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: 1,081 | Ratings: 1,862
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
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 -11.1%
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 UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
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 t0rin0
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
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 Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
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 metter98
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
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 oriolesfan4
3.2/5  rDev -13.7%
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 BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
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 biboergosum
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
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 brentk56
3.06/5  rDev -17.5%
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 largadeer
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle received from dyan a while back.

Appearance: Tawny with a tan head. It never rises very high, but retention is surprisingly good. The body is hazy, decidedly unfiltered but not bottle conditioned.

Smell: Prunes, raisins, dates - this stuff exudes dried fruit. I get a little brown sugar and sherry beneath that. This is good, but I can see it improving with a bit more oxidation - age would treat this beer nicely I believe.

Taste & mouthfeel: Sweet, rich and fruity, dried fruit flavors are in abundance here along with a bit of molasses/brown sugar. Fusels are faintly present in the finish, while hops are mellow; this is definitely more English than American. It's a refreshing change of pace, really, as I'm not a huge fan of American barleywines - beer tends to get somewhat cloying to me when you combine aggressive bittering hops with rich malty sweetness.

Notes: Good, not spectacular. With a few years of age I could see this being something special.

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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 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 emerge077
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
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 zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +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 Thorpe429
3.05/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a somewhat dark red amber wig an off white head. Head quickly recedes without any real lacing. Nose is quite sweet wig a hit of booze. Flavors aren't all that present, with generic sweetness, a bit of fruit, and some booze. Medium body and some alcohol. Drinks okay, but not a terribly good example of the style.

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Photo of nickfl
4.65/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a 2005 edition Monster.

A - Pours with just under one finger of tan head on top of a clear, amber colored body. The head quickly settles to a thin film, with a few bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

S - Strong aroma of alcohol and plums. Lots of dark fruit that blends nicely with the floral, somewhat piney, hops. There is a good bit of caramel malt in there as well.

T - The flavor is powerful, with a strong bite of hops up front. This is followed by raisins, alcohol, and a complex arrangement of roasted grains. The dark fruit of the aroma is more subdued here; the flavor is more dominated by malt and alcohol. There is a slight herbal aspect to this beer as well, with elements of mustard, mint, pepper, and possibly sage showing up, especially in the finish. I also detect a distinct note of tobacco with a bit of leather towards the end.

M - Thick and mouth coating with moderate carbonation.

D - This is a beautiful beer. It is extremely complex while managing to remain very smooth as well. I can say from experience that it is an excellent choice to pair with a cigar.

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Photo of mothman
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 bottle with 10.1% abv

Poured into Old Guardian snifter.

Pours almost 1 finger of beige head. Fades to a thick ring. No lace left. Color is a dark golden bronze with a bright ruby hue to it.

Aroma: Rich, sweet, and malty. Notes of cherry, toffee and caramel malt. Not to hoppy at this point. Also seems to have some oak notes here. The aroma is very warming and well done.

Taste: Here comes the heat I was slightly detecting in the aroma. Lots more booze here. Lots of big malt flavors here. Caramel and toffee show a lot. Lots of rich flavors. Oak, booze, and dried cherries show. The cherries bring a lot of sweetness to this beer. Not to bad, but overly hot here.

Mouthfeel: Hot and creamy. Very big beer with a medium amount of carbonation, but the 10.1% abv really shows with this beer. I figured it wouldn't be so bad since it has a few years on it, but it's still packing the heat. Ends malty and rich, relatively clean.

Overall, for how old this beer is, I expected a little more from it. This beer is still drinking fairly young, without the hops you would expect from a fresh bwine. It still could use a little time. Some beers are alright with some heat to it, but it doesn't work too well with this one.

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Photo of oberon
3.27/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber with not much of a noticable head but that was to be expected somewhat,aromas of orange rind and peach the alcohol is quite noticable as well pretty high octane.Whoo this stuff is quite potent but young (2005) some caramel malt and somewhat fruity but the alcohol kicks in early and takes charge until the lingering finish.A somewhat prickly mouthfeel,not sure if its because its young but wow this beer needs some serious refinement I'll hold one and reserve harsh judgement for later.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
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 jlindros
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 vintage.

It pours a decent 1 finger fizzy head that fades at a medium pace, with light lacing. Color is a slightly hazy copper maroon brown sugar color.

Nose is a little iffy. Some malts, dark malts, touch of molasses and brown sugar, little creamy, and a touch of fruit. WIth that is a bit of decayed earthy herbal Hedgerow UK style hops, which also seems to bring a very slight bit of vomit aroma.

