Brooklyn Monster Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

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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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Reviews: 1,082 | Ratings: 1,862
Photo of MaineBrewing
4.36/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Random 2011 four pack at Oak Hill Beverage, Scarborough ME. Was excited to see, only 7.99 to boot. Hopefully aged well.

A - poured cellar temp into a snifter, thin one finger head with some spotty large loose bubbles. Dissipated really quickly, lots of legs. Body is a very clear dark amber, ruby highlights, beautiful color. poor head retention, with no lacing to speak of.

S - pungent nose of alcohol, tarp, raisin, lots of caramel malt notes, toffee, burnt sugar, rum, just loads of overall sweetness.

T - taste is very, very smooth for the gravity, the years of age has served this brew well. Mild malt sweetness with fruity, raisin, caramel and toffee notes, slight tarp or musty character, and a more than ample bitter finish. The flavoring hops either were never prevalent or just fell off, however the finishing hop bitterness is more than ample to balance out the very sweet malt character.

M - for what it is the mouth feel is pretty light, alright syrupy character. Alcohol warming can be felt, although alcohol is absence or at least blends in really well with the flavor.

O - from the nose, I was afraid of this being too cloying, but not the case. Ample bitterness in the finish makes this superb. The only negative is the head retention which I can understand with the abv, but the color is clear as anything and just beautiful. This aged very well, not that I've had a fresh one, regardless in its present state this is very smooth and enjoyable.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.48/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours the color of good wild honey (not that super light tasteless stuff) with a monster head from the aggressive pour. At least 3" of off-white creaminess. Decent retention but no lace of which to speak. It says IPA to my eye but not believing it.
Smell is seriously malty with a solid whiskey/rum note (a la a good fruitcake) followed by dark and light fruits soaked in that alcohol blend. If there is hops here, my nose can't find them, and I'm good with that. Wait, found them, floral and very complementary.
Taste is malt, rum, dark fruits, light hops. Awesome, truly.
Rich like Bill Gates, smooth like Marvin Gaye, warming like hot apple pie straight from grandma's oven, full-bodied like Pavarotti. I am seriously pissed I only have one of these and they aren't making any more. Snoozed and nearly lost.

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Photo of nsheehan
3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Monster Ale 2012
12oz to modern pint
10.1% ABV

A – A crystal clear slightly dark amber with some red, and translucent of course. Rocky, foamy khaki head.

S – Hops, alcohol, and earth. Grass, flowers, and melon from the hops. The earth is made up of musty wood and nut. I think the melon is cantaloupe and some pear, light smells both. Considering it is 10.1% ABV, it’s not outrageous that the alcohol is so upfront.

T – Alcohol is pretty strong but soft. Definitely a lot of earth tastes. Not so much fruit, but a little bit of floralness. A get a kind of sweet, musty woody, nutty taste. As it warms some melon comes out, as does the alcohol, even more so.

M – A heavy-medium body, tingly and a little bitey from carbonation and alcohol, respectively. Dry finish that’s good except for some lingering alcohol feeling in the upper mouth. As it warms, the alcohol strengthens, but it’s a soft, warm alcohol, not a very biting feeling. You know it’s there, but it’s kind of gentle.

D – It’s drinkable, but there are better beers and barleywines. I see it as a gateway to barleywines for people who like Belgian styles perhaps. One most also be ready to experience some degree of alcohol. With the beer’s retirement, not many future craft enthusiasts will get to try it. But I think the bottles of the last year will age decently, and if they mellow, this might get a bit more gentle and interesting.
4, 3.25, 3.5, 3.25, 3.5; ~3.4.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from 2011

A: Cloudy darkish brown with minimal head.

S: Mostly malt with hints of sweetness and a bit of raisins.

T: Still quite boozy after all this time, even at 10%. Big malt bomb with a very strong aftertaste. This one seems like it could go for a while and would really stand up to some extending aging.

M: Even crispness throughout it, quite prickly.

O: Not bad, but no Bigfoot. Not sure if I will age the other 3 or if I will give them away to friends. Kind of what I was expecting from Brooklyn, good but not great. I would have written more but there wasn't much here that came out at me to write about.

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Photo of JeffBrenner
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served in pint glass (sorry no tulips left) from 12oz. bottle. Next to know head with minimal carbonation. Dark brown in color, but not as dark as one would probably expect from a Barleywine. Smell has notes of malt and caramel, but again it's minimal from what would be expected. Flavor is good, with malt and sugar, but again not as sweet as one would expect for a Barleywine. It does feel like a Barleywine, but not too boozy. Overall this is a decent Barleywine, I would drink it again, but there are far better contenders in the field. I can't say I'm overly heartbroken that this one is being discontinued. Definitely not Brooklyn's strongest brew.

