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Monkey Wrench Strong Ale - Daleside Brewery

Not Rated.
Monkey Wrench Strong AleMonkey Wrench Strong Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

65 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 65
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 6.74%
Wants: 2
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Daleside Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rastaman on 04-01-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 65 | Reviews: 57 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.9/5  rDev +1%

Weathered bronze suffused with generous amounts of rusted orange and cranberry red. The monkey's cap is golden ecru in color and is both firm and creamy at once. It looks good, both on its own and in combination with the beer beneath. An attractive display of lace doesn't hurt either.

The nose is toasted dark malty and is earthy in the best possible use of that term. There's a wee whiff of something darker, black licorice perhaps, but the aroma isn't powerful enough to tease out any subtleties. Perhaps it'll open up with warming (it doesn't).

Monkey Wrench tastes more like a dark mild than a strong ale, but then that's coming from an American who is used to the American take on things. Actually, it's 'darker' than a dark mild, but is still on the mild side by my palate. A cross between a dark mild and a porter perhaps?

I must confess, I don't really understand this whole English strong ale thing. How is a 5.3% beer considered a strong ale of any kind? Especially when at least two of Daleside's other beers, Morocco Ale (5.5%) and Ripon Jewel Ale (5.5%) are higher in alcohol and are an herbed/spiced beer and an English pale ale respectively? Ah well, it doesn't really matter as long as the beer is good. Which it is. As are those other two.

As the beer warms, I'm beginning to appreciate its nuances. Bruised banana, especially, has come to the fore. That, in combination with a a certain spiciness, leads me to think of it as an especially dunkelish dunkel weizen. The same licorice/anise character that I appreciated in the nose is now much more evident. This is surprisingly complex and delicious beer and is becoming even more so as I enter the bottom half of the bottle.

The body/mouthfeel didn't impress me right out of the gate, but it too is improving as the beer approaches an estimated 60 degrees (you're on your own for the Centigrade conversion). It's lightly creamy and impressively smooth with a cask-like mouthfeel. Well done Daleside, well done.

Monkey Wrench Dark Ale (which is how my label reads) isn't very strong, but it is very good. While the ABV may be a fraction too high for it to quality as a session beer, I'd love to travel to Harrogate and give it a whirl. A delicious beer named for a suspected monkey spy (read the label) that tastes like bananas... what could be better than that?

BuckeyeNation, Nov 04, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -6%

Another English brew that is predictable to the point of frustration. For an English Strong, I was expecting something more challenging, complex, and characterful. It turns out to taste just like a thousand other English brews that I over paid for. An undescript malitiness comes through in the nose and flavor with a standard caramel, toffee, toasty, nutty flavor. Characters are more of unfermented wort than of a complex brew. Grass English hops used majorily for bittering, minorily for flavors. Finishes thick and worty. Sweet throughout. Seems like I write this same review for all of these expensive English brews.

BEERchitect, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%

Appearance: Pours out a darkened, brownish-red body with a modestly-sized, sudsy, off-white head.

Smell: Toasted dark bread and some dark caramel alongside fruity hints of raisins and dried apricots. Alright, movin' on!

Taste: A sweet taste of the syrup glazed crusts of dark bread. Hint of nuts. Sadly, there's a slight lacquery tone, giving the impression it has more than the listed 5.3% ABV. Small dusting of cocoa powder. A carryover of fruitiness from the aroma. Mild hop character and bitterness. Drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Average but accessible, though one I'll have to pass. I enjoyed the monkey shenanigans story on the label more than anything else.

ChainGangGuy, Jan 29, 2010
Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev -6%

A nice find this weekend while out on the beer hunt,poured a deep amber with a thinner but well sustained off white head,aromas are quite fruity with a hint of dark chocolate but nothing that would blow your mind.Alot of malt flavor in this brew brown suger and toffee hits up front with a fruity finish wich lingered nicely.A strong ale, well not so sure about that but not a bad quaffer with a thinner but smooth mouthfeel.

oberon, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%

Dark ruby color, when seen through the light, otherwise, it's a ruddy caramel hue, sitting under a slim ring of cocoa foam.

Dark fruit abounds in the nose, rich, sweet, and ebullient, grape and black cherry, with caramel and nuts riding along. Quite nice.

"Dark and beautifully smooth," reads the label, below a depiction of the titular ape, and smooth is right. Slides right in the mouth and lolls about the palate. A lush maltiness, with a perfect integration. Just a whisper of hop, very easy on the tongue, and not too sweet, either. Texture and mouthfeel is no challenge, either. For this ale, it's all about the unique malty flavor and the flawless drinkability.

