Monkey Wrench Strong Ale
Daleside Brewery

Monkey Wrench Strong AleMonkey Wrench Strong Ale
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Style:
Strong Ale - English
Ranked #24
ABV:
5.3%
Score:
85
Ranked #26,097
Avg:
3.83 | pDev: 6.79%
Reviews:
59
Ratings:
69
From:
Daleside Brewery
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  2
Gots
  1
SCORE
85
Very Good
Monkey Wrench Strong AleMonkey Wrench Strong Ale
Notes:
View: Beers
Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 69 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by rastaman:
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rastaman from England

3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not too bad. at 5.3%ABV its not particularly strong, but neither is the flavour, some choc-caramel flavours are their, with some fruity/malty sweet flavours, bittersweet flavour thanks to a touch of hops at the end. Pretty average, but its drinkable, a bit gimmicky for some reason, maybe its just the label or something.

Apr 01, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt from New Hampshire

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger cream head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving a little lace. Deep clear amber color. Very light carbonation and medium bodied. Hints of chocolate/caramel nose. Starts slightly malty, some bittersweet chocolate, finish is reasonably clean. 5.3% ABV is not a strong ale. $4.35 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

Apr 08, 2006
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oberon from North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice find this weekend while out on the beer hunt,poured a deep amber with a thinner but well sustained off white head,aromas are quite fruity with a hint of dark chocolate but nothing that would blow your mind.Alot of malt flavor in this brew brown suger and toffee hits up front with a fruity finish wich lingered nicely.A strong ale, well not so sure about that but not a bad quaffer with a thinner but smooth mouthfeel.

Oct 30, 2005
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ADR from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clearish red chestnut color, pale head of large detergent-like bubbles. Wispy looping laces on most of the glass. Malted milk aroma with some fruity ripe peach elements. Active carbonation in the mouth, spritzy feel to it. Flavor has a lot of fruit for me, orange marmalade, peach cobbler, and a certain brightness. A bit of ashy bittering takes hold mid mouth and makes the ending pretty nice and pleasant. Overall, a very nice profile from start to finish. However, I don't know what Daleside brews sell for in many markets, but this one came in for me at over $5 for a trace over 16 oz, and as far as drinking it again -- its not all that for all that.

Feb 22, 2006
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BrewAskew from Oklahoma

3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a thin off-white head and a solid clear brown color. Aroma is a nice mixture of fruity esters and buttery malt. Flavor is heavy on the malt flavors with just enough hops to even it out. There are dark specialty malts all over the flavor, giving it a complex malt profile that develops as it warms. Good smooth mouthfeel due to low carbonation. Easy to quaff. Good stuff.

Aug 16, 2008
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Sigmund from Norway

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, bought in Scarborough. Possibly filtered, but probably not pasteurised. ABV is 5.3%. As a cask ale it was voted "Champion Winter Beer of Britain 1998". Chestnut coloured beer, rich off-white to beige head. Very nice malty aroma with oaky and vinous notes, also caramel and dark fruits. Malty flavour with caramel, some raisiny and vinous notes, moderate hops. Moderate carbonation, soft mouthfeel. A pleasant beer to drink.

Jun 21, 2007
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Suds from Missouri

3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great lacing on this mahogany colored beer. The aroma is a soft mix of malt, baking bread, yeast, and earth. Nice flavor...fairly dry, with a mineral-water and carbonic feel. Plenty of malt in the taste as well. Touch of butterscotch. The long-lasting malt-centric finish.

Nov 14, 2010
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Wide bodied brown glass bottle with a black and red label that surrounds 360˚ of the bottles torso. Sealed with a brass colored crown cap which has the Brewery logo in green. No freshness date but listed at 5.3% ABV and the advise is to serve this at 54˚F (12˚C).

Appearance: Mid brown body with the classic ruby hue that adds a deep rich clarity. Off white head remains at ¼” thick and lasts throughout. Above average conditioning levels with smattered lacing on the glass walls all the way down. Solid appearance, with a sturdy and steady long lasting presentation.

