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 3HovsepiansBrews
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-dark brown with a thin white head

S-some nuttiness and burnt toasty notes

T-nutty flavor at first that segued into a dark fruits and caramel with a clean sweet finish

M-thin body with medium carbonation

O-pretty good brew. Nice as a nightcap for a cold winter's night. One of the better efforts from the brewery.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BB MAY 2013

A: Pours a mahogany color with a fingers worth of light tan head

S: Got some nice maltiness along with a light sweetness and roast. Some earthy hops compliment the sheer maltiness of the nose

T: Again, very malt forward with some sweetness and roast. The hops balance the sweetness nicely. The MO malts keep it rather simple but still nice and flavorful

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth

O: A nice simple winter ale. And one with no spices! Definitely welcome with all the winter warmers and spiced beers this time of the year. If you want a good winter ale sans spices, this is a good beer to try

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

Pours a very nice deep copper with a decent sized off white head

Smells of bready malts and a kind of english yeast

Tastes almost like a english bitter with a heavier malt profile

Mouthfeel and carbonation are amazing for a sessionbeer

Overall a great suprise for something that was found at 711

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Photo of Griff666
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Overall a good tasting ale, lots of flavor and has its own uniqueness.

Another nice autumn Friday night here in NYC and wanted to try something different. Always been a fan of all the Brooklyn Brewery derivations out there (the ones I have tried anyway, i know i still got a lot to try)and Brooklyn Winter Ale is no exception.

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Photo of PatriotsRule
4.58/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent take on a Scottish Ale.
A: Reddish with an off white head, decent retention and pretty lacing throughout
S: Malty goodness, some hops and spice
T: Stellar mellow brew, crisp and warming when cool...
M: Smooth city, with a large malt presence
O: Excellent ale which is very much sneakily smooth :D

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Photo of jono311
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- dark red, sparkling and clear with ample carbonation and a mild but solid head.

Smell-mild with hints of spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) a bit like the smell of baking christmas cookies.

Taste- nicely balanced, malty upfront with a bit of bittering hop presence and nice lasting but not overpowering finish.

Mouthfeel- a little on the thin side for a slightly malty winter beer but that increases drinkability, imo.

Overall- a fine malty winter warmer with enough spice notes to keep it interesting.

Didn't really pickup on the strong ale characteristics i'd normally associate with a scottish ale but a tasty brew all the same.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.05/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Pours a murky brown color with a nearly nonexistent head. Barely any lacing. Not much to note hereafter.

S-Smells quite malty and dull. Exhausted notes of cocoa. Brown sugar and molasses. Plenty of caramel. Very mild.

T-Mild but a bit better. Consistent cola flavor. Cocoa, molasses and butterscotch. Caramel is consistent. Quaffable but very boring.

M-Lighter bodied. A light creaminess. Tickling bubbles. Not so dry.

O/D-Could be worse. Wouldn't try it again.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into tulip. Best before April 2012. It also says 6.2%ABV
Pours a deep amber syrup brown. Nice thick amber toned head with some lacing.
Smells of sweet malts, and typical scotch. Taste is like it smells...scotch, sweet malts, some dried fruit aftertatse. Ive had this many times but never really thought of this as a Scotch. Its very drinkable, nice flavors, and good flavors. Shame it is a seasonal...

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased (last one!) from McKinnon's in Portsmouth. Caramel, toffee, and a bit of coffee mix in with some butterscotch in the aroma. Super malty - nut, coffee, toast, caramel, with notes of caramel and coffee. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Wow. Spot-on for the style and among the best Scottish ales I've had. Yummy. Can't wait for next winter!

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

Appearance: Dark ruby. Pours a medium head, creamy but airy; recedes quickly.

Aroma: Malt, currants and spices, some burnt toffee and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Rich and very malty, not that much anything else that's discernible. Tastes almost stronger than it is, could easily be 8% ABV. The malt dominates too much perhaps, but then again I think that's what they were going for...

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, smooth.

Overall: Warming, nice British style winter ale (they claim Scottish roots for this beer). Not particularly complicated, but it delivers what it promised.

