Nimbus Old Monkeyshine | Nimbus Brewing Company

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Nimbus Old MonkeyshineNimbus Old Monkeyshine

Brewed by:
Nimbus Brewing Company
Arizona, United States

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Old Monkeyshine Ale is an exceptional example of a true, traditional-style English Pub beer. Nimbus Old Monkeyshine Ale is medium bodied and possesses a distinct, dark roasted flavor. Its sweet malty taste is derived from liberal use of seven varieties of specialty malts and a touch of brown sugar. Our Old Monkeyshine Ale is dark in color, beginning with a slight caramel malt overtone and rounded with a relatively dry finish from its English Kent Goldings hops. The hops aroma is mildly subdued and the bitterness is just enough to balance the profile of this beer.

Nimbus Old Monkeyshine Ale is a true premium ale and is priced accordingly. We're so proud of this beer for its body, taste, alcohol content and drinking enjoyment, it may just become our signature beer. Be warned: its wonderful malty sweetness camouflages the 8.2% alcohol by volume content. It's a winner!

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-02-2002

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Reviews: 99 | Ratings: 202
Photo of mzwolinski
4.87/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Everything about this beer is superb. Beautiful appearance, a dark brown color with a thin, creamy and lacy head. And the aroma! Malty and fruity, with a strong hop boquet, and a subtle underlying aroma of caramel.

The complexity continues in the taste. Really complex malt body, with fruity esters -- a hint of green apple, I think. Slight alcohol warming, with a slightly sweet finish and good hop flavor.

A very fine beer -- seems more like a barley wine than a brown ale to me. Probably the best one I've ever had, and I'm fairly picky when it comes to the style. A terrific beer.

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Photo of uabigdaz
4.8/5  rDev +26%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark brown with a tan/khaki color head that foams very nicely and leaves nice lace. Good head retention, just to my liking. Smell is slightly sweet and bitter at the same time, gives a good indication of the taste. The taste is excellently balanced. A perfect mix of malt sweetness and bitter aftertaste. Feels exceptionally smooth in your mouth with nice bitterness to balance it out. I love this beer, it is definately my favorite beer. The only problem I have with this beer is the fact that it is 8.2% ABV so you have to be careful with how much you drink, it catches up with you. This beer is definately worth a try, my favorite beer I have tried so far.

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Photo of UberWasser
4.65/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, bottled Nov of 2005 so just a little over 1 year old. Vertical tasting with one bottled Nov of 2006.

Pours a rich dark reddish brown, no change from fresh. Just as much head as the fresh bottle, still looks great.

Smell is of a ripe fruity alcohol. Sweeter and more alcoholic than when fresh. Smells quite good.

Taste is truly great...a sweetness hits the tongue early. Following that is a creamy chocolate flavor backed by a rich, ripe, musty dark fruit taste that dominates the middle of the palate. That is, at least, until the swallow, when a slightly tart fruit rises up to mix with a slightly musty alcohol flavor to balance out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is thick and rich, the head burning off the carbonation, but this seems to fit the flavor profile nicely. And I find that after sitting for a while this beer is even more drinkable than it was one would guess that 8% was hiding behind such subtle and smooth flavors.

This beer has morphed quite a bit over the last year and I find that most of the changes are positive ones. I will probably call this experiment a success and will buy more of this to age across a span of a few years, just out of curiosity. Glad I tried it.

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Photo of uawildcat
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an English pub glass. Poured it too cold, so I let it warm up a little bit.

A: Dark brown, a tad bit cloudy with a little head. Leaves behind a nice white head with lacing. Nothing special, but I will give it 3.5 for the lacing.

S: Smells like toasty malt and bready yeast. Only comes out once the beer is warmed up.

T: Taste is out of this world. It tastes of dark fruits upfront with a strong raisin flavor behind a toasty, toffee-like, sweet malt flavor. Yum!

M: The low level of carbonation works well for this beer, it lets the flavor really come out. It goes down very smooth. However, I do wish there was a bit more carbonation. For the amount of flavor and sweetness it is not too thick, it is medium-bodied.

O: A very tasty beer that could be drank on its own. It could go with a burger or fish and chips. Nice job Nimbus, this beer rocks.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Solomon420 for the chance to try this offering.

