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 biegaman
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Born in 2006, this monster meets its demise in March 2009.

Oxidizing orange peel with a sprinkle of cinnamon. The beer is brilliant and lustrous with an unimpeded clarity that furthers along its radiant complexion. An easily overlooked stream of bubbles surfaces at a continuous pace. All other signs of carbonation, however, have dwindled to the perimeter where they serve to amplify its contouring silhouette. For a beer titled 'Monster Ale' this certainly looks elegant to me!

Considering the recipe uses Willamette and Cascade hops this certainly doesn't come across as being overly citric or fruity - then again, the over two years spent in the bottle might have factored into that. To be sure, the aroma is hoppy; it is simply a leafy, "noble" type hoppiness that can be attributed to the Fuggles. This earthy connotation serves well the Scottish and English malts that carry hints of honey, peat, and fresh harvest cereal grains.

That bit of buttery, caramel lather that I sensed in the aroma is multiplied two-fold in the taste. Indeed, those lightly toasted wafers and tea-time biscuits are complimented by a succulently sweet array of caramels, candied fruits and nutty confections. There is a touch of wood essence and most definitely vanilla. I'm also persuaded by the taste of heather and other unusual, wild fruits such as mulberry and huckleberry.

Brooklyn Brewing claims the beer to be "vivacious" when young, which I can personally attest to being true. In fact, the last time I had the beer was fresh off tap in NYC and I found it to be aggressively upfront with an unrefined disposition. Fortunately, this bottle (from 2006) is certainly one of the most mellow, agreeable examples of the style I remember having.

I don't mean to call anyone a liar but there is no way this is over 10%. Few things that strong are this delicate, this graceful, this unassuming on the palate. Its velvet smooth texture is untypically mild for a beer this style. Every sip is like a soothing, rhythmic dance that has hops and malt arm and arm, fluttering around the palate.

Certain tribes in Papua New Ghinea believe that physical properties and "vital essences" are transferred from what is consumed to he or she who consumes it; in other words, the qualities innate to the food/drink we consume will hence be adapted into us. I don't know if that theory yields any scientific basis but this mellow barleywine is certainly cascading and made me at peace. This is no Monster - it's actually more of a Teddy Bear.

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

12oz bottle poured into a goblet. 2008 vintage. Either 10.1% or 10.3% ABV, depending on which part of the bottle you're looking at.

A: Pours a dark reddish-brown. A vigorous pour produces a decent-sized head, but it quickly dissipates.

S: Smells of dark fruits, brown sugar, and alcohol.

T: Big time sweet malt reminiscent of sugar and caramel. Finishes with a clean English hop bitterness. Some alcohol heat.

M: Thick enough to be substantial, but not enough to weigh you down too much.

D: A decent example of an English-style barleywine and a nice change of pace from the candy-coated hop bombs that too often define the American style. I'd never make it my go-to barleywine, but I wouldn't turn one down as a nightcap.

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

Has a nice, malty aroma with a strong overtone of molasses and a hint of yeast - not what I expect from such a strong barleywine. Pours a nice coppery amber with a fairly thick, slightly orangy off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Rich, slightly, sweet, malty flavor has strong hints of burnt caramel and brown sugar, and almost masks the jagged alcohol bite. Texture is lively, fizzy and sassy, going down the pipes with an attitude.

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Photo of jnn4v
4.47/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2007 Monster that I just picked up and am sampling before putting the rest of it in my cellar.

A: Dark amber / clover honey in color. Mild head that was a white color with fine foam. Translucent with no sediment or haze visible.

S: A warm embrace of sweet malts hits me immediately. Dark brown sugar, molasses, caramel and other wonderful sweetness lingers on the nose. A tiny bit of alcohol on the trailing edge.

T: Sweet, raisin and molasses flavor. Delicious. Hints of copper or a metallic tinge. Sweetness definitely increased as it warmed.

M: Somewhat syrupy with little carbonation. Good body, but not too thick.

D: Mouthwatering and filling at the same time. Texture made it easy to consume, but with an ABV above 10%, beware.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2007 Bottle date.

A- The head is indicative of a Barleywine, mostly that of a hoppy one. The beer is very amber copper color.

S- The smell is malty, spicy, herbal, and not hoppy like it looks like. Caramel malty smell is very different from other BWs I've had.

T- The malts are very much there. Caramel in taste, very much like an imperial octoberfest. Some slight spices, but this is very very mellow. I like a more intense flavored beer.

M- Smooth, and easy going like Sunday morning.

D- Very easy to drink. Like I said, like a imperial octoberfest.

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

This is one of my favorites and most frequently recommended brews. When you buy it, the brew has already been aging (somewhere) for a while, which makes it a drinkable barleywine. For most other brews of this style, you need to wait a year before cracking them open - they are nasty. This one is drinkable from day one.