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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 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 KeshiaM
4.16/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear, dark amber color with a two finger head that lingers a bit. It leave a ring around the surface and some lacing.
It smells strongly of malt, brown sugar and candied fruits. As it warms you can pick up a sweet alcohol in both smell and taste that seems to improve the beer. Definitely one to savor.
Taste is rich and malty, though unfortunately it lacks a hop base which might round out the sweetness of the beer but it's a minor complaint.
Mouthful is smooth and with pleasent carbonation. There's a kind of molasses, chewiness to it. Again something to savor.
Overall it's one of my favorite 'winter' beers and well worth a try.

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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 160Shillings
5/5  rDev +37.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma: The aroma is full of strong malt; caramel, roasted and rich floor malt, also includes faint esters and surprisingly very faint alcohol as well.
Appearance: Pours with a tan head that collapses into a fine bubbled ring. The color is very dark copper.
Flavor: The flavor begins with sweet malt, caramel and roasted notes. The body is surprisingly full for a beer that the label says has only 6.1% abv, it almost seems sticky sweet. However that is a deception since the palate soon becomes dry and shows full attenuation. The bitterness is appropriated, but does not linger. The finish is unexpectedly dry, short and abrupt. It’s not the finish one would expect from an ale that begins so very rich and sweet. It leaves you easily ready for the next swallow and even the next beer. The esters suggest dark fruits, for those that think they are wine connoisseurs, for beer zealots it tastes like a great Scottish ale.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium-low carbonation, without lingering.
Overall Impression: This Scottish ale is everything it should be and nothing it shouldn’t be, a true benchmark for Scottish ale.
Comments: Thank you Garrett Oliver! Brooklyn’s Winter Ale is a wonderful example of Scottish ale. The web says this beer is 6.0% abv, however my bottle says 6.1% abv. The nominal strength is half a percent lower than guidelines for a Wee Heavy, but 1% abv more than an 80/- Scottish Export. All things said, Winter Ale taste like a Wee Heavy. Most importantly it avoids the two most common failings of American craft-brewed beer. First, it’s not too hoppy. Most American craft-brewers, especially those on the west coast, use far too many hops, even in beer styles in which it would be inappropriate. Second, Oliver doesn’t use whisky malt in this beer. Almost every other example of American craft-brewery’s Scottish ale uses this peat smoked whisky malt. This is simply inappropriate for a true Scottish ale. It is Scottish ale, not Scotch whisky. I can’t think of a better example of an American craft-brewed Scottish ale.

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Photo of Crazyale
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottle says best before April 2012, and the code indicates that this was bottled on 10/3/11, so this is 4.5 months old.

A: This beer is the color of Earl Grey tea, and is quite cloudy with lots of bubbles. Half-finger head dissipates to nothing almost instantly.

S: Sweet malts are dominant on the nose, along with bread, caramel, butter and a little tea.

T: Very sweet tasting malty beer, but the sugar is not overpowering. The alcohol is very well masked. I can't taste any hop presence at all, and would've liked just a touch of bitterness to balance it out. I'm not sure if a fresher bottle would contain more bitterness or not, but I'm guessing that it wouldn't make too much of a difference due to the style.

M: Very easy drinking. Despite the absence of a head, it is appropriately carbonated. There is a lingering aftertaste that's not really pleasant or unpleasant - sort of a maltiness that just hangs around on the tongue for a long time.

I'm not a huge fan of the style, but Brooklyn does a good enough job with this one. I wouldn't want more than 1 or 2 of these though, and ideally would pair it with food.

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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 RyanLigeia
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A clear brown color that resembles dark maple syrup with a small whitish head that doesnt last very long or leave much evidence of a head behind. Some visible carbonation as well.

Smells like its gonna be a nice smooth drinker. Sort of sweet, malty, some caramel and brown sugar. Not a very potent aroma, thats the downfall.

Taste is a little stronger than the smell would lead you to believe. It also has some spice in the flavor that the nose doesnt really showcase so that was a surprise. Other than that it has those caramel malty sweet tastes that almost has a little bitterness at the end.

