Monk's Elixir (Monk's Brew) - Mikkeller ApS
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Ratings: 276 | Reviews: 131 | Display Reviews Only:
4.2/5 rDev +8%
Pours a translucent cola brown with less than a finger loose light tan head that fades slowly to stringy patterns of lacing. The smell is really nice but not a classic quad...more like a Belgian Strong Dark; earthy yeast strong dark fruit figs/dates, less alcohol than anticipated, sweet and malty caramel. Nicely carbonated creamy medium bodied. Full flavored, bready-cake "Fig Newton" taste lingers well beyond the swallow. An easy drinker...10% ABV is well hidden. Not scoring it to style so much as I would a BSDA.
01-17-2010 20:54:54 | More by jjayjaye
4.28/5 rDev +10%
Very nice combination of belgian style with dark ale overtones. Moderate head. Appropriate carbonation. Went well with cheesecake desert. Definite cherry flavors evident with the caramel of a dark ale. What a nice combination. SMOOTH! Definitely recommended.
01-13-2010 02:25:57 | More by brouwer
4.05/5 rDev +4.1%
The beer pours a cloudy, dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a mild caramel malt scent as well as a decent amount of fruity yeast esters. It's devoid of any alcohol aroma. In fact, the entire aroma is pretty easy going for a quad; caramel/roasted malt, candy sugar, and Belgian yeast. The taste is good as well. It is a damn easy drinking 10% abv beer. It goes down the hatch smooth with some caramel malt and candy sugar flavor as well as some Belgian yeast character. The mouthfeel is fine. It's a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This has got to be one of the easiest drinking Belgians of all time. It's so damn smooth. Hooray Beer!
01-13-2010 01:41:39 | More by WesWes
3.98/5 rDev +2.3%
A: Pours a hazy brown with a small, off-white head that's quick to recede leaving a persistent lacing that lasts for the duration of the beer.
S: Belgian sugar and yeastiness, some oakiness, and a lot of dark fruits - cherry chief among them. Strong esters.
T: Predominant dark fruits with candy sugar coming in right behind it. A bready/malty base, some light tannins come in on the backend.
M: Very smooth with damn near perfect carbonation for the style. Leaves just enough coating on the tongue to want to take another drink.
D: Goes down easy for a big beer and the ABV is well hidden.
01-10-2010 01:34:40 | More by Xul
4.05/5 rDev +4.1%
"I'm like a monk with a taste for hookers."
Caramel brown with generous highlights of crimson and orange. The golden beige colored crown was four full fingers following the pour and is persisting nicely. It looks even better as it melts and is no slouch at the laying down of lace.
The nose is darker than a Belgian amber and lighter than a Belgian dark. Since pale and pils malt don't provide a 'dark' color, aroma or flavor, those characteristics have to be coming from turbinado (cassonade) sugar and/or dark sugar syrup. The yeast is an estery beast, which is why the score is what it is.
This is very good beer that is kept from being world-class by a less than stellar mouthfeel. It tastes more like a BSDA than a quad. Then again, I never really have figured out the definite boundaries of the quadrupel style... assuming they exist. If the Belgians aren't sticklers, why should we be? Yes, I know that Mikkeller is a Danish brewery, but this ale was brewed in Belgium (at De Proef Brouwerij).
The flavor profile includes dark caramel, raisins, figs, a wee dollop of molasses, anise and clove. That's quite the feat given the ingredients list. The only explanation is that Belgian yeast is magical in the right hands. Sweet, bitter and spicy are balanced in beautiful fashion and the alcohol is buried without a trace.
With a bona fide Belgianesque mouthfeel, there's no doubt in my mind that the third and fifth scores (and the fourth, obviously) would be at least one notch higher. There simply isn't enough carbonation to keep the beer inflated and whipped creamy once it hits the tongue. Depth and complexity, as always, suffer.
Monk's Brew (U.S.)/Monk's Elixir (non-U.S.) is Mikkeller's homage to the great Trappist ales of Belgium. They deserve kudos for aiming high and for almost pulling it off. If you're a fan of this brewery and love BSDAs as much as I do, then the purchase price is well worth it. Bottom line: a few bubbles away from potential greatness.
