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 VictorWisc
3.11/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

First striking thing is Brooklyn's insistence on printing date codes in dark ink on amber bottles with dark contents. Zero visibility under fluorescent lights in the store, and that's with plentiful lighting at a supermarket, let alone in the darkness of some beer cave. I could barely discern the digits when I got home, but ended up not bothering with it out of frustration. Suffice it to say, it was about to be a total shelf turn on a Waldbaum's shelf--the only one that was moderately drinkable.

Liquid is discernably brown, semi-translucent, with very little light head and no lacing. Hard to see the carbonation. Didn't taste a whole lot of it either.

Nose is clean. Too clean. A whiff of straw is about all I noticed--a feint fungal, yeasty smell that's more at home with barleywines and porters.

The taste was very much the same. Nothing striking. A bit of sweetness, slight metallic aftertaste. Tasted more like a mix of a thin porter with Oktoberfest than a winter ale. Barely any hint of spicing or hops. Just not a good beer.

Medium to heavy body, but not really strong alcohol. If they aimed this to be mediocre at everything, they certainly succeeded.

I initially thought this was just an old bottle, poorly stored. But, judging from other reviews, the reaction doesn't appear to be atypical. Still the best choice of the lot at a Queens Waldbaum's but I'd have to be really desperate to buy it again.

Although Brooklyn has had some hits, most of their product is mired in mediocrity. Frankly, I've never been able to understand the following. I could have picked up some rare bottles at what approached $30 for a 750cc, but, with their history in mind, it just didn't sound like a good idea. A few more beers like this one, and I'll be done with them for good.

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Photo of anotherpg
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big head on pour which disappears shortly thereafter. The color is reddish brown. Smells and tastes of malt and is sweet only in the first taste, then is rather dry. Drinks better than it tastes by which I mean a pleasant but not overly memorable experience, with no "winter" spices or odd distractions added. This is almost like drinking a Newcastle Brown Ale: a passable but not overly memorable ale. I'd say Sierra Nevada or Full Sail produce Winter Ales of greater character and interest but if you like the Brooklyn Brown, you'll like this one fine too.

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Photo of DmanGTR
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Review from notes

Brown, but with deep ruby/garnet hues when held up to the light. Cream colored head that retains decently. Deep caramel, hint of raisins. Touch of cocoa. Bitterness in the finish, but really no hop flavors at all. Mineral flavor. Smooth and prickly.

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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 Jeffreysan
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, dark brown color with a half of a finger of off-white head that completely dissolved away into nothing, no head what-so-ever.

Aroma: Very malty and bready, like freshly baked dark bread, followed by some brown sugar-like sweetness and some subtle hops.

Taste: Tons of toasted malt, like freshly baked dark bread, followed by some brown sugar-like sweetness, and some pronounced, but not overpowering, hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 6.0%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty good beer, but nothing exciting. The beer has a nice balance between malt and hops and sweetness, but it’s pretty forgettable once finished. As a Brooklyn Brewery fan, I’m glad I tried it, but I probably won’t get it again, as there are much better Brooklyn beers out there as much better winter beers out there as well. That being said, I’d certainly not turn this beer down if offered and would certainly enjoy it.

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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 bob3701
3.19/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm usually a big Brooklyn fan and maybe me expectations were high but I was disappointed in this one. I thought one of their weaker efforts. It started out well pouring with a clear rich amber color and a nice thick head. It also laced great, marking every sip. But as good as it looked I thought the taste lacked any character. Slightly bitter finish. Don't get me wrong it is a well made ale and most seem to like it, just did not excite me.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

BBD 3/22/14. Pours a clear nice red hued amber with a reasonable head and lacing that fades in 2 minutes. Light nose of molasses over dark fruit - plum with a touch of raisin. The body is medium with good carbonation. The mouthfeel is borderline smooth with a carbonation level above average. The flavor profile is weak - something a Scottish ale should never be. A weak hint of caramel malt and an alcohol presence is all there is over a very light sweetness. The finish is crisp, again, something a Scottish ale shouldn't be.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.21/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12oz bottle with a BB of May 2011. Purchased from a specialist beer shop in York - thought I'd better drink it before winter is nothing but a memory (which, to be honest, it already is).

