Brooklyn Monster Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale
1,868 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,868 |  Reviews: 1,085
Photo of mcallister
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

 784 characters

Photo of tom444
4.11/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

 440 characters

Photo of alexgash
4.29/5  rDev +15.3%
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...

 639 characters

Photo of phisig137
3.05/5  rDev -18%
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.

 533 characters

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

Presentation: Comes in brown, 12 oz bottle with different label scheme than normal Brooklyn beers. No visible freshness date or style information, but "this Monster Ale was born in 2005." 11% alcohol.

Appearance: Pours a rich, brown red color with almost no head. Stray trails of carbonation creep up the side of the glass. Small amount of lacing, but nothing significant.

Smell: Strong alcohol esters dominate Monster Ale's aroma, with lesser notes of dark fruits and caramel sweetness. The smell brings to mind Dogfish Head Immort Ale, with more restrained alcohol and no maple or smokiness.

Taste: Monster Ale's nose is surprisingly bitter, with assertive hops balanced by the malt. The initial bitterness gives way to more sweet malt, and then a dry, astringent finish from the alcohol. Here's where Monster gets interesting: dark, candied fruits in the finish, with hints of sherry. Lingering dark alcohol sweetness. The bitterness of the nose rapidly fades; after a few sips, not much in front except some grain before giving way to the alcohol. As the beer warms, chocolate undertones in the finish. Commendable complexity.

MF: Smooth, although the carbonation seems to be a touch too high. Almost chewy from the alcohol.

Drinkability: It's 11% alcohol with a rich, full flavor, so not a good candidate for a session beer unless you're looking for a monster of a hangover. A nice sipper.

The American craft beer scene can be frustrating for barleywine lovers: with some notable exceptions, barleywines, like IPAs, seem to be turning into an arms race for the most hops, the most intense bitterness, and the biggest alcohol punch. Kudos to Garrett Oliver for turning out a beer that, like his IPA, bucks the trend and stays true to his historical interpretation of the style. Monster Ale is a good, not great beer that doesn't quite come together. Still, worth checking out if you're tired of the usual American barley wine and are willing to take on a more English style.

 1,996 characters

Photo of DaggerEyes
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2005 Vintage poured a crisp ruby tinted brown with no head visable.
Very perfumey on the nose. the scent is a well balanced one featuring equal part citrusy hops and sweet sugry malts.

Monster Ale is light bodied with heavy carbonation and is very active in the mouth. The carbonation was much higher than I would have thought based on the apperance of the beer.

Fruity and sweet this beer has very similar characteristics to a young wine and seems that it could benifit from a few years in a cellar.

 509 characters

Photo of far333
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 vintage: Clear maple-ochre colored liquid is capped by a thick head of light brown meringue with a film of sheeting rising up evenly all around the inside of the glass. Aroma of cinnamon and pear, toffee malt and light brown sugar. Initially vinous and brandy-like, chewy fruits, faint smoke and sweetish molasses malts. Mouthfeel is a little thin and wispy upfront, but finishes full. A slight alcohol warmth lingers in the mouth and cheeks, accompanied by a fine hop bitterness. Fairly drinkable for such a big beer.

 523 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.52/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2005 version.
A: Poured the bottle's contents into an oversized wine glass, which produced a one centimeter head that was off-white in color. The body is clear and clean, with an appearance similar to light caramel and amber. Carbonation is virtually nonexistent, despite the transparent body; this is backed up as the head collapses into a thin ring around the glass within twenty seconds.
S: The scent's forefront features mild, citrusy hops that are well-balanced with fruity esters and malt sweetness. The back of the nose is rich in alcohol burn - not exactly pleasant.
T: Taste opens up with a semi-spicy (assuming from the hops or alcohol) tones of sweetish malt and fruits such as apples or pears. This leads into a mildly bitter hop finish alongside the expected alcohol kick. As the beer warms, the alcohol presence becomes significantly more pronounced, almost dominating the finish of the beer.
M: The Monster Ale demonstrates a medium-heavy mouthfeel. The lack of significant carbonation acts in this one's favor, allowing the drinker to savor and enjoy on the palate as long as possible. Relatively "wet" finish despite the obvious hop presence in the scent and taste.
D: For English barleywines, this is a fair attempt, but I prefer the richness and more intense sweetness of Young's Old Nick. The alcohol sharpness turns me off, as does what seems to be this beer's tendency to be in many places at many different times, never doing justice to any particular area. Perhaps with some aging, the alcohol could be tempered and the beer would take on a mellower character, which would enhance its scent and taste attributes.

