Brooklyn Monster Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

1,863 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 1,863 |  Reviews: 1,082
Photo of AgentMunky
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into an Ommegang glass. "Born in 2010." From notes. Reviewed 25 June 2011.

A: Vaguely auburn, when held up to the light it shine a gorgeous, translucent sunset-orange in the light.

S: Malty-sweet. Lots of hops. Fruitiness that may or may not be grapefruit.

T: Disappointing. The maintaste is heavily malted, serving as the base for hoppy-sweet topnotes. The endtaste is bland and neutral. The aftertaste is lightly dry and bitter. A pretty good beer, but not as good as I was anticipating.

M: Malty-big, but not 11% barleywine big. Meh, it's alright.

O: Honestly, not as good as I'd hoped. But it's still a worthy beer (though it's worth noting that I do quite like barleywines). Unrecommendable and nothing I'd drink again...maybe as it ages?

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Photo of capeannbass36
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Born in 2010" 12 ounce bottle

A- Poured a slightly cloudy amber/butterscotch color, topped by a 1/2 finger off white colored head that dissapeared almost immediately. Minimal ring left around edge with almost no lacing throughout.

S- Some sweet malt, fruit, just a hint of caramel.

T- More or less follows the nose. Slightly dry, slightly bitter, bit of metal taste on finish.

M- Light carbonation. Slightly sticky.

O- Basically a take it or leave it. Nothing special whatsoever. Disappointing for me. First Brooklyn beer that I have tried that I cannot recommend. Just simlpy cannot give a better review.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours out a bright amber with one finger of fading white head. Leaves some lacing.

S: Dried fruits, tobacco, boozy heat and molassas fill the nose with hardly any suggestion of hops.

T: As in the bouquet, the tongue is heavy booze and unbalanced raw flavours. Hops make an appearance, but its only a slight one and they aren't prevalent enough to balance out this beast.

D: Harsh and difficult to finish, but not impossible. Alcohol is all too obvious.

Overall: Not a huge fan of this. Its one of those rare barleywines that isn't that great fresh, and I doubt cellaring will do much to improve. Its not awful, but it certainly isn't stellar. It just kinda lacks balance in the same way BBCS does.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Brooklyn Monster Ale has a very thin, and, really, almost nonexistent tan head and an opaque orange-brown appearance, with no lacing left down the glass. The aroma and taste is of dark fruit, such as apricots and prunes. One also picks up on the alcohol and (piney?) hops in there. Mouthfeel is medium to thick, and Brooklyn Monster Ale finishes wet and rather harsh; it’s a sipper. Overall, however, it is very good.


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Photo of jsanford
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08 Vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a Brooklyn Tulip Glass.

A - Pours a nice reddish-mahogany with a thin off-white head that fades to a slight haze and ring.
S - Big malty aromas of caramel, toffee, and candied citrus peel.
T - Very close to the nose, lots of caramel, toffee, and a surprising amount of citrus-y hops considering the age on this. Bit of boozy heat still pokes through, though, you can certainly sense the ABV.
M - Slick, slightly sticky, with a medium-full mouthfeel and good carbonation.
O - A great Barleywine that doesn't need any crazy barrel-aged bell and whistles, just solid and perfectly understated.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked this bottle up at Quick 6 Mount Rose -2009 bottling. I guess some of the beer their has not moved that quickly. I poured this chilled into a snifter.

The color is murky chestnut shade with a thick cream cap with tiny bead. The clarity is translucent and the lace sticks well. The cap settles, but revives when swirled. The smell has a sweet odor up front with a caramel tinge and slight oxidative character with is not unpleasant. The feel is moderately thick and viscous with som spice and mild alcohol w/ slight toastiness and light fruit tang. There is a moderate amount of residual sweetness and carbonation is medium with an overall good feel which is well balanced.

The barleywine has a taste of mild stone fruit
and caramel up front with mild alcohol and light hop woodiness w/ a slight toffee sweetness as it warms. The beer seems fruity w/ English yeast character which has a gentle plum element and the alcohol comes forward more in the finish. Overall a great barleywine, I enjoyed sipping this for a while and this is holding up extrordinarily well, I would guess this could last at least 1 or 2 more years if cellared properly.

