Brooklyn Winter Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale
1,123 Ratings
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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Ratings: 1,123 |  Reviews: 480
Photo of AleEvangelist
2.12/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a rich copper. Almost no head retention.

Aroma: Aroma is sour malt/sour apple. No hops to speak of. Some alcohol fumes when inhaled deeply.

Flavor: Malt, but nothing distinctive. Slight sourness throughout, but pronounced on the finish. No hops in the least, sadly. Almost as though they were attempting to avoid hops, which is lamentable. The malt its too sour, almost like they're using a lambic yeast, or trying to make a saison.

Mouthfeel: Some carbonation on the palate, but doesn't cut the sweetness enough. Not cloying, due to the sourness. Still some syrup mouthfeel.

Overall: Not overly pleased with this beer. Hard to actually determine what they're trying to do with it. Is it a saison? Does it want to be a scotch ale when it grows up? Unfortunately, it does none of these styles well.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Reddish copper color with 1 finger fizzy head that disappears quickly

Smell - floral and similiar to some Belgian Ales I've sampled

Taste - well balanced, flavorful yet not hoppy or bitter at all

Mouthfeel - Nice

Overall - the flavors and style isnn't my usual cup of tea, but this was an easy and pleasant beer none the less. If offered I would definitely be glad to take one and enjoy but with so many other options out there I doubt I would buy again.

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Photo of peensteen
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper colour, one finger of white head with some lace on the glass. Smells of malt, hops, caramel and a slight sweetness of toffee. Taste is malty, spicy, warm cinnamon notes, firm bitterness and a good hop profile. Quite full mouthfeel, slightly creamy with good carbonation. Drinks well, with so many scotch and winter beers available it would be hard to put this ahead of most of them, it is good and I would have it again, solid overall.

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Photo of chickenflea
3.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a dark amber color with a minuscule off white head. Nose is lightly nutty with a sweet malt note. Some spicy notes here as well. Flavor is sweet with woody, earthy overtones Sweet like cinnamon. Texture is medium. Long finish with no distracting aftertastes. Taste is consistent throughout the swallow. Overall a good beer. I was hoping for a little more spiciness or complexity, but this beer is strongly malty.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: brown with a 2 finger mocha head

Smell: smokey, sweet malts,

Taste: some smoke not as much as you smell, sweet malts,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, smooth

Drinkability: easy to drink as long as you can get past the smoke flavor.



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Photo of brystmar
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: looks like an amber ale, pours about a finger of thick white head with poor retention. Zero lace.

S: sweet malts, pretty simple. Pleasant while the head remained, but dissipated quickly as the head retreated.

T/M: richly malted flavor, backed up by a thin and boring mouthfeel. Caramel too. Tastes more alcoholic than it is, but doesn't have boozy warmth at all -- honestly tastes like it should bite more, if that makes any sense.

D: mouthfeel and lack of complexity lend to high marks here. First time I had this brew was on draft in the city and I remember thinking similarly of its on-tap version. A solid choice when out socially at a non-beergeek bar, but this won't make it onto my shelf at home anytime soon.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.65/5  rDev +2%
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 cypressbob
3.36/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottles served in a large bowled wine glass.

Pours with a rich deep burgundy tinged rusty copper body, shimmering with a rich bubbly light tan head floating on top like a fluffy cotton duvet.

The nose - instant whack of buttery diacetyl, instantly puts me on a back foot as I've had my fair share of bland, insipid English ales that follow this trend. A heap of digestive biscuits and oat-cakes, it's malt city and there is a surprising lack of any of the typical rich, sugary ester-filled molasses usually found in a strong ballsy Scottish ale.

Quite thin mouthfeel backed up with slightly sour, buttery biscuit, Rich Tea, wafer and a little bit of general vegetal on the finish. Thin and ultimately lack-luster.

A shame really - As winter ales go this is no winner. I do prefer the non-spiced variety as this is but it needs a kick up the arse. A ballsier hop bill, touch more alcohol and little bit more aggression overall would have seriously improved this slightly weak and ill-mannered little ale. Reminiscent of a very traditional, old style English ale - not particularly memorable.

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Photo of BeefyMee
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Dark burnt orange color to the body. Head is ok. No lacing.

S: Huge chewy malts with a little smokiness.

