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

Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale
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

Bros Score:
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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 Tone
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. Two inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, oatmeal, slight dry hop, alcohol, hint of syrup, and hint of yeast. Fits the style of an English Porter. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, slight grain, alcohol, slight dry hop, and a hint of syrup. Overall, good appearance, mouth feel, and blend.

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Photo of Brad007
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a thin head into my glass. It's certainly a porter.

Aroma has hints of cream, chocolate and roasted coffee upfront. Very inviting on this cold night.

Hints of chocolate and roasted coffee greet the mouth. It's slightly coarse from the alcohol but otherwise on target style-wise.

Mouthfeel is full of chocolate and roasted coffee notes. Very mellow. The malt shines as it should for the style.

I really enjoyed this porter. I don't drink as many porters as I used to but it's always nice to have a subtle, drinkable example.

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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 FLBeerGuy
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a creamy light brown head.

Nose is roasted malts, caramel and a hint of chocolate.

Taste is roasted malts, caramel, hint of chocolate, a little sourness and some slight hop bitterness to finish. Had something in the finish too that I couldn't put my finger on, that took away some from the overall enjoyment.

Creamy mouthfeel with low carbonation.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #44 (Sep 2010):

A beer of resurrection. Big, brown, heady start ... such a dark, inviting brew. Tart plums to spiced molasses cake to caramel make for a showy aroma. Hefty body and a deep smoothness. A little burnt, with more of a burnt sugar flavor in the end. Maltiness is all over the place with bread, caramel, brown bread and unsweetened dark choco- late flavors to sort out. Some modest hopping is helped along by the fruity alcohol, keeping it on an even keel. Caramelized pineapple. Fading burnt grain finish with a long lingering of ripe fruit. Super tasty, this one is--a keeper, a sipper and an absolute delight.

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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 Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with off-whit generous head. Licorice and malty aroma. Above average mouthfeel. Good representation of English porter, most drinkable black licorice mostly, some chocolate malts. Not very sweet, understated roast and that bit of tabacco that remains on the palate.

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Photo of Briarscratch
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours super dark, almost black with a very brown frothy head that has mellowed out to a thin cover. Smells of chocolate, malt, candied fruit and a little alcohol.
The taste is very malty sweet with some subtle fruit at the end. Looks thick but has a very light body, kind of an oily texture. Very little carbonation makes it go down extra smooth.

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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 JohnQVegas
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, June '08.

Pours dark black with a dense tan head.

Aroma is roasty malt, coffee with some dark fruit.

Taste is interesting -- dark, roasted malt up front, almost sweet with coffee and cocoa both showing up, that moves to dark fruit with a faint note of hoppy citrus and licorice on moderately dry finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and oily, but with a moderately crisp carbonation.

Quite a complex take on the style, well done, drinkable beer, though not one to pound all night in my opinion.

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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 ByTor2112
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with some reddish hues coming with the light. No significant head formation except for a thin film of carbonation that pools in the middle atop the ale. A ring of beige bubbles hang around the edge.
Big aroma of dried fruit and caramel? No, check that, it is molasses or brown sugar. Not really bready but there are some great sweet malt aromas that smell like a fresh baked muffin!

Mouthfeel- Low to medium carbonation gives it a smooth texture. Malty sweet with the dried fruit-figs and raisins coming through in the taste as well. A froth on the palate barely reveals some earthy hop bitterness. Flavors remain the same with some of the alcohol giving a mild warmth on the finish. When I poured it I thought it looked like a Porter and apparently it is! Does not mention Porter on the bottle that I recall. With sub zero temps outside this is a great winter warmer, perfect at 7.3% abv. I would also enjoy this as a robust cold quaffer. Not sessionable but I could do one or two at a sitting.

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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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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a deep dark black with red highlights and two fingers of frothy tan head.

Aroma of sweet malts, raisins, caramel, and a hint of butterscotch.

Tastes of sweet malts, molasses, vanilla, cocoa, raisins, nuts, and dark ripe fruit. Finishes surprisingly clean.

Full bodied, rich and creamy, with a modest fizz to the carbonation.

You'd be hard pressed to stop after only one of these. This is a quality porter from J.W. Lees. Try one when you get the chance.

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Photo of ccrida
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

550ml poured into an imperial pint, Great Manchester Star is a dark, brown murky black with a massive, long lasting, burnt tan head that leaves heavy lace, big chunky rings. Gorgeous. A fresh bottle from a new shipment, served at cellar temp.

Smell is strong, fresh raisins, rum, honey, prunes, very nice. Rice pudding, yum. A little sweet, but cut by the seltzer like lightness, a great winter/desert beer feel overall.