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A rich, hazy reddish-brown hue with medium carbonation. Forms a large tan head that lasts for a few minutes before subsiding. Aroma of sweet, dark malt with hints of caramel, nuts and esters.

Tastes predominantly of sweet caramel malt with a dry finish. Faint hints of nuts and dried fruit. No obvious bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and thick with some tingling from the carbonation. Leaves the palate dry. A mildly sweet, malty aftertaste.

Drinkable, but rather one-dimensional for the style. Lacks the fruitiness that characterises a good scottish ale. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy. Probably quite nice when drunk next to a roaring fire, but it won't blow you away.

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Photo of wiscokid920
3.21/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A- Pours a bronze with ruby highlights. Soapy head that fades quickly.

S- Large malty notes, bready biscuit sweetness, nutty.

T- Nice malty sweetness, dark brown sugar/toffee, roasted nuts and yeasty

M- Light in body, buttery, and bubbly.

O- I'm the type that likes a nice malty, roasty winter ale compared to those that are chocked full of spices. That being said, this is a decent offering of the type I prefer. A decent malty and roasty profile.

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Photo of hopmonkey
3.21/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Malty with up-front caramel flavors. Something a bit off with the smell; a bit sick-sweet, which compounds the sweetness of the beer. Nice carbonation. Sweetness moderated by dry bitter finish, but the finish is overbearing. Probably would not buy this again.

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Photo of mjw06
3.22/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm a big fan of the Brooklyn Brewery, but was not a fan of this selection for every reason opposite of why I'm a fan of Brooklyn. This brew is completely unimaginative and void of character. I was lost for words when attempting to encompass any of above categories other than it had a cherry red color with a small off-white head. The taste was blah with not one note that stood out to me or was worth mentioning.

Is it close to style? Most likely. But being close to style and being good are two different things. I'm certain there are many more winter ales out there that are worthy of your time, and many more selections from Brooklyn that are too, this is not one of them.

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Photo of malcontent
3.22/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a murky brown with a stable if unspectacular head.

Good array of aromas; raisons, butter, whole wheat bread and some mild alcohol. Nice.

Slightly sweet and then a bit tart. Indistinguishable flavors that border on bready, malty and fruity but never really settle on one. A lemon peel bitterness on the finish.

Way to thin whether it's aiming to be a Scottish Ale or a Winter Warmer. Nothing to write home about here and while it's not bad, when a brewery releases a beer near the end of the year I usually look for a lot more than this.

Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for the taste.

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Photo of hawks10
3.24/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark amber with decent white foamy head.

Very aromatic, with sweet/fruity scents...thought it was a Belgian.

Taste is very bready, maybe too bready, with a malty, but almost wine-like finish. Alcohol actually sticks out a bit the further into the beer, a slight burn that I really didn't expect.

Overall this beer really didn't click with me, nothing overwhelmingly bad about it, but nothing that would make me want to buy it again...the taste just wasn't there, not really balanced.

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Photo of HosP
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
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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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into Sam Adams Lager glass.

Pours a deep ruby red-brown, clear, effervescent, with a persistent, fluffy off-white head.

Nose is a bit roasty, a bit of breadiness poking through, some fruity esters.

Flavor is mildly roasty, bready, breadcrust, and some definite dark fruity esters. Finish is a bit odd, very estery, a bit roasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth, softly carbonated, medium bodied.

Nice enough beer, but not the best in the pack by a stretch. Esters in the finish throw the package off.

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Photo of kinger
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

06 Edition Winter Ale - 6.0% ABV. This is a pretty standard ale nice to drink, but lacking in the bells and whistles department. Generously sweet malty scent some light pepper is there. Nice color but the off white head soon left and couldn't be brought back. Medium fullness and easily drinkable, nice clean finish. Good tasting ale, sweet malts, slight and I do mean slight bitter hop presence. Nothing out of the ordinary, think I'll stick to their imperial stout.