 1,641 characters

Photo of AltBock
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle that was born in the year 2004. The beer label as well as the neck label was silver in color with the word "Monster Ale" in black. The vintage date is on the front under "Monster Ale." The neck label had the information about the beer, food pairings with the beer, and the location of the Brooklyn Brewery. Basically it's a just a nice label that doesn't need to have a stupid Monster on the label.

Appearance: When I poured in into my Snifter, the beer was a copper color with a 1 finger head of foam that was an off white color. The foam dissipated fast leaving very few rings and little lace around the glass.

Smell: I was expecting this beer to have this strong medicine aroma, but to my surprise it was fruity in aroma instead. Besides the fruit, there was also a sweet caramel aroma with a slight hoppy background. Very good indeed!

Taste: Again, I was expecting this beer to be strong in medicine cause of the high ABV%, but to my surprise again it was actually quite mellow in fruit and sweet malts. I also detected some hops in the background as well. Very nice!

Mouthfeel: Now this is where I felt that strong medicine taste I thought it might have. Well, not just medicine in the aftertaste, the medicine was kind of fruity at the same time. Even with that medicine taste, I still didn't feel that high ABV % of 11.8%.

Drinkability: Even though this was my first barleywine style ale, I was quite impressed with this beer. Not only is it good, but it's affordable, being only $8 for a six-pack.

 1,533 characters

Photo of Freshie
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage

Pours an awesome dark amber color, with nice head that dissapated to the sides of my snifter. Laces beautifully.

The aroma was a plethroa of smells from caramel to raisins. Very appealing to olfactory senses.

The taste was very expansive, with a strong sweet caramel malt to start that finishes to a nice hop bitterness.

The bitterness stays in your mouth, but it is pleasant. The high ABV is masked well by the ingrediants.

Very smooth. Very well put together all around.

 500 characters

Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage:
Reddish/brown topped by a thin head. The fine bubbles remained throughout and formed delicate lace. Aromas of fruit and toffee, very malty with some raisin and a bit of hops. Aging has really mellowed the aroma. Strong bitterness and solid malt backbone. There's a mellow fruit character throughout. The malt finishes a little short, but bitterness lingers. Full body, low carbonation, very smooth. The alcohol strength is well hidden. Surprisingly easy to drink. Very enjoyable.

 494 characters

Photo of danadeny
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 bottle aged a little over a year. Whe i first tried it fresh it was rough around the edges. Too much alcohol bite, not what i would say ballanced. So i figured aginf would smooth things out. And age did. The smell was much the same, it had lost little of it's typical barley wine aroma. But the ballance in flavor was much improved. A good, typical caramel sweetness at first due to a blen of medium roasted malt and alcohol, and the hops were present but just enough to ballance, you need to look for them. Overall at this point i would concider it a good, easy drinking barley wine, well within the barley wine catagory it was easy drinking. Something i could just relax and enjoy a mouthful of rather than a sip.

 720 characters

Photo of Goldorak
3.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage that I've had hidden in my cellar for who-knows how long.

Appearance: Sludgy, cola-brown, barely any head at all, just a really thin veil. It's pretty much average looking for the style, it doesn't mean I have to like it...

Smell: The madeirization (if that's even a word), was pretty evident, giving it a nice soothing, worked-in feel in the nose, and mellowing out the booze fumes that can sometimes be too harsh.

Taste: Surprisingly well carbonated, the body feels roasted and sticky sweet with notes of plums and just a little bit of strawberry jam in the hops, who coexist with the alcohol well enough to provide a dry finish that was enjoyable. Pretty easy to drink, considering the alcohol involved here.

