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Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,736 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,736
Reviews: 1,056
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 13.21%
Wants: 39
Gots: 192 | 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: 1,736 | Reviews: 1,056 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sinistrsam


3.85/5  rDev +3.8%

This 2005 Barleywine poured a dark amber color with absolutely no head. It appeared watery and thin.
The smell was somewhat complicated with plenty of alcohol, dark fruits, possibly apricot? honey and malts.
The taste was very different than I expected; alcohol overwhelmed while sweet fruits were present in the very beginning of the sip. It devolved into a semi-bland alcohol-fest and wasn't as refreshing as I was looking for. Drinkability? Try a few of these and you'll be on the floor.
To their credit, Brooklyn tried a very difficult style here and its less than a year old. I'd gladly give it a try in a year or so and I'm sure it would be better.

11-24-2005 18:21:42 | More by sinistrsam
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

2.68/5  rDev -27.8%

2005:Pours a deep amber with virtually no head to speak of and a few bubbles rising towards the top. The aroma is very malty with big prune, fig, plum, apricot and grape character, along with ethanol, some floral hops, big caramel sweetness, and a slight estery smell. The flavor is marred by an overwhelming presence of ethanol, but has some dark fruit notes (fig, plum, raisin, date) and some floral hops, as well as a light caramel sweetness but the alcohol really dominates the flavor. The mouthfeel is medium and the body is surprisingly light. Drinkability is somewhere between awful and terrible. An interesting beer for sure, but not really palatable fresh, perhaps in a few years.

11-24-2005 04:58:38 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of jakester


2.68/5  rDev -27.8%

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.

11-21-2005 13:21:05 | More by jakester
Photo of Gaisgeil


3.6/5  rDev -3%

Bottled 2003.

Pours a hazy amber in color with little to no head, lots of lacing however. Nose is citrusy and fruity, lots of mild esters, slightly earthy. Taste is a lot thinner than I expected, slightly metallic, a bit off. Hop flavor is nice but the malt isn't really there. Overall sort of disjointed. Quite good though, mild for the style, but still warming and strong. Body is medium, but the finish is a bit weak. Not bad, certainly quaffable, moreso than many of the style.


11-21-2005 06:02:12 | More by Gaisgeil
Photo of stewart124


3.85/5  rDev +3.8%

2003 bottle that I let sit in my basement for over a year.

Appearance is that of a rich burgundy with a slight off-white head that lingers a bit.
The smell has hints of floral hops and a slight spice that I cannot place. Malts are present in the nose and hint on a burnt caramel sweetness.
The taste is rich and a very smooth syrupy body. I can really taste raisins and plums. Complex spices and malts surround my tongue and this is followed by a warm sherry taste that keeps my toasty. The alcohol is there and reminds me that this is a barleywine. Hops bite at the end and leave a raisin aftertaste.
A drinkable beer but not quite what I was anticipating.

11-18-2005 03:38:51 | More by stewart124
Photo of UncleFlip


4.2/5  rDev +13.2%

Pours the amber of the cheap jewelry I saw in Russia. (The expensive stuff had a different hue.) That doesn't mean this one's cheap- it has a rich off white head which falls somewhat rapidly.

The smell is all at once fresh oranges, rotten peaches (in a good way), almonds, and grapefruit.

The flavour is thinner and woodier than expected at first- but the brown sugar quality slowly gives way to the fruitiness, then a spiciness that finishes up the whole package. Very pleasant- though there can be a hint of a lingering medicinal quality.

The liquid is thick, but not assertive. Carbonation puts in an appearance up top, but it's a cameo role.

Very drinkable to me. It's been a fave for a while, and I could do many in a row, before doing a faceplant into the hardwood floor.

Be well

11-08-2005 02:41:42 | More by UncleFlip
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.48/5  rDev -6.2%

"Born in 2004" Good to hear, Brooklyn! Thanks for the 411.

Appearance: Pours a robust brown, with a touch of red. Like an English Breakfast tea, except its beer, and with a crowning off-white head which faded (there it goes!) into a tight, neat bubble ring around the glass.

Smell: Cherries soaked in alcohol. Possibly a bit of freshly cut pears, but its rather difficult to smell around the alcohol.

