Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

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1,103 Ratings

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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
Photo of StuyBeerGuy
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I bought this winter season beer on sale because the store must have found a few crates in a corner during spring cleaning. Initially, I was hesitant that they must have been on sale because brew aficionados would not purchase them otherwise, fortunately, the taste proved I just happened to have found a good deal.

The beer pours thick and has a slight white head. While I enjoyed the burnt toffee smell my nose could just barely discern. The mouthfeel feel is front heavy and short with powerful malt flavors reminiscent of a light Scottish ale. The burnt toffee notes linger on the palate pleasantly.

Photo of tillmac62
3.2/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

BBD 3/22/14. Pours a clear nice red hued amber with a reasonable head and lacing that fades in 2 minutes. Light nose of molasses over dark fruit - plum with a touch of raisin. The body is medium with good carbonation. The mouthfeel is borderline smooth with a carbonation level above average. The flavor profile is weak - something a Scottish ale should never be. A weak hint of caramel malt and an alcohol presence is all there is over a very light sweetness. The finish is crisp, again, something a Scottish ale shouldn't be.

3.07/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12floz. bottle. Gordon´s Thistle glass. Reddish amber color, ruby tints to the light & chill haze appearance. Tan froth & close crown showing fairly good retention & leaving lacing on sides. Intense caramel malt, toffee & candy aromas, hints of sugar cane & molasses. Sugary & toasted upfront. Light body. Moderate but lively carbonation. Watery & sugary with a low herbal bitterness in the middle. Dry sweet/bitter finish & slight herbal liquor notes on the aftertaste.

Photo of illpass78
3.69/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Photo of wiscokid920
3.21/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A- Pours a bronze with ruby highlights. Soapy head that fades quickly.

S- Large malty notes, bready biscuit sweetness, nutty.

T- Nice malty sweetness, dark brown sugar/toffee, roasted nuts and yeasty

M- Light in body, buttery, and bubbly.

O- I'm the type that likes a nice malty, roasty winter ale compared to those that are chocked full of spices. That being said, this is a decent offering of the type I prefer. A decent malty and roasty profile.

Photo of Chiefy770
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 fl. ounce bottle into a nonic pint glass. "Best by" date of March 2014.

Appearance: Dark amber body. Somewhat of a weak light brown head formed. Modest lacing throughout.

Smell: Sweet and buttery. Toasted grains. Pinch of alcoholic esters.

Taste: Hops strike first and back off quickly. Warm and toasty malts kick in and create a sweet taste, a bit like toffee.

Mouthfeel: May have been a bad bottle but this seem a bit flat. It was not horrible but just a hair more carbonation. They claim a full body on the label but this is nothing more than a meek medium-bodied brew, if that.

Overall: Not a bad beer but definitely did not blow me away. The flavors are pretty straightforward. Not the most complex beer but hey, they can't all be winners.

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.08/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. A new winter seasonal to me from Brooklyn Brewery, acquired as part of a mixed six pack at the local Binny's. Expectations are moderate, based on the brewery.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a coppery caramel color with about a finger of tan head that dissipates to a thin ring quickly. Some thin scattered lacing. Looks alright, but nothing great.

S - Smell is of buttery biscuit malt, toasted grains, nuttiness, lots of earthy / musty yeast esters, some bubblegum, a hint of alcohol, and some herbal leafiness.

T - Taste follows the nose: buttery biscuit malt, brown bread, earthy yeast, corn, grains, yeast-derived dark fruitiness, & some cola.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy, with a dry, semi-bitter, grainy finish. Medium bodied with okay carbonation.

Overall, I'm sad to say that I didn't particularly care for this offering. Not well suited to the style of a Scottish ale, and not a good example of what I would call a winter ale, either. Drinkable, and not offensive, but this isn't a beer I will be revisiting.

Brooklyn Winter Ale ---3/5.

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 sommersb
3.72/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tasted On: 12-06-2013
Freshness: Best by 03-2014
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Shaker pint
Purchased: 6-pack from Frugal MacDoogal, Nashville

A: Clear, reddish-brown beer with a small offwhite head. Lacing and head retention are low.

S: Aromas are earthy and bready, with other smells of caramel and malt sweetness.

T: Tastes lightly sweet with some earthy hop character, but low bitterness.

M: Medium-bodied with an average feel of carbonation. The beer finishes malty, lightly sweet and pleasant.

O: Very good dark ale here -- nothing in particular stands out, it's just a well-made brew that I'd reach for again.

Photo of Act25
3.29/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This is a case of everything Brooklyn scores in the mid 3's just ahead of a brewer like Saranac. Bummer. If you drink NYC, try Sixpoints or Bronx instead.

