Blue Monk Special Reserve
De Struise Brouwers

Blue Monk Special ReserveBlue Monk Special Reserve
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Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)
4.15 | pDev: 11.33%
De Struise Brouwers
Retired (no longer brewed)
Blue Monk Special ReserveBlue Monk Special Reserve
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 76 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage

A: poured into a snifter to what is essentially a black beer topped by a dense finger of light tan head which fades to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of intense dark fruits with some light spices and toffee as well.
T: Taste is dark fruits with some bitter dark chocolate and mulling spices along with a hint of toffee. Really well done and incorporated. On the swallow this beer is more dark chocolate and dark fruits with some lingering spices.
M: This beer has a moderate amount of body with a slightly silky feel on the palate. Carbonation is low but more than adequate while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is a really nice beer. The flavors are very well incorporated and complement each other well with a really nice amount of complexity. Despite being from 2013 this one doesn't have any apparent signs of oxidation which make it a really nice drink. Worth a try if you can still find it or are sitting on this one.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark and somewhat murky brown with very little head...not the prettiest beer to be honest. Nose tells a different story. Full nose with slightly boozy dates, figs, a bit of port, musty notes, and a little soy sauce. Taste is pretty much what you'd expect after that nose. Somewhat sweet but not cloying, there are dates, brown sugar, a bit of saltiness, again port, and prunes. Overall, a really good beer that has a lot of flavor and doesn't go too sweet.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled and served in a gold rimmed westy XII glass
pours a dark brown body wjere the head just wont stick, it is five years old though
aroma is dark sugars and all spice
musty, musky, drams & plums
ah so this is why you age beer

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Photo of Dzu
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into snifter.
L: dark brown with a weak white foam head.
S: wine, plums.
T: sweet wine, sweet fruits.
F: tight body and low carbonated.
O: excellent ale. Recommended.

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Photo of josanguapo
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

From latiendadelacerceza. In Grimbergen glass. Playing Avernum 2. Should be illegal to hide abv so well, be careful as affects head plenty. Original belgian quad with a pleasantly soft smokey twist

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Photo of DJ-Hophead
4.56/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle, Etre Gourmet - Pours dark brown with a small beige foamy head which quickly disappears to a nice lace. Aroma - Light smoke, spicy notes, berry fruits, black cherry, figs, light burnt sugar feel, notes of vanilla. Taste - Sweet forefront, berry fruits , stone fruits - black cherries, spicy feel, light smoke feel, woody overtones, burnt sugar, very soft finish with a very light alcoholic warmth. Beautiful barrel aged quad. Hides the alcohol brilliantly. Cannot say enough good stuff about this as there is a heck of a lot going on here.

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Photo of Beersnake1
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage poured from fridge temp. Pours a very dark brown - almost black. Not much carbonation. Nose is super smoky - really dominates the nose. Some tobacco and a bit of caramel. Taste is interesting. Not sure how this has aged as I didn't have it fresh. It's a bit sweet up front, but the smoke really comes through. There is a bit of sour grape, raisin, coffee, cherry, oak, and some roasted malts. Mouthfeel is medium, but nicely coating. Overall a pretty nice quad.

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Photo of drmeto
4.56/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

-pours the darkest of brown with mahogany tinges and a small to medium,foamy,beige head
-medium carbonation
-medium body
-slight alcohol noticeable
Great Quad.Not as heavy of a Bourbon influence as other De Struise Beers.
This is also surprisingly bready on the Finish for a Belgian Quad.

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Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

bottle at moor pat. dark with thin white head. smoke ashtray first and foremost on a sweet Belgian base. Its OK, a bit unique, but not worth going out of the way for.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Well, it's official, De Struise can't make a bad beer.

