Manchester Star Ale
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd

Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale
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J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
England, United Kingdom
Strong Ale - English
Ranked #5
Ranked #11,719
3.99 | pDev: 9.52%
Jan 08, 2021
Mar 17, 2005
Very Good
Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale
Notes: None
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Photo of NCSapiens
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by NCSapiens from Indiana

Exactly as expected after reading the reviews. Really well made and solid offering, easy drinking and quintessentially English. Dark fruit strong ale meets lightly roasted malts, with minimal hops. Upon reflection, the aspect that really stands out is the quality water that they use, which lends a characteristic crispness. Worth trying, but not worth the exorbitant import price to have more than one. But if I were in Manchester I could easily pass the night away putting these back.

Jan 08, 2021
Photo of jkblr
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by jkblr from Indiana

500mL bottle stamped L10305 11:53 (9 years old, I'm guessing) poured into a snifter at fridge temp 7.3% ABV. The beer pours dense very dark brown with light brown head and nearly no light penetration. The head is modest on a hard pour and recedes to a fat ring around the glass. No residual head or lacing. The aroma is molasses, raisin, plum and caramel. The taste is semisweet molasses, pipe tobacco, leather, prune and cherry (all rather oxidized) that finishes with little bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with very low carbonation and a wet finish. Not cloying, but rather balanced by the deeply toasted caramel more than any hop bitterness. Overall, good. I guess I didn’t think this was 9 years old when I picked it up room temperature a couple months ago. I would love to try it fresh or properly stored.

Nov 07, 2019
Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

From the bottle, it pours a nice brown color with a light tan head. It leaves lacing as you enjoy it. I primarily get malt in the nose. The same for the mouth. Yum!

Jan 19, 2018
Photo of SLeffler27
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by SLeffler27 from New York

Pours very dark brown with dark copper highlights. A thin, creamy dark chestnut head quickly recedes leaving spotty lace on a Harp nonic. Each sip presents a thin film.

Sweet malt opens the aroma, followed by melted brown sugar and faint molasses. Also noted dates, cashews and faint alcohol.

Rich malt yields to slightly toasted malt. This is quite sweet with light bitterness. Flavor attributes included a strong dose of raisins, whole wheat bread and charcoal. The finish lingers and progresses from sweet raisins to toasted malt. This beer warms well.

The body starts out full but thins late in each sip. A slick texture accentuates the alcohol slightly as it warms. Carbonation is fine and ample and residual sugar is left on the lips.

Manchester Star is a meal in a glass and will pair well with a hearty cheese. It would go equally well as an early evening relaxer.

Jul 09, 2017
Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by pat61 from Minnesota

L: deep dark brown with ruby highlights lightly covered by a thin layer of foam.

S: nuts, bananas and fruit seasoned with toffee, fruit, malts and grain.

T: The flavorful palate begins with nuts, fruit, banana, spice, a hint of toffee, traces of chocolate and a suggestion of cola. It starts slightly sweet but dries on the finish to medium dry with a medium low hop bitterness and a trace of horehound. The malt flavors are medium to medium high, the fermentation flavors are medium to medium high and the hop flavors are low. The beer is about 14 months old and it shows a slight hint of sherry oxidation but it works very well.

F: It has a medium body and medium low carbonation. The alcohol is barely noticeable.

Mar 30, 2017
3 by Euroglot from Belgium on Nov 05, 2016
4 by Beginner2 from Illinois on Apr 28, 2016
4.16 by risenz from England on Apr 25, 2016
3.75 by skaboom420 from Pennsylvania on Feb 21, 2016
Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Cthulhusquid from Washington

Look: Poured into a Duvel tulip. Solid black body, minimal to no head.

Smell: Booze soaked dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar, and a note of coffee.

Taste: Caramel, Brown sugar, earthy/nutty which might be hops, and a note of coffee. The dark fruits are much less pronounced.

Feel: Low carbonation, medium body. Creamy with a balanced finish.

Jan 03, 2016
3.92 by KAF from Iowa on Dec 13, 2015
3.79 by Cymro15 from Wales on Nov 28, 2015
4.22 by Spike from England on Nov 06, 2015
Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by manfromanotherplace from New York

Picked this up as im a manchester native....this is a great beer.looks very dark, stout like but smells of christmas pudding, sherry and dark fruits....tastes just like it smells with great mouthfeel. excellent. "Oh Manchester! Is Wonderful! Its full of tits, fanny and United,oh Manchester is wonderful!"

Nov 06, 2015
Photo of fx20736
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by fx20736 from New York

I don't remember when I bought this, probably late 2014/ early 2015. Served at cellar temp in a Duvel tulip.

Look: very dark,, almost black, thick mocha head.

Smell: very prune like with licorice also,

Taste: prunes and a light charred roast.

Feel: soft, supple, smooth

overall: a delicious, tasty sipper. So easy to drink

Nov 01, 2015
3.94 by shelby415 from Oregon on Sep 20, 2015
4.02 by sporklift87 from Colorado on Aug 12, 2015
Photo of DypsoBubble
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by DypsoBubble from England

Looks like a stout in the glass. Starts off with a good light brown head which breaks down into a lumpy head and then just a slender layer of bubbles leaving sparse lacing on the glass.

Aroma of burnt sugar, dandelion and burdock pop (British soft drink), pipe tobacco, Marmite and a hint of bacon(!).

Hits the mouth with a burst of sweetness decaying to a lingering caramel taste. A hint of hops combined with the burnt sugar with dandelion and burdock. A touch of fresh grass and some port like smoothness counteracted by a sharpness on swallowing.

A very balanced and pleasant ale which is all too easy to drink for what is a strong ale. More suited to winter. I can almost feel the Christmas spirit percolating through.

