Moonraker Ale | J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd

167 Ratings
Moonraker AleMoonraker Ale

Brewed by:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 10-15-2001

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Ratings: 167 |  Reviews: 122
Photo of Jdiddy
1/5  rDev -72.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Ok, I know that this review will be harsh but take it as a warning. Do not get an old bottle! The bottle I purchased must have been sitting at the store for years. It poured very thick with no head at all. It had huge chunks all throughout. It went right down the drain. I returned the other bottle I had purchased.

 315 characters

Photo of hwwty4
1.65/5  rDev -55%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured a 500ml bottle into a Smokestack goblet. Appearance is dark brown with hints of purple along the edges. Absolutely no head. Slight bubbles along the edges of the glass but it honestly tastes pretty flat but not oxidized. No lacing. Aroma is oddly sweet, not in a good way. Slight bitterness at the finish of the nose. HOLY SHIT. This beer tastes like Dimetapp mixed with Sweet 'N Low. Yuck. I can't get anything besides that in the flavor. This is awful. By awful, I mean hideous. This is the first beer I have ever drain poured. Goodbye sir, and good riddance.

I feel like it was an insult to my favorite beer glass to pour this beer into it.

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Photo of TrickkyGangsta
2/5  rDev -45.5%

Photo of Kwak
2.01/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

this one poured thick out bottle the
dark red brown color with no head at all

the smell was very sweet with a slight hoppy aroma

the taste was malty with an sweet prune taste
heavy flavor with a strong alcohol aftertaste
almost win like very strong flavor.

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Photo of paceyourself
2.12/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

It was the first and probably the last time i'll drink this brew. It starts with a unappealing sweet molasses aroma. Roasted malt, molasses and toffee are all apparent at first then a strong alcohol feel takes over. It has more chunks and sediment than any beer i have ever seen, it wasn't a very enjoyable sight. Drinkability and mouthfeel don't seem to important at this point.

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Photo of rajendra82
2.16/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Clear, reddish brown body, and a small head, made this beer look stately, but boring. The smell was little too fruity for my liking. Apart from unidentifiable dark skinned dry fruits, this one also smelled woody and sour. The taste was pretty much same as the smell. The mix of sweet, sour, and musty flavors didn’t quite rise to undrinkable standards, but did make me wince every time I took a sip. The body seemed thin at first, but after while it got to be more substantial. Usually that is good, but with this Moonraker, more flavors were not necessarily better. About the only positive was the well hidden 7.5% ABV. Not a beer, I’d care to drink again.

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Photo of seedyone
2.23/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

09/08/11 at RnH, NYC. Not sure who thought this was a good idea. Not to my liking at all. Way too sour. Thought there was peppermint in the aroma but didn't find it elsewhere. Other references claim it was a CAMRA winter beer of Britain winner. Remind me never to go to Britain in the winter.

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Photo of mjc410
2.41/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a La Moneuse tulip...

As I'm pouring, I notice that the beer is pouring with nary a bubble in sight. So, I up-end the bottle, and I am able to coax a very slight head out of this, which quickly fades to a light tan ring. Held up to a window, the beer is on the lowest edge of transparent, showing a ruby world. Smells slightly sour, but not in a spoiled way. Light notes of sour cherries, sugar. Not much else on the nose. Tastes of slight caramel, although this hides behind the sweet and sour berry flavor. End very sweet, with no hop bitterness whatsoever. Seems to pass on a sweet cherry note to the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is on the thin side, and carbonation is almost nonexistent. This beer gets cloying pretty quickly, and I don't see myself reaching for it again.

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Photo of DefenCorps
2.5/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

16.9oz bottle received from hwwty4 as the Ugly in the GBU BIF. Thanks, man (maybe?) Into my Duvel tulip

A: Pours a deeep brown with a thin tan head that dissipates very quickly to a ring. Deep crimson highlights. Not much carbonation.

S: Smells loaded with molasses and jaggery sweetness with none of the spices one would expect from a winter warmer. Sweetness is pretty complex but not necessarily appealing with some peaty, smoked notes

T: Starts off with a watery cola sweetness along with a lot of varied sweetness with molasses, jaggery and cola. Finish is thin, sweet and watery

M: Flat, sweet, thin, watery. Nothing to like here

D: Fuck that, 8 sips is about all i can do.

