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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

825 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 825
Reviews: 220
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 348
Gots: 93 | 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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 825 | Reviews: 220
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5/5  rDev +15.7%

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.

Photo of claspada
3.38/5  rDev -21.8%
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.

Photo of mrand01
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
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?

Photo of JimmyTango
4.89/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Photo of thagr81us
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Photo of caskstrength
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Photo of laituegonflable
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Photo of billshmeinke
4.61/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of kscaldef
3.18/5  rDev -26.4%
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.

Photo of Arenbeer
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
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!

Photo of sjccmd
4.79/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of Kendo
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Photo of Urbancaver
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
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

Photo of litheum94
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 825 ratings.