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Bitter Monk - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter MonkBitter Monk

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

228 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 228
Hads: 864
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 7.36%
Wants: 376
Gots: 101 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian IPA |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: sprucetip on 08-26-2011

Belgian style double IPA with Brettanomyces. this ale is aged in french oak chardonnay barrels. Brewed with Apollo, Citra, and Simcoe hops. Dry hopped in the barrel with Citra hops. Triple fermented- First in the tank with a Belgian yeast, second in french oak chardonnay barrels with brett, and finally in the bottle with a third yeast for natural carbonation.

100 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 228 | Hads: 864
Photo of Beerenauslese
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle bought from Healthy Spirits (thanks for the suggestion Scott), poured into a Bruery tulip glass.

Pours with a big foamy white head over a hazy tan/gold body. Small amounts of lacing, not very sticky. Moderate head retention.

Smells quite floral, with a little vanilla and a touch of brett band-aid. Really, one could use this as a cologne.

This is a mildly tart and fruity upfront, followed by a golden malt sweetness, and then the orangey citra hops make their presence known, ending in a wet, bitter, spicy finish. I don't doubt this has upwards of 100 IBUs, as the hops are numbing my tongue. The hops taste more in the noble direction than in the usual west coast style thanks to the Citra. The brett is resonating with the Citra hops nicely. Spice is a little gingery.

Body is a bit lean for a golden ale. Carbonation is medium and just a bit creamy.

This is an interesting Belgian style IPA. The Citra and brett kicks it to another level. (961 characters)

Photo of DovaliHops
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2. Pours a very hazy, golden color with a hint of orange. Medium white head that disappears quickly. Scent is WOW! Amazing aroma to this beer. Funky wild yeast with some tropical and citrus fruits. Nice pineapple with some orange and lovely hoppiness. The more I let my nose get familiar with this beer, the more french oak and chardonnay I get. Very complex. I could sniff this beer all day. Taste is initially tart with some white grapes and tart green apples. Some citrus and tropical fruit flavors...wow, just wow. A hint of butter. The hops, fruit, oak, and chardonnay flavors blend so well with a subtle funkiness that just makes me wonder how this beer will taste after the Brett works its magic over time. Gotta grab another bottle to sit on. So much complexities going on here. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, nice bite, yet slightly chewy. Drinkability is very high for almost 10%. Alcohol is present, but not very much so. Overall, this is just another great beer from a brewery I have grown very fond of over the last year. I have yet to find an Anchorage beer I didn't think was good. (1,099 characters)

Photo of mgironta
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer came out of a corked and caged bomber. The cork was pretty easy to get out and only had a slight pop. The brew poured with a gigantic head, about three fingers of pure white head that was thick and fluffy and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, almost straw yellow with lots of active carbonation visible. I thought the color was pretty light for a Belgian IPA. The nose was all brett…not that I’m unhappy with that. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a brett beer. Wow, this was really different. The brew started with a bit of grapefruit and tart citrus with a bit of barnyard funk from the brett. It was really light (body-wise) for a Belgian IPA and the booze and IBUs are really well-balanced out by the flavors. The finish was relatively quick with a hint of citrus. The body was probably the lightest that I’ve ever had with a good dollop of carbonation. This beer was just fantastic to me. It was an easy drinker despite the ABV and was complex and quaffable. I would definitely have this bad boy again. (1,048 characters)

Photo of jegross2
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company out of Alaska.
Score: 93

Bottle is from July 2011. Served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 05/29/12.

