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 DLReeves
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had this stuff on way to Mexico from Tucson in 2001. I was warned not to have more than 2 if I was going to Mex. Had it with GREAT tex-mex style chili. After #2, I could see why they warned me about no more than 2..strong stuff!
I really enjoy its hearty flavor and kick. As an old fart, (i'm 67), ive had a LOT of beer over the years and its (in my eyes) worth "smuggling" back to NYS where I live. (Nimbus brewery wont ship it...too bad)

I dont get hung up on all the nuances of beer..if it tastes good, I will drink it..

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Photo of bennetj17
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Realized I hadn't reviewed the bottled version of this yet, and someone left half of a six-pack in my fridge so might as well. Chocolate brown color, kind of murky, with not much for head. The smell has notes of caramel, chcoloate, warm cinnamon raisin bread, and a toasted nuttiness. Not bad, a decent bouquet.

The flavor is sweet with tangy fruit, lightly dry with a grassy bitterness to finish things out. The malt doesn't seem to have much complexity as the smell would suggest. Not bad. medium body, sharp carbonation but not foamy. Light syrup-like slickness.

Not too impressed, but it works. I could really see it being a more cold weather beer, something to warm you up a bit. It does pack a decent ABV although I couldn't really taste it. Worth a try...

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this bottle in a trade with Tayner. Thanks Dana!

It pours a dark brown with reddish hues and a good 2 finger head of offwhite foam. Good head retention and there's some lacing.

The smell has notes of roasted malt, some caramel, and a bit of bread.

The taste is of toffee, dark fruit. some caramel, slight chocolate, and a slight bitterness and tartness. I alos get some hint of the alcohol but it's fairly mild.

It's around medium bodied and the carbonation is also medium. It finishes with the dark fruit, mostly cherry and some plum and raisin.

This is an interesting brew and though the flavours I mentioned say it is very complex, I feel the flavours are actually on the subdued side. That's ok for an English Brown but with the bigger abv content than is the norm, I guess I expected more. Still pretty tasty brew though.

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Photo of flexabull
3.89/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled this one a couple of night ago at a friends house.

This is from notes...

Pours a cloudy and muddy brown color, with a faint white head.

Aromas are kind of cola like, with some brown sugars, molasses, and dark fruits.

Upon first sip, I think Brown Ale with a bit of a kick. But not at all overpowering. There are some non sweet cola flavors, brown sugars, and creamy malts. The finish is crisp, with a pine like bite from the hops.

Mouthfeel is decent. Feels a little thin, but not bad.

Drinkability is quite good. This is a nice brown ale, and it hides it's strong 8.2% ABV quite well. Enjoy a bottle, but I would probably only go for one, maybe two at most.

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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 msubulldog25
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this 12 oz. twist-off capped bottled on a late November visit to Tucson. Label is notched 'O', which I assume means an October bottling date? Poured to a pint glass.

I won't venture a guess at the meaning of the label illustration: a banjo-toting, straw hat & overalls-wearing monkey/man stomping a watermelon, before an audience that includes a top-hatted magician hoisting a white rabbit by its ears and a crash-test dummy lounging (naked?) while another figure with a funnel for a head unscrews the head of the first. To say this is 'trippy' imagery would be an understatement...

The beer:

A: Deep chestnut/mahogany brown, crowned with less than a half-finger of dusty cream. Drops to a thicker, firmer cover which coats the sides in slick bands. Held to light, this shows a modest carbonation throughout; it all shows some suspended tiny proteins, indicative of either a lack of filtration or of some age. Maybe that 'O' notch meant 'best by' October?

S: Not much aroma, even after a lengthy warming. Some caramel and a hint of toasted nuts. A trace of metal.

T: A dusting of bitter-sweet cocoa covers toffee, mildly toasted walnuts and a faint dry/zesty citrus rind. Balanced well; it's not overly sweet and holds a light spice and fair amount of hop bitterness all in check.

M: Slick, lightly carbonated. A little buttery. Medium mouthfeel with a hesitant alcohol warmth that gives a fair warning that this is an 8+% beer. Pretty starchy/sticky in the end and overall a little too thin.

D: I found this to be a good, easy-to-consume beer overall. Nice balance, bet it would drink well with food, such as a good nutty aged cheese or something off the grill. I'd give this another go when we next pay AZ a visit.

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Photo of number1bum
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got one of these from my buddy BeerTruth...not a bad dude, really, even if he wouldn't know a good Belgian if it slapped him in the face.

Pours a reddish medium brown color, quite hazy with a little momre than a finger of light beige head. Retains a solid lacing and leaves a good amount of stick.

Smell is quite sweet and seems a bit fruity but maybe is better described as floral. I'm not sure really what it is, it's not really a citrusy fruit aroma (although it's close) but rather is just a pleasant, somewhat sweet smell.

Hmmm...taste is strange. There's some sweet caramel malt and some fruitiness like the smell, but I just can't put my finger on this. Maybe it's just a strange fruit flavor...seems a bit like raisins? Very odd. Not much in the way of bitterness from the hops, but I'm thinking those strange fruity flavors are hop induced. Not bad, but odd. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, moderately carbonated.

