1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Monk's Blood - 21st Amendment Brewery

Not Rated.
Monk's BloodMonk's Blood

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,194 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,194
Reviews: 495
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 78
Gots: 118 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: taxguyjase on 09-10-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,194 | Reviews: 495 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of superdedooperboy
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12-ounce can poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a gorgeous deep ruby-mahogany with a thick two-fingered topping of creamy light tan foam that recedes quickly, settling to a fat crown and leaving behind a beautiful latticework of lacing on the walls of the glass as it drains away.

Aromas are lovely, with wonderful fruity notes of fig, dark cherry and raisin, with some mixed spice notes including cinnamon and peppercorn, with a hint of clove. A hint of alcohol peeks through the mix as well.

Fairly light in body with a moderate carbonation with tight, tiny bubbles tickling the tongue. The melange of flavors mimics the aroma rather well, with some sweet malt flavors of caramel and a hint of chocolate showing themselves up front, stepping alongside notes of dried calimyrna fig pulp, sweet dark cherries, cinnamon, faint vanilla bean, pepper and clove, with a mild boozy alcoholic note coming through and warming things a bit, leading into a semi-dry, fruity-spicy finish with hints of white pepper and smoke alongside a touch of dried fig lingering afterward.

An rather excellent example of the rather ambiguous "Belgian Strong Dark" style, the figs employed in the brew really enhance the fig notes that would normally be present in such a beer; the vanilla, oak chips and cinnamon play a bit more of a background role, though, and likely are hidden mostly by the yeast character, though they do seem to add a slight bit of character. Though alcohol is not extremely well-hidden, it actually adds to the beer and gives it a bit more depth of flavor. Drinkability shouldn't really be an issue in the style, and this is definitely not worthy of drinking in multiples. Two servings max would be a blessing worthy of monastic servitude.

Photo of nova009
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into a Chimay chalice

A- pours an opaque dark brown with a slight red tint to it, small fizzy tan head appears and quickly dissipates, spotty lacing

S- definitely get dark fruits on the first hit, figs and raisins, a little plum as well, sweet candied sugar mixes in, im getting some ripe banana as well, getting very little spice on this

T- dark fruits dominate the palate, definitely getting banana in this and a too much for my liking, very sweet and sugary, slight alcohol burn, im not getting a lot of belgian yeast with this which is disappointing, not a lot of spiciness either

M- medium body, slightly high carbonation but not overly so, sticky and somewhat chewy as well

D- this beer is okay, it is entirely too sweet and has too much banana, i can drink this but only to a certain extent, considering the style there are a lot better beers out there

Photo of ne0m00re
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Live review of a 12 oz can stamped 1038 0815 on the bottom.
A: Dark mahogany, it poured with a dark cream two-finger head that died slowly to a good film and collar with lacing, but the bubbles are a bit big and not as tufty as I'd like.
S: Mild. Raisins and some craisins, very earthy with some walnuts, brown sugar and honey, somewhat floral with a slight alcohol on the nose... pretty good.
T: A very woody and earthy bitterness on the finish... not bad, but just interestingly rustic with the hops. Grape juice, vodka alcohol character that isn't overpowering, and a mild nuttiness throughout. It seems like they shot for Rochefort 6 possibly? Not bad, but not outstanding either.
M: Slightly syrupy, develops a froth, and then turns crisp. Not bad.
D: This isn't too bad... it is certainly worth getting a four-pack or trying it on-tap. There are much better examples of this style, though.

Photo of TheDudeRules
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can to a Darkness snifter,

Pours a nice ruby color with almost a finger of head. Every whiff seems to bring a different smell to me. Tart cherry and some fig. This beer dances across the tongue nicely. Cherry blended with oak and the slightest hint of vanilla. I seem to get a tiny bit of tartness up front, then it quickly fades. Man, I remember not liking this when I had it on tap last year. For an 8.3% abv beer it goes down easily. Actually quite a nice brew. Certainly pick some up.

Photo of VMWhelan
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby with one finger of light tan head.

