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

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BA SCORE
83
good
118 Reviews
Moonraker AleMoonraker Ale
BEER INFO

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

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
Reviews:
118
Ratings:
162
Avg:
3.66
pDev:
18.85%
 
 
Wants:
9
Gots:
6
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 118 | Ratings: 162
Photo of Vancer
3.29/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour was the downfall of this one – root beer fizz with no head or lacing. But a nice aroma of sour malts in the aroma picked things back up a bit.

Decent tasting brew of caramel, coffee and spices – finishes with a sour mash bourbon kick. Medium bodied brew, has a nice rich malty backbone. Just a tad to tart & sour to make this one a real session drinker – not to mention the 7.5% abv

Saludos to BRoss242 for the sample.

 432 characters

Photo of Crosling
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dull brown color with a thin and diminishing white cream. Aromatically gentle, caramel smelling, along with several dark ripe fruits, completely malt-accented. Big, bubbly and heavy feel on the palate, with finely extracted malt tones. Soft caramel and toffee flavors, very sweet and a bit cloying. Brash alcohol as well, which could use a little more hop. Light almond extract flavor as well.

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Photo of ZAP
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep red with floaties all over the pace....little whisp of a head...Nose is malty...woody....like it was oak aged in bourban barrels almost....low carbonation....relatively smooth and firm mouthfeel....flavors are pretty complext....some berry fruitniess....also the oak/bourban flavor....bitter dark cocoa...pretty malty but finishes on a strong dry note..

Add it all together and it's pretty good....just doesn't blow my socks off...tastes very alcoholic...like drinking bourban....worth trying one bottle...I will not buy this one again....

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Photo of Zimbo
3.41/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In the bottle the nose is deep with some appetising fruit. In the glass it is more cola like. There is a contant head on top of this reddish brown beer and body is slightly carbonic and quite thin for a 7.5% ABV beer. Slight banana quality to the tasty but not much else of interest. Decent complex lacing. Eventually coats mouth with a slight sappiness. There is development over time in the glass as it opens up. At least I didn't serve it chilled.

Certianly is Moonraker. Too bad I was expecting From Russia With Love.

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Photo of sacfly
3.42/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500mL, no date. $5.99
Pours a reddish brown. On the dark side. What little head there was is quickly gone. Smell is fruity. Raisins and a bit of toasted malt. A little sherry. First sip is a bit syrupy and slick. Over ripe fruit. Figs. Almost reminds me of a watered down JW Lees Harvest ale. Aftertaste is sticky and sweet. No hops to speak of.

Again, this seems like a little cousin to the Harvest Ale, which I find far superior. This is not bad by any means, but I would never choose this over the Harvest. Especially with the $5.99 price tag.

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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 Jason
3.46/5  rDev -5.5%
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 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 ADR
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark mahogany brown color, appears slightly clearish overall with light transmission at the bottom of the pint glass. Very soft yellow head of about 1/2 inch to start. Laces thickly. Some cocoa to the deep smell, some carob as well. Lighter mouthfeel than I expected but the flavor is decently full, expressing chocolate powder, light coffee tones, and a burnt profile close to the end. Some slight sense of alcohol but relatively smooth and easy drinking. A good enough beer but I have to admit I was expecting better mouthfeel and a little more complexity to write about.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
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 Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
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 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 BretSikkink
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown, a few little clumps of sediment. When held to light, a few highlights of dark reddish amber show. Minimal head is foamy and quite sticky, although retention is not great.

Aroma is very thick and malty, very sweet with notes of caramel and toffee. Ester alcohol apparent as well.

Full, but not as thick as I expected, with plenty of bitter hops to balance the malt profile. Flavors emerge dramatically as the glass warms, with notes of coffee and oak join the fruity sweetness of the nose. There's an herbal sensation in the mouth, with a warming alcohol finish.

Winter warmer...interesting style. Big and well fermented, a complex brew but not as thick as other strong ale types.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 500 mL bottle into a Cigar City pint glass.

A: Hazy deep brown, one finger's worth of off-white head, and low visible carbonation.

