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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
88
very good

106 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 106
Hads: 163
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 7.85%
Wants: 17
Gots: 8 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Manchester Star Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 106 | Hads: 163
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)

Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
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. (744 characters)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Aug 2013, so it's a bit out of date. Picked up from Sainsbury's last year as part of their 2012 Beer Hunt and stored in my garage. I'm hoping its strength has helped to keep it in good condition. Described on the label as a revival of an original recipe from 1884 - this beer was one of the two winners of the 2012 Beer Hunt.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A dark chestnut-brown hue that appears almost black in the glass. Produces a large head of creamy beige foam that lasts for a few minutes before reducing to a surface layer. Aroma of rich, fruity malt with hints of prunes, dried fruit, mild molasses, fruitcake, caramel, ale yeast and faint stewed hops. Slightly sweet, with a warming whiff of booze lurking in the background. Fantastically deep and delicious - superb.

Tastes of sweet, fruity malt with a lingering finish. Notes of prunes, raisins, dried fruit, port, fruitcake, caramel, subtle molasses, ale yeast and stewed hops. Faintly sweet, with a hint of warming alcohol in the background and a restrained bitterness upon swallowing. Amazing balance. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with well-judged carbonation and good body. Mildly astringent, followed by an aftertaste of fruity malt, port wine, yeast and booze.

A first-rate effort; just what a strong ale should be. It looks lovely, while the aroma and flavour are rich, sweet and fruity. The booziness adds depth. Great balance and a smooth body. A perfect sipper for a winter's evening - the age of the bottle clearly did this no harm. A top-notch brew; don't pass it up if you see it. (1,589 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
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. (858 characters)

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
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. (453 characters)

Photo of silver0rlead
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
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. (667 characters)

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a deep dark black with red highlights and two fingers of frothy tan head.

Aroma of sweet malts, raisins, caramel, and a hint of butterscotch.

Tastes of sweet malts, molasses, vanilla, cocoa, raisins, nuts, and dark ripe fruit. Finishes surprisingly clean.

Full bodied, rich and creamy, with a modest fizz to the carbonation.

You'd be hard pressed to stop after only one of these. This is a quality porter from J.W. Lees. Try one when you get the chance. (480 characters)

Photo of cvstrickland
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into a pint nonic glass yields an opaque brunette body with faint brown-amber highlights and a thick finger of fine-bubbled khaki foam that scatters a little lacing onto the glass.

Smell is sweet and earthy with dark raisins, sugary dates, and overripe figs dusted in cocoa, then drizzled with molasses.

Taste is chewy, sweet, and nutty with caramel, husky toasted malt, cola nuts, and a twang reminiscent of unsulphured molasses. As the drink warms, flavors of dark wheat toast with a little butter, and a dry, powdery note of unsweetened instant hot cocoa mix emerge. This might make a great breakfast drink! J

Medium-bodied, milky, mouth-coating, and just a bit sticky, this savory drink is a prince among porters. (741 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.2/5  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 (699 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle.

Cola brown with not much of a head to speak of. The aromas remind me of an interesting melange of things. Tire rubber, biscuity malts, cocoa, weak coffee, a bit of smoke, and more. The taste is more coffee and chocolate than the aroma leads on to belive. But the malts are there in full force, and the interesting rubber flavor comes back on the back side as well. Well integrated and nice, but a bit thin in the mouth. Drinkability remains good though. Truly an interesting brew, that I hope to sample again. I wonder if they will produce casks of this for the UK market? One can only hope! (608 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased at Acme Bar and Pizza in Rochester, NY.

Pours a dark black, with a light brown slowly rising head that sticks to the glass as I gulp this beauty down.

Smells include sweet, earthy dark fruit, chocolate, and coffee.

The taste follows suit. Roasted malt, along with chocolate and some mild coffee, come to the forefront, with the dark fruit flavors coming on the back end of each sip. The fruit gives the beer a slightly sour twang. Some licorice too.

Medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel. Very drinkable. Low carbonation.

One of the best English porters. Awesome. (579 characters)

Photo of Brad007
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a thin head into my glass. It's certainly a porter.

Aroma has hints of cream, chocolate and roasted coffee upfront. Very inviting on this cold night.

Hints of chocolate and roasted coffee greet the mouth. It's slightly coarse from the alcohol but otherwise on target style-wise.

Mouthfeel is full of chocolate and roasted coffee notes. Very mellow. The malt shines as it should for the style.

I really enjoyed this porter. I don't drink as many porters as I used to but it's always nice to have a subtle, drinkable example. (559 characters)

Photo of yoko
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The pint, point 9 oz. (can't forget the ounces) pours a dark brown/black with red/orange highlights not allowing for much light to come through. The short foamy tan sudsy head melts to a collection of varing size bubbles that collect around the glass leaving a thin whisp wash center. The nose was not tremendously big yet rich and soft of coffee mocha/cola and a subtle banana. The mouthfeel was rich with taste coming midway through as the malts reached high up in the palate. This is where the taste was greatest and remained. The finish was clean. What filled the senses was a soft, smooth, short, almost a creamy coffee yogurt/cola float. The dark malts synergestically brought a spicy/bitter to the sweet harmony of malts. Nice. The alcohol was woven well in the mix.

At $6.95 a pint I won't be revisiting as I would like to. Enjoy!

I appreciated the weight of the empty bottle, which energetically I find adds to the rootedness of the brew. (953 characters)

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
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. (564 characters)

Photo of yen157
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
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! (711 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 10/27/2010. Pours nearly opaque dark brown color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big molasses, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, chocolate, raisin, plum, light cocoa, light nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast notes; with good strength. Taste of big molasses, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, chocolate, cocoa, raisin, plum, light nuttiness, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Light earthy herbal/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toast, brown bread, toffee, molasses, raisin, plum, and yeast/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding English porter style. All around awesome balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast flavors; and very smooth to drink for the ABV. This held up very well for it’s age considering the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,536 characters)

Photo of ypsifly
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
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. (738 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
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. (645 characters)

Photo of FanofHefe
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a pint bottle into a Duvel tulip. Very carbonated and produces a two-finger, dense dark tan head. The head has decent retention and leaves rings of lacing along the glass. The body is dark and no light gets through. Dark brown, almost black body, with just a hint of red hue along the edges.

Superb aroma. Dark, roasted malts and sweet dark fruit. Plum and raisin are prominent along with some light notes of toffee and chocolate.

The flavor is very solid overall, but just a little less than I would have expected from the aroma. Dense, dark malted flavors combine with some earthy fruitiness. No real coffee flavor, but the toffee notes are present. The rich flavors blend nicely and are even better as it warms up a bit.

Dense mouthfeel that is very smooth overall. Great brew that is one I would love to have for an after dinner drink. Would pair well with a nice mild pipe tobacco. (902 characters)

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (927 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.34/5  rDev +9.9%
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. (624 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
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. (309 characters)

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.39/5  rDev +11.1%
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. (715 characters)

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%

A: Almost completely black with a quickly dissipating light beige head.
S: Port-like fruit, soy sauce, and some smokiness? Not a particularly strong nose though.
T: Ooer. It’s port-like, smokey, silky smooth and yet snappy on the tongue. Nice and sweet for the strength. There’s even a hint of ginger beer in there, and some earthiness. Quite a bitter aftertaste. Gets sweeter as it warms, and less bitter, and the liquorice appears.
O: Old Peculier is the closest thing I’ve had to this, although this is slightly better. The interesting thing is that it's almost as flavourful when chilled as when it's warmed up. (621 characters)

Photo of eweneek83
4.46/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

taste -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.

mouthfeel - very nice, a smooth full body with a creamy carbonation. no aftertaste

drinkability - exceptional. Just try it. (617 characters)

Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
88 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.