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

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Moonraker AleMoonraker Ale
BA SCORE
3.67/5
Good
167 Ratings
Moonraker AleMoonraker Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#31,778
Reviews:
123
Ratings:
167
pDev:
15.8%
Bros Score:
3.92
 
 
Wants:
9
Gots:
6
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 167 |  Reviews: 123
Photo of Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I accept the description on the bottle - this must be great in pies and such. Straight drinking - a suitably hopped dark beer with distinct sourness, smooth mouthfeel. Nice dark colour. Secondary malt and licorice. Somewhat drinkable. Must be shared. Not for everybody.

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Photo of Texasfan549
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of kjkinsey
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: The beer is rather hazy mahogany in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that quickly died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a ring of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Light but interesting aromas of dark fruits (plums and prunes) and toffee are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but the flavors are a bit stronger and also include notes of caramel and mineral water.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit thin and watery on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation (similar to what you would expect from a cask ale). No alcohol warming is detectable.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink compared to others in the style because it isn’t that full-bodied and there are no traces of alcohol in the taste.

Note: 2009 vintage

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard English Pint glass with an initial plop, releasing a fluffy off-white head that reduced to 1/4" then held firm. Big aromas of ripe and dark fruits with a bold malt base that hinges on toasty and caramels. A mild, tart fruitiness (berry-like) shows complexity and age. The flavors verify the caramel, toffee, toasted character. Fruit flavors of figs, peaches, almonds, and raspberries swirl around the malts and add varity to the taste. The feel is a solid and persistent bold maltiness with firm creaminess that is tempered only by the berry tawny tartness. Finishes quite malty flavored, yet intriguingly light and dry on the toung. Good Warmer for any season.

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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 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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.06/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle conditioned; enjoyed at 50F. Carefully poured, the body is a slightly hazy, rich mahogany with an orange-cast and crimson highlights. It's topped by a thin but creamy light-tan head that holds surprisingly well and leaves thin and spotty lace throughout the glass. The aroma displays toffee, mild dark fruit, and alcohol. It's quite estery. As it warms, however, some more caramel notes begin to appear. A full body, coupled with a very fine and gentle carbonation, gives an exceptionally soft and creamy mouthfeel that emphasises the maltiness. The flavor is far more complex than the nose alludes to with notes of dark fruit (prune, raisin), toffee, scortched caramel, honey, oak and a touch of alcohol. It finishes with a rising bitterness and unique hop flavor that's not unlike wet, leafy, whole hops left in the wort at the end of the boil... lightly earthy, herbal and resiny - but dripping with malt. It combines with the residual semi-sweet dark malt to give a lingering licorice note. Well balanced and quite unique. A splendid, rich and complex old ale that's not quite accessible as Old Peculier, but ultimately more rewarding to those willing to delve a little deeper. If old ale is your tipple, this one is not to be missed!

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Photo of chinchill
3.27/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

From a cask at the 2016 Atlanta Cask Ale Festival.
Pours dark brown with a bubbly head. Lightly hazy.
Slightly pungent aroma hints at the strong flavor but the taste is quite tart despite a sweet note up front.

Overall: Fresh and interesting but infected.

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Photo of oberon
4.01/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice clear deep amber with a big fluffy off white head that sticks like glue to the sides of the glass leaving globs of lace behind,hints of caramel malt and brown suger in the nose but it doesnt really stick out just there if you know what I mean.A big English malt bomb here brown suger and some butter toffee,the flavors dont hit ya in the face but pleasant and slightly subdued a nice butter toffee aftertaste makes this beer even more tasty.I really like this English strong ale its very drinkable for the style.

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Photo of smithj4
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 ChainGangGuy
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very dark reddish-brown body with a rather short-lived, thin head.

Smell: A malty, refreshingly fruity aroma full of sour cherries, dark fruits, caramel, anise, port wine, and molasses.

Taste: Smooth, sweet malt-driven flavors are really allowed to shine here. Toffee, chocolate-covered raisins, light molasses, rum cake, blackberries, dark fruits, and sherry all wrapped up with a gentle, though noticeable sourness in the background. Only the faintest oaky bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Not much in the way of carbonation here at all.

Drinkability: An enjoyable, highly quaffable beer. I'm not sure this really belongs in the Winter Warmer category, but what's done is done, I guess.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Swampy root beer brown that looks as if it could be dark amber-bronze if it ever clears. There's a tremendous load of what looks like flocculated yeast in suspension, which makes me think that this bottle might be a bit long in the tooth. The respectable looking cap of foam is the color of sand and is a solid one finger at present. Lace doesn't look likely, but I'll chime in with a lace update if needed.

