1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,746 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,746
Reviews: 1,056
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 13.21%
Wants: 39
Gots: 193 | FT: 9
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brooklyn Monster Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,746 | Reviews: 1,056 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mac56
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Props to cooperrip for sending this my way as part of the Newbie BIF. The 2005 release. Cracked this one open as my lovely wife and I made desserts (for tomorrow) on Christmas Eve afternoon.

Can I say?: I looked hard, but I can't find much wrong with this ale. Full flavor, malt aplenty, nice caramel note, subtle warming finish, and a creamy (not oily) mouthfeel. The alcohol definitely sneaks up on a person, so more than one at a sitting may be a caution.

My Kentucky brother in law would say - this one makes your tongue slap your brain.

I'm saying - a fine quaff on a Christmas Eve.

Wish I could try the previous years' releases.

mac56, Dec 25, 2005
Photo of maddamish
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Small head when poured. Red amber in color

The smell is a little off. Smells exactly like one of those balloons that you squeeze out of a tube and put it at the end of a straw and blow up.

Nice grape and sugar notes. Watch out for the 12% plus alcohol in this baby. You will be spinning before you finish the first bottle.

I really enjoyed this offering from Brooklyn and will pick it up again.

maddamish, Dec 20, 2005
Photo of daliandragon
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2005 Monster representing the Brooklyn Party Twelver. I'm not usually a barleywine fan but I have such a respect for Brooklyn and the way they do things I have to give it a shot.
The color is dark red, leaning toward brownish with little head or lacing of any kind. The odor isn't too strong but is nicely mixed between malt and alcohol and a tiny late kiss of hops.
Well, with 10.8 on the boozeometer (that's more than 21 proof, folks) obviously the strongest flavor is alcohol, although its not overpowering enough to be repulsive as wth some barleywines. There is some strong malt and sweet nutty flavors to temper it a bit.
Although I wouldn't consider this a highly drinkable beer, I have to give the brewer credit for making such a highly sustainable barleywine that "turns it up to eleven". Still not my cup o' tea but very solid for the style.

daliandragon, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of Phatz
4.53/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This evening I had the opportunity to have a Brooklyn Monster Ale
2005 and right now I am working on the Brooklyn Monster Ale
2004. I will try to tell you about both but my rating may be biased to the 04 because in a few ways I liked it better than the 05.

Appearance: They both looked about the same a dark amber color that is partly transparent; frothy brew for the duration of the beer.

Smell: They were similar. The 05 was sweet with a hint of barley whereas the 04 seemed to be sweet with a hint of yeastiness. Both are very malty and wonderful.

Taste: The 05 I got a bit of hop character to it the 04 was more syrupy no (bothersome) hops just plain sweet caramelized malts. They both had the certain 'Red-ness' about them (if you know what I mean by red taste). They were both very caramel, syrup and sugar flavored. It is not the most unique or interesting taste I have encountered but it is easy to accept. It is so gentle on the palate that there is nothing about it that could be objectionable. Some people may call slightly boring what I call very easy drinking.

Mouthfeel: The 05 felt sticky but with high carbonation whereas the 04 felt heavier smoother and very lightly carbonated. OH so smooth! What a dream!

Drinkability: The 05 had a 4.0 drinkability and the 04 had a 4.5 drinkability primarily because of the intensity in the aftertaste (both are good). The 05 had a bit (just a bit) of dry bitterness in the aftertaste whereas the 04 was PERFECTLY smooth. It may be the extra year it had to age or the batches between 2004 and 2005 may have changed slightly. Either way they are booth very good drinks and if you can still find 04s on the shelf I'd snatch them up quick even if you want them for aging or taste comparisons. I highly recommend Monster.

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of froggyfrog
4.43/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 edition bottle served in pint glass.

Clear dark caramel color with light white head and excellent lacing.

