1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Bitter Monk - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bitter MonkBitter Monk

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

803 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 803
Reviews: 216
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 309
Gots: 96 | 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:
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 803 | Reviews: 216 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mrebeka
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

mrebeka, Oct 12, 2013
Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Kurmaraja, Jan 30, 2014
Photo of Arbitrator
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Batch 2. From notes.

A: Pours a hazy golden-orange body. Despite a careful pour, the head rises to a vigorous 4 fingers in height in my tulip. It recedes slowly, leaving clumps of bubbles down the sides as it collapses into a thin collar.

S: Incredibly tropical, fruit-forward hop nose: pineapple, tangerine, lime, apricot, mango, white wine. This hits my sweet spot for noses; a nice twist is its small introduction of a hay-like brett presence. Thankfully, this is young and the brett hasn't really taken hold yet. I don't want it to; as an IPA alone, this is outstanding.

T: Bitter Monk has a beautiful fruit cornucopia. Pineapple dominates; I really love this flavor in beer, and to find it on the nose and taste is a real treat. I know some brett strains can enhance this flavor, so maybe it will persist with age. As noted before, I pick up tangerine, lime, apricot, mango, and white grapes. The bitterness is more pronounced than I like; the beer is pretty dry (a perception enhanced by its slightly tannic finish), so there isn't a lot to counteract the acridity.

M: Up front, there is a perceived sweetness -- I say perceived because the beer finishes dry and bitter (the latter being a bit of a drawback). It makes me wonder how the brett will evolve the beer; there can't be a lot of sugar for it to work with. Time will tell, I suppose. I'm certainly not bothering to age it. Good carbonation, no trace of the ABV.

O: I've been pretty underwhelmed by everything else that ABC has released so far, but this one blew me out of the water with the first batch. I bought 3 bottles of the second batch -- and I will continue to buy more of later ones. This is a winner (fresh, at least). I don't intend to age it.

Arbitrator, Oct 22, 2012
Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm a skeptic of this class, but this one has gotten such hype I just had to try a bottle before it was all gone...

Appearance:
A dull, hazy orange with a white fluffy head. Tons of sticky lacing and some loose sediment at the bottom.

Smell:
Big notes of citra, but also a huge amount of yeast...this is where I begin to not like this class - too much competition between aromas. A little grapefruit, cardboard, and esters. This is one of the first that gives a fistful of hops to the face though.

Taste:
Still pretty good, lots of citrusy hops and a load of belgain yeast character as well. The thing that I really like about this beer is how it unfolds as you continue to drink it, surprisingly with lots of rounded out, balanced flavors.

Mouthfeel:
A touch of tartness, boosted hoppiness, and a tremendous amount of carbonation. The beer starts off a little harsh and then mellows out supremely. I'm honestly not sure how the wine barrel changed this beer, but I'm sure it didn't hurt this characteristic.

Overall:
Whoa pricey beer! However, glad I tried it before it was gone and it was definitely great to share. There is a lot of tasty citra hops and a well complimenting belgian yeast character. SOoOo overall it's $15 well spent, but still not my thing so I probably would pass on a round #2.

ThePorterSorter, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of markgugs
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

markgugs, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of Brew33
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Brew33, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of jsh420
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
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

jsh420, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew lives up to the billing: it is tremendously bitter, and heavily Belgianesque in character. Bitter Monk pours a surprisingly pale translucent golden hue, topped with a very healthy white cap of rocky froth. The nose is pungently bitter with notes of heavy grapefruit pith and elderflower being highly prominent. The bitter apple-pineapple flavor imparted by the brett pairs well with the hop addition, as they mimic one another's flavor in some ways. I keep thinking this is very much like Cantillon's Mamouche - or like an elderflower IPA. The pale malt base is evocative of the classic Orval or Duvel approach; there is no caramel to be found here. The mouthfeel is quite effervescent, and thereby bordering on prickly; though it is not offensive, I'd have preferred a softer feel. That said, in every way this is a challenging, ass-kicking type of beer, so the feel is in that vein as well. A very good example of the style; probably the best I've had.

ktrillionaire, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of notchucknorris
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy apricot color with a huge fluffy white head. Leaves loads of lacing down the glass. Looks pretty awesome.