Strong scent of cherry syrup or maraschinos with lots of dark fruit (raisin/fig) and some brown or candied sugar.

Taste is similar to the smell. Cherries and dark fruits dominate followed by some toasty but sweet malt, as well as some spicyness and slight alcohol. Very sweet overall but balanced with some tartiness (from the Belgian yeast I'd assume).

Mouthfeel is medium-full with average carbonation.

Drinkability is decent. A little heavy but not too much. Tasty so it goes down easily.

Photo of radioscooter
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I confess. I have still not embraced the can. I know it's the low-carbon-imprint wave of the future and all, but I'm just not there yet.

Tried the Old Chubb by OB because of my love for Scotch Ales. Hated it.

Grabbed one can of this with no expectations. Strike that, I had negative expectations.

First - color is beautiful dark brown mahogany. Uncloudy. Beautiful stiff foam with a med-aggressive pour.

Smell says - surprise - Belgian dark ale. Great hints of dark fruit, fig, earthy and a little ether.

Taste just blew me away. All the malty, fruity, figgy, oaky, spicy goodness you'd expect out of some obscure imported Belgian bomber. Rich, medium to full bodied, mid to high flavorful.

Carbonation is a tiny bit high and I can't imagine how they'll pull off bottle-conditioning? (probably some memo I missed) which means it needs to be really drinkable as it leaves the brewery. This is pretty close.

Aftertaste is where it fails a bit - not a lot mind you, nothing as horrible as the chemicals Ommegang wants you to believe are all natural. But there's a tinge there. A little "canniness" maybe. But not enough to complain about.

Final: A wildly pleasant surprise.
Drink again? Absolutely. A little pricey here at $4 a can, otherwise, I'd buy a case.

Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can at 48 degrees into a Chimay chalice.

A: This pours an opaque dark red color with a finger of lightly tanned head that does not last but it laces okay.

S: Intense dark fruits, some candi sugar, and some spiciness. It is a somewhat mild nose for its style.

T: Sweet dark fruitiness dominates with light banana, candi sugar, and peppery yeast playing lesser roles. The fruit-forward flavor is very nice.

M: The body is medium with some creaminess and a sticky finish.

D: This is not very complex but its fruitiness really spoils my palate.

Photo of BarrelO
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a snifter.

A: Mahogany body. Pretty big head that dies quickly and leaves little lacing.

S: Figs, vanilla, and yeast.

T: Oak, dried figs, and some spices. Vanilla in the aftertaste. Alcohol is surprisingly strong.

M: Medium in body and carbonation.

D: All the elements of a solid Belgian are here, but it just doesn't come together. For fanatics only.

Photo of BB1313
3.51/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a nice hazy brown, slightly transparent with an off-white head and nice lacing. The aromas are really nice, and get even better as it warms up. Smells sweet with candied sugars and dark fruits w/ some cherries in the mix. The taste is somewhat off, IMO. I'm picking up on the oak and vanilla, not really picking up on the cinnamon and spices. Finishes pretty bitter. Mouthfeel is okay, pretty carbonated; medium-bodied. Drinkability is average, since the flavors aren't that interesting, I started milking it. The pleasant aromas kept me going. Once again, there was also an unpleasant bitterness.

Not a bad beer at all, but if you're seeking a Belgian fix, why settle for this?

Photo of Chaney
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark cloudy maroon color, with a ridiculously frothy and over-the-top 2 finger + head. I had to wait a few minutes before drinking for that sucker to subside.

S: Despite all of the yummy ingredients in this brew, the figs took center stage on the nose. The vanilla also gave this a very dessert-like quality. Once I worked harder for it, I found the cinnamon and oak.

T: Very high pitched, bright and colorful use of the figs. Sure this was a dark brew overall, but the figs made this one fruity mother! A bit of Belgian funk wrapped itself around the other spices. Awesome!

M: Thick, carbonated enough for this style, and VERY spicy! The sweetness was more of the brown sugar variety.

