Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,812 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,812
Reviews: 1,074
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 42
Gots: 230 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.10% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 11-26-2000

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

ABV varies a bit year to year.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,812 | Reviews: 1,074
Reviews by MsLiberty:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber with not much of a noticable head but that was to be expected somewhat,aromas of orange rind and peach the alcohol is quite noticable as well pretty high octane.Whoo this stuff is quite potent but young (2005) some caramel malt and somewhat fruity but the alcohol kicks in early and takes charge until the lingering finish.A somewhat prickly mouthfeel,not sure if its because its young but wow this beer needs some serious refinement I'll hold one and reserve harsh judgement for later.

Photo of MadScientist
3.61/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a 2010 bottle
A: A glowing deep copper and orange beer with excellent clarity and a thin, tan head with excellent retention.

S: Aromas of sherry, toffee and rich malt dominate the nose. There is a spicy and floral hop aroma with light fruity notes. A soft alcohol note complements the rich aroma.

T: A rich malt sweetness and hops bitterness dominate the flavor at moderately-high levels of both. There a flavors of carmel and toffee with a light raisin and grap fruitiness. Moderate spicy flavors, a strong bitterness and some sweetness linger past the dry finish.

M: Medium body with moderately-light carbonation. There is a light creaminess and very light astringency with noticeable alcohol warmth.

O: A good example of an English Barleywine with a dominate yet soft alcohol character and a fairly intense bitterness.

Photo of brownbeer
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Popped an 07 that I had been sitting on for a while just to see where it's at.

Pours in a viscous manner without much willingness to form a head but in the end we get a thin layer that sticks around.

The nose is sweet, reminiscent of tawny port, with raisin and toffee notes showing, signs of oxidation come through, plum, and a little alcohol.

The taste was a little let down, not as powerful as the aroma. Still good though, lighter bodied, one of the more pleasant English styles as far as I'm concerned. It boasts chocolate, caramel, raisin, and a certain fruitiness through the hops and yeast. This is a very clean Barleywine that has aged quite well, superior drinkability considering the ABV, I wish I could score it higher.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.07/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance- Crystal clear copper with thin white head and some lace. Very carbonated.
Aroma- moderate and balanced bouquet of cherry, berry, and herbal / spicy hop, alcohol, and malt with faint notes of apple and an acceptable showing of D. Hardly intense, but complex nose.

Taste- Firm but decidedly one dimensional malt base supports baked pear and apple notes as it fades away into big buttery D, melted right off the palate by alcohol, for what would be an unpleasing finish if it weren't for a brightly herbal hop contribution which aids an unexpected dryness. Doesn't last long though, before you are left with an unfortunate aftertaste. Its kind of like sucking on an old cherry pit and licking a wine cork at the same time.

MF- Actually pretty light on the palate, I'd say medium-full bodied with a lively carbonation and the alcohol is definitely speaking up in this beer. Never really burns, but it does numb the lips and tounge a little.

Overall- An ok barleywine, but lacks complexity and the aftertaste is a real bummer. I don't feel like aging will help this one much

Photo of steelerguy
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Tawny, moderate carbonation, big head on pour that fades to a lacing, quite clear.

S - Sweet barley and a touch of alcohol.

T - Barley sweetness, a bit of bitterness from the hops, and alcohol.

M - Moderate body, coats the mount. There is a bit of tingle and warmth from the alcohol, a bit too more carbonation.

O - A good barleywine, but probably won't have again with the great ones that are out there.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Monster Ale Was Born In 2003. Pours a nice syrupy reddish brown with a small creamy white head. Aroma is an elegant mix of nutty caramel, tobbacco, dark fruits and brown sugar. A delight to smell.

First sip is upfront with a vinous caramel maltiness. Hints of fruit, cherry comes out to me, along with a roasted smoky toasted nutty flavor. Alcohol hits on the back of the palate along with a spicy piney hop biterness. This one will warm ya up!

Mouthfeel is wonderful with a creamy, luscious body that coats my tongue and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This is a lovely, complex brew that is great on a cold night or after a nice meal. Highly recommended to any fans of the style. Muchas gracias to kmpitz2 for allowing me the pleasure of partaking in this beer.

Photo of blitz134
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Born in 2004…and drank in 2005 (it’s only about a week old, so hardly cellared)

Dark caramel in color with a slightly off-white quarter-finger head which reduced to a single layer of bubbles casually floating on the surface. Aroma is quite weak but I pick up some citrus hop characteristics followed up by a sweet wine grape aroma. Guess that is why they call this style what they do…who would have guessed. A little bread smell as well.

