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

149 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 149
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
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Ratings: 149 | Reviews: 71
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.47/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, candied fruit, yeast, and spices. Taste is much the same with spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that tastes better than it smells.

Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monk's Cafe, which seems an appropriate place to try this beer.

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a hazy amber color capped by a finger's worth of foam; a few sheets and a number of shards of lace are left behind

Smell: Light fruits and herbal elements combine along with a hint of toffee

Taste: Toffee malt, up front, with a developing light fruit flavor; hoppy bitterness adds balance, by mid-palate and although the hop bill is Germanic, they taste more English in style; there is a peppery yeast character that arrives, after the swallow, but the finish tilts toward the sweeter malt flavors

Mouthfeel: Very Belgian, with a light to medium body and a soft carbonation

Overall: A really nice hybrid beer, with elements from all of the major brewing traditions combined in a sessionable ale

Photo of TMoney2591
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Thanks to papollo for this bottle!

This may be the end of my brief New Mexico excursion courtesy of papollo. (I love how I don't know for sure...) It pours a cloudy reddish-amber topped by a half-finger of white micro-foam. The nose comprises sweet sticky toffee and caramel and some slight orange-y citrus. The taste is similar, but the emphasis has shifted away from the maltier notes and more toward the citrus, particularly orange and orange rind. The body is a light medium, with a very light carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a solid brew, a bit of a weak example of a BPA, but pretty tasty nonetheless.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, slightly darker amber. Minimal head. Has a slightly sweeter edge with a nutty tone and deep body. Full and frothy on the mouth. Might be a bit too heavy for some for a session beer.

Overall I can't say I was entirely impressed by this production. In no way did it remind me of a Belgian brew at any level. (though before I departed the NM area for good, someone told me they changed the recipe...so maybe it will be better) It will be the first brew to be produced by an American monastery in 100 years when they get their facility set up on the grounds, but I can't say I felt there was anything special about it. I am wondering if the tap I had it from was not the best at the time. I plan to try it again and keep an eye out for other productions from the company/monastery.

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

Monk's Ale, made with care and prayer.
Aw....
Abbey Beverage Company, Pecos, NM
Hazy, rosy orange-ish color, tangerine and peach...small head.
Sweet nose, plenty of fruit, and a hit of spice. Lively yeast. Apricot and orange, and a little straw.
In the mouth, it's ...it's.. ah, ...eh...oh.
Bleh, to be succinct.
Thin bodied, small in flavor, lacking a lot. Drinkable, inoffensive, but lacking in charm, to say the least. Passable, at best, with hardly anything Monk-ish or abbey-like at all. Hardly even interesting as a pale ale.
Can't really hate it. Can't like it, either. Sorry.

Photo of drabmuh
2.48/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Beer is amber and clear with a thin white head with mild carbonation and some lacing looks fine.

Aroma is mildly sweet and almost smoky. What the fuck...

Beer is straight disgusting. Tastes like cigarette butts. Drain pour. Never again. Grainy harsh finish. Totally gross.

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 BARFLYB
2.95/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from Capone's, I've been seeing this pop up all over the city.

A- Comes out the bottle looking a nice shade of orangish copper with barely any foam being produced, even with a hard pour I only got sparse bubbles, no lace, looks dead.

S- The smell does not quite jump out at me, but with some sniffs I can tell there is nothing really to smell. Small traces of earthy hops under adjunct smells of corn and grain, not a good look.

T- I thought this may have some type of yeast giving off some type of flavors, but im left with a boring beer. It's a belgian pale ale alright, but the worst one i've had to date. This bottle is fresh and it just does not deliver. Im talking about adjunct tastes here, corn dammit. Sweet malt, grain.

M- Less than medium and kinda dead with the carb. There is a little prick here and there but this is virtually flat.

Im glad I gambled on only a bottle of this. It's not that good. I could drink this off the tap at a few local spots right now, but what's the point, this beer is not worthy. The bottle said this is brewed with care and prayer, I think next time they should put some more traditional brewing ingredients or change the recipe. I wish this brewery would pull out of PA, it's crowding the shelves and taps of other better beers. A huge let down.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Monk's Ale

Pours a medium amber/brown color, short livid off white foam and little lace. In the aroma, expressive Belgian yeast strain, caramel, and suggestions of wort. In the taste, mellow abbey yeast strain with a soft fruityness upfront. Caramel and raw grain flavors. Most flavors are complimentary but mild. Highlights the yeast pretty well, with a very light noble hopping and light grain bill. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a touch thin and carbonated well. Overall, an OK sessionable, no frills Belgian style brew.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bright brassy color pour. Clean and clear. White foam seemed to be confused as to settle down or stay. Splotchy, and I like that.