L - Dark red with no head

S - Well that's something. Caramel, oak, pear, hints of smoke. Dates, vinous, peppercorn. So complex yet simple and balanced

T - Follow the smell. A lot on the vinous side with little tartness, tannic peppercorn, red berries. Some sweetness but balanced by some cocoa nib bitterness. Fig

M - low carbonation. Smooth

O - A really nice 4 years old bottle. Very balanced and rounded. This is a great, great beer.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm having me a treat on the day after my 58th Birthday... an 11.2oz bottle courtesy of my good friend Thijs... He gave me this in a trade last September at Borefts in Holland.... Cap has 121013 and 110129 on it... My guess? Bottled 12OCT13 and best by 11JAN29... Anyhow, to year 59!

My small tulip now holds an opaque, dense chestnut brew. The head is a very fine layer of beige bubbles, with most clinging to the rim, though little in the way of lace. The aroma has lots of dark fruit and perhaps some charred brown sugar... still inviting! Body is well into the medium range, and this one is quite silky on the tongue.

Taste has some light sweetness, as in a raisin puree on toasted dark wheat. Then lots more dark fruit, with prunes and currants showing up. Toss in a hint of smoke with some sherry-like qualities, brown sugar, vanilla and oak... Hmmmm... verrry nice stuff, though I expect nothing less from Urbain and crew...

Thnx once more, Thijs! Zum Wohl!!

4.24/5 rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


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Photo of tigg924
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours opaque, dark brown in color with 1/4 inch head. Taste is plum, prune, dark bread, and light smoke. Medium bodied and sweet. Super tasty quad that I really enjoyed. I will have to find this beer again.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Craft Beer Cellar in Burlington. 2013 (and only vintage). Apparently this is Pannepot aged in Margaux red wine barrels? Served in an Indie Alehouse snifter.

A - Tan foam quickly settles to a thin collar and little in the way of lacing. Dark mahogany brown body that is largely opaque. Looks style-appropriate.

S - Initially this is quite smokey; way smokier than I remember Pannepot every being. As it warms, more of the oaky and savory elements of the barrels come out, with notes of blackberry and currant in the mix. There is some licorice, peppery and phenolic Belgian yeast, and candi notes mingled in as well. As usual for Struise, the alcohol is quite restrained. Gains in complexity as it warms.

T - The taste is a bit sweeter, with more candi sugar, red fruits, and less overt smoke and roast. Quite nice actually, with a good mix of dark grains, fruitiness, oaky wine, and peppery yeast. Light alcohol bit in the finish.

M - Tannic and full-bodied, with pleasant soft, lower carbonation. Not much heat. Chewy and creamy; my favorite facet of this brew.

D - There's a bit too much umami on the nose for my tastes, but otherwise this is a solid brew. Split it with a few friends at the office and had no problem killing the 33cl bottle. I'd drink this again, but I'm not sure I'd pick it over Pannepot Grand Reserva et al.

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Photo of Dentist666
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip.
Pours cola beer with 2-finger beige head, low retention.
Smell - very complex, including dark fruits, wood, toasted malts, candi sugar.
Taste follows the smell.
Medium body, low carbonation.

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Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle into tulip glass; 2013 vintage bottled on 10/12/2013. Pours opaque dark brown color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of huge raisin, plum, cherry, fig, date, apple, red grape, licorice, pepper, clove, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, light chocolate/nuttiness, oak, red wine, vanilla, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with fantastic complexity, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, dark/bready malt, and light-moderate wine barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of huge raisin, plum, cherry, fig, date, apple, red grape, licorice, pepper, clove, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, light chocolate/nuttiness, oak, red wine, vanilla, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light yeast/tannic oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruit, licorice, pepper, clove, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, light chocolate/nuttiness, oak, red wine, vanilla, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, dark/bready malt, and light-moderate wine barrel flavors; with a great malt/yeast/oak balance, and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and full body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready, and lightly sticky/chalky/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an insane Belgian strong dark ale! All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, dark/bready malt, and light-moderate wine barrel flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. A really amazing offering.

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Photo of stakem
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle poured into a matching struise cervoise. The brew appears a dark brown color with khaki to brown head that holds well fading leaving stringy lace.

