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Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,749 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,749
Reviews: 1,056
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 13.21%
Wants: 40
Gots: 194 | FT: 10
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: 1,749 | Reviews: 1,056 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheTrevor
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

TheTrevor, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of eberkman
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

eberkman, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of Zeckster
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was the 2007 vintage poured into a glass

A coppery color that was mildly translucent. Mild head that shrank rather quick

The alcohol smell was the first thing I noticed, after you get past that there was a mild hoppy scent.

It was a little malty but then the alcohol comes in and takes over. I guess I should have let this age, but I wanted to check to see what it was like fresh.

It was sipable but the alcohol was really rather overwhelming for me.

Zeckster, Feb 04, 2008
Photo of kajerm
2.95/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2007 bottle, pours dark amber on the edges and crimson at the center of the glass with almost no visible head.

The aroma is dominated largely by alcohol, both ethanol and fusels. Strong malt character, predominately caramel with a healthy bit of toffee. Some fruity esters are present, giving slight aromas of dark fruit and apples. Everything else is a footnote to the alcohol, which is really running the show here.

The flavor opens up malty, but before you can really appreciate and differentiate the malt flavors, a massive palate-searing swell of alcohol comes in and dominates the whole flavor profile. Through the fire I can taste some fruitiness and a bit of hops at the end, but the massive alcohol flavor makes this taste more like moonshine (no really, I've had it) than beer. The fact that very little comes through the alcohol makes me worry that the flavor profile really is as simple as it tastes, and that without the alcohol this would be bland, insipid crap.

Mouthfeel is like a grease fire, slick and hot.

This beer is totally undrinkable young. I'm not even touching the rest of this sixer. I'm hopeful that in a few year it will cool off-- straight into the "cellar" (beer closet) it goes. I'll give it a year or ten before I try it again.

Who knows? There might have been a good beer hiding under all that alcohol.

I'm sure someone will chide me for drinking a barleywne this young and then complaining that it was too alcoholic, but there are lots of barleywines that drink spectacularly when fresh-- Goose Island Clybourn's Old Aberration and J.W. Lees both come to mind here.

In any case, I'll rerate an old bottle sometime in the next decade or so.

kajerm, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of hwwty4
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz bottle into a Smokestack goblet. Poured a dark amber with a decent taupe head that disappeared quickly and left no head. Aroma is hoppy up front with a toffee sweetness to finish. Taste is a sweet up front, with a little hops coming through. I really just don't understand barleywines and that's my own problem. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and honestly for me it isn't very drinkable because of the sweetness of the beer. I am trying to follow the column in the BA magazine and try styles of beer I really don't like. Everyone ignore this review, its skewed to someone who doesn't really like barleywines.

hwwty4, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of shroompod
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear reddish tint. Decent Head , a little lacing.

I can smell alcohol up front , some pinney hoppiness lingers.

Good citrus bite upfront melds into a sweet toffee background. The is a nicely balanced barleywine , maybe a bit over the top for an English.

Mouthfeel is thick, carbonation is good.

Overall a nice sipper, may make a good candidate for aging .

shroompod, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of joekfsu
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Aroma is malty, caramel, and alcohol. Initial flavor malty, bread, and slightly fruity sweet. Aftertaste is dominated by alcohol and only a small hint of hops. Medium to full body, almost no lacing or carbonation, and obvious alcohol. Drinkable if you like the barleywine style, limited otherwise.

joekfsu, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of sraimondi
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 version.

Poured into a Killian's Imperial Pint glass. Almost a 1 inch tan head, with some spot lacing. A gorgeous copper/light orangey hue; very attractive!

Smell is of sweet malt and some hints of cherry/burnt fruit.

The taste is quite complex and intense. While the alcohol is quite present, it is extremely balanced which is the mark of a superior English BW. The hops are reserved, but definitely there as they provide a great ying to the malt yang. Really very good, bordering on exceptional.

The mouthfeel is quite full and round, definitely on style.

Despite the elevated ABV, this is one of the more drinkable EBWs made in the USA, given its overall smooth character. Mr. Oliver should be proud.

I'm gonna cellar two of these beauts and do a tasting next Spring, 2009 with some other cellared BWs, including Hooker 2005 Old Marley and JW Lees 1994 and 2004 vintage.


sraimondi, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of markgugs
4.7/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap in a tulip snifter, at Hop Devil's "Daze of the Devil" festival, 1/19/08

[1998 Vintage]
A: Looks like a fermenting tank! A bold orange/copper color with a murky body and very little in the way of head, just thin, swirling wisps of off-white bubbling to let you know that the beer is in fact, carbonated.

