Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

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1,103 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,103
Reviews: 485
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 13.41%
Wants: 22
Gots: 116 | 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:
Beer added by: dedrinker on 11-03-2006

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,103 | Reviews: 485
Reviews by cypressbob:
Photo of cypressbob
3.36/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottles served in a large bowled wine glass.

Pours with a rich deep burgundy tinged rusty copper body, shimmering with a rich bubbly light tan head floating on top like a fluffy cotton duvet.

The nose - instant whack of buttery diacetyl, instantly puts me on a back foot as I've had my fair share of bland, insipid English ales that follow this trend. A heap of digestive biscuits and oat-cakes, it's malt city and there is a surprising lack of any of the typical rich, sugary ester-filled molasses usually found in a strong ballsy Scottish ale.

Quite thin mouthfeel backed up with slightly sour, buttery biscuit, Rich Tea, wafer and a little bit of general vegetal on the finish. Thin and ultimately lack-luster.

A shame really - As winter ales go this is no winner. I do prefer the non-spiced variety as this is but it needs a kick up the arse. A ballsier hop bill, touch more alcohol and little bit more aggression overall would have seriously improved this slightly weak and ill-mannered little ale. Reminiscent of a very traditional, old style English ale - not particularly memorable.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Buffalo Brewpub,poured a rich amber with a thin but well retained tan colred head,picked up some cherry and deep brown sugar notes in the nose with hints of cinnamon and clove.Quite drinkable for the abv% I have to say lighter dark fruit and brown sugar notes up front with that pear note that a few others have noted not overly sweet just about spot on.A highly quaffable winter ale has nice flavors and is easy going down,recommended.

Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
3.35/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-dark brown with a thin white head

S-some nuttiness and burnt toasty notes

T-nutty flavor at first that segued into a dark fruits and caramel with a clean sweet finish

M-thin body with medium carbonation

O-pretty good brew. Nice as a nightcap for a cold winter's night. One of the better efforts from the brewery.

Photo of generallee
4.33/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The bottle has a "Best Before" date of Apr. 2010 printed on it. The label has the abv listed at 6.1% and there is also a very brief description of the beer on the neck label.

Appearance: The body has good clarity and a deep reddish amber color. On top is a light off white which rises up about two fingers tall before slowly fading down to a thin cap. This thin covering hangs on well and leaves some slick lacing on the glass.

Smell: It has a fairly light nose with nice notes of bready, doughy and lightly toasted malt. Hop aroma also adds a light spicy note as well.

Taste/Palate: The flavor has a good sweet bready and ginger bread cookie like maltiness with light caramel notes. Hop flavor is modest and adds light leafy spicy bitterness to just give some balance to the finish. The palate has a solid medium feel with soft yet active carbonation.

Notes: This is a very solid example of the Scottish ale style and a great winter treat.

Photo of Jason
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

LOOK: Dark amber, healthy looking lace.

SMELL: Buttery toffee, over ripe fruit, toasted dark bread, faint alcohol, herbal

TASTE: Buttery, smooth, dry toasted bread, nutty, husky, faint roasted malt, herbal hop, fallen fruit, warming esters, semi-dry finish

The yeast has certainly made its mark on this brew, bit of a butter bomb ... the core maltiness is secondary. If by chance I have this one again perhaps it would go better paired with a hearty stew or a sharp cheese to contrast.

Photo of Billolick
3.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Hop Devil in NYC, this recent Bklyn offering poured pretty typical darkish amber, tan head, with decent retentive powers showing. Lacing is stringy and splotchy. Malty, slightly smoked nose. Straight forward Scottish style ale, smooth malts, slight smoke, background fruit and sugars. Nice creation, easy drinking wintry brew, well worth a try.

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, clear, amber, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt and caramel

Taste: toasted malt, caramel, hops, and a little spice

Mouthfeel: smooth, sweet start bitter middle and a sweet end, crisp, light bodied, high carbonation

Drinkability: A highly drinkable malty beer. This one reminds me of their Octoberfest with different spices--at least in the maltiness. I could have several.

Photo of Mora2000
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with an off-white head. The beer is very clear.

The aroma is toffee with some dark fruit and a little bit of peat character. The beer smells fairly sweet and very malty.

The flavor is very heavy on the toffee with some caramel and grassy notes mixed in. I don't get any smoke or peat character in the flavor. Very clean tasting. Easy to drink. Not too complex or exciting, but there is really nothing wrong with the beer.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of bsp77
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured into Brooklyn Imperial Pint. Best by April 2012.

Appearance: Rich reddish-brown with nice light tan head and intermittent lacing.

Smell: At first there was almost no smell, either due to the colder temp or the head blocking it. Then it opened up to include caramel, toffee, bread, cherry, other dark fruit and spicy earthiness.

Taste: Barely sweet caramel, toffee and bready malts are the focus. Not as fruity as the aroma. Ends a little drier with spice and some earthy notes.

Feel: Fairly smooth body that is a little fuller than medium. Moderately low carbonation with a semi-dry finish.

Overall: Very well done Scottish Ale. This is the kind of beer that beer geeks tend to ignore. They shouldn't.

