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Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,780 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,780
Reviews: 1,064
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: 1,780 | Reviews: 1,064 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lackenhauser
3.64/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Absolutely gorgeous beer.A ruby-brown color with a very slight head that is quickly gone.Very little carbonation.Aroma of malt.Some fruity,wine like aromas.Malt dominates flavor.Fairly obvious alchohol.Not as sweet as other barleywines.Tends to almost be a tad "harsh" between the alchohol and hop bitterness.Full bodied mouthfeel that obviously speaks for the "big" beer that it is.Overall a good beer but the harshness detracts slightly.Definately a monster in itself.Worth a try by all means.I havnt had this in 2 years but remember past samples along the same lines.Will be laying a few bottles down this year.

Photo of Imbiber
3.86/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is from the new 2003-4 bottling, recently released, so presumably therefore contract-brewed at F.X. Matt. Deep-reddish-amber with an off-white head that vanishes quite quickly to nearly nothing. Big aroma of alcohol and vinous fruit, almost Christmas pudding-like. Malt, fruit and alcohol notes conquer the taste buds, pleasant and warming but a bit 'rough' compared to other barleywines; the alcohol bite is quite prominent so not a smooth drinking beer. Quite a Monster by nature as well as name.

Photo of soulfly967
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Bottle

Pours a nice orange amber with a slight white head that stuck around for a while. The smell is fruity, with a touch of alcohol present. The taste is great. Sweet, not too powerful, with a warm finish from the alcohol. This is one great beer to warm up to on a cold winter night.

Photo of Boto
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Bottle: The beer is a dark amber color. There was a bit of a head, but it went away almost immediately. There is a sweet aroma to it. It seems to be comprised of many different fruits. Also a hint of alcohol to the nose. It has a rich, sweet malty taste. Slightly syrupy, with a hint of alcohol coming through. Very rich and warming. I'm glad I let this sit for about a year to mature. Very enjoyable!

Photo of yankeeheel
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Y2K version

Pours a very hazy amber orange with a small white head. Smells quite heavily of dark fig, leather, and currants. Head has weak retention but some decent lacing.

Quite a heavy alcohol texture with a bit of orange greets you at the door. The taste builds in to a heavy syrupy sweet malt profile. Just the vaguest hint of hop is detected as the beer leaves your palate. It’s quite a mouthful. Glad I have a 3-year-old version. I can’t imagine how rough this would be without ageing.

It’s hefty but it’s not the greatest.

Photo of beergeek279
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is amber, with as much head as could be expected for this high an ABV. The smell is the sweet, maltiness expected. The taste is very maltish, with a slight bit of bitterness, and the alcohol is very apparent. Mouthfeel is fairly smooth. As for drinkability, I doubt I could do much beyond one or two.

Not a bad barleywine. A bit harsh, but seems like it could mellow over time. Still, I'd probably try next year's vintage.

Photo of mschofield
3.07/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2002 bottle - aged about 1 year
Pours a dark amber, flat with no head. The nose is brandy soaked berries, and that carries through to the taste as well. Other flavors but I feel they were overwhelmed by the alcohol numbing and flavor, maybe a brown sugar/molasses in there but I couldn't really tell for sure.
A bit syrupy in the mouth but the alcohol clears it out.

Photo of tavernjef
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2000 Millenium bottled edition - released by UncleJimbo.
Nice clouded dark caramel chestnut brown with a thin, soft, fluffy, momentary tannish head, lace fleeting in semblance if at all. Aroma is pretty full and packed with a good amount of darkened fruits, raisin, plum, fig, black currant, and cherry with a brandy-like alcohol misting off and covering the overall quality with notes of horse blanket mustyness, leather, and ethanol. Taste is pretty smooth and mellowing, malts are ample, warming as hell, whew...lots of warming in this one. A little too much for me on this one. Flavors are malty sweet with dark fruits of raisin and plum, with notes of cherry, low sweetness, a bit chewy in the finish which was nice, some caramel comes through. A very slight hop bitterness comes through as well. But overall the flavors are a bit short lived in appearance. Would like to have it roam around some more before it decides to fade, which it does a bit to quickly. As it warmed it gained some length, which helped me enjoy a bit more. Feel is pretty darn creamy and soothingly easy, smooth, a bit gripping near the middle, builds like smoke, but mildly biting overall with some light chewyness. After each sip I swear I was breathing fire out my nose. What an amazing effect. Whew...this is one barleywine that messes with your head. Boozy, potent, warming, "monster" sipper...whew... I need to sit down... I don't know if I'll be able to get back up. Wow. I'm done. Thanks Jimbo!