D: I know I am giving this a higher review than many others on here, but I found this brew very memorable and feel it flat out deserves high kudos!

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a Chimay goblet. Pours a hazy brown/plum with a pretty decent inch of off-white head. The lace is nice, lasting, but not for the duration of the beer.
The smell is... fault first, a little bit like candy. However, banana Runts, plum, candy sugar, floral hops and heather. Strange but good.
The taste mirrors the smell but ends up a little on the sweet side, Banana in full effect, more dried apple than pear, earth, floral hops and not as much alcohol as I expected.
The mouth is thin and the aftertaste is a little sweet and long lasting.
$1.99 for a can (haven't seen a sixer in a while) and I'm sold. I'd love to age a few and see if it chills out and shows more character and less sweet.

Photo of ajfa531
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wish I had this beer when I was reading The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

Can poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

Pours a dark, hazy brown with almost a finger's worth of foam. The head is an off-white color. There IS retention, but, expected a bigger head. Maybe a little darker than off-white. Holding the glass up to a light, the dark orange, slight red colors come out. There is still a noticeable haze. Blood is a good descriptor. Fine bubbles than stick to the glass.

The biggest aroma are dark sugars and spiciness. The can says cinnamon, but, it's more of a Big Red/Golgschlager hot cinnamon. It could be the slight booze in the nose. Slight oak notes. The latter two come out most in the second pour after warming up. It's nice.

Sweet flavor. Dark sugars. Yeast spiciness. The vanilla is subtle after I swallow. It comes out with hot cinnamon. I'm getting a lot of belgo yeast flavor. (I don't think I decanted very well. Is this possible with a can?) However, this is not the worst thin in the word. I enjoy the flavor.

I feel that the yeast suspended in the beer adds to the mouthfeel. Medium body. The beer sticks to the glass and it sticks to my mouth and tongue. The lingering flavors are pleasant, so, this is a good thing.

A solid beer. I don't pick up Belgian-styles to often, so, I'm glad this one was nice. I wouldn't have multiples of this in one night, but, I'd look for a single every now and then.

Photo of Groucho75
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mmmm. Been looking forward to this since I read about it a few months back on 21st's website. $9 for a four-pack from my ever-reliable S&N Package.

Can with 1038 0630 marked on the bottom. I guess I should really be enjoying this from the can, but I couldn't help but pouring into my Duvel goblet.

Nice plummy/brownish tinge to fit the profile. Some carbonation with average lacing. The one to two fingers of foam lingers for a little while, but eventually evaporates.

Hints of figs, vanilla, candy sugar, and bourbon on the nose.

The taste tells me up front that while not Belgian, 21st has done their homework. That forward banana flavor and maltiness is unmistakable. Taking my time to savor the sips here. Their Fireside Chat left a bad taste in my mouth (literally) so I'm happy to find their next offering to be more to my liking.

The texture is smooth and the alcohol balances nicely. Not too heavy, but you can taste the ABV for sure.

*Very* drinkable. Just my luck that there are some really nice Belgian style craft brews out right now, because if I polish off too many of these, I can always get something else.

Well done, 21'st. Keep brewing this one.

Photo of brew3crew
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at whole Foods in norwood, Cincinnati

A-medium brown in color with a nice amount of head that retains though out.
S-dried fruit with roasted malts
T-alot like it smells with some cherries and nice roastiness to it
M-medium bdoy and very smooth
D-very drinkable and my taste was gone in no time. Very drinkable especially considering abv...

Photo of pdoran10
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark brown menacing color with a good amount of haze. Three fingers of off white head that leave some amazing lacing.

Smell is dark fruit a hint of booze and a slightly off putting metallic acidity.

Taste is nice plum, and sugary malt flavor. A bit of alcohol heat and not all that complex. Nice straightforward BSDA flavors, nothing special.

Moutfeel is substantial with moderate/low carbonation. Well done here.

This beer tastes a bit young and hot right now. Nice flavors, but the alcohol heat is enough to make me only want one. Seems like this beer could use a bit of age.

