S: Mild roasted malt with a little bit of smoke in there. A little bit of umami.

T: Again with the mild roasted malt. Touches of smoke, char, umami and even a little chocolate. Flavors turn a little drying and bitter in the finish, more of an acrid smoke along with bitter cocoa powder. Lingering chocolate between sips along with an odd metallic taste. Might be due to age?

M: Medium bodied, smooth.

O: Not a bad english porter. Flavors are mild but well integrated and balanced. Smooth and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2013 00:01:53 | More by Dope
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from an undated 16.9 oz. bottle into a snifter. The beer is clear and a deep brown colo but looks essentially black in the glass. The modest light brown head has about average retention and leaves some lacing on the glass. The rich, if not strong, aroma is very appealing and mainly consists of dark (and lighter?) malts and some dark fruits (particularly raisins and dates), sweet and not smoky.

T: The taste {4+] is nicely rich and malty, with plenty of dark fruit flavor (particularly plum, dried plum, raisin and date), some caramel, a touch of spicy hops, and a hint of chocolate. Some coffee and a faint hint of smoke in the finish. Excellent sweet/bitter balance.

M: Smooth with a medium carbonation that makes it lively and crisp for style. Medium-to-heavy body.

O: Flavorful and goes down easily. Has some qualities that overlap with a Baltic Porter, including a fairly well-hidden high ABV. Readily recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2013 23:12:19 | More by chinchill
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of light tan foam on top of an opaque, dark brown body. The head settles quickly and leaves light rings of lace.

S - Roasty brown malt with hints of molasses, licorice, and caramel.

T - Dark, sweet malt up front with some caramel. Molasses and red apple in the middle with some spicy notes of clove and plum towards the finish and a lingering roast and licorice character.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly sweet finish.

D - This is a really unusually thick and dark British ale with spicy character that is reminiscent of a winter ale. Like the other J.W. Lees beers I have had it stands out as better than most examples of the style and it has a rich complexity that would probably do well with extended aging.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2012 01:23:04 | More by nickfl
Photo of ianjsullivan
ianjsullivan

Maryland

3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

ST: 1 pint 9oz poured into a pint glass. The bottle lists ABV but does not list DBD.

A: A fingernail of off-white slight brown head sits on top of a dark, almost black, color with red tints at the bottom of the glass. Within thirty seconds the head settles down to a thin, but fully covering, line.

S: Very nutty with milk, malt, smoke, and toffee.

T: Starts out sweet and nutty; the malt really shines. Some coffee bean bitterness joins in the middle. A little bit of bitterness from hops rounds out the finish with some smoke.

M: Surprisingly light and not as creamy as the aroma indicated.

O: Manchester Star is a very pleasant and drinkable beer. It is easy to see why porter was popular with the workers of Industrial Revolution England. This particular porter blends its 7.3%ALC very well, while still offering nice and mild flavor. Its nutty slightly smokey and meaty flavor would do well with most food. A small negative is that the body of this beer could be a wee heavier.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2012 18:16:03 | More by ianjsullivan
Photo of shand
shand

Florida

4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Pours a very deep brown color with a tiny head. Aroma is a nice, sweet malt with roast, chocolate, and a touch of dark fruit. The taste is a very nice, slightly amped up English porter. The signature sweet malts and dark fruits are ever-present, backed up by some milk chocolate and just a touch of coffee. The mouthfeel is smooth, and the drinkability is very good. Overall, it's a very good English porter.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 03:43:07 | More by shand
Photo of MoreThanWine
MoreThanWine

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an eighth inch of mocha head which vanished fast. The body is a clear burnt umber brown almost as dark as coffee. It smells very mildly of roasted malt and I'm not picking up the menagerie of other smells others like to point out. The taste mirrors the smell and I'd have to say this is the absolute mildest porter I've ever had. It's best attribute is the body which is smooth and creamy and a nice mouthfeel. In the finish a very sublime English hop bitterness sneaks in.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2012 09:33:07 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear brown colored beer with next to no head.

Smell is sweet with a lot of molasses aroma in the scent. Patent malt, coconut and faint butter. Caramel and chocolate with a faint fruit aroma.

Starts out mildly sweet with mild flavors of vanilla and molasses. Like most British beers the tastes are subtle and not strong. Leather and some tobacco flavors. Still this needs more taste.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall it smells better than it tastes. Doesn't taste bad it is just under flavored

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 03:35:46 | More by Zorro
Photo of allforbetterbeer
allforbetterbeer

Colorado

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. No date on bottle. I bought this at Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, CO for ~$6.

This beer produces a soft-looking and compact finger of tan head (looks the color of latte foam) over a pure black body that shows very slight ruby highlights when held to strong light. Tiny streams of very small bubbles can be seen rising around the edges of the beer.

