The Concoction
Brooklyn Brewery

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Herb and Spice Beer
3.08 | pDev: 33.12%
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Ale with peated malt, lemon, ginger and honey. Inspired by The Penicillin cocktail.
Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 168 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Sammy:
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.87/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at HopCat. For those liking scotch and peaty taste. very peaty, smoke aroma, anise. Sour acidic edge. Lacey.The hop combo made it a most inetresting bitter complexity. Not a big fan of the ginger. The smoke and honey upped the mouthfeel. Wierd and good. A sipper however.

Sep 06, 2011
More User Reviews:
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just a C+ average for this beer so far...??? Are you kidding me? Are you all just taking the piss here? If this beer had been produced by Fantome in Belgium, or some other "hot" brewer in the U.S. (Stone maybe) or United Kingdom (BrewDog maybe) I'd think it would receive straight "A's"...

But with all of the above stated, I will note that it is a bit hard to put your finger on it, and that can be trying, and even confusing, but that's what makes it great! It's nice to find a beer that actually still stretches boundaries given the current berth of offerings on the market - and yet keeps it remarkably drinkable (within context).

Initially it's a touch smokey, and then it becomes more spicy and citrusy (think black pepper and ginger with a mist of lemon). But then, with the third and fourth and fifth sips, it softens a bit and the smokiness subsides: the spiciness remains but it takes on more character, and a bit more sweetness in the malt appears as well. However, following that, the smokiness returns along with a bit more herbal character and hoppy spice - keep in mind, the hops are always present to a certain extent in both the nose and the taste. It's kind of funky and interesting, with smoke and spice and citrus - and to a certain extent it's always changing yet somehow remaining the same. I'm not sure what the yeast is contributing to it; but I'm guessing that it's Belgian in origin, and probably supporting the whole thing in one form or another (some clove at least).

What we do know for sure is that this isn't simply a cookie-cutter beer; and that it's at once somehow straightforward and direct while still maintaining a host of subtle nuances. But it doesn't just drop it all on the plate for you (spice, citrus, smoke, sugar), it requires you to actually think about what you're tasting in a very focused manner - at least until you're ready to just let go and enjoy it for what it is.

So, overall, 'NICE! VERY NICE'! It's an engaging beer. It may be mainly about sweetish malt infused with spicy, smokey, peppery, and citrusy notes to it, but there's actually more depth if you care to look.

Nov 20, 2011
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far333 from Connecticut

3.8/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Eli Cannon's. Murky orange color with a beige low head. Low aroma of ginger and phenols. Interesting rich and pungent flavor that is very unique as a whole, but able to be disassembled into its component parts as they travel across the palette. Ginger, citrus, phenols, grand marnier, orange rind, brown sugar, definitely retolant of an old-school cocktail. Even mouthfeel, tingly, crisp, warming. This is a unique and inventive beer, a style buster that pushes all kinds of envelopes. Hats off to Garrett.

Dec 07, 2011
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hoser from Canada (AB)

2/5  rDev -35.1%

Dec 17, 2011
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Billolick from New York

2.49/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Growler filled at Yorktown Bev. Yorktown, NY


Thats the question that comes to mind after a glass or two of this one.

Pours clouded brownish amber, long lasting medium tan head. Leaves ample lace and a tiny bubble film.

Nose of earth, must, moldy mushrooms, ginger...ah so tasty...

Notes of more of the same, musty, earthy, ginger, forest floor, stale herbs, tea...

Not sure if I can consume much more of this and that question...why? comes again to mind....Not sure what the goal here is for Brooklyn, with so many crowd pleasing styles of beer to experiment with , they have gone way out there with this experiment...why?....about 1/2 of my growler ends up down the drain....

Sep 26, 2011
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lacqueredmouse from Australia

3.85/5  rDev +25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lemon peel, ginger, wildflower honey and Italian lemon juice? Hey, I'm game, bring it on. Had on-tap at The Pony Bar in New York.

Pours darker than expected: a bronze, orange colour, with a fine film of white. Body is quite thick, although the carbonation is still rather coarse-bubbled. Almost no lace. Not bad.

Bitey and lemony on the nose, with crisp zest and slightly sour stomach acid notes. Rather fresh and clean, although this brings to mind something a bit medicinal like disinfectant. It's certainly odd, I'll give it that.

