Brooklyn Monster Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

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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.

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Reviews: 1,082 | Ratings: 1,862
Photo of Mitchster
1.44/5  rDev -61.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Brewed with British Maris Otter, Halcyon and Pipkin, and wheat malt.
Willamette, Cascade, and Yakima Fuggle hops.
2003 Edition.

Pours out to a brilliantly clear dark auburn, forming a rocky light-tan head with good retention and absent lacing. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma is peculiar with glimpses of sherry, prosciuttini, soy sauce, vanilla, dates, raisins, and milk chocolate. Mouthfeel is immediately medicinal, followed by a strong peppery astringency. Swirling in the mouth gives a creamier consistency with a medium-dense body. Taste begins with harsh herbal flavor hops, and a sickening taste of slimy rotten ham and soy sauce. Ugh?! This beer is actually salty! Dilute liquid smoke abruptly kicks into abundant fusels and isopropyl alcohol burn, followed by an alcohol astringency. The fusels send shivers down my spine and give me a sickening feel in the stomach. Medium intensity bitterness, with a lingering herbal hop finish. My belches smell like grass clippings and grilled fish.

3 sips and down the drain. This is a horrifying travesty of a beer, reeking with horrible, stomach-curdling off-tastes. Stay away at all costs. Don't let the pretty designer label and reputation sway you.

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Photo of StoryOfTheGhost
1.7/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Decent look to it. Amber hugh, surprising head for the high alcohol content.

S- smells fruity, boozy, caramel, medicine

T- Wow- this is the worst thing I have tasted in a long time. Starts off with a bit of tartness, and fruity sweetness. But then tastes like metal, bandaids. Tastes like putting some prunes and a penny in your mouth.

M- I wish it would just go away, but the taste lingers. Medium body, but the metallicness stays with you.

O- definitely the worst beer I have had this year, and one of the worst beers I have ever had. I love barleywine's but this is insanely bad.

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Photo of xare
1.98/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Got this beer on draft at the bar last night. Was rather surprised to see that it was on tap so I immediately ordered a pint and when it was brought out, I was disappointed.

Appearance was of a brownish murky color but when peered at, appears a very dark red/brown/amber mix. Is translucent with no head to speak of apart from a soapy film. Does not lace.

Smell is of strong alcohol, almost like solvents. Can't discern any other aromas coming up from this specific pint.

Taste has hints of fruit flavors, especially dried fruits. Raisins, maybe? There isn't a real fruit profile or anything I can describe as a flavor profile. Couldn't discern spices if they were used. Leaves an aftertaste of alcohol.

Hits your mouth very smoothly then a huge kick of crispness hits at the end as you swallow. Best way I can describe it is like a stingy soapy film covering your mouth as you swallow, then disappearing but leaving a tingling sensation with the aftermentioned alcohol aftertaste.

I struggled to finish the pint - definitely wouldn't recommend drinking this on an empty stomach. Certainly not a session beer but perhaps something to warm one up on a cold winter night.

Overall, the best comparison I could make with this beer would be that it's like drinking sake, except substituting the rice flavor/undertones for a fruit flavor without any specific fruit undertones.

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.01/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

2009 Bottle (almost 3 years old).
Served in Founders snifter.

A bit brackish looking coppery amber colored body with a half finger head. Weak retention. Virtually no lacing.

Smells better than it did fresh, but still not very impressive. A boozy maltiness with a hint of dark fruit notes. The flavor has a much stronger bitterness than I'd remembered-- it helps to cut through the oily sweetness, but doesn't make it all the way. Some big sweetness mixes with a crackery malt note. No real hop flavor.

Feels a bit thin and oily slick. Big old booziness in the aftertaste.

Overall-- meh. I was hoping a bit of age would improve this, but not enough.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
2.03/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

poured into a large flaired tulip glass from a 12oz brown bottle with a crimped cap. Bottled in 06'

Clear,reddish/brown 2" thick creamy off-white head.Lots of strings of tiny bubbles tightly knitted gushing from the center of the glass with some curtians of lace on the glass.

