1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

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

968 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 968
Reviews: 463
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 13.33%
Wants: 19
Gots: 40 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brooklyn Winter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 968 | Reviews: 463 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of EgadBananas
3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The look on this thing is great. Nice dark copper/mahogany with a light tan near finger of head.

Aroma is straight forward malts and sweetness.

Lots of malts on the taste. Slight caramel and smoke. There is a hint of hops in the back.

Upper light in body. Creamy. Slightly coating. It's nice.

Great drinability. It's easy going, and tasty.

EgadBananas, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of cosmicevan
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.

cosmicevan, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of SkunkWorks
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.

SkunkWorks, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. Dark copper in color, and slightly hazy. Crazy thick off-white/orangey colored head that provides some pretty decent lacing.

Smell is pretty good, slight step down. Very malty, similar to a bock without the alcohol touch. As just mentioned, very malty, hit of Belgian Aromas to it, not bad.

Taste is good, much like the smell, it's extremely malty. English crystal malts and Belgian malts primarily. Not very hoppy, slightly there because it has a slight citrus zest bitterness, but not very strong. Not your average Scottish Ale flavor, but still a quality beer.

Mouthfeel is good, could be a little better. I find many Scottish Ales to be a little creamy and this drifts off a bit further from the trend. Certainly full bodied, with a slight bitter finish. No alcohol bite and good carbonation levels. Drinkability is good. All in all another quality beer from Brooklyn Brewery.

AndyAvalanche, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of adamette
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased as a single at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor, Ohio for the odd price of $1.34 that is a result of Wally's (owner) policy of charging 1/6 the cost of a six pack for singles. Poured into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass with a "best before" date of May 2010 printed on the side. I am consuming this during the evening of July 1, 2010 so it is a month or two beyond the "best before" date. We'll see if that is a factor.

A Translucent light caramel color under a nice, creamy head which is appropriate to the style. Fair to good lacing raises the bar a bit. 3.5

S Nice, organic malt presence to the smell without a lot of obvious hops. It is true to style and I rather like this smell. 4.0

T A solid, middle of the road scotch ale which delivers on the muted, moderately sweet malt and the hops which are firmly in the background. Scotch ales, to me, have an "amber" quality to their taste and this is no exception. 3.0

M Minimally sticky, syrupy to the feel. This is appropriate to the style but not particularly adventurous or inspiring. 3.0

D Quite good I would think, especially in the winter time when it was meant to be consumed. 4.0

Notes: This one is one or two months past its stated prime. I suppose that I might present better if it was not past its prime, or on tap. I would say based on the bottle that I consumed that it is a solid scotch ale.

adamette, Jul 02, 2010
Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: It poured rather dark amber in color with a thin white head. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There is a moderate sweet aroma of toasted and caramel malts in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the aroma and has lots of malty sweetness with notes of caramel flavors.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and rather creamy and smooth.
D: This beer is one that can be quickly consumed. It's rather sessionable, particularly during the colder weather months.

metter98, May 27, 2010
Photo of jwinship83
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from the most recent year poured into a standard american pint glass.

A- this one pours out a rich brown colored body with an off white colored head. the head lasts for a while and leaves behind tiny rings of lacing.

S- theres plenty of caramel notes coming from my glass. some of its sweet, and some seems to smell burnt. small amounts of cherries and plums in here also. i think i smell some grassy hops at the end.

T- once again, plenty of caramel. sweet and burnt. a little bit of toffee in here also. the fruits i could smell are back in the taste. the hop finish is light and grassy with a bit of earthiness as well.

M- medium to full bodied. pretty smooth. well carbonated.

D- an interesting idea for a winter seasonal. not many breweries are doing a scotch ale for their winter beer. id probably come back to this one again next year.

jwinship83, May 17, 2010
Photo of DrDemento456
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well I have been looking for this winter warmer for a while now and it popped up a little late at my local mix a six place. Still best before April 2010 makes me a bit nervous...

A - What a relief to see no sediment and a good head with lacing! Pours a dark copper. A great looking Scottish ale.
S - Dark fruits and biscuit malt play hand in hand. Slight bitter smell with age but it doesn't look like it will affect taste.
T - Smooth semi sweet raisin or plum with bready taste.
M - Creamy yet bitter. Alcohol doesn't affect me as much as other Scottish ales do.
D - May need a fresh one and will update review but overall a pretty solid brew.

DrDemento456, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of generallee
4.35/5  rDev +20.8%
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.

generallee, Apr 26, 2010
Photo of matjack85
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this single 12oz brown bottle in the discount bin at the Binny's in Plainfield, IL for 99¢. Since this is supposed to be a winter seasonal beer and this is now April, I hope it's only in the discount bin to make room for the spring brews and not because it's past its prime.

The beer poured a perfectly clear amber red color that made a 3-finger foamy white head. The head hung around awhile and left some spotty lacing on the glass as I drank it. Pretty good in the appearance department.

