1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Bitter Monk - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter MonkBitter Monk

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

815 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 815
Reviews: 217
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 323
Gots: 92 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian IPA |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: sprucetip on 08-26-2011)
View: Beers (15) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 815 | Reviews: 217 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.8/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a beautiful cloudy golden yellow. There is a big puffy two fingers of white head that dissipates slowly.

S: This beer is full of fun scents. I'm picking up brett, lemon zest, floral esters, wine characteristics, and a really mellow Belgian yeast sweetness. It's an incredible complex and intriguing aroma.

T: The fist blast is candy sweetness and lemony hops. Following quickly is the unmistakable brett. Next, I get blasted with huge bitters (probably from the chardonnay wine barrel treatment). I actually think this beer falls short in the finish. It's way too bitter.

M: Medium bodied beer. It starts of wet (for about a second) and finishes super dry, desert dry.

O: I think the look and smell of this beer are amazing, but the taste falls a bit short for my liking. I'm not a big fan of the ultra dryness of this beer either. But overall, it's still a decent brew.

Photo of DaveHack
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of nppeders
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - hazy yellowish orange with a rocky white head.

smell - brett funk in the nose (brett c?), much stronger then I was expecting. Also get some citus, and fruityness in the nose which cold be the hops or the brett, sacc or a combo. Not really sure. Lodes of funk though!

taste - started off with a nice burst of sweetness, citrus, pineapple, the middle hits you with a tartness, and brett, and then the finish is long with the chardonnay butteryness coating the mouth. It finish's dry and bitter and buttery. Lot's of the chardonnay barrel aging came through in the finish which was a surprise. Maybe a little aggressive. There is a whole lot going on here.

mouthfeel - medium mouthfeel, medium to high carbonation.

overall - This was my favorite beer drinking experience at the Bodega in Lacrosse over Thanksgiving weekend! So glad that they continue to bring in amazing beers! I really had no idea this type of beer could be done. A brett barrel aged DIPA. That being said, they certainly got it done extremely well up in Anchorage. This is a fantastic beer and I'm glad I tried it even though I paid $25 for the bomber at a bar. Heck it was thanksgiving and I couldn't resist! Beside the chardonnay barrels adding maybe a touch too much and creating "a little too much going on" this is a great beer, and a style that I look forward to trying again in the future and maybe brewing myself!

Photo of ShanePB
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged bottle. I've heard wonderful things about this being a "surprise of the year" beer so I had to give it a try, even at the (Philadelphia) expensive price point. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Golden orange hazy body with a creamy, fluffy white head atop. A full retention cap stays throughout and it has really super sticky lacing on the walls. Honestly, this is an absolutely gorgeous looking beer.

S: Citrus, zest, smarties candy, chalk, white pepper, funk and some barnyard hay-like qualities. A faint bitterness is towards the back end allowing the hops to shine through to remind you this is in the IPA family. Nice aroma, nothing mind-blowing but it certainly isn't anything bad.

T: Bitter hop zest and citrus oils are the first to hit the palate. A slightly spicy yeast note comes in, along with more smarties candy and chalkiness. Dry wood and crisp white grapes are towards the back end bringing in some of the barrel treatment. After the swallow, a bit of a burn is in the chest perhaps from the alcohol?

M: Nice carbonation, on the lower end of the scale giving this a real creamy smooth feel. Very dry and bitter in the finish. Not a complete determent but I would have preferred it more clean.

This was a very interesting beer, and the only comparison I could make was to Iron Hill's Savage IPA. Still, it's definitely a unique beer with lots of complexity and flavor.

Photo of ChrisSRT4
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of Bubba83
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml into an Allagash tulip at around 45 degrees. Going to let this warm up a bit while I appreciate the aroma. Pours a nice sun color with tones of hazy peach towards the middle of the glass. A big and bright white head rests on top, looks very light and airy. Bubbles rise from the depths of the glass up to the top, keeping the head stable and everlasting. Very awesome lacing down the sides of the glass, it's a stunning looking beer.

The aroma reminds me a lot of Midnight Sun/Ballast Point's 3767. That shouldn't be a surprise since that's also a DIPA aged in French Oak with Brett, although that beer used Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. There's a very impressive depth in the aroma, the french oak is immediately apparent, lots of vanilla and other oak notes. The brett funk is here too, a lot of straw and hay along with some nice citrusy lemon and grapefruit from the hops.

