Monkey Wrench Strong Ale | Daleside Brewery

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85
very good
69 Ratings
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Monkey Wrench Strong AleMonkey Wrench Strong Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Daleside Brewery
England, United Kingdom
dalesidebrewery.co.uk

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
69
Reviews:
59
Avg:
3.83
pDev:
6.79%
 
 
Wants:
2
Gots:
1
For Trade:
0
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Ratings: 69 |  Reviews: 59
Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another English brew that is predictable to the point of frustration. For an English Strong, I was expecting something more challenging, complex, and characterful. It turns out to taste just like a thousand other English brews that I over paid for. An undescript malitiness comes through in the nose and flavor with a standard caramel, toffee, toasty, nutty flavor. Characters are more of unfermented wort than of a complex brew. Grass English hops used majorily for bittering, minorily for flavors. Finishes thick and worty. Sweet throughout. Seems like I write this same review for all of these expensive English brews.

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

This ale pours with a thick white head and minute bubbles. A deep mahogany hue with pleasant ale yeast odor.The taste of oak and roasted malt dominate. An almost walnutty dry mouthfeel with a sweet crisp finish result in the quaffable qualities and favorable finish.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
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?

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Photo of wl0307
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought at the UTOBEER stall, Borough Market, S. London. The bottle says the cask-version of this beer is the "Strong Ale Class Winner" in the Winter Beer of Britain Competition 1998. BB DEC 06, served cool in a straight imperial-pint glass.

A: dark ruby to russet in colour; fluffy and foamy beige head slowly retreats to a thin cap, on top of moderate carbonation with sporadic streams of med.-sized bubbles.
S: caramely, toffee-ish, sweet-nutty and mildly cocoa-ish malts mingle very well with a firm flow of sweet citric aromatic hops and a touch of date-like dried stone-fruits, while a touch of hop resins lingers in the background. Not too complex, but different elements of aroma are bound very well together. Pleasant!
T: a flow of semi-sweet caramely malts prevails, followed by plenty of raisins, aromatic dried fruits, and semi-sweet nutty aftertaste, almost like fruit-cake with drops of nutty syrup; a touch of treacles and sweet roasty tinge of dark malts (as in Dark Mild) quietly hovers in the finish, where the hops make a come-back and impart a slightly chewy, tea-leafy, mildly bitter edge.
M&D: the mouthfeel is quite spritzy, not smooth enough to seamlessly match the rather soothing, rich yet balanced flavour profile, though it softens a little as the carbonation evaporates. Overall this is a malty as well as fruity Strong Bitter; with its nice flavour that's shown by this presumably inferior interpretation of the ale, I'm sure the cask version would be absolutely a hit for Autumn!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
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!!

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Photo of TheLiterati
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.

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Photo of Zorro
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.

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Photo of ybnorml
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.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Started to pour it slow as always but this needed some aggression to get what I was looking for out of the head. Once it settles in the head fades and leaves occassional ring lacing. Dark Amber to brown in color, carbonation sticks to the sides of the glass and slowly rolls up.

First impression was that this is a mild offering in all aspects but never the less very tasty in the end. I was surpised and happy to taste and smell a laid back but tasty hop presence that actually balances out an otherwise bready, cocoa powder type malted brew. Easy mouthfeel cleans up well enough. Hell I think I could session this bitch.

Notes: tasty enough to keep it interesting. The more I gobbled this fine product the more I was planning my next trip to Wally's in Westwood for more from Daleside.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
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.

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Photo of WesWes
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.

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Photo of jdhilt
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.

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Photo of ADR
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.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
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.

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

7 December 2005, Best Before Nov 05

Dark brown clear colour with a small frothy head and minimal lacing. Aroma is of chocolatey malt and raisins. Roasted chocolate taste and a little bitter. Exceptionally smooth mouthfeel, very pleasant, almost velvety and low carbonation. Overall rather easy to drink.

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Photo of lackenhauser
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.

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Photo of oberon
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.

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Photo of jarmby1711
3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear Ruby/brown with no bead and a grey tinged head.
The smell was a bit off putting , being like wet leather being dried by an open fire but with a sweet/caramel background.
The taste was predominated by alcohol but also malty and raspberry flavours were there Hops were noticably absent
Mouthfeel was soft and watery but overall enjoyable.
Overall the alcohol was too over riding but as an occassional beer quite ok
Maybe eat a strong fish dish with it

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Photo of rastaman
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.

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