Brooklyn Monster Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

1,865 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: 1,865 |  Reviews: 1,084
Photo of SupaCelt
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage thanks to Joseph's in Toledo:

Appearance: This beer emerged displaying an egg plant colour with some deep ruby tints and a fast falling tannish cap. No lacing developed through the experience. Low grade effervescence persisted throughout and was absolutely appropriate for this style.

Smell: The monster gave off a highly typical barley wine aroma. Crystalized sugar and singed caramel with apples on the verge of decay come to mind. Alcohol and some raw back alley wine character are also evident. Of course these descriptions are meant in the sense of entirely positive connotations. Smells sharp and well charactered.

Taste: This particular brew was somewhat tame as far as barley wine appeal is concerned. Alcohol spiciness and warmth are the key opperatives of the first impression. The fruity, fermented apple like character is somewhat less expressed and it makes this brew feel like it has been thinned on flavour by alcohol. It is a granted fact that alcohol is a major element in the barley wine's make up, but this one is not as complex and deep as other examples that surpass the monster ale's complexities. Not enough bark with the bite according to my palate.

Mouthfeel: The body comes off a slap thin due to the alcohol element seemingly obliterating much of the sweet heftiness of the malt. Three mashes of malt emaciated by the heat. It still suffices.

Drinkability: The drinkability is still good despite the lightness of the flavour profile. This is not a bad example of the style, it just seems a touch weak in terms of flavour. The alcohol content is not the only aspect of a barley wine. Perhaps this didn't age as gracefully as one would have expected. I believe this was most likely thin to begin with.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Monster 2005

Not sure why this Barleywine doesn’t get the props I think it deserves. As it happens sometimes, BA general opinion is not always what I like, I guess that's the point. Experiment.

A wonderfully balanced BW, nose is not over offensive, essentially numbing as many high ABV beers can do. Well-balanced taste ale, with a slight, quick job, hop kick at the end.

A "5" in the drinkability category. So balanced, so smooth, so delicious. Defiantly one I'll seek again.

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

2005 Vintage, sampled in January 2006.
Appearance is clean amber with creamy, tight head. Smell of citrus zest and smoky cararmel/burnt sugar. On palate, bright citrus (orange) hop bitterness balanced wonerfully with smoky bourbon-like maltiness (caramel?). Mouthfeel is silky-smooth and beautiful. This is the beer's greatest asset. Finish is bitter, tight, long, and somewhat fruity. My experience of this beer seems to differ from some of the reviews of other vintages. I'm wondering whether the recipe has changed/evolved.(?)

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Photo of nvsblman
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2004 Bottling, sampled on 12/8/05.

Rich bright amber color with a light white head. Biscuity aroma with some piney hops. Also caramel, toffee, and a little alcohol. The caramel stands out most in the flavor but also some chocolate and alcohol. Maybe a little nutmeg? Fairly strong bitter finish. Thin and dry mouthfeel, the alcohol is still pretty prevalent. Could have used some more time in the cellar.

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

Thanks go to mmmmBeeer for the sample...

Label says it was bottled in '04.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a fluffy off white head.

Smell: Cinnamon and nutmeg with some alcohol burn. Very spicy and inviting.

Taste: Raisins, dark fruits, cloves, a brush of alcohol firmly establishes the base. This is a wonderful balance of sweetness with enough spiciness and alcohol to never approach cloying. This is good stuff.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slick, and a nicely carbonated finish.

Drinkability: WAY too easy for the ABV. I found this to be very enjoyable. I know the reviews are mixed but I'm a fan. I can only imagine this getting better with time but it's good now. I imagine it would be pretty hot if it were fresh. Definitely worth a look.

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Photo of Ricochet
2.89/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I was not impressed by this. I don't know a whole lot about barleywines, but this ale seemed to remind me of some other beers I've tried and disliked. It's big, for sure, I had to sip it to get through it.

A: Deep orange, nice head that faded fairly quick, beaded when poured, a plus.

S: Astringent. Smells like I could swab this on a wound to sterelize it. The winey notes were there too, not much else.

M: Nicely bitter, typical ale feel with alcohol front and center, no foaming action.

