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Bitter Monk | Anchorage Brewing Company

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264 Reviews
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company
Alaska, United States | website

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
Reviews:
264
Ratings:
1,001
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
18.89%
 
 
Wants:
413
Gots:
129
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 264 | Ratings: 1,001
Photo of cavedave
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Live review

A four finger foam factory finally deflates and remains a thick cap atop a very cloudy, dark straw colored beer.

Smell is a strong aroma of lemon and funk, neutral sweet, hints of citrus pith, floral, and even a bit of pine. Exceptionally alluring.

OMG this is one strong flavored, in your face blast of funkitude and hopaliciousness. It starts with a bitch slap of lemon and hormonal essence, barnyard, gains momentum with some righteous bitter, hits stride with piny resinous goodness, lets some sweet join the fun, and bitter citrus to emerge, and ends with brett, pine, and herbal bitter scraping furrows in my palate. Complex, exotic, and staggeringly delicious.

Bright carb. powers the flavors here, and it's highly viscous, though well attenuated (thank you Mr. Brett), with a finish that is magnificent and clean.

Super Friends set a high mark to equal for Brett IPA's, but Bitter Monk is another candidate for the IPA Hall Of Fame. If you see this, get it, you will enjoy it for sure.

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Photo of peacebone116
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my brother-in-law, babyismycat, for this clever Christmas present. Poured from a 750mL bottle into a tulip on 2/3/2012.

A: Hazy light straw color with carbonation rising from the bottom to the top. A thick and fluffy off-white head sits atop, backing off slowly to leave beautiful strands of Belgian lace at the sides of the glass.

N: Notes of Belgian yeast esters, a bit of horse-sweat, green apples, and faint citrusy hops show through in a very complex aroma.

T/M: The flavor of this beer is just as complex as the aroma--the hops really show forth more in the flavor as light and lemony, but the there is a gentle tartness on the finish that does not linger. There are also hints of Belgian yeast esters and a nice balance of pale malt flavor. There really is so much going on with this beer that it is truly difficult to point out everything. The finish is dry, quick, and clean. The body is fairly light and refreshing with a nice prickle of carbonation.

Overall I am quite impressed with this offering. Very complex and delicious. It really blends several of styles together to achieve a very pleasant result with all of my favorite characteristics in one beer. Glad I still have one bottle left, but I am not sure how long I will want to let that one age.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a New Belgium beer glass from a 750 ml bottle. At the time of this review, this is the #17 beer on the "Top Beers - New" list on beeradvocate.com and the #4 Top Belgian IPA on the best of styles lists, it deserves it, the only barrel aged IPA I've had that I find palatable.

Beer is amber / dark yellow with a mild haze, nice white head, good retention, nice lacing, moderate to high carbonation.

Aroma is funky and citrusy from the hops, some oak sneaks through, the Brett is really pronounced in this beer.

Beer is medium to light in body and has this great midpalate arrangement of hops and yeast character, mild funk, some oak on the back, moderately dry finish, a great beer overall.

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Photo of Meyers1023
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy golden color with just over a fingers worth of foamy white head. The smell is funk mixed with citrus and a hint of barrel. The taste follows suit and the name as you get a bitter, funky flavor upfront followed by citrus fruit at the end. You get subtle grape and malt flavors as you drink more of the beer. The feel is very much like a wine, medium bodied and very well carbonated. This is a very good Belgian IPA with an American twist.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #3, May 2013. From the description on the bottle, it appears that this beer no longer uses Simcoe hops- just Citra and Apollo.

Cloiudy golden with a large white head. Head fades steadily, but not totally, leaving a decent white head that does not go away. A bit of lace.

Amazing smell. Lots of tart-cherry Brett scents, along with lots of bright fruits and citrus. Pineapple, orange, green grape and more. Also a nice oak scent. Divine!

Taste is not as incredible as the nose (how could it be?), but is very nice. The Brett is strong, providing cherry and a lot of dry funk. The oak is also strong, particularly on the finish. The hops provide a nice range of fruit flavours, with the Citra standing out: pineapple, grapefruit and tangerine. There is a noticeable wine flavour from the Chardonnay barrels. The Belgian yeast is there, but is not dominant for me- the Brett overtakes it. Finish is quite bitter and dry.

