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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

252 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 252
Hads: 958
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 19.12%
Wants: 400
Gots: 119 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company
Alaska, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 252 | Hads: 958
Photo of inflatablechair
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First of all, this beer is beautiful to look at. The only thing that could make it more beautiful would be clarity; it's pretty hazy. Perhaps it could have used more time to settle. Anyways, it's between straw and orange in color and just barely translucent with a large Duvel-esque head.

It smells of Brett and citrus rind. The Brett is very faintly barnyard funk with more of a lean towards phenols. The citrus is on the lemon/tangerine side of things. Afterthought: there's a little bit of yeasty spiciness too.

The taste is a little jumbled. Quite bitter, which you'd expect from the 100 IBUs stated on the label. It's not sour at all -- only bitterness detected on the tongue. Combined with the smell, it's like chewing on a lemon rind while riding a horse. IN A GOOD WAY.

The beer is quite dry for a DIPA. Not thin by any definition, but not sweet either. A little under-carbonated, which is surprising, given the large, pillow-like head.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed drinking this beer. Going forward, this is the beer I will think of when I think of Belgian IPA, even though it's a double IPA brewed in Alaska.

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Photo of chodinheaven
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big foamy white head on top of a hazy yellow beer with orange highlights. Looks like a wheat beer really. The head dissapates slowly, leaving patchy rings of lacing with it as it goes. Chardonnay is definitely present in the smell, with a sharp note that reminds me of fresh tangerines at first. The wine smell masks others, but alcohol comes through softly. Floral hops faintly work their way to the top as well. Interesting smell for a Belgian IPA. The chardonnay really takes the stage here.

Lots of flavors hit all at once and then the complexity lingers on. The chardonnay barrel aging definitely had an effect on this beer, giving it some wine like characteristics that play pretty well with the three yeasts and intensly bitter citrus and piney hops. The citra hops are the most evident of the three used, giving an orange citrus flavor that is distinct from the chardonnay and slight resiny hop taste. This is one of those beers that you can just tell a ton of ingredients were put together to make a pretty cohesive and complex brew. It is rich with flavor and there is never a dull sip. The backbone that levels all the flavors out evenly is the biscuity maltiness found smack dab in the middle of it all. Its not as noticeable due to the plethora of other and more intense flavors, but its there, and it holds this beer together. Surprisingly not as boozy in the taste as I had expected so this one will sneak up on you at 9% and very drinkable. The bitterness threatens to take over on each sip, but the malts, chardonnay flavors, citrus, and three unique yeasts hold out and make a name for themselves. That characteristic double IPA flavor of hops is definitely there though, and a major player in the complexity of this beer. There is a smokiness to them as well that could be part of the oak barrel aging. Between the bitterness and the sweetness from the orange citrus, this beer has a unique balance to it. Its extremely bitter on the back and sides of the tongue and then lingers forever, but there is a certain sweetness that the chardonnay and the citrus bring to the beer that compliments that sharp bitterness. The mouthfeel is crisp and clean with a little wine-like bite that finishes the character off. It finishes dry but lingering, a good combination that led to reapeated sips.

Unique beer. Worth a shot if you have a spare 15 bucks or so. Great to share, celebrate with, or just enjoy being challenged with in your spare time. I will most likely be checking out Anchorage's other offerings if I can find them. This was a pretty impressive first.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25oz Corked and Caged bottle split with Oglmcdgl into some glasses.

Bitter Monk fills the glass with a bright yellow look with some deep gold tints in certain spots. A nice bright white billowy foamy head of foam graces the top leaving droppings on the glass, sheets even. Smell is heavenly, the brett is right up there and fills the nostrils. Citrus hop aroma is amped up as well as lemon. The char does not really come through. Some bubblegum scent wit some integration. On first sips I can tell this is big beer, it's bold, bitter and somewhat abrasive without going overt the hill. Lemon, citra hop flavor, grapefruit, brett make up the flavor profile. I don't get any char and the oak is faint, if there at all. The lemon and bitterness last for a while afterwards. BOLD. Feel is a healthy medium with a whole lot of carb that sparks. This beer causes tingles on my tounge. A great beer that delivers on everything on the bottle, sand huge barrel flavor, yet drinking this now, too much of that may have killed what make this stand out.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
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

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Photo of Carlson8tor
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very good beer not too bitter more citrusy. Goes down smooth, the Brett give the beer an interesting yeast flavor. The aroma was very strong and flavorful. The head lasts forever. Great beer!