A: Dark amber, head pops back with a whirl, with persistent lace.

S: Over ripe fruit, a bit of cider (dont like), toasted dark bread, faint alcohol, herbal, a bit of frat floor.

TASTE: So like the smell, some fallen fruit, turning to cider, warming alcohol, toasted bread, nutty, husky, herbal hop, semi-dry finish.

Cidery, yeasty, colors what is a ripened winter ale, too far for me in direction of being past prime.

Photo of thecheapies
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours red-bronze with a soapy sud cap that dwindles. Five or six sputtering bubble streams can be seen.

Malty nose with toffee, brown bread, dark sugar, and light meatiness. Somewhat phenolic and estery with brown pear oxidation and cereal grains. Hops are near-minty in the nose. A little bit of alcohol, too.

Drinks very light in flavor with tinniness as a main component. Malty, metallic, minty, and somewhat kissed by a light smoke. Light dried fruitiness mixed with a brown sugar/toffee character. Some roast and oxidized pomme.

Very light with a stern bubbly carb in the finish that equates to light spiciness. Body is a wash.

It's okay for a simple winter ale, but it's not fully-developed. Nothing to seek out.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear dark red color. The head is only a finger high, and cream colored. It's texture and retention isn't the best, nor is much lacing left behind.

S: At first, there seems to be a suggestion of light spiciness. This quickly gives way to strong caramel notes, backed by the subtlest smokiness. There is enough here to make me enjoy the aroma, but not enough to blow me away.

T: It opens up with a very light spiciness - it's more of a suggestion than an actual note, to be fair. The caramel here is handled very deftly, gradually building in intensity without going overboard. In fact, a lot of the notes here seem to be subtle rather than bludgeoning - still, they're defined enough to be prevalent to my scorched Earth of a plate.

M: I really like how clean and crisp this is. Despite the sweet flavor, it's well attenuated and dryish finishing. Despite that, it's quite soft and creamy. The carbonation is rather soft, and fits well with its feel.

O: This one is pretty damn tasty. I'd even suggest it exceeded my expectations. This is one I'd certainly drink again, if not buy by the 6-pack.

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.14/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Ba Review #286
Served On: 11/13/2013
Glassware: Pint Glass
Labeled ABV: 6.1%
Date/ Code: 3/2014

Got this one from Giant Foods at the East end location of York, PA.

Look: Poured a crystal clear rich copper. Carbonation seemed a little low. Head was a thick kaki color; about 1 finger was left after things calmed down from the pour.

Smell: The aroma was robust with spicy malts and some dark pit fruits. There were also some faint hints of biscuit. Basically all the spicy and sweet notes I usually expect in a typical winter ale.

Taste: Taste was right on with the aroma. First was the spicy roasted malts followed by sweet biscuit. The finish had smooth sugary notes with a hop bite right at the end. Aftertaste was an enjoyable earthy spice that lasted for a while.

This was a solid winter ale. Nothing too crazy. Very approachable.

Photo of FLima
3.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brown color with a thin off-white head with low retention.
Nutty aroma with hints of dark fruits, licorice and caramel.
Nice taste of roasted malts and lots of nuts. Hints of plums, earth and a distant pine.
Medium body with low carbonation.
A winter ale (not a Winter Warmer) with drinkability, but still quite flavorful. It did go down quickly. Great beer.

Photo of woodychandler
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I recently was back up to Highland Pizzeria, this time with my Uncle Steve, and this was part of a mixed sixer that I brought home. For those that may be wondering, a Place Review will be forthcoming once they complete their planned expansion, sometime in late-Spring/early-Summer.

From the bottle: "We brew Brooklyn Winter Ale from heirloom Maris Otter malts to create a beer with roots in blustery Scotland. Brooklyn Winter Ale is richly malty, aromatic, full-bodied and perfect with stews, roasts and holiday dishes."

Today is totally appropriate for this beer as a) we still have four days left of Winter and b) it has been flurrying for the last hour! Grr. Die, already, Old Man Winter!

Nothing like an aggro pour to develop a nice cascading action, leading up to two-plus fingers of dense, deep-tan head with good retention. Color was a deep-brown with garnet highlights among the NE-quality clarity. A second pour released some lees hiding at the bottom of the bottle and while I did not mind, it may be something for others to be mindful of. Best Before Date read "4123117080220" but it was indecipherable even to my cryptographic mind. Nose smelled medicinal, like a combination of molasses and anise. Mouthfeel was medium, approaching, but not achieving creaminess. The taste was primarily of molasses, but it was nowhere near as sharp as it was on the nose. Finish was semi-dry, as though the fermentable sugars had been mostly converted, but it was still too sweet for my taste. It kind of reminded me of the finish of a traditional English barleywine. Overall, not bad, but just not my cuppa joe.

