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Bitter Monk - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter MonkBitter Monk

Educational use only; do not reuse.

245 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 245
Hads: 931
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 19.12%
Wants: 388
Gots: 112 | FT: 8
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 245 | Hads: 931
Photo of iwantsomerocks
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mobile review from long beach island, NJ!

Bottled in July 2011..what? I guess some DIPAs don't give a shit how old they are. Holy hell, this is a truly astounding beer. The appearance is that of a Belgian strong pale. Smells like amazing citrusy goodness. Taste follows the nose..great citrusy taste with plenty of subdued hoppy goodness. A little buttery from the chardonnay aging. Truly great. I would seek this beer out ASAP.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bitter Monk's appearance is a hazy, pale amber hue. It's head begins as a fizzy soapy head but dissipates to a small ring sticking to the side of the glass. The aroma is nothing short of incredible and fascinating! The multi-layered hop scents, lemon, kiwi, and clove, all married to the brett/yeast earthy notes, wine-like characteristics, and a creamy hint to it make this one of the best smelling beers I have ever taken a whiff of. Taste - WOW! Not to be taken lightly this beer begins with the earthy brett, and quickly the piny hops jump in as well. The finish is pleasantly bitter with the flavor of the wine barrel revealing itself. The body and mouthfeel are not too overpowering, and it's got, I'd say a 7 on a scale of 1-10 in terms of alcohol heat. I am enjoying the warming sensations and pleasant buzz right away. Overall, the beer's a rare treat not to be missed. Top shelf- buy with confidence. I would also like to note that the beer was bottled in July 2011 and drank July 2012, with plenty of hop flavors very much present.

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Photo of Durge
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to RSVP in Portland, Maine I was able to give this classy brew a try. It's a very cloudy yellowish tan colored brew with a solid white head and tons of lacing. The aroma is an unparelleled yeasty medley that includes slightly skunky lemon wheat highlights and subtle clove. Very impressive, classy and kind of unique. The flavor happily falls right in place with the aroma. Clovey nuances over wheat with sweet, near bubblegum hops. Wow, just so tasty with mild banana-lemon and tons of yeasty zest. Just delicious and oozing quality and delight! Finely carbonated but with a full, luscious feel. As advertized this is a real winner if you're any kind of fan of this style. I can agree with some of the other reviewers that this may not be a classic Belgian IPA, but to me that's a good thing. I really like more of the American-Belgian hybrid and perhaps that is somewhat the case here. I'm not enough of an expert to say, but i do know I love this stuff.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle with a hazy golden amber with a two finger 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. 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. Bitterness is a bit much, but afterall.. it is in the name. Interesting beer for sure.

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Photo of mrandypandy
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml caged and corked bottle purchased on my current trip to Oregon. Poured into a clear plastic hotel cup. Classy.

A - Pours a very hazy orange, medium white head that leaves decent lacing. Lots of bubbles/carbonation visible.
S - The brett funkyness really comes through in the nose, with a fruity citrus character for good measure. There is something else I can't put my finger on... bubblegum perhaps?
T - Not as potent as the armoa leads this up to be. Citrus hops leads the way with an earthy barnyard quality in the finish. No oak, no chardonnay, nothing really "belgian" either. Strong bitterness.
M - Strange. I was expecting a much bigger body on this, but it's very light and thin. Watery almost. Good carbonation though.
O - Good, but not great. I was expecting more of the brett and belgian aspects to stand in the forefront, but the IPA and bitterness is what leads from the beginning. No real detection of the oak or chardonnay. However, I would certainly like to toss one in the cellar for a while just to see how it changes over time. Plus, I did seem to enjoy it more as I worked through the bottle...

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.7/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For a Belgian IPA, this definitely touches what I like for the style. There are numerous detractors though. First off, it seems a bit boozy. There just seems to be interference on the delivery of flavor. And it's kind of soapy. Eh. I've had a really intense day and I don't feel like getting into this. I've had better Belgian IPAs; recently even. This beer is "okay", but not really working for me much beyond that.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy golden-orange color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down very slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of citrus and tropical fruit hops with some grapefruit, orange, and pineapple, with some Belgian yeast, Brett, funk, lemon, and some oak.

T - Starts off with lots of citrus and tropical hops with some strong grapefruit, pineapple, and orange flavor and some bitterness alongside some Belgian yeast esters coming through. Though the middle, some light pine comes through with stronger bitterness, oak, and some Brett funkiness. The finish is a mix of citrus and tropical hops, bitterness, oak, Belgian yeast, Brett, and some funk.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate-plus carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry, bitter, and funky finish.

