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Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,759 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,759
Reviews: 1,058
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 13.21%
Wants: 40
Gots: 197 | FT: 11
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: 1,759 | Reviews: 1,058 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gavage
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of the variety 12 pack.

Appearance: clear dark amber in color with a paper-thin head which can really be described as surface foam. No lacing develops.

Smell: only some caramel and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: sweet maltiness, bread, caramel, raisins, alcohol, and a decent bitterness level helps alleviate some of the sweet candy qualities.

Mouthfeel: smooth at the start, with a smooth and syrupy finish. The sweetness and alcohol tones linger long in the aftertaste. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: not bad, but this barley wine didn't overly excite me. The second bottle of this in the variety pack has been moved to the back of the beer fridge for a re-visit next year.

Gavage, Jan 17, 2006
Photo of johnniemarg
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

My first review...

This is the 2005 out of the botte and poured into a tulip. I didn't like this the first few times I had it but found it much better once I let it warm up outside the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Color is a deep orange-red. Very little head that dissipates quickly. No real lacing but a nice ring of fine bubbles around the top. Smells of citrus and alcohol, but generally weak smell.

Taste is in line with the smell. Citrus and alcohol. Maltier as it warms.

Mouthfeel is great. Surprising creamy. Warming due to the high alcohol content.

Due to the alcohol content (this site says 11.8%, the bottle says 11%), this isn't something to session with by any means.

This beer is okay but not great, but it's the only barley wine available during the winter at the grocery stores in Manhattan. Doesn't have the sweetness or flavor of most barley wines. It's more like a weakly flavored strong ale than a typical barley wine. I wish I could cellar it to see if it gains anything with age. Tastes a bit "sharp" if that makes any sense. Maybe too much on the alcohol flavor without much else going on.

johnniemarg, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of Hautacam
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a small one on tap...served in a brandy snifter. Dark orange.
Smelled good..alcohol..malt...fruits. No head at all.
Very sweet tasting....caramel, very fruity..doughy....alcohol punches through every sip....definite hoppy bitter note in there. I like this stuff...this is the first barleywine I've tried and am now interested in trying some others.Very heavy mouthfeel which I like with something as sweet and alcoholic as this.
Packs a punch....wouldn't want more than one.

Hautacam, Jan 15, 2006
Photo of Calico
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this from a bottle and found it to be too young (so I laid it down to cellar). On tap, though, the 2005 seems mellower, much more drinkable.

Pours a clearish brown with hardly any head, some lace.

Sugary nose, a little maple, some raisin.

A pleasant barleywine. Warming in the back of the throat. Almost but not quite burns going down.

Gives a nice, crisp, hoppy finish.

A lovely dessert beer. Couldn't drink this all night!

Calico, Jan 13, 2006
Photo of TheEclecticGent
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the bottled version of this barley wine in a beer tasting event. It pours an amber-reddish color into my taster glass with very little head that quickly disappears in my 6-oz taster glass. I’ve had this barley wine before and didn’t enjoy it as much as this time. Perhaps it was a different seasons or batch? The smell is nice with light scents of caramel and citrus and a bit like sherry. The taste is smooth and that’s what I like in a barley wine. A good barley wine to me should be strong but smooth (like Makers Mark is to bourbon). Very Nice with a warming finish. This is a lot like Anchor Old Foghorn.

TheEclecticGent, Jan 12, 2006
Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.48/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A 2005 Monster

A - Amber red with only a tiny head. Swirling in the glass reveals that it coats the sides.

S - Caramel with a bit of figs, dates and molasses. Some very faint pine hops as well. Alcohol is apparent, but not prominent.

T - Heavily sugary caramel malt flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Alcohol overshadows all in the aftertaste though. The faint bitterness lingers long, long afterward you drink. I wish the alcohol wasn't such a defining characteristic in this beer. There doesn't seem to be too much depth to the flavor.

M - Thick. Oh God, is it thick! Carbonation is surprisingly high. It is a little bit refreshing, but it also leaves a residue in your mouth.