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Photo of Budlum
2.55/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours with one quarter inch of soda-like foam with even the most aggressive pour. The little amount of head produces leave only a few reminders. Deep brown body displaying red colors when held to light.

Sweet, spicy and soda-like on the nose. This ale starts off with a cigar smoke sweetness before a pepper and cinnamon spice hits. Deeply roasted barley and black licorice precede a long, sugary malt smell. For the moderate ABV, alochol is noticeable.

This ale presents a very sweet ginger and candied yam taste. Slightly peppery with some barley and noticeable anise. Some peaty and strong smoke flavors provide some bold flavors. The finish is long, slightly metallic, and bitter. There is a notable hop flavor on the tongue long after each sip. Soy sauce flavors rise as this beer warms.

Mouthfeel is a little oily and carbonation is practically non-existant.

Drinkability is below average. I can't really picture reaching for another on of these any time soon.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
2.59/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – Dark brown with a mild red hue. There was very little carbonation. Nonexistant lacing.

Smell – The aroma is very muffled but from what I can tell there are some caramel malts, with some nuts and fruit (fig or raisin?)

Taste – The caramel malts provide a strong backbone for some sherry and oak notes. This is pretty sugary and while the nuts and dark fruit seem present they are in the background.

Mouthfeel – The full bodied beer was almost sticky in the mouth and there didnt seem to be anything to help light the load on your palate some sort of carbonation would have been nice. Maybe this beer was a little too old?

Drinkability – This one was a bit lackluster. Maybe a fresher bottle will change my mind.

 741 characters

Photo of kkipple
2.77/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

After seeing my buddy pour this one and get no head, I splashed mine in noisily, but to no effect. There's really no head on this beer, just a few white bubbles clinging to the sides for life. Even those fade soon.

The smell is simple: toasted malts, sugar, and a faint whiff of alcohol, with a undefinable sour tinge on the backend. Reminds me of wort before the yeast gets to it....

The taste is decidedly strange, it's a very light-bodied, sweet beer with no discernable hop presence, but with an odd herbal tinge and a lingering, farm-house aftertaste. Malt presence is heavy, with loads of brown sugar and mildly roasted grains coming through. There is an odd biscuity flavor to it, but if this is 7.5% abv color me surprised. I would've guessed more like 4%.

The mouthfeel is equally odd, it's a little syrupy, but with hardly any carbonation and feels quite lifeless. This of course makes it easy to drink, but given the taste I'm not sure I want to...

Drinkability on this is low, I just couldn't get into it. The mouthfeel is too thin, the beer too watery, and the flavors just don't mesh well into anything very pleasant. A curious beer, ultimately unsatisfying. I'm sure this is better at the source.

 1,223 characters

Photo of 7ways
2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Gotta say I expected more from Harvest Ale's little brother. This bottle is 1.5 years old, but others have given this vintage at least decent marks, and it's certainly not oxidized. Someone please BM me if this is supposed to only be consumed fresh.

Pours murky brown with a quickly vanishing head. Oily. Maybe I swirled too much, but it leaves only tiny pin pricks of lace. The constant swirling was because I can barely smell this damn thing; what I do get is pretty cheesy, with raisins and fruit X in the background.

The cheese plate aroma does not carry over to much into the taste. It's much more nutty and malty, with a vinous, not quite tart quality. Consumed cold it's quite metallic, but at the proper temp it vanishes. Nice caramel and bread notes, but they're just too weak. There is something that distracts from the taste as soon as I swallow; it's not exactly bad, but it hurts drinkability. Low but lively carbonation.

While not bad compared to most English beers available in the US, there is something essential missing here. With every sip I wait for something to happen, or to change, but it never does.

 1,126 characters

Photo of Amalak
2.97/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The beer poured reddish black in color, mainly opaque, and it doesn't have much head to it. Very hoppy scent to it, very nice.

