Brooklyn Monster Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

1,864 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.

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Ratings: 1,864 |  Reviews: 1,082
Photo of Imstillthegman
3.42/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Born in 2005.

Pours a clear, dark amber color with a thin, light tan head that quickly fades to just a ring. No lacing left behind, but the ring remains.

Scents of dark fruits (raisins, dates, plums), caramel, some light citrus hop notes. Alcohol is present in the aroma. Kind of reminds me of a red wine my wife recently had.

Taste is strong on the dark fruits and alcohol. Hop bitterness comes out in the end. The alcohol is almost too strong for my liking.

Medium bodied with light carbonation. Dry, bittering finish with aftertaste of alcohol remaining in my throat. It may improve with some aging, but as of now it's not one of my favortie English barleywines.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Born in 2005

A- Pours a clear dark amber with nice tan head.

S- Sweet fruits, caramel and toffee. Nice citrus hop presence.

T- Dark fruit flavor, sherry like alcohol, and toffee. Hops provide a nice spicy note too.

M- Crisp and dry.

D- A little lighter than others. All in all, a nice barleywine, just not my favorite.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Born in 2003. Brilliant, glowing candy apple red when even tangentially backlit. This is one of the brightest, reddest barleywines that I've ever laid eyes on. Given the ABV, I'm amazed that the head was as expansive as it was after the pour and that it's lasting as long as it is. Creamy, light caramel-colored foam crested the top of the snifter and is even now, many minutes later, a fat one finger in height. I don't even care that there's almost no lace because Monster is a great looking beer.

I really thought that three years in the bottle would have been long enough to tame the alcohol (and it might have on the palate). Unfortunately, ethanol is still the main component of the less than multi-faceted nose. A whiff of Islay whisky is buried way down deep and might have come to the rescue if it was stronger. The usual boozy berry notes are present, but they're long on boozy and short on berry.

The flavor is a definite step up, largely because rampant alcohol is no longer an issue. It still infuses each and every mouthful, but has been so rounded and softened by the years that it's a welcome visiter on the tongue. In fact, the flavor itself is a bit too rounded and softened for my tastes. It's so hard to know how long to age a barleywine, especially when one has just a single bottle and can't see how each vintage is progressing.

Due to its age--I'm guessing--each sip starts out with a measured burst of dark caramel, cherry tobacco, anise and black raspberries and then starts to lose flavor concentration (slowly but steadily) rather than hanging tough as a younger beer might do. It's still an enjoyable little sipper though and is one of the more tasty English-style barleywines that I've had in a while.

The body/mouthfeel isn't as large as I like, but taken within the context of the gentle, 'rounded edges' flavor profile, it fits like hand in glove. Tactilely as well, the beer loses momentum as soon as it registers, but sticks around long enough not to disappoint. In spite of a surprisingly loud 'pffft' on crown cracking, there's very little noticeable carbonation. Just like I like it.

I've had this bottle of Brooklyn Monster Ale for several years at least and have hung onto it hoping that it was improving with each passing month. I may have waited a bit too long, but I feared the alcoholic heat that I experienced in a newly minted bottle of Black Chocolate Stout. I'd love to get my hands on a fresher bottle some day, if only to see how it compares to this now mellow fellow.

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

Cloudy chocolate milk-like appearance with a low beige ringed head. Strong solid malt aroma with alcohol on the nose. Similar flavors with a decent balance; very malty with some aged hop bitterness. Medium-full bodied; almost milky with a fairly bitter finish.

I vow not to age any more barleywines...

Per BB website: Alcohol 10.8 (ABW?)
OG: 23.7P; 1095
Malts: Scottish Floor-malted Marris Otter & English 2-row Malts
Hops: Willamette, Cascade, and American Fuggles

2000 version (Per label: "Specially Brewed for the Millenium")
Tasted: 07/13/06

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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 cbl2
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2005 Vintage. No best by date, and none required.


Pours a reddish orange with an incredible 2" head that lasts a while, though upon settling leaves behind some impressive lace.


