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 Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 edition, thanks to crushinator. Te aroma is consistent with the Scottish style, malty and peaty. It drinks very smooth, even creamy above average mouthfeel. There is lots of lace. It is very drinkable for the style, which is a swallow at a time.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.33/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: thick 2.5 finger off white head with nice retention and lacing on a murky amber with garnet hues body.

S: caramel and toffee malts with a confectioners chocolate note. Overall full and sweet.

T: sweet caramel malts throughout with a finish of mild herbal musty hops. Rye and nutty notes intermixed.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation. Buttery and rich.

Overall: A nice example of the style. Drinkable with a nice malt presence. My rating is based on its representation of the genre and drinkability combined.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a seasonal red color with zero head. dont know if time passed between the pour and the serve, but absolutely no head. not flat, just awkward in the glass. i wont hold it against this beer too heavily, because im sure the bottled version is more lively. smells a bit sweet and ambery, with a faint holiday spice thing going on in the finish. not spicy, but spiced, cinnamon is definitely there in spirit at least. mouthfeel is fuller bodied which is nice here. worked well with barbeque but would also certainly excell after dinner with or as desert. not my favorite brooklyn beer, but it has a role

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Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a nice looking deep red color. The head was fizzy and white. The lacing was minimum. The smell of the beer had a lot of malts on the nose, it was also pretty sweet smelling. The taste had lots of malts in there, big caramel flavors and some toasted bread aromas. The taste was of brown sugars and malts. The aftertaste was sweet and dry. The mouthfeel was smooth and semi-thick feeling. Overall this beer was pretty good all around I thought.

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Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: It poured rather dark amber in color with a thin white head. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There is a moderate sweet aroma of toasted and caramel malts in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the aroma and has lots of malty sweetness with notes of caramel flavors.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and rather creamy and smooth.
D: This beer is one that can be quickly consumed. It's rather sessionable, particularly during the colder weather months.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.01/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ah Brooklyn.. you never let me down. Every beer they make is just so damn solid and tasty.. this one is no exception. The appearance is great (my sister even pointed it out and she knows nothing about beer) with the nice red color and tons of lacing. The taste is not overkill like some scottish ales, not tons of smokiness here. Just a nice malty taste with a touch of ethanol. Great, easy finish makes for a nice smooth drink. Thumbs up.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Always beleived that the Scottish Ales were the best Winer beers. They are full of character, sweeter, heavier, maltier, more emphasis on dark fruits, spicier, earthier, and a little 'dirty'. This beer fits to the tee. Smells very malty with a light raison / date aroma, with an earthy, pine-ey scent. Tastes also very malty sweet with complexities of fruitcake and pine to spice it up a little. Finishes with a mild 'campfire' smokiness and earthiness along with the established pine-hop flavors. A really nice beer for those cold days ahead.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Winter = Scottish? Nae, I say! (Or maybe change the name?)

This beer pours a clear, dark coppery amber hue, with two fingers of fizzy and tightly foamy beige head, which leaves but a few random specks and arches of wasting lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells of caramelized toffee, some crisp gingerbread, a wee bit of besotted fruit, and a mild air of noble earthy hops - rather inviting, to say the least. The taste is sweet, but in a somewhat tempered manner, the dark bready malts, brown sugar, and overripe fruitiness barely offset by some roasted nuttiness, mildly herbal hops, and subtle booziness.

The bubbles are a bit tingly, but generally all right, the body a decent medium weight, and slightly afflicted by a flinty edge that muddies up any idea of straight ahead smoothness. It finishes a lot closer to the dry side - some earthy, leafy hops stepping up to support the persistent alcohol warming, amongst a more or less steady crystal maltiness.

A tasty enough brew, lots of satisfyingly hearty sweet bits, and none too complicated for warding off the lingering eponymous (for now) seasonal melancholy.

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Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a fairly clear amber color with a tight pillow of a head that leaves some shards of lace

Smell: Buttery caramel

Taste: Starts out with a caramel flavor that develops as woody notes join in, mid-palate; after the swallow, the buttery diacetyl kicks in to join the caramel flavor as does a moderate balsa wood, earthy bitter character; slightly metallic on the finish

Mouthfeel: Just a tad thicker than medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: An English take on a Scottish Ale, me thinks; not one I would return to in a hurry

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Photo of emerge077
2.63/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Unintelligible batch code printed on the base of the bottle: "4121878113133".

Coppery red color, softly textured offwhite foam on top, leaving a delicate hanging ring of lace around the edges. A feeble skim floats on the surface. It appears murky, but has a good level of clarity in the light.

