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Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,755 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,755
Reviews: 1,057
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 13.21%
Wants: 40
Gots: 195 | 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: 1,755 | Reviews: 1,057 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Running4beer
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Date code
This one is a Monstah(This is my RI/Bahston accent). Wow is all I have to say. This poured out a rich amber color with thin lace that eventually all disappeared(may have been a bad pour) to just a ring around the snifter. The aroma was strong in malts and definetly in alcohol with some floral hops in there but not much. The taste was malty and alcohol reminded me of a good scotch whiskey blend for some reason. There was a full bodied mouthfeel to this, the alcohol content noticable by every gulp. A good beer but not Brooklyn's finest. I bought a few extra bottles of this we'll see what it taste like next year.


Running4beer, Apr 04, 2003
Photo of scottum
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 on tap. Mellow, yet flavorful. Poured out a light brown / dark amber color. This needs to age a couple years to be as good as the 2000 or 2001 I've had recently. Still decent and always fun to have on tap if you can get it. If these guys sat on the Monster Ale for another year before they released them, they'd have a much better brew on the market. Grab the older vintages if you can get them, but let this one age a bit.

scottum, Mar 31, 2003
Photo of bierman2000
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

How appropriate a name the Monster is a big beer with malts and hops that explode all over your tongue and make your mouth dance. This gets better as it nears room temperature as it becomes a bit maltier and the alcohol is very high and present throughout this hardy barleywine.

bierman2000, Mar 19, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Notes: 2002/2003 bottling-limited edition. This beer poursan amber-ish colour with virtually no head. The smell is apitising enough...sweet malts, fruits, candy, sugar, caramel, and of course...alcohol! This tasted very good...carmelly and sweet with a good amount of hops...but it was very boozy and a bit rough around the edges. The syrupy mouthfeel is quite nice, but the drinkability suffers from the bozziness. As many others will tell you Brooklyn has a very good barly wine here..but it has to lay down for a few years before you can fully enjoy it....None-the-less this is still quite nice.
I really like the brooklyn brewery!

francisweizen, Mar 19, 2003
Photo of Scooter77
4.72/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 Bottle:
Pours deep amber/mahogany color with a small, off-white head, which dissipated quickly. The initial aroma was of strong hops, followed sweet malt and caramel. Taste was of intense hop flavor with undertones of sweet fruitiness and rich caramel. Strong taste of alcohol can be detected, but maintains a nice balance throughout. This is a great brew to warm you up on a cold winter day.

Scooter77, Mar 17, 2003
Photo of beerluvr
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 version: Pours with an off white head that settles into a tightly bubbled layer atop mahogany/deep red liquid. Nose shows a depth of rich maltiness and liquor with a hint of Sherry thrown in. Taste is very warming, with an alcohol burn felt on the roof of the mouth, with some dark fruitiness tasted afterwards, not super malty but is noted along with a subtle but bitter hoppiness that subsides rather soon leaving the sensation of alcohol on the palate. The finish is long and potent...some high alcohol beers you taste and say the potency is well masked, this ain't one of those! You certainly taste all of the alcohol contained to the point of it being almost the dominating flavor. As some other reviewers say (and I agree) this is a little rough around the edges and is well-made but can use & benefit from some cellaring time.

2002 version: Pours with a short lived ultra light beige head over super clear gently carbonated ruby liquid. Nose is spicy and warm smelling, with nicely balanced aromas of malt, woodiness, and earthy hoppiness. Taste is richly malty with tastes of spice and a bitter but not dominating hoppiness balancing out the sweetness of the malt. A warming finish from the 11% alcohol mingles with residual hoppy dryness.

beerluvr, Mar 09, 2003
Photo of rotsaruch
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2001 Vintage. Pours an apricot color with a small off tan color head which quickly disappears. Lacing and carbination are minimal. There is mostly a pleasant fruity hop buoquet with a noticable alcohol aroma. The tastebuds are acquanited with this dry apricot, orange marmalade flavor. As it warms, the alcohol becomes more noticeable. Its not the most complex barleywine i've ever had, but it has a satisfying and certainly warming effect on this cold winter night. Davo, thanks for the brew and finally achieving that magic No. 20 threshold!!

rotsaruch, Mar 08, 2003
Photo of Brewzzle
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage.

I was a little disappointed with this barleywine. It was good in so many ways but was not as interesting as I had hoped. I found it very one dimensional; Malt. Sure it was well made, very full body and a lovely soft mouthfeel but there was nothing challenging about it.

