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

160 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 160
Reviews: 106
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 15
Gots: 7 | 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.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 160 | Reviews: 106
Photo of sacfly
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
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
3.37/5  rDev -15.3%
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
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
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
4.3/5  rDev +8%
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
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
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
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of Crosling
3.7/5  rDev -7%
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...

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.

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.

Photo of bigsilky
4.56/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

Photo of geexploitation
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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.

Photo of jdhilt
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Photo of cubedbee
4.02/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of merlin48
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
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!

Photo of WesWes
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of kmpitz2
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Photo of clvand0
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark color with a small head that falls fast and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma has some some marshmallow/diacetyl going on. Also some dark malts. The flavor doesn't have as much dark malt character as I expected, but it had some of the diacetyl and marshmallow. Reminds me of a nice sweet stout. The mouthfeel is just short of thick and the drinkability is good.

Photo of RoyalT
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one is medium-brown in color with a modest dissipating head, which according to the BJCP is typical of the style.

Smell – The light roasty notes are brightened up with some broken down sugars. They are very sweet and smell like regular table sugar. The malts themselves are very easy on the olfactory bulb and exceptionally smooth.

Taste – This Porter is very easy at the taste as well. The sugars are really big and dominate this brew. The light malt that survives the nose makes a decent backbone.

Mouthfeel – This ale is well below medium-bodied but I wouldn’t call it light. It has a noticeable bitterness in the middle and finishes smoothly.

Drinkability – I liked the last sip a lot better than the first. This one kind of grew on me in the hour or so it took me to drink it. If you love Porter and want something to session, this is your baby.

Photo of lostbearbrew
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured nice deep dark brown, with small tan head.

Good, although not strong aroma of roasted malts.

Sweet taste, with a strong pull on the back of the tongue of candied flavors, and some nice layers of flavor in the malts themselves.

On first few sips, this beer was light-medium bodied, and still refrigerator cold. As it acclimated to room temp, the flavors came out in force and the alchohol began to be noticable, just a little.

Excellent porter that really is growing on me. I may even upgrade a little in the future, after trying another one.

Bear

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 Pint .9 oz bottle with a short little story on the back that says the recipe was reintroduced after J.W. Lees visited Brooklyn Brewery in 2001. This is the second batch since then.

Pours a small dense light brown colored head that fades quickly to a film. Roasted malt aroma mixed with some vinuous tobaco notes. Deep black colored beer with a ruby hue when held to the light. Roasted malts, some cocoa and marshmallow, and some vinuous tobacco mix and mingle up front. Soft light body. Tons of flavor that reminds me a bit of Storm King, only a bit sweeter.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
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!

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass a translucent blackish brown with a white and low head which retreated quickly to the edges of the surface but tried to lace the glass without any luck.

The aroma was lightly fruity with a slightly vinous character. Some slight caramel maltiness exisited in the aroma along with a very very slight roastiness and very slight chocolate.

The flavor was wowee, much more interesting than the aroma. The flavor was nicely malty with an interesting vinous charcter like that of an old ale. The flavor contained a sweet cherry fruit complement and a light chocolate flavor that added to that complexity. The hop flavor and bittering was just high enough to balance and keep the beer from becoming overly sweet.

The finish was just dry with lasting cherry fruit flavors and maltiness long into the aftertaste and becoming very dry in the finality of the flavor. The body was medium and the carbonation level was low. Almost a Baltic Porter with nice flavor complexity and a sleeper aromatic.

16.9 ounce bottle. Original recipe from 1884.

Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.