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Photo of Juuroumaru
3.82/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a orangish brown with a light tan head
S- Caramal and malt, definately get some sweetness
T- Caramel malts with a smooth sweetness to it.
M- Medium with good carbonation.
O- This beer is very straight forward and if you wanted a barley wine this definately fits the style.

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Photo of TastyAdventure
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - brown, amber, thin head that fades quickly. Wish there was a little more head.

S - Super sweet dates. Seriously, just a lot of sweet dates. and some caramelized honey. so tempting.

T - thick malt sweetness, classic dark fruit, sweet brandy, caramelized non-citrus tropical fruit (mangos?). touch of very sublte dry-like type bitterness in the back that tries but fails at balance (IMO, not a bad thing -(--Malt-Bomb Head--). Spicy alcohol as it warms.

M - thick and rich but not as cloying and heavy as expected. low carb.

Overall, this seems to me more like an Old Ale than Barleywine, but with a more approachable mouthfeel. Cannot believe this is only $2/bottle! I would compare this to Old Curmudgeon by Founders, but more approachable and easy to get the whole thing down. I may be wrong here, but I imagine this may be like what a very seasoned Brandy/Bourbon drinker would perceive a very sweet, low ABV brandy/bourbon to be like. A tasty sipper!!

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark orange with a one-finger white head. Light amount of lacing.

S - Sweet candied sugar with some biscuity malt. Good amount of dark fruit also present.

T - Starts off sweet with lots of caramelized brown sugar and dark fruits. There is a small amount of hop bitterness. Alcohol is definitely present in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Easy drinking with a dry finish.

O - A litte sweet, but still a good barleywine. Very easy drinker despite being 10.1 ABV.

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Photo of stakem
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

2009 vintage poured into a matching brooklyn snifter. The brew appears a clear mahogany brown with a finger plus of yellowish khaki head. The cap fades leaving strings of patchy lace. When held to the light, ruby clarity is seen through the body.

The aroma is filled with dark malty aspects blended with alcohol. Plum, prune, dates, brown sugar, toffee and hints of molasses with a bright citrus hop edge and alcohol being progressively noticeable.

The flavor is like raisons, prunes, dates, molasses, brown sugar and a hint of paper-like oxidation. Alcohol provides its own fruity edge that is mildly solvent. Some earthen notes and muddled citrus to vegetative hops with light touch of mineral aspect. When this brew is fresh, it has an unmistakeable note of nickel or something metallic to it. I am glad to say this vintage or aging it has made that character mostly dissolve.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. After 4 years aging this is still quite boozy but showing mild oxidation. I admittedly am not a fan of this brew when it is fresh. However, I liked this a lot more than my last experience with it. One would think some more time might be needed to let this really meld and come into its own but the notes of oxidation that are already showing are concerning.

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Photo of BWED
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage 12 oz. bottle poured into Brooklyn tulip

A- Copper, clear, with a well retained 1/4" offwhite (on the yellow side) head. Some lacing.

S- Caramel and booze. Some fruity sweetness comes up as well.

T- A little caramel, and a lot of booze. There isn't a lot of depth in the flavor in this one.

M- Pretty smooth, a little bit of a booze bite, and definitely some booze warmth.

O- Pretty good. Flavor profile could be deeper, but I'll try aging some and seeing what they're like. Ill probably buy a few four-packs and sit on them, since this beer is no longer being made... too bad.

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Photo of ColdWaffles
4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2010 12oz into a Philadelphia Brewing Company pint on July 4th in celebration.

A: Thin white head, hazy brown color. 3.75/5

S: Picking up a lot of caramel and maybe a dash of spice. 3.5/5

T: It's not particularly strong in terms of alcohol bite. It's got a lightly herbal taste. Actually, it reminds me of the taste of Marmite a bit. Which means I love it. 4.5/5

M: Medium bodied with fair carbonation. A little oily on the tongue. Not bad. 3.75/5

O: Solidly warming brew. Regrettable that this is dying. Wish I would have got a pack of 2012 to age because this 2010 I picked up was pretty great. 4/5

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Grabbed a bottle after hearing about the beer's retirement. Turns out it's a 2011 bottle. RIP Monster the cat.

A- Pours a deep brown color with hardly a trace of a head. Body is very murky and hazy, but a decent amount of light gets through it, revealing more red in the body. With no head, there is no lacing, but there are some alcohol legs.

S- Huge caramel malts and alcohol dominate the scent. Lots of bitterness from the alcohol and a small amount of detectable hops. Caramel malts also have a slightly sweet scent that reminds me of a cane sugar flavor.