01-03-2010 21:41:03 | More by BuckeyeNation
4/5 rDev +2.8%
Pours medium to dark brown with an off-white head. Aroma is caramel malt, candi sugar, alcohol and some dark fruit. Flavor is similar with a very sweet, dark fruit flavor. Alcohol is present. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Not one of the best quadrupels I have tasted, but a pretty good beer overall.
01-01-2010 18:42:16 | More by Mora2000
4.1/5 rDev +5.4%
The beer is so dark and murky that frankly it's senseless to try and attach it a colour. If we should try perhaps very deep brown is as close as we'll come, although to the light very faint hints of cranberry can be noted. The splotch of head and yeast sediment that stands alone in the center of my glass resembles a solitary nebula in deep space.
I'm glad I've started reviewing the beer at a warmer temperature because notes of chocolate-covered raisin and port-macerated prune have only become unhitched as of recently. Granted, the aroma is not dynamic but it isn't dull either. It has dark, sticky malts and dark, sticky fruits as well as maybe a hint of sugar and spice. Very good.
The beer was supposedly inspired by the Trappist monasteries - and it tastes like it. Looking to my notes of the Rochefort 10, the Westvleteren 12 and St. Bernardus 12 I can remark similar characteristics of raisin paste, ginger glazed squash, plum pudding, sticky toffee pudding, vintage Italian reds, peanut brittle, lavender tea and the taste of whole grain bread, toasted and smeared with some sort of prune, raisin or currant jam.
The mouthfeel has the sweetness of caramel-coated nuts, the booze-accented complexities of an Hors d'age Armagnac and the spiciness of a time-honoured Belgian yeast. The afterthought gives mention to dried and preserved fruits (prune, apple) as well as spices (vanilla, cocoa) and nuts (almond, hazelnut, Brazil nut).
If this thing were talking religion it could probably get me to convert. Still, I'm not sure I'm ready to consider Monk's Elixir as good as all the authentic monks' brews but I'll grant it that it's a hell of a forgery! If it were cheaper (which it's definitely not!) it would certainly make a worthy substitute to those Belgian greats. And apparently you don't have to be Belgian to brew a quality Quad; the Danish must be a pious group of beer-drinkers!
12-28-2009 23:10:17 | More by biegaman
3.93/5 rDev +1%
This is a 2009 very fresh edition, BB is 10/12/14. One to two finger tan head reduced to a circle of fluffy stuff in centre glass with lots of exposed dark brown liquid staring out at me. Lace is spotty and there is a ring that remains. On the surface, there appears to be no active carbonation but a bright light reveals several active strands of tiny bubbles from the bottom of my Chimay goblet feeding outward and into that ring.
The nose is of figs, dates and raisins but is not overly pronounced, also a rum or brandy fruit cake odour. There is a slightly sour dark fruit taste with a pomegranite sweetness competing to tickle the tastebuds. With air, some banana and clove notes, hints of coffee, and a long finish that has a bit of alcohol heat. The mouthfeel is rewarding, rich and smooth with good body. This beer demands to be sipped and savoured, it has some depth and complexity to it and might be better savoured with some ageing although can be enjoyed now as well.
12-28-2009 22:59:25 | More by ThatWineGuy
3.05/5 rDev -21.6%
Haven't had a Danish quad, let's see what the Danes got! Very dark, almost black in color with a very light tan head that forms a dense, creamy layer and laces nicely. Interesting, looks more like a Belgian Strong Dark. Intense chocolate aroma, with plums and cherries. Dry taste throughout, pleasantly malty with a bread-dominant flavor and a nice chalky finish. Not complex at all, sort of a one-note orchestra, but they hit the note. Mouthfeel is a little sticky and a little flat. Drinkability is decent, but the strong roasted aftertaste limits it for me. An interesting derivation of the style, but very simple and a little dry. Its an interesting brew but definitely not a standard for a Quad.
11-24-2009 03:17:06 | More by roblowther
4.4/5 rDev +13.1%
From a brown 750 ml caged and corked bottle.
Loose spongy light beige head with great retention. Intense lacing. Body is a deep dark oaky brown, nearly opaque.
Dry icing sugar and dark dry fruit on the nose, low lying toasted notes, plum.
Flavour gets more complex, smooth chewy dark malt, toasted, bready and molasses sweet. Spicy dark dried fruit in the middle, plum and red grape notes too. Dry toasty, wafery dark chocolate finish, sticky dunkel-like aftertaste with spicy alcohol warmth.