While it isn't a bad nose, it's nothing too exciting. Malt is uppermost with a stale, somewhat earthy, dark fruitiness that is flinty rather than sweet. No hops to speak of. There might be a hint of spiciness (nothing specific comes to mind). The nose reminds me in some ways of Anchor OSA; a beer that I don't love. The more I smell, the less I like, so I think I'll stop now and take a drink.

I'm not sure what the target flavor was here, but it's one that doesn't appeal to me. Moonraker is still dark fruity with vodka-soaked raisins in the pole position. The malt tastes overroasted with a bitter astringency that appears in some stouts (though this beer isn't at all stout-like). The word stale keeps coming to mind as I drink. It's also moderately metallic, firmly woody and has a too-prominent ethanol presence. It isn't as bad as I'm making it sound, but it isn't much better either.

The mouthfeel makes an attempt at full and rounded... and then loses its way by the finish. It's also slightly more carbonated than I like my winter warmers to be. Lace alert: the thick band at midglass gives some visual interest, even as I'm losing interest in the rest of the beer.

Moonraker is okay, but there are much better winter warmers than this. In fact, I've had a few from lesser known American brewers that could kick its ass to the dark side of the moon and back.

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Photo of Jason
3.46/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep and dark reddish colour that fringes on brown. Fruity with a bubble gum and medicinal aroma. Smooth with a creamy back, nearly full body with a big maltiness ahead. Estery and yeasty in flavour with a husky grain and leafy hop that is a bit bothersome. Sweet from the large amount of malt but the all of the astringent flavours bashes that to hell. Not a bad brew, its just all over the place … not held together well at all.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of InspectorBob
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance was a semi-dark brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute. Light foamy lacing graced the sides of the glass. The smell had a roasty nutty caramel aroma, somewhat like a brown ale. But a nice rich invasive chocolate came through with a light coffee to enliven a bit. The taste was pretty much the same with a light added vanilla. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a fair sessionability about it. The carbonation was mostly subdued and good for the style and for me. Overall, it’s well done and definitely worthy of having again.

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Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours ruby with a bubbly patch.

The smell is of caramel, dried fruits, slightly vinuous (red wineish):

The taste is of stewed prunes, dried apricot, sweet caramel with a hint of toffee in the back. Malty, for sure. A touch of alcohol is there, but mellow. Sweet, with some intangible balance.

fuller side of medium bodied with mild carbonation. Smooth.

Very drinkable despite sweetness and booziness.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.02/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Slightly darkish red in color, with a nice, fluffy, softly settling, creamy tan head.
Aroma: malty, sweet, caramelly, traces of nuts and fruit, luscious and appetizing, while giving off clues to alcohol content within.
Taste: a big entry on the palate, bold, sweet, fruity, malty, with a neat, brisk hoppiness, but that's pale compared to the forceful-ness of the malt's in here.
Overpowering flavor, that finishes a touch tidily and a bit dry. Medium to full body, nice little texture, and resounding flavor, ever-recurring, ever-pleasing. Though I really had no clue what I was getting before pouring the bottle out, this was a very happy little surprise, one I might be tempted to return to again, on occasion. (But not for the price, for I paid about $6 for this 500ml bottle, though the contents are rather intriguing.)
It's a malty one, and a tasty one, and near the end, the 7.5% ABV starts to get up and drag you out by the trousers....

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.21/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Two year old properly cellared bottle. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark, nearly opaque brown with a half-finger fine light tan head that actually increased in size as it warmed. Massive lacing. Looks nice. Aroma of dark toasted and caramel malts, slight dark and dried fruit. Flavor follows with dark, toasted and sweeter malt, dark fruit. Finishes with malty dark fruit and a hint of wood, spice and hops. Nice medium body. Very pleasant. I would call this an old ale, not a winter warmer. I don't taste much spicing. I really enjoyed this. Wish this was available more often.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +36.2%

Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark ruby red/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice rich, malty scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It's warm and slightly fruity. The taste is great. It has a warm, yet highly smooth malty flavor that is sweet at the start and dry at the finish. It has a nice roasted feel with some subtle fruity hints. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good seasonal brew. I love the roasted character as well as the complex flavors; a good drinker.

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Moonraker Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 167 ratings
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