Sunday, 16 September 2012

J W Lees Manchester Star Ale (7.3%)

I should be excited by this beer.  Although the bottle doesn't say "porter" this beer is in the porter style.  Its "recipe comes from an 1884 Lees brewing notebook, a hoppy strong porter," on their website.  I wonder why "porter" hasn't been used on the bottle?  It says "ALE" on the bottle.  I'm confused before I've started...

Its very dark (not black) with a short tan head. Its aroma is standard roasted malts. It looks thinner than 7.3%.  Its body is thinner than 7.3%  Its sweet.  Perhaps the sweetness will reduce with maturity. Its close to something like McEwans Champion Ale, also 7.3%  Is that comparison harsh?  I think the Manchester ale, sorry porter, is better. Its smooter and the dark chocolate taste is stronger.

One way to look at this is on current price.  You can get 3 of these for £4.  That's a bargain. In fact if you like sweet porters I'd go to your local Sainsbury's and grab the lot NOW.  If this beer wins the competition it'll be £1 more expensive.

Back to my tasting test.  This beer is up against the Double Espresso from Scottish Traditional Ales. This was a nice smooth coffee beer.  Which one should be the winner? HELP!


  1. I've had this on draught; I googled it afterwards and was amazed to see it referred to as a "hoppy strong porter". It's not hoppy, and I don't believe it's a porter; I think it's a strong ale in the Burton style (like McEwan's Champion). I like it, whatever it is.