Brooklyn Winter Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Winter AleBrooklyn Winter Ale
1,128 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: 1,128 |  Reviews: 481
Photo of prototypic
4.18/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This is one hell of a nice looking beer. It's a darker shade of brown with a twist of a light berry color. It's very clear and is topped with an immaculate vanilla head that's nearly three fingers tall. It stuck around quite a while and left a very attractive web of lace lining the glass.

Smell: The nose is good, but not quite spectacular. It's very heavy on toasted and caramel malts. Smells a little sweet, but not overly so. There's a light toasted nut aroma that's enticing. There's enough hops to mention there presence, but they come across as light. Smells a little grainy. No alcohol presence is apparent. All in all, good.

Taste: As I suspected, toasted and caramel malts rule the day. They're on the sweet side, but are very flavorful. It is somewhat spicy. It's not to a large degree, but it's there. I can't identify the spices, but they're noteable. There is a little bit of a toasted nut flavor that emerges, but it's very faint. Hops have a decent presence. They provide a little bit of a buzzy bitterness, but they're clearly secondary to the primary malt presence. There is a slight grainy taste on the tail. No alcohol is noted. It finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It has a medium body and a nice, smooth feel. Carbonation is relatively light and is nicely done for this beer. I like the feel a lot. Drinkability is very high. This is a very satisfying beer that's abv is low enough to drink without much reservation.

Brooklyn's Winter Ale is a winner. There's not a great deal to complain about here. It's not quite on the level of Black Chocolate Stout as far as their winter arsenal goes. But, it's impressive all the same. I think a little more of a hop presence would slightly improve it. But, I can't complain too much. I'm too busy being impressed. Recommended.

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Photo of gford217
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Secret Santa, lackenhauser, poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear reddish amber with lots of bubbles and a short-lived head that recedes to a collar quickly.

Brady malts dominate the nose with hints of smoke and an overarching toasted character. Slight fruitiness and hops in the background but not much.

The taste is much sweeter with more caramel on top of the bready malts, definitely hints of fruity esters accentuating the malt presence. The finish is massively sweet and lingers for quite a while.

The mouthfeel is smooth, almost buttery with moderate carbonation.

This is a drinkable scottish ale and a nice winter brew.

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Photo of biggred1
3.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber with a creamy tan head that leaves minimal lacing. Smells kind of smoky, malty chocolate and coffee. Tastes fairly sweet, caramel and chocolate but with a coffee bitterness. Mouthfeel is fairly thin and mildly carbonated. Very drinkable and tasty mild scotch ale.

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Photo of Augustiner719
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Office in Summit, NJ in a 16oz pint glass.

Appearance: Yielded a small one finger head with decent lacing. Dark brown color with reddish highlights throughout the beer. A little bit too thin looking and not as dark as typical winter ales.

Smell: Pretty nice nutty and malty smells came through with light hops aromas. There was a nice fruitiness evident after further analysis.

taste: A little bit thin for a winter style beer IMO. It was too light tasting for a winter style beer but it had some nice flavors. There was some nice caramel and malty flavors comming through. A little bit nutty, and a hint of sweet scotch came through on the backend.

Mouthfeel: Too thin for a winter style beer. It held the 6% abv nicely, but it was still a little bit too flavorless.

Drinkability: for a winter style beer it was very very light and easy drinking. For such a light colored winter beer, it packed a decent amount of flavor and complexities. It can catch up with you if your not careful, but its a good beer to get drunk with while enjoying a nice ale.

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Photo of beer2day
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep reddish tint to this one. Substantial head leads to faint lacing. Nose is somewhat toasty and hints at the malty sweetness to come. A good roasty, peaty hit followed by mild bitterness. Could use just a little more body and a slight drop in the sweets.

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Photo of philbe311
3.47/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Rich warm reddish copper color... Razor thin eggnog colored head quickly fades leaving very minimal lacing... Coats glass well... Very still with only the slightest bit of carbonation noticeable to the eye...

S - Malt.... Caramel... Faint notes of spice... Raisins... I also pick-up noticeable scents of cherry and grape... Yeasty characteristics... Quite pleasant...

T - Malt... Biscuit... A big spicy kick... Malt reappears on the finish...

M - Not quite what I expected... Medium carbonation... Very dry... Slightly chalky...

