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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

148 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 148
Reviews: 101
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 9.77%
Wants: 14
Gots: 4 | 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: 148 | Reviews: 101 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheRealNick
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of walleye
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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

Photo of kellyst
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Black and opaque. Surprisingly just a little tan head.

S: Roasted grain and coffee aromas.

T: Not very nuanced, but lots of stuff going on. Dark roasted coffee, chocolate, grainy. Nice hop balance. Medium bodied. Very flavorful.

D: Pretty high for a porter. I could definately have a couple in a session.

Photo of sneaks2210
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of cmannes
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Sludgeman
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of FriedGold2112
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of popery
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of StJamesGate
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of cubedbee
4.03/5  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 Gusler
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of tillmac62
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque dark brown similar to a stout, but not black. Well below average head, lacing and retention. Outstanding nose of dark fruit (plum, fig), sweet chocolate, slightly burnt molasses and just a hint of alcohol. The nose is similar to that of an Olde or Scott Ale, but lighter - as is the flavor profile. Light medium body with a hint of slickness. Normal carbonation with a bit of effervescence in the finish. The outstanding flavor profile is reasonably intense, very complex and masterfully balanced. The beginning to middle is a blend of flavors that slowly fade allowing subsequent identification. All flavors of the nose are present and basically cascade from burnt molasses to dark fruit and then into a light bitterness followed by a chocolate note and associated sweetness. The finish is a slow fade of malty sweetness with a hint of alcohol and a bit of hop and alcohol bite.

Photo of Suds
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of Toddv29424
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of Offa
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of shand
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
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 chinchill
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Photo of ByTor2112
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Photo of clvand0
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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 BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.