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Photo of Ralphs66
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Croton Creek Steak House in Croton Falls NY. Poured into a brandy snifter. A little too cold coming out of the tap, so the smell and taste were pretty heavily muted. After letting it warm a bit, the beauty really came through. Poured a lovely copper color with no head. That fine barleywine sweetness wafting out of the glass (eventually). Butterscotch, vanilla with nice faint smokiness. Very drinkable (again, eventually) with the alcohol well hidden. Smooth and a great compliment to the grass fed lamb burger i was having. Cut through the gaminess nicely. Have never had it in bottle, although it's readily available. Will have to give it a try.

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Photo of DeschutesNut
4.55/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beautiful beer on tap at the MN Craft Brewers Guild Autumn Brew Review 2011 in Minneapolis at the historic Grain Belt Complex. Never even heard of this brew before and I love Barleywines. It was a 2009 vintage. Exceptional beer. Alcohol very hidden. All in all its time i seek this bad boy out to have in the cellar at all times!

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.37/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle poured into a snifter

A - Hazy medium brown that has a flat/thin head. Not bad lacing and no carbonation.

S - Mainly fruity esters on the first whiff. Sweet caramel malts fill the aroma as well. Not much hop presence and I'm assuming that's because of the age.

T - Has a sweet sugar flavor with a citrus hop flavor without any of the bitterness. Dusty/bready malts with sweet undertones towards the middle. It finishes with a slight alcohol heat and a old hop cloying sweetness. Not terrible but not great flavor.

M - Heavy body with thin carbonation. Finishes neutral with little aftertaste. A sipper solely because of the alcohol.

O - Not the greatest barleywine out there but not bottom of the barrel either. I don't think this one benefits from aging very much, if any.

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Photo of OutFox
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009! Found this gem in the basement of my store and saw the vintage and wet myself. I love old barleywine.

A - Deep amber with orangish hues. Tan head with minimal retention and lacing but hey its two years old

S - Woah! This is complex. Layers of sweet earthy complex malt. ALmost a spice to it. The nose has really blended together with two years of bottle age.

T - Honestly same as the nose which is exactly what I wanted. Just layers of things to pick through on your palate. Caramel, malt, a slight sweetness. It turns into a bourbon/vanilla taste as the beer nears room temp which is crazy. Just fantastic.

M - Silky. Smooth. Just great. Not tons of carbonation but thats to be expected. Love it

O - So glad I foud this. It was a real treat. There isnt anything like old barelywine. Im gonna lay one down for another couple years if I can resist drinking it.

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

Wow. I had this beer for the first time at the Brooklyn Brewery. A very strong barleywine ale with a pretty powerful kick! You have to be a fan of strong ales to appreciate this beer. A little overpowering at the onset but very enjoyable when sipped slowly.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.54/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Born in 2006

A - Thick, hazy dark amber, bordering on brown. Rather active carbonation leaves a stream of tiny bubbles quickly rising to the top. Thin, quarter-inch tan head quickly fades to just a faint ring around the edge.

S - Fruit and alochol. Lots of alcohol. I've always heard this is a boozy one and I thought 5 years might help to mask it, but it is still dominated by alcohol. A nice backing of a berry fruitiness blends with the alochol and just a touch of burnt sugar lingers underneath. Lots of good smells in there, they just struggle to emerge.

T - Sweet dark fruits and just a hint of berry up front. Alcohol is certainly present but not the dominating force like it is in the nose. After a few drinks I start noticing hints of dark bread, caramel and a touch of burnt sugar. Some dark fruits sneak in as well with a touch of fig coming to mind.

M - Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Provides just enough life on the tongue to move the tastes through.

O - A bit boozy but still well melded together on the tongue. Wasnt a big fan of the aroma. I know 10%+ beers are going to have alcohol on the nose, it just seems like some do a better job of showing off other smells as well.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Typically orangey and hazy, moderate head and some decent lacing.

Smell was a little dry, barley and fruity aromas mixed with some tobacco and astringency.

