Monster Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

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Monster AleMonster Ale
1,873 Ratings
Monster AleMonster 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
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Ratings: 1,873 |  Reviews: 1,086
Photo of futaboots
3.41/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I didn't really know what the ABV of this brew was when I cracked open the bottle, but I realized this was a force to be reckoned with after the first sip. I figured it would be high, but not 11.8%. I gave this beer an average score for drinkability because while the alcohol is not overwhelming, I don't get the chest warming burn I associate with other high end/high ABV beers. Actually, my mouth feels kinda dried up now after a few sips.

Smell is nothing special, only barely detectable with my nose. Tastes good actually, nice balance of sweet and bitter. Color is a nice ruby brown. Head was thick at first, but has died down to nothing. Mouthfeel is not too thick, which I like.

Overall, a decent tasting strong beer.

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Photo of Maestro
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As far as Barley Wines go, I am beginning to become a big fan.

The monster pours orange and has a creamy, tan head that sticks around and leaves some good lacing. The nose is full of sweet maltiness and a thick biscuit aroma. There are also some citrus notes in the nose. Taste is great! The hops seem to pair exceptionally well with the copious amounts of malts. The alcohol warms throughout the ale and this one finishes with a respectable, balance aftertaste of raisins, dates, oranges, and a hint of bourbon...

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Photo of blackie
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is an awesome looking mahogany type hue. The head is white in color and somewhat short lived. This Monster was born in 2004. Poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.

Smell is pretty malty but there is a decent load of hops in there too. A slight hint of apples and banana is present. I am getting a little peppery spiciness but I think that is just the ethanol.

Carbonation is low to medium low. Body is medium heavy with a slightly sticky feel on the tongue.

Before I taste anything, I can feel the thickness of the liquid in my mouth. Taste is malty with a good balance of hops. Ethanol is pretty evident after the initial malt taste. It's good but a little plain; I can feel the malt in the form of the thickness but am having a hard time getting a good taste of it.

Putting one in the cellar for awhile to see what happens. Then again, after tasting this one it might be better to drink it soon, but I'll experiment. For 11.8 percent, it was pretty well hidden, though easily identified.

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

Bottled in 2004. Pours a brilliant amber-red with a thin white head that quickly fades to lasting ring. Sweet malty smell infused with dark raisins, rasberries, port, and a slight floral hops. Taste is full and malty, with a strong alcohol presence, some fruity cherry and berry notes, a nice hop bitterness at the end. The alcohol is present in every sip, which I don't usually like, but it stays smooth and tasty throughout. Mouthfeel is full, smooth, and sweet, but doesn't become syrupy at all. This is a very good barleywine, I'm going to age my other bottle for another 6 months and see how it improves.

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Photo of JackStraw22
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2004 vintage sampled in late June 2005

Appearance: Clear, dark amber body. Small off white head. Not any lacing, the head didn't stick around much.

Smell: Huge malty nose, oily hops, raisiny too. Very English Barleywiny.

Taste/mouthfeel: Very intense flavor. The alcohol is quite strong and warm, but I'm digging it, something I'm in the mood for today I guess. Big hop flavor, not crazy bitter. Almost syrupy sweet. Big and chewy mouthfeel, but not sticky.

Drinkability: Could only do one of these at a time. I'd like to have this again though in a couple of months or next year.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.23/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 Vintage

Chestnut brown in color with a bit of beige head that almost instantly fizzles down to a ring around the goblet.

Sweet aromas of toffee, rasberries, dusty cocoa, anf floral and fruity hops. There's no disguising the alcohol in here, it still smells hot!

Clean caramel and burnt brown sugar up front leading into ripe fruits, berries, rum soaked yellow cake, and a hint of something smokey. Nice subtle floral hops bring up the rear. Not bad, but pretty tame overall. Lacks complexity.

Slick creamy mouthfeel with tiny little soft bubbles. Body feels big at first, but then it's just medium, wierd. Not bad, but really nothing special. I like the subtleties of a good English barleywine, this may be too subtle. I'd like to see how it tastes in 3-5 years.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 vintage.

This beer was clear and amber colored, with almost no head. About what I expected for a barleywine.

Aroma was of rich, slightly sweet malt, with maybe a hint of smokiness way in the back of the nose.

Taste was rich and malty, and rather sweet, with delicious apple and berry notes. Some hoppiness was evident. Very good.

Mouthfeel was good and chewy. Drinkability was good, and I would have this again... but couldn't have more than a couple at a sitting.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.87/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2004 version. Pours a clear dark amber/copper color. Thick off-white foamy head disappears, but does leave a good ring of foam. Spotty lace on the sides of the snifter. Big fruity aroma, port and alcohol. Caramelized fruits, figs combined with a big malt profile. Bitterness is restrained, a little citrusy hop flavor at the end. Finishes very sweet. Body seems a bit thin, but low carbonation is right on. The alcohol present in the nose is well hidden in the taste. Only slightly warming. Overall, a better than average English style barleywine.

