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Bitter Monk - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter MonkBitter Monk

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

794 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 794
Reviews: 216
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 10.42%
Wants: 272
Gots: 97 | 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:
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)
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Ratings: 794 | Reviews: 216 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of baybassboy
baybassboy

California

5/5  rDev +15.7%

11-16-2011 01:04:11 | More by baybassboy
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

11-15-2011 05:55:08 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of turfy
turfy

Texas

5/5  rDev +15.7%

11-15-2011 00:41:21 | More by turfy
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -7.4%

11-14-2011 21:24:43 | More by djrn2
Photo of seanwhite
seanwhite

Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +15.7%

11-14-2011 16:19:58 | More by seanwhite
Photo of TCHopCraver
TCHopCraver

Michigan

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

Really excited for this one. Belgian Double IPA with Brett aged in French Oak Chard barrels. Crazy.

Out of the bottle the Bitter Monk is a delightful golden-yellow with a slightly off-white, 2 finger head poured into a pint glass. The head is extremely dense and foamy. Lots of little carbonation bubbles rush upward through a slightly hazy appearance from a little yeast that got into the glass. The lacing left on the glass is clumpy and sticky.

The aroma is all over the place. A sour, tart Granny Smith apple-esque smell is the first smell that infiltrates my nostrils. This is supported by hoppy citrus aromas of lemon, lime, and grapefruit. There is plenty of a bready yeast aroma in there, too. It's very interesting smelling the tart Brett mingling with such a strong hop aroma. Really good.

Whoa, that is an exciting and unique flavor. Oh meh gah... This is possibly the most original flavor I've ever gotten out of a beer. The first taste on my palate is of strong, dank, citrusy hops on the sides of my mouth (heavy on grapefruit flavors). This is complemented by a sour of explosion of sour apple and lime that also lands on the sides of my mouth, as well as straight on my tongue. Layering on top of those complex flavors is a buttery, oaky creaminess, which lasts for just a bit before being washed out by the Brett sourness and citrus hops. All the while there exists a very earthy and floral flavor.
There is a lot of crazy shyte happening in this beer. Awesome.

The mouthfeel is varied and exciting. The body of the beer is medium-full with a very creamy feel on the tongue, but all the while there is a puckering sourness and a puckering dankness from the Brett and the citrusy hops. The finish is all bitterness as the hops take over the reins.

I sound like a broken record, but this is a really crazy beer and I very much enjoyed it. If you like taking a palate adventure when you drink beer, this is the beer for you. So hoppy, so tart, and so creamy. Very interesting and highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 02:33:40 | More by TCHopCraver
Photo of claspada
claspada

New Jersey

3.33/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright hazy ripe lemon yellow with 2 inches of fluffy/bubbly white head that slowly recedes leaving sticky soapy/bubbly lacing along the goblet.

Aromas begin with a ton of sour citrus smells, could be hops and/or could be Brett yeast. Further examination leads me to believe it is the Brett as the sourness become more predominant. In the background you get some tropical and citrus hops but the Brett owns the show here. Lighter earthy/oakiness continues to emerge as well.

After the aromas the tastes are a bit surprising. The flavors are more akin to a DIPA than a Belgian Brett sour beer. Lots of bitter pithy lemony citrus and grapefruit hops initially assault the palate. As it warms you get a little more of the underlying vinous white grape, pear and lighter generic sour Brett flavors. Just like the nose the earthy and oaky flavors emerge as you continue to sip. Extreme bitterness dominates the show however and takes away from the delicate flavors imparted from the barrel and the Brett that I wish were more in the forefront.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium to higher carbonation. Finish is quite bitter, which is expected for 100 IBU, but the Brett sourness helps to balance the intensely bitter citrus hops. Finish is dry as as bone thanks to the ample hopping and Brett yeast fermentation. As it warms the bitterness becomes way too overbearing for me to enjoy and the Brett loses the balance that existed when it was at a slightly cooler temperature.

