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Monk's Mistress - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Monk's MistressMonk's Mistress

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293 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 293
Reviews: 173
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.63%
Wants: 79
Gots: 45 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 08-19-2003

The inspiration for this beer’s name—previously, La Maitresse du Moine—is the beer itself. Its deep, intense flavors inspired the concept of a monk that seeks solace and satisfaction from the sensory pleasure and mind-provoking effects of this liquid temptress.

Mesmerizing Monk’s Mistress seduces your senses at first sip. Its daunting beauty and intriguing flavor fully captivate your attention. Belgian yeast adds character and complexity. We invite you to give in to this little bit of “heaven on earth”.

13 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 293 | Reviews: 173
Photo of Sammy
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark colour, with white foamy head. Good roast aroma,roasted chocolate, stout elements, licorice and mollasses in the taste.Above average mouthfeel, with caramel, yeast, roast, nuttiness, suitable carbonation. A good crossover, and complexity. Drinkable.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled August 2007; Sampled January 2008
Quite well carbonated, a very careful pour produces a fat, five finger thick, light brown colored head that grows above the top of my tulip glass. The beer is quite dark, with an opaque, deeply burnt brown color that shows some clear, ruby hued highlights around the edges when held up to the lightly. Earthy, concentrated notes of dark fruit is the most evident part of the aroma; aromas of roasted, slightly burnt raisins is definitely noticeable. Quite spicy as well with notes of white pepper, substantial clove, some allspice, touches of mace and a woody, slightly savory note similar to a cross between sarsaparilla, birch and a touch of cinnamon bark. Quite aromatic, one of those beers whose aroma jumps out of the glass. This seems like quite a decadent tipple based on the aroma. Even 5 minutes later I still have four fingers of head on this brew, that is why I love tulip glasses as I can still easily get a sip of the brew under all this foam. This does leave quite a few patches of sticky foam on the sides of my glass as I slowly work my way through the beer.

Sweet tasting and quite redolent of dark fruit; raisin puree, prunes, dried figs and perhaps a touch of dried cherry and dried cranberry. The beer finishes with a cola like spiciness as well as a dusty, browned malt note, notes of cocoa powder and a touch of hop bitterness. While fairly sweet the beer is actually some what light feeling, at least it is light feeling for a beer of this strength and sweetness as this is most definitely a sipping brew. It is thick enough that the slightly excessive carbonation is barely noticed. The carbonation does add a peppery, carbonic bit to this brew though. There is quite a bit of dark malt character here; from toasty grain notes, to touches of chocolate, a dusting of roast coffee, lots of brown sugar notes and darkly caramelized, sweet malt. The beer has a touch of tartness to it in the finish that seems a product of both the dark grain and some yeast by products.

As the beer warms up a bit and loses more of the carbonation, it actually seems to get a bit lighter on the palate, becomes a bit less sweet with more of a balance to the chocolate/cocoa dark malt notes. A hint of tamarind becomes noticeable as it couples with the soft tartness in the finish. This has a lot more dark malt character than one would typically get in a beer from Belgium, but I like that added dimension in this brew (after all this isn't Belgian). The dark malt helps to balance the huge, dark fruit character. This is quite a good beer; it can be a bit sweet at first and perhaps a bit on the thin side after a while, but it is definitely enjoyable.

Photo of brdc
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Large capped bottle, poured into a goblet.

Pitch black, with a creamy, dense tan head that keeps collar and lacing all the way down, beautiful and just flawless appearance.

Aroma is an impressive combination of malty sweetness with the usual caramel and perhpas molasses, a multitude of dark fruits, but also some unexpected layers of spiciness and of all things to be found in a dark ale, coffee and bittersweet chocolate.

Chewy, full bodied yet creamy and nicely carbonated, it is not exactly true to style, yet is amazing in its own right. Just like the aroma suggested, multiple dark fruits, sweet caramel, but also some coffee, bittersweet chocolate and a mild peppery spiciness. And a few more things I cannot identify.

Big, bold, complex, yet easy to put down. It is half way down and I am already sad I have only one more of this in my cellar.