Full bodied, moderate carbobation. Astringent, seriously dries the mouth.

Overall, terrific. The mixture of Brett and Citra is lovely. I find the Belgian aspect of the beer to not be a focus- comes across more like a Bretty American IPA, because the Citra is so much stronger than the Belgian yeast. Whatever you call it, it is delicious, and one of the best smelling beers I have ever encountered.

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Photo of mothman
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Batch 3 May 2015

Lots of Brett and funk. Earthy. Big fruity flavors. Grapefruit and orange. Has a wine barrel like flavor to it.

Bitter and sticky.

Easy drinking but complex. Very enjoyable for a Belgian IPA. Well done.

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Photo of LAp
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy straw yellow with almost no head (the second glass poured a 1/2 finger foamy white head that receded at a glacial pace and left almost no lacing). Nose is dank hops, with elements of both savory hop cones and pine. The funk and Belgian yeast are present but extremely trace on the nose. The palate opens with the wonderfully-crafted, dank, savory IPA promised by the nose. This gives way however to an almost lemony sourness. This lemongrass Brett element is surprisingly well-tamed for such a fickle strain of lactobacillus. The Belgian yeast element is almost nonexistent to my palate. My housemates trying the beer with me noted it more prominently, but for me, it was simply a lingering suggestion on the aftertaste of a most complex yeast base. The beer concludes with a champagne-like/dry-white-wine finish. A nod perhaps to the Chardonnay barrels in which it it kept. The mouthfeel is appropriately medium.

Overall, this is an astoundingly complex beer. At first blush, the mix of sour and hops tastes like a compromise, but as the glass continues, the full complexity of the palate comes through. Though I would perhaps brand this myself as a white-wine barrel aged sour DIPA (given the minimal Belgian influence noted by my palate), it is, nonetheless, an exceptionally well-crafted beer.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle from June 2012 poured into a tulip

The carbonation is easy to see no matter how you pour this beer. Hazy lemony/orangy beer with a huge foamy white head almost like bath soap. The head dissipates quickly but can be easily regained with a swirl.

The nose is intoxicating. First you get the Citra hops, then some funky Belgian yeast, and you can get some orange and spiciness like a Saison as well. It really makes you want to continue smelling, but it's time to drink.

Almost every taste is different. It is such a fun beer to drink, but better to share. It became tough to tackle the entire 750 mL because it is such a big beer. The 9% is well hidden but the strong flavors attack the palate. I think this drinks like a Citra DIPA vs a Saison. You absolutely get the Chardonnay as it warms. I get the hop punch on the front end but it fades into the orange/spice notes. I'm sure some of this has to do with the nearly year old bottle but it held up magnificently. This beer would be a great 3 yr vertical as it is bottle conditioned. Worth seeking out especially for a bottle share.

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Photo of Billolick
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Belgian style bomber, caged and corked, "Batch #1, July 2011". Very happy to find this fine brw at $16.99 @ Hudson Valley Bev, in Mahopac, NY

Open with an energenic "poof", pours cloudy, dull tangarine. Nice, sturdy, huge and near white head. Fluffy, puffy and very slow to rest, leaves a high collar and all sorts of high on the glass, sticky lace.

Bright nose of oranges, sour apple, green tea, limes, pepper, gin and some Belgian yeastyness. Gamey, musty, slightly sour note of the Brett also in play. Complex, flavorful and simply delicious brew. With the flavor of the sniff, continuing onto the palate. Hoppy bite in the rear, but shining through forcefully as things reach the finish.

Wow, dense flavors, complex, heady stuff. Love the style and this is one of the more intense and most well crafted versions. Get some stinky cheese, peppery salads, spicy thai food or whatever you like to eat and enjoy every sip of this one!

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Photo of cfrances33
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Hazy deep orange, with some pink hues mixed in. Nice three finger off white, fluffy, and soapy head. Super sticky, and leaves frothy lacing, and the head sticks around.