D - Very drinkable. The combination of DIPA level of hops, Belgian yeast, Brett, and some oak aged barrel aging comes together to create a complex and very well balanced beer.

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4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first brew from this brewery and a unique style to boot. I am not really sure what to expect but I an excited to try it.

A three finger off white head erupts atop the perfect golden orange straw colored body. Head fades to a swiss cheese like rocky foam. Fat waves of lace are left afterwards.

Nose is very cool tingle that is full of complexity in itself. Every thing plays here with all the flavors. Hints of crisp fruit, zesty hops, powdery sweetness and sour tannins all come through. This nose is very attractive.

With first sip this drinks much like a champagne, just not quite as carbonated. Crisp and fruity up front with a backbone of malt. It really dries out on the mouthfeel and turns to a wonderfully bitter consistency. A delicious brew that is a wonderful change of pace to almost anything else out there.

Super drinkable.

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Photo of kjyost
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle acquired at Princeton Liquors, Maple Grove, MN. Poured into a large wine glass, with the first pour at 4C, the last at 18C.

A: Straw yellow and clear with a ton of little dabs of lacing.
S: Some very light citrus hops with a wine like nose of Brett and floral notes.
T: Very definitely a Brett beer with floral and light earthiness. Bitterness that builds that is earthy. Little hop nature of note, sadly... As the beer warms a strong aftertaste builds that is not exactly pleasant, though hard to describe...
M: Bitter, funky, enjoyable.
O: A great Belgian Brett pale ale, but knocked down by the advertised DIPA. Yes, I know it was old (6 mo+), but I didn't know that when I bought it due to a lack of bottling date. Not hoppy enough, but I sense the bitterness.

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Photo of Billolick
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Belgian style bomber, caged and corked, "Batch #1, July 2011". Very happy to find this fine brw at $16.99 @ Hudson Valley Bev, in Mahopac, NY

Open with an energenic "poof", pours cloudy, dull tangarine. Nice, sturdy, huge and near white head. Fluffy, puffy and very slow to rest, leaves a high collar and all sorts of high on the glass, sticky lace.

Bright nose of oranges, sour apple, green tea, limes, pepper, gin and some Belgian yeastyness. Gamey, musty, slightly sour note of the Brett also in play. Complex, flavorful and simply delicious brew. With the flavor of the sniff, continuing onto the palate. Hoppy bite in the rear, but shining through forcefully as things reach the finish.

Wow, dense flavors, complex, heady stuff. Love the style and this is one of the more intense and most well crafted versions. Get some stinky cheese, peppery salads, spicy thai food or whatever you like to eat and enjoy every sip of this one!

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Photo of Florida9
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear golden yellow. Forms about an inch or so of bright white head that slowly reduces to a thick and bubbly surface coating. Some very nice lacing.

S: Aromatic and complex. Smells rather vinous, grapey, and reminiscent of white wine. Not necessary Chardonnay, but certainly the white wine is apparent. Green apple, a slight bit of citrus, and a little herbal hops.

T & M: Wow...Incredibly complex with waves of delicate flavor. Again, there is a vinous quality to it, almost Saison-like. Mildly sweet. White wine, herbal, "green," basil, then turns slightly bitter and begins to dry. A little oak. Finishes acidic and crisp with notes of green apple, pear, and some more mild citrus. Body is on the lighter side. Carbonation is appropriate.

O: A very good beer with incredible complexity and depth. Hops aren't entirely gone, but could only imagine what some fresh hop character would add to this beer. Hopefully, we will all see this one again one day.

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Photo of oline73
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy yellow with an orange hue. There is a finger of fluffy white head that fades to a layer around the glass.

Smell: Herbal and very saison like. There is some malt sweetness along with a hint of oak.

Taste: Some hops up front but they may have faded a bit since this beer was fresh. Herbal with some mild citrus notes. The finish is bitter from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with fluffy carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a really nice Belgian style ale. I was a bit fan of the herbal notes. I think the hops have faded, but I am still a fan. I would love to try this fresher if they bring out another batch.

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Photo of haazer
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle picked up from Blue Dog.

A- Heavy pour produces a thick bubbly white head. Heavily carbonated brew, bubbles all over the sides of the glass. Nice golden orange color, somewhat turbid. The head becomes rocky and leaves sticky patches of lacing all over the glass. Great looking drink.

