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Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,779 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,779
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.17%
Wants: 40
Gots: 214 | 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: 1,779 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Crosling
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Soft, delicate aroma of sweet deep malt, brown sugar, dark fruits, sherry, raisins, plums, along with some slightly medicinal and hop fragrances.

As a brewer I think it is much more difficult to brew an English style barley wine compared to an American Barley wine. That being said, as an English barley wine, I think this is brewed fantastically well.

Fruity, deep and malty flavor. Chewy. Notes of raisins, sherry, brandy and caramel. Fairly sweet and one dimensional with a pretty thin body.

Photo of krberg
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5


An aggressive pour yields a 1/2 inch cream colored head on top of a deep caramel body. Quite a bit of carbonation for the style.

Big sweet malt smell intermingles with subtle hoppiness. Slight buttery smell.

There is hop bitterness, but not much in the way of flavor hops. All the malt you'd expect, however, not nearly as sweet as some. The butteriness returns to round out the flavor and bring in the slightly tangy aftertaste. The alcohol is hidden VERY well. It is warming but not to the level I'd expect from 11%.

The mouthfeel is par for the style. The unexpected CO2 picks the whole beer up and causes it to finish very clean and not as mouth-coating as other barleywines.

Monster is very subdued and therefore I could imagine drinking a few before I remembered (and then promptly forgot) about the alcohol content.

Brooklyn's barleywine is very good but not earth-shattering. I like my barleywines to be either very mellow (and on cask) or very young and sharp and this falls somewhere in between. Probably a good gateway BW.

Photo of Beastdog75
2.88/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

(This "Monster" was born in 2003, says the label). Brooklyn's Monster Ale is a decent attempt at a barleywine, but in the end I thought that the alcohol flavor in this was much to strong to make this enjoyable.

The brew poured a nice copper/dark amber color with a light tan foam (about 2 fingers worth) that lasts for about 1 minute. Some very light caramel malts can be detected in the nose, with some citric and spicy hops. Nothing too out of the ordinary. Slick, oily, coating mouthfeel with some carbonation present. As mentioned, the most notable feature of this brew is the strong alcohol solvent flavor. There is some caramel malt underneath it, along with some butteriness. The hops are pretty decent (on the high-moderate level) and add a citric and piney qualitiy to the brew, also contributing a big dryness in the finish to accompany the big alcohol burn. The solvent flavor lingers in the aftertaste with some leftover malts. This brew will certainly warm you up and put fire in your belly.

The Monster Ale probably needs to be cellared for a few years in order for it to be enjoyable. The flavors underneath the alcohol were enjoyable, but I still can't say I really enjoyed this beer. I was glad I was able to purchase a single bottle of it, because a six-pack of this stuff would have moved very slowly in my fridge (altough I could have cellared the rest). Interesting enough to warrant a try, but not something I would seek out.

Photo of meathookjones
3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This review was done from a 12oz bottle from the 2003 batch. With a fairly aggressive pour into a snifter a giant off white head rose out to fill the glass to the top. The body was a deep cherry red with decent clarity. As the head dropped fairly quickly and this was consumed scattered lacing was left decorating the glass. Malt sweetness was dominant in the nose with strong alcohol notes and fruit notes mixed in. Not bad overall but fairly simple and a bit under whelming. Flavor is very similar to the nose with a deep fruit sweetness hitting the taste buds first before a slight alcohol bite on the back end. There were little hops detected in this but they were doing they’re job as this was not overly sweet. Mouthfeel was fairly full and warming. The alcohol still stood out a good deal even after about a year of ageing which hurt the drinkability a little. I will have to re-review when the 2004 batch comes out so it is a fresh sample.

Photo of altctrlsdelete
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This Monster Ale was born in 2003.

Pours a deep mahogany color with a thin white head that quickly retreats to the sides and center of the glass.

The smell is thick with malt, a very heavy sweetness from which I have a hard time picking up individual items. Maybe raisins or figs, but it really is a uniquely sweet smell in my opinion. No hop presence to speak of.

The taste is actually rather underwhelming. The heavy malt sweetness in the nose is very well balanced by the previously undetected hops, but there's an overall lack of flavor here, especially for a beer this big. Disappointing, to be sure, but by no means unpleasant. The finish is thick with warming alcohol, as you'd probably guess.

Drinkability, for me, suffers from the lack of flavor. If I'm going to drink a couple of brews of this high alcohol content, I want them to be somewhat tastier than this. Again, this isn't a bad beer, but it's also not anything special. Worth a try, especially if you like Barleywines, but don't expect to be blown away. Some aging would also probably do this beer a world of good.