T: Overpowering alcohol made this seem like I was having a shot, the licorace flavor and hops fruitiness were strong but a bit of a can taste and a thin malt flavor ended it.

D: For price/drinkability, there are other , many other beers that would be a better choice. One and done for me. Imperial stouts do a better job dealing out ABV with flavor.

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Photo of Gavage
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of the variety 12 pack.

Appearance: clear dark amber in color with a paper-thin head which can really be described as surface foam. No lacing develops.

Smell: only some caramel and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: sweet maltiness, bread, caramel, raisins, alcohol, and a decent bitterness level helps alleviate some of the sweet candy qualities.

Mouthfeel: smooth at the start, with a smooth and syrupy finish. The sweetness and alcohol tones linger long in the aftertaste. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: not bad, but this barley wine didn't overly excite me. The second bottle of this in the variety pack has been moved to the back of the beer fridge for a re-visit next year.

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Photo of johnniemarg
3.26/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

My first review...

This is the 2005 out of the botte and poured into a tulip. I didn't like this the first few times I had it but found it much better once I let it warm up outside the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Color is a deep orange-red. Very little head that dissipates quickly. No real lacing but a nice ring of fine bubbles around the top. Smells of citrus and alcohol, but generally weak smell.

Taste is in line with the smell. Citrus and alcohol. Maltier as it warms.

Mouthfeel is great. Surprising creamy. Warming due to the high alcohol content.

Due to the alcohol content (this site says 11.8%, the bottle says 11%), this isn't something to session with by any means.

This beer is okay but not great, but it's the only barley wine available during the winter at the grocery stores in Manhattan. Doesn't have the sweetness or flavor of most barley wines. It's more like a weakly flavored strong ale than a typical barley wine. I wish I could cellar it to see if it gains anything with age. Tastes a bit "sharp" if that makes any sense. Maybe too much on the alcohol flavor without much else going on.

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Photo of Hautacam
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a small one on tap...served in a brandy snifter. Dark orange.
Smelled good..alcohol..malt...fruits. No head at all.
Very sweet tasting....caramel, very fruity..doughy....alcohol punches through every sip....definite hoppy bitter note in there. I like this stuff...this is the first barleywine I've tried and am now interested in trying some others.Very heavy mouthfeel which I like with something as sweet and alcoholic as this.
Packs a punch....wouldn't want more than one.

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

I've had this from a bottle and found it to be too young (so I laid it down to cellar). On tap, though, the 2005 seems mellower, much more drinkable.

Pours a clearish brown with hardly any head, some lace.

Sugary nose, a little maple, some raisin.

A pleasant barleywine. Warming in the back of the throat. Almost but not quite burns going down.

Gives a nice, crisp, hoppy finish.

A lovely dessert beer. Couldn't drink this all night!

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

Had the bottled version of this barley wine in a beer tasting event. It pours an amber-reddish color into my taster glass with very little head that quickly disappears in my 6-oz taster glass. I’ve had this barley wine before and didn’t enjoy it as much as this time. Perhaps it was a different seasons or batch? The smell is nice with light scents of caramel and citrus and a bit like sherry. The taste is smooth and that’s what I like in a barley wine. A good barley wine to me should be strong but smooth (like Makers Mark is to bourbon). Very Nice with a warming finish. This is a lot like Anchor Old Foghorn.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.53/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A 2005 Monster

A - Amber red with only a tiny head. Swirling in the glass reveals that it coats the sides.

S - Caramel with a bit of figs, dates and molasses. Some very faint pine hops as well. Alcohol is apparent, but not prominent.

T - Heavily sugary caramel malt flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Alcohol overshadows all in the aftertaste though. The faint bitterness lingers long, long afterward you drink. I wish the alcohol wasn't such a defining characteristic in this beer. There doesn't seem to be too much depth to the flavor.

M - Thick. Oh God, is it thick! Carbonation is surprisingly high. It is a little bit refreshing, but it also leaves a residue in your mouth.