It pours to a nice coppery brown colour with a head that disappears quickly to nothing. Aroma is a rich warm malt and alcohol blend which is very inviting. Flavour is very simple though and makes you want more dimension.

Overall a well made beer, very nice and mellow, good for a cold evening.

Brewzzle, Mar 06, 2003
Photo of Jarod
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 2003 vintage
This beer poured into the glass a rusty gold/orange color with a semi thick foam non-lasting beige head that left a sparse to none lace behind. The aromas were big, smells of dark malts, caramels, dark fruits, alcohol, and a slight bread – pumpernickel smell on the end of the wiff. The taste was also big. Flavors of alcohol drenched dark fruits, brown sugars, sweet dark malts, bread – pumpernickel, and a slight hoppy taste was also present but faintly. I must say that alcohol was a predominate taste all through the mouth. The middle taste left a sweet warm feeling as it rolled back over the tongue and finished with the same sweet alcohol taste. This is a big beer and appropriately named. I enjoyed it more then I would have thought. A little heavy on the alcohol taste, would like to have it blended smoothed out more with a fruit appeal, but it is very drinkable none the less.

Jarod, Mar 03, 2003
Photo of allboutbierge
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2002 Bottle: I was very surprised the small amount of head in this beer and how rapidly it dissapated. I dont think it was the glass since I followed the cleaning process I always used. Color was a ruby hued dark orange/brown. Aroma was very sweet and even more floral and fruity. A previous review said it tasted predominately like 'alcohol soaked fruit with an attempt to round out the taste with a little hops and sweet malts'. I agree completely to the extent of the dominance of alcohol flavor. The 'fruity sweetness' completely clouded any taste of alcohol. I was somewhat disappointed in the body--seemed to be very light in comparison to other barleys I've had. Other than that its a pretty drinkable beer...maybe best suited for introducing someone to the barley wine style.

I try to age my barleys, not a hard feat since in PA we more or less have to buy in case. Since I was a little dissapointed in this one I will definetly modify the review if it betters with time, but at a year old already I am somewhat skeptical.

allboutbierge, Feb 25, 2003
Photo of nomad
3.15/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2003 vintage drank the week it came out in late January

Rosy amber/pinkish mahogany color. A sherry-like nose of raisins/currants and a soft spiciness.

Sugary barley malt base with a drying bitterness in high back of roof. Sour apple hints in the swallow. Can feel the high alcohol on tongue, as well as smell it, though the 11.5 % sits well and warm in the stomach. A subtly complex palate that becomes sourly bitter. Drinks like a wine but is rounder and bigger in fruit, brewed with a trulylarge mix of many malts and hops.

Unimpressive. It was good but expected more, in terms of smells and flavors.

nomad, Feb 24, 2003
Photo of Gusler
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Release: The color on the pour a clear deep mahogany color, the head impressive in size, creamy in consistency, tan in color and the resultant lace a fine sealing sheet. Lots of malt in the relatively sweet nose, hints of banana, fusel alcohol, and a real sniffer. Big malt start, ambrosial, top is middling to full in its feel to the palate, finish is delightful in its hop spicy bite, the carbonation moderate, the aftertaste dry and the high ABV does make itself known, a “Real Belly Warmer”. Thanks to a fine gentleman and his beautiful wife for this bottle and thanks also for sharing an evening with me.

2001 Release: The beer pours a titillating hazy orange color, the head masterful in size leaving behind a voluminous sheet of sticky lace to coat the glass. “Oh that smell”, fine brandy, caramel sweet, malt, maybe even a bit peatish, or better musty like an old wine cellar. Ambrosial start, the top middling in mouth feel, the finish is potently acidic, the hops biting in their spiciness with a seriously dry and alcohol bitter aftertaste, a real “Belly Warmer”.

Gusler, Feb 23, 2003
Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper in color with a light brown head that quickly fades.
Aroma shows alcohol, a fruity malt sweetness, and hops.

Taste is dominated by a very fruity malt sweetness and alcohol. Hops are there to attempt to balance, but don't make much of a showing. The fruit character and alcohol warmth linger a bit after the finish. Did I mention the fruity esthers and malt sweetness? The fruit character is similar to that of the Great Divide Hibernation Ale I had earlier tonight.

