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Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

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1,080 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,080
Reviews: 480
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 13.41%
Wants: 20
Gots: 90 | 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: Todd on 12-02-2006

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: 1,080 | Reviews: 480 | Display Reviews Only:
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 Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a nice looking deep red color. The head was fizzy and white. The lacing was minimum. The smell of the beer had a lot of malts on the nose, it was also pretty sweet smelling. The taste had lots of malts in there, big caramel flavors and some toasted bread aromas. The taste was of brown sugars and malts. The aftertaste was sweet and dry. The mouthfeel was smooth and semi-thick feeling. Overall this beer was pretty good all around I thought.

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a fairly clear copper-red color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades slowly down to a thin layer leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is full of sweet toasted caramel malts and some bready scents. There is also a bit of copper, some spices, and just a touch of light fruits.

T - Starts off with a mix of some bready flavor and some toasted caramel malt. There is also a bit of yeast and spice in the background. Through the middle, the spices and yeast get a bit stronger and some fruit flavors comes through. The finish is a mix of sweet caramel and a bit of fruit that lingers nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and crisp. The finish has a nice level of sweet flavors that lingers.

D - Very drinkable. The beer feels really smooth and well balanced. Could use a bit more kick, but there is enough flavor to keep it interesting and it does not feel too watery.

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 AlexanderSelby
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks handsome. Deeps amber, healthy lasting head. Smells of caramel malts, slightly buttery. It has a distinguishable pop for it's style as a Scottish Ale, my guess is from the Willamette Hops, which tend to add a splash of light hearted earthiness, pine and some citrus to a beer. I appreciate that hoppy twist on the beer because it keeps it from being intensely malty and sweet.The hops add a slight twang on the back-end, almost a touch sour. Could be because I am getting this Winter beer late in the season, but regardless, it is there, and I kind of like it. The malts, which throughout all of this, take the forefront and give a caramel meets biscuit kind of flavor. The palette is a touch sweeter than desired.

All in all, this is a Scottish Ale with a certain hop bite. The Scottish part I like, the hoppy part I like, but the two don't seem to tango as nicely as I would have hoped. While I do not dislike this brew, I have no reason to go back to any time soon.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The bottle states the beer is best by May, 2011. Pours an amber red with minimal head, and plenty of active carbonation.

Has a minimal aroma, with hints of caramel and toffee, minimal spice, cinnamon and apple.

Somewhat malty, mildly yeasty, some apple, slightly sour, woodiness, with a somewhat tannic feel.

Medium bodied, a bit sour but not bitter.

This beer is OK, but certainly not a favorite. Brooklyn certainly has better offerings than this.

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

Brownish orange with a hint of red. A bit of head with low retention. Spicey, light phenolics, bready malt, dark fruit. Malty but a little lacking. In the mouth it feels a little thin and a little flat. Seems like the mouth feel and carbonation effect the taste negatively. Overall, not a bad beer but I wish it tasted as good as it smells..

Photo of AleEvangelist
2.12/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a rich copper. Almost no head retention.

Aroma: Aroma is sour malt/sour apple. No hops to speak of. Some alcohol fumes when inhaled deeply.

Flavor: Malt, but nothing distinctive. Slight sourness throughout, but pronounced on the finish. No hops in the least, sadly. Almost as though they were attempting to avoid hops, which is lamentable. The malt its too sour, almost like they're using a lambic yeast, or trying to make a saison.

Mouthfeel: Some carbonation on the palate, but doesn't cut the sweetness enough. Not cloying, due to the sourness. Still some syrup mouthfeel.

Overall: Not overly pleased with this beer. Hard to actually determine what they're trying to do with it. Is it a saison? Does it want to be a scotch ale when it grows up? Unfortunately, it does none of these styles well.

Photo of bubseymour
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Reddish copper color with 1 finger fizzy head that disappears quickly

Smell - floral and similiar to some Belgian Ales I've sampled

Taste - well balanced, flavorful yet not hoppy or bitter at all

Mouthfeel - Nice

Overall - the flavors and style isnn't my usual cup of tea, but this was an easy and pleasant beer none the less. If offered I would definitely be glad to take one and enjoy but with so many other options out there I doubt I would buy again.

Photo of peensteen
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of chickenflea
3.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a dark amber color with a minuscule off white head. Nose is lightly nutty with a sweet malt note. Some spicy notes here as well. Flavor is sweet with woody, earthy overtones Sweet like cinnamon. Texture is medium. Long finish with no distracting aftertastes. Taste is consistent throughout the swallow. Overall a good beer. I was hoping for a little more spiciness or complexity, but this beer is strongly malty.

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

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: brown with a 2 finger mocha head

Smell: smokey, sweet malts,

Taste: some smoke not as much as you smell, sweet malts,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, smooth

Drinkability: easy to drink as long as you can get past the smoke flavor.



Photo of brystmar
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: looks like an amber ale, pours about a finger of thick white head with poor retention. Zero lace.

S: sweet malts, pretty simple. Pleasant while the head remained, but dissipated quickly as the head retreated.

T/M: richly malted flavor, backed up by a thin and boring mouthfeel. Caramel too. Tastes more alcoholic than it is, but doesn't have boozy warmth at all -- honestly tastes like it should bite more, if that makes any sense.

D: mouthfeel and lack of complexity lend to high marks here. First time I had this brew was on draft in the city and I remember thinking similarly of its on-tap version. A solid choice when out socially at a non-beergeek bar, but this won't make it onto my shelf at home anytime soon.

