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 natelocc787
2.83/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I can definitely tell this one is a Scottish ale although it tastes more English to me. Nothing special in the appearance, dark gold, the big ivory head was weak, unspectacular and fizzled quick. Toasted biscuit and sweet malt aroma, same in the taste. Nothing complex and a metallic taste in the finish. Very unimpressive, not that it's a terrible beer just mediocre example. Too much carbonation.

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Photo of AltBock
2.84/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with a shiny blue and silver label. The label has the big bold white Brooklyn "B" surrounded by small silver stars on a dark blue background. No back label because all of the beer's information can be found on the shiny neck label. There should be a best before date stamped on the neck, but mine was smeared.

When poured into a Flying Fish pint glass, this Brooklyn brew was a dark reddish amber with a 1/2 an inch fizzy off white colored head of foam. This fizzy head of foam actually had good retention. It didn't fizzle away like some. it managed to leave behind an ever lasting off white skim of foam and about 2 to 3 spots of lace.

The aroma of this beer was funky! The aroma was mostly roasted and burnt with malts. It smelled like they roasted the malts first and when they were done roasting, they stuck them back in the kiln to burn them. Swirling around doesn't make the beer any better, but it does lower the roasted/burnt malts. Hiding behind the malts was a hint of sweet yeast and a speck of dark fruits. I didn't care for this aroma one bit.

The taste was a tad bit better than the aroma. The taste was able to lower the roasted/burnt malts, but while doing that, it increased the taste of sweet yeast. Along with the sweet yeast, Brooklyn also threw in a pinch of raisins and a dash of cinnamon. The taste was sweet, but not sweet like candy. This beer's taste would have been better if the taste just chose to go with the roasted or burnt malts. Both of them together don't make for a good taste.

This was a medium bodied sweet Winter Ale with an aftertaste of roasted malts, a hint of raisins, sweet yeast, and a small dash of cinnamon. Finally, the malts chose on which kind of malt it was going with. None of that bad roasted/burnt malt taste. It's just too bad it didn't make up its mind earlier on in the beer.

In the end, I thought this Winter Ale was too sweet with sweet yeast, it couldn't make up its mind whenever to go with roasted or burnt malts, and the aroma was not good. One of these was good enough for me.

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Photo of PatrickJR
2.85/5  rDev -21.5%
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 scottyshades
2.86/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice rich mahogany color with a nice cream colored head. The lacing is minimal.
S: Very metallic nose...disappointing. Malts are also present but I am not sure how to describe them. Hops are virtually non existent. Also, sweet notes are present, perhaps molasses.
T: Malty flavor profile. The malts are very sweet, and there is a presence of molasses at the end. Hops are not here in the profile, but the sugars are.
MF/D: Eh, drinkable, but not a session beer. Honestly, my thoughts of Brooklyn Brewery have subsided, as each offering I try seems to get worse and worse.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
2.86/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours a deep amber color. Purely transparent, but quite a striking color. Not much head, but a small amount is noticed.

The aroma reminds me of cinnamon raisin bread. Sweet, bready, and sugary like rum soaked raisins.

Flavor is lightly malty, and flat. The appearance definitely looks better than the flavor tastes.

I feel a higher level of carbonation, and possibly even a higher abv would suit this beer nicely. I think I was expecting something a bit better here from Brooklyn.

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Photo of tdm168
2.87/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Sawmill Tap Room 12/17/11

Pours a deep amber with a thin lacing of loose white head. There isn't much to say about the smell. Maybe some very, very faint apples and caramel. The taste is simple; red apples and caramel malt. It's medium bodied, but a little overly carbonated.

This is disappointing. Usually Brooklyn can be counted on to feature some solid beers, but this is underwhelming. I'll avoid this in the future.

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Photo of alkemy
2.88/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Orange/amber in color with no head. Malty metallic scent. This is accentuated in the taste. Roasted malt present up front, but then something reminiscent of a rusted iron pipe. There's also a faint hint of hops. It's gotta be the style, because I've just never run across a Scottish Ale that I've enjoyed. Short review, but just not a lot to say about this one.

