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Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

955 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 955
Reviews: 463
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 13.33%
Wants: 17
Gots: 35 | 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)
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Ratings: 955 | Reviews: 463 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of riversider76

New York

3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice time for a Winter Ale here in Buffalo. South of the city,some areas have been hit with 100 inches of snow in the past two weeks! I'm north of the city,where we have about 6 or so. 55 degrees on Christmas,and now this?? This beer pours a deep rich copper, thin head,and nice lacing. Smell is not strong,but is sweet like honey. Body is on the thin side with some carbionation. Taste is bread abd butter,with honey and molasses. Scottish Ale is not my favorite style, but this is good for a domestic.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2007 20:29:55 | More by riversider76
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.13/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark orange-caramel with more than a little carmine red; a truly wonderful color for a Scottish ale. The golden beige cap is pretty special as well. It looks like a large scoop of brown sugar mousse due to its frothy creaminess. No more than a smattering of melty lace can't begin to dampen my enthusiasm for the appearance.

The nose isn't so tremendous. It fits the style I suppose, but nothing about it makes it stand out from the Scottish crowd. It's toasted malty, lightly fruity and smells like it'll be on the sweet side rather than the bitter-dry side. A little smoked malt would have done wonders. Hold the phone. Warming opens things up considerably and makes a bump in score an easy call.

Winter Ale is delicous beer. I still think a little smokiness or even a hint of peatiness would have been great, but it's hard to argue with what has been created. As the style dictates, malt is large and in charge. The malt bill (listed above) sounds like roll-call at the U.N. Whatever their countries of origin, I like the end result of their cooperative efforts.

The flavor profile is reminiscent of well-toasted brown bread spread with apple butter and brown sugar, then drizzled with light molasses. Malt lovers should go gaga over this one. As expected, there's a sneaky sweetness that is just kept in check by spicy Willamette hops. I love the diminishing sweetness that gradually segues into a finishing bitterness.

The mouthfeel is yet another indicator of quality. Its mouthfilling creaminess allows the various flavors to find every nook and cranny on my expectant taste buds. It's probably unfair to expect more chewiness from a 6% ale, but that doesn't mean I can't dream.

Brooklyn Winter Ale is one of the best domestic Scottish ales in recent memory and is one of the best beers from this brewery that I can remember drinking. I wish now that I had grabbed a sixer rather than a single because I'd like nothing better than to crack open a second bottle right this instant.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2007 14:49:10 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Sycodrummer


4.13/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip pint the beer was a translucent mohoganny brown color with a little ruby around the edges. One finger of thick, sticky tan head formed and retained well. Some spotty lacing and no other outright signs of carbonation.

The nose is malty with hints of sweetness, caramel, and buttery toffee.

The taste has a medium-robust malty backbone with some slight sweetness to finish off each sip. Caramel flavors come through with hints of nutty toffee and an ever so slight warming finish. Sweetness intensifies a bit as the sample progresses but does not becoming cloying or over powering. An extremely well balanced beer from all angles.

Medium in body, and at times the body felt a little weak. I would have liked just a bit more firmness. The carbonation also seemed a bit high for the malty sweet style the beer is in.

All-in-all this one is a winner. A very drinkable winter offering that does not over power with alcoholic warmth or syrupy sweetness but rather delivers just tastes of each in manageable quantities to make drinking a few over the course of a cold night not a problem. Another very enjoyable offering from Brooklyn.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2007 20:04:59 | More by Sycodrummer
Photo of treehugger02010


3.2/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this 12 ounce bottle fomr a friend of mine and poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: A dark and deep brown with about one finger of "forced" head. The retention was rather poor, and thin, loose lacing all the way down.
Smell: The smell was very malty, with a stong taste of toffy, cholcate, and coffee.
Taste: There was a very very coffee taste, and it was pretty overpowering.
Mouthfeel: It went down very smooth, and very pleasant.
Drinkability: All in all, it was a fair beer.
Don't drink and review.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2007 00:58:43 | More by treehugger02010
Photo of Grundle20


4.4/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is amber in color with a minimal eggshell white head. The retention is mediocre at best but the lacing is intermittent throughout the drink.