Overall this was definitely an experience for sure. The flavors and aromas were so contradictory and yet complemented each other quite well. My only issue was that I wish I consume this during the warmer months as I would have enjoyed it much more on a nice warm day. If you love sour beers and really bitter DIPAs you will love this. If you dislike either pass. I am on the fence as I like both but I think I prefer them separate. Still a high quality beer as this obviously took a lot of thought and care to craft such an intricate brew. If you can afford the elevated price tag, it's worth a go.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 01:36:28 | More by claspada
Photo of mrand01
mrand01

New Jersey

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

A: Opaque amber/orange with about 1/2" of thick white head. Decent retention with hardly any lacing.

S: Lemons, citrus fruits, a little funk. Hops are hardly in the nose here, but it smells amazing.

T: Whoa. This one starts out sour and zesty and takes a quick turn to the citrus hops. The oak from the chardonnay barrels really comes through, with the wine notes melding with the hops perfectly. Amazingly complex.

M: A little sticky, medium bodied with sharp carbonation.

O: This beer is ridiculously good. Who would have thought a sour IPA would be a good idea?

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 00:09:56 | More by mrand01
Photo of JimmyTango
JimmyTango

California

4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Hazy yellow-to-orange with frothy pure white head.

S: Oh my god. Lemon zest, lemon custard, barnyard/ wet hay. Wet for sure. Hops? Deffinately, but more as a bitterness... not the floral or citrus rind that I expected. The belgian yeast is there in the background with some pineapple smells, but the nose is pretty sour.

T: Bitter! The taste is like the nose but with a tad more flowers and pineapple flavoring hops. Lemon is pretty dominant and when teamed up with the barnyard funk gives it a subtle cottage cheese flavor. Still more wet hay and some sourness from the brett. The malt base is hard to put a finger on, but I'm gonna say its there with a stale white bread character. Again, only a touch of belgian sweetness, just enough to upgrade the malt from stale french bread to stale wonder bread. Ya dig?

M: Foamy, light, delicate, and clean. Hop oil finish leaves you feeling a bit soapy.

O: This is my favorite beer. I was completely blown away, although it was very different from what I expected based on the description. For some reason I was picturing a much more malt forward and bigger/sweeter beer considering the label as a belgian IIPA with barrel aging, but no... Dry, balanced, and crazy complex with a damn-near perfect hop forward bitterness, mostly funky but nicely sour brett character, and a malt backdrop enhanced by the belgian yeast without being heavily fruity, spicy, or sweet.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2011 18:08:25 | More by JimmyTango
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big shoutout goes out to my doppelganger for sharing this one with me! Served from bottle into a Bell's stemmed tulip. Poured a hazy golden yellow with a three finger fluffy white head that subsided to one finger slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, funk, citrus, citrus hop, earth, and lemon rine. The flavor was of sweet malt, lemon rine, citrus, citrus hop, grapefruit, funk, and earth. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. This beer really worked well for me. The citrus aspects going on here were quite well incorporated with the rest of the brew and the funkiness took it to the next level for me. I wish more Belgian IPAs were like this one... Really glad I got the chance to try this one and I would do so again anytime.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2011 15:50:14 | More by thagr81us
Photo of caskstrength
caskstrength

Minnesota

4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stumbled on to a few bottles of this. I didn't realize it's the work of the ex-Midnight Sun lead brewer until I looked it up here. I hear he did some good stuff there.

Pours light yellow, generous white carbonation, pretty cloudy. Looks good.

I'm still trying to figure out the smells. Lemon, grapefruit, funk, orange peels. Belgian yeast-like flavors subtly weaved into the above mentioned things.

Tastes even better. Quite complex. Bitter citrus, lemon, orange, hay, yeast, earth. Damn, this is crazy tasty. Each sip is different, so much going on. I can't figure this all out. Wine barrels, triple fermentation, brett additions. Seems it was worth the fuss.

Dry mouthfeel, bites with bitter, pithy things. Enough sweetness to balance.

