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Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

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934 Ratings

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Ratings: 934
Reviews: 461
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 13.33%

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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Ratings: 934 | Reviews: 461 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of illpass78


3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Had a pint on tap at The Park in Long Beach, N.Y.

Appearance: Deep amber with a very light head that disappears almost immediately. It's an attractive beer. Lacing is minimal.

Aroma: The nose is very faint. There almost isn't one.

Taste: Very easy-drinking caramel maltiness. Some toasty and bready notes. It's enjoyable but doesn't leap out at you; basically a decent session ale.

Mouthfeel: This is probably its best feature. Very inviting and easy on the palate.

Overall: I have no idea why this is marketed as a "winter ale," because there's nothing wintery about it other than that it's dark in color. It basically a straight session amber ale. I don't have much experience with Scottish ales, but this one does fulfill the expectation of being malt-forward and not super hopped. I enjoyed having this on tap but I can't say I'd jump at the chance to have it again unless it was the only craft offering at a bar.

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2014 04:49:16 | More by illpass78
Photo of Stinkypuss


2.25/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2

Brooklyn Winter Ale
2012/2013 recipe indicates this is a scotch ale

Looks very pale for the style but with good clarity. Laces the glass well and looks pretty decent, but rather pale. Smells like buttery toffee. In the taste, buttery and toffee like. Some grassy hops. Mild scotch style malts, but overall more akin to a uninspired English pale ale than anything. Light to medium bodied. Overactive yeast strain coats the mouth. Overall, a less than average beer with way too much diacetyl and butter to be palatable. Heavily rated scotch ale (over 600 reviews), the recipe must have been better in the past. This is a below average offering in every way. Avoid.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2013 23:26:02 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of gr0g

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from both bottle and draft; score based on draft version.

Bottle poured into Brooklyn pint glass. Mahogany color with high clarity. Two finger head with average retention and lacing qualities. Better lacing when served on-tap. Aroma features rich, caramel and toffee malt. Earthy but also floral hop note.

Flavor is entirely malt forward but with more than enough bittering hops to ensure a bitter finish. Heaps of toffee malt with a distinctive British flavor that I've not yet found the words to describe. A malt bomb with winter warmer qualities that remains sessionable.

On tap is superior to bottled (which is contract brewed), though the difference isn't as great as with other Brooklyns such as the lager. More fresh, floral hoppiness in both aroma and flavor. Mouthfeel for both versions could be just a bit heftier. Bottled version carbonation has tended to fade too quickly.

Between their Winter Ale and Black Chocolate Stout, Brooklyn's winter seasonals are a strong showing. Definitely worth a try, especially on tap paired with food.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2013 17:30:08 | More by gr0g
Photo of Darkmagus82


3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – Served an orange amber colored brew with a tiny off white head. The head fades almost instantaneously to leave only the tiniest amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is sweet and roasted. The sweet is a nice mix of dark fruit and some caramel smells. There is a light spice and nutty aroma as well which mixes with the rest to round out the smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweet fruit flavor of some plum as well as a light bready and caramel sweetness. As the flavors advance light spice and nutty flavors come to the tongue. Toward the end cherry flavors enter and seem to get even stronger as time advances. These favors combined with some slight spice flavors as well as an orange peel and earthy hop taste. Together these mixes of flavors take the taste to its end where a pleasant malty and fruity flavor is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the just above average in its creaminess for 6.1 % abv with a carbonation level that is rather average. The slightly thicker body gives all the malt a nutty flavors time to linger on the tongue, while the medium carbonation makes it more drinkable and is nice for the fruitier flavors of the brew. Pretty well done.

Overall – A quite sweet and malty winter ale. Nice and easy drinking with lots of flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2013 00:52:26 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of jono311


3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- dark red, sparkling and clear with ample carbonation and a mild but solid head.

Smell-mild with hints of spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) a bit like the smell of baking christmas cookies.

Taste- nicely balanced, malty upfront with a bit of bittering hop presence and nice lasting but not overpowering finish.