S- The brett is great here. Very funky, leather, and musty basement and some fruits. sour apple, pear, and some sour notes. Theres a faint hint of citrus, but its faded. A bit of earthiness too.

T- The barrel used here has a heavy influence on this beer. Loads of white wine notes, blended together with funky brett. Transitions nicely into some citrus flavors. The hops are all but faded at this point, but it still works. I love this beer.

M- Superb. Medium bodied beer with high lively carbonation, yet ever so smooth going down. Alchohol is very subdued. Very crisp and slightly dry finish.

O- I really badmouth this style, but this beer outdoes the others tenfold. I would love to try this fresh, but no gaurantee being imported from Alaska I suppose. Even so this beer was incredible. The hops were pretty much gone but it didn't matter. Theres enough going on in this beer to make it great. Nothing clashes either. Very well done.

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Photo of ADZA
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Love the label and spiel and pours a hazy yellow hue which leaves a two finger creamy head and lots of lacing,the smell is white wine,pineapple,funk,old cellar and fragrant herbal hops,the mouthfeel is just medium bodied and very easy to knock back with tastes of cranberries,pineapple,paw paw,grapefruit,a touch of marzipan and finished with sav blanc grape dry semi bitterness and overall i really like this brew and would definately buy or drink again cheers.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy golden yellow with an ample fluffy white head
S: Smells of citrus a little acetic acid, some yeast as well
T: faint citrusy hop flavor with a little bit of sourness, some yeast flavor and a bit of flavor from the wine barrel. Aftertaste is of hop resin and yeast
M: average mouthfeel for an IPA, soft carbonation makes this one very drinkable
O: Very good, I wish it was fresher but it tastes very good at its current state. Very smooth and refreshing and highly drinkable.

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Photo of mudbug
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From the C&C Bottle (Batch number one) into a Tulip results in a slightly hazy orange body with a huge frothy, rocky head that ever so slowly settles into what looks like rounded icebergs, thick lacing sticks all over the sides, very pretty indeed!
Oh boy this one has aroma in spades, you don't have to get anywhere near the glass. Wet hay, roses, grapefruit, lemons. Not subtle in the least, mouthwatering and pungent.
Taste is complex to say the least, an astringent bitterness upfront lemon peel,grapefruit rind, unsalted cracker, the funk is subdued with a pleasant wet hay earthiness. just a hint of white wine and oak. A long lingering slightly sour bitterness ends it all, but makes you want more.
Did I mention the aroma? Oh boy I could just sniff this all night.
Juicy, what alcohol?
A Masterpiece!
Edit for 2013 edition. Perfect and consistent in every way. This is no one off wonder, it's the real deal!

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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 GeezLynn
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Golden blonde with a pristine white head. Impressive retention.

Pungent funkiness, hay, lemon and grapefruit, spicy Belgian yeast, wine barrel. Worth spending some time admiring.

Earthy dull bitterness, a little funk, but not as much expected by smell. Slightly medicinal. Citrus, especially grapefruit shows up underneath and extends into a lengthy bitter and tannic finish. Grapefruit really picks up steam at room temperature.

Feel is light, spritzy and dry. Carbonation is full, but on the softer side.

This started out a bit dull, but at a warm temperature, the citrus hops really shined. It easily topped the Midnight Sun 3767 for me. Great beer.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a medium-sized Duvel tulip.

A: Clear gold body under an inch of creamy white head. Good retention, plenty of lace. Very nice.

S: Hops + brett. Citrus, dry hay, and more generic herbal indulgence. Powerful without a doubt, but somehow less than great.

T: Follows the nose: grapefruit, spruce, orange, hay, and bitterness. Very dry, very bitter, and very tasty.

M: Lively, frothy medium body. Creamy and nice.

O: This was enjoyable, but nowhere near $20 enjoyable. Surprisingly enough, it was my least favorite Anchorage beer I've tried (behind Whiteout Wit and Love Buzz). I won't be buying any more of their beers at such a price point, but would certainly recommend them as being worth trying once.


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Photo of FattyJLE
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a tulip.

S - A nice combination of sourness, fresh ripened fruits, funkiness and a Sweet-tart like tartness.

A - Slightly hazy, light golden hue with a substantial bright white head and delicate lacing and some retention.