Good mouthfeel. The full-bodied ale leaves a malt coating on the tongue.
Drinkability: The alcohol is a bit much in this one. Definitely a sipper, but not overly harsh.
Overall, the fruit nature of the malt sweetness keeps this one an enjoyable experience.

PhantomVodoo, Feb 01, 2003
Photo of Wildman
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a medium amber color and formed a off white head that faded quickly and left little lace. An aroma of malt, hops and caramel with a hint of the alcohol. A flavor of malt, caramel and some alcohol present. The finish was sweet and warming with the alcohol present. Not a bad barleywine, but may need to set down awhile to bring out more.

Wildman, Jan 15, 2003
Photo of aaronh
4.53/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2001 bottling. This murky beer pours the color of dull, dirty copper with a minimalist interpretation of a head. However, this small ring of tan foam sticks around for the entire party. The aroma is very vinous, with some sweet malt in the background and just a touch of hop spice. This is truly a delicious smelling beer. I could almost be happy with the bouquet alone. The initial sip is indescribeable. The second sip has a strong oak character to it which is very nutty in a way, but also somewhat smoky. The buttery, butterscotch flavors are subtle. This beer is at once intense and powerful yet subtle and cunning. The alcohol is noticeable, but not in a distrcting manner. A strong fruitiness is also present in this beer. Cherries come to mind, as well as chocolate and other sweet flavors. It seems that every sip reveals a new flavor. The mouthfeel is very smooth, with minimal aftertaste. The velvety mouthfeel greatly enhances botht he flavors and the overall experience of this beer. Althought this beer is a high ABV, it is really very drinkable. It is more of a sipping beer than a pounding thirst-quencher, but it is dangerously quaffable. This was truly an enexpected pleasure. Thank you Nero for this ambrosial beer.

aaronh, Jan 10, 2003
Photo of doho95fu
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It looks pretty much like a bass ale. The smell is not so good. I smell alcohol, but cannot place anything else. Tastes a little wine-like, but I cannot honestly place a flavor on this brew. I could pretend, but to me I really cannot taste a flavor other than some alcohol and currant flavors. Not a very smooth or drinkable brew.

doho95fu, Jan 03, 2003
Photo of ElGuapo
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


a reddish amber pour with a thin foam atop that will leave lace on the glass. you will smell sweet malts with some hops and a trace of alcohol.

the flavor starts sweet and it then bitters out with hops and finishes with a hit of alcohol. it is not as full bodied and rich as i had expected. the wine taste was also mild compared to others, which although took away flavor, made it less intense.


Very nice bitter character. The alcohol is there, but definitely under control. It definitely had all the right fixings of a barley-wine. The body was a lot bigger than the 03. This has improved much over time.
4, 4.5, 4, 4, 4

ElGuapo, Jan 03, 2003
Photo of Thrasher
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A very young 2003 sample. Little to no head, clear liquor like ruby copper, aroma did not initially indicate alcohol. I was expecting a high hop rate to keep this beer in check but apparantly Garrett Oliver didn't want to really brew a beer, he wanted to make a brandy-like, fine sipping after dinner liquor. An impressive achievement to be sure but not quite as satisfying as other, more beer-like barleywines such as Bigfoot. Huge spicy alcohol, some slight caramel sweetness, and a lot of sugar candy qualities. In the mouth it is quite pleasant being swished to and fro, but really burns on the way down the throat. I imagine time will iron out the kinks but for now it is too sweet and strong. Sampled with goat cheese and was tempered by the lactic qualities of the cheese. I will re-review this in due time. Also why did they package it to make it look like a malt liquor or something?

Update 1/03 I sampled this on tap and it is a much better beer. Hops are much more noticeable, mouthfeel is smoother, and a head was easily coaxed by swishing the glass. Much more of a "beer," and much tastier too.

Thrasher, Dec 31, 2002
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color, almost red, with a thin lace atop. I think it smells wonderful...mild alcohol, hops, and sweet fruit. Body is a tad thin but feels quite smooth despite the nearly 12%abv. Taste has qualities similar to wine initially, but finishes like beer with some bitter hops that are quite pleasant. Alcohol can be detected easily throughout, and possibly could be better balanced, but I wouldn't call it overpowering, and the warming effect it provides is nice. A tasty brew I can definitely see myself returning to.