Lots of sweet malt aromatics. Smell reminds me of Mexican food like salsa, guacamole and corn chips. Grassy hops and confectioners sugar also come into focus.

Great tasting with lots of character. More caramel here with hints of pale barley malt; toasty grains and a bit of alcohol round out the palate. Finish is whipped buttermilk frosting.

Expertly balanced with a bit more hop presence than may be expected for an Barley Wine of the English variety.

This beer carries a nice warming alcohol feeling home. Very drinkable. I'm anxious to try this brew again.

froggyfrog, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of akajimmyd
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Born in 2004. 12 ouncer poured into a goblet.

Appearance – Deep rich amber. Low head retention. No lacing to speak of.

Smell – Bread and sweet malts.

Taste – Big malts, but the alcohol dominates from the middle to the end of each sip. Slightest hop bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel – Heavy, sticky, sweet. Light carbonation.

Drinkability – I could have a few of these. I used to drink it fairly easily at a colder temperature but warmer is better. Definitely a warmer. I will return to this one.

akajimmyd, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of Jacobob10
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Monster Ale pours with almost no head but makes up for it with a beautiful and unique ruby color. The aroma was probably my favorite part of the beer. It seemed very fruity to me, the most noticable smell being cherries. Also some mild vanilla mixed in with it. The taste was good but nothing amazing. The alcohol became more noticable while tasting the beer. Still, the alcohol taste was not as "over the top" as other barley wines I have tasted. Creates somewhat of a warming sensation in your mouth, but not too hot.

One of the more tame barley wines I have come across. The drinkability was decent for a beer of its strength. I usually struggle with barley wines and I am making a bold attempt at trying to like this style, but this one was not as harsh as others I have tried.

Jacobob10, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of oberon
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

oberon, Dec 01, 2005
Photo of Stimack
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2005 Vintage

Poured to a dark copper color with a good sized off white (yellowish color) head that broke down pretty quickly but did leave a little lace. Nice aroma of malt, dark fruit and a strong alcohol scent. The taste has a somewhat harsh alcohol taste; wonder if it will mellow at all over time? Also has some fruit like tastes mixed with sweet tasting malt. Even with the somewhat harsh alcohol taste, the brew seems to be pretty smooth for 11+ %. This is actually my first experience with this brew and must say I really liked it. I will let the other one that I have age, but also hope to try it on tap.

Stimack, Dec 01, 2005
Photo of quasimoto
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This was reddish dark copper in color with very little off white head.

S - Strong Vinous aromas along side the malt. There is also some alcohol in there.

T - Sweet malts up front and hidden hops in the back. Not particularly overbearing though.

M - very easy at first but I was biiten by the bitterness and the high alcohol at the end.

D - I liked this. Very easy to drink, yet very hard to stay sober. A true double edge sword.

quasimoto, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of sinistrsam
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

sinistrsam, Nov 24, 2005
Photo of silver0rlead
2.68/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

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.

silver0rlead, Nov 24, 2005
Photo of jakester
2.68/5  rDev -27.8%
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.

jakester, Nov 21, 2005
Photo of Gaisgeil
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.


Gaisgeil, Nov 21, 2005
Photo of stewart124
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

stewart124, Nov 18, 2005
Photo of UncleFlip
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

UncleFlip, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"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...

ChainGangGuy, Nov 06, 2005
Photo of SixpointJMH
2.8/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

SixpointJMH, Nov 05, 2005
Photo of Citadel82
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

Citadel82, Nov 02, 2005
Photo of jmz62565
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

jmz62565, Oct 31, 2005
Photo of Bonhoeffer
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Bonhoeffer, Sep 30, 2005
Photo of ithacabaron
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

ithacabaron, Sep 30, 2005
Photo of dirtylou
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

dirtylou, Aug 06, 2005
Photo of futaboots
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

futaboots, Jul 22, 2005
Photo of Maestro
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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...

Maestro, Jul 13, 2005
Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,746 ratings.