Monster Ale
Brooklyn Brewery

Monster AleMonster Ale
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Barleywine - English
3.75 | pDev: 12.8%
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Monster AleMonster Ale
Notes: ABV varies a bit year to year.
Reviews: 1,094 | Ratings: 1,937 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim from New York

3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
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
hankp59 from New York

4.48/5  rDev +19.5%
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
Photo of Gajo74
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
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
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
warmstorage from California

4.19/5  rDev +11.7%
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
Photo of Joe_Tool
Joe_Tool from New Jersey

4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
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
GuyFawkes from Illinois

4/5  rDev +6.7%
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
Photo of AdmiralOzone
AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
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
Photo of Dope
Dope from Massachusetts

3.99/5  rDev +6.4%
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
Photo of Czequershuus
Czequershuus from Minnesota

4.72/5  rDev +25.9%
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
Shade1951 from Pennsylvania

4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
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
Photo of darktronica
darktronica from Indiana

3.96/5  rDev +5.6%
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
Photo of Samlover55
Samlover55 from New York

3.75/5  rDev 0%
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
Photo of wisrarebeer
wisrarebeer from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2007 vintage aged in my cellar the entire time. I thought that this was a good time to crack this one open after careful aging. Disappointed in the beer overall.

Feb 21, 2016
Photo of barczar
barczar from Kentucky

3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage, so rating set to current average.

Aroma is very raisin and date forward, with deep caramel notes and significant booze presence. Touch of a metallic note. Sherry oxidation, slightly vinous.

Flavor reveals a toffee laden malt backbone, fairly sweet, which carries into the dry, lightly bitter finish. Upfront notes of dark cherry, plum, and raisin contrast. Still very complex, and seems as though it will continue to open up with age. Definitely better than its rating.

Jan 28, 2016
Photo of Czarkazm
Czarkazm from New York

3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2011 Vintage. My last one. The body is a vibrant reddish amber, clear before kicking up sediment, with a thin off white head that disappears very quickly. The aroma is predominately dark fruit, raisins, prunes, cherry skin, along with sweet toffee, caramelized sugar, vanilla, cheap leather, wood, booze, stale earthy/spicy hops, with notes of oxidation starting to creep in. Mouth feel is medium-full, sticky but not cloying, low carbonation and bitterness, and doesn't express the booze the nose suggested. The flavor has caramel and toffee up front, toasted bready malts, dried figs, slight oxidation, cardboard, molasses, rum cake, perfume, and earthy hops.

Jan 21, 2016
Photo of thebeers
thebeers from Pennsylvania

3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2012 bottle. Pours a cloudy orange-reddish brown with a half finger of tan-tinted head. Big aroma of rum-soaked candied oranges. The taste is quite subdued in comparison to the nose, with a thin mouthfeel, strong alcohol burn, some stale hops and just hints of the candied fruit that dominates the aroma. This bottle was store aged and I got it very cheap, as such, I consider it a great value.

Dec 16, 2015
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage, 12oz bottle poured into tulip glass, properly cellared since purchase in 2013

A- pours a a clear deep auburn brown with a ruby hue, small foamy light-tan colored head reduces to a ring around the glass, gorgeous color overall

S- dark fruity aroma up front highlighted by cherry, followed by some earthy & herbal notes and faint traces of hop bitterness remaining. Hints of wet cardboard shows slight oxidation, closing with caramel & dark fruit sweetness

T- it starts out a little light on the palate, but quickly kicks in with some dark fruit, with highlights of cherry & red licorice. Sweet caramel malt kicks in mid-palate with some herbal hop bitterness barely surviving. The finish brings notes of raisin, fig & wet cardboard

M- heavy bodied with a low carbonation leads to a thick mouthfeel and finishes creamy and slightly warming

O- seems to have held up quite nicely after three years. There's nothing that really stands out to make this top notch, but it is a nice sipper nonetheless. I've got thee more bottle that I'll continue to age at two year intervals

Oct 06, 2015
Photo of uvachief
uvachief from Virginia

4.19/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Draft. 2015 edition. Pours a.light golden brown with 2 full fingers of tan head that dissolves into nice lacing. Dirty light orange brown. Smells like a traditional English barleywine. Tastes the same. Light in the mouth. True barleywine flavor. Good. ABV burn on the back end making it slightly hot.

Oct 01, 2015
Photo of VirginiaBeerMan
VirginiaBeerMan from Virginia

2.68/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Aged this 2012 bottle for 3 years and was not impressed. To me, a bit too hoppy for a barleywine. I will age the remaining 3 bottles that I have a little longer and hope for the best.

Sep 07, 2015
Photo of mlockman
mlockman from Indiana

3.09/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

While the mouthfeel is pleasant and its appearance is equally inoffensive, the aroma and flavor profile are incredibly subdued/mild and mediocre at best. Inoffensive and drinkable, but only okay.

Aug 24, 2015
Photo of coriswrasse
coriswrasse from North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage purchased for 3.99 locally. There are more so we shall see....
Pours a hazy dense golden amber. Very thin layer of white foam. Smell's of caramel malt and still some residual booze. Great carbonation. Taste is caramel malt with a light bodied mouth feel. Some raisin and subtle booziness. Not bad for the price. Still much better in the barley wine style out there. Probably will not pick up more even though they are aged this long and cheap.

Aug 19, 2015
Photo of khmel
khmel from Ukraine

4.21/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Was able to snag this retired beer (a 3-yr-old bottle from 2012) for a low price and very glad I did. Unlike many American breweries claiming to put out an "English-style barleywine", this one actually succeeded. Not overly hopped, as in most American attempts. The nose was an enjoyable, sweet shortbread with caramel malt. The taste was also nicely balanced: shortbread, molasses, plenty of malt and some mild hop notes in the finish. The alcohol in both nose and taste goes almost unnoticed. The only somewhat downside for this attempt was the mouth feel, as it was rather light-bodied for the style, but still a nice slippery texture. High marks overall. It was quite enjoyable. It was apparently also very under-rated by the BA community—though I'm willing to bet the 3 years of aging on my bottle made it better. If you find a bottle somewhere and appreciate true English-style barleywines, grab one (or more). You won't be disappointed. Hope they bring this one out of retirement.

Aug 05, 2015
Photo of Andrewharemza
Andrewharemza from Australia

4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy red-amber with very small head and low carbonation, as anticipated. Aromas of toffee, butterscotch, earthy hops, cognac. The taste has the expected toffee malt dominance, with grassy hop bitterness. Pretty good.

Jul 24, 2015
Photo of justinp444
justinp444 from Michigan

3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage draft. Pours a clear orange amber with a inch thick off white head. Smell of citrusy hops and a sweet malt undertone. Very IPA like. Taste is very sweet with a almond cherry flavor, kind of dry and lots of orange citrus. Medium body and a nice full crisp mouth feel.

Jul 08, 2015
Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 1937 ratings