Bitter Monk | Anchorage Brewing Company

Bitter MonkBitter Monk
BA SCORE
4.32/5
1,029 Ratings
Bitter MonkBitter Monk
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company
Alaska, United States
anchoragebrewingcompany.com

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Belgian style double IPA with Brettanomyces. this ale is aged in french oak chardonnay barrels. Brewed with Apollo, Citra, and Simcoe hops. Dry hopped in the barrel with Citra hops. Triple fermented- First in the tank with a Belgian yeast, second in french oak chardonnay barrels with brett, and finally in the bottle with a third yeast for natural carbonation.

100 IBU

Added by sprucetip on 08-26-2011

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#507
Reviews:
272
Ratings:
1,029
pDev:
9.49%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
420
Gots:
133
Trade:
8
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,029 |  Reviews: 272
Photo of mythaeus
4.75/5  rDev +10%

Photo of eulerthegrape
4.75/5  rDev +10%

Photo of Kennethzelljr
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Incredibly attractive,Pours a beautiful bright but hazy gold,nice frothy bright white head lacing around the rim.picking up hints of pink lemonade,lemongrass,and mixed berries.all of this hides a massive hop character in the taste.a very big dankish,citrus like hop flavor with glorious natural undertones from the barrel aging process.this beer is pretty damn sweet.i could go on and brag,def buy a bottle it's worth it.another successful batch from anchorage thank you for your dedication

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Photo of falc0n2600
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow! Wow wow wow. I had never had an Anchorage beer before but had heard good things, but this beer impressed the hell out of me. I'm a fan of brett and this beer, a Belgian IPA with brett, is definitely dominated by the funkiness. It's missing the harsh, leathery aspects of a lot of other brett beers and is instead light and fluffy. The color is amazing, bright and straw-colored. So unbelievably tasty, with rich citrus flavors, a bit of oakiness, but mostly that brett. Even at $15/bottle I would gladly have as many as I could drink.

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Photo of n2185
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a slightly hazy yellow-gold with two fingers of white head that fades into a nice cap with decent lacing.

S: Sour candy--like lemon drops--hit first with pineapple and orange citrus notes following. Belgian spices, sweet hay, Chardonnay, and a bit of barnyard mustiness come through as well. Smells amazing.

T: There's a lot going on here--tart and sour fruit, musty and funky barnyard flavors, resinous pine hop notes, Belgian spices, grapefruit and citrus rind, Chardonnay, and a moderately bitter and lightly boozy finish.

M: Body is on the lighter side of moderate with lowish carbonation, this beer avoids being watery and has a slick feel--quite drinkable.

O: A damn good beer, overall. So much going on in this beer and it all works well together. I might like a little more carbonation and a little less bitterness, but those are nitpicks.

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Photo of ppohio
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch #2, June 2012. Had this beer in the fridge since June, so a little over a year of age on it.

The beer pours just cloudy with a white fluffy head. Aroma has citrus, lemon, and floral funk from the brett. Despite being a year old there is a significant and wonderful hop bitterness to the beer, and the brett has built up with age. The alcohol is balanced by present. There is a lot of carbonation in the form of aggressive, tiny bubbles, but that didn't bother me in terms of drinkability. Medium body that is never syrupy which can be an issue in double IPAs. Flavor has orange and lemon peel, spices (couldn't mistake this for anything but a belgian beer), brett yeast, and still a bit of pine/resin. It is quite dry, and absolutely delicious. There is a ton to work through in both aroma and flavor of this beer, but unfortunately it tastes so damn good that you'll be hard pressed to take your time.

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Photo of kkipple
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From Green's on Piney Grove, that bane of my wallet. Shared with no one, and poured into a big Tripel Karmeliet glass one autumn night just after another birthday. Bottle has a wealth of information and reads: Batch #, July/2011. The cork releases with a very loud pop. Here we go.

A. Dusty pale gold, a fine finger tall white foam which never falters over an hour of drinking. Minor lace - but the eternal head is impressive and quite worth nothing.

