Bitter Monk | Anchorage Brewing Company

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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
Ratings:
1,024
Reviews:
270
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
9.68%
 
 
Wants:
420
Gots:
130
For Trade:
8
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,024 |  Reviews: 270
Photo of shand
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Alright. After trying a year-old Galaxy White IPA and now this four month old Bitter Monk, I'm glad to say that Anchorage are single-handedly providing a reason for that terrible mishmash of styles known as a "Belgian IPA" to exist. The flavor profile is nearly perfect, the Brett and the slight butteriness from the Chardonnay barrels do very interesting things with the heavy fruity hopping and oak. Lightly sour at first, some more influence from the hops quickly rushes in, with the yeast and oak providing a strong backbone for the finish. Much like the Galaxy White IPA, the mouthfeel is extremely dry because of the whole brett + lots of hops thing. An exceptional beer. Anchorage's Belgian IPAs are so good, they make everybody else trying the style look like amateurs. As good as the style gets.

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Photo of MrOH
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My wonderful GF bought this to celebrate her completing her first semester of grad school, and my getting promoted at work.

Hazy dark straw with HUGE creamy white head, excellent retention. Good lace that slides down the glass after a bit.

Pinepple, muskmelon, lychee, apricot, plum just loads of tropical and stone-fruit aromas. A slight piney note. Some burnt sugar. The brett contribution is small but noticeable. Katey says some chardonnay character is there.

BONE DRY. Huge dryness up front, then all of the tropical flavors come in. Oak pops up for a second, then a very bitter, slightly piney finish. Don't really get any brett personally, Katey says she gets a touch of sourness. As it warms, it softens a bit, and the bubblegum and stonefruit flavors from the primary yeast can come through. Brett funk is now noticeable, but still very subdued. Maybe an aged bottle would have more, although the hops would be gone by then. It's almost confusing to taste this.

Very light, high carbonation. Definitely suits the brew, but I would personally like a touch more body, not much, but I'm pretty sure this beer's gravity finished below 1.000.

Very intense. Definitely would never be a go-to of anything, but will definitely try to get another bottle or two to share with some folks who would "get it". Makes you have think about it as your drinking.

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Photo of Bubba83
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml into an Allagash tulip at around 45 degrees. Going to let this warm up a bit while I appreciate the aroma. Pours a nice sun color with tones of hazy peach towards the middle of the glass. A big and bright white head rests on top, looks very light and airy. Bubbles rise from the depths of the glass up to the top, keeping the head stable and everlasting. Very awesome lacing down the sides of the glass, it's a stunning looking beer.

The aroma reminds me a lot of Midnight Sun/Ballast Point's 3767. That shouldn't be a surprise since that's also a DIPA aged in French Oak with Brett, although that beer used Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. There's a very impressive depth in the aroma, the french oak is immediately apparent, lots of vanilla and other oak notes. The brett funk is here too, a lot of straw and hay along with some nice citrusy lemon and grapefruit from the hops.

The flavor reminds me a lot of 3767 as well, they seem very close in flavor profile. There's a little bit of light bready sweetness at first, but the brett is contributing a lot to the flavor afterwards. Huge funky barnyard flavors, under ripe green apple, slight ink, along with a dry and prolonged sour taste. At the swallow there's a good burst of bright citrus, mostly lemon and grapefruit. There's a little bit of that trademark french oak vanilla/butter underneath it all, which kind of rounds things out nicely. It's a beer that confuses the palate, and is interesting at every sip.

Digging the mouthfeel too. A nice medium body that feels oily and smooth in the mouth, but there's plenty of carbonation as well. It's fairly high in the carbonation department, but I like that in beers like this one. It definitely dries out the mouth a bit, it's ultra dry! I always like beers that do that, but your mileage may vary.

A very well made beer. There's something about this combination of belgian/brett yeasts and IPA that I enjoy when it's done right, and the french oak adds an interesting component that tends to bring everything together. I am really glad I found another beer like 3767 since I enjoyed that so much, however at $15.99 per 750ml I'm not sure how often I'd revisit this.

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Photo of DucksFan16
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Re-rate on 02/05/2016. Poured from a growler that was filled at the brewery about an hour prior. Served from a snifter glass. Almost perfect in every way. Absolutely outstanding DIPA, one of the best anywhere. My first time having this on tap.