The scent is rich with sweet caramel malt notes. I detect underlying herbal tones like heather and a little bit of nutmeg and peppery spice.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
The beer drinks crisp especially given it's focus on the malts which are full and buttery with a hint of sweetness. I'm again getting those herbal undertones of what I believe to be heather. The finish is a little bit polluted with malts which carry on in to the aftertaste but it's a pleasant malt flavor unlike something you would expect from a stout.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is hands down the easiest drinking winter beer I have had this season. It's good and full for the cold weather but it's not overly done so that all refreshing qualities have been destroyed.

Bottom Line:
Props to Brooklyn Brewing for doing something a little different for a winter ale and I think it really payed off. A pretty fine brew all in all.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2007 01:09:18 | More by Grundle20
Photo of weasbri


4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally reached the end of my six-pack of Brooklyn Winter Ale, so it's about time I reviewed it.
Nice amber color with a decent head to it. The malt comes to the forefront in the aroma, and continues as the predominant flavor. Still, it's not an overly sweet maltiness, as the hops bring in a bit of balance.
Solid warming ale for the winter months.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2007 03:08:46 | More by weasbri
Photo of lehows

New York

4.22/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Rowdy's in East Hampton. Poured a deep amber color with a fluffy and coarse off-white head. Head faded down but left nice lacing. Solid malty aromas with a nutty background. Big malt flavors with caramel, some smokiness, mild spice, and a warm alcohol sensation in the finish. Only gets better as the liquid warms. Mouthfeel was a tad thin, surprisingly, but didn't affect my overall impression of the beer much. Dangerously drinkable. Overall a wonderful beer to enjoy after a blistering cold day such as this.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2007 01:18:36 | More by lehows
Photo of jjayjaye

New York

2.55/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a dark ruby amber with a full finger orange-tan head that fades slowly. Clear with an effervescence that is keeping the head alive. Not a lot of lacing. A smoked citrus zest smell. Quite a bit of tingly carbonation and a taste reminds me of an English Bitter only slightly smoked. It tastes similar to the 2005 variety only toned down an order of magnitude. I can't finish it.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2007 22:46:11 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of cabsandking


4.35/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark amber poor and beige head of various sized bubbles. Aromas of malts, something sulfur like, and some boozy wine like esters. The flavors are all rather mild but nutty, smokey malts and roasted grains make up the majority. Other notes are figs, wheat bread, some sour dark fruits, mild oaky bourbon barrel, and some faint chocolate found way in the back. Really nice velvety mouthfeel and a touch of carbonated crispness. Some alcohol strength is detectable but not detracting and some lemon and buttery notes become apparent as it warms. This beer has a slew of nuances that seem like they’ve been mellowed like its been aged for a while.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2007 19:59:35 | More by cabsandking
Photo of hreb


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

12oz bottle is stamped best before April 2007. Cold beer poured into US pint glass. Beer appears a rich, deep red amber as it pours, and a dark mahogany red in the glass. Almost no head. Smells of rich caramel, toffee, and molasses or treacle. Very sweet smell which shows a lot of promise for this year's Winter Ale, if only there isn't too much residual sugar in it. We'll see...

Sharp carbonation and a crisp body contrasts with the sweet malty profile of the beer. A good bit of malt, but not a big body on this beer, and not too much bitterness, although the hops are ample. It definitely isn't sweet. There are a few strong flavors that linger on the pallette a little too long.

I like scottish ales for the buttery/milky flavor that some of them have (Belhaven on tap at the Peculiar Pub is a fine thing). That's present in here, but only in the background. This beer is crisp and more hoppy.

No lacing on the glass. Overall, this is interesting. Okay as a winter ale, okay as a scottish ale, moderately well drinkable. But if this is on sale, there's a good chance it's sitting right next to Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout and Monster ale. Pick up the other two first.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2007 03:01:59 | More by hreb
Photo of ggaughan


4.33/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This winter beer poured into a Duvel tulip with a clear brownish body and slight white head. There were touches of toasted coffee in the nose, sweet fresh brewed coffee. The taste was more of the coffee taste and although I don't drink coffee, I like the aroma and taste in my beer. The coffee taste was also mixed well with a caramel character. Despite the these big complex tastes, the beer was very easy to drink, probably due to the relatively mild abv. This beer had a nice creamy body that I think I could drink more than a few in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2007 00:39:08 | More by ggaughan
Photo of cooncat