T - Very much like the smell with more of a citrus punch. The sour, tart fruitiness comes through very nicely in the taste with a perfect amount of hop bitterness. 100 IBUs well subdued by the other flavors involved. Additionally, for a 9% ABV, the alcohol was almost undetectable. Nice acidic dryness on the end.

M - Moderate carbonation. Medium body.

O - One of the more interesting beers I've had to this point, and rightfully so given all the different techniques, ingredients and blending of styles going into this beer. For such a big beer I was very impressed by how balanced and drinkable it was, while packing a creative and complex flavor profile. A real treat. Would definitely have again.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a caged-and-corked 750mL bottle into my Dogfish Head oversized snifter.

Hazy amber liquid supports a delicate raft of ivory soft peak whipped foam. Superior retention and complicated webs of thick 3-D lacing...

Apricot, passionfruit, kiwi, and other fruit presents in the nose along with a long citrus note, yeasty phenolics, and a pungent undercurrent from the Brett. Quite a melange...

Potent funk presents on the palate with a ton of earth and pepper; strong floral notes suggest lavendar, orange blossom, jasmine, and rosewater as well. The bitterness comes on slowly at first but then grows over time. I'm guessing the Apollo hops are hard at work here, the resinous core of the beer militating back against the Brett. Crisp citrus and mint notes emerge in the finish along with a moderate alcohol kick. Pine and forest floor become more present as the ale warms.

Not-quite-full-bodied, effervescent, yet somewhat oily (as it should be).

The Brett. is once again very potent in this ale, threatening to dominate the flavor profile if not for the massive contrapunal force of the bittering hops. Not sure amidst this what the barrel aging contributes...quite a BIG beer though, which should appeal to hop-heads who are fond of funk...though it may alienate everyone else.

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Photo of HosP
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a bottle of this from Scottfrie! Corked and caged 750ml bottle.

A- Pours very hazy bright orange in color. Nice fluffy white head with nice lacing.

S- Lots of citrus aroma mixed with some fruity notes. A little spice here and there.

T- Interesting beer throughout. Lots of hops upfront, mostly citrus and grapefruit. Blends nicely to some brett funk but still keeps some nice hop flavors to it. A great blend, but interesting.

M- Medium body. Moderate carbonation. A little dry.

O- Wasn't sure what to expect here, but really enjoyed it. Love the mix of hops and funk. Very much liked this and a big thanks to Scott for the beer!

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Photo of liamt07
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle I picked up while in Vegas from the Whole Foods on S Las Vegas Blvd. 750ml bottle corked and caged, Batch 1 from July 2011 - into a tulip.

Poured a hazy golden yellow, we split the yeast amongst us and its sat 'curtain-like' in each of our glasses in suspension. Looked pretty cool! Voluminous white head, very effervescent with a great rocky head and spotty lacing. Nose has pungent lemon, funk/brett, white wine notes, pine, a touch of cat pee, citrus zest and background tropical notes (derived from the Citra I'll guess). Alot of grassy notes as well, somewhat of a Noble hop character to it. Certainly extremely unique for a DIPA. Taste again has substantial lemon, tropical fruits with light tart and vinous/barrel notes. Herbal hops again with less brett than the nose. Light spiciness in the finish, certainly a solid amount of Belgian and brett flavours all around - works phenomenally with the hop profile. Bitterness is there but not overpowering. Fantastic, and I'll most certainly seek out future batches if given the chance.

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Photo of peacebone116
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my brother-in-law, babyismycat, for this clever Christmas present. Poured from a 750mL bottle into a tulip on 2/3/2012.

A: Hazy light straw color with carbonation rising from the bottom to the top. A thick and fluffy off-white head sits atop, backing off slowly to leave beautiful strands of Belgian lace at the sides of the glass.

N: Notes of Belgian yeast esters, a bit of horse-sweat, green apples, and faint citrusy hops show through in a very complex aroma.

T/M: The flavor of this beer is just as complex as the aroma--the hops really show forth more in the flavor as light and lemony, but the there is a gentle tartness on the finish that does not linger. There are also hints of Belgian yeast esters and a nice balance of pale malt flavor. There really is so much going on with this beer that it is truly difficult to point out everything. The finish is dry, quick, and clean. The body is fairly light and refreshing with a nice prickle of carbonation.

Overall I am quite impressed with this offering. Very complex and delicious. It really blends several of styles together to achieve a very pleasant result with all of my favorite characteristics in one beer. Glad I still have one bottle left, but I am not sure how long I will want to let that one age.

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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 245 ratings.