Style: Barley Wine
J.W. Lees & Co. (Brewers), Middleton Junction, United Kingdom

Champion Winter Beer of Britain 1997/98:
Category Winner - Barley Wines Moonraker Strong Ale is brewed exclusively from Maris Otter malted barley and East Kent Goldings hops, in the brewhouse built in 1876 by John Willie Lees (the grandson of the founder, John Lees). Although the plant has been modernized and expanded over the years, the process is essentially the same. the malt is crushed, prior to mashing with heated water in the mash tun. The resulting mash is allowed to stand for an hour and a half to facilitate the conversion of the starch to sugar. This sugar solution, called wort, is transferred to the boiling coppers, where the hops are added. The wort and hops are boiled together to extract the bittering flavors and aromas from the hops.

The hopped wort is now cooled and transferred to the fermenting room, where the yeast is added. The yeast now converts the sugar into alcohol, over a period lasting 2 1/2 to 3 days. The resultant beer is now left to cool and settle, before maturation and filtration.

The legendary Moonrakers of Middleton were local farm workers who enjoyed a pint or few of John Willie Lees' Bitter, after a hard day's labor. On one occasion, passing the village stream, in a state of inebriation, they saw the reflection of the moon. Fearing it had fallen from the sky, they attempted to rescue the moon with their agricultural implements (i.e. a hay rake, it being that time of year).

Hence the name Moonraker.

Alc./Vol.: 7.5
Orginal Gravity: 1073
EBC: 80
IBU: 35

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