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Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

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935 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 935
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: 935 | Reviews: 461 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Firm dirty-white head, fluffy and creamy, sitting on top of a reddish rust-brown liquid. Lace streaks the glass in wild little strings.

Total comfort-beer aroma. Toasty, lightly smoky, a bit peaty, and dabs of succulent dark fruit, especially big on fig.

Lots of flavor here, just nothing that hits you over the head. And why should it? Equal parts peat, smoke, toffee, fig, grape, clover honey, and less identifiable sweet spices. This is impeccably balanced. And delicious.

Love how the feel is at once super creamy and generously carbonated. Almost stretches it into the realm of a Belgian dark ale, as many of those achieve this same kind of magic dichotomy, texturally.

Goddamn this is good! Not that I should be surprised, Brooklyn is usually pretty quality in whatever they do. Just don't overlook this if you're generally geared toward bigger beers, like I am, because this has plenty of flavor and pizazz. It's definitely worthy, and I'm glad I bought a 6-pack.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2012 23:22:23 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of Sam21


3.18/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by April 2012 inked onto neck. Poured into pint glass.

Appearance - Copper body with a tan head that exhibits commendable retention. Sparse lacing.

Smell- Rich sweetness that's a mix of caramel, sugary fruit, and a hint of spice.

Taste- Malt-centered and juicy. Up front, sticky caramel and spiced dry dark fruit swamp the taste buds. The finish is sweet and long. Malty sweetness hangs around and adds a juicy quality to the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodies with smooth carbonation. This beer strikes a good balance between the extremes and has moderately juicy qualities.

Overall: A smooth winter seasonal with enough character to stand
up to hearty stews and meats. This beer is both pleasant and warming for those chilly winter nights. The simplicity of it makes it appealing.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2012 22:35:35 | More by Sam21
Photo of JamesS


4.4/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very nice deep brown with very nice head and good lacing throughout. Nice deep malty scent, very heady and thick with some nice earthiness in the nose. Good flavors, a very thick malty flavor with a bit of biscuit and a bit of roastiness in it. Went down quite well, very smooth.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2012 18:49:29 | More by JamesS
Photo of BeerKangaroo


3.99/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass (also had in a borrowed nonic, nothing changed):

A: brown colored body with some light reddishness around the edges of the beer, the creamy colored head is small, lacing is spotty and ringy, it leaves a thicker foamy look where it is sipped

S: malts, toffee, and there is just a bit of caramel in the background

T: sweet through previously mentioned flavors

M: medium, sessionable, the aftertaste and finish has a bit of alcohol and toffee in it

O: this is good to me and for its style

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 20:49:56 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of Ruds

United Kingdom (England)

3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle to Engliah half pint pot to a mahogany brown colour, red tinges when held to the light and a small white/beige head

The bottle stated 6.1% ABV on the lable, not the 6% listed above!

A malty aroma greets the nose along with caramel and light hopping

In the taste, malts, a little dried fruit, caramel/toffee and a little alcohol especially in the finish

Mouthfeel is of a medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation and fairly drinkable and smooth

A decent enough beer from Brooklyn but not one I'd be desparately seeking again!

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 10:03:49 | More by Ruds
Photo of drabmuh


3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At the time of this review, this is the #42 top Scottish Ale, served in a New Belgium globe glass.

Beer is dark amber with a mild haze, thin lazy tan head of small bubbles, low carbonation no lacing, looks fine.

Aroma is malty, sweet, a little bready, smells exactly like a scotch ale.

Beer is medium in body, not as sweet as the aroma would imply, it is a little bitter, dry on the finish, oddly peaty on the midpalate, decent, I like it, probably not a repeat though.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2012 04:08:52 | More by drabmuh
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 nhindian


4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Brooklyn tulip.

A - Pours a burnished copper with ruby highlights which culminates into a 2-fingered, frothy, tan head. The head retention is nice, and as it fades it leaves streaks of lacing. Residual lacing lasts until the end, with a thicker ring near the top and rogue streaks spattered haphazardly elsewhere.

S - The aroma brings an undeniable Scottish influence, as the malts bring a caramel smell first and foremost. It is slightly fruity and bready as well, with a dried-fruit quality and hints of raisins and tobacco. Overall it's somewhat sweet, and the breadiness comes across as shortbread.