We were thinking yesterday as we watched the Lake Erie Monsters hockey team play, that they should sell this stuff there. The problem would be heavy alcohol intoxication by patrons.

This stuff is serious business, like most Barleywines, but I reiterate that this is a much more drinkable brew. So lets have two!

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Photo of pepsidac
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I begin this tasting with a slight preconceived notion that this beer will be rather boozy, based on some of the reviews I have read. But I'll try to clear my mind of that.

A: Looks about the color I would expect a barleywine to be, but with absolutely no head. I couldn't even force it with a strong pour. Reddish brown and transparent.

S: Smells fruity, I catch the booze in there but it is a full bodied dark fruit and malt combination that is quite nice.

T: Wow, that is nice! I don't think I was able to clear my mind of it's preconceptions so I still expected the alcohol to slap me in the face, but that is only a faint aftertaste. Definitely some big chewy malts mixed in with plenty of fruit and a nice subtle hoppiness as it goes down the hatch. Flavors coming at you from all directions with this one. One of the fuller flavored barleywines I've tasted, similar to Old Horizontal. I would have guessed this to be an American rather than English barleywine.

M: Some people might not like how thick this one is, but it really hits the spot for me. It goes perfectly with the flavor and doesn't leave you asking for anything more.

D: For the ABV it is really quite drinkable. I think I overprepared myself for this beer to be a single bottle at a time, force it down kind of beer, but it hides the alcohol very nicely in my opinion. Another winner from Brooklyn.

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Photo of roadhouse
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance is a dark copper color, fairly clear, with a three-quarter inch off-white head. Head eventually falls down and leaves next to no lacing.

Aroma is quite muted but I can pick up some brown sugar, caramel, a slight raisin and a touch of pear.

Tastes of caramel up front with the fruitiness entering midway through again coming off as raisin and pear but perhaps now there's some apple and plum. Finish brings a bit of spiciness and alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is full, but it's lightened a bit by the slightly high carbonation. Still very chewy and a sipper for sure.

It seems that after having a J.W. Lees it's basically impossible to find anything that matches up and everything else is a disappointment. I enjoyed the flavor of this, definitely more so than most American style Barleywines. It's a bit hot so aging this one might be a good idea.

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Photo of mikecharley
3.51/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a small bone white head, which fades quickly, leaving no signs of lace. Pretty run of the mill BW appearance.

The aroma is of biscuit and malt. Nothing to complex. there is some alcohol in there as well.

The taste follows the nose pretty closely. Really straightforward. pretty well balanced. Not bad, but not impressive either. This beer tastes like a "barleywine".

The feel and drinkability are pretty decent, everything considered. The drinkability is high, due to the balance, but if I had a choice, I can think of more impressive BW's that are readily available around here.

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Photo of gabeerfan
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear medium, dark amber. Very much like iced tea. Had a roiling head when first poured, but completely disappeared after a few minutes. Tiny bubbles continually break the surface though.
Fairly typical barleywine aromas. Fruity, spicy, a little biscuity with some earthy, grassy hops. Alcohol aroma is also fairly prominant.
Alcohol hits first, especially after the beer warms a bit. Flavors are pretty reminiscent of a fruitcake. Biscuity, slightly sweet malts. Dried fruit, even some iced tea. Very light earthy, grassy hops.
Medium bodied. Slightly syrupy feel, but finishes very dry.
Pretty drinkable. It's a sipper, but a good one at that. It's not a sweeter DIPA that many American Barleywines tend to be, but a pretty standard barleywine. I have 3 more bottles that I am going to have over the next 3 years. Hopefully it will mellow the alcohol.

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Photo of jnfs
4.28/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Born in 2007.

This beer has a nice slight head, is amber in color almost like an American amber ale and is lightly to moderately carbonated. The initial smell and taste of this stout beast are definitely alcohol. There is also plum and a subtly hoppyness in the taste, which is followed by alcohol in the aftertaste. The smell on the nose is of Carmel almost like candy, plum and alcohol. This 12 oz bottle seems fairly easily drinkable, that is if you can handle the alcohol, it's definitely there. I like this beer it reminds me of a good home brewed barley wine; i would buy this again. Cheers

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Photo of robbyc1
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle of this Monster born in 2008 poured into a Sam Adams Glass, clear light gold color with 1/2 inch head.

Nose has hints of alcohol, malt, and metallics like a lager. slight hops.

Taste has fizziness up front, then malt hits, light but good, caramel, finished nicely balanced and dry. Expecting more flavor here based on the 07 version, might be too young right now, but a good overall flavor profile.

Full but light mouthfeel, a subdued barleywine feel, makes for an easy drinker, a bit too easy for the abv, hard to tell it's there. This is not a full grown Monster, rather a baby monster, possibly aging will help.