S. Good heavens. Very Allagash Little Big Beer. Massive pungent tart-ester sharpness, acidic, loads of bitter green hops, Brett, pineapple-citrus, a hint-o-funk, lemongrass, lactic, hot alcohol, unripe apple, Citra hops, phenolic, (if you want to get boring)... and the Chardonnay...!!! Ultimately a tad more hop forward, but this works together extremely well. Aggressive, complex, balanced, unusual, fun. Top marks. Memorable.

T. Woah... this is a BIG DEAL. Think of a super amped up & drier Raging Bitch, but with a better, less distracting and more Belgian hop profile. Never mind the Citra, this just works. Meanwhile, the Chardonnay / oak combo is doing yeoman's work on my tastebuds and the Brett adds more complexity to an already stunningly ambitious brew. Lots of grapefruit, but always in context. There is very strong white wine flavor here, which absolutely works for me, and the dryness of the beer is pronounced even more by the highly bitter (but NOT medicinal or abrasive) hop presence. This is a superbly crafted beer that never goes too loud on one channel, although if you don't like lots of lingering bitterness and white wine this will probably not be your thing. It is mine.

M / O. Frankly the mouthfeel is dead on. Perfect, soft carbonation aids a dry, wine-heavy beer that has an everlasting finish of rolling leafy hop bitters and dry oak, with that sour, fun Brettanomyces and wine combination that I am just loving. You know there is booze here, but with something this delicious, who cares?

Bitter Monk is admittedly an odd beer, but if the stars align and you like:

Belgian IPAs
Big, bitter DIPAs with American Hops
Complex, sour beer (Jolly Pumpkin, Fantome)
Oak and White Wine

Then you will be transported to the Seventh Heaven of Beer. At some level, this stuff becomes very subjective.

Let me wrap up. My fascination with this beer stems from the fact that I know this sort of triple-fermented, barrel aged, funk-ified beer is extremely hard to get right and in balance, but frankly, Anchorage has just nailed it here. This is a beer that swings for the fences and connects with a Grand Slam. Know what you are getting into before laying down your $15 bucks, but if you can dig it, you will dig it deep.

Bottom line: One of the best new beers I've had in 2011, and instantly makes me want to buy more Anchorage beer.

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Photo of oceanman907
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured into by Deschutes Tulip, Brewed May 2013

Well I have had the Bitter Monk Before many a time but I am finally reviewing it since I just polished off a bottle and man is it as good as I remember. I like my DIPAs to be a bighter color than the typical burnt orange/ haziness of many and this beer has a beautiful sunshine yellow/ brassy hue w/ ridiculous head retention (I'm talking over an hour and there was still a rim on my friends glass). But the smell of this beer is truly heavenly for a hop head, it starts out with that brett sour apple turning into barnyard scent which is then replaced by grapefruit, passion fruit, mango, hop phenols and finishes with a hit of oaky leather. The taste is just as good brett flavors are forward with a center of this beer is pure hoppy goodness, with a lingering barrel finish that is very very dry. This dryness was amazing for the taste but did hurt the feel of the beer slightly and it could have been more carbonated (the top did fly off though...) all in all hard to find fault with this one a great beer that really is proud to represent the style of Belgian IPA, god Gabe is good....

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Photo of pixieskid
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

IMO Anchorage Brewing Company is off to a killer start, this thing is incredible. I wish I could say it was totally original but it is rather reminiscent of Mikkeller's Nelson Sauvignon...either way, well executed and very enjoyable!

Pours an orange hue with a solid 3 finger head. Dissipates slowly leaving a a small white head throughout the whole tasting.
Nose; woah! Tropical fruits; starfruit and mango, desert white wine, and a lingering citrus hop note.
Taste; pineapple, grapefruit, chardonay, oak, brett. This beer smells and tastes exactly as it is depicted on the bottle. Finishes with a dry mouthfeel and earthy/brettiness, balanced bitterness for the stated 100ibus.

Overall; I love this beer and at about half the price of Nelson Sauvignon (stateside, at least) this is a perfect concept beer that blends intense hoppiness and white wine tartness.