Taste: Hoo-boy! Very sherry-like in flavor, with bit of wood in there. Hmm. I'm not really getting any clear cut malt or hop signals beyond the alcohol fumes. Long, spicy finish that eventually begins to erode the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit thinner than most barleywines (reminds me of Young's Old Nick, except way more alcohol). Its all rather coarse on the palate, but it's only a young barleywine and one that I feel is much need of a good, long nap in the cellar.

Drinkability: 11.80%?! Well, that explains alot. Hmm. For some reason I thought it was less, but I certainly *feel* the ABV. I was wondering why my typing skills were degrading throughout this review.

Not one of my favorite barleywines. Yet. AOL Keyword: YET. Let's see what a little bit of aging can do...

11-06-2005 01:47:34 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of SixpointJMH

New Jersey

2.8/5  rDev -24.5%

Born in 2004.

It pours a decent amber colour with no head whatsoever. There's somewhat of a dark iced tea quality to this one.

The aromas are thin overall. There's a lingering sweetness throughout, along with some basic fruit, malt and hints of alcohol.

The flavour is riddled with alcohol. It's medicinal most of the time. Wow. When its not there are some grape notes and hints of malt, but the alcohol is running wild throughout this one. The body is a bit thin overall too.

I was disappointed in this one, and expected more from the Brooklyn folks. This is not one that I can recommend.

11-05-2005 03:59:10 | More by SixpointJMH
Photo of Citadel82

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +13.2%

This Monster was also born in 2004.

The beer pours copper with a nice head that was short-lived. Lacing on the glass was impressive.

Smells of barley malt hit along with a hint of hops, and the 11% ABV is barely noticeable in the smell.

This ale is rich and complex. The sweetness is balanced very well by a slightly hoppt finish. Very good and very true to the style from what I recall from my days in England.

Perfect to relax with on a chilly night. This is a full bodied ale as you would expect it to be.

It was very drinkable for the style.

11-02-2005 04:01:46 | More by Citadel82
Photo of jmz62565


4.08/5  rDev +10%

This is a dark reddish beer with a two finger head that lasts.A malt and a slight hop smell is the main aroma.The taste is very malty,very good,and very strong.This is a top notch barley wine.Brooklyn has produced a beer that has a heavy full m/f that keeps you wanting more and one that you could drink everyday.Another good beer from Brooklyn.

10-31-2005 01:36:10 | More by jmz62565
Photo of Bonhoeffer


3.88/5  rDev +4.6%

Pretty good beer. Drinkable, doesn't stand out in the world of barleywines, one of my favorite styles.

I tell ya, i'm quite a novice at pairing beer with food, and this was a learning experience for me. I can't tell you what this goes *well* with, but i can tell you what you should absolutely *avoid* when drinking it: apple pie. Really. I tried taking a couple sips of this after bites of a very good apple pie i was eating, and it resulted in this very offensive flavor that made me cringe. Lesson learned.

I'll be revisiting other examples of the style before returning to this one.

09-30-2005 22:11:04 | More by Bonhoeffer
Photo of ithacabaron


4.18/5  rDev +12.7%

My twentieth review.

2002 Vintage. Silver bottle that seems a bit gaudy for a barleywine.

Dark amber, but a bit lighter than I expected.

Deep plumb, apple, and prune notes in the smell, with cream caramel esters.

Tastes of deep sweet caramel, with brown sugar, maple, and burnt apple notes at the rear of the tongue. Ends a bit sweet for me, with tastes of "Bananas Foster."

Hops are not really here. What does exist is middling, at best.

In the end, left me warm and happy till bedtime.

Not a bad barleywine, but not the best. Has more "testicular fortitude" than most, to put it one way. More aggressive with the sweetness than most also, and even though I don't really have a sweet tooth, I would buy this again, and would be interested in a vertical tasting at some point.

The biggest victory for me, and what makes it fitting as my twentieth? My roommate, who doesn't care for what he refers to as my "strong" beers, tasted it, and a few days later said..."Hey, can we go to the beer store and get more barleywines? I really liked that one."

Certainly a good endorsement there, and maybe a good way to introduce a non BA into rich, delicious barleywines? Just food for thought.

Re-Review: 2004 Vintage, tried in late 2005. Regal, almost stately Maris Otter shines through with muted, caramelized hops. Significantly drier than the 2002 vintage, and with a surprisingly larger hop snap. Really delicious. Scores have been adjusted appropriately. So tasty, in fact, that I went and hunted down a sixer left from this vintage to keep me company as winter rolls in and 2005 becomes 2006. For tonight, this was the perfect way to end my evening, the first of the year that put a little chill into my bones.

