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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,081 | Ratings: 1,862
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 doktorhops
4.49/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ever since tasting the legendary Bigfoot, I literally licked Bigfoot - that delightful gargantuan hairy biped [not really - I had a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale] I have been actively seeking out Barleywines to tick off my list. Next up is Brooklyn Monster Ale, and boy am I looking forward to this like a horny teenager looks forward to rubbing out... The whiteboard when a teacher asks for a volunteer to clean the whiteboard, jeez where did you think I was going with that analogy? Get your mind out of the gutter already.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Presents with a pleasing cloudy mahogany body and a light bone coloured ring of lace.

S: Oooo, I'm in for a good time - fruity hops, caramel malt, more citrus hops and plum/fig esters abound and tap dance on my olfactory senses with shoes made of toffee sugar plum... forget it, I'm enjoying this aroma too much to come up with a decent metaphor for how great it smells.

T: Bold is an understatement here: This fine Barleywine transcends mere "bold" and brings to the table flavours of fruity/citrus hops, pear esters, bread yeast and caramel malts. Along with this there is a truckload of sugar and notes of alcohol, however it doesn't cloy the tongue or burn the throat. The finish is herbal bitters, again quite restrained. Damn this is good.

M: Medium bodied with a slight prickly carbonation. No stickiness surprisingly.

D: Impressive, most impressive. This Barleywine (to me) went down better than the SNBBSA due to the more restrained hop bitterness which bought a better balance to the flavour overall. Plus I do enjoy a good pear ester in my beers. If the above flavours sound like a bit of alright to you and you're interested in trying Barleywines in general: bad luck - they don't brew this monster anymore *sad face*

Food match: A sharp cheese platter, slow roasted pork belly or a sous-vide filet mignon with celeriac and fennel mash and string beans would pair very well.

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Photo of PaulyB83
3.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This bottle was "born in 2011" and poured into a tulip glass.

A- Medium garnet medium clarity small off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S- Lots of sweet malts, raisins noticeable alcohol smell but not too much.

T- Not as sweet as I thought it would be, the alcohol comes out more but their is no real warming in the throat, it's mostly on the tongue. Got a bit unpleasant yeast bitterness on the finish.

M- Not too thick, pretty nice.

O- I picked a bottle of this up because I know they stopped brewing it. A pretty good barleywine for the price, although Bigfoot is a better option. Glad I tried it and thought the aroma was great.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Found some of this in the local shop and bought it. I liked it.

Poured a hazy orange with golden yellow highlights. A stream of effervescence and a thin head of tan foam that fell fast. Nose is malty and breaddy with some brown sugar. Some hop floral to really entice and a bit of spice. dark fruits like figs.

The taste was malty and breaddy. Soft with a full mouthfeel. Fruity on the back end. The carmel was lovely. There was citrus and citrus zest grass, bread, juiciness and a hoppy and drying finish with a lovely bitter. This was nectar. Good texture and a lovely drink. Why is it discontinued?

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Photo of Vonstein15
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I was able to pick uo 2 -4 pks of the 2012 vintage at a great price of $9 4pk,at Cork and Bottle.Always have liked the taste of this English Barleywine Style,ABV is always well hidden and subtle,the malt background shines on this beer.Sorry that this beer was retired By Brooklyn.Appearance has a amber color with a low head retention but typical of this style.Overall a nice beer and a good introduction to the English barleywine style.Cheers

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

I got a bottle of Brooklyn Brewing's Brooklyn Monster Ale that a friend brought over to share with me. I know this was recently retired, but somehow my friend found a couple bottles and I'm interested to try it since I don't know if I'll see it again, so lets see how it goes. 2012 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, the design is pretty simple, but the shiny chrome background makes it pretty eye catching. It poured a slightly hazy darker orange color that took on more of caramel color when held to the light with a little over a fingers worth of light tan head that died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This was a pretty nice looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a low amount of high sweetness that's followed by the malts being the first to show up and it imparts a nice sweet malt, caramel, light toffee, and caramel malt like aromas. Up next comes the hops which have that faded hop aspect to them imparting some earthy, slightly herbal and slight grassy aromas with just a slight bit of citrus hops showing up in the background. This beer had a pretty nice aroma, I thought it had some nice balance to it.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a pretty high amount of medium sweetness followed by the malts still being the first to show up and they have that aged malty aspect to it along with all the malty aspects that I got in the aroma with caramel malts still sticking out the most. Up next comes the hops which impart all those aspects that they did in the aroma, but the this time the citrus rind hops seem to stick out a little more than the earthy and grassy hop aspects with that same faded hop aspect that I got in the aroma. On the finish there's a medium amount of bitterness along with a light boozy flavor with a citrus rind, caramel, toffee, and sweet malt like aftertaste. This was a pretty nice tasting beer, I thought the hoppy flavors worked well with the malt base.