Congrats to Gabe Fletcher on his newest endeavor; so far so good...gonna go out and buy a bottle of Love Buzz this week!

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

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Photo of flannelman808
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Update-Great not epic-
This is loosing much of the citra contribution as it's aging. What is left behind, while good, is more akin to a belgian strong golden and not a belgian/american dipa. Still complex, still quite good, but not the mammoth it is for the first month or so. But who knows, in a year maybe this Mother goes sour. boom goes the dynomite.
...but the first 1-2 months are the truth.

A: Pale murky orange colored brew, topped with a near true white head. Perfect sea foam lacing clings to a glass it should not be able to. Retention is quite good as well.

S: Oh my god. This smells amazing! Grapefruit and other citrus (tart tangerine) notes are very pronounced, Sour grapes and just a hint of oak follow. The nose suggest that this stuff could be sour.

T: This is BY FAR the best beer of it's style available today. A fruit salad of bitter citrus rinds blend into a spicy complex and astringent mix of flavors. The oak is present in a drying sense which is always a good thing. Flavors which just boarder on acidic accompany the lot in an a way which compliments everything else. The finish is extremely long (and remarkably bitter).

M: Long finishing sticky and carbonic.

O: I'm stunned by this beer. It is truly a beer to search for and an instant classic for me. I dare say I wouldn't mind aging a bottle for a year or more as well to see if that brett changes things things over time. Epic.

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Photo of Jerboat
4.71/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of caskstrength
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stumbled on to a few bottles of this. I didn't realize it's the work of the ex-Midnight Sun lead brewer until I looked it up here. I hear he did some good stuff there.

Pours light yellow, generous white carbonation, pretty cloudy. Looks good.

I'm still trying to figure out the smells. Lemon, grapefruit, funk, orange peels. Belgian yeast-like flavors subtly weaved into the above mentioned things.

Tastes even better. Quite complex. Bitter citrus, lemon, orange, hay, yeast, earth. Damn, this is crazy tasty. Each sip is different, so much going on. I can't figure this all out. Wine barrels, triple fermentation, brett additions. Seems it was worth the fuss.

Dry mouthfeel, bites with bitter, pithy things. Enough sweetness to balance.

Wow. It's fun to find a beer that takes you where you've never been.

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Photo of N1Nkasi
4.69/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of THoff94
4.68/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Fruity and sour. Almost tastes like a mix of sour and IPA.

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Photo of helmstreet
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a tulip glass.

Cloudy, light orange body topped by a thick, rocky white head that falls quickly. The citrusy hop aroma slips into piney, grassy farm notes where the line between Brett and hop blurs. The high carbonation makes it almost chewy. As it moves from lips to throat there's a great balance of malt and hops with lemony flavors becoming bready then slightly briney, leaving a dry aftertaste that's half sour half bitter. You can feel the oak in your jowls. This is a complex beer--simply wonderful.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Batch 2. From notes.

A: Pours a hazy golden-orange body. Despite a careful pour, the head rises to a vigorous 4 fingers in height in my tulip. It recedes slowly, leaving clumps of bubbles down the sides as it collapses into a thin collar.

S: Incredibly tropical, fruit-forward hop nose: pineapple, tangerine, lime, apricot, mango, white wine. This hits my sweet spot for noses; a nice twist is its small introduction of a hay-like brett presence. Thankfully, this is young and the brett hasn't really taken hold yet. I don't want it to; as an IPA alone, this is outstanding.

T: Bitter Monk has a beautiful fruit cornucopia. Pineapple dominates; I really love this flavor in beer, and to find it on the nose and taste is a real treat. I know some brett strains can enhance this flavor, so maybe it will persist with age. As noted before, I pick up tangerine, lime, apricot, mango, and white grapes. The bitterness is more pronounced than I like; the beer is pretty dry (a perception enhanced by its slightly tannic finish), so there isn't a lot to counteract the acridity.

M: Up front, there is a perceived sweetness -- I say perceived because the beer finishes dry and bitter (the latter being a bit of a drawback). It makes me wonder how the brett will evolve the beer; there can't be a lot of sugar for it to work with. Time will tell, I suppose. I'm certainly not bothering to age it. Good carbonation, no trace of the ABV.

