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Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,745 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,745
Reviews: 1,056
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 13.21%
Wants: 39
Gots: 193 | 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: 1,745 | Reviews: 1,056 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nomad
3.15/5  rDev -15.1%

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%

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%

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%

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%

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%

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%


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%

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%

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%

-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%

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%

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%

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%

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%

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
Photo of Murph
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%

2001 vintage. Pours a nice bright copper with a very thin tan head that does not last. The smell is malty and alcoholic although it is thin overall. The taste starts of very promising with a nice thick maltiness that transitions to a slightly bitter hop taste. Agree with Venom, not as hopped as many. However, soon after the taste goes hoppy it fades and becomes rather thin. The thinness of the beer detracts from its mouthfeel whcih is otherwise very smooth and slightly creamy. The thinness however makes the beer very drinkable. Don't get me wrong, this was a good beer, but as Venom said, when compared to th massive amounts of bigger bodied and bigger flavored barley wines it pales in comparison.

Murph, May 06, 2002
Photo of mophie
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%

A beautiful, rich amber, with just a trace of head that rims the glass, then fades away. I'm holding the glass up to the light and digging the way the bubbles seem to glide to the top in slow-motion trails. A slight scent of hops, but overall not much aroma. The taste starts off with that same hint of hops, then gives way to a combination of sweet oakiness and alcohol, similar to sherry. It gets better after it's warmed up a bit. Nice midwinter treat.

mophie, Feb 16, 2002
Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%

2001 vintage. Dk copper color with a short, creamy head...
Malty, sweet nose. Medium (at most) body, and medium smoothness on the tongue. Semi-sweet taste, mild notes of dark fruit. Somewhat disappointing....expected more....ok overall.

overall: 4.1
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

*** ***

Monster 2000 has a rich chestnut-like color. Although I gave it a hard-pour, it had a very small, fine head, and it didn't lace the glass much at all. The nose is very raisiny, sweet, with strong hints at it's alcohol content (too strong, perhaps). Superb mouthfeel! Glides easily across the tongue! Again, lots of dark fruit in the flavor, warming alcohol, and some hop bitterness rounding the finish off. But there's something about it...too much alcohol, and not enough malt maybe? I rated the 2000 a 3.9 overall... Not bowled-over by either version so far...


Bierman9, Feb 09, 2002
Photo of Jason
3.6/5  rDev -3%

2001 vintage.

Appearance: Bright and clear garnet brew, the lace does quite well for its self. Bubbly with some sporadic stickage.

Smell: The aroma is a of alcohol soaked fruit, a bit of solvent and certainly estery showing this brew still has a ton of higher alcohols that have not been tamed yet.

Taste: Extremely smooth and creamy though the carbonation holds onto a metallic bite from the higher alcohols. Full in the body with ample malt to go around. Hops are mild and flavour a bit here and there, more of a seasoning than straight out bitterness. Big alcohols roll across the tongue with solvent and estery flavours that drop a small tropical fruit basket and a spicy sweet tone on the palate. Maltiness shines some caramel and thick breadiness, though these flavours are distracted from the higher alcohols. Finishes sweet with a mildly astringent grain.

Notes: Pretty much like every other vintage I have had, the alcohols seem too much and there is not a mesh or balance to hold the brew together. Don’t drink it cold as it has a bigger bite, I have a few more in my cellar to try a year or two from now.

2000 vintage. Good frothing head as well as retention, deep reddish hue that has a tinge of burgundy to it. Alcoholic aroma of solvent and faint spearmint, a little fruitiness and caramel in the nose but alcohol snuffs most of it out. Full bodied with an ample crispness and a creamy back. At first taste is alcohol, a big twang of it … spicy and all. Malt lays there almost devastated in its wake. Hops have all but withered away except for a touch bitterness. Rich caramel tires to push through but gets knocked down again but the solvent like alcohol. Fruity esters run amuck along with the solvent like alcohol character. I know they call it “Monster” but will it ever be tame? After two years of cellaring this brew seems to have held on to one trait wholly and that is the dominance of alcoholic aroma and flavour. I am not saying that this is a bad beer but perhaps it should be aged a couple of more years to mellow things out a bit … none the less it still is a half decent sipping brew.

Jason, Dec 08, 2001
Photo of Todd
3.05/5  rDev -17.8%

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle, silver label. This ale was specially brewed for the Millennium.

Appearance: Copper in colour with a nice thick, sticky, creamy white head. Pretty clean and clear looking ale.

Smell: An aromatic blend of hop rawness (spicy/leafy), malt sweetness and fruity esters. Bigtime alcohol in the nose.

Taste: Smooth, full-bodied mouthfeel. Big, fruity, complex malt profile. Background malt breadiness. Hop bitterness is spicy, somewhat medicinal, and lends an odd flavour to the overall taste. Although it balances out the accented maltness of this ale, it just doesn't fair well with all of the other flavours going on. Alcohol is pretty extreme, unbalanced, prickly and warms your head. It permeates the palate with a rubbing alcohol likeness, especially as the beer warms. Finishes bready and a bit dry.

Notes: This beer is kind of a let down as Brooklyn's other beers are so damn good. A bit average. To me, this appears to be a lame attempt at jumping on the Millennium bandwagon by brewing a very high alcohol beer (11.8% abv) with a marketable name. You need more than high alcohol to make a good Barleywine. I'll let the other bottles I bought sit for a while and do another review.

Todd, Nov 26, 2000
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Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,745 ratings.