Light, resiny characters on the palate, with a touch of pine disinfectant and lemon sugar. Slightly buttery as well, which gives it a smoothness. Ends up, yeah, a bit medicinal, but rather slick as well. Finish is clean and surprisingly refreshing.

It's a weird beer, but surprisingly drinkable for all its insanity. It's still skewed and weird with every sip.

For what it's worth, this is one of the beers that really sticks out in my mind from my New York trip, and that has to be worth something.

Aug 05, 2011
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ChainGangGuy from Georgia

1.99/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

16 ounce pint - $5.75 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Served up a clouded, dirtied amber body with a ½ inch of off-white head and a multitude of effervescence streams along the sides of the glass.

Smell: Peated malt and toasted grains sprinkled with lemon juice and recklessly wrapped with a strange, medicinal scent of a phenol and liniment dosed rags being shoved in your face.

Taste: Smokey peat malt flecked with a few crumbs of sugar. Then, there enters a sharp, rubber-based baby bottle nipple phenolic note, conceivably coming from off the peat malt. A squirt of lemon, a sliver of pickled ginger, then some jagged florals before the bitterness enters. An ungraciously medicinal beer as your near the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Highly carbonated.

Overall: A demanding, conceptually interesting beer in need of a tweak or two, but, until then, one is more than enough for me, thanks.

Dec 27, 2011
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montrealbiere from Canada (QC)

1.51/5  rDev -51%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Had on tap at deciccos in brewster. I was going to get glass but bartender recommended trying a sample good move the beer is terrible. Smells and tastes like Chloraseptic sore throat spray. I really enjoy Local 1 and 2 and the Sorachi ace but this beer based on the cocktail The Penicillin is a miss try and get a little taste is my advice

Jul 16, 2011
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

3.17/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a medium to dark copper color with an anemic white lacing ring and a small amount of carbonation.

S - Coriander, lemons, spices, herbs, spearmint leaves, and juniper. Smells like an off-shoot Belgian ale which perhaps justifies the name of the beer.

T - Flavor is balanced and the malt is buried by the spices and herbs. There's a quick herbal tang up front that has a "zippy"/"twangy" character that lays below the surface in the form of ginger and lemons while the spices and herbs roll over the top. Mint, tea leaves, and juniper is the first thing that comes to mind...and that is "Holiday Beer".

M - Moderately light body with an aftertaste of lemons and ginger with gentle carbonation.

O - Personally, I would have been more excited about this beer had it been released closer to Christmas, just not cutting it for me. (*note* - even though this is being reviewed around Christmas, it was actually sampled on 9/14/ is being posted from my notes).

Dec 29, 2011
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sodonne1 from Pennsylvania

1.16/5  rDev -62.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This beer is so memorable that I had to make it my first review.

A: hazy amber in color. Poured with less than a finger of head. Good head retention and visible carbonation.
S: some aroma of lemon and honey but mostly smells like cough syrup. Bad cough syrup.
T: slight taste of lemon and honey, but ginger is predominant. Very medicine like in taste. As someone else posted, this smells and tastes like chloroseptic.
M: It is light- to medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: the best thing to say about this is that it is a very unique. This tastes like the worst cough medicine ever invented and does not go down easily. This resulted in a quick drain pour. Normally enjoy the reserve series, but this is one concoction that never should have been created. What's worse is it ruined my taste buds for the rest of the night.

Jul 18, 2011
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ExtraStout from Massachusetts

3.42/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this as a guest beer @ Willimantic Brewery.

Poured a dark amber with little head. Smelled of that smokey peat they say it was brewed with, very interesting. Taste was big. Really big, smoky hoppy, had bite and an bitter finnish. Oily, sticky mouthfeel.

This was a very different brew, hard to pin point but I liked it a bit. However, I wouldn't be able to drink very much of it, a solid try from Brooklyn but I don't know.

Aug 21, 2011
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.53/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As experimental as they come, the popular penicillin coctail manifests itself into this ale with strong ginger flavors, backed by honey nad lemon in such a way that reminds me of juniper infused gin and tonic coctails as well.

A dense haze and tightly knit carbonation creates a dense blanket of eggshell whit foam on a murky peach hue beverage. Oddly light on lace for such a rich look otherwise.

