Brooklyn Winter Ale (2005) | Brooklyn Brewery

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Very Good
45 Ratings

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brooklyn's first "command performance" beer, wherein they brewed a beer for their European importers to match Christmas food in Denmark (aka - Brooklyn Christmas Ale). This beer recalls both the Danish and British holiday ale traditions, which included a range of spices in the days before hops became the only spice in beer. Maris Otter malts give the beer a smooth, round palate, and brisk hopping pulls the sweet malts into balance. The spices recall pies, bread, and time well spent with friends and family.

Recipe has completely changed with the 2006 release.

Added by Jason on 10-22-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 44
Reviews by bultrey:
Photo of bultrey
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If ever there was a session winter warmer, this would be it. I wasn't blown away by the taste, but it has a silky smooth mouthfeel and dangerous drinkability. The taste is a bit spicy, like the Anchor Christmas ales, but more earthy rather than piquant spices -- I don't know, maybe mace and licorice. There is also quite a caramel maltiness, along with some fig pudding richness. Overall a winter warmer I would certainly order if available, but not make a special trip to seek out.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ouncer, I'm told this stuff is for export and It is going to be Winter ale in the states and it will only be available in the new Variety 12 packs. They are out in limited amounts now. Anyway I was given a bottle at Brewtopia and its got the "Christmas Ale" label. This one pours a dark, warm shade of almond, clear with a tan head and leaves minor lacing. Nose is of malt and light spices. This is a bready, malty brew. Alcohol present, but in the rear. Some mild, yet still noticable holiday spicing noted. Nicely crafted, smooth drinking ale, slight chalkyness picked up in a long tasty finish. Well worth a try. More good brew from the reliable folks at Brooklyn Brewery.

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Photo of jakester
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was in the Brooklyn Party Pack. I drank it in a goblet. Date notched on the label.

Pours a clear deep garnet red with a 1/2 finger head of tan foam. The head falls quickly to dots and a ring, with minimal splotches of lacing.

Aroma is of the familiar mulling spices of cloves, cinammon, nutmeg, allspice, and black pepper. Also notes of brown sugar and caramel malt. Smells are slightly muted, but well done.

Flavor is dark, rich sweet malt, spices like noted above, with a nice balancing amount of hop bitterness. Residual sweetness is fairly high. This is a yummy beer. Aftertaste is candy apples and spices.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with soft carbonation. Body is medium to full, and the finish is short and sweet.

This is a very good winter seasonal. Spices are there, but not overdone, the malt backbone is solid, the hop character is muted, and the ABV is well hidden. I could drink this all winter night!

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Photo of BadBadger
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was a pleasant suprise. It pours a nice dark amber color. Sadly, the head was minimal and what was there did not last (really the only downside to this nice beverage). The smell was of a faint mixture of spices. The taste was good, being a well done mixture of spices, malts and hops (nothing over the top here). A very smooth texture. A rather drinkable brew worth searching out and enjoying.

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Photo of kpantz
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Executive Summary: A good winter ale, but lacks the qualities necessary to rate a standout. Brooklyn has far better offerings.

Appearance: Deep ruby-red/burgundy with a cream colored head that quickly dissipates to a frothy film.

Smell: Malty, with a bit of cinnamon, and perhaps some nutmeg and vanilla.

Taste: Very noticeable hop flavor, either. Malt backbone is clear, but I'm taken aback by the way the spices run out ahead of everything.

Mouthfeel: Very nice. Subtle carbonation and not too thin. Rests nicely on the tongue.

Drinkability: I'm not sure how many of these I'd be willing to knock back. The alcohol isn't overpowering, but the spice combination just doesn't hold my interest.

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Photo of Calico
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber with a very small head. Quite clear. A lot of ginger, a little nutmeg, and a little cinnamon in the nose along with malt.

In the taste, not a lot of hops. The spices dominate. Nice sparkly feel in the mouth. Slighlty citrusy. The finish is boring, though.

I'd be overjoyed if I brewed this myself. On the other hand, I wouldn't buy another Brooklyn twelver at $15.99 just to have this again. Quite pleasant and I'd have it on tap often if I lived there.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a dark reddish color with a smallish one finger head that disappears quickly.The smell is a very strong aroma of malt,cinnamon,peppery spices,and cloves.The taste is like the smell,but with more of a malt pressence and a more fruity flavor.It's alittle brandy-like.The m/f is light and the flavors are well balanced.This is a good brew and I'd try it again although I'm not a huge fan of this type of beer. This beer is much less sweet than other winter warmers.