Very faint malt smell to this and that's about it.

I liked the malty, bready flavor of this. Their web site says they use four different malts, a single hop variety, and oats to get this combination of flavors. I mostly get a roasted caramely sweetness and dark bread flavor, but some tartness is in there as well, and then a little hop bitterness makes its way through to help balance it out. It's pretty good.

It's medium bodied with only moderate carbonation, and the 6% abv is not even detectable, so it's an easy drinker.

matjack85, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of Dixonian
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Didn't get to try this one last winter so I was happy to find it in a build a six pack cooler. Poured into a Sam Adams Winter Ale glass.

Very little head but has a nice deep amber color. Smell didn't just jump out at me-definately not an in your face aroma. Very decent flavor-not as sweet as some winter warmers especially up front which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Nice and malty-smooth. I could drink a few of these in a night.

All in all not my favorite winter beer but by far not my least favorite. Would definately but this again.

Dixonian, Apr 17, 2010
Photo of Shamgar
3.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finshing off the rest of this year's batch before it goes bad. Poured into a Guiness pint glass. The first one is slightly warmed so I should be getting all of the flavors and the smells here...

A- Nice. Good head at first, but it does die down after a few minutes. Not much lacing BUT, I love the color. Beautiful amber, very clear, looks tasty.

S- Not bad. Mostly malts here, but there is a hint of spice, maybe cinamon??? Who knows.

T- Sweet malts are the dominant flavor here. They definetly used some kind of spice to break up the the one dimensional taste of malt, but it isn't strong enough to lift this thing out of the average zone. Could be better.

M- Not bad goes down smoothly, but the finsih is a little watery to me.

D- Easy to drink. Sessionable for sure.

If you are holding on to any it will probably be past it's best by date after this month, so drink up or toss it.

Shamgar, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of mostpoetsdo
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.

mostpoetsdo, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of TonyReaves
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a perfectly clean copper with a 1-finger head. Nice and malty nose, but again, clean. Maris otter, not crystal, and no yeast smell here.

This is a clean English ale. Starts sweet. Some diacetyl the finish, but less than in most Maine beers. Far from cloying, the finish is crisp with a little hop bite. Reminds me a lot of Geary's Pale Ale.

I feel like I'm missing out by not having this on cask. Still, tasty and sessionable. The kind of beer I'd love to buy a keg of.

TonyReaves, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of BeanBone
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A crystal-clear reddish-orange body capped by over a finger of creamy off-white head with good retention lacing.

Aroma: Dark fruit and toasty caramel malt with some hints of sticky toffee pudding.

Flavor: The spotlight here is on a somewhat thin, earthy, and caramel malt body. Accompanying the malt is some mild brassy hops that balance everything a bit. There's a slightly metallic flavor throughout that tends to annoy. Biscuity malt and a little dark fruit in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: A medium, slightly creamy body with sharpish carbonation. Dries a bit in the finish.

Drinkability: A highly quaffable brew, this is something you could easily session on a winter's eve.

Verdict: Straightforward and easily drinkable, though ultimately just a little thin and coppery, Brooklyn Winter Ale is a slightly uninspiring winter seasonal. If there was some smokiness and peat character mixed in, this could be a solid Scottish Ale.

BeanBone, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of stewart124
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber with a thin white head.

Smells of caramel, biscuit, and slight floral aromas.

The taste is very clean with a big malt backbone. Lots of mouthfeel and fairly high carbonation. There is a sweetness that just sticks to the back of my tongue and roof of my mouth. There is very little hop presence but this isn't overally sweet or one dimensional. Plenty of biscuit flavors and caramel sweetness to tide me over.

The aftertaste is still a lingering sweetness with a bit of tart. Some fruity esters linger as well.

Easy drinking winter ale and another good one from Brooklyn. This is a solid scottish ale and doesn't lift your kilt up but it is still very nice.

stewart124, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of semibaked
3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass from the bottle.

A - Pours a very nice dark copper color with slight carbonation and about 2 inches of head and fades quickly.

S - Smells of light malts, wet cardboard and faint prune juice. Not the most appealing smell ever.

T - Raisins, slight acidity and prunes. Definitely the most different Scotch Ale I have had, more like a brown to me but a little lighter.

M - Pretty thin for a Scotch Ale was expecting more body.

D - Pretty easy drinking but not too much like the style it claims to be.

semibaked, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of FreshHawk
3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Deep mahogany or amber with an average sized creamy white head.

S - Fairly light. Smells of caramel/toffee malts along with a bit of molasses, a bit of fruit (mostly apple), as well as some spice and woody scents.

T - Follows the nose but stronger. Bready and sweet malts with a bit of fruitiness (again predominantly apple). The smoky woody flavors are also a bit stronger than the smell, but aren't overly present. Some spiced flavors in there. Mostly a slightly spiced sweet dark bready taste.

