Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Brooklyn Monster Ale (2012 vintage)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (997) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 29, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a snifter. There was no freshness date, though the label indicates it is a 2012 vintage. It cost $2.99 ($0.25 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful, clear hue of copper/burgundy. Plenty of carbonation visible. Pours to a small, off white, soapy head which mostly evaporates and doesn’t lace the glass.

Smell: Confectioner’s sugar, rum, slightly buttery.

Taste: It’s hard to screw up the barleywine style. There’s so much malt used in these types of beers they lend themselves to complexity. And while I wouldn’t say Brooklyn Monster Ale is in any way bad, it’s definitely not on par with some of the greats on the style.

Like most barleywines, Monster is an especially sweet beer. The malty character creates for a taste akin to pure toffee syrup. There seems to be a bit of peanut brittle or other nutty character as well, which imparts some rustic, slightly astringent flavor. I’m not sure how old my bottle is, but I’m surprised to find the hops are still quite strong. There’s a strong bitterness on the finish along with some dryness from the alcohol. While these two components of the palette are indeed enjoyable, they’re not exactly delicious. It’s also rather repetitive - no new flavors develop as the beer warms (believe me, I waited). I could see being a good complement to the right dessert or cheese, but on its own this is just plain good.

Drinkability: I think the name Brooklyn Monster Ale is a bit of hyperbole, since that name would seem imply a beastly brew. In actuality, this beer is quite tame and calm. The mouthfeel is a little thin, though it’s extremely smooth going down. In fact, the aftertaste is rather clean with just some residual dry bitterness. At 10.1% ABV, this beer should feel like a liquid brick, but it drinks like something much tamer. There’s only mild warmth and actual alcohol character to the body. Though one serving is quite satisfactory. 
Grade: 7/10

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