Chocolate aromas,some carmell,grassy,alcohol. The aromas were somewhat faint,hard to pick out.

A hot alcohol taste,very boozy,straw-like/grassy with harsh bitterness,the alcohol just killed the taste.

A thick mouthfeel,rough and grainy also. Just too boozy for me could not drink the whole glass. I really like Brooklyn beers, just not this one. Maybe it would get better with age.

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Photo of TexasBrewSlinger
2.06/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

reddish caramel color, bubbles quickly dissipate,

nose is slightly offputting, soapy, boozy, hoppy, not much sweetness coming through

flavors of sherry, citrus, even a little woody (even though no barrels)

I'm usually a big barleywine fan but this doesn't do it for me. I will age my last 2 in hopes of improvement but this is a major pass for me.

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Photo of Delraypete
2.18/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Not impressed by this barleywine at all. Very average pour, head and aroma. Good copper color, as would be expected. Flavor heavily dominated by grassiness, which ruined this beer for me. Will say that it is smooth and the alcohol is balanced out. Otherwise average malt and hop character. Not recommended.

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Photo of champ103
2.19/5  rDev -41%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a clear and dark reddish/amber color. A two finger white head forms at first, but recedes in a minute. Light lace.
S: Sweet caramel malt and dirty diacetyl up front. A light fruity aroma. Dank, moldy wood. Not impressed.
T: Dank wood and diacetyl again. Some sweet caramel malt lingers with some alcohol.
M/D: A medium to full body. Sticky and syrupy. Hard to drink. I really don't care to finish the bottle.

Another substandard beer from Brooklyn. Not something I would recommend.

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Photo of stcules
2.21/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Born in 2003.
Reddish-plum color, quite dark. Just a veil of foam, quickly disappearing. But it can fit.
In the smell, sherry, crerry. But the alcohol is definitely too strong. Maybe there is something else (nuts, toffee, vanilla), but it is difficult to catch it. Too alcohol.
In the taste, in the beginning, fruity notes, ripe fruit. Pear, maybe banana, too. But then it comes tha alcohol, and it covers all,
Sherry again, obviously, and strong, with woody notes. The flavour is quite pleasant itself, but it is totally overwhelming by the alcohol, very exaggerated.
Sherry again in the aftertaste, with very ripe fruit. Hints of light toffee. And alcohol again, over all.
The body is medium high, but anyway, it is not enough for this kind of barley wine, with this alcoholic strenght.
Overall: unbalanced and difficult to drink.

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Photo of thisisbigrob
2.23/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle poured into a large snifter.

A: Pours a murky medium brown with a slight reddish tint. There's a minimal head but huge carbonation bubbles all over the glass.

S: Slight malt smell but quickly overwhelmed by the alcohol. Can't pick up any hops.

T: Pretty plain for such a big beer. The alcohol is pretty overwhelming. Only a faint maltiness saves it.

M: A weird combination of flatness and the huge carbonation bubbles.

D: Not good. Nothing impressive in the beer itself, and the huge alcohol content will mount up quick.

I'm a huge fan of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine, but was sorely disappointed by this beer. None of the things I love about the Bigfoot (big flavor) while exaggerating the things I'm not big on (strong alcohol sting).

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
2.24/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

My example was a cellared 2012.

Poured a deep copper, with a distinctive lack of head . Very light carbonation.

Smell was caramel like with strange perfume/flowery notes. Hint of oak.

Taste was too hot to comprehend. Rubbing alcohol and toasted wood, with a slight residual malt sweetness that appeared too little and too late. None of the caramel notes I detected in the smell. If I tasted this blindfolded I would have sworn it was a terrible scotch.

