Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Brooklyn Winter Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

Not Rated.
Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

477 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 477
Hads: 1,105
Avg: 3.63
pDev: 13.22%
Wants: 21
Gots: 128 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brooklyn Winter Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 477 | Hads: 1,105
Photo of kenito799
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

 449 characters

Photo of sawbones420
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

 1,492 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

 973 characters

Photo of AChamberlain
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

 447 characters

Photo of socon67
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Brown pour with an off white foam that is clinging. No carbonation and lacing is patchy.

S - Scent is of scotch, and english malt. Smells a bit like wood polish as well.

T - Flavors of candied fruit, heavy malts, and dry scotch. This is a one tasty brew ot have on a winter night.

M - Sessionable, smooth and leaves a sweetness on the tongue. Might be one of the better winter seasonals that is easy to find.

O - I like the Brooklyn seasonals more and more as I come back to them. Grab a 6'er of this and watch the snow fall.

 533 characters

Photo of srrn
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

 579 characters

Photo of Phatz
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

 845 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this back in 2006, missed out in 07 and am revisiting it in 08( well, 09). Into my Sam Smith imperial pint

A: A brilliant deep copper with exceptional clarity and a solid three-finger thick head that slowly recedes, leaving some patchy lacework. Solid!

S: Rich with toffee and nutty malts with some butterscotch. Not much hop character but there's some leafy, earthy character present. Solid.

T: Pretty darned solid. A great balance of flavors with toffee, nuts and butterscotch present, with the nuttiness leading the way. Finishes a little dry with some toffee flavor on the finish

M: Medium light, solid carbonation and a pleasant finish

D: At a little over 6%, I couldn't drink more than 3-4 of these in a short evening. Which means it's pretty drinkable

 769 characters

Photo of gabe23
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear, deep copper color with a tan head that fades quickly to a thin layer. Decent lacing.

S - Mild aroma of sweet malt, brown sugar, and some dark fruit tones (raisin or dates?).

T - Sweetness up front with toasted malt and caramel, fading to a slightly dry, bitter finish.

M - Slick with medium to low carbonation. Just a bit of warmth as it goes down.

D - I'm a fan of Scottish Ales, and this is a very good one. While some lean too much on the malt sweetness, I find this ale to be a great balance. I could easily session with this beer, and I plan on picking up more before winter is over.

 604 characters

Photo of micromaniac129
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a small but dense mousse like head.
Lots of carbonation here with curtins of small thin bubbles streaming from the bottom of my glass. Very enjoyable to look at. Color is nice too with the beer having a rich chestnut brown color thats quite clear. Aroma is malty with some toffee. Taste is good. It has a rich malt flavor with a good dose of toffee like in the nose. There's a little bit of roasted malt in there too. A medium weight beer witha smooth and soft texture. A good well made beer thats a fine example of the style.

 537 characters

Photo of Sycodrummer
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

 1,176 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

 2,002 characters

Photo of Only23
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Its very clean goldenish coper look. Had about 1/2 inch of head that quickly fades.

Taste- A nice caramel sweet tastes that fades to a clean finish.

Mouth - Smooth and warming.

Drink - Extremely easy. A great winter! I will definitely pick some more up

 269 characters

Photo of dorianmarley
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a deep, dark crimson. Big, light, tan head and very nice lacing.

The smell is very aromatic. It has plenty of burnt sugar, roasted marshmallow, and roasted malt. Also has a defined Scotch whiskey smell.

The taste has an up-front mix of roasted malts and oat. There is also roasted marshmallow and a lightly sour Scotch taste.

The mothfeel is rather creamy, and smooth.

Overall, it is a great example of a mild Scotch ale.

 439 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
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!

 1,674 characters

Photo of KeshiaM
4.16/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear, dark amber color with a two finger head that lingers a bit. It leave a ring around the surface and some lacing.
It smells strongly of malt, brown sugar and candied fruits. As it warms you can pick up a sweet alcohol in both smell and taste that seems to improve the beer. Definitely one to savor.
Taste is rich and malty, though unfortunately it lacks a hop base which might round out the sweetness of the beer but it's a minor complaint.
Mouthful is smooth and with pleasent carbonation. There's a kind of molasses, chewiness to it. Again something to savor.
Overall it's one of my favorite 'winter' beers and well worth a try.

 657 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Firm dirty-white head, fluffy and creamy, sitting on top of a reddish rust-brown liquid. Lace streaks the glass in wild little strings.

Total comfort-beer aroma. Toasty, lightly smoky, a bit peaty, and dabs of succulent dark fruit, especially big on fig.