O: I've been pretty underwhelmed by everything else that ABC has released so far, but this one blew me out of the water with the first batch. I bought 3 bottles of the second batch -- and I will continue to buy more of later ones. This is a winner (fresh, at least). I don't intend to age it.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy golden-orange color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down very slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of citrus and tropical fruit hops with some grapefruit, orange, and pineapple, with some Belgian yeast, Brett, funk, lemon, and some oak.

T - Starts off with lots of citrus and tropical hops with some strong grapefruit, pineapple, and orange flavor and some bitterness alongside some Belgian yeast esters coming through. Though the middle, some light pine comes through with stronger bitterness, oak, and some Brett funkiness. The finish is a mix of citrus and tropical hops, bitterness, oak, Belgian yeast, Brett, and some funk.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate-plus carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry, bitter, and funky finish.

D - Very drinkable. The combination of DIPA level of hops, Belgian yeast, Brett, and some oak aged barrel aging comes together to create a complex and very well balanced beer.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I was so happy to find a bottle of this recently - it's by far the trickiest seasonal release from Anchorage get around here, for whatever reason. Bottled in May 2013. Poured out of a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass - split three ways.

Pours a nice, vivid orange-amber combo of a color, with obvious cloudiness given the diverse yeast strains. It's bubbly at first, with thick carbonation that rises to the thickened, foamy bone-white head at the top, but it soon dissipates into nothing over the course of consumption. A pity - with the Belgian and Champagne yeast strains, I thought this would hold itself together a little bit more rigidly. Still, it's pretty appealing to look at, given the color.

My God, given the yeast and hop diversity, you could smell this thing as soon as we popped the cork open. Dipping my nose into the glass, I get a plethora of some of the finest flavors from American DIPAs, Belgian strong ales, and saisons that I've consumed over the past year. It's a culmination of world-class factors if I've ever witnessed one: passion fruit, guava, grapefruit, pears, and apples when it comes to fruit, followed by pine, marijuana, and violets on the herbal scope. The Brett and oak rounds out the flavors nicely, with notes of grape must, baking soda, tobacco, leather, wet hay, and some light, barnyard-esque dampness. Extremely complex.

The complexity continues in the aroma, but nothing really prepared me on how elegant and gently layered this beer - especially one this seemingly rustic and diverse - could be. Wonderful tropical fruits ranging from passion fruit to mangoes hit the palate, followed by grapefruit, pine, hemp seeds, sage, and floral textures. The bitterness from these esters is immediately cut by the Brett, which provides a leather, tobacco, and wet straw texture that is funky and flavorful. Afterwards, the oak spices and sweetness from the grape must, as well as the different yeast strains, round things up with notes pears, pineapple, tobacco, and baking soda. Finishes bready and yeasty, with a bit of spiciness and crispness. Keeps your mouth cleansed for the next sip. As far as this hybrid goes, this is a masterpiece.

It's definitely not cheap ($18-20), but it's absolutely worth every penny here. With everything I've written above, no final culmination should be necessary. This could easily become overrun by the Brett over time, so I'd recommend having this as fresh as possible. The diversity of flavor, as well as the multi-layered texture, is what makes this beer so damn refreshing and versatile. Beer and wine drinkers alike must try this when they can.

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Photo of mrand01
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque amber/orange with about 1/2" of thick white head. Decent retention with hardly any lacing.

S: Lemons, citrus fruits, a little funk. Hops are hardly in the nose here, but it smells amazing.

T: Whoa. This one starts out sour and zesty and takes a quick turn to the citrus hops. The oak from the chardonnay barrels really comes through, with the wine notes melding with the hops perfectly. Amazingly complex.

M: A little sticky, medium bodied with sharp carbonation.

O: This beer is ridiculously good. Who would have thought a sour IPA would be a good idea?

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Photo of daledeee
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A 750 ml bottle.

Poured into a chalice. Great bright yellow or gold with lots of bubbles. Nice white head and lacing.