09-30-2005 04:07:03 | More by ithacabaron
Photo of dirtylou


3.4/5  rDev -8.4%

5/14/07 UPDATED NOTES****

cracked open during a cubs game, not sure how this one made it this long in the cellar...light metallic nose and flavour, boozy plum traits have over run the hops...wouldnt change the rating too much


2004 bottle

appearance: dark copper, fading white head, fairly typical for the barleywine style

smell: alcohol up front, strong fruits (plum, apple), smell had me intrigued

taste: smell had me intrigued, taste confirmed the low rating for this beer. alcohol up front, apples/plums, bitter unpleasant hop taste. not very pleasant

mouthfeel: heavy and strong, alcohol obvious

drinkability: barleywines are not session beers but this one was even less drinkable to me, perhaps it will improve with age. time shall tell

08-05-2005 23:48:16 | More by dirtylou
Photo of futaboots


3.43/5  rDev -7.5%

I didn't really know what the ABV of this brew was when I cracked open the bottle, but I realized this was a force to be reckoned with after the first sip. I figured it would be high, but not 11.8%. I gave this beer an average score for drinkability because while the alcohol is not overwhelming, I don't get the chest warming burn I associate with other high end/high ABV beers. Actually, my mouth feels kinda dried up now after a few sips.

Smell is nothing special, only barely detectable with my nose. Tastes good actually, nice balance of sweet and bitter. Color is a nice ruby brown. Head was thick at first, but has died down to nothing. Mouthfeel is not too thick, which I like.

Overall, a decent tasting strong beer.

07-22-2005 03:21:33 | More by futaboots
Photo of Maestro


4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

As far as Barley Wines go, I am beginning to become a big fan.

The monster pours orange and has a creamy, tan head that sticks around and leaves some good lacing. The nose is full of sweet maltiness and a thick biscuit aroma. There are also some citrus notes in the nose. Taste is great! The hops seem to pair exceptionally well with the copious amounts of malts. The alcohol warms throughout the ale and this one finishes with a respectable, balance aftertaste of raisins, dates, oranges, and a hint of bourbon...

07-13-2005 20:15:23 | More by Maestro
Photo of blackie


3.53/5  rDev -4.9%

Color is an awesome looking mahogany type hue. The head is white in color and somewhat short lived. This Monster was born in 2004. Poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.

Smell is pretty malty but there is a decent load of hops in there too. A slight hint of apples and banana is present. I am getting a little peppery spiciness but I think that is just the ethanol.

Carbonation is low to medium low. Body is medium heavy with a slightly sticky feel on the tongue.

Before I taste anything, I can feel the thickness of the liquid in my mouth. Taste is malty with a good balance of hops. Ethanol is pretty evident after the initial malt taste. It's good but a little plain; I can feel the malt in the form of the thickness but am having a hard time getting a good taste of it.

Putting one in the cellar for awhile to see what happens. Then again, after tasting this one it might be better to drink it soon, but I'll experiment. For 11.8 percent, it was pretty well hidden, though easily identified.

07-07-2005 06:08:09 | More by blackie
Photo of cubedbee


4.22/5  rDev +13.7%

Bottled in 2004. Pours a brilliant amber-red with a thin white head that quickly fades to lasting ring. Sweet malty smell infused with dark raisins, rasberries, port, and a slight floral hops. Taste is full and malty, with a strong alcohol presence, some fruity cherry and berry notes, a nice hop bitterness at the end. The alcohol is present in every sip, which I don't usually like, but it stays smooth and tasty throughout. Mouthfeel is full, smooth, and sweet, but doesn't become syrupy at all. This is a very good barleywine, I'm going to age my other bottle for another 6 months and see how it improves.

07-02-2005 00:58:51 | More by cubedbee
Photo of JackStraw22


3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

2004 vintage sampled in late June 2005

Appearance: Clear, dark amber body. Small off white head. Not any lacing, the head didn't stick around much.

Smell: Huge malty nose, oily hops, raisiny too. Very English Barleywiny.

Taste/mouthfeel: Very intense flavor. The alcohol is quite strong and warm, but I'm digging it, something I'm in the mood for today I guess. Big hop flavor, not crazy bitter. Almost syrupy sweet. Big and chewy mouthfeel, but not sticky.