The alcohol is well hidden which is a plus for something with an 11+ abv, hardly noticeable at all making this very drinkable. It’ll definitely get you into trouble. There is a nice warming effect as it drains down my throat and works at my stomach lining. Tastewise there is an initial slightly malty flavor with a dry hop finish, overall a very balanced beer to my tastes but lacking in a flavor explosion. Mouthfeel is medium, not too thin and not too heavy.

Overall a good brew, I’d like to see a little stronger flavor profile. With the high ABV of this one it would be nice to really have a lot of flavor since I would only foresee myself having two of these a night unless I wanted to wear a lampshade on my head.

Photo of HopticalDeployment
4.04/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage randomly stumbled upon in the Myrtle Beach Piggly Wiggly beer heaven...

Great brew. Bought a four pack to compliment my carolina reaper wings.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A decent example of the style. Poured into a snifter, the beer was a reddish amber color with a very thin head. It had a fruity, caramel aroma. The caramel and fruit (cherry) came through well in the taste, and there was a nice hops presence. I thought the malt and hops balanced out very well, and look forward to drinking more of these.

Photo of Todd
3.06/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle, silver label. This ale was specially brewed for the Millennium.

Appearance: Copper in colour with a nice thick, sticky, creamy white head. Pretty clean and clear looking ale.

Smell: An aromatic blend of hop rawness (spicy/leafy), malt sweetness and fruity esters. Bigtime alcohol in the nose.

Taste: Smooth, full-bodied mouthfeel. Big, fruity, complex malt profile. Background malt breadiness. Hop bitterness is spicy, somewhat medicinal, and lends an odd flavour to the overall taste. Although it balances out the accented maltness of this ale, it just doesn't fair well with all of the other flavours going on. Alcohol is pretty extreme, unbalanced, prickly and warms your head. It permeates the palate with a rubbing alcohol likeness, especially as the beer warms. Finishes bready and a bit dry.

Notes: This beer is kind of a let down as Brooklyn's other beers are so damn good. A bit average. To me, this appears to be a lame attempt at jumping on the Millennium bandwagon by brewing a very high alcohol beer (11.8% abv) with a marketable name. You need more than high alcohol to make a good Barleywine. I'll let the other bottles I bought sit for a while and do another review.

Photo of renegadeburger
4.64/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

got this beer in a 4pack i never heard of the style before but it seemed like an interesting twist my friend told me to age this beer so i actually put it in the back of my crisper drawer for 4 months before i opened it

when i did i was in for a special evening there was not much of a head on the beer i thought i would be disappointed but the beer had a great burgundy color

the real prize here was the aroma i never in my life smelled anything like this is smelled like sweet cherries how did they do that? also crazy like pipe tobacco and maple syrup really interesting for a beer

taste had black pepper and also spice like nutmeg and even some caramel and honey in there absolutely great

mouthfeel was amazing it tasted like a desert wine or syrup you put on a cheese cake i did not drink this beer i sipped it slowly it made me want to savor everything in it

overall i loved this beer i look forward to trying more brooklyn brewery for sure i am glad i still have some of these babies in storage

Photo of Doomcifer
3.57/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep reddish amber with a 1/2 inch off white head that reatains well. Smells of cirtursy hops, fruity maltiness, maybe some sherry. Taste is very complex. Dark ripe fruits, cherries, very malty but fruity, slightly bready, amaretto, nice hop bite in the finish. Alcohol presence but pretty well hidden despite the abv%. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy bodied, good carbonation, dry finish. I wouldnt say this is drinkable as I wouldnt say any Barley Wine is "drinkable" ie sessionable, but it is pretty good version of a barleywine. Im pretty picky about my barleywines too. Good job to Brooklyn. I dont remember this being as good as it is right now.

Photo of Jason
3.56/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2001 vintage.

Appearance: Bright and clear garnet brew, the lace does quite well for its self. Bubbly with some sporadic stickage.

Smell: The aroma is a of alcohol soaked fruit, a bit of solvent and certainly estery showing this brew still has a ton of higher alcohols that have not been tamed yet.

Taste: Extremely smooth and creamy though the carbonation holds onto a metallic bite from the higher alcohols. Full in the body with ample malt to go around. Hops are mild and flavour a bit here and there, more of a seasoning than straight out bitterness. Big alcohols roll across the tongue with solvent and estery flavours that drop a small tropical fruit basket and a spicy sweet tone on the palate. Maltiness shines some caramel and thick breadiness, though these flavours are distracted from the higher alcohols. Finishes sweet with a mildly astringent grain.

Notes: Pretty much like every other vintage I have had, the alcohols seem too much and there is not a mesh or balance to hold the brew together. Don’t drink it cold as it has a bigger bite, I have a few more in my cellar to try a year or two from now.