3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sample was a 12 oz. bottle, marked "best by: April/2007" (reviewing on 1-14-07, so well within date)

A vigorous pour into a 16 oz. glass produced a deep amber colored brew, with a decent sized, creamy head, which lasted all of 5 minutes. Once gone, a swirl of the glass produced some thin cascading lacing. The nose is light and perhaps mostly malty (bread flavor?) with a slight hop note. The taste is dry, with citrus/piney hop notes coming to the fore. Mouthfeel is average, and perhaps a bit too heavy on the carbonation for my taste (especially for this style). The alcohol is well disguised by the predominant hop notes and a bready malty undercurrent.

The finish is dry, with no lingering after taste. A very drinkable offering, and a decent choice for a session beer.


Serving type: bottle

01-14-2007 22:29:37 | More by cooncat
Photo of guinness33

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice copper colour with a hearty and creamy head that leaves a mild amount of residue on the glass.

The aroma is malty, a touch sweet from caramel and some dark fruit perhaps, and a bit rubbery as well. There is also a nice bit of earth smell to it as well.

Flavour definitely hits on the fruit flavour with a bit of berry/cherry feel. The middle to the finish mixes in some of the caramel and a bit of the rubber characteristics again. Earth is noticeable but far less so here than in the aroma. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a bit slick and pretty good for the most part.

I enjoyed this one overall. Solid all around and no real complaints. A nice winter seasonal from Brooklyn.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2007 03:37:46 | More by guinness33
Photo of mmmbeer


4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle - pours a copper/garnet with medium carbonation and a fleeting head that manages to work up a collar of bubbles. It smells quite rich, with notes of caramel, chocolate, earth, molasses, leather? and a kicker of buttery diacetyl. Quite aromatic and very pleasing. The flavor retains all of these and adds a light dose of green hops on top of a medium body that has equal carbonation and finish. Overall a fine malty brew and a good example of a Scottish ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2007 21:48:45 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber body, which can lean toward either brown or red depending on the lighting. Good clarity, good carbonation. Bone china colored head starts as a level inch thick slab before dropped off to a table topper.

Tantalizing deep malty aroma, with a touch of candy sweetness around the edges.

Hits the tongue with a rich malty start which has a quick burst of tempered sweetness before some dry earthy British hops quickly arrive to tame and balance it. HInt of apricot lurking about.

Slightly slick mouthfeel has a nice bit of body to it without being thick.

Above average drinkability as Scottish ales go.

While not coming across as a classic Scottish Ale, it's a nice chane of pace from the usual winter seasonals.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2007 05:46:14 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of maddogruss

New Jersey

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

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a glass mug. A nice, deep amber color with an ok tan head that receded into a layering. Left decent lacing, but not too much as it was drank. A deep, malty smell. A taste that was very rich with malts and flovor; hint of a smoky element was present in the beer. A nice mouthfeel that was very pleasant. A very drinkable beer made so by the malts that are involved with the style of the beer. Overall, an excellent beer that makes me want to taste more Brooklyn creations.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2007 05:03:31 | More by maddogruss
Photo of EPICAC


3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I let this warm to around 45º F and served it in my NERAX pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber-brown with a thick, sudsy, beige head that fades to a persistent, thin layer leaving some patchy lace as the glass is drained.

Smell: Very malty with caramel and toasty aromas most evident. There's also a tart fruity aroma and a bit of a metallic hint.

Taste: Toasty malts are first evident followed by caramel sweetness. Some tart flavors appear in the center and linger through to the finish where it's met by a grassy hop bitterness and a faint alcoholic spiciness. Very Scottish.

Mouthfeel: Rich and full-bodied, smooth with low but prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: Flavorful and delicious.

Overall: I think this is a very nice malt-forward Scottish ale that manages to be well-balanced and not too sweet.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2007 04:16:59 | More by EPICAC
Photo of AChamberlain


4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh man is this good. So easy to drink. I wish I bought more. I poured it from a 12 oz bottle. I gave it a vigorous pour as I saw suggested somewhere. The head was thin, but nice. Deep amber colored and smelled of sweet malts. The taste was just like the smell and it felt great going down. I can't wait to pick up more. Hmmm, maybe tonight. The only negative I can think of was the thin head, but that's minor and did not affect the beer too much.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2007 21:56:08 | More by AChamberlain
Photo of Budlum


3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring this ale produces a modest, foamy, tan head that quickly dissipates leaving only a thin ring behind. The body is a glowing mahogany and red displaying excellent clarity.