The taste was hops and and berry, actually grape almost. Too grape in fact. It was also mixed with an oak barrel, slightly sweet scot taste to it.

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Photo of brentk56
2.97/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a ruby tinged mahogany color with a little head that quickly disappeared and left no lacing behind as a remembrance

Smell: Burnt caramel, molasses and rum-soaked raisins

Taste: Dried dark fruit flavors, up front, with the burnt caramel and molasses flavors arriving by mid-palate; develops a tartness, after the swallow, that adds an herbal tone

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but syrupy; low carbonation

Overall: I didn't really care for the flavors profile as the dark fruit, molasses and herbal elements really clash

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Photo of Magery
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of LJWalker
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of mportnoy
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of russpowell
3.06/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

One I remember having on cask in England, let's see how this bottled offering compares... Could not find a date anywhere on this bottle...

Pours an effervescent chestnut, with extremely thin cream colored head. Murks up, some lacing, zero head retention

S: Figs, dates & raisins

T: Figgyness & jammyness up front & faint leafy hops as well. More fruittyness, jammyness & a touch of treacle sweetness as this warms, mildly warming booze. Finishes fruitty, dry, & jammy

MF: Fairly thin considering the abv, minimal carbonation, some stickyness

Fails to impress, this bottle didn't fare well on this side of the pond. I remember it being somewhat better on cask, some beers may not be worth revisiting...

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Photo of zeff80
3.09/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've been sitting on this review for awhile because I feared I had an old bottle, but upon reading through other reviews I think it was relatively fresh.

A - It poured out a clear, dark brown color with a small, short-lived tan head.

S - It smelled of fruit (cherry) and of sweet malt.

T - The taste was even more sweet and malty than the nose. Very fruity, too.

M - It was soft and almost syrupy or sticky. A medium-bodied beer.

D - Not impressed. Again, I thought I had an old bottle but several other reviewers noted the intensely sweet flavor and syrupy feel.

 568 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mild brownish-amber color with a two-finger head that fades down, leaving some lacing in the glass.

Aroma is full of malt that seems quite sweet and perhaps mildly hoppy/aromatic in nature.

Taste is full of sweet, chewy malt with a reminder of molasses and caramel in the middle. Seems quite average.

Mouthfeel is full of the same lingering tastes. Carbonation is rather high. Not quite desirable.

Meh. I've had much better examples of the style. It's not horrible but look elsewhere.

 496 characters

Photo of dsa7783
3.12/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice-sized bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"Award Winning Strong Beer" on the front logo sticker...
A thoroughly aggressive pour resulted in a crisp, clear, lucid coca-cola-colored, dark purple appearance with no head at all or any visible lacing or carbonation...
Strong, alcohol-laden, fruity smell, rather dark, with a noticeable suggestion of dehydrated fruits...
Taste strongly complemented the aroma, with an obvious suggestions of prunes, dates, figs, plums, Sherry, and caramel...
Rich, creamy mouthfeel, with a noticeable suggestion of the 7.5% ABV...
Drinkability was average to say the least due to the presence of powerful alcohol, and the cloying sweet flavors...

 710 characters

Photo of mattpetti
3.14/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a very dark brown with redish tint. It has almost not head other than from splashing and looks to have almost no carbonation. The smell is of ripe dark fruits, roasted malts and maybe a flutter of hops at the end. Medium bodied with the fruits and roasted flavors leading the way. The fruits are almost overpowering border lining on sweet caramel flavors as well. Almost no carbonation makes this beer tast almost juice like at times. There is a tiny bit of bitterness at the very, very end. Nothing seems to balance out the fruit though. Alcohol isnt very apparent in the taste but it is warming. I can see it hard to drink more than one of these beers due to the overpowering fruit flavors. Would be great with some winter food dishes like turkey with cranberry sauce though.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Plain, deep amber sort of color. No real carbonation to it. No real aroma-somewhat sharp and wine like. Deep, sweet malty flavor though not overly impressive. Slight bitterness to it though it seems more from alcohol then hops. Somewhat thin body wise. Overall pretty average all around. No big deal.

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Moonraker Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
3.67 out of 5 based on 167 ratings.
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