2000 vintage. Good frothing head as well as retention, deep reddish hue that has a tinge of burgundy to it. Alcoholic aroma of solvent and faint spearmint, a little fruitiness and caramel in the nose but alcohol snuffs most of it out. Full bodied with an ample crispness and a creamy back. At first taste is alcohol, a big twang of it … spicy and all. Malt lays there almost devastated in its wake. Hops have all but withered away except for a touch bitterness. Rich caramel tires to push through but gets knocked down again but the solvent like alcohol. Fruity esters run amuck along with the solvent like alcohol character. I know they call it “Monster” but will it ever be tame? After two years of cellaring this brew seems to have held on to one trait wholly and that is the dominance of alcoholic aroma and flavour. I am not saying that this is a bad beer but perhaps it should be aged a couple of more years to mellow things out a bit … none the less it still is a half decent sipping brew.

Photo of merlin48
3.1/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2003-04 edition. My first barley wine. Pours into a goblet a clear ruby copper with a minimal white head that quickly disappears into sheet lacing. Aroma of dark fruits(raisins), malt, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is heavy. Vinous and alcohol, with minimal carbonation. Taste is warming, with a big alcohol presence. Very much like a sherry. I can't detect any hops. As this is my first barley wine, I really don't know what to think of this one. Its characteristics lead me to believe that this would be much better after two or three years of aging.

Photo of Billolick
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Vintage 2003--at celler temp -pours dark almond brown, with only a wee bit of head, leaves some lace. This barley wine is quite sweet and lacks a hop punch in the rear to balance things out. It may just need some more time in the bottle to mellow. Alcohol very present. Later sips do reveal a subtle hop grainynes Bklyns BWine was really nasty a few years ago (too sweet-not enuf hops) I think its getting better, but its not up to the standards of there other creations

Photo of warriorsoul
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a bottle for $2.70 at Downtown Wine & Spirits in Davis Square.
Pours an attractive amber w/ very little head, even with an agressive pour...and nice sustaining lace.
Aroma is very relaxing...mellow w/ not one thing jumping out at me. Sweet and malty w/ a hint of alcohol.
Taste is also very subdued...with the malts appearing up front and the hop not far behind. I would prefer it a bit less carbonated...the aftertaste is also quite bitter and dry, but it is pleasant to imbibe.
Again, the alcohol taste lingers...I would find it difficult to enjoy another one right after, but I imagine that is the point.
Looking forward to trying this at the EBF. I may pick one of these up just to allow it to age and re-review.

Photo of tigg924
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, moderate carbonation, amber in color, clear

Smell: hops, citrus, toasted malt, and sweet fruit

Taste: follows the nose: hops, citrus, toasted malt, pineapple, and alcohol

Mouthfeel: sweet start with a slightly bitter finish, low carbonation, slick, medium bodied

Drinkability: A slightly above average barleywine. One per sitting due to the high abv. The malt heavy section of the brew separates itself from the hop heavy portion.

Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a very small white head. Not much apparent carbonation. The smell is standard English-style malts with some earthy hop character. The flavor has some caramel and toffee notes along with some hop bitterness, but is not too complicated. A nice English-style barleywine but nothing that stands out.

Photo of frenchblood21
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into wine glass. 2011 Vintage

Appearance- Beautiful copper colored. Thin cream head that goes away right away. Minumum lacing.

Smell- Tart cherry and a grape booziness come through right away. Yeasty sugars are also present.

Taste- Heat comes through up front. Its not unpleasant though. After that, comes the typical fruity barleywine tastes.

Mouthfeel- Still too hot to give a completely unbiased review. Still has a chalky/bitter taste.

Overall- For the style and how young it is, its got some potential. I'm gonna age the other three and have one every year for the next three years.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle from the LCBO. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a nice deep amber, with that translucent honey-like quality one often sees in liquid honey. A thin head, which leaves a slight ring.

Nose is tea-leafy hops, caramel malt, a bit of booze, and fruity esters.

Nice barleywine, with the sweetness cut with a nice leafy hop dryness, which gives the brew a long dry finish. A bit of fruit, nice malty complexion. I find myself siding with those who don't find the booze oppressive - while it is potent, I'm enjoying the warmth.
Nice rounded feel, good carbonation.

Not a bad brew at all. I'm a real sucker for a barleywine, so I enjoyed this. Not as complex as I would have expected from Mr. Oliver and company, but in a small bottle at that price it was just fine.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 edition. How can it be brewed after the millenium yet still state that it was "specially brewed for the millenium" on the bottle. Perhaps questions such as these are better-pondered after a few more beers.

Presentation: 12oz amber bottle with silver label. Brief description on the neck band of what it is, how it's brewed, the ABV, and how best to enjoy it. I waited a good ten minutes to let it come up from the refrigerator temperature.