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.46/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I loves me a nice barleywine, and Brooklyn calls theirs a "monster", do they? Well, let's have at it, already!
Appearance: coppery color, with a short-lived head...so far, "eh"...
Aroma: now, we're cookin'! Sweetness incarnate, redolent of a full orchard of fruits, burnished and converted to a proper cognac-y character. Alcohol is huge here, with cherries, brandy, leather, fire, tobacco, smoke, all pitching suggestions into this bonfire...this is the type of beer that makes me pity wine drinkers...is there an aroma as rich and full and fine as this to be found in a bottle of vino? A very bewitching aroma!
Thick texture, syrupy mouthfeel, lip-smackin', delicious, and packin' heat! Lush, full malt, low hops, but thoroughly intoxicating...screw your Manhattans, your Hennessys, your Flavor-of-the-Month-Martinis, put your lips to a barleywine such as this for a full, boozy sensation!
A benign Monster, this, powerful, but not vicious, stinging, but without malice, prodigious, but never punishing, with a long, near-lethal finsh....
A damned fine barleywine.
Thank you, McCall, very much!

Photo of mydeadguy
3.11/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2003 vintage.

poured a clear, bright ruby with orange notes, with vigorous pouring I got 2 inches of yellow foamy head, dissapears fast. Sweet hop scent with malt upfront, fruity with alcoholic esters abounding. Taste of hot alcohol, grainy, friuty, balance leans heavily toward alcohol, sweet and very warming. Mouth is slightly slick, clingy, oily, low carbonation. Drinkability, is not great, perhaps in a few years the alcohols with recede a bit. My favorite barleywines hide the alcohol with beautiful deviousness. This is good, but not spectacular, could be better balanced.

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

served in 12 oz. bottle with glam rock silver label...
i really liked this barleywine. drank it just slightly chilled and it tasted great. high alcohol doesn't detract from it's beer-like characteristics. malt and hops still dominate the flavor profile. very sweet, with vanilla, coffee and fruity notes.
i highly recommend this one if you're looking for a "not everyday" barley wine.

Photo of Dogbrick
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Bottle: This brew pours a pretty dark amber/mahogany color with a thin and quickly dissipating light beige head. Thin and quick lacing. Aroma of malt, toffee and alcohol. Rather rich with a bold malt flavor. Warming alcohol aspect is maintained throughout, yet it never becomes a hindrance to the drinkability. The finish is hoppy enough to keep it from becoming cloying, and overall this is a well-done Barley Wine.

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

Vintage 2002

Pours a dark brown color with a small off white head. Appears to be a lot of carbonation, but we will see. Smell is a solid malt background. Apple, caramel and hops come through as well.

The taste is not what I expected at all. Very effervesant. Kind of switches back and forth from sweet to sour? The sweetness is the caraamel and the sour is kind of apple. The ending is all alcohol and it stays with you. All the way down to your stomach. I kind of like the beginning and middle tastes, but the ending is just too much.

I have a 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 in the basement. I am going to keep them for a long time then do a vertical.

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


Amber with limited head formation or rentention.
Brandied green raisin, fusel nose. Otherwise void of aromatics.
Starts hot and stays hot. It is no so much that this is overpoweringly alcoholic, than the fact that other flavors never really materialize. Bits of toffee and peach syrup sweetness are found towards the periphery. Herbal hops are noticed, but aren't a huge factor.
Medium-full in stature.
All in all, this is fairly easy to drink, given the ABV and fowardness of the alcohol. It just seems simplisitic.

Photo of beerinator
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2002 Version
Appearance: Ruby brown. With an off white thick head.

Aroma: Sweet sweet caramel, with notes of berry fruit smell. Fruit cobblerish.

Taste: Thinner than imagined from the smell. Finishes with an alcohol tingle. Slight twinge of bitterness in the finish. Warming.

Notes: Good barleywine. Not quite malty enough for my taste. 11% means they may have sacrificed body for alcohol content. The lack of maltiness may decrease as this beer ages..

Photo of Stingray5
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 edition. Tacky, silver labeled bottle pours a very nice chestnut with a sufficient off white head that reduces nicely to a collar. Sweet fruity aroma is very pleasing. Some hints of bitterness and alcohol here as well. Nice hop presence. Taste is Sweet fruity malt, touch o' hops and a strong, and I mean strong alcohol finish. This one's a serious belly warmer.