D - Solid and enjoyable, but not what I expect from a Scottish Ale... This almost strikes me as more of a Winter Warmer...

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Photo of dukedevil0
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had out of a 12 oz bottle at Beer School at Whole Foods in Lakeview in Chicago, IL on 12/16/08.

A: Darker amber-brown color with very little light tan head and slight lacing.

S: Smells of caramel malts, slight scotch odor, some alcohol...smells somewhat "pale"

T: Tastes slightly bitter, some caramel malts and scotch type flavors...muted or mild flavors...some molasses in there

M: Sort of thin but not too bad.

D: Drinkable and easy to drink... with more flavors than the Bell's Christmas Ale, but they are still muted flavors that don't stick out.

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Photo of avalon07
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a mainly clear consistency. There was a quarter inch of head and some good lacing.

S: Smell was dominated by the malt, though some hops emerged.

T: Tasted more of malt than anything, with mild hops. Not the most complex piece of brewing I've ever had.

M: A fair amount of carbonation and a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Overall, this is an OK beer, but it didn't do that much for me.

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Photo of TrevorGW
4.33/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark body with reddish tints coming through the glass.

Powerful caramel aroma. Deeply sweet ... great presence from the malt.

Taste is spot-on for a nice crisp winter beer. Dark chocolate offset by a soft creamy butter. Not too sweet, and not too fruity.

A carefully-crafted beer with a fantastic malt profile. One of the more memorable winter beers I've ever tasted. Will definitely seek it out again.

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Photo of TagoMago
4.48/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Held up to the light, the beer has a rich, dark, copper-red color. The beer pours with a creamy white head, which lingers to coat the glass with a fine lacing as the beer is sipped.

Smell: Toasted malts with some carmel sweetness. There are some yeasty notes present as well.

Taste: Roasted malts combined with carmel and toffee overtones that provide the beer with a subdued sweetness. There is also a very slightly metallic taste noticed in the finish, which adds rather than detracts from the beer's overall character.

Mouthfeel: The moutheel of the beer is one of incredible smoothnees, making for outstanding drinkability that combines with a nice creamy finish.

Overall: This is very different than most winter brews, though outstanding nevertheless. This beer is very mild in every aspect, yet tasty and very satisfying. Its exceptional smoothness makes this a very easy drinking beer that can easily be enjoyed on a cold winter's night by any beer drinker who prefers maltier beers. I highly recommend this beer.

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Photo of dstc
4.3/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear deep ruby color with a big off-white head that falls to a minimal head. Thin lacing.

Sweet malt aroma. Also picking up mild alcohol.

Big malty taste that I love in this type of brew. Sweet buttery caramel, bread like.

Medium bodied and low carbonation in the mouthfeel.

Great, easy drinking winter ale. A standard.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear slightly red amber with a very thin tan head.

S - The aroma is sweet, a little malt,

T - Grainy, bready, caramel, toasted malts, very faint if any spices, at least to my palate.

M - Creamy with a little carbonation, reminds me of an Old Speckled Hen in terms of texture.

D - Goes down well. Not bad at all.

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

This is a sparkling red ale with a decent khaki head that lasts pretty well and leaves great lacing. The aroma is of deep sweet malt touched with grassy, floral hops. The body is quite full and it has a creamy mouthfeel. There is a slight astringency on the finish. The malt is almost tart and it's well bittered. It tastes like a good Scottish ale. There is a bit of alcohol rumble at the end. I had to have a second one right away!
(rated Mar 5, 2007)

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

Clear reddish-brown hue, some head.

Smell is malty, grainy, and toasty.

Tastes very much like whole grain bread. Some buttery, caramelly, and various spicey flavors in there too. English hops in the mix somewhere.

Mouthfeel carbonated, sort of a belgian thing going on, didn't exactly meld with the tastes.

This was fine with my meal, but not particularly memorable either way.

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Photo of PatrickJR
2.85/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Clear, dark, reddish copper. About a finger of off white head rises. Retention is short with minimal lacing.

S - Nice caramel and butter aroma with a touch of toffee. Brown sugar and indistinct dark fruit as well. The yeast provides a touch of nuttiness also. Not quite as robust and complex as I'd expect from a Scottish ale.

