Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Brooklyn Monster Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,072 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,072
Hads: 1,825
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 12.13%
Wants: 42
Gots: 233 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brooklyn Monster Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,072 | Hads: 1,825
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)

Photo of MRsojourner
4.29/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle: nice beautiful medium brown color that is fairly clear with an off white head.

aroma is of caramel and herbs

Taste is a wonderful blend of caramel rich malts and lots of melanoidins giving a clean stone fruit flavor along with herbal and earthy hops that bring in the bitterness. the bitterness sticks around on your palate but its not strong like an American BW. the alcohol shows itself a bit as it warms up and feels like it comes through in your nose as you drink it.

mouthfeel is medium and finishes the same. it feels right to me making this high abv beer very easy to drink

overall I love this beer. not sure why the scores are so low but its a shame they wont be made anymore. R.I.P (709 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: deep amber brown with an orange hue, light film of ivory head in a snifter; some lace motes

S: malts and hops produce a vague fruity/sherry aroma

T: herbal/medicinal tones, softer malts add toffee sweetness

M: thin, slick, no palpable carbonation, some astringence - less in an aged beer

O: not the best of barleywines, but a decent foray into the style (361 characters)

Photo of KForlino
3.02/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

'07 vintage

Poured into a tulip glass. The appearance of this was pretty intimidating. Not a fan. While there was nothing floating around, there beer in it's entirety was extremely cloudy. I mean, it looked like someone had mixed an over steeped iced tea and lake water together, shook it quite vigorously, and dumped it in the glass. Smells like prunes. Tastes like prunes, and just the slightest bit sour on the end. Not much heat and very faint carb, as this one has been sitting for 6 years. Despite the appearance, it's actually got a decent feel. Definitely not a favorite for me, wouldn't go for it again. (613 characters)

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep amber, copper color with an off white head.

Smell the resinous hop aroma with some woody, earthy, grape vine notes and slight floral aroma.

Big chewy malt mouth up front. Followed by some nice wine notes with resinous hops and a bitter herb bite. It is well balance for all the flavor and abv packed into it. This is a very tasty and accessible barleywine. (365 characters)

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Ba Review #272
Served On: 5/20/2013
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 10.1%
Date/ Code: 2012 Release

This was a 12oz bottle from a 24 bottle case I snagged at North York Beverage in York, PA ($34.98).

Look: The aggressive pour rendered a thin beige head comprised of tiny bubbles. Lacing was minimal. Carbonation level was low with a small but steady stream of bubbles rising up the middle. The color was brilliant copper with surprising good clarity.

Smell: Heavy sweet plum and raisin notes. Heavy candy sugar with some very faint biscuit in the background.

Taste: First up was a cloyingly sweet burst of caramelized winter fruits and brown sugar. Then a roasted note set in towards the middle, like burnt sugar in a frying pan. Then a quick bitterness hit, but nothing that contributed to any balance to the heavy malt sweetness. The finish was some lingering biscuit and raisin notes. The aftertaste had the sweetness moving into some bitterness again. 10.1% ABV gave a warming sensation but was not a big factor on the palate aside from some metallic notes.

I found this brew to be a solid English Style BW. I don’t know that this one would age very well. I’m afraid the high level of sweetness would just become more intense. (1,244 characters)

Photo of ubenumber2
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into glass , bottle says this beer was born in 2012

Copper colored beer with a half finger head and small amounts of lacing

Not much of a smell to this beer , a light malty smell is all

Full body to this beer , a real mouthfeel but way too much carbonation to this beer

The taste is very nice the malt pops out up front then the booze takes over and rides all the way through the end , a realy belly warmer

Overall this is a good beer in the barleywine class , I will be picking more of this up for sure (528 characters)

Photo of sjverla
3.59/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nose: Vinous. Sweet and tart like sherry. Grape jam and a little bit of alcoholic solvency.

Appearance: Hazy ruby-amber. Some small bubbles around the edge, but no head.

Taste: Sweet and smooth. Immediately caramelly - gives way to subtle fruit flavors. Hints of vanilla and burnt sugar. Rich and smooth with a dry finish. Alcohol heat lingers on the tongue.

Overall: A great investment for $8.69. (400 characters)

Photo of YCantWeNotBeSober
4.39/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Born in 2011

A - Pours a hazy, dark orange. Head recedes rather quickly

S - Sweet Caramel, Vanilla, delicious dark fruits, wonderful

T - Follows the nose with a blast of sweet, malty barley. Lots of fruit and surprisingly refreshing. Transitions beautifully into a soft bouquet of grassy hops and a welcomed presence of booze. As it warms hints of cherry linger in the background.

M - Medium-bodied. Oily, moderate carbonation contributing to its refreshing nature.

O - Never had this one fresh, but with 1-2 years on it, this barley wine has really impressed me. (568 characters)

Photo of JuliusCaesar
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Murky brown with red hues. No head

S: Malts and Booze

T: Very sweet malt. Caramel and butterscotch. Mildly bitter, with alcohol on the finish

M: Slightly sticky

Overall: Sweeter than I'd expected. The malt is nice but the alcohol is pretty heavy. I've enjoyed it well enough (281 characters)

Photo of secondtooth
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a vintage 2010 bottle, so over 2, nearly 3 years aged.

