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Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

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1,090 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,090
Reviews: 482
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 13.41%
Wants: 20
Gots: 103 | 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: 1,090 | Reviews: 482
Photo of DeadGuyRyan
2.59/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a beautiful deep yet transparent browns with great hints of red.

Smell: Smells of malt and syrup definitely a scotch ale slight hints of spice. Hoppy and perfume as well.

Taste: Over all similar to the smell caramel hints in the beer I was not really impressed with the taste it came off as unbalanced and did not really leave a lasting impression or aftertaste.

My first brooklyn ale in a way kind of what I expected but I want to see what else they have to offer.

Photo of rlee1390
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottled poured into my Dogfish Head Pint glass

A-Clear brown with a 1/2 finger foam head that dissipates quickly.

S-Sweet malt flavors.

T-Very sweet, has a hint of toasty flavors.

M-Heavy with some carbonation

D-Quite drinkable a decent winter beer.

Photo of jkrich
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, reddish brown with orange highlights. The foamy off-white head lingers a bit then quickly faded; minimal lacing.
The aroma was sharply perfumy with a strong malty presence as well as a little alcohol. It vaguely reminded me of whiskey.
This is a very satisfying, refreshing Scottish ale that uses a nice mixture of hops to keep the sweet malty flavor balanced. The flavors are chocolate, caramel as well as hints of butterscotch. Given this description, one would suppose this to be rather cloying; it is not. Again, hops keep this one fairly sessionable.
Lighter bodied than most of this style with zesty carbonation. In fact, the mouthfeel is a little too thin.
This is a stylish winter ale that one could enjoy over a long, dark winter evening; a very good effort by this brewery.

Photo of Morey
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This year's ABV is 6.1% (2010).

This beer poured reddish brown in color with the reds coming through most when it's held up to the light. Brilliant clarity with a one finger off-white head. Head settled rather quickly to a very thin lace. Ok head retention, but nothing to write home about.

Smell is smooth and malty and somewhat mild. Typical for the style.

Taste is smooth and creamy like most scotch ales, but there's a nice hop bite in the front which makes it all the more enjoyable.

Medium to full bodied mouthfeel. The carbonation might be just a touch high on this one.

I could easily drink a sixer of these during a football game.

Morey's Bottom Line: Nothing that I have to get every year or anything, but I certainly don't mind when I do. As far as the style goes, this is an above average scotch ale.

Photo of cbutova
3.52/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark red with a small, creamy light tan cap that has decent retention. A small cloud stays atop the ale while a ring leaves no lace at all.

S- Caramel mixed with deep syrupy dark fruit. Has a sort of toasty/nutty brown ale edge to it as well.

T- Heavily malty with big notes of grain, dark fruit (cranberry, cherry), caramel and some toasted nuts. Somewhat of a grassy hint in there. Slightly buttery. Citrus zest in here too.

MF- Moderate body with a nice creamy feel to it. Carbonation is pretty much silky and smooth. Slight bitterness. Even a bit tart.

DB- Definitely carries the traits of a Scottish ale while still drinking fairly easily. Not something I would buy a lot of but still pretty nice.

Photo of devinoconnor
2.36/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Living in the NYC metro for the past 5 years, I've always wanted to like Brooklyn Brewery's beers, but the reality is it's pretty tough. The lager is OK, but I was excited to try their Winter Ale.

Unfortunately, it comes up real short. The taste is stale and boring. Almost like a water-down version of a good winter beer.


Photo of mattsdenney
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a New Belgium globe glass. "Best before 2011" printed on bottle.

A: Amber colored w/ a one-finger head.

S: Malt, dried fruit.

T: Strong malt taste with a hint of grainy alcohol. Dried fruit after-taste lingers.

M: Medium body, slightly carbonated and dry.

D: Very drinkable. Not the typical spicy Christmas ale if that's what you're expecting.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.72/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Clear orange amber color. Just over one finger of frothy/creamy hybrid head. Retention is poor and leaves touches of spotty lacing.

4.0 S: Malts are overall biscuity and somewhat bready. Toffee, caramel, toasty. Light raisin fruitiness. Mild hoppiness that is grassy if anything in particular. Good, but could be stronger.

3.5 T: Aromas mesh more elegantly than the tastes. Moderate bitterness, more so than I would expect in this style. Malts are still mildly biscuity, but are more grainy than anything. Toastiness is there, but the toffee and caramel aren't as strong as in the nose. Hops are spicy.

