Monks' Ale - Abbey Beverage Company (Monastery of Christ in the Desert)

Not Rated.
Monks' AleMonks' Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

148 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 148
Reviews: 71
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 13.51%
Wants: 3
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Abbey Beverage Company (Monastery of Christ in the Desert) visit their website
New Mexico, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Domingo on 04-24-2007

Monks’ Ale is distinctly fruity and spicy. The yeast lends a note of clove and in combination with the malt, hints of plum and apricot. The malt itself provides a honeyish quality up front, a round fullness in the middle, and the hops, together with our pure brewing water, lend a clean, dry finish.

18 IBU
View: Beers (6) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 148 | Reviews: 71
Reviews by OWSLEY069:
Photo of OWSLEY069
2.7/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clean orange-ish color with an off white head. In the aroma, light fruitiness and small notes of caramel and nuttiness. In the taste, light caramel, nutty, and a small fruity sweetness. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry fruity caramel in the aftertaste. Too nutty and caramel for a Belgian pale, eh!

More User Reviews:
Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From beernews.org: It's along the lines of the beers Trappist breweries produce for the monks themselves to drink but don't sell commercially (such as Westmalle Extra and Chimay Doree). A 1.052 (13 degrees Plato) beer, it's 4.7% abv and 16 IBUs. The grain bill included two-row pale, honey malt and aromatic malt, and Monk's Ale was hopped with Hallertauer, Styrian Goldings and Czech Saaz.(Brew Like a Monk Sept. 25, 2005)

The Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Abiquiu, New Mexico, U.S.A., was founded in 1964 by Fr. Aelred Wall, OSB, with monks of Mount Saviour Monastery in New York state. In 1983 the Monastery of Christ in the Desert was received into the English Province of the Subiaco Congregation as a Conventual Priory and in 1996 became an autonomous abbey.


On-tap at Monk's Café.

Pours a hazy yellow-golden color with a one-finger bright white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of light malts with crisp medium fruits - pears mostly - and moderate amounts of earthy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Neutral light malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by smooth and light medium fruit flavors. Slight amounts of breadiness work their way into things midway through the sip, as do earthy and light citrus hop flavors. The hops carry through to a crisp and mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a smooth thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I had no problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this was a solid beer for the style, it didn't try and do too much. A simple and fairly drinkable beer that's worth a shot.

Photo of Auraan
3.82/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a pretty cloudy amber with no real head. It looks nice in body, but it does lack that Belgian head that is always a joy. Scents of candi sugar sweetness, spicy Belgian yeast, slight bubblegum and some faint apricot-like fruity esters. A good aroma profile, very true to form for a Belgian Pale and very nice. Flavor begins with a nice sweet malt, mingling with flavors of clove, white pepper and citrus. The middle lead into more clove and white pepper, with some slight hints of citrus peel and alcohol. Finish is medium-dry with notes of clove, white pepper, a hint of alcohol and some citrus peel with a bit of bready malt. A good flavor profile overall, quite true to form for a Belgian Pale Ale. Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied with moderate carbonation and a slightly smooth feel. Very nice, quite true to style. Overall a nice Belgian Pale Ale, with a nice aroma and flavor profile and a good mouthfeel. Not the best example of the style, but still quite nice.

Photo of LXIXME
4.36/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an inch or so above the glass leaves a big off white to light tan head that settle into bubbly sort of carbonated lacing or decent worth above a clear coppery to reddish which also seems to have a golden glint to it, very appealing.

A mixed citrus fruit hops aroma with a little something in the background, a light toffee maybe caramel.

A medium bodied beer that has nice mix of sweet caramel malts and citrus hops taste with a very pleasant slightly dry aftertaste.

It seems to me to be very fresh or something, as if this was just sent out recently or if this has been sitting it sits very well.

I was very pleased with this beer, I'm gonna have to grab some more of these for sure.

