Monks' Ale | Abbey Beverage Company (Monastery of Christ in the Desert)

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Monks' AleMonks' Ale

Brewed by:
Abbey Beverage Company (Monastery of Christ in the Desert)
New Mexico, United States

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Monks’ Ale is distinctly fruity and spicy. The yeast lends a note of clove and in combination with the malt, hints of plum and apricot. The malt itself provides a honeyish quality up front, a round fullness in the middle, and the hops, together with our pure brewing water, lend a clean, dry finish.

18 IBU

Added by Domingo on 04-24-2007

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 163
Photo of corby112
2.23/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a cloudy, bright goldn orange/tangerine color with a one finger yellowish off white head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

Slightly earthy and spicy aroma with faint hints of light and citrus fruit. Some floral, piney hops countered by pale malt, pepper and orange peel. All of these characterisitics are minimal and the nose of this beer is pretty bland.

Thin bodied and kind of watered down with some grassy hops and zesty spice up front that linger over the pale malts and subtle fruit notes into a dry finish. Hints of apple and orange peel as well as some booze toward the finish. Again, as in the aroma, it's a bit of a stretch to pull these flavors out even after the beer warms. Mediocre and not very interesting. I was excited when I first heard about this brewery but Monk's Ale was a disappointment. Hopefully their other offerings are an improvement.

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Photo of mhaugo
2.34/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle decanted into a tulip glass. 5.1% ABV.
Appearance: The color of an aging penny. Overcast inside. It’s got the suggestion of a head that never really becomes one. The cloudiness clears up as it gets closer to room temperature (2.5/5).
Aroma: Prunes and figs. There’s some bready malt back there too. Sadly, I’m getting a lot of “wet cardboard” as well, which tells me its oxidized (2.25/5).
Taste: Oh, boy… is this oxidized and infected? It’s got a wild yeast dryness to it. I get some raisins, some plums, and maybe some vegetables too? I swear I taste a little bit of carrot and cabbage. This is all followed by a harsh bitterness. I guess this could be an early hop charge, but I’m not entirely certain it was intentional. It tastes out of place, as does everything else (2.25/5).
Mouthfeel: Light body, light carbonation. Very thin and slightly astringent (2.5/5).
Overall: So, this is probably another victim of poor retailer storage, but I’m guessing there are problems with this beer that predate the distributor. It doesn’t taste to style, nor does it taste like something I’d ever want to drink again. It’s just generally unpleasant. This is the first beer I’ve had from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, but after this one I’m not sure I’ll be racing out to get any others (2.25/5).

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Photo of awmiller
2.45/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This brew poured up a very hazy apricot-colored body with a minimal head and no lacing (at least in this sampling). Citrus-y scents waft about immediately upon opening and plenty of hops as well. Lots of fruity flavors (mostly apple) and citrus-y flavors as well. There's just a tad bit of sweetness in the background but lots of hops hits you right off the bat. Not too much, not too little.

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Photo of drabmuh
2.48/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Beer is amber and clear with a thin white head with mild carbonation and some lacing looks fine.

Aroma is mildly sweet and almost smoky. What the fuck...

Beer is straight disgusting. Tastes like cigarette butts. Drain pour. Never again. Grainy harsh finish. Totally gross.

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Photo of lancecenter
2.53/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750 mL bottle purchased at the local HEB.

A - translucent copper color, a couple fingers of head, average retention and lacing.

S - typical Belgian profile, just muted. Phenols, cloves, bananas, and pepper.

T/M - and this is where it falls apart. The taste kind of follows the nose, but there's just not much there. Way too watery and not enough carbonation.

O - I see why this stuff is so cheap now. I thought I'd rather have a bad Belgian over a good adjunct, but I'm not so sure anymore.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.7/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clean orange-ish color with an off white head. In the aroma, light fruitiness and small notes of caramel and nuttiness. In the taste, light caramel, nutty, and a small fruity sweetness. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry fruity caramel in the aftertaste. Too nutty and caramel for a Belgian pale, eh!

