Monkman's Slaughter Ale
The Great Yorkshire Brewery

Monkman's Slaughter AleMonkman's Slaughter Ale
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #268
Ranked #44,215
3.56 | pDev: 16.29%
The Great Yorkshire Brewery
England, United Kingdom
Monkman's Slaughter AleMonkman's Slaughter Ale
Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 75 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Jeffo from Netherlands

3.03/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this one at the Bier Palais in Belgium.

From a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

APPEARANCE: Pours a small, medium looking, off-white head with good retention. Head fades to a wisp and ring. Deep brown or rosewood red in color with no carbonation evident. A slight wisp remains leaving dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Same as Two Pints, but much more mild, surprisingly. Some pale malts, butterscotch and caramel, with a touch of floral hop aromas. Nice, but not impressive.

TASTE: Again, similar to Two Pints, but simply less of everything. Pale and caramel malts with some floral hops and some bitterness at the finish. Bitter floral hops and some sweet caramel malt linger on the palate, but not as bold enough to make it memorable.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, smooth enough, goes down fine and finishes dry on the palate.

OVERALL: An average bitter, and somewhat disappointing after having their wonderful Two Pints Bitter. Another example that bigger is not always better. Skip this one and try its younger brother.

Dec 07, 2011
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froghop from Washington

3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a clear dark brown-orange with a large beige head, and some lacing.

smell is floral, spice, caramel, and some sour malt.

taste is tart, sour malt, caramel, spice, and hops in the back, ends tart and a little bitter.

overall a little stroner than your average ESB.

Jun 27, 2010
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dartfulavenger from England

1.4/5  rDev -60.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Cropton Monksman's Slaughter used to be one of the best beers out there in my opinion.

Cropton brewery have recently started mass-producing for the large supermarkets. This has resulted in them lowering the quality of their beers by substituting real hops for synthetic chemical essences. The result of this is immediately obvious especially in its inferior taste with a false sweetness lingering behind the after-taste.

Real beer should be really real,
not pretend real!

May 27, 2010
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Brandt from Montana

3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

this beer poured out a trange brown color with pretty profuse head, it fizzed up and even overflowed. it settled out to a rocky egshell colored head

the smell was mostly a dry type aroma with a firm betterness and a metalic tone.

this tasted almost sour (not in the good way though) but had some good malt still. the hops tasted sour as well

the finish of this med-light bodied beer was pretty neutral with nothing really taking over. it is possible that this bottle was bad but i don't think that this one should have tasted the way it did, i'd have to try another to know.

Nov 17, 2009
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Reidrover from Oregon

4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml with "CAMRA says this is real ale" on the side. Appearance, darkish brown strong carbonation "strings" lush coffee and creme coloured head. Very intresting aroma, the usual English malts done to a tee, plus odd sour sweetness that is very pleasing.Pipe tobacco and sherry. I love the way good English beer smell and this is no exception. Wow this has a rather tart flavour to it even sour. I like it underneath is the malts and English hop( a little). Nice bubble refreshing mouthfeel to it. This has to be the oddest "ESB " ever. But i like it a lot and for $2.49 a bottle a great deal.

May 10, 2009
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bryanbrick from California

4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

No dating on bottle.

Pours a wonderful and quite surprizing head. Cream white and persistent throughout. Not used to seeing this in english ESBs. I like it. Back that up with a roasted chestnut color, hazy from the bottle conditioning and this is one pretty beer.

Great nose as well. With a lot more hops than expected. I expected much more malty sweetness here but it really fails to develop. Full of pine cone, rye cracker and preserved lemon. A great intro to this beer.

Flavorwise this is a tad unusal. Not your typical ESB. With a bit more of a citrusy aspect and much less of the bitter malt profile. Lots of veggie aspects here, but in a nice way. Like bitter greens, think radicchio and arugula with a slightly sweet lemon vinagrette. But to most that is going to sound a bit weird, and it is. But I like it. Surely refreshing on a really hot day in Oakland, which today is.

My biggest issue is the mouthfeel with slightly out of wack carbonation, on the high side, this has some edge to it. Surely not the creamy ESB profile I'm used to.

I could drink this over and over again. The sense of acidity is a nice refreshing aspect and will play out well if more than a few of these made there way over my teeth and gums and into my ever expanding belly.

Apr 21, 2009
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joerodiii from New York

3.69/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Medium brown (almost caramel colored) with minimal head.
Aroma is of crystal malt, biscuit, and mild English hops.
Taste is somewhat tart with noticeable caramel that lingers after swallowing. Light body and moderate carbonation round out the taste.

