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

Not Rated.
Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

150 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 150
Reviews: 102
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 14
Gots: 6 | 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:
Beer added by: yen157 on 03-17-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 150 | Reviews: 102 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Toddv29424
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark, dark brown color with little to no head. The smell is roasty and robust, with distinctive notes of chocolate and a hint of yeast. Like most english porters this beer does not develop any real definition until about half way through the mouth, and as it warms up to room temperature you notice many nuances. The first noticeable taste is alcohol, followed by very smooth dark malts. There is zero sweetness as this beer goes down, and it seems as though the sweet malts dominate the whole tongue.

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Photo of kellyst
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Black and opaque. Surprisingly just a little tan head.

S: Roasted grain and coffee aromas.

T: Not very nuanced, but lots of stuff going on. Dark roasted coffee, chocolate, grainy. Nice hop balance. Medium bodied. Very flavorful.

D: Pretty high for a porter. I could definately have a couple in a session.

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

A: Pours a deep, opaque blackish brown hue that's topped by a about a finger of head that recedes fairly quickly to about a centimeter.

S: Toasted malt aroma, bit of biscuity scent with an underlying hint of caramel.

T: Big taste of toffee, fairly sweet, but the intro is all roasted malt. A hop bitterness in the finish that leaves some residue on the palate.

M: Carbonation is limited. Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy in the middle, and has kind of a thin quality to it, but the texture remains smooth throughout.

D: A pretty easygoing beer, nothing too spectacular about it, but still solid nonetheless. I'm not sure this is good enough to warrant another one, but it definitely has its time and place.

Photo of drpimento
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Luscious beer. Full rich - fetid? Definitely not the usual porter. Lots of character. Huge aroma of all manner of dark things... coffee, chocolate, dark ripe fruits, earth, burnt sugar, old leather. Gnarly beer. But good. Actually a velvety texture. Great finish. Very close to the commercial description. Love to try it on draft.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9oz. bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color with a thin light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of toasted malts, coffee, caramel, chocolate and some dark fruits.

T: The taste is very malty with flavors of coffee, chocolate and dark fruit. There’s a mild hops presence that comes in, but fades quickly and still gives a good balance. The after-taste is sweet and a little smoky.

M: Very smooth with a little crispness, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, good strong kick, there are a lot of qualities of this beer that seem to border on the Baltic Porter & RIS styles. It’s a nice beer to relax with sip slowly, but I couldn’t really see myself drinking a lot of this beer in one night.

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black and hazy with a very creamy and rocky head.

S – Malty and caramel – quite inviting.

T – Sweet, with caramel flavors noticeable. The alcohol is also perceptible.

M – full, but could be a bit thicker to carry the flavors.

D – Delicious beer that has great flavor and goes down very smooth.

Photo of MCDuhamel
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 1 pint, 9 oz bottle into a British pub glass, at chilled temperature.

A: Poured aggressively into a pint glass, it formed a large head that filled a third of the glass; it quickly collapsed to a thin film evenly distributed across the surface. The beer is almost black, but held against light it is barely translucent with a very deep ruby glow.

S: Very noticeable aroma of molasses, some alchohol on the nose. Not particularly refined.

T: Molasses, brown sugar and sweet malt predominate. No noticeable hop presence at all. Quite sweet, almost cloying. No roasted notes whatsoever. Finishes on a sour note. Seems more like a sweet stout than a porter.

M: Pretty full-bodied for a porter. Leaves a slight residue on the tongue.

D: Because of its surprising sweetness, coupled with its alcohol content, this is certainly not a session beer. One will be plenty.

Overall: An interesting beer, and I'd be likely to drink it again. That said, it does not fall into the style of what most of us would now consider to be a porter; it really does present itself as a sweet and strong stout.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.18/5  rDev +5%
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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 150 ratings.