Taste luckily doesn't have the vomit, but not as tasty as I expected. It brings lots of malts, bit of bready malts, very light roast, toasty red malts, and chewy overall. Some molasses and maple syrups, and hint of honey, with some sweetness but not a lot. Some light decayed earthy hedgerow UK hops again, that give it a slight herbal earthy dirt taste, but thankfully not the vomit. A slight bitterness, with some sulfur minerality. Finishes drier with more of the herbal hops and bitterness, sulfur, some tobacco, toffee, and slightly sticky.

Mouth is medium bodied, slightly syrupy, and decent carbonation.

Drinkability is so-so, drinks a lot smoother than 10.8%, with just a hint of warmth, starts sweeter but finishes drier, but a bit of the sulfur and minerality takes away a bit, with some bitterness.

With all the aged tastes in this, I would have expected an English Barleywine to age better, but the hops they used seem to decay too much to a weird and not so pleasant addition. I'll def have to try this one fresh again when it comes out this year.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2002 vintage. I've really come to enjoy this beer as of late. I've often passed it by for more malty/hoppy versions, but this is very drinkable & still full of character. It's an excellent beer for when you want something big, but not necessarily engrossing. Perhaps after dinner while watching a movie. I believe it's best enjoyed fresh, at its peak within 6-8 months of release. Much more than that & it starts to lose character & show some aging. Keep in mind, however, that this is a contract brew that's rarely done, and there are inconsistencies from year to year. I find the 2002 excellent, the 2001 a bit oxidized, but the 2000 still in OK shape. That said... Deep copper-brown with a light reddish tint. Creamy head that dies quickly but holds a good thin collar. The aroma is balanced between a light fruitiness, a solid caramel malt, & a fresh hop character. The hops are grassy, earthy & slightly mineral in nature. I'm assuming English Goldings & Fuggles. Very English in style, except for the alcohol! The body is medium/light with a nicely creamy mouthfeel. Hops are present in the flavor from the start to the finish, and well supported by a fruity, caramel & toffee maltiness. Even a light toasty note! The finish is long, presenting more hop flavor than bitterness, and may show a light metallic character from Fuggles hops. Still, there's alot of maltiness in there as well. As suggested on the label, this beer is brilliant with some of the hard & crumbly English cheeses.

2001 vintage. As compared to a 2002 - side by side - please see my 2002 review. There is a slight haze not present in the '02. The aroma, though reduced overall, remains roughly the same - although the hop has diminished and there are some sherry-like notes of oxidation (maybe even a light touch of carboard). It also has a slightly sharper mo

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Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz 2009 bottle served in a clear goblet.

Pours a hazy reddish amber with a coat of bone head that quickly reduces to a lasting ring.

Aroma - quite boozy. My 2 most recent tastings (Hopslam and Trois Pistoles) had ABVs nearly as high but smelled less boozy. All is not bad here, however, and the alcohol odors are accompanied by some nice fruity tones and the smell of toasted malt.

Taste - not as nearly as boozy as the aroma suggests, at first, with a nice toasted malt taste. This is soon overpowered and replaced by a sherry or port-like finish. Insufficient aftertaste. Insufficient hops, even for the English style. Improved with warming.

M - smooth but perhaps a bit too thin and very slightly unpleasant effects of alcohol on the tongue. Noticeable warming on the way down. Semi-dry.

O - no question I enjoyed this, but I'm hoping to find more appealing examples of this fairly unfamilar style.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramel, hops, malt and fruit (citrus & raisin), with a hint of alcohol.

T: The tastes of caramelized malt and hops come at you first. The fruitiness is quite faint compared to the smell. You taste the alcohol, but I didn't find it as strong as I expected given the high ABV. The bitter after-taste isn't too strong, but it didn't seem like a hops bitterness which would have made it more pleasant, it's more of an alcohol bitterness as should be expected with an 11.80% ABV.

M: Very crisp, medium carbonation, medium body, dry finish, a little thinner than I expected but not necessarily bad.

D: The beer has a well-balanced flavor and although the alcohol presence is notable, it certainly doesn't seem like 11.80% ABV. I could see myself drinking more of this beer than one might normally consume in this style.

While this beer is by no means the best that I've had, it's good enough to restore my faith in a style that I hadn't been too thrilled with to this point.

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Photo of mactrail
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Candied walnuts and what are those movie theater candies, Raisinettes? Rich and distinctive, sweet mouthful of malt. Dries out as the aftertaste goes on. Hops are fragrant addition to the many flavors, and add a clean bitterness. Somewhat astringent character cuts the sweetness. A pretty amber in the wine glass and good lacing as you drink. Woody and a distinct sweet vermouth taste after I've had a few sips.

Maybe not my favorite Barleywine but it has a lot of good qualities, and might be a good introduction to the style. Warmth down the throat without the cheap vodka hotness. Glad I tried this one.

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