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good dark brown colour, hoppy aroma. Taste is fine,orange, citrus, and dark fruit,herbal, carmel barleywine, surprising disguise of high alcohol, fresh bottle first beer at Modiale 2005. Perhaps too sweet.Nuttiness and bit of burnt notes and medium mouthfeel. 2003 is nicely aged. much mellowr taste. Has becom a sipper.

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Photo of packetknife
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one surprised me. Pours a dark amber, almost like you've burned the amber stone. No head whatsoever, just a ring of off-white foam. I was worried at this point but... smells of sandlewood and port, or something like that. Really sweet smelling and good. The taste is a mix of maple, burnt malt (??), and unrefined sugar with a feel almost dead-on Coke (same carbonation/acidity). You don't notice the ABV until well after you're done.

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11% poison. The poured a nice orange amber with a cool uneven head. The aroma contained a little caramel sweetness, but overall had the general essence(which kicks ass) that most brooklyn brewed ales/lagers have.The taste is kinda rough the first time i had it so i am re-reviewing it. What a difference a year makes, i guess my mouth matured. The alcohol beats you but its fun! Malt prescence is good but the hops win out. Lightly citrusy plus chocolate flavors were noticed! The mouthfeel is godly, moderate but sorta creamy. Surprisingly drinkable. The alcohol showed up more when it warmed up so put it away when you can.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.65/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2004 Bottle drank in 2005: Poured a clear amber looking ale with a small off-white foamy head with not much retention. Aroma of light roasted malt with sweet floral notes is noticeable. The malt dominates taste with some sweetness and some very subtle bitterness at the end. Body is way too thin for a Barleywine and watery feeling in the aftertaste disappoint me greatly. Alcohol is well hidden and carbonation is low. The thin body and the watery makes this a greatly disappointing experience.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2004. I couldn't help it. I had to try one. Pours a translucent dark cherry with a mini head that disappears in a millisecond. It's a pretty beer sitting in the snifter. Nose is metallic alcohol with grainy notes. High octane, no open flames. Taste is...young...the maltiness is under a blanket of alcohol. The alcohol is not overwhelming, but that is a true matter of taste. It would have to be Georgia Moon from a mason jar to register as over the top for me. I love these big cleansing beers. Mouthfeel is way too thin at this stage. I've had mixed drinks with more body. Just a little bit of fullness would have made this beer score much higher. As it is, it is drinkable, but my remaining bottles will have to wait until next winter before I break them out.

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Photo of Buildscharacter
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty strong beer. Can't remember the alcohol content but it makes me feel pretty nice after two or so.

The beer pours a nice color of amber and leave no head. It has a nice aroma to it, nothing substantial, but nice. That's the best way I can describe it.

Flavor is what you would expect from a barleywine. It's got a little sweetness to it, but very little hop as with some other barleywines I've had.

The mouthfeel is good. It's smooth and has some gravity to it, but not too syrupy.

I wouldn't say this is one of my favorite beers, but it does sit well with me. I would recomend it.

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Photo of Sixpoint
3.57/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a 2004 vintage.

My sample poured with minimal carbonation and little to no head.

Poured a deep amber color, basically red.

Taste? Definitely alcohol warming the palate, along with some spice and malt.

Medium bodied and dextrinous, this is a sipper.

I would like to try an aged one sometime...

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.07/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear cherry-wood colored amber with a thin head. Aroma is a blend of alcohol, wood and sherry.

Taste is dry and subtle. Toasty malt up front, not a real strong hop kick. Faint fruity elements, not really enough to identify, just enough to sweeten it a bit. Some light, woody flavor like single-malt liquor or sherry. Little to no alcohol presence, despite the ABV (although it does turn into a belly-warmer by the end of the glass).

Mouthfeel seems downright thin for a barley-wine -- I would almost use the term "watery." Flavors seem all over the map; nothing cohesive in this bottle, don't know if aging would help. I'm lost as to where the "Monster" is, unless you include "Cookie." Thanks to ppoitras for this one.

2004 vintage, 11% ABV listed on bottle.

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Photo of palma
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2003 vintage sampled 3/23/2005

Dark burgundy body. Thin delicate beige head.
Nose is very sherry-like - more so than other barleywines I've tried. A good hop aroma as well.
Big fruit flavors lurk behind a wall of warming alcohol. The alcohol is not harsh though. It's potent and hot which means this is a sipper. Orange and cherry flavors stand out most notably. Not cloying at all, as is the problem with some other barleywines.

Pretty easy drinking for such a high ABV.