Nose is yeast and citrus. Nice and fresh smelling but yet funky.

Taste...well taste treat. Plenty of grapefruit. I specially like the mix of grapefruit, brett and Belgian yeast. This beer is truly unique. The tastes are not overpowering and in your face like some IPA but the flavor lingers for some time on your palate. Mouth feel is beautifully crisp and clean. I would never guess this has 9%.

Truly a fine beer. I am sad they are only brewing this once. Everything I have had from these folks has been a taste treat. I can honestly say this brew is unique to anything else I have tried.

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at Beaumont Market in Portland, Oregon for $13. Taking my time, and pouring by parts into a Meyer's Duvel tulip, I managed to drink the whole 75cl bottle over the span of a couple hours. I didn't see this information in the other reviews so here's some bottle flash: "Ale brewed with Apollo, Citra, and Simcoe hops. Dry hopped in the barrel with Citra hops. TRIPLE FERMENTED - First in the tank with a belgian yeast, second in french oak chardonnay barrels with brett, and finally in the bottle with a third yeast for natural carbonation. Batch #1 July/2011"

A: Slightly hazy guava in the glass, huge rocky white head, lots of clumpy lacing. Are you not entertained?! About as appetizing as a beer can look. 5/5

S: Brighter citrus consisting of lemon and lime, some nice wood, Brett earth in full display, and a definite grapiness. I honestly didn't know that this was done in wine barrels before the pour, so I checked the label to see if Nelson Sauvin hops were used. Nope, French Oak Chardonnay. The wine is easily appreciated. 4/5

T: Out of left field this suddenly becomes quite the DIPA. The nose promised a complex beer but the taste is pungent and aggressive with the hops right out of the gate. Big citrus and deep bitterness truly define tongue numbing. Only after going back for a sip or two can the earthiness and spice really be singled out and only then by thinking about it. I've used the term grapefruit frequently in the past when describing IPA's, but this is the truest representation I've ever had of eating a segment of the fruit, membrane and all. Even the long tingly bitter finish is intact. I think it's best to consider the taste as the sum of it's parts rather than individual components. The hops lend the great bitterness and citrus, the brett gives a true earthiness that can only be found in pith, the wine barrels further enhance the organic nature of raw grapefruit. I say again, this is grapefruit in a glass. As simple as that sounds, this is remarkable and unique. 5/5

M: Full, astringent, quaffable, and bone dry. 5/5

O: A stunner of a beer. The second beer I've had from Anchorage and the second home run as well. The brewer's talent seems incredible. The grapefruit segment I described in the flavor could be a happy accident but that just seems too uncanny to be chance. This beer was designed to be that way and that just might be the most impressive thing about it. I don't like Belgian IPA's. It doesn't matter this time though because Bitter Monk is in a league of it's own. Find me a valid comparison. I don't believe it exists. 4.5/5

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Photo of cvm4
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a golden straw color with a lovely two finger eggshell head. The body is not translucent at all.

S - Very funky... Good amount of belgian yeast with a nice citrus aroma and the chardonnay barrels come out in full force.

T - Bitter, grapefruit, funk, belgian yeast with ever so tart dry white grapes in the end.

M - Medium bodied and high carbonation. Nice, crisp & dry finish.

O - A truly fantastic beer! Just wished the bottle was never ending.

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Photo of NickThePyro
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chrismattlin
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of bigfnjoe
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a corked & caged bottle into a Chimay goblet. Here goes nothin, sweetie....at $20 per bomber, this had better be amazing. Batch 1, July '11

A- pours a cloudy straw color with a one finger perfect white head that stays around for awhile. Looks great at least...

S- FUNK!!!! Tremendous aroma of horse blanket with a little sweetness from the hops. Wonderful

T- there's a freshness from the brett, with some mild funk....finish is mildly hoppy. The Belgian yeast is also present in the taste....it's very complex. Wonder how it would have tasted fresh...hops taste a little faded

M- medium bodied, maybe a little on the light side. Perfect

O- this is absolutely fantastic. Love love love this beer

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Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 1,029 ratings
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