Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

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1,069 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,069
Hads: 1,819
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.13%
Wants: 42
Gots: 231 | FT: 14
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,069 | Hads: 1,819
Photo of Vogey77
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First time experience with a barley wine. Bottle said was from 2012. Felt as if this would have been better aged longer was still a little hot. Poured with a thin head. Overall not bad, just nothing great. Look forward to trying the same style from other breweries. (265 characters)

Photo of Vixie
3.42/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The bottle said this beer was born in 2012

Pours a nice looking copper color with a small white head that soon reduces down to some lacing.

Pretty malty smell, there is also citrus, pine, and alcohol present.

Starts out sweet and fruity, then the alcohol burn sets in, leaving a bit of pine and citrus hop flavor. Bit boozy at the finish.

Feel seems a bit thin, I expected a bit more fullness considering the ABV.

Not sure if it needs some aging, but this came across as a bit harsh. The alcohol is pretty up front, and while there is flavor to it, it doesn't come together as well as I had hoped. It would be interesting to taste this after a couple years of aging, if it mellows out a bit, I think would become a really nice beer. (737 characters)

Photo of Ieatlambfries
2.24/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

My example was a cellared 2012.

Poured a deep copper, with a distinctive lack of head . Very light carbonation.

Smell was caramel like with strange perfume/flowery notes. Hint of oak.

Taste was too hot to comprehend. Rubbing alcohol and toasted wood, with a slight residual malt sweetness that appeared too little and too late. None of the caramel notes I detected in the smell. If I tasted this blindfolded I would have sworn it was a terrible scotch.

My bottle had very little carbonation and was much thinner than a barley wine should be. I expect a more chewy texture from this style

Compared to other examples of the style, this fell very short. Alcohol is just way too overwhelming, and the lack of malt backbone to balance it out was evident. I'm actually shocked this came out came out of Brooklyn brewery. If you encounter a bottle, do yourself a favor and avoid the temptation to try this retired brew. (921 characters)

Photo of gr0g
3.64/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from November 2011. For reference, my notes from drinking this fresh described it as a hot, boozy mess. You won't be finding any fresh Monster anymore, so let's see how this has fared after two years.

Dark copper, guess you could call it mahogany. Not much of a head (not quite a finger tall), nor much lacing, but this is a big, malty brew so it's understandable. The big time fusel alcohol note on the nose has faded to near nothing. There's some ripe fruit and rich toffee character, but they're both fairly muted.

Booze has mellowed considerably on the palate as well. Malty sweetness amid a rich bouquet of fruity esters leads off, while there's still a touch of alcohol on the finish. Much more drinkable and also quite balanced, even dry for a barleywine. Ripe fig and date flavors. Barrel-aged barleywines have spoiled me as I find myself sorely missing the cherry and vanilla character they offer. Syrupy mouthfeel with a bit too much carbonation.

Age does Monster Ale quite a favor, turning it from a barely-drinkable mess into a solid, if unspectacular beer. (1,080 characters)

Photo of BEERMILER12
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 Vintage

A: Pours a dark amber color with a fingernail's worth of head that slowly pushes to the edges of the glass

S: Sweet malts, a bit of fruitiness, some raisin and fig, and caramel all stand out. Alcohol is fairly restrained for being over 10%

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the sweet maltiness. Darker fruits, raisin, fig, and a bit of spiciness are all present, as well as a well-contained alcohol presence which lends more spice and fruit

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Nearing on a fuller body

O: A nice sipper for the colder months. Definitely a bit nicer and less harsh after a year of age. Some nice complexities come out as it warms. Better snatch some up if you still see it around, because it's retired and gone for the time being (773 characters)

Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*Reviewed the 2012 version*

A- Nice dark cooper, bordering on purple/violet color. Head started out very nice and frothy, but receded quite a bit to just a rim around the glass. Has some big bubbles and some smaller, tighter bubbles. A swirl around the glass gets the head going again for a tiny bit. Nice legs from the 10.10% abv.

S- Very sweet! Dark fruity esters. A bit a of a bready quality. Big alcohol notes. Just big and malty.