Smooth nearly full-bodied mouthfeel, low carbonation, a bit sticky on the finish but still creamier and smooth than anything else.
From my experience so far Mikkeller seems to be a bit hit and miss--at least regarding my own palate--but I give them/him credit for pushing the limits and experimenting. This time around was pretty close to a philospher's stone, great quad or dark ale or whatever they're trying to pass this off as, excellent dark Belgian ale that's worth going back to. Check this one out for sure and stock up on it.
11-21-2009 07:52:05 | More by IronDjinn
3.5/5 rDev -10%
Nose is slightly sour and vinegary, softly malty and chocolaty, with some alcohol. Smells a little creamy. Smells pretty good.
Pours clear very dark brown with very mild head. Looks pretty good.
Flavor follows nose with a good bit of sweetness. Soft notes of vinegar and sourness. Soft spicy/peppery flavor. Soft malt - dark but not highly roasted - caramel and toast, chocolate and coffee. Medium-thin body with next to no carbonation. Tastes pretty good. Feels pretty good. Pretty good drinkability.
Tastes young, especially with the level of raw-tasting sweetness it has.
11-02-2009 02:52:10 | More by MrHungryMonkey
3.4/5 rDev -12.6%
Pours out like a good quad with 1/2 finger of off-white suds. Not a lot of lacing but very nice legs. A root beer color but much more cloudy.
Smell is caramel and fig with a very malty and sugary aroma.
Taste is very odd here. Kind of a bitterness like an IPA and not much maltysugars like are in the smell. You really can't taste the alcohol but you can feel it. Like a bourbon/scotch flavor added in there to booze it up.
Mouthfeel is fairly clean and only the last bit, after the alcohol has left,there is a slight stickyness. NOt a sweet stickyness,
Drinkability would be OK if it tasted more like a good quad.
Not really that good.
10-16-2009 01:59:56 | More by peabody
4.38/5 rDev +12.6%
this divine brew pours up a solid brown color with a thin off white head. very nice retentive lacing. in thine nose, i detect aromas of dark fruits, pears, red grapes, caramel malts, a nice quad aroma. the taste is rich malt, cocoa powder, dark fruits again, plums, dark grapes. no alcohol detected at all, masks it quite well....indubitably. very smooth, medium bodied, low carbo. a very tasty brew. eating a steak whilst enjoying this brew, really makes this beer taste like a cognac.
10-10-2009 05:28:52 | More by stumac
4.03/5 rDev +3.6%
Big thrill to see a bottle of this one in my fridge. Wrapped and caged I brought this one over for dinner last night. Served chilled and poured into a snifter.
Big dark brown pour here, nearly totally opaque with not much other then some light notes of reddish tint shining through on the sides and the bottom. Lots of light tan color foam on top reaches a height of around three inches then settles down nicely coating the inside of the glass. Rich notes of caramel, dark fruit, prunes, grapes, apples and a nice little bit of spice all playing off one an another quite well. Warming brings out even more sweetness and really gives it quite a bit of depth. Smooth with very subtle flavor here. Surprised there is not more of a boozy kick to be honest, but very well done here. Rich again with great fruit notes, and earthy spice like flavor and a touch of wood. Light finish, dry with a good bit of dark fruit sitting on the tongue long after the last sip.
Overall very solid, a nicely done version of the style for sure. I would have no issue at all with trying this one again, in fact I would very much like to seek it out. Nicely done as always from an always solid brewer.
10-06-2009 00:54:54 | More by mikesgroove
4.33/5 rDev +11.3%
750ml. brown champagne style bottle with a caged synthetic cork covered with textured silver foil. It pours a dark and murky brown with a sufficiant off-white head that leaves some lace that slips back down into the drink. Looks like a typical Belgian Quad.
The nose is spicy sweet of fig, plum, candi sugar and yeast...not a whole lot going on but it def has the smell of a quad...very Monk-y like.
The taste does not disappoint...very authentic for this style and that's not hard to wonder why. Sweet and spicy dark fruits with fig standing out and a big spicy, yeasty, candi sugar syrupy flavor taking hold of your tastebuds. The natural carbonation keeps the sweetness in check as the finish winds down on the tongue. The 10% ABV is really well hidden in the nose and the taste. It does turn up in the effect however, in a very pleasant manner.
