Monster Ale
Brooklyn Brewery

Monster AleMonster Ale
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Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States
English Barleywine
3.73 | pDev: 12.87%
Jan 18, 2021
Nov 26, 2000
Monster AleMonster Ale
Notes: ABV varies a bit year to year.
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Photo of SpeedwayJim
Reviewed by SpeedwayJim from New York

3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
2010 vintage. 12oz capped bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter.

Pours rich and oily with almost no head. Nose is toffee, mint, brown sugar, and molasses. Very muted. Beer opens molasses, brown sugar, and syrup. A slight bit of oxidation. I get notes of pineapple, more brown sugar, cardboard, and touches of maple syrup in the middle and end. Sweet but mellow finish. There's no longer any semblence of hop bitterness in this one. Body is medium to full with almost very little carbonation. Smooth and silky on the palate and surprisingly light going down with no alcohol burn. I can't imagine a +10% ABV beer drinking any smoother.

This one has aged gracefully if a little bit oxidized at this point. Worth trying if you can find a bottle of this age though.
Jan 18, 2021
Photo of hankp59
Reviewed by hankp59 from New York

4.48/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Opened a Monster
born in 2010. Boy does this age well. Rich and malty sweetness with enough hops to keep it interesting. 2 finger head dissipated quickly but carbonation is great. This stuff needed 1 or 2 years to mellow and finding a ten year old in a mom & pop beverage store tells me gems are out there. Hey Brooklyn bring back the Monster!
Sep 26, 2020
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Rated by crazyspicychef from Pennsylvania

4.84/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
I used to adore this beer every year.
I still have a few bottles of 2001 stashed.
Doubt they are still good.
Sep 13, 2020
Photo of Gajo74
Reviewed by Gajo74 from New York

3.74/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Aged by Brooklyn Brewery since 2009, expectations were high.

From the bottle it pours a dark caramel and chestnut brown color. There was no head, however, a thin ring forms after the fact.

The nose opens sweetly with notes of toffee, caramel and honey. Rich malty aromas are biscuity, doughy and with a touch of chocolate. There is a boozy quality on the back end of the aroma, as well as notes of dark fruit, cinnamon like spices and earthy hops.

Full bodied yet not completely mouth coating, as the body felt somewhat thin and the carbonation perhaps too gentle, almost flat. Furthermore, there is an oxidized, sherry like taste. Malt flavors are biscuity and doughy with a touch of nutty roast and cacao. There are fruity flavors of dark fruit, prunes, dates and figs. The alcohol spices is relatively subdued and yields a gentle alcohol warming in the finish. There is also a light touch of earthy bitterness.

Although it was a pleasant enough drinking experience, it was somewhat disappointing. It had multiple flavors, however, it somehow lacked complexity and lost intensity through the stillness of the body. Perhaps this would have been better not aged so many years?
Jul 22, 2020
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Reviewed by rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
A review from October 2013.

Pours a darker caramel colored brown with a thin off white head 1/4". The aroma had a caramel, toffee, leather, oxidized cardboard, dust, earth and mushroom vibe to it.

The taste, was not as complex, dark fruit notes, a little bit of roasted barley, back to the toffee/caramel tag team, way more bitterness of the coppery nature than I was expecting in an English barleywine, seemed like this was hopped pretty generously riding the line between American/English. Sticky, heavier than expected mouth feel, in part due to some lower carbonation levels. Every bit of that double digit alcohol is all over this.

Interesting stuff. When you smell it, your hopes rise, and you think wow, this is gonna be a complex old ale, but instead it drinks like a hoppy sherry at times. On the plus side, I think it might have been the most affordably priced barleywine on the market, even beating out Bigfoot (price, not quality).

Still got one left. May revisit score after that one is gone.
Jun 03, 2020
Photo of warmstorage
Reviewed by warmstorage from California

4.19/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
A twelve ounce bottle of 2007 (!) vintage found on the shelf today, 2 June 2020. It was a bit of a gamble given that a single was $5.50, but a six pack was only $13.50. So I did the logical thing and rolled the dice on a sixer. I am so glad that I did! I don't think you could have found a six pack of this for $13.50 in the year 2007.