T- Taste follows the nose perfectly. Sweet, malty, with those estery dark fruits. I mean, it is sweet! Watch out on that front. BIG ALCOHOL NOTES! This is a sipper for sure. When this warms, it is much better than cold. When warms, the beer smooths out a great deal. Some of the sweetness dies down, but the boozy character still remains. A nice bready, dark fruit character is really quite pronounced warmer.

M- Full bodied. Alcohol coats the very back of the throat nicely. Warms the palate. Interesting.

*Overall I'm not too disappointed here. The only other barleywine I've had is the Bigfoot, so not much to compare it to. This will be the one and only beer you drink if you open one of these up. It's so warming! Excellent for a night cap! (1,187 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
3.69/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

an opaque brown/amber in color with a finger of head which quickly dissipated. smells of booze, caramel, pecans, and a hint of banana. the flavor has a bit of oxidation, which was expected since it's from 2011.. there's a nice amount of barley and carmelized sugars, toasty and nutty with a very light feel of the alcohol.. which was surprising since it's the first thing (and overpowered) i smelled. feels a bit thin for the style, but that may be due to to the undercarbonation from being in the cellar for a few years.

a tasty beer, which was always around, and always affordable. seems like a weird decision to retire this one.. maybe they're planning on doing a seasonal barleywine from now on? (700 characters)

Photo of Duesler
3.27/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Dark Orange red, poured with a negligible head

Smell: Smells boozy with a sweet, fruity scent coming through, the smell was profound when poured, mellowed after a minute

Taste: This beer is much easier to drink than i remember from the last time i had it, it has a year on it, and the hops and the alcohol both have mellowed out. Unfortunately, i will forever compare this beer to SN Bigfoot, which is ultimately, a far tastier beer. The taste is honestly very mild, but I'm surprised how well the alcohol is hidden. As it warms I taste more hints of rasin.

Mouthfeel: Resiny, sticky mouth feel, medium carbonation, very standard for the style.

Overall: A decent barley-wine, the flavor profile is sort of a mess for me- I have trouble finishing this one. (771 characters)

Photo of dar482
3.31/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review of a 2012 vintage.

The beer comes in an amber burnt orange color.

The aroma has sweet caramel, brown sugar, toffee, a fruity ester of apple and light fruits.

The flavor has a sweet light brown sugar along with nuttiness, a bit of sugary fruit ester and then a spicy notes and a big boozey finish.

The body is medium.

A disappointing one with a mess of big flavors and booze. (388 characters)

Photo of lordofstarside
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz to a snifter, 'This monster was born in 2012'

Pours a dark orange/red amber with strong carbonation stemming from the center of the glass, a half finger of foam that's died down pretty quick. Good lacing and legging, not too bad looking

Smells of roast malts, spiced vanilla, some smoke, molasses, muted hops and a nice splash of alcohol. Vanilla comes through especially strong, smells incredible

Taste is more or less with the nose- strong smoked and woody malts, spicy vanilla, sweet molasses, finished with a splash of booze. Not quite as good as the smell, not at all bad though

Feel is a creamy medium body, finishes a bit wet, mild bitterness. Alcohol is concealed pretty well, leaves a nice warm tingle though. Pretty drinkable

Overall not a bad barley wine, a little smokey though. Too bad this got retired (828 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear through the body, this 2012 vintage ale had a light coppery color. The head was dirty and soapy in appearance, full of carbonation and raced away.

Dried fruit is in the nose, mostly prune with some alcohol and a hint of malt.

Once you get past the wash of alcohol and fruity acid the flavor tapers off to a nice mix of prune, date and raisin. Touches of crab Apple, molasses and caramel malt sweetness also exist but are deeply underlying.

The feel is slightly abrasive, sour and adds a bit of warmth.

Overall, I feel like this has the bones to be very good but simply did not live up to the brewers intention. (629 characters)

Photo of Zraly
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage

Poured dark copper, amber color. Nice two finger head for my CCB snifter. Very sweet and boozy smelling.

A malt bomb with soft, earthy and floral hop notes to balance things out. Lots of fruit upfront, along with caramel, toffee, rum, sherry, and a touch of spice. I get hints of orange peel and lemon rind here and there. There is also an earthy, almost dirty, element to it that I actually find appealing, given the style. Full-bodied and something that I would find to be filling -- one 12 ounce bottle is enough. Very smooth and a great sipper for a cool night.