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Photo of jneiswender
2.93/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

had this beer from the 12oz bottle. Served cool. Dark amber color and a nice creamy head. Smell lightly smoke (peat). Metallic and woody. Taste is not what I expected. No spice. The combination of malts gives an earthy quality to this. Thick on the tongue and drinkable but not something I would really seek out as a winter pick. Might want to save this as a food beer with Scottish fare. Not as a "winter warmer" like beer.

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Photo of treehouse
2.94/5  rDev -19%
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 Amalak
2.95/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had a bottle of this and it's a decent, malty ale, but I was a little disappointed. It was brown, with a slight head that dissipated quickly. It had a nutty scent, but somewhat stale.

Very alcohol tasting to be honest, and lots of bite...too much bite. It is too strong, in my opinion, not enough balance.

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Photo of weeare138
2.95/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best before April 2007...guess I missed the boat on that, so take this with a grain of salt...
Appears a mahogany toned amber with a small, light tan head that quickly fizzles out. Light spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of light smoked malt, caramel, toffee, grass, and a hint buttered popcorn that isn't overly appealing.
The taste is of the mentioned aromas with the goodness taking a backseat to the bads. Grass, and diacetyl infused caramel are over the top in this shell of what may have been a decent beer.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, bitter of hay and grass, with a slick, somewhat pungent finish. Hmmm. Looking forward to another bottle of this, so I can update this sub-par review.

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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 NODAK
2.96/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The aroma wasn't overwhelming at all. Another reviewer said it reminded him of Yuengling, and I sadly have to agree. Smells of faint roasted malt...and even corn, though I know that isn't in this beer.

The taste was completely different, however. There's some lightly roasted malts certainly present on the body....but there's a definite note of smokiness to it as well. At first I wanted to say it was as if somebody put a shot of Scotch in's pretty different. The finish is pretty clean, though, with just a tad of hop bitterness reporting. A small amount of residual smokiness hangs around after the swallow along with a faint grain note.

It's an interesting choice for a winter beer. While others seem to rely on thicker, sweeter beers for winter seasonals, this is not like that at all. I'm not a huge fan of smoky beers and didn't think that this beer was otherwise all that noteworthy...but it's far from bad.

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Photo of stumac
2.99/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

this barley, hops, yeast, and water mixture poured up nice generic brown color. little carbonated head that died real quick. not much aroma. just some subtle malts. some smoked peat would have been nice. taste is kinda boring. just lots of deep malts without a very full body. not very apparent hop character. typical. i feel the dark cherries and figs trying to come out to play but the heavy malts wont let them. Definately English style malts. medium bodied. low carbo. im not a big scottish ale fan but this is no Traquair for sure.

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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 daliandragon
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I remember trying the first Brooklyn winter three years ago and only being mildly impressed and none too surprised that they completely changed the recipe the following year. This new and improved version features a maroon rust body with little haziness and a tan head that doesn't stick around long. Nose is basic caramel malt with a touch of alcohol, smoke, and toasted.

The taste has a similar malty base with a bitter center but the two flavors seem to be fighting more than melding together. There also are some yeast and metal notes that don't quite ring true for me. I don't get any smoke, or spice, or any the typical Scottish qualities. I think I like the winter warmer version better. Not for me, thanks.

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

Had a couple samples at a Brooklyn Brewery tasting, poured from a 12 oz. bottle into acrylic.

Mid-amber hue, very clear and capped with a very light, creamy head that died quickly.
Light biscuit notes come through among other malt aromas and hops. Mild and clean nose.
Balanced, clean flavor. Light malts up front and low to mid bittering with a clean finish. Nothing really sticks out.
Smooth, mid-light mouthfeel. A little dry.
Quite drinkable, but nothing really sticks out about the offering as a winter offering (no spices). The biscuity notes, which I was told come from a traditional Scottish malts is mild, but present.

