Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

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1,772 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,772
Reviews: 1,059
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.17%
Wants: 41
Gots: 208 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.10% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

ABV varies a bit year to year.

(Beer added by: Todd on 11-26-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,772 | Reviews: 1,059 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of xare
1.98/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Got this beer on draft at the bar last night. Was rather surprised to see that it was on tap so I immediately ordered a pint and when it was brought out, I was disappointed.

Appearance was of a brownish murky color but when peered at, appears a very dark red/brown/amber mix. Is translucent with no head to speak of apart from a soapy film. Does not lace.

Smell is of strong alcohol, almost like solvents. Can't discern any other aromas coming up from this specific pint.

Taste has hints of fruit flavors, especially dried fruits. Raisins, maybe? There isn't a real fruit profile or anything I can describe as a flavor profile. Couldn't discern spices if they were used. Leaves an aftertaste of alcohol.

Hits your mouth very smoothly then a huge kick of crispness hits at the end as you swallow. Best way I can describe it is like a stingy soapy film covering your mouth as you swallow, then disappearing but leaving a tingling sensation with the aftermentioned alcohol aftertaste.

I struggled to finish the pint - definitely wouldn't recommend drinking this on an empty stomach. Certainly not a session beer but perhaps something to warm one up on a cold winter night.

Overall, the best comparison I could make with this beer would be that it's like drinking sake, except substituting the rice flavor/undertones for a fruit flavor without any specific fruit undertones.

Photo of Shaw
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 bottling.

I missed buying this beer at the store when it was available. Luckily, my local pub has it. So I got a bottle to go. As per the label, I let this beer warm for about 20 minutes before serving.

It's a nice ruby in color with a tight off-white head.

It smells of dried fruit like raisins and figs, with a bit of solvent alcohol.

The taste is very nice. The dried fruit flavors from the aroma are very apparent in the flavor. I'm tasting raisins, plums -- even maple syrup -- and spices with a very nice warming glow down my throat upon swallowing.

The sweet notes are well balanced by a nice bitterness, but this isn't an American Barleywine with big hop flavor. Rather, this beer keeps most of its hops to bitterness instead of taste.

It's got a smooth mouthfeel, thanks to the alcohol.

I find this very drinkable, even with the quite high ABV.

This is another excellent, well-crafted beer from Brooklyn. And after trying many of their brews (they're sorta new to Florida) I can say they are easily one of the best brewers in the country. They don't need to hide behind huge hop additions or big ABV, as their other beers attest.

This is a barleywine to seek out.

Photo of thisisbigrob
2.2/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle poured into a large snifter.

A: Pours a murky medium brown with a slight reddish tint. There's a minimal head but huge carbonation bubbles all over the glass.

S: Slight malt smell but quickly overwhelmed by the alcohol. Can't pick up any hops.

T: Pretty plain for such a big beer. The alcohol is pretty overwhelming. Only a faint maltiness saves it.

M: A weird combination of flatness and the huge carbonation bubbles.

D: Not good. Nothing impressive in the beer itself, and the huge alcohol content will mount up quick.

I'm a huge fan of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine, but was sorely disappointed by this beer. None of the things I love about the Bigfoot (big flavor) while exaggerating the things I'm not big on (strong alcohol sting).

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours murky brown with a thin creme head that doesn't stick around. Nose is strong alcohol. Flavor carries some of the same character, but also a minor cherry tone with other fruits. I'd say orange peels are in there as well. Feel is smooth and slickon liquid with a lower carbonation that still is noticed. This is a nice barleywine. I'd be interested to see this after five years.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz 2007 edition supplied by my trading partner tonight from his first ever solo trade. Thanks SAS and paulthebeerguru for hooking Steven up. My half poured into my standard goblet.

Little head but persistant bubbles.. polished copper brew... looks fairly thick despite the lack of head and lace.

Nose is malty with medium fruitiness.. some caramel but for the most part malts play the lead on this one. Some touches of alcohol.. but restrained for sure.

Flavor is very clean malty goodness. Mildly metallic on the finish. Yeasty fruitiness .. green apple and lite melon. I personally think the alcohol is fairly well hidden.. there is a mild solvent characteristic toward the end of the palate. Bitterness is only enough to balance the big malt structure.