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Photo of mdfb79
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From 01/05/14 notes. Big thanks to BeerLawyer85 for sharing this one, big want of mine. Thanks Ross. 750ml bottle poured into a tulip.

a - Pours a bright orange color with two fingers plus of bright white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of brett, citrus hops, oranges, tropical fruits, spice, yeast, bready malts, floral hops, pepper, and fruity malts. Light oak as well. Awesome nose, tons of brett and citrus to it, I like it a lot.

t - Tastes of brett, citrus hops, fruity malts, light white wine, oak, earthy notes, funk, spices, bread, trpoical fruits, and floral hops. More citrus here and very earthy notes; the wine comes through a bit finally. Very good, think I like the nose a tiny bit more though.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Super smooth and creamy and very easy to drink. No heat whatsoever.

o - Overall I thought this beer was awesome; I loved the mix of brett, citrus, and tropical fruits. Easy to drink and crisp, I wish I could find this more often and for a reasonable price because I'd buy it all the time.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a snifter. Batch 3, may 2013.

pours a murky darker yellow with a nice head. smell of brett...for sure. lemon as well. taste is real intriguing. chardonnay barrel is apparent as is the brett. 10 months is a good time for this beer as the brett hasn't over powered the flavors. still get a lot of lemony sweetness. a lot going on and it works well. medium body with medium carb.

overall I enjoy it...quite tasty!

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750mL into an oversized tulip.

Peach skin-colored body. Foamy, frothy, full and persistent pale white head. Lace is everywhere like in a brothel. Very nice to look at. 5

Smells of spicy, peppery yeast and white wine along with some peach and other juicy fruit all cloaked in a light funk. 4.25

A continued white wine experience with piney and floral hop flavor tinged by fruitiness. Grapefruit and mandarin follow and shine more as the beer warms. The finish lingers with a strong floral profile and a touch of oatmeal-like malt appears just before to inject some sweetness. A nice stew of flavors. 4.25

This beer was living up to the bitter in its name when it was nice and cold out the fridgerator. Yup, the fridgerator. Coupled with the zesty, yeasty spice, the beer was drinking pretty aggressively and forcing me to take the smallest of sips. But as it warms, it becomes creamier, juicier and smoother. A little sweetness/maltiness begins to show too. 4

Closer to room temp, this is pretty damn phenomenal. Drink it cold to see the transition, but I promise you'll love this after about 30-45 minutes.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle into a couple of glasses.

Pours a clear copper, with 2 fingers of rich, bright-white head. This retains with a robust foaminess, leaving back a sticky looking latticework of lacing. The aroma smells floral, musty, zesty, and piney, all wrapped up in one, with an underlying mix of juicy citrus and sweet grains adding a strong ripe twang to this. Just a light touch of warmth kisses the nose about every other whiff of this. Man, those Simcoe hops are really standing out to me the strongest here.

The taste is bitter grapefruit, juicy tropical fruit, hefty malt sweetness, and a lemony and earthy smack of flavor from the Brett. The Brett pulls into the finish, mingling with dry Chardonnay notes that come in off the sides, with an oaky feel that sticks to the tongue along with some lingering dry resins. The mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied, with a smooth oily creaminess that actually flows rather easily in the mouth despite the high ABV here. There is just enough of a prickly crispness to this to help keep those hops lively on the tongue.

I wish that I could have gotten to this one a little fresher but I was pleased to find that the hops still packed a flavorful punch here, blending in wonderfully with the Brett and barrel notes to form a beautiful marriage of flavors. I’ll be seeking this one out again. It’s damn tasty.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750Ml poured into a tulip glass

A- Pours a lighter color then I thought. A bright orange. A very hazy beer. A quickly dissipating head.

S- A lot more tropical then I expected. A barnyard hay like smell. An undeniable hop presence.

T- A very hoppy beer. The bitterness gets drowned by the other flavors. A tropical hop flavor. Apricots, papaya, grapefruit. A strong Brett flavor that helps take focus off the hops. A strong Belgian flavor and a massive smooth body that comes with Belgian yeast. Not too bitter, nor sour. A complex and interesting beer that keeps changing.