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Photo of AlexanderSelby
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks handsome. Deeps amber, healthy lasting head. Smells of caramel malts, slightly buttery. It has a distinguishable pop for it's style as a Scottish Ale, my guess is from the Willamette Hops, which tend to add a splash of light hearted earthiness, pine and some citrus to a beer. I appreciate that hoppy twist on the beer because it keeps it from being intensely malty and sweet.The hops add a slight twang on the back-end, almost a touch sour. Could be because I am getting this Winter beer late in the season, but regardless, it is there, and I kind of like it. The malts, which throughout all of this, take the forefront and give a caramel meets biscuit kind of flavor. The palette is a touch sweeter than desired.

All in all, this is a Scottish Ale with a certain hop bite. The Scottish part I like, the hoppy part I like, but the two don't seem to tango as nicely as I would have hoped. While I do not dislike this brew, I have no reason to go back to any time soon.

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Photo of russpowell
3.26/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this up in NC

Pours an effervescent caramel with a thumb of tan head. Zero head retention or lacing

S: Malty bread notes caramel, a touch of brown sugar, Apricot notes once warm

T: Caramel, some apricot& pear notes mis with brown bread up front, much dryness too. A touch of leafy hop mixes with apricot as this warms. Finishes jammy with woody hop notes, a touch of figs as well

MF: Semi-chewy, slight carbonation, body thins out as this warms

Nothing special here. The last few beers I've had from Brooklyn have been yawners. I won't give up on them, but it may take soimething really interesting to make try them any time soon

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Photo of semibaked
3.26/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass from the bottle.

A - Pours a very nice dark copper color with slight carbonation and about 2 inches of head and fades quickly.

S - Smells of light malts, wet cardboard and faint prune juice. Not the most appealing smell ever.

T - Raisins, slight acidity and prunes. Definitely the most different Scotch Ale I have had, more like a brown to me but a little lighter.

M - Pretty thin for a Scotch Ale was expecting more body.

D - Pretty easy drinking but not too much like the style it claims to be.

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Photo of DaggerEyes
3.27/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured brown with little to no head just soap suds coating the surface

Toffee on the nose, a little nutty and slightly sweet

T- Toffee, a bit of cherry

active mouthfeel, decent amount of carbonatioin, tight little bubbles, prickly, medium body pretty round in the mouth

not a bad beer, but definately no where near my favorite brooklyn offering, probobly won't be picking this up too often

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Photo of treehugger02010
3.27/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this 12 ounce bottle fomr a friend of mine and poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: A dark and deep brown with about one finger of "forced" head. The retention was rather poor, and thin, loose lacing all the way down.
Smell: The smell was very malty, with a stong taste of toffy, cholcate, and coffee.
Taste: There was a very very coffee taste, and it was pretty overpowering.
Mouthfeel: It went down very smooth, and very pleasant.
Drinkability: All in all, it was a fair beer.
Don't drink and review.

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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 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 jwc215
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by April '08:

Pours clear medium brown with a thin white head that leaves minimal lacing.

The smell is of toffee with a vague smoky touch.

The taste is of toffeeish malt with a slightly earthy balance. It remains sweetish throughout. There is a vague hint of smokiness in the middle that does not hold on. Goes towards a Scottish ale, but doesn't really make it. Something rather bland about it, though nothing particularly "off". Finishes somewhat abruptly.

Thin side of medium-bodied. Smooth. Alcohol well-covered (almost too much for a winter ale).

Easy enough to drink, but uninspiring and not too much of a Scottish (other than some maltiness/earthiness - but not much of the peat smokiness characteristic of the style). Not much of a winter ale, either. For a real winter treat from this brewery, try the Monster Ale - or better yet, the Black Chocolate Stout.

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