S: Huge citrus hop aroma. Vanilla, lemon, grapefruit, nilla wafers, just a touch of Brett and some oak. Really complex and absolutely incredible.

T: A nice hit of Citra right away with some mango, white grape, and pink grapefruit. Some honey and caramel malts in the middle before a finish of peppery and earthy hops. Some oak and Chardonnay dry the finish a touch as well.

notchucknorris, Sep 25, 2012
Photo of Beaver13
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Beaver13, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of Satchboogie
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Satchboogie, May 01, 2014
Photo of vonnegut21
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

vonnegut21, Jan 09, 2014
Photo of vermilcj
4.75/5  rDev +10%

vermilcj, Feb 01, 2014
Photo of bigfnjoe
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
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

bigfnjoe, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of mltobin
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

mltobin, May 21, 2014
Photo of hoppymcgee
4/5  rDev -7.4%

hoppymcgee, Apr 20, 2013
Photo of oglmcdgl
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

oglmcdgl, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of CoryR
4/5  rDev -7.4%

CoryR, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of jampics2
4.75/5  rDev +10%

jampics2, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber from ChurchKey ($33). Orange infused golden straw appearance, quite hazy, medium off-white head, fairly nice lacing. Bretty nose, some candyish citrus peel, white wine, and musty/barnish hops on the nose. Very bretty and oakish. A bit more dry and acidic than your average IIPA. Hops are there, but are secondary. Sweetness is also there, but minor compared to the dryness of it. Bit of an odd duck in that its more of a barrel aged beer than an IIPA. Slightly alcoholic on the backside, perhaps even a little medicinal.Could stand to sit for a bit, but this isnt your average early/young overly hopped IIPA. This is something else entirely. While not hot, the 9% isn’t helping build this into a better beer.Body and mouthfeel are moderate.Finish is a little acidic, make that more than a little. It was almost as if this one was trying to do too much. Enjoyable, but overly complicated and busy. This was an expensive bomber from ChurchKey when I later found out could be had for half the price I paid at Whole Foods nearby.

CuriousMonk, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of jegross2
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company out of Alaska.
Score: 93

Bottle is from July 2011. Served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 05/29/12.

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden orange color with three fingers of soapy, slightly off-white head that settles to a thin foggy layer atop the glass. Absolutely amazing lacing and retention. 5/5

Smell: A nice tropical citrusy IPA with a Belgiany sour twist. Tart white grapes, lemon zest, candied mango, orange, pineapple, fruity citrus and a little funky brett. Apples towards the back of the aroma too. Hint of oak. 4.5/5

Taste: Loads of bitter lemon zest, orange, mango and bitter/tart white grape. A little caramel malt on the midpalate, with earthy/grassy hops and a growing fruitiness in the finish as the beer warms/layers. There is a clovey residual aftertaste. The flavors get more tart as the beer warms up, with a a mild pucker effect from a growing sour lemonade flavor. Not oak or funk. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, high carbonation -- or maybe the life on the tongue from the zesty tartness, which really makes the bitterness perk on the tongue, is being deceptive in terms of the the true carbonation present. Juicy mouthfeel. Bitter and tart on the tongue. 4/5

Overall: One year after it's bottling, this beer is more of a sour with an IPA twist than an IPA with a sour twist. Quite an enjoyable hybrid. The artwork on the bottle is amazing.

Recommendation: Sour haters and casual beer drinkers should avoid this one, but all others are encouraged to seek out a bottle.

Pairings: Chicken pot pie.

Cost: $17 for a 750 ml bottle.

jegross2, Sep 16, 2012
Photo of jzeilinger
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

jzeilinger, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of Tucquan
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Tucquan, Oct 12, 2013
Photo of sholland119
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

HV

sholland119, Jan 08, 2012
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.

trxxpaxxs, Nov 29, 2011
Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 803 ratings.