The flavor reminds me a lot of 3767 as well, they seem very close in flavor profile. There's a little bit of light bready sweetness at first, but the brett is contributing a lot to the flavor afterwards. Huge funky barnyard flavors, under ripe green apple, slight ink, along with a dry and prolonged sour taste. At the swallow there's a good burst of bright citrus, mostly lemon and grapefruit. There's a little bit of that trademark french oak vanilla/butter underneath it all, which kind of rounds things out nicely. It's a beer that confuses the palate, and is interesting at every sip.

Digging the mouthfeel too. A nice medium body that feels oily and smooth in the mouth, but there's plenty of carbonation as well. It's fairly high in the carbonation department, but I like that in beers like this one. It definitely dries out the mouth a bit, it's ultra dry! I always like beers that do that, but your mileage may vary.

A very well made beer. There's something about this combination of belgian/brett yeasts and IPA that I enjoy when it's done right, and the french oak adds an interesting component that tends to bring everything together. I am really glad I found another beer like 3767 since I enjoyed that so much, however at $15.99 per 750ml I'm not sure how often I'd revisit this.

Photo of jjanega08
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

July 2011 Batch #1

A= The pour is a bright yellow color. The brightest yellow color I've ever seen in a beer. The head is thick and frothy looking and rises to a couple fingers high before falling to a frothy layer on top of the glass. The lacing is pretty good but it's not your typical sheets it's more of a spotty film.

S= Immediatly after opening the bottle I got quite a bit of Brett. Tons of brett in the nose and a nice hop blend to that compliments the brett in a unique way that I can't really explain. Interesting mix of brett and fruity hops. Unlike anything I've ever smelled.

T= The taste is again one of the most unique things I've ever tasted. Really nice mix of bright hops and a woody tannin barrel flavor. A tasty bretty flavor that actually seems to be maybe a little sour for typical brett only innoculation but that may be chardonnay. Really unique and interesting mix of flavors that all seem to work somehow in unison.

M= Bright carbonation as well as a thick lasting flavor that sheets on the tongue.

O= This is unlike anything I've ever tasted. Totally unique and very delicious. I always love it when a brewer comes out with a beer that is unique. This is one of those. Really unable to fully explain it. A tasty beer that is worth buying and buying. Try this beer. Hopefully the other beers from this brewery will be just as good.

Photo of starrdogg
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of jag21
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of CypherEnigma
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of helmstreet
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a tulip glass.

Cloudy, light orange body topped by a thick, rocky white head that falls quickly. The citrusy hop aroma slips into piney, grassy farm notes where the line between Brett and hop blurs. The high carbonation makes it almost chewy. As it moves from lips to throat there's a great balance of malt and hops with lemony flavors becoming bready then slightly briney, leaving a dry aftertaste that's half sour half bitter. You can feel the oak in your jowls. This is a complex beer--simply wonderful.

Photo of paxchristi
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber from Bierkraft. Pours up hazy fruity coloured body with a quarter inch of retained head. Funky aroma. It all works - the brett, the barreling with fruity nuances, the hopping. Easy mouthfeel and a pleasant drinker, as I finished it all over an hour's lunch.

Photo of Ryan1423
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of OregonHopmonster
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of suspect
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Duvel Tulip. Split with my brother-in-law.

A: Bright golden color - relatively aggressive pour leads to a 2 finger head. Hazy, not clear.

S: Funk. Barnyard, funky, feet and some light malt flavor as well. We couldn't come up with why it smelled like feet and then we realized it was the Brett.

T: Brett rules. It's such a nice combination of funky barnyard, citrus zest and hoppy bitter mixed all in together.

M: Light body, nice carbonation.

O: Easy drinker, funky ass brett. I love this yeast when done well...this is middle of the pack Brett beer, which makes it excellent.

Photo of Listers
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of kevflaherty
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of wrycon
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful goldenrod. Smells simply amazing - strong tropical fruit, apricot, wheat and pine notes, all swimming in a yeasty funk. Tastes as good as it smells. Strong sharpness up front from the hops and Chardonnay. Midway, it twists in a tangy direction and the brett really makes its presence felt. A citrusy sweetness, come out in the back and helps blunt the bite. Good, complex brew.

Like it? Certainly

Photo of greenmonstah
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle marked Batch #1 July 2011

A - Pours a hazy yellow-caramel with a finger of frothy white head. Nice lacing and retention for this ABV.

S - Bitter and funky, with oak character. Enormously complex, with hop bitterness, green apple sourness, old yeasty brett funk with a leather twist, and a winey grape-oak chardonnay aroma.