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden orange color with three fingers of soapy, slightly off-white head that settles to a thin foggy layer atop the glass. Absolutely amazing lacing and retention. 5/5

Smell: A nice tropical citrusy IPA with a Belgiany sour twist. Tart white grapes, lemon zest, candied mango, orange, pineapple, fruity citrus and a little funky brett. Apples towards the back of the aroma too. Hint of oak. 4.5/5

Taste: Loads of bitter lemon zest, orange, mango and bitter/tart white grape. A little caramel malt on the midpalate, with earthy/grassy hops and a growing fruitiness in the finish as the beer warms/layers. There is a clovey residual aftertaste. The flavors get more tart as the beer warms up, with a a mild pucker effect from a growing sour lemonade flavor. Not oak or funk. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, high carbonation -- or maybe the life on the tongue from the zesty tartness, which really makes the bitterness perk on the tongue, is being deceptive in terms of the the true carbonation present. Juicy mouthfeel. Bitter and tart on the tongue. 4/5

Overall: One year after it's bottling, this beer is more of a sour with an IPA twist than an IPA with a sour twist. Quite an enjoyable hybrid. The artwork on the bottle is amazing.

Recommendation: Sour haters and casual beer drinkers should avoid this one, but all others are encouraged to seek out a bottle.

Pairings: Chicken pot pie.

Cost: $17 for a 750 ml bottle. (1,609 characters)

Photo of LiquidPoem
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #2/June 2012

Pours with a nice head, lots of lacing, creamy, dissipated slowly. The smell is amazing; strong hop aromas blended with grapefruit and a funky cheese smell. Sips like a fizzy bready hop juice. Even though this was brewed in June it still has a lot of the citra character left. The belgian yeasts and brett work well together creating a sour pie effect. 100 IBUs, a real pucker-upper. Outstanding beer, well worthy of picking up. One of my favorite Alaskan breweries. (486 characters)

Photo of JohnnyP3
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Batch #2, dated June 2012. Pours a very hazy light gold with a substantial foamy white head of about 2-3 fingers. Good head retention with lacing. Vigorous carbonation.

Smell consists of juicy hops and plentiful brett funk with some Belgian yeast. Citrus, orange and lemon peel and a hint of spice. Perhaps a hint of alcohol?

Taste produces a citrus blast upfront -- mouth puckering grapefruit and passion fruit. Very bitter finish augmented by some sourness and barnyard funk. That's what you get with 100 IBUs. Very little trace of the 9% ABV. Also getting some lemon/pepper taste. Very dry finish. Brett tastes linger at the end. The aging in the barrels produces some grape/chardonnay flavors in the middle and at the end with a hint of oak.

Mouthfeel is very lively from the strong carbonation and the amalgam of flavors. Really wakes up the senses.

Overall, a very interesting beer. Enjoyed the hop action. There is some serious brett sour/funk going up against it. Kind of like a battle of the titans. I have had several other beer in the triple digits for IBUs, and this one may very well take the bitterness cake. (1,140 characters)

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass. Pours out a beautiful hazy gold with an inch of dense white head. Plenty of sticky lace gets left behind on the glass.

The smell is very inviting. Grapefruit, lemon rind, caramel and funk start off the smell. Oak, alcohol and grapes are hidden in the background.

Smooth and balanced for being 100 IBU. The lemon/grapefruit start the taste, followed by Brett funk and oak. The malts smooth it out with a French bread middle, with a hint of grapes from the Chardonnay barrel. The finish is slightly sour but still bitter. Only a hint of the 9% ABV is noticable. Goes down easy.

One of the best Belgian IPA's I've ever had. Very complex and worth the bottle price. I wonder how it would hold up after a year. Might be an interesting experiment. (781 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour from Wowcoolman’s tasting.

Batch # 2. Bottled 6/2012.

Pours a murky orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grain, herbs, spices, floral aromas, citrus, wood, wine, and some slight funk. Taste is much the same with a very floral and slightly fruity flavor. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is really tasty and very easy to drink. (532 characters)

Photo of iwantsomerocks
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mobile review from long beach island, NJ!