Nose: Dark fruits and hints of roasted malts are punctuated with a ripe banana and clove finish.

Taste: A nutty caramel and bonfire toffee start the excitement. Roasted malts and a light dry hoppiness are also prevalent. Dark fruits, banana, clove, dark chocolate and some residual sweetness throughout. Quite the tasty package and nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Way above average, chewy with a nutty character. Smooth and easy going. Big feel with a thick chewy texture.

Drinkability: Has a heavy feel, classed as a Strong Ale in the UK, this certainly drinks like one. But the carbonation lends a light airy feel to the heavier roasted malts and toffee. A great drink, I could easily manage one more bottle than I should probably have.

Overall: I recall drinking quite a lot of Daleside brews when I lived in England, though often it was their aptly named Piston Bitter, I occasionally got to try the Monkey Wrench on Cask which I enjoyed. It seems to have improved from memory, that tastes are fuller, deeper and bolder - now it is a darker and fruitier variant that has a very satisfying.

Named after an incident in Hartlepool, England that involved the hanging of a Monkey thought to have been a French Spy. Aaah the good old days!!

Aug 15, 2006
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feloniousmonk from Minnesota

4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark ruby color, when seen through the light, otherwise, it's a ruddy caramel hue, sitting under a slim ring of cocoa foam.

Dark fruit abounds in the nose, rich, sweet, and ebullient, grape and black cherry, with caramel and nuts riding along. Quite nice.

"Dark and beautifully smooth," reads the label, below a depiction of the titular ape, and smooth is right. Slides right in the mouth and lolls about the palate. A lush maltiness, with a perfect integration. Just a whisper of hop, very easy on the tongue, and not too sweet, either. Texture and mouthfeel is no challenge, either. For this ale, it's all about the unique malty flavor and the flawless drinkability.

At over $5 for a 500ml bottle, I won't be visiting this too often, but I do recommend it. Not bad in the least.

Apr 18, 2006
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DarrellK from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +11%

Sep 13, 2012
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lackenhauser from Maryland

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Label says "Monkey Wrench Dark Ale"-nothing about being a strong ale. Anyway-great mahogany color. Low carbonation-no head to speak of. Aroma of malt-caramel maltiness, very slight port-like aroma. Good malty flavor. Finishes a bit sweet. Body is ok. Overall a very drinkable beer from the UK. Worth a try but I dont see it being a regular purchase theres some much better UK beers out there.

Dec 17, 2005
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Reidrover from Oregon

3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dark brown ale, with a gorgeous frothy light tan head. Strong malty/mollasses aroma, creamy than thick, dark fruits, slight roast. Nutty malty, toffeeish tastes dominate, the nuttiness being more towards the nd. Nice on the palate. Overall a very nice beer,,gets way better as it warms.

Bottle from Capital Market,Salem

Sep 13, 2008
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TheLiterati from California

3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this beer with a fellow epicure who is also a conisseur of wine, and quickly becoming an aficionado of good beer as well.

Poured a deep ruby-brown color – not quite mahogany. Tan head replenishes as quickly as it dissipates due to presence of bubbly, enduring carbonation – not to the point of being pop-like, but just enough to keep the mouthfeel interesting.

Scent is overwhelmingly of roasted malt with subtle hop notes and undertones, along with a date-raisin-plum thing going on.

Malt aroma translates to a slightly sweet-tasting, malty concoction that my epicurean friend compared to "dulce de leche," a milk caramel cream native to South American countries. Has a mildly hoppy bite at the finish. All in all more complex than I expected.

As one who favors big, hoppy beers, I actually found this beer to be quite enjoyable.

Aug 14, 2006
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WesWes from New York

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry, yet malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts along with English hops and yeast. The taste is decent also. It has a very dry flavor that goes down easy and finishes with a semi-sweet, roasted taste. It's malty, but nothing too bold. It boasts of crystal and roasted malts. There is a slight hop bitterness;mostly English hops. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good brew, but nothing to get excited about. I probably wouldn't buy it again.