As brown ales go this is one of the strangest I've tasted. Not a bad flavor, just strange. I don't quite know what to make of it.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.69/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I pciked this up in Sedona, saw the name "Old Monkeyshine" and thought it was a bwine. Did not read the label..dooooh! It was a good English ale. Poured a darkbrown with a ruby highlight, nice dirty white head, average carbonation, taste was of some coffee, choc and something else that I could not pick up on. Maybe the taste uds were off. It was a good drink and the ABV is perfect. Good beer.

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Photo of NCSUdo
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, thanks to tayner for the sample

A: Pours a dark brown under a small white head with some yeast sediment floating around. No lace, little retention.

S: Surprisingly hoppy. A nice candy-like citrus aroma of oranges, lemon and grapefruit. Also some malty notes in the background including some creamy sweetness and hints of nuts and light chocolate.

T: Small sweetness up front quickly fades into citrusy hops, followed immediately by slightly roasted malt character and a some hints again of nuts and the faintest chocolate. Very interesting combinations here. Ultimately dry.

M/D: Carbonation is just right and helps to produce a creamy medium bodied beer. Drinkability is good on this one as well. I have to admit, after my first experience with Nimbus, I am quite surprised by this offering. It has a lot going on for it with the hop character, and although maybe not totally appropriate for the style, really go a long way.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thin head that doesn't last long, vaporizing in a flash and leaving a ghostly skim across the top. Tiny islands of lace are all that's left of the head. Color is a deep milk-chocolate brown. A very brown brown ale...who woulda thunk? This label deserves special mention: banjo-wielding hillbilly chimpanzee squashing a watermelon with his feet, keeping company with a magician doing his rabbit/hat trick and a couple mannequins looking all da-da with one having a funnel for a head. Yeah, I remember my first tab of acid...

Definitely some nuttiness to the aroma, plus a hint of chocolate. There's an interesting element aside the from nuttiness, and that's a kind of earthy sweetness...fresh-picked tobacco leaf and prunes, maybe...

Flavor is bigger and bolder than most brown ales, but then so is the ABV. Dark, almost-spoiled fruits and cocoa beans wrap around unexpected tartness and chalky sweetness; vanilla just barely there; alcohol definitely not timid, but not overwhelming. Sweet, sticky finish contrasts well with the buttery-smooth mouthfeel. A weird, grassy astringency continues throughout the sipping, making the mouth pucker a bit. It's not old, because "Oct." is notched, and I'm assuming that's when it was bottled, and I'm also assuming that's not Oct. '06.

An interesting flavor, especially considering the style. The only real deterrent is the tartness, which is fine, but it creates an unwelcome pucker in the mouth...otherwise this is a real enjoyable, rather unique take on a style that could use a few cracks upside the head. Thanks to msubulldog25 (he with The Righteous Beercloset) for sending and allowing me to sample my first-ever Arizona beer.

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Photo of ncvbc
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish brown in color with a thin tannish head that fades quickly to a ring...

Sweet malts up front. Caramel and brown sugar. Light chocolate and toffee. Some fruitiness that I can't really identify.

Taste is also sweet. A nutty flavor becomes present along with caramel and brown sugar. I think it was raisins I noticed in the smell...I was either thinking that or grapes but close enough. Also noticed was a slight hop presence. Simply a little bite to keep it in check.

Mouthfeel is a big medium pushing full and creamy. Nice!

Good drinkability. A bit more hefty than other Brown Ales but I think this was good. Glad I had a chance to try it.

Thanks to tayner...another extra!

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Photo of warmstorage
3.54/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 ounce pint on tap at No Anchovies in Tucson, Arizona. $2.75 at happy hour (M-F 3-6pm.)

Appearance: deep red to light brown, minimal to zero head, light lacing. Sure, it's difficult to maintain head on a 8.2% beer, but this one had almost none from the get-go.

Aroma: sweet malt, sugar, brown sugar

Taste: sweet malt, fruity esters, brown sugar, notable alcohol.

Mouth: medium thick, medium to high carbonation, distinct alcohol warmth

Overall: a nice winter warmer type beer, it'd be good on a cold day (but how many of those are there in Tucson?) Good, drinkable, and one of my favorites from Nimbus, but not all that remarkable.

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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 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 Halcyondays
3.54/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, bought at the Hi-Times Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA,

A: Pours a dark brownish red, with a medium white head.

S: Smell is interesting, but outstanding. Smells of burnt sugar molasses, and a smell sort of off-molasses that I really can't explain, but smells great.

T: Much of the same as in the smell, molasses, raisins, brown sugar, seems more of like an old ale or barleywine to me than a brown ale, interesting.

M: Seems kind of thin for me, you would never know this was an 8.2% beer, needs more heft and robustness, in my opinion.