Bottled in July 2011..what? I guess some DIPAs don't give a shit how old they are. Holy hell, this is a truly astounding beer. The appearance is that of a Belgian strong pale. Smells like amazing citrusy goodness. Taste follows the nose..great citrusy taste with plenty of subdued hoppy goodness. A little buttery from the chardonnay aging. Truly great. I would seek this beer out ASAP. (429 characters)

Photo of Neorebel
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bitter Monk's appearance is a hazy, pale amber hue. It's head begins as a fizzy soapy head but dissipates to a small ring sticking to the side of the glass. The aroma is nothing short of incredible and fascinating! The multi-layered hop scents, lemon, kiwi, and clove, all married to the brett/yeast earthy notes, wine-like characteristics, and a creamy hint to it make this one of the best smelling beers I have ever taken a whiff of. Taste - WOW! Not to be taken lightly this beer begins with the earthy brett, and quickly the piny hops jump in as well. The finish is pleasantly bitter with the flavor of the wine barrel revealing itself. The body and mouthfeel are not too overpowering, and it's got, I'd say a 7 on a scale of 1-10 in terms of alcohol heat. I am enjoying the warming sensations and pleasant buzz right away. Overall, the beer's a rare treat not to be missed. Top shelf- buy with confidence. I would also like to note that the beer was bottled in July 2011 and drank July 2012, with plenty of hop flavors very much present. (1,042 characters)

Photo of Durge
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to RSVP in Portland, Maine I was able to give this classy brew a try. It's a very cloudy yellowish tan colored brew with a solid white head and tons of lacing. The aroma is an unparelleled yeasty medley that includes slightly skunky lemon wheat highlights and subtle clove. Very impressive, classy and kind of unique. The flavor happily falls right in place with the aroma. Clovey nuances over wheat with sweet, near bubblegum hops. Wow, just so tasty with mild banana-lemon and tons of yeasty zest. Just delicious and oozing quality and delight! Finely carbonated but with a full, luscious feel. As advertized this is a real winner if you're any kind of fan of this style. I can agree with some of the other reviewers that this may not be a classic Belgian IPA, but to me that's a good thing. I really like more of the American-Belgian hybrid and perhaps that is somewhat the case here. I'm not enough of an expert to say, but i do know I love this stuff. (963 characters)

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle with a hazy golden amber with a two finger white head that sticks around for a while and leaves a large amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is strong brett funk, some lemon zest, mango, grapefruit, and pineapple. The initial taste has a hint of sweetness with some funky oak flavors and lemon zest. Then the pineapple and mango come through. The finish has a good bitterness with some brett funk. The finish is quite dry. Overall a really smooth beer. Bitterness is a bit much, but afterall.. it is in the name. Interesting beer for sure. (557 characters)

Photo of mrandypandy
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml caged and corked bottle purchased on my current trip to Oregon. Poured into a clear plastic hotel cup. Classy.

A - Pours a very hazy orange, medium white head that leaves decent lacing. Lots of bubbles/carbonation visible.
S - The brett funkyness really comes through in the nose, with a fruity citrus character for good measure. There is something else I can't put my finger on... bubblegum perhaps?
T - Not as potent as the armoa leads this up to be. Citrus hops leads the way with an earthy barnyard quality in the finish. No oak, no chardonnay, nothing really "belgian" either. Strong bitterness.
M - Strange. I was expecting a much bigger body on this, but it's very light and thin. Watery almost. Good carbonation though.
O - Good, but not great. I was expecting more of the brett and belgian aspects to stand in the forefront, but the IPA and bitterness is what leads from the beginning. No real detection of the oak or chardonnay. However, I would certainly like to toss one in the cellar for a while just to see how it changes over time. Plus, I did seem to enjoy it more as I worked through the bottle... (1,122 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.7/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For a Belgian IPA, this definitely touches what I like for the style. There are numerous detractors though. First off, it seems a bit boozy. There just seems to be interference on the delivery of flavor. And it's kind of soapy. Eh. I've had a really intense day and I don't feel like getting into this. I've had better Belgian IPAs; recently even. This beer is "okay", but not really working for me much beyond that. (416 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy golden-orange color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down very slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of citrus and tropical fruit hops with some grapefruit, orange, and pineapple, with some Belgian yeast, Brett, funk, lemon, and some oak.

