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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

141 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 141
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 12
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Manchester Star Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 141 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
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 Phyl21ca
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a light black color ale with a big foamy head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of black chocolate is very enticing with some nice English malt also noticeable. Taste of lightly sweet chocolate malt is very good and dominated the taste spectrum. Body was slightly watery with some medium carbonation. This was a very good beer but it is lacking a little something to be truly great.

Phyl21ca, Jan 05, 2007
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice dark pour. Some hints of burgundy show during pour on the edges. Head foams up nice, off white about 2 fingers.
smells a bit weak. Some light coffee and chocolate. A bit of roasted malt and vinegar.
Tastes a lot better than it smells. Hints of chocolate and coffee begin the taste, then moves to a more dominate flavor of blackberry or black plum. Subtle sweetness. A bit dry at the end, just enough to halt the sweets.
A good typical English porter..although not my style.

Mebuzzard, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of Suds
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a deep, brownish-ruby color with a frothy light-chocolate head. The aroma is enticing: molasses and malt (almost a malt-syrup smell) with dark chocolate, alcohol, and a mix of fruity esters. At times it has the faint aroma of booze soaked fruit. It’s a far more pleasing smell than I expected. The taste is semi-sweet with a focus on the malt. There’s a little toasted bread flavors, chocolate, and roasted grain as well. Wonderful, complex, and satisfying. The carbonation is quite restrained, giving the brew a smooth body with medium heft. It’s very drinkable, despite the sweetness. I was very impressed with this one.

Suds, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of bluejacket74
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours very dark brown with a tan head. It smells like roasted malt, molasses, coffee and bittersweet chocolate. However, the aroma isn't very strong. The taste is sweeter than I anticipated, with it tasting like molasses, plums, caramel and chocolate. There's also a small coffee-like bitter finish, but the sweetness overpowers it for the most part. The mouthfeel is creamy, with low/medium carbonation. It's very easy to drink, and it goes down nice and smooth. The alcohol isn't very noticable when I'm drinking it, even though it hits you later. I think this is a pretty good beer, I'll have to buy it more often.

bluejacket74, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of Stimack
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this brew on tap last night, first time I have seen it. Brew was poured to a dark black color with a tan head. The aroma was of chocolate, molasses and dark fruit like cherries, which seem to give of a sour like flavor. Ok, not sure if this brew might be going bad but I had noticed a strong sour taste (kind of like a Flanders) mixed in with nice Chocolate and charcoal like flavors up front. It was a little surprising but not bad, I actually did not mind it too much. Over all this was a pretty good brew, do think it may have run its course and the ratings here will show that. I will have to get a bottle of it to compare, but it is a brew I would get again as even though it had a sour smell and taste it was quite complex with the other attributes of this brew.

Stimack, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of walleye
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from the bottle. poured black with mahogany tint to it with a tan head. aroma a slight sourness comes out, than roasted malts, bitter chocolate, brown sugar as it warms the alcohol pops out along with some dark fruits. flavor, plums, and orange, molasses, some smoke, port wine. chocolate, nutty. a nice dry finish enjoyed this one

walleye, Sep 28, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque mahogany with dark gold highlights at the edges. I love to see light-rejecting porters because it usually means that the malt load is on the high side. The light caramel colored head is several fingers in height with a heap of glassine bubbles on its upper surface. I hope the lace display is ultimately more impressive than it is right now, since nothing is sticking so far (and nothing sticks in the end).

While the nose isn't as thunderously malty as I had hoped, it's still a good one and fits the style well. There's much more underripe dark fruit than there is chocolate or coffee. I'm reminded, to some extent, of a Baltic porter lite. English hops add olfactory interest.

Okay, so maybe my 'opacity equals malty' theory is all wet. Even though it isn't anywhere near stout-like, Manchester Star contains a decent amount of barley given the style. There's a great deal of flavor to be had and the beer probably hasn't even topped 55 degrees yet. I'm suprised by the fruity sourness. I'm also enjoying the flavor more as I become acclimated to it.

