Monk's Elixir (Monk's Brew) - Mikkeller ApS

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Monk's Elixir (Monk's Brew)Monk's Elixir (Monk's Brew)

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BA SCORE
88
very good

356 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 356
Reviews: 146
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.28%
Wants: 22
Gots: 36 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS visit their website
Denmark

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2008

Brewed at De Proef Brouwerij, Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium.

Ingredients: Water, malt (pilsner and pale), candy syrup, cassonade sugar, hops (northern brewer, hallertauer and styrian goldings), ale yeast
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 356 | Reviews: 146
Photo of SPThirtyThree
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Monk's Elixir, delivered to me in a chalice at Falling Rock after GABF, is a dark, almost black brown with glimmering amber and ruby highlights. The head glues itself to the walls of the goblet in an extremely persistent lace. Beautiful.

S: Monk's Brew is about as estery as beer can get. The nose is packed with cloves, banana, toffee, grapefruit, candi sugar, bananas, and pineapple. The spicy, tangy profile leans heavily towards candi sugar byproducts.

T: The taste is a medium-bodied, malty and sour. All of the aromas are present in the taste, but the flavor is more sour than the nose led on.

M: Mikkeller went with a mouthfeel that is rather astringent, with carbonation on the low end of the scale.

D: Drinkability is fair. This is more bitter than I would expect from a quad, but the fruity esters are interesting.

Note to self: re-review this beer in a state of lower inebriation, and in a more private setting...

Photo of stephens101
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with some interspersed garnett hues. Has a smallish off-white head that has very little staying power. Some tiny dots and fingers of lace stick around.

Big welcome sweet malts assault the nose with grape and grain following closely behind. Tastes fruity (figs, grapes) and vinous with a discernible alcohol heat at the end. Notes of licorice, grain, saffron bitterness and very subtle sweet chocolate also exist. Has a medium to heavy mouth-feel and a slightly creamy middle and dry at the edges.

Complex and tasty brew. Not quite as smooth as some of it's more established brethren, but a damn good Quad for a change of pace.

Photo of Arenbeer
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 corked and caged bottle received from abrand, thanks a lot man!

Poured into a DFH Snifter Glass

A- Pours a really dark murky brown with a nice 2 finger tan/ off white head that doesn't stick around but LLAB and leaves some fossils of it's existence!

S- Sweet malts and caramel with a pretty decent alcohol presence and booziness but not enough to turn one away. Roasted burnt Dark fruits and real sweet brown sugar are also apparent.

T- Real sweet caramel malts with a great dark fruit presence like raisins, figs, plums, or grapes. Also a lot of sweetness from the molasses sugar with a decent booze finish that for 10% is barely noticeable even when it warms up to room temp.

M- Full body but not as thick most quads are. Has moderate to lower carbonation with a more wet finish. Not to much bitterness or dry.

Great beer overall, definitely worth a try if you like sweet Belgian style brews.

SkÅL!

Photo of drabmuh
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A mediocre quad from Mikkeller. Beer is brown and very hazy with a weak thin head of off white tiny bubbles that quickly breaks but rallies to forms a little lacing on the glass.

Aroma is super sweet...lots of caramel, shorted out my circuits. I bet this is going to be a cloying mess.

Not quite...its thinner on teh palate than it should be (especially being that sweet). I suppose its the high alcohol that does that. At least the beer isn't hot, it kind of tastes like melt caramel in beer form. Carbonation is low in the mouth, its way way too sweet for me. Not feeling it. There are quads infinitely better than this.

Photo of glid02
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Leon's Full Service in Atlanta.

Pours a hazy golden-brown color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of grainy caramel malts with solid amounts of raisins and brown sugar. As the beer warms the aroma sweetens up a bit and alcohol is noticeable.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth caramel malt flavors up front are joined quickly by booze-soaked figs and raisins. Midway through the sip the fruit flavors fade a bit and brown sugar and heavier molasses flavors make an appearance. The molasses and caramel malt flavors carry through to a mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I wasn't a huge fan of this beer as it seemed heavy on the malt side and the fruit flavors weren't as well integrated as the better beers of the style. Still, it's a solid beer and it's worth a shot to see for yourself.

Photo of daledeee
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased this and was served in an oversized snifter.

The beer has a huge light tan head and black body. Lacing and a small head stayed.

Nose is slight. Earthy and malt.

Taste reminded me of a very bitter imperial stout, but it is classified as a quad. The taste is earthy, musty, bitter, coffee, malts. I think this one would age nicely.

Mouth feel is quite good with alcohol hidden. Drinkability is good.