D - What do you know? It is a barleywine! It is a dessert beer. Would not go well with any food and, as a lightweight, I certainly don't want another right now. This is a decent barleywine, but I feel that most of Brooklyn's other releases are superior though. I imagine that this would age beautifully. The numbers seem harsh here, but I feel that this is a well below average barleywine.

mrasskicktastic, Jan 11, 2006
Photo of dbalsock
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours dark amber in color with a white, creamy head that doesn't stay around for long

Smell: smells of molasses and other sweet aromas, with a floral essence balancing it out

Taste: like any other barley wine i've had, the malts are in complete control, handing over a rich sweetness. like in the smell, hints of molasses poke through and seems to battle the taste of alcohol in my mouth... i like it

Mouthfeel: the alcohol seems to balance the sweetness for me, but it is also a little hardcore for my liking, and takes away from the smoothness I like to feel against my palate

drinkability: again, the overarching theme, too much alcohol in the taste reducing how easily the beer goes down. combined with the sweetness this beer is all i think i would want in a sitting, and i may not even get through all of this one, it's pretty intense

dbalsock, Jan 11, 2006
Photo of ElGordo
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright translucent amber color with a very small creamy white head that subsides almost immediately. Aroma of roasted malt, light fruity hops, corn syrup, molasses, a hint of dark fruit, and more than a little alcohol. Well-balanced palate marries the roastiness of the malt with the slight bitterness of the hops. Notes of golden raisins, brown sugar, and a bit of bready character. Alcohol packs a punch and a nice warming sensation. Ample body is a bit sticky and syrupy, bot not too thick. Not one of the best barleywines I've had, but still, perfectly serviceable.

ElGordo, Jan 11, 2006
Photo of MSchae1017
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was tasted in a snifter glass from bottle.

This beer poured a burgandy color with a sizeable head that would not hold or lace. IT did smell of cherries and raisens as did the taste. There was somethickness but it could have been thicker and the carbonation was nice. I really enjoy the barleywine style so I found this to be quite drinkable. I would definitly have this every year.

MSchae1017, Jan 11, 2006
Photo of BillyB
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I could only find this years Monster Ale in a Brooklyn Variety Pack which included two 12 ounce monster's in a 12 pack and several other Brooklyn offerings.

Appearance: Poured a nice copper/burntamber color with a thick frothy white head. Big head for a barleywine.

Aroma:Malty sweetness. Slight smell of alcohol.

Taste: Malty sweetness with a good balancing bitterness. You can taste the alcohol but it is not overwhelming. Slightly warming.

Mouthfeel: Slightly syrupy with a little alcohol warmth and good carbonation. Quite drinkable for such a high abv.

BillyB, Jan 08, 2006
Photo of walleye
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks goes to TheBeerCellar2 for this. Born in 03. poured a nice mahogany with a white head that left some lacing. aroma the sweet alcohol of a barley wine you gotta love it and the hops the follow mmm, caramel, and some fruits. flavor the alcohol comes right out there than the sweetness of the caramel, hops and almost a apple like flavor. good

walleye, Jan 04, 2006
Photo of DeaconBluez
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

appearance: A very redish amber. Mine had little head and what was there when I poured is all but gone after the first sip.

smell: very sweet and the barley is very out there on this one.

taste.caramel. that is all i can think of right now th e alcohol comes back and snaps at you at the very end. kinda like that in weird way.

mouthfeel: light carbonation that lingers for little bit after the sip

drinkability: i could probably down couple of these a night, and then move onto a brew with a little less abv. pretty high abv, but that is what you normally get with most BWs.

DeaconBluez, Jan 01, 2006
Photo of aquatonex
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Effin...

Pours deep mahogany, not much carbonation, short head with good lacing. I knew this one was a barleywine but was expecting more from the nose and the taste. Smells of heavy malts, light sweet fruit (raisin). Not much alcohol in the nose. Taste follows, great for the ABV but still a bit subdued overall in flavor, was expecting more oomph. Strong, but not strong enough for a barleywine. Good, smooth mouthfeel, very drinkable,

aquatonex, Dec 29, 2005
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
Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,759 ratings.