My bottle had very little carbonation and was much thinner than a barley wine should be. I expect a more chewy texture from this style

Compared to other examples of the style, this fell very short. Alcohol is just way too overwhelming, and the lack of malt backbone to balance it out was evident. I'm actually shocked this came out came out of Brooklyn brewery. If you encounter a bottle, do yourself a favor and avoid the temptation to try this retired brew.

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Photo of JDV
2.27/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

bottles from emacgee and The_Epeeist. Thanks!
Pours semi clear dark maroon with a medium sized lasting light beige head. Smell is alcohol, and sweaty, dirty, B.O. like malt. Odd, and unappealing, really. Taste is rich, strong and moderately alcoholic with toasty malt. Sweaty, mustiness again, and slightly syrupy with a bubbly mouthfeel. Not very appealing flavorwise, and boring and bland at the same time. I would not recoment this barely wine at all.

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Photo of 7ate9
2.3/5  rDev -38%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2009 vintage
The visual on the this is not the most appealing. An orange translucent brown with zero head. This smells unlike any other Bwine I've had. I get the unmistakable, cloying smell of bubblegum. No question. It's odd and I don't want it in here. There is touch of caramel but most is covered up by the jolly fruity stink. The taste is somewhat better with some of the caramel and fig I want but the finish is bubblegum again. The mouthfeel is thin but still with a stickiness that is usually liked but not here in conjunction with the thinness.
Strange Bwine. No like

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Photo of kojevergas
2.38/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

12fl oz brown glass bottle with silver appealing label and branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local Texas bottle shop and served into an Avery stem-tulip in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are fairly high given the brewery.

Served cold. Side-poured.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours ma half finger wide off-white head. Decent thickness and creaminess. Head retention is lackluster - about 40-60 seconds. Uneven spotty lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a murky copper-brown of below average vibrance. Translucent but nontransparent. No floating yeast particles are visible. Appears adequately carbonated.

Not a great looking barleywine overall, but there are no egregious flaws.

Sm: English pale malts, marshmallow, faint toffee, faint caramel, and vague fruit. Has plenty of malty sweetness. Hop character is entirely floral. The fruit feels raw and the beer seems young (in spite of being "born in 2012."

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

It's certainly English in character, but the aroma is far from great for a barleywine. Inoffensive. Average in strength.

T: English malts, medicinal syrupy notes, aspirin, vague fruit, overdone malty sweetness, peach, sherry, and a kiss of breadiness. Some faint caramel.

This doesn't have any of the character I search for in a good barleywine - no toffee, toasted oak, marshmallow, nuanced malting, etc. I also find it overhopped for a barleywine.

No yeast character comes through. It is a bit boozy, but I wouldn't call it hot.

Painfully simple for a barleywine, lacking nuance and subtlety. I'm just not a big fan of this kind of flavour profile in a beer of this style. Below average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Imbalanced. Lacks intricacy. Build isn't even cohesive, let alone gestalt.

The booze-soaked peach in particular is fairly sickening. I do get a fortified wine kind of vibe from this flavour profile. Think peach schnapps mixed with alcopop and vodka.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Has some alcohol warmth. A bit overcarbonated. Medium-bodied. Thick. Luckily, it's not syrupy. Decent presence on the palate. The texture suits the taste in a general sense.

Not astringent, gushed, harsh, or oily.

Dr: A pretty underwhelming barleywine from Brooklyn. This flavour profile just isn't doing it for me. I'm not big on these fruity boozebombs, but I'm sure this beer has its audience. A rare fluke from Brooklyn, Monster Ale is not a beer I'd purchase again. Even with plenty of age, it still feels raw and imbalanced. Doesn't hide its ABV well either.


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Photo of beancounter
2.5/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Cloudy amber, no head, highly carbonated with large bubles that dissipate quickly.

Taste - Very malty, butterscotch flavors, no hop presence detectable.

Smell-Nothing other than malt sweetness

Mouthfeel -Heavy and full

Drinkablility -Ok, for a session beer, but I couldn't drink more than one.

Serving type: bottle

I just wasn't impressed, and given the price ($12.99 for a 4 pack (NH), they have to do a lot better.

