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Bitter Monk - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter MonkBitter Monk

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

815 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 815
Reviews: 217
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 322
Gots: 92 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian IPA |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Belgian style double IPA with Brettanomyces. this ale is aged in french oak chardonnay barrels. Brewed with Apollo, Citra, and Simcoe hops. Dry hopped in the barrel with Citra hops. Triple fermented- First in the tank with a Belgian yeast, second in french oak chardonnay barrels with brett, and finally in the bottle with a third yeast for natural carbonation.

100 IBU

(Beer added by: sprucetip on 08-26-2011)
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Ratings: 815 | Reviews: 217 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of strongaf
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Florida9
4.45/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of AgentMunky
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into an Allagash cervoise glass. Batch #2 (June 2012).

A: Pours begrudgingly, glugging out of the small opening. A finger of churning, solid white head. The beer is milky, cloudy, pale, and lightly opaque. Some visible carbonation.

S: Plentiful, bitter, American hops. Solid IPA, but so far, nothing special.

T: Hmm. Interesting. The Brett is noticeable, but dampened (perhaps by oak aging?). There is substantial carbonation that helps to (only somewhat) cut the bitterness. Definitely 100+ IBUs. As it warms, it expands, and more of the Citra-Chardonnay fruitiness comes to the fore. I enjoy this.

M: Wood-dry, spicy, carbonated, and engaging.

O: I don't know...the holistic production didn't do it for me. Interesting -- good even -- but not particularly 'drinkable' and certainly not worth the price.

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of millerbuffoon
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of scottfrie
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle into Portsmouth tulip. Batch 1.

A: Pours a hazy dark citrus lemon/orange color with a billowing, soft and dense off-white head that slowy faded into a fluffy film which left chunks and streaks of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Complex hoppy notes of citrus, tropical fruits, sweet fruit nectars, tangerines, and grapefruit pith all mixed with earthy, spicy and funky notes of Belgian yeasts and brett. This is one unique smelling brew.
T: Yep, a DIPA with Belgian yeast and brett. This beer tastes like the nose with the grapefruit pith bitterness, sweet tropical fruit hoppiness, and earthy funky brett standing out the most. I do get a bit of the vinous quality of the white barrel as well. The finish is lightly beer and the aftertaste is sweet and funky.
M: Medium-full body with a drying mouthfeel that has a pleasant bitterness in the finish. The carbonation is soft and full.
O: One of the best in the style and just a phenomenal beer. The hops and the brett work wonders together. I love the bottle as well. Highly recommend and a great beer all around.

EDIT: Rarely do I buy a new beer more than once, especially one that costs between $13 to $16 a bottle. Sure I'll buy six packs of old staples (Anchor, SN) or singles of my favorites (Pliny), but I've returned to this beer four times now. I love this beer. It's awesome! I'm bumping the scores up to include more 5's.

Photo of Sean9689
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Photo of jera1350
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lot of hype going into this one. Hope it doesn't disappoint.

Batch #1: July 2011

In a tulip, this bad boy has a hazy gold body that seems to just glow. The rocky cap of clean white foam on top is massive, retains well and leaves all kinds of sticky lacing.

I will preface by saying that I am not a big brett fan. The nose is very tropical smelling. Tropical as in fruit. The brett adds this nice tartness to the nose that compliments the fruit beautifully. If I close my eyes and smell, I can easily picture the beach.

The taste is quite nice, but doesn't blow me away. Like a good belgian ipa with some more complexities to it. Quite lemony, which I'm sure the brett contributes to. Bright citrusy notes with just a little sweetness. Lots of grapefruit, lots of spice notes and some light brett funk also. Some warm alcohol makes itself know as well.

Very, very dry. Mediumish bodied with lots of soft carbonation.

As usual, I got my hopes up and I was a bit disappointed. Didn't turn out to be the knockout I was hoping, but still a very good beer that is relatively unique from others in the style. I actually don't mind the brett too much in this. Pretty refreshing in a wine like way. The price is a bit steep though. Glad to have tried it, but probably won't grab it again.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of lupercmda
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of ehammond1
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
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!

Photo of ADTaber
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of koopa
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of ngeunit1
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Metalmonk, meet Bitter Monk. Okay, Metalmonk has already met Bitter Monk twice before, and he found much to like in this very complex and unique beer. So, third and final meeting (at $15.99 a bottle, it's gotta be the final meeting -- for awhile anyway)...

A very healthy pop of the cork and you can smell this thing from a couple feet away. But first, appearance: so pale and hazy as to resemble a witbier, or a double wit, perhaps. Washed-out golden peach/pear-juice. Head is a blinding-white fluff monster while it lasts, which is longer than expected. Patchy lace of various shapes and sizes splatters the glass.

Ooh, that smell. Can't you smell that smell? It's huge. It's American, French and Belgian all at once, and it's terrific. American thanks to the uber-citrus hop tones (relative newcomers Apollo, Citra and Simcoe, for the record); French due to the heavy oak/Chardonnay presence; and Belgian thanks to the wonderfully funked-up yeast and clean, saison-like graininess. All combines to equal an exotic, electric, vibrant aroma like no other.