Slightly burnt caramel with just a touch of hoppy bitterness.


Mildly sweet with almost ripe plum coupled with a sherry-like nuttiness that is heady with alcohol.

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

12 oz. bottle, 2005 vintage. It pours a mildly-hazed orange/ruby with a hint of pink and low visible carbonation with a fizzy head that reduces to nothing. Smells of bubblegum, tart apples, and melon rind, with sugary, almost artificial malts. It has a medium, syrupy body and there are heavy sugary malts on the palate that almost completely mask the hops, which are noticeable mostly in the mild to medium bitterness. I'm not really impressed, but I'd like to see how a few years in the cellar would treat this one.

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Photo of barleyman
2.78/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This sample, a 2005 vintage, poured from 12 oz. brown glass bottle created very little dark white head, and leaves a little lace down the straight sided tumbler. Mahogany color and very little sweet malt smell for such a big beer. Flavor is of raisins, bread, alcohol and sweet malt, without much hop to balance. I like the mouthfeel, it is my favorite aspect of this beer, which I enjoy often. Drinkability is quite low, due to the overwhelming strength. I always enjoy this beer, which I don't rate all that highly. I just wish I had the restraint to be able to age it a bit, it might rate higher with a bit of age on it.

Just a thought,


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Photo of gnoff
3.42/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Monster Ale 2004. Sampled from 12 fl oz bottle courtesy of a friend, traded from the USA.

Clear brown color with a tan head.
Lots of alcohol in the scent, some of the barley wine style classic notes as well. Also a little bit fruity smell.
Taste is hidden by the alcohol, it stunnes the taste buds.
Big mouthfeel with medium high bitterness.
Pepper and bitter after taste.
Might win on being laid down for a while, see if the taste can evolve from the alcohol some.

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

2004 Vintage. Pours copper to orange in color and clear with a decent size creamy off white head that fades rapidly. Smell of sugary sweet malts, sweet prunes and apricots, a big whiff of alcohol as well. A little biscuit/yeasty as well, which when mixed with the sweet malts is like a pineapple upside down cake. Taste is also a flash of sweet maltiness, caramel, no hop flavors to speak of, quickly followed by a large alcohol presence. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with an oily slickness and finishes with a slightly warming, dryness from the alcohol. I enjoyed this sample, but would like to try it raw and fresh as well.

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Photo of TheLastEngineer
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Class of 2004 12oz bottle - This was my first one in three years but also the first one I had allowed to age for 12+ months.

Has a very appealing orange/copper color with an off-white head that quickly dissipated. Lots going on with the smell...fruits, malt, alcohol (but not so much as to clue one in to the power of this brew). It was sweeter and smoother than I had remembered it. Good fruit balance to help distract from the potential onslaught of alcohol and hops taste, but still not a personal favorite in this aspect. Mouthfeel was lighter than expected but still left a bit of a coating... not very satisfying. Very clean finish and lack of bitterness made for a high probability of multiple visitations in a single session. Do this at your own risk as that 11.8% ABV will make it presence known soon enough.

I might want to pour my next one more aggresively to wake things up a bit. Quite drinkable for the high ABV. I'll let a couple age for another 3 months and then give it another spin.

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Photo of EStreet20
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle that states "this monster ale was born in 2005" poured into a large sized snifter glass.

A - A translucent red-orange color with a small tan head. Not bad.

S - Sweet fruity smells along with some caramel. A bit of cherry and grape flavors specifically.

T - The fruit tastes are leading the way here with a bitterness and some of the caramel flavors on the finish. A pleasant tasting barleywine.

M - A little thin for the style buit still pretty good.

D - Not the most complex barleywine I've tasted but seems to drink rather easily for the style.

Not too bad. I like the more in your face American barleywines better but this is a pleasant sipper after dinner or at the end of the night.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.37/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The 2004 vintage of this beer was the first one I picked up after the law change in Georgia, and at the time I though this was a beer worth cellaring. In the past year and a half I was able to avoid the calls of the lone remaining bottle of Monster. I suppose now is as good a time as any to take the plunge.

