1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

1,039 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,039
Reviews: 468
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 20
Gots: 74 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brooklyn Winter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,039 | Reviews: 468 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwc215
3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
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 -29.5%
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 +8.6%
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 +10%
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 +5.3%
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 -31.8%
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 -1.7%
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.

Photo of sawbones420
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Happy to be one of the first to review this year's BWA. Brooklyn's winter offering, by a long shot, was the beer I drank the most of last cold season. This is the case because of its availability, affordability, and drinkability.

12 ounce poured into my Brooklyn brewery glass, the type of which I can't name. It's more or less an oversize 14 oz. flute with a short/stout stem. I always drink my Brooklyn Winter out of it when at home. The beer is brown but not completely opaque. Head is small and fades quickly. A bit of lace hangs about, but not much.

Smells malty and sweet, with a suggestion of sharpish alcohol.

Tastes much like the smell, minus the sharp alcohol. Sweet, caramelly, full-bodied, with the alcohol rolling in towards the end in a warm sort of way. It's not excessively heavy for the style, but I don't think that's a bad thing, since it allows you to enjoy more than just one or two if you so choose. From what I can remember, it tastes almost identical to last year's offering, which means its likely to be a mainstay in my beer fridge this winter.

I converted at least a half dozen friends to this brew last year, so I consider it to be pretty versatile for a "heavier" beer. Definitely beats out everything else in the winter-seasonal mid-price wide-distribution craft brew category. Sam A's, Harpoon, Long Trail, and Sierra Nevada are just a few of many examples that falter in this category. Brooklyn, as usual, stands mightily in front of the 6-pack beer bunch.

Photo of bboven
3.08/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep copper color with reddish hues, tight but thin head.

Lots of malt in the aroma with a little roast and a bunch of raisiny/figgy smell.

Sweet and malty, a littler bit of bitterness at the end to balance it out.

Good carbonation with a bit of stickiness which is acceptable for the style.

It seems a little watered down but it's a pretty accessible Scottish Ale that I would recommend to friends.

Photo of jdhilt
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a four-finger light brown head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Nice crystal clear amber color. Malty nose. Light-medium carbonation and light-medium bodied. Flavor is malty slight bitterness at finish. This is the '07 version and it lacks the spices but doesn't have the smoothness of a scotch ale. Best before Apr 2008, 12oz bottle $1.50 from Capitol Convenience Concord, NH.

Photo of nvsblman
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice clear brown with a thin white head. Malty sweet aroma, a little cereal like, with a little bit of smoke. Nice sweet flavor, a little more smokiness than in the aroma. Caramel stands out the most with a little creaminess to go with it. Nice mouthfeel - a little heavy but not too sticky. Very drinkable, nice to enjoy on a relaxing evening.

Photo of TheBierBand
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

While friends were visiting, I took them to The Party Source, Belleview, KY for their annual pilgrimage to the mecca of beer. It was August, but they still had some Brooklyn Winter Lager on the shelf.... and my friend Bart bought a sixer to try. I mooched a bottle and here's the review:

Poured into my pint glass to produce a 3/4" off white head over the top of a copper colored, clear beer. Nice deep copper and good head retention with nominal lace.

The aroma is clearly heavier on the malt.... but a twinge of grassy hops comes through.

The flavor is rich and smooth.... heavier malt balanced by a nice hop bite.... but balanced.... more of a bready sweetness than bitterness.

The mouthfeel is on the heavy side.... nice and robust... thick and creamy.

Drinkability: Even though this bottle was over 8 months old... it still tasted fresh with nothing objectionable. I could see me trying this again only fresh and in season.

Photo of SPLITGRIN
2.75/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Short one finger fuzzy tan head sits atop a extremely dark brown carmel colored body. Nose indicates a syrupy sweet malt base with a almost German style wheat smell. The taste screams scotch ale as you take first sip, dark fruit, raw wheat, and a vegetable like tone that I cant quite place. Overall the palate lacks the richness and balance that I like in some scotch styles. Dont get me wrong it is drinkable and not bad. Sharp sour twang to the mouthfeel. Different for a winter ale.

Photo of weeare138
2.9/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best before April 2007...guess I missed the boat on that, so take this with a grain of salt...
Appears a mahogany toned amber with a small, light tan head that quickly fizzles out. Light spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of light smoked malt, caramel, toffee, grass, and a hint buttered popcorn that isn't overly appealing.
The taste is of the mentioned aromas with the goodness taking a backseat to the bads. Grass, and diacetyl infused caramel are over the top in this shell of what may have been a decent beer.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, bitter of hay and grass, with a slick, somewhat pungent finish. Hmmm. Looking forward to another bottle of this, so I can update this sub-par review.

