Tag Archive: Brooklyn Brewing

Brooklyn: Special Effects (USA: Low Alcohol. 0.4% ABV)

Visual: Clear, a darkened caramel brown colour. A caramel coloured inch of mounded head.

Nose: Spicy. Crushed pepper seeds. Thai 7 spice. Caramel. Lightly watery.

Body: Caramel. Watered down treacle. Liquorice. Mint leaves. Greenery. Peppery. Light orange skin.

Finish: Thai 7 spice. Moderate hop character. Light liquorice. Light earthy hops. Peppery. Black and white pepper.

Conclusion: Ok, this is spicier than I imagined it would be. Not super spicy, but it is definitely a solid part of the character. I did wonder if that was due to the hop usage, or if, due to the low abv, they had actually added spice to the beer to make up for that. Now, the ingredient list doesn’t mention any spice, so yeah, just the hops I guess – let me know if you know any better please.

At its base it feels kind of dark lager style, with watered down treacle and caramel notes. For an easy drinking beer, it has a reasonable mouthfeel considering the low abv, if not anything special. It wears a greenery, peppery and some Thai seven spice style into a light earthiness as its main strings to its bow, and it is them that do most of the legwork, if I may mix my metaphors.

It doesn’t feel like a traditional beer in most ways, but carries enough that this semi spice beer meets lager style feels like a decent stand in for one anyway. I feel it would be a good one to go with food where the spice and easy drinking could accentuate the heavier food flavours without needing to be the main event.

As a beer by itself it is ok, but not one to get super engaged with. It feels decent enough for what I will term a “Background beer”. It has enough beer character to fill the space while you are concentrating on something else, but not really one that keeps your attention if that is all that is before you.

So, what I am saying is it is ok and has a place in things.

Background: New low alcohol beer. Pretty much why I grabbed it. These things are vital in my old age. Honest. Anyway, yeah saw a low alcohol from Brooklyn, who tend to do well in their standard beers, so thought I would give it a go. Not much to add on top of that. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. For reasons that probably only amuse me, I went with Cradle Of Filth for music with this one. If you are wondering why look at the notes before this one. That is all.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

Brooklyn: Sorachi Ace (USA: Saison: 7.6% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon. Inch of loose white bubbles head. Some carbonation in the body but not heavy.

Nose: Wheat. Lemongrass. Crisp. Lemon meringue. Coriander. Apricot.

Body: Frothy, into smooth. Lemon grass. Peach. Bubblegum. Good bitterness. Cinnamon and coriander. Wheat. Funky yeast. Apricot.

Finish: Crisp bitterness. Lemon juice sheen. Good hops. Grapefruit.

Conclusion: Now this is more like what I hope for from the Brooklyn Brewery! I was a tad wary of this, despite my love of the Sorach Ace hop, as their Anniversary Lager was a bit sub par in my opinion. I shouldn’t have worried. This is awesome.

This is also a bit unusual as a saison, maybe it is the American smooth interpretation that seems common with their take on the Belgian styles – it is also nowhere near as rustic feeling as many saisons. In fact the crispness of the beer almost calls to lager styling ( In that element of drinkability and crispness alone, of course) making it dangerously easy to drink for a nearly 8% abv beer.

“Lager like?” I hear you cry. Even in that one element, you wonder, isn’t that bad for a saison? No. It does have that crisp, easy drinking body, but the head is thick and full, so every sip you drag through it gains an amazing texture that gives it a full body to complement the crispness. (As a note, I recommend only pour a little at a time so you can always have a fresh head for this reason). On top of that it has a yeasty character that reminds me of Orval on a good day ( A beer have come to appreciate much more over the years )

It all makes an excellent, if slightly usual, smooth base for a saison. Again I’m guessing this is the USA style influence, based on past experience of American Belgian Style beers.

So, anyway, I haven’t even mentioned the sorachi ace hop influence yet. You have the hop influenced layered over that excellent textured base – all expected lemongrass and bubblegum mixed in with the saison coriander and even new apricot elements. This unusual sorachi ace style works excellent with the saison characteristics.

It all combines to a dangerous, drinkable, unusual and flavoursome great textured ale. If they made this lower abv I would session it nigh forever, as is I will drink it as long as it is safe to. Highly recomended.

Background: Sorachi Ace! I am such a sucker for this hop, grabbed from Independent Spirit, who were very helpful in getting me a bottle. Thanks guys. I was very interested in seeing how Sorachi Ace combined with a saison, and was very much looking forwards to this. Shared with friends, this was drunk while listening to some Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues in preparation of seeing them live a few days later (The gig was awesome!)

Brooklyn Black Ops

Brooklyn: Black Ops (USA: Imperial Stout: 11.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Moderate coffee brown layer on top.

Nose: Vinous. Sour grapes. Vanilla. Chocolate dust. Bourbon. Bitter chocolate. Bitter coffee. Hazelnuts. Creamy ice cream. Vanilla and chocolate. Slight chilli warmth.