Original rating years ago 4.5 (from bottle).

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Photo of Fireman_RK
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first brew from this brewery and a unique style to boot. I am not really sure what to expect but I an excited to try it.

A three finger off white head erupts atop the perfect golden orange straw colored body. Head fades to a swiss cheese like rocky foam. Fat waves of lace are left afterwards.

Nose is very cool tingle that is full of complexity in itself. Every thing plays here with all the flavors. Hints of crisp fruit, zesty hops, powdery sweetness and sour tannins all come through. This nose is very attractive.

With first sip this drinks much like a champagne, just not quite as carbonated. Crisp and fruity up front with a backbone of malt. It really dries out on the mouthfeel and turns to a wonderfully bitter consistency. A delicious brew that is a wonderful change of pace to almost anything else out there.

Super drinkable.

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Photo of UnknownKoger
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from cork and caged bottle into Bruery tulip. Color is golden yellow. Huge head! Dissipates fairly quickly into a nice foamy island with a ring around the glass.

Smell is absolutely fantastic. Hops and brett right in the nose. Some funky sweetness. This is mouthwatering.

Taste is really unique and pretty outstanding. There's the bitterness of the hops right upfront, but it's balanced extremely well by the brett and the oak aging. This is complex and delicious.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Very well carbonated and light and springy. This feels and tastes great.

Overall, this is a very exciting beer, and I would buy it again without a doubt.

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Photo of WhackoMillah93
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of notchucknorris
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy apricot color with a huge fluffy white head. Leaves loads of lacing down the glass. Looks pretty awesome.

S: Huge citrus hop aroma. Vanilla, lemon, grapefruit, nilla wafers, just a touch of Brett and some oak. Really complex and absolutely incredible.

T: A nice hit of Citra right away with some mango, white grape, and pink grapefruit. Some honey and caramel malts in the middle before a finish of peppery and earthy hops. Some oak and Chardonnay dry the finish a touch as well.

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Photo of sholland119
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to pick up a coupple of bottles of this in Las Vegas. It came and went from our area in a big hurry.

A-A hazy, almost muddy golden apricot with a huge frothy head and some good sticky lacing.

S-Huge citrus, peppery brett. What a terrific blend of aromas.

T-Really outstanding in all ways. Citrus bitterness throughout but mostly in front, brett notes in the middle and finish, and long grapefruit bitterness in the finish. Belgian yeast notes underpuin all the flavors.

M-Medium bodied, nicely dry.

O-Tremendous beer. I love this marriage of big hops, good brett and Belgian goodness.

HV

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited for this one.

A-Pours a hazy golden hue. Head is white and fluffy. Head retains perfectly. It leaves long serpents of lacing along the glass. Quite pretty. Body of the beer absolutely glows.

S-Goodness, what an aroma. Packed full of herbal, citrus and grassy hops. Quite a broad hop spectrum with plenty of exotic fruit. The hops are supplemented by a musty, dusty fog of Brett. Oh, how I love the Brett here. The Chardonnay barrel lends an obvious vinous quality and further intensifies the fruitiness. Just a beautiful aroma.

T-The flavor is amazing as well. The tropical hops begin the journey and then are immediately washed away by a bitter, coercive wave of grassy hops. The Brett follows the hops and lingers forever. They really melded the yeast and the hops with exquisite precision. The wine barrel sets in elegantly on the back end of the flavor resume. Just too many flavors to name…but I will try until it becomes annoying: pineapple, clementine, clove, stone fruit, hay, grass, apple, eucalyptus, white grape, and on it goes.

M-Where is that 9%? Goes down quite easily. High bitterness. Full bubbles. Very drinkable. I want to slowly sip and further dissect the flavors, but I can't help but gulp.

