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Bitter Monk - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter MonkBitter Monk

Educational use only; do not reuse.

245 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 245
Hads: 926
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 19.12%
Wants: 386
Gots: 113 | FT: 8
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 245 | Hads: 926
Photo of ovaltine
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: cloudy, golden-hued beer with 2+ fingers of white head. Gorgeous.

Smell: Brett right up front and in your face, oak, esters, and citrusy hops.

Taste: Brett again, but the Citra hops really come through as this warms. The oak/Chardonnay dries it out and reduces any alcohol heat in this 9% ABV beverage to nearly unnoticeable levels.

Feel: bubbly Brett effervescence with the dryness of the Chardonnay. Outstanding.

Overall: I've had this for a month+, but couldn't hold out any longer. There's a reason this a Top 250 beer - it's truly world class.

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Photo of mdlb44
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

All I can say is wow. This Beer is so unique. Perfect blend of Belgian Yeast, IPA Hop and Brett, Chardonnay aged goodness. Super smooth, full amazing flavor. Was waiting to try this for a while and was not let down!

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Photo of VikingBeer
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bomber. Thanks Nordbier!

Beautiful pour; very little more to say. Smell is heavy on Brett and Chardonnay, with a big hit of tropical hop, grass, saffron, limes. The taste...holy hell. Laden with Brett, Chardonnay, and oak, naturally, but then the hops kick on. Mangoes, grapefruit, candied lime rind, bananas, hibiscus flowers, more limes, more tropical fruit, more Brett, more Chard. Finish is dry and funky, with a crap-ton of Brett, oak, Chardonnay, lime rind, mangoes, and star fruit. By far the best Belgian-style DIPA I've had. Delicious as hell.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle purchased at The Beer Belly in Albany, NY.

This one pours a hazy, murky pastel yellow/orange, with a half inch foamy head, and a good amount of sticky lacing.

This one smells like dry musty Brett, smarties, lemon, tangerine, orange marmalade, white wine, and pine.

This is everything I wanted it to be, a near perfect rendition of a hoppy Brett beer. The Citra hops shine through. They do more than shine through, it's a dirty Citra bomb, there's some orange, pineapple, and pine, and some really mild cattiness, with mingles well with the dusty citrus and chalky flavors of the Brett. There's some white wine flavor to it as well, some woodsy earthiness, and a chalky bitterness at the end. This is so utterly drinkable it's stupid.

This is medium bodied, with a very juicy mouthfeel, and a higher level of carbonation.

This met all of my expectations. I had been dying to try it, so I was worried it wouldn't meet expectation. It did, in a huge delicious way.

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Photo of SebD
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice thick fluffy off-white head that dies down slowly and leaves some lovely lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of citrus, lemon, mango, some barnyard funk, Brett characteristics, faint oak and a light breadiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has loads of citrus/lemon, some mango and even pineapple, barnyard funk, Brett, some woody oak and a faint breadiness on the back.

Mouthfeel: It has a low-med carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by great flavors and aromas. Very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch #1 (July 2011)

Appearance: Pours hazy and golden, with a frothy head that fades rather quickly, leaving some stringy lacing

Smell: The Brett has done its thing here, with tremendous barnyard funk adding complexity to the stone fruit, citrus and white wine grape elements; slightly bready

Taste: Slightly bready, up front, with the fruit and funk overwhelming the palate; barnyard funk, leathery tones, stone fruit, pear and citrus elements build until the mid-palate, when the bitterness and Chardonnay barrel elements take over; quite bitter in the finish, but a range of flavors linger, as well

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I debated cellaring this one when I bought it a few years ago and I am glad that I did; the Brett has developed splendidly and the bitterness is still there; perhaps it is not as citrusy as it once was but the developing complexity makes it all worthwhile

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #3, MAY/2015 (no simcoe hops for this batch, only citra and apollo; still dry-hopped with citra)

A: Pours a translucent golden orange color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a nice frothy cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Belgian yeast up front, with some fruity and spicy notes. Citra definitely imparts some nice citrus and fruity notes. Some vinous and oaky notes from the chardonnay barrels in there as well. Brett manages to provide some light barnyard, but it is in the back behind the base yeast. Still very nice and complex overall