Wow. It's fun to find a beer that takes you where you've never been.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 23:22:09 | More by caskstrength
Photo of laituegonflable
laituegonflable

Australia

4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber colour, nice golden tinge up to the light. Very opaque though. Head is hugely generous off-white with sparse bubbling and clumps of lace left behind. Marshmallowy top. Looks very decent.

Smell is just lovely. Loads of brett going wild, sourness with cassia, orange peel and underripe berry notes. Sour, but nice sweetness adding balance - citrus, berries and a touch of oatmeal on the back. It's really, really nice.

Taste starts out kind of sour, citric really, but develops into strong fruity mid-palate that's actually quite sweet, with peach, apricot and raspberries. Brett comes through late, giving kind of off mouldy cheese kind of flavour that doesn't quite mesh as far as the aftertaste goes. It's nice overall, but the finish could be toned down a bit, as it's a little on the astringent side. Otherwise the flavours are nice, just seems a bit off-kilter late.

Not bad on the feel for the most part, but you can sense that pull from the wilder yeast at the back and it gets to the point of puckering.

Not an everyday drinking beer, really, but well worth a taste.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 07:15:08 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of billshmeinke
billshmeinke

California

4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

Hazy straw/golden body with a huge four finger rocky head. Retention is awesome, and so is the lacing. A seriously amazing looking beer.

Smells of brett, dry and yeasty. Lots of fruity hoppiness. Pineapple and tangerine rind. Hints of oak and white wine too.

Tastes of oak, tannins, white wine, stone fruits, orange rind, tangerine rind, pineapple, grapefruit, some bretty funk, complex yeast notes. Pretty bitter and earthy finish. So layered and complex, it's ridiculous.

Full bodied, well carbonated, smooth texture with a nice carbonic bite on the end. Super dry as well.

I don't know what to say, I'm pretty blown away right now. One of the best beers I have tried this year and possibly ever. Ridiculously complex, super dry, just an amazing beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 05:56:01 | More by billshmeinke
Photo of kscaldef
kscaldef

Oregon

3.13/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Foams aggressively in my tulip. The big, fluffy white head has good retention and nice lacing. Pleasing golden color.

S: Some really intriguing herbal notes.. thyme and lavender? Some earthy wet dog notes. Warms up to more traditional Belgian aromas, clove, bubblegum

T: Starts with some floral hop flavors, then finishes bitter and herbal, with a real linger in the back of the mouth. Reminiscent of wormwood in the finish. A little sweetness in the front and mid-palate.

M: Dry and astringent. Medium-high carbonation. After a glass, I'm starting to get a post-nasal drip sort of feeling in the back of my throat... not particularly pleasant.

O: I wasn't much of a fan of this while still cold. (First pour was 30 minutes after removing from the fridge.) The first 8 oz or so were pretty harsh. After forgetting about it for a while and letting it warm up, it gets better, although never to something I'd consider great. At the price, I wouldn't buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 03:29:39 | More by kscaldef
Photo of Arenbeer
Arenbeer

Connecticut

4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a Tulip Glass

Batch #1 July/2011

A- Pours a hazy light yellow with hints of orange and 2 fingers of fluffy bright white head on top. Tons of carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass and some nice retention on the sides.

S- Lots of Belgian yeast notes up front like clove and banana with small hints of brett and funk but nothing crazy. But what I really like the most about this beer is the hop presence and the profile they give off. Slight citrus orange, tropical fruit, and pine aromas. They really blend nicely with the Belgian yeast and add a crazy element to the beer. There is a small amount of barrel present but it's nothing over powering and you need to dig deep to find it. Mostly musty oak and vinous grapes with a touch of alcohol.

T- Strange to say the least but in a really good way. Up front the first flavors I got were from the Belgian yeast that gave off flavors of banana, clove, but most of all a sweet breadiness. As the beer goes down and thins out in the mouth the bitter hops come out with pine, orange, citrus, and maybe some tropical fruits and slam the tongue with bitterness. The finish is what kind of makes it but is my least favorite part about this beer, the barrel flavors of oak and wine create a burning alcohol finish with touches of vinous grapes and a dry mouthfeel. The brett comes through in the flavor with a slight tart flavor and maybe some funk but no where near your average brett beer. Very subtle but flavorful.

M- Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation and dry bitter finish that is slightly tart as well.

Overall this is by far one of the most unique beers I've come across and would recommend it to anyone who's willing to try it. So complex and full of flavor, every sip is different.

SkÅL!

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 23:25:24 | More by Arenbeer
Photo of sjccmd
sjccmd

Minnesota

4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light orange slightly hazy body with a creamy white head. Carbonation streams up from the bottom of the glass. Incredibly stick lacing.

Wow. The aroma is incredibly fascinating. Lots of brett and hops, but they seem to compliment each other so well that it is almost hard to distinguish which is which. Bright citrus and tropical fruits. Pineapple and slightly cheesy barnyard funk. Earthy basement aroma. Incredibly floral.

WOW! I was thinking that there was no way the flavor could be as interesting as the aroma, but I was so wrong. Juicy hops, funky and earthy brett all balanced together. Crazy tropical fruit flavors that I don't even want to reduce to pineapple or mango...incredibly unique. It's pretty hard to describe this flavor. I would have never imagined brett and american hops could work together so well. Finishes with earthy and spicy with a solid hop bitterness.

Exceptionally creamy, but not heavy mouthfeel. High carbonation but not fizzy. Sticky hop resin fills out the mouth.

This is one of most unique beers I've had...even after having Love Buzz. I can't wait to see what this brewery does next.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 21:45:14 | More by sjccmd
Photo of Kendo
Kendo

New York

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

A: Poured from a corked-and-caged 750 ml into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body surprises with its lightness of color: slightly hazed straw-apricot with a bright, eggshell-white foamy 1-finger head. A little bit of lace clings to the sides of the glass after each sip.

S: Interesting. There's a lot going on in the nose. Apricot. White wine. Lighter citrus and tropical fruit. Some funkiness.

T: I am pretty sure I have never tasted a beer quite like this. The first impression is actually the back end of things: the bitter finish (think grapefruit pith) that smooths out to a combination tart/sour/bitter aftertaste. Up front I get some fruitiness; not-quite-ripe-nectarine, a bit of apricot. White grape skins. Earthy hops with a hint of pine. After a few sips I've concluded that there's some tannins lingering with that tart/sour/bitter finish - likely the Chardonnay barrels. Also a bit of alcohol heat becomes noted as it warms up a bit. Vacillating b/w a 4 and a 4.5 on the taste score.

M: Active fizziness. Body is lighter than expected - call it light-to-medium in heft.

O: Interesting. Not necessarily my cup of tea, so to speak, but I can appreciate a well-made, unique beer. Bonus point given here, bumping from 4 - 4.5.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 01:19:55 | More by Kendo
Photo of Urbancaver
Urbancaver

Ohio

4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy yellowed orange. Golden. Gorgeous. I like the look quite a bit. Smells funky, sweet. Floral, lots going on on the nose. A bit bitter. Maybe hops? Very cool aroma. Tastes belgiany, hoppy, bitter oak, tannins, lots of goodness, very enjoyable beer :)
Well carbonated. A bit rough around the edges but really nice. I quite enjoy this brew

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 00:49:18 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of litheum94
litheum94

California

4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml C&C bottle. Very nice looking artwork.

Frothy, sea foam head pours out, bone white in color. Yellow-nearing-orange body. Head takes it's time settling down, leaving some nice lacing.

Very complex nose: brett, citrus, pineapple, spice and oak. Funky and fresh.

The first sip boggles the mind; this is a whole new ballgame here. Very oaky at first, with some dry cracker malts. Leads into tart citrus hops with a big, Brett funk. Very dry and funky. Faint essence of tropical fruit and spice, with a lingering hop bitterness.