This one bounces back nicely in the taste department, with good fruity flavors mixing with that classic barleywine taste, nice malts, a touch of hops, and some woody/tobacco notes.

Mouthfeel is nice and moderately easy to drink, yet still full bodied, with a nice barley aftertaste. There's a bit of an alcohol component you can taste on the end, but it's expected given the ABV.

Overall it's a pretty good beer. I'm ready to have this one on occasion time and time again.

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Photo of raznug
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009
Appearance: It pours a semi hazy deep amber with a ¼ inch of off white head.
Smell: Monster smells of alcohol and malt not much else but that what I expect out of a barleywine.
Taste: This beer has a smooth and clean taste but it is complex just after you swallow. I get nice oak and a sherry flavor that complement the malt very tasty brew.
Mouthfeel: This is as smooth of a beer that I have drunk in a while very tasty will be mad that I don’t have more.

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Photo of flannelman808
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very very clear burnt copper colored stuff with an offwhite almost seafoam head. Good lacing.

S: Hoppier than I would have imagined! typical bitter peels and a touch of steel.

T: Lots of green bitterness upfront with a perfectly respectful grapefruit touch. Fruity esters fill in along with a light gram-cracker/biscuit cookie like sweetness. There are some sort of solvent/metallic notes which irks me, however, they are not too forward to stop this from being a great brew.

M: prickly

O: good stuff and more bitter than I was expecting which I'm into. I would like to see how this guy ages. 1-3 years

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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 DaftCaskBC
3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage.

A: 1/4" tan coloured head that dissipated quickly over cloudy brown liquid.

S: Sweet caramel malt.

T: Flavours of caramel and vanilla along with alcohol.

M: thick viscosity and low carbonation.

O: A sipper, this barleywine has sweet and interesting flavours but is a bit too much for me.

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Photo of djmichaelk
2.89/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a snifter. 2010 vintage.

A - Pours with colors ranging from amber to auburn, and with surprising clarity. Not much in the way of a head, just a thin ring clinging to the edge of the glass. No lacing or retention (obviously).

S - Bits of toffee and brown sugar, caramel malt, and much more in the way of hop bitterness than I would've expected from an English barleywine. It actually works well with the other elements, livening up an otherwise somewhat bland aroma.

T - It turns out to be a fairly hop-forward brew, and it's making me wonder if it's miscategorized. Caramelized sugar and peanut brittle back up the hops, and there's some vanilla lurking around the edges of the room. Not bad, but there's really not a lot making this one stand out from the crowd.

M - Carbonation is too aggressive -- I'd expect a barleywine to have a more velvety feel, but this one seems a little harsh. Finish is medium-dry.

O - I picked up this single as a tester, and I'm afraid I won't be returning to buy a pack of it. I don't feel like time will soften it's negatives enough to justify keeping it around. There are just too many better examples in this genre.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.47/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

745th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

Thanks to BA Mjtiernan for this bottle

App- What a mix of orange, brown and amber. A nice one finger head that faded kinda slowly. Left just a puffy ring of bubbles around the edges.

Smell- This had a big bright whispy boozy note to it with an old dank fruit, mostly oranges and other fruits in that family. A very unique malt note as well

Taste- This was a boozy, grainular and a big malt flavor. More dank and damp fruits are on the taste with a lot of that flavor coming from the booze not, not the ABV.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonation, a bit creamy and a tade boozy grainular residular flavors.

Drink- A pretty good, big boozy barleywine, nice to see a 2 year old bottle hold its own.

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Photo of ottovon
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 bottle.

A: a semihazy, ruby-orange with almost no head.

S: there is a bit of alcohol in the nose. a little sweet. i get fig, caramel, and dark sugar. there is also a slight metallic aroma.

T: starts off a bit sweet and finishes with some bitterness. has some toffee and burnt sugar flavors. Not very complex. A little medicinal, and has some alcohol in there.

M: medium with a decent amount of carb.

O: its an ok barleywine. Dont think I would seek it out though.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.8/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A fellow beer enthusiast gave me a bottle of the 2003 edition that had been aging in his cellar for five years. Undoubtedly what I'm reviewing thus tastes slightly different from what can be expected.