Photo of jondeelee
3.71/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On the nose, this doesn't appear to be anything special; that is, I can't pick up a distinct or significant bouquet (such as spice, sugar, etc.) that would lead me in any certain direction--it just smells the way I expect a standard ale to.

Luckily, in the mouth this proves to be a much different brew, and is full of unexpected and delightful flavors. The bottle's label notes that this is brewed from "heirloom Maris Otter malts," and the result is a malty concoction with definite fruit flavors, caramels, and just a touch of earthiness--like the incarnate scent of peat moss. Contrary to what might be perceived, this is not a "spiced beer," as no spices were added to the mixture. There are subtle hints of spices, but those come from the brewing process itself. There's also just a hint of yeast in the mix, and the palate is finished off with a well-balanced smattering of hops.

Overall, this is a wonderful winter brew, and despite its lack of added spices, would go down well on a cold December night, especially if that entails snuggling in front of the fireplace with a loved one.

Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber orange with some ruby red and lots of rising bubbles. Decent three finger off white head that fades into a thin patchy layer. Moderate amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Big aroma of lightly roasted caramel and toffee malts with some light hints of nutmeg and ginger spices. Also some butterscotch and a light hint of earthy hops in the background. Very malt forward.

Taste: Big rich taste of caramel and toffee malts that are lightly roasted. A little bit of spiced nutmeg and ginger. Light hints of brown sugar and butterscotch. Finishes with some earthy hops. Very strong with the malts throughout the taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and very smooth.

Overall: A pretty good take on a Scottish ale. Nice use of malts.

Photo of adamjhepler
1.84/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.25

Pretty average at best, just not the biggest fan. Respectable but not enjoyable. After slowly drinking it i taste the overused winter taste notes that bore me.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.21/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12oz bottle with a BB of May 2011. Purchased from a specialist beer shop in York - thought I'd better drink it before winter is nothing but a memory (which, to be honest, it already is).

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A rich, hazy reddish-brown hue with medium carbonation. Forms a large tan head that lasts for a few minutes before subsiding. Aroma of sweet, dark malt with hints of caramel, nuts and esters.

Tastes predominantly of sweet caramel malt with a dry finish. Faint hints of nuts and dried fruit. No obvious bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and thick with some tingling from the carbonation. Leaves the palate dry. A mildly sweet, malty aftertaste.

Drinkable, but rather one-dimensional for the style. Lacks the fruitiness that characterises a good scottish ale. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy. Probably quite nice when drunk next to a roaring fire, but it won't blow you away.

Photo of far333
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper colored with a thin and finely bubbled head that doesn't rise too high but sticks around a while and runs a sheet of lace around the insides of the glass.

Light aroma of cinnamon and malt. Smooth and even mouthfeel with moderate to low carbonation leads to flavors of caramel and toasted malt and understated cocoa, some currant and smoke and a bit of hop bitters riding beneath. Finishes a bit tannic and powdery.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into tulip; deep copper/amber with a thin clear white head that fades quickly into a thin ring of foam.
Smell is light toasted malt, with some leafy herbal bitterness.
Taste follows nose; well-fermented bready, crackery malt with some leafy bitterness crisping out the finish.
Mouthfeel is relatively thin and smooth.
Overall, a tasty scottish ale. I would prefer a bit more complexity but it's drinkable and tasty.

Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle dated BB April 2012 served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a clear, reddish-mahogany with a modest and short-lived off-white head. Light lacing.

Smell: Subtle aroma of caramel malt and brown sugar with vague grain backdrop. Stronger and more appealing with some warming.

Taste: A nice, if rather simple, malty flavor. Hints of caramel, brown sugar, and multi-grain bread. A subtle hop contribution that's lightly spicy and woody with a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Smooth. Well-chosen medium carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

O: A well-crafted brew that seems reasonable to label "Winter Ale", but that veers from typical Scottish Ale in the direction of a brown ale. Fine session beer, if the 6% ABV is kept in mind.

Photo of glid02
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this as a single at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a clear dark copper/light brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes pretty quickly into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. There's not much lacing.

Smells good. Lots of smoky and caramel aromas up front. As the beer warms the fruit tends to poke its way through more.

Tastes similar to how it smells. A smoky caramel flavor up front with a mild spiciness. As with the smell a fruity taste comes through as the beer warms, and as I finish the beer it tastes very similar to Brooklyn's Brown. There's a light dry finish.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness, although it could be a bit thicker. The carbonation is good and it goes down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. At first when the malts and smokiness is still in charge it's very easy to drink. As the fruitiness makes its way through I don't think it's as good.

Overall this beer is worth a shot, but it's only slightly above average.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.49/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep orange in color leaning towards the red side of things. The beer pours crystal clear and has a strong head that firmly rises and caps with authority.

The nose I find to be lacking compared to the healthy start from the pour. I find it to be grainy and on the gritty stale side of things. Lightly in the distance is the sweet smell of caramelized sugars.

Taste on the other hand is quite nice. Gone is the grittiness, replaced with a malty backbone and a touch of fruitiness and caramel. Hop character is out the window. I can't taste a single hint of the green little guys and thats ok with me. I like the focus on the malts especially for this style.