Smell: Pink lemonade first. Umm… wut? WOW. Next comes a nice bretty funk, followed by a nice lemon zest. Some bready yeast and a light spiciness, but the chard barrel really owns the nose.

Taste: Amazing! More pink lemonade up front, followed by a clean oak barrels. A nice brett funk sets in, a long with some hay and a light pear tartness. Some spicy red peppercorn comes along next, and I get more traces of the chard barrels. Finishes with clean peppercorn, pink lemonade, and brett.

Mouthfeel: Like LoveBuzz, this is heavier than one might expect. Super juicy, with such a huge taste, it has to be sipped. All the while, this beer maintains a nice refreshing drinkability. A light tartness, but only just.

Overall: Another winner from Anchorage… this brewery now has my full attention after this and LoveBuzz.

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Photo of bfields4
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy straw yellow. Nice lively frothy white head.

Various citrus aromas are abundantly present. Lemony Belgian sour funk bit of hoppy grapefruit. A little sugary candy tartness too.

Tart to begin with starts off with the Belgian influence. Melds nicely into that sweet ipa style citrus bite. Pineapple, grapefruit and pear. As the beer progresses I get more of that Belgian candi sugar brett backing lurking around. The chardonnay barrels add a nice touch incorporating a little bit more of the white wine effects and finishes fairly dry and crisp I'm assuming with the help of that.

Beer starts off with great flavor and complexity comes on nicely as you delve deeper into its flavors. Good crisp body. Boozy, but not in your face with it. I know a lot of folks don't like this style, but I see some real opportunity here with this guy, Cali-Belgique, and Urthely Hop-It being three of my favorite beers and so vastly different within the same subcategory.

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Photo of Florida9
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear golden yellow. Forms about an inch or so of bright white head that slowly reduces to a thick and bubbly surface coating. Some very nice lacing.

S: Aromatic and complex. Smells rather vinous, grapey, and reminiscent of white wine. Not necessary Chardonnay, but certainly the white wine is apparent. Green apple, a slight bit of citrus, and a little herbal hops.

T & M: Wow...Incredibly complex with waves of delicate flavor. Again, there is a vinous quality to it, almost Saison-like. Mildly sweet. White wine, herbal, "green," basil, then turns slightly bitter and begins to dry. A little oak. Finishes acidic and crisp with notes of green apple, pear, and some more mild citrus. Body is on the lighter side. Carbonation is appropriate.

O: A very good beer with incredible complexity and depth. Hops aren't entirely gone, but could only imagine what some fresh hop character would add to this beer. Hopefully, we will all see this one again one day.

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Photo of fdig23
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Beer Heaven in Philly

Appearance: Glowing cloudy golden orange with a perfect thin white head

Nose: Grapefruit jumps out of the glass followed by some caramel and farmyard undertones. Candied oranges and toasted bread are present as well.

Taste: Grapefruit juice flavor is up front followed by toasty bread, peaches, funky rotten apples, and a creamy vanilla note. Finishes with butterscotch oak and astringency like eating fresh grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Very full and creamy, maybe a bit too much so.

Overall: Extremely delicious, drinkable, original, and unusual brew. Grapefruit forward hops, brett, and Chardonnay oak is a weird and wonderful combination. Definitely makes me want to try more from Anchorage.

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Photo of Verecund
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened on September 29, 2011. Was pleased to see that this hit a local shop - in good quantities - because Anchorage Brewing Company starting up was one of the things I was most looking forward to in the beer world for 2011.

Pours a slightly hazy bright gold with a substantial head of four fingers. Very pillowy, with large bubbles clinging to the side of the glass. Okay lacing.

White wine vinousness, prominent citrus (lemon, lime) notes, brett c., faintly earthy and woody. Very clean and appetizing. There's just a hint of sweet and bitter grapefruit in the background, reminding me that this is a Belgian IPA.

Pithy citrus and grapefruit bitterness washes over my palate. (Where was this hiding on the nose?) The lemon-lime sourness takes a backseat, but it's there, especially on the front of the palate, if you're looking for it. The brett has already dried this out, so the mid-to-late-palate really shines, screaming [pithy] grapefruit that transitions to a more citrus profile on the finish.

