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Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

968 Ratings

(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
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Ratings: 968 | Reviews: 463 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bjohnson
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky maroonish color. Brown tints with a fall leaf look to it. Soft looking one finger head dissipates rather quickly leaving a rim of retention on the edges of the glass. Sweet caramel malts at first followed by a mess of toasted grains. Grassy hop notes take over the malt profile. Powerful aromas. Sweet dark fruit--almost cherries and figs with a swirl of the glass.

Caramel malts and toasted grains make up the malt profile. A bit thin at first on the palate a first with a slickness that coats the roof of the mouth and tongue. Smooth and subtle but not creamy as most scotch ales are. Grassy hop flavors with a hint of floral hop notes. Dryness at the back of the tongue near the taste buds. Bitterness creeps in slowly. A bit of toastyness also detected at the tip of the tongue. A pretty drinkable scotch ale, although I wish it the mouthfeel was a bit more creamy.

bjohnson, Mar 27, 2007
Photo of jbsteiny
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Maybe I should have been less cautious pouring, but I got about a half-inch of head which faded fast. A bit of pretty lacing, though, and it's a rich brown color, like a dubbel. Raisins and burnt brown sugar add to that feeling, certainly not your typical winter.

Tastes good. I'm proud this is made nearby. Vanilla and prune, malty and a little sourness to cut the sweets. Tingles the tongue and delights. A nice sipper. Probably max out at two.

jbsteiny, Mar 27, 2007
Photo of chilidog
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was glad to find this scottish-style winter. My last winter's brew ends on a goodone.

It poured a nice clear mahogonany, large carbonation bubbles cling to the inside of the glass while a nice two fingure tan head sits atop. Lace is good.

The aroma is of sweet malts, smoke and baking sugars.

Again sweet toasted malts offer a complex vanilla malt background as hints of smoke and spice carry through.

A good beer to be had. Easy drinking, not as strong as some winter seasonals. Worth a try!!

chilidog, Mar 24, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a medium brown color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of light roasted malt with some subtle semi-sweet caramel malt. Taste is also dominated by the mix between light roasted malt and caramel malt. Body is thinner then I would have expected and no hops presence could be detected. I thought this one was definitely lacking character and end up being quite boring.

Phyl21ca, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of skizziks
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a nonic. Dense tan head rises maybe 1.5" then slowly recedes leaving rings of lace. The beer is a clear amber with deep copper highlights.

Aroma is easily detected while pouring. Malty with fruit and bark. Orange, toffee and cinnamon. Oddly, the aroma fades fast and I have to swirl to retrieve it.

Sharp watery start to the flavor. Tobacco, maple, bark, tea. Interesting, but I don't think I'm liking this. Bland but well balanced finish.

Medium full body, medium to low carbonation lets this go down easy. A touch of astringence, but drinkability is high. If only it tasted better!

skizziks, Mar 21, 2007
Photo of GPHarris
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger tan and bubbly head into a tumbler. the head dissipates quickly and the body is a clear mahogany with red hints. leaves a thin ring of lace throughout.
s - hints of vanilla and caramel with a slightly nutty aftertaste.
t - sweet like fruit, mainly raisins. i was expecting some spices but then i read the change in style of this beer and now i understand why i was initially disappointed in the lack of spice and i changed my taste score accordingly.
m - medium and slightly slick mouthfeel.
d - good brew. i'm not very familiar with scottish ales and maybe if i was i could appreciate this one more. off to hunt...

GPHarris, Mar 20, 2007
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color with a thin tan head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of smoky malts, caramel & vanilla along with some hops.

T: The taste is creamy and malty with flavors of vanilla, caramel and a touch of dark fruit. The malt character is very hearty and the hops presence is mild but complimentary. The after-taste is sweet and bready.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, it's an excellent sipper but I could put away a few of them. This was one of those beers that I had at the totally right time, late night, clod & snowy, the wife had fallen asleep and I was watching TV. Putting the "right beer at the right time" situation aside, I can objectively say that this was a very good beer and one of the best that I've had in the style.

TheManiacalOne, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of Phatz
4.13/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A gorgeous brew, this one pours ruddy brown with a short lived white head and moderate lacing. nice clarity.

Smell: The aroma is malty fruity dates with a light smoky element, hints of caramel and butterscotch.

Taste: Absolutely brilliant. Malty, with a fruit and yeast attribute and I was convinced it was spiced (cinnamon, nutmeg) . Hats off to Garrett Oliver for this fantastic brew. It is rich and complex and yet extremely quaffable. The aftertaste is long lasting and earthy, with some pine hops.

Mouthfeel: Smooth medium body a bit slick through the center with a pleasant carbonation and dry finish.

