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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:
#31,804
Reviews:
123
Ratings:
167
pDev:
15.8%
Bros Score:
3.92
 
 
Wants:
9
Gots:
6
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 167 |  Reviews: 123
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer came a dark brown with faint burgundy highlights. The head was very thick, tan and heavy. Smells of earthy dark fruit’s and caramel. Tastes of a sweet smoky molasses and burnt caramel with a slight touch of sourness that runs nicely into a little nip of earthy hops. The mouth feel is medium bodied with a light carbonation. This beer is quite tasty and easy going down.

 381 characters

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 thetachibro
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A dark red ruby, dark brownish color with a minimal head that is constantly fed by the carbination. A slight alcohol aroma with some caramel. When i first sipped this beer to me it was very sweet. that for me contributes to the average drinkablity. Medium bodied mouthfeel and not bad for a winter warmer

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Photo of skynxnex
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large head forms even with a gentle pour. Settles down with some
lacing. Smells of hops, not like an APA, but British. Also a hint of
alcohol. Color is deep ruby/mahogany. Taste is sweet malt with
hops. Slight bitter backing. Has the flavor that has been in the
English Pale Ales and real Altbiers that I've had. Good, but quite
different from normal American ales. Somewhat sour. The alcohol in the smell barely shows its head in the taste. Full, somewhat slippery mouthfeel.

Overall, a good strong ale. Low on the bittering hops so the malt
shines through.

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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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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 merlin48
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark mahogany body that reveals a radiant ruby tone when backlit. Active carbonation is seen when held to a strong light. Sturdy, one inch ecru head is creamy and inviting, having excellent retention. Sticky sheets of lace coat the glass.
Aroma is on the malty side, with notes of brown sugar, toffee, caramel malt, figs, and stewed apples. A floral note of rose water adds some intrigue.
Mouthfeel is almost full bodied, but not quite chewy, with moderate carbonation.
Taste begins sweet, with dark fruits like figs and raisins up front. Some warming alcohol is apparent. Brown sugar and toffee are evident, and some smoky peat adds a nice complexity. Some fruity red apple notes appear in the middle. Earthy and floral hops serve to balance. Roasty malts and mildly bitter hops on the finish.
Very classy Old Ale that is a very nice sipper. Lots of complexity. Another fine English ale from J.W.Lees. Try this with some English sharp cheddar or Cheshire cheese for a real treat.

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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 garymuchow
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mark and 3 Corners for this bottle.
Aroma presents witha nice deep rich malt character with fruity tones and hints of alcohol. Nice.
Brownish amber with reds in the light. Smallish brown head that goes to a ring only in time.
Full malty flavors with really nice fruity qualities. A bit of sharpness and finishes with a mild dryness and a mild bitterness. Not particularily complex.
Begins feeling full and rich, but seems to feel thinner in time. Has a bit of viscosity.
Overall just fine. Nothing stands out, but nothing detracts either. Others have noted the price and it is a bit spendy. Probably could do better for less.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a ruby color with brown hints. A finger of creamy head sits atop the liquid. The nose is caramel, brown sugar and raisin with a slight spiceyness in there as well. The flavor is pretty nice, with big bit of brown sugary sweetness and a very big spicy raisiney quality to it. I find this to be very enjoyable. The feel is moderate to thick with a light to moderate carbonation. I like it. Its not a fantastic beer, but above average. Everything melds well together and makes a nice brew.

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Photo of clvand0
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish red color with a tall head that falls quickly and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma seems faint, but there is a little caramel, some slight dark fruits. Lots of flavors. Dark fruits, toffee, caramel, quite a bit of bitterness. Possibly a little coffee and/or chocolate. Thick body and good drinkability. Some slightly odd flavors, possibly spices. Interesting beer.

 391 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

275ml bottle bought from Harrington's Wine & Liquors, Chelmsford, MA.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a minimal uneven tan head over the cloudy, deep red brew. Head and lacing are both lacking, to say the least. Aroma is vinous and dark fruits, reminds me of their Harvest Ale. Taste is somewhat bitter for the style, with a slight spicy flavor. Mouthfeel is relatively creamy, but the bitterness is somewhat off-putting, and drinkability is similar. Not as overly spiced as some Winter Warmers are, but this one has room for improvement.