Lots of flavor here, just nothing that hits you over the head. And why should it? Equal parts peat, smoke, toffee, fig, grape, clover honey, and less identifiable sweet spices. This is impeccably balanced. And delicious.

Love how the feel is at once super creamy and generously carbonated. Almost stretches it into the realm of a Belgian dark ale, as many of those achieve this same kind of magic dichotomy, texturally.

Goddamn this is good! Not that I should be surprised, Brooklyn is usually pretty quality in whatever they do. Just don't overlook this if you're generally geared toward bigger beers, like I am, because this has plenty of flavor and pizazz. It's definitely worthy, and I'm glad I bought a 6-pack.

 974 characters

Photo of almychristopher
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer pours a blonde amber color with an off white head that fades with a quickness. the aroma offers up some fruity esters with a bit of caramel sweetness at the back. the taste follows suite with a nice sweet almost spicey taste up front with an intersting hop finish. the mouthfeel is good with a little higher co2 than I would have expected, but a really nice drink with a some really nice caramel notes.

 412 characters

Photo of eagles22
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: 2 finger white head brownish copper color

smell: malts, dark carmel and also a little hint of whiskey and light coffee

taste: heavy roasted malts, carmel also toffee

mouthfeel: very moist, wonderful after taste leaves you wanting more

drinkability: for a 6% beer this is very drinkable easily could put down 7 or 8 of these in a sitting ...this beer is worth a try

 380 characters

Photo of prototypic
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This is one hell of a nice looking beer. It's a darker shade of brown with a twist of a light berry color. It's very clear and is topped with an immaculate vanilla head that's nearly three fingers tall. It stuck around quite a while and left a very attractive web of lace lining the glass.

Smell: The nose is good, but not quite spectacular. It's very heavy on toasted and caramel malts. Smells a little sweet, but not overly so. There's a light toasted nut aroma that's enticing. There's enough hops to mention there presence, but they come across as light. Smells a little grainy. No alcohol presence is apparent. All in all, good.

Taste: As I suspected, toasted and caramel malts rule the day. They're on the sweet side, but are very flavorful. It is somewhat spicy. It's not to a large degree, but it's there. I can't identify the spices, but they're noteable. There is a little bit of a toasted nut flavor that emerges, but it's very faint. Hops have a decent presence. They provide a little bit of a buzzy bitterness, but they're clearly secondary to the primary malt presence. There is a slight grainy taste on the tail. No alcohol is noted. It finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It has a medium body and a nice, smooth feel. Carbonation is relatively light and is nicely done for this beer. I like the feel a lot. Drinkability is very high. This is a very satisfying beer that's abv is low enough to drink without much reservation.

Brooklyn's Winter Ale is a winner. There's not a great deal to complain about here. It's not quite on the level of Black Chocolate Stout as far as their winter arsenal goes. But, it's impressive all the same. I think a little more of a hop presence would slightly improve it. But, I can't complain too much. I'm too busy being impressed. Recommended.

 1,811 characters

Photo of abcsofbeer
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle with 04/08 drink by date. This very clear amber colored beer is topped by a two finger tan, creamy head. The head leaves a huge amount of sticky lace. There is a good amount of carbonation too.

The aroma is abundantly sweet with some spicy apple and other fruits thrown in. The hop flavor is minimal for this style but there is a small amount that is nicely blended with the sweet malt.

The flavor is a nice flowery spice accompanied by caramel sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and very easily drinkable. Excellent beer from Brooklyn.

 574 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rich mahogany-hued body with a inch and a half of creamy, off-white head. Random lacing.

Smell: Aroma of toasty dark caramel sauce and brown sugar with a thin backdrop of fruit and a leafy, spicy hop character.

Taste: Pleasing maltiness with a taste of dark caramel, brown sugar, and breadcrusts. Slight apple and pear fruitiness. Hop character that's lightly floral and spicy with a mild, restrained bitterness. Very minor hint of wood. Slightly drying on the finish, though it does remain quite malty with a lingering brown sugar taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Everso slightly creamy on the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Certainly recommended. Yet another quality brew that's both tasty and easily drinkable from Brooklyn Brewery.

 773 characters

Photo of hopmashian
4.19/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was hoping that it wouldn't be loaded with spices and fruit and I wasn't disappointed. This may be my beer find for 2014. Nothing but malt, hops, yeast and water. Malt is forward. Reminds me of the better Oktoberfests but thinner. Finishes smooth. Sort of evaporates on the tongue. No bitterness or metallic after taste. I could drink this before, with and after dinner.

 372 characters

Photo of lehows
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

 530 characters

Photo of dsa7783
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
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...

 628 characters

Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 477 ratings.