Smells of soft roasted malts and small helpings of dark fruit. A whiff of hops rises with a swirl, but otherwise the above aromas make up the nose. Smells very English and very pleasing.

The flavor is well rounded and feels soft from the overall low level of bitterness. As in the nose, non-acrid roasted malts, a touch of hops, and dark fruit take center stage. I find this quite like a Baltic porter, expect the hop levels are far lower, and there are no notes of coffee or smoke in this flavor. Not quite like anything I have had before, and tasty.

The mouthfeel is medium with lower residual sugar, but not thin or weak. It seems that there is something slightly lacking, but maybe this is part of what the style is meant to feel like (not being a stout).

Conclusion: This is an excellent English porter, and I believe it is the strongest example of the style I have tasted to date. I like it is actually different from conventional porters and stouts, and tastes like the original style is described.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2011 17:15:38 | More by allforbetterbeer
Photo of bruachan
bruachan

District of Columbia

4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

skinnypinky of nice bone-colored (not the desert-bleached kind), tight foam. patches of opaque lacing. the liquid itself is not quite opaque: deep chestnut

excellent roasty, chicory aromas escape the brew. this beer smells like brown should smell! bread crust

surprisingly, hops are the first (or at least near to) thing i taste. a tasteful (i.e. not excessive) roasty sweetness takes over promptly. mostly dry and certainly all about the nutty/bready flavors. and since we don't want too much malt holding up those dynamite flavors, we ask the hops the do the work. they hold everything together

man, what a classy beer!

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2011 01:01:49 | More by bruachan
Photo of avalon07
avalon07

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick texture. There was a half inch of creamy, tan-colored, fairly long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A decent aroma of malt, caramel and some fruit.

T: Tasted mainly of malt, with hints of caramel, plums, figs, and other dark fruits with it. A nice, warm generally well-balanced flavor.

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

O: This is a solid, but not spectacular English Porter. Very drinkable, though.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2011 13:14:23 | More by avalon07
Photo of Francepants06
Francepants06

Louisiana

3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It poured a dark brown to black body with no head. I smelled some dark bitter sweet chocolate, malt, roasted nuts.
I tasted some brown sugar, chocolate,espresso, malt.
This is a full body beer, very heavy. Porter? this beer makes some stout seem light, it hides the alcohol very well but is way to heavy to be called a porter. Any chocolate desert would go very well with this.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2011 05:50:56 | More by Francepants06
Photo of FanofHefe
FanofHefe

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2011 21:58:52 | More by FanofHefe
Photo of Offa
Offa

California

4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Essentially black, big dark tan head steadily shrinks to a foamy, frothy ring, a little weak lace.

Aroma is rich prune, caramelized dark dried figs, woody fruit, hint of gingerbread, and very nice.

Taste is prunes and figs in brandy, dark toast, dryish toasty finish after a sweeter, fruity and more alcoholic start. It has some dark leafiness and woodiness throughout, some spiciness. It is not super complex or deep but is well-balanced and well rounded with a goof, firm character and a little complexity. It’s slightly on the thin side, light for the ABV, and very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2011 01:39:47 | More by Offa
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. Two inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, oatmeal, slight dry hop, alcohol, hint of syrup, and hint of yeast. Fits the style of an English Porter. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, slight grain, alcohol, slight dry hop, and a hint of syrup. Overall, good appearance, mouth feel, and blend.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2011 14:11:46 | More by Tone
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 03:57:31 | More by Brad007
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BeerAdvocate

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #44 (Sep 2010):

A beer of resurrection. Big, brown, heady start ... such a dark, inviting brew. Tart plums to spiced molasses cake to caramel make for a showy aroma. Hefty body and a deep smoothness. A little burnt, with more of a burnt sugar flavor in the end. Maltiness is all over the place with bread, caramel, brown bread and unsweetened dark choco- late flavors to sort out. Some modest hopping is helped along by the fruity alcohol, keeping it on an even keel. Caramelized pineapple. Fading burnt grain finish with a long lingering of ripe fruit. Super tasty, this one is--a keeper, a sipper and an absolute delight.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2011 18:20:10 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of Bung
Bung

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes.
Pours a grainy dark brown with a slight tan head. Malty, molasses, raisin aroma. Similar in taste, with light grains/nut and sweet chocolate. Subtle carbonation. Some tobacco like qualities in the finish. Pretty drinkable, mellowed and balanced out more as it warmed. Not bad, but too much sweet malt and not enough roast for me.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2010 01:13:51 | More by Bung
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with off-whit generous head. Licorice and malty aroma. Above average mouthfeel. Good representation of English porter, most drinkable black licorice mostly, some chocolate malts. Not very sweet, understated roast and that bit of tabacco that remains on the palate.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2009 02:19:55 | More by Sammy
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Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 134 ratings.