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Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,032 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,032
Reviews: 466
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 13.33%
Wants: 19
Gots: 69 | 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: 1,032 | Reviews: 466 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lightindarkness
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz 2007 bottle in a nonic

A - A deep reddish brown with some creamy off-white head.

S - Enticing smells full of roasted malt: caramel, maple syrup, with hints of nuttiness and spruce.

T - Up front strong roasted malt with slight caramel. Finishes with a dry nuttiness. Not too much depth, sitting high on roasted flavors and some crisp bitterness that turns a little sour.

M - Somewhat full bodied, yet remaining clean and crisp.

D - Okay. The slight sour characteristic and dry nuttiness aren't particularly satisfying, leaving me looking for a little more depth. A pretty good Scottish Ale with a great winter appeal.

Photo of srrn
4.13/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Poured a nice deep mahogony/garnet. Smells of roasted malt and I think I detected Belgian yeast (is this the Belgian aromatic malt? my palate/nose is not usually sensitive enough to catch something like this). Taste is spot on for the style and is almost perfect, sweet, then a bit of earthiness and a dry slightly bitter finish. This otherwise very nice beer fails in the mouthfeel and carbonation for me. My favorite Scottish ales have a sort of thick/luxurious (but not RIP thick of course) mouthfeel without a soda type fizziness. This is a winner on all other counts for me.

Photo of kenito799
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

20 oz pour at Ulysses, NYC.

Dark chestnut brown with nice ivory head, leaves some frothy lace.

Aroma is malty malt, brown sugar, a little caramel. The flavor is all about the malt, but there is a good subtle balance of bitterness, just enough to counter the caramel roasted maltiness, strong hop flavors don't really come into play. Therefore the effect is not at all a sweet beer, but a mild, soft comforting brew. Well made and quite drinkable.

Photo of dsa7783
4.22/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby-red dark color from a 12oz bottle with minimal or no head... definitely a reddish-tint towards it... the smell is sweet, with a cognac aftersmell full of cinnamon sweetness... taste is sugarey and sweet, slightly malty with a lingering aftertaste... not bitter at all, the sweetness shines through this drink... definitely pleasing and goes down very easily like candy... mouthfeel is likewise good and the drinkability is up there, just a little sweet, but with a nice alcohol glow... great selection for a winter warmer - candied and sweet and very palate-pleasing... definitely recommended while supplies last...

Photo of beeroclock
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into the Sam Adams pint glass. Deep red hues swirl within the copper liquid, a 1 finger head tops it off. Decent lacing. Smells of caramel and plums. Taste is slightly sweet. Some brown sugar and caramel. A little hop aftertaste, but very faint. Decent carbonation. Good brew, could have used some extra spices, but overall easy to drink.

Photo of jdg204
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Was in the City the other day and got a chance to expand my Brooklyn Brewery knowledge with their Winter Ale offering.

Appearance - Dark copper color with a nice frothy head that stuck around.

Smell - Nice light dark fruits with a heavy malt.

Taste - Deep malt flavor comes through the strongest with some dark fruits and spices filling in the blanks, very nice indeed. Almost has a wheat undertone as well.

Mouthfeel - Flavor is pretty strong making this a bit of a sipping beer, but this brew still goes down smoothly with a great aftertaste.

Drinkability - This was one of my first Brooklyn's and definetly my first Scottish Ale and a good experiece all around. Don't let the poor ratings fool you, this was a quality brew. Definetly looking forward to more Scottish and Brooklyn Ales in the near future.

Photo of ndekke39
3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a 12 oz. bottle... pours a clear copper with a thin, white head. Good retention. Light aromas of maple syrup, nuts, toasted malts, some caramel or toffee. Not a lot of spice in this one. Tastes much of the same - mainly a nutty character. No real bitterness to it. Light-to-medium mouthfeel. This beer is labeled as a winter beer, but it really is like a decent Scottish Ale. Overall, very easily drinkable. Some complexity to the aromas, but nothing mind-blowing about the taste.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a red Solo cup, unfortunately.