Smells a little faded, fruity ale yeast, mild sweet shortbread.

Some astringency and syrupy maple sweetness, lingering aftertaste of toasted bread and dried fruit. It has the odd twang of oxidation somehow. Medium bodied and pretty sweet at first. The astringency and odd fruity tanginess are somewhat off putting, wouldn't try this again.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a medium brown color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of light roasted malt with some subtle semi-sweet caramel malt. Taste is also dominated by the mix between light roasted malt and caramel malt. Body is thinner then I would have expected and no hops presence could be detected. I thought this one was definitely lacking character and end up being quite boring.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a one-finger, white, foamy head. It left pretty decent lacing on the glass.

S - It smelled fairly grassy, mossy and a little herbal.

T - It tasted of mild caramel sweetness. It had a nice grassy and earthy kick from the hops.

M - It was crisp, sharp and dry. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good scottish ale. I like this take on a winter ale, because it wasn't just a winter warmer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark amber with a tannish head.

S: Some sweetness and some caramel/toffee.

T: Much like the smell, but adds in some of the spices.

M: Medium bodied with decent carbonation.

D: Fairly drinkable, but something about it just doesn't fit. Overall, a pretty decent beer, though.

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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 oberon
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Buffalo Brewpub,poured a rich amber with a thin but well retained tan colred head,picked up some cherry and deep brown sugar notes in the nose with hints of cinnamon and clove.Quite drinkable for the abv% I have to say lighter dark fruit and brown sugar notes up front with that pear note that a few others have noted not overly sweet just about spot on.A highly quaffable winter ale has nice flavors and is easy going down,recommended.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brooklyn's Winter Ale pours a clear, crimson-accented mahogany body beneath a creamy head of ivory foam. The head retention is good and it leaves behind a generous sprinkling of spots and splashes on the glass.

The aroma is malty with a deeply-caramelized and scorched sugar character. A minor fruitiness is present, but the woody, leafy, and somewhat grassy hops tend to over-ride it.

It's fairly full in body, perhaps medium-full, but clearly dextrinous; and creamy smooth across the palate except for the gentle caress of the fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation.

The flavor is as the nose suggests, but with a more complex maltiness. It's not just caramelish, there's an almost grassy or hay-like character to it. Then comes the caramel character, and immediately following that, the soft fruitiness and scorched sugar character just as the earthy, mineralish, woody, and leafy hops rise. It's bitter, but moderately so, lending just enough to help the hop flavors subdue the sweetness of the malt and lead into a lingering, leafy, mineralish and drying finish with some residual notes of almost burnt brown sugar.

It's well-brewed and the alcohol never really steps onto the palate, although you can sense it's there. There's enough character to keep it interesting, and although it does build a little on the palate it's not sweet. Worth trying.

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Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle dated BB April 2012 served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a clear, reddish-mahogany with a modest and short-lived off-white head. Light lacing.

Smell: Subtle aroma of caramel malt and brown sugar with vague grain backdrop. Stronger and more appealing with some warming.

Taste: A nice, if rather simple, malty flavor. Hints of caramel, brown sugar, and multi-grain bread. A subtle hop contribution that's lightly spicy and woody with a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Smooth. Well-chosen medium carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

O: A well-crafted brew that seems reasonable to label "Winter Ale", but that veers from typical Scottish Ale in the direction of a brown ale. Fine session beer, if the 6% ABV is kept in mind.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color with a thin tan head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of smoky malts, caramel & vanilla along with some hops.

T: The taste is creamy and malty with flavors of vanilla, caramel and a touch of dark fruit. The malt character is very hearty and the hops presence is mild but complimentary. The after-taste is sweet and bready.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, it's an excellent sipper but I could put away a few of them. This was one of those beers that I had at the totally right time, late night, clod & snowy, the wife had fallen asleep and I was watching TV. Putting the "right beer at the right time" situation aside, I can objectively say that this was a very good beer and one of the best that I've had in the style.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rich mahogany-hued body with a inch and a half of creamy, off-white head. Random lacing.

Smell: Aroma of toasty dark caramel sauce and brown sugar with a thin backdrop of fruit and a leafy, spicy hop character.