Photo of Dawkfan
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Beautiful looking pour into my goblet. The body is a murky deep brown, not sure about the lacing as this head just won't quit. Really impressive!! Thick beige head never does totally settle and I can't wait any longer. Amazing retention & lacing, this deserves full marks.

S- Boozy raisins, figs, dark berries. Sweet malt backbone of toffee, caramel and burnt sugars. Not as potent as I was hoping for.

T- Not the big/bold flavors I've become accustomed to for this style. Usually I'm searching for words & descriptions because of the layers of flavors, but this one seems fairly straight forward. Dark fruits hit first, cherries, rasins, plums and figs followed by a somewhat spicy sugary chewy type finish. There's an odd kind of bitterness that lingers as well. The alcohol is very well masked.

M- Medium to full bodied mouthfeel, carbonation feels a touch to high to me. There's a sugary/sticky type feel as well.

D- Not nearly as complex as most of the better quads, which happen to be one of my favorite styles. It was easy to get down for 10%, and I'd have it again just to gaze at it's appearance.

Photo of Pencible
4.56/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a translucent dark mahogany with some light tan head.
S: It smelled like rick dark fruits (plumb, raisin, cherry) and brown sugar and molasses, with a bit of oak and bourbon.
T: It tasted like brown sugar and molasses and powdered sugar, with plumb and dark cherry and raisin, as well as earthy chocolate and creamy yeast. It had a sweet and mellow aftertaste.
M: It was thick and creamy with smooth carbonation.
D: This was absolutely fantastic with tons of complexity and rich flavors. It had amazing body too, and hid the alcohol like crazy, so it was infinitely easy to drink. Reminiscent of Van De Keizer (blue), which is one of my favorite dark Belgian ales ever. This could maybe improve with age, but I already love it fresh.

Photo of biboergosum
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml (for a Quad, really?) foil and champagne cork-enclosed bottle - yet another pain-in-the-ass synthetic cork to remove, sans any grace whatsoever. Gah.

This beer pours a hazy, rather dark and muddled cola brown colour, with a teeming tower of effervescent, puffy, and foamy beige head, which leaves some thinly sudsy webbed lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of lightly roasted caramel malt, black fruit - figs and dates, mostly - candied holiday bread, brown sugar, treacle, and a rum and fortified wine like booziness. The taste is strong caramel and toffee malt, besotted raisins, bittersweet chocolate, demarara sugar, the sweet and acidic nature of barely ripened plums, and a very mild vinous alcohol warming.

The carbonation is fairly low, just going about its quotidian duties, the body a decent medium weight, smooth, and somewhat silky. It finishes well off-dry - quite sugary and fruity, with the earthy, leafy hops coming round to blend into the still coy booze warming.

One easy-drinking Quad, if a bit simplistic, if there ever was such a thing. Despite my description, this is perhaps a bit more complex than that, but the focus really seems to be more on the clean, smooth, tasty, and imperceptible strength of this offering. Good stuff, even for the price, which for the vessel in question, is indeed a veritable bargain.

Photo of SleepyMonk
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled 750ml bottle, caged cork with silver/chrome aluminum foil wrap poured into a Westmalle Chalice.

Pours a very regal dark chocolate syrup color very reminiscent of an espresso. A thin (1 finger) lightly tan head bubbles to the surface and sticks together for a reasonable period of time leaving behind a very even spread lacing.

Aroma is very easily defined. Tasty roasted malts, baked dough, freshly fire gazed brown sugar and dried dark fruits.

Taste is more of the same, malt in all forms and well balanced with a complimentary ester. If you can bother to play around with this in the mouth, i.e. dragging some air in with each sip etc, you can get the sweetness from sugar and molasses plus some nice fruit notes.

In the mouth this is just short of full bodied and very smooth. The alcohol didn't have as much impact as I initially expected it would.

Overall this looks the business, the aroma is very good and the taste is world class, however, it lacked that extra 10% that would make this a straight up classic worthy of shouting the house down. Maybe a little careful aging may help as the dynamic certainly shifts a little in the taste department after this is allowed to move up towards room temp.

Hey, you could do a lot worse than drinking a Mikkeller, so if you've been wondering I recommend giving it a run.

Photo of drpimento
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mmmmm malty heaven. Poured with a nice off white head and lots of lace. Color is a cloudy amber brown. Aroma is very malty yeast dark ripe fruit. Flavor is like nose. Easy drinking. Body is good and ditto carbonation. Finish is nice and on the short side.

