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Bitter Monk | Anchorage Brewing Company

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96
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264 Reviews
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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:
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 champ103
3.06/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours nearly perfectly clear. A bit of haze forms. A two finger white head forms with excellent retention. Lots of spiderweb looking lace is left all the way down the glass.
S: Very soapy hops up front. Almost dish detergent like. Very phenolic, grassy, spicy, citrusy. Lots of hops.
T: Again lots of hops. Soapy, slick, resiny. Plenty of grassy hops. Alcohol and bitterness in the finish.
M/D: A medium body. Sticky, soapy, resiny, oily. There is heat from the alcohol, but not over barring. Still a slow sipper.

Certainly enjoyably. Just to much soapy hops for my liking. I wish more barrel and Bretty yeast would come out. A one time purchase.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a beautiful cloudy golden yellow. There is a big puffy two fingers of white head that dissipates slowly.

S: This beer is full of fun scents. I'm picking up brett, lemon zest, floral esters, wine characteristics, and a really mellow Belgian yeast sweetness. It's an incredible complex and intriguing aroma.

T: The fist blast is candy sweetness and lemony hops. Following quickly is the unmistakable brett. Next, I get blasted with huge bitters (probably from the chardonnay wine barrel treatment). I actually think this beer falls short in the finish. It's way too bitter.

M: Medium bodied beer. It starts of wet (for about a second) and finishes super dry, desert dry.

O: I think the look and smell of this beer are amazing, but the taste falls a bit short for my liking. I'm not a big fan of the ultra dryness of this beer either. But overall, it's still a decent brew.

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Photo of maximum12
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 1, July 2011, finally reached this neck of the woods recently, & just had to give it a whirl. Big 750 ML bottle split in two.

Poured to leave a good 3-4 ounces in the bottle to avoid whatever dead yeasties may be lurking, the beer is 70% opaque orange, fizzy. Nose comes off a different IPA trail, huge & juicy light fruits, light funk, touch of wine. Nice.

Bitter Monk strikes a blow for the unique: second night in a row I've had a beer like nothing I've encountered before. Bitterness & funk vie for the mantle of Top Runway Chef: wow. Hard to know where to start. Slap-happy bitterness pummels the tongue. Mild funkiness twines its way in & complements. Light, citrusy fruit, lovely drying wood, slippery shot of vinous quality. Distinct pine leaves a nice lasting impression as the door hits me in the ass. Dead on. Something this weird shouldn't be this easy to drink.

Bloody excellent beer. I don't know anything about this brewery, but this is simply fantastic. Gorgeously complex, but even better, complex in a way that all the tastes complement one another continually. Wow.

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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 AgentMunky
3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into an Allagash cervoise glass. Batch #2 (June 2012).

A: Pours begrudgingly, glugging out of the small opening. A finger of churning, solid white head. The beer is milky, cloudy, pale, and lightly opaque. Some visible carbonation.

S: Plentiful, bitter, American hops. Solid IPA, but so far, nothing special.

T: Hmm. Interesting. The Brett is noticeable, but dampened (perhaps by oak aging?). There is substantial carbonation that helps to (only somewhat) cut the bitterness. Definitely 100+ IBUs. As it warms, it expands, and more of the Citra-Chardonnay fruitiness comes to the fore. I enjoy this.

M: Wood-dry, spicy, carbonated, and engaging.

O: I don't know...the holistic production didn't do it for me. Interesting -- good even -- but not particularly 'drinkable' and certainly not worth the price.

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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 lordofthewiens
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

God, this was a great beer!
A golden color that was a little bit hazy. Thick white head that lasted forever. Very well carbonated; a lot of bubbles.

Sweet malt aroma. Also citrus, grape, and fruit.

Exciting taste. Some biscuity malt. Grapefruit, grapes, tropical fruit. A little oak.

Complex mouthfeel. Hoppy, malty, and fruity all at the same time.