Mouthfeel- a little on the thin side for a slightly malty winter beer but that increases drinkability, imo.

Overall- a fine malty winter warmer with enough spice notes to keep it interesting.

Didn't really pickup on the strong ale characteristics i'd normally associate with a scottish ale but a tasty brew all the same.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2012 18:12:10 | More by jono311
Photo of david18

New York

3.08/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had a draft of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's Upper West Side. It was ok for a "Winter"/"Scottish" but neither is my favorite style. In general a little intense on the flavor characteristics without enough of an alcohol backbone.

Appearance was a dark reddish brown, good dark head that did not go away to quickly.

Aroma was of dark fruit, very intense but quite unbalanced.

Flavor was similar to the aroma. If I'm going to drink a beer this intensely flavored I usually expect a little more alcohol warming.

Overall a beer worth trying. Just didn't blow me away.

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2012 20:32:11 | More by david18
Photo of TheBrewo


3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This brew was served on draught at The Distillery in Victor, NY. The brew arrived in a house pint glass, and showed a deep brown, maroonish color. There was a light film of a head the color of rust over the beer that stayed throughout. The carbonation appeared average, and no sediment was noted. The aroma was steely and souring with grain up front. There were also notes of lactics, booze, and cherry and fig sweetness. On the way back here was some licorice, and more souring cherry. As we sipped, sour grain and fermented strawberries hit first. These were quickly followed by caramels and coffees, but these were faint, mixing in with lighter grain. The middle allowed for the alcohol to come in, warming the grain bill. The malts continued here, and were wet and salty, with a clean barley. This worked to set a nice base for the finish, which came in stronger with booze and a very prominent cherry flavoring. There was slight hop character on the back, presented as dirty and earthy. The aftertaste breathed of peppery booze and tart grain, with caramel sweetness, and a wet bitterness. Steely grain and obvious barley were also noted. The body was full, and the carbonation was medium. The mouth is coated with a metallic slickness, each sip gave a decent smack and nice froth, and the palate is ultimately cooled. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drank somewhere in the middle.

Overall, what we found most enjoyable about this brew was the fruity qualities to the flavoring. This beer was great for the season, but less so for the style. A Scottish ale should be darker, with more booze and caramel, and to this point we were disappointed. The grain also had an interesting sour bite that we would have liked to see elaborated on, or at least more cleanly integrated with the rest of the flavoring.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2012 23:10:45 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of NiceTaps

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at a NYC bar just recently. I asked for a craft seasonal and the barman did not hesitate. A good sign.
A-dark amber,reddish brown color with a creamy two-finger head that held up. It looks hearty.
S-malty, spicy and fruity. A nice blend that did not overpower.
T- malts up front with a hoppy finish. A little fruit backround. Very good.
M-Rich and full without heaviness. Lingers.
O-Drinkable for sure, I thought of my next sip while the flavor lasted on the palate. The Scottish Ale qualities are evident. I'll look
for more.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2012 14:26:32 | More by NiceTaps
Photo of ForWhatAlesYou


3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap into a very large mug

A: Deep auburm brown, deep red tones. Frothy off white head, nice lacing.

S: A little boozy. Some sweet caramel notes. Pretzel, ripened fruit, earthy.

T: Lightly caramle sweet. A little raisin, dark bread. Alcohol has a bigger presence in the flavor than the ABV would indicate. Tamarind, pumpernickel, blackberry?, soil.

M: Dry and relatively thin. Med-high carbonation. Good.

D: Overall very nice. Wasn't sure of the style when I ordered it but it very quickly proved itself to be a Scottish. Nice.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2011 16:10:35 | More by ForWhatAlesYou
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

2.9/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Sawmill Tap Room 12/17/11

Pours a deep amber with a thin lacing of loose white head. There isn't much to say about the smell. Maybe some very, very faint apples and caramel. The taste is simple; red apples and caramel malt. It's medium bodied, but a little overly carbonated.