Aug 04, 2015
Photo of barczar
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by barczar from Kentucky

2011 vintage.

Deeply caramelized malt, a hint of sherry, and dark fruit notes of dates and fig are accented by light chocolate notes in the aroma.

Flavor is similar, with more toffee presence and deeply toasted breadcrust. There's a touch of sourness and bitterness at the finish that prevent the sweetness from overwhelming. This would've aged well for several more years. Becomes much more complex as it warms, with notes of roast malt, leather, and tobacco adding depth.

Jul 12, 2015
4.35 by JamieDuncan from Maryland on Jul 02, 2015
Photo of bubseymour
4.51/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by bubseymour from Maryland

Exceptional English beer. Flavor profile is strong and sweet.

Jul 02, 2015
4.02 by interzen from England on May 20, 2015
4.16 by steverx8 from England on May 16, 2015
4 by bigred89 from Maryland on May 04, 2015
4.48 by stephenlee from England on Apr 15, 2015
Photo of LagerCognoscenti
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by LagerCognoscenti from England

Good head. Dark brown porter like colour.

The smell is sweet, with suggestions of raisins and booziness.

The taste is sweet with dark fruits, ash, booze and earthy bitterness combining nicely. Very much like a strong English Porter and reminded me a little of Fullers London Porter.

Overall a very enjoyable beer and a great winter warmer. Nice strong abv with rich but well balanced flavours.


Mar 07, 2015
Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by superspak from North Carolina

500 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 10/27/2010. Pours nearly opaque dark brown color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big molasses, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, chocolate, raisin, plum, light cocoa, light nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast notes; with good strength. Taste of big molasses, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, chocolate, cocoa, raisin, plum, light nuttiness, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Light earthy herbal/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toast, brown bread, toffee, molasses, raisin, plum, and yeast/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding English porter style. All around awesome balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast flavors; and very smooth to drink for the ABV. This held up very well for it’s age considering the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Feb 28, 2015
3.19 by DamnYankeeHeadHunter from Alabama on Feb 12, 2015
Photo of Malt_Man
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
by Malt_Man from England

Served at cellar temperature from 500ml bottle into straight pint glass.

A) Looks just like a glass of coke - slight reddish-black, no head, lots of small bubbles.

S) Sweet malts are the only smell.

T) At first you think it is too sweet in the foretaste, but it is soon rescued by a distinct but subtle hop bitterness shortly after. Interesting taste profile. High ABV is masked well in the mouth.

M) Quite fizzy, but with a substantial weight in the mouth. A subtle but nice warming aftertaste.

O) A beer of two halves, but they add up to something distinctive and enjoyable. Recommended.

Feb 04, 2015
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.37/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
by ygtbsm94 from Utah

Aroma malt, dark chocolate, hint smoke & fruit, molasses. Taste chewy leather, ash, malts, prunes, faint spice, licorice, & bitter finish.

Jan 12, 2015
4.09 by Foley67 from Scotland on Jan 03, 2015
Photo of tillmac62
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75
by tillmac62 from South Carolina

Pours an opaque dark brown similar to a stout, but not black. Well below average head, lacing and retention. Outstanding nose of dark fruit (plum, fig), sweet chocolate, slightly burnt molasses and just a hint of alcohol. The nose is similar to that of an Olde or Scott Ale, but lighter - as is the flavor profile. Light medium body with a hint of slickness. Normal carbonation with a bit of effervescence in the finish. The outstanding flavor profile is reasonably intense, very complex and masterfully balanced. The beginning to middle is a blend of flavors that slowly fade allowing subsequent identification. All flavors of the nose are present and basically cascade from burnt molasses to dark fruit and then into a light bitterness followed by a chocolate note and associated sweetness. The finish is a slow fade of malty sweetness with a hint of alcohol and a bit of hop and alcohol bite.

Dec 17, 2014
Photo of drperm
5/5  rDev +25.3%
by drperm from Virginia

A: dark dark brown, nearly black save for the caramel-russet hue that's evident when you hold it up to the light. Dissipating brown head that lingers as a thin layer.
Sm: Toffee, madeira, warm spices, caramel, Christmas pudding
T: Complex, smoky, toffee (again), raisins, with a nice English-hop backbone that keeps it from being sweeet. Excellent complex, bitter finish.
P:Lingers pleasantly on the palate, encouraging you to take another sip. At over 7%, it's a tiger lurking in the shadows, but a friendly, cuddly tiger.
O: The best beer I've had IN A WHILE. Original and classic at the same time. I'd put this up against a robust steak or venison dinner OR a dessert such as creme brulee.
There will be more of these in my future. It's f%^&ing righteous.

Dec 09, 2014
4 by Jerseyislandbeer from Jersey on Nov 23, 2014
Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
by Hoppsbabo from England

A: Almost completely black with a quickly dissipating light beige head.
S: Port-like fruit, soy sauce, and some smokiness? Not a particularly strong nose though.
T: Ooer. It’s port-like, smokey, silky smooth and yet snappy on the tongue. Nice and sweet for the strength. There’s even a hint of ginger beer in there, and some earthiness. Quite a bitter aftertaste. Gets sweeter as it warms, and less bitter, and the liquorice appears.
O: Old Peculier is the closest thing I’ve had to this, although this is slightly better. The interesting thing is that it's almost as flavourful when chilled as when it's warmed up.

Nov 20, 2014
4 by Robrawr from Ohio on Nov 13, 2014
4.2 by DrJay from Texas on Nov 04, 2014
4 by hAle2theWort from Maryland on Sep 27, 2014
4 by Torontoblue from Canada (AB) on Aug 17, 2014
3 by wrightst from Maryland on Aug 12, 2014
Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 179 ratings