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Monkey Wrench Strong Ale - Daleside Brewery

Not Rated.
Monkey Wrench Strong AleMonkey Wrench Strong Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

59 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 59
Hads: 68
Avg: 3.83
pDev: 7.05%
Wants: 3
Gots: 1 | 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:
Beer added by: rastaman on 04-01-2003

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (10) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 59 | Hads: 68
Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle

Pours a medium chestnut brown with a small white head that thins. Decent lacing on the glass.

Very light aroma. Mild malt and slightly toasted nutty aroma. Not bad, but really not much of anything.

Malty with a pleasant toasted nutty flavor. Mild bitterness and just a hint of herbal hops. Finishes clean and dry.

Medium body, medium carbonation.

A pleasant English Strong ale and easy to drink. Not a whole lot of distinctive or memorable characteristics. I suspect it's a different experience from the cask as I'm sure it was originally intended.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with orange highlights. A dark tan head, creamy, with good retention (as a film) and some lace.
Smell is malt, light smoke, hint of citrus & spice.
Taste is oak, smoked malt, alcohol (light and late), hint of grapes & citrus, some earthiness, coffee note in aftertaste.
Smooth, light effervescence, almost creamy texture. Pretty good stuff. Drinks lighter than 5.3%. Slightly warming.

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Photo of EagleTalon
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a thin off-white head and a solid clear brown color. Aroma is a nice mixture of fruity esters and buttery malt. Flavor is heavy on the malt flavors with just enough hops to even it out. There are dark specialty malts all over the flavor, giving it a complex malt profile that develops as it warms. Good smooth mouthfeel due to low carbonation. Easy to quaff. Good stuff.

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Photo of bort11
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. A finger's width of dark tan head, that is slow to recede. Thin strings of lace stick to the glass. Color is a dark copper red with a decent amount of clarity.

Smell is dominated with caramel malts but is balanced with a mild citric hops bitterness. A bit tannic. Taste is mildly sweet toffee and caramel. Orange citrus hops.

Mouthfeel is a mild medium body that goes down slick. Easy to drink. I would like to session this in an English pub one day.

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Photo of bark
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml brown bottle from The Lighthouse in Manchester. Pours a translucent dark brown-red with nearly an inch of off-white head. Smells roasty with hints of English hops, but the aroma is not that apparent. Tastes roasty, malty, nutty with just a hint of herbal hops present toward the finish. Tastes are fairly subtle, but are all very pleasant. Smooth, medium mouth-feel with some carbonation but not too much. Very drinkable, this beer is. At 5$ per bottle, it's a little pricier than something I'd drink on a daily basis. But it's a smooth, easy-drinking, solid English beer that I may pick up from time to time.

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Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Poured from pint bottle into Bordeaux glass. Thin beige head stuck around about 15 seconds before fizzling out. No cap. Color is a ruby-brown amber.

S-Pleasant aroma of toasted malt, nuts, some darker fruits, vegetation, faint choco-caramel, and faint hops.

T-Sweet caramel-nut-raisins in the attack with pleasant toasted malt. Nice faintly bitter hops in the finish clean the palate momentarily, but the delicious malt lingers on in the aftertaste. It's a nice balance. I'm also getting tart berry or sour cherry on later sips.

M-Decent, but I would barely qualify it as medium-bodied.

D-I like the flavors, and I thoroughly enjoy drinking this, but the body and the weak pour kind of numb the whole experience. I'll still put a 4 since I buy beer to drink, not to look at.

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Photo of beerking1
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light amber color, medium head with some lace. Aroma is slightly butterscotch, with some mild dark fruit (raisins) and other esters. Body is thin, flavor has some more light golden raisin upfront, but backed by sweet malts and some faint hops. Tail is fast, leading to some lingering sweetness and fruit.

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Photo of Roarke
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: brown with a bit of orange fairly transparent, nice finger of brownish white head (lasts for a bit)

S: toffee, sweet malt, and a faint of odor of lemony hops

T: all of the nose but stronger and a sugary sweetness that could be better balanced by the hops which provide only a little more than their slight bitterness

M: smooth to start, then a brief carbonated punch that fades into a dry aftertaste, one of the better aspects of the brew

D: one is good, but more than one I do not think I would partake

$: I would not pay over $5 again, even if the name honors our simian friends.

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Photo of Sigmund
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, bought in Scarborough. Possibly filtered, but probably not pasteurised. ABV is 5.3%. As a cask ale it was voted "Champion Winter Beer of Britain 1998". Chestnut coloured beer, rich off-white to beige head. Very nice malty aroma with oaky and vinous notes, also caramel and dark fruits. Malty flavour with caramel, some raisiny and vinous notes, moderate hops. Moderate carbonation, soft mouthfeel. A pleasant beer to drink.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a clear brown color with a cream colored one finger, rocky head – which quickly resided. The aroma is mostly of malt with some sourness noted after a moment. The taste is malty with a bit of chocolate like flavors noted. The mouthfeel is full and somewhat creamy. Overall this is an easy beer to drink – a delight that would make a great session beer.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz amber bottle into a standard pint glass.

Brilliant clarity, dark amber color, poured aggressively for a 1/2 head that dissapated to lovely fine surface bubbles, leaving very little lacing.

Aroma is sweet and rich, caramel, no noticeable hops.

Nice sweet malt flavor, balanced bitterness, no noticeable hop flavor or aroma.

Mouthfeel is smooth, goes down easy, but feels a bit watery and no detectable alcohol warmth for a 'strong' ale.