Though there is such a strong alcohol presence, even after some cellar time, I found this brew to be very well balanced. I can't wait to see what another year does to it. Certainly not a session brew by any means, I look forward to taking one of these out every 6 months or so and enjoying the ride ;-)

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

This review is a vertical tasting of 2001,2002,2003 vintages with averaged score as the result.

2001 cloudy brown color with tan head. Aroma of cherries,almonds,plums, and leather. Flavors follow suit with leather,almonds,raisins, with a fruity dry finish flowing with alcohol.Hops not very noticable in this vintage. The full body has a nice complex malt flavor as it warms with a slight caramel apple flavor. 3.5/4/4/4/4

2002 more carbonated, with a lighter,clearer shade of brown. Aroma is slightly smokey and earthy (more hops) and caramel. The flavor is smoother with the alcohol not standing out, finishes with a green hop bitterness in a slightly lighter body. 4/4/4/4/4

2003 The color is a brilliant reddish brown with tan head and a more malty/alcoholic aroma. The hops are more the star here in the flavor, citrus/lemon peel, with a full body holding more complex flavors of vanilla, quinine (mineral) , and maple, with an alcoholic finish. 4.5/4/4/4/4

Overall a decent big brew that could use some help from the NY artists to come up with some nice labels.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 edition. How can it be brewed after the millenium yet still state that it was "specially brewed for the millenium" on the bottle. Perhaps questions such as these are better-pondered after a few more beers.

Presentation: 12oz amber bottle with silver label. Brief description on the neck band of what it is, how it's brewed, the ABV, and how best to enjoy it. I waited a good ten minutes to let it come up from the refrigerator temperature.

Appearance: Rich-looking burned copper in appearance. Despite a fairly aggressive pour, I was not able to get any sort of appreciable foaming action. Not much "phhhpppt" when I opened the bottle.

Smell: Sweet dark fruit in the aroma. A very noticable alcohol character as well that does a good job of washing out most of the other aromas.

Taste: My initial reaction was that the alcohol was too untamed in this. It had a very "medicinal" flavor to it that really was hard to shake. There is a solid malty sweetness to the flavor and a bit of a bitterness late in the aftertaste. However, the alcohol really dominates the flavor. Never before have I had a beer in which the alcohol character is so sharply evident. It really brings the flavor down a few notches.

Mouthfeel: Definitely a smooth and creamy palate-pleaser. Thick and rich, this beer sits on the palate.

Drinkability: Not quite what I expected. It got a little better as it warmed, but the overwhelming alcohol aftertaste combined with a medicinal bitterness that wasn't very appealing left me not very eager to finish this.

Notes: I think there are many barleywine beers available better than this one. I have another bottle of this tucked away. After a few years, I'll give it another try.

Photo of rastaman
3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very thick, rich, chewy beer. Lots of raisins and caramel, with a brandy like quality, quite sweet, with some alcohol in the finish, fairly bitter. Intensly rich and malty, quite a big beer, very in your face, which is not usually to my liking, and it wasn't really welcome in this beer for me.

Photo of MJR
3.52/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Purchased in Boston the weekend of the AoBF...

2003 vintage...

Appearance: The body is burnished copper in color, with excellent clarity. From the time the first drop enters my glass, there's no head to speak of, just a small ring of lace with scattered groups of bubbles on the surface.

Smell: The aroma is quite nice with notes of fruit, hops, and sherry on top of a heavy foundation of alcohol.

Taste: Malty and sweet, with a hefty fruity flavor. The hops are present, but stay in a bittering role, offering very little to the flavor. There are suggestions of caramel, chocolate, and banana too. An alcohol flavor starts as a good base, then completely takes over in the aftertaste with a massive dryness.

Mouthfeel: Starts out somewhat medium in body with a oily, syrupy mouthfeel, then quickly thins out as the alcohol asserts itself. Painfully dry finish...

Drinkability: Average for the style. This could be a good barleywine with some tweaking of the recipe, but as it stands, the alcohol is too overbearing.

This is more like fruity jet-fuel than beer...half-way through the glass, my body is flush with alcoholic warmth and I already feel buzzed.

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

This was a 2000 Millenium Monster. Yeah, baby!!! I found it at a beer store in Peekskill, NY, it was dusty, and calling out to me...