While no one thing about this beer stands out as incredible, it makes for an enjoyable drinking session and reminds me that ESB's are a great style that I usually pass by in favor of bigger beers.

Apr 12, 2009
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 1 pt. .9 fl. oz. bottle with no lot number or expiration date available. Sampled on April 10, 2009. It pours a very dark brown tone with hints of ruby-red, slow moving carbonation and a whole lot of foamy beige head with the texture of shaving cream. Lacing is evident everywhere. The aroma is a balance of sweet malts, licorice, and something that I akin to Kahlua liquor. The mouthfeel is thick. The taste is bold in malts and a touch of alcohol but not overpowering. There is a kind of raisiny aftertaste but it works well. This was smooth and well done.

Apr 10, 2009
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Vancer from Illinois

2.65/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Label says bottle conditioned - but no dating, bummer. Pours a clean and crisp looking deep amber/copper into the Bitburger pilsner glass. A strong pour produced a mediocre tan head, died like a 3 foot putt.

Nice woody resins in the aroma, but unfortunately did not carry over into the quaff. A sour funk dominated, with some underlying hints of woody malt.

Medium bodied - but this is a one and done for me - that funky taste is not for me. Man, need some label dating to find out if it sat too long on the shelf.

Mar 19, 2009
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alexgash from Connecticut

3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle.

Slightly hazy dark boot leather brown. Pinkie finger of tight, light khaki head. Decent lacing. Nose of butterscotch-tinged fruits: apples, cherries, and maybe blackberries. Very mild hop aroma comes off as slightly herbal and minty. There's also a light sour twang to everything. The taste confirms this. Starts off with toasted grains, but quickly shows off mildly tart cherries and apples. Faintly sweet caramel and butterscotch malt notes follow. Finishes with light citrus hop bitterness and more fruit tartness. Moderate body with a relatively creamy feel. I reckon that this bottle was filled with slightly infected ale, but the end result is kind of appetizing in a wild ale sort of way.

Jan 07, 2009
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bendit from Canada (ON)

1.57/5  rDev -55.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

This beer has an overpowering apple sourness to it, and it completely surprised me, I thought I had a bottle that had gone bad.

I had to immediately pull up other reviews to compare notes with other drinkers.

If this was not labelled as ESB, maybe a cider instead, I wouldn't hate it, but it seems to be the exact opposite of an ESB.

Jan 04, 2009
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gfreed from Massachusetts

3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very interesting beer! Pours a nice mahogany color with a fluffy hat that stays a long time, erupting with loads of apples and lemons. Little fizzy bubbles light the beer up very nicely. There's plenty of malt up front along with apples and cider, with a very bright smack of hops as it goes down. There's a certain degree of sourness present, too, just tart enough to catch your attention but not enough to make you wince. Rather complicated yet light and quite refreshing. Quite a surprise and well worth trying.

Dec 12, 2008
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BedetheVenerable from Missouri

3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 16.9oz brown bottle with a nice little ditty about the beer.

Appearance: Poured into my new Samuel Smith's pint glass, this beer pours a somewhat hazy rich chestnut brown color with a little bit of yeast in suspension. The head is light tan, thick and creamy, and soon fades to a thin (but quite persistant) cap.

Smell: Much fruitier than I was expecting; there's crisp apple peel, as well as strong hints of blackcurrant. As the beer warms slightly, faint notes of earthy hops and minerality emerge, with just a touch of caramel malts. Unique but quite nice.

Taste: Not what I was expecting. Very tart, sour-apple like quality, with apple peel in the background. The amount of fruit and the sharpness of the apple flavors aren't bad really, but just very out-of-the-ordinary for the style. There are almost British Dry Cider notes in here. Hop flavor is minimal, but there's a substantial and slightly puckering hop bitterness. In the very background there's a bit of roasted and caramel malt, but it's completely overshadowed by the fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, smooth, and tart.

Drinkability: Medium. It's not bad, but it doesn't make me crave another really.

Conclusion: I don't know what I was expecting from this exactly, but it didn't strike me as the typical North Yorkshire (i.e. Sam Smiths, Black Sheep, etc) ESB-type ale. It's definitely interesting, and the fruity aromas (especially the blackcurrant are really nice) but in the end it needs more balance between fruitiness, malt, and hops. Not something I'd buy regularly by any means, but something I'd probably try again for something different. Also, this might go well with a roasted pork loin with some kind of fruit garnish or sauce.

