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 mfnmbvp
3.08/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. A new winter seasonal to me from Brooklyn Brewery, acquired as part of a mixed six pack at the local Binny's. Expectations are moderate, based on the brewery.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a coppery caramel color with about a finger of tan head that dissipates to a thin ring quickly. Some thin scattered lacing. Looks alright, but nothing great.

S - Smell is of buttery biscuit malt, toasted grains, nuttiness, lots of earthy / musty yeast esters, some bubblegum, a hint of alcohol, and some herbal leafiness.

T - Taste follows the nose: buttery biscuit malt, brown bread, earthy yeast, corn, grains, yeast-derived dark fruitiness, & some cola.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy, with a dry, semi-bitter, grainy finish. Medium bodied with okay carbonation.

Overall, I'm sad to say that I didn't particularly care for this offering. Not well suited to the style of a Scottish ale, and not a good example of what I would call a winter ale, either. Drinkable, and not offensive, but this isn't a beer I will be revisiting.

Brooklyn Winter Ale ---3/5.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into tulip; deep copper/amber with a thin clear white head that fades quickly into a thin ring of foam.
Smell is light toasted malt, with some leafy herbal bitterness.
Taste follows nose; well-fermented bready, crackery malt with some leafy bitterness crisping out the finish.
Mouthfeel is relatively thin and smooth.
Overall, a tasty scottish ale. I would prefer a bit more complexity but it's drinkable and tasty.

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Photo of sommersb
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tasted On: 12-06-2013
Freshness: Best by 03-2014
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Shaker pint
Purchased: 6-pack from Frugal MacDoogal, Nashville

A: Clear, reddish-brown beer with a small offwhite head. Lacing and head retention are low.

S: Aromas are earthy and bready, with other smells of caramel and malt sweetness.

T: Tastes lightly sweet with some earthy hop character, but low bitterness.

M: Medium-bodied with an average feel of carbonation. The beer finishes malty, lightly sweet and pleasant.

O: Very good dark ale here -- nothing in particular stands out, it's just a well-made brew that I'd reach for again.

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Photo of Act25
3.29/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This is a case of everything Brooklyn scores in the mid 3's just ahead of a brewer like Saranac. Bummer. If you drink NYC, try Sixpoints or Bronx instead.

A: Dark amber, head pops back with a whirl, with persistent lace.

S: Over ripe fruit, a bit of cider (dont like), toasted dark bread, faint alcohol, herbal, a bit of frat floor.

TASTE: So like the smell, some fallen fruit, turning to cider, warming alcohol, toasted bread, nutty, husky, herbal hop, semi-dry finish.

Cidery, yeasty, colors what is a ripened winter ale, too far for me in direction of being past prime.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours red-bronze with a soapy sud cap that dwindles. Five or six sputtering bubble streams can be seen.

Malty nose with toffee, brown bread, dark sugar, and light meatiness. Somewhat phenolic and estery with brown pear oxidation and cereal grains. Hops are near-minty in the nose. A little bit of alcohol, too.

Drinks very light in flavor with tinniness as a main component. Malty, metallic, minty, and somewhat kissed by a light smoke. Light dried fruitiness mixed with a brown sugar/toffee character. Some roast and oxidized pomme.

Very light with a stern bubbly carb in the finish that equates to light spiciness. Body is a wash.

It's okay for a simple winter ale, but it's not fully-developed. Nothing to seek out.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.46/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear dark red color. The head is only a finger high, and cream colored. It's texture and retention isn't the best, nor is much lacing left behind.

S: At first, there seems to be a suggestion of light spiciness. This quickly gives way to strong caramel notes, backed by the subtlest smokiness. There is enough here to make me enjoy the aroma, but not enough to blow me away.

T: It opens up with a very light spiciness - it's more of a suggestion than an actual note, to be fair. The caramel here is handled very deftly, gradually building in intensity without going overboard. In fact, a lot of the notes here seem to be subtle rather than bludgeoning - still, they're defined enough to be prevalent to my scorched Earth of a plate.