The aroma is fruity like raison then some port scents followed by more vinous qualities. It is woody like french oak and then a little green with yeastiness/herbal hops. As it warms up it is strangely similar to something like cranberry.

The taste has some bourbon-like alcohol upfront mingling to port and a french oak woodiness. It displays modest bitterness which balances the oak tannin astringency/dryness with a very mild dark toasty grain flavor. There is some green yeastiness/hoppiness to this feeling slightly vegetative.

This is medium in body with modest carbonation. A decent belgian strong ale with plenty of wood flavoring. The more I drank this, the more complex it seemed to be. What a unique brew.

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Photo of lmaduells
4.69/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Actually, De Struise realitzaunes wonderful products. This Le Havre has not yet tasted. Although not reach the level paneppot is a great beer. And with a name of a great jazz theme!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle drank at Novare Res in Portland, ME.

This pours a dark burgundy brown, with a very small head, and no lacing.

Smells like dark cherry, slight chocolate, oak, red wine, red grape, fig, port, and toffee.

This is another masterful BA beer from my favorite Belgian brewery. The barrel aging is subtle, and weaves intricate layers through the beer. There's a little bit oak, loads of dark fruit- raisin, black currant, and black cherry mainly, with red wine itself making an appearance. I get a little bit of chocolate, port wine, chocolate, and toffee as well. It's all melded together incredibly well

This has a medium body. It's got an interesting body to it, as it's rich, creamy, and deceptively full, but it's not thick or syrupy, per se. There's not much carbonation, but it's definitely there.

An exercise in barrel restraint, and masterful flavor blending. This was really, really, excellent.

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Photo of timmy2b
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass. Very dark color when poured with a small head only lacing the edges of the glass. Slightly Malty, Dark Fruity and some scotch alcohol style scents. Began with a heavy alcohol flavor with a tart aftertaste. As it warmed the alcohol was subdued and the dark cherry aftertaste took over. Smoother Oak style flavor and some scotch ale flavors were also present. Decent drinking beer with the alcohol masked as it warmed. Would drink again, but only one at an event.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Highly complex and spanning the gamut of of Belgian ale character and that of French wine, the masterful Struise brewers devise yet another Belgian darker, stronger ale and then lay it down for a good long slumber in bordeaux barrels.

Rusty, hazy and laced with burgundy and brown, the beer's transluscent color is darker than usual and capped with an ill-structured zesty cap. Reduced to a trace, the beer's wine influence is immediatly known to the nose- peppery, licorice-like, dark fruit, vinous and with a brandy-like tingle, the nose also picks up peaten nuances of scotch whisky. Confectionate and sweet up front, a sorghum-like maltiness greets the front of the tongue with a taste of hard candy.

Flavors explode off of the middle palate as the sweetness evolves from buckwheat and molasses to a taste of pulled candy, brown sugar and fruit sweetness. Red grape, apple, fig, date, raisin, cherry and plum alternate in a strong ester profile only to be balanced with fresh-cracked peppercorn, aniseed, clove, fennel all ahead of a vinous dominance of oak, tart and tannic red wine. If not enough, a rise of peppery, scotch, smoke and peat provides an earthen perfume that's tobacco and leather-like.

Full-bodied but disected by the beer's barrel tannins, high booze and tart acidity, the ale wants to register slightly less full and moderate. But its flash of carbonation leaves the finish semi-still and lackluster in its life and effervescence. A long aftertaste of peppercorn, brandy spice and an aura of the bog is as challenging as it is rewarding.

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Photo of sejorules
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: dark, cola like, with dirty snow thin head.
S: Boozy and sugary. Reminds of rum.
T: its taste is really really strong, sugary boozy and spicy. Notes of very toasty malt. Very very concentrated
F: the flavour is incredibly strong and sweet. Perhaps perfect for warmer times
O: very interesting. It's one of the strongest beers I have tried in terms of flavor power.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

ABV: 10% Bottled December 2013. Best before November 2029. A version of Pannepot stored at Margaux barrels - This can’t go wrong!