At over $5 for a 500ml bottle, I won't be visiting this too often, but I do recommend it. Not bad in the least.

feloniousmonk, Apr 18, 2006
Photo of Slatetank
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%

This ale pours with a thick white head and minute bubbles. A deep mahogany hue with pleasant ale yeast odor.The taste of oak and roasted malt dominate. An almost walnutty dry mouthfeel with a sweet crisp finish result in the quaffable qualities and favorable finish.

Slatetank, Nov 10, 2006
Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev +1%

Interesting looking beer, and has a monkey holding a monkeywrench. Pretty awesome label. Also, I can't get the damn Foo Fighters song out of my head.

A: Pours a huge 2.5 finger head that slowly fades back down. A very clear maroon brown color adds a nice touch.

N: Dark sweet malts mostly hit the nose. A slight dark fruit aroma but not much. Some stronger malt aromas and touch of alcohol swim out. I get a touch of brown sugar and molasses. Very light on the nose.

T: Taste starts with lots of sweet malts, and tons of roasted malt. Toffee comes out quite a bit as well. Some chocolate malt tastes add to it. Sweet brown or candi sugar also add quite a bit to it and follow with molasses. A slight syrupy taste but doesn't blanket the mouth. Some dried fruits, raisin, fig, and almost a slight creamy taste.

M: Semi thick and syrupy, but not sticky and doesn't stick to the mouth. Decent carbonation.

F: Finishes a little drier at least, actually pretty dry surprisingly for how sweet it started. It's also a little bitter on the finish, probably English style bittering hops. The raisin/fig fruit seems to linger a bit as well. It also seems to add an interesting slightly salty taste at the end. Pretty smooth and light, a good session beer.

jlindros, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of WesWes
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry, yet malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts along with English hops and yeast. The taste is decent also. It has a very dry flavor that goes down easy and finishes with a semi-sweet, roasted taste. It's malty, but nothing too bold. It boasts of crystal and roasted malts. There is a slight hop bitterness;mostly English hops. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good brew, but nothing to get excited about. I probably wouldn't buy it again.

WesWes, Apr 08, 2006
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of BlackHaddock
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%

Hand pulled pint at a Spoons in Tamworth before a Grimsby Town night match on 27th March 2012.

Ruby/mid-brown coloured brew with an off-white head of closely knit bubbles. Aroma was both malty and fruity.

Taste wise: it was again malty and fruity, a drier hop bitterness comes late on the palate but this is a primary a malty brew. Body depth is good and the alcohol sits well within the whole feel.

BlackHaddock, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%

Purchase from Sackville Cellars in Rozelle, an oft forgotten little Sydney bottleshop that can have some interestingly overlooked beers.

Pours a hazed and deep red-brown mahogany hue, almost ruby in the light, with a fine and full head of off-white. Lacing is firm and strong, leaving wonderful cascades down the inside of the glass. Body is a bit thin, but the carbonation, such as it is, is rather fine and pleasant. Looks good.

Nose is wonderful—gorgeous melange of chocolate malts giving a dry cacao character, with a big dollop of gooey English blackberries. It's all dark, but fresh and surprisingly crisp. Lovely nose.

Slightly thinner on the palate, with a roasted cacao flavour dominant, along with a green berry-leaf rustic roughness. Blackberry overtones come in late again, with a lingering huskiness. It doesn't manage to fulfill every facet of the tongue, but it's tasty.

A nice beer, and a slightly more elaborate one than you often get from a British brewery. While I appreciate a really good mild English ale every now and then, I'd prefer one like this with just that little bit more oomph.

lacqueredmouse, May 19, 2011
Photo of wl0307
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%

Bought at the UTOBEER stall, Borough Market, S. London. The bottle says the cask-version of this beer is the "Strong Ale Class Winner" in the Winter Beer of Britain Competition 1998. BB DEC 06, served cool in a straight imperial-pint glass.