This is not brewed anymore, so I am glad I was able to try it when I could. I almost forgot about this in my beer closet! It's probably right on the cusp of being ok to beginning to age a bit over the line (i.e., oxidize). (806 characters)

Photo of MaineBrewing
4.36/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Random 2011 four pack at Oak Hill Beverage, Scarborough ME. Was excited to see, only 7.99 to boot. Hopefully aged well.

A - poured cellar temp into a snifter, thin one finger head with some spotty large loose bubbles. Dissipated really quickly, lots of legs. Body is a very clear dark amber, ruby highlights, beautiful color. poor head retention, with no lacing to speak of.

S - pungent nose of alcohol, tarp, raisin, lots of caramel malt notes, toffee, burnt sugar, rum, just loads of overall sweetness.

T - taste is very, very smooth for the gravity, the years of age has served this brew well. Mild malt sweetness with fruity, raisin, caramel and toffee notes, slight tarp or musty character, and a more than ample bitter finish. The flavoring hops either were never prevalent or just fell off, however the finishing hop bitterness is more than ample to balance out the very sweet malt character.

M - for what it is the mouth feel is pretty light, alright syrupy character. Alcohol warming can be felt, although alcohol is absence or at least blends in really well with the flavor.

O - from the nose, I was afraid of this being too cloying, but not the case. Ample bitterness in the finish makes this superb. The only negative is the head retention which I can understand with the abv, but the color is clear as anything and just beautiful. This aged very well, not that I've had a fresh one, regardless in its present state this is very smooth and enjoyable. (1,471 characters)

Photo of PorterLambic
4.48/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours the color of good wild honey (not that super light tasteless stuff) with a monster head from the aggressive pour. At least 3" of off-white creaminess. Decent retention but no lace of which to speak. It says IPA to my eye but not believing it.
Smell is seriously malty with a solid whiskey/rum note (a la a good fruitcake) followed by dark and light fruits soaked in that alcohol blend. If there is hops here, my nose can't find them, and I'm good with that. Wait, found them, floral and very complementary.
Taste is malt, rum, dark fruits, light hops. Awesome, truly.
Rich like Bill Gates, smooth like Marvin Gaye, warming like hot apple pie straight from grandma's oven, full-bodied like Pavarotti. I am seriously pissed I only have one of these and they aren't making any more. Snoozed and nearly lost. (810 characters)

Photo of nsheehan
3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Monster Ale 2012
12oz to modern pint
10.1% ABV

A – A crystal clear slightly dark amber with some red, and translucent of course. Rocky, foamy khaki head.

S – Hops, alcohol, and earth. Grass, flowers, and melon from the hops. The earth is made up of musty wood and nut. I think the melon is cantaloupe and some pear, light smells both. Considering it is 10.1% ABV, it’s not outrageous that the alcohol is so upfront.

T – Alcohol is pretty strong but soft. Definitely a lot of earth tastes. Not so much fruit, but a little bit of floralness. A get a kind of sweet, musty woody, nutty taste. As it warms some melon comes out, as does the alcohol, even more so.

M – A heavy-medium body, tingly and a little bitey from carbonation and alcohol, respectively. Dry finish that’s good except for some lingering alcohol feeling in the upper mouth. As it warms, the alcohol strengthens, but it’s a soft, warm alcohol, not a very biting feeling. You know it’s there, but it’s kind of gentle.

D – It’s drinkable, but there are better beers and barleywines. I see it as a gateway to barleywines for people who like Belgian styles perhaps. One most also be ready to experience some degree of alcohol. With the beer’s retirement, not many future craft enthusiasts will get to try it. But I think the bottles of the last year will age decently, and if they mellow, this might get a bit more gentle and interesting.
4, 3.25, 3.5, 3.25, 3.5; ~3.4. (1,475 characters)

Photo of gillagorilla
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from 2011

A: Cloudy darkish brown with minimal head.

S: Mostly malt with hints of sweetness and a bit of raisins.

T: Still quite boozy after all this time, even at 10%. Big malt bomb with a very strong aftertaste. This one seems like it could go for a while and would really stand up to some extending aging.