One year later, from same batch, it holds very well, although it does not really improve - very hard to improve IMHO. Next chance, will get a full case.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The monks mistress is a typical american shot at a belgian strong. pours very dark, with deep dark red tints. Head is of decent size but quickly fades into a ring, but does stick to the glass all the way down. Nose is of sweet dark fruit, prune or fig, sugary with almost no alcohol. Especially pruney. The first taste is of dark fruit and candy sugar. Dark fruit middle with malt and with an almost peppery taste. the finish is hoppy with a hint of coppery penny taste. The aftertaste is hoppy and lingers for a while. A good beer, but doesnt compare to a belgian strong from belgium. This to me is like a mix between a malty american brown, and a thin, thin, thin belgian dubbel. Interesting. A fine beer.

Photo of tayner
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from third week in august 2007.. let me start by saying, i am not THAT familiar with the BDA style guidelines, so i am just going to describe what i taste, and not judge how it compares to the typical bda style.

Poured very dark with just slight edges of dark amber with light behind it. Poured a pretty large head foamy beige colored head that settled to 1/2-3/5 inch which then remained for the entire time it took to consume.

It smelled sweet, figs, prunes and even a little hint of pepper.

It tasted just as it smelled, figs, prunes, raisens, brown sugar/molasses and even slightly spicy with some pepper. it was a very complex flavor, although not one seemed to overpower the other, they all just blended quite nicely on the palate. about midpalate i could taste a slight hop presence, but nothing too intense or noticable, perhaps just enough to cut the sweetness down so i wanted another sip. The back end, after the swallow, is when the 9% ABV let itself be known. Not alot, but a warming feeling on the back of the tongue and slightly in the throat. dried up the palate to prepare for the next sip. will certainly warm you up on a cold night, but not overpowering.

mouthfeel was heavy, but not thick. coated the tongue which kept the flavors around long after the swallow.

as for drinkability, i had no problems finishing the bomber by myself, and i had to think about making myself go slow to enjoy it as i wanted to keep gulping it.. but it is quite sweet, and that coupled with the 9%, make one bomber at a time enough. I am glad i have more of these for other nights though, i will certainly revisit this beer over and over again as the evenings get cooler. if you havent tried this one, worth getting one or two. I can only imagine this one will get better with time as well since the profile was mostly sweet and not hops... i cant wait to try one in another six months!

Photo of alexgash
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle purchased at the brewery in June and served at 45 degrees F.

Pours a maple syrup brown with a large, thick, firm, light cocoa head. Nice lacing and retention. Nose of molasses, figs, prunes, caramel, sweet fruity candy, and light cocoa. There's a metallic vinous twang to it as well. Good complexity.

Dry, bitterish chocolate up front, followed immediately by sweet, sugary dark fruits: raisins, figs, and plums. The fruity sweetness has a warm, rummy edge to it. Turns slightly bitter with a tangy, vinous-tannin dryness. Espresso and dark chocolate bitterness mix with dark fruits in the warming finish. Very nice! Full-bodied, with a syrupy feel. Luxurious carbonation makes for an easy, warming beer.

Photo of GClarkage
4.65/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

08/09/07- Purchased at John's Marketplace, in Portland, OR.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with a notched datestrip on the side of the bottle. I believe this one was June of '06. Poured into my RR Damnation tulip.

Appearance- Burnt and blackend caramel colored pour. One inch plus creamy head which layers at a good 1/4 inch almost. Small chunks and very nice lace sheeting action.

Smell- This one is a candy bar. Raw cookie dough and caramel goodness with dark chocolate, and alcohol soaked coffee beans. There has to be a mismash of dark fruits as well, but all the other nose treats outweigh them.

Taste- Yep, it's just as sweet as the nose, maybe a touch too much. About the only drawback of this beer. Huge kaluha-like coffee liquor flavor with minglings of dark and milk chocolate together. Prunes, plums, dates raisins and figs all jumble up into a big dark fruit-o-rama. Lots of deep roasted caramel as well forms another base to the beer besides the coffee.

Mouthfeel- Semi-creamy with a medium carbonation level. Enough hops to satisfy your cravings.

Drinkability- Damn, this one was fantastic. Just as all the beers I have had from Midnight Sun have been. Wishing I had a case of this. Really not a summer beer though. Save it for winter. Gives a nice tummy warming sensation.

