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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: 926
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 19.12%
Wants: 387
Gots: 113 | 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: 926
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 jsh420
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

batch 1
july 2011

pours cloudy golden yellow with a big chunky pillowy white head that had great retention and left lacing

smell is funky hoppy evergreen citrus tropical fruit - amazing!

taste - wow - an orval ipa - it works so well - the funk of the brett stands out and cuts through all other flavors bitter fruity hops and sweet malt

mouthfeel - medium body decent carbonation - smooth and creamy - could have used more bite

overall - one if not the best belgian ipa i have had - i can only knock it .5 for price @ 15 a bottle and mouthfeel - but i would gladly buy another bottle when the newest batch comes out this year

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Photo of stakem
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kegatron for sharing this brew with me. Poured into a snifter, the brew appears a clear golden color with a finger of white froth. As the cap fades, a wall of lace sticks to the glass.

The smell is bright with hops that are herbal. Some hints of catty quality mix with a floral aspect that blends into cheese. A hint of stinky feet is present along with minor woody notes and some juicy fruits. Some brett'd quality is evident throughout the nose that accents the herbal aspects of the hops.

The taste is very herbal and cheesy to catty from the hops. There is a dry woody flavor present that blends with an oily bitterness that clings to the inside of the mouth. This is a bold brew as far as Belgian ipas go but it blends together well. The aftertaste showcases grapefruit pulp/zest.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Bitter and enjoyable with a pleasant depth of flavors. The alcohol is integrated pretty well. The contrast of dry brett'd wood flavors and hoppy bitterness worked in this offering. At 5+ months old, id say this is holding up pretty well an would be interesting to see how it further developes.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

God, this was a great beer!
A golden color that was a little bit hazy. Thick white head that lasted forever. Very well carbonated; a lot of bubbles.

Sweet malt aroma. Also citrus, grape, and fruit.

Exciting taste. Some biscuity malt. Grapefruit, grapes, tropical fruit. A little oak.

Complex mouthfeel. Hoppy, malty, and fruity all at the same time.

Easily one of the best IPAs I've tried.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Hazy orange and dark yellow, nearly auburn, with a thickly forming, persistent near-white head with decent retention that left sticky rings of lace down the glass.

A hugely aromatic and interesting aroma, without any one element becoming too dominant or distracting. There's plenty of big, hoppy, citrus elements here, like grapefruit and lemon, along with big blasts of funky (Brett) yeast, earth and grass, and a bit of alcohol sting, especially as the beer warms to room temperature.

A boldly flavorful and complex beer, and again, all the discernible elements stand out on their own: big, yet balanced flavors of citrus, very funky yeast, earthy elements, along with a ton of overall bitterness. There's also a bit of white-grape flavor as well after the bitterness washes away. Incredible!

Medium bodied with high carbonation.

A fantastic Belgian IPA. This one is unlike any I've ever tried before; it's both far more complex and far more bitter than any other example I've tried within the style. Superb!

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Photo of jsanford
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
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!

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Photo of maximum12
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 1, July 2011, finally reached this neck of the woods recently, & just had to give it a whirl. Big 750 ML bottle split in two.

Poured to leave a good 3-4 ounces in the bottle to avoid whatever dead yeasties may be lurking, the beer is 70% opaque orange, fizzy. Nose comes off a different IPA trail, huge & juicy light fruits, light funk, touch of wine. Nice.

Bitter Monk strikes a blow for the unique: second night in a row I've had a beer like nothing I've encountered before. Bitterness & funk vie for the mantle of Top Runway Chef: wow. Hard to know where to start. Slap-happy bitterness pummels the tongue. Mild funkiness twines its way in & complements. Light, citrusy fruit, lovely drying wood, slippery shot of vinous quality. Distinct pine leaves a nice lasting impression as the door hits me in the ass. Dead on. Something this weird shouldn't be this easy to drink.

Bloody excellent beer. I don't know anything about this brewery, but this is simply fantastic. Gorgeously complex, but even better, complex in a way that all the tastes complement one another continually. Wow.

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Photo of sholland119
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to pick up a coupple of bottles of this in Las Vegas. It came and went from our area in a big hurry.