Photo of edchicma
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance was a nice medium amber with a good chunky head. Smell was strong on malt and wine-like smell,,not overly smooth. Taste had a strong alcohol presence with winey flavor...a bit harsh. Mouthfeel was dry with a distinct alcohol cast. Dreinkability suffered by the harshness of the alcohol...BIg Foot is a much better option.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage, Sampled September 2004.
This beer pours a brilliantly clear deep copper-red color. It is fairly well carbonated and forms thin amber colored head when roused. The aromas are heady and sweet with malts, when I go in for a deeper smell I get notes of caramel, alcohol, sherry, candied fruit, and a hop aroma that is definitely there, but not quite distinguishable from the fruit notes. The beer is full bodied richly, though not overly, sweet and finishes with a twang of hoppiness. There is a nice lingering bitterness from the hops in the finish as well, it really helps to balance out the rich sweet malt and fruit notes that are up front. From the taste of this beer I get notes of Maraschino Cherries, sherry, biscuits, a hint of orange, brandy soaked fruit-cake, and a hint of hot alcohol in the finish.

This beer is actually growing on me with time, at first I though it was obviously well crafted but lacking, but the more I sit and contemplate this beer the more I come to enjoy it. It is not too heavy to finish the 12oz bottle, and the balance between the sweet malt up front and the interesting twangy hop flavor and bitterness in the finish really goes a long way to make this beer quite enjoyable. The hop flavor in the finish really helps to accentuate the fruit and sherry notes of this beer.

Photo of bigbubba
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a very clear reddish-amber with a nice light tan head initially. Most of the head disapeared very quickly. It has a pretty good sweet malty smell, there isn't any hop aroma evident. This is a 2003 bottle so it has aged a while. It is close to being too sweet, but it is very good. I don't know if it tasted hoppier when fresh. The mouthfeel is very good also. This is a very easy to drink strong beer so be careful.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 vintage.

The beer pours a deep copper color with a small head that disappears almost immediately, leaving a small ring around the top of the glass. The nose is sweet malt and nothing else. This is a nice barley wine ale. The first sip left me wanting more. The flavor is predominated by sweet malt, but it doesn't overpower your tatebuds and it doesn't linger too long. The beer is thick and syrupy in my mouth, as it should be. The finish is very nice and not offensive as other barley wines I've tried have been. I'm glad I picked up 6 of these, as when fall comes around, they will be fantastic to have around. I wouldn't want to drink more than one a night, but compared to others in the style, the drinkability is high. I recommend trying this if you can get it.

Photo of wyllder
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2003 vintage.

Pours a deep, clear, coppery amber with a small ivory head that quickly fades to little more than a lacing.

Nose is plums and sweetbread.

First hit on the palate is tangy with carbonation. Carbonation backs off and the midsip is yeasty with a sweetbread flavor coming through the malt. Alcohol and a buscuit flavor fill out the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is ok, though a bit too carbonated.

Drinkability could be better, though perhaps not without lowering the ABV.

Overall, not a beer I'll be revisiting anytime soon.


Photo of PartyHatjo
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby (bordering on brown) color. Head is off-white and small...very poor retention.

Aroma: Smells of pears with a slight mintiness to it. Caramel/toffee provides the bulk of the malt smells.

Taste: Minty hoppiness hits up front--different from any beer I've had. Strong caramel presence is followed by a slight nuttiness. Apple-like quality present in the aftertaste. Sweetness is not overbearing and is balanced well by the bitter hop character. Alcohol taste definitely complements this beer's pear/apple fruit character. More akin to an English-style barleywine than the hoppy west-coast american adaptations.

Mouthfeel: Decent, medium-heavy body. Slightly undercarbonated, even for a barleywine.

Drinkability: Alcohol is definitely felt, and I would be hard-pressed to have more than one of these at a time. Didn't have a problem with the one bottle, though.

Photo of 99bottles
2.73/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5


Appearance: A deep ruby-brown body with a small off white/tan head that fades and sticks to the inside of my tulip glass.

Smell: Alcohol. This has a very thick, almost rum or amaretto smell to it, with some fruity esters alongside.

Taste: This is a very strange one to taste. I initially didn't mind the strong ABV as the beer came off very rich and complex. Thick viscous malts of carmel and rum combine with esters reminiscent of dates or figs. What is odd is that the hops are so minimal, I couldn't taste any at all. As I came to the latter half of my glass (and it warmed above cellar temp) the alcohol became cloying and overly dominant. I don't see the merit in making a beer 11.8% if you can't make it taste good.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and rich. Slick on the tongue, this beer coats your mouth.

