Brooklyn Winter Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brooklyn completely changed the recipe in 2006. It’s now a Scottish-style ale. Brewmaster Garrett Oliver explained to us that: “There are no spices at all. Good British floor malts and hops along with our yeast strain account for all the flavors. It has a Scottish-style cooler fermentation, which pushes malt to the forefront rather than fruitiness.” It was brewed with Scottish Floor-malted Maris Otter, English crystal malts, Belgian Aromatic malt, American roasted malts, American oats and hopped with Willamette.

Added by dedrinker on 11-03-2006

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Reviews: 479 | Ratings: 1,120
Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.84/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Treated as a Scottish ale, this was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a soft hazy brown color with a thin white head. Light trickling lacing slides into the beer.
The smell takes some peat, light smoke, light caramel, a little bit of toffee and blends them nicely.
The taste wraps all of the previously mentioned flavors nice and sweet. It leads into a smooth aftertaste and finish.
The mouthfeel was light bodied with a smooth smoky to wet texture. Malts slide across my tongue nicely.
Overall, nice Scottish ale, though some might call it "watery", I'd say it's a good food beer. Pretty sure I could come back to.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.45/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with not a lot of carbonation. The smell has a good amount of nuttiness from the roasted malt with some nice sweet flavors like caramel coming through. The taste was sweet without being overtly heavy but was a bit more subtle with the flavor. Overall it was a nice beer but I wanted a bit more of the malt in the flavor.

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Photo of jp32
2.86/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours a deep amber color. Purely transparent, but quite a striking color. Not much head, but a small amount is noticed.

The aroma reminds me of cinnamon raisin bread. Sweet, bready, and sugary like rum soaked raisins.

Flavor is lightly malty, and flat. The appearance definitely looks better than the flavor tastes.

I feel a higher level of carbonation, and possibly even a higher abv would suit this beer nicely. I think I was expecting something a bit better here from Brooklyn.

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Photo of ordybill
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. Aroma- Has a nice hop and malt mix Appearance- This beer is copper colored with a small white head. Taste- Has a big malt flavor. Palate- A medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Overall- A real good beer.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.07/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I picked up a bottle of Brooklyn Brewery's Winter Ale last week for $1.59 at The Lager Mill. I was looking for some winter seasonals to try and since I haven't had this one I thought I would give it a shot, so lets see how it goes. Best by April 5th 2015. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looked ok, it's pretty typical for this brewery, but I don't think it's too eye catching. It poured a fairly clear amber color that took on more of a red color when held to the light with two fingers worth of creamy light tan head that died down to a really thin ring that stayed till the and it left pretty much no lacing behind. This was a pretty nice looking beer, but I wish it had some lacing.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart some nice caramel malt, sweet malt and caramel like aromas. Up next comes the yeast which imparts a big fruity English Ale yeast flavor that seems to stick out the most in this beer. This beer had an ok aroma, but I wish it was more balanced, the fruity yeast seemed a little too dominating.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with the malts still being the first to show up and they impart the same caramel and sweet malt aspects with a slight bit of grainy malts coming through. Up next comes the yeast which imparts the same strong fruity English Ale yeast flavors that still is the aspect that sticks out the most. On the finish there's a pretty much no bitterness with a caramel malt and fruit yeast aftertaste. The taste was ok, but it was as unbalanced as the aroma.

M- Smooth, not too crisp, medium bodied with a higher amount of low carbonation. This beer had a decent mouthfeel, but i wish it has some more carbonation.

Overall I thought this was an ok beer and I thought it was an average example of the style, it really didn't seem to Scotch Ale like, it reminded more of an average English ale, especially with that fruity English ale yeast flavor sticking out the most. This beer had ok drinkability, it was smooth, not too crisp, not too filling, but the taste didn't do the best job at holding my attention and one would be enough for me, the flavors doesn't want to me make drink another one. What I like the most about this beer was the appearance it was a pretty nice looking beer. What I like the least about this beer was the balance, I wish the caramel malts showed up more and the fruity yeast showed up less. I wouldn't buy this beer again, but I wouldn't turn it down, it just isn't something that I'm that into. I can't say I would recommend this beer, it doesn't have any aspect that makes it stand out. All in all I wasn't impressed with this beer and in the end I wanted better balance from it. It's on the lower end for this brewery and it's in the middle for the style. I appreciate the effort, but this one just isn't for me, better luck next time.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours copper with ruby hues and a light head of foam that fell pretty fast and left a thin ring. Very clear. Nose is malty and fruity and with no big hop scents. A little tempting sweetness from alcohol on that nose . Like sticky brown bread. Caramel, earth and dark fruits. Taste is malty and sweet. Dry and with a bit of spice on the finish. No alcohol on the palate. Mouthfee lis easy going medium. This drinks so well. The breadiness , the carbonation and the dryness are a delight alongside the fruitiness and the rich malt and caramel. it's like a nice sweet bread.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, dark brown color with a half of a finger of off-white head that completely dissolved away into nothing, no head what-so-ever.

