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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 DuffDaddy
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

DuffDaddy, Mar 16, 2014
Photo of yen157
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Based on an 1884 recipe, revived in 2001 at the Brooklyn brewery and brought back into regular production by JW Lees.

Impressively dark brown with only the faintest cola-colored highlights shining through. Foamy beige head quickly melts back into the pint. Rich, sweet, treacle-y nose with notes of buttery toffee and artificial coffee (you know, like a coffee scented candle or somerthing). Decently sweet up front with the flavors reminiscent of chocolate. Finish is very coffee-n-cream with bitterness coming from the dark malts.

Pretty nimble mouthfeel considering the depth of the malt contributions and the 7.3% alcohol. I would love to come across this on tap or even cask conditioned. Great beer!

yen157, Mar 17, 2005
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 Beer-A-Lot
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a somewhat unique brew (or at least the style is). Not sweet like an English Barleywine (such as the superb J.W. Lees Harvest Ale). Not bitter like an ESB. And nothing like an English porter or stout, although it looks like a stout. It starts just a little hoppy or sweet but grows in complexity and fruity and wine characteristics as it warms. In fact it gets better and better as it goes down. Another excellent offering from a superb brewery.

Beer-A-Lot, May 04, 2014
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 wo87810
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%

wo87810, Feb 20, 2013
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.

Toddv29424, Oct 28, 2007
Photo of ianjsullivan
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.

ianjsullivan, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has the look of a Porter.
It pours Bible black.
Produces a frothy head that lasts a long time and laced the glass.
The nose is slight with hints of toasted malt and a bit alcohol.
Blindfolded and tasting this beer I declare it a porter or perhaps some sort of an ale-- although the signature of a porter is dominant over that of a strong ale.
While the bitterness of hops is unmistakeable the toasted malt shows through with a hair of sweetness as an undercurrent. I might venture to say I tasted some caramel as well.
The finish is long with a bitter hops note yet tempered by a porter's signature.
Mouthfeel was good but I wish there was more to the flavor body- I suppose that porters are not supposed to be particularly robust or dense.. as a stout should be.
Drinkability was fine-- the alcohol was not overwhelming and the entire presentation was interesting enough to motivate me to look for another bottle of this porter.
Next time I'm at my fave packie-- I'll very likely buy a bottle or two-- unfortunately the price of this import dampens my enthusiasm for stocking my stash with too much of the same brew.

gueuzeonhigh, Oct 10, 2008
Photo of zillo043068
4/5  rDev +0.5%

zillo043068, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of ImperatorScab
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

ImperatorScab, Jan 19, 2014
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.

CharlieMopps, Aug 26, 2007
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 FriedGold2112
4/5  rDev +0.5%

FriedGold2112, Apr 24, 2012
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 ByTor2112
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with some reddish hues coming with the light. No significant head formation except for a thin film of carbonation that pools in the middle atop the ale. A ring of beige bubbles hang around the edge.
Big aroma of dried fruit and caramel? No, check that, it is molasses or brown sugar. Not really bready but there are some great sweet malt aromas that smell like a fresh baked muffin!

Mouthfeel- Low to medium carbonation gives it a smooth texture. Malty sweet with the dried fruit-figs and raisins coming through in the taste as well. A froth on the palate barely reveals some earthy hop bitterness. Flavors remain the same with some of the alcohol giving a mild warmth on the finish. When I poured it I thought it looked like a Porter and apparently it is! Does not mention Porter on the bottle that I recall. With sub zero temps outside this is a great winter warmer, perfect at 7.3% abv. I would also enjoy this as a robust cold quaffer. Not sessionable but I could do one or two at a sitting.

ByTor2112, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of dprophet
4/5  rDev +0.5%

dprophet, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of cmannes
4/5  rDev +0.5%

cmannes, Aug 29, 2012
Photo of donmonkey1
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a frothy tan head that takes a few minutes to dissipate. There was almost no smell, yet there was a hint of sweetness. There was a dominant, almost total taste of strong molasses/raisins. Although I could see thousands of super tiny bubbles in the black ale, I couldn't feel any carbonation on my tongue.

I would enjoy one or two of these at a time. This is a quality product that many people love. Having said that, it's a little too much like drinking molasses water for me.

donmonkey1, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of waldoiverson
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bottle into nonic

A: Dark brown, almost black in the glass, dark creme head with tiny bubbles which held up for a minute then broke down rapidly

S: The smell of dark porto, cream and a bit of alcohol,

T: somewhat of a leathery star with a bit of the dark fruit flavors and a nice bitterness,

M: Smooth but with serious carbonation bite

D: an interesting beer with a robust presence and could be food in another time and place, a bit carbonated and heavy for a daily drinker, but worth a shot at something tasty and reasonably unique.

waldoiverson, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of mjryan
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.

mjryan, Aug 02, 2013
Photo of Bix
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Bix, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of kif
5/5  rDev +25.6%

kif, Aug 13, 2013
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.

MCDuhamel, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of oxfordmini
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

oxfordmini, Jul 11, 2013
Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 141 ratings.