Drinkability: Could only do one of these at a time. I'd like to have this again though in a couple of months or next year.

06-24-2005 05:05:26 | More by JackStraw22
Photo of AlexJ

North Carolina

3.2/5  rDev -13.7%

2004 Vintage

Chestnut brown in color with a bit of beige head that almost instantly fizzles down to a ring around the goblet.

Sweet aromas of toffee, rasberries, dusty cocoa, anf floral and fruity hops. There's no disguising the alcohol in here, it still smells hot!

Clean caramel and burnt brown sugar up front leading into ripe fruits, berries, rum soaked yellow cake, and a hint of something smokey. Nice subtle floral hops bring up the rear. Not bad, but pretty tame overall. Lacks complexity.

Slick creamy mouthfeel with tiny little soft bubbles. Body feels big at first, but then it's just medium, wierd. Not bad, but really nothing special. I like the subtleties of a good English barleywine, this may be too subtle. I'd like to see how it tastes in 3-5 years.

06-22-2005 20:02:48 | More by AlexJ
Photo of connecticutpoet


4.13/5  rDev +11.3%

2004 vintage.

This beer was clear and amber colored, with almost no head. About what I expected for a barleywine.

Aroma was of rich, slightly sweet malt, with maybe a hint of smokiness way in the back of the nose.

Taste was rich and malty, and rather sweet, with delicious apple and berry notes. Some hoppiness was evident. Very good.

Mouthfeel was good and chewy. Drinkability was good, and I would have this again... but couldn't have more than a couple at a sitting.

06-22-2005 01:55:01 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of Bierguy5


3.88/5  rDev +4.6%

2004 version. Pours a clear dark amber/copper color. Thick off-white foamy head disappears, but does leave a good ring of foam. Spotty lace on the sides of the snifter. Big fruity aroma, port and alcohol. Caramelized fruits, figs combined with a big malt profile. Bitterness is restrained, a little citrusy hop flavor at the end. Finishes very sweet. Body seems a bit thin, but low carbonation is right on. The alcohol present in the nose is well hidden in the taste. Only slightly warming. Overall, a better than average English style barleywine.

06-10-2005 02:39:54 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev +1.9%

A good dark brown colour, hoppy aroma. Taste is fine,orange, citrus, and dark fruit,herbal, carmel barleywine, surprising disguise of high alcohol, fresh bottle first beer at Modiale 2005. Perhaps too sweet.Nuttiness and bit of burnt notes and medium mouthfeel. 2003 is nicely aged. much mellowr taste. Has becom a sipper.

06-03-2005 21:01:04 | More by Sammy
Photo of packetknife


3.83/5  rDev +3.2%

This one surprised me. Pours a dark amber, almost like you've burned the amber stone. No head whatsoever, just a ring of off-white foam. I was worried at this point but... smells of sandlewood and port, or something like that. Really sweet smelling and good. The taste is a mix of maple, burnt malt (??), and unrefined sugar with a feel almost dead-on Coke (same carbonation/acidity). You don't notice the ABV until well after you're done.

06-01-2005 00:09:38 | More by packetknife
Photo of kbnooshay

New York

3.9/5  rDev +5.1%

11% poison. The poured a nice orange amber with a cool uneven head. The aroma contained a little caramel sweetness, but overall had the general essence(which kicks ass) that most brooklyn brewed ales/lagers have.The taste is kinda rough the first time i had it so i am re-reviewing it. What a difference a year makes, i guess my mouth matured. The alcohol beats you but its fun! Malt prescence is good but the hops win out. Lightly citrusy plus chocolate flavors were noticed! The mouthfeel is godly, moderate but sorta creamy. Surprisingly drinkable. The alcohol showed up more when it warmed up so put it away when you can.

05-30-2005 07:30:43 | More by kbnooshay
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.63/5  rDev -29.1%

2004 Bottle drank in 2005: Poured a clear amber looking ale with a small off-white foamy head with not much retention. Aroma of light roasted malt with sweet floral notes is noticeable. The malt dominates taste with some sweetness and some very subtle bitterness at the end. Body is way too thin for a Barleywine and watery feeling in the aftertaste disappoint me greatly. Alcohol is well hidden and carbonation is low. The thin body and the watery makes this a greatly disappointing experience.

05-24-2005 19:11:56 | More by Phyl21ca
Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,736 ratings.