Drinkability: One bottle was tough to get through, and I am by no means the type that doesn't finish a beer. Barleywines ought to have some hop prescence, and they should at least try to hide the higher ABV. This fails both accounts, and fails the style as there are tons of better ones available.

Photo of Suds
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Barleywine.
Pours a clear, dark copper color with an initially thick white head. The head settles into a nice, thin, wispy layer. The aroma is heavy with malt and fruit overtones. Hop aromas are present, but restrained. There’s a bit of a worty, musty smell there as well: It’s funny, but I swear that it smells a little like my friend’s basement closet, where he stores his homebrew supplies (seriously). Initially, it’s moderately carbonated, which produces a distracting texture to the beer. After a short time, the beer settles down into a nice stillness, which suits it better. It’s sweet, but not intensely so. It’s hoppy, but not overly done. I think it leans more toward the British barleywine style, but it’s still got a nice bitterness. Alcohol warming and aroma become more pronounced as you work through the bottle. There’s a metallic taste that springs forth every now and then, but other than that, it’s a solidly good beer. It may be too young, older Monsters seem to be softer, and the flavors blend together better. I’ve set aside a number of these from ’01, ’02 and ’03…I plan to collect upcoming vintages and have a vertical tasting in a few years.

Photo of drewbage
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a straight side pint glass from a brown 12 oz bottle.

Deep bronw orange body with a striking clarity with a low but sticky head.

Aroma is a mix of spicy brown fruits with large tones of malty cinnamon rusted apples and leather.

Flavor is quick brown malt with horehound tones and an amazing dry character from a beer that's brewed up to this intense level of alcohol.

Really amazing alcohol warmth and clean finish with just a hint of a metallic edge. Not a bad brew at all, but definately not a large hoppy west coast type of barleywine.

Photo of kegerator
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

very nice barley wine.
poured out a deep brown color witha small half inch head that dwindled off quickly.
smelled of malt, caramel some brown sugar in the back somewhere
taste was big malt, virtually no hop presence at all( i like that).
mouthfeel was smooth but a little chalkiness was detected
this was very drinkable considering the 11% ABV. dangerously drinkable...I would definitely recommend this one

Photo of pio
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

not too much of a froathy creamed tan head whose charecter is fleeting and aloof, resistant to stay. slowly rising minute bubbles of activity. clear ruby orange colored liquid. scant lace. semblance of head if roused.
a musty orange and caramel are main players in the scent. a sweet little whiff of floral perfume breezes by. just a tiny hint of oak/charred oak. enticing, as subtle as it is rich and forward. warming alcohol detected. no real spice note here.
sweet start with orange and tea leaning sweet with a bit of maple type woody note. bitters with a bite of alcohol and hops, gets toasty but the sweet resides mildly over a charred woody note suspended in the finish.
mouthfeel is thick on the body and very mellow (near dead) on the effervescance.
overall the charred woody notes became a little weird in a cloying way and the alcohol made my palate numbed. in every other way it was great, i should like to try one that is a bit older.

Photo of HappyHourHero
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bitter, burnt metallic malt aroma. Small yellowish-tan head fades quickly to a scattered film. Dark cola-brown colored beer. Lightly sweet malt flavor, some bitter hops, and a creamy metallic finish. Body is pretty light for a barley wine. Light bubbyl mouthfeel. A strong beer, pretty bitter, body and flavor are on the light side. An interesting barley wine, but far from my favorite.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.41/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep mahogany amber when held to the light takes on a ruby orange amber tone with a big creamy head dwindles down leaving a nice full collar of lacing. Aroma: Deep ripe fruit tones piney tone accents flow all around the air deep English malts nice sweet aromatics in the backbground. Taste: Malts bring on a syrupy sweet caramel overly ripened fruit tone with pine cone edge rich alcohol burns the nostrils and back of the throat, wow. A bit unbalanced alot of honest flavor but this one got fermented to nearly 12%, that's a bit much not hidden. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied slightly sticky even carbonation. Drinkability: Unbalanced with alcohol not enough complex flavors within a balanced environment so many better Barleywines out there.

Photo of Mitchster
1.44/5  rDev -61.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Brewed with British Maris Otter, Halcyon and Pipkin, and wheat malt.
Willamette, Cascade, and Yakima Fuggle hops.
2003 Edition.

