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Bitter Monk - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter MonkBitter Monk

Educational use only; do not reuse.

238 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 238
Hads: 894
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 19.12%
Wants: 381
Gots: 114 | 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:
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
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Reviews: 238 | Hads: 894
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 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 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.

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

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

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

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

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 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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Photo of avalon07
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Had a bright orange-yellow color and a cloudy texture. There was a big, creamy, long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A very citrusy and hoppy aroma, with some traces of malt as well.

T: Tasted of citrus, malt, Belgian yeast, and hops - more hops than I expected for a BIPA. While it doesn't exactly match up with the classic examples of the style, this is still a tasty beer.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a crisp, smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a complex, completely drinkable, very well made beer.

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

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.

A - Pours a nice hazy slightly muddled golden color with some mild light brownish hints. There is a nice head that is about 1 inch tall and has some nice medium size bubbles. It is also a bit soapy and nice and sticky.

S - Tangerines and citrus notes are very prevalent. Very nice grassy hop notes. There is some slight sweetness from the hop resin. Some slight mango and some papaya. Behind all this nice hoppyness there is a nice belgian yeast note with some slight cloves and spice. There is also a nice Belgian malt back bone behind that.

T & M - Starts off with some intense hop juice notes. Quite bitter. Very nice for the hop heads (like me). There is citrus notes such as some slight lemon and some nice orange and grapefruit rind. There is also some slight tropical notes in the hops and some nice fresh grassyness. There is also on the back end a more bready and traditional belgian flavor. Notes of cloves and some slight spice. Coriander is present as well. Overall a very crisp and fluffy mouthfeel that is very refreshing.

O - Very nice brew. Nice intense hop juice with some underlying and calming belgian pal ale notes. Very good brew.

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Photo of artoolemomo
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head that has pretty good retention. The head is a pure cotton white while the body is a hazy lemon yellow mixed with golden straw that is mostly lemon yellow when held up to the light. Some lacing is left behind. Very little lacing after a few drinks. Almost non-existent.

Nose- Tons of Brett, tons of funk, tons of straw. Moldy cheese, mushrooms, and grass. Tart apple, cherry and strawberry. A little bit of earthiness. The funk and the sour fruit combine perfectly. I feel like I'm back at Zwanze Day already.

Taste- The sour notes of the aroma flit around the edge of the tongue with not nearly as much tartness as is expressed on the aroma. Notes of oak appear while an overall funk tends to dominate the middle (stinky cheese, straw, mushrooms, and grass). The IPA notes are somewhat subtle- some wood, some resin, a little bit of citrus, but Brett is the star of this show. This beer is so well integrated and so complex that it is a little difficult for me to separate everything. Definite Belgian yeast with a good amount of spice, wood, and bitter notes but it's much more accessible than a lot of yeast that I come across. It tucks itself warmly inside the overall Brett and gives it some backbone. There is orange, lemon, grapefruit, and pear but these are bullied by the Brett. Bananas, clove, and cinnamon on the finish. However, anything I write about individual notes seem to be a disservice to this beer. It changes with every taste and offers something new with every single one. More pine and resin are starting to assert themselves on the finish while the tart esters are beginning to fade (at least, for the moment). Orange peel, lemon peel, coriander. This beer is a delight to drink. Beyond solid, this is a really good beer. I generally find Belgian IPAs to have some undesirable aspect to them but this has such integration that I'm not finding these faults.

Mouthfeel- Fairly light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The clean, dry finish is exquisite. Light notes of syrup to the texture.

Drinkability- Extremely easy going to the point that it compels you. Clean and crisp. 13 bucks for a 750 mL bottle is quite reasonable.

Overall- Very solid beer, almost great. Probably the best beer that I've had in this style. If you slapped an import label and told me it was from Belgium, I wouldn't have any reason not to believe you on taste alone. Great balance and a must try.

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Photo of rawfish
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a teku glass, orange-yellow very hazy with a stark white head. I didn't let it foam up too much but it has good retention and leaves a thick chunky lacing.