A: Poured a dark, rich copper-brown covered by a pillowy head of one-finger white foam. Faded slowly into a decent lace from what could be seen.

S: Smell was definitively malt, with a light, buttery toffee odor coupled with a very faint hop backbone. All in all, mostly sweet and roasted grainy malt.

T: Taste is sweet; drying in the finish, and slightly cloying and caramel up front. It gets the tongue a bit more than I'd like for drinkability's sake, but then so does a Sam Adams Winter Lager.

M: Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and tasty. The thick, brown sugar after effect is enough to coerce you into having another.

D: Due to the manageable ABV and good taste, the Brooklyn Winter is a seasonal worth looking beyond the "winter warmer" for, as it's very good. You could put down 3 or 4, easily.

Brooklyn will most likely never disappoint, and the winter lager is a very nice addition to the holiday schedule. Will most likely get again, and recommend it to others.

Photo of drperm
3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Brooklyn Brewery has long been one of my personal top-shelf favorite breweries. Everything Brooklyn puts forth is well worth having; I found their Winter Ale not their best offering, but still definitely worthy of a go. It's clearly in the Scottish Ale tradition -- dark, slightly sweet, not a whole lot in the way of hop flavors, with some added flavorful twists. It's wonderful on a blustery fall or winter night in front of a fireplace. Scottish floor-malted maris otter malts, English crystal malts, Belgian aromatic malts, American roasted malts, AND American oats, with Willamette hops. There's a punch to be packed, but it's not quite a heavyweight.

Appearance: reddish bronze, hazy, with a thin head.

Nose: Raisins, brown sugar, faint alcohol notes, a warm comforting aroma.

Taste: brown sugar, honey, roasted nuts, salt, malt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves.

Palate: Warming, fizzy, and smooth

Overall: *Very* good, but I thought it could be better on the finish -- it just seems to drop off without saying goodbye, although it does pleasantly warm the throat. At 6%, it is slightly reminiscent of a weak barleywine with a Scots twist. It really was great with food -- what Sara and I had was caramel popcorn with nuts, and also pecan pie. I imagine it would be stellar with hearty winter foods -- savory stews, rich roast with gravy, a baked ham, or anything that has caramelized onions featured.

Photo of Brad007
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown color with a thick head that fades to a one-finger head. Aroma is strong and malty with peat and smokiness showing through. A bit fruity as well. Taste is nice and smoky upfront and it seems to hold, carrying to the aftertaste as well. A second sip detects the hops underneath and some fruitiness/bitterness. Tastes like a scottish ale for sure. No need for spices in this winter ale.

Photo of Lupe
2.45/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours clear deep amber with a fluffy off-white head that settles to a thin cap and leaves minimal lacing.

Light biscuit and toffee aroma with a hint of smoke. Stale hops are also present. Overall pretty mild and clean.

Starts off with a nice initial dose of toffee, but then it starts to taste off. It gets sour and has a metallic twang. Watery and has lots of buttery diacetyl. Has a hint of smokiness that gets lost in the middle. Pretty bland and just tastes off.

Way thinner than expected and slick. Somewhere between light and medium in body. I lost interest halfway through, so that says something about the drinkability.

By far the worst offering from Brooklyn I have had. Seems like a there is a disparity in the reviews - perhaps there are some bad batches floating around. Wouldn't try again - there are better Scottish Ales out there, and way better offerings from Brooklyn.

Photo of Suds
3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

During a short trip back to the USA, I tried this beer on-tap with dinner. It's a reddish brown color with a translucent amber hue. The head was thick, frothy, and relatively long-lasting. The aroma has a notable bread, grain, and caramel aroma. This is a moderately sweet beer, with little wood and charcoal in the background. Nice malt presence. It hides it's 6% very well. There's very little hops in the flavor. Instead, the grain provides a bit of balance. Medium to full in body. This is a polite winter beer. Nothing to complain about, but it's not quite inspiring either.

Photo of BiereBlanche
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had a couple samples at a Brooklyn Brewery tasting, poured from a 12 oz. bottle into acrylic.