An experiment that definitely works. I wasn't sure what to think of this beer at first, but the deeper I got in, the more I enjoyed it. Crafted perfectly. Very enjoyable. A little pricey, but worth it at least once.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2011 03:15:32 | More by litheum94
Photo of homebrewhawk
homebrewhawk

Kansas

4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle served in a Blvd. Tank 7 tulip. Poured a hazy gold with a couple of fingers of tight, white head. Dank and piney hop aroma, some Belgian yeast. Starts out with a bitter bite. Brett and barrel hit in the middle. Medium bodied. Brett really comes out in the finish. Some citrus. Oak comes through as it warms. Alcohol is well hidden. I'm liking what these guys are doing.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 23:34:05 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, bright golden orange color with a two finger frothy, pillowy white head that has excellent retention, slowly fading into a thick lasting cap. Streaks and chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

Incredibly complex aroma with elements of DIPA, American wild ale, saison and barrel aged strong ale. The brett and earthy hops compliment each other nicely with hints of musty funk and dank, resnious, piny hop oils. The barrel presence is prominent without overpowering the other notes. Lots of toasted oak along with some light fruit. The Chardonnay is prominent in the nose, whereas in the Love Buzz I couldn't pick up much Pinot noir. Vinous with grape and apple as well as some citrus from the hops. There is a lot going on here!

Medium bodied with a slight creamy texture that adds fullness to the palate. Really well balanced with the musty, funky brett perfectly complimenting the dry, earthy hop notes. Never too funky or bitter with a nice citrus sweetness and vinous presence from the barrel aging. Some toasted oak and vinous fruit from the Chardonnay barrels. Hints of apple, grape, pineapple and citrus ring with more earthy pine bitterness toward the end of the palate. Very faint alcohol heat toward the end of the palate but the ABV is masked very well.

Overall this beer is pretty awesome. Amazingly complex with a ton going on yet it remains well balanced without any one element dominating. With everything going on it still tastes like and IPA which is shocking really. I'm really impressed with this beer and this brewery so far.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 07:23:56 | More by corby112
Photo of


4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml cracked 10 minuets ago. drinkin out of a 8oz stout glass.

i get

brett
french oak
stinky hops
dried mango. lil smoke. never mind. that's brett.

Beer is better than I gave it credit for. Just doesn't smell. I'm gonna go drink the rest of this now.

edit to add: de dolle?

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2011 23:09:40 | More by
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle into Portsmouth tulip. Batch 1.

A: Pours a hazy dark citrus lemon/orange color with a billowing, soft and dense off-white head that slowy faded into a fluffy film which left chunks and streaks of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Complex hoppy notes of citrus, tropical fruits, sweet fruit nectars, tangerines, and grapefruit pith all mixed with earthy, spicy and funky notes of Belgian yeasts and brett. This is one unique smelling brew.
T: Yep, a DIPA with Belgian yeast and brett. This beer tastes like the nose with the grapefruit pith bitterness, sweet tropical fruit hoppiness, and earthy funky brett standing out the most. I do get a bit of the vinous quality of the white barrel as well. The finish is lightly beer and the aftertaste is sweet and funky.
M: Medium-full body with a drying mouthfeel that has a pleasant bitterness in the finish. The carbonation is soft and full.
O: One of the best in the style and just a phenomenal beer. The hops and the brett work wonders together. I love the bottle as well. Highly recommend and a great beer all around.

EDIT: Rarely do I buy a new beer more than once, especially one that costs between $13 to $16 a bottle. Sure I'll buy six packs of old staples (Anchor, SN) or singles of my favorites (Pliny), but I've returned to this beer four times now. I love this beer. It's awesome! I'm bumping the scores up to include more 5's.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2011 01:07:01 | More by scottfrie
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Metalmonk, meet Bitter Monk. Okay, Metalmonk has already met Bitter Monk twice before, and he found much to like in this very complex and unique beer. So, third and final meeting (at $15.99 a bottle, it's gotta be the final meeting -- for awhile anyway)...

A very healthy pop of the cork and you can smell this thing from a couple feet away. But first, appearance: so pale and hazy as to resemble a witbier, or a double wit, perhaps. Washed-out golden peach/pear-juice. Head is a blinding-white fluff monster while it lasts, which is longer than expected. Patchy lace of various shapes and sizes splatters the glass.