Medium bodied, medium-high carbonation. Some warming heat. Fairly dry, though there's a tiny bit of sweetness on the front palate.

This is a fantastic Belgian IPA. I still can't believe the contrast between the nose and taste, but both deliver in their own ways. I anticipate good things from this brewery. While I'm curious how the brett will treat Bitter Monk, I would drink now to experience the bright citrus/grapefruit bitterness.

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Photo of patpbr
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy orange with a nice foamy head.
S - Tropical fruit, juicy grapefruit and lemon. Funk with a hint of bubblegum
T - First taste is like the noise. Great mix of citrus, pineapple, mango, and grapefruit. Notice the pepper and a nice hint of yeast and sour character. Bitterness is blended with a wonderful mix of flavors.
M - Medium body, the finish is on the dry side but finishes well, easy to drink.
O - I have only tried a few Belgian IPAs and this by far is a great one.

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Photo of jbweld
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada tulip.

This beer poured a hazy straw color (a little light for an IPA) with a two finger head and perfect lacing. The nose, right off the bat reminded me of fantome or even a geuze. The taste is an explosion of bitter, citrusy, oaky, yeasty, tart, vinous flavors. Very complex! The mouthfeel is a combination of the sharp bitterness that you would expect from an IPA with the chalky dryness of a good saison.

Overall an excellent brew! I will definitely keep and eye out for Anchorage Brewing Company's beers.

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Photo of ovaltine
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: cloudy, golden-hued beer with 2+ fingers of white head. Gorgeous.

Smell: Brett right up front and in your face, oak, esters, and citrusy hops.

Taste: Brett again, but the Citra hops really come through as this warms. The oak/Chardonnay dries it out and reduces any alcohol heat in this 9% ABV beverage to nearly unnoticeable levels.

Feel: bubbly Brett effervescence with the dryness of the Chardonnay. Outstanding.

Overall: I've had this for a month+, but couldn't hold out any longer. There's a reason this a Top 250 beer - it's truly world class.

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Photo of zookerman182
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a clear hello with a finger white fizzy head.
Aroma is pear and pineapple, amazing.
Flavor is strawberry banana, and its unbelievable.
It's pretty much warmed up and it's super complex.
Even some faint funk to it.
If is beer was close by I'd get it all the time.
Mouthfeel is dry but the flavor is mind blowing.
This beer impressed me, and I had moderate expectations.
Hope I get to taste it again.

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Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a red cup, looked dark orange on the way in with plenty of resulting creamy foam. Plenty of lace and lasting retention.

Tropical fruit melange in the aroma, hard to pin down any one fruit. Woody with slight hints of white wine. Really well melded, though aroma is more mellow than the taste.

Grapefruit, melon, papaya, bitter greenery, dry woody aftertaste.
Supple feel, juicy and medium bodied, very fruit forward. Resiny bitter aftertaste, complex and unique. A slight Brett presence, but it's in the background. Very tasty, highly recommended.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, opaque orange/yellow. Bright white head, nice sporadic lace. BIG funk! It's almost tart, but tows the line beautifully. Some citrus, but the hops can't overpower the funk. The taste is where it's at though. Big funk still, BUT, it's wonderfully bitter, with plenty of citrus, bordering on tart...towing the line yet again. Getting some subtle oak and dry wine notes. Crisp, almost effervescent carbonation. Crisper than it technically should be, but it works. Their Love Buzz Saison wasn't this crisp, but I wish it were!

Damn. I've been infected with Brett...and I like it. I still hate sours, but Brett beers are quickly becoming a thing of beauty to me. This Bretted IPA is blissful.

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Photo of Mahlik
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into a tulip glass

A – Hazy golden straw color, Thick foamy head with good lacing, the head subsides slowly leaving a bunch of lacing behind

S – Funk from the Brett, citrusy hops and tropical fruits, and some sweet malts mixed in the background. The aroma is not very strong.

T – I enjoy the taste more than aroma. Very complex. Sour funk from the Brett up front. Lots of tropical fruits and citrusy hops in the middle. I also can sort of pick out some the oak and Chardonnay. It finishes with the bitterness from the hops and the funkiness from the yeast. It all blends in very well.