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Photo of TAMU99
2.85/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Wow. Looks can be deceiving

A - pours a deep mohagany with a medium tan head. clear, a few enticing bubble trails
S - Rich barley, grapes and sugar. rich aroma make you really want to try this.
T- whoa. Be prepared for barley wine. Sweet and spicy but not in a good way. Left an acidic/acrid taste on the back of my mouth. Just too much. Almost like Boston Beer's SA Triple bock. Just too much
M - thick, coating, combined with the taste is a bad thing
D - uhh no

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

3.76? 3.76!
Age it. Seriously.
This beer is rough when it is young. No doubt. I've had a few of the younger ones, and it is a rough, if not average barleywine.
Ahhhh, but on this occaison, I had a 2001 vintage that The Gate had been storing in its basement for four or so years. And they did a goood job.
Pours a slightly hazy amber/orange color, with a remarkable head for a four-year-old brew. The nose reveals maple, a little bit of that soy sauce thing, some vanilla, some nice floral notes, and, strangely, a cola smell.
Taste -- this strikes me as hoppier than I would have expected, yet it has mellowed quite a bit. It is still a malty, sipping beer. Flavor is reminiscent of oranges AND apples (wha?), flowers, vanilla. The finish is remarkably dry and wine-like for a beer that starts so sweet, and as such, the drinkability of this estimated 11% brew is deceptively high.
If you have never been a fan of the Monster, please, seek it out, cellar it, forget about it. Open in 3 to 4 years (at least). Embrace.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a ruby-brown color with just a ring of off-white for a head. It leaves just spotty was what I expected for a high octane brew such as this. The aroma is of rum cake, sweet and malty....plums, sherry...boozey...very inviting. The flavor is malty and sweet...a lot of alcohol and rum soaked fruits and bread. The mouthfeel is light and thin for its strength, but the alcohol is there. This is my first Brooklyn brew and I have to thank my bud tavernjef for this one...Thanks again Jeff!

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.7/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Recently had on tap at the Sunset Grill and Tap in Allston, Mass. Served in a 12oz. toulip glass this beer was a deep brown color with a slight golden tinge when held to the light. It was crowned by a solid two finger head and rings of thick lace all the way down the glass.

Smell was very heavy alcohol upfront balanced out by some nutty and fruity scents.

Taste was exceptional. Very strong, but not in a way to detract from the taste. You almost didn't taste the alcohol until after you swallowed the beer. Exceptional malted barley flavors with a subtle bitterness and sharp biting alcohol that finished off each sip.

Rather heavy on the palate, semi-syrup and lacking significant carbonation.

A joy to drink and great to sample prior to a meal or just after one like you would a cordial. Must be respected for its powerful presence and enjoyed in moderation.

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Photo of dippy
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured hard but there was only a very thin head.
Reddish orange in color and lightly carbonated.
Taste is sweet and malty. There is a slight alcohol taste, but that makes sense as it is 11% alc.
It is smooth and slightly syrupy in texture.
It is good cause it is a barley wine, but it isn't my fav.

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Photo of deejaydan
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 edition. Kudos for Davo for hooking me up with this one.

Appearance is amber, respectable head retention given the ABV of this brew. Lacing is minimal. Aroma reminds me of 12 year old scotch. Big and boozy aroma on this one. Taste is hard to get past the alcohol. There's enough sweetness to balance it so that it's not rocket fuel, but not enough else going on. Mouthfeel is silky and smooth and nice and thick. Good carbonation for the style as well. Definately a sipper.

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Photo of apintofknowledge
3.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a glass of the 2004 release... color was a light caramel hue, with almost no head and no visible carbonation. The aroma reminded me of a scotch... sweet, slightly toasty and earthy with notes of alcohol apparent.

The taste... sweet sugar, caramel, honey and a hint of maple syrup come through while tiny bubbles dance on the tip of my tounge. A lingering bitterness in the finish, with a very mild alcohol burning in the back of my mouth. Some smokiness, earthiness, scotch and whiskey flavors in there that become more apparent as I drink. Hops are barely discernable through the alcohol finish.

Defininetly a slow sipping brew... half a bottle makes a nice apertif or after-dinner treat. I'm holding onto a couple of bottles for aging, and will review again in a couple of years. In the meantime, it's still an enjoyable barleywine, not necesarily outstanding, but still nicely done.

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Photo of SaunaKing
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A dull amber with a small beige head even with a very agressive pour. The head immeditately give way to a thin layer of foam clinging to the glass above the beer. Bold, sharp aroma of berries and alcohol.
Decent tasting, tartness of apple juice but noticeable alcohol in aftertaste. Not a bad beer but a little to potent for me. What i did like was that the hops dont overwhelm you, kind of a balanced barleywine. I prefer this style of barleywine vs. the really hoppy ones that i have tried.

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Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 1,873 ratings