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Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks like an auburn brown old ale, droplets of lace, very thin head. Nutmeg, allspice, cinammon. Some chocolate malt, well balanced.Biere de gardish spice. Non-objectional aroma. Easy drink, thin body. Drying finish. A better than average beer. Thanks Dr. Jay.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just a hint of spice appears in the nose and on the tongue in Brooklyn's Winter Ale, leaving it remarkably drinkable. It pours a clear deep-chestnut colored body with dark auburn highlights beneath a creamy hhead of beige. The head retention is fair and it leaves tiny spots and larger splashes of lace throughout the glass. The delicate holiday cookie spices blend marvelously with a note of cocoa, begging you to partake. In the mouth it's medium bodied and smooth with an appropriately restrained carbonation that lends to its "English" nature. The flavor delivers a more pronounced spice that the aroma does, and yet it's still remarkably muted as to not reveal itself completely. I'm guessing that it includes nutmeg and cinnamon, but it may also contain ginger, and even perhaps vanilla. The malt base is lightly cocoaish, and definitely toffee-like; backed with just enough bitterness to balance it. Impeccably rounded and well-balanced, this is a superb quaffer!!!

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Photo of silver0rlead
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep amber with a thin off-white head. The aroma is very malty with notes of toasted bread, spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper), molasses, vanilla, and some floral hops. The flavor begins with some toasted bread, molasses, spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove), floral hops, vanilla and a slight hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium with moderate carbonation and drinkability is above average for a winter warmer. A nice offering from brooklyn without overdoing the spices...i would like to see this one sold outside of the 12 pack.

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Photo of BeerFan
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From Brooklyn's Beer Party 12 pack. Pours a clear, dark reddish-brown with a beige head into my Brooklyn Brewery pint glass. Odd-sized bubbles remain throughout, leaving minimal lacing and a thin layer of foam. Classic winter spice smell and aroma - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Definitely on the malty side, but only slightly sweet and the spices are not overpowering, making this meduim-bodied beer easy to drink. No notice of the alcohol until it reaches the belly, where it leaves a mild warming sensation.

Only way to buy this is in the new Beer Party 12 pack. Will also be released as the next draft-only Brewmaster's Reserve beer, but brewed to a slightly different recipe.

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Photo of cwd
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Franchise
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering pours a nice dark brown with red highlights throughout. The head starts thick and then disappears quickly although remaining with a thin lace on top of the brew. The nose of this brew is sugary, it has some carmalized sugar, brown sugar, toffee, and a dark fruit making the smell really complex. The taste is syrup smooth, with a sharp bitterness that is quickly dulled by the malty aspect of this brew leaving a sweet fruit coating on the throat. Love this offering from Brooklyn, to bad it is only in the Brooklyn 12 pack.

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Photo of AsburyParkJMH
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was glad to still see this one on tap (and a bit leery at the same time that it might be wasn't as far as I could tell) so I ordered up a pint.

It pours a nice murky brown colour with a faint head that leaves some residue on the glass.

The aromas are definitely winter/holiday reminiscent, as spice (cinammon, nutmeg and more) dominates but doesn't overpower as it is paired up nicely with a rugged malt backbone.

The flavour hits on the aroma quite effectively, with the afformentioned cinnamon and nutmeg hitting the palate throughout, along with notes of gingerbread and some chocolate from the malt. Alcohol was not really noticeable to me with this one. The mouthfeel was crisp but creamy as well and fit nicely.

I enjoyed this one and will definitely be looking for bottles come next holiday season. If you can still find it this one's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of cubedbee
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from the winter sampler, this pours a dark but clear reddish amber with a finger of beige head, small amount of lacing. Nice strong malty nose with hints of clove, cinammon, nutmeg. Taste is a very sweet malt, notes of caramel and milk chocolate, with a spicey and somewhat alcoholic finish. Mouthfeel is medium/thin with a decent carbonation level. This is a pretty solid winter warmer, packs a bit of a punch, a nice winter offering.

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Photo of Phatz
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This beer is a dark amber color but transparent.

Smell: Cherry came to mind first followed by pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Taste: Very cinnamon, made me think of things pumpkin pie and Christmas candles. Obvious nutmeg, and a plethora of other holidayish spices like vanilla, cloves, and orange. Wow, what a mouthful.

Mouthfeel: Full and smooth, creamy and a bit syrupy for a winter warmer to a perfect degree. Very nice.

Drinkability: Huh? This is an awesome beer, and one drinks very nicely, but it is HUGE and more than one would be extreme any more than that would be too much. So yes it is quite drinkable but not a guzzler and not an all night session beer. Definitely enjoy this with or after a holiday meal!

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is the last of my new reviews for the Brooklyn Party Pack. This is brand new stuff from them so I'm pretty excited to try it.
An interesting pour from the Winter right away. The head is foamy and milky colored but the beer itself is roughly the color of water down coke. The smell is spicy..I think cinnamon and nutmeg for sure. Definitely tasty.
The taste is a bit different altogether, with caramel malt and a nice balance but missing all but a hint of those spices we smelled. The hops are nice but a little too prominent here because the bitterness cancels out the intended sweetness, leaving a fairly weak finish. Mouthfeel is also thin and watery for what I expect to be drinking five days before Christmas.
Unfortunately, Brooklyn kind of rushed this one out before it had fully been perfected I think, but its not unbearable and a worth a shot if you see it.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Secret Santa AKSmokedPorter. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head above the very dark reddish amber brew. Head quickly fades down to an uneven layer of bubbles, with ample bubbly lacing. Aroma is ample grains and spices. Taste is follows the nose, with malt sweetness giving way to spices and an alcohol warming close. Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, and drinkability is nice, especially for the style. Not one of those cloyingly sweet or over-spiced winter warmers here. Yum!

