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

BA SCORE
83
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
Ratings:
167
Reviews:
122
Avg:
3.67
pDev:
15.8%
 
 
Wants:
9
Gots:
6
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 167 |  Reviews: 122
Photo of putnam
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful roasted sweetness on the nose is characterised by buttery, sweet, toasted brown bread notes.
Velvety, slightly sweet caramel flavors are lifted by creamy mousse and shaped by tangy, roasted bitterness. White raisins, caramel creme and roasted seeds play supporting roles. AS it warms the roasty element begin to assert a stronger counterbalance to the sweet malt.

Well balanced brown ale... a bit sweet. Nice with pudding.

 437 characters

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

 477 characters

Photo of Taybeh
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On cask into a shaker. Too dark in here to tell, but probly dark brownish with decent lacing. Big waves of toffee, fig, licorice...very nice. Taste follows the nose but I'm not getting the layers as much. Smooth and creamy but no edge to clean up the finish. This was a happy surprise!

 289 characters

Photo of Beertracker
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

J.W. Lees Moonraker is best served at warmer cellar (50-55°F) temperatures from a brandy snifter or pint glass. This award-winning offering from J.W. Lees from Middleton pours up with ample carbonation followed by a long lasting tannish-white head that engulfs the deep russet-brown body. The sweet, caramel malt aroma is filled with a nice intermingling of fruitiness (candied yams, Shropshire plums, treacle pudding) and spicy (ginger, mace, cinnamon) notes. In addition, there's some notable alcoholic warmth underlying the slightly winy (oxidized) character . The rich, satifying flavor starts off with a wallop of caramel/nougat maltiness which evetually gives way to a light touch of bitterness from continental hops with a light alcoholic warmth to color the cheeks. J.W. Lees Moonraker is a finely crafted example of the style and is the perfect accompaniment to some tangy Stilton cheese. James Bond (007) never had it so good!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of n2pux
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - bold reddish purple in color - think dark ripe plum, a touch of off white head ringing the glass that quickly fades to a trickle of bubbles.
S - Huge aromas of ripe dark fruits and rich malts. If you've had the harvest ales this will come across very familiar.
T - similar to the aroma but much deeper in the ripe fruit feel.
M - medium bodied, sweet but not cloying
D - I think I'd prefer this in a 12 oz size. Like the barleywine, this is a sipper. It's great and one I'd have 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 fx20736
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a goblet, served at 63f.

Lovely tawny port brown with an offwhite head.

Aroma: baking in the oven molasses-gingerbread cookies and faint suggestions of toffee, earthy Fuggles hoppiness, caramel and diacetyl.

mouthfeel: silky and smooth

taste: bready malt, molasses sweetness, with a slightly sour twang and a finish that is Treacly sweet with just a kiss of prunes.

Notes: Is this a Barleywine, a Strong Ale as the bottle suggests or a Winter Warmer as BA calls it? I guess it doesn't matter, this is another malty, sweet beer like a Wee Heavy but without the peatiness or a Belgian Strong Dark Ale but without the spices. The sweetness of this beer and 7.5% abv make this a sipper. Don't drink this if you're in a hurry, it's a beer to lay down and avoid a bit, then a sip and then another laydown. Good stuff.

 842 characters

Photo of John
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 390 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 BedetheVenerable
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

 1,266 characters

Photo of jonb5
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

 439 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.

 651 characters

Photo of Nage37
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%

Photo of PatandDavid
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had three of these on cask at Redbones. Didn't know it was as strong as it was, but after the first few sips, I knew it had to be a pretty big beer.

Cola colored, with a nice head that quickly dissipated, this brew was pretty easy to drink, and I kept right at 'em.

This was one of the best casks I've had in a while: very smooth, a bit of malty sweetness, not bitter. I liked it because the taste was fullbodied. Little bit of a hopkick and slight alcoholic taste in the finish. I want to go back to England...now!

Try this on cask if you can.

pat

 560 characters

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

 288 characters

Photo of Samp01
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly viscous cloudy brown with a medium lasting tan head. Aroma toasted caramel malt, dark fruits, plums, figs, and some liquorice notes. Taste is toasted caramel malt, dark fruits of plums, dates, black figs with some mild bitterness. A full bodied brew with a slightly viscous and sticky mouthfeel with some moderate carbonation on the palate. Finish is sweet toasted caramel malt, dark fruits, plums, dates, black figs followed by some sweet alcohol esters and some mild bitterness ending. Flavor and aroma of liquorice, dates and figs becomes more evident as it warms up. Overall an excellent, flavorful nicely balanced, and delicious brew, very enjoyable.

 672 characters

Photo of fionn13
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of barefootbrewer
3.67/5  rDev 0%
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.

 312 characters

Photo of hellhammermario
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of ggaughan
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a deep brownish color with a slight white head with good lacing. The beer had the smell of deep fruit and the strong alcohol content. Impressive. The taste is a nice balance of a malty sweetness but with a kick of the ABV which is refreshing and gives you a good mouthful.

 289 characters

Photo of sisuspeed
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

 1,083 characters

Photo of phisig137
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, almost black color with ruby highlights, and a half finger head. Poor retention doesn't leave anything nice behind, just a flat looking glass of ale.

Aroma is sweet, brightly fruity, and slightly alcoholic. Malty caramel aromas are well blended with an unusually fruity yeast strain... seems almost overly fruity and out of place for a British beer.

Flavor is quite sweet, to the point of being cloying up front. Again, massive fruit flavors here.... peaches, apples, pears, and maybe plums. the finish begins to take on a dryer side, although not hoppy. Finish is lingering. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and smooth. Drinkability is pretty good for the ABV.

not a bad beer at all. I rather enjoy this one. The yeast must be the house strain over at J.W. Lee's, as you can taste some similarities to the harvest ale in this one. I wonder if this has the potential to age as well... I personally love the harvest ale, and this one pales in comparison. BUT, this was 3.99 a pint, compared to $8.49 for 9 ounces. If I'm in the mood and can't afford it, this is a decent back up.

 1,103 characters

Photo of Atlas1
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hadn't heard of the Moonraker before picking one up at my local beer store this weekend. Classified as a "Winter Warmer," I'm not sure exactly how old this bottle is.

Pours a deep dark brown, with an orange tint at the edges when held up to the light. Really weak head; big bubbles which thin out rapidly and leave nothing but a very thin rinse around the edges of the glass. Nothing special in the pour, for sure. Still, the aroma here is boisterous. Fruity scents take command, with malted tones making a presence, but with much more reserve. Apple, pear, prune. And tasty too. Sweet... some malty sweetness, but mostly this is a fruity sweetness. Not sure how they pull this off without actual fruit in the brewing process (IS there fruit in the brewing process here?) but they do a damn fine job of things. A lightly syrupy mouthfeel. Moonraker would serve as an excellent dessert beer, or after-dinner drink. Not sure I would pair this with a cheese, but definitely a fruit sorbet or plum cake (IS there such a thing as plum cake?). All in all, the Moonraker is a fine brew. Fruity and strong, like the label says.

 1,123 characters

Photo of cvfish
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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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Moonraker Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
3.67 out of 5 based on 167 ratings.
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