T - The taste continues the sweet profile, but it's kept in check with the earthy hops. The malts once again shine here, as caramel, brown sugar, and a little grain take over the beginning of the flavor. As it opens up and develops in the mouth, the hops add an earthy, woody, leathery quality that seems to fit in nicely with the Scottish landscape Brooklyn Brewery was trying the paint here. The intermittent fruit in the form of apples, pears, and raisins helps the flavors pop that much more.

M - Mouthfeel is light-bodied with medium-low carbonation. For how malt-friendly this beer is, it balances it with a light, airy mouthfeel that makes this go down quickly. The finish is dry and semi-sweet, with an impression that draws you towards that next sip.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. To be honest, I didn't read up on this beer before drinking it and was expecting another run-of-the-mill, overly spiced winter warmer. What I get instead is one of the best domestic, readily-available Scottish ales I've tasted to date. It's malty, yet somewhat balanced and brings to the table a wonderful flavor.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2012 04:07:56 | More by nhindian
Photo of RonaldTheriot


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

Brooklyn Winter Ale has a thin-to-medium, beige head, and a clear, reddish-orange appearance with lots of streaming bubbles and minimal lacing. The aroma is faint, but one does pick up some slight breadiness and maybe Cherrios. Taste is mild and pleasant, with sweet barley, Cherrios, relatively light hop bitterness, and red grapes. Mouthfeel is medium, soft, and fluffy, and Brooklyn Winter Ale finishes easy drinking, pleasant, and semi-dry. Overall, this is a good, if not great, winter ale, and I recommend trying it.


Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 16:19:00 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of J23hc

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint glass, reddish body, lots of bubbles, not much head. Big smokey nose with a hint of sweetness, some olive oil. Really wet and crispy with some bright cherry. A little fruity sourness toward the end, like a strawberry would give. A little hop bite, carbonation scratches the palate gently, and the burnt flavor just backing it all up

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2012 01:29:48 | More by J23hc
Photo of Scotchboy


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

An extra received from Aaron, poured into a Stella Artois glass. BB date on the 12oz bottle says April 2012.

A: Slightly hazy brown with hints of burnt copper...light head lacing fades fast.

S: Remarkably malty; toasted grains, bread, caramel, smoked malt, oak, peat, and smoky earthiness...not much hopping or spices, maybe some light grassy notes.

T: Follows the nose, very bready malt bill; toasted rye bread (sans the spiciness), caramel and lots of oaky notes, almost to the point of tasting like vanilla, with an underlying smoky earthiness. Almost non-existent bitterness.

MF: Creamy and medium bodied. Light carbonation.

O: A decent Scotch. I'd prefer more hops and spices and bitterness to level this one out, 12oz of this was almost too much.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2012 13:35:13 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of jneiswender


2.95/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

had this beer from the 12oz bottle. Served cool. Dark amber color and a nice creamy head. Smell lightly smoke (peat). Metallic and woody. Taste is not what I expected. No spice. The combination of malts gives an earthy quality to this. Thick on the tongue and drinkable but not something I would really seek out as a winter pick. Might want to save this as a food beer with Scottish fare. Not as a "winter warmer" like beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 17:43:42 | More by jneiswender
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 smakawhat


3.63/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Best before April 2012 we are off and running!

An off tan head almost creamy in appearance, makes about 2 fingers of foam to rest on a real nice copper red body. Body also has some cola large sticky bubbles, and some VERY faint rising carbonation in the middle. Head seems to settle nicely, looks good.

Nose is a nice toasty malt, sense of dense yeast a little bit. Somewhat warming slightly not too bad. Quite nice.

Taste is kind of crisp and somewhat rich. Light crispness texture with dark malts with a bit of a wet palate. Tastes very much like an Irish Ale in many ways. Nice aftertaste as the malts sort of linger a bit, some good grass sense.

Overall, pretty good, nothing crazy but certainly decent.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2012 23:39:47 | More by smakawhat
Photo of Shagtastic


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

I really enjoyed this beer. Its a great wintertime beer that would be awesome on a cold night. I was expecting a little heavier on the body but I was pleasantly surprised at how thin and easy to drink it was. This is a beer I'd come back to again in the right circumstances.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2012 18:35:48 | More by Shagtastic
Photo of secondtooth


3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Attractive and clean amber in appearance, with a huge head and spectacular, detailed lace. Superlative in presentation!

