Brooklyn Monster Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Monster AleBrooklyn Monster Ale
Liked This Beer
3.72 w/ 1,867 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,867 |  Reviews: 1,085
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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Photo of Truh
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Not very happy when my car broke down is 'salem's Lot with this one on 2/3/2005. 12 oz. bottle poured in a shaker.

Thin mercury beading shiver of covering head that thins to a light isthmus. Copper to an almost light mahogany hue, but light enough to be beautifully crystal clear with some constant, gentle action. Deep, juicy crab apple malt and sweet pixie stix on nose with just a little bit of hop bittering. To taste, silky caramel sweet, fig date presence, licorice and wormwood. Not nearly as biting as some barleywines; quite mellow on all fronts – alcohol, mouthfeel, the whole nine yards. Dangerous offering because of its deceptiveness.

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Photo of mentor
4.76/5  rDev +28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle obtained from Norm's (DC area) in summer 2004 and consumed in Feb 2005. Bottle says "This monster was born in 2003". Pours thick and without any head...just the tiniest ring of bubbles around the glass. Mildly cloudy dark orange-brown liquid. Whoa, smells pretty good. Rich eastery fruits over chocolate, caramel and some alcohol. A bit of astringency (tannins?) and perhaps some spicey orangish hop character (would they put Hallertauer or Saaz into an English Barley Wine?...would such an aroma survive for so long?). What is that fruity I'm smelling...I've smelled it before and it's very strong here. Like an earthy apricot with winey grapes. Quite the delightful sweet fruity experience, unlike many rougher barley wines I've tried. Starts with a sour fruity flavor identical to the fruity smell that I couldn't put my finger on. Ah, I got it...I think it's vienna malt! Yes I get almost a bock caramel flavor. After that it's dry then sweet with a late (and noticable) alcohol that fits for an 11% beer. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy and the carbonation forms very fine bubbles on the whole flat of my tongue. All this is a late effect, just as a second wind of fruity sweetness rises up to make me ponder just went into this beer. The aftertaste is actually quite similar to the Dogfishhead Pumpkin ale. Some pumpkin pie spicey zing (mostly from the alcohol?), but with an interesting sweet squashing quality to it. Wow! I love it! The alcohol is a strong character in the flavor profile, but it swings from partner to partner so well that it survives each gulp as a pleasant participant. I drank a bottle of 2003 a year ago and thought it 'not good'. Now it seems to have come of age. Could be my changing pallette, but damn this was good. Less cloudy and a hair more head would have allowed me to score this beer much higher.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours out a mostly clear light brown with a reddish tinge. The aroma is very complex and good, with malt, licorice, banana, dark fruit, and alcohol. Big malt flavor and suprisingly hoppy, but the most flavor is dominated by an extreme harshness. I realize this beer is high in alcohol, but the harshness seems to come from more than just the alcohol. Still, this is a good beer, which I think may benefit from some aging.

On a seperate note, I paired this beer with some cheddar, and the beer made the cheese seem so creamy and delicious.

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Photo of stcules
2.21/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Born in 2003.
Reddish-plum color, quite dark. Just a veil of foam, quickly disappearing. But it can fit.
In the smell, sherry, crerry. But the alcohol is definitely too strong. Maybe there is something else (nuts, toffee, vanilla), but it is difficult to catch it. Too alcohol.
In the taste, in the beginning, fruity notes, ripe fruit. Pear, maybe banana, too. But then it comes tha alcohol, and it covers all,
Sherry again, obviously, and strong, with woody notes. The flavour is quite pleasant itself, but it is totally overwhelming by the alcohol, very exaggerated.
Sherry again in the aftertaste, with very ripe fruit. Hints of light toffee. And alcohol again, over all.
The body is medium high, but anyway, it is not enough for this kind of barley wine, with this alcoholic strenght.
Overall: unbalanced and difficult to drink.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.37/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brooklyn Monster Ale
2004 ("This Monster Ale Was Born In 2004")

While visiting a good friend in Manhatten we were lucky enough to come across a corner store with an incredible selection. A six pack of Brooklyn Monester Ale was spotted and we didn't have to think twice.

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle and served in a wide mouthed red wine glass. We let this beer sit on the counter for a few minutes to warm to room temp before serving. Paired this beer with some Stilton cheese and crackers. What an excellent combination.

Pours a golden honey drip brown color. The head quickly turns to a defined, thin circle lacing.

Whiffs of raisins, ripe fruit and sweet malt in the nose. The esters in the nose are very strong.

Syrupy and sweet malt induced mouthfeel. Very complex and interesting. Thick grape and citrus blend with a hoppy bite finish. The ending also has an alcohol warmth sharpness. Its apparent that this beer has a strengthy ABV%, but at 11.0% its very well hidden. A tasty brew that deserves to be sipped in only the right company like this evening. A purely enjoyable offering from Brooklyn Brewery.

I would love to cellar this beer for a year or so and try it next winter. This is one solid barleywine and worth finding. Hats off to Garrett Oliver for this beauty.

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Photo of IrishMike
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bottled 2004 and purchased from my local liquor store at $7.99 a six pack. Could possibly cost more for all i know, but the cashier accidently charged it as Black Chocolate Stout.

appearance- Pours a clear copper with a small and dissipating off-white head. Head retention is almost non-existant, but has a fair amount of lacing; looks pure and clean.

Smell- Ripe with sherry and light fruits without any of the cloying that i usually associate with domestic brews of the English style. Sweet without being overly so. Very, very tiny amount of hop can be picked up in the nose, nicely balancing the ripe fruits. Overall, a very soft aroma that doesn't lack substance.

Taste- Light and crisp, this barley wine succeeds by not over-doing it with any single characteristic but neither does anything really jump out at you. Sweet initial contact gives way to the sherry and a little caramel, then leaves with a nice alcohol bitterness blends with the modest amount of grapefruit-like hops that i thought i detected in the smell. Almost wine-like in taste. Very warming as it goes down, and sits well in the stomach. Definetly keeps you toasty during the winter season. This beer almost seems to take the safe route, as it is solid in that nothing about it annoys me, but nor does it try to be creative or perfect upon the style.

Mouthfeel- Light on the palate yet has a minorly "oily" characteristic about it. Sits well in the mouth; once again, nothing here seems out of place.

Drinkability- i could see myself drinking two of these at a time if i had the inclination, as it is fairly light in body and pretty full in taste. The alcohol character somewhat takes away from the drinkability though; it did not create a problem while drinking it, but i could have done with a little better masking of it.

A great first barley wine for someone who is new to the style, this could very well be considered a "barley wine light". And that's not a knock. It gives up little in taste and loses a lot in heaviness when compared to others in the style. If you have a friend who's never had something of this style but don't want to scare them off with a brew that might be a bit too powerful (ahem, old salty '04), this is a great starting point. For those who love the English style but demand a little more complexity and body from their brew, however, i suggest stepping it up to Blithering Idiot.

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Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 55.9% out of 100 with 1,867 ratings
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