This one distinctive porter; I don't know that I've ever tasted another one quite like it. The flavor profile consists of treacle, raisins, plums, cocoa and a hint of anise. It's something of a mishmash, but an interesting mishmash that works well. Hard to describe, easy to enjoy. There's quite a bit more depth here than in most versions of the style.

The body/mouthfeel firms up as the beer sits, achieving 'medium' status by the bottom half of the bottle. A light stickiness on the back end and a subdued amount of carbonation help the mouthfeel quite a bit and cause the beer to seem more viscous than it actually is.

Manchester Star is interesting beer. Thankfully, it's also good beer. Along with Samuel Smith's Famous Taddy, Fuller's London and Original Flag, it's an English porter to be reckoned with. If you're looking for a quintessential, across the pond version that is nothing like its American counterparts, give this one a go. Tasty stuff.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 26, 2006
Photo of xav33
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

J.W. Lees Manchester Star Ale
English Pint bottle
Unknown bottling, savoured 08/06.
Medium pour in an English pint.

Poured black with a slight dark brown rim, with a mostly lasting fizzy 1 inch mocha head.

Smelt of roasted grain and molasses, a hint of fruit.

Taste was smokey and raisiny upfront, with a sweet and sour and bitter body, like a slightly creamy dark coffee roast. Finish was above average length, with the bitterness holding on tight, a hint of fruit and tobacco, and the alcohol showing through. Mouthfeel was creamy and lively.

Overall, a great sweet porter that is bold and complex, whose only flaw may be that the different flavors that are thrown at the drinker are unbalanced and haphazard.

Notes: This could be cellared for a 1/2 year to a year.

xav33, Aug 11, 2006
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was not what I was expecting, seeing it says ale on the bottle. Poured pitch black, very sweet burnt malt/caramel smell. Tastes like sweet malt, dried fruit, raisins and a little bit of cocoa. Overall pretty good. Again I was a bit surprised since I was not expecting a porter, but it's good stuff. Seek it out.

Manosbeeroffate, Aug 01, 2006
Photo of sacfly
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

500mL, no fresh date
Pours an opaque black/brown color with a medium head of small brown bubbles. Aroma is nutty with a hint of roasted malt sweetness. Taste is sweet and chewy. Slick on the tongue. Full body and sweet, sticky aftertaste.

I have to admit, I really enjoyed about half of this. After that, it just got to be too heavy and sweet. After a while all I could really perceive was the syrupy nature of the brew. Good to split with someone and move on to something. Too much of a good thing.

sacfly, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of EvilKeith
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours from the bottle a dark brown, nearly black in color. The head is a creamy mocha color that falls to a cap.
Smell is rich caamel, and more caramel, ripened dark fruits, roasted, and a bit of smokiness.
Taste is sugary sweet, chewy malts, caramel, dark fruit, prunes, and hints of ethyl alcohol. Faint hop bittering in the finish.
Medium-heave body. Mild carbonation. Fruit juice-like mouthfeel.
I could probably sip a couple of pints before the fruit juice-like sweetness got to be too much for me.

EvilKeith, Jul 20, 2006
Photo of BDTyre
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

English porter kicked up a notch.

Excellent deep, abyss-like ruby colour with a very thin off white head. Smell is roasted malts, coffee and chocolate, but slightly on the sweet side. Reminds me more of a Baltic porter in scent. This may be due in part to the higher than average alcohol content.

Lovely, smooth roasted malt and chocolate taste. No alcohol detectable. A sweeter, smother version of Fuller's London Porter. Smooth, low carbonation mouthfeel. Drinkable, but be careful of the ABV...English porters are generally not in this range for ABV and this can hit you all of a sudden.