 734 characters

Photo of MarkBlackout
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A strange brew indeed.. I've had numerous barley wines but never one that tasted like this. The first sip is a bit shocking due to the alcohol presence, but my palate quickly adjusted and I enjoyed the remainder. Has a nice caramel flavor without being too sweet. This is one beer that should be tried by anyone, even if barleywine is not your particular style of choice.

 371 characters

Photo of 3Vandoo
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep burgundy beer with no head retention at all, nothing, nié, nada, nein!

Heavy alcohol hint flavours came out, followed by sweet pastry like smell, bready, smell of cherry.

Her taste was quite bready, it was reminding me of pastry with a finishing hint of vanilla followed by hops aroma and caramel. Quite a smooth drinking beer.

 340 characters

Photo of VoodooBrew
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper in color, with some amber. The aroma is dry, with obvious alcohol and a kind of fruitiness. There is an advancing sweetness that creeps into the palate, and something about this beer almost seems lager-like to me. Just those mischevious beer sprites playing with my mind? Monster Ale finishes round and easy, somewhat sweet but mostly pleasant. Unfortunately in this day and age when American craft beer drinkers want Barleywine, they want American Barleywine, with all the trappings (hops!!) that go along with the style. Monster is pretty good, but not the biggest hit.

 584 characters

Photo of EPICAC
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I purchased two bottles of this at Downtown Wine and Spirits. This came in a brown 12 oz. bottle that said "This Monster Ale Was Born in 2005." I let this warm to 55ºF and served it in one of my new Ommegang chalices.

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby-orange, with a thick beige head. The head thins to a ring, with sporadic lacing.

Smell: Sweet fruity malts, piney hops, and noticeable alcohol.

Taste: Sweet malts are evident first, followed by rich fruity flavors in the center. The finish is lightly bitter, dry and tart with alcoholic warmth.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and silky.

Drinkability: The flavors aren't too strong to drink a few of these, but the high alcohol may prevent you from doing so.

Overall: This is a nice strong sipping beer.

 804 characters

Photo of JayQue
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 Bottle sampled Feb 2006. I bought a six pack on one of my searches for the new Bigfoot Ale. The manager at Total Wine is into high ABF and recommeded this one. Had some 2004 stashed away. Nice amber color, clear with a good size head that slowly melted away to a covering of the top of the glass. Good thick lacing and a nice strong malty smell. Really surprised by this one. Fresh Bigfoot was my only experience with Barleywine and I was expecting a rough, highly hopped taste. Monster Ale (at least the aged variety) is smooth, has a strong, slightly sweet malt taste and extremely rich mouthfeel. No hint of the alcohol bomb while sipping it. Obviously not a session beer, but I would enjoy slowly sipping another one. I prefer a hops blast but this is a nice rich tasting beer.

 786 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear bubbly light brown body, head is about 1/2", fading to a creamy, thin layer of off-white foam.

Smell: Carmel and maple sweetness, hops impart almost a mint aroma.

Taste: 11.8%? You'd never know it. The sweetness is held in check, which is something i can appreciate in a barleywine. Bready malts. The warming alcohol combine nicely to make this beer finish spicy, slightly dry, and a little floral from hops. I like it, I like it a lot.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and a little metallic. Nothing to complain about.

Drinkability: A very nice Barleywine, warming, good flavors, and not voerly sweet. Thanks to Blackie for this one.

 650 characters

Photo of doppelmeup
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 Vintage from the Brooklyn Variety Pack.

Poured a light amber, orange color. Not a lot of foam, but appropriate for the style. Leaves slight lacing.

Not a strong aroma. Slightly malty, very slight hops, slight alcohol.

Very Smooth taste. Nice malty backbone, some hops to flavor but not overpowering. Well balanced. High ABV is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is warm, very slight carbonation. Alcohol warms as it goes down, but not overpowering.'

All in all, this is a reallly nice example of an English style Barley Wine. IMO, this is by far the best beer in the Brooklyn Variety Pack, with the Dark Chocolate Stout a close second.

