Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

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1,772 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,772
Reviews: 1,059
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.17%
Wants: 41
Gots: 208 | FT: 12
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: 1,772 | Reviews: 1,059 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bigbubba
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
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
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
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
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
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
4.13/5  rDev +11%
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
2.68/5  rDev -28%
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
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
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
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
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
1.38/5  rDev -62.9%
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
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
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
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
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
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
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
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Photo of Lafe
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2003 vintage.

Poured a beautiful mahogany color into my goblet. Aroma was strongly of alcohol and fruit, and very apparent while pouring. No head to speak of, just a sheen of tan bubbles across the top. No lacing apparent.

First taste is strongly of alcohol and fruit, just as the aroma promised. Hop bitterness bites in, and the mouthfeel is somewhat thinner than I was expecting, malty sweetness is there but doesn't quite support the beer completely. Finishes dry and a bit astringent. As the beer warms, the malt becomes more apparent and the mouthfeel more slick. The fruit complexity is more noticeable at warmer temperatures, and seems to suggest raisin and plum. This is a nice beer, but I believe that it needs some more age before it peaks in flavor.

I'd recommend serving this beer warm, say, above 55F. Also plan to take your time, as the alcohol is up front and personal.

Photo of CBFanWish
3.2/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2003 Brooklyn Monster Ale. Pours an absolutly beautiful copper colour with no head. The aroma was that of fruit. Much like an apple cider. Sweet and luxurious. Had a slight alcohol bite to it. The taste hoppy as hell. The biggest problem was the carbonation. Too much for my taste. I don't think this is something I could ever drink on a day to day basis.

Photo of Quaffer
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2003 Vintage

Appearance: This brew poured a lovely, deep amber color. When held up to the light, it showed itself to be crystal clear with some red hues. The light tan head rose up to about two fingers and settled down quickly. In short order, only a thin ring of bubbles around the circumference of the glass remained. There was no lacing.

Smell: Right after the pour, the aroma was all heavy malt and a thick sweetness. After the head had settled down, the malt subsided and a nice sharp hoppiness bit at the nose. Also present was a dark fruit aroma, more akin to plums than anything else, but the fruitiness didn't come across as sweet. A hint of vanilla arose as the beer warmed up, along with some alcohol that grew as the temperature continued to rise. My only complaint about the smell was a watery, metallic component that was overbearing and very distracting. If that was eliminated, the aroma would be wonderful.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy on the front of the tongue. As it moved back in the mouth, it had a very nice coating effect. It picked up a little bit of roughness in the back of the mouth, and the alcohol provided some numbness.

Taste: At first, the flavor was very sharp and astringent. There were no big, round flavors, or anything at all soft and mellow. The beer seemed to hack and slash its way through the mouth. The two biggest components were a strong, vinous flavor and a lot of alcohol. Lying underneath were sweet malt and caramel, but they contributed very little to the overall flavor profile. The finish and aftertaste left a puckering bitterness in the mouth, not caused by any hops that I could detect. As the beer REALLY warmed up, the flavor did soften, but the astringent aftertaste remained.

I'm not sure if this is just really young or really not very good. I would like to have another bottle to put down for a couple of years, but the beer is not available here and this was my only bottle.

Thanks WesWes!

Photo of Charthepirate
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured out dark almond into a belgian style chalice (I know, I know, I need a snifter), little head, and even less lace less behind. Near the top of the glass the beer was dark, and went down to light.

Smell was heavy with alchohol and mild esthers. Smell of alchohol is also noticable.

Flavor is moderate. It has a nice smooth alchohol flavor, tempered with they heavy, bready malts. Very subtle fruit and spice notes. On the back of the tongue I can taste the hops, bitter and slightly dry.

It's best feature is it's smooth, chewy mouthfeel. It's like eating my beer in a good way.

An interesting beer from the brewers at Brooklyn Brewery, but not the best barleywine I've had by any stretch.

Photo of BeerFan
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This 2003 (bottled in the fall of '02) Monster pours a clear, deep mahogany w/ a small tan head, which disappears quickly, into my Brooklyn Brewery snifter. Absolutley no lacing. Huge malts. Aroma of sherry and citrusy hops. I can smell the alcohol daring me to try some. Hint of caramel flavors. Medium-bodied for such a high ABV beer, but it definitely warms the belly. Dry finish. I think I will continue to age the rest to see how it fares.

Photo of bditty187
3.23/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Clear, shinny bronzy-chestnut hue, the off-beige head reached a half a finger for a brief moment before fading to a sparse soapy collar around the edge of the glass. This beer has an attractive color to it, to bad the head faded so quickly. No subsequent lacing. The aromas were noticeable once I popped the cap on the bottle but once I stuck my nose into the glass the bouquet was less impressive. The aura of the aromas definitely said “Barleywine” but I was distracted by how airy it was. Notes of raisins, earthiness, toasty caramel almonds, citrusy hops, and sherry/brandy-like alcohol all constructed a nose with minimal potency. I am disappointed with this aspect of the beer, I’m looking for a striking blow to my olfactory and I didn’t get that. The palate made me say “Whoa!” (Damn, now I have Black Rob in my head….) The punch of alcohol is very formidable and the massive sweetness from the malt is a little much and I am totally unimpressed with the Fuggle hops influences. The taste is way out of whack; the heat is nice but not in companion with the toffee sweetness. Fuggle and Willamette hops are great but I taste way too much earthiness. In the finish more notes of plums, raisins and old cherries are noticeable; it is too late to save this one though. A kiss of citrus is noticeable too. Frankly Monster Ale just does not standup to the countless great barleywines on the market. The belly warming effects are very noticeable, appropriately so. Medium-full in body, the carbonation is low, I enjoy the bulk in the mouthfeel and yet it isn’t sluggish to drink. Aside from the fact that I don’t really like the taste, it is drinkable, especially considering how much (obvious) alcohol is in the beer. My other bottle will be aged for a few years. IMHO, this beer is a dud. Thanks to Loki and PhantomVodoo for the bottle from each of you to sample!

Photo of ark57
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 - It is orange-brown in color. The aroma has some muted citrus and herbal hops. It is full bodied with a fruity maltiness. It finishes with an herbal and minty bitterness. The alcoholic pepperiness in evident throughout as well. It probably could stand to age a while longer.

Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,772 ratings.