A: Pours brown with a slight reddish tint to it. Nice frothy one finger off caramel colored head. Excellent retention. Sweet glass lined lace.
S: Aromas of dark frut hit the nose first followed by hints of sweet caramel and roasted coffee.
T/M: Roasted coffee notes cross the tastebuds first with a nice dose of hops. A bit of sweet chocolate and caramel mingle in there also. Extra creamy and smooth through the mouth like a soft brush. Very low carbonation allows the flavors to really come out. Sweet caramelized sugar ending with a dryness to it. Excellent tasting brown. Abv is highly masked but a slight spicyness can be felt at the end of the beer.
D: Bigtime thanks to Damian for sending me a bunch of these. Very happy I've got a few left. A good change of pace in these hot summer months. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Pooba001
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I've always meant to review Monkeyshine on tap, as I believe its much better in that form. I picked up a growler at the brewery yesterday afternoon and I drank it last night. And it was lovely.

Pours out with adequate head that dissipates a little more quickly that I'd like. The color is a medium brown, lighter than mahogany, darker than amber, with almost a dark golden brown around the edges when held up to light. Smell is caramel, sweet and malty, just a dash of hop. Very nice.

Oh that taste. Here's one reason I don't think this is in the English Brown Ale category: I generally don't like brown ales, and I love tap Monkeyshine. Great blend of malts here lend a complex sweetness, light fruitiness, brown sugar, hint of chocolate, malty without being exceedingly roasty. Smoooth. IMHO this is some odd type of English Strong Ale, and more importantly, its delicious.

Mouthfeel is good, carbonation is ok. Very drinkable for an 8% ABV beer, I finished the whole growler in a sitting. When I visit Nimbus on my birthday I pretty much drink as many as are bought for me, and the last one is as good as the first. Bottom line: this is the beer that should make Nimbus famous, and if you've only had Old Monkeyshine in bottles you owe it to yourself to try it on tap.

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Photo of russpowell
4.31/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is one bigass english brown! Loved the label on the bottle!

Lugged 5 of these back to CO, well worth the effort

Pours chestnut with a 1" tan head. Pretty good lacing & good head retention.

S: Sweet malt

T: Biscuitty malt up front, then toasted malt & hints of brown sugar. Piney hops & caramel surface as it warms. Dryness permeates the middle. Finishes fruitty with a little alcohol warmth

MF: Rich, thick bodied with perfect carbonation & balance

This drinks very easy for the 8.2abv this posesses. Probably the best AZ beer I had (more reviews to follow). Will save the rest of these for the too soon cold nights that precede winter

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Photo of FlatRabbitRed
4.31/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is an English style ale, so to all the other reviews; I personally expect some bittering to come out of it. Very happy to see this style from a local craft brewery, nice job!

Dark with minimal head, roasted malt and caramel, hint of licorice bittering after taste. High in alcohol but not syrupy or heavy at all.

Goes down real easy in spite of the high alcohol content, be careful!

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Photo of battlekow
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer really surprised me. While it's listed as a brown ale on here, on Nimbus' website, it's called a strong ale. At 8.2% ABV, you can't really disagree with Nimbus. When I poured it and saw that it was a deep, dark brown with a small head, my mind flashed back to Tommyknocker's Imperial Nut Brown, a highly-touted, highly-alcoholic brown ale that I really didn't like. Monkeyshine is completely different, though; in the Tommyknocker, the alcohol was the dominant flavor, while here it's just a hint. I'm amazed how well it's hidden. I'm more amazed that it tastes so good, malty, sweet and brown sugary in the beginning, with a lingering bitter finish. I gave it a 4.5 in drinkability simply because it's as easy to drink as the Yuengling Traditional Lager I had last night, but with more flavor and double the alcohol. I really wish I could get this here, it's right up there with the best. Hearty thanks go out to Gueuzedude for allowing me to try this wonderful beer.

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Photo of ccrida
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, Old Monkeyshine is a slightly turbid dark brown with a tan head leaving scattered lace.

Smell is very malty, sweet and sour, with some earthy hops. Robust

Taste is similar, this is a classic English brown, x2. Nice balance though for the amplitude, the bitter hops and drying, clean alcohol temper the sweetness of the malt. Very nice, with a long, malty finish.

Mouthfeel is on the medium-heavy side, decent carbonation.

Drinkability is high, this is my favorite Nimbus ale by a long shot, loads of character, flavor, yet still dangerously quaffable. I "monkeyed" around to much with their lesser offering before this!

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Photo of Gusler
4.27/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Arizona Beer fest"!
A nice deep mahogany color on the pour, the head is moderate in size, the texture spumescent, beige in color and as it dissipates the left over lace a nice coating on the glass. Floral nose, sweet malt, caramel and quite fresh and pleasing to the senses, with the start sweet and malt, the top is middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is a “Hop Heads” delight; boom right in the palate as the hops over run your taste buds, mildly acidic, dry as a desert bone aftertaste and a real treat for this old strong ale lover.

