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

Not Rated.
Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

105 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 105
Hads: 161
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 7.85%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 161
Photo of allforbetterbeer
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. No date on bottle. I bought this at Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, CO for ~$6.

This beer produces a soft-looking and compact finger of tan head (looks the color of latte foam) over a pure black body that shows very slight ruby highlights when held to strong light. Tiny streams of very small bubbles can be seen rising around the edges of the beer.

Smells of soft roasted malts and small helpings of dark fruit. A whiff of hops rises with a swirl, but otherwise the above aromas make up the nose. Smells very English and very pleasing.

The flavor is well rounded and feels soft from the overall low level of bitterness. As in the nose, non-acrid roasted malts, a touch of hops, and dark fruit take center stage. I find this quite like a Baltic porter, expect the hop levels are far lower, and there are no notes of coffee or smoke in this flavor. Not quite like anything I have had before, and tasty.

The mouthfeel is medium with lower residual sugar, but not thin or weak. It seems that there is something slightly lacking, but maybe this is part of what the style is meant to feel like (not being a stout).

Conclusion: This is an excellent English porter, and I believe it is the strongest example of the style I have tasted to date. I like it is actually different from conventional porters and stouts, and tastes like the original style is described. (1,377 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick texture. There was a half inch of creamy, tan-colored, fairly long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A decent aroma of malt, caramel and some fruit.

T: Tasted mainly of malt, with hints of caramel, plums, figs, and other dark fruits with it. A nice, warm generally well-balanced flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a solid, but not spectacular English Porter. Very drinkable, though. (511 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (626 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Chocolate black with a motionless clingy tan carpet of froth.
Raspberry, grilled steak, and wood on the nose.
Purple plum, liqueur-filled chocolates, sweet liqourice, then a big cream soda hit, followed by tea leaf and cedar chip hops.
Sambuca finish with undertones of port and vanilla and drying woody linger.
Medium, smooth, plenty of chew.

A tug of war between the sweetness - both fruit and chocolate - and the bitterness - both roast and hop, with the sweetness winning. I've read there's some impressive hop character in this, but with a Dec 15, '12 bottling date, that was never going to happen here. Real depth - even some old ale notes - out of a historic recipe, though, and one I'd be willing to investigate again fresh. (735 characters)

Photo of walleye
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
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 (331 characters)

Photo of cubedbee
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (477 characters)

Photo of Gusler
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 500ml bottle, the beer pours an opaque brown, the head modest and creamy tan, as it evaporates, the lacing provides a concealing curtain to drape the glass. Nose has a sweet malt aroma, molasses, caramel, and a touch of earthiness, with the roasted grain present. Start is rich in sweet malt, a bit of bitterness at the back; touch of bitterness, top is rich and full in feel to the palate. Finish has a benignant acidity, the hops understated but noticeable, quite dry and sweet until the end. (503 characters)

Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black hue with a one finger creamy tan head. There was good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured dark chocolate and cream.

The taste consisted a sweet cafe au lait element, balanced by a burnt grain.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side for the style.

Overall a very good and robust porter. Good representation of the style and good drinkability. (383 characters)

Photo of Toddv29424
4.03/5  rDev +2%
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. (519 characters)

Photo of LagerCognoscenti
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good head. Dark brown porter like colour.

The smell is sweet, with suggestions of raisins and booziness.

The taste is sweet with dark fruits, ash, booze and earthy bitterness combining nicely. Very much like a strong English Porter and reminded me a little of Fullers London Porter.

Overall a very enjoyable beer and a great winter warmer. Nice strong abv with rich but well balanced flavours.

87/100 (404 characters)

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.05/5  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 (474 characters)

Photo of barczar
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

Deeply caramelized malt, a hint of sherry, and dark fruit notes of dates and fig are accented by light chocolate notes in the aroma.

Flavor is similar, with more toffee presence and deeply toasted breadcrust. There's a touch of sourness and bitterness at the finish that prevent the sweetness from overwhelming. This would've aged well for several more years. Becomes much more complex as it warms, with notes of roast malt, leather, and tobacco adding depth. (476 characters)

Photo of shand
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Pours a very deep brown color with a tiny head. Aroma is a nice, sweet malt with roast, chocolate, and a touch of dark fruit. The taste is a very nice, slightly amped up English porter. The signature sweet malts and dark fruits are ever-present, backed up by some milk chocolate and just a touch of coffee. The mouthfeel is smooth, and the drinkability is very good. Overall, it's a very good English porter. (468 characters)

Photo of Suds
4.07/5  rDev +3%
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. (638 characters)

Photo of Offa
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Essentially black, big dark tan head steadily shrinks to a foamy, frothy ring, a little weak lace.

Aroma is rich prune, caramelized dark dried figs, woody fruit, hint of gingerbread, and very nice.

Taste is prunes and figs in brandy, dark toast, dryish toasty finish after a sweeter, fruity and more alcoholic start. It has some dark leafiness and woodiness throughout, some spiciness. It is not super complex or deep but is well-balanced and well rounded with a goof, firm character and a little complexity. It’s slightly on the thin side, light for the ABV, and very drinkable. (583 characters)

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (311 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (485 characters)

Photo of lostbearbrew
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
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 (568 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (2,032 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from an undated 16.9 oz. bottle into a snifter. The beer is clear and a deep brown colo but looks essentially black in the glass. The modest light brown head has about average retention and leaves some lacing on the glass. The rich, if not strong, aroma is very appealing and mainly consists of dark (and lighter?) malts and some dark fruits (particularly raisins and dates), sweet and not smoky.

T: The taste {4+] is nicely rich and malty, with plenty of dark fruit flavor (particularly plum, dried plum, raisin and date), some caramel, a touch of spicy hops, and a hint of chocolate. Some coffee and a faint hint of smoke in the finish. Excellent sweet/bitter balance.

M: Smooth with a medium carbonation that makes it lively and crisp for style. Medium-to-heavy body.

O: Flavorful and goes down easily. Has some qualities that overlap with a Baltic Porter, including a fairly well-hidden high ABV. Readily recommended. (933 characters)

Photo of ByTor2112
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
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. (1,016 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
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. (390 characters)

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
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! (640 characters)

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (1,129 characters)

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
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. (314 characters)

Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
88 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.