M: I really like how clean and crisp this is. Despite the sweet flavor, it's well attenuated and dryish finishing. Despite that, it's quite soft and creamy. The carbonation is rather soft, and fits well with its feel.

O: This one is pretty damn tasty. I'd even suggest it exceeded my expectations. This is one I'd certainly drink again, if not buy by the 6-pack.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.14/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Ba Review #286
Served On: 11/13/2013
Glassware: Pint Glass
Labeled ABV: 6.1%
Date/ Code: 3/2014

Got this one from Giant Foods at the East end location of York, PA.

Look: Poured a crystal clear rich copper. Carbonation seemed a little low. Head was a thick kaki color; about 1 finger was left after things calmed down from the pour.

Smell: The aroma was robust with spicy malts and some dark pit fruits. There were also some faint hints of biscuit. Basically all the spicy and sweet notes I usually expect in a typical winter ale.

Taste: Taste was right on with the aroma. First was the spicy roasted malts followed by sweet biscuit. The finish had smooth sugary notes with a hop bite right at the end. Aftertaste was an enjoyable earthy spice that lasted for a while.

This was a solid winter ale. Nothing too crazy. Very approachable.

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Photo of FLima
3.66/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brown color with a thin off-white head with low retention.
Nutty aroma with hints of dark fruits, licorice and caramel.
Nice taste of roasted malts and lots of nuts. Hints of plums, earth and a distant pine.
Medium body with low carbonation.
A winter ale (not a Winter Warmer) with drinkability, but still quite flavorful. It did go down quickly. Great beer.

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

I recently was back up to Highland Pizzeria, this time with my Uncle Steve, and this was part of a mixed sixer that I brought home. For those that may be wondering, a Place Review will be forthcoming once they complete their planned expansion, sometime in late-Spring/early-Summer.

From the bottle: "We brew Brooklyn Winter Ale from heirloom Maris Otter malts to create a beer with roots in blustery Scotland. Brooklyn Winter Ale is richly malty, aromatic, full-bodied and perfect with stews, roasts and holiday dishes."

Today is totally appropriate for this beer as a) we still have four days left of Winter and b) it has been flurrying for the last hour! Grr. Die, already, Old Man Winter!

Nothing like an aggro pour to develop a nice cascading action, leading up to two-plus fingers of dense, deep-tan head with good retention. Color was a deep-brown with garnet highlights among the NE-quality clarity. A second pour released some lees hiding at the bottom of the bottle and while I did not mind, it may be something for others to be mindful of. Best Before Date read "4123117080220" but it was indecipherable even to my cryptographic mind. Nose smelled medicinal, like a combination of molasses and anise. Mouthfeel was medium, approaching, but not achieving creaminess. The taste was primarily of molasses, but it was nowhere near as sharp as it was on the nose. Finish was semi-dry, as though the fermentable sugars had been mostly converted, but it was still too sweet for my taste. It kind of reminded me of the finish of a traditional English barleywine. Overall, not bad, but just not my cuppa joe.

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Photo of dheacck11
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nice dark amber, with nice thick tan 1/4 inch of head

nose is decent with hints of honey, malt, and rye.

Very malt forward with flavors of rye, earth, a little rustiness, and a chase of mild bitters

Mouth feel is very thin and watery.

Very much a british brown/pseudo scotch ale. A decent example of the style, but just not as good as the real thing, and just not my thing.

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Photo of nukem5
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into my BB pint glass ,aggressive pour with about 1 inch of tan creamy foam.

S: Aroma is of malts and sweet raisins.

T: Taste is sweet malts and some dark fruity taste,caramel, toasted bread, molases.

M: Mouthfeel is a bit of metallic, nice carb level but a bit thin for what I was expecting.

O: Overall a decent beer from BB,dont know if I like it or not yet but as it warms up it gets sweeter and maltier. Would probably get this again but will know better after the next 5.

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Photo of screamking
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz poured into pint glass.