M – A perfect amount of carbonation, quite crisp and effervescent, medium to light bodied, very smooth and drinkable, almost no hints of the alcohol, a bit of a dry finish.

O – An amazing beer. A great hybrid of styles that works to almost perfection. Would definitely enjoy this beer again. It makes me want to seek out more Anchorage beers. The bottle is pretty amazing looking too.

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Photo of LiquidPoem
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #2/June 2012

Pours with a nice head, lots of lacing, creamy, dissipated slowly. The smell is amazing; strong hop aromas blended with grapefruit and a funky cheese smell. Sips like a fizzy bready hop juice. Even though this was brewed in June it still has a lot of the citra character left. The belgian yeasts and brett work well together creating a sour pie effect. 100 IBUs, a real pucker-upper. Outstanding beer, well worthy of picking up. One of my favorite Alaskan breweries.

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Photo of haazer
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle picked up from Blue Dog.

A- Heavy pour produces a thick bubbly white head. Heavily carbonated brew, bubbles all over the sides of the glass. Nice golden orange color, somewhat turbid. The head becomes rocky and leaves sticky patches of lacing all over the glass. Great looking drink.

S- The brett is great here. Very funky, leather, and musty basement and some fruits. sour apple, pear, and some sour notes. Theres a faint hint of citrus, but its faded. A bit of earthiness too.

T- The barrel used here has a heavy influence on this beer. Loads of white wine notes, blended together with funky brett. Transitions nicely into some citrus flavors. The hops are all but faded at this point, but it still works. I love this beer.

M- Superb. Medium bodied beer with high lively carbonation, yet ever so smooth going down. Alchohol is very subdued. Very crisp and slightly dry finish.

O- I really badmouth this style, but this beer outdoes the others tenfold. I would love to try this fresh, but no gaurantee being imported from Alaska I suppose. Even so this beer was incredible. The hops were pretty much gone but it didn't matter. Theres enough going on in this beer to make it great. Nothing clashes either. Very well done.

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Photo of tmzl
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours with huge, puffy, off-white (light yellow hue), medium sized bubbles head. It has a relatively messy, sticky, big bubble breakdown retention. Leaves a solid, thick but sticky top layer that goes down with lots of random lacing. Cloudy, dark yellow and a bit of orange hue.

Smell: Could smell some white wine-ish character on the cork. Very gueuze-like ripe lemon, grapefruit sour, fresh and makes everything lighter. Its a big one. Goes from mango, passion fruit, peach, light strawberries to pineapple, brett and hops did a number on this one. Also very pleasant funk, light leathery. Bit of caramel hidden beneath. It's very rich, fresh and deceiving, doesn't hint anything about the 100 IBU, 9 ABV beast hidden in the glass.

Taste: The transition is quite dramatic. Starts with light but well represented citric sour, goes to light-medium smooth caramel, propolis/molasses backbone past pineapple and other tropical notes (a lot weaker than in the smell) to a small, sharp spike of grape stems bitterness but the gentle funk caresses it fast. Ends with medium bitterness, dandelion, bit of medicinal and light sour, which stay strong for quite some time. In the after some wood oak creeps out.

Mouthfeel: Full light heavy body; suiting carbonation, lifts it up. Light alcohol spice but interestingly goes away when it warms up. Also very dry.

Overall: It was a big one, rich, fresh, demanding but still smooth and well roundup. As crazy and tiresome (lambics anyone?) the preparation of this beer looks, it has done it good.

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Photo of VikingBeer
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bomber. Thanks Nordbier!

Beautiful pour; very little more to say. Smell is heavy on Brett and Chardonnay, with a big hit of tropical hop, grass, saffron, limes. The taste...holy hell. Laden with Brett, Chardonnay, and oak, naturally, but then the hops kick on. Mangoes, grapefruit, candied lime rind, bananas, hibiscus flowers, more limes, more tropical fruit, more Brett, more Chard. Finish is dry and funky, with a crap-ton of Brett, oak, Chardonnay, lime rind, mangoes, and star fruit. By far the best Belgian-style DIPA I've had. Delicious as hell.

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Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 264 ratings.
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