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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 curasowa
3.06/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a copper color with just a thin bit'o head that settles into a ring. The aroma is pretty muted on this beer; all I really pick-up is some faint grassyness and some slight crispness. The front end is very crisp and pretty thin - not a whole lot of flavor. The middle offers a lot more malt flavor, but then it finishes pretty thin with some lingering from the malts. Overall, the balance isn't great on this one; too much carbonation, not enough body. A rare miss from from Brooklyn.

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3.07/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12floz. bottle. Gordon´s Thistle glass. Reddish amber color, ruby tints to the light & chill haze appearance. Tan froth & close crown showing fairly good retention & leaving lacing on sides. Intense caramel malt, toffee & candy aromas, hints of sugar cane & molasses. Sugary & toasted upfront. Light body. Moderate but lively carbonation. Watery & sugary with a low herbal bitterness in the middle. Dry sweet/bitter finish & slight herbal liquor notes on the aftertaste.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.07/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I picked up a bottle of Brooklyn Brewery's Winter Ale last week for $1.59 at The Lager Mill. I was looking for some winter seasonals to try and since I haven't had this one I thought I would give it a shot, so lets see how it goes. Best by April 5th 2015. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looked ok, it's pretty typical for this brewery, but I don't think it's too eye catching. It poured a fairly clear amber color that took on more of a red color when held to the light with two fingers worth of creamy light tan head that died down to a really thin ring that stayed till the and it left pretty much no lacing behind. This was a pretty nice looking beer, but I wish it had some lacing.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart some nice caramel malt, sweet malt and caramel like aromas. Up next comes the yeast which imparts a big fruity English Ale yeast flavor that seems to stick out the most in this beer. This beer had an ok aroma, but I wish it was more balanced, the fruity yeast seemed a little too dominating.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with the malts still being the first to show up and they impart the same caramel and sweet malt aspects with a slight bit of grainy malts coming through. Up next comes the yeast which imparts the same strong fruity English Ale yeast flavors that still is the aspect that sticks out the most. On the finish there's a pretty much no bitterness with a caramel malt and fruit yeast aftertaste. The taste was ok, but it was as unbalanced as the aroma.

M- Smooth, not too crisp, medium bodied with a higher amount of low carbonation. This beer had a decent mouthfeel, but i wish it has some more carbonation.

Overall I thought this was an ok beer and I thought it was an average example of the style, it really didn't seem to Scotch Ale like, it reminded more of an average English ale, especially with that fruity English ale yeast flavor sticking out the most. This beer had ok drinkability, it was smooth, not too crisp, not too filling, but the taste didn't do the best job at holding my attention and one would be enough for me, the flavors doesn't want to me make drink another one. What I like the most about this beer was the appearance it was a pretty nice looking beer. What I like the least about this beer was the balance, I wish the caramel malts showed up more and the fruity yeast showed up less. I wouldn't buy this beer again, but I wouldn't turn it down, it just isn't something that I'm that into. I can't say I would recommend this beer, it doesn't have any aspect that makes it stand out. All in all I wasn't impressed with this beer and in the end I wanted better balance from it. It's on the lower end for this brewery and it's in the middle for the style. I appreciate the effort, but this one just isn't for me, better luck next time.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance is a clear deep amber with one-finger off white head that dissipated fairly quickly.

Smell is basically sweet malts and a hint of spices but nothing that really stands out.

Taste is of slightly sweet malts that seam kinda burnt. There is a bit of spicy feel from the hops making it pretty dry and crisp. But there is just nothing here to impress me really.

Mouthfeel is is medium bodied with a somewhat heavy amount of carbonation giving a good bite to the tongue.

Drinkability is ok. The flavor is not particularly complex in my opinion and there isn't much here to make me want to have another, but I'd drink it if I had to. Its not terrible, but I've had much better examples of the style.

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

Deep copper color with reddish hues, tight but thin head.

Lots of malt in the aroma with a little roast and a bunch of raisiny/figgy smell.

Sweet and malty, a littler bit of bitterness at the end to balance it out.

Good carbonation with a bit of stickiness which is acceptable for the style.

It seems a little watered down but it's a pretty accessible Scottish Ale that I would recommend to friends.

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