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Photo of ryannosaurus
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Pours deep dark garnet-brown with a significant creamy tan head

Aroma is light, malty and yeasty notes primarily.

Flavor is an amazing roasty toasty alcohol fueled mess. Sweetness is highly notable, perfectly balanced to the hoppy/roasty side. A little spice from the Goldings. Not terrifically complex, but a masterfully done biggish beer.

Body is robust, approaching the imperial stout range.

Far bigger beer than most browns, bordering on the imperial stout realm... not as black and balanced a little dryer. I'm kicking myself that I bypassed this one as often as I have in the past... damn good beer at an excellent price point.

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Photo of bashiba
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice thick dirty brown with a big light tan head, light lacing with mild retention.

Smell had a big malt and chocolate aroma with hints of toffee and molasses.

Flavor is mildy sweet with a big chocolate malt flavor along with a touch of alcohol, some mild crisp hops keep it fairly balanced and smooth.

Mouthfeel is fairly full and nice and creamy with a bit of carbonation.

Easy to drink for a big brown, pretty nice.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No head really on a deep amber brown clear body. No lace really. Aroma of breads, toasted malts, nuts, molasses and earthy hops. Flavor is also very toasty opening with nuts, toasted malts and earthy but finishing with brown sugar, caramel, rye . Medium body and moderate carbonation. The alcohol is very well hidden. This one is flavorful and definitely one of the better of the style.

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Photo of DavidMumper
4.19/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big malt profile with hints of molasses and raisin. Mild alcoholic taste with good balance of Goldings hops. Not for the faint of heart, but I find it quite yummy.

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

Thanks to bennetj17 for this wonderful trade throw in.

Deep translucent brown in colour, with reddish hues where the light shines through. Small tan coloured head formed on the pour, and scant lacings noticed.

Scents of dark fruit and nuts, malty notes of caramel, brown sugar and molasses, and an earthy and grassy hoppiness.

Tastes of nutty malts, as well as carmel and molasses. Date like dark fruit presence also there, and finishes much like the aroma in an earthy and grassy hoppy blend.

This is a well balanced, complex, and satisfying ale. The malt sweetness is nicely balanced by hops and the alcohol. The warmth from the alcohol makes itself only barely noticable.

This is an amazingly drinkable tasty potent brew. I could easily make a session out of this one. If It was available in my cool climate i would always have some of these on hand. Very yummy brew, anyone who likes this style should find a way to check it out.

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Photo of Solomon420
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well to be honest, at first I didnt like the taste too much. Didnt know what to make of it at first. I think I drank the first bottle too cold. The next day I drank another bottle more towards room temperature and wow, what flavour it had. Its noted as a brown ale, but if you hold it up the sunset, the colours come alive. More of a dark red/honey hue. I have to think that it was partly the mood I was in, and the setting, that allowed me to enjoy it this time. I would definately buy some more.

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Photo of Lucklys
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Monkeyshine pours a deep rosy chocolate, or mahogany brown with a one inch beige head. Initially, I noticed it seemed hazy, but as it warmed up it seemed to become clearer. The foam left faint islands of lace on the top of the liquid that held up until the very end and there was minimal spotty, clean lacing sticking to the glass.

The nose was rather simple and light, but enjoyable all the same. There was quite a bit of sweet roasted malts and caramel, a touch of fruit (I keep wanting to say strawberries), and some left-behind toffee. Though there wasn't much to decipher, it was very pleasing and crisp.

I would say that Old Monkeyshine has a medium-light body with light carbonation that aids the Kent Golding hops in creating a mild spiciness throughout the drink. The hops really shine more in the mouth than under the nose, but they mix really well with the strong roasted malts and caramel, neither overpowering nor lingering in the depths. The best thing about this brew is that although it holds a hefty 8.2% AVB in a 12oz bottle, the only time the alcohol is noticeable is when your head becomes airy and delicately fuzzy halfway through. There is no trace of alcohol in the aroma, and the roasted malts do a fantastic job of keeping the taste out.

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Photo of rallison
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with some nice red color thrown in. Tan head starts over an inch thick with a not too aggressive pour that settles down to a nice, semi-persistent lacing.

S: Don't get much smell at all. Nutty maybe? - best I can do.

T: Nice, rich nut flavor. Just a touch of caramel sweetness. Extremely well-balanced. For a brown, this is quite enjoyable - I don't usually go for browns. Also, sure doesn't taste like 8.2%. That could be a problem...

M: Slightly over a medium body, smooth.

D: Very drinkable. Too drinkable for the alcohol.