Photo of auxiliary
4.63/5  rDev +29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance – Nice reddish dark color. Thin head after it was poured butfaded out and just left a ring, did leave some lace on the glass.

smeill - Smell of malts, and caramel.

taste – Sweet malty taste, with a ting of hops taste in it. I can taste some caramel too.

mouthfeel – Medium body.

drinkability - Nice sipper beer, not your normal winter brew. A keeper

Photo of EPseja
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On the eve of sending out a package to lackenhauser (below), we review the same beer on the same day... what are the odds?

Served from a 12oz bottle in a Duvel tulip at between cellar and fridge temperature.

A - Medium caramel brown with copper highlights and a nicely packed cream colored head. Lacing is sporadic and head retention is average.

S - Toasty malts that would be even nicer on a chilly late autumn evening. Light molasses and caramel. Fresh-smelling although a bit one-sided - but then again, many Scottish Ales are.

T - Nice, matly forefront with good constitution and well hidden alcohol. Some tart dryness comes in the middle and back, with only a touch of hops to add balance against the sweet. Nice aftertaste of baked sweetbread. Very tasty and well rounded.

M - Lightly viscous on the way in, rising to a mouth-filling froth the coats every tastebud. The swallow is slow and clingy, but not gassy. Nice!

D - This is a huge improvement over the previous version of the Brooklyn Winter Ale. Very drinkable and a solid example of the style. Recommended for any fall or winter occasion!

Photo of lackenhauser
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Call this Xmas in July. Nice coppery color. Doesnt stand out as much as the original review I did. Decent caramel and slight hop aroma-quite bready. Solid malt flavor up front.. Nice caramely flavor as well as toasted malt. Very nice body. Drinkable in a bad way. While this bottle is 7 months old it still retains its bready and caramel flavor that made it so attractive the first go round. Hope this shows up again in 2008-would make a great year round release.

Photo of RBorsato
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice clear copper color with a decent tan head, nice active carbonation, and nice sheets of lace. A slightly funky sweet malt aroma and flavor, nutty character, and caramel standing out. Flavors are very similar with sweet nutty character ruling with caramel malts. Medium-full bodied with a lightly sweet finish.

Something seemed a bit off here... Not one of Brooklyn's best efforts.

Per label: "Marris Otter Malts"

Per BB website:
Malts: Maris Otter, English Crystal Malts, Belgian Aromatic malt, American Roasted Malts, American Oats
Hops: Willamette
OG: 16.5P

Best Before: April '07 (notched)
Tasted: 05/02/07

($6.49 / 6-pack with $2 discount)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brooklyn's Winter Ale pours a clear, crimson-accented mahogany body beneath a creamy head of ivory foam. The head retention is good and it leaves behind a generous sprinkling of spots and splashes on the glass.

The aroma is malty with a deeply-caramelized and scorched sugar character. A minor fruitiness is present, but the woody, leafy, and somewhat grassy hops tend to over-ride it.

It's fairly full in body, perhaps medium-full, but clearly dextrinous; and creamy smooth across the palate except for the gentle caress of the fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation.

The flavor is as the nose suggests, but with a more complex maltiness. It's not just caramelish, there's an almost grassy or hay-like character to it. Then comes the caramel character, and immediately following that, the soft fruitiness and scorched sugar character just as the earthy, mineralish, woody, and leafy hops rise. It's bitter, but moderately so, lending just enough to help the hop flavors subdue the sweetness of the malt and lead into a lingering, leafy, mineralish and drying finish with some residual notes of almost burnt brown sugar.

It's well-brewed and the alcohol never really steps onto the palate, although you can sense it's there. There's enough character to keep it interesting, and although it does build a little on the palate it's not sweet. Worth trying.

Photo of MDekker
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out darker than I expected, amber in color with some head. No floaties. The aroma is mostly malty, with some hints of pine. Satisfying. It tastes of caramel, some slightly fruity hints, and finishes with some clean hop bitterness that lingers for quite a while. Pretty good. It's soft in the mouth, although a little watery. Went down relatively easy. Overall, nothing spectacular here, but far from offensive. I could see myself having more in the future.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.33/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with slightly off white head that sticks around a decent amount of time.
Aroma is special. Caramel and slight smokiness comes across a little like burnt marshmallow
Flavor is Scottish with burnt toasted malts yielding sweet dark caramel flavors and then a nice crisp bitterness from the Willamette Hops.
Unusual for a Winter Warmer but definitely appreciated.

Photo of bjohnson
3.95/5  rDev +10%
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.

Photo of jbsteiny
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Photo of chilidog
4/5  rDev +11.4%
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!!

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 1,039 ratings.