A-A hazy, almost muddy golden apricot with a huge frothy head and some good sticky lacing.

S-Huge citrus, peppery brett. What a terrific blend of aromas.

T-Really outstanding in all ways. Citrus bitterness throughout but mostly in front, brett notes in the middle and finish, and long grapefruit bitterness in the finish. Belgian yeast notes underpuin all the flavors.

M-Medium bodied, nicely dry.

O-Tremendous beer. I love this marriage of big hops, good brett and Belgian goodness.


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Photo of jmarsh123
3.52/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to dogbones for the bottle!

Poured a bright yellow/orange with a huge frothy white head. Good lacing down the glass and lots of bubbles.

The overpowering aroma is a pleasant dry white wine. Oakiness, some citrus zest and just a touch of the brett shine through.

There is quite a bit going on in the flavor and it's different than the nose. The wine comes through much less here although there are still some wine notes with a moderate amount of oak. A bit of a citrus burst, but this really doesn't taste like 100 IBU's. The character I get most of the spicy Belgian yeast which slightly overpowers all the other flavors which I'd probably like better. I do like the slight brett undertone though.

Good mouthfeel and pretty solid carbonation.

A little disappointed by this one especially after the appearance and aroma. The Belgian yeast cuts through all the other flavors and I'm not a huge fan of Belgian yeast in a lighter ale. Very complex and definitely interesting, but just an ok taste.

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Photo of Damian
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 1 pt. 9.4 fl. oz./750ml bottle
Batch #1 July/2011
Served in a tulip
Thanks to my friend Matt for hooking me up with this.

Orangey-amber and slightly hazed appearance. The liquid was topped by a two-finger, bubbly, bright white, sea foam head. Excellent retention. The head faded to a substantial dollup of froth and eventually fell to a clingy film. Chunks of lacing stuck along the glass.

The nose was very unique. There was an interesting interplay between strong Chardonnay wine notes, Brettanomyces and crisp, bright, lemony hops. A powdery, dry, Belgian-like yeastiness was apparent. Smooth, grassy, Saaz hops came through as well.

The taste was crisp and bright. Somewhat sharp and hoppy with a lemony bite on the front end. The malt profile was light and pilsner-like. Lots of white wine and Brett in the center. Orange rind was also noticeable. The finish was crisp, piney and quite bitter, with strong oak and grapefruit notes. Super dry and tannic.

The mouthfeel was creamy, frothy and lighter bodied. Smooth and supple on the palate. The liquid contained a crisp, bubbly effervescence.

Bitter Monk is a very unique beer, and I applaud the folks at Anchorage Brewing Company in their efforts to push boundaries. However, the combination of intense Brett, oak and bitter hops was a lot to deal with (as was the $18 price tag). I would recommend splitting up a bottle amongst multiple drinkers, as consuming this beer in quantity can become a bit overwhelming.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Pours a hazy dark yellow with a big fluffy wihite head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is a lot of brett and musty yeast with old fruits and bread. Some dirty sock comes out as it warms.

The flavor is a lot of brett with some old fruit and bready malt. There's a decent amount of bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, I like it. The best Beligan IPA I've had. i like the use of Brett instead of traditional Belgian yeast. It also has good noticeable bitterness. Only downside is price at $17 a bottle.

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

I picked up this bomber in Joliet, about $14. We haven't seen distribution of Anchorage in OH yet so I was glad to grab one.

It pours pale orange with a touch of haze and a beautiful head, rocky and pillowy with a touch of lace here and there. The nose is very nice too, pungent hops and bret. I'm not sure how old this bottle is but the hops still seem fresh.

Lots of citrus flavor in the start of each sip, with a bitter funkiness behind. Dry aftertaste with lingering acrid bitterness, delicious. Strong carbonation, with a peppery bite on my tongue. This tastes a lot better than I expected, possibly my favorite "Belgian" IPA.

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Photo of hardy008
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lemon yellow with a large, bright white, 2 finger head with very nice retention and good lacing. The aroma has lemon, citrus zest, yeast. and Brett.

The taste is sweeter than expected with citrus and tropical fruits, yeast, and Brett. Nice balance between sweetness and bitterness. There is a lot of sweet malt which did not come through in the aroma.