Apr 08, 2006
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ybnorml from Rhode Island

4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clean brown beer with ruby highlights. Has a creamy off white head. There is an overall smooth sweetness in the aroma. With hints of chocolate and dried fruit popping up here and there. The taste again has a strong sweet character, with a caramel note up front, a nice cocolaty note in the middle and some coffee bitterness on the finish. A delicious treat.

May 27, 2006
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RoyalT from Ohio

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This is a light, light brown with hints of dingy orange and no head.

Smell – The aroma has that bittery yeast smell of an English bitter; full of toffee and butter. There’s very little sugar in here and the malts really do take a back seat to the yeasty notes.

Taste – Oh, this has a lot more flavor than I would have guessed from the smell. The yeast is still there but it’s mixed well with some strong, dark, heavily-toasted malt. Still no sugars, though, which is OK by me for this particular style.

Mouthfeel – I thought this would be at least medium-bodied but it doesn’t quite make it. It’s actually kind of dry.

Drinkability – Well, 5% ABV isn’t my idea of “strong” but this was a good drinker nevertheless.

Mar 21, 2007
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GCBrewingCo from North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear deep amber with an off-white head which rose well, but fell quickly and could not even begin to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity dark caramel and toffee. The malty aromas dominated and the fruity aromas contained some sherry notes and almost a cherry aroma.

The flavor was slightly metallic and unexpectly on the drier side. The beer drank very smooth due to the underlying maltiness and toffee and fruity flavors, but while the flavors lingered, the sweetness was never really a factor.

The finish was dry with a lasting fruity impression and caramel/toffee into the aftertaste. The body was medium. The beer drinks like a champ, very smooth and satisfying. It certainly could use more in the complexity department however. I might go Old Ale, but certainly not a strong ale.

16.9 ounce bottle.

Jan 27, 2006
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PorterLambic from Florida

3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with orange highlights. A dark tan head, creamy, with good retention (as a film) and some lace.
Smell is malt, light smoke, hint of citrus & spice.
Taste is oak, smoked malt, alcohol (light and late), hint of grapes & citrus, some earthiness, coffee note in aftertaste.
Smooth, light effervescence, almost creamy texture. Pretty good stuff. Drinks lighter than 5.3%. Slightly warming.

Aug 26, 2008
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Weathered bronze suffused with generous amounts of rusted orange and cranberry red. The monkey's cap is golden ecru in color and is both firm and creamy at once. It looks good, both on its own and in combination with the beer beneath. An attractive display of lace doesn't hurt either.

The nose is toasted dark malty and is earthy in the best possible use of that term. There's a wee whiff of something darker, black licorice perhaps, but the aroma isn't powerful enough to tease out any subtleties. Perhaps it'll open up with warming (it doesn't).

Monkey Wrench tastes more like a dark mild than a strong ale, but then that's coming from an American who is used to the American take on things. Actually, it's 'darker' than a dark mild, but is still on the mild side by my palate. A cross between a dark mild and a porter perhaps?

I must confess, I don't really understand this whole English strong ale thing. How is a 5.3% beer considered a strong ale of any kind? Especially when at least two of Daleside's other beers, Morocco Ale (5.5%) and Ripon Jewel Ale (5.5%) are higher in alcohol and are an herbed/spiced beer and an English pale ale respectively? Ah well, it doesn't really matter as long as the beer is good. Which it is. As are those other two.

As the beer warms, I'm beginning to appreciate its nuances. Bruised banana, especially, has come to the fore. That, in combination with a a certain spiciness, leads me to think of it as an especially dunkelish dunkel weizen. The same licorice/anise character that I appreciated in the nose is now much more evident. This is surprisingly complex and delicious beer and is becoming even more so as I enter the bottom half of the bottle.

The body/mouthfeel didn't impress me right out of the gate, but it too is improving as the beer approaches an estimated 60 degrees (you're on your own for the Centigrade conversion). It's lightly creamy and impressively smooth with a cask-like mouthfeel. Well done Daleside, well done.