Aroma: Very malty and bready, like freshly baked dark bread, followed by some brown sugar-like sweetness and some subtle hops.

Taste: Tons of toasted malt, like freshly baked dark bread, followed by some brown sugar-like sweetness, and some pronounced, but not overpowering, hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.0%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty good beer, but nothing exciting. The beer has a nice balance between malt and hops and sweetness, but it’s pretty forgettable once finished. As a Brooklyn Brewery fan, I’m glad I tried it, but I probably won’t get it again, as there are much better Brooklyn beers out there as much better winter beers out there as well. That being said, I’d certainly not turn this beer down if offered and would certainly enjoy it.

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Photo of ilthik
2.6/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I was excited to try a Scottish ale from Brooklyn Brewery, but this left me disappointed. This is a light, bland ale without the bite I expect from this style of beer.

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Photo of nicholas2121
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brooklyn Winter Ale brewed by Brooklyn Brewery. This brew has an ABV 6.10% The brew pours out a nice dark amber color with a small off white head. Brooklyn Winter Ale has a rich smell. It is full of flavors and sweetness. You pick up on some grains and malts in the smell of this brew. The taste is bold with flavor. Also in the taste , you pick up on malts and grains and some hops at the end. The mouthfeel is rich, bold , and smooth. This brew has a strong,bold aftertaste. There is a lot going on in this brew, there is nothing overpowering in this brew. Brooklyn Brewery did a nice job with this brew. I would get buy this brew again. Overall I'm giving this brew a 4 out of 5.

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Photo of psoriasaurus
2/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Drain pour. Body and color of a soda, with sickeningly sweet nose and flavor. Honestly, I could barely stomach a couple of ounces. A pretty big disappointment from the normally solid brewery.

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Photo of barczar
3.44/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Malty and sweet aroma, lots of caramel.

Slightly fruity character to go along with said caramel and some floral notes.

A little cloying, and the fruity character doesn't jive. Bubblegum esters emerge. Tastes medicinal.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.34/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: clear; deep amber in color; 1 finger khaki head that receded to a thick collar; OK lacing;

S: sweet, caramelly malt;

T: earthiness and non-descript sweet malt from start through the finish; almost no bitterness;

M: medium bodied; light carbonation; dry finish;

O: OK; a little blah;

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Photo of Boto
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Draught @ Bubba Gump NYC: This one poured a crystal clear amber color. There was a very small head that didn’t linger long or leave much lacing. Some spiciness and malts, but no real sweetness to the aroma. Decent enough taste. Somewhat dry, malts, spices. Pretty smooth. Not bad.

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Photo of adamjhepler
1.84/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.25

Pretty average at best, just not the biggest fan. Respectable but not enjoyable. After slowly drinking it i taste the overused winter taste notes that bore me.

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Photo of microbrewlover
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%

This brew pours a brown color but turns ruby red when held up to the light. There is a small off-white head which sticks around for a while, no lacing but good carbonation.

The smell is rich with sweet and roasted malts as well as peat moss. The brewer states that there are no spices in the beer; they have achieved the smell of spices with the malt they used; good job.

The taste follows the nose with first sweet then roasted malts, mostly sweet, then a thick bready and chewy peat moss taste. The brew tastes spiced however the brewer states that there are no spices in the brew. There a just enough hops on the back end in order to keep this beer from becoming too sweet. There is no alcohol taste leaking through but there is a "warming" effect nonetheless.

Overall this is a plain but delicious beer to have on a cold winter day like today.

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Photo of Mavigo
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Got a single bottle of this from Discount Drinks in Farmington Hills. Pours a clear ruby-amber color with a short tan head that dissipates fast. Medium amounts of lace. Smells of caramel, oak, honey, yeast, whiskey, wood. Tastes relatively sweet, a bit bitter, tinges of spice, wood, booze. Dry, medium bodied, and has ample amounts of carbonation. Overall, this was pretty good, I've always been a fan of Brooklyn Brewing but I only liked this one, I didn't love it.

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Photo of VictorWisc
3.11/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

First striking thing is Brooklyn's insistence on printing date codes in dark ink on amber bottles with dark contents. Zero visibility under fluorescent lights in the store, and that's with plentiful lighting at a supermarket, let alone in the darkness of some beer cave. I could barely discern the digits when I got home, but ended up not bothering with it out of frustration. Suffice it to say, it was about to be a total shelf turn on a Waldbaum's shelf--the only one that was moderately drinkable.

Liquid is discernably brown, semi-translucent, with very little light head and no lacing. Hard to see the carbonation. Didn't taste a whole lot of it either.

Nose is clean. Too clean. A whiff of straw is about all I noticed--a feint fungal, yeasty smell that's more at home with barleywines and porters.

The taste was very much the same. Nothing striking. A bit of sweetness, slight metallic aftertaste. Tasted more like a mix of a thin porter with Oktoberfest than a winter ale. Barely any hint of spicing or hops. Just not a good beer.