Opens with a pfft, and pours with limited, but notable carbonation: good signs!

Poured into a clean goblet. I let it chill lightly, poured between 55 and 60.

Look: a medium brown chestnut color, crystal clear. Minimal head, but not at all surprising for a 13 year old beer. Head falls away almost immediately. Slight viscous lacing evident.

Smell: sweet, stonefruit, slightly spicy, hints of leather and must, some oxidation, but not too much for style. Warm but not hot alcohol notes. No solvent or off smells.

Feel: it's a little thin for style, but not out of range. Very light carbonation present. This is where it's showing the most age. Some warmth on the tongue.

Taste: delicious. Malty sweetness, stonefruit, some raisin, a little must. A lot going on here. It has aged surprisingly well. it reminds me of a very old Thomas Hardy's or JW Lees Harvest Ale, like when I used to order the oldest Hardy's the Brickskeller in DC (RIP!) had available whenever I'd visit.

Yes, it's a very aged beer, but it has held up amazingly well after sitting in who knows how many warehouses and ambient temperature places. I'm going to go get some of the 2008, 2009, and 2010, and do a vertical!
Jun 02, 2020
Rated: 3.53 by westcoastbeerlvr from California

Nov 02, 2019
Photo of Joe_Tool
Reviewed by Joe_Tool from New Jersey

4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Cracked this 2012 open. Pleasantly surprised by this one. It has aged well for what it was. It has certainly improved overall even if the nose faded. The color is a bit murky red/brown. No head, very low carb. The best of it is the flavors. It is very mellow and has almost no alc warmth for a 10 percent ale. Balanced perfectly if a tad thin in mouth feel. It's a good (bad) thing I only have one of these or I'd be very drunk from many of these very easy drinking BWs.
Jul 26, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
Reviewed by GuyFawkes from Illinois

4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
2011 vintage; drank 12/8/14 @ the Yarchives.

Orange/red rust murkiness.

Khaki head; minimal lace.

Plum, oak & mild caramel nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Booze heat & dried plum flavor up front; caramel notes emerge as this warms.

This bottle hasn't calmed down enough, but was still enjoyable.
May 19, 2019
Rated: 3.5 by Karibourgeois from Texas

Feb 04, 2019
Rated: 3.94 by CisPiece88 from Nebraska

Jan 16, 2019
Photo of MonkeyPilates
Rated by MonkeyPilates from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
This is for a 2011 brew, which was 7 years old when I had it. It had aged very well, tasting of mellowed malt, without any harsh alcohol taste.
Oct 27, 2018
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Rated by brother_rebus from Maine

1.77/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2
drank a 2003. so bad. just mucked soy nut bile.
Sep 05, 2018
Rated: 4 by mattreitz49 from Florida

Jul 27, 2018
Rated: 3.75 by brittanylicious from Indiana

Jun 25, 2018
Rated: 3.75 by heysuz from Indiana

Jun 25, 2018
Rated: 3.63 by Giggy from Michigan

Jun 08, 2018
Rated: 3.79 by Bunuelian from Minnesota

Mar 25, 2018
Rated: 4 by tvenne from Minnesota

Mar 25, 2018
Rated: 3.13 by TooGood from Minnesota

Mar 13, 2018
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Reviewed by AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Pours a murky almost muddy light brown with a thin white head that dissipated almost immediately. The aroma is a nice caramel with dark fruits. The flavor follows the nose with a little more hop bitterness than I expected from an "English" style barleywine. Low carbonation but a very pleasant beer overall.
Feb 19, 2018
Rated: 4 by AyatollahGold from Indiana

Dec 12, 2017
Rated: 4.03 by dandy14 from Brazil

Sep 28, 2017
Photo of Dope
Reviewed by Dope from Massachusetts

3.99/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Not sure on date, I couldn't find one. I believe this is 2011 or so?