T - Similar to the nose, but with very different emphasis. Sour and bitter both, with little hop flavor but plenty of bitterness. Herbal, funky, bitter, oaky, and vinous. Clear flavors of chardonnay and big brett funk flavor. Hugely acidic, with a strong finish of oak and leather. Complexity gets 5/5, but I don't especially love drinking it, to be completely honest. So fascinatingly woody, like biting into a tree trunk. I have to give it a 4/5 for all the flavors it brings to the table, and the fact that they honestly do work well together. I'd hate to knock it for what it is, so I've settled on 4/5, even though my taste preferences suggest a 3.5

M - Medium body with light but active carbonation. Acidity affects the feel by affecting the mouth in the way a sour apple or grape might -- gives you that weird feeling on your teeth.

O - Overall I love this beer for the experiment that it is, but don't particularly adore drinking it. It is a challenge to quaff, and would score low in drinkability. That said, I think is ends up being a brilliant beer overall because I've never had anything like it and at the same time, it didn't fall flat on its face. It really excites the taste buds. I'm very interested to see what Mr. Fletcher has up his sleeve in the future. This almost tastes like something Vinnie at RR would cook up, but perhaps without the restraint needed to make a perfectly balanced beer.

Photo of jera1350
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lot of hype going into this one. Hope it doesn't disappoint.

Batch #1: July 2011

In a tulip, this bad boy has a hazy gold body that seems to just glow. The rocky cap of clean white foam on top is massive, retains well and leaves all kinds of sticky lacing.

I will preface by saying that I am not a big brett fan. The nose is very tropical smelling. Tropical as in fruit. The brett adds this nice tartness to the nose that compliments the fruit beautifully. If I close my eyes and smell, I can easily picture the beach.

The taste is quite nice, but doesn't blow me away. Like a good belgian ipa with some more complexities to it. Quite lemony, which I'm sure the brett contributes to. Bright citrusy notes with just a little sweetness. Lots of grapefruit, lots of spice notes and some light brett funk also. Some warm alcohol makes itself know as well.

Very, very dry. Mediumish bodied with lots of soft carbonation.

As usual, I got my hopes up and I was a bit disappointed. Didn't turn out to be the knockout I was hoping, but still a very good beer that is relatively unique from others in the style. I actually don't mind the brett too much in this. Pretty refreshing in a wine like way. The price is a bit steep though. Glad to have tried it, but probably won't grab it again.

Photo of MasterSki
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Binny's after the distributor screwed over West Lakeview by selling their allotment. Served in a Bells tulip. Batch #1, July 2011.

A - Lightly hazed pale golden body, with a finger-plus of white foam that settles to a thin cap, leaving thin fingers of lace.

S - Lemon, oak, herbal and leafy notes, grapefruit, phenolic Belgian yeast, hint of cat pee, some tart apple skins, touch of chardonnay. Alcohol pops up when the beer gets warm. Aroma is pretty crazy and complicated, but everything promised on the label is present a perceptible.

T - I actually like the taste a bit better, as it has more stone fruit malt and tropical fruit hop flavors. Some herbal hops, oak, light vinous character, and waves of bitterness that come and go somewhat unexpectedly. Alcohol is better hidden, and the cat pee note is also thankfully missing.

M - Medium-full body with a smooth texture, extremely dry and tannic finish, moderate carbonation. No alcohol heat, and some resinous hop oils that linger into the aftertaste.

D - This beer was terrific - I'm guessing it's loosely based on 3767, which Gabe made while at Midnight Sun. Very easy to dirnk, even with the higher ABV and IBUs - the bitterness is apparent but never gets fatiguing or oppressive. I hope Shelton & Windy City get their act together and we get the next batch a little quicker, as I'd like to experience the full force of the hop aroma and flavors.

Photo of AgentZero
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me start out by saying I am not a fan of Belgian IPAs, and then let's go from there. Thanks to MasterSki for bringing this over.

A - Golden colored beer with a foamy white head that left behind a nice web of lace.

S - Really a lot going on with this nose. Some phenolic yeast, pungent simcoe, tropical fruit of the citra, and some brett. A funky IPA with strains of belgian yeast, didn't really see that coming, despite what the bottle was advertising.

T - This beer was immediately bitter for me, with the pungent simcoe mixing with the phenols in a bit of puckering bitter bite. You get used to it after a little bit and start to pick up aon a lot more of the citra. The brett funk occassionally bursts through. It's really hard to describe this beer as it tastes like so many different things, and I'm shocked at how good it is. There's even some of the chardonnay and wood that will come as well.

M - Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

O - This beer is shockingly unique and good at the same time. Need to revisit it, as there is so much going on. One of the more interestingly complexed beers I've had in a long time. While I'm not necessarily a fan of this style, I liked this beer a lot and Alex and I drank the bottle pretty easily between us.

Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 815 ratings.