3.5 M: Medium body. Carbonation is a bit more aggressive than I'd like. Otherwise, no problems.

4.0 D: Not as flavorful, but also not as cloying, as a lot of Scottish ales. Good enough for another one.

Photo of russwbeck
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear amber with a nice 2 to 3 finger head, not a lot of retention and lacing.

S: Malt heavy smell. A little bit of graininess coming through.

T: Tastes malty as the smell gives on, very light up front. A bit of earthiness comes through. Maybe a touch of hops.

MF: Light to medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation.

D: Not quite the best winter beer, but good overall.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.47/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a ruddy amber with golden highlights and a slim and sudsy beige head. Nice hue, head is a disappointment.

Smell -- Toasted malt, caramel, biscuity grain, dark cherries, faint date and prune, hard water, and floral hops.

Taste -- Quite malty up front with husky grain, golden toast, kettle corn, and a tinge of dark fruits. Additional flavors of hay, earthy peat, Hops are largely floral, almost perfumey, with a bit of cut grass and spice. Lingering flavors of toasted malt and grassy hops.

Mouthfeel -- Medium in body with moderate prickly carbonation. It leaves somewhat of a chalky coating on the mouth.

Drinkability -- Not too bad, though I'd say it's pretty middle-of-the-pack. Drinkability is good, but it's not thrilling. Flavor profile is a bit flat, and lacking some of the caramelized malt flavor that typifies the style. I can think of several other Scottish ales I'd choose over this, most of them being year-round offerings.

Photo of anotherpg
3.13/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big head on pour which disappears shortly thereafter. The color is reddish brown. Smells and tastes of malt and is sweet only in the first taste, then is rather dry. Drinks better than it tastes by which I mean a pleasant but not overly memorable experience, with no "winter" spices or odd distractions added. This is almost like drinking a Newcastle Brown Ale: a passable but not overly memorable ale. I'd say Sierra Nevada or Full Sail produce Winter Ales of greater character and interest but if you like the Brooklyn Brown, you'll like this one fine too.

Photo of NODAK
2.96/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The aroma wasn't overwhelming at all. Another reviewer said it reminded him of Yuengling, and I sadly have to agree. Smells of faint roasted malt...and even corn, though I know that isn't in this beer.

The taste was completely different, however. There's some lightly roasted malts certainly present on the body....but there's a definite note of smokiness to it as well. At first I wanted to say it was as if somebody put a shot of Scotch in it...it's pretty different. The finish is pretty clean, though, with just a tad of hop bitterness reporting. A small amount of residual smokiness hangs around after the swallow along with a faint grain note.

It's an interesting choice for a winter beer. While others seem to rely on thicker, sweeter beers for winter seasonals, this is not like that at all. I'm not a huge fan of smoky beers and didn't think that this beer was otherwise all that noteworthy...but it's far from bad.

Photo of TangTKE402
3.64/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured form a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. A frothy, 1-finger head appeared, and then evaporated in less than a minute. What remained is a dark, reddish-brown beer that is crystal clear with a few bubbles drifting upwards.

The aroma is mostly of toasted malts, yeast and some slight roasted nuts.

The flavor is robust, malty, and a touch earthy. On the front, this beer has a big caramel malt flavor, and as the beer sits back on the tongue a more roasted, earthy, baked-potato flavor and texture follows through. The swallow leaves an apple cider vinegar sweetness/tartness on the tongue that thins out an otherwise good flavor.

Mouthfeel is a touch raw, crunchy, and watery all at the same time.

This is a beer you can have a few of, but there are better winter ales out there to be certain.

Photo of Frosty80
3.39/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: sits clear dark copper with small head that dissolves quickly

Smell: sweet, bready malt with light fruitiness. light European hop aroma. light roastiness and diacetyl

Flavor: malty, with hint of fruitiness, roast and diacetyl. very light hop flavor. finish has a light bitterness and pils malt character

Mouthfeel: light-medium body with light-medium carbonation

Notes: just has that pils malt quality, maybe its the diacetyl. whatever it is tastes average, like they are more concerned with just getting it out the door. love a few of their offerings but overall just think they do average brews.

Photo of mmonagh1
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from a 12 0z bottle into a pint glass. Good carbonation and clarity. Copper to red in color. 1 inch head, with tight cells. Decent retention; no Belgian Lace on the glass. Overall, inviting pour and look.