A: Pours dark brown with a tiny little brown head. Head musters up the best retention it can but it only starts at about 3/4" tall after an aggressive pour so there's only so much it can do. No real lacing.

S: Very sweet smelling. Dark bread, pound cake, dark fruits.

T: Huh, not bad. Lots of breadiness in this one. Dark, crusty bread. Light toffee sweetness covering it. Just the lightest hint of raisin. Earthy-ish, especially in the finish. No sign of alcohol but instantly belly-warming.

M: Feels a little dead, likely due to the fact that there's almost no carbonation.

O: Not a bad barleywine, especially after all these years. No real sign of aging other than the low carbonation. No oxidation that I noticed, maybe the lightest whiff of sherry here and there but it's still excellent.
Aug 24, 2017
Rated: 4.14 by MutuelsMark from Kentucky

Aug 20, 2017
Photo of Czequershuus
Reviewed by Czequershuus from Minnesota

4.72/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
2012 vintage just released. This beer pours a deep, cloudy amber with small head, and prominent floaties. The aroma features barley syrup, maple, a slight sour grain edge, caramel, pine, molasses, butterscotch, figs, and dates. The flavor features notes of toffee, molasses, caramel, pine, flowers, butterscotch, and vanilla. The mouthfeel is very full and thick with smallish carbonation. Overall this is a really good aged beer - it has matured into a smooth and sweet beer with nice complexity.
Jul 26, 2017
Photo of Shade1951
Reviewed by Shade1951 from Pennsylvania

4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Okay - I admit it. I'm going by memory here. This beer has been retired for the past few years, after Monster the brewery cat died. But damn, I *loved* this ale. It was the first barley wine I payed attention to. I bought it by the case whenever I saw it. I felt really bad when it was retired, and I really wish Brooklyn would bring it back.
Jul 03, 2017
Rated: 3.75 by acurtis from New Jersey

May 26, 2017
Rated: 3.49 by jkermitj from Mississippi

May 15, 2017
Photo of darktronica
Reviewed by darktronica from Indiana

3.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
2011 vintage. Well, it's been a while. Like many barleywines that aren't holding up as well as I might like, Monster is giving off a lot of orange, bergamot oil notes from oxidation, along with other tell-tales like wet paper pulp that conflict with what used to be more prominent malt and hop character. If I didn't know better, at this point I would have traced its lineage back to a more American barleywine, given the current state of affairs. I'm glad to have kept some around for science, but this is past its peak and isn't in the class of barleywines that ripens to a good old age.
Feb 18, 2017
Rated: 3.95 by Prost76 from New Hampshire

Nov 23, 2016
Rated: 3.68 by lochraneg from New Hampshire

Oct 10, 2016
Rated: 4 by rspauldi from Texas

Oct 04, 2016
Rated: 4.23 by Phoodcritic from Michigan

Sep 24, 2016
Rated: 3.78 by Pro_Magnon from Texas

Aug 07, 2016
Rated: 3 by wpreynolds from New Jersey

Jul 21, 2016
Photo of Samlover55
Reviewed by Samlover55 from New York

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
12oz bttle from cellar
2012 vintage
poured into libbey-tulip
L- hazy dark red, plenty of yeast flouting around(bad pour), capped with an off-white head which turns into ring of lacing
S- strong sweet aroma, with notes of dark fruit
T- hits the tongue thick and sweet, to the the tune of dates and prunes, has a nice spicy linger, and they blend together with the alcohol for a balanced finish
F- full bodied, heavy-ish mouthfeel with slightest amount of carbo tingle
O- Sweet, Spicy, Boozy is how I'd describe this brew, while a little rough around the edges, alcohol doesn't overtake you, a great representation of the English Barleywine Style
May 22, 2016
Rated: 3.75 by Bryan12345 from Texas

May 17, 2016
Rated: 4.03 by zp6167a from District of Columbia

May 14, 2016
Rated: 3 by Nichols33 from Massachusetts

Apr 19, 2016
Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 1937 ratings