D - What do you know? It is a barleywine! It is a dessert beer. Would not go well with any food and, as a lightweight, I certainly don't want another right now. This is a decent barleywine, but I feel that most of Brooklyn's other releases are superior though. I imagine that this would age beautifully. The numbers seem harsh here, but I feel that this is a well below average barleywine.

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

Appearance: pours dark amber in color with a white, creamy head that doesn't stay around for long

Smell: smells of molasses and other sweet aromas, with a floral essence balancing it out

Taste: like any other barley wine i've had, the malts are in complete control, handing over a rich sweetness. like in the smell, hints of molasses poke through and seems to battle the taste of alcohol in my mouth... i like it

Mouthfeel: the alcohol seems to balance the sweetness for me, but it is also a little hardcore for my liking, and takes away from the smoothness I like to feel against my palate

drinkability: again, the overarching theme, too much alcohol in the taste reducing how easily the beer goes down. combined with the sweetness this beer is all i think i would want in a sitting, and i may not even get through all of this one, it's pretty intense

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Photo of ElGordo
3.72/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright translucent amber color with a very small creamy white head that subsides almost immediately. Aroma of roasted malt, light fruity hops, corn syrup, molasses, a hint of dark fruit, and more than a little alcohol. Well-balanced palate marries the roastiness of the malt with the slight bitterness of the hops. Notes of golden raisins, brown sugar, and a bit of bready character. Alcohol packs a punch and a nice warming sensation. Ample body is a bit sticky and syrupy, bot not too thick. Not one of the best barleywines I've had, but still, perfectly serviceable.

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Photo of MSchae1017
3.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was tasted in a snifter glass from bottle.

This beer poured a burgandy color with a sizeable head that would not hold or lace. IT did smell of cherries and raisens as did the taste. There was somethickness but it could have been thicker and the carbonation was nice. I really enjoy the barleywine style so I found this to be quite drinkable. I would definitly have this every year.

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Photo of BillyB
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I could only find this years Monster Ale in a Brooklyn Variety Pack which included two 12 ounce monster's in a 12 pack and several other Brooklyn offerings.

Appearance: Poured a nice copper/burntamber color with a thick frothy white head. Big head for a barleywine.

Aroma:Malty sweetness. Slight smell of alcohol.

Taste: Malty sweetness with a good balancing bitterness. You can taste the alcohol but it is not overwhelming. Slightly warming.

Mouthfeel: Slightly syrupy with a little alcohol warmth and good carbonation. Quite drinkable for such a high abv.

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

thanks goes to TheBeerCellar2 for this. Born in 03. poured a nice mahogany with a white head that left some lacing. aroma the sweet alcohol of a barley wine you gotta love it and the hops the follow mmm, caramel, and some fruits. flavor the alcohol comes right out there than the sweetness of the caramel, hops and almost a apple like flavor. good

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

appearance: A very redish amber. Mine had little head and what was there when I poured is all but gone after the first sip.

smell: very sweet and the barley is very out there on this one.

taste.caramel. that is all i can think of right now th e alcohol comes back and snaps at you at the very end. kinda like that in weird way.

mouthfeel: light carbonation that lingers for little bit after the sip

drinkability: i could probably down couple of these a night, and then move onto a brew with a little less abv. pretty high abv, but that is what you normally get with most BWs.

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Photo of aquatonex
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Effin...

Pours deep mahogany, not much carbonation, short head with good lacing. I knew this one was a barleywine but was expecting more from the nose and the taste. Smells of heavy malts, light sweet fruit (raisin). Not much alcohol in the nose. Taste follows, great for the ABV but still a bit subdued overall in flavor, was expecting more oomph. Strong, but not strong enough for a barleywine. Good, smooth mouthfeel, very drinkable,

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Photo of mac56
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Props to cooperrip for sending this my way as part of the Newbie BIF. The 2005 release. Cracked this one open as my lovely wife and I made desserts (for tomorrow) on Christmas Eve afternoon.

Can I say?: I looked hard, but I can't find much wrong with this ale. Full flavor, malt aplenty, nice caramel note, subtle warming finish, and a creamy (not oily) mouthfeel. The alcohol definitely sneaks up on a person, so more than one at a sitting may be a caution.