BDTyre, Jun 29, 2006
Photo of ypsifly
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
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 sinstaineddemon
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - dark crimson color, a thin short lived dark tan head, too dark to see any carbonation or sediment

S - mmm...a sweet aroma, with hints of vanilla and caramel, with an alcohol kick

T - taste similar to aroma, sweet flavors of molasses, vanilla, and caramel, with a sweet aftertaste too, slight bitterness to balance it

M - smooth and silky, very good

D - high, unless you only like bitters, a great brew, to me very similar to the George Gale Festival Mild Ale

sinstaineddemon, May 17, 2006
Photo of silver0rlead
4.22/5  rDev +6%
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 Crosling
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears black in the glass, with a small, poorly developed light tan cream. Very light malt aroma, with a hint of espresso (with cream), roast and chocolate along with a touch of charred raisins and a hint of leather. Flavor is really rich and malty, quite unique in its composition. Hints of chocolate covered plums, salty cashews and a light hint of coffee. Light in body, but with a fitting texture and a moderate hop finish. Very tasty porter, but lacking aromatically. Still though, to be drinking this in 1884...

Crosling, Apr 24, 2006
Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
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 oberon
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown nearly black with some ruby tint when held up to the light a thinner mocha colored head atop.Deeply roasted malt,molasses and bitter chocolate aromas dominate,somewhat drier porter here starts out very roasty with some raisin quality along with a touch of brown sugar but finishing very earthy with notes of unsweetened chocolate.Just a solid beer thru out nice balance of sweet to earthiness.

oberon, Mar 21, 2006
Photo of bigsilky
4.58/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, really impressed with this one. Poured into a crown-viking imperial pint glass. An off-white head forms and settles to a velvety blanket that perches itself atop the beer for a short time...

Enough with the poetry. I absolutley love this beer. I am usually a nut for porters and this is spot on. The dark-reddish hue that seems to entrance the imbiber. Winey notes of caramel apple and minerals spiral into a smoky english malt body. Just enough hops on to bitter and work with the judicious carbonation to give a snappy finish. Was the water Burtonized???

Who cares, the only thing that sucks is the price, but I think it's well worth it.

bigsilky, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of geexploitation
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours quite still, with a minimal head that dissipates very fast. The color is a coffee brown coming out of the bottle, but in the glass very little light escapes this beer. Some reddish highlights show up when this beer is held up to a direct light. The nose is quite big, especially for a porter with no head to speak of. The biggest note is burnt chocolate along with treacle. The taste is huge and sweet right off the bat, with some phenols rearing up and then ending with just a bit of roasted malt bitterness. The mouthfeel is still and silky but with a bit of a bite from some slight carbonation. High drinkability with this one, in spite of the relatively high alcohol.

I imagine this would be an excellent dessert beer. Quite sweet and sumptuous.

geexploitation, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma has lots of dark fruit sweetness and some low intensity roasted malt aromas. Deep black with a quickly diminishing head that compresses to a fine dime thin line. Fore is both malty and fruity with lots of prune and raisin and a bit of molasses for good measure. The alcohol is unoticeable. Tobacco elements do come out, but only as it warms a good bit. Found it quite tasty.

Jredner, Jan 18, 2006
Photo of jdhilt
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a two-finger light tan head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Black - totally opaque. Light carbonation, medium-heavy bodied. Nose is molasses/raisin. Starts sweet, didn't really notice the hops, smooth molasses finish, excellent porter. Pricey, $6.99 for a 500ml bottle from Julio's Liquors, Ma.

jdhilt, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of cubedbee
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark opaque brown with two fingers of coffe colored head that fades quickly, little lacing. Nose is a nice strong roasted malt with a hint of sweet molasses. Taste is more of the same, a slightly sweet toasty dark malt infused with molasses, a slight hop bite, a slight hint of alcohol on the finish, a bit of smokiness coming through as well. Medium/thick bodied with a nice smooth carbonation. This is a solid porter, sweeter than most I've tried, but very flavorful.

cubedbee, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of merlin48
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
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
Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 141 ratings.