S: Huge malted nose, wave after wave of sweet bread, toasted biscuits, brown sugar and perhaps some plum. Smells like a candy factory.

T/M: Wow, I guess this is what happens to a big, complex barleywine that's been aged properly for nearly 10 years. Amazingly well-balanced and true to the English style, there is almost no hop presence. Instead, prepare yourself for a thick mixture of brown sugar, sweetbread, toffee, caramel and raisins. I took my time with this 9oz. glass and every sip was well-worth it.

D: Dangerous. That's the only word I can come up with here. Nearly 12% ABV? Come on, there is not even a hint of the alcohol in here. Now if I only had a case of '98 vintage...

markgugs, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of Overlord
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting beer.

Pours a murky red with a thin white head. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side.

Smells of some sweet fruit overtones and alcohol. Taste is much the same. Load of sweet malt, some sweet fruit, and a lot of alcohol. I initially would have scored this beer much higher, but as I worked through the bottle, it became a real chore to finish.

Decent, but a bit out of whack alcohol-wise.

Overlord, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of WillieMoe
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I loves me a good barleywine and you can't really go wrong with something from the gang at Brooklyn.

Pours a nice thick cherry-tinted color, with very, very, very little head.

Has that barleywine smell to it, giving off a fruity cherry aroma. Smells sweet, but not too sweet. You can really pick up the malt and yeast in the scent.

There is a strong grape, wine flavor, that goes down smooth, with almost a milky quality to it, while the bitterness balances well with the sweetness.

This is one of the better barleywines out there, and if that's your thing, you'll be alright with this bad boy.

WillieMoe, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of pwoods
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a dark rusty amber with good visibility. 1 fingers of eggshell head forms and dies within a minute or 2. Not much lacing.

S: First thing I notice is a rummy alcohol presence. Not extremely over powering but pleasant. Dark fruits and plenty of malt. Hops are very subdued(english ; ;).

T/M: Plenty of fruit in the taste. Lots of dark fruits(dates, figs) but a nice clean, juicy fruit presences... apricots? Nice malt backbone but still a lacking in hop bitterness and crispness. I k now it's an English but still give me a little hops. Very creamy yet a tad on the thin side.

D: Very easy to drink, especially for a barleywine. 11.8% is maintained quite well.

pwoods, Jan 16, 2008
Photo of jdmorgan
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This barleywine poured a rich copper color and had a small white/brown head.

The aroma was very light and had notes of malt and a bit of fruitiness. The taste had an alcohol strength that was paired with a rich malt body and large hop presence. There was a bit of sweetness to it, and the hops and alcohol balanced nicely. The consistency was medium/thick, and the carbonation was medium.

This was a good barleywine ale. I thought that it wasn't too over the top either. It had a good amount of hop flavor present as well. This would make a good ale with cheese.

jdmorgan, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of wedge
3.33/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Born in 2006 - 10.1% ABV.

Clear dark copper with a low off-white head that rests on top mostly in the form of a sticky ring. Aromas of toasted malts, apple and other fruity esters, some citrus, and rummy alcohol. Slight oxidative qualities bring this one down a notch. Caramel and fruity alcohol flavors - notes of bread and spicy hops. Near full bodied and smooth with a slight lingering bitterness. Finishes a bit dry.

Decent...I'd probably age it a while longer to see what happens, though I don't find the alcohol to be overwhelming in any way as it is right now.

wedge, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of gilem
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an outright good beer, but unfortunately it should definitely come with a warning label. The name "monster" probably should have been enough, but I think "intoxicator" might have been better. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I think the flavor is somewhat reminiscent of their Chocolate stout, although lacking in some of the more bitter notes due to the lighter brew.

gilem, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of yourefragile
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz "born in 2007" bottle

A: Pours a dark clear amber, lighter brown around the edges. A thin off white head that quickly dissipates and leaves little lacing
S: First thing I smell is malts followed by dark fruits, like grapes. Alcohol is also present in a not entirely pleasant way
T: Sweet malty taste with some of the fruits from the aroma in the background. Alcohol is present but not entirely offensive. However, alcohol is what is most present in the aftertaste with a slight bitterness.
M: Slightly thin, moderate carbonation, there's a hint of creaminess that ends up being overpowered by alcohol.
D: Well, for being 10.1% abv (as 2007 is labeled) I'm surprised by how easy drinking this is while still providing a nice warming effect (but not burning) on the way down. This would probably benefit from aging but is actually more "drinkable" than expected. Not my favorite english barleywine but a nicer cheaper alternative.

yourefragile, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of cjgator3
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage.