Heavier side of medium body with a high level of carbonation that makes it seem a little lighter and more crisp.

Overall this is a good beer. The availability is nice but its nothing outstanding, the price could come down a tad.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Firm dirty-white head, fluffy and creamy, sitting on top of a reddish rust-brown liquid. Lace streaks the glass in wild little strings.

Total comfort-beer aroma. Toasty, lightly smoky, a bit peaty, and dabs of succulent dark fruit, especially big on fig.

Lots of flavor here, just nothing that hits you over the head. And why should it? Equal parts peat, smoke, toffee, fig, grape, clover honey, and less identifiable sweet spices. This is impeccably balanced. And delicious.

Love how the feel is at once super creamy and generously carbonated. Almost stretches it into the realm of a Belgian dark ale, as many of those achieve this same kind of magic dichotomy, texturally.

Goddamn this is good! Not that I should be surprised, Brooklyn is usually pretty quality in whatever they do. Just don't overlook this if you're generally geared toward bigger beers, like I am, because this has plenty of flavor and pizazz. It's definitely worthy, and I'm glad I bought a 6-pack.

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Photo of Sam21
3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by April 2012 inked onto neck. Poured into pint glass.

Appearance - Copper body with a tan head that exhibits commendable retention. Sparse lacing.

Smell- Rich sweetness that's a mix of caramel, sugary fruit, and a hint of spice.

Taste- Malt-centered and juicy. Up front, sticky caramel and spiced dry dark fruit swamp the taste buds. The finish is sweet and long. Malty sweetness hangs around and adds a juicy quality to the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodies with smooth carbonation. This beer strikes a good balance between the extremes and has moderately juicy qualities.

Overall: A smooth winter seasonal with enough character to stand
up to hearty stews and meats. This beer is both pleasant and warming for those chilly winter nights. The simplicity of it makes it appealing.

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Photo of JamesS
4.38/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very nice deep brown with very nice head and good lacing throughout. Nice deep malty scent, very heady and thick with some nice earthiness in the nose. Good flavors, a very thick malty flavor with a bit of biscuit and a bit of roastiness in it. Went down quite well, very smooth.

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.99/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass (also had in a borrowed nonic, nothing changed):

A: brown colored body with some light reddishness around the edges of the beer, the creamy colored head is small, lacing is spotty and ringy, it leaves a thicker foamy look where it is sipped

S: malts, toffee, and there is just a bit of caramel in the background

T: sweet through previously mentioned flavors

M: medium, sessionable, the aftertaste and finish has a bit of alcohol and toffee in it

O: this is good to me and for its style

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Photo of Ruds
3.41/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle to Engliah half pint pot to a mahogany brown colour, red tinges when held to the light and a small white/beige head

The bottle stated 6.1% ABV on the lable, not the 6% listed above!

A malty aroma greets the nose along with caramel and light hopping

In the taste, malts, a little dried fruit, caramel/toffee and a little alcohol especially in the finish

Mouthfeel is of a medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation and fairly drinkable and smooth

A decent enough beer from Brooklyn but not one I'd be desparately seeking again!

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

At the time of this review, this is the #42 top Scottish Ale, served in a New Belgium globe glass.

Beer is dark amber with a mild haze, thin lazy tan head of small bubbles, low carbonation no lacing, looks fine.

Aroma is malty, sweet, a little bready, smells exactly like a scotch ale.

Beer is medium in body, not as sweet as the aroma would imply, it is a little bitter, dry on the finish, oddly peaty on the midpalate, decent, I like it, probably not a repeat though.

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Photo of david18
3.08/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had a draft of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's Upper West Side. It was ok for a "Winter"/"Scottish" but neither is my favorite style. In general a little intense on the flavor characteristics without enough of an alcohol backbone.

Appearance was a dark reddish brown, good dark head that did not go away to quickly.

Aroma was of dark fruit, very intense but quite unbalanced.

Flavor was similar to the aroma. If I'm going to drink a beer this intensely flavored I usually expect a little more alcohol warming.

Overall a beer worth trying. Just didn't blow me away.

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