Pours a murky red-amber, with only a small amount of carbonation and almost no lace whatsoever.

Nose is big and syrupy-rich, with notes of dried fruit (figs, plums, raisins) and a sharp grain-malt tone.

Taste is big and heavy, as to be expected. There's more of the rich maltiness and dried fruit. The intense hops are dialed way back here, and what results is a complex, rich, and rather smooth drinking experience. The alcohol kick is definitely there, but this beast gets friendlier with age. (561 characters)

Photo of SawDog505
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 16 oz snifter, bottled in 2012. Pours a bright reddish orange, with a 2 inch off white head, that leaves little lace. Smell is burnt brown sugar, alcohol, apricot, and apple hard candy. Taste is loads of apple hard candy and alcohol, some grapefruit in the finish. Body is maybe medium, plenty of carbonation, a little dry, and not very drinkable. Not a bad Barleywine, but pretty average. (403 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
3.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter. Label says Born in 2012.

A- Pours a dark amber color with barely a 1/4 inch light tan head that immediately dissipates leaving a paper-thin ring around the edge of the glass and minimal surface foam. Thin, semi-sticky lacing slides slowly down the glass.

S- Sweet malt aroma with a bit of alcohol fume and cereal grain. Small hint of oxidation as well as some musk.

T- Smooth and delicate with some toasty malt flavor and very mild hops. The alcohol isn't so in-your-face but I am drinking it at a very cold temperature at the moment. As it begins to warm, some slightly astringent oak shows itself and adds a bit more character to the beer. The oxidation detected in the nose also starts to come through but is not unwelcome since the rest of the flavor is becoming much more intense. Now the booze element enters and harshens things. It's amazing to see how a strong beer's flavors become more apparent as it goes from cold to warm.

M- Sharp and oily with medium-low carbonation and a medium-full body.

O- Haven't had this beer in years and I remember enjoying it more back in the day. Regardless, it's not a bad barleywine. Just could use some more complexity. (1,216 characters)

3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

355ml Bottle. Palm Snifter glass. Enjoyed on mar´13. Bright amber in color, clear appearance. Yellowish froth, not much retention. Toasted malt & alcohol aromas, fruity on the back. Crystal malt & easy rum touch, anise & sugar as well as orange marmalade at first sip. Full body. Soft carbonation. Ripe fruit & gentle warming, brown sugar & molasses are displaced by a very subtle bitterness that arises in the middle. Long warming finish. Dates on the aftertaste. Flavorful. (476 characters)

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

O my God. I was expecting something good. This turns out to be a dampener.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

Very small off white to tan colored head that fades very swiftly. Color is Deep amber to slightly copper with ruby hues. Decent lacing on the sides. Moderate to low carbonation. No bubbles. Cloudy and very hazy. No suspensions.

Aroma is off putting. A lot of booze, and too much malt. Oxidized sherry notes. Some hops, yes. A lot of caramel, in fact to much. This beer has no balance and no nice aromas.

Taste is pretty much similar to what aroma is. Booze and malts everywhere. Off flavors. A lot of caramel and oxidization. A very unbalanced beer. Some hops are a saving grace but do not shine. This beer is a boozy mess. Dry to lightly sweet finish. Hops are lacking enough to make it bitter.

Mouth feel: Medium bodied. Low to moderate carbonation. Not astringent as such but booze is overwhelming.

Style Rate: Seems like an English Barleywine. Still a 3.75-4
Personal Rate: 3.75 (996 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Born in 2012, this bottle was poured into a snifter. It settles in with a slightly hazed, strawberry-ruby coloring with a thin, filmy ring of surface head. Looks a little on the thin/light side. Aromas of tart and sweet fruit, including cherry, pineapple, and mango, with a subtle toffee underlying richness. Touches of wood and earth on the nose, as well, with some fig and date rich sweetness, also. Very malty nose. Flavors of roast initially, with a steady dose of green, peppery hops keeping all the malt profiles in check. Tangy caramel sweetness, with a bitterness that begins to build as you continue to drink. The fruit profiles that were so prevalent in the nose fall limp on the palate. Oak and tobacco come down hard towards the end of the palate, continuing the knockout punch to any of the malt sweetness. Bitter, slightly cloying aftertaste, with some of the wood and char. Slick, lingering finish. Decent wet lacing can be seen as you swirl and consume. Not sure if this is meant to age instead of being consumed fresh, but there seems to be a lot of confusion on the palate. (1,091 characters)

Photo of Electros
4.23/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful ruby amber, cloudy, little head ring.

S - Small citrus, hop notes.

T - Low hope, smooth malt bill, but very fully sweet sugary taste, little on aftertaste.

M - Surprising light on the palate, since it is so high gravity.

O - I love this beer, this was 2011 and it was so smooth, I am wondering what my 2010 tastes like now! (341 characters)

Photo of nukem5
3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a great caramel color withsmall but respectable head, which lightly laces the glass.

S: Aroma is of pine hops instantly and of sweet malts.