Taste is also very robust, big sugary malts, dark but not roasty. Honey, chocolate, caramel, cream, and leather, a touch of tobacco, diacetyl and pine tar, wow! This is a fantastic porter, I really love the depth of the dark malts without being to sweet or burnt.

Mouthfeel is slick, full, viscous but not too heavy, but really coats the tongue for a lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability is great, wow am I loving this beer! I could drink these all night, and will have to next I hang with Simon, who would love them also. I would take this over pretty much any RIS stout out there, and appreciate the price and reasonable strength. This is really a fantastic beer, without even considering the historical tie-in and back story. I love how satisfying it is, I'm in no hurry to finish this, and would surly have a second if I could!

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has the look of a Porter.
It pours Bible black.
Produces a frothy head that lasts a long time and laced the glass.
The nose is slight with hints of toasted malt and a bit alcohol.
Blindfolded and tasting this beer I declare it a porter or perhaps some sort of an ale-- although the signature of a porter is dominant over that of a strong ale.
While the bitterness of hops is unmistakeable the toasted malt shows through with a hair of sweetness as an undercurrent. I might venture to say I tasted some caramel as well.
The finish is long with a bitter hops note yet tempered by a porter's signature.
Mouthfeel was good but I wish there was more to the flavor body- I suppose that porters are not supposed to be particularly robust or dense.. as a stout should be.
Drinkability was fine-- the alcohol was not overwhelming and the entire presentation was interesting enough to motivate me to look for another bottle of this porter.
Next time I'm at my fave packie-- I'll very likely buy a bottle or two-- unfortunately the price of this import dampens my enthusiasm for stocking my stash with too much of the same brew.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours totally black with a miniscule brown/tan head. Nose is one dimensional molasses and malts. One odd thing that hit me on the flavor: vanilla!? Wouldn't have expected that with an English Porter, but hey: Garrett Olivers name is on the back label. This is going to bring something like you would expect it to as an American. (to the non-Americans, this is a prime example of the prowess of what the best American brewmasters can do with old world styles - just be ready for something a bit 'more') Feel carries a slightly thicker liquid body. Carbonation is lower, but it's appropriate. Very easy to drink. I like this beer. I like it a lot.

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Photo of eweneek83
4.46/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an opaque brown, the head modest and creamy tan, as it evaporates, the lacing provides a concealing curtain to drape the glass.

Nose has a sweet malt aroma, molasses, caramel, and a touch of earthiness, with the roasted grain present.

taste -Start is rich in sweet malt, a bit of bitterness at the back; touch of bitterness, top is rich and full in feel to the palate. Finish has a benignant acidity, the hops understated but noticeable, quite dry and sweet until the end.

mouthfeel - very nice, a smooth full body with a creamy carbonation. no aftertaste

drinkability - exceptional. Just try it.

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Photo of Brent
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer reminded me of what was available several years ago when old-style porters really started coming back onto the scene, before brewers started pumping them up with lots of chocolate and coffee notes. The beer has a pretty substantial malt backbone, with vague coffee and unsweetened cocoa notes in teh background. Finish is firm, with a good balance of malt sweetness and bittering.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into a pint nonic glass yields an opaque brunette body with faint brown-amber highlights and a thick finger of fine-bubbled khaki foam that scatters a little lacing onto the glass.

Smell is sweet and earthy with dark raisins, sugary dates, and overripe figs dusted in cocoa, then drizzled with molasses.

Taste is chewy, sweet, and nutty with caramel, husky toasted malt, cola nuts, and a twang reminiscent of unsulphured molasses. As the drink warms, flavors of dark wheat toast with a little butter, and a dry, powdery note of unsweetened instant hot cocoa mix emerge. This might make a great breakfast drink! J

Medium-bodied, milky, mouth-coating, and just a bit sticky, this savory drink is a prince among porters.

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Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black hue with a one finger creamy tan head. There was good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured dark chocolate and cream.

The taste consisted a sweet cafe au lait element, balanced by a burnt grain.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side for the style.

Overall a very good and robust porter. Good representation of the style and good drinkability.

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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 beerthulhu
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark opaque coffee color with a thin sudsy beige head.

S: On the nose was black coffee with dry dairy creamer.

T: There was a nice coffee bitterness for initial flavor with a light touch of lactic milk sweetness to finish. There is rich dark chocolate, cocoa and a moderate sweetness per style. The beer finishes with a fresh dunkin donought coffee flavor with a dry coffee mate lacing and fade along with dry bitter chocolate notes. drinks very smoothly.

M: The mouthful is moderate with a soothing roasted malt palate and bitter hoppiness.

D: A great English style body with a great drinkability factor.

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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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Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 177 ratings
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