Dec 11, 2008
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Offa from California

4.51/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is an interesting beer with a lot of complex flavour.

Very deep red brown, it has a big light tan head slowly shrinking to a thin, permanent foamy head and leaving some nice lace.

The aroma is strong but not entirely to my liking. It has a strong sweet-sour fruit character with turned prunes, pears, earth, and a hint of toasted sweet brown bread.

The taste is similar but much more to my liking and very complex with a lot going on. It has a rich sweet-sour fruit character with prunes and baked apples that have turned, licorice, dry topastiness and leafiness in the finish, hints of wine, nuts, and tamarind-heavy steak sauce, and slightly caramelly. It's mostly sweet-sour, a little tart, balanced with a little bitterness, and yet also dry. The character is rich, strongly flavoured yet still restrained, very lively and complex, zesty, with a lot of different elements blending well and making it hard really to pick out specific elements. Nothing I can say quite describes it. it becomes better with every sip.

This is nice to finally have a new,fresh bottle as I had first tried this about a year ago, but the bottle looked a bit worn and was totally off. The character that I have now experienced was evident, but it was very, very sour, yeasty, acrid, and totally off.

Dec 01, 2008
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albern from Massachusetts

2.73/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This is one ESB I will be glad to skip over. The operative words to describe this beer are metallic and hickory. There is an unpleasant sourishness to the beer that I can't get beyond. The beer pours a very nice fairly clear amber brown color with a nice sturdy head, retention, and lacing. The aroma is a tad musty, wild yeast sourish, with some unpleasant phenols. The taste is very complex, I will give the beer its due on that score. The beer opens up with a toasted, smokey, somewhat tart, citrus rind zest, this segues into a not so pleasant and sourish caramel and hickory, and the beer finishes out with a more metallic taste that is just unpleasant. Perhaps this beer didn't make it across the pond the way it was intended, but mine is just not all that digestible. There is a full tongue coating for mouthfeel, if that is what you fancy. When I poured the remainder down the drain, I got a pretty good whiff of vinegar, so I think my bottle was just plain bad.

Sep 19, 2008
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jwc215 from Arizona

2.7/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown with a creamy tan head that stays, leaving plenty of lacing.

The smell is sour - green appleish with a touch of vinegar. After the sour subsides, bready caramel and herbal notes come through, but sourness still overpowering, to me. I don't care for this smell - Doesn't smell like an ESB to me.

The taste is sour and appleish with dried fruits (mainly apricot comes to mind). Butterscotch quite prominent. As it progresses, toffeeish/caramelish maltiness comes through balanced by an underlying herbal bitterness. Improves, but not to the point of my liking. Sourness and odd fruitiness just threw this out of whack for me. Bitterness shows through, but not in a way I particularly care for.

It has a medium body, mild to moderate carbonation - pretty creamy, oily and buttery.

For not being a fan, I was able to finish it quickly, helped by smoothness and a bit of potential that never overcame the detractors of sour and overly buttery characteristics. Was able to drink it, but wouldn't get it again. An odd ESB.

Aug 24, 2008
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

2.98/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Not an ESB to me lips, maybe a strong. Sourish, perhaps it was spoilt, but it wasn't skunked and I subsequently confirmed this experience unless the whole shipment to the USA was spoilt. bought at Oliver's in Albany. Pours attractive enough creme yellow. Aroma was fainter hoppy, not a sign of what's to come. Unfinishable, perhaps suited to your Cantillon sour beer pucker-uppers.

Apr 06, 2008
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SurlyDuff from Oregon

3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the darkest esb's that ive encountered. It's authentic, from the land of ESB's, so I won't complain. In fact, its quite a treat.

An interesting name too.

Beige lace that hugs the side of my glass. Dark brown and a bit cloudy. Red highlights when holding up to the light.

Smooth malt presence in the nose with a cumin and spicy twang. Vegetable hops, good traditional herbal qualities. Slight sourness adds to the complexity. A real good brew. I'm glad this is available here across the pond.

Mar 21, 2008
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davidt from Virginia

3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a copper brown with a thin head. Aroma is sweet malt with some apple fruitiness in the background. Taste is of bitter hops over the sweet malt. There's a distinct tartness to this as well. It was mildly shocking at first but after a few sip I rather liked it. It didn't seem to be an "off" flavor. Mouthfeel is thin with slight carbonation. My pint went down easily and quickly.