Photo of dheacck11
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nice dark amber, with nice thick tan 1/4 inch of head

nose is decent with hints of honey, malt, and rye.

Very malt forward with flavors of rye, earth, a little rustiness, and a chase of mild bitters

Mouth feel is very thin and watery.

Very much a british brown/pseudo scotch ale. A decent example of the style, but just not as good as the real thing, and just not my thing.

Photo of nukem5
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into my BB pint glass ,aggressive pour with about 1 inch of tan creamy foam.

S: Aroma is of malts and sweet raisins.

T: Taste is sweet malts and some dark fruity taste,caramel, toasted bread, molases.

M: Mouthfeel is a bit of metallic, nice carb level but a bit thin for what I was expecting.

O: Overall a decent beer from BB,dont know if I like it or not yet but as it warms up it gets sweeter and maltier. Would probably get this again but will know better after the next 5.

Photo of screamking
3.87/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz poured into pint glass.

Appearance-dark cooper with thin light tan head, which disappears fast. 3.75

Aroma-malty, hint of citrus, fresh baked cookies, mostly malty tho. 3.5

Taste-very malty at first, then sweeter with some brown sugar, a little Carmel, very warming beer. 4

Feel-full bodied with carbonation from the start,coats well and stays doesn't dry out. 4

Overall-great winter ale, perfect for cold winter nights. This is the type of beer you take outside to keep you warm while shoveling your drive way. I got this on a close-out for less then a dollar a beer and at that price point you can't beat it. 4

Photo of IronLover
4.04/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Rich maple brown in color with a reddish hue and perfect clarity. Poured with a thick off-white foam that reduced to a wispy cap. Sweet caramel malt, earthy toasted malt, ripe fruit and buttery aromas. Medium bodied with a smooth buttery feel that subdues the rich carbonation. Sweet caramel and toasted malt flavors up front followed by ripe fruit amd a tangy, herbal hoppiness. Finsishes with sweet malty and buttery flavors.

Photo of ColdWaffles
4.09/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes of stuff I've had over the past month or so.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Samuel Smith's tulip-pint. This has been a Winter favorite of mine for a few years now.

Appearance: Color is ruby-meets-brown. Has a short lived white head that dissipates pretty quick.

Smell: Strongly of roasted malts with a bit of alcohol coming out and a touch of dried fruit. Very nice.

Taste: Sweet, loaded with malt flavor and somewhat nutty with a dried fruit finish. Kind of tastes like a "little-wee-heavy."

A great go-to for a Winter brew in my opinion.

Photo of Stinkypuss
2.25/5  rDev -37.2%
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.

Photo of flyingpig
4.01/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle from Good Spirit Co., Glasgow:

Deep mahogany red colour with a half centimetre tall, slightly off-white head with a bubbly texture on top.

Sweet caramel malts to begin with some earthy ones too and a nutty smell coming through as well. There are some earthy hops and a hint of sugar as well.

Definite sweet malts to begin with some base caramel and a nutty flavour. There is an earthy flavour to it as well, perhaps the hops from the nose along with some darker fruits and a slightly boozy feel to it.

Medium in both carbonation and in body with a boozy feel as mentioned above. It is pretty smooth, quite rich and almost creamy.

Nice an malty from this one, a good winter beer with a slightly boozy feel to it and great drinkability. It goes down particularly well, is pretty well balanced and there is a good closeness between the aroma and the taste. Another fine beer from the guys at the Brooklyn Brewery, I'm already looking forward to my next beer from them.

Photo of gr0g
3.97/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of acevenom
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a glass mug. Pours clear dark copper with a two-finger length eggshell colored head. There are numerous tiny bubbles visible in the beer. Consumption of the beer leaves lacing down the side of the glass. The aroma is sweet and roasty from the malt. There is an earthy hop aroma as well, but it's not strong. The flavor of this beer displays a strong malt backbone. There's mild caramel sweetness and good roastiness and nuttiness. The earthy hops are there in the back and provide some balance. The body is medium with moderate carbonation. The drinkability of this beer is high. This is a very good beer.

Photo of Cylinsier
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours clear brown, tan lacing.

Smells of figs, molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon and hazelnut.

Tastes of brown sugar, walnuts, and woody dry malts. Hint of hops at the end.

Medium body with bubbly tingles of carbonation on the tongue.

A good but subdued ale, a bit bland in the flavor but otherwise nothing to complain about and easy to drink. I would have it again.

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