Monkey Wrench Dark Ale (which is how my label reads) isn't very strong, but it is very good. While the ABV may be a fraction too high for it to quality as a session beer, I'd love to travel to Harrogate and give it a whirl. A delicious beer named for a suspected monkey spy (read the label) that tastes like bananas... what could be better than that?

Nov 04, 2006
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Zorro from California

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear reddish brown beer that is reddish orange when held up to the light. Nice tan head that disappears after a few minutes.

Smell is quite fruity with the signature aroma of British ale yeast. Sweet aroma of raisins and some fruit I can't quite identify possibly guava.

Taste is mildly sweet brown sugar and earthy hops in the first sip. Medicinal hop flavor mix well with the fruity flavor of a British ale to yield something like a bitter Apéritif like Italian Beverly but in a good way. After a while the flavor gets decidedly nutty and a bit buttery.

Mouthfeel is OK, maybe a bit light.

A tasty and super easy to imbibe beer here. A tad expensive so it isn't going to take the place that Firestone Pale Ale occupies in my refrigerator, but I do recommend that you try this if you see it.

Jun 04, 2006
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bark from Sweden

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The colour is deep brown, the liquid clear. The finger thick off white head sinks quickly down to a thin lid.

The smell is loaded with malts; I found notes of dark bread, sweet cookies, dry yeast and mild hoppy notes of dried fruits.

The taste is fresh and milder than expected. The malt dominates the palette, as it should be. Pumpernickel, rye bread, dried apples, minerals. The aftertaste got notes of dark bread, cookies, roasted meat, very mild bitter notes some warming alcohol.

The carbonation is medium strong; the bubbles small. The liquid is a little thick.

A nice and surprisingly drinkable strong ale.

Apr 05, 2008
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beerking1 from Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light amber color, medium head with some lace. Aroma is slightly butterscotch, with some mild dark fruit (raisins) and other esters. Body is thin, flavor has some more light golden raisin upfront, but backed by sweet malts and some faint hops. Tail is fast, leading to some lingering sweetness and fruit.

Jan 20, 2008
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lacqueredmouse from Australia

4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchase from Sackville Cellars in Rozelle, an oft forgotten little Sydney bottleshop that can have some interestingly overlooked beers.

Pours a hazed and deep red-brown mahogany hue, almost ruby in the light, with a fine and full head of off-white. Lacing is firm and strong, leaving wonderful cascades down the inside of the glass. Body is a bit thin, but the carbonation, such as it is, is rather fine and pleasant. Looks good.

Nose is wonderful—gorgeous melange of chocolate malts giving a dry cacao character, with a big dollop of gooey English blackberries. It's all dark, but fresh and surprisingly crisp. Lovely nose.

Slightly thinner on the palate, with a roasted cacao flavour dominant, along with a green berry-leaf rustic roughness. Blackberry overtones come in late again, with a lingering huskiness. It doesn't manage to fulfill every facet of the tongue, but it's tasty.

A nice beer, and a slightly more elaborate one than you often get from a British brewery. While I appreciate a really good mild English ale every now and then, I'd prefer one like this with just that little bit more oomph.

May 19, 2011
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.54/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy chestnut brown color with a modest head that leaves dots of lacing

Smell: Brown bread, toffee, tea and banana

Taste: Brown bread and toffee, up front, with developing banana and dried apple tones; tea-like hop flavors arrive in the middle, but the finish is very malty

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: The problem with these English beers is that the are over-priced and un-dated so they sit around on the shelf for years at end and oxidize; that seems to be the case here and I expect a fresher sample would be much more enjoyable, particularly on cask

Jun 12, 2015
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drpimento from Wisconsin

3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Decent beer. Poured with a tan head that quickly settled down and no lace. Color is a lovely clear medium red amber. Aroma is very malty roast toffee and a hint fruity. Flavor is like aroma. Body is ok and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor and medium in length. Serviceable beer. If you were in the mood for a straightforward malty ale this could be a session.

May 18, 2010
Monkey Wrench Strong Ale from Daleside Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 69 ratings