Really pretty good and makes me wish I could score this brew without having to order it. Over the years the only Brooklyn brewing beers I've had were mix 12 packs that were picked back home in PA.. Notes say I really didn't appreciate all but a few... Monster is a different game all together.. very well put together and makes me realize for sure there are other BW's out there beside the hop forward Americans.

Big thanks to Steven for sharing AND Paul for the hookup.

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

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into an oversized red wine glass. 2007 vintage.

A: Sparkling ruby-brown hue with soft cap of tan head. No retention and no lace.

S: Small-time aroma of nutty sugary malts, spicy hops, and heavy alcohol esters.

T: Very nutty and slightly sweet maltiness with spicy hops that grow with warming. Alcohol is present but less prominent than the aroma suggests.

M: Over-carbonated but pretty smooth otherwise. Pleasant, long spicy-sweet aftertaste.

D: Plenty of flavor but not much beyond a strong ale, except for the alcohol overtones.

Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear amber red with a small thin white head that leaves some thick lacing. Smells of sweet caramel malts with a little hops and some alcohol. Also a hint of fruit. The smell is not as intense as some barleywines but I have never had an English version. Tastes of sweet maltyness and some fruit esters. There is a strong alcohol presence and only a small hop presence. Not much in the way of citrus tones or hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is a little creamy and silky but the alcohol makes it somewhat oily. I'm not a "hophead" so the drinkability is good. The alcohol is present but it doesn't burn. Overall a good barleywine and a good choice for my first English Barleywine.

Photo of GRPunk
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle of the 2006 vintage poured into a tulip glass.

A- A 1/2 finger off-white head quickly became a lace and left nice sticky rings on the glass. The body was an amber-red with solid carbonation.

S- There were sweet caramel malts initially along with some stewed fruits and definite alcohol tones. The hop aroma was a bit light.

T- More caramel malts were present in the flavor. The alcohol was really hidden. Hops dry out the finish.

M- It had a nice smooth feel It was light on carbonation. Alcohol warms the mouth.

D- It's a great slow sipper. It tastes good enough to drink another, but I really only needed one to be happy.

Overall- This is a great after dinner, cold weather, nightcap, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a small head with no retention that fades fast. Clear and ruby in color.

Smell is of caramel malts and light hops. Somewhat alcoholic and astringent in smell as well. Fruity esters underneath.

Taste is balanced nicely between sweet caramel malts and a nice hoppiness. A little too astringent with the alcohol and a little but out of whack with the tannins. A minor flaw that isn't covered up enough. Fruity esters underneath

Weird somewhat cloying mouthfeel with a slight astringency and not very thick. Not a fan.

A weak offering. Some flaws come through with a little offness and astringency. THere is a decent balance in the beer, the tiny amount of off flavors ruin a nice balance.

Photo of boogles
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a poor description, technically, but it is like the barleywine version of Brooklyn's "IPA," a wretched beer, in my opinion. But this one is not wretched--it's correct to the style, but monsterously unrefined. The alcohol is a problem with this one. Needs hops, time.

Photo of csmiley
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a medium brown with red accents giving it a ruby color in the right light. Very generous head that stuck around for a while. Lacing is just crazy.

S - Starts out sweet with some burnt caramel and cherries. The end has some alcohol but not too much though.

T - Keeps with the sweet in to the flavor. Caramel up front mixed with some bitter fruit. The background contains alcohol and a little hop bitterness. Pretty clean flavor overall. As it warms the bitterness becomes more present in the flavor and gives it a slightly better balance.

M - Medium to full bodied with smooth warming characteristics. A little over carbonated for me but that seems to go away once it sits for a while.

D - Drinkability is good. I would drink several of these if I could manage the abv.

Photo of brentk56
3.05/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2006 vintage; tasted in 2008

Appearance: Pours a very murky tea color with a modest head that quickly becomes a ringlet and leaves a curtain of lacing droplets on the chalice

Smell: Plenty of fusel alcohol on the nose, some caramel underneath

Taste: Opens with a fusel alcohol flavor that fails to develop in anything other than a solvent direction; some hops and sweetness after the swallow, but those flavors are secondary

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth after the swallow

Drinkability: This really has not benefited from the aging and is not particularly enjoyable

Photo of treehugger02010
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got a single bottle of this at Michael's Deli in King of Prussia, Pa. I poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: A deepish brown body that was slightly transparent with red highlights. A light tan head that was decent size, dissipating fast and leaving no lacing.
Smell: Very sweet, not much more than a candy malt aroma.
Taste: Excellent depth of malt character, hints of bitterness that balances everything out.
Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth with just a bit of a crisp feel.
Drinkability: Good.
Don't drink and review.

