Brooklyn Monster Ale

10.1% ABV bottle from 2007 (Beer Advocate lists the ABV as 11.8% but my bottle said 10.1%. Hmmm…?)

I still can’t believe that I didn’t realize that one of my favorite breweries, my “home” brewery no less, made my favorite style of beer, barley wine. I could understand if I’d never had it before, but how had I never even heard of it?! Any how, I found a six-pack this weekend and I jumped right on it, fully expecting a masterpiece. Unfortunately, that is not quite the case.

This is far too alcoholic for my tastes. I like high ABV beers with a lot of kick, but the alcoholic taste of this just isn’t well masked. Tastes of sherry, lotta hops, a little fruit, a little chocolate, and a sour finish. Great smell, but not very drinkable. Didn’t stop me from having four from the six-pack, but I would advise amateurs that they might enjoy this more as simply a single after-dinner dessert drink.

Only later did I learn that this wasn’t the kind of barley wine I’m used to. The kind that all my favorite American breweries make and that I adore, but rather Brooklyn Monster is an “English” barley wine. I’ve had countless American barley wines, but I think this is my first English. According to Beer Advocate:

English varieties are quite different from the American efforts, what sets them apart is usually the American versions are insanely hopped to make for a more bitter and hop flavored brew, typically using American high alpha oil hops. English version tend to be more rounded and balanced between malt and hops, with a slightly lower alcohol content, though this is not always the case.

Not what I found at all. I found Brooklyn Monster to be more potent in taste and far less rounded than American barley wines. This is decent and I will have it again, but I don’t find it world-class like, say, a Stone Old Guardian or a Great Divide Old Ruffian.

A-/B+

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