Malty and spicy aroma. Almost fruity. I definitely get the Scottish tones.

Taste is sweet and spicy, with up-front tones of peat malts, earthy, fruity, leathery. A solid and tasty winter ale from a brewery who does most everything right.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 14:19:20 | More by secondtooth
Photo of MoreThanWine


3.63/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 1" beige velvet head with decent retention. The body is burnt umber brown in masstone but held to the light it's a clear dark amber. The smell is a touch of malt. Taste also has some malt and I might have guessed spicing but from the profile I know that's not the case, it's just the creaminess and richness of the Scottish style. Medium length finish. Decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2012 09:48:42 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of leokbelo


4.35/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich copper color into a snifter. Foamy 2 inch head dissipates into a nice lacing.
Sweet malts on the nose, fruity, hints of raisins.
Medium carbonation, again sweet/caramel malts, balanced by the hops. Extremely smooth and drinkable.
An excellent Scottish Ale, perfect for this chilly evening!
Highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2012 00:32:38 | More by leokbelo
Photo of emerge077


2.6/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Unintelligible batch code printed on the base of the bottle: "4121878113133".

Coppery red color, softly textured offwhite foam on top, leaving a delicate hanging ring of lace around the edges. A feeble skim floats on the surface. It appears murky, but has a good level of clarity in the light.

Smells a little faded, fruity ale yeast, mild sweet shortbread.

Some astringency and syrupy maple sweetness, lingering aftertaste of toasted bread and dried fruit. It has the odd twang of oxidation somehow. Medium bodied and pretty sweet at first. The astringency and odd fruity tanginess are somewhat off putting, wouldn't try this again.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 04:49:18 | More by emerge077
Photo of RickS95


3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich, mahogany brown. The head is about a finger width of dirty white bubbles that only lasts for a minute or so. When the head is mostly gone, it leaves an attractive dusting up top with the slightest bit of lacing.

The smell is pretty straight forward. It's lightly roasted malt with a bit of flowery hops in the background. A tiny bit of rye is present as well.

The roasted malts fill the taste buds before the bittering hops take over. Has a slight tobacco taste to it in the swallow.

Medium bodied with a gentle sweetness early on followed by an aggressive bitter and even a note of mint deep in finish. Actually a bit cola-like as it warms.

I don't care much for the style, but this wasn't bad. There was a bit of rye in the nose, but never in the taste and it was somewhat less Scottish than I expected, which was a welcome surprise.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2011 02:27:24 | More by RickS95
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 brianjay


3.63/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to shaker glass: Caramel colored body, with muddy brown hues and a thin, spotty head.
Aroma is minimal; some pie crust smells from the malt-heavy body.
Sweet bread and biscuit flavors are strong.
Finish comes off a bit sour and dries the tongue. The body is smooth and balanced.
Over all: a simple beer, inspired by Scotch ale style but lighter in body, flavor and heat making a crowd-pleasing cold weather beer; easy to go through a few in a sitting.


Serving type: bottle

12-26-2011 22:07:09 | More by brianjay
Photo of Pegasus


4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy amber brown with a small, persistent off-white head, with thick, utterly glass-coating lace, and an abundance of slow-rising carbonation.

Aroma; Lots of earth, caramel, a bit of smoke, and sweet alcohol.

Taste: Opens with dark bread malt and earth, soon followed by brown sugar, and then dark fruit. As the taste progresses, smoky peat notes appear, accompanied by a mild burnt note, like over caramelized molasses. Finishes with a mild, almost subtle herbal bitterness.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A very pleasant example of a Scottish Ale, very satisfying on a cool, dark day.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce brown glass long neck bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a standard Pilsener glass.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2011 19:07:58 | More by Pegasus
Photo of KTCamm

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single in GCT and enjoyed later at home in a pint glass.

Pours deep cherry brown with white foam that settles down to 1/8 inch. Malty smell. Chocolate notes and caramel. Sweet malty taste, smooth, light carbonation. Full rich flavor. Easy winter drinker & flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 14:44:26 | More by KTCamm
Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 935 ratings.