Photo of tmoneyba
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy brown color with an average frothy brown head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted malt, caramel, chocolate and small alcohol aroma. Medium body with a smooth sticky texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy chocolate sweet flavor with a medium to heavy sweet finish of moderate to long duration. Solid complex brew.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

"Monk's Brew", eh? Well, it must be true, as those two guys on the bottle are both tonsured. That's about all it takes for me. The pour is as dark as a monk's robe and has the same coloration: dark, dusty black-brown, with that lighter splash on top (normally, this would be the monk's head, but this time it's the beer's). Though he may spend quite a bit of his time praying, the monk also toils diligently in the garden. Returning, he reeks of walnuts, dust, figs, wheat, and sawdust. When he brews, he likes to assimilate many of these scents into his beers; it's what he knows, what he loves. Thus, walnuts, wheat, sawdust, raisins, dried oak, and plenty o' brown sugar pervade his concoctions. Yeah, he's heavy (there's a Hollies-based joke in there somewhere, but I'm too lazy to tease it out), but he ain't no Tuck, that fat lunatic. (Is it me, or was Friar Tuck a symbol of a greedy church looking to stick it to a strangely newly-assertive crown? Or was it the same greedy church stricken by guilt and looking to make amends? Too literary, I know, but this brew has brought these ideas out of some demented corner of my mind.) He's also not all that bubbly, but he'll always have a welcoming ear should you come a-knocking at his cell door. Although confessions with him can be spiritually uplifting, I have trouble seeing him all that often, as he is usually a bit too booze-headed.

Photo of BeanBone
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A thick dark brown, very nearly black, body capped by a finger and a half of beige head that features solid retention and great lacing.

Aroma: Dark-fruity yeast and a rich caramel malt body with notes of sticky toffee pudding and burnt sugar. As it warms, a medium alcohol character begins to emerge.

Flavor: Raisiny and date-like yeast esters over a malt body featuring toffee, burnt sugar, and a couple of grainy notes. Mild, herbal hops strive to keep everything balanced. There's a little bit of mild alcohol throughout, adding some needed complexity. Dark fruit, grainy malt, and mild booze in the finish.

Mouthfeel: A somewhat creamy medium body with smooth medium carbonation and a drying finish. A few hints of warmth from the alcohol.

Drinkability: Much easier drinking than the double-digit alcohol content would suggest, this is a beer that can sneak up on you if you're not careful.

Verdict: Monk's Brew is a solid, though generally unexciting dark Belgian that would benefit greatly from more intensity. Just watch out for that well-hidden punch!

Photo of fairdinkum2
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm a little conflicted over this beer. Certainly one of my favorite styles and this beer pours and smells very much according to the style. Dark, chocolaty, translucent brown. Poured from a pint bottle into a tulip glass. Not much head or retention.

Nose of dried fruits, sweet bread and chocolate.

A little surprised with the taste. Expected more sweetness. Lots of coffee, some dried fruit, but not the depth I was hoping for. Also exhibited a not entirely pleasant bitter nuance at the back palate. Decent mouthfeel.

Photo of mdagnew
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle bought online from Beermerchants.com

Poured a deep burgundy red / brown colour with a slight haze... Creamy tan head poured quite foamy but faded very quickly to thin covering with thick edging... fair amount of carbonation bubbles... light patchy lacing...

Aroma - Dark spicy fruits (raisins, prunes, some blackcurrents), strong toasted toffee maltiness, some molasses notes, caramel, light aniseed hints, some light rum traces, vanilla, some nuttiness, peppery hops...

Taste - Sweet and spicy fruits (definite raisins and prunes, spicy apples, some figs and blackcurrents), brown sugar / toffee sweetness, milk chocolate, toasted bready maltiness, strong Belgian yeastiness, light herbal notes, nice warming alcohol, liquorice hints, spicy hops...

Feel - Quite sharp and dry then some smoothness coming through after.. Medium / full bodied... Pretty drinkable considering the strength...

Overall - An excellent beer yet again from Mikkeller... recmmended..

Photo of becktone
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 12-5-09

Eye: Exactly as expected; dark brown with garnet hues at the edges. Head is creamy in appearance and tan in color. Formation is nice but retention is a bit lacking, less its the glass. Sheets of lace coat the glass. I'm only left wanting for a thicker head.

Edit: Upon second pour of this beer into the Chimay goblet retention is much better, I don't think I could really ask for more from this beer in terms of appearance.

Nose: Nice dark caramel and dark malt aroma. Some dark fruit too, but quit easy going...like plums. Alcohol is noticeable, adds some sweetness. Hints at dark sugar, rumminess. Use of Belgian yeast is apparent but its hard to put a finger on any specific qualities it has besides that its belgian. No spiciness to this strain, no noticeable esters, fruitiness but thats about it. Very nice smelling, Would like it to be more potent though and a bit easier to get into.

Edit: Going back to the aroma after the first glass I'm almost getting like a milk chocolate covered dark fruit...dark cherry or raspberry...light on the chocolate though heavier on the cherry or raspberry. Nice!

