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

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BA SCORE
89
very good
110 Reviews
Manchester Star AleManchester Star 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): 7.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by yen157 on 03-17-2005

BEER STATS
Reviews:
110
Ratings:
175
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
12.34%
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
7
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 110 | Ratings: 175
Photo of MoreThanWine
3.3/5  rDev -16.9%
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 Zorro
3.27/5  rDev -17.6%
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 allforbetterbeer
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. No date on bottle. I bought this at Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, CO for ~$6.

This beer produces a soft-looking and compact finger of tan head (looks the color of latte foam) over a pure black body that shows very slight ruby highlights when held to strong light. Tiny streams of very small bubbles can be seen rising around the edges of the beer.

Smells of soft roasted malts and small helpings of dark fruit. A whiff of hops rises with a swirl, but otherwise the above aromas make up the nose. Smells very English and very pleasing.

The flavor is well rounded and feels soft from the overall low level of bitterness. As in the nose, non-acrid roasted malts, a touch of hops, and dark fruit take center stage. I find this quite like a Baltic porter, expect the hop levels are far lower, and there are no notes of coffee or smoke in this flavor. Not quite like anything I have had before, and tasty.

The mouthfeel is medium with lower residual sugar, but not thin or weak. It seems that there is something slightly lacking, but maybe this is part of what the style is meant to feel like (not being a stout).

Conclusion: This is an excellent English porter, and I believe it is the strongest example of the style I have tasted to date. I like it is actually different from conventional porters and stouts, and tastes like the original style is described.

 1,377 characters

Photo of bruachan
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

skinnypinky of nice bone-colored (not the desert-bleached kind), tight foam. patches of opaque lacing. the liquid itself is not quite opaque: deep chestnut

excellent roasty, chicory aromas escape the brew. this beer smells like brown should smell! bread crust

surprisingly, hops are the first (or at least near to) thing i taste. a tasteful (i.e. not excessive) roasty sweetness takes over promptly. mostly dry and certainly all about the nutty/bready flavors. and since we don't want too much malt holding up those dynamite flavors, we ask the hops the do the work. they hold everything together

man, what a classy beer!

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Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick texture. There was a half inch of creamy, tan-colored, fairly long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A decent aroma of malt, caramel and some fruit.

T: Tasted mainly of malt, with hints of caramel, plums, figs, and other dark fruits with it. A nice, warm generally well-balanced flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a solid, but not spectacular English Porter. Very drinkable, though.

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Photo of Francepants06
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It poured a dark brown to black body with no head. I smelled some dark bitter sweet chocolate, malt, roasted nuts.
I tasted some brown sugar, chocolate,espresso, malt.
This is a full body beer, very heavy. Porter? this beer makes some stout seem light, it hides the alcohol very well but is way to heavy to be called a porter. Any chocolate desert would go very well with this.

 377 characters

Photo of FanofHefe
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a pint bottle into a Duvel tulip. Very carbonated and produces a two-finger, dense dark tan head. The head has decent retention and leaves rings of lacing along the glass. The body is dark and no light gets through. Dark brown, almost black body, with just a hint of red hue along the edges.

Superb aroma. Dark, roasted malts and sweet dark fruit. Plum and raisin are prominent along with some light notes of toffee and chocolate.

The flavor is very solid overall, but just a little less than I would have expected from the aroma. Dense, dark malted flavors combine with some earthy fruitiness. No real coffee flavor, but the toffee notes are present. The rich flavors blend nicely and are even better as it warms up a bit.

Dense mouthfeel that is very smooth overall. Great brew that is one I would love to have for an after dinner drink. Would pair well with a nice mild pipe tobacco.

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Photo of Offa
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Essentially black, big dark tan head steadily shrinks to a foamy, frothy ring, a little weak lace.

Aroma is rich prune, caramelized dark dried figs, woody fruit, hint of gingerbread, and very nice.

Taste is prunes and figs in brandy, dark toast, dryish toasty finish after a sweeter, fruity and more alcoholic start. It has some dark leafiness and woodiness throughout, some spiciness. It is not super complex or deep but is well-balanced and well rounded with a goof, firm character and a little complexity. It’s slightly on the thin side, light for the ABV, and very drinkable.

 583 characters

Photo of n2185
2.01/5  rDev -49.4%
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 -2.3%
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 +6.5%
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 -13.6%
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.

 653 characters

Photo of FLBeerGuy
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

 367 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

 665 characters

Photo of Bung
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
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 -7.3%
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.

 276 characters

Photo of Briarscratch
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
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 -22.4%
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 -2.3%
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.

 513 characters

Photo of donmonkey1
3.44/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

 495 characters

Photo of ByTor2112
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

 1,016 characters

Photo of waldoiverson
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

 540 characters

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
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 +14.6%
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!

 1,258 characters

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.13/5  rDev +4%
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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Manchester Star Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
3.97 out of 5 based on 175 ratings.
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