IrishRedRock, Dec 23, 2002
Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

-2003- Pours a bright and clear mahogany in color, the head is pretty decent, white in color, sticky/creamy as well. On the nose there is no mistaking the aroma of the alcohol, caramel malt and slight spices. On the palate there are slight citrus hop flavors detected, caramel malt, fruitiness, estery flavors, some bitterness in there, but alcohol dominates in the end. Good sipping brew though…

WilliamPhilaPa, Dec 21, 2002
Photo of Kwak
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this one at the novemberfest so i guess it was fresh no vintage date. Nice deep dark amber color like a dunkle. Heavy aroma almost like whine, small tan / brown head (I don't think it could survive in the plastic cups they gave us). Small flavor of barrel aged beer almost wood flavor no taste relay jump out at you except the alcohol. hard warming finish not bad for a barley wine I have to try it again out of a glass!

Kwak, Dec 04, 2002
Photo of AaronRed
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2002 vintage. With all the quality reviews from past BA's on this brew, I don't think mine will shed much light. And a good brew this is- especially since it has not had much time to age before it was imbibed. It doesn't look strong when poured- a nice copper glow with a strong body. But boy the smell of this beer. You can smell the alcohol wafting up. As it warms the smell becomes more intense and fruity. A scary beer, because it tastes so good and goes down fairly easily- even thought the alcohol is clearly present in every sip. A roasted malty and caramel sweetness makes it so good- but also it clearly is well hopped to balance it out somewhat. Overall a nice barley wine to drink after dinner- or really on any cold and damp fall or winter day.

2001 vintage. After reading the intial review from B.A.,I decided to hold off drinking this one last year and let it age a year. I guess I was rewarded. This beer was fantastic after a meal. The copper color and sweet (not overly), smooth taste was great. Alcohol was clearly present, yet not overpowering .You only need to have one of them to finish off the night.

AaronRed, Oct 15, 2002
Photo of jreitman
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2001 vintage. Dark amber to copper in color with a fair bit of haze. Fruit aromas noticeable right off the bat. Sweet and fruit flavor dominate the mouth with a subtle bitterness. Flavors were remniscent of apples and grapes. Mouthfeel is good. Alcohol is noticeable in the feel and to a certain extent in the flavor profile.

jreitman, Sep 02, 2002
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.43/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2002 vintage. I've really come to enjoy this beer as of late. I've often passed it by for more malty/hoppy versions, but this is very drinkable & still full of character. It's an excellent beer for when you want something big, but not necessarily engrossing. Perhaps after dinner while watching a movie. I believe it's best enjoyed fresh, at its peak within 6-8 months of release. Much more than that & it starts to lose character & show some aging. Keep in mind, however, that this is a contract brew that's rarely done, and there are inconsistencies from year to year. I find the 2002 excellent, the 2001 a bit oxidized, but the 2000 still in OK shape. That said... Deep copper-brown with a light reddish tint. Creamy head that dies quickly but holds a good thin collar. The aroma is balanced between a light fruitiness, a solid caramel malt, & a fresh hop character. The hops are grassy, earthy & slightly mineral in nature. I'm assuming English Goldings & Fuggles. Very English in style, except for the alcohol! The body is medium/light with a nicely creamy mouthfeel. Hops are present in the flavor from the start to the finish, and well supported by a fruity, caramel & toffee maltiness. Even a light toasty note! The finish is long, presenting more hop flavor than bitterness, and may show a light metallic character from Fuggles hops. Still, there's alot of maltiness in there as well. As suggested on the label, this beer is brilliant with some of the hard & crumbly English cheeses.

2001 vintage. As compared to a 2002 - side by side - please see my 2002 review. There is a slight haze not present in the '02. The aroma, though reduced overall, remains roughly the same - although the hop has diminished and there are some sherry-like notes of oxidation (maybe even a light touch of carboard). It also has a slightly sharper mo

NeroFiddled, Aug 12, 2002
Photo of Bighuge
4.43/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer pours a clear burgandy with a thin beige head. Nice caramel malt and a bit of spicy hop on the nose. After tasting, I've come to one realization: For beer with almost 12% a/v, you would never guess it. I'm looking for alcohol in the taste and just barely find it. The body is medium. Bitterness is low (in comparison to other Barleywines). There's a nice sherry-like quality. And a little citrus too. Maltiness is very nice too. Although this is not my favorite barleywine, this is a very good one and one of the more easy drinking barleywines.

Bighuge, May 12, 2002
Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,755 ratings.