T- Pretty much just a muted version of the smell. Starts with some strong caramel malts and alcohol heat. The caramel is much less sweet than the scent would suggest. There is also a certain spiciness, I think related to the alcohol, that gives the beer a little bit of peppery flavor. From there, the beer ends with some bitterness from the alcohol and some hops.

M- Very high in carbonation, especially for a 2 year old barleywine. More slick and thin than thick and creamy, but it works with the high carbonation. Some alcohol heat makes this one harder to drink.

Overall, this is a good option for an everyday, affordable barleywine. It's a shame this beer is being retired, but I think it's more of a shame that Monster the cat died.

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Photo of scotorum
3.79/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A forum on BA discussed how this is being retired as a consequence of the death of the cat after which it was named.  I found 2012 fourpacks for a good price.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a whiskey glass.  Not much foam.

a. dark amber which looks like it deserves its name.  Either that or it's really Scotch.  Scotch with a thin head that leaves a lot of lacing.

s.  Nope it's beer.  Alcohol!  Dark accompanying odor almost like dirty feet.  Smells like it deserves its name.

t: Sharp alcohol bite.  That smell is in the taste too.  Not terribly appealing, but you know you are drinking 10% alcohol.  Reminds me of a cheap malt liquor some wag flavored with dirty gym socks.  Well, not that bad.  But you almost wonder...

m: Smooth enough, with heavy alcohol bite, like yoiu were drinking a watered down whiskey that sort of tasted like beer soaked in dirty gym socks.  Kidding again.

o. overall - maybe not so bad if you want to get high fast.  Just not liking the taste particularly, although it is unique and strong.  Maybe Monster the cat died drinking some.  Possibly Brooklyn's worst offering and therefore worth retiring to avoid further embarrassment and damage to their reputation,.  I still think their Brown Ale and Pilsner rock.

PS: finishing it, I'm liking it better.  Either the 10.1% is kicking in, or...OMG No!
PS2: Had a second one from the fourpack a couple of nights later and the offending taste was more muted. But it still didn't have much to recommend it other than a quick high from the 10.1 ABV.

UPDATE 3/13/15: cellared the last two from the 2012 fourpack and finally having one of those now. The vinegary "dirty feet" smell was still there at first, but it really smoothed out to be a very good malty quaff. If this was still offered I might buy more to store. Upgrading my ratings thus: look 3.5-3.75, taste 2.5-4.0 feel 2.75-3.75, overall 2.75-3.75 (would be 4 but earlier fresher ones kind of sucked as indicated above). Never jumped my ratings this much before but this cellared one is too good not to revise my points a lot. Now wishing I had bought more of the 2012s when they were going cheap. It's almost monster good.

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Photo of MRsojourner
4.29/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle: nice beautiful medium brown color that is fairly clear with an off white head.

aroma is of caramel and herbs

Taste is a wonderful blend of caramel rich malts and lots of melanoidins giving a clean stone fruit flavor along with herbal and earthy hops that bring in the bitterness. the bitterness sticks around on your palate but its not strong like an American BW. the alcohol shows itself a bit as it warms up and feels like it comes through in your nose as you drink it.

mouthfeel is medium and finishes the same. it feels right to me making this high abv beer very easy to drink

overall I love this beer. not sure why the scores are so low but its a shame they wont be made anymore. R.I.P

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: deep amber brown with an orange hue, light film of ivory head in a snifter; some lace motes

S: malts and hops produce a vague fruity/sherry aroma

T: herbal/medicinal tones, softer malts add toffee sweetness

M: thin, slick, no palpable carbonation, some astringence - less in an aged beer

O: not the best of barleywines, but a decent foray into the style

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Photo of KForlino
3.02/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

'07 vintage

Poured into a tulip glass. The appearance of this was pretty intimidating. Not a fan. While there was nothing floating around, there beer in it's entirety was extremely cloudy. I mean, it looked like someone had mixed an over steeped iced tea and lake water together, shook it quite vigorously, and dumped it in the glass. Smells like prunes. Tastes like prunes, and just the slightest bit sour on the end. Not much heat and very faint carb, as this one has been sitting for 6 years. Despite the appearance, it's actually got a decent feel. Definitely not a favorite for me, wouldn't go for it again.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep amber, copper color with an off white head.

Smell the resinous hop aroma with some woody, earthy, grape vine notes and slight floral aroma.

Big chewy malt mouth up front. Followed by some nice wine notes with resinous hops and a bitter herb bite. It is well balance for all the flavor and abv packed into it. This is a very tasty and accessible barleywine.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Ba Review #272
Served On: 5/20/2013
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 10.1%
Date/ Code: 2012 Release

This was a 12oz bottle from a 24 bottle case I snagged at North York Beverage in York, PA ($34.98).

Look: The aggressive pour rendered a thin beige head comprised of tiny bubbles. Lacing was minimal. Carbonation level was low with a small but steady stream of bubbles rising up the middle. The color was brilliant copper with surprising good clarity.

