Beer Review: Brooklyn Brewery - Monster Ale

  • ABV: 10.3%, Style: Barleywine
  • Brewed in Brooklyn, NY, USA
  • Best before November 2014
  • Served: 330ml bottle poured into a small wine glass

Brooklyn Brewery - Monster Ale

I don’t know much about barleywine. My opinion runs as follows: I don’t think I’m a fan and I think it’s too sweet. However, US versions of styles are always a bit different so I was willing to give an American barleywine a try.

I stood at Micro Bar staring at Brooklyn Monster Ale, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and  Flying Dog Horn Dog. I knew I was going to get one of them but I couldn’t decide. The lady behind the counter informed me that they were running out of Monster and it wouldn’t be brewed for another year so that made up my mind.

Now that I’m home and I’ve checked them all on Beer Advocate, the consensus would appear to be that I should have gone with the Bigfoot. Oh well, I know what to get next time!

Look: Golden, viscous beer with an orange glow. The head wasn’t too pronounced but it was made up of tight, yellow bubbles. There’s no lacing. The beer has slight legs but it’s not too dramatic.

Aroma: Alcohol forward, as you’d expect for a beer with ABV over 10%. Raisins, brown sugar and toffee. Spice.

Taste: Big malt which is fruity and sweet, hint of peanut. Hops add a decent bitterness to the finish which serves to emphasise the spiciness and balance out the alcohol sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy. Not much carbonation and not too drying.

Brooklyn Brewery - Monster Ale

Overall: I quite enjoyed this, I shared a 330ml bottle so I didn’t get too much of it down me, I think if I’d drunk the whole bottle I might have got a bit bored by the end.

The half that I had was rather fruity and enjoyable. Like a Belgian quad, but with virtually none of the vanilla sweetness and a lot less dry. I’ll look forward to trying the Bigfoot next. 3.5/5

- 5th September 2012, Sustainable Alcoholic

Beer Review: Brooklyn Brewery - East India Pale Ale

Brooklyn Brewery - East India Pale Ale

Time for more Cans vs Bottles. I’ve been unimpressed by bottles of Brooklyn EIPA before, but the cans are slowly starting to filter through. I got this can from Common Bar for an outrageous price, but we’ll ignore that fact and get on with the tasting. As ever with Brookly Brewery beer, the packaging is very attractive with retro styling and pleasing contrasting red, green and gold colour scheme.

Brooklyn Brewery - East India Pale Ale


  • Best before end: November 2012
  • Served: 355ml can poured into a BrewDog Tulip (with black writing)

Look: Rich, hazy gold beer. Thick head of 2 fingers, good retention and lacing.

Aroma: Caramel malt, pine, coconut and citrus

Taste: Sharp then the sweetness of the malt and alcohol kicks in before sourness takes over that leads into a long bitter finish. Surprisingly complex. Really lively flavours.

Mouthfeel: Medium to high carbonation. Perhaps a little thinner than some other IPAs, but very drinkable.

Brooklyn Brewery - East India Pale Ale


  • Best before end: April 2013
  • Served: 355ml bottle poured into a BrewDog tulip (with blue writing)

Look: Identical colour in the beer, very similar head properties. Slightly tighter bubbles from the bottle.

Aroma: Wet dog tinge. Caramel and pine, but overall aroma less pronounced than in the can.

Taste: Really similar taste journey to the canned version, but just more mellow. The low level bitter finish is quite a lot longer though. All of the zing and the excitement of flavours in the can are lost in the bottle.

Mouthfeel: Same as the can, quite fizzy but quite drinkable.


I’m pretty sure that it’s identical beer in the two carriers, colour and nose seem really close so the differences are mainly down to intensity of flavour and carbonation.

Brooklyn Brewery - East India Pale Ale

The bottled beer feels like a so-so hoppy beer. The can tastes exciting and fresh. Despite the shorter date on the can, it appeals to me far more and makes me want to try it again. Something I could never have said about the bottled version. The can wins this round. 4/5

- 15th August 2012, Sustainable Alcoholic

Beer Review: Brooklyn Brewery - Brooklyn Lager

  • ABV: 5.2%, Style: Amber Ale / American Lager
  • Best Before: July 2012
  • Brewed in Brooklyn, NY, USA
  • Served: 355ml bottle poured into an Odell shaker

Brooklyn Brewery - Brooklyn Lager

Brooklyn Brewery has a unique attitude to beer naming. The names of their products are always a style, but rarely does the name actually match my expectations of that style. I think that once you’ve got over that, their beers are ok, but if you buy a Brooklyn Lager, expecting a lager, you’re going to be instantly disappointed. Perhaps they should just come up with a selection of wacky names instead. A bit of digging suggests that this style is a Vienna Lager which has far more caramel to it. Still seems odd to me!

This post is part of my series of reviews of US craft and craft-style beers which are easily available in UK supermarkets. See the full selection here: US Craft Beer - UK Supermarket.

Aroma: Caramel, spice, earth, socks.

Taste: Metallic, syrupy, boozy. This is essentially a brown ale, it would be interesting to do a side by side test with Newcastle Brown as I’ve not had Newkie Brown for a long while, but I seem to remember it tasting a lot like this. There is hop bitterness here, but they only come out very late.

Mouthfeel: Unpleasantly dry, low carbonation.

Overall: Brooklyn Brewery beer appears to be well loved, but I’ve not found one I like yet. I don’t know if that’s just because I’m hop obsessed and they don’t have the same priorities as me or if the beer is actually bad. They have great distribution, great looking bottles, but looking through the Beer Advocate reviews I feel like I’m drinking a different beer to most of those people. Overall, for me this beer is a disappointment. 2/5

Brooklyn Brewery - Brooklyn Lager

- 5th February 2012, Sustainable Alcoholic