Photo of ccrida
3.12/5  rDev -23%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber that I picked up at the brewery about 4 months ago, into my midnight sun cervoise, La Maitress Du Moine (the monk's mistress) is a very dark garnet with huge tan head, 1/2 the glass. It is thick and dense, and slowly subsides to a rocky foam with lots of good looking lace.

The nose is originally a little roasty and very rich malt, which caught me off guard. But as it warmed, it gained some of that sweet grape like malt that's reminiscent of some of my favorite BSDAs. Yeasty and spicy, almost pepper like, and not as sweet as mainly for the style, with a flash of booze, it flirts with a barelywine likeness.

The taste is sweeter and more of what I was expecting for the style, at least through the middle. Initially, the malt is rich, before it giving way to sweet dark fruit, and finishes very spicy, dry, boozy, a bit astringent, and lots of phenols.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side for the style, but very creamy.

This one's a slow sipper, due to the robust taste, noticeable booze, and heavier body. While reasonably complex, it's not the best tasting example of the style. Would it have been better fresh, or will the other bottle in my cellar break into the next level with a year or two? Time will tell, and while this was a good enough experience, I'm not in a big hurry to find out. As has become a bit of a trend with Midnight Sun brews for me, ultimately a bit disappointing. I guess having Arctic Devil as my first skewed my expectations, because that one's phenomenal!

Photo of Kudashov
1.03/5  rDev -74.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

22oz bomber is a pint glass with Kraftwerk on The Hi-Fi .

Well this brew marks the first beer ever to be a drain pour . Out to Dorchester Bay you go .Tried my to best get through this but it was tough . Had an OK decent creamy head but , after that the smell , flavor , and overall mouthfeel was vile . Maybe it is my untrained , " green " pallette but sorry , this is awful . Bomb .

Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Pours a 1" tan colored head that slowly recedes to a ring and a thin layer. The beer is a rich chestnut brown in color.

smell: The nose is great, and quite complex. Sugary notes of dried fig, plum and date meld with an aged, herbal and floral hop aroma. Some notes of hardwood and hints of vanilla, raw sugar, and a touch of spice are found. A touch of port wine and a light ethanol fume.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is high, and the body a full medium.

taste: At first I find lightly toasted and pale malt flavors with some hints of dark, sugary tree fruits (especially date). After the swallow a light, dry roast flavor comes in. Light, powdery notes of cocoa are found just in front of an estery, ripe banana flavor. Subtle hop flavor and a light, drying hop bitterness that lingers with a touch of roast in the finish. Very near a 4.5, but not quite for me.

drinkability: Pretty easy, but the high carbonation limits drinkability. The alcohol is well hidden.

Received in "These go to eleven...a bif" from goodbyeohio, who told me that this is from the 2001 vintage. Notched as bottled in the second week of July.

Photo of 3Vandoo
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big foamy head, a dark bugundy beer with some golden hues that pass throught it.

Smell is of malt, raisin and molasse.

taste is at first of grape, alcohol, followed by roasted coffee and toffee. Some fruity flavours come in, also hints of vanilla , reminds me of a Jacobite actually

Photo of Crosling
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby hue with a gigantic and dense brown tinted head. Fairly vibrant nose of port wine (fruit, brandy), currants, chocolate and roast. Flavor is very thick and chewy, extremely roasty and chocolatey, while still retaining vinous fruit notes and hints of brandy and currants. A very good rendition, almost roasty and chocolatey enough to be more in the realm of Hercule Stout, rather than Westveteren 8 or Rochefort 8. I didn’t find this cloying like some raters, just not quite up to the Belgian standards.

Photo of Shovelbum
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a ½+ glass full of head into my Piraat tulip—can’t really complain as this bottle did travel all the way from Anchorage. The head is a creamy tan and the body is nearly pitch black with just a hint of crimson around the edges. The head eventually recedes leaving chunky bands of foam in its wake. Aromas of alcohol laden vinous fruit along with a slight citric tartness. There are traces of floral hops as well. Tastes of sweet coffee and vinous fruit up front, giving way to some Belian candi and roasted malt. Mild hop bitterness in the background and a substantial warming alcohol presence. Smooth in the mouth with moderate to high carbonation.

This ale has great malt complexity and depth that is nicely balanced with the judicious floral hop charcter. A pleasant surprise from the far north!