T - Extremely lackluster in this department. Mild sweetness early palate is strangely unaccompanied by the caramel and fruit from the nose. Butteriness comes through and is quickly overcome by very earthy flavors leading into a rough and uncharacteristic bitterness. Finish is somewhat sour with some burnt flavor.

M - On the light side of medium bodied. Carbonation is moderate but combined with the light-ish body is inappropriate for the style.

D - This isn't a bad beer, but it certainly isn't a great Scottish ale. Instead it tastes like some sort of strange hybrid between a weak Scottish ale and a quasi-Belgian style ale, failing in both respects. A strange beer that's either entirely off base or obscenely mediocre. Either way, not something I would have again.

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Photo of stone3187
3.71/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep red copper, has a balanced malty aroma. Mouth feel is slightly heavy with syrup like texture, much like other Scottish Ales. The taste is malt all the way through with a hop undertone that gives it balance. It reminds me of the Wee Heavy style. This beer is very enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.35/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- nice rich beige head sits atop a clear reddish brownish amber maple syrup with tangerine and golden highlights. the pitted dimpled surface of the foam is reminiscent of some of the finer scottish ales i've had in the past and it looks beautiful in my great lakes xmas ale stemmed glass. vicosity is apparent and retention is good and the foam sits heavy leaving spots of lace and furthermore thick drippy rings.

S- fresh grainy toasted malts like aromatic rice, some oat creaminess and a wonderful touch of wood smoke perhaps similar to beech? it reminds me of schlenkerla and it transitions nicely into a dark caramel sweetness as the beer warms. very malty, with a distinct lack of fruitiness. woodsy, bready, toasty, and warm with a touch of earthy hop aroma.

T- taste is a different planet than the aroma, softly metallic, chocolate and weak coffee, with a familiar savory fruitiness. grilled dates and figs with sage and thin meaty gravy or beef stew is about as best i can describe it. stone, granite, concrete, and damp wood, cigar tobacco, soil, and mid range earthy and herbal hop bitterness create a great wintery balance for those who desire something woodsy and rustic in the midst of other hoppy, spiced, or fruity winter ales. molasses cranberry finished it out with some tartness and herbal hops.

MF- just a touch lighter than porter thanks to the oats in the mash. rich, full, almost creamy feel is achieved here. woodsy earthy feel and a smooth maltiness sticks on the palate.

D- christmas beer or not, this is a unique scottish ale regardless, and mr. oliver's decision keep the lid on tradition has left him with a smooth, gentlemanly brew that seems to put itself past other novelty (no matter how superb) offerings. expertise is shown to me by the malt combination, if any are even smoked at all, and the addition of oats. this would be a tremendous pair with any red meat. hats off and merry xmas.

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Photo of smcolw
3.57/5  rDev -0.3%
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 Gmann
3.35/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear amber brown color with an average tan head that settles into sparse cap. The aroma is of lemon, tea, and perhaps a touch of brown sugar. The taste is of a metallic lemony malt, quite astringent, some caramel/buttery notes and a slight earthness in the end. The Winter Ale has a nice chewy malty body which is quickly cut by a lemony astringent characteristic. The tartness of this brew kills it for me. I feel it takes away from what should be a nice malty brew. This one just doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of golfnbeer13
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my very first review. I decided to try this beer because my best drinking buddy said it sucked.(He thinks Sapporo is one of the best beers out there) I did have preconceived ideas as to what a winter ale was supposed to be.(A little cinnamon, a little nutmeg etc.)That being said:

A: It poured a deep copper color with about an inch of off-white head. Head settled quickly with minimal lacing.

S: The aroma was a slightly sweet maltiness with hints of caramel and butterscotch. I detected a very slight hoppiness. As it warmed it got a bit of a fruit note to it.

T: Tasted alot like it smelled. Initial sweet maltiness with hints of buttery caramel. It had a slight bitterness in the middle but finished nice and smooth.

M: Medium bodied with a slightly creamy feel and not alot of carbonation.

D: I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. 4 or 5 would be my limit for the night unless the others got lonely. Overall a really damn good beer.