Easily one of the best IPAs I've tried.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle $12.99. I have been passing this by despite the rave reviews because it was $15.99. I saw it on sale and thought I was getting a deal so I bought it. Yes I am a sucker but this really is quite a good beer. Bright yellow orange color and a huge rocky head, looks good. The smell instantly reminded me of Russian River Temptation, heavy Chardonnay and brett. I think there was a hint of citrus in there as well. The flavor again made me think of Temptation and it must be that Chardonnay and brett combo working so well. There is a bit of bitterness in here from the hops and just the faintest hint of citrus. I have to wonder what the hops were like when this was fresh since this was apparently brewed back in July of 2011 but the hops are not completely gone. Overall, a very solid beer and I can see why everyone likes it so much.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pour is lightly hazed golden yellow with a white head and some bubbles. Nose has a strong clementine citrus and pineapple, strong perfume aroma, and a fair bit of lightly tanged yeast. Taste is also huge tropical fruits, light bitterness in the finish. Lots of pineapple, clementine orange, tangy yeast. Lighter perfume with a moderately bitter finish, quite dry in the finish.

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Photo of Durge
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to RSVP in Portland, Maine I was able to give this classy brew a try. It's a very cloudy yellowish tan colored brew with a solid white head and tons of lacing. The aroma is an unparelleled yeasty medley that includes slightly skunky lemon wheat highlights and subtle clove. Very impressive, classy and kind of unique. The flavor happily falls right in place with the aroma. Clovey nuances over wheat with sweet, near bubblegum hops. Wow, just so tasty with mild banana-lemon and tons of yeasty zest. Just delicious and oozing quality and delight! Finely carbonated but with a full, luscious feel. As advertized this is a real winner if you're any kind of fan of this style. I can agree with some of the other reviewers that this may not be a classic Belgian IPA, but to me that's a good thing. I really like more of the American-Belgian hybrid and perhaps that is somewhat the case here. I'm not enough of an expert to say, but i do know I love this stuff.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Tipples. Batch #3/May 2013 poured Sept. 28, 2013. Pours a cloudy yellow with small white head. Aroma of lemon zest, pineapple, dry oak, brett, orange peel. Very interesting. Flavor is big pineapple juice with definite Brett presence and lingering oak and pineapple. Bitter is there for sure. Juicy balanced by the effervescent mouthfeel, which makes it feel light on the palate for a DIPA. Very unique beer that delivers on the flavors it advertises.

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Photo of jera1350
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lot of hype going into this one. Hope it doesn't disappoint.

Batch #1: July 2011

In a tulip, this bad boy has a hazy gold body that seems to just glow. The rocky cap of clean white foam on top is massive, retains well and leaves all kinds of sticky lacing.

I will preface by saying that I am not a big brett fan. The nose is very tropical smelling. Tropical as in fruit. The brett adds this nice tartness to the nose that compliments the fruit beautifully. If I close my eyes and smell, I can easily picture the beach.

The taste is quite nice, but doesn't blow me away. Like a good belgian ipa with some more complexities to it. Quite lemony, which I'm sure the brett contributes to. Bright citrusy notes with just a little sweetness. Lots of grapefruit, lots of spice notes and some light brett funk also. Some warm alcohol makes itself know as well.

Very, very dry. Mediumish bodied with lots of soft carbonation.

As usual, I got my hopes up and I was a bit disappointed. Didn't turn out to be the knockout I was hoping, but still a very good beer that is relatively unique from others in the style. I actually don't mind the brett too much in this. Pretty refreshing in a wine like way. The price is a bit steep though. Glad to have tried it, but probably won't grab it again.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the first ipas to do the whole turbidity appearance thing, white head, 1/4". The aroma smacks hard on the Citra, Brett & Simcoe notes. So good and complex.

Taste was more of the same all those bitter, citrus, pine notes, white wine barrel, toasted oak, alcohol whisped away to where you can't discern it.

Easily the best belgian ipa ever made, but I look at it more of an American Wild Ale meets DIPA. I just don't gather much belgian about it other than maybe the appearance.

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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 ThisWangsChung
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Welp, I'm certainly intrigued by the aroma of this one. There's a nice DIPA laying around - I pick up plenty of grapefruit, tangerine, and mango. But there's also a BA brett beer in here, too. I get a touch of wine barrel, along with some funky brett. This shows more deftness with the bugs than Love Buzz did. The brett is more subtle as I taste it, choosing to play second fiddle to the Belgian IPA. The citrusy hops open it up, trailing into a gently malty middle loaded with cracker, white bread, and a drizzle of caramel. Bitterness is nearly nonexistent. It's not very rustic, but its clear the brett and barrel are designed to be gentle flourishes rather than the main event. I find it very dry and easy to drink, yet full and mouth coating. I'm really digging this - the hop/malt balance is bang on, and brett adds a small yet palpable dimension. I'll have to get this again if I find it.