Appearance: Rich-looking burned copper in appearance. Despite a fairly aggressive pour, I was not able to get any sort of appreciable foaming action. Not much "phhhpppt" when I opened the bottle.

Smell: Sweet dark fruit in the aroma. A very noticable alcohol character as well that does a good job of washing out most of the other aromas.

Taste: My initial reaction was that the alcohol was too untamed in this. It had a very "medicinal" flavor to it that really was hard to shake. There is a solid malty sweetness to the flavor and a bit of a bitterness late in the aftertaste. However, the alcohol really dominates the flavor. Never before have I had a beer in which the alcohol character is so sharply evident. It really brings the flavor down a few notches.

Mouthfeel: Definitely a smooth and creamy palate-pleaser. Thick and rich, this beer sits on the palate.

Drinkability: Not quite what I expected. It got a little better as it warmed, but the overwhelming alcohol aftertaste combined with a medicinal bitterness that wasn't very appealing left me not very eager to finish this.

Notes: I think there are many barleywine beers available better than this one. I have another bottle of this tucked away. After a few years, I'll give it another try.

Photo of jakester
2.7/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is the 2005 model. It came in the Brooklyn Party Pack. I drank it in a goblet.

Pours a slightly hazy deep amber/orange with a 1/2 finger head of beige foam. The head quickly falls to islands and a ring, with no lacing. Carbonation looks low.

Aroma is big caramel malt, fruity like rum soaked raisins or currants. Smells harsh at first from solventy alcohol, but after a minute or so smooths out a little. Not real complex, mostly alcohol.

First flavor is huge caramel/brown sugar, followed by intense alcohol solvent. Hop bitterness rears its head, but the flavors are swamped by the really strong solventy alcohol. This obviously needs aging. Aftertaste is sweet and heat.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, with low carbonation. Tongue is on fire from alcohol. Finish is long and hot.

I'm going to take the other bottles of this stuff and put them in the cellar for aging. It's so rough and solventy right now, it's almost undrinkable. Barleywines are one of my favorite styles, so it's not me. A year from now, I'll bet this will be awesome.

Photo of bsp77
3.34/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Color is somewhere between orange and lava, with a good sized head and nice lacing legs.

Smell: Toffee and plum, caramel and cherry, and some light booziness.

Taste: Light caramel and toffee, light fruitiness (plum, cherry, etc), light hops (citrus, spice). The key word here is light. A little too subtle overall. The cherry also lasts, giving a slight medicinal aftertaste.

Feel: Full body that nonetheless seems a little thin. Somewhat smooth and warming.

Overall: While there are some nice favors here, this is the most boring Barleywine I have ever had.

Edit: Aging two plus years makes it worse. WTF?

Photo of jcdiflorio
2.03/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

poured into a large flaired tulip glass from a 12oz brown bottle with a crimped cap. Bottled in 06'

Clear,reddish/brown 2" thick creamy off-white head.Lots of strings of tiny bubbles tightly knitted gushing from the center of the glass with some curtians of lace on the glass.

Chocolate aromas,some carmell,grassy,alcohol. The aromas were somewhat faint,hard to pick out.

A hot alcohol taste,very boozy,straw-like/grassy with harsh bitterness,the alcohol just killed the taste.

A thick mouthfeel,rough and grainy also. Just too boozy for me could not drink the whole glass. I really like Brooklyn beers, just not this one. Maybe it would get better with age.

Photo of jondeelee
4.8/5  rDev +29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A fellow beer enthusiast gave me a bottle of the 2003 edition that had been aging in his cellar for five years. Undoubtedly what I'm reviewing thus tastes slightly different from what can be expected.

The bottle I'm reviewing smells deeply malty, with a strong sherry scent, reminding me of the aroma that comes off of a hot mixture of brown sugar, butter, and vanilla.

On the tongue, there's an explosion of flavors flying at me so fast that I'm not quite sure what to latch on to. The best comparison I can make between this beer and something else would be to a fine bottle of at least fifteen-year-old port that had somehow managed to attain sherry-like flavors in the cask. Individual flavors that I pick out include raisins, caramel and toffee, maple syrup, and dark fruit esters, but even that doesn't do justice to the complexity of the palate. The hop finish for my bottle is decently strong, though nowhere near the levels that other reviewers on this site have reported--which might be due to the aging process. Mouthfeel is similar to cream, in that the beer slides almost effortlessly across the tongue, the carbonation only lightly pricking at your soft palate as it goes past.

Bottom line: quite frankly, I'm astounded by this beer, in every good way imaginable. If you like beer--and I mean *good* beer--you have to find a bottle of this. And no, I'm not telling you the name of my fellow enthusiast, because when I go over to his house tomorrow evening to steal the rest of his collection, I don't want to find that one of you have gotten to it first.

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Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,812 ratings.