Medium to heavy body, but not really strong alcohol. If they aimed this to be mediocre at everything, they certainly succeeded.

I initially thought this was just an old bottle, poorly stored. But, judging from other reviews, the reaction doesn't appear to be atypical. Still the best choice of the lot at a Queens Waldbaum's but I'd have to be really desperate to buy it again.

Although Brooklyn has had some hits, most of their product is mired in mediocrity. Frankly, I've never been able to understand the following. I could have picked up some rare bottles at what approached $30 for a 750cc, but, with their history in mind, it just didn't sound like a good idea. A few more beers like this one, and I'll be done with them for good.

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Photo of DmanGTR
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Review from notes

Brown, but with deep ruby/garnet hues when held up to the light. Cream colored head that retains decently. Deep caramel, hint of raisins. Touch of cocoa. Bitterness in the finish, but really no hop flavors at all. Mineral flavor. Smooth and prickly.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 3/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear ruby red color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, biscuit, raisin, plum, apple, molasses, brown sugar, light roast, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, biscuit, raisin, plum, apple, molasses, brown sugar, light roast, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, biscuit, raisin, plum, apple, molasses, brown sugar, light roast, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice robustness and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; with a nice malt/yeast balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly slick/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice Scottish ale. Good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of StuyBeerGuy
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I bought this winter season beer on sale because the store must have found a few crates in a corner during spring cleaning. Initially, I was hesitant that they must have been on sale because brew aficionados would not purchase them otherwise, fortunately, the taste proved I just happened to have found a good deal.

The beer pours thick and has a slight white head. While I enjoyed the burnt toffee smell my nose could just barely discern. The mouthfeel feel is front heavy and short with powerful malt flavors reminiscent of a light Scottish ale. The burnt toffee notes linger on the palate pleasantly.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

BBD 3/22/14. Pours a clear nice red hued amber with a reasonable head and lacing that fades in 2 minutes. Light nose of molasses over dark fruit - plum with a touch of raisin. The body is medium with good carbonation. The mouthfeel is borderline smooth with a carbonation level above average. The flavor profile is weak - something a Scottish ale should never be. A weak hint of caramel malt and an alcohol presence is all there is over a very light sweetness. The finish is crisp, again, something a Scottish ale shouldn't be.

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3.07/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12floz. bottle. Gordon´s Thistle glass. Reddish amber color, ruby tints to the light & chill haze appearance. Tan froth & close crown showing fairly good retention & leaving lacing on sides. Intense caramel malt, toffee & candy aromas, hints of sugar cane & molasses. Sugary & toasted upfront. Light body. Moderate but lively carbonation. Watery & sugary with a low herbal bitterness in the middle. Dry sweet/bitter finish & slight herbal liquor notes on the aftertaste.

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Photo of illpass78
3.69/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Had a pint on tap at The Park in Long Beach, N.Y.

Appearance: Deep amber with a very light head that disappears almost immediately. It's an attractive beer. Lacing is minimal.

Aroma: The nose is very faint. There almost isn't one.

Taste: Very easy-drinking caramel maltiness. Some toasty and bready notes. It's enjoyable but doesn't leap out at you; basically a decent session ale.

Mouthfeel: This is probably its best feature. Very inviting and easy on the palate.

Overall: I have no idea why this is marketed as a "winter ale," because there's nothing wintery about it other than that it's dark in color. It basically a straight session amber ale. I don't have much experience with Scottish ales, but this one does fulfill the expectation of being malt-forward and not super hopped. I enjoyed having this on tap but I can't say I'd jump at the chance to have it again unless it was the only craft offering at a bar.

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Photo of wiscokid920
3.21/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A- Pours a bronze with ruby highlights. Soapy head that fades quickly.

S- Large malty notes, bready biscuit sweetness, nutty.

T- Nice malty sweetness, dark brown sugar/toffee, roasted nuts and yeasty

M- Light in body, buttery, and bubbly.

O- I'm the type that likes a nice malty, roasty winter ale compared to those that are chocked full of spices. That being said, this is a decent offering of the type I prefer. A decent malty and roasty profile.

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Photo of Chiefy770
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 fl. ounce bottle into a nonic pint glass. "Best by" date of March 2014.

Appearance: Dark amber body. Somewhat of a weak light brown head formed. Modest lacing throughout.

Smell: Sweet and buttery. Toasted grains. Pinch of alcoholic esters.

Taste: Hops strike first and back off quickly. Warm and toasty malts kick in and create a sweet taste, a bit like toffee.

Mouthfeel: May have been a bad bottle but this seem a bit flat. It was not horrible but just a hair more carbonation. They claim a full body on the label but this is nothing more than a meek medium-bodied brew, if that.

Overall: Not a bad beer but definitely did not blow me away. The flavors are pretty straightforward. Not the most complex beer but hey, they can't all be winners.

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Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
3.63 out of 5 based on 1,120 ratings.
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