Fairly full and quite smooth in the mouth, with a plus in drinkability, especially given the style and the higher octane content. This brew is a pleasure to consume with a price that's not atrocious, especially for an import. Give it a try if you can find it.
09-28-2009 07:07:11 | More by scottoale
3.33/5 rDev -14.4%
750 ml bottle poured into a Boulevard Smokestack chalice. No real head, that's a little disappointing. There is a ton of sediment, which I like, but I think it's the sediment that is creating the color density. Otherwise the color is a thin chestnut brown.
Smell has a mild spicy yeast that intensifies as the sediment merges. There is some sweetness from the candied sugar. A little caramel malt. Overall, kind of weak in the smell department. The yeast adds more spice in the taste.
Mouthfeel is thin. The last half of the bottle is much better than the first half. I really don't see this as a Quad. It's more of a Dubbel or a Belgian Dark Ale.
09-26-2009 14:49:08 | More by bort11
3.95/5 rDev +1.5%
A: Pours a cloudy dark brown color. A large beige head rises to over two fingers. The head has very good retention. Light lace is left behind.
S: This has a great spicy aroma up front. Some Belgian yeast as well. Sweet malts, bread/biscuit, and dark fruits come out as this warms up.
T: Spicy flavors with some yeast and sweet malt. Alcohol lingers around as well.
M/D: A medium body but a little over carbonated for me. The alcohol shows, but I am enjoying sipping on this.
I split this with a friend. Thats the way to go with this. A little to strong for me to sip it by myself, but it is very enjoyable. One of the better Mikkeller beers I have had. Recommended.
09-15-2009 00:47:27 | More by champ103
3.85/5 rDev -1%
Bottle: Poured a slightly cloudy deep brown color ale with a super huge foamy head with great retention and some very good lacing. Aroma of sweet caramelized malt with notes of light dry fruit and some fruity ester. Taste is also dominated by sweet caramelized malt with some notes of candi sugar and cookie dough. Body is quite full with great carbonation and no signs of alcohol. Well done thought it is lacking some complexity compared to some of the best from this style.
09-13-2009 02:50:00 | More by Phyl21ca
3.85/5 rDev -1%
corked bottle with 07/04/14 on the cork, served in maudite snifter.
A - very dark brown body, very very dark brown. head is a light cream colour, decent amount of foam, and falls down kinda quickly. very good lacing. no real complaints, but its no westy.
S - the smell is a bit off, nothing of the complexities that a quad should be. smells very malty, slightly fruity: prunes, dates, figs, raisins, but overall it just kind of smells like malts, slightly sweet, so like a fruit bread i guess. it kind of smells generic; if this brew were lighter coloured I wouldnt have clue as to what style it is. smells way
T - i'm really not that impressed. it has some of the right stuff, but not the whole picture. initial taste is more like a very carbonated bock than a quad: it has mainly a malt flavour, and some alcohol. there is a certain fruitiness to it, something like black cherries; the overall flavour is a bit spicy as well. the finish is just malty and a bit sweet, sometimes the alcohol comes out and burns, but not often. the aftertaste is just malty, which fades to almost nothing is no time at all.
MF&D - the feel is excellent, despite the lacking flavours. there is that perfect balance between levity of body and carbonation, but the body is just a bit too light to be perfect. despite the overall lack of performance on the flavour front, the brew is still quite pleasurable to drink, mainly because it goes down so easily.
09-12-2009 02:04:09 | More by erz316
4.13/5 rDev +6.2%
Poured from a cork finished 750ML bottle.
Pours a deep brown color with ample tight and creamy tan head. The aroma is slightly fruity, mostly raisin, fig and plum. The taste profile consists of the same, slightly sweet and fruity. I hate to sound like a Bud Light commercial, but this beer's drinkability is through the roof. light bodied, yet full flavored beer that lets her hair down and reveals the alcohol content as she warms up.
09-09-2009 19:15:08 | More by SpecsBEERMAN
3.18/5 rDev -18.3%
750 mL bottle with no freshness date obtained for $11.29
Appearance: Generous finger of head. Very dark chocolate brown, and quite opaque.
Smell: Whoa, the esters in this brew. I smell some substantial dark fruits and cherry, but the alcohol is very distracting.