Photo of pmccallum86
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark cloudy maroon brown color.

Smell is of stale fruits and malts.

Dried fruits and brown sugar upfront. A little off taste in the finish, very average.

Medium carbonation, pretty average.

Definition of average beer. Nothing speacial and every aspect mediocre.

Photo of tchenery
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark body with some highly visible carbonation. It has a very thin layer of off-white head for the style, but it looks like it will lace though.

The smell is on point. Very smoked/tobacco/roasted smell of malts and a slight raisin smell as well. It has a very faint 'belgian' smell to it.

The beer itself is pretty smooth, but it tastes like circus peanuts, quite literally. I like circus peanuts though. That being said, it's really sweet. This taste lasts throughout the beer. I'm looking forward to this one warming up a bit in the glass.

Mouthfeel is very smooth but not too silky. It almost feels like a milk stout on the tongue.

Totally drinkable beer, nice that it is in cans.

Photo of GRG1313
2.58/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Copper brown with red tints and a nice lighter khaki head.

Nose is big, full and rich bananas. Smells Belgian and would so identify in a blind tasting based on smell, although there is some fig and cinnamon character present.

Mouthfeel is medium thin but well balanced.

Flavors are rich and assertive but very sweet in all respects. Huge sugar front palate that goes to a sweet coffee/light carmel but retaining the sugar character and sweetness right through the palate and into the finish.

Finish is a nice toast/coffee/carmel bitter that end with a grapefruit skin oil character but with the sugar being so strong it lingers in your mouth.

Too sweet to drink and almost too sweet to even sip for my taste.

Photo of treehouse
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ruby tea...colored...

smell..bubblegum sour stone fruits...some wheat there..

mouhted...moar bubblegum...a smidgen of cherries...plenty of malt...hops are well balanced with the other dark fruits...i cannot really taste the cinnamon or vanilla that the can says is in there...

will not need to try this again unless it is on draft....

Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark cloudy rust, almost brown. Pours with a massive head.

S - Hugely sweet malts flanked by tons of fruits; figs, plums, dates etc. A touch of cinnamon.

T - That cinnamon and fruit from the smell comes in play nicely here. The flavors mesh together well enough to remind me of a poor man's Three Philosophers; perhaps better in some ways, but rough around the edges. The booze comes out a little too much for my liking and there is a certain tang from the spice that I imagine would be able to be eliminated.

M - Medium body and fairly highly carbonated. This one's film sticks in your mouth for a while.

D - Not too bad, and definitely will be picking up again, but isn't the best BSDA in existance. That being said, Unibroue's 4-pack pricing seems to keep going up to as high as $11 or $12 and at equivalent $4.50 per bomber, this beer is going to be a great budget Belgian!

Photo of Kendo
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the can into a Duvel tulip. Body appears to be dark brown until it's backlit - at which point I "get" the name of the beer - it's mahogany bordering on ruby-red in color. Small light tan/khaki head on top. Leaves behind decent lacing.

S: Dark dried fruits - raisins and figs. Cinnamon is there too, more noted as it warms up a bit. The nose in general is fairly muted though.

T: Nice - all sorts of fruit: figs, ripe apples, plums. Cinnamon spice. Finishes fairly clean with some woody astringency that lingers into the aftertaste. At times it reminds me of a soda - so I'm guessing that's the vanilla creating the illusion of Creme Soda in my mind, though I don't think there's enough vanilla present for me to consciously identify it.

M: This is where the beer can't sustain its purported Belgian-ness. The best Belgians have a fizziness to them that lightens the beer on the palate at the finish. Here, the carbonation is not quite active enough to impart the same feeling. Call the body medium in heft, with subtle carbonation. Nothing wrong with the feel, mind you, but nothing that kicks it up a notch.

D: Good. Interesting flavors and the 8.3% ABV is well-hidden in the taste. It's noted in the head though.

Photo of mdr4669
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark mahogany that tames at the bottom to a ruby red color. 2 fingers of fluffy head with good retention and lacing.