 644 characters

Photo of mattpetti
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage. First let me start by saying that i am really getting into barley wine style beers. I decided to try out this beer after i had a sierra nevada big foot. The big foot and the monster together seemed like a good idea. The beer poured a lighter hazy amber color, not too much head which dissipated into a thin few islands of bubbles. No lacing at all. Smell was hoppie than some other b wines. Some apple and fruit underlied the malts nose with a significant amount of alcohol smell to it also..yet it wasnt unpleasant. I was so suprised yet not at all by the taste. Alcohol hits the front and back tongue while apple some pear and a hint of caramel is in there too. Very light bodied compared to other beers of this style. Honestly it is very quaffable if not for the high abv(which sneeks up on you). The alcohol flavor in this beer is apparent yet it doesnt give you that taste that makes you not want to drink the beer. This is a powerhouse of a beer in which if you are not careful will mess you up because of the drinkability. I have had better b wines, but this is by far the most drinkable.

 1,109 characters

Photo of dansteino
4.19/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage.

Appearance: Nice transparent reddish brown -- a little light. Lacking on head.

Smell: Shockingly good. The rich, caramel nose jumps right out of the glass. Alcohol is apparent. Other subtle nuances -- with the citrusy hops making an appearance as well.

Mouthfeel: Pleasantly chewy. Might lack a little carbonation/

Drinkability: A very drinkable American barley wine. Not too sweet and not too bitter. As close to a session beer as a barley wine can get.

Nothing wrong with drinking this one fresh. Judging from the reviews, drinking it fresh might be the best bet.

 594 characters

Photo of asabreed
4.27/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into my Delirium Tremens glass for some multiple tastings, as in drinking it slower and swirling around, because I always tend to drink faster than I anticipated. 2005 version.

Appearance: Coppery amber orange. Not much head, but considering its ABV and probable sweetness, that's not too big of a deal for me. A good amount of carbonation and bubbles swirling in the body of the brew.

Smell: Alcohol at first, though not overbearing. Then dark fruit, some cherries, citrus, apple skin and granny smith apples, and hops. And maybe even some molasses and chocolate in there too. Pretty complex and balanced, especially for the greenness factor of the brew.

Taste: An almost sour mix of sweet malt, dark fruit, and slightly piney hops. But one of nice bitterness, and a finish that's very much like chewing granny smith appleskin. I'm a huge fan of this, and the entire bottle has been extremely pleasing. Thank god the hops don't overpower every-goddamn-thing-in-the-beer (which is my complaint with almost all American barley wines, at least in their very green state).

Mouthfeel: Thick because of the sweetness (and the hops too?), a bit cloying, and slightly much for the teeth and comes. More carbonation would do this beer well I think, but that's about my only slight complain.

Drinkability: I'm going to have try more English barley wine styles. And I do have to say that my favorite Brooklyn brews are the black chocolate stout and this guy, the monster. Does that say to me that Brooklyn should start getting more adventurous? Yes. Complex, tasty, a sipper, and surpringly devious in its hiding the 11% ABV. So will I buy this again? Indeed.

 1,680 characters

Photo of rodrot
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a reddish/copper color with a small 1/4 inch that lingered in the glass. The aroma was of malt and fruit with a slight whiff of hops. The taste was quite sweet, with very winey flavors coming through and a potent hit of alcohol. I could also taste hints of liqueur and licorice that were very warming. Hops were not very evident to my palate, so this is definitely an English-style Barleywine. Normally I'm a hophead, but I really enjoyed sipping on this beer. This was a 2003 bottling and it has aged quite well. I'm glad I bought a case of this stuff.

 570 characters

Photo of lpayette
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very clear copper red. Almost no head to speak of.

Smells of various fruits including grapes along with some alcohol.

Tastes of again, various fruits including grape. Alcohol as well, but it is very well-hidden for 11%. By far the most drinkable barleywine I've ever had. However, the taste is probably the least complex I've experienced for a Barleywine as well... I'll save a few for aging to see if things change.

 430 characters

Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 1,868 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.