Brooklyn Monster Ale Barleywine The butler did it.

Tasting: August 3, 2012
Style: Barley Wi
ne

Brooklyn Monster Ale

On a vacation to Rhode Island some years ago, my wife and I did a few of the mansion tours in Newport. I recall gawking at the opulence of what were simply summer homes to the likes of the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. The households were run by platoons of servants each with their own specialty. For example, a “scullery maids” was responsible for scrubbing pots, pans, and the utensils. Probably the most familiar servant title is “butler”. We all are familiar with the stereotypical butler – answering the door, announcing guests and serving tea. However, the butler was also responsible for managing the wine stock and in larger country homes, the butler brewed beer. I guess with all that authority and access to all the booze, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the butler was always a prime suspect in murder mysteries. Why do I mention house servants and this particular beer? Well, according to Brooklyn Brewing’s website, this beer is brewed as an example of what might have been brewed by these butlers for their American and English aristocrats. It is a traditional English-style barley wine and is made with traditional English malts and hops that are mellow and were probably commonly available. It is aged for four months and reaches a sturdy 10.3 % Alcohol By Volume (ABV). I assume the ABV might be the reason behind the Monster name not the evil deeds of the croquet mallet-wielding servant. This is a seasonal offering from Brooklyn and hits stores in late Winter/early Spring.

English barleywine is considerably different than the American version. English is more malt driven, while American is gaining a strong hoppiness. This one is an English style. Getting down to the brass tacks – pours rich ruby brown. Boozy and sweet on the nose. Flavor is light shows some raisin and caramel — but that’s initially overrun by booze and prickly carbonation. This is the 2011 vintage – so would have expected it to have mellowed out – but certainly not the case. I’ll put it at 82 points.

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