T: Robust, earthy malts dominate. There's a an odd booziness without the alcoholic bite that hangs around through the finish and aftertaste.

M: Nothing to complain about.

D: A solid beer that's quite sessionable even at 6%.

I like the idea of a Scottish style winter ale. I wish they did a little more with it.

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Photo of wmtxbb
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap from a bar in downtown Chicago

Appearance: Decent finger sized head on top of a dark caramel colored brew.

Smell: Soft dark malts and a little bit of hops.

Taste: Crunchy caramel, bubble gum, and toffee. Very malt forward, followed by tartness at the end. Alcohol presence is well hidden.

Very solid beer by Brooklyn brewery; easy to drink.

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Photo of seanyfo
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle poured into standard pint sleeve.
BBE end of feb 2011

A- Dark toffee mahogany body with excellent clarity, with 3 finger creamy head reducing to a 1 finger layer with good lacing.

S- Slightly metallic, caramel malt dominates, biscuity notes come through underneath.

T- Malt dominates but is understated, a little alcohol in the finish although i may be mistaking this for a trace of hop bite - this is unclear. Finish i would say is medium dry.

M- Low carbonation, medium body

D- Looks good, smell good, but perhaps a little lacking in richness on the palate and moutfeel a little thin. Pleasant enough though!

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Photo of treehouse
2.94/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

moderately amber...

smells like chestnuts and malt with a bit of clove sweetness..

mouthed: sour sweetness...tangy...real tangy..lemony...roasted malts...some kind of wood in there...the first interesting beer i have had in a while...not an all day drinker though...6.1%....coppery...the alcohol is not brave but also not comes between sips...

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Photo of CuriousMonk
2.5/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From winter brew tasting notes (2010): Pours a clear amber with a nice 2 to 3 finger head, not a lot of retention and lacing. Malt heavy smell. A little bit of graininess coming through. Tastes malty as the smell gives on, very light up front. A bit of earthiness comes through. Maybe a touch of hops. Light to medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. This one didn't put it together for me.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received a tawny amber with a decent head. Some slight lacing. Decent clarity.

Good toasted malt aroma, some over-browned bread crust, and some mild spice.

Some dark brown bread crust mingled with some burnt or over-caramelized sugars, a touch of spice, some toffee. A winter warmer meets a scottish ale. Bitter and sweet are almost in balance, but not quite.

Medium to medium full body.

Overall, not a bad drink. It went down faster than expected, but not a great interpretation of the style. Something missing and a bit off here. Ok, but I won't look for this again.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

About the only thing I'll agree with here is the "Winter" tag. Can't see drinking this any other time, save for maybe Thanksgiving - but then again I'd much rather be drinking their Post Road Pumpkin. It's (this Winter Ale...) cold, clear, pale light-burgundy hue hints at its supposed style.

Smell: a weird hybrid of spicy (phenolic) German bock maltiness and English dark mild fruity esters. On the weak-side, and if you chose to stop or continue based on the appeal of its smell, I wouldn't hesitate to push this aside.

Too much Belgian fruitiness to classify this as a Scottish ale, sorry. That said, it's okay. A bit minty, is that? The malt presence is big and full, mildly muffin, and quite alright, but the dry, vanishing, vaguely chalky finish (which IS British-ish) and a vaguely perfumy, herb-like, lightly pungent lingering spice in the aftertaste preclude the enjoyment of whatever goodies the malt had to offer. Reaffirming what I stated before, the flavor profile categorically says "Winter Warmer", but of a Belgian bent. Scottish ale?...hmph.... A wee too much cinnamon/brown sugar tones (only a few specks) for that.

Interesting - I'll give 'em that. I let it warm up long, and it brought out the best. A little too muted and restrained.

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2.73/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle to pint glass.

A: A creamy textured, sandy colored head 3 1/2 fingers high is produced on a pour staright down the middle of the glass. Very long lasting. The body has remarkable clarity showcasing its dark amber-tawny color. Thick web-like lacing is left from the head, with only a spare amount being contributed from the body of the beer.

S: The malt bill is the highlight of the aroma and it is fairly dynamic. A combination of toasted toffee, molasses and cookie is supported by the light chocolate underneath. Notes of worn leather solidify the yeast presence. The hops play the background as expected, providing hints of herbs and resin.