Photo of Dodo2step
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received this beer as a mix and match six pack from my buddy whi lives in Va beach.

As i pour my beer into a Weizen glass the head builds and builds to a nice four fingers and has staying power of a good minute and half.

A dark clear amber/mahogany color filters thru the glass. I spot 10's of 10's of bubblys soaring to the top of the beer.

I take a huge whiff and can smell malts and fruit mixing in my nostrils. Very nice aroma. I cant place the fruit but i want to say spiced apple or grapefruit.

A strong powrful barleywine flavor drenches my tongue. I can taste the malts and very little hoppiness to it but it is nice. It is a bitter yet sweet fruity taste.

This is a good beer and it floods my mouth with malts, spiced fruits and minimal hops that just is right for me.

Itdoesnt go down all that smooth, it takes some throat muscle to put this bad boy down. This is a beer that i will have again but i dont think i would be able to do a sixer of this.

Photo of CWiggins
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle of Monster Ale was born in the winter of 2006! I don't know when or where I obtained it, but it's been sitting in my collection for some time.

It pours a dark amber with deep crimson highlights into a snifter. A short off-white head forms, but it quickly dissipates into a frothy lacing that adheres closely to the side of the glass. Aromas of dark barley malts, dried fruit, a little sugar, and hops wafts up from the brew with a good inhalation. Actually, the flavors resemble the aroma to a large extent: there's a good bit of sweet, fruity malts on the front end, only to be superseded by a nice bitter hop essence. There's certainly more hops here than I'm used to with barleywines; it's a nice variation.

I found this slightly aged version to be quite "drinkable," with a medium carbonation that didn't interfere with the flavor or texture. This is a very nice, if not overly interesting, barleywine!

Photo of NCSUdo
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 version, poured from a 12 oz bottle

A: Pours a clear, rusty red hued brown under a small white head. No lace, no retention.

S: A earthy hop dominates, with undertones of sweet malt, hint of vanilla, some wood undertones.

T: Sweet up front, very little hop bitterness. A little herbal, warming alcohol, a bit spicy.

M/D: Full bodied, big carbonation. Drinkability is about what you would expect from a big barleywine. A solid BW, but nothing that is going to knock your socks off.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.43/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle, born in '07, served in a snifter.

L - clear, red/amber color with a small tan head that fell to a light layer and left some spotty lacing on the glass.

S - sweet malty aroma, pleasant smelling brew.

T - sweet at first, but there is noticably more bitterness on a fresh brew.

F - medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - goes down smooth and easy, but remember this is a Monster!

Photo of mobyfann
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Paid a mere $10.99 to refill the big bad growler at Party Source (Bellevue, KY)...

This one pours an extremely clear, amber-colored base, with a medium sized white head, excellent head retention and very nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is rather mild for the style, a light note of alcohol (interesting for a Barleywine) but moderate tones of malts and nuts, a light hop tone as well.

The taste is out of this world, the head gives you a creamy texture whereby limiting the alcohol presence. In addition, the flavors are a bit light but work well together. There is also a caramel like taste (not sensed in the smell). Mouthfeel is a joy with moderate carbonation and the creamy head and at 11.80% I am amazed at how well this could be consumed moderately between two people and remain happy.

Final Thought: As the name suggests, this beer is a monster, and when tamed at room temperature, is an absolute delight from start to finish. Thumbs way up!

Photo of windigo32
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I see that most of the other reviews before this one sampled 2007 vintage of this ale. The bottle I just had tonight is 2004 vintage, so it's had 3 years of aging and I'm guessing it shows.

A: Murky orange/bronze with very little head formation and no visible carbonation.

S: As soon as I poured this, you could smell it, even though the glass was a good foot from my face. Nice aroma of caramel and sugary malt.

T: Maple caramel taste, slightly malty. You can't even detect the alcohol.