This is disappointing. Usually Brooklyn can be counted on to feature some solid beers, but this is underwhelming. I'll avoid this in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2011 02:04:09 | More by tdm168
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a seasonal red color with zero head. dont know if time passed between the pour and the serve, but absolutely no head. not flat, just awkward in the glass. i wont hold it against this beer too heavily, because im sure the bottled version is more lively. smells a bit sweet and ambery, with a faint holiday spice thing going on in the finish. not spicy, but spiced, cinnamon is definitely there in spirit at least. mouthfeel is fuller bodied which is nice here. worked well with barbeque but would also certainly excell after dinner with or as desert. not my favorite brooklyn beer, but it has a role

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2011 02:51:47 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Appearance – Clear copper colour with an average size fizzy off white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation visible and there is a fair amount of lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, grains

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel/butterscotch and some grains. There is also some raisins and some light all-spice flavour.. It ends with a malty slightly sweet aftertaste.

Overall – Nothing that make me look forward to this seasonal release every year, but still a good tasty and easy to drink beer. Fans of scotch ales will enjoy this one for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2011 17:51:14 | More by spinrsx
Photo of alee42


3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, slight reddish hue, with a foamy off-white head. Caramel and hints of chestnut hit the nose first, followed by a faint spices like ginger. The flavor seems bold after the soft, delicate aroma: bready, sweet malts, warmly spiced. Even a brief suggestion of chocolate. Alcohol seems to slip in between all the flavors which kind of breaks the balance a little. Malts and hops are well blended though. Medium-full and slick, yet crisp.

Good winter seasonal beer, nothing too impressive but very drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2011 17:50:17 | More by alee42
Photo of peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper colour, one finger of white head with some lace on the glass. Smells of malt, hops, caramel and a slight sweetness of toffee. Taste is malty, spicy, warm cinnamon notes, firm bitterness and a good hop profile. Quite full mouthfeel, slightly creamy with good carbonation. Drinks well, with so many scotch and winter beers available it would be hard to put this ahead of most of them, it is good and I would have it again, solid overall.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2011 19:36:10 | More by peensteen
Photo of wmtxbb


4/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2011 23:35:38 | More by wmtxbb
Photo of OtherShoe2


3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received a tawny amber with a decent head. Some slight lacing. Decent clarity.

Good toasted malt aroma, some over-browned bread crust, and some mild spice.

Some dark brown bread crust mingled with some burnt or over-caramelized sugars, a touch of spice, some toffee. A winter warmer meets a scottish ale. Bitter and sweet are almost in balance, but not quite.

Medium to medium full body.

Overall, not a bad drink. It went down faster than expected, but not a great interpretation of the style. Something missing and a bit off here. Ok, but I won't look for this again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2011 02:57:50 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of mdfb79

New York

3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 1/15/11 notes. Had on tap at the brewery.

a - Pours an amber, copper color with an inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bready malts, light fruit and spice.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, fruity malts, roasted malts, light chocolate.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good scotch ale that is above average and pretty easy to drink. Would order again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2011 01:46:54 | More by mdfb79
Photo of mcgwire756

New Jersey

2.68/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Bowlmor in NYC.

This beer poured a dark reddish color with a little bit of head. Smelled like typical ales and not very strong. Not impressed at all. The taste was thin and not very flavorful like other winter offerings. I could drink this beer easily, but for a seasonal release I expected more. I would pass on this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2011 00:18:59 | More by mcgwire756
Photo of afksports

New York

4.28/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

So there's hops and malts in beer. And in winter beers there are malts and fruits and spices. And this is basically all malt. Who cares. I'm a malt whore.

In enjoying this on tap at Amity Hall where I'm trying my damndrst to drink 101 beers by my 30th birthday. And I must be in a good beer mood off the Knuckle Samdwich from yesterday, because i'm ready to forgive this one for it's lack of sexy appearance (barely any head, no lacing) and fairly bland smell (subdued malts, tinge of fruit, tiny interesting lingering complexity). I'll do that because of a good mood and because the taste is fairly solid. Malts. A nice combination of caramel, pear, and a tiny hoppy bite.