4.08/5: Not a bitter monk, just a really tasty one

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Photo of Pencible
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured an opaque gold with white head.
S: It smelled like unripe apricot and minerals and citrus zest.
T: It tasted like citrus zest and minerals, with some unripe apricot and horse blanket. It had a clean and dry sweet tart aftertaste.
M: It was oily with fine natural carbonation. Nice slick body.
D: This was a complex and delicious Belgian IPA, with solid scent and taste. The body was great too, and the finish was smooth with well hidden alcohol, so it was easy to drink. Probably not for aging. Recommended.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big shoutout goes out to my doppelganger for sharing this one with me! Served from bottle into a Bell's stemmed tulip. Poured a hazy golden yellow with a three finger fluffy white head that subsided to one finger slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, funk, citrus, citrus hop, earth, and lemon rine. The flavor was of sweet malt, lemon rine, citrus, citrus hop, grapefruit, funk, and earth. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. This beer really worked well for me. The citrus aspects going on here were quite well incorporated with the rest of the brew and the funkiness took it to the next level for me. I wish more Belgian IPAs were like this one... Really glad I got the chance to try this one and I would do so again anytime.

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Photo of popery
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great a Belgian-style DIPA. It pours yellow gold and quite hazy. Thick white head, a heavy blanket of foam. Lots of tropical fruit flavored hops in the aroma. It's big on pineapple, mango, guava, raspberry and tangerine. Just a mouth-watering fruitiness. The brett funk blends in nicely, contributing some funk and probably helping some of the fruit aroma. Some earthier tones are also in there. The taste is relatively dry with a mild to medium bitter finish. That said, there's still some nice light malt sweetness, which allows the hop flavors to shine. Feel is soft and light. There's some prickle from the hops, but it's still a smooth rich beer. Bitter Monk is another excellent beer from Anchorage, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me start out by saying I am not a fan of Belgian IPAs, and then let's go from there. Thanks to MasterSki for bringing this over.

A - Golden colored beer with a foamy white head that left behind a nice web of lace.

S - Really a lot going on with this nose. Some phenolic yeast, pungent simcoe, tropical fruit of the citra, and some brett. A funky IPA with strains of belgian yeast, didn't really see that coming, despite what the bottle was advertising.

T - This beer was immediately bitter for me, with the pungent simcoe mixing with the phenols in a bit of puckering bitter bite. You get used to it after a little bit and start to pick up aon a lot more of the citra. The brett funk occassionally bursts through. It's really hard to describe this beer as it tastes like so many different things, and I'm shocked at how good it is. There's even some of the chardonnay and wood that will come as well.

M - Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

O - This beer is shockingly unique and good at the same time. Need to revisit it, as there is so much going on. One of the more interestingly complexed beers I've had in a long time. While I'm not necessarily a fan of this style, I liked this beer a lot and Alex and I drank the bottle pretty easily between us.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.89/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Muted and heavy hazen pale pear, yellowy gold hue capped tight and tall with a white crown of crunchy foam. The cap slowly sinks to a heavy skim and patchy lacing grazing the goblet in globby shapes.

Very huge and dry aroma of white grape, lime, fresh wild flowers, lemon, white peach fuzz, white grapefruit, spritzy tangerine, and earthy basement yeast. Also packed in is a wonderful little touch of good Ol' 9% ABV.

Taste is highly complexed with lots of high ended dry citrusy flavors and yeasty actions mixing like a spiked fruit punch, minus the sweetness. There is, however, a bit of caramel sweetness poking about within a orangeified candied citrusy kerfuffle behind the drying citrusy hoppyness. It's delicately woven but nearly brutish in its punch as it stands tall and long across the palate with a tempered tone of lemon, lime, Chardonnay white wine, grapefruit, tangy tangerine, pineapple, and then lays out the yeasty funk with a wonderfully handled and smooth Brett-ish tang and wild flower zip of spice. Immensely yummy and excellently complex!

Body is smooth, bold, peppy, large, lofty, dry with a nice mild play of tang in the middle to keep it all in check as it takes over the palate with a great character of citrusy things and yeasty candy tartness.

Ummm...excellent stuff! Period.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle into Portsmouth tulip. Batch 1.