Drinkability is good, nice session beer. Good flavor that holds up as it warms. I don't expect much from English beers, they can be weak, grainy, skunked, suffer excess diacetyl--this lovely pint suffered none of these defects.

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Photo of instrumentality
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first experience with this brew was a few weeks back when Vin de Pays Wines in Long Beach did their monthly beer tasting - this particular tasting's theme being English beers. Not being very experienced with English beers, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I am always up for broadening my exposure to craft beer. TheLongBeachBum was also in attendance and warned me, as I recall, that English beer such as the ones offered at the tasting is generally meant to be consumed from the cask; that bottles don't do it justice.

I found pretty much all of the beers I tried to be drinkable but not very complex or flavorful. Of the bunch, Monkey Wrench was my favorite, so I bought a bottle for myself so I could sample it in its entirety and with a clean palate.

Tipped over my Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip glass, the 17 ounce bomber was just a splash too much liquid to be released all at once. The brew had an opaque, rich mahogany body. The head started out about half a finger thick, off-white, and very bubbly, then dissolved into a halo of about the same width surrounding a thin lace. Nice quality.

The odor was primarily malty infused with both the sweet and tart qualities of cherries. The smell foreshadowed a beer I figured would go down pretty smoothly.

The first sip, upon entry, had a quality unlike any beer I had tried prior. It was cool and crisp, reminding me of the initial sensation from biting into a pear. However, significant carbonation gave it a fizzy quality that tingled in my mouth. A mild alcohol presence followed, and the finish had a strong malty characteristic with the mildest hint of sweetness.

The second sip was a bit different. This time, it was less crisp going in, instead bringing forth a stronger alcohol presence that burned momentarily. The finish, once again, was a heavy dose of malt. My bitterness and sweetness sensors were stimulated at an almost imperceptible level.

At this point, I felt that this beer pretty well set the bar for "average" tasting beer - not bad, but boring.

A third sip and my taste rating bumped up from 3 to 3.5 as the cherry sweetness became slightly more pronounced. This beer was still anything but complex, but at least it had a little more going for it than malt.

The remainder of the brew was consistent with my third sip experience.

One of these days, I hope to have an opportunity to test the Bum's insight and try this and some other brews on cask, but unless and until I find the means to visit the UK, I'm stuck with judging this brew as it's presented in the bottle.

There's nothing particularly wrong with this beer. It's relatively smooth, not too heavy on the alcohol, clean aftertaste...but aside from a hint of sweetness, I found it to be pretty dull and repetitive. All in all, a sessionable but more or less forgettable beverage.

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Photo of InDreams
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a 500mL of this as an early X-Mas present from a friend...

A: Poured into a big mug, very, very dark brown, with mahogany around the edges. Off-white head, finger thick, nice lacing on the sides. Head sticks around for a bit then mellows down to a thin crown.

S: Woah. First impression; sweet as sugar! Very malty, like roasted malts, toffee-like, might also compare to dates. Dark fruit. Hints of yeast, and while I might say it's a bit earthy, I wouldn't say it's from the hops. Probably more of an oak-barrel thing. The sweetness is dominant though, brown sugar perhaps the cause there.

T: Nice and smooth, overwhelming roasted malty sweetness. Brown sugar, dark fruits again...with a definite toffee-like character. I just don't get anything hoppy from it, as opposed to what others have said. Very clean and straightforward, I find. Really pleasant too.

M: Medium bodied and oh-so-smooth. Not much of a bite from carbonation or hops.

D: It's so pleasant and smooth, you can't really turn it down.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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?

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Photo of wl0307
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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!

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

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!!

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Photo of TheLiterati
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this beer with a fellow epicure who is also a conisseur of wine, and quickly becoming an aficionado of good beer as well.

Poured a deep ruby-brown color – not quite mahogany. Tan head replenishes as quickly as it dissipates due to presence of bubbly, enduring carbonation – not to the point of being pop-like, but just enough to keep the mouthfeel interesting.

Scent is overwhelmingly of roasted malt with subtle hop notes and undertones, along with a date-raisin-plum thing going on.

Malt aroma translates to a slightly sweet-tasting, malty concoction that my epicurean friend compared to "dulce de leche," a milk caramel cream native to South American countries. Has a mildly hoppy bite at the finish. All in all more complex than I expected.

As one who favors big, hoppy beers, I actually found this beer to be quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Zorro
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of ybnorml
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clean brown beer with ruby highlights. Has a creamy off white head. There is an overall smooth sweetness in the aroma. With hints of chocolate and dried fruit popping up here and there. The taste again has a strong sweet character, with a caramel note up front, a nice cocolaty note in the middle and some coffee bitterness on the finish. A delicious treat.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Started to pour it slow as always but this needed some aggression to get what I was looking for out of the head. Once it settles in the head fades and leaves occassional ring lacing. Dark Amber to brown in color, carbonation sticks to the sides of the glass and slowly rolls up.

First impression was that this is a mild offering in all aspects but never the less very tasty in the end. I was surpised and happy to taste and smell a laid back but tasty hop presence that actually balances out an otherwise bready, cocoa powder type malted brew. Easy mouthfeel cleans up well enough. Hell I think I could session this bitch.

Notes: tasty enough to keep it interesting. The more I gobbled this fine product the more I was planning my next trip to Wally's in Westwood for more from Daleside.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Monkey Wrench Strong Ale from Daleside Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.