T: Taste is at first an awesome balance of sweet malts and piney hop, then fades to a hoppy grapefruit finish.

M: Mouthfeel is a medium body with nice small bubbles of carbonation hint of alchoholic content as you will feel the heat after the swallow.

O: Overall a decent example of the style and look forward to it every year I get to sample some. (501 characters)

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

This Monster Ale was born in 2012.

Appearance: Beautiful golden amber hue with stunning clarity. Thick streams of effervescence ascend towards a one finger foamy off-white head.

Aroma: At first wiff it is oddly skunky… something I've never experienced with a craft beer or an ale for that matter. However, upon digging deeper into the aroma I'm finding that what I thought was a skunky smell is actually the culmination of a huge amount of english barley. Really smells quite nice when you stick your nose in the glass. Like sugar coated grains mixed with some earth and pine from the hops.

Taste: Right away I'm getting piney hop bitterness with a touch of alcohol. The bitterness magnifies the entire time as caramel malt cascades over the palate. Not quite as robust as I was expecting but does the job. Finish is smooth with some heat from the 10.1% ABV (as marked on the bottle). Bitterness lingers but is never overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Just above medium bodied which is a little thin for a Barleywine in my opinion. Very smooth (four months of aging will do that). A little over-carbonated and yet has good drinkability.

Final Thoughts: I've been really getting into Barleywines lately but unfortunately Monster Ale is not one of the better ones. There is just something a little 'off' about it. Would I drink it again? Maybe, if it was on sale I'd cellar some. (1,374 characters)

Photo of TheHoppiest
3.64/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Brooklyn's Monster Ale was one of the first American "craft beers" I purchased three of four years ago. At the time, it seemed such an intense, over-the-top flavorful beer that Brooklyn quickly became my go-to brewery for quality beer. As my tastes have developed and my knowledge of craft beer grown, I've continued to fall back on Brooklyn, and its head brewer Garrett Oliver, as a source of American beer knowledge. It is in that vein I review the 2012 vintage of the Monster Ale.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter glass, the first thing that hits you is the intense, deep amber of this ale - amber to the point of almost having ruby highlights. A thin wispy head slowly swirls like lazy smoke wafting from a campfire. Agitation of the glass leaves a bit of head swirled on the sides of the glass that sinks back into the brew.

There's a bready, yeasty quality familiar to many barleywines, with a healthy dose of booziness that is characteristic of every Monster Ale I've had, no matter which vintage, not quite like solvent, but approaching it.

Alcohol plays a prominent role in the taste of this ale as well, with notes of grapes and plums. Not as malty or buttery as other barleywines I've had, there's a fair amount of bitter hops I don't recall from prior Monster Ale vintages.

Medium to full bodied, with a higher amount of carbonation than one would typically expect from a barleywine, the higher alcohol content makes puts this on the slightly rough side of enjoyable. There's nothing subtle about it, but then again, it is called "Monster" Ale!

Enjoyable and drinkable, this is a fun and relatively easy barleywine to consume. While some barleywines can be too intense, this one dials it back enough to be more accessible. I wouldn't call it a starter barleywine, but it certainly would be one to include after an initial foray into the style. (1,880 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
4.06/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought a 4-pack of the 2012 Monster Ale just before the holidays. Finished a Tony Luke's Italian hoagie then off to desert which I poured into a snifter for review.

Appears a clear ruby copper with 1/2 finger head that fades to a thin film of bubbles & suds that cling to 1/4 of the glass rim. Smells of light fruit: green grapes, apricot, fig, berries. Has some caramel undertones & a honey touch. Smells of the English barley wine style to me. A small bite of the hops are still there.

Tastes sweet with a nice hop bite that punches through with ample bitterness. Fruit tastes are there with a tongue coating of honey & brown sugar. Well balanced and seemingly dry in taste. Residual sugars are definitely there but the sweet malts are kept in check with the hops. The alcohol seems well in check after having let the bottle warm at room temps for 30 minutes. Even still, you can detect the alcohol in the nose and in the back of the throat - precisely why this is so damn appropriate on the coldest day here in Philly the 2 years.

Overall, a very nice barley wine. No off flavors which indicates something very well brewed. I assume this is of the English style, otherwise the age seems to have mellowed this one a bit if it were of the American style. Will age my 4th bottle of the pack to see how it fares towards the end of 2013. (1,340 characters)

Photo of mkotsayfan
3.44/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a deep copper color with a quickly dissipating white head. The aroma has the usual barleywine flavors: caramel malts, slight bit of hops, toffee, dark fruits. The taste is solid if unspectacular, exhibiting flavors of the malts, toffee, and caramel. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with decent carbonation.

Overall, a decent barleywine from Monster, but nothing too special. (422 characters)

Photo of TexasBrewSlinger
2.06/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

reddish caramel color, bubbles quickly dissipate,

nose is slightly offputting, soapy, boozy, hoppy, not much sweetness coming through

flavors of sherry, citrus, even a little woody (even though no barrels)

I'm usually a big barleywine fan but this doesn't do it for me. I will age my last 2 in hopes of improvement but this is a major pass for me. (351 characters)

Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,072 ratings.