1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

806 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 806
Reviews: 217
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 322
Gots: 96 | 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:
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 806 | Reviews: 217 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Daniellobo
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very recommendable take on a Belgian DIPA.

Presentation: 750 ml brown, caged and corked bottle. Screen printed label with a green and white design of a monk holding a chalice of the brew with a few snowflakes in the background. Side paragraph offers a description of the brew, and serving indications, back narrative exposes intent, and general background. Notes 100 IBUS, bottling Batch 1 July 2011, and 9% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A -Hazy pale gold pour, rich frothy head, medium retention, fair surface memory and nice touches of lacing.

S - Nice nose hitting like a hammer with citric hops, touch of resin, funky brett, and a hint of wood.

T - Hoppy and yeasty range… Very nice, flowing over bready funky touches.. sweet caramel in the back woven with soft barrel touches, faint fruity/vinous touch. Earthy touch pushing up the hops again, Belgian spicy insinuation adds to the flow...

M -Medium body and carbonation, with a nice flow that leads to a semi/dry finish.

O - Nice an pleasing take at a DIPA laden with brett and Belgian touches...

Notes: Hmmm, that Anchorage Brewing is making a nice dent with breatty and barrel aged brews is clear. Quality and very likable. Now, if I get fuzzy on this one I might be getting so spoiled that it feels a touch perfunctory. I mean… dunno. I would not mind having a go at a regular dipa from theirs. Here so much plays with the Belgian yeast, the barrel, the brett, that it all has a bizarre predictable sense under all the great serving… Having said all that this is probably one of the best takes, if not the best, I have had at a double Belgian IPA. Nevermind me…

Daniellobo, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of BenTherHppedThat
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

BenTherHppedThat, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of jlogan7
5/5  rDev +15.7%

jlogan7, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Jules11788
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a cloudy golden yellow color; fat 3 finger-width head, very sticky lacing. This beer looks super enticing

S: As soon as I poured this I could smell the delicious tart hoppiness exploding from the glass. Musty fruit tartness followed by a sweet floral/fruity hops in the back of the nose. Amazing

T: Super hoppy bitterness mixed with a creamy tartness, like a smooth buttery chardonnay with a hoppy backbone; the flavors expand nicely as they move down the tongue, finishes slightly dry with some more tartness and bitter hops. Absolutely delicious

M: Thick, yet somehow finishes light and dry; tingly and full-bodied with medium carbonation

O: This is a fantastic Belgian IPA, and one of the absolute best beers I've had in a while

Jules11788, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Kranders
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. I popped the cork on this beer and a funky-sweet aroma just filled the room instantly. Kind of hazy beer, nothing to exceptional. However, this beer tastes like nothing else I've ever had. It's rich and buttery from the chardonnay barrels, it's super sour, and it has just a hint of bite from all the hops. Absolutely crazy beer that seems just thrown together but is utterly fantastic in the end.

Kranders, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of KGarrett
5/5  rDev +15.7%

KGarrett, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of LSUPT
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

LSUPT, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photekut, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of rbrefbeerman
3.5/5  rDev -19%

rbrefbeerman, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of Lantern
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Lantern, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of gingersuds
5/5  rDev +15.7%

gingersuds, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of tomholland
4/5  rDev -7.4%

tomholland, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of baybassboy
5/5  rDev +15.7%

baybassboy, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of turfy
5/5  rDev +15.7%

turfy, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -7.4%

djrn2, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of seanwhite
5/5  rDev +15.7%

seanwhite, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of TCHopCraver
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.

TCHopCraver, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of claspada
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.

claspada, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of mrand01
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?

mrand01, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of JimmyTango
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.

JimmyTango, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of thagr81us
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.

thagr81us, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of caskstrength
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.

caskstrength, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of laituegonflable
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.

laituegonflable, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of billshmeinke
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.

billshmeinke, Nov 06, 2011
Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 806 ratings.