Ginger dominates the nose with a zesty and spicy first impression. Bold lemon, juniper, and floral notes follow closely behind. Very fresh and vibrant aromas, just odd to be found in beer.

Strong ginger spice with the tart and acidic bite of lemon, lime, juniper, grassy hops and alcohol culminate in a surprisingly bold and zesty taste. Graham cracker, earthy/peaty, cookie dough, and honey all give a rich backdrop to the spicy upstart, but the crisp and clean finish of hop bitterness reinforce a ligher and more sessionable notion.

The interplay of medium carbonation, malt and honey suggest a rich beverage, but the spices, tart fruitiness, and bitterness seem to lighten the body and create a dryish minty finish.

The flavors of the beer target those of mixed drinks very well. But the beery base seems to detract from the lighter drier flavor and textures that make coctailes so appealing. Beers celebrate malt and subtle spice; this beer knows no such subtlty.

Jul 03, 2011
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tempest from New York

3.38/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had a goblet at Liberty St Tavern. Well this beer does taste as advertised - a mix of smoked malt, honey and lemon. I see what Brooklyn is going for, but this drink is just a touch heavy to be enjoyed on a hot summer day. That or it might simply benefit from higher carbonation, or just a little more balance to the sweetness. Still, an interesting beer worth trying.

Jul 25, 2011
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lpayette from Vermont

2/5  rDev -35.1%

Feb 11, 2012
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TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

2.93/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On-tap 11/19/2011 at Dave’s Bar & Grill in Warwick, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark murky gold color, with a short white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains spices, caramelized malts, fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong ginger spice flavor up front. Then some citrus flavor comes in along with a decent hops presence. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy however there is not much balance as the flavors just don’t seem to fit together. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Not very tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, this is a very aptly names beer as it tastes exactly like it is a concoction.

Nov 21, 2011
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

4/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An orange/amber color with a medium-sized white head and a little lace.
Sweet malt aroma. Fruity. Floral.
Bready taste. Citrus/orange taste. Some other sweet fruity taste. Late piney hops.
Light bodied, refreshing.
Interesting beer. Don't think I've tried anything like it.

Jun 27, 2011
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david18 from New York

3.27/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had a draft of this beer at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's upper west side. Although this looks like a regular beer it really doesn't smell or taste like one. I guess that's typical of an herbed beer and not surprising when you read the number of ingredients, including six or seven hops, the same number of malts and a bunch of other herbs and spices.

Appearance is a light copper, somewhat fizzy with good carbonation.

Aroma is actually quite nice, almost smells more like lemonade than beer but it's definitely a refreshing smell.

Flavor is odd. Spices, fruit, lots of malt and hops. Kind of a mess.

Overall, i'm not crazy about this beer but I have enjoyed many of Brooklyn's one-off's and look forward to the next one.

Jun 29, 2011
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Soto from North Carolina

5/5  rDev +62.3%

Sep 06, 2013
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Hautacam from Connecticut

4.2/5  rDev +36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at three different places here in CT, and each was slightly different in the amount of smoky phenol. The glass I had with the least smoke was the best....I liked them all, and I could still taste the smoke but somehow, a little less was better.
A peaty, citrus aroma. The taste is very un-beer-like. This is kind of a stretch...but I really like it, and am glad that Garret Oliver continues to take chances and produces some really interesting takes on what beer can be.
I taste smoke, phenol, ginger,honey and lemon...very much like a mixed old school mixed drink, although, I am not aware of any mixed drinks that involve using peaty whiskeys.
A bit of alcohol is there, but seems appropriate for this beer.
I have ordered this every time I've seen it and probably will until it's gone. ( two bartenders had warned me about how odd the beer was before pouring me one )
Definitely try least ask for a taste !

Aug 21, 2011
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jaxon53 from Connecticut

2.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Jun 16, 2013
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jrob21 from Georgia

3.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Oct 23, 2015
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bonbini26 from New Jersey

3/5  rDev -2.6%

Feb 20, 2012
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JohnnyK from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +29.9%

Dec 26, 2011
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ROGUE16 from Delaware

3.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Sep 24, 2013
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DocBrass from Texas

4/5  rDev +29.9%

Nov 17, 2011
The Concoction from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 72 out of 100 with 168 ratings