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Photo of stevoj
2.71/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Weak and watery. Initial flavor dissipates to nothing, and no aftertaste either. Looks like a Belgian, but in this case, looks are deceiving. Was hoping for a bit better.

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Photo of ocelot2500
2.9/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy slightly orange gold color with a tight white head that leaves little lacing.

Smells of pale malts, spice, and some fruitiness.

Tastes of not much. Some fruit sweetness comes through, but is very light. Spice is not as evident as in the nose. Pale malts are evident.

Mouthfeel is light with a very small amount of carbonation.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
2.9/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Monk's Ale, made with care and prayer.
Abbey Beverage Company, Pecos, NM
Hazy, rosy orange-ish color, tangerine and peach...small head.
Sweet nose, plenty of fruit, and a hit of spice. Lively yeast. Apricot and orange, and a little straw.
In the mouth, it's's.. ah,
Bleh, to be succinct.
Thin bodied, small in flavor, lacking a lot. Drinkable, inoffensive, but lacking in charm, to say the least. Passable, at best, with hardly anything Monk-ish or abbey-like at all. Hardly even interesting as a pale ale.
Can't really hate it. Can't like it, either. Sorry.

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Photo of EgadBananas
2.92/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice light amber in color, off white head with predominant lacing. Looks damn decent.

Smell is a lot underwhelming with some sweet malts and soapy undertones. Not horrid, but very lackluster.

Taste is much of the same with the malts righting the majority. Theres not much else to fall back on. Hops are not much there.

The feel is a little more comforting, medium and smooth.

There is nothing wonderous about this brew, but it was a pretty decent offering. I think theres much room to work on with the belgian front for this brewery.

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Photo of BARFLYB
2.95/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from Capone's, I've been seeing this pop up all over the city.

A- Comes out the bottle looking a nice shade of orangish copper with barely any foam being produced, even with a hard pour I only got sparse bubbles, no lace, looks dead.

S- The smell does not quite jump out at me, but with some sniffs I can tell there is nothing really to smell. Small traces of earthy hops under adjunct smells of corn and grain, not a good look.

T- I thought this may have some type of yeast giving off some type of flavors, but im left with a boring beer. It's a belgian pale ale alright, but the worst one i've had to date. This bottle is fresh and it just does not deliver. Im talking about adjunct tastes here, corn dammit. Sweet malt, grain.

M- Less than medium and kinda dead with the carb. There is a little prick here and there but this is virtually flat.

Im glad I gambled on only a bottle of this. It's not that good. I could drink this off the tap at a few local spots right now, but what's the point, this beer is not worthy. The bottle said this is brewed with care and prayer, I think next time they should put some more traditional brewing ingredients or change the recipe. I wish this brewery would pull out of PA, it's crowding the shelves and taps of other better beers. A huge let down.

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
2.96/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One bottle of a mix-a-six from Abe's of Bethlehem, PA purchased 12/1/10. There is 0810 printed on the bottle, possibly indicative it was brewed in 8/10. Poured into a St. Bernadus chalice @ 55 deg F.

a- Very very clear. Little to no head. Absolutely no yeasties or settling in the bottle. Very nice amber color. It's almost as if they let too much of the yeast ferment out when they were brewing the beer.

s- Boozey beligan yeast scent. Fruity esters present. Not very strong scent... I really had to swirl it around and almost submerge my nose to smell it.

t- Very sweet and inoffensive. It was a little unpleasant around the edges... almost like they used an adjunct of some sort. For some odd reason I had a flashback of being in college and drinking Natty Ice. I get a few green apple notes and a sour taste.

m- Properly carbonated. No issues here. It may be from the 4-months of age or the very clear color...

d- Very easy to drink and does not burn or taste like alcohol.

I think this may be a good starter Belgian beer as a stepping stone from mass-produced swill but other than that its really not worth it. It you like Bud Light, Coors Light, or Miller Lite, do yourself a favor at your wedding and splurge on this fancy shit. Nice shiny bottles to boot.