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.55/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2001 vintage, i believe the first release. thanks someone for the bottle.. this is salvaged from some old freakin notes.

muddy crimson to bright ribbons of candy apple red. thick, industrial foamy head. lots of bubbles run up and down uniformly through the body like a busy highway. smells like bananas foster served on a bed of wet hay with a cherry cough syrup chaser. a bit overfizzed.. taste has developed and morphed from what i remember from the fresh. advanced malts bring smokiness and an off-putting slight hint of coffee grounds. age sucks away some desired fruitiness leaving a vacuum where much of its belgian profile should be.

will re-review a fresh bottle when i can get my hands on one.

Photo of Goldorak
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Opaque black, with the faintest veil of brown hues, the tan head hung on for dear life and almost made it the whole way through.

Smell: This Beer had visions of sugarplums dancing in my nose! It was creamy and vinious like a big blood red port, with a raisin alcohol finale.

Taste: Very malty, nutty even, with hints of molasses. Flavors go from roasted to sweet and back again several times, nice long finish that lingers for a while, the sweet/sour/dry cocoa toning down the alcohol fumes.

Photo of battlekow
4.29/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Px2GrafX for the bottle.

Pours a murky, cola-looking red/brown with a fluffy beige head. Very fine bubbles. Smells "sharp"--the olfactory equivalent of the way the corners of your mouth screw up when you eat really old cheddar cheese. There's some alcohol, some plums, some anise, funky and spicy yeast, maybe some raspberries. Kinda tickles. Taste is heavy on alcohol-soaked plums with a bit of yeast funk in the end that at times evokes an unpleasant metal pipe flavor. Reminds me a little of a lambic. Mouthfeel is thick, though pleasantly aerated. Quite drinkable--I laud the Monk's taste.

Photo of OldSock
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance and Presentation – 22 oz bomber dated 1st week of September, clearly not this year, poured into a tulip. The head is off-white, creamy, and gigantic. The bit of beer underneath the head is dark brown with a mahogany hue when held to the light. Head retention is great, lacing is also first-rate.

Smell – Vinous, alcoholic, and spicy. It’s a very nice aroma with a good variety of components. Standard mix, but well done.

Taste – What an original flavor, a stout influenced Belgian ale. Initially the flavor is just like a standard Belgian ale, yeasty and spicy with some dark fruit, but as you swallow roasted malts with a coffee flavor takes over. What a delightful surprise. The flavors match very nicely, an excellent and unique flavor combination. The alcohol in the nose is completely absent in the flavor. No hops to speak of, possibly due to the age of the beer.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied with strong carbonation.

Drinkability and Notes – Easy to drink, great flavor, a real gem. I am sad to see that this beer is marked as retired; I may have to return to Marty’s and stock up on this one.

Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a brown body with a small tan head that died quickly.

The nose was a mix of port-wine, alcohol, sugar and yeast. A classic Belgian dark ale smell leaning a bit more towards the fruity port like quality.

The taste was a mix of sugar, plums, apples, apple cider, and an apple peel sort of business. Dark bitter unsweetened chocolate, and dark malts dominate the body. A viscous carbonation is present from start to finish.

Over a nice American version of a classic Belgian dark ale. Not the greatest in the world, but still very tasty and very drinkable.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark crimson-brown, like a cherry tobacco cheroot. While the crazed carbonation is barely visible due to the 'light's out' color of the beer, the glass-filling head is all the proof I need. It's golden ecru in color and falls over time to a wind-smoothed mesa of foam. Since this isn't the sort of head to produce much lace, I'm not surprised to see a clean glass.

LMDM smells authentically Belgian, even though it hails from the land of the Midnight Sun. It's powerfully dark malty with aromas of myriad dark fruits: raisins, black currants, prunes, black cherries. There's also a muskiness that I'll attribute to hops (or perhaps yeast) and an even more notable dark spiciness.

This beer is more than impressive. It's amazingly flavorful with layer upon layer of BSDA power and dizzying depth. It's a bewitching mixture of intense, mega-spicy, explosive dark fruitiness that I'm unable to fully explore before the mouthful is gone and I need to see about getting another.

I'm not sure if spices were added; it's probably just an ass-kicker of a yeast strain. Raisin paste and sour plums just got added to the flavor profile. Call me crazy, but there are also elements of the wee heavy and dubbel styles in this beer. I'll say this, the masterful brewers at Midnight Sun hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head.

