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Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,787 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,787
Reviews: 1,067
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 41
Gots: 216 | FT: 13
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: 1,787 | Reviews: 1,067 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.06/5  rDev -17.7%
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
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
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
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
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
3.32/5  rDev -10.8%
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
3.84/5  rDev +3.2%
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
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
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
4.41/5  rDev +18.5%
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
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
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
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
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
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
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
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
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
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of Zeckster
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Photo of kajerm
2.96/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

Photo of hwwty4
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Photo of shroompod
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
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 .

Photo of joekfsu
4/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of sraimondi
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
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.


Photo of markgugs
4.67/5  rDev +25.5%
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...

Photo of Overlord
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Photo of WillieMoe
4.27/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

Photo of pwoods
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,787 ratings.