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Photo of zdk9
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a hazy medium orange with a possible green tinge. A full finger of head develops. So far the lacing is strong, and fairly thick.

S- The aroma is sweet. My first impression is corn but that happily wafted away after a second. My second impression was candy- bubblegum. There's some sweeter malt- fake honey, orange slice candies. And there's also a bit of plastic.

T- The taste is better, not amazing but certainly quaffable. Corn and straw mingle along with white bread covered in the lightest of toasted flax and rye seeds. If I try I can detect some yeast characteristic, but it's faint at best.

M- Fine here, goes down fairly lightly and quickly.

O- Not the best beer, but not the worst either. The taste is inoffensive enough for me to enjoy drinking. I'm looking forward to what an American Abbey brewery can do with some more time and experience- it certainly is a unique venture.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Look – coppery in color, somewhat murky, with very little foam.

Smell – herbal type of smell, and more malty than hoppy. Hints of some sort of caramel. Maybe even a little on the worty side. Also a little musky.

Taste and Mouthfeel – slightly warming Mouthfeel. Definitely a little musky and sweet. Not a whole lot of bite. Texture is pretty well balanced.

Overall – not a horrible brew. It tastes rather homemade versus specially crafted. Not terribly interesting though.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
3.13/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Transparent reddish-amber body with gold highlights under a finger of loose, frothy head that drops to a thin coating & leaves some webbed lacing around the crown.

Smell is of a thin, Juicy Fruit kind of fruity bubble gum, with a little bit of pepper & a flinty, metallic sort of ring. A little pineapple, slightly musty.

Taste starts off with the fruit gum character again, then cuts it off halfway & turns to a kind of weak graininess, corn-like, even, with more flintiness. Finishes with a dull kind of orange, maybe a little tea. Nothing offensive but pretty flat & hollow.

Medium-light-bodied, some sweet body but coupled with that flinty flatness that's not so great.

Taste qualification pretty much sums it up: Nothing real offensive here, but in a lot of ways resembles macro taste & feel. Reminds me of a faux-craft brand attempt by the big boys.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle at the build your own six pack section at Lukas in Lonetree. Bottle appears to be dated 0211. Poured to snifter glass.

A - The beer pours a perfectly clear slightly light amber color. No sediment. A very small 1/4 finger white head with little retention though decent lacing.

S - The belgian yeast is most dominant though also a slight fruity ester. Not a lot of aroma though not terrible.

T - The beer starts with a sweet malt character. The belgian yeast comes through with a strong clove flavor, a bit of banana, apple, and spice. The middle of the beer brings an odd off-flavor. The beer started quite pleasant but finishes anything but. The beer finishes with what can best be described as skunky. It's odd and out of place. The beer seemed fresh.

M - Decently carbonated and light mouthfeel.

O - Pretty average brew. I wish I knew what caused the off-flavor on the tail end of the beer. If not for the skunk it would have been pretty solid.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-26-2011 18:19:23

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.29/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Total Wine sold single bottles and was left with one less. I consumed this New Mexican blonde with a pork tenderloin dinner and served in a La Trappe chalice. On to the beer:

Its burnt orange color fills the glass and is topped with a small head which dissipates to a lace. Not much lace hangs around the glass. With a few whiffs through the nose, there's potential. The smell of clove, toasted brown sugar, and a kiss of mandarin orange make a good starting point for the blonde to take off from.

Starts off with a solid taste, although part way through it's missing something. Modestly spicy with a bready base and a hint of citrus. There are at brief moments which I also believed that I was drinking spiced air. Perhaps the touch of watered down body played a part for that. In a pinch, this is a decent Belgian styled beer. On an expanded menu, this is one that would probably be passed up.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.31/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked this one up as part of recent mixed six pack, having never heard of the brewery. Poured an attractive golden-amber color with a finger of off-white head on top. Aromas of raisins, baking spices and yeast. Medium bodied, with flavors of Belgian spices, light malt and yeast.