There's a heavy grapefruit element at the forefront of the taste, which pulls along with it the tell-tale fruity-and-funky treasures of Brettanomyces yeast (you know you're a lost cause when you can type Brettanomyces without looking at anything for help). Big blasts of tart lemonade, Chardonnay (and white wine-soaked wood), crisp green apple, lime, and something very, very earthy, in a twisted sort of way (again, the Brett speaking). Hops are big, and bitter, but just as well-incorporated alongside everything else, keeping Bitter Monk from feeling/seeming/drinking like a novelty. Reading the label, and thinking "Belgian IPA," I assumed some pineapple flavor would come into this before I had my first bottle several days ago. I don't quite get that, because it lacks that kind of sweetness...but having said that, it lacks nothing. It's fantastic.

Dry as a bone, partly thanks to the oak barrel use, I presume, and that perfectly matches the crisp medium body, the fruity/funky finish and the main tastes on the tongue.

Maybe it's splitting hairs, or focusing on things that don't truly matter, but the label's claim that this is a "Belgian-style Double IPA" is a little misleading. "Massive malt infusion" reads the back label. Really? Of course there's a lot of malt, but it still plays a mere supporting role. There just isn't enough of that sweet malty variable that partly defines a double IPA. But that's about all that wrong with this thing. And really, confining it to any style is futile -- this is one of the most unique, original and exciting beers to emerge from the U.S. craft scene in a while. I enjoyed the heck out of each bottle, and have to admit it was totally worth the $15.99 price tag.

Photo of markgugs
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of mltobin
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of jenray
2.5/5  rDev -42.1%

Photo of BMMillsy
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Tipples. Batch #3/May 2013 poured Sept. 28, 2013. Pours a cloudy yellow with small white head. Aroma of lemon zest, pineapple, dry oak, brett, orange peel. Very interesting. Flavor is big pineapple juice with definite Brett presence and lingering oak and pineapple. Bitter is there for sure. Juicy balanced by the effervescent mouthfeel, which makes it feel light on the palate for a DIPA. Very unique beer that delivers on the flavors it advertises.

Photo of Daniellobo
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very recommendable take on a Belgian DIPA.

Presentation: 750 ml brown, caged and corked bottle. Screen printed label with a green and white design of a monk holding a chalice of the brew with a few snowflakes in the background. Side paragraph offers a description of the brew, and serving indications, back narrative exposes intent, and general background. Notes 100 IBUS, bottling Batch 1 July 2011, and 9% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A -Hazy pale gold pour, rich frothy head, medium retention, fair surface memory and nice touches of lacing.

S - Nice nose hitting like a hammer with citric hops, touch of resin, funky brett, and a hint of wood.

T - Hoppy and yeasty range… Very nice, flowing over bready funky touches.. sweet caramel in the back woven with soft barrel touches, faint fruity/vinous touch. Earthy touch pushing up the hops again, Belgian spicy insinuation adds to the flow...

M -Medium body and carbonation, with a nice flow that leads to a semi/dry finish.

O - Nice an pleasing take at a DIPA laden with brett and Belgian touches...

Notes: Hmmm, that Anchorage Brewing is making a nice dent with breatty and barrel aged brews is clear. Quality and very likable. Now, if I get fuzzy on this one I might be getting so spoiled that it feels a touch perfunctory. I mean… dunno. I would not mind having a go at a regular dipa from theirs. Here so much plays with the Belgian yeast, the barrel, the brett, that it all has a bizarre predictable sense under all the great serving… Having said all that this is probably one of the best takes, if not the best, I have had at a double Belgian IPA. Nevermind me…

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Bottle purchased months ago...don't really remember when. Poured into HF tulip. Lots of head...carbonation is ideal. Orangey hue..sure.
Nice hoppy aroma even for it being fairly aged...but brett dominates. Smooth juicy hops and brett - mixed with classic anchorage signature aromas...
wood and funk.
Great flavor - funky - brett - wood - hops. Phenomenal. Do yourself a favor and thank god (or any deity) Gabe exists...this beer as most of his are..is simply sublime.

Photo of 2dogbrew
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.8/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a beautiful cloudy golden yellow. There is a big puffy two fingers of white head that dissipates slowly.

S: This beer is full of fun scents. I'm picking up brett, lemon zest, floral esters, wine characteristics, and a really mellow Belgian yeast sweetness. It's an incredible complex and intriguing aroma.

T: The fist blast is candy sweetness and lemony hops. Following quickly is the unmistakable brett. Next, I get blasted with huge bitters (probably from the chardonnay wine barrel treatment). I actually think this beer falls short in the finish. It's way too bitter.

M: Medium bodied beer. It starts of wet (for about a second) and finishes super dry, desert dry.

O: I think the look and smell of this beer are amazing, but the taste falls a bit short for my liking. I'm not a big fan of the ultra dryness of this beer either. But overall, it's still a decent brew.

Photo of Rutager
4.75/5  rDev +10%

Photo of egrace84
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 815 ratings.