M: Very smooth except for a slight tingle in your mouth either from the alcohol or the carbonation. It feels thicker than you would imagine it to from the color.

D: This is the first 5 I've given. This beer went down quickly and if I didn't have to drive shortly after having it, there would have been another 2 following it.

I'm amazed by the fact his is 11% ABV. You can't tell from the way it tastes at all. If it's any indication from the 2004 vintage, you guys aging 2007s should be in for a treat.

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

Brooklyn Brewery's 2007 vintage of Monster Ale is clear garnet color with very little foam atop the liquid. There brew was, however, initially bubbly throughout. The aroma has a strong component of hops with some caramel from the malt. Alcohol esters also permeate the nose. The bitterness initially assaults the palate which gives way to some caramel and burnt sugar flavors from the malt. Alcohol dryness is present throughout making the mouth feel a little dry. The beer finishes as it began with a lasting dry bitterness. A fine and drinkable barley wine, although I feel it could improve with some aging.

Photo of Traquairlover
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A = Nice garnet amber color, no head to speak of, small amountof lacing on surface, light carbonation bubbling made up of smallish bubbles.

S = Some definite presence of the alcohol, also strong bitter, floral notes from hops, some slight barnyard smells coupled with roasted malt.

T = Taste is a good pair to the smell, Some bitterness on the front of the tongue, then some rounded malt flavors mid-palate but not heavy enough then an alcohol kick, followed by a bitter finish.

M = Medium bodied, good mouthcoating, main problem was the carbonation coupled with the alcohol level resulted in a burning sensation in the middle of my tongue. Otherwise a pretty good mouthfeel.

D = I like this and so rate it slightly above average, but the alcohol is a little too up front fresh. Best to age a couple years.

Photo of IronDjinn
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice to see this available up here in the frozen north, especially at the local uptown Co-op.

Pours out a sharp nutty walnut hue, tight spongy sandy head that retains very well, and settles to more of a creamy cap.

Tart, citrusy hops on the nose enhanced by brown sugary malt and dates, and rich treacle notes.

Pleasant balance to it all, although the malt takes a slight lead at tipping those scales in the flavour. Nutty, rich malt accompanied by the rummy booziness of fermented brown sugar, dates, and even some raisin sweetness. The hops are leafy, herbal and citrusy, enough of a blend to attempt to keep up with the steady wave of malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel is velvety yet sticky in places, a fuller than medium body, although deceptively quaffable. Hey, if barley wines came anywhere's near to the prerequisites of a session ale, this one would be dangerous.

Not overly complex or overwhelming, a very approachable and user friendly barleywine, would make a great introduction to the style, and is quite enjoyable to drink and come back to.

Photo of hchinaski
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap (regularly) at Wonderland.

Whew. This is one strong barleywine, in smell and taste. Has a nice full, creamy mouth with a strong alcohol flavor, almost overpowering. But not to me, i like my barleys to have a nice, kick.

Definitely opens up with warmth. I have not had many aged barleywines, outside of a couple different years of Bigfoot, but i like the harshness of the new ones. This one is tasty.

Photo of TheTrevor
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer poured a dark red-tinted copper with a thin head. The smell is rich malts backed by a blast of alcohol. The flavor starts out with some bready maltiness that is cut by some hops and some alcohol presence and warming towards the end. The mouthfeel is thick and round. This is a pretty substantial beer and through no fault of its own I couldn't imagine having more than one at a time.

Photo of eberkman
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep crimson with gold hues. Big ivory colored head that reduces in a couple of minutes. Aroma is dominated primarily by floral hops with some traces of fruity esters and caramel maltiness. The taste is caramely sweet on the tongue with traces of darker fruits giving way to a very hoppy finish and a lingering warming of alcohol. Mouthfeel is thick, sticky, syrupy. Average drinkability -- a little too sweet at one end and hoppy at the other. Balanced in the sense that it hits both extremes, but not in a way that melds well together to make you want to go for more of these.

It was a 2007, so I wonder how it would be if it sat another year. Anyway, OK for the style since I'm not a huge barleywine guy. But I prefer the more mellow English barleywines and this seems to hit the American mold a lot more. In any event, certainly not a terrible sipping brew in fairly small doses.

Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,772 ratings.