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Photo of hopdog
3.16/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a deeper reddish / brown color with a smaller sized off white head. Has a very strong initial spicy aroma. I'm trying to place it; ginger maybe, definitely pepper. Other aromas of caramel and light bread. Tastes of the same spices, toasted malts, lighter caramel, and lightly earthy. The spices definitely dominate both the aromas and tastes (quite overpowering and overbearing at times).

Notes from: 11/29/05

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am sampling a room temp bottle poured into a pint glass. The beer exhibits a deep clear chestnut hue with minimal beige head that fades quickly to an edge layer. The aroma is evident spices right away with nutmeg and cinnamon mixing with coriander and some caramel. First sip reveals an avearge body and mild carbonation. Silky smooth texture.
Flavor is similar to nose with chocolate and caramel mixed with nutmeg, cinnamon and coriander as well. The nutmeg lingers after each swallow. The beer is smooth and easy to drink. Quite a nice winter brew that I rarely see around here.

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Photo of barleyman
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A clear dark ruby to brown color. The medium head fairly quickly falls to a minumum head.

Smell: A raisiny initial leaves a really nice balance between hop and malt.

Taste: Again a flavor of raisins starts with the malt and finishes with the hop. A really nice level of hop, with a spice (clove) overtone and finish.

Mouthfeel: I would rate this at medium, not thin, not heavy, just right. The carbonation is on the light side, but just right for this style.

Drinkability: Keep in mind, that I prefer the high gravity beers. As I rate this beer it is a few days before Christmas, and so I'm not knocking back as many beers as i usually do in the summer. I really enjoy the Brooklyn brewery products, especially the Monster ale.

So: Drink this beer in winter, take it easy, and you will be richly rewarded with a wonderful product.

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Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep reddish copper in color with a one finger head. Head lasts a while, a spot or two of lace develops.

Smell: caramel, cinnamon, and a bit of piney bitterness.

Taste: The flavor has a nice malt backbone. Bread, cinammon and pepper spices, caramel candy, and a hint of fruitiness round it out. Nice bitterness to this brew too.

Mouthfeel: Lightly crisp at the start, smooth at the finish. The flavor components last briefly onthe tongue after swallowing.

Drinkability: Superb drinkability, as this is a very enjoyable mildly spiced winter beer.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a winter soul brew. Someone tell me what that means?! Uh...I think it means it's malty, boozy, and filled with holiday cheer (spices). Amber colored with ruby highlights, it needs some heavy swirling to bring out the spicy clove and nutmeg flavors. Flavor is richly malty (is richly a word? feck it) and seems chocolatey at first, but this initial sweetness fades into a nice interplay of caramel and toffee kicked up a notch by the vanilla and licorice flavors, carried along by an mild undertow of crisp hop bitterness. Very nice, very nice indeed. A true warmer as well (thank you alcohol!). Plenty of carbonation to keep your frigid ass in check too, but not overdone.

This does remind be a bit, flavorwise, of Sam Adams Winter Lager, but this has a lot more going on in the complexity department...kinda beefed up in all areas...and it's an ale, so ya's different too. All in all, a solid winter seasonal, and one I'll be looking for more often, especially whence I find it on draught.

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Photo of doppelmeup
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*Note: I originally reviewed this as the Christmas Ale, but am copying my review over to this beer, as the picture matches what I drank!**

I got this in the Brooklyn Variety Pack, which proudly states that this is the only place you can get it. It's the 2005 brew.

Poured very similarly to a barley wine. Had to really pour it hard to encourage any sort of head. Pretty, auburnish tan color.

Smelled of cloves and malt, maybe some pumpkin pie spice.

Started off very cold (from a cooler covered in ice), and I think the taste will improve as it warms. Initial taste is reminiscent of a barley wine. Hints of dark cherry, cloves, malt, ...(letting it sit for a while to warm)... The flavor does improve as it warms. Same main tastes. Dark cherry seems most prevalent, but it doesn't taste like a lambic.

This has a very dry mouthfeel. It really puckers the tongue and roof of the mouth as if finishes. But it doesn't leave an aftertaste, just dryness. It is quite interesting, actually.

Interesting sums up this beer. I don't think I could drink a lot in a row, but I'm glad the Brooklyn Variety pack comes with two of these.

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Photo of WesWes
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry roasted malt scent with some caramel malt sweetness. It also boasts of nutmeg and cinnamon. The taste is decent also. It has a spicey flavor that is laid over crystal and roasted malts. It is more of a holiday beer than a winter warmer. It does boast an elevated abv. 7.2%, so I guess it warms you up. It's smooth and easy drinking, but relies too much on spice content. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is decent beer, but far from great. I think I'd rather have a good barleywine instead.

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Brooklyn Winter Ale (2005) from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 45 ratings