Ooh, that smell. Can't you smell that smell? It's huge. It's American, French and Belgian all at once, and it's terrific. American thanks to the uber-citrus hop tones (relative newcomers Apollo, Citra and Simcoe, for the record); French due to the heavy oak/Chardonnay presence; and Belgian thanks to the wonderfully funked-up yeast and clean, saison-like graininess. All combines to equal an exotic, electric, vibrant aroma like no other.

There's a heavy grapefruit element at the forefront of the taste, which pulls along with it the tell-tale fruity-and-funky treasures of Brettanomyces yeast (you know you're a lost cause when you can type Brettanomyces without looking at anything for help). Big blasts of tart lemonade, Chardonnay (and white wine-soaked wood), crisp green apple, lime, and something very, very earthy, in a twisted sort of way (again, the Brett speaking). Hops are big, and bitter, but just as well-incorporated alongside everything else, keeping Bitter Monk from feeling/seeming/drinking like a novelty. Reading the label, and thinking "Belgian IPA," I assumed some pineapple flavor would come into this before I had my first bottle several days ago. I don't quite get that, because it lacks that kind of sweetness...but having said that, it lacks nothing. It's fantastic.

Dry as a bone, partly thanks to the oak barrel use, I presume, and that perfectly matches the crisp medium body, the fruity/funky finish and the main tastes on the tongue.

Maybe it's splitting hairs, or focusing on things that don't truly matter, but the label's claim that this is a "Belgian-style Double IPA" is a little misleading. "Massive malt infusion" reads the back label. Really? Of course there's a lot of malt, but it still plays a mere supporting role. There just isn't enough of that sweet malty variable that partly defines a double IPA. But that's about all that wrong with this thing. And really, confining it to any style is futile -- this is one of the most unique, original and exciting beers to emerge from the U.S. craft scene in a while. I enjoyed the heck out of each bottle, and have to admit it was totally worth the $15.99 price tag.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2011 22:43:35 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of Reaper16
Reaper16

Alabama

4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle -- batch 1 -- served into a tulip glass

Pours a very hazy candy yellow color, like the color of yellow Skittles or banana Runts. Only, you know, all cloudy and such. A little less than one finger of white head like dishsoap. It's loose and thin but laces in spindly filigree.

The Brettanomyces isn't a background player in this beer. You can tell right off the bat, from the first smell, that this is gonna' be a pretty wild beer. Dried white flowers, basement must, lemon, and a touch of horseblanket. It's not too funky, but more in the wheelhouse of Orval. There's definite evidence here of dry-hopping too: pineapple and spearmint being the prominent lupulin aromas I'm picking up.

Soft, candied fruits shine brightest on the palate. I don't think that this is just a mental association, but it does have a white wine like aspect to these light tropical fruits. The Chardonnay barrel might be imparting actual flavor here beyond oak astringency; flavor that compliments the heavy dose of hops that this 100 IBU beer has. It feels like there should be some malts in this beer, but there's just a distant caramel malt character that gets overtaken on the finish by a sprucy, minty hop character. The Brettanomyces has gobbled up a lot of the malt sweetness, leaving this a pretty dry example of a double IPA. What prevents this beer from getting an even higher score for me is its level of booziness. The alchol is pretty strong in this beer, and it doesn't compliment things. It takes away from the Brett flavors, and overall feels kinda' strange without a more significant malt presence.

The body is in the medium range. It feels like it wants to be thicker, but the yeast has thinned the beer out a bit. Which is fine with me, as I prefer thinner IPAs. This is a dry beer for sure, which makes the hop flavors harsher. That may be perfect for your palate, but you might also be craving more sweetness as a backdrop.

Overall this is not as mindblowing as I had hoped it would be, but it is one of the more interesting and unique Belgian IPAs I've ever had. I'm excited to try Anchorage's other beers, as the alcohol level on this one isn't playing as well with the barrel/yeast flavors as you'd want.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2011 02:32:55 | More by Reaper16
Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 794 ratings.