D: I enjoyed this ale from Nimbus, my first from this company, makes me interested to try their other beers.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz stubbie. The beer is a deep and sinister amber color with a 2-finger ivory head that sits nicely as a finger of foam over after settling. Clarity is good and there are nice fine bubbles cascading up the sides of my glass. The aroma is rife with raisin malt, moderate caramel sweetness, and a healthy smokey phenolic character that I wasn't expecting. Its not bad at all, just was a shock. The flavor is spot on to the aroma, hitting with raisin and smoke initially, moving to a more rounded caramel sweetness, ladened with peppery hop that may have been more brilliant when this was closer to the bottling date. The finish moves back to a caramel-soaked rainsin and a mild bitter bite. There is a touch of orangey sweetness throughout as well. Mouthfeel is thick with a very mild carbonation, with a fairly strong drying quality on the finish. Overall, I am enjoying this one. I'm just starting to feel a little warmth in my stomach after making my way through most of the bottle. I think the phenols add a nice touch to it.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color was a medium dark brown when poured, with tan foam and lots of lace. The smell of Tobacco was evident in the aroma, with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. But after the first sip, I got a tart Tobacco/Chocolate flavor with just a hint of roasted malts. I think the Tobacco was the main stand out on this brown ale. I never tasted a brown ale with this kind of flavor at all!

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Photo of Vancer
3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hey! This was a darn fine frosty, enjoyable, refreshing and easily drinkable. Someone on mushrooms made the label.

Clear cola brown, with a creamy tan head that left solid lacing. Aroma of caramel and chocolate malt. Then, surprise! Lots of hop character in it that well balanced with the malty up-front quaff. Twangy – it was both vineous and slightly woody. Sharp and crisp, a dry finisher. Very unique and a fine winter/spring type brew.

A nice brew sent by bennetj17 and Solomon420 for my BA annv.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.66/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for the bottle, Jim!
Crazy label. Monkeys creep me out.
Dark, dark brown. Just a bit lighter than your average porter, but darker than a normal brown ale. Thin, off white head. Cobwebby lacing, keeping a medium sized collar. Real nice. Chocolate malts come through most in the aroma, with a bit of alcohol and fruity esters. Lots of caramel, too. Definitely malt driven. Big chocolate flavor. The bottle says that this is an "english style ale", (talk about a broad stroke of the brush) but it comes off more of a double brown. Very soft feeling. Full body, with mellow carbonation. Kinda silky, though it gets quite dry. A little bit of booze shows up, with pretty much no hop presence. Malt driven, with mild caramel and chocolate sweetness rounding things out. Some apple, plum and pear fruitiness, with a light drizzle of molasses. The dryness of the finish lends some green apple character. Very sweet, despite the dryness.
A little overly sweet, but enjoyable. Kinda what you'd expect from a southern style brown ale hovering around 8%. I don't think I could drink more than one in a sitting, just because it gets a little tiresome towards the end.

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Photo of RedHaze
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes.

Pours a very murky/muddy brown, with a quarter inch off-white head that settles slowly to a soapy cap and ring. The lacing is pretty thick, but not very sticky.

Smell; caramel malts and a touch of coffee up front, with a rich nutty aroma mixed in, and hints of tobacco. There's almost no hop aroma to speak of, but I'm not surprised.

Taste; very rich and nutty up front, and then fades in to a mildly tobacco flavor. The caramel is present as well as some chocolate and coffee, and finished with just a touch of bitter hops. This is a bit more robust than your average brown ale.

Mouthfee/Drinkability; mouthfeel is a bit fuller thatn I'm used to for a brown, but it seems to fit this flaover profile just right, and the drinkability is pretty darn good. The only thing than would keep this from be a good session beer, for me, is the alcohol.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.92/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice looking brew. Easily managed creamy and sturdy tan head that coats the glass with each pull. Brown body with some red hue around the edges.

Toasted malts are strong in the nose. Touch of tobacco is evident in the background. Flavor is a bit sweeter than the smell would indicate. I get a bit of apricot mixed in the body. Tiny portions of kendlin and pulp mill are in the backdrop as well. The meat of this is the toasted malts and it has a definite brown ale feel to it from start to finish. Jumpy is the verb I'd use to describe this..a bit all over the map. Not as smooth as some that I like but still in the decent to good category.

Notes: Astringent at times. Tobacco and slightly oxidized. I didn't particularly like its lack of focus as it jumps from taste to taste and when it tries to meld together it doesn't work well. OK.

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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 gonzo138
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a deep brown with hints of red, has a cream colored head that did not retain too well, but did lace nicely

S- roasted malty sweetness, notes of coffee and chocolate are present, also smell of alcohol is slighty noticable, becomes even more noticable towards the bottom of the glass

T- complements smell, malty sweetness at first, the coffee taste is there, the chocolate however is not, semi citrusy hop profile is present at the finish

M- medium body with moderate carbonation

D- could have a few of these, not too many because they are a tad pricey, and suprisingly high in the ABV percentage, a good beer, would drink again

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks bennetj17.

Pours a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head which does not last long, some islands and sticky lacing remained. The nose is malty, roasty, and some caramel going on in there. The taste is very nice of slight roasted malts and a nice bitter dry hop finish. Alcohol is hidden very well. Medium body. Very drinkable, the best Nimbus by far for me. A nice surprise.

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