Poured into a tulip, the beer looked as clear as ever, with reddish brown body, and a small head that formed for a short while before settling down to a thin ring of bubbles. Not much carbonation to speak of either. The aroma was sweet, and floral. There were lots of fruity esters reminding me of figs, cherries, bananas, oranges, and apples. The alcohol was like rose oil. There was no hint of any oxidation, despite the warmish cellaring conditions in my basement.

The taste was smooth and mellow, with the flavors melded together to form a taste similar to fruit punch mixed with caramel sauce. The warm and spicy alcohol came shortly after, until giving way to vanilla. The texture was silky smooth and delicate. The hops which I remember being somewhat noticeable when fresh, had all faded into a slight peppery tingle.

This Monster was definitely a better beer with some age on it. The warmth of the alcohol has me wondering if this beer can go on improving a little more with age. Sadly the 2004 is now history, and 2005 bottles have some ways to go. Good things come to those who wait I suppose.

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Photo of ybnorml
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a vintage 2004 bottle

A clean dark amber/copper colored beer with ruby hightlights. Has a nice off white head. The aroma has a creamy caramel character up front with a hint of apple in the background followed by a strong alcohol note. That creamy carmel character flows over into the taste. Bringing with it a creamy smooth mouthfeel. There is a quick snap of bitterness on the finish. Which is where the heat from the alcohol starts to slowly make it's presence felt. Marvelous

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Photo of trep
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage

Pours a bloody amber color with an off-white head after a pretty aggressive pour into my balloon. Nice lacing as it slowly fades and a little bit of carbonation rising up.

Apples, raisins, grapes, and a sweet caramel malt sweetness that is tied together with a bit of alcohol.

A good bit of caramel malt with some notes of apples, cherries, rasins, and some woodiness that I can't pinpoint. Very sweet malt and the alcohol is barely noticable. Smooth as silk finish. The 3+ years of aging has done this one some justice. I had the previous 5 of the six-pack before I learned of aging and its benefits and remember it being a bit hot for my tastes. But that was before my pallate could handle any Impy Stouts.

Medium-Full body and little carbonation. Regardless, this one is smooth as hell and goes down surprisingly easy. I wish I hadn't drank the other 5.

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

bottled in 2005

Pours a clear medium brown color with a thin head. Cap was gone in seconds and left no lacings. Aroma was fruity esters, brown sugar and hops. Flavor was more the same with raisins, brown sugar, light roastiness, and unusualy strong grapefruit hops I thought. Had a spicey harshness that left a slight peppery aftertaste. Hops hangs in back of tongue for a few seconds. Body is medium, with medium carbonation, leaves a bitter dry mouthfeel. After reading some posts on cellaring this beer, I'm more looking forward the to future drinking of the rest of this six pack.

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Photo of Enola
3.08/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

As far as this style goes this one is average at best. The beer poured with little head. It is a mahogany color. The smell is alcohol with grain notes weaved in. The taste is alcohol up front. A slightly sharper barleywine. The mouthfeel is alcohol first. I could drink this beer again but there are better barleywines out there. Average at best.

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Photo of grub
4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2003 vintage, sampled may 11/2006

pours a deep amber color with a 1/4" of tight yellow head. the head quickly dissipates into a ring around the glass. carbonation is fairly light.

aroma is really interesting. caramel, dried fruit, slightly vinous, alcohol in the background.

taste is great. nice roasty/malty flavour, with no trace of any sticky or cloying sweetness. just a hint of the dried fruit/vinous character. nice alcohol finish. really nice well balanced and quite smooth. any trace of hops, even bitterness, seems strangely missing, but i think that's just because i'm more used to american style barleywines.

mouthfeel is actually a little thinner than i expected. i'd have expected a beer of this size to be a little fuller, but it makes it more drinkable.

overall this is a good beer. the slight thinness to the mouthfeel and lack of bitterness leaves a little something to be desired, but it's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of crwills
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great colour to this beer. Gem-like and shiny amber, very smooth. Almost no head.