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the Belgian yeast, which gives off the usual fruity and spicy notes. Goes into the Brett, which provides some nice barnyard and funk, the chardonnay barrel, which provides some vinous and oaky notes, and finally the hoppiness, which provides some moderate bitterness and more citrus and fruity notes. Finishes with lingering yeasty notes and bitterness

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Nicely rounded and smoothed out from the barrels

O: Definitely world-class and one of the few Belgian IPAs that I've actually enjoyed where the yeast works with the hops. I think the chardonnay barrels help with that quite a bit and provide a nice spin. A hefty price tag, but well worth it

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Photo of cherche
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: hazy, muted orange with an off white head. Good retention and lacing.
S: Brett, fruity hops (tangerine, pineapple, kiwi), just a hint of wheat
T: tangy fruit, similar to smell, bright brett fruits
M: slightly thicker than your average IPA but to be expected w a brett, Belgian style. Average carbonation.
O: love this beer. Great balance between the tart brett character, the fruity hops and just a hint of wheatiness. Will be getting this beer whenever I can find it.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Dogfish traditional oversized snifter. Back label says Batch #2/May 2015.

A- Pours a hazy dark golden color with a 1/2 inch white head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a small strip of bubbly surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Excellent Brett funk combines with the hops creating an extremely fruity sensory experience including notes of passionfruit, mango and pineapple.

T- The Brett is even more prevalent in the flavor with the hops taking a slight backseat though the bitterness is a bit on the higher side. The Brett has the usual green olive presence that works pretty well with the hops. So incredibly easy to drink for the ABV as I would have never guessed this is 9%.

M- Sharp from both the Brett and hops with medium carbonation and a lightish body.

O- Definitely one of the best beers I've had from Anchorage which is really saying something since everything I've had from them has ranged from very good to top-notch. These guys don't fuck around.

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Photo of n2185
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a slightly hazy yellow-gold with two fingers of white head that fades into a nice cap with decent lacing.

S: Sour candy--like lemon drops--hit first with pineapple and orange citrus notes following. Belgian spices, sweet hay, Chardonnay, and a bit of barnyard mustiness come through as well. Smells amazing.

T: There's a lot going on here--tart and sour fruit, musty and funky barnyard flavors, resinous pine hop notes, Belgian spices, grapefruit and citrus rind, Chardonnay, and a moderately bitter and lightly boozy finish.

M: Body is on the lighter side of moderate with lowish carbonation, this beer avoids being watery and has a slick feel--quite drinkable.

O: A damn good beer, overall. So much going on in this beer and it all works well together. I might like a little more carbonation and a little less bitterness, but those are nitpicks.

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Photo of Dustin_Sallitt
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very cloudy straw yellow. Smells a very citrusy lemon lime mixed with chardonnay. The taste is so complex but every aspect is discernable. The taste is slight pineapple, hoppy citrus, chardonnay, barrel and coconut, with a slightly funky and slightly bitter finish that has a resinous aftertaste. The mouth feel is creamy and fluffy, quite dry finish. Awesome beer, glad I finally got my hands on some.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

these guys can do no wrong in my mind, especially with the wild ales they put out. for me, that triple fermentation really transforms the mouthfeel of most of their beers to be unique to them, and unlike anything else in the trade. so dry and fluffy, moderately acidic, woody but clean for a funky brew, just uncommon and awesome all the way around. i was a little skeptical on the ipa in that format, but its amazing. the hops are punchy and tangy and fresh and full of oils. lemon and lime notes in the nose and taste from the hops, with a more earthy forested thing in the finish. lots and lots of carbonation makes it move though the flavor layers a little quicker than would be idea, because they are all so good. you get white wine up front and way back, and between it notes of sweet oak and pale malt. hints of orange rind and belgian yeast are there for a moment, before the hops take center stage. its complex and intense, and the wild yeast is very similar to other anchorage cultures. i think i may prefer the tide and its takers and that ak alive they did with mikkeller, but this is an elite level brew, as interesting in flavor as it is in its process, and one i will definitely revisit. not even that bad on the pricing, well worth seeking out, there isnt much like it. if you do know of something similar, please let me know, i want more like this!

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Photo of T_Hass
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L-a Golden orange haze
S-a funky yeasty barnyard smell
T- funky barnyard goodness. The best tasting Brett I've had to date.
F- fluffy, full nicely carbonated mouth feel.

Overall Brett is not my favorite yeasty but this is a lovely Belgium IPA

Poured into a lost Abbey taku glass

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Photo of spoony
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a 750 ml bottle (Batch #3, May 2015) into a tulip.

