JW Lees: Manchester Star Ale


Star ale has quite a dark colour, but it’s a deep garnet dark, rather than impenetrable, stout-dark.  The tan head really doesn’t last that long at all and quickly collapses to a very sparse covering.

From the other side of the room Star ale looks almost like a glass of Coke, which could be useful if you were an under-age drinker or something. (Not that I condone underage drinking, right kids?)

The aroma is incredibly complex and inviting; being almost vinous, with subtle, faintly acetic notes, the dark malts are definitely to the fore, with coffee, dark bitter chocolate featuring heavily in the mix…all partnered by a substantial alcoholic wallop.

Taste-wise, we’re talking balanced alcohol, chocolate and biscuit maltiness with a deep caramel sweetness in the background.  It’s a really nice balance of flavours. There’s virtually no hop bitterness up front, but the after-taste is good, long-lasting and full of a hop and malt bitterness.

All in all it’s tasty, fulfilling and has a good mouth feel which is helped in part by quite a delicate effervescence.

This is another beer that suggests Christmas to me.  As I was drinking it I thought how well it’d go with Christmas pudding or even Christmas cake.  Maybe it’d make a good dessert beer?  Either way it’s a cracking ale.  Put it on your “to drink” list.


I’ve no idea where it came from as I shared the bottle with my father-in-law, so you’ve got away with it this time, supermarkets…

2 thoughts on “JW Lees: Manchester Star Ale

  1. Hello, Don’t know if I’ll ever find Manchester Star ale in France again, but hit upon two bottles on the internet.
    What I’d like to know is: what temperature do you recommend to fully appreciate it? Can’t find the answer anywhere! and can’t contact J.W. Lees Ltd via their site because “my mobile number is invalid” (of course, it’s a French one!)
    Thks in advance!
    PS: French people tend to think all beers and ales must be ice-cold – I’m sure this won’t do with Manchester Star!

    • Hi Mike,

      Sorry I’m a bit late in replying, I got caught up in a right old load of Christmas stuff.

      I suspect you won’t probably find a bottle of Star Ale in France, but if you can manage to get hold of it on the web then that’s a result!

      I’d serve this particular beer at room temperature or maybe cellar temperature – which is about 12 or so degrees C.

      I must confess that I like a stronger beer at room temperature, but that’s just a personal choice!


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