The mouthfeel is also right on for the style. There is a nice balance between crisp carbonation and luscious soft body. The result is a smooth creamy beer with a light sizzle on the tongue. A pleasure to drink with the feel of it and the lingering warm caramel malts in the finish. A nice beer that I'd like to drink all year long despite the name.

Photo of Brenden
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a mahogany-like reddish brown that even has a slightly coppery orange hue in the light. It pours out a fairly thick head of between one and two fingers that subsides to a sturdy foam after a short time. Light to moderate lacing remains on the glass.
The aroma is pleasant if not simple but lacks a strength. A malt base gives off some notes of caramel, along with caramelized sugars and a lightly smoky note. Fruits linger somewhere behind, and hops are evident as well, adding an earthy and mildly herbal note.
The taste follows suit, though the hops presence comes a bit more to the forefront. A light sweetness holds the flavor together. There's also some undertones of wood as well as smoke, and a clear diacetyl flavor is present. There's a slight taint in the semi-dry finish and a very subtly metallic tinge throughout.
The mouthfeel is just slightly lighter than to style, at the lighter end of medium, with just enough crispness to keep it from being bland and a light to moderate carbonation.
This could be served as a good gateway beer, neither too heavy for a beginner or too light to give a proper impression. After this one, though, bigger brews should follow. This is also plenty good as a session beer.

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.15/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, dark brown color with a half of a finger of off-white head that completely dissolved away into nothing, no head what-so-ever.

Aroma: Very malty and bready, like freshly baked dark bread, followed by some brown sugar-like sweetness and some subtle hops.

Taste: Tons of toasted malt, like freshly baked dark bread, followed by some brown sugar-like sweetness, and some pronounced, but not overpowering, hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.0%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty good beer, but nothing exciting. The beer has a nice balance between malt and hops and sweetness, but it’s pretty forgettable once finished. As a Brooklyn Brewery fan, I’m glad I tried it, but I probably won’t get it again, as there are much better Brooklyn beers out there as much better winter beers out there as well. That being said, I’d certainly not turn this beer down if offered and would certainly enjoy it.

Photo of wmtxbb
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap from a bar in downtown Chicago

Appearance: Decent finger sized head on top of a dark caramel colored brew.

Smell: Soft dark malts and a little bit of hops.

Taste: Crunchy caramel, bubble gum, and toffee. Very malt forward, followed by tartness at the end. Alcohol presence is well hidden.

Very solid beer by Brooklyn brewery; easy to drink.

Photo of ggaughan
4.32/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This winter beer poured into a Duvel tulip with a clear brownish body and slight white head. There were touches of toasted coffee in the nose, sweet fresh brewed coffee. The taste was more of the coffee taste and although I don't drink coffee, I like the aroma and taste in my beer. The coffee taste was also mixed well with a caramel character. Despite the these big complex tastes, the beer was very easy to drink, probably due to the relatively mild abv. This beer had a nice creamy body that I think I could drink more than a few in a sitting.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.32/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with slightly off white head that sticks around a decent amount of time.
Aroma is special. Caramel and slight smokiness comes across a little like burnt marshmallow
Flavor is Scottish with burnt toasted malts yielding sweet dark caramel flavors and then a nice crisp bitterness from the Willamette Hops.
Unusual for a Winter Warmer but definitely appreciated.

Photo of biboergosum
3.82/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Winter = Scottish? Nae, I say! (Or maybe change the name?)

This beer pours a clear, dark copperish amber hue, with two fingers of fizzy, tightly foamy beige head, which leaves but a few random specks and arches of wasting lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells of caramelized toffee, some crisp gingerbread, a wee bit of besotted fruit, and a mild air of noble earthy hops - rather inviting, to say the least. The taste is sweet, but in somewhat tempered manner, the dark bready malts, brown sugar, and overripe fruitiness barely offset by some roasted nuttiness, mildly herbal hops, and subtle booziness.

The bubbles are a bit tingly, but generally all right, the body a decent medium weight, and slightly afflicted by a flinty edge that muddies up any idea of straight ahead smoothness. It finishes a lot closer to the dry side - earthy, leafy hops stepping up to support the persistent alcohol warming, amongst a more or less steady crystal maltiness.

A tasty enough brew, lots of satisfyingly hearty sweet bits, and none too complicated for warding off the lingering eponymous (for now) seasonal melancholy.

Photo of dacrza1
3.56/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a Christmas gift basket from Bob--thanks! Reddish brown body that allows some light to pass... consistent effervescence... hints a t a malty character... three-finger head is brown and settles with arches in its lacing... malt and a bit of something skunky (!) after cleaning a basement yesterday, this beer seems to reflect that dampness... medium-bodied, throat immediate impact... a bit of fizz but not bubbly... a reasonable aftertaste, compact but true... malts are predominant, giving this winter warmer a hardy, strong base with some fruit esthers late--a pleasant pint... a solid offering from Brooklyn, malty but not overstated... the hops are conspicuously restrained, mellowing its flavor... I'd six-pack this at a later date...

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Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 1,103 ratings.