Scent: Cinnamon scent with hints of vanilla and smoked oak.

Taste: This beer is the illegitimate child of a great amber brew and "Big Red" chewing gum. First thing you taste is the candy cinnamon, which fades into a fine burn a higher ABV brew. In my opinion it is quite good.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and a little heavy, but all in all quite a treat.

Drinkability: Very good, but could not have more than two of these at a time. It's just that type of brew.

Photo of philbe311
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Less than fingers worth of creamy light tan colored head quickly dissipates leaving only a hazy lacing... A shiny glossed medium brown color... Random carbonation throughout some of which latches to the sides of the glass...

S - Tobacco... Brown Sugar... Raisins... Faint hints of coffee...

T - The dominate flavor on the palette is that of tobacco... Raisins... Also present are some muted brown sugar, caramel, toffee, bubblegum and fig...

M - Medium to full bodied... Sharp biting carbonation... Sturdy... Absent of any of the depth or complexity that I expect in the style... A bit harsh... A bit chalky...

D - A respectable enough offering, but average at best both in terms of the brewery and the style... 21st Amendment and the Belgian Strong Dark Ale style both have much more to offer... I would drink again in a pinch but would neither recommend or invest in a sixer...

Photo of esv
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served on tap from a jockey box in a coffee shop. Surprisingly, the ice was set to the side in the cooler and beer was served at a near perfect temp.

A) Opaquish brown, nearly no head. Falling to a white ring. Looks like very little carbonation.

S) Try as I might, the odds were against me smelling this beer. 16oz of beer in a 16oz glass. Even after drinking and I had a bowl, the coffee shop had burnt some beans in the roaster and I couldn't get it out of my nose. I thought I picked-up some fruit but who the hell knows. It seems to have a smallish nose.

T) Bubble-gum everywhere. Spicy perfume and alcohol permeates the experience. Sickening sweet, bitter finish. Definately improves as it warms. More raisins, less candy and stickier.

M) Medium-full mouthfeel, more carbonation than it looks. Cloying flavors that stick to the mouth. Not as sticky sweet as you might think.

BJCP says high carbonation. I didn't get that.
D) Is it suppose to be, is it relevant? ... but yeah, it's kind of down there for me. I'd love to have another Brother Thelonius to compare; that's the only other belgian dark strong ale I think I have had and I can't remember it but I gave it high ratings.

Photo of Brenden
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew is, indeed, a bloody reddish brown in my glass. A light brown head forms at about 3/4 of a finger but sits nice and tight on top, remaining as a thick foam after it takes the time to dissipate and depositing more lacing that I expected.
The nose has the strength of a BSDA without kicking me in the face with alcohol. It's there, of course, but it allows other aromas to come off as well. Even though those aren't as strong as in a world-class Trappist-brewed version, in this one they still come out because the alcohol doesn't mask it. There's a nice spice coming off with notes of dark fruits but less of the candied sugars aroma typical (again, still there, just not as strong). Given the aroma, if you want a BSDA that's less on the sweet side for the style but still has the strength and character, this seems to be the one. There's quite a malts presence as well as well as, of course, the nice Belgian yeast I love.
The flavor is what I'd expect from the aroma; the yeast and spiciness pull up first underneath a strong malt, then gives way to an interesting flavor of dark fruits without the typical sweetness. Don't get me wrong, there's a touch of sweetness, but I'm sure this is far on the drier edge for the style. As in the nose, it has less of the sweetness without losing the strength or character. Some woods really come through with hints of a more vanilla sweetness than candy sugars, and there's certainly some fig or dates in here. Alcohol is exceptionally well toned down.
The body is on the fuller side of medium, and an adequate but light carbonation works appropriately. There's enough crispness to it to offer something without taking from the smoothness that comes after and lasts in a lingering semi-dry finish.
Having just founf out this was oak-aged (at the end of this review), it all makes sense now. It's an interesting idea, as it makes a typically sweet beer way over to the drier side. This is a great one to try and the most drinkable beer I've had with this ABV.

Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 1,194 ratings.