Tongue: Right on for what this beer is. Some nice sweet mild colored and caramel malts at the finish, mixed with alcohol. Alcohol is evident but is a part of the style and adds to the beer, it fits. Fruitiness is underneath everything, very subtle...hints of black/sour cherries hide beneath everything creating depth. Some chocolate from darker malts is in here too. After a bit the alcohol starts to become annoying. If only it were hidden better....still nice to drink though, but.... I'm getting some slight spice from the alcohol, like a light white pepper. Balance for sweetness and underlying dark fruit comes from alcohol. Overall a very nice beer

Feel and Drinkability: Finish is dry, leaving alcohol on the palate, leaving the palate wanting another drink to soothe it. Medium heavy on the palate, not quite as full as I expected it to be. First of all, I mean full for a belgian is different than full for a RIS, but still, I think that this one is a bit lesser than what I'd expected. Carbonation is low, which is good, adds to a fuller body. I'll definitely enjoy the rest of this beer, and I'm glad I picked this one up. Definitely worth it, however I'll prolly not visit it again anytime soon. I think there are better out there...Rochefort 10... but still a solid offering, well more than solid, great. One bottle is enough, don't think I could drink more than one 750 in a sitting, and I'm prolly not meant to, thats why its packaged this way.

Photo of wl0307
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the BSF bar, GBBF 2009, at around 7-8 quid. Coming in a big 750ml brown bottle, corked and caged; BB 07/04/2014, served cool in Hapkin's bulb-shaped sniffer.

A: pours a slightly murky, dark brown hue with mild red hues when seen against light; the beige beer head doesn't last long, retreating fast to a thin foam on top of rather fine fizziness.
S: as estery fruity as deeply malty, the aroma gives mixed hints of sour-sweet brown prunes, overripe black plums, slightly oxidised pears, estery honey notes (this bit quite like a barley wine), brown sugar soup, sweet citrus notes slightly like tangerines; after a good swirl, the syrupy and also bitter chocolaty characters of dark malts and sugar develop along with a bit more alcoholic edge. Hops are mild overall, leaving the stage mainly for the heavy malts and fruit esters. Likeable but not complex, at times smelling slightly "flat" actually.
T: lightly effervescent swallow of honey-flavoured dates, bitter-sweet chocolates, and semi-smoked red beans of malts slowly precedes a smooth aftertaste where hops and yeastiness render a semi-clean, semi-dry finish with an additional touch of herbal bitterness. But after this, the malt aroma and sweetened boiled red beans (a by-product of estery dark ales in general) seem to make a "kick-back" deep down the palate to prolong the aftertaste even more, whilst showing very little impact of alc. overall (but of course, as it warms up a bit, the alc. is more easily felt).
M&D: the carbonation remains mild and just enough to render a fresh palate, while the alc. (10%?) really hides very well - overall an easy drinker for this beer style, I'd say. The down side really is the lack of complexity. Although the structure is well in place - leading from estery fruitiness and malts through hop undertone towards a mellow and aromatic finish - I cannot help feeling a bit dissatisfied with the lack of more "colours" on the canvas.

Photo of jdklks
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one was a let down from a brewery that is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The appearance is dark brown with light highlights on the edges and through the middle when backlit. The head was almost non-existent, but what did foam was a dark shade of tan (not quite getting to brown). The aroma (much like the taste unfortunately) is enormously underwhelming. Some beligian yeast (not much), some figs and perhaps apricot, a little brown sugar sweetness, and alcohol. Not all that impressed.

The flavor is not nearly as complex as I've come to expect from the style. The brown sugar that usually highlights the overall sweetness in the style (especially complimenting the dark fruits) is burnt and not all that pleasant. Belgian yeast and alcohol are about all that remain after the roasty sugars have had their way. Not complex at all. "Safe" would describe what Mikkeller has done with the style, and safe is not at all THEIR style. What happened here??? no one knows.

Mouthfeel is a little undercarbonated and, perhaps because of this, too syrupy for a quad. The drinkability is so-so. I finished the bottle, but wouldn't want any more.

Photo of Spineypanda
3.48/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Has a dark brown color with a nice large head. Big a fluffy!
Smells of yeasts and some esters that give it an alcohol smell, but not an overwhelming one. Has a bit of the roasted malts smell and some caramel.
Tastes like it has some dark fruits to it, a bit of the caramel taste, but an overall great flavor.

I will enjoy again.

Photo of jjayjaye
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of brouwer
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of WesWes
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of Xul
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"I'm like a monk with a taste for hookers."

--Moby

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.

Monk's Elixir (Monk's Brew) from Mikkeller ApS
88 out of 100 based on 356 ratings.