O/D-First I must say that I paired this with a cake of St. Marcellin cheese and it was absolutely awe inspiring. This is blatantly the best Belgian IPA I have had the pleasure of laying lip upon. The Chard barrels and the Brett infusion elevate this to a whole new level. Incredibly lucky to stumble upon this.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2. Pours a very hazy, golden color with a hint of orange. Medium white head that disappears quickly. Scent is WOW! Amazing aroma to this beer. Funky wild yeast with some tropical and citrus fruits. Nice pineapple with some orange and lovely hoppiness. The more I let my nose get familiar with this beer, the more french oak and chardonnay I get. Very complex. I could sniff this beer all day. Taste is initially tart with some white grapes and tart green apples. Some citrus and tropical fruit flavors...wow, just wow. A hint of butter. The hops, fruit, oak, and chardonnay flavors blend so well with a subtle funkiness that just makes me wonder how this beer will taste after the Brett works its magic over time. Gotta grab another bottle to sit on. So much complexities going on here. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, nice bite, yet slightly chewy. Drinkability is very high for almost 10%. Alcohol is present, but not very much so. Overall, this is just another great beer from a brewery I have grown very fond of over the last year. I have yet to find an Anchorage beer I didn't think was good.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I don’t know the release schedule for Anchorage, so it was a nice surprise when the local liquor store got a case of Bitter Monk. Cheers!

Bottled six months before the date of this tasting: Batch #3, May 2013.

A: Bright gold with a substantial amount of haze; the head – a gorgeous, silky white – sits at half-an-inch for minutes, leaving webs of lacing here and there.

S: Phenomenal; this nose is absolutely slathered in aromas of pure, juicy fruit, like you’re cutting into a fresh grapefruit. White grape and lemon support. The brett and barrel are wonderful in their own right, giving off an herbal, woody funk of lemongrass, wildflowers, and cedar sawdust.

T: Every sip of this beer shines with bright, brilliant flavor. Prominent in the front of the palate are tastes of tangerine, grapefruit, overripe berry, and a subdued sharpness of olive juice from the brett. Notes of barnyard straw, white pepper, white grape must, and grass finish it. Mildly dry aftertaste.

M: Velvety-smooth; perfectly carbonated with a light-to-medium body.

O: Incredible: one of the best brett beers I’ve ever had. When a beer’s this great, there’s nothing more to say but wow.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

Hazy straw/golden body with a huge four finger rocky head. Retention is awesome, and so is the lacing. A seriously amazing looking beer.

Smells of brett, dry and yeasty. Lots of fruity hoppiness. Pineapple and tangerine rind. Hints of oak and white wine too.

Tastes of oak, tannins, white wine, stone fruits, orange rind, tangerine rind, pineapple, grapefruit, some bretty funk, complex yeast notes. Pretty bitter and earthy finish. So layered and complex, it's ridiculous.

Full bodied, well carbonated, smooth texture with a nice carbonic bite on the end. Super dry as well.

I don't know what to say, I'm pretty blown away right now. One of the best beers I have tried this year and possibly ever. Ridiculously complex, super dry, just an amazing beer.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: into a tulip, deep gold body with a 2-finger head of ivory fluff that settles into a filmy lid with lace all down the sides; bubbles stream in lines from the bottom of the glass

S: earthy, herbal and grassy - some distant pale fruit - farmhouse-like, suggestive of fresh grains and wet hay

T: bitter and oaky chardonnay - musky and funky, yeasty breads and bitter hops; only slight sweetness from the malt, perhaps something like pale fruit sweetness for a moment, but the predominance is tart, bitter (both?) brett funk, marking and cleansing the palate simultaneously

M: medium-light body, amply carbonated; buttery-feeling, great aftertaste, very drinkable

O: great beer, lots of complexity and depth - this is, like, my 3rd beer from Anchorage, and these guys are making some great brews. Definite buy and try.

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Photo of brewtus
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours hazy orangish yellow with a nice two finger head
S- lots of Brett, citra, belgian yeast, lemon, grassy,
T- oh yeah, great citrusy hops, pine, belgian yeast, grassy earthiness, substantial Brett, you can really taste the Chardonnay barrel, some funk
M- very nice, not too much carbonation
O- this is really really great, lots of complex flavors, much smoother finish than you'd expect from a 100 ibu belgian beer. Really glad I got to try this one. Definitely the gold standard for the style.

