Monkey Wrench Strong Ale | Daleside Brewery

very good
69 Ratings
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Monkey Wrench Strong AleMonkey Wrench Strong Ale

Brewed by:
Daleside Brewery
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rastaman on 04-01-2003

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Ratings: 69 |  Reviews: 59
Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting looking beer, and has a monkey holding a monkeywrench. Pretty awesome label. Also, I can't get the damn Foo Fighters song out of my head.

A: Pours a huge 2.5 finger head that slowly fades back down. A very clear maroon brown color adds a nice touch.

N: Dark sweet malts mostly hit the nose. A slight dark fruit aroma but not much. Some stronger malt aromas and touch of alcohol swim out. I get a touch of brown sugar and molasses. Very light on the nose.

T: Taste starts with lots of sweet malts, and tons of roasted malt. Toffee comes out quite a bit as well. Some chocolate malt tastes add to it. Sweet brown or candi sugar also add quite a bit to it and follow with molasses. A slight syrupy taste but doesn't blanket the mouth. Some dried fruits, raisin, fig, and almost a slight creamy taste.

M: Semi thick and syrupy, but not sticky and doesn't stick to the mouth. Decent carbonation.

F: Finishes a little drier at least, actually pretty dry surprisingly for how sweet it started. It's also a little bitter on the finish, probably English style bittering hops. The raisin/fig fruit seems to linger a bit as well. It also seems to add an interesting slightly salty taste at the end. Pretty smooth and light, a good session beer.

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Photo of champ103
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark ruby red color. At first a two finger white head forms and recedes in a second. Some light lace is left behind.
S: Of dark fruits. Raisins, plums, figs, ext. Toasted caramel malt, bread and biscuit.
T: Caramel malt, bread, and biscuit flavors. Very light fruity flavors that follow the nose. Though a very off putting musky taste lingers.
M/D: A lighter body than I would like with some prickly carbonation. Pretty easy to drink. There is not very much alcohol for the style, and it makes an easy drinker.

Not bad at all. I would love to try this on the other side of the pond and on cask. Still worth a try as is, but I can see this being great under different conditions.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crimson, almost garnet in color with a very thin white head. Lacing is decent, and carbonation is very fine.

S: Sweet, slightly fruity with hints of fig and caramel. There are some floral accents as well.

T: Dried fruit, brown sugar, molasses, and bread are predominant at first, but it finishes clean, with floral, fruity hop notes.

M: I assumed this beer would have a bit more body than it actually does. Somewhat thin for this style, yet it has enough to give it some finesse.

D: Overall a pretty good beer. The taste makes up for what it lacks in body and smell. A great beer to drink on a cool, rainy night.

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Photo of AshleyRW
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

just the right mix of hops and malt. a great beer! very well-balanced; "veritable hops" without any astringency. peculiar sourness in aroma but by no means a negative. perfect mouthfeel, full malty body, endanger of being too sweet but this is offset by a reasonable amount of hops.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a beer that contains both barley and wheat.

A: It pours beautiful mahogany, with an off-white head that takes some time to dissipate, and the it leaves nice lacings. It looks great!!!

S: Not as strong as I thought but very nice; Light roasted malt (caramell notes), some dried fruit, chocolate and coffee.

T: Light roasted malt with a nutty twist, some bitter notes from the hops along with coffee and chocolate.

M: The aftertaste is a nice mix of sweetness mixed with some bitterness, it stays for some time. Mediumbodied and mediumcarbonated.

D: A nice beer that goes down smoothly. Not the best beer from U.K. but surely a very nice one.

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Photo of Dylan2000
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Appearance: Pours a nice dark brown, with a thick finger+ head that forms at first, and then dissipates after a minute or so.

Smell: Nice and malty aroma, little to no hop smell present. Somewhat of a sour note in the smell - but nothing similar in the taste.

Taste: This strong ale is described as "dark and beautifully smooth" and it definitely lives up to that description. This beer has a great, smooth, extremely well balanced taste, with a nice sweet maltiness, and superb mouthfeel - which results in an very easy drinking dark/strong ale.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy and smooth - uncommonly smooth,
and all malt, no hop bite in this batch.

Drinkability: I could drink this brew all night - smooth, balanced, creamy = deliciously satisfying.

Notes: The back label reads "In an old English seaport there persists a strange legend which claims that many centuries ago when Britain was at war, a monkey was found clinging to a raft that had been washed ashore. The poor creature chattering from cold and fright was believed to be speaking a foreign language. The monkey, thought to be a spy, was arrested and met an untimely end. In sympathy for that monkey, and in support of monkeys, this beer is called Monkey Wrench."