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
2.96/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One bottle of a mix-a-six from Abe's of Bethlehem, PA purchased 12/1/10. There is 0810 printed on the bottle, possibly indicative it was brewed in 8/10. Poured into a St. Bernadus chalice @ 55 deg F.

a- Very very clear. Little to no head. Absolutely no yeasties or settling in the bottle. Very nice amber color. It's almost as if they let too much of the yeast ferment out when they were brewing the beer.

s- Boozey beligan yeast scent. Fruity esters present. Not very strong scent... I really had to swirl it around and almost submerge my nose to smell it.

t- Very sweet and inoffensive. It was a little unpleasant around the edges... almost like they used an adjunct of some sort. For some odd reason I had a flashback of being in college and drinking Natty Ice. I get a few green apple notes and a sour taste.

m- Properly carbonated. No issues here. It may be from the 4-months of age or the very clear color...

d- Very easy to drink and does not burn or taste like alcohol.

I think this may be a good starter Belgian beer as a stepping stone from mass-produced swill but other than that its really not worth it. It you like Bud Light, Coors Light, or Miller Lite, do yourself a favor at your wedding and splurge on this fancy shit. Nice shiny bottles to boot.

Photo of tempest
3.57/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a glass at Monk's Cafe for $3.50. This is an interesting Belgian ale, it sort of came off like a Belgian-style bitter or extra pale ale. My only complaint is that there's a slight vinegar taste, a sort of dry astringency that takes away from the mouthfeel. Still, there's a lovely candied fruit aroma with toasty malt below that carries over into the flavor. It's a light and drinkable beer, but needs a touch more sugar.

Photo of russpowell
4.04/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Based on notes, picked this up in Las Cruces, NM

Poured an effervescent amber with a very modest white head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Fruitty with some musty notes

T: Apricots & peach, plus some honey up front. Lemony hops & honey malt as this warms. Finishes dry with peppery & lemony hops & fruitty

MF: Chewy with moderate, but assertive carbonation, skews a tad malty for the style

Drinks pretty good, reminds me of Duvel, minus some hops

Photo of EagleTalon
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out to a frothy buff head with good retention and a bright copper color. Aroma is cloves, spices and bubblegum and caramelized malts. Flavor is much like the aroma, with a grainy, biscuity finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium and "smooth". Overall a very good beer.

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Has a deep golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is somewhat sweet and fruity. Taste also has some fruit notes, a slight sweetness and a touch of spice. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

Photo of ocelot2500
2.9/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy slightly orange gold color with a tight white head that leaves little lacing.

Smells of pale malts, spice, and some fruitiness.

Tastes of not much. Some fruit sweetness comes through, but is very light. Spice is not as evident as in the nose. Pale malts are evident.

Mouthfeel is light with a very small amount of carbonation.

Photo of EgadBananas
2.92/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice light amber in color, off white head with predominant lacing. Looks damn decent.

Smell is a lot underwhelming with some sweet malts and soapy undertones. Not horrid, but very lackluster.

Taste is much of the same with the malts righting the majority. Theres not much else to fall back on. Hops are not much there.

The feel is a little more comforting, medium and smooth.

There is nothing wonderous about this brew, but it was a pretty decent offering. I think theres much room to work on with the belgian front for this brewery.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Monk’s Ale has a thin, almost nonexistent, white head, a mostly clear, orange-gold appearance, with tight bubble streams and no lacing left behind. The aroma is of rich, sweet fruits, sweet bread, and spice. Taste is the same, with low bitterness and no cloying aspects. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Monk’s Ale finishes crisp, refreshing, and highly drinkable. A very smooth, Belgian-style ale. I give this a strong recommendation.

RJT

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle without a freshness date pours a very light copper color with a creamy off-white foam. Does not have overly great retention but does leave some nice lacing.

Surprisingly, the nose is decently Belgian. Rock candy and brown sugar, little bit of doughy yeast and rum-spiced soaked raisins.

Spicy and doughy yeast flavors are pretty nice and meld well with some sugary sweetness. I am tasting spices in here, perhaps lavender, licorice and/or chamomile? There is a nice hop bittering that is noticeable on the finish. Yea, it's a pretty tame interpretation of a Belgian ale, but it is pretty tasty and goes down easy. It's a good buy at 7.99 a six pack and would certainly warrant a six-pack purchase every now and again.

Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy reddish-golden in color, with a large, persistent white head, slght carbonation, and fine Belgian lacing.

Aroma: Sweet malt, spicy hops and coriander are notable in the aroma, as well as apricot rinds, and citrus.

Taste: Opens with a mildly sweet note, and prominent fruit notes of apricots, and oranges. A bread malt backdrop is present throughout. Later in the taste, earthy and spicy hop notes appear. Finishes with a mild, lingering herbal hop bitterness.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, quite pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: I rather liked this, perhaps its not strictly to style, but it is is till very pleasant and drinkable.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass long neck bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a standard Pilsener glass.

Photo of Zorro
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Kelly's in Albuquerque.

Gemstone clear copper colored beer with a decent tan head.

The scent is mild and sweet with the unmistakable scent of coriander and spice, as you would expect from a Belgian style beer. Lots of herb and spice scent are present, pretty much your standard Belgian Pale Ale scent.

The taste starts malty with coriander and malt being the dominant flavors. Herbal and woody in the mouth this isn't an over sweet ale. Not a lot of nuance just mild and fault free Belgian Pale Ale flavor in a dry rendition.

The mouthfeel is good.

Very drinkable ale here for those that like them mild and dry. When I got this it was just as a wild gamble I never expected this to be a good beer or and accurate one to a style. Mild and Dry Belgian Style ale from an unexpected source and place.

Photo of zdk9
3.08/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a hazy medium orange with a possible green tinge. A full finger of head develops. So far the lacing is strong, and fairly thick.

S- The aroma is sweet. My first impression is corn but that happily wafted away after a second. My second impression was candy- bubblegum. There's some sweeter malt- fake honey, orange slice candies. And there's also a bit of plastic.

T- The taste is better, not amazing but certainly quaffable. Corn and straw mingle along with white bread covered in the lightest of toasted flax and rye seeds. If I try I can detect some yeast characteristic, but it's faint at best.

M- Fine here, goes down fairly lightly and quickly.

O- Not the best beer, but not the worst either. The taste is inoffensive enough for me to enjoy drinking. I'm looking forward to what an American Abbey brewery can do with some more time and experience- it certainly is a unique venture.

Photo of OneDropSoup
3.13/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Transparent reddish-amber body with gold highlights under a finger of loose, frothy head that drops to a thin coating & leaves some webbed lacing around the crown.

Smell is of a thin, Juicy Fruit kind of fruity bubble gum, with a little bit of pepper & a flinty, metallic sort of ring. A little pineapple, slightly musty.

Taste starts off with the fruit gum character again, then cuts it off halfway & turns to a kind of weak graininess, corn-like, even, with more flintiness. Finishes with a dull kind of orange, maybe a little tea. Nothing offensive but pretty flat & hollow.

Medium-light-bodied, some sweet body but coupled with that flinty flatness that's not so great.

Taste qualification pretty much sums it up: Nothing real offensive here, but in a lot of ways resembles macro taste & feel. Reminds me of a faux-craft brand attempt by the big boys.

Photo of nach0king
3.46/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Quite light for a Belgian pale ale but one that, if you like spice, will grow on you:

A: The head went a bit too quickly but it was lovely before that, and even after there was some creamy lacing. A deep, metallic copper.

S: A little bit of spice and grains - nothing bitter on the nose at all.

T: You can tell it's quite heavily hopped but at the same time there's some clove-y funk and a great deal of spice. Really this rounds all the bases. Gets better as you drink it.

M: Tiniest bit of effervescence gives way to chewiness.

This would be readily sessionable. As it stands I want to try their other stuff.

Photo of woodychandler
3.97/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another interesting beer brought to me courtesy of local trader, tone77.

In my field persona of Brother Woody of the Order of Disorder, I am a Trapped monk, so this ale must be for me.

From the bottle: "made with care and prayer".