T: Dark fruits of prunes, dates and red raisins come forward on the palate with more discreet suggestions of toffee and buttered rum. Brooklyn's Winter Ale is heavily sweet, presumably from high a level of unfermentable sugars, which makes the lack of bitterness seem grossly out of scale.

M: Instead of a rich mouthfeel, the body suffers from being too thin plus a texture that is slick and oily. A more aggressive level of carbonation would have been helpful, as would have a more bitterness.

D: Twelve ounces is enough for me.

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Photo of Thads324
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful amber color with a small amount of off-white head. nice and clear and just looks really rewarding. The aroma is bready and sweet with a hint of smokiness. Little to no hop aroma is present. There is a bit of burnt toffee at the tail end. Taste starts solid and sweet, then hits with the light hop in the middle, followed up by a smoked malt bomb that stays through the end of the swallow. The mouthfeel is good but not great, lingers and feels full bodied, but it almost seems like the carbonation is separated from the flavor of the beer, like a carb drop homebrew. Just a little weird in my opinion. drinkability is great for a 6% beer.

An ok option for someone looking for something new, but nothing to rave about and lacks the solid caramel I love from scottish styles.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with an off-white head. The beer is very clear.

The aroma is toffee with some dark fruit and a little bit of peat character. The beer smells fairly sweet and very malty.

The flavor is very heavy on the toffee with some caramel and grassy notes mixed in. I don't get any smoke or peat character in the flavor. Very clean tasting. Easy to drink. Not too complex or exciting, but there is really nothing wrong with the beer.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of JizackFH
2.48/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - This beer pours a clear dark ruby brown color. It has a 2 1/2- finger cream colored head, that left some decent lacing on the glass.

S - smells of sweet toasted malts up front. There are also notes of caramel and syrup.

T - The taste pretty much follows the nose. It is of toasted malts up front, and there is also some caramel sweetness and a touch of fruitiness. I am also getting a bit of a sourness. The flavors all seemed a bit muted as to what I was expecting.

M - Light body and medium to high carbonation. It goes down fairly easy, but is a bit watery.

D - The drinkability isn't so good here. The flavors were pretty muted and it was a bit watery. I just wasn't at all what I was expecting from a winter beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev 0%
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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Photo of aepb1
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Translucent amber body with a foamy white head and decent lacing

S- Caramel malts and some fruits in there too just not real strong

T- Same as nose, caramel malts and moves into a fruity sweetness in the end

M- Medium body, good carbonation

D- Very easy to drink and revisit

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Photo of mcgwire756
2.66/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Bowlmor in NYC.

This beer poured a dark reddish color with a little bit of head. Smelled like typical ales and not very strong. Not impressed at all. The taste was thin and not very flavorful like other winter offerings. I could drink this beer easily, but for a seasonal release I expected more. I would pass on this beer.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.47/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottle stamped best before May 2011.

real dark amber color, with thin white head that fades fast. smells malty with just a touch of christmas spices. not overpowering.

sweet and spicey, but not too overwhelming like some winter warmers. but kinda weird aftertaste. higher carbonation, medium body.

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Photo of BB1313
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a dark brown with a nice fluffy and head and decent lacing. Lots of caramel, toffee, malts, and grains. Those flavors take over the aromas. Chocolate is slightly noticeable in the taste along w/ the caramel and toffee. There's a nice bready taste to it. Although the hops are noticeable, they're minimal. Mouthfeel is nice, creamy and smooth; medium-bodied. Drinkability is pretty good, I wouldn't mind tossing a couple of these back, plus it has a relatively low abv. This beer definitely has an English influence.

Middle of the pack beer. Although this one might now wow you, it's a nice beer to enjoy on a cold night.

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Photo of HosP
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wife picked this up in a pick six for me.

A- Pours dark copper color. Thin white head on top.

S- Caramel malt nose to it. Hint of roasted nut maybe mixed in. Very faint citrus hop aroma buried within.

T- Heavy malt flavor. Caramel malts seem to dominate. Citrus hop comes in at the end to provide some bitterness.

M- Medium body. A little spice to it, but still smooth.

D- Interesting Scottish style beer. Not bad. I would be ok if I had another one or not.

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Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 3.58 out of 5 with 1,123 ratings
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