A couple of years ago, I had their version of a Belgian beer which I thought was lacking. I love barley wines, so this was going to be my final test for this brewery...

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Photo of scottakelly
2.53/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours a cloudy dark amber with a thin head that quickly disappears. Aroma of alcohol and caramel. Flavor is a mess. Alcohol is overpowering. This is the most unbalanced beer alcohol wise that I've had. Ill stick the remaining bottles in my cellar, but I don't have much hope since there is not much hop and malt flavor to begin with. Almost no hop flavor. Malt flavor of caramel and toffee is present, but not well integrated. Drinkability is pretty bad and I couldn't finish the bottle.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.53/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A 2005 Monster

A - Amber red with only a tiny head. Swirling in the glass reveals that it coats the sides.

S - Caramel with a bit of figs, dates and molasses. Some very faint pine hops as well. Alcohol is apparent, but not prominent.

T - Heavily sugary caramel malt flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Alcohol overshadows all in the aftertaste though. The faint bitterness lingers long, long afterward you drink. I wish the alcohol wasn't such a defining characteristic in this beer. There doesn't seem to be too much depth to the flavor.

M - Thick. Oh God, is it thick! Carbonation is surprisingly high. It is a little bit refreshing, but it also leaves a residue in your mouth.

D - What do you know? It is a barleywine! It is a dessert beer. Would not go well with any food and, as a lightweight, I certainly don't want another right now. This is a decent barleywine, but I feel that most of Brooklyn's other releases are superior though. I imagine that this would age beautifully. The numbers seem harsh here, but I feel that this is a well below average barleywine.

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Photo of obrike
2.54/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Bought this at Specs today for 5.99 a 4 pack. Seemed to be a fantastic deal. Poured about half the bottle into a Chimay goblet. Liked the look...copper color, a small head. OK, let's see...

The smell was a bit ordinary. Most barleywines i've tried have had a much better, sweeter smell than this one. Definitely more malty, not even sweet though, than hoppy.

I thought the taste was...strange...even a bit tinny. Definitely not the strong hoppy, or even sweet malt taste I normally get from a good barleywine. Hmmm.

Can taste the alcohol a bit more than I would like as well. Not a good sign.

Not a favorite at all, and certainly not one I would seek out. The high abv and affordability makes it intiguing at such a low cost though...but not for me.

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Photo of Orangevango
2.55/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

This beer is a strange monster. What really gets me about this beer is that it manages to be beautiful, and have beautiful mouthfeel, but at the same time taste ugly and smell only ok. What realy irks me about the flavor is an inescapable metalic bite that drowns out all the caramel and toffee that should be there. The metalicness is most eveident just as you swallow. The aroma is just boring; it doesnt bring much to the table,it smells sweet and thats about it. The beer is a beautiful garnet color with a cream head that leaves nice lacing and a thin layer of foam from begining to end. Mouthfeel is a nice tingle, perhaps a bit higher carbonation than i expected, but still pleasent.

Oliver needs to pay more attention to the flavor of this beer, it is the most important aspect of a beer...

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Photo of mattgreger
2.6/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pour this brew was a dark brown, with small specks of red and gold. A small, but solid head resulted, it was a nice mocha color. It didn't have very much retention, fading almost as quick as the pour. It did leave a ring of lacing the followed the brew down the glass.

It had a bit of a cherry aroma and very harsh alcohol. After a moment or two it was really hard to smell anything else through the alcohol aromas.

Flavors are a bit harsh as well. Its got almost a sherry flavor, but kind of overkill. There isn't anything very detectable in flavor that I can taste. There are some spices that hit the end of the flavor palate as you finish each sip, but it really hard to detect very much over the power of the alcohol in this brew. I do detect a little bit of a woodsy taste as the brew warms a bit.

