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

Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale
Liked This Beer
3.99 w/ 177 ratings
Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale

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

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by yen157 on 03-17-2005

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Ratings: 177 |  Reviews: 112
Photo of n2185
2.01/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A: Pours black with no head and no lacing--not atypical for a cask beer, but I've had pretty pours from casks as well

S: Light aromas of dark fruit and wood--really not much going on.

T: This beer tastes like a watered down red wine. Bland with just a touch of dark fruit and woody flavors in there. Light alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Thin and watery

O: Maybe the bottled version is better, but the cask version is bland and watery. I wouldn't spend money on this beer again.

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Photo of Euroglot
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of JVoyager
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of wrightst
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of kimcgolf
3.08/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured to a deep black-brown with a tan head that immediately shrank to nothing and left no head or lacing. Aroma was a sweet, chocolate-toffee-malt and the mouthfeel was thick and syrupy. Taste was more of the malt chocolate, infused with some licorice and a hint of smoky wood. Finish was thick and unpleasant.

Not a fan of this one.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.12/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hard to saay how old this bottle is. No freshnesss date on the bottle, but it was pretty dusty when I bought it. Only indication is the back that says this was brewed again in 2004. Don't know if has been brewed since or not. Definitely some sherry aromas as I open the beer, so likely it is a little older. Pours black, but wwith almost no head even with a hard pour. Smell starts out sherried, but quickly opens up to notes of cocoa, vanilla, and sweet malt as well. Taste is somewhat similar. Definite cocoa and vanilla notes, and quite sweet. There is a touch of sherry and a touch of earthy hops, and a low level of carbonation. Slightly sticky in the mouth. Too sweet for me for a traditional porter, and not very lively. I'll go somewhere else for my porter fix. I'd more call this an old ale. Even then, I'd like a little more bite and a little less sweetness.

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Photo of DamnYankeeHeadHunter
3.19/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Zorro
3.27/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear brown colored beer with next to no head.

Smell is sweet with a lot of molasses aroma in the scent. Patent malt, coconut and faint butter. Caramel and chocolate with a faint fruit aroma.

Starts out mildly sweet with mild flavors of vanilla and molasses. Like most British beers the tastes are subtle and not strong. Leather and some tobacco flavors. Still this needs more taste.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall it smells better than it tastes. Doesn't taste bad it is just under flavored

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an eighth inch of mocha head which vanished fast. The body is a clear burnt umber brown almost as dark as coffee. It smells very mildly of roasted malt and I'm not picking up the menagerie of other smells others like to point out. The taste mirrors the smell and I'd have to say this is the absolute mildest porter I've ever had. It's best attribute is the body which is smooth and creamy and a nice mouthfeel. In the finish a very sublime English hop bitterness sneaks in.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.37/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

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

139 characters

Photo of EvilKeith
3.37/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours from the bottle a dark brown, nearly black in color. The head is a creamy mocha color that falls to a cap.
Smell is rich caamel, and more caramel, ripened dark fruits, roasted, and a bit of smokiness.
Taste is sugary sweet, chewy malts, caramel, dark fruit, prunes, and hints of ethyl alcohol. Faint hop bittering in the finish.
Medium-heave body. Mild carbonation. Fruit juice-like mouthfeel.
I could probably sip a couple of pints before the fruit juice-like sweetness got to be too much for me.

 510 characters

Photo of brystmar
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cask version tapped at Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn.

A: black / opaque with zero head. Some lace I guess.

S: really hard to pick anything up. All I can come up with is bready and, thanks to my brother, faintly reminiscent of grape jelly.

T: hello barrel aging! Smooth roasty malts, aged oak, finishes dry and slightly bitter.

M: possibly the most unique mouthfeel I've ever experienced with a beer. Full-bodied and creamy, but still exceptionally thin-feeling and absolutely anti-viscous. Oily for sure. Truly unique.

D: surprisingly easy to drink for a cask ale. Not sure I'd order it again, but it's easy to drink and I'm glad I ordered this glass.

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Photo of Stimack
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this brew on tap last night, first time I have seen it. Brew was poured to a dark black color with a tan head. The aroma was of chocolate, molasses and dark fruit like cherries, which seem to give of a sour like flavor. Ok, not sure if this brew might be going bad but I had noticed a strong sour taste (kind of like a Flanders) mixed in with nice Chocolate and charcoal like flavors up front. It was a little surprising but not bad, I actually did not mind it too much. Over all this was a pretty good brew, do think it may have run its course and the ratings here will show that. I will have to get a bottle of it to compare, but it is a brew I would get again as even though it had a sour smell and taste it was quite complex with the other attributes of this brew.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16.9 oz brown bottle. No freshness date.
It pours an impenetrable roofing tar color with a beige/tannish head of various sized bubbles.
The aroma is hard to detect. Just a weak hint of roasted malt and perhaps brown bread.
The malt has an unmistakable taste of dark roasted coffee with cream and 2 sugars. A light taste of toffee and hint of vanilla follow.
The hop profile is pretty much buried in the sweet malt body.
A little bit fruity with a taste of dark tea vies for attention, but falls a bit shy.
The alcohol is well hidden.
After having somewhat high expectations for this brew, I’m left a little disappointed.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep brown to black with a light & frothy cream-colored head. As the head subsides there is very little lacing to speak of floating atop the beer.

The primary aromas are bread and malt. Not sure if I'm getting everything here, also smells a bit acidic or perhaps sour.

The taste is far from what I expected thus far. Chocolate and coffee standout as well as some roasted flavors and some sweet fruit in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel and flavor are definitely the highlights of this Porter for me. The beer has a nice body, almost milk shake like, yet easy to enjoy. Little carbonation and pleasantly thick, I'm constantly seeking another sip.