Body: Hazelnuts. Caramel. Frothy. Bitter chocolate. Molasses. Vanilla toffee. Grape and white wine notes. Sour cream. Light black cherry.

Finish: Coffee. Chocolate ice cream. Hazelnuts. Vanilla. Toffee. Bitter chocolate. White wine.

Conclusion: Yes, I am blasé. Very blasé when it comes to Imperial Stouts, but despite that Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout holds a place in my heart. No it isn’t perfect, yes it is boozy, but it is just so damn earnest. Rough as a badger’s arsehole at times, but such a kick of flavour.

Anyway, that’s a review for another time – I bring it up as I was expecting the base of this beer to be roughly similar, instead this thing is smooth as silk. Froths up easily and feels very easygoing for 11.5% abv. In fact it has an almost ice cream or milkshake chocolate character in both feel and taste. There’s a big bitter chocolate flavour that comes in after as well, mixing luxury chocolate with that cheap guilty joy of thick unhealthy milkshakes.

The bourbon notes in this are actually quite subtle, it comes across more as vinous, white wine like notes than anything I would usually associate with bourbon. I mean there are vanilla and toffee notes, but nowhere near as heavy as I would have guessed. It gives a surprisingly fresh feel to the beer. The strange things is that the vanilla, while not a main note, can still gain an almost cloying edge near the end of the beer, not quite sure how it manages that.

It is very nice, very big, big bitterness, big roasted character and subtle oak ageing. The usual problem with beers this price comes up. For example, quality wise, this one is in the same ballpark as, say Bristol beer Factory’s Ultimate Stout, or the whisky aged variants of their Russian Imperial Stout. Those on the other hand are much cheaper and just as good. I repeat, this is nice, smooth and complex to a great degree. It is well worth trying, just be aware for the cost you can get quite a few similarly good beers.

A very chocolate, roasted and subtly oak aged beer that makes great use of its milkshake like texture. Not the best, but very complex and very nice.

Background: Didn’t think I would find this in the UK, but once again Independent Spirit of Bath came through for me. I love the bottle label text on this

“Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly, “Black Ops” was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oak notes. They say it’s vanishingly rare. We have no idea what they’re talking about.”

Anyway, that pretty much explains what it is. This was drunk with friends, while being very amused at my friends’ confusion on playing Antichamber for the first time. Oh that game is a complete brain fuck.

Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager

Brooklyn: Silver Anniversary Lager (USA: Dopplebock: 8.6% ABV)

Visual: Clear reddened gold. Large mounded yellowed head. Good level of carbonation.

Nose: Raspberry pavlova. Banana. Light yeastiness. Custard cream biscuits. White grapes. Apricot. Caramel.

Body: Spiced fruit. Bitter hops and malt drinks. Dry. Choc orange note. Raisins. Shortbread. Pavlova sweetness.

Finish: Dry bitterness and malt drinks. Nutmeg. Meringue. Alcohol air. Mixed spices.

Conclusion: I…erm…I know this meant to be a brewed up version of Brooklyn Lager. It it really weird that I find it more like Samuel Adams lager than Brooklyn lager? Even more embarrassing, I kind of prefer the Sam Adams to this. A bit embarrassing for a big celebration beer.

Now that definitely needs some context. This thing is interesting, very interesting, and definitely has more going on than the aforementioned Sam Adams. However I can’t find a point where this would be the beer I choose to be drinking, and I can with SA.

Hmm, needs more explaining I feel. Let’s run from the start, and see where that gets us. The popped cork first impressions were great, as is the aroma. A great discreet but present yeast character, big pavlova sweetness and a fruit element. It is smooth, very different to a lot of dopplebocks and this all bodes well.

The body opens up on a completely different front, spiced but backed by light sweetness and fruit. Initially appatising, if the beer is held for a while it develops a less pleasant gin like air.

The finish.. ah well this is the first sign something is wrong. Dry, with a gin like air and heavy malt drinks. The finish just doesn’t work, especially not in conjunction with the rest of the beer. Worse than that, it brings into relief the flaws of the body that could previously have been overlooked. The gin air becomes heavier on second sip, and having been made very obvious in the finish the dry maltiness seems intrusive now in the body. It is a kind of malt heaviness that needs a good hop opposition rather than the light fruit you find here.

The beer is still interesting, and it is a nicely different take on the dopplebock, but the elements wander a path from aroma greatness to the let down of the finish and leaves you disappointed. Worse still it a journey you take again and again over the lifetime of the beer.

So, that is why I prefer basic Sam Adams, not as complex a beer, but one you can happily drink easily, it has its time and place This doesn’t have one for me.

An interesting beer, and not without elements that charm but…no, not a beer I would recommend.

Background: I mainly picked this up because of the odd art on the front of the bottle. Yes I am easily influenced. This was found at the always excellent Independent Spirit This is apparently a brewed up version of Brooklyn lager, and was done for their 25th anniversary. So, happy birthday Brooklyn Brewing. Drunk while listening to a bit of Anti Nowhere League who I’m hoping to see lie later this year.

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