A: dark ruby to russet in colour; fluffy and foamy beige head slowly retreats to a thin cap, on top of moderate carbonation with sporadic streams of med.-sized bubbles.
S: caramely, toffee-ish, sweet-nutty and mildly cocoa-ish malts mingle very well with a firm flow of sweet citric aromatic hops and a touch of date-like dried stone-fruits, while a touch of hop resins lingers in the background. Not too complex, but different elements of aroma are bound very well together. Pleasant!
T: a flow of semi-sweet caramely malts prevails, followed by plenty of raisins, aromatic dried fruits, and semi-sweet nutty aftertaste, almost like fruit-cake with drops of nutty syrup; a touch of treacles and sweet roasty tinge of dark malts (as in Dark Mild) quietly hovers in the finish, where the hops make a come-back and impart a slightly chewy, tea-leafy, mildly bitter edge.
M&D: the mouthfeel is quite spritzy, not smooth enough to seamlessly match the rather soothing, rich yet balanced flavour profile, though it softens a little as the carbonation evaporates. Overall this is a malty as well as fruity Strong Bitter; with its nice flavour that's shown by this presumably inferior interpretation of the ale, I'm sure the cask version would be absolutely a hit for Autumn!

wl0307, Sep 26, 2006
Photo of DoubleJ
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%

"1998 Cask Ale Winner". Good to know, but it's a moot point when I'm drinking it from a 500 ml bottle. The label also recommends serving at 54°F; that I can control. On to the beer:

Light brown color, almost amber. The head develops an inch thick, then drops to a ring of whte lace. The aroma brings an interesting collection of baker's chocolate, soft yeast, and notes of banana.

It's tasty. It brings a nutty flavor and the sweetness you'd find in a raisin. As I go along further, I'm getting a cola flavor. Tea-like hops in the back. It has a lighter mouthfeel than expected, probably because the "strong" labeling of this beer has me expecting a richer sense. Carbonation is low, and the beer itself is easy to approach.

It feels good to get away from the hops after a pint of Monkey Wrench. Imagine what the high definition version (cask) would yield.

DoubleJ, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of Zorro
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%

Pours a clear reddish brown beer that is reddish orange when held up to the light. Nice tan head that disappears after a few minutes.

Smell is quite fruity with the signature aroma of British ale yeast. Sweet aroma of raisins and some fruit I can't quite identify possibly guava.

Taste is mildly sweet brown sugar and earthy hops in the first sip. Medicinal hop flavor mix well with the fruity flavor of a British ale to yield something like a bitter Apéritif like Italian Beverly but in a good way. After a while the flavor gets decidedly nutty and a bit buttery.

Mouthfeel is OK, maybe a bit light.

A tasty and super easy to imbibe beer here. A tad expensive so it isn't going to take the place that Firestone Pale Ale occupies in my refrigerator, but I do recommend that you try this if you see it.

Zorro, Jun 03, 2006
Photo of jdhilt
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%

Pours a three finger cream head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving a little lace. Deep clear amber color. Very light carbonation and medium bodied. Hints of chocolate/caramel nose. Starts slightly malty, some bittersweet chocolate, finish is reasonably clean. 5.3% ABV is not a strong ale. $4.35 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

jdhilt, Apr 07, 2006
Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

BillRoth, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of bark
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

The colour is deep brown, the liquid clear. The finger thick off white head sinks quickly down to a thin lid.

The smell is loaded with malts; I found notes of dark bread, sweet cookies, dry yeast and mild hoppy notes of dried fruits.

The taste is fresh and milder than expected. The malt dominates the palette, as it should be. Pumpernickel, rye bread, dried apples, minerals. The aftertaste got notes of dark bread, cookies, roasted meat, very mild bitter notes some warming alcohol.

The carbonation is medium strong; the bubbles small. The liquid is a little thick.

A nice and surprisingly drinkable strong ale.

bark, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

KAF, Jul 23, 2014
Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%

This is a beer that contains both barley and wheat.

A: It pours beautiful mahogany, with an off-white head that takes some time to dissipate, and the it leaves nice lacings. It looks great!!!

S: Not as strong as I thought but very nice; Light roasted malt (caramell notes), some dried fruit, chocolate and coffee.

T: Light roasted malt with a nutty twist, some bitter notes from the hops along with coffee and chocolate.

M: The aftertaste is a nice mix of sweetness mixed with some bitterness, it stays for some time. Mediumbodied and mediumcarbonated.

D: A nice beer that goes down smoothly. Not the best beer from U.K. but surely a very nice one.

Evil_Pidde, Aug 04, 2009
Photo of dgilks
4.13/5  rDev +7%

Clear dark copper colour with some yeast buildup visible. Smooth, creamy, light tan head.

Rich, malty aroma with plenty of vibrant yeast esters. Nice nutty caramel note.

Rounded, toffee malt with some biscuit and bread. Solid fruit character with additional burnished toffee and some earthy hops. Really good.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Dry finish.