This is a beer I will be trying again. I think I'm missing something in the aroma, but this would be an excellent beer for a hearty winter dinner.

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Photo of donmonkey1
3.44/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a frothy tan head that takes a few minutes to dissipate. There was almost no smell, yet there was a hint of sweetness. There was a dominant, almost total taste of strong molasses/raisins. Although I could see thousands of super tiny bubbles in the black ale, I couldn't feel any carbonation on my tongue.

I would enjoy one or two of these at a time. This is a quality product that many people love. Having said that, it's a little too much like drinking molasses water for me.

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Photo of sacfly
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

500mL, no fresh date
Pours an opaque black/brown color with a medium head of small brown bubbles. Aroma is nutty with a hint of roasted malt sweetness. Taste is sweet and chewy. Slick on the tongue. Full body and sweet, sticky aftertaste.

I have to admit, I really enjoyed about half of this. After that, it just got to be too heavy and sweet. After a while all I could really perceive was the syrupy nature of the brew. Good to split with someone and move on to something. Too much of a good thing.

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Photo of MCDuhamel
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 1 pint, 9 oz bottle into a British pub glass, at chilled temperature.

A: Poured aggressively into a pint glass, it formed a large head that filled a third of the glass; it quickly collapsed to a thin film evenly distributed across the surface. The beer is almost black, but held against light it is barely translucent with a very deep ruby glow.

S: Very noticeable aroma of molasses, some alchohol on the nose. Not particularly refined.

T: Molasses, brown sugar and sweet malt predominate. No noticeable hop presence at all. Quite sweet, almost cloying. No roasted notes whatsoever. Finishes on a sour note. Seems more like a sweet stout than a porter.

M: Pretty full-bodied for a porter. Leaves a slight residue on the tongue.

D: Because of its surprising sweetness, coupled with its alcohol content, this is certainly not a session beer. One will be plenty.

Overall: An interesting beer, and I'd be likely to drink it again. That said, it does not fall into the style of what most of us would now consider to be a porter; it really does present itself as a sweet and strong stout.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one is medium-brown in color with a modest dissipating head, which according to the BJCP is typical of the style.

Smell – The light roasty notes are brightened up with some broken down sugars. They are very sweet and smell like regular table sugar. The malts themselves are very easy on the olfactory bulb and exceptionally smooth.

Taste – This Porter is very easy at the taste as well. The sugars are really big and dominate this brew. The light malt that survives the nose makes a decent backbone.

Mouthfeel – This ale is well below medium-bodied but I wouldn’t call it light. It has a noticeable bitterness in the middle and finishes smoothly.

Drinkability – I liked the last sip a lot better than the first. This one kind of grew on me in the hour or so it took me to drink it. If you love Porter and want something to session, this is your baby.

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Photo of beernads
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of oxfordmini
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of cokes
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Somewhere between cola and mud, this pitches forth a barely translucent brown. The head is beige and fast to fade.
The nose is subtle, or perhaps just weak, but lurking around with bark, carob, and liquorice. It gathers toffee as it warms, and dankens with more mossy wood.
The first draught befuddles, then the same with each additional sip. Strewn with watery molasses, tobacco, and carob flavor, but seemingly willy-nilly, and not adhered together. It's malty, but loose. Whiskey-drenched maplewood appears late, traced with vanilla. Any sort of elevated ABV is masked. Booze flavors are by suggestion only. In simple summary, it tastes good, but it doesn't taste enough.
The mouthfeel is obtuse, with a suggestion of heft undercut with a general sparcity of everything: flavor, carbonation, depth. This need to be broadened. It needs acuity. It's not awful by any stretch, but there are vastly superior English porters, both from there and statestate. See Sam Smith and Arcadia for two real lessons.
Hmmm....I'm deeply disappointed here. The near 6-pack price for the single bottle lead me astray, expectation wise.

I let it stand for a good long while, and all that developed was carob flavored maple water.

I'm more or less indifferent of the actual brew. It is drinkable, and a fair example, but my wallet holds a grudge like a motherfucker and it won't let me buy this again.

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Photo of Bung
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes.
Pours a grainy dark brown with a slight tan head. Malty, molasses, raisin aroma. Similar in taste, with light grains/nut and sweet chocolate. Subtle carbonation. Some tobacco like qualities in the finish. Pretty drinkable, mellowed and balanced out more as it warmed. Not bad, but too much sweet malt and not enough roast for me.

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Photo of xav33
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

J.W. Lees Manchester Star Ale
English Pint bottle
Unknown bottling, savoured 08/06.
Medium pour in an English pint.

Poured black with a slight dark brown rim, with a mostly lasting fizzy 1 inch mocha head.

Smelt of roasted grain and molasses, a hint of fruit.

Taste was smokey and raisiny upfront, with a sweet and sour and bitter body, like a slightly creamy dark coffee roast. Finish was above average length, with the bitterness holding on tight, a hint of fruit and tobacco, and the alcohol showing through. Mouthfeel was creamy and lively.

Overall, a great sweet porter that is bold and complex, whose only flaw may be that the different flavors that are thrown at the drinker are unbalanced and haphazard.

Notes: This could be cellared for a 1/2 year to a year.

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Photo of waldoiverson
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bottle into nonic

A: Dark brown, almost black in the glass, dark creme head with tiny bubbles which held up for a minute then broke down rapidly

S: The smell of dark porto, cream and a bit of alcohol,

T: somewhat of a leathery star with a bit of the dark fruit flavors and a nice bitterness,

M: Smooth but with serious carbonation bite

D: an interesting beer with a robust presence and could be food in another time and place, a bit carbonated and heavy for a daily drinker, but worth a shot at something tasty and reasonably unique.

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Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 80.8% out of 100 with 177 ratings
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