T - Starts off with lots of citrus and tropical hops with some strong grapefruit, pineapple, and orange flavor and some bitterness alongside some Belgian yeast esters coming through. Though the middle, some light pine comes through with stronger bitterness, oak, and some Brett funkiness. The finish is a mix of citrus and tropical hops, bitterness, oak, Belgian yeast, Brett, and some funk.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate-plus carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry, bitter, and funky finish.

D - Very drinkable. The combination of DIPA level of hops, Belgian yeast, Brett, and some oak aged barrel aging comes together to create a complex and very well balanced beer. (971 characters)

Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first brew from this brewery and a unique style to boot. I am not really sure what to expect but I an excited to try it.

A three finger off white head erupts atop the perfect golden orange straw colored body. Head fades to a swiss cheese like rocky foam. Fat waves of lace are left afterwards.

Nose is very cool tingle that is full of complexity in itself. Every thing plays here with all the flavors. Hints of crisp fruit, zesty hops, powdery sweetness and sour tannins all come through. This nose is very attractive.

With first sip this drinks much like a champagne, just not quite as carbonated. Crisp and fruity up front with a backbone of malt. It really dries out on the mouthfeel and turns to a wonderfully bitter consistency. A delicious brew that is a wonderful change of pace to almost anything else out there.

Super drinkable. (855 characters)

Photo of kjyost
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle acquired at Princeton Liquors, Maple Grove, MN. Poured into a large wine glass, with the first pour at 4C, the last at 18C.

A: Straw yellow and clear with a ton of little dabs of lacing.
S: Some very light citrus hops with a wine like nose of Brett and floral notes.
T: Very definitely a Brett beer with floral and light earthiness. Bitterness that builds that is earthy. Little hop nature of note, sadly... As the beer warms a strong aftertaste builds that is not exactly pleasant, though hard to describe...
M: Bitter, funky, enjoyable.
O: A great Belgian Brett pale ale, but knocked down by the advertised DIPA. Yes, I know it was old (6 mo+), but I didn't know that when I bought it due to a lack of bottling date. Not hoppy enough, but I sense the bitterness. (773 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Belgian style bomber, caged and corked, "Batch #1, July 2011". Very happy to find this fine brw at $16.99 @ Hudson Valley Bev, in Mahopac, NY

Open with an energenic "poof", pours cloudy, dull tangarine. Nice, sturdy, huge and near white head. Fluffy, puffy and very slow to rest, leaves a high collar and all sorts of high on the glass, sticky lace.

Bright nose of oranges, sour apple, green tea, limes, pepper, gin and some Belgian yeastyness. Gamey, musty, slightly sour note of the Brett also in play. Complex, flavorful and simply delicious brew. With the flavor of the sniff, continuing onto the palate. Hoppy bite in the rear, but shining through forcefully as things reach the finish.

Wow, dense flavors, complex, heady stuff. Love the style and this is one of the more intense and most well crafted versions. Get some stinky cheese, peppery salads, spicy thai food or whatever you like to eat and enjoy every sip of this one! (936 characters)

Photo of Florida9
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear golden yellow. Forms about an inch or so of bright white head that slowly reduces to a thick and bubbly surface coating. Some very nice lacing.

S: Aromatic and complex. Smells rather vinous, grapey, and reminiscent of white wine. Not necessary Chardonnay, but certainly the white wine is apparent. Green apple, a slight bit of citrus, and a little herbal hops.

T & M: Wow...Incredibly complex with waves of delicate flavor. Again, there is a vinous quality to it, almost Saison-like. Mildly sweet. White wine, herbal, "green," basil, then turns slightly bitter and begins to dry. A little oak. Finishes acidic and crisp with notes of green apple, pear, and some more mild citrus. Body is on the lighter side. Carbonation is appropriate.

O: A very good beer with incredible complexity and depth. Hops aren't entirely gone, but could only imagine what some fresh hop character would add to this beer. Hopefully, we will all see this one again one day. (963 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy yellow with an orange hue. There is a finger of fluffy white head that fades to a layer around the glass.

Smell: Herbal and very saison like. There is some malt sweetness along with a hint of oak.