Taste: Pleasing maltiness with a taste of dark caramel, brown sugar, and breadcrusts. Slight apple and pear fruitiness. Hop character that's lightly floral and spicy with a mild, restrained bitterness. Very minor hint of wood. Slightly drying on the finish, though it does remain quite malty with a lingering brown sugar taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Everso slightly creamy on the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Certainly recommended. Yet another quality brew that's both tasty and easily drinkable from Brooklyn Brewery.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark orange-caramel with more than a little carmine red; a truly wonderful color for a Scottish ale. The golden beige cap is pretty special as well. It looks like a large scoop of brown sugar mousse due to its frothy creaminess. No more than a smattering of melty lace can't begin to dampen my enthusiasm for the appearance.

The nose isn't so tremendous. It fits the style I suppose, but nothing about it makes it stand out from the Scottish crowd. It's toasted malty, lightly fruity and smells like it'll be on the sweet side rather than the bitter-dry side. A little smoked malt would have done wonders. Hold the phone. Warming opens things up considerably and makes a bump in score an easy call.

Winter Ale is delicous beer. I still think a little smokiness or even a hint of peatiness would have been great, but it's hard to argue with what has been created. As the style dictates, malt is large and in charge. The malt bill (listed above) sounds like roll-call at the U.N. Whatever their countries of origin, I like the end result of their cooperative efforts.

The flavor profile is reminiscent of well-toasted brown bread spread with apple butter and brown sugar, then drizzled with light molasses. Malt lovers should go gaga over this one. As expected, there's a sneaky sweetness that is just kept in check by spicy Willamette hops. I love the diminishing sweetness that gradually segues into a finishing bitterness.

The mouthfeel is yet another indicator of quality. Its mouthfilling creaminess allows the various flavors to find every nook and cranny on my expectant taste buds. It's probably unfair to expect more chewiness from a 6% ale, but that doesn't mean I can't dream.

Brooklyn Winter Ale is one of the best domestic Scottish ales in recent memory and is one of the best beers from this brewery that I can remember drinking. I wish now that I had grabbed a sixer rather than a single because I'd like nothing better than to crack open a second bottle right this instant.

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Photo of russpowell
3.26/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this up in NC

Pours an effervescent caramel with a thumb of tan head. Zero head retention or lacing

S: Malty bread notes caramel, a touch of brown sugar, Apricot notes once warm

T: Caramel, some apricot& pear notes mis with brown bread up front, much dryness too. A touch of leafy hop mixes with apricot as this warms. Finishes jammy with woody hop notes, a touch of figs as well

MF: Semi-chewy, slight carbonation, body thins out as this warms

Nothing special here. The last few beers I've had from Brooklyn have been yawners. I won't give up on them, but it may take soimething really interesting to make try them any time soon

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour was very nice, rich dark copper colored amber with a good amount of cloudiness thrown into it. Rich looking color here with a creamy off white head that reached a height of very close to two inches before settling back down into a creamy filled side glass look.

The aroma was richly sweet, and it was obvious from the start that this was a malt filled monster for sure. Some light, earthy hops, but mostly a bready and earthy malt profile that was subtly sweet. The flavor carried this over very well, and was very one sided for a scotch ale. None of the big, rich notes that I am accustomed to, rather it was bready malts with hints of grains and light earth notes that stole the show here. Really decent profile as the medium body lacked a touch of carbonation but it was still not showing up really flat in anyway. An easy gulper I had no issue with throwing down this bottle with no time at all.

Overall it was not bad, rather ehh, but still better then a lot of the style. I would not really have a problem with trying this one again if it was sent to me. Definitely an interesting take on the style.

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Photo of smcolw
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber (like maple syrup); clear. Solid head that eventually dissipates to a single layer of bubbles. No lace.

Strong vanilla aroma, masks all of the other smells. It appears to be a very malty offering.

Quite dry but there is a notable alcohol warmth. Very creamy with a low level of carbonation. Nice but minor hop at the swallow. Overall, this is a very full bodied malty ale with a lot of vanilla.

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Photo of Jason
3.28/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

LOOK: Dark amber, healthy looking lace.

SMELL: Buttery toffee, over ripe fruit, toasted dark bread, faint alcohol, herbal

TASTE: Buttery, smooth, dry toasted bread, nutty, husky, faint roasted malt, herbal hop, fallen fruit, warming esters, semi-dry finish

The yeast has certainly made its mark on this brew, bit of a butter bomb ... the core maltiness is secondary. If by chance I have this one again perhaps it would go better paired with a hearty stew or a sharp cheese to contrast.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 1/15/11 notes. Had on tap at the brewery.

a - Pours an amber, copper color with an inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bready malts, light fruit and spice.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, fruity malts, roasted malts, light chocolate.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good scotch ale that is above average and pretty easy to drink. Would order again.

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