Aroma: Pleasant, w/ a sweet, roasty malt fragrance without the fruity, flowery, spicy aroma of many Winter Ales.

Taste: Consistently good beginning, middle and end, with a particularly smooth finish and no distracting alcohol taste. It isn't bitter but you can appreciate the hops. It has a nice roasted, subtle malt flavor. Of note, it doesn't have any of the scented candle effect of some winter or pumpkin ales.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and very smooth.

Drinkability: I usually don't drink Winter ales because I often find the spices overwhelming. This ale doesn't have that distraction, so I will gladly have another.

Photo of pasdachuri
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown with ruby highlights and not much of a head.

Smell is very malty; rich, sweet caramel aromas.

Like the nose, caramel and toasted malts up front while finishing sweet and clean. Smooth, velvet-like mouthfeel.

Drinkability is OK but I would need to mix a couple dry lagers or one hoppy pale ale in the mix to drink these all night.

Photo of wcintula
2.72/5  rDev -24%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a tumbler pint. Toffee colored beer with a quick receding head. Smells and tastes very malty with a strong toffee-like flavor. No hops noted in smell or taste. Pretty thick body, velvety feel on the tongue, booze well-hidden. I won't go back for more of these.

Photo of lwootton
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured a medium brown (into a St. Arnold shaker pint), two finger width head that dissipated quickly to a thin layer of foam.

Aroma: Malty, sweet, and just a hint of something metallic like iron.

Taste: A medium malty base with a strongly sweet presence on top and an overtone of something like spices. Very robust overall.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonated, and velvety.

Drinkability: Excellent. Great solo beer, would be good as a session beer.

Photo of BMoldy
4.07/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber with a soft, one-finger head that disappears rather quickly and leaves very little lacing. Smells strongly of toasted malts, with substantial spice notes. The taste is dark, rich and earthy, with some pleasant initial sweetness. A touch smoky as well. The malt predominates, but is well-balanced with a dash of oily hops that helps make the body full and robust. A crisp mouthfeel keeps the beer from feeling too sticky or muddy.

A very delicious winter ale, and my (I think) first Scottish. I too was surprised to find that there are no spices in it, which makes it pretty special to me, and I was very pleased with its deep flavor profile. Pairs very well with some of the more hoppy winter ales like Celebration. I have no doubt that I will buy -and enjoy- this again.

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

12oz bottle into a Coca Cola glass, been a while for me, years.

Brooklyn Winter boasts a caramel brown color with orange edges and some faint rising bubbles. Up top, a nice amount of foamy suds that are mediumish tan with fullness. It goes down quick but can be brought back to life. Smelling this, I was like what the hell does this smell like, and then it hit me, Lager, Yuengling lager to be exact. No hop scent, just caramel, malt and some grain. The corn is missing and Im thankful for that. Well, going in im surprised that yes, this indeed tastes like Yuengling Lager, down to a T. A bit richer though. The feel is medium, smooth, and easy, carb is minimal, just a touch letting you know this is alive, no bite, no bitter. I drank this pretty quick. It's simple beer for simple minded folks like me.

Photo of Tilley4
4.42/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What an awesome winter brew this is... I loved this and I'm kicking myself for not buying more....

Pours out a deep deep amber with a small head but a thick winter look to it... Rich malty appearance...

Loads of thick rich sweet caramel maltiness with a kiss of noble hops... This smells dense and thick and exactly like I want a cold weather brew to smell.. Warming and delicious...

A big sweet malt bomb... Not overly sweet like a doppelbock but sweeter than an amber... Not loaded up with spices like some others of the style... Straight forward deliciousness...

I really enjoyed this brew.. Malty and deep and delicious... Excellent seasonal brew..m. Good job, Brooklyn!

Photo of tchenery
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great reddish amber hue to the beer with a nice off-white head that is disappearing quickly. The beer is very bright and has no sediment whatsoever.

Very malty smell. Roasted scents coming through.

Very thick rich taste to the beer. It tastes like toasted marshmallows, figs, roasted nuts, and brown sugar. Not a bitter beer at all.

Nice smooth beer, very concealing of it's 6% ABV. I think it's also extremely drinkable. This might be my go-to beer for the holiday season.

Photo of EgadBananas
3.89/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of cosmicevan
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of SkunkWorks
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 1,090 ratings.