Brooklyn Monster Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

1,082 Reviews
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Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.10%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
ABV varies a bit year to year.

Added by Todd on 11-26-2000

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,082 | Ratings: 1,862
Photo of darktronica
3.96/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of Samlover55
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
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

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of barczar
3.71/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of Czarkazm
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of thebeers
3.81/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
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

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Photo of VirginiaBeerMan
2.68/5  rDev -27.8%
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.

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Photo of mlockman
3.09/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

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Photo of coriswrasse
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Photo of khmel
4.21/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.06/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of justinp444
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of weltywm
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage. In the cellar for about 3 years. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Deep ruby red to brown. 1/2 a finger of quickly dissipating head.

Smell: Vanilla, oak, baker's chocolate, and earthy spice. A little bit of cherry and some other dark fruits.

Taste: Like the smell - notes of chocolate, spice, and vanilla. Almost has a rootbeer or cola quality to it, with some anise and wood maybe?This is rounded out by some medicinal qualities. The alcohol is fairly hidden. though I can feel it starting to warm in my stomach.

Feel: Very lively carbonation, and a medium body. Fairly quick finish, with just some lingering alcohol and warmth.

Overall: I think this aged extremely well, and I'm sad I won't get to have another one. Looking forward to sipping this one over the next hour.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Brooklyn Monster Ale is brewed in the traditional barleywine style. It is made from three mashes of the finest British malt and aged four months achieving a burnished copper color, an aroma of sherry, hops and fruit and a soft, warming, complex palate. Excellent after dinner, with dessert, or aged cheeses or a cigar. Serve in a goblet, lightly chilled." Brewed in the style of an English Barleywine, available in 12 oz. bottled 4 packs and on seasonal draft. A longtime annual release, Monster Ale was retired after the 2012 Fall/Winter season.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass. Served above 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy, crisp head of a pale tan complexion over a mildly hazy copper brown body. Thin, very slight sediment and little to no visible carbonation. Retention is below average and lacing is light and spotty. 3

(Smell) Toasted bread and caramel malts forward with subtle hints of toffee, moderate molasses, light vanilla. Yeast-borne aromas of lightly tart stone fruit, soft red wine acidity, very mild, smooth tannin character with lightly perceived ethanol. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Toasted caramel with some mild sweetness forward, light fruitiness and some light sherry character, finishing moderately grainy. A bit less sweet than the aroma, with a more revealed alcohol bite and less flavor diversity than the aroma suggested. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) The texture is residual, lightly chewy, smooth and moderately dry. Carbonation is medium, generating a mild frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is slightly grainy, tangy and boozy over sweet. Alcohol presence is moderate, and there are no distinctive off flavors. 3.5

(Overall) Monster Ale is a middle-of-the-road Barleywine ale with a lot of flavor potential based off of the aroma, although I found a bit too much grain and heat in the flavor and not quite enough body to make up for it. I recall this ale being very reasonably priced and widely available. Although it doesn't crest the top of the Barleywine list, I'd be interested in seeing it return in the future, and would recommend it as a good first step into the English Barleywine ale style. 3.5

Brooklyn Brewery's
Monster Ale

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Photo of SackBlabbath
2.73/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Had this on draft a month ago from a 2012 keg and it was phenomenal, opened my 2012 bottle, kept properly stored, and it tastes like metallic dog poop... sad day.

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Photo of brianmandell
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from 2011.

Smells of sweet honey, raisin and caramel.

Tastes of raisin, honey and molasses with some astringent boozy tones and a hint of sherry. The sweetness does become cloying - combined with the astringency from the booze it has a medicinal quality.

Mouthfeel is slightly oily with light prickly carbonation.

Age has improved this beer. From memory a fresh bottle was too harsh. Despite the interesting qualities from age and oxidation, its still not among my favorites in the style.

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Photo of pat61
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fresh clean malt and a touch of hops on the nose. Pours brilliant reddish amber with a 1" while foam cap that dissipates to a thick film. Starts sweet on the palate but dries out by the finish. The alcohol is big and cuts through the rich malt flavors and a hint of plum. The hops are just under aggressive and with the alcohol balance the malt. This is chewy, rich but not cloying, and very clean and smooth. The carbonation is medium low .

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Photo of Ian_B
3.49/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2011 and 2012 vintage vertical tasting. Basically what you'd expect. Older was more dark fruit, younger was sharper with hop bittering and carb. Surprising difference just between the 1 year differential.

Not my favorite barley wine in either instance, and found both to lack some balance on opposite ends. Have to say, I don't think this would be very enjoyable when fresh. Blended the last couple ounces and got the best of both worlds! Still kind of mediocre.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.79/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

One year old on tap:

Solid English barley wine, caramel sweetness, light hop balance that doesn't overcome the sweetness. Semi-sweet wine meets Belgian strong. Nice mouthfeel, maybe just south of medium makes it drinkable.

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Photo of HipCzech
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Serving: 355 mL bottle poured into a 9 oz Libbey Embassy snifter (2012 bottling).

Appearance: Almost clear, copper brown with a smooth, foamy tan head. Slight lacing and a persistent fringe of soapy, tan foam linger as its consumed.

Smell: Malt sweetness (toffee, dark fruit) balanced by floral hops and warm, boozy alcohol.

Taste: Brown sugar, caramel, sweet fruit (figs, dates) round out a malty base. Earthy and floral hop bitterness along with peppery alcoholic heat.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth, creamy feel and gentle carbonation.

Overall: Neither very big nor complex, but still a full, balanced and enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of HopticalDeployment
4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage randomly stumbled upon in the Myrtle Beach Piggly Wiggly beer heaven...

Great brew. Bought a four pack to compliment my carolina reaper wings.

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Photo of josmickam
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

An underrated barleywine style ale. 2 years old, and this thing is still holding up. Subtle but apparent carbonation, syrupy/boozy mouthfeel. I like that this is slightly bitter than most english barley wine style ales. It isn't overly sweet. Maybe a little bit of oxidation, but it isn't negatively affecting this strong beer too much. r.i.p., monster.

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Photo of leantom
4.29/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let me start by saying that Brooklyn is not exactly my go-to brewery. However, since they retired this beer, I thought I might grab a four-pack while they were still available. Here goes:

A: Very soda-ish. Pour a small head that dissipates immediately (exactly like coca cola). No lacing is apparent either. However, the beer does have a nice ruby-brown color and very adequate carbonation.

S: Very spritzy! The bubbles really impact the nose quite robustly. Can smell a ton of dark fruit - including plums, raisins and figs. Also get a ton of cherries. This beer definitely has a lot of malt. Overall, quite good.

T: Taste is exquisite. Follows the nose with a rush of cherries, figs, plums and raisins. This one is a malt bomb, but it's great for sipping.

F: Good. Syrupy, barleywine thickness is dampened by the great carbonation.

O: A very solid barleywine. One of the better ones, but not as good as Weyerbacher (Insanity, not Blithering Idiot) or SN.

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Photo of SABERG
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2012 bottle into a large goblet.
A - Copper colored backdrop, allows clear view of wandering carbonation, topping out with a thin off white cap.
S - Toffee, caramel, broad leaf tobacco, warm leather, and vanilla.
T - Complex, warm dark fruit, fig, raisin, cognac, light toast oak barrel, and deep grains.
M - A bit slick out of the gates, then warm alcohol moves things toward the gullet. Lingering is full and relentless.
O - A big offering, that with time has developed well, toffee notes and still a bit boozy all play well together.
Cheers all

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Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
3.71 out of 5 based on 1,862 ratings.
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