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

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119 Reviews
Moonraker AleMoonraker Ale

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

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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Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 163
Photo of evilkalla
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pint bottle into an ale glass.

Poured a hazy amber/brown with a fizzy, off-white small head which remained until I finished the glass.

Smell is of malt with some hints of fruit, spice and candy. I think I detect some grape in there too.

Taste is overall pretty malty with some bread and cherry. Not bad.

Medium to high level of carbonation, mouthfeel is pretty fizzy.

Medium finish with a hint of booze. Somewhat bitter on the finish as well.

Not a bad beer, but the spices and malts flavor in this beer seemed to clash for me.

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 8/13/09

Poured into a Foothills signature glass. Clear, dark, cherry-brown in body with a thin, off-white head on top. Light lacing left behind.

Aroma consists of cherries, sweet malts and a bit of spice. Some slight cider and grape notes as well. Overall sweet.

Sweet, bready malts wash across the tongue, mixed with a cherry cola flavor and a touch of spice bitterness on the finish. Ever so slightly tart at times, hints of banana, mostly sweet.

Mouthfeel has lots of small tiny carbonation, otherwise smooth and on the lighter side. Sweet with bitter aspects and slightly warming alcohol.

Drinkability is about average. I like the bready malts but the rest of the flavor doesn't really do much. However, this is one of the better winter warmers I have had. The spice is toned down and there is a bigger malt presence. One bottle is all you would want.

Overall, this is a decent beer. Nothing about it really stands out, but it will warm you up and has above average flavor. Not a beer I would seek out, but if you happen upon it you might as well give it a shot.

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Photo of bcorrieri
3.27/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Small to medium head.
No Lace.
Color is medium dark brown to a pale carmel rim.
Opacity is medium.
Smell is nutty and malty.
Taste is of heavy malt and pecans.
Carbonation is medium to medium-heavy.
Finish is light medium to medium.
Overall a good winter/early spring beer.

Brewed on 12 aug 09 and drank on 5 mar 10.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a flat looking slightly hazy brown. small to tiny white head

Smell of yeasty toffee and some dark plum. slight booze presence in aroma, grassy hops. some port aromas?

Taste of a sweet malty brown ale with some brandy/port flavors. Not sure if these are from spices or from barrel aging. Slight funk presence sa well. Smooth drinking , light carbonation. A decent beer, but not my favorite Winter Warmer. A lighter Old Ale IMO with some additional spices.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.52/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Strong ale brewed on 8/13/09 and consumed on 12/27/09

A hazy and vibrant amber, deep color and a minimal, off-white head, dissipates quick, gone later on.

Fermented red fruits and candy apples, Port cask like sweetness, more dank fruits, wild yeastie fruitiness in the middle along with some tang. The malt holds a bunch of fruity sweetness with some minor cork-like aroma's that are pretty subtle.

This one has a very aged and complex malt flavor, sweet caramel along with a fruity edge that is sweet and sour. there is a gentle, very subtle hop balance but it's very subtle. the feel is full, smooth, more medium to full and it certainly feels like an aged brew. Huge complexity, fermented dates, sugar coated raisins, and dank bready malt with a rather heat for being 7.5%.

A great brew, huge complexity, thank you J.w lee's for serious quality.

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Photo of Brad007
3.1/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes, January '09.

Pours a very cloudy brown, with a very thin off-white head.

Nose is a bit boozy, with notes of toffee and some over-ripe dark fruits.

Taste is rich with a sweet, bready malt character that sits somewhere between bready and toffee sweet, with a fruitiness like dark fruit that's been lightly soaked in rum, a bit tangy in the finish, with just a bit of yeast in there.

Mouthfeel is smooth, a bit of moderate carbonation - really well done.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

P: 16.9oz brown pop top; nice, classy label; a date is clearly stamped; whether it's best-by or bottled on, I'm not sure. If it's best by, this is a couple of months out-dated, but with the I'm thinking this is probably ok

A: Hazy dark mahogany beer with a nice light beige cap with good retention

S: Lots of dark caramel, sticky sweet dark fruits, medium-toasted bread; simple, but not unpleasant.