Drinkability: I really enjoyed this beer. It is a meal. It sits heavy in the stomach. That said I wish I had more than one. It may not be a session beer, but I would like a few.

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Mar 08, 2007
Photo of Ricochet
3.78/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark, a deep amber with a good head that went quick. No carbonation. Smells of a fruity malt but it's subdued. Mouth was, cold, liquid, but average. It wasn't too particular on the tounge, not very bitter, mild actually.

Well, this was a very complex beverage. The malt was front and center but it was subdued, and I could pick out the raisin and the malts. There was a faint alcohol detected, but mostly, a well rounded malt.

Brooklyn does it again. Not as awesome as thier Chocolate Stout, but wow. I'll buy this one again.

Ricochet, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a fairly clear amber color with a tight pillow of a head that leaves some shards of lace

Smell: Buttery caramel

Taste: Starts out with a caramel flavor that develops as woody notes join in, mid-palate; after the swallow, the buttery diacetyl kicks in to join the caramel flavor as does a moderate balsa wood, earthy bitter character; slightly metallic on the finish

Mouthfeel: Just a tad thicker than medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: An English take on a Scottish Ale, me thinks; not one I would return to in a hurry

brentk56, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of RedHaze
3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes.

Pours a dark copper, with a one finger head that fades quickly to a thin ring. Despite just having a thin ring of foam, there's quite a bit of lacing left on the glass.

Smell; very sweet aroma up front, and mildly fruity. There's not much of a peat or smokey quality in the aroma, but still not bad.

Taste; sweet caramel malts, with a little bit of brown sugar are the dominant flavors, as well as a mild earthiness. In the finish there's a little bit of a spicy hop bite.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a low carbonation, giving this a rather smooth feel to it. Drinkability is good if you can handle your beers on the sweet side. For me, I would only be able to have one at a time due to the sweetness.

RedHaze, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.15/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this as a gift for Christmas - no joke! I had spotted it at a local liquor store and thought that I had already tasted all of Brooklyn's offerings that were available in 6-packs. I was wrong when I saw this since this has to be new for this year, and I'm glad that this is a new offering and that someone was nice enough to get this for me. Scotch ales are not my preferential style for beer, but this one is slowly growing on me, and perfect for the season which it was brewed for!

The pour wasn't anything special - it was a few shades lighter than Newcastle, with very little head and even less lacing; if that can be possible. The hops presence can barely be felt here, as the malt takes over from start to finish. There's a lot of subtle flavors going on here - molasses, dark fruit, caramel, and of course, scotch. It even feels like it should be stronger than the 6.00% ABV, since it comes off as being very potent and has a great warming effect. It's a mimimalist beer - as many on here have said, winter beers tend to be spicy and brisk. This is the opposite of that, which is a welcome change for those of us who wish to enjoy what we're drinking and think it over!

Even though a lot of the Brooklyn beers tend to have a somewhat similar taste, this one quietly stands out as being different from those, but just as enjoyable, nevertheless. Garrett's got another winner here, hands down. Between this and the Ramstein Winter Wheat, those of us in this neck of the woods are blessed to have a beer like this help out with the long nights, icy weather, and quiet desperation that sets in with the season. This is a great fit for this time of the year!

JerzDevl2000, Feb 16, 2007
Photo of HossMcGraw
4.08/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad I finally gave this one a shot. Pours dark brown/amber with no noticeable head (might be the glass), and no lacing. The aroma is malty with some milk chocolate and dark fruit. Not very prominent, but what's there is good.

The flavor is initially rich malt. Reminds me of Newcastle (a good thing), but this has more pronounced caramel and dark fruit characteristics. A bit of hops provide a bone dry finish that aids drinkability.

The mouthfeel is smooth, but enough carbonation is present to keep things from getting boring. Drinkability is pretty high, but I don't think I could drink more than three of these in a sitting. Just a bit too substantial for a sesher.

This Winter Ale is a wonderful departure from the overspiced, overalcoholic monstrosities many brewers churn out come winter time. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. Highly reccomended.

HossMcGraw, Feb 10, 2007
Photo of riversider76
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.

riversider76, Feb 09, 2007
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.

BuckeyeNation, Jan 31, 2007
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.

Sycodrummer, Jan 28, 2007
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.

treehugger02010, Jan 28, 2007
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.

Grundle20, Jan 27, 2007
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.

weasbri, Jan 23, 2007
Photo of lehows
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.

lehows, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of jjayjaye
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.

jjayjaye, Jan 21, 2007
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.

cabsandking, Jan 20, 2007
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.

hreb, Jan 20, 2007
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.

ggaughan, Jan 15, 2007
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.


cooncat, Jan 14, 2007
Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 968 ratings.