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 Justin_Neff
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle - Batch #3, May 2013

A: Pours a hazy, straw yellow. Big, white, pillowy head that hangs around for several minutes, leaving very little lacing. Looks like a tripel from the pour.

S: This smells brilliant. Hoppy upfront with funky tart Brett. Peaches and apricots.

T: Citra hops upfront. Sweet exotic fruits. The funk and Brett isn't overbearing, but meshes with the hops brilliantly. Subtle oak underlying everything. There's a unique sweet kind of bitterness towards the finish that leaves a lingering apricot flavor.

M: Dry. Drinks like a white wine. Prickly. Full body. Heavy carbonation.

O: This is my favorite anchorage brew by a longshot thus far. The complexity of this one is immaculate. Every sip is a little different. Hoppy yet funky. Big fan.

Justin_Neff, Oct 14, 2013
Photo of dbrauneis
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy medium straw yellow in color with light amounts of visible carbonation near the surface. The beer has a two finger tall white head that reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of sourness/tartness from the brett with some barnyard funk over the top of clementine/tangerine citrus hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of pale malts with quite a bit of sourness/tartness from the brett. There are some lighter notes of barnyard funk and clementine/tangerine citrus hops which lend a light amount of bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Easy to drink as the high ABV is very well hidden and there is a very good balance to the flavors (not overly bitter or sweet) with the brett really enhancing the overall flavors of the beer. Great amounts of complexity to the smell and taste making it very enjoyable - definitely a great beer to sip on during football... Glad I got a second chance to have this one now that I have started reviewing (previously it was the best beer I had on New Year's Eve 2011 which included many nice beers).

dbrauneis, Nov 11, 2012
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass. Pours out a beautiful hazy gold with an inch of dense white head. Plenty of sticky lace gets left behind on the glass.

The smell is very inviting. Grapefruit, lemon rind, caramel and funk start off the smell. Oak, alcohol and grapes are hidden in the background.

Smooth and balanced for being 100 IBU. The lemon/grapefruit start the taste, followed by Brett funk and oak. The malts smooth it out with a French bread middle, with a hint of grapes from the Chardonnay barrel. The finish is slightly sour but still bitter. Only a hint of the 9% ABV is noticable. Goes down easy.

One of the best Belgian IPA's I've ever had. Very complex and worth the bottle price. I wonder how it would hold up after a year. Might be an interesting experiment.

OBeerMeGreatOne, Sep 05, 2012
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.

jjanega08, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of Metalmonk
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.

Metalmonk, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Batch #1 July 2011.

Minor pop off the bottle. One of the best forming heads I have ever witnessed. Perfectly uniform bubbles of white everywhere. A clumpy retention head sitting on top of a pale amber to glowing brass yellow twenty four carat gold edges with lots of rising carbonation present. I don't know what perfection is.. in many ways it is an anomaly. But this here looks like just a flat out perfection presented.. the head formation is what got me.

Nose is like a bretty grapefruit citrus ipa saison hybrid. Slightly vinous and green grape smelling. Great fantastic nose. Hop angle does not seem obvious, after some time funky sense wears off and becomes more citrus dominant, feeling mildly sour.

Taste is like drinking orange bretty bubblebath, and a mix of huge hoppy pine blast in the aftertaste. Drying hop rooftop feel, with medium texture just down the middle for thickness. Texture is almost vinous but taken over by pleasant hop dryness. Hot punching yeast all throughout.

One seriously slamming beer from this brewery what can I say. They are making some dam good beer up in Alaska.

smakawhat, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of jsanford
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a Tulip Glass.

A - Pours a hazy light gold with a soapy white head that fades to a slight patch and ring.
S - Intense tropical hop aromas of passion fruit, pineapple, mango, and peach with a touch of white grape, oak, and Brettanomyces. Absolutely stunning!
T - Taste is similar to the nose, tons of tropical hops, white wine, oak, and funky, earthy Brettanomyces character. Surprisingly easy-drinking, I could have probably finished off this bottle by myself!
M - Crisp and dry, with a medium body and good, sharp carbonation.
O - Right out the gate, this Anchorage Brewing Co. is doing some amazing things. Complex, funky, and delicious, I can't wait to see what's next!

jsanford, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of Ghenna
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged bottle into an orval chalice.

White head, quickly receding though lingers, small bubbles.
Lots of citra aroma in the nose, a nice amount of sweet and bret sour. The citra and bret funk really go well together.

As to the taste- all I can say is wow, what an overload (not in a bad way). There is a ton going on from the beginning of the taste to the finish. Lots of sour initially, and its thread lasts throughout the taste. mild belgian esters from mid to finish, and a solid hop bitterness on the finish- the 100ibu is definitely present. Medium mouthfeel I guess.

Wow, what a beer. I had seen these beers at whole foods and total wine for the last month but the price had really driven me off. After seeing some threads on reddit's beer forum piling on the high praise I figured I'd drop $13 on it and give it a shot- and what a beer this is. This beer has a shit ton going on in it, but I think this cacophony ends up working out. Definitely worth getting at least once- I'm thinking about about buying another bottle or two to age and see what it is like once it has a few years on it (and once the hops have died down).

Ghenna, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of Halcyondays
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle, in a New Belgium globe,

A: Pours a translucent light orange with a gorgeous soft cloud of white foam which lasts forever akin to a Duvel. Great, thick full lace.

S: Tons of wildflower and spice, spring meadow. Light oak notes, sweet vanilla perfume obviously from the Chard barrels.

T: Sweet malt initially with a lot of esters - apple, Asian pear, kumquat. Dry spice in the mid-palate with a strong leathery classic Brett presence throughout. Great vanilla finish.

M: Medium to full-bodied, very smooth. Easy to drink for how big it is. Well balanced with a great long aftertaste.

O: This is the real deal folks. One of the best BIPAs I've ever had. $15 a bottle is tough, but here it's worth it. This beer is an experience and a great first impression from Anchorage.

Halcyondays, Oct 24, 2011
Photo of BenTherHppedThat
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

BenTherHppedThat, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of Anstuart5
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Anstuart5, Aug 09, 2014
Photo of Soonami
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Soonami, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of beenitty
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

beenitty, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

UWBadgerFan4Life, Jan 02, 2014
Photo of schmidtmattsays
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

schmidtmattsays, Sep 19, 2013
Photo of Ciocanelu
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Ciocanelu, Jun 27, 2013
Photo of woodchip
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

woodchip, Oct 05, 2013
Photo of freewill35
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

freewill35, Oct 24, 2013
Photo of mkotsayfan
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a pint glass. Pours a light golden yellow with a lot of white frothy head. The aroma has lots of citrus, sourness from the Brett, some grassy notes. The taste involves a battle for your taste bud's attention: bitterness from the hops or the sourness from the Brett, certainly a delightful battle to witness. There is also a nice balance of tart and sweetness. The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with nice carbonation, with a nice dry finish.

Overall a quality beer, the brett sourness and bitterness blend very nicely, and the other flavors balance out the beer very well. Looking forward to some more beers from Anchorage Brewing.

mkotsayfan, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of blindpiggie
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

blindpiggie, Nov 18, 2013
Photo of bmurray10
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

bmurray10, Jun 29, 2013
Photo of trevorpost
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

trevorpost, Feb 07, 2014
Photo of Ajlvt
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Ajlvt, Sep 12, 2013
Photo of wesley14
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

wesley14, Jun 15, 2012
Photo of bonbini26
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

bonbini26, Mar 19, 2012
Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 806 ratings.