Thin dry straw and crack-like grains, complex with white grapes, oak, bright citrus and mango hops. Brett brings in a mild mustiness and Belgian yeast spice notes of clove and coriander. Flashes of tartness with strong dry hopping, sounds familiar.

Base beer has a thin unobtrusive cracker-like malt adding subtle graininess, evident hop flavors of bright citrus peel, straw are complemented by the chardonnay barrels bringing out bright fruit notes. French oak and the highly bittering apollo hops add a pinching bitterness that gives the impression of drying with Belgian yeast flavors of coriander and powder. Brett adds a layer of complex mustiness and the finish is also tart from the wine barrels.

Medium bodied, the yeast is nicely balanced with active carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden, or just ignored given the complexity of this beer.

One heck of a ride, this is a Wild Ale more so than a Belgian IPA and I'm pleasantly surprised that the complexity comes more from the wine barrel aging and hops rather than the Brett. Bitterness is pretty sharp and tartness is balanced, the French oak also rounds out the Citra flavors nicely this is really a stellar beer.

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Photo of John_M
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At Max's today.

The beer pours a solid gold color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is, well, bitter... I really get a lot of dry citrus in this beer and not much else. As the beer warms a bit, I also pick up some white pepper and light pine, but the citrus really dominates. On the palate, this is a very serious Belgian style IPA, with a lot going on. There is honey, butter, vanilla, considerable dry citrus and orange zest... maybe some light cherry as well. Also, while there's some initial sweetness, that's quickly pushed aside, and I then get considerable bitterness in the long, dry finish. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a long, light sweet, but ultimatley very bitter finish. I almost feel as if I pick up a little heat from alcohol in the finish, but there is so much bitterness from the hops, ultimately I can't really tell.

Very impressiive Belgian style IPA. I still prefer the mischief from bruery, but this is right up there.

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Photo of cherche
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: hazy, muted orange with an off white head. Good retention and lacing.
S: Brett, fruity hops (tangerine, pineapple, kiwi), just a hint of wheat
T: tangy fruit, similar to smell, bright brett fruits
M: slightly thicker than your average IPA but to be expected w a brett, Belgian style. Average carbonation.
O: love this beer. Great balance between the tart brett character, the fruity hops and just a hint of wheatiness. Will be getting this beer whenever I can find it.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a pale golden orange color with a massive three fingered fluffy white head and moderate carbonation.

S - Aroma is dry with earthy funk, oranges and grapefruit are present but in a "Brett" sort of way. The aroma reminds me of some very dry Saisons, the dryness in the aroma is white grapes and Chardonnay-like.

T - This is where this beer really shines. It's wonderfully complex and is a strange marriage between Saison meets American IPA meets Chardonnay wine...it's a weird combo but works incredibly well. There's a quick nip of malt sweetness on the tip of the tongue immediately up front followed by some grassy, earthy, funk. As quickly as the funky sourness begins, a massive wall of bitterness follows almost immediately and lingers intensely for a long, dry, bitter finish. The fruit flavors come predominantly in the form of pears and pink grapefruit with a slight bit of bitter lemon rind. Bitterness is very, very intense and therefore very lingering. As the beer warms to room temp, the oak flavor emerges and the Chardonnay grapes transition forward.

M - Medium body, sprightly carbonation on the tongue, and very dry in the finish. There is alcohol warming in the back of the throat that does create an intensive warming effect that slowly lingers for some time.

O - This is a very interesting and complex beer. I've been wanting to try this for some time now and happened to stumble upon it at my local bottle shop this evening. I grumbled at the price tag but now, I'm glad I ponied up the $17 bottle price, it's worth every sip. I can confidently say this is one of the most unique beers that I've had in a VERY long time, superbly brewed and considering the unique complexity dare I say "superbly engineered"? This beer isn't for everyone, it's adventurous, but if you really dig super dry Belgian beers with brett funk and you enjoy intense citrus bitterness from Citra hops, this is a must try. I'm going back for another bottle of this stuff.

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Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 238 ratings.