Serving temperature: 12.5C (54.5F) - A little too cold.
Music to this beer; of course Thelonious Monk - Round Midnight and the beautiful Ruby, My Dear.

Very dark brown beer with a thin, creamy mocha colored head that sinks down to 2 mm and stays forever!
Little lacing on the glass.

Nose: Dark dried fruit, raisin, prune, caramel, vanilla, spices, a hint of smoke, syrup and gingerbread.
As the beer heats up (now 16C, 61F) the aroma explodes! I now also get chocolate, red berries, more ginger and charcuterie.
Taste: Ohhh... i just LOVE Struise! Soft, creamy taste of caramel malt, slightly roasted, raisin, oak, vanilla, dark bread, a slight tartness, coffee and alcohol.
Mouth: Full body. Light and soft carbonation. Deep complex structure with sweetness balancing the oak barrel strength.

Pure love!

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Photo of mothman
3.07/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

2013 vintage

Tan head with some lace. Caramel brown color.

Way too smokey and roasted. Belgian yeast and spice. Caramel and molasses. Bananas.

Medium to full bodied.

Too much roast. I don't like it.

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Photo of Marius
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle. Pours a very dark brown, with a medium height tan head that gives way to a thin, velvety tan head. Smells of roasted malts, smoked malts, dark chocolate, dark and dried fruit, whiskey, caramel, molasses. The taste follows the same notes, with emphasis on the dried fruit, chocolate and caramel, as is the case with most quads. Smooth texture, medium to full body and a sticky-sweet and slightly smoky aftertaste.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: 11.2 oz format. Brown glass. Unbranded pry-off crown cap. Purchased for 6.50 euro in Brussels. Bottled 15/01/2016, yet the front (blue) label displays "vintage 2013."

10% ABV. 84 EBC. 27 IBU.

Served chilled into stemware. Expectations are sky high given the brewery, whose beers I often adore.

HEAD: Khaki colour. Creamy. Abysmal retention - maybe 20 seconds at best. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Opaque dark brown-black. No yeast is visible within.

Looks quite standard for a Belgian dark strong ale (which is what this is, according to the bottle itself). I'm optimistic given the brewery.

AROMA: Chocolate malt. Raisin, plum, fig, dark malts, crystal malts, Belgian yeast.Faint vanilla, a blip of leather, almond, molasses, caramel, light apple, burnt sugar, treacle, fruity esters, and some spices. The Belgian yeast nuances are lovely.

Suggests a superb Belgian strong dark ale with ample subtlety and intricacy.

TASTE: Chocolate and dark malts lend it its body. Spicy and estery Belgian yeast. Molasses. Raisin, plum, maybe dates. Treacle, lightly burnt sugars, dark bread, crystal malts, and maybe a hint of rum or sugarcane.

Balanced and enjoyable. Really likable stuff, and on par with some of the better traditional offerings I've had. Complexity is notable, and there's ample subtlety here. It's a good build for a Belgian strong dark ale. Sure, there's room for further intricacy - more dark fruits (fig, prunes), more interesting malts - but it's nice as-is.

TEXTURE: Viscosity is above average, but it works to emphasis the raisin without letting the mouthfeel get too dry or too coarse. On the contrary, it's smooth and wet, but still unrefreshing (to style) given its medium to full body and above average heft and weight on the palate. Well-carbonated, if a biteen highly so.

Complements the ABV pretty nicely, but it's not as dialed in as the best beers in the style. Doesn't accentuate specific notes or elevate the beer as a whole.

OVERALL: Highly enjoyable. More solid work from De Struise, and absolutely worth trying (though 6.50 euro is quite high even for its high quality).

High B- / WORTHY

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Blue Monk Special Reserve from De Struise Brouwers
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 76 ratings