The bottle I'm reviewing smells deeply malty, with a strong sherry scent, reminding me of the aroma that comes off of a hot mixture of brown sugar, butter, and vanilla.

On the tongue, there's an explosion of flavors flying at me so fast that I'm not quite sure what to latch on to. The best comparison I can make between this beer and something else would be to a fine bottle of at least fifteen-year-old port that had somehow managed to attain sherry-like flavors in the cask. Individual flavors that I pick out include raisins, caramel and toffee, maple syrup, and dark fruit esters, but even that doesn't do justice to the complexity of the palate. The hop finish for my bottle is decently strong, though nowhere near the levels that other reviewers on this site have reported--which might be due to the aging process. Mouthfeel is similar to cream, in that the beer slides almost effortlessly across the tongue, the carbonation only lightly pricking at your soft palate as it goes past.

Bottom line: quite frankly, I'm astounded by this beer, in every good way imaginable. If you like beer--and I mean *good* beer--you have to find a bottle of this. And no, I'm not telling you the name of my fellow enthusiast, because when I go over to his house tomorrow evening to steal the rest of his collection, I don't want to find that one of you have gotten to it first.

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Photo of output01x
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (Born In 2010) into a pint glass.

A strong pour yields a 1-finger cream colored head that fades after a couple minutes to a thin dusting and thin foam ring. The body is a slightly hazy dark orange amber with very little rising carbonation bubbles. Some light lacing can be seen trying to cling to the glass edges while the beer is consumed.

A medicinal alcohol smell is the first thing noticed as this beer is poured. Digging a little deeper reveals a multitude of different aromas, including caramel, licorice, and some dark fruits. There is also a roasted quality to the nose.

Quite sweet at the start of the sip, flavors of caramel and toffee are immediately apparent. Dark fruit comes in with a strong alcohol warmth that expands throughout the entire mouth. The alcohol warmth then settles in the back of the throat while a roasted nut aftertaste coats the rest of your mouth.

Medium to full bodied with decent carbonation, this beer coats your mouth well and is a little sticky. The flavors last for an appropriate amount of time. The stickiness is a little strong for the body of the beer, but it is not necessarily bad. The carbonation is a little fizzy, but is definitely necessary to help move this beer along.

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Photo of wcintula
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My Monster was boron in 2010.

Pours a dark murky amber into my Chimay goblet with a foaming ecru head that recedes quickly enough for me to pour the whole beer into the glass. Leaves a thin bubbly film atop the beer which slides very slowly and stickily down the glass as it's imbibed.

Smells of prunes and aromatic leafy hops. Very dark semi-dried fruits, still smells a bit juicy. Both sweet and dry while cold. The sweetness is certainly of a fruity nature and the dryness feels as off the alcohol is evaporating inside my mouth. There's a very slight hop bitterness to it while at the same time giving it a little spice. While cold it has a metallic tinge. When warmer the metal disappears.

The beer creates a hot sensation as the thick body pours down to the back of the throat. I'll keep a couple others to age further.

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Photo of sixerofelixir
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. 2008 release. Julian code clearly marked on neck.

Pours a clearish amber-orange/brown. Looks really fine for being 3 years old. Smell is a good dose of alcohol & caramel. Taste starts off hot and then blends into smooth dark caramel & butterscotch, before ending with a decent hop bite. Heat to follow; alcohol not masked super-well, but all in all this is a good brew that I enjoyed drinking.

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Photo of dwilson01
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an indian wells brewing pint glass. Appears an orange-coppery color in the body topped by a light sand colored head which dissipates quickly to a thin film leaving thick lacing up the glass.

The smell is interesting, it's got the sweet aroma characteristic of a barleywine, this one exhibits a lot of maple and brown sugar in it, but it also has a dark fruit smell to it. Seems very raisin and fig to me.

The flavor is great, it's a strong dark currant flavor combined with a citrusy-overripe peach sweetness backed by the malty maple syrup flavor of the grains. Only after it starts to warm up do you start to get the estery alcohol flavors, but these manifest themselves quite strongly which overpowers the rest of the beer, drink this one cold.

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Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
3.71 out of 5 based on 1,863 ratings.
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