Appearance-dark cooper with thin light tan head, which disappears fast. 3.75

Aroma-malty, hint of citrus, fresh baked cookies, mostly malty tho. 3.5

Taste-very malty at first, then sweeter with some brown sugar, a little Carmel, very warming beer. 4

Feel-full bodied with carbonation from the start,coats well and stays doesn't dry out. 4

Overall-great winter ale, perfect for cold winter nights. This is the type of beer you take outside to keep you warm while shoveling your drive way. I got this on a close-out for less then a dollar a beer and at that price point you can't beat it. 4

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Photo of IronLover
4.04/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Rich maple brown in color with a reddish hue and perfect clarity. Poured with a thick off-white foam that reduced to a wispy cap. Sweet caramel malt, earthy toasted malt, ripe fruit and buttery aromas. Medium bodied with a smooth buttery feel that subdues the rich carbonation. Sweet caramel and toasted malt flavors up front followed by ripe fruit amd a tangy, herbal hoppiness. Finsishes with sweet malty and buttery flavors.

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Photo of ColdWaffles
4.09/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes of stuff I've had over the past month or so.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Samuel Smith's tulip-pint. This has been a Winter favorite of mine for a few years now.

Appearance: Color is ruby-meets-brown. Has a short lived white head that dissipates pretty quick.

Smell: Strongly of roasted malts with a bit of alcohol coming out and a touch of dried fruit. Very nice.

Taste: Sweet, loaded with malt flavor and somewhat nutty with a dried fruit finish. Kind of tastes like a "little-wee-heavy."

A great go-to for a Winter brew in my opinion.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
2.25/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2

Brooklyn Winter Ale
2012/2013 recipe indicates this is a scotch ale

Looks very pale for the style but with good clarity. Laces the glass well and looks pretty decent, but rather pale. Smells like buttery toffee. In the taste, buttery and toffee like. Some grassy hops. Mild scotch style malts, but overall more akin to a uninspired English pale ale than anything. Light to medium bodied. Overactive yeast strain coats the mouth. Overall, a less than average beer with way too much diacetyl and butter to be palatable. Heavily rated scotch ale (over 600 reviews), the recipe must have been better in the past. This is a below average offering in every way. Avoid.

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Photo of flyingpig
4.01/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle from Good Spirit Co., Glasgow:

Deep mahogany red colour with a half centimetre tall, slightly off-white head with a bubbly texture on top.

Sweet caramel malts to begin with some earthy ones too and a nutty smell coming through as well. There are some earthy hops and a hint of sugar as well.

Definite sweet malts to begin with some base caramel and a nutty flavour. There is an earthy flavour to it as well, perhaps the hops from the nose along with some darker fruits and a slightly boozy feel to it.

Medium in both carbonation and in body with a boozy feel as mentioned above. It is pretty smooth, quite rich and almost creamy.

Nice an malty from this one, a good winter beer with a slightly boozy feel to it and great drinkability. It goes down particularly well, is pretty well balanced and there is a good closeness between the aroma and the taste. Another fine beer from the guys at the Brooklyn Brewery, I'm already looking forward to my next beer from them.

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Photo of gr0g
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from both bottle and draft; score based on draft version.

Bottle poured into Brooklyn pint glass. Mahogany color with high clarity. Two finger head with average retention and lacing qualities. Better lacing when served on-tap. Aroma features rich, caramel and toffee malt. Earthy but also floral hop note.

Flavor is entirely malt forward but with more than enough bittering hops to ensure a bitter finish. Heaps of toffee malt with a distinctive British flavor that I've not yet found the words to describe. A malt bomb with winter warmer qualities that remains sessionable.

On tap is superior to bottled (which is contract brewed), though the difference isn't as great as with other Brooklyns such as the lager. More fresh, floral hoppiness in both aroma and flavor. Mouthfeel for both versions could be just a bit heftier. Bottled version carbonation has tended to fade too quickly.

Between their Winter Ale and Black Chocolate Stout, Brooklyn's winter seasonals are a strong showing. Definitely worth a try, especially on tap paired with food.