Sweet, malty smell -- canned tangerine oranges, and easily detectable alcohol.

Taste has a strong alcohol bite, even a little bit harsh. Stings the mouth. Once past that, it's quite pleasantly malty, with some hop presence that's overwhelmed by the yeast and alcohol. Slightly watery mouthfeel for a barleywine, but still smooth.

Could probably do with some aging to remove a bit of the bite, but still relatively easy drinking.

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

2005 Edition

A - 1/2" slow forming dense khaki head. Head sticks around for a couple of minutes. Slow moving bubbles. Amber / golden in color. No lace.

S - Sweet aroma. Nice balance of malt and hops - neither dominates.

T - Sweet malt with a thorough hop bitterness in the finish.Tangy. Alcohol. Caramel / nuttiness. Slight hint of fruit. Mellow BW overall, I can see the 11.8% sneaking up quick though!

M - Big mouthfeel. Thick, coating. Mid-level carbonation.

D - Very nice! I was very excited to be able to sample this and Black Chocolate thanks to xcjetta. I have one more to look forward to as well!

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Photo of orfeu
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 bottling. Glowing copper in an oversized wine goblet with rapidly diminishing sand-colored froth. Vinous, tannic nose with hints of sherry and bourbon and an ever-so-slight nuttiness. Soft and fruity on the palate, with a mellow and round finish. Overtly vinous -- a barley wine with the emphasis on the wine, I suppose. A bit boozy, but this character subdues as the beer warms (I poured it slightly cooler than room temp). Cherry and prune juice flavors in the middle and only the faintest hint of earthy hops. As I mentioned, alcohol is apparent in the taste, but surprisingly well-hidden in the swallow -- no heat detected at all. A solid version of an English-style barley wine; I liked this better on the second try than I did on the first sampling a few months ago.

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

Hardly any head, what there was dissipated very quickly with very little lacing. Good color though of caramel and murky amber with reddish orange highlights..

Aromas of caramel, mollases, sugar cane, and malt make me think this may have a decent amount of RS.

Definitely english in style. Big sweet malty profile. With a little more hop than expected. Sweet caramel and toffee are the main flavor proponents with some side items getting in on the action especially the alcohol leaving a warm burning sensation in the esophagus and chest (not a complaint by any means).

This barley wine is highly tannic with a very long finish. A very good wine true to the style. Yet the tannins and alcohol make this one score slightly less on the drinkability factor.

Very solid beer.

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Photo of tom444
4.11/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep orange-gold, with a moderate off-white head. Little head retention, decent lacing.

Aroma is alcoholic, and a bit fruity, with some sweet malty notes

Mouthfeel is a bit thick, with just the right amount of carbonation. The taste starts out with some hop bitterness, then a lot of malty sweetness, with some notes of raisins and black cherry. Finishes cleanly, with some warming alcohol, and just a bit of malty aftertaste.

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Photo of alexgash
4.29/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2003

Dark, vinous ruby with a small, ringy off-white head. Nose is full of blackberries, port, strawberrries, a hint of toffee. There's a definite rum and alcohol component as well. Very nice. Tastes of sweet fruits (blackberries). Has a tangy, vinous, port quality to it. Tannins. Rich chocolate/molasses mid palate and then a balancing, powerful bitterness sets in for the long, tannin-bitter finish. Way warming, but not "hot" like I remember. Much better than the young bottle I had over 3 years ago (an '02 I think). Medium-full body that coats the mouth well. Need to get some more of this and maybe aging is the key...

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Photo of phisig137
3.05/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2005 Vintage, pours a copper color with no head, and no lacing. A few bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom

Smells slightly sweet, and very alcoholic. not much else

Tastes hugely of caramel and malts up front, with a somewhat weak hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is fairly thin for the style, and drinkability is rather low. The alcohol makes itself very apparent after only a few sips.

Perhaps this is just an off batch. I expected much more from Brooklyn, especially with one of thier seasonal, which are normally very good.

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Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
3.71 out of 5 based on 1,864 ratings.
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