M - Medium body and medium carbonation. Slightly creamy and pretty smooth.

D - Alright, not really inspiring me to grab another one, but if another one were in front of me I would drink it.

Notes: Not overly Scottish in flavor, more of a dark sweet bread. Decent beer though.

FreshHawk, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of KalH
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One finger off white head upon pouring into glassware.
Very malty aroma and a nice amber roasted color to the body.
The taste was of malt, yeast, and caramel with a slighty sour/bitter finish.
Medium carbonation and good overall body. Another nice offering by Brooklyn Brewery.

KalH, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of JMD
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear dark brown with light reddish tones. Small off-white that fades quickly.

S: Bready malt with some carmel sweetness.

T: The bready flavors are most pronounced for me. Tastes like rye and sourdough bread. Followed by some carmel, brown sugar and malty sweetness. Finishes with some light hops.

M: Medium to full bodied with ample carbonation.

D: This is good winter ale, but not my favorite style. As with some other Brooklyn beers, I find the bready character too pronounced. That said, it's still enjoyable and a quality ale.

JMD, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of BatDaddy
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a red-tinted clear and clean brown. Just under two fingers of frothy white head settles down into a light lace. Small bit of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - Smell is not particularly strong, but pleasant. A strong malt sweetness dominates, with some slight hints of dark fruit.

T - Strong sweet malt, slightly roasted flavors. Balanced well with some herbal hoppiness. Just a little bit of spiciness. Nice and not overly complex.

M - A bit light bodied for my tastes, and I would expect a bit of a heavier mouthfeel for a Scottish Ale. Carbonation is just a hair on the heavy side. That said, it doesn't detract all that much from the experience.

D - Good. I could knock back a few of these. I wouldn't go to any major lengths to seek this one out again, but I would purchase again for sure.

BatDaddy, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of Andreji
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Stopped at the whole foods @ columbus circle in the upper west side. seeing as it was still winter (as my walk past a snowy central park could confirm) I went for this one i'd held out on a few days ago at another place.

a good beer by all means. pour is dark toned, tilting towards a brownish hue above an amber. generous frothy tan head, but dissipates quite quickly.

Smell's what's best in this. quite strong and far-reaching, very full malty metallic-sweet feel on an alcohol background. is this a barleywine or something? nice, indeed.

Taste is good, but not great. brooklyn tends to mellow it down a bit at times, playing it safer towards the midline and I think they cut the wings off of this one a bit....could be stronger, perfectly correlatable to the nose. but it's more grainy full-bodied and hoppy than it is sweet-liquorey. Heck i dunno, maybe it's even better to have this contrast.

I think this is by all means a fine winter ale, lucky I gots myself a few for the next days.

Andreji, Feb 05, 2010
Photo of strictly4DK
4.13/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into my Duck Rabbit pint glass.

A - Pours dark amber and translucent. Thinner appearance than most scottish ales. 1 finger white head, pillowy at first but recedes to a thin film. Small amounts of lacing.

S - Hints of peat smoke and malty sweetness. A few whirls of the glass gives off some fruit and spicy hops.

T - And, wow, there's the advertised maltiness. Coffee, nutty, and toasty. Hints of candy, fruit esters, light smoke, honey, and molasses. Balanced exquisitely by the spicy, herbal Willamette hops. Very complex and nothing offensive.

M - Thin bodied, carbonation is low and tends to a creamy mouthfeel. Sweet malts and herbal hops linger on the palate.

D - ABV is fairly low but for some reason this beer will sneak up on you. Probably the big flavors soothing you into a beer euphoria. Not the most remarkable scottish ale but solid in every respect.

strictly4DK, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of Mosstrooper
4.13/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into Macado's "Halloween 2009" American pint glass.

AppearanceL Pours copper with many bubbles along the sides of the glass and a fairly large off-white head that dissipates slowly and leaves little lace.

Smell: Very malty. Sweet caramel aromas with hints of fruits and candy.

Taste: Bready flavors up front, finishing with heavy malt sweetness and very light bitterness. Sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and sort of chewy, with a sticky finish.

Drinkability: A very good, tasty, drinkable beer. Perfect for winter.

Mosstrooper, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of goblet
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

got a six pack of Brooklyn's winter ale and poured one of the bottles(best before apr 2010) out into a glass.

it looks dark reddish brown, clear with a big cloud white foamy head that fades slowly to a ring around the glass.

sweet caramel malt type of an aroma ,with some fruits like plums and apples in the background . toasted malts and grains scent this smell very nice and soft on the nose.

a healthy dose of light and toasted malts.the flavor is a bit bitter from the yeast and alochol.grains and oats boast the taste up a notch.

a rather light body feel ,a slght bitter aand grainy after taste.

if you can find it pick up a sixer and find out how drinkable it can be.its smooth rich malts speaks for itself nice and freshing.. cheers.

goblet, Jan 30, 2010
Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 968 ratings.