The mouthfeel is medium, leaning toward full, with that wonderful chewiness that I like in most all big beer. The still vigorous carbonation isn't annoying in the least. In fact, it's part of what makes the beer feel Belgian. I've just realized that I haven't mentioned alcohol. That's because it's nowhere to be found; a remarkable achievement at an ABV of 9.0%.

La Maitresse Du Moine does not translate as The Mattress from Des Moines, despite what some may think. The Monk's Mistress is the finest ASDA (Alaskan strong dark ale) that I've ever had. In fact, it's good enough to stand alongside some of the best Belgians. It's beautiful, complex, strong, sophisticated and exotic. I should be so lucky as to have a mistress with those qualities.

Photo of MrNuggets
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The Monk's Mistress:

tulip is full
my temptation
controls me so

A brand new treat
procured at last
I seek
approaching fast

Fluffy on top
smell can assert
bubbles will stop
colour like dirt

Sticky & dark
nose for the ages
cloying yet stark
flavour in stages

Raise glass in hand
toast to the one
born in the land
of Midnight Sun.

Photo of CRJMellor
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep maroon and brown. highly effervescent with tons of carbonation bubbles and a thin, light tan head.
Aroma of wheat bread, raisins, candi sugar, a hint of caramel and grain along with a coriander-like yeasty sipicness.
Flavor has very bready tones to start moving to a broad based sugary sweetness that is finished off with a spicy yeast hit and a phenol alcohol hit.
Mouthfeel is full-bodied, sweet and tart with a bready middle and nice spicy alcoholic punch on the finish.
Drinkability is very good and typical for style. Highly alcoholic but smooth. Alaska seems about as far from Belgium as I can imagine but thse folks manage to get it done very well.

Photo of MediocreatBest
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

murky purple-ish brown. first time i have seen a shimmering head. Very large head as well, after the first pur into the glas not only was the head in the glass large but inside the bottle was a mountanous amount of foamy goodness. Smells sweet and pruny. also a smell i associate with barley wines that i beleive to be either sherry or port type smell, not being a wine person i have no idea, but from reading other reviews i have narrowed down what to associate that smell with. taste is bursting with raison flavor as well as a candy sugar sweetness.the alcohol provides a nice backbone and as it warms the pronounced raison flavor becomes more pungent but blends with the alcohol, and the newly arriving cherry flavor to provide a warming, almost burning, but still good, sensation as it trickles down your throat. Takes on a strong ale(thomas hardy/ j.w.lees) feel more so then a the designated style. not as bubbly in mouthfeel as one would assume from the amount of head. Got a buzz after one, but still drinakble, i wouldnt pound them, but i could have a second.

Photo of alexAK
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark with a faint reddish glow. The initial pour results in a sweet foamy head.

Crisp mouthfeel with the taste lingering in the front. Even with the sweetness to balance it, I do get a nice "bite" from this beer. Hints of fruit, somewhat between a pear and an apple. And a touch of caramel to round it all out. The spicy aroma produced by this beer is a nice compliment as well.

The alcohol is a little upfront but I feel that it just adds to the overall complexity. This is the kind of beer that you want to sip and savour.

Photo of aracauna
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown that glows red in the light. Slightly murky. The head starts off as a large khaki foam and then settles into a soupy, light chocolate milk foam. The aroma is great. The Belgian yeast funk is all in this with tons of apple peel, stone fruits, clove and cinnamon. The flavor is nicely malty to back up the yeasty fruit and spice but the body is a tad thin. Extremely impressive take on a Belgian strong ale from this little brewery. Midnight Sun is definitely on my list to visit on my next trip to Alaska.

Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Before I gave up trying to take notes at Dwarbi and Dana's Belgian beer-tasting party I had to get this one in my notebook (okay, I'm a geek, my Blackberry.)

Smelled like sour cherries and those Brachs caramel candies your grandma always used to give you. Dark red-brown with a puffy cream head, tasted like sour cherries, yellow raisins, alcohol, bitter toffee and sugar cubes, with a smooth mouthfeel and nicely bitter hoppy finish. Left a smidgen of a puckering aftertaste. It's a lot like Liberace - queer, fruity and dazzling. Too bad I can't find Alaskan beers here in NYC....

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Monk's Mistress from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.