Medium bodied, above average carbonation, and the alcohol i very well disguised. A very nice Belgian IPA. Too bad this is meant to only be brewed one time.

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Photo of Ghenna
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
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).

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a very interesting twist on a double IPA. It looks like a belgian, but you get a lot of the hoppiness in the smell.

You also smell some sour from the belgian presence in this beer. The chardonnay presence in the smell was a little weird.

The taste is very good. You get the hoppy presence from some very different hop types. It was a little different than what you would expect from the double IPA. This is tempered by the belgian flavor. The chardonnay does a good job.

So, why not a higher taste score? This beer runs into a wall as it warms. In the same way that a warm chardonnay is undrinkable, this beer needs to stay chilled. When warm, you get a ton of wine flavor and bitterness.

This was a very good beer. Share it with a friend to avoid getting it to warm.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a corked & caged bottle into a Chimay goblet. Here goes nothin, sweetie....at $20 per bomber, this had better be amazing. Batch 1, July '11

A- pours a cloudy straw color with a one finger perfect white head that stays around for awhile. Looks great at least...

S- FUNK!!!! Tremendous aroma of horse blanket with a little sweetness from the hops. Wonderful

T- there's a freshness from the brett, with some mild funk....finish is mildly hoppy. The Belgian yeast is also present in the taste....it's very complex. Wonder how it would have tasted fresh...hops taste a little faded

M- medium bodied, maybe a little on the light side. Perfect

O- this is absolutely fantastic. Love love love this beer

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Photo of IHyphySF
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good friend told me that this was a beer geeks beer to try. So i had pretty high expectations on this one. The bottle itself with the belgian style double ipa with bret and aged in chardonnay barrels sounded right up in my alley except when it said belgian ipa cause i seem to have never liked anything with that title.

A: Super foamy head but disapates to a decently smaller head.

S: Heavy Bret and Chardonnay is present on the smelll but also it kind of mellows out and almost gives out a geranium scent to it.

T: Comes off hoppy with the geranium/chardonnay taste and then it goes down nice and smooth impressive for a belgian double ipa. It does have a nice bite of hops at the end but amazingly it isn't as sweet as i thought it would be and which is pretty pleasant for this style of beer.

M:Nice medium bubbles and goes down smooth compared to most ipas.

O:It was overall a very interesting and funky smooth beer one i would like to try on tap fresh but i am not sure i would pick it up again in a bottle because of the price. It was definitely a beer geek type of beer because it was really complex but interesting at the same time.

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Photo of pixieskid
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

IMO Anchorage Brewing Company is off to a killer start, this thing is incredible. I wish I could say it was totally original but it is rather reminiscent of Mikkeller's Nelson Sauvignon...either way, well executed and very enjoyable!

Pours an orange hue with a solid 3 finger head. Dissipates slowly leaving a a small white head throughout the whole tasting.
Nose; woah! Tropical fruits; starfruit and mango, desert white wine, and a lingering citrus hop note.
Taste; pineapple, grapefruit, chardonay, oak, brett. This beer smells and tastes exactly as it is depicted on the bottle. Finishes with a dry mouthfeel and earthy/brettiness, balanced bitterness for the stated 100ibus.

Overall; I love this beer and at about half the price of Nelson Sauvignon (stateside, at least) this is a perfect concept beer that blends intense hoppiness and white wine tartness.

Congrats to Gabe Fletcher on his newest endeavor; so far so good...gonna go out and buy a bottle of Love Buzz this week!

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

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

Big frothy head 2 fingers, fades semi slowly with some sticky lacing, mostly clear tan golden chardonnay color.

Nose has awesome fruity and funky brett, touch of barnyard, hint of tart fruit, then hops, light citrus and tropical fruit, hint of malt, nice balance of funky fruity brett and tropical fruit hops, pear, apricot, pineapple, passion fruit, papaya.

Taste has more of the nose, semi bitter hops, fruit galore, tropical fruit, papaya, pineapple, light pear, apricot, etc. juicy. Then Brett, spicy brett with light barnyard funk, light tart fruit as well, dry bready malt taste. Then a light chardonnay wine taste, mango papaya from the wine, and a hint of buttery oak. Finishes quite dry and more bitter and funky brett, lingering malts and light fruits and light bitter fruity hops.