Pours out to a brilliantly clear dark auburn, forming a rocky light-tan head with good retention and absent lacing. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma is peculiar with glimpses of sherry, prosciuttini, soy sauce, vanilla, dates, raisins, and milk chocolate. Mouthfeel is immediately medicinal, followed by a strong peppery astringency. Swirling in the mouth gives a creamier consistency with a medium-dense body. Taste begins with harsh herbal flavor hops, and a sickening taste of slimy rotten ham and soy sauce. Ugh?! This beer is actually salty! Dilute liquid smoke abruptly kicks into abundant fusels and isopropyl alcohol burn, followed by an alcohol astringency. The fusels send shivers down my spine and give me a sickening feel in the stomach. Medium intensity bitterness, with a lingering herbal hop finish. My belches smell like grass clippings and grilled fish.

3 sips and down the drain. This is a horrifying travesty of a beer, reeking with horrible, stomach-curdling off-tastes. Stay away at all costs. Don't let the pretty designer label and reputation sway you.

Photo of crookedhalo
3.49/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 2003. Pours a deep copper color with a beige head that dies rather promptly. Dark fruit notes, a good dosage of high alpha hops and whiskey-like alcohol evident in the nose. Mostly sweet on the palate, hops biting near the end and alcohol burning the lining of the esophagus in the finish. A little boring for a barley wine. If big alcohol is your thing and taste is not, this beer is for you. I'd be interested to find some older versions to see how well they mellow.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 bottle.

Pours a very clear nut brown with a thin tan head. No lace. Smell is dominated by fruity malt. Some astringent alcohol aromas as well.

Rich caramel flavors up front. The fruitiness follows. Very sweet malt, some light citrus hops detected in the finish but the malt is the star in this barleywine. A bit one-dimensional and a bit too much alcohol burn but that could be helped by aging. Long sticky mouth. Strong bodied brew. Not the best barleywine I've had but very solid.

Photo of mzwolinski
4.47/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001. Pours dark amber with a thin, off-white head. Rich malty aroma -- molasses sweet with a hint of alcohol. Full, creamy mouth with a bit of carbonation to lighten things up. Sweet barley wine flavor with a good hop finish that lingers on into the aftertaste. Starts off pretty mellow but the alcohol flavor kicks in as it warms -- and you'll definitely feel the ABV, even if you don't taste it. A good beer.

Photo of yeagerbm
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2004 bottle a deep amber color with foamy light brown head. The aromatic fruity alcohol smell gets you ready for the Monster malty taste with a mellow fruitiness and well balanced hop bitterness. All the flavors and alcohol warmth stick out even while its well chilled. Drinkability would be a little better without the burning of the Monster alcohol content.

Photo of marburg
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Too often, we beer drinkers are faced with terribly misguiding beer names and nicknames. To wit, we get things like "King of Beers" when it should probably say "The Chemically Treated Mutant Son of Beer." But as a name, Monster Ale is pretty appropriate. This beer's an ass-kicker.

Rum cake swimming in mild hoppiness that hints at a bitterness to come and thick, gooey alcohol aromas. Maybe a splash of Jagermeister and a hint of 151 on fire. OK, that's an exaggeration. But so is the beer. Deeply flavorful. Toffee. Mild roasted malts. Lots of caramel. Perhaps more accurately, freshly carmelized brown sugar being cooked to the point of blackening. A thick, sweet brew, the malt and alcohol assert themselves, but so do the hops. A really intense, slap-in-the-face sort of hop finish that seems too intense to be "balacing," but when you consider that the last thing you taste is sweet, maple-ish malt, you start to reconsider that point.

If I had more, I'd think about aging it. I bet it would smooth out quite nicely with 2 years on it.

Photo of marc77
3.34/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2003 release. Fulgent garnet hue. Lean, spotty, light beige head tields loose lace. Pungent waft of black licorice and alcoholic fermented prune upfront in aroma. Mellows slightly as it breathes, with notes of bourbon soaked, burnt fruitcake emerging. Odd, unbalanced, but unique aromawise. In flavor, incipient is a lightly savory, salty dark biscuit impression. Notes of buttery, singed toffee arise mid palate only to be nearly overrun by a bittersweet, peppery, but solvent like ethanol and fusel combination. Earthy, almost dirty hop tones surface concomitantly with nutty, yeasty tones late. Lightly bodied, with a mouthfeel that is both lightly dextrinous but thinned by the high alcohol. Finishes with a snap of transiently drying hop bitterness, but otherwise with lingering burnt caramel hints. Monster 2003 is certainly rough around the edges and worthy of cellaring. A tasty brew with lots of potential. An intense barleywine, indeed.

Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,779 ratings.