Mid-amber hue, very clear and capped with a very light, creamy head that died quickly.
Light biscuit notes come through among other malt aromas and hops. Mild and clean nose.
Balanced, clean flavor. Light malts up front and low to mid bittering with a clean finish. Nothing really sticks out.
Smooth, mid-light mouthfeel. A little dry.
Quite drinkable, but nothing really sticks out about the offering as a winter offering (no spices). The biscuity notes, which I was told come from a traditional Scottish malts is mild, but present.

Photo of JDK
3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice amber with a 1 finger head. Light to no lacing and it quickly disappeared.
Has a lite malty fragrance with a touch of chocolate
Nice carbonation. I enjoyed the combination of malts, spices and chocolate.
Overall a very good winter ale and one that should be tried.

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

Pours a nice clear red/brown color. Not much head, some lacing.

Not getting anything from the smell. This might be my cold.

This beer has a nice hop bite up front followed by nice malty finish. Some unknown lingering winter spices, possibly cinnamon,nutmeg, or allspice. Very subtle with the flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium/light , good carbonation.

Overall a nice winter warmer.

Photo of ksbrainard
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Perfectly clear, red with a hint of brown when held up to the light. The head is fleeting, as it quickly dissipates leaving little other than bubbles popping up rising from within the beer.

Smell: It smells mostly grainy. You could also say that it smells generically "dark" at first. As it comes together, perhaps due to warming a bit, it hints at a toffee/caramel aroma.

Taste: It has a lightly roasted flavor. There is maybe just barely a hint of the toffee and caramel in the flavor that was in the aroma. Hops settle in mid-sip and linger nicely. There is sort of a plum flavor in there. In this world of extreme beer (most of which I love to try) it is hard to appreciate a great subtle, complex, well-balanced beer like this. It took me about half the glass to realize that this beer wasn't hiding anything with excessive malts, hops, or alcohol, and furthermore, that it is no small feat to achieve such divine balance in a beer. There is a bit of a tangy (?) taste in there, maybe that's roasty, or maybe that's the water that one of the other reviewers was talking about.

Mouthfeel: To complement a subtle-yet-complex taste, this beer boasts a hearty-but-not-overwhelming mouthfeel. The body is good and solid, and it is dried out well at the end by the hops and carbonation.

Drinkability: This beer is so well balanced, it is easy and enjoyable to drink. You can find lots to love in it, and even the uninitiated should be able to handle it. I drank this one with a gingerbread man, and that was just an awesome combination. I can't wait to have one with a hearty main course, as recommended on Brooklyn's web site.

Photo of atsprings
3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a crisp dark amber with a thin head that quickly diminished to a ring. Aroma was some dark malts and burnt caramel. The taste is a bland mess of malts with not much going for it. The beer is light bodied, but over-carbonated. This is a very unremarkable beer.

Photo of DaggerEyes
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured brown with little to no head just soap suds coating the surface

Toffee on the nose, a little nutty and slightly sweet

T- Toffee, a bit of cherry

active mouthfeel, decent amount of carbonatioin, tight little bubbles, prickly, medium body pretty round in the mouth

not a bad beer, but definately no where near my favorite brooklyn offering, probobly won't be picking this up too often

Photo of jwc215
3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by April '08:

Pours clear medium brown with a thin white head that leaves minimal lacing.

The smell is of toffee with a vague smoky touch.

The taste is of toffeeish malt with a slightly earthy balance. It remains sweetish throughout. There is a vague hint of smokiness in the middle that does not hold on. Goes towards a Scottish ale, but doesn't really make it. Something rather bland about it, though nothing particularly "off". Finishes somewhat abruptly.

Thin side of medium-bodied. Smooth. Alcohol well-covered (almost too much for a winter ale).

Easy enough to drink, but uninspiring and not too much of a Scottish (other than some maltiness/earthiness - but not much of the peat smokiness characteristic of the style). Not much of a winter ale, either. For a real winter treat from this brewery, try the Monster Ale - or better yet, the Black Chocolate Stout.