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Photo of Jules11788
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a cloudy golden yellow color; fat 3 finger-width head, very sticky lacing. This beer looks super enticing

S: As soon as I poured this I could smell the delicious tart hoppiness exploding from the glass. Musty fruit tartness followed by a sweet floral/fruity hops in the back of the nose. Amazing

T: Super hoppy bitterness mixed with a creamy tartness, like a smooth buttery chardonnay with a hoppy backbone; the flavors expand nicely as they move down the tongue, finishes slightly dry with some more tartness and bitter hops. Absolutely delicious

M: Thick, yet somehow finishes light and dry; tingly and full-bodied with medium carbonation

O: This is a fantastic Belgian IPA, and one of the absolute best beers I've had in a while

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Photo of dubinsky
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of DarthGator
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of JohnG190
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy golden orange with an off-white head. Good retention and lacing. Lots of spicy yeast, citrus, pepper, grass, grape, oak, and lemon. Pepper and yeast hit the palate first, followed by faint hints of pine, lemon and apricot. The aftertaste is most interesting, grape, oak, lemon, green apple and notes of peach. Finishes dry and slightly bitter. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall, this is a fascinating beer. I have never had anything like Bitter Monk, but I will be seeking this out again soon!

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Photo of ChrisMon02
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Cloudy yellow color-nice fluffy head with little lacing.

Wow- a lot going on here. Brett, soft spicy yeast, Chardonnay, oak, fruity hops, grape flesh.

Taste follows the nose. So many deep, complex flavors. This shit is delicious.

Mouthfeel is soft medium-low carbonation. Moves easily over the tongue and down the throat.

I caught myself wailing away through my first glass of this. I then slowed down and thoroughly enjoyed the second glass experiencing all the different nuisances this beer offers. Very well made and blended. This just works and should be tried by anyone who enjoys this style. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bitter Monk's appearance is a hazy, pale amber hue. It's head begins as a fizzy soapy head but dissipates to a small ring sticking to the side of the glass. The aroma is nothing short of incredible and fascinating! The multi-layered hop scents, lemon, kiwi, and clove, all married to the brett/yeast earthy notes, wine-like characteristics, and a creamy hint to it make this one of the best smelling beers I have ever taken a whiff of. Taste - WOW! Not to be taken lightly this beer begins with the earthy brett, and quickly the piny hops jump in as well. The finish is pleasantly bitter with the flavor of the wine barrel revealing itself. The body and mouthfeel are not too overpowering, and it's got, I'd say a 7 on a scale of 1-10 in terms of alcohol heat. I am enjoying the warming sensations and pleasant buzz right away. Overall, the beer's a rare treat not to be missed. Top shelf- buy with confidence. I would also like to note that the beer was bottled in July 2011 and drank July 2012, with plenty of hop flavors very much present.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured out as a hazy golden color with a thick white head, the retention is clumpy. The lacing is sticky. The smell of the beer gets better as the beer warms up. There are aromas of lemon citrus and orange, some subtle oak and Brett on the nose. The taste of the beer is sweet with a slight tart bitterness with hints of honey in there. The mouthfeel is carbonated pretty well. Still very drinkable on the smoother side. Overall this is excellent. Really really good stuff.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew lives up to the billing: it is tremendously bitter, and heavily Belgianesque in character. Bitter Monk pours a surprisingly pale translucent golden hue, topped with a very healthy white cap of rocky froth. The nose is pungently bitter with notes of heavy grapefruit pith and elderflower being highly prominent. The bitter apple-pineapple flavor imparted by the brett pairs well with the hop addition, as they mimic one another's flavor in some ways. I keep thinking this is very much like Cantillon's Mamouche - or like an elderflower IPA. The pale malt base is evocative of the classic Orval or Duvel approach; there is no caramel to be found here. The mouthfeel is quite effervescent, and thereby bordering on prickly; though it is not offensive, I'd have preferred a softer feel. That said, in every way this is a challenging, ass-kicking type of beer, so the feel is in that vein as well. A very good example of the style; probably the best I've had.

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Photo of draheim
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle (batch 3, May 2013) into a tulip. Pours a slightly hazy orange/straw color w/ a big fluffy white head that leaves sticky chunks of lacing. Bright lively carbonation rises from the bottle of the glass.

Aroma is a big burst of tropical citrus, Belgian yeast, sour green apples, and a nice bretty funk.

Taste is a complex combination of juicy grapefruit and orange, Belgian yeast and brett, bitter hops, and pale malt. Just the slightest hint of Chardonnay gives it a vaguely vinous twist. 8% ABV is invisible.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, balanced, smooth. Really nice clean dry finish.

Overall this is a great marriage of Belgian and American brewing traditions. So far, my favorite beer by Anchorage. I don't love a lot of beers, but I love this one. I can't imagine anything that would make it much better.

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Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 1,024 ratings.
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