A-The beer pours with a nice, tall, dense head of white foam. The retention is OK, not great, and it leaves some splotchy lacing on the glass as a I drink. The beer has a light haze and it is straw colored; very pale.

S-The aroma is awesome. Massively juicy hops, fruity brett funk, and oak combine for wonderful things here. I sniff pineapple, peach, light lemon (which provides just a bit of tartness), and a mild funky brett. Oak is subtle here but it gives just a little bit of dryness and added acidic bite to the hops. Alcohol is well concealed for 9%.

T-The taste doesn't quite live up to the smell, but it is pretty dang good. Less juicy hops and more dry, funky brett are noticeable here. The hops are still tropical, but there is more bitterness and medicinal alcohol heat that doesn't pair completely with the rest of the beer. The finish is long, lightly bitter, and slightly spicy.

M-The feel is light to moderate on the palate with an active carbonation.

O-What a great smelling beer. One of my favorites ever. The barrel, hop, and brett combo makes for nice complexity and lovely flavors that I could sniff over and over again. The brett is much dryer on the tongue and it almost overpowered the rest of the beer on my palate so the taste doesn't quite reach the smell, but this is a complex, tasty brew that drinks well on a late-July day like today.

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Photo of Carlson8tor
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very good beer not too bitter more citrusy. Goes down smooth, the Brett give the beer an interesting yeast flavor. The aroma was very strong and flavorful. The head lasts forever. Great beer!

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I few months ago I opened a bottle of this that was several years old. I didn’t review it because it was an old bottle and most people say IPAs are better fresh. It turned out to be one of the better IPAs I ever had. Now I got a fresh bottle to review, and I was really excited. But to me, this wasn’t nearly as good fresh as the aged bottle. The following review is for the fresh bottle, as I didn’t take any notes on the aged one.

Appearance – Pours a cloudy opaque golden color with a very big head and great lacing.

Smell – Citrusy; too citrusy in my opinion as compared to the aged bottle (note that other reviewers were disappointed that this beer lost its citrus with age). Grapefruit, with lime, brett funk, oak, and a little chardonnay.

Taste – Taste follows the smell; grapefruit, lime, brett, chardonnay, and oak.

Mouthfeel – Nicely carbonated. This has a really bitter feel to it, which I didn’t get from the aged bottle. Some oily hoppiness as well.

Drinkability – This is a good IPA, but in my opinion it gets better with age.

I’ll re-review this in a few years if I can find another bottle to age, and likely bump up the score.

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Photo of SierraFlight
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz corked and caged bottle shared at Beachwood BBQ #bottlecherwednesday. Poured into a tulip, this beer is cloudy orange-yellow with a finger or so of white foam that settles to a thin layer that’s retained for the duration. Lots of sticky lace rings and streaks are left behind. A very complex aroma includes citrus and tropical fruit, brett funk, acidic white wine, oak, some caramel malt, and a little vanilla. The flavors are just as layered, with a great interplay between sweet and sour bolstered by bitter underpinnings. Yeasty, funky, citrusy, oaky, and vinous. Very enjoyable to sip and savor. Medium body, a bit creamy in texture, lively carbonation, drying, puckering, long finish.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I poured this into a snifter.
The appearance was a nice looking hazy orange color with a light carbonation to be seen rising to fill a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within less than a minute. The lacing stuck nicely around the glass in a speckled even sort of way.
The smell had a sharp peppercorn to brisk lemongrass and a refreshing sort of citrus blend.
The taste had a sharp dry spicy refreshing citrus over top of the peppercorn and lemongrass.
The mouthfeel had a dry yet refreshing sort of brisk carbonation rolling across my tongue. It saturates but is quite dry as well.
Overall, as a Belgian IPA, I say it works. I say its very well done.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Bottle purchased months ago...don't really remember when. Poured into HF tulip. Lots of head...carbonation is ideal. Orangey hue..sure.
Nice hoppy aroma even for it being fairly aged...but brett dominates. Smooth juicy hops and brett - mixed with classic anchorage signature aromas...
wood and funk.
Great flavor - funky - brett - wood - hops. Phenomenal. Do yourself a favor and thank god (or any deity) Gabe exists...this beer as most of his are..is simply sublime.