Photo of orangedive
2.53/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice appearance. Maroonish brown color. 50% opaque.

S - Not bad. Malty with hints of caramel and toffee.

T - Taste is okay. Not at all spectacular or complex. Tastes a bit like an extract home brew English Ale. Not impressed.

M - Not bad. Soft but not overly pleasant.

D - It's drinkable and goes down easy, but there's not much more to say than that.

Overall, I was disappointed in this beer. I expect a lot from Brooklyn given their history of great beers, but this one failed to meet my expectations. Maybe it needs a year or two to age.

It does have that "Brooklyn" taste that all of their beers have--something to do with their water perhaps, but still this one is struggling.

PS - As I've drunk this beer and it's warmed, it's gotten better (smell & taste wise), but that still doesn't change my opinion posted above.

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

Had this on tap at Mahaffey's the other night.

The beer pours a dark brown color with OK head retention and lacing. On the nose I get a lot of sweet malt and not much else. Hence, I was not the least bit surprised to find that this beer is quite sweet and malty, tasting of brown sugar, sweet baked apple and butterscotch. It was bit sweet for my taste frankly, but at least it wasn't too high in alcohol. The beer is medium bodied and despite the sweet finish, was pretty drinkable.

A decent enough beer, but probably not something I will want to try again any time soon. It's just a bit too sweet and malty for my taste.

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

A-Pours a Darkish brown/red/ with a cream coloured head that sits lightly soapy atop the brew.

S-Very Brooklynish if that makes any sense. There is a certain common element smell wise in alot of their beers. other tha nthat you get a rich roasted malt aroma, sweet and sticky. Good for a Scottish ale.

T-A rich not too sweet malt is the first thing that hits. This is followed by a decent grassy hop taste that does well to balance it out. Light hints of smoked ham, vanilla and a bit of generic spice round out the beer. Nicely balaced with a good deal of complexity.

M-slightly rich with a high level of carbonation which cuts into the sweetness quite a bit.

D-This will be a staple in my refrigerator this winter. Very nicely done. This was the beer in my chili that is slowly cooking, it's sweetness should be good with the bitterness of the peppers.

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

Poured from a chilled bottle courtesey of Fresh Direct a crimson red with average head and lace. Weak legs as it went down the glass.

Smell/Aroma; Slight earthy smell and chalkyness to my hairy nose.

Taste: Smooth carmel with tartness in 2nd aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Slippery with the lack of legs apparent.

Drinakability: Moderate, could have more flavor, more subdued that I was expecting.

Photo of phisig137
2.45/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- pours a clear copper light brown color, with a one finger head. Poor retention, no lace, and continuous bubble from the bottom make this look like a watered down cola.

S- Toasted malts, layers of sweetness, and a bit of movie theater butter.

F- Quite disappointing. Smack of thin sweetness up front, followed by a faint rather fake tasting spice, that I can only guess was supposed to be nutmeg. Riddled with Diacetyl.

M- thin, overcarbonated

D- decent at best

Overall, I'd have to say that this is Brooklyn's worst beer by FAR. Normally I enjoy the brews from the genius that is Garret Oliver. That being said, I just can't get behind this one. Perhaps this is just another beer that is used to "pay the bills" and not wow us beer geeks. Either way, I'll just skip this one next time, and stick with black chocolate stout, as well as wait for Monster to show up....

Photo of NCSUdo
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A: Pretty clear brown/reddish body, with some lighter amber hints along bottom of glass. Big white head on top, good lacing, pretty nice lace left behind. Pretty good looking beer.

S: Big toasted maltiness, toffee and some burntish caramel.

T: Toasted malt, some bitterness in the finish, indentifiable sweetness in beginning, a little sourness but nothing close to puckering. Beer loses some points here with me. Just doesn't seem to bring a whole lot to the table in the taste department.

M/D: Mouthfeel is a lot lighter than I expected, a litte watery. Suprising little carbonation under such an awesome head, drinkability is pretty good as this one goes down smooth.

Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 1,032 ratings.