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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

138 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 138
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 11
Gots: 2 | 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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Suds
Suds

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2006 20:45:10 | More by Suds
Photo of bluejacket74
bluejacket74

Ohio

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2006 00:21:09 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of Stimack
Stimack

New York

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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-28-2006 13:22:20 | More by Stimack
Photo of walleye
walleye

Michigan

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

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2006 00:06:56 | More by walleye
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2006 15:35:43 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of xav33
xav33

Michigan

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2006 03:48:16 | More by xav33
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
Manosbeeroffate

Maine

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2006 23:29:20 | More by Manosbeeroffate
Photo of sacfly
sacfly

Maryland

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2006 21:46:36 | More by sacfly
Photo of EvilKeith
EvilKeith

Alabama

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2006 10:39:53 | More by EvilKeith
Photo of BDTyre
BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2006 09:12:52 | More by BDTyre
Photo of ypsifly
ypsifly

Michigan

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2006 01:05:53 | More by ypsifly
Photo of sinstaineddemon
sinstaineddemon

Connecticut

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

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2006 04:14:07 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of silver0rlead
silver0rlead

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2006 04:28:39 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of Crosling
Crosling

Colorado

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...

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2006 23:56:15 | More by Crosling
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2006 02:12:11 | More by akorsak
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2006 02:12:31 | More by oberon
Photo of bigsilky
bigsilky

South Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2006 19:57:44 | More by bigsilky
Photo of geexploitation
geexploitation

Indiana

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2006 05:02:14 | More by geexploitation
Photo of Jredner
Jredner

Florida

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2006 08:21:18 | More by Jredner
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2005 00:05:36 | More by jdhilt
Photo of cubedbee
cubedbee

Maryland

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2005 15:40:12 | More by cubedbee
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2005 12:13:08 | More by merlin48
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 16.9 fluid ounce, Half Litre bottle. Wide body with a tall thin neck sealed with a simple black crown cap. Label looks like that shown in the BA Database. Listed at 7.3% and first brewed in 1884, the recipe was resurrected after the Head Brewer visited Brooklyn Brewery in 2001. It was brewed again in 2004 to celebrate the Head Brewer being awarded the title of ‘Brewer of the Year’ from a bunch of drunken overpaid out of touch windbag old farts….oh I’m sorry, I really meant to say the Parliamentary Beer Club. Here, here…here…. Order…Order…….

Appearance: Very dark ebonyous mahogany body looks sultry and moody. Light colored tan head rises and falls quickly but never disappears completely. Large bubbles form the head and plaster the glass walls with some smattered lacing. The broken head on the surface has a Lunar appearance.

Nose: Lots of molasses in the aromas, slightly sweet at the back of the nostrils. Dark fruits, figs, prunes and hints of Camp® coffee. Gentle Rauch like finish.

Taste: Bovril dissolves the coffee covered malts. Molasses remain from the nose and they fight with a dark chewy bonfire toffee in the middle. Soil laden malts lend a very rustic feel, which balances with the powdery sweetness, bitter coffee and Bourneville dark chocolate. Strange, I can’t help getting a “farmyard feel” from this one…though I’m sure it’s psychological as I think of the English Countryside whilst drinking this one.

Mouthfeel: Low key conditioning, almost cask-like. Soft sweetness with a mild bitterness. Gentle chewy toffee texture. Attractive.

Drinkability: The sweetness is right on the edge of what I can tolerate, even so, I still find this offering to be a rather enjoyable brew. As easy going as a game of Crown Green Bowls on a quiet sunny Sunday afternoon.

Overall: Interesting one this, a rather unique offering, the sweetness is higher than expected. As I have never seen this one before I just had to give it a whirl when I did. So glad that I took the risk, but at $5.99 for the bottle, it is not one I would stock the fridge with. However, if you fancy treating yourself or want to sample something different for a special occasion then go ahead and do so, you will not be disappointed.

Raising this Old School English Porter high tonight to the England Cricket Team and their magnificent series win to regain the Ashes, fantastic stuff!

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2005 06:55:00 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a 1/4" tan head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich malty scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It has a some sweet chocolate malt scents as well. The taste is good. It has a very sweet and malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes a bit earthy and warm. It has some residual sweetness from the use of many crystal malts. It has a roaste malt feel as well as some chocolate hints. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tastey beer. It has an excellent malt bill that adds complexity and great flavor to this English Porter. It's sweet with a warm finish; a good drinker.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2005 00:46:53 | More by WesWes
Photo of kmpitz2
kmpitz2

Tennessee

3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a deep dark brown color with a very light ruby hue, but ruby nontheless. A small ring of head sits atop, but no real head formed on the pour. The nose is a light figgy and chocolate, with a light burnt character, but everything is very light. Not a lot of aroma. The flavor is also a little light. There is a slight soy-sauce character, with a slightly dark roasted, to burnt. Most of what I though is a molases flavor. Not too sweet, but very full in flavor. The feel is light moderate, with a light carbonation. Overall, a very enjoyable beer. I would like a touch more aroma, but the flavor is nice and complex. Tasty brew.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2005 02:02:52 | More by kmpitz2
Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.