My pour resulted in a finger of tawny head with very good retention in the face of today's heat and humidity. Color was an oh-so-slightly hazy orangish-amber. Nose had an almost perfume-like tropical fruitiness with notes of mango and orange. Mouthfeel was fairly full with a mild tropical fruitiness on the tongue. Finish was fruity and refreshing, very pleasant on this hot day.

Photo of bleeng
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the restaurant in Albuquerque. Served in their glass=nice. Light brown and filtered and a bit too cold. Nose is malts and sweetness-this has all the makings of a dubbel. Taste of malts, candi sugar, lightly spiced, alcohol is present but not overwhelming. Body is light and fluffy, very drinkable. Goes down very smooth and the flavors really come out after the beer warms up. Will search out this in bottle.

Photo of cowace2
3.98/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a hazy pale ale, very nice and hearty. Smell isn't anything special.

Maybe the most flavorful low ABV beer I've found. Great balance and a great malt mix. A bit lighter than I like from the style. The low ABV is kind of nice too if you're looking for something to drink all night.

A better than average beer; I have to give it some extra love for how and where it is made. It comes from a real functioning abbey, it is so genuine and humble. It is the polar opposite of AB/Coors/Miller/et al and I love it for that.

Quality is great for the price also, $7 for a sixer at the store and $3.50 for a bottle at the local bar.

Photo of Pellinore1
3.72/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours cloudy orange, producing less than a finger of nearly white head. This fades quickly, leaving little just a bit of lacing.

Smells a bit sweet and fruity, and reminds me of tart apples.

I taste light malt, some sweet fruity notes as in the smell, and and bit of breadiness. The finish is clean and crisp, and the flavors do not linger long.

Light to medium-bodied, with some nice carbonation, this is pretty pleasant on the tongue.

An enjoyable brew overall, with excellent drinkability. I poured this a little cold, and notice definite improvement as it warms.

Photo of bmwats
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Dark amber hue. Pours a 1 finger, tight, foamy, white head. Settles quickly leaving a thick beer ring. Thick beer ring lacing.

S: Grass, a little citrus zest, a slight hop, a touch of honey, and coriander.

T: Cardboard, lightly sweetened hop, coriander, and pepper. A bit of a butterscotch or caramel, but very light.

M: Earthy and grainy. A little shallow. Synthetically sweet feeling finish.

D: Session.

Atmosphere is pretty solid. Dark hue, tight foamy head, and plenty of thick persistent lacing. Nose is grassy more than grainy, accentuated with a little citrus zest, hop, honey, and coriander. Cardboard and white bread, with a slight sweet hop bite, and spice. Overall, this is a pretty good quaff.

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Possible freshness date on label, but it is not clearly marked.

Pours with a slightly cloudy amber/orange body under a finger of white head that rather quickly fades to a thin layer on the surface. This looks rather lackluster compared to an actual Belgian Pale ale from Belgium, but it looks fine for an American version.

Smells of light juicy-sweet hops, light sweet pineapple, and with some swirling, a touch of golden toasted malt.

The taste gives center stage to some bready, yeasty, (and rather rich) malts. These are paired closely with some Belgian yeast notes (slightly phenolic). The hops that were so prevalent in the nose (maybe that was partly yeast?) are subtle here, and they add a small measure of bitterness.

The mouthfeel is smooth and forgiving, with lighter medium body and soft carbonation.

Conclusion: First of all, let me say I really like this beer. It isn't the usual take on a Belgian Pale Ale, and since the Belgians themselves care so little about the mundane idea of "style guidelines" I will choose not to as well when I review a Belgian style beer. This isn't like other Belgian pale ales I have tasted, but it is good and interesting, and thus I like it.

Photo of Oakenator
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark amber to brown with a finger of head. Head lingers a bit and leaves nice spotted lacing on the glass.

S: Malty.

T: Definitely a good amount of malting in this beer but also getting some molasses on the finish. Flavor of an Belgian Dubbel without the ABV.

M: Good heft to this brew for a 5.1 - really nice flavor.

O: Good beer.

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Monks' Ale from Abbey Beverage Company (Monastery of Christ in the Desert)
79 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.