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Photo of mdm46410
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Bone Dry and served in a shaker. This beer poured a copper brown hue with a lasting head of creamy, beige foam. Decent lacing. The aroma was made up of lightly sweet caramel, bread crust, and brown sugar. The flavor mirrored the aroma. Nice and malty, but not too robust. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied and had moderate carbonation. Not too shaby, but I wouldn't mind seeing this one beefed up a bit.

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Photo of IronCitySteve
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A really dark amber color, almost brown. An normal pour gives off a 2 finger white head.

S: Not very potent, but you can determine what is in there. Smells of bread and sweet malts. Bread, biscuit, brown sugar and some dry fruit.

T: The taste really came together well. Lots of malt flavors, kind of on the sweet side.

M: Was a nice medium body brew. A tad slick.

D: A really nice Scottish Ale, easy to drink and warming all at the same time.

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Photo of yelterdow
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best before April 2009, this fresh bottle from a sixer purchased at Bottle King will be served in a tasting tulip at between fridge and cellar temperature.

Appearance- Rich, deep amber in color with a solid three finger bone white head. The crown is firm and supple, not going anywhere for several long minutes. Great structure with a high cling factor.

Smell- Clean, bready malts dominate and give this beer its characteristic Scottish nose. There is a straightforward malt-forward aroma that offers just a hint of smoke and toast, which feels perfect for tonight's cool weather.

Taste- Malty and clean, with just a hint of yeasty tartness in the finish. Solid.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Slick and rolling in the mouth, letting the ingredients express themselves fully. A great seasonal that I look forward to trying again with a nice soup or stew.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a tulip glass. Freshness date indicated as March '08, indicating that this one is nearly nine months past its prime.

Pours a deep reddish-copper hue with a bit of chill haze apparent. Only a very thin layer of off-white bubbles rise forth, disappearing quickly and leaving no trail behind on the glass.

Mild aromas of soft, sweet malt mixed with essences of dark fruit make up the nose, with the fruity esters becoming more prominent as the beer warms.

Full-bodied and smooth, with almost no carbonation. Distinct flavors of English malts come through in the foreground, slightly sweet, toffee-like and buttery; more sweet malt flavors wash over the palate, with a light touch of bittering hops pushing through in the middle and carrying over into the finish, which is mostly slightly sweet and fairly short-lived.

Overall, this is a rather drinkable brew, and very English in character. The appearance and mouthfeel suffer a bit from the ale's age, though, with the loss of carbonation resulting in a less-than-spectacular appearance and mouthfeel. A fresher example would most certainly show improvement.

A fresher bottle, with a Best Before date of April 2009, indeed does show improvement in the areas mentioned before.

Poured into a pint glass, it shows a deep, clear burnished copper with a two-fingered off-white foam cap that settles somewhat slowly and leaves behind fading curtains on the glass.

Thick toffeeish malts appear in the nose underneath a stronger herbal, slightly resinous hop aroma.

Much more lively on the tongue with a playful level of carbonation that is not overdone. Immediately thick, chewy malt flavor jumps in at the front, with a smoky peatiness and notes of caramel, burnt, caramelized brown sugar, and biscuit. The malt flavors lead into a middle of herbal, tangy hop notes that carry through into a lingering bitter finish, coating the back of the tongue with a mix of sweet malt and snappy hops.

Quite a different beer in its younger incarnation, with a distinctly different character that is, in a way, a bit more Scottish in character with its thick, peaty malt character. A great representation of the style.

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.08/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Burnt-brownish colour. Little head that lingers throughout.

Smell: Hrm.. It smells a little smoky and burnt. I guess since it is a scottish style ale, that makes sense. Maltiness is definitely the predominant aroma.

Taste: Oh wow. This is great! Quite malty and a little smoky just like the aroma. But even though there aren't any spices in the recipe, this beer has a cozy, holiday-ish, sweet, malty flavour.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation and the maltiness presents itself all over the tongue. Excellent thick feel for those cold nights.

Drinkability: The flavours are not oppressive and the alcohol is moderate so this could be a great Sunday afternoon beer while putting up the Christmas lights. Just be sure to get the lights up before you finish the 6-pack, otherwise you could pull a Clark Griswold and fall off the ladder.

Overall: I had low expectations for this Winter Ale since it claims to not be spiced. I was pleasantly surprised, however, and would definitely recommend this to whoever can find it.

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Brooklyn Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 3.58 out of 5 with 1,128 ratings