Taste: I may not have refrigerated this long enough because the alcohol in this is just way too strong here. Maybe it would also help if it had aged and had time for the flavors to settle. But as it is, it's a bit unpalatable.... but I'm warming up to it as I drink more. The alcohol is still huge, but I can also now see the analogy to dark fruits and some of that does come into play nicely. There's also a lot of sugar; can definitely taste that candy syrup.
Mouth: Medium to Medium-high carbonation, good mouthfeel.
Overall/Drinkability: Overall the esters from this 10% ABV brew were too much for me. I love high gravity brews, but they usually don't taste like this.
09-05-2009 15:46:15 | More by ntraft
3.98/5 rDev +2.3%
A great addition to follow the Jackie Brown along my Mikkeller tour. The beer has a well-attenuated, ester-forward demeanor but lacks that 'it' that could make it compare favorably to Trappist versions.
The pour brings a wonderful raison-y colored mohogany, brown, Amber color with a purple-ish highlight here and there. Great lightly tanned head formation, very good retention, and a lot of lacing. A formitable Grand Cru look.
Deep aromas of sweeter bread malts (think fruitcake), along with strong esters of grapes, figs, dates, raisons, apples, cherries, and appricots decorate the nose quite nicely. Spices of corriander, orange peel, alcohol, white pepper, and to a lesser extent- cumin tickle the nose and give an intrigue to the beer going into taste.
Flavors are similar to the nose, favoring the esters above the malts and supressing the spiciness just a bit. Rum-soaked fruitcake lays the foundation for maltiness, esters, and ethynol profiles. Bready throughout but with heavy fruit overtones. Spices help to give complexity and variety to the beer in the absence of meaningful hop flavor.
The body might be where this beer separates from traditional Belgian varieties. Medium fullness and roundness, where the authentic ones are soundly full and robust. Still, this beer finishes quite dry, medium malty, medium on bitterness and bite, and medium on alcohol. Maybe too timid? But then we've seen American versions that throw caution to the wind and instead of increasing the intrigue, we create a mess of a beer. I think this beer is on the right track, but not quite reaching its intended destination.
08-04-2009 03:35:59 | More by BEERchitect
4/5 rDev +2.8%
Poured into my Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass, a very nice cloudy grapey color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy light tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with lots of grapes, raisins, figs, plums, with some caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, with lots of dark fruits. Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well for the brew. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew.
08-02-2009 18:27:18 | More by Wasatch
3/5 rDev -22.9%
Collaboration. Pours a dark burgundy color with a rudy red hue through out. Somewhat cloudy but a bit of chill haze. A soft white head with good retention and lacing but did dissipate through the tasting.
The nose has some good and some bad notes. There is a great bready mixed with a crystal malt aroma. Some melanodian almost Special B-esk malt aroma. Noticeable fig and raisin notes as well, with a hint of banana and cloves. A light plum note as well. Some butyric aromas are really off setting and leave a dirty drains type or image. Dank. On the back end there is a light black strap molasses note as well, that has the minerally off aroma that is just a big deterrent for me.
The taste is similar. Great malt notes with a stronger crystal and caramel malt notes. Some Belgian grainy flavors with a light bready/biscuit thing. Some yeasty notes but backs off versus the nose. The same off butyric notes are present in the taste. Really hard getting past this dank flavor. Some herbal and ester notes in the finish as well.
Moderate body with good carbonation. Overall really hard to get past the dank notes. Surprised this isn't rated lower.
06-12-2009 21:53:46 | More by Oxymoron
3.6/5 rDev -7.5%
Bottle shared by RoyMunson.
Pours a very dark brown in color with ruby highlights. Just the slightest of heads forming on the pour.
Smell is some belgian yeast, but the smell is dominated by rich, ripe dark fruits. Mostly plum and what seems to be black cherries as well. Very fruity.
Taste is even more of the dark fruit onslaught. Really encompasses most of the beer. Tends to get a little bitter in the middle. Still pretty full and enjoyable. Decent beer. I feel it needed something to detract from the dominant fruit flavor.
06-05-2009 13:38:22 | More by FtownThrowDown
Monk's Elixir (Monk's Brew) from Mikkeller ApS
87 out of 100 based on 276 ratings.