Bitter Monk | Anchorage Brewing Company

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Bitter MonkBitter Monk
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:
266
Ratings:
1,005
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
18.66%
 
 
Wants:
414
Gots:
128
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 266 | Ratings: 1,005
Photo of falc0n2600
4.74/5  rDev +9.2%
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 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 artoolemomo
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head that has pretty good retention. The head is a pure cotton white while the body is a hazy lemon yellow mixed with golden straw that is mostly lemon yellow when held up to the light. Some lacing is left behind. Very little lacing after a few drinks. Almost non-existent.

Nose- Tons of Brett, tons of funk, tons of straw. Moldy cheese, mushrooms, and grass. Tart apple, cherry and strawberry. A little bit of earthiness. The funk and the sour fruit combine perfectly. I feel like I'm back at Zwanze Day already.

Taste- The sour notes of the aroma flit around the edge of the tongue with not nearly as much tartness as is expressed on the aroma. Notes of oak appear while an overall funk tends to dominate the middle (stinky cheese, straw, mushrooms, and grass). The IPA notes are somewhat subtle- some wood, some resin, a little bit of citrus, but Brett is the star of this show. This beer is so well integrated and so complex that it is a little difficult for me to separate everything. Definite Belgian yeast with a good amount of spice, wood, and bitter notes but it's much more accessible than a lot of yeast that I come across. It tucks itself warmly inside the overall Brett and gives it some backbone. There is orange, lemon, grapefruit, and pear but these are bullied by the Brett. Bananas, clove, and cinnamon on the finish. However, anything I write about individual notes seem to be a disservice to this beer. It changes with every taste and offers something new with every single one. More pine and resin are starting to assert themselves on the finish while the tart esters are beginning to fade (at least, for the moment). Orange peel, lemon peel, coriander. This beer is a delight to drink. Beyond solid, this is a really good beer. I generally find Belgian IPAs to have some undesirable aspect to them but this has such integration that I'm not finding these faults.

Mouthfeel- Fairly light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The clean, dry finish is exquisite. Light notes of syrup to the texture.

Drinkability- Extremely easy going to the point that it compels you. Clean and crisp. 13 bucks for a 750 mL bottle is quite reasonable.

Overall- Very solid beer, almost great. Probably the best beer that I've had in this style. If you slapped an import label and told me it was from Belgium, I wouldn't have any reason not to believe you on taste alone. Great balance and a must try.

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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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Photo of dirtylou
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle

Ale Aslyum chalice - lot of great things involved here - citra hops, brett, french oak chardonnay barrels. I love all of those things and naturally found this beer to be quite great - very lush fruit profile - papaya, melon, mango, citrus, lemon. Both the barrel and the brett are great compliments to the hops - everything marries quite well.

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Photo of oceanman907
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
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 Rimbimhoot
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pale yellow, clear with very light haze
S: Sweet pineapple, mango, papaya, orange, vinous, funky earthy Brett
T: Earthy brett, pineapple, sweet tangerine, bitter orange peel, white wine, mango, horse blanket
M: Medium high carbonation, keeps the body lighter for a higher abv beer
O: This was the first crazy brett IPA I ever had and it is still fantastic.

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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 deadonhisfeet
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a d'Achouffe tulip. The beer is an extremely hazy light orange. My mouth is watering just looking at the color of this beer. It sports a big majestic white head that lasts a little while before dissipating down to a chunky lacing. The nose is very fruity. Lots of pineapples and apricots hit you along with some marmalade and a hint of honey.

Medium body, firm feel, and bitter, fruity flavor. Harsh, bitter notes of orange and grapefruit greet you first. There is just enough of a malt backbone to balance it and keep it from getting astringent. On the back of the palate, the bitterness recedes a bit and is replaced by a refreshingly sour lemony character. The finish is dry and a little acidic. Very drinkable and very refreshing. The body seems light for such a strong beer, but it complements the fruity, bitter, slightly sour flavors perfectly.

I haven't explored very many Belgian-style IPAs, but this is an absolutely stellar beer. I'm definitely going to look for other examples of this style in the future and I'm really looking forward to trying some other beers from Anchorage, whose distribution to my area started not too long ago. I just love the combination of bitter and sour in this beer. You know there is sweetness there too, otherwise the beverage would be undrinkable, but it's buried under the other flavors. It's not that often I drink a beer and think ``wow, that's something I haven't tasted before''. Nicely done Anchorage!

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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 ppohio
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
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 Kuaff
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found a bottle of this stuff the very same day it arrived. My bottle appears to be from batch number three, from May of this year. Glass: snifter. Temperature: cellar.

I am presented with two fingers of white fluff above an almost totally opaque golden straw color. Very, exceedingly cloudy. Looks kind of like liquid gold.

Oooooh, GOOD smell. INTENSE lemon and grapefruit, honey, fruity champaign, a bit of the hop scent of your typiccal DIPA, and a hint of pine. Woah!

It tastes sort of like lemon juice at first... acidic, sour, and sweet. Then the DIPA elements come in Substantial hop flavor and some bitter pine. It finishes with the same satisfying, biscuity aftertaste of some of my favorite DIPAs. I also feel like I just sucked on a lemon wedge, haha. I am thoroughly entertained by this ale. I might mention that it doesn't taste NEARLY as bitter as the 100 IBUs attributed to it would indicate. The sweet Belgian characteristics disguise the bitterness, much like the monk's robe.

It's got the typically spritzy carbonation of a Belgian ale. Feels right on.