Smell: Heavy sweet plum and raisin notes. Heavy candy sugar with some very faint biscuit in the background.

Taste: First up was a cloyingly sweet burst of caramelized winter fruits and brown sugar. Then a roasted note set in towards the middle, like burnt sugar in a frying pan. Then a quick bitterness hit, but nothing that contributed to any balance to the heavy malt sweetness. The finish was some lingering biscuit and raisin notes. The aftertaste had the sweetness moving into some bitterness again. 10.1% ABV gave a warming sensation but was not a big factor on the palate aside from some metallic notes.

I found this brew to be a solid English Style BW. I don’t know that this one would age very well. I’m afraid the high level of sweetness would just become more intense.

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Photo of ubenumber2
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into glass , bottle says this beer was born in 2012

Copper colored beer with a half finger head and small amounts of lacing

Not much of a smell to this beer , a light malty smell is all

Full body to this beer , a real mouthfeel but way too much carbonation to this beer

The taste is very nice the malt pops out up front then the booze takes over and rides all the way through the end , a realy belly warmer

Overall this is a good beer in the barleywine class , I will be picking more of this up for sure

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Photo of sjverla
3.59/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nose: Vinous. Sweet and tart like sherry. Grape jam and a little bit of alcoholic solvency.

Appearance: Hazy ruby-amber. Some small bubbles around the edge, but no head.

Taste: Sweet and smooth. Immediately caramelly - gives way to subtle fruit flavors. Hints of vanilla and burnt sugar. Rich and smooth with a dry finish. Alcohol heat lingers on the tongue.

Overall: A great investment for $8.69.

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Photo of YCantWeNotBeSober
4.39/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Born in 2011

A - Pours a hazy, dark orange. Head recedes rather quickly

S - Sweet Caramel, Vanilla, delicious dark fruits, wonderful

T - Follows the nose with a blast of sweet, malty barley. Lots of fruit and surprisingly refreshing. Transitions beautifully into a soft bouquet of grassy hops and a welcomed presence of booze. As it warms hints of cherry linger in the background.

M - Medium-bodied. Oily, moderate carbonation contributing to its refreshing nature.

O - Never had this one fresh, but with 1-2 years on it, this barley wine has really impressed me.

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Photo of JuliusCaesar
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Murky brown with red hues. No head

S: Malts and Booze

T: Very sweet malt. Caramel and butterscotch. Mildly bitter, with alcohol on the finish

M: Slightly sticky

Overall: Sweeter than I'd expected. The malt is nice but the alcohol is pretty heavy. I've enjoyed it well enough

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Photo of secondtooth
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a vintage 2010 bottle, so over 2, nearly 3 years aged.

Pours a murky red-amber, with only a small amount of carbonation and almost no lace whatsoever.

Nose is big and syrupy-rich, with notes of dried fruit (figs, plums, raisins) and a sharp grain-malt tone.

Taste is big and heavy, as to be expected. There's more of the rich maltiness and dried fruit. The intense hops are dialed way back here, and what results is a complex, rich, and rather smooth drinking experience. The alcohol kick is definitely there, but this beast gets friendlier with age.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 16 oz snifter, bottled in 2012. Pours a bright reddish orange, with a 2 inch off white head, that leaves little lace. Smell is burnt brown sugar, alcohol, apricot, and apple hard candy. Taste is loads of apple hard candy and alcohol, some grapefruit in the finish. Body is maybe medium, plenty of carbonation, a little dry, and not very drinkable. Not a bad Barleywine, but pretty average.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter. Label says Born in 2012.

A- Pours a dark amber color with barely a 1/4 inch light tan head that immediately dissipates leaving a paper-thin ring around the edge of the glass and minimal surface foam. Thin, semi-sticky lacing slides slowly down the glass.

S- Sweet malt aroma with a bit of alcohol fume and cereal grain. Small hint of oxidation as well as some musk.

T- Smooth and delicate with some toasty malt flavor and very mild hops. The alcohol isn't so in-your-face but I am drinking it at a very cold temperature at the moment. As it begins to warm, some slightly astringent oak shows itself and adds a bit more character to the beer. The oxidation detected in the nose also starts to come through but is not unwelcome since the rest of the flavor is becoming much more intense. Now the booze element enters and harshens things. It's amazing to see how a strong beer's flavors become more apparent as it goes from cold to warm.

M- Sharp and oily with medium-low carbonation and a medium-full body.

O- Haven't had this beer in years and I remember enjoying it more back in the day. Regardless, it's not a bad barleywine. Just could use some more complexity.

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Brooklyn Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
3.71 out of 5 based on 1,862 ratings.
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