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

Manchester Star AleManchester Star Ale
BA SCORE
80.8%
Liked This Beer
3.99 w/ 177 ratings
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
Ranking:
#5,013
Reviews:
112
Ratings:
177
Liked:
143
Avg:
3.99/5
pDev:
9.52%
Alströms:
4
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
7
Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 177 |  Reviews: 112
Photo of pentathlete
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
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 thecheapies
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

This beer is quite dark! Has a rich dark brown/black color with some thin purple light seeping through. Sepia foam gathers with some difficulty around the surface.

British maltiness with some scotch ale notes, roastiness, spicy hops, gooey toffee, chicory coffee, dark fruits, meaty nuttiness, and some soft chocolate. Subtle alcohol. A very good nose.

Toffee malts with a browned apple backing. The hops are very mild, very aged, but with a husky spiciness. Nuances of nutty coffee and chocolate and cognac. Hints of dried fruit and black strap. Not too sweet; very balanced. Yeast has a drier, powdery finish that really sops up leftover flavors.

The body could use sturdied up, a bit. It feels a little thin. The carbonation is definitively too weak. There's room for improvement.

One of the better English Strong Ales that I have had. Worth buying.

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Photo of WesWes
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a 1/4" tan head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich malty scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It has a some sweet chocolate malt scents as well. The taste is good. It has a very sweet and malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes a bit earthy and warm. It has some residual sweetness from the use of many crystal malts. It has a roaste malt feel as well as some chocolate hints. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tastey beer. It has an excellent malt bill that adds complexity and great flavor to this English Porter. It's sweet with a warm finish; a good drinker.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 16.9 fluid ounce, Half Litre bottle. Wide body with a tall thin neck sealed with a simple black crown cap. Label looks like that shown in the BA Database. Listed at 7.3% and first brewed in 1884, the recipe was resurrected after the Head Brewer visited Brooklyn Brewery in 2001. It was brewed again in 2004 to celebrate the Head Brewer being awarded the title of ‘Brewer of the Year’ from a bunch of drunken overpaid out of touch windbag old farts….oh I’m sorry, I really meant to say the Parliamentary Beer Club. Here, here…here…. Order…Order…….

Appearance: Very dark ebonyous mahogany body looks sultry and moody. Light colored tan head rises and falls quickly but never disappears completely. Large bubbles form the head and plaster the glass walls with some smattered lacing. The broken head on the surface has a Lunar appearance.

Nose: Lots of molasses in the aromas, slightly sweet at the back of the nostrils. Dark fruits, figs, prunes and hints of Camp® coffee. Gentle Rauch like finish.

Taste: Bovril dissolves the coffee covered malts. Molasses remain from the nose and they fight with a dark chewy bonfire toffee in the middle. Soil laden malts lend a very rustic feel, which balances with the powdery sweetness, bitter coffee and Bourneville dark chocolate. Strange, I can’t help getting a “farmyard feel” from this one…though I’m sure it’s psychological as I think of the English Countryside whilst drinking this one.

Mouthfeel: Low key conditioning, almost cask-like. Soft sweetness with a mild bitterness. Gentle chewy toffee texture. Attractive.

Drinkability: The sweetness is right on the edge of what I can tolerate, even so, I still find this offering to be a rather enjoyable brew. As easy going as a game of Crown Green Bowls on a quiet sunny Sunday afternoon.

Overall: Interesting one this, a rather unique offering, the sweetness is higher than expected. As I have never seen this one before I just had to give it a whirl when I did. So glad that I took the risk, but at $5.99 for the bottle, it is not one I would stock the fridge with. However, if you fancy treating yourself or want to sample something different for a special occasion then go ahead and do so, you will not be disappointed.

Raising this Old School English Porter high tonight to the England Cricket Team and their magnificent series win to regain the Ashes, fantastic stuff!

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Photo of KAF
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of shelby415
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jredner
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma has lots of dark fruit sweetness and some low intensity roasted malt aromas. Deep black with a quickly diminishing head that compresses to a fine dime thin line. Fore is both malty and fruity with lots of prune and raisin and a bit of molasses for good measure. The alcohol is unoticeable. Tobacco elements do come out, but only as it warms a good bit. Found it quite tasty.

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Photo of Francepants06
3.95/5  rDev -1%
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 scottakelly
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Black and opaque. Surprisingly just a little tan head.

S: Roasted grain and coffee aromas.

T: Not very nuanced, but lots of stuff going on. Dark roasted coffee, chocolate, grainy. Nice hop balance. Medium bodied. Very flavorful.

D: Pretty high for a porter. I could definately have a couple in a session.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled
Pours a pitch black body with about 90% surface tan head coverage
Smells like freshly baked treacle tart
Tge flavour is fairly similar but with slight tinny bitter finish
It could be described as thin but I would say slightly more easy drinking
Certainly good stuff

 275 characters

Photo of BDTyre
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

English porter kicked up a notch.

Excellent deep, abyss-like ruby colour with a very thin off white head. Smell is roasted malts, coffee and chocolate, but slightly on the sweet side. Reminds me more of a Baltic porter in scent. This may be due in part to the higher than average alcohol content.

Lovely, smooth roasted malt and chocolate taste. No alcohol detectable. A sweeter, smother version of Fuller's London Porter. Smooth, low carbonation mouthfeel. Drinkable, but be careful of the ABV...English porters are generally not in this range for ABV and this can hit you all of a sudden.

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Photo of metter98
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is close to near black in color—reddish colors are visible near the edges of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a thin tan head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark fruits—raisins seem to stand out in particular—are present in the nose along with notes of dark malts.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has bits of sweetness along with additional flavors of dark fruits. No bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This porter is quite flavorful but really sets it apart is its drinkability.

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Photo of DypsoBubble
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 731 characters

Photo of geexploitation
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours quite still, with a minimal head that dissipates very fast. The color is a coffee brown coming out of the bottle, but in the glass very little light escapes this beer. Some reddish highlights show up when this beer is held up to a direct light. The nose is quite big, especially for a porter with no head to speak of. The biggest note is burnt chocolate along with treacle. The taste is huge and sweet right off the bat, with some phenols rearing up and then ending with just a bit of roasted malt bitterness. The mouthfeel is still and silky but with a bit of a bite from some slight carbonation. High drinkability with this one, in spite of the relatively high alcohol.

I imagine this would be an excellent dessert beer. Quite sweet and sumptuous.

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Photo of nickfl
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of light tan foam on top of an opaque, dark brown body. The head settles quickly and leaves light rings of lace.

S - Roasty brown malt with hints of molasses, licorice, and caramel.

T - Dark, sweet malt up front with some caramel. Molasses and red apple in the middle with some spicy notes of clove and plum towards the finish and a lingering roast and licorice character.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly sweet finish.

D - This is a really unusually thick and dark British ale with spicy character that is reminiscent of a winter ale. Like the other J.W. Lees beers I have had it stands out as better than most examples of the style and it has a rich complexity that would probably do well with extended aging.

 766 characters

Photo of tillmac62
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

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.

 905 characters

Photo of SLeffler27
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 876 characters

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

Poured a deep brown nearly black with some ruby tint when held up to the light a thinner mocha colored head atop.Deeply roasted malt,molasses and bitter chocolate aromas dominate,somewhat drier porter here starts out very roasty with some raisin quality along with a touch of brown sugar but finishing very earthy with notes of unsweetened chocolate.Just a solid beer thru out nice balance of sweet to earthiness.

 413 characters

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.

 665 characters

Photo of mick_cooper
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of zillo043068
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of vinicole
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of KG710
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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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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