1998 Cask Ale Winner
W.S. Beer Challenge 2005 Silver
Champion Winter Beer of Great Britain Competition - Class Winner

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

500ml bottle into large pint glass.

Hazy dark brown hue, which is molded into an amber toward the bottom by the shape of the glass. A one finger than head slowly settles to a thick even cap.

A little bit of brown sugar with mostly a dark bread aroma - not quite toasted but also not quite like rye bread.

A slightly toasty, but also sweet flavor, that vaguely reminds me of a brownie sits in the foreground. The hops don't make too much of an appearance, adding a little bitterness to the backend of the flavor. Full bodied.

Maybe better fresh, this one seemed slightly bland, stuck between an English Dark Mild and an English Strong Ale (or maybe an English Brown Ale). Still, somewhat sessionable and enjoyable, and I'm sure to win someone over.

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Photo of Beejay
3.42/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep brown, and clear. Looks like Iced tea, not a lot of head on top.

S: A little sweet and malty, almost like brown sugar and oatmeal..

M: Malty, with a bit of a bite.. Tastes like is has more alc. then it actually does. Has a little bit of spice in there..

M: Nothing great or horrible..

D: I could do a few of these, but I don't think it will become a new favorite...

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Photo of Vancer
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So far, so good - a clear mahogany pour into the Corsendonk tulip. Nice frothy ivory head that leave a ring o' lace on each pull.

Caramel, hops, and chocolate in the aroma. Well balanced, smooth, and enjoyable quaff - the sturdy malts with a toasty, nutty characteristic finish well. A standard English bitter that drinks like a dream. This would have to be a thumbs up on any persons list - from cross-over to beer geek.

I'm impressed and glad to have picked up this bottle for a sample.

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Photo of Reidrover
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

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle

Pours a medium chestnut brown with a small white head that thins. Decent lacing on the glass.

Very light aroma. Mild malt and slightly toasted nutty aroma. Not bad, but really not much of anything.

Malty with a pleasant toasted nutty flavor. Mild bitterness and just a hint of herbal hops. Finishes clean and dry.

Medium body, medium carbonation.

A pleasant English Strong ale and easy to drink. Not a whole lot of distinctive or memorable characteristics. I suspect it's a different experience from the cask as I'm sure it was originally intended.

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Photo of PorterLambic
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.

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Photo of BrewAskew
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.

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Photo of bort11
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. A finger's width of dark tan head, that is slow to recede. Thin strings of lace stick to the glass. Color is a dark copper red with a decent amount of clarity.

Smell is dominated with caramel malts but is balanced with a mild citric hops bitterness. A bit tannic. Taste is mildly sweet toffee and caramel. Orange citrus hops.

Mouthfeel is a mild medium body that goes down slick. Easy to drink. I would like to session this in an English pub one day.

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Photo of bark
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.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml brown bottle from The Lighthouse in Manchester. Pours a translucent dark brown-red with nearly an inch of off-white head. Smells roasty with hints of English hops, but the aroma is not that apparent. Tastes roasty, malty, nutty with just a hint of herbal hops present toward the finish. Tastes are fairly subtle, but are all very pleasant. Smooth, medium mouth-feel with some carbonation but not too much. Very drinkable, this beer is. At 5$ per bottle, it's a little pricier than something I'd drink on a daily basis. But it's a smooth, easy-drinking, solid English beer that I may pick up from time to time.

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Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Poured from pint bottle into Bordeaux glass. Thin beige head stuck around about 15 seconds before fizzling out. No cap. Color is a ruby-brown amber.

S-Pleasant aroma of toasted malt, nuts, some darker fruits, vegetation, faint choco-caramel, and faint hops.

T-Sweet caramel-nut-raisins in the attack with pleasant toasted malt. Nice faintly bitter hops in the finish clean the palate momentarily, but the delicious malt lingers on in the aftertaste. It's a nice balance. I'm also getting tart berry or sour cherry on later sips.

M-Decent, but I would barely qualify it as medium-bodied.

D-I like the flavors, and I thoroughly enjoy drinking this, but the body and the weak pour kind of numb the whole experience. I'll still put a 4 since I buy beer to drink, not to look at.

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Photo of beerking1
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.

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Photo of Roarke
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: brown with a bit of orange fairly transparent, nice finger of brownish white head (lasts for a bit)

S: toffee, sweet malt, and a faint of odor of lemony hops

T: all of the nose but stronger and a sugary sweetness that could be better balanced by the hops which provide only a little more than their slight bitterness

M: smooth to start, then a brief carbonated punch that fades into a dry aftertaste, one of the better aspects of the brew

D: one is good, but more than one I do not think I would partake

$: I would not pay over $5 again, even if the name honors our simian friends.