My Kentucky brother in law would say - this one makes your tongue slap your brain.

I'm saying - a fine quaff on a Christmas Eve.

Wish I could try the previous years' releases.

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Photo of maddamish
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Small head when poured. Red amber in color

The smell is a little off. Smells exactly like one of those balloons that you squeeze out of a tube and put it at the end of a straw and blow up.

Nice grape and sugar notes. Watch out for the 12% plus alcohol in this baby. You will be spinning before you finish the first bottle.

I really enjoyed this offering from Brooklyn and will pick it up again.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.32/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2005 Monster representing the Brooklyn Party Twelver. I'm not usually a barleywine fan but I have such a respect for Brooklyn and the way they do things I have to give it a shot.
The color is dark red, leaning toward brownish with little head or lacing of any kind. The odor isn't too strong but is nicely mixed between malt and alcohol and a tiny late kiss of hops.
Well, with 10.8 on the boozeometer (that's more than 21 proof, folks) obviously the strongest flavor is alcohol, although its not overpowering enough to be repulsive as wth some barleywines. There is some strong malt and sweet nutty flavors to temper it a bit.
Although I wouldn't consider this a highly drinkable beer, I have to give the brewer credit for making such a highly sustainable barleywine that "turns it up to eleven". Still not my cup o' tea but very solid for the style.

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Photo of Phatz
4.52/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This evening I had the opportunity to have a Brooklyn Monster Ale
2005 and right now I am working on the Brooklyn Monster Ale
2004. I will try to tell you about both but my rating may be biased to the 04 because in a few ways I liked it better than the 05.

Appearance: They both looked about the same a dark amber color that is partly transparent; frothy brew for the duration of the beer.

Smell: They were similar. The 05 was sweet with a hint of barley whereas the 04 seemed to be sweet with a hint of yeastiness. Both are very malty and wonderful.

Taste: The 05 I got a bit of hop character to it the 04 was more syrupy no (bothersome) hops just plain sweet caramelized malts. They both had the certain 'Red-ness' about them (if you know what I mean by red taste). They were both very caramel, syrup and sugar flavored. It is not the most unique or interesting taste I have encountered but it is easy to accept. It is so gentle on the palate that there is nothing about it that could be objectionable. Some people may call slightly boring what I call very easy drinking.

Mouthfeel: The 05 felt sticky but with high carbonation whereas the 04 felt heavier smoother and very lightly carbonated. OH so smooth! What a dream!

Drinkability: The 05 had a 4.0 drinkability and the 04 had a 4.5 drinkability primarily because of the intensity in the aftertaste (both are good). The 05 had a bit (just a bit) of dry bitterness in the aftertaste whereas the 04 was PERFECTLY smooth. It may be the extra year it had to age or the batches between 2004 and 2005 may have changed slightly. Either way they are booth very good drinks and if you can still find 04s on the shelf I'd snatch them up quick even if you want them for aging or taste comparisons. I highly recommend Monster.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of froggyfrog
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 edition bottle served in pint glass.

Clear dark caramel color with light white head and excellent lacing.

Lots of sweet malt aromatics. Smell reminds me of Mexican food like salsa, guacamole and corn chips. Grassy hops and confectioners sugar also come into focus.

Great tasting with lots of character. More caramel here with hints of pale barley malt; toasty grains and a bit of alcohol round out the palate. Finish is whipped buttermilk frosting.

Expertly balanced with a bit more hop presence than may be expected for an Barley Wine of the English variety.

This beer carries a nice warming alcohol feeling home. Very drinkable. I'm anxious to try this brew again.

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Photo of akajimmyd
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Born in 2004. 12 ouncer poured into a goblet.

Appearance – Deep rich amber. Low head retention. No lacing to speak of.

Smell – Bread and sweet malts.

Taste – Big malts, but the alcohol dominates from the middle to the end of each sip. Slightest hop bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel – Heavy, sticky, sweet. Light carbonation.

Drinkability – I could have a few of these. I used to drink it fairly easily at a colder temperature but warmer is better. Definitely a warmer. I will return to this one.

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Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
3.71 out of 5 based on 1,865 ratings.
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