T: Flavors match the aromas, with just a hint of minerality on the finish as well; this is much maltier and more full than the only other time I've tasted it, when I suspected that it was way past it's best-by date and sufficiently oxidized. I still feel this might be just a bit past its prime, but is still pretty tasty. Nothing out of this world, but rustic and tasty in a wonderfully English way

M: Medium-bodied

D: Medium-high

C: Again, this MAY be a bit out of date, or it may not; even if this is a bit past it's prime, I don't detect a lot of oxidation here; I'm just not completely blown away by this beer, which is kind of unexpected, as J.W. Lees is such a renowned brewery. Due to this, perhaps I'm being a bit hard on this beer. Bottom line: it's tasty, it's classic, and it's delightfully British. Is it worth almost six dollars for a pint? Meh.

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Photo of cvfish
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer poured a reddish brown color that produced a white foamy head that had decent retention and left a good lace on the side of the glass

S - The aromas produced by this beer were some caramel and malts, some fruitiness and toffee

T - The taste of this beer was a good bit of caramel malts, a bit molasses and toffee, and a bit of hops on the finish

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body that was smooth, and had a moderate amount of carbonation

D - This was a good beer, very drinkable, this was another good example of a beer from JW Lees

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Photo of BeerSox
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into nonic.

Deep, dark and cloudy mahogany color with a one finger tan head that rises to just even with the rim of the glass. It slowly settles to a thin cap.

Roasty malty background along with a bit of burnt caramel and cinnamon.

Toasted grains which load in the caramel flavor. Some light spices are in the middle, but a lot so they are noticed. The feel is slightly tart. Hops are on the low end - this is a mostly sweet beer. Full bodied.

Somewhat of a spicy Winter Warmer. Not overdone though. Some roastiness, but mostly sweet caramel.

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Photo of Amalak
2.97/5  rDev -18.9%
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 Bung
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber pour, very little white head. Nutty, citrus with some malt aroma. Upfront is a little bitter with some citrus, green apple. Mellows out into a real nice maltiness. The fruit continues to fade as the beer warms, the maltiness increases with some toffee and prune like flavors. A solid medium body. The abv isn't exactly strong ale like, but I thought this one was a bit under rated. Would recommend a try to anyone who likes a traditional old ale style brew. For those that prefer a strong ale as basically an Imperial IPA, than this is not for you.

 561 characters

Photo of ccrida
4.6/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Caveat - I really love English barleywines, which is what I considered Moonraker for this review.
550ml poured into an imperial pint, Moonraker is a dark garnet with an off-white head that leaves pretty nice lace for the first inch or two.

Sweet malt, sugary esters, damp leafy hops. Simple but nice.

Taste rich malt and wet, herbal hops. Coconut, pears, cotton-candy, honey, fresh grassy, leafy hops, cedar, clean and sweet, wow! This is a really nice balance of full flavors with a rounded softness.

Mouthfeel is slick, pricky hop oils, some drying alcohol, medium bodied.

Drinkability is exceptional, because this beer is exceptional. We just got a new shipment of a bunch of different J.W. Lee's, before which I'd only had them at festivals. Now that I've worked though what they were offering, they might be one of my favorite breweries period, let alone from the U.K.!

 883 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
2.5/5  rDev -31.7%
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 gueuzeonhigh
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a dark beer-- pours with a black walnut brown color and a foamy but short lived head.
There was a small aroma of fruit and hints of malt in the nose.

The flavor was predominantly sweet malt with very little underpinning-- giving the flavor profile a thin "appearance". The flavor is also rather sedate-- other than the sweet malt I am at a loss to coin any other discerning features.

The finish is mild with the sweet malt tinging and slowly fading. Like the flavor start- the finish had a one dimensional characteristic-- that of predominantly sweet flavor.