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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 Wonka
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 ML
7.5% ALC VOL
60 degrees

Appearance – cloudy, rust colored; micronized white head isn’t tremendous but its reasonable; a bit of lace

Smell – toffee and caramel; some dark berries; some astringency

Taste – a touch of bitterness but malts are prevalent; more of the dark berries come through in comparison to their standing in the nose; toffee, caramel, molasses and a dose of honey carry the load; nice roasted aftertaste

Mouthfeel – big and creamy at open but thins out a bit late; closes dry

Drinkability – very smooth; very easy on the palate; a bit warming

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Photo of slyke
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice winter warmer, not the best I've had, but far from the worst. Aroma is fruity, with citrus most noticable to my olfactory. Spicing is on the mild side with a dry finish. A deep garnet color with a creamy white head that starts about 3/4 of an inch, then fades to 1/8 inch. Decent lacing. Perhaps the true test of a beer is "would I buy it again?" Yep.

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Photo of cokes
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark chocolate hued with a layer of lively tan foam.
Nose of prune and leather, with rotting raspberries and carob clues in the distance.
At the fore, its a big toffee-coated plum malt monster. It ebbs to a husky raw graininess as the body fades, with an encompassing oak note. Metallic elements appear in the afterwash along with a caramel-chocolate continuation of the malts. It end with a coarse hopping that signals dead weeds. Brandy-ish grapey flares of alcohol pop up on occasion.
Medium bodied (on average), feeling fat up front, but whittles away to a stick figure close.
Ok, but a bit rough around the edges.

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

Dark plum with a nice tan head of foam that lasted for quite a while. The aroma of this brew was all about the big fruity malts, I got hints of plums, pudding, cranberries, various nuts, and more. Like an excellent winter cake in a bottle. The taste was sweet, fruity, and malty up front, with some complex fruit and nut notes in the middle, and a very smooth finish that left a lingering dark fruit aftertaste on the tongue. The mouthfeel was medium bodied>thick but perfect and the drinkability was good as well. Not as good as their harvest ale, but another winner from Manchester, none-the-less.

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Has a nice deep brown color with hints of red. No head to see but left a tiny lacing along the sides which says "resin" to me. Alcohol, dates and maybe some sugary nose. Tasting this made me feel as though I had a cold. Definitely some sort of cough syrup feel and taste. A lot of alcohol followed by a syrup character with yeast and some molasses. Perhaps this is a bad bottle but I really don't agree with the other reviews on this. I've had much better.

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

Pours a chestnut brown with some maroon hints. No real head and no real lace.
Aroma of dark tropical fruits, caramel nd toffee with some nuttiness.
Flavor is dark fruits, plums, dates, heavy dark malt, deep nutty notes, brown sugar and some molasses. Some resin and citrus hop notes.
Mouthfeel is super sweet with just a hint of resin and hop oil.
Drinkabilityis very nice, smooth and malty. Love to try on cask.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a two-finger light brown head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Deep clear amber color. Good carbonation. Nose is sweet and raisiny. Medium-heavy bodied. Starts sweet and raisiny and finishes on the dry side. $5.75 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a ruby-brown color with a tan head. The aroma is malty with a spicy hop smell. The flavor is of caramel malts with a bit of raisins, and a spicy hop taste finishing it up. It finishes with a dry hop bitterness. It is a warming medium bodied brew. Not too bad.

Sampled 12/13/03

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This Barley Wine pours a dark reddish-brown color with a thin light brown head. Thin lacing. The aroma is malty and fruity. Lighter body than most Barley Wines, with flavors of roasted malt, caramel, and fruit. The finish is very sweet and borderline cloying. Not the best of the style, but maybe a "Beginner's Barley Wine" due to the lighter body and more sedate flavors.

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Photo of dannyvee
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured a clear, deep copper-maroon with a large, billowy off-white head that stuck around. malty, raisiny sweetness on the nose which was quite strong at cellar temperature. smooth, creamy, full body give quite an inviting mouthfeel. the taste was caramel, sweet malt, dark red fruit and a bourbon quality. all that malty sweetness then snaps to a very dry finish. a nice warming brew that i'll go back to again on a cold night.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This dark and inviting ale pours a ruby-tinged mahogany with a smallish off-white head. A resinous hop aroma mingles with a bit of caramel malt and fumy alcohol. The slightly biscuity caramel malt reveals a nice nutty flavor, with a light herbal quality to it. The hops are in abundance. Sharp-edged white grapefruit and lemon zest bitterness mix with hints of a metallic bite. A candy sugar sweetness begins to peek through as it warms. A mild dose of a warming sherry-like alcohol backbone stays throughout. I can only guess that J.W. may have a quality control issue, based on the many high and low ratings it has received. This particular bottle is quite good...good to the point where I can't imagine anyone not liking it.

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