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

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BA SCORE
89
very good
109 Reviews
Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
109
Ratings:
174
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
9.55%
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
7
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 174
Photo of HappyHourHero
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 Pint .9 oz bottle with a short little story on the back that says the recipe was reintroduced after J.W. Lees visited Brooklyn Brewery in 2001. This is the second batch since then.

Pours a small dense light brown colored head that fades quickly to a film. Roasted malt aroma mixed with some vinuous tobaco notes. Deep black colored beer with a ruby hue when held to the light. Roasted malts, some cocoa and marshmallow, and some vinuous tobacco mix and mingle up front. Soft light body. Tons of flavor that reminds me a bit of Storm King, only a bit sweeter.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

J.W. Lees's Manchester Star Ale pours an almost completely opaque, dark mahogany body that borders on black but doesn't quite make it there. The glowing ruby-crimson highlights along the sides and base of the pint are slightly muddled (bottle-conditioned?); and it's short head of creamy ivory foam rests lazily atop.

The nose is intriguing with notes of molasses, toffee, sweet dark chocolate, and some mild dark fruit.

It's medium-full body and gentle carbonation leave it dextrinous and smooth in the mouth.

The flavor is richer than the nose indicates, and it's clear that there's Maris Otter malts being used here. The dark caramel, molasses, demerara sugar, toffee malt appears upfront and dominates throughout. It's sugary sweet but balanced by a solid, underlying bitterness and some leafy and grassy hop flavors.

There's an earthy/mineralistic character to it, as well as some leathery, almost barnyard-like character; and I wonder if they've perhaps added some Brettanomyces in the secondary to give it some "antique", or "authentic" quality. Additionally, perhaps there's a small amount of smoked malt added to give it a touch of something extra... although that might be coming from just a touch of roasted barley or even very dark kilned chocolate malt such as Paul's.

It's dark fruitiness arises towards the swallow, and it's juicy like a plum or prune, but there's also a kind of bitter-skin quality to it as well. It fades rather easily in the finish, however, with alternating residual flavors that include the molasses, leafy hops, minerals, leather, dark fruit skin, toffee, and even a hint of coffee.

Overall, this is a really intriguing, complex, satisfying, and enjoyable pint that would make a great finish to a night; or perhaps an after-dinner drink, or even cigar-beer. Very nice!

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass a translucent blackish brown with a white and low head which retreated quickly to the edges of the surface but tried to lace the glass without any luck.

The aroma was lightly fruity with a slightly vinous character. Some slight caramel maltiness exisited in the aroma along with a very very slight roastiness and very slight chocolate.

The flavor was wowee, much more interesting than the aroma. The flavor was nicely malty with an interesting vinous charcter like that of an old ale. The flavor contained a sweet cherry fruit complement and a light chocolate flavor that added to that complexity. The hop flavor and bittering was just high enough to balance and keep the beer from becoming overly sweet.

The finish was just dry with lasting cherry fruit flavors and maltiness long into the aftertaste and becoming very dry in the finality of the flavor. The body was medium and the carbonation level was low. Almost a Baltic Porter with nice flavor complexity and a sleeper aromatic.

16.9 ounce bottle. Original recipe from 1884.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark near opaque brown. Small head, the fell to nothing after a minute or two. Smell is smoky, smoky chocolate and smoky malts. Taste is sweet smoky molasses with some carbonic bite. Mouthfeel is unexpectedly thin, but the flavors provide some body to make up for it. Like many smoky ales, one is plenty to drink. Tasty but one is plenty.

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Photo of cokes
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

 1,395 characters

Photo of BeerResearcher
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
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 yoko
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The pint, point 9 oz. (can't forget the ounces) pours a dark brown/black with red/orange highlights not allowing for much light to come through. The short foamy tan sudsy head melts to a collection of varing size bubbles that collect around the glass leaving a thin whisp wash center. The nose was not tremendously big yet rich and soft of coffee mocha/cola and a subtle banana. The mouthfeel was rich with taste coming midway through as the malts reached high up in the palate. This is where the taste was greatest and remained. The finish was clean. What filled the senses was a soft, smooth, short, almost a creamy coffee yogurt/cola float. The dark malts synergestically brought a spicy/bitter to the sweet harmony of malts. Nice. The alcohol was woven well in the mix.

At $6.95 a pint I won't be revisiting as I would like to. Enjoy!

I appreciated the weight of the empty bottle, which energetically I find adds to the rootedness of the brew.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle.

Cola brown with not much of a head to speak of. The aromas remind me of an interesting melange of things. Tire rubber, biscuity malts, cocoa, weak coffee, a bit of smoke, and more. The taste is more coffee and chocolate than the aroma leads on to belive. But the malts are there in full force, and the interesting rubber flavor comes back on the back side as well. Well integrated and nice, but a bit thin in the mouth. Drinkability remains good though. Truly an interesting brew, that I hope to sample again. I wonder if they will produce casks of this for the UK market? One can only hope!

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Photo of yen157
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Based on an 1884 recipe, revived in 2001 at the Brooklyn brewery and brought back into regular production by JW Lees.

Impressively dark brown with only the faintest cola-colored highlights shining through. Foamy beige head quickly melts back into the pint. Rich, sweet, treacle-y nose with notes of buttery toffee and artificial coffee (you know, like a coffee scented candle or somerthing). Decently sweet up front with the flavors reminiscent of chocolate. Finish is very coffee-n-cream with bitterness coming from the dark malts.

Pretty nimble mouthfeel considering the depth of the malt contributions and the 7.3% alcohol. I would love to come across this on tap or even cask conditioned. Great beer!

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Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.
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