Monster Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

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Monster AleMonster Ale
1,874 Ratings
Monster AleMonster 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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,874 |  Reviews: 1,086
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good dark brown colour, hoppy aroma. Taste is fine,orange, citrus, and dark fruit,herbal, carmel barleywine, surprising disguise of high alcohol, fresh bottle first beer at Modiale 2005. Perhaps too sweet.Nuttiness and bit of burnt notes and medium mouthfeel. 2003 is nicely aged. much mellowr taste. Has becom a sipper.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: single finger head. No lace. murky brown/amber.

S: sharp mild turpentine like smell. Hops and malt mixed in with dark fruit notes.

T: Sweet caramel. Lots of alcohol, but not much more than many barley wines out there. Its a bit sour with more dark fruit in the taste.

M: Mild to moderate carbonation. medium to full body with an oily feel.

O: Drinkable for a barley wine but the sourness is too much. Not the best barleywine out there, more middle of the road.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jnorton00 for sending me this one!

2011 vintage.

Pours a hazy copper/amber with a 1/2 inch puffy orange-tan head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks form randomly around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and some herbal and citrus zest hops. Taste is of malt, brown sugar/caramel, and citrus zest. There is a mild bitterness and alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a somewhat crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine but nothing all that exciting.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep amber color with a big white head on top. The head settles down and leaves some scattered lacing The taste of the beer is big a bold. There is a good amount of hops in there too. It's surely a strong brew. The mouthfeel of this is on the heavier side and coats the mouth pretty well. Overall it's a pretty good Barley Wine.

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Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.2/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer is a kick in the pants for sure. Isn't much for a hops taste at all and that alcohol taste is not hiding by any means. The first few sips make you kinda shudder before your body gets a little buzz going and you get used to it. Seemed a little harsh overall but once it warmed up and you've had a few sips it seemed to be much more smooth. Still, there didn't seem to be much for flavor though.

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Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(2007 vintage)
A: The beer is amber in color and not that much carbonation is visible.
S: The smell of alcohol is very much evident in the nose, along with some subtle notes of malt and hops.
T: The flavor is slightly boozy, which really intensifies as the beer warms up. Some hints of caramel malts, dark fruits, and flowery hops are discernible in the taste.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and comes across as being strong, as it should be. There is definitely some warmth from the alcohol.
D: It's drinkable but you have to sip it. I would definitely have this again, but only at the right time and place (like the last beer to close out a drinking session during the winter).

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Photo of t0rin0
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 bottle sent to me by halfP1NT in a trade last month. Its interesting, I had just pulled a sample of my newest barleywine from the fermenter before opening this. They are strikingly similar.

Carbonation is just right for a barleywine, maybe even a touch high. Looks brown (I think I read copper somewhere in a review) but from the side its got a lot of red showing through. Very clear.

Smell is heavy on the crystal malts and when it warms its a bit boozy. Also a touch of chocolate, very british in style. Taste is sweet, slightly bitter, of aged pale malt, and of course some caramel. Don't know how it compares to an English Barleywine new but at this age it would be hard to distinguish it from something actually made in England.

Medium/heavy body. A sipping drink for sure as the alcohol comes out in the aftertaste.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, born in 2007, when nothing else of note I can currently recall happened...

Into a standard American pint glass (sorry, Brooklyn, no goblets here), this beer pours a slightly hazy burnt orange hue, with one finger of fizzy, fast-disappearing pale beige head. No evidence of lace, and no need to call CSI: New York to find out why. It smells of stewed dark black fruit, a bit of ethyl alcohol, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste, once past my smacking lips, is big fruity malt, molasses, surprisingly bitter, but still restrained, floral, leafy hops, and smooth, sweet, masked like it's knocking over a savings and loan-style booze. Anything more than frizzante is likely to mess with this kind of kindred balance, so I'm happy to report only a very subtle tingling from the carbonation. The body is full, smooth, and round, but not too big, like a large fella who knows when to curtail the reps and supplements. It finishes off-dry, but not so much so, a tribute to the bitterness of the musty, earthy hops that hang on.

While the astringency of the booze is a bit much at first, even after significant post-fridge warming, it eventually settles into one hell of a soft, smooth, devilishly balanced barleywine. English style, for sure, but with just enough Yankee-doodle-dandy verve to seal the deal.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After hearing about this brew for some time, it's good to finally have tried it. It certainly lived up to the hype, but did not come across as strong or over-bearing as I had expected. Very heavy with the malts- to nearly syrupy proportions. The complex blend of malts gives off deep fruit flavors of dates, figs, and nuts. The textures are well blended and aged for easy drinking and well hidden alcohols. Hopped for balance in bitterness and flavor only. A mild cogngac and sherry flavor shines from midway through sip to the finish. Very nice stuff!

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Photo of kojevergas
2.38/5  rDev -36%
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 WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of emerge077
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 bottle, Served cool in a 12oz. snifter. Compact head, about a finger of ecru foam. Body has a nice jeweled amber-ruby clarity. A swirl rejuvenates the foam, but it always ends up dissipating in the center. Light fruit candy aroma, slight presence of alcohol.

Flavors of caramel and indistinct dried fruits. Sweet upfront with that usual sweet/rich Barleywine steamroller combo. Alcohol is in the back, but tamed a bit. The body seems thin and dry after washing over the palate. Some earthy hop complexity in the aftertaste. Can't say i'd drink more than one, but it's a good Barleywine.

Single from Olivia's Market, $2.49.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; 2009 vintage, bottled on 11/16/2009. Pours moderately cloudy orange amber color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, raisin, plum, date, pear, apple, brown sugar, bread, light pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and fruity yeast notes; with decent strength. Taste of caramel, raisin, plum, date, pear, apple, toast, brown sugar, light pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness. No bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, raisin, plum, date, pear, apple, brown sugar, toast, light pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance and complexity of malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; with a nice malt/fruitiness balance and zero cloying sweetness on the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately slick and slightly creamy mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good English Barleywine. All around good balance and complexity of malt and fruity ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, rust/copper color with a small, off-white head that had many tiny bubbles. It left some soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of candy sugar, biscuity malts and sweet fruitiness.

T - It tasted of syrupy, sweet sugars. It had a good dose of caramel flavors with a fairly strong hop bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and still quite smooth. A medium to full-bodied barleywine.

D - This is a pretty good barleywine. They did a nice job of making it like an english one.

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Photo of brentk56
3.06/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2006 vintage; tasted in 2008

Appearance: Pours a very murky tea color with a modest head that quickly becomes a ringlet and leaves a curtain of lacing droplets on the chalice

Smell: Plenty of fusel alcohol on the nose, some caramel underneath

Taste: Opens with a fusel alcohol flavor that fails to develop in anything other than a solvent direction; some hops and sweetness after the swallow, but those flavors are secondary

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth after the swallow

Drinkability: This really has not benefited from the aging and is not particularly enjoyable

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Photo of Kurmaraja
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.65/5  rDev -28.8%
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 LXIXME
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

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Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 1,874 ratings