Another imaginative triumph from Anchorage Brewing Company. It really IS equal parts Belgian ale and DIPA. I experienced the duality myself. Jeez, ABC should really expand their distribution and make their offerings easier to find, 'cause pretty much everything I've tried from them this year has been totally unique and at LEAST somewhat mind-blowing, if not mind-exploding.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed out of a brown 750 mL bottle marked "JULY 2011", which is the only time this one was brewed, as far as I know. That seems to be the modus operandi for Anchorage.

Appearance - Aggressive pour yields a frothy orangish cream head of lots of tiny bubbles, one finger thick. Lacing is silky and fleeting after head sticks around for a little while, but eventually fades into a healthy layering of spotty foam on top of the beer.

Smell - A full two years after the bottling date, the brett has made itself quite at home in this bottle. Brett funk and tartness dominate the nose, but still allow for veins of citrus zest to shine through unexpectedly but pleasantly.

Taste - Again, the barnyard funk is on full display here. In addition to that yeasty characteristic, there is a pretty detectable flavor profile from the Chardonnay barrels--some dry grape elements, as well as oaky vanilla undertones.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation has fallen off a little bit in two years, but not terribly. Light but close to moderate with a medium body that is slightly on the chewy side.

Overall, a beer that I've been seeking for the better part of six months, due to how much I love everything that comes out of Anchorage it seems. This one isn't my favorite of their offerings, but it's darn close, and it's one that I really wish I could have tried fresh. It seems like the time has allowed the balance to flip from hop dominant with brett elements to the inverse.

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Photo of SSEngelbrecht
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: This beer pours deep golden orange with two fingers of foamy head typical for brett beers.

S: The smell is hard for my to pin down. I get citrus fruit, funky brett, and chardonnay.

T: The complex flavors belie the hard (for me) to decipher aroma. I tasted tangerine on the first sip, and then more lemon and white grape. the farmhouse funk is there in force, balanced nicely by the bitter hops. There's more going on here than I can accurately describe.

M: this is a light/medium bodied beer with effervescent bubbles. It is crisp and refreshing.

O: I'm not generally a fan of this style, although I've had a bit of Rayon Vert that I loved. The category for Belgian style DIPA aged in chardonnay barrels is pretty slim (I think), but this beer is exceptional by any standard. It didn't convert me to brett beers, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and I learned some things by drinking it.

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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 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 bmwats
3.79/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Hazy golden-orange hue. Pours about a finger and half, bubbly white head. Settles pretty quickly. Peak and valley lacing.

S: Hay and wheat prominent. A little citrus, and coriander.

T: Hoppy, yeasty, and bitter. Slight tinge of citrus, sweetness, and spice.

M: Light body, dry bitter finish.

D: Sip and enjoy. The character will dictate it.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Interesting hue, nice head, and some solid lacing. Nose is hay and wheat with fruit and spice components. Yeasty and hoppy with citrus and spice. Overall, this is a pretty good quaff.

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Photo of Rope
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is one of Anchorage's best ventures.

Appearance-
Pours out like a Belgian, but you see the hop oils dance with the last few drops.

Smell-
Exactly as advertised, a bitter pine front with a hint of that spicy Belgian yeast.

Taste-
Powerful, the hops stay with you front to end laced with the Belgian taste.

Mouthfeel-
Oil to coat your mouth, and protect you from freezing in your Alaskan study.

Overall-
Fondly remembered, greatly missed. It comes close to what I would call "a thinkin' beer", but retains an approachable quality.

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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 cvm4
4.66/5  rDev +7.4%
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 FosterJM
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1731st Review on BA
Bottle to Pinot Noir Glass
750 Ml C/C

Batch 2
Purchased at El Cerrito Liquor

App- A glowing orange with a bit of a yellow and creme tinge behind it. A nice and puffy head. Cracky and puffy white head that faded very slowly. Great cling and lace behind it.

Smell- The Brett takes over and creates a nice funk blended with the hops and the yeast behind this one. Dry, hoppy, citrus and yeast. A great combination especially with the barrel aged wine behind it.

Taste- I liked this beer. I didnt get blown away by it, but I really enjoyed it. I think the price affected me. The beer itself was a very nice mixture of what I would say was a attempt at a very layered beer. Spot on Anchorage. Huge notes of the barrel come in, with the duality of the citrus and the dry tannic of the barrels they used. The DIPA flavor was a bit of a background noise with the Brett stealing the show.

Mouth- A solid medium body with a certain dry grassy feel to it. A bit of a cracker flavor remains with some funk, yeast and citrus zest to balance this all out really.

Drink- I paired this with artichokes, italian chicken and ravioli. Holy cow was that a good idea. Nice job anchorage. I was hesitant when this 1st came out. Glad the ticker in me had to tick this one.

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Photo of daledeee
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
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 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 ccrida
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, Bitter Monk is hazy gold with a huge white head leaving sticky lace.

Smell is very musty, very herbal, with sweet tropical fruits, marmalade.

Taste is bitter, herbal hops and lots of pineapple notes from the Brett. More must, a sharpness. Oranges. Pretty good, big BIPA, similar ABC profile.

Mouthfeel is oily but dry, very rustic, medium body.

Drinkability is pretty good, big flavors, but not as complex as the recipe and and barrel-blending suggest - as i often find with Brett.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Murky and hazy pale orange body. Big off-white head. Good retention.

Smell - Brett all over. Acidic notes and a lot of Belgian yeast. Pine hop profile isn't my favorite, but the Brett keeps it interesting.

Taste - Hops at first. Just a touch of sweetness before the Brett takes over. Surprisingly Bretty for how fresh the bottle is. A little tang in the back and quite a bit of bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Dry and bitter. A little harsh as a result. The Brett accentuates the bitterness in the finish.

Overall - Excellent beer. Bretted to hell, but well done. The hops manage to come through despite being a Brett bomb.

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Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 266 ratings.
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