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

Poured into a glass mug. Pours clear dark copper with a two-finger length eggshell colored head. There are numerous tiny bubbles visible in the beer. Consumption of the beer leaves lacing down the side of the glass. The aroma is sweet and roasty from the malt. There is an earthy hop aroma as well, but it's not strong. The flavor of this beer displays a strong malt backbone. There's mild caramel sweetness and good roastiness and nuttiness. The earthy hops are there in the back and provide some balance. The body is medium with moderate carbonation. The drinkability of this beer is high. This is a very good beer.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours clear brown, tan lacing.

Smells of figs, molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon and hazelnut.

Tastes of brown sugar, walnuts, and woody dry malts. Hint of hops at the end.

Medium body with bubbly tingles of carbonation on the tongue.

A good but subdued ale, a bit bland in the flavor but otherwise nothing to complain about and easy to drink. I would have it again.

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Photo of BeerCon5
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, deep brown color with a thin, tan head, very little retention.

The scent is of roasted caramel malt.

The taste is of roasted caramel malt, raisins, some bread, and a noticeable nutty presence.

Medium body, smooth and a little prickly, moderate carbonation.

This was an overall good, easy drinking beer with some nice bold flavors.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – Served an orange amber colored brew with a tiny off white head. The head fades almost instantaneously to leave only the tiniest amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is sweet and roasted. The sweet is a nice mix of dark fruit and some caramel smells. There is a light spice and nutty aroma as well which mixes with the rest to round out the smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweet fruit flavor of some plum as well as a light bready and caramel sweetness. As the flavors advance light spice and nutty flavors come to the tongue. Toward the end cherry flavors enter and seem to get even stronger as time advances. These favors combined with some slight spice flavors as well as an orange peel and earthy hop taste. Together these mixes of flavors take the taste to its end where a pleasant malty and fruity flavor is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the just above average in its creaminess for 6.1 % abv with a carbonation level that is rather average. The slightly thicker body gives all the malt a nutty flavors time to linger on the tongue, while the medium carbonation makes it more drinkable and is nice for the fruitier flavors of the brew. Pretty well done.

Overall – A quite sweet and malty winter ale. Nice and easy drinking with lots of flavor.

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Photo of hopmashian
4.19/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was hoping that it wouldn't be loaded with spices and fruit and I wasn't disappointed. This may be my beer find for 2014. Nothing but malt, hops, yeast and water. Malt is forward. Reminds me of the better Oktoberfests but thinner. Finishes smooth. Sort of evaporates on the tongue. No bitterness or metallic after taste. I could drink this before, with and after dinner.

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Photo of thlayli87
2.95/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Ruby brown with a one finger head that quickly dissipates into a thin ring. No lacing.

S - Caramel malts, light earthy hops with a hint of nuttiness.

T - Rich Malty caramel with a bit of sweetness and nuttiness. Some beef-like savoriness as it warms.

M - Thin and watery. A little undercarbonated. Fairly light bodied and easy drinking.

O - Average winter brew. The flavors are decent but nothing to write home about. Mouthfeel is subpar and thin.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.45/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Bright red. Low carbonation, but some good foam and lacing.

Smell: Faint scotch. Very nice smell, and pretty distinctive, though not all that complex.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Smoke and cedar. Not a whole lot of peat. Very thin, lot carbonation in the mouthfeel.

Overall Drinkability: There are parts of this I really like, but something seems off overall.

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Photo of socon67
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Brown pour with an off white foam that is clinging. No carbonation and lacing is patchy.

S - Scent is of scotch, and english malt. Smells a bit like wood polish as well.

T - Flavors of candied fruit, heavy malts, and dry scotch. This is a one tasty brew ot have on a winter night.

M - Sessionable, smooth and leaves a sweetness on the tongue. Might be one of the better winter seasonals that is easy to find.

O - I like the Brooklyn seasonals more and more as I come back to them. Grab a 6'er of this and watch the snow fall.

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