M- A lot of body to this beer. Bitter but not as bad as other DIPA's.

O- A pretty awesome beer. Very different and well done.

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Photo of kevanb
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A Belgian IPA aged with Brettanomyces in French Oak Chardonnay barrels. This has been a big want of mine and I finally managed to get a bottle and couldn’t wait to open it up. It has a really great painted label in a caged and cork bottle. It pours a really nice golden straw color with a monster 4 finger foamy head on top. Lots of lacing in the glass and the head reduces to a nice sliver of film across the top of the beer. The nose is really intriguing, lots of funk from the Brett and Belgian yeasts but followed with citrus hops and faint biscuit malts. The flavors are wild, lots of sour citrus notes from both the hops and Brett, nice coniferous flavors as well from the hops, clean yet exceptionally bitter finish. It has a nice big body and lovely mouth puckering tartness that goes down so easily.

Verdict: Amazing flavors, big yeast notes and hops of a traditional Belgian IPA taken for an amazing ride with the addition of Brett. A sour IPA that really hits the mark. Highly recommended for any hop head or Belgian lover.

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Photo of babaracas
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a couple of shades lighter than amber, two fingers of dense frothy white foam, a few sprays of lace on the glass. Smell: nectarine, white grape, musty, herbal, citrus rind, tropical note. Taste: sugary pale back, mango, pineapple notes, white nectarine, orange citrus. Vinous, woody and herbal flavors plus light acetic component emerges midsip and dominates the finish. Medium bodied, light start then a prickly carbonation, finishing bitter, bretty, and dry. This is pretty stellar. The brett isn't super strong and the barrel + brett + tropical flavors is a great combo.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch #1 (July 2011)

Appearance: Pours hazy and golden, with a frothy head that fades rather quickly, leaving some stringy lacing

Smell: The Brett has done its thing here, with tremendous barnyard funk adding complexity to the stone fruit, citrus and white wine grape elements; slightly bready

Taste: Slightly bready, up front, with the fruit and funk overwhelming the palate; barnyard funk, leathery tones, stone fruit, pear and citrus elements build until the mid-palate, when the bitterness and Chardonnay barrel elements take over; quite bitter in the finish, but a range of flavors linger, as well

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I debated cellaring this one when I bought it a few years ago and I am glad that I did; the Brett has developed splendidly and the bitterness is still there; perhaps it is not as citrusy as it once was but the developing complexity makes it all worthwhile

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Photo of jethrodium
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle. Pours a hazy golden amber with a two finger pillowy white head that sticks around for a while and leaves a large amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is strong brett funk, some lemon zest, mango, grapefruit, and pineapple. Pretty awesome. You can definitely tell there is some citra used. The initial taste has a hint of sweetness with some funky oak flavors and lemon zest. Then the pineapple and mango come through. The finish has a good bitterness with some brett funk. The finish is quite dry. Overall a really smooth beer. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Awesome beer. It was a bit pricey ($14 for 750ml), but I think it is definitely worth trying at that price. Reminded me of a hopped up version of Orval.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle $12.99. I have been passing this by despite the rave reviews because it was $15.99. I saw it on sale and thought I was getting a deal so I bought it. Yes I am a sucker but this really is quite a good beer. Bright yellow orange color and a huge rocky head, looks good. The smell instantly reminded me of Russian River Temptation, heavy Chardonnay and brett. I think there was a hint of citrus in there as well. The flavor again made me think of Temptation and it must be that Chardonnay and brett combo working so well. There is a bit of bitterness in here from the hops and just the faintest hint of citrus. I have to wonder what the hops were like when this was fresh since this was apparently brewed back in July of 2011 but the hops are not completely gone. Overall, a very solid beer and I can see why everyone likes it so much.

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Photo of smanson56
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle marked Batch #3 May 2015. Poured a hazy golden color into my tulip glass. Lots of hops in the nose with a little earthiness from the Brett. The taste is that of a good IPA from the hops with the tartness from the brett and barrel aging. I was pleasantly surprised by this beer to say the least and my have to find another bottle.

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Photo of Rope
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is one of Anchorage's best ventures.

Appearance-
Pours out like a Belgian, but you see the hop oils dance with the last few drops.

Smell-
Exactly as advertised, a bitter pine front with a hint of that spicy Belgian yeast.