A: Pours a hazy dark citrus lemon/orange color with a billowing, soft and dense off-white head that slowy faded into a fluffy film which left chunks and streaks of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Complex hoppy notes of citrus, tropical fruits, sweet fruit nectars, tangerines, and grapefruit pith all mixed with earthy, spicy and funky notes of Belgian yeasts and brett. This is one unique smelling brew.
T: Yep, a DIPA with Belgian yeast and brett. This beer tastes like the nose with the grapefruit pith bitterness, sweet tropical fruit hoppiness, and earthy funky brett standing out the most. I do get a bit of the vinous quality of the white barrel as well. The finish is lightly beer and the aftertaste is sweet and funky.
M: Medium-full body with a drying mouthfeel that has a pleasant bitterness in the finish. The carbonation is soft and full.
O: One of the best in the style and just a phenomenal beer. The hops and the brett work wonders together. I love the bottle as well. Highly recommend and a great beer all around.

EDIT: Rarely do I buy a new beer more than once, especially one that costs between $13 to $16 a bottle. Sure I'll buy six packs of old staples (Anchor, SN) or singles of my favorites (Pliny), but I've returned to this beer four times now. I love this beer. It's awesome! I'm bumping the scores up to include more 5's.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very recommendable take on a Belgian DIPA.

Presentation: 750 ml brown, caged and corked bottle. Screen printed label with a green and white design of a monk holding a chalice of the brew with a few snowflakes in the background. Side paragraph offers a description of the brew, and serving indications, back narrative exposes intent, and general background. Notes 100 IBUS, bottling Batch 1 July 2011, and 9% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A -Hazy pale gold pour, rich frothy head, medium retention, fair surface memory and nice touches of lacing.

S - Nice nose hitting like a hammer with citric hops, touch of resin, funky brett, and a hint of wood.

T - Hoppy and yeasty range… Very nice, flowing over bready funky touches.. sweet caramel in the back woven with soft barrel touches, faint fruity/vinous touch. Earthy touch pushing up the hops again, Belgian spicy insinuation adds to the flow...

M -Medium body and carbonation, with a nice flow that leads to a semi/dry finish.

O - Nice an pleasing take at a DIPA laden with brett and Belgian touches...

Notes: Hmmm, that Anchorage Brewing is making a nice dent with breatty and barrel aged brews is clear. Quality and very likable. Now, if I get fuzzy on this one I might be getting so spoiled that it feels a touch perfunctory. I mean… dunno. I would not mind having a go at a regular dipa from theirs. Here so much plays with the Belgian yeast, the barrel, the brett, that it all has a bizarre predictable sense under all the great serving… Having said all that this is probably one of the best takes, if not the best, I have had at a double Belgian IPA. Nevermind me…

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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 laituegonflable
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber colour, nice golden tinge up to the light. Very opaque though. Head is hugely generous off-white with sparse bubbling and clumps of lace left behind. Marshmallowy top. Looks very decent.

Smell is just lovely. Loads of brett going wild, sourness with cassia, orange peel and underripe berry notes. Sour, but nice sweetness adding balance - citrus, berries and a touch of oatmeal on the back. It's really, really nice.

Taste starts out kind of sour, citric really, but develops into strong fruity mid-palate that's actually quite sweet, with peach, apricot and raspberries. Brett comes through late, giving kind of off mouldy cheese kind of flavour that doesn't quite mesh as far as the aftertaste goes. It's nice overall, but the finish could be toned down a bit, as it's a little on the astringent side. Otherwise the flavours are nice, just seems a bit off-kilter late.

Not bad on the feel for the most part, but you can sense that pull from the wilder yeast at the back and it gets to the point of puckering.

Not an everyday drinking beer, really, but well worth a taste.

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Photo of Gmann
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden straw color with a big white head that left webby lacing all along the glass.

The aroma is unique and has 3 distinct aromas. The first is the belgian yeast which provides some clove and light phenols. Next comes a huge hit of brett along with the chardonnay oak barrel. Dry white grapes with some farmhouse funk. To cap things off is a a tropical fruit hop aroma. The brett dominates the aroma.

The taste is of a sweet pale malt with some light belgian yeast flavors. The brett comes in and funkifies everything. The brett goes well with the dry chardonnay oak flavor. The combination brings a nice tart flavor. The hops kick in toward the end. Some tropical fruit hops to go along with some pine. Definitely some resiny hoppy bitterness in the end. The brett not as strong in the flavor and the hops take on more of a presence.

There is a moderate feel with active carbonation. Good balance between sweet, tart and bitter.

A nice complex BIPA. The brett takes the show in this beer but the hops help to provide an offset. I would like to see a touch more clovey/phenols from the yeast.

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