Update relating to the 2007 version, consumed Dec. 2009, the color has darkened, the alcohol has softened, a deep malty beer with a good dark fruit, bready malts, balanced not sweet by the remaining hops. This may be the perfect aging as I can't see it getting any better. Up the scores all around by 1/2.

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Photo of diddly
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Little carbonation, nice dark color.

Smell is strong and fruity.

Tastes somewhat lighter than other barleywines. Hop flavor is very strong at first, then trails off to a complex mix. Definitely a healthy amount of alcohol in here.

Mouthfeel is very full - almost syrupy at first, and definitely stays in the mouth.

I think this would be a good cold weather beer - of course, it's fairly warm for Winter right now. All in all, a good beer, but nothing great.

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Photo of maximum12
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A good barleywine makes me want to get up & do the Squirrels in My Pants dance. This one made me shuffle my feet on the stool a little bit.

Monster pours a clear amber with very little in the smelling salt side of things, odd for a barleywine.

Taste is pretty flat. There are some up-front hops that save Monster from being completely non-descript; still, the hops & some uninsistent sweetness don't do much to keep the alcohol away from the nose hair. Not much depth or complexity here, & unfortunately there's not enough else going on to make it great.

Splitting the 12 oz. with the wife, & that's enough for me.

It would be interesting to see what a year would do to this. Since the hops are the main player right now, would it sink into a morass of blah, or would the other ingredients come out on top as the alcohol cooled? Looking through a few aged reviews, it seems like the older bottles get the higher scores. Ah, well. This one died young.

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Photo of discovolante65
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a generic snifter. who cares.
Red/mahogany color, very little head almost no carbonation.

smell is sugar, booze and fruit. fruity booze delicousness.

I have come to expect that they all taste the same, its in the finish thats the proof. This one doesn't finish as well as others, but not as bad as some. Booze punch in the noze at first, followed by sweet malt, sugars, followed by a punch in the nose from booze again. Like I had a werther's original in my mouth and someone punched me in the face. I like it though.

Mouthfeel is thick, syrupy, and almost to the point where I don't enjoy it, but again, that's barleywine to me. I like it almost to the point of hating it for being too sticky and cloying. I think the carbonation is aided heavily by the glass type it is poured in.

Drinkability for me is right on. It's cold, it's snowy, and I want to be warmed from alcohol. I like this one. It's second tier to some other barleywines, but not by much. For the price, this would be my staple in this style.

All in all, I like what this brewery has to offer and would purchase again without hesitation.

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Photo of bbothen
3.17/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Born in 2008.

Pours a clear copper/rust color with a small less than 1 finger deep head that doesn't stay around very long.

Subdued smells of sugar, malts, hop bitterness, booze, some fruitiness.

The first thing I notice is how present the alcohol is. Right in your face. Some caramel malt sweetness, light hoppiness, sweet finish before the booze comes back to show you who's in charge.

Thick, syrupy, medium to full, moderately carbonated, lingering booze warmth.

Don't think I'd order seconds of this one. Just doesn't work well for my palate.

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

This Monster was born in 2008, states the lable. The lable also has the ABV% at 10.1 in the description and then 10.3 on the bottom of the lable. So, it's a bit of mystery.

12 oz. bottle > small Snifter

This one has a very bright amber with golden and red hues, a bit on the light side for the style. The carbonation is over-active, very crazy which does not allow the head to be retained, it just fizzes out quick and doesn't leave very left over at all.

The aroma is actually pretty subtle, but there's toffee and butterscotch scented malt with a very dried-herbs scent from the hops. The heat is a slight buzz on the nose but not overpowering.

The balance of flavor's for this style is right on. The malt has a semi-sweet, butterscotch and toffee flavor, but a bit thin, and the complexity of flavor is not very high, which is a shame because English Barleywines are all about complexity. The malt body is also a bit thin, more medium bodied feel, especially with the big carbonation. The hop flavor is really good, dried herbs and spices, all-spice, slightly peppery, not at all bitter, which is also one thing I love about English Barleywine's compared to Big-hopped American version's. The hops provide a really good balance and the heat is actually pretty well-hidden eventhough the malt is thin.

Overall, not bad for an American Swipe at this wonderful English style. The body and malt was on the weak side but still enjoyable in the middle of this freezing winter of '08-'09.