Mouth is med bodied, good carb, hint of booze.

Overall really nice, the blending of fresh tropical fruit hops, bitterness, fruity brett, biter dry funk and barnyard, etc, done very well, delicious and smooth, dry bitter finish, and all that with a nice chardonnay wine flavor. I could drink lots of this if it was much cheaper.

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Photo of PainkeepBrewing
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Corked bottle, served ~40-45 deg, in a brandy snifter.

A - Hazy golden, with still a significant amount of clarity. Decent sized pale white head that laces really well and sticks around.

S - Brett funk, floral, wine, very slight alcohol. A lot of brett funk that I personally really like.

T - Shazam. First sip is a combination of a blast of pleasant bitterness, followed by brett funk and slight belgian esters. Not a ton of dominant hops but they are definitely there. Lingering bitterness and funk on tongue afterwards. Really really delicious overall, a lot of different things going on that work well.

M - Not particularly thick, but lively carbonation gives a nice impression of mouthfeel.

O - One of the best beers I've had in a while. Personally got a ton of brett funk in both the nose and taste, it was carbonated accordingly, and was a really really fine drink. I didn't get a ton from the chardonnay barrels that I know of, though I'm sure it's a flavor in there that I'm tasting but not discerning. I would gladly pay the $12 for a few more bottles of this.

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Photo of jbweld
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada tulip.

This beer poured a hazy straw color (a little light for an IPA) with a two finger head and perfect lacing. The nose, right off the bat reminded me of fantome or even a geuze. The taste is an explosion of bitter, citrusy, oaky, yeasty, tart, vinous flavors. Very complex! The mouthfeel is a combination of the sharp bitterness that you would expect from an IPA with the chalky dryness of a good saison.

Overall an excellent brew! I will definitely keep and eye out for Anchorage Brewing Company's beers.

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Photo of match1112
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a hazy golden yelow with a georgeous three finger bright white head that never really goes away, just settles to a frothy cap with tons of sticky lacing. smell is amazing. there is sweet malts and hops mixed with the funk of brett and topped off with a nice chardonnay aroma. taste is also pleasing, you get all the flavors that the nose picked up, and they blend beautifuly. mouthfeel is that of a medium bodied creamy feel with nice level of carbonation. you also have a long dry bitter finish from the 100 ibu's. overall i really like this beer, but i think it would be better if they toned down the ibu's and turned this dipa into a saison.

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

Shared with bpk59 at his house.

A - Poured into a duvel a golden clear pour with a two finger white head that leaves sticky lacing and a blanket.

S - Very nice hops here. Its dank, musty hops followed by bright citra and simcoe with light funk to round things out.

T - Wow more of the tropical wet citra and simcoe hops with dankness as well. There's super Brett there too but this has an amazing balance of hops, malt, and funk. Vinuos too thanks to the Chardonnay barrels.

M - Nice and tart with a solid crispness and delicious dry finish. Super drinkable here...9% no where noticeable.

O - Overall wow! This beer is amazing...wish it wasn't so expensive. Wish I had more as this is a delicious beer. Would love to have more of this as thus is a great blend of style.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle at home and split with Alex. Poured into Narke tulip.

A - Pours a mirky yellow/orange color, frothy white head, sticky lace, thin cap.

S - Bretty, hoppy citrus, tropical fruites. Lots of brett, lots of bitterness, and a nice balance of fruit (I'm guessing the hops & brett combo did this?..I like it).

T - Citrus, hoppy bitterness, loads of tropical fruit, nice level of funk, some oak. Very complex...also get some of the chard barrels too, which plays into the tropical fruits and brett. The alcohol is hidden well with everything else going on.

M - Medium, perhaps a touch too much carbonation, oily funk finish.

O - A solid brew, a unique take on a Belgian IPA, and it really seemed to work for me. The tropical fruity bitter funk is something I like and would have more often. At 9%, I couldn't plow through this as much as I'd like to. Very unique and enjoyable.

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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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Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 245 ratings.