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

The pour was very nice, rich dark copper colored amber with a good amount of cloudiness thrown into it. Rich looking color here with a creamy off white head that reached a height of very close to two inches before settling back down into a creamy filled side glass look.

The aroma was richly sweet, and it was obvious from the start that this was a malt filled monster for sure. Some light, earthy hops, but mostly a bready and earthy malt profile that was subtly sweet. The flavor carried this over very well, and was very one sided for a scotch ale. None of the big, rich notes that I am accustomed to, rather it was bready malts with hints of grains and light earth notes that stole the show here. Really decent profile as the medium body lacked a touch of carbonation but it was still not showing up really flat in anyway. An easy gulper I had no issue with throwing down this bottle with no time at all.

Overall it was not bad, rather ehh, but still better then a lot of the style. I would not really have a problem with trying this one again if it was sent to me. Definitely an interesting take on the style.

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.

Photo of BeefyMee
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Dark burnt orange color to the body. Head is ok. No lacing.

S: Huge chewy malts with a little smokiness.

T: Robust, earthy malts dominate. There's a an odd booziness without the alcoholic bite that hangs around through the finish and aftertaste.

M: Nothing to complain about.

D: A solid beer that's quite sessionable even at 6%.

I like the idea of a Scottish style winter ale. I wish they did a little more with 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 seanyfo
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle poured into standard pint sleeve.
BBE end of feb 2011

A- Dark toffee mahogany body with excellent clarity, with 3 finger creamy head reducing to a 1 finger layer with good lacing.

S- Slightly metallic, caramel malt dominates, biscuity notes come through underneath.

T- Malt dominates but is understated, a little alcohol in the finish although i may be mistaking this for a trace of hop bite - this is unclear. Finish i would say is medium dry.

M- Low carbonation, medium body

D- Looks good, smell good, but perhaps a little lacking in richness on the palate and moutfeel a little thin. Pleasant enough though!

Photo of treehouse
2.94/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

moderately amber...

smells like chestnuts and malt with a bit of clove sweetness..

mouthed: sour sweetness...tangy...real tangy..lemony...roasted malts...some kind of wood in there...the first interesting beer i have had in a while...not an all day drinker though...6.1%....coppery...the alcohol is not brave but also not hidden..it comes between sips...

Photo of CuriousMonk
2.5/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From winter brew tasting notes (2010): Pours a clear amber with a nice 2 to 3 finger head, not a lot of retention and lacing. Malt heavy smell. A little bit of graininess coming through. Tastes malty as the smell gives on, very light up front. A bit of earthiness comes through. Maybe a touch of hops. Light to medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. This one didn't put it together for me.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.58/5  rDev 0%
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.

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

About the only thing I'll agree with here is the "Winter" tag. Can't see drinking this any other time, save for maybe Thanksgiving - but then again I'd much rather be drinking their Post Road Pumpkin. It's (this Winter Ale...) cold, clear, pale light-burgundy hue hints at its supposed style.

Smell: a weird hybrid of spicy (phenolic) German bock maltiness and English dark mild fruity esters. On the weak-side, and if you chose to stop or continue based on the appeal of its smell, I wouldn't hesitate to push this aside.

Too much Belgian fruitiness to classify this as a Scottish ale, sorry. That said, it's okay. A bit minty, is that? The malt presence is big and full, mildly muffin, and quite alright, but the dry, vanishing, vaguely chalky finish (which IS British-ish) and a vaguely perfumy, herb-like, lightly pungent lingering spice in the aftertaste preclude the enjoyment of whatever goodies the malt had to offer. Reaffirming what I stated before, the flavor profile categorically says "Winter Warmer", but of a Belgian bent. Scottish ale?...hmph.... A wee too much cinnamon/brown sugar tones (only a few specks) for that.

Interesting - I'll give 'em that. I let it warm up long, and it brought out the best. A little too muted and restrained.

2.73/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle to pint glass.

A: A creamy textured, sandy colored head 3 1/2 fingers high is produced on a pour staright down the middle of the glass. Very long lasting. The body has remarkable clarity showcasing its dark amber-tawny color. Thick web-like lacing is left from the head, with only a spare amount being contributed from the body of the beer.

S: The malt bill is the highlight of the aroma and it is fairly dynamic. A combination of toasted toffee, molasses and cookie is supported by the light chocolate underneath. Notes of worn leather solidify the yeast presence. The hops play the background as expected, providing hints of herbs and resin.

T: Dark fruits of prunes, dates and red raisins come forward on the palate with more discreet suggestions of toffee and buttered rum. Brooklyn's Winter Ale is heavily sweet, presumably from high a level of unfermentable sugars, which makes the lack of bitterness seem grossly out of scale.

M: Instead of a rich mouthfeel, the body suffers from being too thin plus a texture that is slick and oily. A more aggressive level of carbonation would have been helpful, as would have a more bitterness.

D: Twelve ounces is enough for me.

Photo of Thads324
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful amber color with a small amount of off-white head. nice and clear and just looks really rewarding. The aroma is bready and sweet with a hint of smokiness. Little to no hop aroma is present. There is a bit of burnt toffee at the tail end. Taste starts solid and sweet, then hits with the light hop in the middle, followed up by a smoked malt bomb that stays through the end of the swallow. The mouthfeel is good but not great, lingers and feels full bodied, but it almost seems like the carbonation is separated from the flavor of the beer, like a carb drop homebrew. Just a little weird in my opinion. drinkability is great for a 6% beer.

An ok option for someone looking for something new, but nothing to rave about and lacks the solid caramel I love from scottish styles.

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.

Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 1,080 ratings.