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Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

951 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 951
Reviews: 463
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 13.33%
Wants: 17
Gots: 33 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  6.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brooklyn completely changed the recipe in 2006. It’s now a Scottish-style ale. Brewmaster Garrett Oliver explained to us that: “There are no spices at all. Good British floor malts and hops along with our yeast strain account for all the flavors. It has a Scottish-style cooler fermentation, which pushes malt to the forefront rather than fruitiness.” It was brewed with Scottish Floor-malted Maris Otter, English crystal malts, Belgian Aromatic malt, American roasted malts, American oats and hopped with Willamette.

(Beer added by: Todd on 12-02-2006)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 951 | Reviews: 463 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by 160Shillings:
Photo of 160Shillings
160Shillings

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +38.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma: The aroma is full of strong malt; caramel, roasted and rich floor malt, also includes faint esters and surprisingly very faint alcohol as well.
Appearance: Pours with a tan head that collapses into a fine bubbled ring. The color is very dark copper.
Flavor: The flavor begins with sweet malt, caramel and roasted notes. The body is surprisingly full for a beer that the label says has only 6.1% abv, it almost seems sticky sweet. However that is a deception since the palate soon becomes dry and shows full attenuation. The bitterness is appropriated, but does not linger. The finish is unexpectedly dry, short and abrupt. It’s not the finish one would expect from an ale that begins so very rich and sweet. It leaves you easily ready for the next swallow and even the next beer. The esters suggest dark fruits, for those that think they are wine connoisseurs, for beer zealots it tastes like a great Scottish ale.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium-low carbonation, without lingering.
Overall Impression: This Scottish ale is everything it should be and nothing it shouldn’t be, a true benchmark for Scottish ale.
Comments: Thank you Garrett Oliver! Brooklyn’s Winter Ale is a wonderful example of Scottish ale. The web says this beer is 6.0% abv, however my bottle says 6.1% abv. The nominal strength is half a percent lower than guidelines for a Wee Heavy, but 1% abv more than an 80/- Scottish Export. All things said, Winter Ale taste like a Wee Heavy. Most importantly it avoids the two most common failings of American craft-brewed beer. First, it’s not too hoppy. Most American craft-brewers, especially those on the west coast, use far too many hops, even in beer styles in which it would be inappropriate. Second, Oliver doesn’t use whisky malt in this beer. Almost every other example of American craft-brewery’s Scottish ale uses this peat smoked whisky malt. This is simply inappropriate for a true Scottish ale. It is Scottish ale, not Scotch whisky. I can’t think of a better example of an American craft-brewed Scottish ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2012 02:11:22 | More by 160Shillings
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2/5  rDev -44.4%

07-08-2014 03:58:14 | More by mful2875
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4/5  rDev +11.1%

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06-18-2014 14:50:20 | More by Vogt52
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3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

06-13-2014 04:50:29 | More by mmmbeerNY
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VictorWisc

Massachusetts

3.1/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

First striking thing is Brooklyn's insistence on printing date codes in dark ink on amber bottles with dark contents. Zero visibility under fluorescent lights in the store, and that's with plentiful lighting at a supermarket, let alone in the darkness of some beer cave. I could barely discern the digits when I got home, but ended up not bothering with it out of frustration. Suffice it to say, it was about to be a total shelf turn on a Waldbaum's shelf--the only one that was moderately drinkable.

Liquid is discernably brown, semi-translucent, with very little light head and no lacing. Hard to see the carbonation. Didn't taste a whole lot of it either.

Nose is clean. Too clean. A whiff of straw is about all I noticed--a feint fungal, yeasty smell that's more at home with barleywines and porters.

The taste was very much the same. Nothing striking. A bit of sweetness, slight metallic aftertaste. Tasted more like a mix of a thin porter with Oktoberfest than a winter ale. Barely any hint of spicing or hops. Just not a good beer.

Medium to heavy body, but not really strong alcohol. If they aimed this to be mediocre at everything, they certainly succeeded.

I initially thought this was just an old bottle, poorly stored. But, judging from other reviews, the reaction doesn't appear to be atypical. Still the best choice of the lot at a Queens Waldbaum's but I'd have to be really desperate to buy it again.

Although Brooklyn has had some hits, most of their product is mired in mediocrity. Frankly, I've never been able to understand the following. I could have picked up some rare bottles at what approached $30 for a 750cc, but, with their history in mind, it just didn't sound like a good idea. A few more beers like this one, and I'll be done with them for good.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2014 04:00:19 | More by VictorWisc
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CAD22

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

05-19-2014 01:36:58 | More by CAD22
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Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -16.7%

05-18-2014 02:18:21 | More by MattXT
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Ontario (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

05-17-2014 02:56:05 | More by hopsolutely
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05-12-2014 04:38:08 | More by Gator_Nation
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Virginia

3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

05-08-2014 14:47:47 | More by HuntDaddy540
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North Carolina

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05-04-2014 19:16:40 | More by Whsrickqb12
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New Mexico

3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

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05-01-2014 15:08:02 | More by wisegreensoul
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04-30-2014 03:06:50 | More by avas
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DmanGTR

New York

3.13/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Review from notes

Brown, but with deep ruby/garnet hues when held up to the light. Cream colored head that retains decently. Deep caramel, hint of raisins. Touch of cocoa. Bitterness in the finish, but really no hop flavors at all. Mineral flavor. Smooth and prickly.

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2014 04:06:30 | More by DmanGTR
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Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

04-18-2014 16:23:21 | More by Mini4x
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Wisconsin

3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

04-17-2014 23:05:24 | More by SkinniePost
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Illinois

3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

04-15-2014 02:33:28 | More by Hairrrrrrrr
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3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 3/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear ruby red color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, biscuit, raisin, plum, apple, molasses, brown sugar, light roast, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, biscuit, raisin, plum, apple, molasses, brown sugar, light roast, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, biscuit, raisin, plum, apple, molasses, brown sugar, light roast, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice robustness and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; with a nice malt/yeast balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly slick/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice Scottish ale. Good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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04-11-2014 00:56:22 | More by superspak
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Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 951 ratings.