Spice up front on the nose. It's quick and tingly. Biscuit is next, rounded down with some citrus and zest.

Biscuity is the first thought on the taste. Wet dough. Spices break this up and allow the hops to attack the palate. Perhaps attack is too strong of a word, but they are there. Lemon and orange zest. It seems the monks should receive an 'A' for effort, but I think they have some tweaking to do. The flavors are there, just chaotic, imho.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.29/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Total Wine sold single bottles and was left with one less. I consumed this New Mexican blonde with a pork tenderloin dinner and served in a La Trappe chalice. On to the beer:

Its burnt orange color fills the glass and is topped with a small head which dissipates to a lace. Not much lace hangs around the glass. With a few whiffs through the nose, there's potential. The smell of clove, toasted brown sugar, and a kiss of mandarin orange make a good starting point for the blonde to take off from.

Starts off with a solid taste, although part way through it's missing something. Modestly spicy with a bready base and a hint of citrus. There are at brief moments which I also believed that I was drinking spiced air. Perhaps the touch of watered down body played a part for that. In a pinch, this is a decent Belgian styled beer. On an expanded menu, this is one that would probably be passed up.

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 corby112
2.23/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a cloudy, bright goldn orange/tangerine color with a one finger yellowish off white head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

Slightly earthy and spicy aroma with faint hints of light and citrus fruit. Some floral, piney hops countered by pale malt, pepper and orange peel. All of these characterisitics are minimal and the nose of this beer is pretty bland.

Thin bodied and kind of watered down with some grassy hops and zesty spice up front that linger over the pale malts and subtle fruit notes into a dry finish. Hints of apple and orange peel as well as some booze toward the finish. Again, as in the aroma, it's a bit of a stretch to pull these flavors out even after the beer warms. Mediocre and not very interesting. I was excited when I first heard about this brewery but Monk's Ale was a disappointment. Hopefully their other offerings are an improvement.

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 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 Bitterbill
3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with russpowell. Thanks Russ!

It pours a clear and very bubbly orange amber witha 3 finger head of foam that I was afraid would overflow but...it didn't. ;^)

It smells of fruit and yeast with a touch of caramel malt.

The taste is also fruity; I think I pick up notes of tangerine, some yeasty flavour, and honey with earthy notes. Fairly light bodied and medium to lightly carbonated, the finish falls fairly flat and becomes somewhat watery but before I get to that point, it's a pretty good sipper and quite drinkable but it is not quite what I'm used to when I think of Belgian Pale Ale.

Btw, the second pour was equally clear and the head retention was above average with some good lacing.

Photo of Haybeerman
3.84/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy orange/amber color. Poured a 3 finger off-white head with good retention to a 1 finger cap. Lightly decanted. Sticky webs of lacing all the way to the end.

S: Yeast esters; light-colored fruits. Mild clove and pepper spices.

T: Sweet malt character up front. Transitions quickly to fruity yeast esters; banana and green apple. Clove taste comes to bear ahead of a mild, building finish of pepper and lemon rind.

M: Light to medium body; a little bigger than I expected. Moderate carbonation. Really nice balance of sweet fruit in the finish.

O: Solid representation of the style. Flavorful, smooth and balanced in both taste and feel.

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 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 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!

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 mhaugo
2.34/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle decanted into a tulip glass. 5.1% ABV.
Appearance: The color of an aging penny. Overcast inside. It’s got the suggestion of a head that never really becomes one. The cloudiness clears up as it gets closer to room temperature (2.5/5).
Aroma: Prunes and figs. There’s some bready malt back there too. Sadly, I’m getting a lot of “wet cardboard” as well, which tells me its oxidized (2.25/5).
Taste: Oh, boy… is this oxidized and infected? It’s got a wild yeast dryness to it. I get some raisins, some plums, and maybe some vegetables too? I swear I taste a little bit of carrot and cabbage. This is all followed by a harsh bitterness. I guess this could be an early hop charge, but I’m not entirely certain it was intentional. It tastes out of place, as does everything else (2.25/5).
Mouthfeel: Light body, light carbonation. Very thin and slightly astringent (2.5/5).
Overall: So, this is probably another victim of poor retailer storage, but I’m guessing there are problems with this beer that predate the distributor. It doesn’t taste to style, nor does it taste like something I’d ever want to drink again. It’s just generally unpleasant. This is the first beer I’ve had from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, but after this one I’m not sure I’ll be racing out to get any others (2.25/5).

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 149 ratings.