Very drinkable because of its smooth and crisp light to medium body, Brooklyn's winter offering does not stand out. But it also doesn't dissapoint.

Serving type: on-tap

01-07-2011 23:19:54 | More by afksports
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on draft with dinner. Was pretty pumped to see it on tap. Not always a fan of a winter beer unless black as night, this was a pleasant surprise.

Deep amber w no head. Caramel malty nose and taste. Medium bodied & semi watery for a scottish ale. Pretty enjoyable since I tend to find them to be too thick & syrupy usually. Nice one. Very drinkable with a nice candy like finish.

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2010 00:39:58 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of SkunkWorks

New York

3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Velvet Lounge in Stony Brook, NY. Served in a pint glass.

I should note, I've had this before in a bottle but I think my palate wasn't able to appreciate very much back then so I thought I'd give it another try.

Look: dark caramel colored with some red. Beige, one finger head that doesn't retain very well and doesn't leave much lacing but that could be the fault of the glass.

Smell: very malty with toasted flavors. There's some fruitiness and some spiciness and I'm surprised to now read that there are no added spices to this one. It smells very sweet also with some breadiness.

Taste: follows the nose. It tastes like toasted bread with brown sugar and some molasses. Very, very malty. I still taste some spices but I can't really identify what they are, which should be no surprise since there are no spices in it! Hops are present in the finish.

Feel: medium bodied towards thick. Very smooth. Very sweet up front leading into a bitter finish. Carbonation is spot on.

Drink: fairly easy drinking but I dunno how many of these I'd have.

Overall, I liked this one. I'm glad to see my palate has developed some since I had it last where I hated it since it tasted just like dough to me. Certainly worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2010 14:41:56 | More by SkunkWorks
Photo of mostpoetsdo

Rhode Island

3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep amber, but bright, with a darker-than-white head.

S: Caramel malts, with a little spice to it, and something fruity.

T: More than I expected, nice bready malt taste to it; sweet caramel, grainy, maybe even a touch of apple and cinnamon.

M: Lighter than preferred, but a nice softness to it.

D: Good stuff, easy to put down, and nice ABV.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2010 07:23:49 | More by mostpoetsdo
Photo of rfgetz

New Jersey

3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown with ruby highlights. Minimal head on this one. Smell is of sweet malts with slight nods to grass and earth. Taste is more mellow than scent dictaed, but slightly muddled earthy and sweet malt taste with very little complexity seems messy. Metallic and herbal presence confuse the palate. Hops lead to a bitter finnish at the end. Medium bodied, slightly overcarbonated for the style. Muddled and messy for the style, needs more flavor and charachter.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2010 16:58:29 | More by rfgetz
Photo of taigor

New York

3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap poured into pint glass.

A - Poured orange-amber color with minimal head that left very slight lacing around the glass.

S - Almost absent, slight hints of malts.

T - Roasted malts with slight hints of fruits and yeast at the end.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

D - Very warming and refreshing beer. Good choice for seasonal holidays.

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2009 17:42:58 | More by taigor
Photo of lacqueredmouse


3.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery, December 09.

Deep, dark but clear copper colour. Head is a filmy white, which looks oddly light for the rest of the body. Some lace around the edges from the collar of film. Some static bubbling when swirled. Looks nice.

Meaty characters. Some fragrance, surprising notes of cumin. Spicy and pleasant. Even a hint of vanilla. Unusual, but quite pleasant, and the characters work well together.

Bit too bland on the palate. Some spice and a bit of acidic seltzer character. Light copper again which seems prevalent in their beers. Finish has some metallic bitterness and is very dry with an extremely sparkling mouthfeel.

Pretty nice and drinkable, but a little bland and disappointing considering the promise of the nose. Nice enough though.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2009 04:54:10 | More by lacqueredmouse
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Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 934 ratings.