S: Boozy, caramel, spicy, brown malts (which smell a touch oxidized/cardboard to me).

T: Sweet brown malt, bready, a little cinnamon or nutmeg and vanilla with some rum raisin flavors. It's quite boozy for such a moderate ABV.

M: Medium body, carbonation on the low side but acceptable, and a little hot.

O: It's not bad, but nothing I'd likely repeat. This bottle did have some age on it, which makes the booziness even more surprising.

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

Appearance: Dark maroon, still light-penetrable. Head is small, but retentive.

Smell: Fruity, yet somewhat sour and acidic.

Taste: Malty and more mellow than I would expect. Diacetyl is noticeable, yet not that strong yet. Malts are roasted, and the alcohol is weill hidden. OK.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat creamy, OK carbonation, not bad.

Drinkability: Not a bad winter warmer, but I think this might be a little past it's peak.

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Photo of jonb5
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Half pint at JDW beer festival. Black, almost opaque apart from the brown edge. Tiny head, poor retention but it kept some lacing. Aroma was cork with notes of cranberry. Malty taste, stoutlike. There was some burn from the booze at the finish. Fairly smooth, texture was like thin syrup, minimal carbonation. Overall it had lots of burn from the alcohol but didn't really have the depth of character that some beers of this strength have.

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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 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 RoyalT
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Beautiful dark brown in color and full of carbonation and sediment. The tanned head was huge and relentless, lacing the glass wickedly on its slow ride down. It was a thing of beauty for sure. I hope it tastes as good as it looks.

Smell – The aroma is very muffled, even after warming. I can pick up a solid malt base though with maybe a bit of yeast to it. There’s also some sherry and dark fruits, most notably figs.

Taste – The oak comes out in the taste. The sherry is there as well, and they both work to compliment the strong malt base. This ale is a lot bigger at the tongue than it is at the nose. There’s a warming alcohol flavor to go along with the huge sugars.

Mouthfeel – I liked the fullness of the body here, but the carbonation was quite annoying. It kind of fizzled without satisfying. Otherwise, this felt good.

Drinkability – This is definitely 9 ounces of sipping ale. I enjoyed it very much, but the flavors are a bit strong and clumsy and may not be to everyone’s liking.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
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 Viking
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's not just the worst Bond flick ever, it's also a Barleywine!

Murky brown ale with a slight reddish tint. Plenty of CO2 trails noticeable through the murk. Good sized tan head. Dissipates quickly, but carbonation keeps a thin lace atop the brew. Rich malty aroma with hints of raisin, toffee and an odd note of roasted malt. Chewey toffee/caramel flavor, with hints of dark fruit. A little thinner on the taste than I'd like, however. Despite the carbonation, mouthfeel is rather creamy. It's a lot like rich, chewey toffee candy, without the intense sweetness. A pretty smooth drinking brew.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany colour with deep red tinges with a thin, off-white head that is about a millimetre thick that remains consistent throughout.

Mainly dark fruits to start, a combination of plum and sugar with some raisin and a little spice too. There is some toffee malts and some grapes but it doesn't smell as strong as I had been expecting.

Dark fruits kick things off with the plums and raisin from the nose along with a sort of fig taste. There is some sweet, rich malts and a little sugar along with an alcohol laced finish.

Medium bodied and with moderate to high carbonation, there is a dry finish that is slightly bitter and boozy with some spice in the mix too.

Very fruity and not as dark as I had expected, although still quite sweet. You can definitely feel that 6.5% abv. after a few drinks and it is quite a boozy beer to drink but it is one that I would have again.

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Photo of John
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

275mL. bottle, bottle conditioned. Cloudy dark brown, minimal head. Dark ripe fruit, notes of prune, raisins and pear...some medicinal alcohol. These notes are also present in the flavor along with some sticky caramel and molasses and more strong alcohol. For a brew at 7.5% abv, this tastes like a much stronger beer, almost like a barleywine. Full mouthfeel. A unique, belly warming brew.

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Photo of cokes
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
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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Moonraker Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 118 ratings.
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