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brownish amber color with an off-white head. The aroma is fruity with some malt, caramel, hops and some detracting metallic notes as well. The taste is definitely on the malty side like most barley wines with some hops and alcohol in the warming finish. Overall, this is a decent barleywine, but I will pass on purchasing it again.

cjgator3, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of YankChef
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a chimay chalice, 2007 vintage with abv rated as 10.1% on the bottle

Appearance: Amber color with strong hues of cherry and ruby red running through it. 1/4 inch thick head that just kind of lazily sticks to the top, decent lacing.

Smell: Aromas of dark fruit, cherries, plum and fig. The barley is very evident with a sort of grainy aroma, scents of toffee and caramel candy as well.

Taste: Sort of flat for a barley wine, the malt coats the palate and the flavor is of candied fruit and then it just sort of fades, no lingering flavor. Hops are barely noticable, except with a quick twang on the back of the tounge when the beer is swallowed.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is very, very low and i would say the beer relatively fat and full bodied feeling.

Overall: This beer is really easy to drink but just kind of.... blah. If you like the english style this is a pretty bland version of it, i would avoid drinking it on its own, it would be a great beer to pair with dessert, or a cheese plate or something like that because of the very light hop prescence.

YankChef, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of SiphonKing
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 Monster Ale
Aroma of plum
Taste of alcohol warms the palate, spiciness catches the tongue.
Dark-amber to copper color.
Carbonation is medium for a barleywine.
Not as full-bodied as expected from a barleywine but very drinkable and with a little aging could provide more interesting flavors.

SiphonKing, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of baggio
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Winterstorm roaring outside. What better than sipping on a nice barleywine :) 2005 vintage!

A: Ruby red with a wee head.

S: Raisin, Caramel, Cherry, Dark syrup. I detect no hops whatsoever.

T: Toffee, Plums, Sherry/Bourbon, alcohol, Spices (pepper?)

M: Smooth and warming with a little kick of alcohol and bitterness at the end. Low carbonation.

Ok, age has done wonders with this brew. The fresh i found to be a little bit thin and boozy but this is nice and warming and much more balanced. A good barleywine but i recommend aging it for atleast 2 years.

baggio, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of stephendr
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2001 vintage via kramer17801, opened July,9 2007 -12 oz. glass bottle- color of light muddy brown, with a thin off white head - nose of raisins, dried leaves, anis, dates, and slight alcohol – taste of raisins, dried leaves, anis, dates, earthy, cola, and slight alcohol (good but, it might have needed more time in the glass bottle)- body is medium, sweet, and with low carbonation – aftertaste of coffee raisins, cola, prunes, and dry earthy different tasting but very complex

stephendr, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of prototypic
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 release

Appearance: It's a clear, amber to brown color. Head was about a finger and a half. Retention was good, but lacing was on the light side.

Smell: Sweet caramel malts up front. Dark fruits scents are present (mostly raisin and some plum) with a bit of cherry blended in. Very light citrus scents (grapefruit and perhaps pineapple) are present. Hops are virtually unnoticeable.

Taste: Mostly it tastes of a blend of dark fruit and cherry. Caramel malts provide a bit of a sweet taste. Hops are present, but not overly strong. Malty base is predominant. Very light alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's thick and definitely a sipping beer. Carbonation is good. It is pretty smooth. It's fairly drinkable considering it's strength. Overall, it's a pretty good barleywine. Definitely worth a try.

prototypic, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of BBM
4.33/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber color with a thin beige head and nice lacing around the snifter. Aroma was a beautifully subtle blend of fruit, caramel and alcohol.

This is a deliciously stern beer without being overbearing. The alcohol is present, but never pressing. The fruits, bread-like quality, and sweet caramel and burnt toffee blend together nicely. Flavors tip toe on the tastebuds instead of bludgeoning them, which is a nice change of pace for barleywines. Mouthfeel is full and no overly carbonated. Every Brooklyn is well-crafted, and this is no exception. Fully enjoyed this one.

BBM, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of Douglas14
4.28/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Born in 2007

Pours a light red color with touches of orange and ruby coming through. It has a nice off-white fluffy head that leaves great lacing behind. The smell is heavily of sugary fruits and light caramel, with hops also coming through. The taste is also very sweet...less bitter than what i expected or have experienced with other barleywines. It has a full body and a nice finish and mouth feel. The high ABV is definitely hard to notice at the beginning but becomes more apparent towards the end.

Overall, it was good - maybe I was expecting too much from it coming from Brooklyn.

Douglas14, Dec 26, 2007
Photo of Doomcifer
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Doomcifer, Dec 25, 2007
Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,749 ratings.