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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 Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Sammy, Aug 25, 2009
Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

metter98, Apr 21, 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 BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
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 Phyl21ca
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
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 westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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 JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +0.8%

JAHMUR, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

J.W. Lees's Manchester Star Ale pours an almost completely opaque, dark mahogany body that borders on black but doesn't quite make it there. The glowing ruby-crimson highlights along the sides and base of the pint are slightly muddled (bottle-conditioned?); and it's short head of creamy ivory foam rests lazily atop.

The nose is intriguing with notes of molasses, toffee, sweet dark chocolate, and some mild dark fruit.

It's medium-full body and gentle carbonation leave it dextrinous and smooth in the mouth.

The flavor is richer than the nose indicates, and it's clear that there's Maris Otter malts being used here. The dark caramel, molasses, demerara sugar, toffee malt appears upfront and dominates throughout. It's sugary sweet but balanced by a solid, underlying bitterness and some leafy and grassy hop flavors.

There's an earthy/mineralistic character to it, as well as some leathery, almost barnyard-like character; and I wonder if they've perhaps added some Brettanomyces in the secondary to give it some "antique", or "authentic" quality. Additionally, perhaps there's a small amount of smoked malt added to give it a touch of something extra... although that might be coming from just a touch of roasted barley or even very dark kilned chocolate malt such as Paul's.

It's dark fruitiness arises towards the swallow, and it's juicy like a plum or prune, but there's also a kind of bitter-skin quality to it as well. It fades rather easily in the finish, however, with alternating residual flavors that include the molasses, leafy hops, minerals, leather, dark fruit skin, toffee, and even a hint of coffee.

Overall, this is a really intriguing, complex, satisfying, and enjoyable pint that would make a great finish to a night; or perhaps an after-dinner drink, or even cigar-beer. Very nice!

NeroFiddled, May 29, 2005
Photo of nickfl
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

nickfl, Jul 10, 2012
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

TheManiacalOne, Jul 26, 2007
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 WesWes
3.93/5  rDev -1%
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.

WesWes, Sep 12, 2005
Photo of beernads
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

beernads, Aug 22, 2013
Photo of jwc215
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown almost black - a thin tan head soon disappears to a small patch.

The smell is of chocolate, molasses, toffee with balancing dark fruit and earthiness.

The taste is of a complex maltiness - chocolate, molasses, toffee and caramel. Dark fruitiness balances it well - plums/prunes. Licorice/anise notes come through to add to depth of flavor and complexity as it warms. Earthy notes come through in the finish.

Medium to full bodied, this has a nice malty texture. Very smooth with the alcohol pretty well covered.

Very tasty brew - malty but with enough balance to it. A fine one to sip on a cool evening.

jwc215, Oct 28, 2007
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of BlackHaddock
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

BlackHaddock, Aug 01, 2013
Photo of wrightst
3/5  rDev -24.4%

wrightst, Aug 12, 2014
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.1/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hard to saay how old this bottle is. No freshnesss date on the bottle, but it was pretty dusty when I bought it. Only indication is the back that says this was brewed again in 2004. Don't know if has been brewed since or not. Definitely some sherry aromas as I open the beer, so likely it is a little older. Pours black, but wwith almost no head even with a hard pour. Smell starts out sherried, but quickly opens up to notes of cocoa, vanilla, and sweet malt as well. Taste is somewhat similar. Definite cocoa and vanilla notes, and quite sweet. There is a touch of sherry and a touch of earthy hops, and a low level of carbonation. Slightly sticky in the mouth. Too sweet for me for a traditional porter, and not very lively. I'll go somewhere else for my porter fix. I'd more call this an old ale. Even then, I'd like a little more bite and a little less sweetness.

Georgiabeer, Nov 27, 2007
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 rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an Imperial pint glass)

A-The body is a deep dark brown almost black with a nice bubbly tan head and a good carbonation with tiny bubbles.

S- Nice toasted malt aroma with a hint of roasted malt. Almost a sweet malt hint aswell.

T- Nice sweet toasted maltyness with a hint of black malt and a faint hint of hop flavor. Not hop bitterness just very smooth malt flavors.

M-nice medium mouthfeel with no alcohol warmth and no astringency

D-Wow this is a nice smooth beer. It has wonderful malts that blend together but are not overly complex. A good solid porter that has a nice quality but shows its uniqueness from brown ales and stouts.

rhoadsrage, May 31, 2005
Photo of Zorro
3.23/5  rDev -18.6%
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

Zorro, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of jdhilt
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
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 afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

afsdan, Mar 28, 2014
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.13/5  rDev +4%
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
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Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 142 ratings.