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

Deep garnet hued with a tight beige cap.
The nose exudes chocolate-covered raisins, brown sugar, molasses, peat smoke, sweet breads, dark rum and whole pine trees: bark, cones, needles, and sap.
Malt comes into the mouth with waves of caramel, carob, molasses, raisins, and anise. It stays powerfully sweet for several moments, the is cut by a surprising smokiness. At this point, it presents as a spot-on Wee Heavy. Hops enter next, shatter preconceptions, and boom out pine notions that are equally sappy and earthy. It concludes with a small brandy-like booze flare that is born from the raisin hues that it began with.
Medium bodied, with little carbonation to make it feel sticky at time. It seems a hair on the small side, as all this flavor would be better supported with a bit more girth.
That a small quibble, as this is utterly enjoyable, and monstrously drinkable for a beer of this strength, complexity, and uniqueness.

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

Scored in a trade with trappistlover, Thanks!

Pours a dark hazy chestnut brown with a healthy head and later just a dusting on the top with lacing at the edges.

Smell of raisins, caramel, sweet malt, and brown sugar.

Taste of not surprisingly raisins, dry roasted malts, a very dry english feel to this , well attenuated and very tasty. Wow, was not expecting this out of an add and I am definitely impressed. Id keep these on hand if they were available locally. As is said in the description of this beer, "It is a Winner" and I agree. Sweet caramel and raisin finish with a dry bitter taste. It is definitely knocking on the door of greatness and I would keep an eye on Nimbus for future great releases. This made my snow day / rough day of work at home come to a climax and I applaud you.

Heavy carbonation with a light mouthfeel. Highly drinkable

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Photo of charlzm
4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed December 14th, 2012 from my trusty Triple Petrus tulip/snifter. The bottle is labeled April 2012, so the beer is between 8 and 9 months old.

Beer pours a ruddy caramel brown with deep garnet highlights. Almost no head despite a moderate pour. Small amount of sheeting.

Aroma is cinnamon and brown sugar with a touch of vanilla and molasses.

Flavor is fruity with an unfortunate note of cardboard oxidization. I'm going to blame the screw-off lid (what were you thinking, Nimbus, putting a beer meant to be aged in a screw-top bottle???) Dark candied fruits mingle with a touch of bready malt, followed by a bold, bitter finish. Some peppery spice and alcohol heat on the finish.

Mouthfeel is slightly thick.

Overall, a fine beer. Don't age it in the 12 oz bottle, though.

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Photo of chinchill
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my new silipint.

A: Poured dark reddish-brown, with a proper, creamy tan head that lasted a good while and left good lacing. Coarse looking carbonation bubbles.

S: Smells like toasted sweet malt with hints of brown sugar and caramel.

Taste: Moderately strong flavor featuring dark malts with hints of dark fruits, caramel, and roasted nuts. Good sweet/bitter balance.

M: Medium-low carbonation works well for this full-bodied beer, Very smooth.

O: A flavorful English style pub ale with remarkably well hidden alcohol. Recommended.

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Photo of Flashsp2
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Nimbus Old Monkeyshine into chalice

Pours a deep brown/ruby with a dense two finger tan head. Great
retention and lacing.

Aroma is richly malty, with caramels, toast, honey, dark fruits,
toffee, and earthy hops providing the finish.

Body is almost perfectly spot-on for the nose, but leans more toward
toasty malt flavor and less in the direction of caramels and dark
fruits, even though they are still present.

Body is where this beer is sort of off point. It feels a bit thin and
overly carbonated for a strong English ale. Its not terribly bad or
anything, it just doesn't fit well with the rest of the beer.

Quite drinkable. Its at that perfect spot where its strong enough to
have lots of flavor but not so over the top that it takes an hour to
drink. Well done.

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Photo of Fish113d
4.01/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours chilled into a pint glass with a chestnut colored body with ruby tint. 1 cm of thin tan-colored head sits atop and quickly vanishes leaving a slight edge layer.

Aroma is mainly of brown malts with a slight roastiness and nuts. A bit of alcohol hits my sinuses as well. Nothing else to note here. Kinda boring really, but right there with the style.

Sipping is very nice. A smooth roasty flavor hits my palate (slight chocoloate or latte flavor); bittering floral hops finishes this one off really. The aftertaste is a bit of roasty malts; alcohol also hits on the finish drying it out just a tad bit.

Body is nicely balanced; slightly bubbly carbonation that fizzles to a nice creamy body and a slightly drying alcohol finish. Very nice!

Overall, and outstanding session brew! This is a good one to try and very nice for the style.

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Nimbus Old Monkeyshine from Nimbus Brewing Company
3.81 out of 5 based on 202 ratings.
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