M: Even crispness throughout it, quite prickly.

O: Not bad, but no Bigfoot. Not sure if I will age the other 3 or if I will give them away to friends. Kind of what I was expecting from Brooklyn, good but not great. I would have written more but there wasn't much here that came out at me to write about. (631 characters)

Photo of JeffBrenner
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served in pint glass (sorry no tulips left) from 12oz. bottle. Next to know head with minimal carbonation. Dark brown in color, but not as dark as one would probably expect from a Barleywine. Smell has notes of malt and caramel, but again it's minimal from what would be expected. Flavor is good, with malt and sugar, but again not as sweet as one would expect for a Barleywine. It does feel like a Barleywine, but not too boozy. Overall this is a decent Barleywine, I would drink it again, but there are far better contenders in the field. I can't say I'm overly heartbroken that this one is being discontinued. Definitely not Brooklyn's strongest brew. (654 characters)

Photo of Juuroumaru
3.82/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a orangish brown with a light tan head
S- Caramal and malt, definately get some sweetness
T- Caramel malts with a smooth sweetness to it.
M- Medium with good carbonation.
O- This beer is very straight forward and if you wanted a barley wine this definately fits the style. (281 characters)

Photo of TastyAdventure
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - brown, amber, thin head that fades quickly. Wish there was a little more head.

S - Super sweet dates. Seriously, just a lot of sweet dates. and some caramelized honey. so tempting.

T - thick malt sweetness, classic dark fruit, sweet brandy, caramelized non-citrus tropical fruit (mangos?). touch of very sublte dry-like type bitterness in the back that tries but fails at balance (IMO, not a bad thing -(--Malt-Bomb Head--). Spicy alcohol as it warms.

M - thick and rich but not as cloying and heavy as expected. low carb.

Overall, this seems to me more like an Old Ale than Barleywine, but with a more approachable mouthfeel. Cannot believe this is only $2/bottle! I would compare this to Old Curmudgeon by Founders, but more approachable and easy to get the whole thing down. I may be wrong here, but I imagine this may be like what a very seasoned Brandy/Bourbon drinker would perceive a very sweet, low ABV brandy/bourbon to be like. A tasty sipper!! (962 characters)

Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark orange with a one-finger white head. Light amount of lacing.

S - Sweet candied sugar with some biscuity malt. Good amount of dark fruit also present.

T - Starts off sweet with lots of caramelized brown sugar and dark fruits. There is a small amount of hop bitterness. Alcohol is definitely present in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Easy drinking with a dry finish.

O - A litte sweet, but still a good barleywine. Very easy drinker despite being 10.1 ABV. (500 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

2009 vintage poured into a matching brooklyn snifter. The brew appears a clear mahogany brown with a finger plus of yellowish khaki head. The cap fades leaving strings of patchy lace. When held to the light, ruby clarity is seen through the body.

The aroma is filled with dark malty aspects blended with alcohol. Plum, prune, dates, brown sugar, toffee and hints of molasses with a bright citrus hop edge and alcohol being progressively noticeable.

The flavor is like raisons, prunes, dates, molasses, brown sugar and a hint of paper-like oxidation. Alcohol provides its own fruity edge that is mildly solvent. Some earthen notes and muddled citrus to vegetative hops with light touch of mineral aspect. When this brew is fresh, it has an unmistakeable note of nickel or something metallic to it. I am glad to say this vintage or aging it has made that character mostly dissolve.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. After 4 years aging this is still quite boozy but showing mild oxidation. I admittedly am not a fan of this brew when it is fresh. However, I liked this a lot more than my last experience with it. One would think some more time might be needed to let this really meld and come into its own but the notes of oxidation that are already showing are concerning. (1,306 characters)

Photo of BWED
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage 12 oz. bottle poured into Brooklyn tulip

A- Copper, clear, with a well retained 1/4" offwhite (on the yellow side) head. Some lacing.

S- Caramel and booze. Some fruity sweetness comes up as well.

T- A little caramel, and a lot of booze. There isn't a lot of depth in the flavor in this one.

M- Pretty smooth, a little bit of a booze bite, and definitely some booze warmth.

