The Concoction | Brooklyn Brewery

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167 Ratings

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

Style: Herb and Spice Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ale with peated malt, lemon, ginger and honey. Inspired by The Penicillin cocktail.

Added by Jason on 05-10-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 167 |  Reviews: 78
Reviews by TheWhiskerReview:
Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.92/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty garnet-orange with a fluffy 1-finger white head leaving a nice bit of soapy lace.

The nose is crazy musty and medicinal- a subtle peaty blanket surrounds the apricot, lemon, honey and herbal tones. Concoction indeed, this smells like something I'd need if I were sick.

The medium-bodied palate is an incredibly frothy and creamy delivery of straight up cough drop flavors- like a honey-lemon Ricola complete with the sweetness which is meant to balance out the herbal/menthol tones (which is how the gingery freshness is translating for me) with a little syrupy apricot thrown in for good measure. The peatiness is tucked into it all very nicely, while the bitterness comes in surprisingly large, drying out the brew and bringing more suggestions of juniper and pine, while the honeyed malt gets a bit of intense (and vaguely harsh) spice box flavor on the finish- leaving a lingering juicy mandarin orange vibe.

The Concoction. Named after a cocktail called Penicillin. Smells like medicine. Tastes like medicine. It's kind of like the Stone Belgo Anise RIS, most people won't like it or have the capacity to appreciate it. But I'd order it again. Especially if I had a cold.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of ExtraStout
3.42/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Photo of Marc33
1/5  rDev -67.1%

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +31.6%
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.

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Photo of Billolick
2.49/5  rDev -18.1%
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....

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Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +41.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at pour farm, new bedford--served into a tulip

Appearance: 1 inch head, amber in color, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: multiple spices and grain

Taste: wow--multiple spices that I associate with holiday brews, juniper, and a healthy dose of smoke

Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation, medium bodied, sweet with big smokiness as it warms

Overall: My description of the taste does not do this beer justice. It is very complex and the smoke borders on rauch levels when it warms. Kinda like a cross between a holiday ale, Sahti, and a rauch. An incredibly complex brew--my new favorite from Brooklyn--by a mile.

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Photo of Hoops4life511
2.5/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of Mora2000
1.76/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

On tap at The Common Table. I knew I was in trouble when I tried to order a pint and the bartender refused to sell it to me until I had sampled the beer first. Always nice to see bartenders looking out for their customers' best interests.

The beer pours a light amber color with a white head. The aroma is not appetizing. I get a lot of ginger and peat malt as well as some pine from the hops. The flavor is not any better. I get a ton of peat malt as well as some ginger, lemons, toffee and smoke. There is also a strong medicinal and band-aid quality to the flavor. The alcohol is detectable. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

From a flavor and aroma standpoint, this beer is a huge mess. None of the notes work well together and the 2 ounce sample I got was more than I could drink. This thing is offensive. The bartender saved me $7 which I am grateful for. That is the only good thing about this experience.

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Photo of bsp77
2.88/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Serving glass: Poured from tap into small glass.

Appearance: Hazy honey gold with thick white head and light lacing.

Smell: Lemon, ginger, smoke and an odd medicinal cast.

Taste: Very medicinal, with ginger, peat and lemon. Interesting, odd and slightly unpleasant. Yet I keep sipping. Whatever.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, odd finish.

Overall: A strange but ultimately failed experiment. I really wanted to like this more.

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Photo of Runofthemiller
1.25/5  rDev -58.9%

Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +31.6%

Photo of far333
3.8/5  rDev +25%
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.

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Photo of sodonne1
1.16/5  rDev -61.8%
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.

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Photo of LucienDeRubempre
5/5  rDev +64.5%

Photo of dhmxray
2.75/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of biboergosum
2.29/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A pint at Beer Revolution in downtown Calgary. Made with roasted hickory, orange rind, and marjoram, according to the pleasingly helpful barkeep. Thanks, Marcus!

This beer appears a cloudy, dark apricot amber colour, with one finger of thin wispy white head, which readily disappears, leaving but a low-slung ring of lace around the glass in the process. It smells, well it smells like Preparation H - the stuff my mom put on my booboos when I invariably wiped out as a kid - you don't forget that smell. The strong medicinal aroma thankfully gives way (mostly) to roasted malt, aged citrus, and a funky, herbal character. The taste is more of the same - toast, grainy malt, juicy orange flesh, and a large and in charge herbal, medicinal, um, dose, coating, remedy, you get the idea. The carbonation is on the tame side, the body medium weight, and a tad cloying, being so reminiscent of a Merck product. It finishes, sweet, I guess, the citrus and pharmacy herbaceousness still duking it out.

Good god - is this what marjoram tastes like? At least I now have a reminder to avoid it, lest future salads, mains, etc, remind me of skinned knees and lacerations due to youthful indiscretion. The elevated booze is well hidden, I'll grant, but at what cost?

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.62/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes. Had on tap at the Pickled Pig Pub.

A: Served in a pint glass. The beer was a hazy orange/peach color with a small white head on top. Very little retention or lacing.

S: The two most prominent aromas are ginger and juniper. The ginger is pretty thick. There is some lemon and a bit of citrus.

T: The ginger is strong in the flavor profile as well with the juniper taking a bit of a back seat. You still get a good bit of juniper, but I think this is from the aroma as you drink. Candied fruit, lemon, and some grassy hops round are mixed in.

M: Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Slightly dry finish that has a bit of spice to it.

O: An interesting beer. I was surprised I liked it based on some other peoples reactions to trying it. Not something I would want to drink all the time, but it went down nicely the day I had it.

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Photo of alamode
3/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev +27.3%
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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +38.2%
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.

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Photo of socon67
2.37/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had on tap at Willimantic cafe in CT.

A - Pours copper colored with a white foam on top. Very clear and minimal carbonation.

S - Smells like antiseptic. Reminds me of a hospital, or being down the HBA aisle in CVS.

T - Taste has qualities of lemon, but the sourness of Brett yeast kills this one. Really can't finish it.

M - Sour finish that makes what should be a refeshing beer come off astringent and have a residual taste of mouthwash at the end. Not exactly pleasant.

O - Very glad the waiter warend me and offered an 8oz sample that once I didn't like allowed me to try another beer. I love Brooklyn but this was an experiment gone wrong.

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Photo of Damian74
1.25/5  rDev -58.9%

Photo of tempest
3.38/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

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Photo of Desaparecido
2/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of Heatwave33
4.38/5  rDev +44.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap at the Coffee District into a Shipyard Pint glass.

Color: Light amber with a white head.

Smell: Wood, hop, smokey and sweet aromas. Intense and complex.

Taste: Wow! Very complex like the smell. A wood, hop, smoky sweet taste that hits every taste bud imaginable.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly smooth with great carbonation. Has a nice bite too!

Overall: This is definitely a love it or hate it brew. I loved the complex aroma and taste. My brother did not. It was too much for him to handle. A very interesting brew to drink to say the least. All BA's should at least sample this one. Cheers!

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The Concoction from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 3.04 out of 5 with 167 ratings