Taste: Some hops up front but they may have faded a bit since this beer was fresh. Herbal with some mild citrus notes. The finish is bitter from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with fluffy carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a really nice Belgian style ale. I was a bit fan of the herbal notes. I think the hops have faded, but I am still a fan. I would love to try this fresher if they bring out another batch. (690 characters)

Photo of haazer
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle picked up from Blue Dog.

A- Heavy pour produces a thick bubbly white head. Heavily carbonated brew, bubbles all over the sides of the glass. Nice golden orange color, somewhat turbid. The head becomes rocky and leaves sticky patches of lacing all over the glass. Great looking drink.

S- The brett is great here. Very funky, leather, and musty basement and some fruits. sour apple, pear, and some sour notes. Theres a faint hint of citrus, but its faded. A bit of earthiness too.

T- The barrel used here has a heavy influence on this beer. Loads of white wine notes, blended together with funky brett. Transitions nicely into some citrus flavors. The hops are all but faded at this point, but it still works. I love this beer.

M- Superb. Medium bodied beer with high lively carbonation, yet ever so smooth going down. Alchohol is very subdued. Very crisp and slightly dry finish.

O- I really badmouth this style, but this beer outdoes the others tenfold. I would love to try this fresh, but no gaurantee being imported from Alaska I suppose. Even so this beer was incredible. The hops were pretty much gone but it didn't matter. Theres enough going on in this beer to make it great. Nothing clashes either. Very well done. (1,234 characters)

Photo of ADZA
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Love the label and spiel and pours a hazy yellow hue which leaves a two finger creamy head and lots of lacing,the smell is white wine,pineapple,funk,old cellar and fragrant herbal hops,the mouthfeel is just medium bodied and very easy to knock back with tastes of cranberries,pineapple,paw paw,grapefruit,a touch of marzipan and finished with sav blanc grape dry semi bitterness and overall i really like this brew and would definately buy or drink again cheers. (462 characters)

Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy golden yellow with an ample fluffy white head
S: Smells of citrus a little acetic acid, some yeast as well
T: faint citrusy hop flavor with a little bit of sourness, some yeast flavor and a bit of flavor from the wine barrel. Aftertaste is of hop resin and yeast
M: average mouthfeel for an IPA, soft carbonation makes this one very drinkable
O: Very good, I wish it was fresher but it tastes very good at its current state. Very smooth and refreshing and highly drinkable. (491 characters)

Photo of mudbug
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From the C&C Bottle (Batch number one) into a Tulip results in a slightly hazy orange body with a huge frothy, rocky head that ever so slowly settles into what looks like rounded icebergs, thick lacing sticks all over the sides, very pretty indeed!
Oh boy this one has aroma in spades, you don't have to get anywhere near the glass. Wet hay, roses, grapefruit, lemons. Not subtle in the least, mouthwatering and pungent.
Taste is complex to say the least, an astringent bitterness upfront lemon peel,grapefruit rind, unsalted cracker, the funk is subdued with a pleasant wet hay earthiness. just a hint of white wine and oak. A long lingering slightly sour bitterness ends it all, but makes you want more.
Did I mention the aroma? Oh boy I could just sniff this all night.
Juicy, what alcohol?
A Masterpiece!
Edit for 2013 edition. Perfect and consistent in every way. This is no one off wonder, it's the real deal! (922 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle $12.99. I have been passing this by despite the rave reviews because it was $15.99. I saw it on sale and thought I was getting a deal so I bought it. Yes I am a sucker but this really is quite a good beer. Bright yellow orange color and a huge rocky head, looks good. The smell instantly reminded me of Russian River Temptation, heavy Chardonnay and brett. I think there was a hint of citrus in there as well. The flavor again made me think of Temptation and it must be that Chardonnay and brett combo working so well. There is a bit of bitterness in here from the hops and just the faintest hint of citrus. I have to wonder what the hops were like when this was fresh since this was apparently brewed back in July of 2011 but the hops are not completely gone. Overall, a very solid beer and I can see why everyone likes it so much. (845 characters)

Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 228 ratings.