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Photo of Sigmund
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.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a clear brown color with a cream colored one finger, rocky head – which quickly resided. The aroma is mostly of malt with some sourness noted after a moment. The taste is malty with a bit of chocolate like flavors noted. The mouthfeel is full and somewhat creamy. Overall this is an easy beer to drink – a delight that would make a great session beer.

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Photo of RoyalT
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.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz amber bottle into a standard pint glass.

Brilliant clarity, dark amber color, poured aggressively for a 1/2 head that dissapated to lovely fine surface bubbles, leaving very little lacing.

Aroma is sweet and rich, caramel, no noticeable hops.

Nice sweet malt flavor, balanced bitterness, no noticeable hop flavor or aroma.

Mouthfeel is smooth, goes down easy, but feels a bit watery and no detectable alcohol warmth for a 'strong' ale.

Drinkability is good, nice session beer. Good flavor that holds up as it warms. I don't expect much from English beers, they can be weak, grainy, skunked, suffer excess diacetyl--this lovely pint suffered none of these defects.

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

My first experience with this brew was a few weeks back when Vin de Pays Wines in Long Beach did their monthly beer tasting - this particular tasting's theme being English beers. Not being very experienced with English beers, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I am always up for broadening my exposure to craft beer. TheLongBeachBum was also in attendance and warned me, as I recall, that English beer such as the ones offered at the tasting is generally meant to be consumed from the cask; that bottles don't do it justice.

I found pretty much all of the beers I tried to be drinkable but not very complex or flavorful. Of the bunch, Monkey Wrench was my favorite, so I bought a bottle for myself so I could sample it in its entirety and with a clean palate.

Tipped over my Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip glass, the 17 ounce bomber was just a splash too much liquid to be released all at once. The brew had an opaque, rich mahogany body. The head started out about half a finger thick, off-white, and very bubbly, then dissolved into a halo of about the same width surrounding a thin lace. Nice quality.

The odor was primarily malty infused with both the sweet and tart qualities of cherries. The smell foreshadowed a beer I figured would go down pretty smoothly.

The first sip, upon entry, had a quality unlike any beer I had tried prior. It was cool and crisp, reminding me of the initial sensation from biting into a pear. However, significant carbonation gave it a fizzy quality that tingled in my mouth. A mild alcohol presence followed, and the finish had a strong malty characteristic with the mildest hint of sweetness.

The second sip was a bit different. This time, it was less crisp going in, instead bringing forth a stronger alcohol presence that burned momentarily. The finish, once again, was a heavy dose of malt. My bitterness and sweetness sensors were stimulated at an almost imperceptible level.

At this point, I felt that this beer pretty well set the bar for "average" tasting beer - not bad, but boring.

A third sip and my taste rating bumped up from 3 to 3.5 as the cherry sweetness became slightly more pronounced. This beer was still anything but complex, but at least it had a little more going for it than malt.

The remainder of the brew was consistent with my third sip experience.

One of these days, I hope to have an opportunity to test the Bum's insight and try this and some other brews on cask, but unless and until I find the means to visit the UK, I'm stuck with judging this brew as it's presented in the bottle.

There's nothing particularly wrong with this beer. It's relatively smooth, not too heavy on the alcohol, clean aftertaste...but aside from a hint of sweetness, I found it to be pretty dull and repetitive. All in all, a sessionable but more or less forgettable beverage.

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Photo of InDreams
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a 500mL of this as an early X-Mas present from a friend...

A: Poured into a big mug, very, very dark brown, with mahogany around the edges. Off-white head, finger thick, nice lacing on the sides. Head sticks around for a bit then mellows down to a thin crown.

S: Woah. First impression; sweet as sugar! Very malty, like roasted malts, toffee-like, might also compare to dates. Dark fruit. Hints of yeast, and while I might say it's a bit earthy, I wouldn't say it's from the hops. Probably more of an oak-barrel thing. The sweetness is dominant though, brown sugar perhaps the cause there.

T: Nice and smooth, overwhelming roasted malty sweetness. Brown sugar, dark fruits again...with a definite toffee-like character. I just don't get anything hoppy from it, as opposed to what others have said. Very clean and straightforward, I find. Really pleasant too.

M: Medium bodied and oh-so-smooth. Not much of a bite from carbonation or hops.

D: It's so pleasant and smooth, you can't really turn it down.

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Monkey Wrench Strong Ale from Daleside Brewery
3.83 out of 5 based on 69 ratings.
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