It poured with a red body and khaki head that disappeared immediately. No lace to speak of, just a wee ring around the glass. The aroma had an alcohol sharpness, with malt and banana scents as well. Taste was complex, with banana, peach, caramel, prune, port wine, mild hops, and more!

The mouthfeel was thin and oily. It finished sweet, with port and mild hops. The 11.8 ABV is VERY apparent, I started feeling the buzz by the 2nd sip. A real Monster, indeed! Beware!

Photo of Darkale
3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is the 2003 edition.

Thick, gigantic, light-tan head, small-bubbled and creamy, and it does not want to go away. It does, eventually, grudgingly, leaving some good lacing.

Aroma is burnt malt.

Taste is MALT! MALT! MALT! A round, burning, evaporating in your mouth, charcoaly, chocolate sweetness. This is like eating chocolate toast. Uneven, unbalanced, burning and, in the final analysis, not pleasant.

I am very fond of Brooklyn Brewery, but cannot recommend this beer.

Photo of TXHops
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

-Original Gravity: 11% (23.75 P)
-Final Gravity: 1.018 (4.45 P)
-ABV: 11%
-ABW: 8.54 %
-Attenuation: 81%
-Real Extract: 7.94 P
-Calories per 12 oz: 326
-IBU’s: 70 IBUs
-Malts: British Maris Otter, Halcyon and Pipkin, Malted Wheat
-Hops: Willamette, Cascade and Yakima Fuggle

The technical numbers that the brewery gives on this beer a little suspect… According to the low end of their estimate (OG of 1.095 and an ABV of 11.8, like BA says), the attenuation rate is 92.6%! That would mean that this beer was more fully attenuated than Bud, with a residual sugar % of only 7.4%! My numbers above come from a compilation of sources (BA, the Brooklyn Website and the bottle itself) and the results are much more believable.

Anyway, as far as the actual beer is concerned, it kinda idles in the glass, looking like a freshly poured glass of strong, Southern ice tea. The head is negligible—just a thin necklace around the inside rim. The aroma is sweet and slightly alcoholic, but not terribly powerful. The viscous, but well-carbonated body tastes quite sherry-like. The alcohol is the first thing I taste, though the beer isn’t as hot as that flavor would suggest. The malts are dominant as well (duh), giving this beer a hint of Scotch flavor (sans peat). The hops do their part as bittering components, but they don’t contribute mightily to the flavor. A bit of warmth teases out some orange liqueur flavors, which subside quickly in the oddly dry finish. Let me take another stab at the finish—it’s not really dry, as there’s still enough sugar left in my mouth that I can feel it. It’s more “clean”. For a beer this size, I’d have expected a lot of lingering flavors. Instead, the flavors well up right at the start, but the carbonation in my mouth seems to cleanse all that away, leaving a hint of alcohol, a touch of hop bitterness and a taste memory similar to Cognac, single malt, or some other wood-aged distilled spirit.

All in all, this was a pretty good beer, but I’d be interested to see what a couple years in the bottle does for it.

Photo of mjohn27603
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

100th Review. 2001. Poured copper orange in color with a small head that dissipated in minutes. Aroma is unusual. The first things that came to mind when inhaling where alcohol, metallic, and the closest thing it smelled like was ball point pen ink. Quite a different spin on a barleywine. There is much more hops profile in the taste than I'm used to in a barleywine. A bit thinner bodied than I expected. Some sourness. Still a kick with alcohol but hard to reconcile with the lighter mouthfeel. A bit of warming and burning on the tongue from the alcohol. Must be sipped. Maybe some pepper. The aftertaste is more of a numbing effect on the tongue from all the alcohol. This one hits hard. One's my limit.

This is my first Brooklyn Brewery product. Thanks to Mike (Sakaroo) for handing out a bottle at the 4/5 BA gathering in Ann Arbor. I reviewed on a rare April night after a snowstorm so it still counts as a winter warmer.

Photo of avylover
3.05/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2003. Dark golden brew with a small head and minor carbonation. The smell is nice & malty, very sweet & actually slightly salty a bit. The taste is bit too alcoholic at first with a sweet maltiness, but the finish is what saves this beer. It's bready and warming, very pleasant to savor and the strong bite of the alcohol is soon forgotten after a few sips. Leaves a slighly syrupy taste in the mouth. Ths is not a beer that I would ever want more than one of, regardless of ABV. Not the best barleywine I've had, but if you're into the style it's worth trying.

Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,780 ratings.