M- Fairly smooth, a little rich, a little sticky, on the lighter side of being full bodied with a lighter amount of medium carbonation. I thought the mouthfeel was pretty nice and it worked well with this beer.

overall I thought this was a pretty nice beer and I thought it was an above average Barleywine, the way it is now it makes think that when this was released in 2012 that it was a very hoppy Barleywine and it might have been right on the border of being DIPA, but as it stands now the hops are faded and they are letting some real nice malty flavors come through and I think at this point right now it had pretty good balance. This beer had nice drinkability, it was fairly smooth, a little rich, a little sticky, a little filling and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, drinking a bottle would be no problem for me, but I think that may be my limit since it might be a little filling and rich to drink more than one and I think this would make for a good beer to enjoy during the colder months of the year. What I liked the most about this beer was how true to style it was, it had pretty much everything that I look for in a good Barleywine. What I liked the least about this beer was the bitterness, it was just a little high for the style and I wish it was toned down just a little. I would for sure buy this beer if I saw it and I think i would love to put a few of them in the cellar, I think it could keep aging well for a while. I would recommend this beer to anyone who likes the style, I think it's worth a try. All in all I was happy with this beer, I don't know how much I would like it fresh, but as it is it's a pretty enjoyable beer and I think it could keep aging for a while. I'm a little bummed that this beer is retired. This wasn't my favorite Barleywine, but it's far from the worst and I thought it was one of the better beers that I've had from this brewery. Nice job guys, I enjoyed this one and I hope it gets brewed again, keep up the good work.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. 2012 vintage per the label "This monster ale was born in 2012". The local store just got bottles of this stuff, interestingly enough, so at long last I have acquired a bottle.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a bright burn sienna orange / caramel colored body with just over a finger of khaki head. Some spotty lacing. Looks very nice.

S - The smell is very pleasant - caramel malt, toffee, marshmallow, herbal twiggy tea leaves / faded hop presence. Some musty earthy yeast presence is noticeable.

T - The taste follows the nose mostly - creamy toffee, caramel malt, faded herbal hop bitterness. Candied, sweet, and malty. Some yeasty caramel green apple sweetness. Tastes very nice, in my opinion. The high 10.10% abv is mellow and not very noticeable.

M - Feel is smooth & creamy. Medium bodied with solid carbonation, even after some time spent in the bottle. Sticky, mildly syrupy, and bitter. Very drinkable stuff, especially at the high abv.

Overall, I think it's delicious, and it is pretty much everything I'd hope for in a 2 year aged barleywine. I would love to get my hands on some more of this stuff, and I highly recommended it if it's still available to you.

Brooklyn Monster Ale ---4.5/5

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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 PicoPapa
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 Vintage. Pours a murky dirty dishwater color with a 1/4 inch of head. Some lacing. Aromas of booze, toffee, caramel malts, raisins, and some faint spicy hops. The flavor is boozey with some raisins, caramel malts, toffee and earth. More dark fruits follow. Hints of floral and spicy hops. Pepper and spices towards the finish with some more booze and malts. Heavy mouthfeel with a good deal of carbonation. This beer is now retired so I this is probably the freshest one I'll ever have. Overall, its a decent Barleywine I may grab again if I see it.

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Photo of rubygttlb
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 2012. Bought it because I was looking for something I will never have again and I heard that BB is no longer producing it. Overall I liked it but I'm not saving any to drink a few years down the line.

Poured real nice, no foam. Has a nice copper-like color but a little cloudy. The most upfront taste is that of caramel but it isn not overpowering. At first sip it seems the alcohol is hidden well but the aftertaste is that of alcohol.

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Photo of rudzud
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade. 2010 Vintage.

A - Poured into Duvel tulip a nice hazy caramel hue with a one finger lightly tan head that fades to leave thin wisps and a light halo.

S - Loads of caramel, light tea, older hops, earthiness, pears, herbal.

T - Similar to the nose. Loads of caramel, toffee, tea/herbal notes, sugars, pears. Not overly sweet nor is is boozy. This has aged very well. No weird cardboard flavours here!

M - Mouthfeel is just really, really good. Very lightly carbonated, alcohol hidden wonderfully.

O - Overall this was a very nicely done barleywine. Fresh, I really did not like this one but with 3+ years on it it is quite nice.

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