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Photo of beergoot
3.32/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Eske's Brew pub in Taos, NM...

Crystal clear amber; very thin head. Slight fruity esters and light bread notes in the smell. Taste was very mild. Some banana and clove with a faint biscuit flavor. Off-kilter, light bitterness. Light, water consistency.

I couldn't get too fired-up about this beer. Seemed bland and non-distinct overall. Not a bad beer, just blase...

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Monk's Ale

Pours a medium amber/brown color, short livid off white foam and little lace. In the aroma, expressive Belgian yeast strain, caramel, and suggestions of wort. In the taste, mellow abbey yeast strain with a soft fruityness upfront. Caramel and raw grain flavors. Most flavors are complimentary but mild. Highlights the yeast pretty well, with a very light noble hopping and light grain bill. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a touch thin and carbonated well. Overall, an OK sessionable, no frills Belgian style brew.

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Photo of Coplains
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up on a trip to Santa Fe. Pours amber with very faint haze moderate carbonation. Somewhat Belgian in style. This beer drinks pretty smooth but
No attributes stick out. Like the story of the monks in the monastery making it, would buy again if in Santa Fe but wouldn't seek it out

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.36/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle marked 0114 at 45 degrees into standard pint glass
Faint aroma of spice and fruit
Head average (3 cm), off white, creamy, slowly diminishing to 2 mm layer
Lacing spotty
Body clear, light amber, some bubbles but not really sparkling
Flavor very muted non-specific fruit and slight spice
Palate medium, oily, soft carbonation

To me, this is a good looking ale which doesn’t have the flavor or aroma to support the appearance. While I think it’s admirable that some US abbeys are entering the abbey brewing market, I just don’t feel that this ale is a good representation of the style.

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Photo of vurt
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased in Albuquerque, NM, at Kelly's Liquors on Coors Rd. Enjoyed in a Lucky Baldwin's 8th Annual Belgian Festival snifter.

Attractive copper-orange color, very clear but still showing a bit of hazy glow when held up to the light. The head is ivory white and a bit sticky, clinging briefly to the glass and leaving small flecks of foam behind.

Lightly honeyed bread, with notes of sweet orange and pear skin and some peppery spiciness. There is also a pleasant herbal hoppiness and some alcohol (a bit surprising, as this is not a strong beer).

Flavors follow the nose, but are much milder than I was expecting. Orange honey on bread, with some banana character and a little spice in the background. The flavor drops right off in the middle. There is some fruit and malty sweetness in the finish, which doesn't last long.

Light-bodied and a bit frothy. The beer's texture runs out right about the time the flavors diminish, leaving the rather odd sensation that the beer has evaporated in your mouth.

I have no problem with subtle beers, but this one starts off intriguing and winds up bland. Doesn't do anything particularly wrong, but doesn't do enough right to have me looking forward to another one.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, slightly darker amber. Minimal head. Has a slightly sweeter edge with a nutty tone and deep body. Full and frothy on the mouth. Might be a bit too heavy for some for a session beer.

Overall I can't say I was entirely impressed by this production. In no way did it remind me of a Belgian brew at any level. (though before I departed the NM area for good, someone told me they changed the maybe it will be better) It will be the first brew to be produced by an American monastery in 100 years when they get their facility set up on the grounds, but I can't say I felt there was anything special about it. I am wondering if the tap I had it from was not the best at the time. I plan to try it again and keep an eye out for other productions from the company/monastery.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle tried 11 May 2008.

Medium sized tan fluffy head. Well carbonated. Clear bright chestnut copper color. Aromas of caramel, ethanol and some resin. Starts somewhat sweet and buttery. Caramel and a little sour through the middle. Finish is slightly bitter with some oatiness. Medium body. Medium ethanol.

Decent but doesn't really seem like a belgian pale ale.

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Monks' Ale from Abbey Beverage Company (Monastery of Christ in the Desert)
3.51 out of 5 based on 163 ratings.
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