The mouthful is kind of odd with this brew. I am a fan of barleywines, so I have a lot of them. This one is different, its much thinner then most, which is kind of disappointing, I was sort of expecting that classic barleywine chewiness. In the other side of things it was kind of over boozy. It took away from the flavors.

This brew has a pretty harsh drink. At 10.80% with some what of a lack of flavors. I would have to say that this wasn't the worst brew I have ever had, but probably one of my least favorite barleywines.

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Photo of bark
2.6/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The liquid is clear. The colour is deep wine red-brown. The minimal foam disappears quickly.

The smell is mild and smooth. I found matured notes of oak, cherry jam, lightly roasted malt. And lots of alcohol… In fact, too much.

The taste is mild, matured and balanced; very smooth malt with some roasted notes (hazel nuts, almonds), some boiled vegetables and a lightly sweet flavour of old fashioned fruit candy. The aftertaste got a powerful flavour of alcohol and a growing almost chemical bitterness. The alcohol fades away leaving room for some barrel-aged flavours of wood, nuts and some spices. The finish is a bit alcoholic with some chemical touches…

The carbonation is mild with a few medium sized bubbles. The liquid is very smooth and a bit thick.

I had expected some more complexity from this one. Besides, barley wine is not really my favourite style.

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Photo of brystmar
2.64/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2009 vintage.

Looks like a barleywine. Decently thin layer of white foam forms a protective layer on the surface. Nice lacing.

Nose is strongly medicinal at first, then green apples for some reason. Malts and booze follow, but wtf is going on here?

Taste disappoints. Lots of malt and booze here, but it lacks actual flavor. A poor attempt at the style -- hard to believe there are >10 years of this.

Had this a few times and was similarly disappointed then too. Avoid.

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Photo of Oxymoron
2.64/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

How there are no monsters on the label? A soft pour leaving sediment in the bottle, pours a closer maroon color with a lighter brown hue throughout. A soft off white head with limited retention, hiding to the side of the glass, and no lacing to speak of.

The nose has a mix between malt and fusel/hot alcohol aromas. Granted this has not been aged, but as is the fusel notes are over the top. Some lighter fluid notes as well. The malt has some minor kettle caramel notes but mostly has a generic malt bill. Some noticeable butyric/dirty drains as well. Some minor yeast notes beyond that and a light earthy hop note with a hint of orange and citrus.

The taste is a bit better than the nose. The malt comes out more with some kettle/melanodian notes and a hint of chocolate. Although it takes a bit for your mouth to adjust with the noticeable fusel notes. Hot notes are really a big deterrent overall. Some spicy notes on the back end, with a light pepper and limited tobacco flavor. Some butyric but not as bad as the nose. A distinct metallic taste that I usually associate with Brooklyn beers. Some yeast with a light berry and plum ester. No real hop notes. But could be covered in the finish with the boozy notes.

The body is between moderate and full. Would like a bit more depth from the malt itself. Carbonation is light. Overall it would be interesting to see this age out, but reading other reviews it seems the fusel notes really linger throughout.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.65/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2004 Bottle drank in 2005: Poured a clear amber looking ale with a small off-white foamy head with not much retention. Aroma of light roasted malt with sweet floral notes is noticeable. The malt dominates taste with some sweetness and some very subtle bitterness at the end. Body is way too thin for a Barleywine and watery feeling in the aftertaste disappoint me greatly. Alcohol is well hidden and carbonation is low. The thin body and the watery makes this a greatly disappointing experience.

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Photo of dude
2.65/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Discounted barleywine for $2.39 a bottle? Oh and I'll take the bottle of chocolate stout also thank you Blue Dog. Pours rich amber and mostly clear. Aroma is fruity and boozy. Taste is somewhat sweet. Theres some hop notes, vanilla and caramel sweetness, but there's also a strong alcohol taste. Its not entirely unpleasant, and for its strength I'd say its to be expected. Probably the least hidden abv of any barleywine tried to date, english or otherwise. Mouthfeel is thin for style with subdued carbonation. Its drinkable.

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