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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 DJRezN00
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Uwftke26 for my first trade for a few of these bad boys. o7* vintage

poured hazy and golden with a small fast reducing head that was just alittle tannish/white in color. looks thick and dangerous.
smells of fruit basketlike apples and oranges and... yeast/malt? i smell a bakery alittle. a small hint of nose sting from the alcohol.
taste is very creamy smooth with a huge malt blast and a slight hop checknote. alcohol here! wo0! i cant get over how smooth it tastes tho. hints of fruits, maybe carmalized pears. also some pine notes. reminds me of an apple pie kinda. small after bite bittterness.
very full in the mouth almost slimy. im thinking almost like a RIS consistancy. carbonation is low but present. very nice warming sensational in the throat prolly due to alcohol.
very dangerous and tasty beer. due to the alcohol i couldnt drink to000 many. but a few would be an awesome journey!

thanks again Uwftke26

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

2007 vintage, chilled, into a glass.

A: Clear copper color with orange highlights. Some lazy carbonation is evident, but for the most part it looks inactive and viscous. The head is fluffy and recedes quickly. No film on top and no lacing to speak of.

S: A sweet blend of citrusy and piney hops, with a strong caramel malt character. Hints of honey and candied fruit. No alcohol in the nose.

T: Malty sweetness is the first sensation, producing a blend of caramel and candied fruits. The next taste is a pronounced hop bitterness. A sweet finish with a bit of heat, but not as much as I would expect from a 10%er. Seems the aging has mellowed the bite.

M: Full-bodied with low carbonation.

D: This is a fantastic barleywine. Others I've had will pitch too much toward the sweet side, perhaps because they're young. This has a delicious balance and a nice kick. I would seek this out again and age a few. No more than 2 in one sitting, though.

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Photo of gonzo46and2
4.24/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cherry-wood stain color with an off-white head that recedes to a small white froth.

Aroma is flowery and herbal. Big malt presence that's reminicent of dry roasted nuts with caramel.

Taste has notes of honey, hops, sugary cake...

Medium bodied and very well balanced.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.52/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

'08 vintage, bottle into snifter.

Pours a clear red amber with a soapy, thin off-white head. Really nice looking beer.

Nose is big and hoppy - lots of citrus, some prickly pine, definite boozy heat that comes out with an almost paint thinner quality, and a big rich caramel and toffee sweetness lurking behind everything. Lotta great stuff going on, and you can't really fault some booziness on a new barleywine.

Taste is fairly balanced - up front, you get a nice, rich, caramel and brown sugar sweetness, with a big layer of spicy hops on top. Some maple in there also. The quality of the hops right before the finish is rather muddled and undefined - there's no real separation between the hops and the malt, just a sharp, tingly, slightly astringent richness. Some rich, overripe fruit emerge as well. Finish is long, with a light bitterness on the roof of the palate and a lot of alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is sticky, thick, with a very subtle carbonation.

A nice beer overall, held back a bit by the way the alcohol stirs up and muddles the bigger picture. One I would certainly put in my cellar for awhile to let it really come into its own.

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Photo of currysage1
3.81/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Altough the site says 11.8 the bottle says 10.3 ABV.

Pours a dark orange, perfectly clear topped with a 1 1/2 finger cream colored head. Slow to sink with great lacing.

Smell is light fruits mixed with rough bread maltiness, some oaky vanilla in there as well.

Taste is of a vinous nature, with darker fruits and a slight alcoholic twinge to it. Bitter almonds.

Feel is pretty good, but needs a little more body for this style. Nice low carbonation, keeps the palate clear.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
4.63/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(From notes on my Palm)-Location: Bar Great Harry NYC
1999 Vintage

This was served in a 12 oz. Stein. Hazy,orange hue with a nice sized head and good lacing action.

The aroma of malts,fruit notes and caramel hints.
The taste followed the aroma with a burst of sweet malts,fruit flavors that came in layers. Citrus,apples,some spice and subtle hops. There was a tinge of caramel to the aftertaste,but this was malty.
The feel was medium carbonation with a rich,creamy texture. Full bodied with only a faint touch of bitterness.

Notes: A wonderful night and a delight to say that I enjoyed this beer while talking to Garret Oliver as he himself sipped on one. This beer reminded me of Old Victory or even Fred,but so much better. This was the Star attraction of the night and it was so easy to drink that even Garret himself said that it was something he needed to be careful with. I can not say enough about the entire night yet I remember the talk was all about "99" Monster.

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Photo of Avagadro
4.77/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed: 1-14-2009

10.1% ABV on neck label
10.3% ABV on main label

A: Pours with a fluffy, off-white head that fades quickly. Very clear and copper in color. A small amount of carbonation is visible.

S: The bouquet is very appealing. Citrus, pine, caramel, and ethanol come together harmoniously.

T: Both delicate and bold at the same time. The sweet maltiness is noticed immediately, followed by a distinct hop bite.

M: Full body and slightly oily. The is a fine grit to this ale as well. Very pleasing on the tongue.

D: One of my stand-by barleywine ales. This is a must-try for any barleywine fan, particularly those of the British style.

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