A classic English ale with lots of big maltiness and great esters. The light hop character adds a nice dry finish. Very good.

dgilks, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of RoyalT
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%

Appearance – This is a light, light brown with hints of dingy orange and no head.

Smell – The aroma has that bittery yeast smell of an English bitter; full of toffee and butter. There’s very little sugar in here and the malts really do take a back seat to the yeasty notes.

Taste – Oh, this has a lot more flavor than I would have guessed from the smell. The yeast is still there but it’s mixed well with some strong, dark, heavily-toasted malt. Still no sugars, though, which is OK by me for this particular style.

Mouthfeel – I thought this would be at least medium-bodied but it doesn’t quite make it. It’s actually kind of dry.

Drinkability – Well, 5% ABV isn’t my idea of “strong” but this was a good drinker nevertheless.

RoyalT, Mar 21, 2007
Photo of champ103
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%

A: Pours a dark ruby red color. At first a two finger white head forms and recedes in a second. Some light lace is left behind.
S: Of dark fruits. Raisins, plums, figs, ext. Toasted caramel malt, bread and biscuit.
T: Caramel malt, bread, and biscuit flavors. Very light fruity flavors that follow the nose. Though a very off putting musky taste lingers.
M/D: A lighter body than I would like with some prickly carbonation. Pretty easy to drink. There is not very much alcohol for the style, and it makes an easy drinker.

Not bad at all. I would love to try this on the other side of the pond and on cask. Still worth a try as is, but I can see this being great under different conditions.

champ103, Oct 29, 2009
Photo of Brenden
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%

There's an interesting blurb about a monkey who faced injustice in olden days. This beer is dedicated to the memory of said moneky and to monkeys everywhere.

This beer is a dark brown color with some red filling out the body. A creamy light tan head is compact. After it dissipates, it leaves a tight foam that sticks some good lacing around.
The aroma is light and, while good, takes a little bit of effort to draw out. What I do get is some toasted malts with a caramel touch and a nice, earthy smell.
A bit more comes out in the flavor, especially as it warms, drawing out particularly a bit of toffee sweetness, a touch of licorice, and a light but steady hops and malts balance. A touch of very soft (white) fruits sits underneath, and there's a bite of something peppery as well just nipping the tongue.
The body is a light medium, a fair balance of crisp and smooth without being particularly either. Not bad, but not terribly interesting.
i've never seen this beer on shelves in Toledo, so I was glad to have a chance to try it at the One 2 Lounge in Sylvania Friday night.

Brenden, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Presentation: Wide bodied brown glass bottle with a black and red label that surrounds 360˚ of the bottles torso. Sealed with a brass colored crown cap which has the Brewery logo in green. No freshness date but listed at 5.3% ABV and the advise is to serve this at 54˚F (12˚C).

Appearance: Mid brown body with the classic ruby hue that adds a deep rich clarity. Off white head remains at ¼” thick and lasts throughout. Above average conditioning levels with smattered lacing on the glass walls all the way down. Solid appearance, with a sturdy and steady long lasting presentation.

Nose: Dark fruits and hints of roasted malts are punctuated with a ripe banana and clove finish.

Taste: A nutty caramel and bonfire toffee start the excitement. Roasted malts and a light dry hoppiness are also prevalent. Dark fruits, banana, clove, dark chocolate and some residual sweetness throughout. Quite the tasty package and nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Way above average, chewy with a nutty character. Smooth and easy going. Big feel with a thick chewy texture.

Drinkability: Has a heavy feel, classed as a Strong Ale in the UK, this certainly drinks like one. But the carbonation lends a light airy feel to the heavier roasted malts and toffee. A great drink, I could easily manage one more bottle than I should probably have.

Overall: I recall drinking quite a lot of Daleside brews when I lived in England, though often it was their aptly named Piston Bitter, I occasionally got to try the Monkey Wrench on Cask which I enjoyed. It seems to have improved from memory, that tastes are fuller, deeper and bolder - now it is a darker and fruitier variant that has a very satisfying.

Named after an incident in Hartlepool, England that involved the hanging of a Monkey thought to have been a French Spy. Aaah the good old days!!

TheLongBeachBum, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of drpimento
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Decent beer. Poured with a tan head that quickly settled down and no lace. Color is a lovely clear medium red amber. Aroma is very malty roast toffee and a hint fruity. Flavor is like aroma. Body is ok and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor and medium in length. Serviceable beer. If you were in the mood for a straightforward malty ale this could be a session.

drpimento, May 18, 2010
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Monkey Wrench Strong Ale from Daleside Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.