O- Pretty good. Flavor profile could be deeper, but I'll try aging some and seeing what they're like. Ill probably buy a few four-packs and sit on them, since this beer is no longer being made... too bad. (595 characters)

Photo of ColdWaffles
4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2010 12oz into a Philadelphia Brewing Company pint on July 4th in celebration.

A: Thin white head, hazy brown color. 3.75/5

S: Picking up a lot of caramel and maybe a dash of spice. 3.5/5

T: It's not particularly strong in terms of alcohol bite. It's got a lightly herbal taste. Actually, it reminds me of the taste of Marmite a bit. Which means I love it. 4.5/5

M: Medium bodied with fair carbonation. A little oily on the tongue. Not bad. 3.75/5

O: Solidly warming brew. Regrettable that this is dying. Wish I would have got a pack of 2012 to age because this 2010 I picked up was pretty great. 4/5 (619 characters)

Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Grabbed a bottle after hearing about the beer's retirement. Turns out it's a 2011 bottle. RIP Monster the cat.

A- Pours a deep brown color with hardly a trace of a head. Body is very murky and hazy, but a decent amount of light gets through it, revealing more red in the body. With no head, there is no lacing, but there are some alcohol legs.

S- Huge caramel malts and alcohol dominate the scent. Lots of bitterness from the alcohol and a small amount of detectable hops. Caramel malts also have a slightly sweet scent that reminds me of a cane sugar flavor.

T- Pretty much just a muted version of the smell. Starts with some strong caramel malts and alcohol heat. The caramel is much less sweet than the scent would suggest. There is also a certain spiciness, I think related to the alcohol, that gives the beer a little bit of peppery flavor. From there, the beer ends with some bitterness from the alcohol and some hops.

M- Very high in carbonation, especially for a 2 year old barleywine. More slick and thin than thick and creamy, but it works with the high carbonation. Some alcohol heat makes this one harder to drink.

Overall, this is a good option for an everyday, affordable barleywine. It's a shame this beer is being retired, but I think it's more of a shame that Monster the cat died. (1,304 characters)

Photo of scotorum
3.79/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A forum on BA discussed how this is being retired as a consequence of the death of the cat after which it was named.  I found 2012 fourpacks for a good price.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a whiskey glass.  Not much foam.

a. dark amber which looks like it deserves its name.  Either that or it's really Scotch.  Scotch with a thin head that leaves a lot of lacing.

s.  Nope it's beer.  Alcohol!  Dark accompanying odor almost like dirty feet.  Smells like it deserves its name.

t: Sharp alcohol bite.  That smell is in the taste too.  Not terribly appealing, but you know you are drinking 10% alcohol.  Reminds me of a cheap malt liquor some wag flavored with dirty gym socks.  Well, not that bad.  But you almost wonder...

m: Smooth enough, with heavy alcohol bite, like yoiu were drinking a watered down whiskey that sort of tasted like beer soaked in dirty gym socks.  Kidding again.

o. overall - maybe not so bad if you want to get high fast.  Just not liking the taste particularly, although it is unique and strong.  Maybe Monster the cat died drinking some.  Possibly Brooklyn's worst offering and therefore worth retiring to avoid further embarrassment and damage to their reputation,.  I still think their Brown Ale and Pilsner rock.

PS: finishing it, I'm liking it better.  Either the 10.1% is kicking in, or...OMG No!
PS2: Had a second one from the fourpack a couple of nights later and the offending taste was more muted. But it still didn't have much to recommend it other than a quick high from the 10.1 ABV.

UPDATE 3/13/15: cellared the last two from the 2012 fourpack and finally having one of those now. The vinegary "dirty feet" smell was still there at first, but it really smoothed out to be a very good malty quaff. If this was still offered I might buy more to store. Upgrading my ratings thus: look 3.5-3.75, taste 2.5-4.0 feel 2.75-3.75, overall 2.75-3.75 (would be 4 but earlier fresher ones kind of sucked as indicated above). Never jumped my ratings this much before but this cellared one is too good not to revise my points a lot. Now wishing I had bought more of the 2012s when they were going cheap. It's almost monster good. (2,191 characters)

Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,069 ratings.