The mouthfeel was cordial-- in part due to the sweet malty character.

The drinkability was "good"-- this beer is a very mild mannered character. Although I think that the sweetness would prove tiring after a pint. I don't think I'd reach for another.

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Photo of n00tz
4.36/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Dark brown translucent (not opaque, mind you) body with tan head that lingers for a minute or so. Carbonation is a little hard to detect without good light, but is actually very alive and inviting.

Smell - Roasty, smoky, toasty, biscuity all come to mind.

Taste - My first Winter Warmer, so I wasn't sure what to expect, needless to say I was very pleasantly suprised. It had a smoky/toasty flavor. No hops overtones. It would go great with some mild or smoked cheese. I am definetly not looking forward to losing this flavor in favor of eating my dinner shortly.

Mouthfeel - Perfect presense on my palate, smooth going down with no bite afterwards. Exactly how I want my beer to feel. It begs me to keep it in my mouth. Not much reaction to a little tongue motion, so perfect carbonation.

Drinkability - I sooo want more. At 6.69 a bottle it's very likely to show up in my fridge many more times. I think I'm in love.

 935 characters

Photo of barefootbrewer
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear brown with a thin tan head.

S: The aroma is malty and spicy. Inviting.

T: This is another beer that is heavy on malt/caramel. There are some spice notes and perhaps a hint of sourness. The flavors seem to be fairly balance.

M: Mouthfeel is full and well suited.

D: Easy to drink sweet brew. Solid.

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Photo of zeff80
3.09/5  rDev -15.6%
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 jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
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 BlackHaddock
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown 500ml bottle, best before Oct 2008, drank May 2008.

Poured into a Westmalle Trappist Chalice glass.

looked fine, tan head on top of a deep ruby red body, clear and seethrough when held up to the light. The head soon turned to a rim and wisp covering, pity.

Aroma was fairly sweet, toffee and caramel, with chocolate malts.

The taste seemed very alcoholic and little else got through. There was some hops and a malt flavour as it warmed in the glass, but a dryness came with it.

Strange but not unpleasant. Too much alcohol for me, in a watery body. The sweetness of the smell doesn't appear in the taste, which detracted me at first.

Not something I'd rush out and buy a crate of, but for a change and a headache it is just the ticket.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark, cranberry red with a thin, macro-bubbly dirty, beige head that quickly recessed to a sparse layering with no lacing. A slow steady, medium strong carbonation streams upward creating tiny, micro-bubbly eruptions on the surface.

S: caramel, raisins, and cola. The nose is very light and subdued.

T: spicy, dry caramel with some sour malting and ripe fruit (prunes). There was a some spicy alcohol fusels (dark molasses, cinnamon). On the finish was a good dry, whiskey barrel woodiness and alcohol detection after the swallow. Upon warming a syrupy, dark rich caramel dominates the palate.

M: prickly carbonation with a nice syrupy fullness with dry whiskey barrel after thoughts.

D: Drinks bigger then the advertised 7.0%abv. Average drinkability and as per the label pairs nicely with crumbs of strong English cheese, to which I would likely agree.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.32/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is rich, smoky, with hints of molasses and coffee - what I call "stouty" since I am partial towards porters and stouts. It pours a dark, semi-opaque mahogany with a fine-bubbled and fairly persistent head. Flavor is smoky and malty with a fair amount of sweetness. When it goes down the hatch, it leaves a touch of hoppy bitterness, which complements the sweet rather than clashing. A flavorsome and enjoyable beer, one should sip and savor it, and preferably without a distraction like a party or game.

 509 characters

Photo of dsa7783
3.12/5  rDev -14.8%
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...

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Photo of Kwak
2.01/5  rDev -45.1%
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 hwwty4
1.65/5  rDev -54.9%
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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Moonraker Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
3.66 out of 5 based on 163 ratings.
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