Taste-
Powerful, the hops stay with you front to end laced with the Belgian taste.

Mouthfeel-
Oil to coat your mouth, and protect you from freezing in your Alaskan study.

Overall-
Fondly remembered, greatly missed. It comes close to what I would call "a thinkin' beer", but retains an approachable quality.

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Photo of ragnar3
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch 3 (May '15) poured into a tulip. Funky brett overwhelms the citra hops in this one but the barrel and Belgian yeast adds complexity. Bitter, refreshing and unique. Can't say I've had anything quite like it...worth searching out.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours hazy light amber with over 2 inches of fluffy eggshell white head. Leaves rings of complex lacing down the glass and a thin cap of foam floating on top.

S-Bright, citrusy hops, brettanomyces funk,pineapple, lavender,pear juice.

T/M-Tasty, chewy brettanomyces barnyard funk is nicely complemented by the citrusy, lemony hops. Dry, simple malt profile has notes of buttery pie crust. The finish is dry, with bitter earthy hops.

O-This is the second Anchorage beer I've had now, and it's another winner. I'm liking what these guys are doing.

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Photo of Pinknuggets
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber into a pint glass

A: really golden color almost yellow nice white to tan head like 2cm head completely opaque

S: orangey tropical fruit to start lots of floral fresh hops almost a little white winey and bitter malt to finish

T: lots of light hops you can taste the Brett immediately almost like a mix of wine champagne beer and I don't usually like those first two things but this is balanced perfectly there a citrusy malty finish with a smooth bitterness that lasts

M: it's clean and light which makes it very drinkable but I feel like it should have a little more carbonation for a better feel

O: I usually don't like this style but this is really well balanced and drinkable the Brett is actually a positive for me as it works really well solid beer would buy again

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Photo of mcallister
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost looks like a wit beer. Unfiltered, opaqe and a dark pissy yellow with heavy carbonation leaving a 3 finger loosely wound head. Splotchy lace behind.

Ahh lovely aromas, brett is very apparent, that lovely wet horseblanket barnyardy mustiness melds nicely with rich oak and pear aromas with hints of apple from the chardonnay? Tropical fruit aromas start to come through pineapple with hints of papaya, with more of that sweet woody oak and brett. Very nice.

Wow oak tannin and hop bitterness galore, completely suck all the moisture out of my tongue, I likey. Big hops very tropical with some citrus side notes. Again pineapple, papaya, light mango with a bit of a pink grapefruit twist on the finish. Brett laden through the middle and into the finish yet very well integrated with the hops and barrel aging. The oak flavors are young and vibrant but don't overpower the hops. Light apple and pear with some chardonnay flavors within but somewhat drowned out by the ridiculous amount of hops. Long finish with great carbonation. A fantastic beer.

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Photo of Ratman197
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle pourd a hazy gold with a lasting off white head. Aromas of straw, barnyard funk, lemon, light white grape and light oak. Palate was light bodied and crisp with a dry finish. Flavors of straw,barnyard funk, lemon, earthiness, light white grapes and a hint of oiak with a crisp dry bitter lingering funky citrus finish.

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

Poured into a tulip glass a hazed peach color with a large fluffy white crown that left multiple rings of broken lace as it settled into a frothy mass,just a great pour.Citric hops are huge along with the Brett adding slight funk,I even picked up a little nutty maltiness in there as well.Powerful citric hop along with light yeasty funkiness,but its not overbearing,a little medicinal as well wich I normally don't like, but it didnt bother me so much here.This is a damn well crafted beer,I was a little worried I might not take to it as well with the Brett,but I got mad love for this brew.

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

750ml corked and caged bottle , batch #1 july 2011

A= pours a hazy golden straw color with a 2 finger white head a super fresh collar and great sticky lacing

S- lots of great smells from lemon grass,brett,sour funk.citrus hops, earth smells wood and wine

T- just like the smell its super complex with many layers of taste, what i like most is the earth and funk with oak and wine mixed with the citra hops, it has a bitter start but is mellowed with the yeast and brett,oak and chardonnay add a great balance to this

M- its a dry start crisp and bitter but also mellow in the middle it finishes dry and strong with hops in charge the brett is predent and is a great compliment to this dipa

O- a great and different brew that i loved for the style loads of tastes melded together

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Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 252 ratings.