The nose of this beer starts rich with a sweet, malty smell. A very smoky mix of peat and cigar smoke combine for a unique combination. There is a buttery smell much like movie theater popcorn that mixes with maple syrup as well.

A quick, spicy rush blends with a moderate sweetness to start this beer. Smoke flavors of faint peat and cigarettes add quite a few deep flavors to an already strong barley flavor. A slight, dry hoppiness mixes with the smoke before another sweet flavor before the finish. The finish holds long after a sip with a mix of smoke flavors. Very enjoyable.

The mouthfeel is quite spicy and carbonated even though there was no outward appearance. This feels quite buttery in the mouth as well.

Drinkability is very good. This is a delicious beer with a depth of flavor that is still easy to enjoy. An excellent winter beer to serve to friends.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2007 23:33:01 | More by Budlum
Photo of edchicma


4.08/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice caramel, yet with a minimal head. Smell is definitely malty and smoky, with a hint of vanilla. Taste is smoky, with a strong malt backbone, light alcohol hints...definitely a Scotch Ale. Mouthfeel is slightly chewy and full-bodoed. Very easy on the drinkability scale, with a smooth quality that is rich in a refreshing way.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2007 00:00:33 | More by edchicma
Photo of ultrastrong


3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours into the glass calmly, not much carbonation. In order to kick the head, the pour needs to be vigorous and down the middle of the beer. A medium caramel colored head appears with smallish bubbles indicating a strong ale. The head falls apart and disappears within two mintues. Swirling the glass brings the head back up. The look of the ale indicates good weight, small bubbles rise slowly and create the head. The ale is a beautiful amber color, very clear with no cloudy notes. The bouquet is mostly hop dominated: some musty wet dog notes, wet stone/concrete and in the background is subtlely sweet caramel malt aromas. In the mouth, the ale is a medium weight ale with great balance between sweet malty notes and bittering hops. There’s not much complexity but the nice hop finish make this a good drink. This is a winter beer that you can have perhaps more than one.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2006 04:09:56 | More by ultrastrong
Photo of bigdeuce


3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a damn good brew. Scottish ale? I don't know about that. Tastes more like a winter ale or lager. Decent head and lacing, with some toffee undertones. Chocolatey malts shine through with a little hoppiness at the end, not much. There is some marachino cherry in there somewhere. Can drink many of these and I wish I had one more.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2006 05:33:40 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of arguemaniac


3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful, deep chestnut color. The heavy roast of the palate is complemented by a nice dryness, along with delicious notes of toasted toffee, some nuttiness and caramel malt. Roasted grain dominates the finish. One of the better “winter warmers” I’ve tried this season; it’s dry and fairly subdued (unlike so many of the sickly sweet and over-spiced seasonals out there these days) and features some very tasty roasted, grainy flavors. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2006 03:27:27 | More by arguemaniac
Photo of malcontent


3.18/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a murky brown with a stable if unspectacular head.

Good array of aromas; raisons, butter, whole wheat bread and some mild alcohol. Nice.

Slightly sweet and then a bit tart. Indistinguishable flavors that border on bready, malty and fruity but never really settle on one. A lemon peel bitterness on the finish.

Way to thin whether it's aiming to be a Scottish Ale or a Winter Warmer. Nothing to write home about here and while it's not bad, when a brewery releases a beer near the end of the year I usually look for a lot more than this.

Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for the taste.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2006 04:31:09 | More by malcontent
Photo of spiffylubes


3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle, BB April '07. Poured a fairly clear, bright amber/red with little head which dissipated quickly to leave a slight amount of lacing. Strong malty smell, can't pick up much else. Taste is a slight sweetness, some smoky malt, with a slight spicy hoppiness in the back of my throat. Aftertaste is sweet. Good even amount of carbonation. Very very smooth mouthfeel, but somewhat average. However, I could drink a couple of these, the flavors balance out very nicely and its very smooth.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2006 02:02:02 | More by spiffylubes
Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 955 ratings.