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Photo of tmzl
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours with huge, puffy, off-white (light yellow hue), medium sized bubbles head. It has a relatively messy, sticky, big bubble breakdown retention. Leaves a solid, thick but sticky top layer that goes down with lots of random lacing. Cloudy, dark yellow and a bit of orange hue.

Smell: Could smell some white wine-ish character on the cork. Very gueuze-like ripe lemon, grapefruit sour, fresh and makes everything lighter. Its a big one. Goes from mango, passion fruit, peach, light strawberries to pineapple, brett and hops did a number on this one. Also very pleasant funk, light leathery. Bit of caramel hidden beneath. It's very rich, fresh and deceiving, doesn't hint anything about the 100 IBU, 9 ABV beast hidden in the glass.

Taste: The transition is quite dramatic. Starts with light but well represented citric sour, goes to light-medium smooth caramel, propolis/molasses backbone past pineapple and other tropical notes (a lot weaker than in the smell) to a small, sharp spike of grape stems bitterness but the gentle funk caresses it fast. Ends with medium bitterness, dandelion, bit of medicinal and light sour, which stay strong for quite some time. In the after some wood oak creeps out.

Mouthfeel: Full light heavy body; suiting carbonation, lifts it up. Light alcohol spice but interestingly goes away when it warms up. Also very dry.

Overall: It was a big one, rich, fresh, demanding but still smooth and well roundup. As crazy and tiresome (lambics anyone?) the preparation of this beer looks, it has done it good.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a snifter. Batch 3, may 2013.

pours a murky darker yellow with a nice head. smell of brett...for sure. lemon as well. taste is real intriguing. chardonnay barrel is apparent as is the brett. 10 months is a good time for this beer as the brett hasn't over powered the flavors. still get a lot of lemony sweetness. a lot going on and it works well. medium body with medium carb.

overall I enjoy it...quite tasty!

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Photo of Keananmichael5
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ill put in this way, I have not had this beer in almost 2 years, and I am not happy about it! I can't wait for it to get down to socal again soon! So unique and tasty for a "belgian DIPA".

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Photo of gcamparone
4.14/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a goblet. Thank you Keith for this one, appreciate it man.

A- Pours a very, very hazy dull yellow body with a decent sized white head that reduces slowly and leaves blotchy lacing. Opaque.

S- Very nice on the nose.. barnyard funk, belgian yeast, citrus rind, lemongrass primarily, some malt and fruit in the background, bananas and spices.

T- Upfront I get an even combination of the Brett yeast, citrus peel, and belgian spices. Funky, yeasty, and spicy notes all show up on the follow through. The IPA character of this beer eventually shows its head on the finish, in which a slightly bitter resinous note sticks on the tongue.

M- Medium mouthfeel, low carbonation. Easy drinker.

I did enjoy this beer - I really wish the taste followed the enticing aromas a little more, I was expecting more funkyness on the tongue. Overall very good and recommendable, though.

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Photo of zookerman182
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a clear hello with a finger white fizzy head.
Aroma is pear and pineapple, amazing.
Flavor is strawberry banana, and its unbelievable.
It's pretty much warmed up and it's super complex.
Even some faint funk to it.
If is beer was close by I'd get it all the time.
Mouthfeel is dry but the flavor is mind blowing.
This beer impressed me, and I had moderate expectations.
Hope I get to taste it again.

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Photo of farrago
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a big, three plus finger head of loosely knit foam, bleached white, its airy nature causes it to sizzle off at a steady pace, at the same time the lacing is wispy and even fluffy but that lasts a good long time. The gauziness to the liquid teases out some deepening orange hues to the base yellow, not many bubbles, somewhat flat visual appearance. The nose has a fresh directness to it, white grapefruit energizing pear, apple, and peach fruit scents, only lightly herbal, salt and pepper, dried bread crust, has a sourness to it and cleaner than expected, zips in and zips out. Medium-bodied, the carbonation never quite catches so it stays soft and does not percolate as it might otherwise. Cinnamon, nutmeg sprinkled on top of pear, apricot, peach, pineapple fruit. The white grapefruit, lemon citrus by far the most aggressive element, and here the grassiness turned up a notch, contributes to its overall sourness. Floral, notes of quinine and saline. Becomes more dry through the finish, has earthiness but, again, of a clean nature, no real funk. Glides well and there’s no rough spots at all. About as quaffable as one might expect from such a brew.

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Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 245 ratings.