Jan 29, 2008
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Metalmonk from North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gotta admit, I picked this up partly because the name is so great. But I also like ESBs. So...

The head is gorgeous, a fluffy, creamy, rocky monster formed of tight, small bubbles. Color is a toasty, caramelized (very) dark brown. And millions of bubbles. And big swaths of sticky lace. It's a pleasure to have this in my glass, and I haven't even tasted it yet.

Aroma is vinous, but also with a porter-like chocolate wave, and only the mildest trace of hops.

Wow...this is sour. Not as in bad-beer sour, it seems like it's supposed to be that way, with toffee-like malts coming through as well. The slightest bit of grassy hops ride over the tongue in the finish, but this is mostly about the bitter, tangy, earthy flavor at the forefront. Could almost be a Belgian sour ale. The longer I sit and sip, the more I wonder about the sourness, the more I think "is this really an ESB?". It's definitely enjoyable, but only to the degree that you'll tolerate sour in your bitter.

So, if I was in any doubt about the sourness, I could check bottling date and figure out if it was intentional or a flaw. Another call for clear and uncomplicated bottling date info please! Is it too much to ask of brewers? Nevertheless, I like it just the way it is. A treat, and something a little different from the typical ESB profile.

Oct 19, 2007
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RenoZymurgist from California

3.41/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a fairly dark copper with a thin white head that subsided quickly.
The aroma was sweet/ sour alomost like a flemish red ale this beer is a throwback style i believe and it wouldn't suprise me to hear that it is a blend or that it is aged in wood.
Anyway the flavor bagins with a sharp hop bitterness blended with a cleam mellow dark malt flavor that quickly segue into a sour apple flavor that has a touch of brett. The finish is clean however and compared to belgian sour ales this one is very mellow and a good introduction to sour beers.
Overall i think this is a great historic example of an esb and i would love to use this as an example in a lesson pon historic english ale styles.

Aug 17, 2007
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BDTyre from Canada (BC)

3.67/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A unique ESB, possibly owing to the fact that it is bottle conditioned.

Dark amber copper colour with a respectable, dense foamy heady. Cloudy in apperance, a is expected from bottle conditioned beers.

Malt smell that is bittered significantly by the hops. Bready hints with a sweet-sour citrus tang.

The taste is fairly sour, despite the malt profile in the nose. Warm, sickly sour taste...almost overhopped. Malts are really in the background with this one.

Decent ESB mouthfeel. Low carbonation, decent body. However, the sickly sweet-sour taste knock this done a notch or two. As others pointed out, this maybe an acquired taste...but this is only my first.

Jun 20, 2007
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GClarkage from California

3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

04/18/07- Purchased at City Beer in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 16.9oz bottle with no freshness information. Poured into my imperial pint glass.

Appearance- Murky brown in color. 1/4 inch head which soon evaporates leaving behind very light lace streaks.

Smell- Mildly sweet roasted malt nose, maybe a touch nutty with a sour whiff as well.

Taste- Lightly malty in flavor with a soft hop bite in the swallow. A decent amount of tartness in the flavor as well. Bitter, but not as bitter as the first time I tried this brew.

Mouthfeel- Lighter carbonation level with a mild bittter bite in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- Easy drinker with an avb which isn't noticable. Sessionable? Had my first Slaughter in October of 2002 at the Brickskeller in D.C. Loved the name of the beer and have named several of my fantasy sports teams after it. The first time I tried it I was struck by it's harsh sour bitterness. It took me about 2 hours to suck it down...needless to say, it was my first of this style and I really didn't care for it. How tastes change! Good drinkable brew here.

Apr 19, 2007
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lackenhauser from Maryland

2.52/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Nice chestnut hue to it. Some head with a decent carbonation level. Aroma is somewhat soapy and metallic. Flavor reminds me of sucking on a penny or almost blood-like. Sort of citrusy with a tinge of hops but the off flavors seriously detract from anything you might find pleasant in there. Ok body. From the appearance things go downhill from there. For a British beer-not my cup of tea at all.

Feb 05, 2007
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Dukeofearl from California

3.41/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in Sept. 2006 at LaBodega in Riverside, CA. for $5.49 (0.5 liter bottle). Bottle conditioned.

Pours a deep mahogany/brown with light red highlights and a small tan head. Quite pretty.

Aroma is quite weak but it's sweet malts and s slight fruity hoppiness.

Flavor is, well, for lack of a better word, kind of strange. Mostly sharp English hops, grassy and weedy with a sharp lime/grapefruit sourness without the citrus fruitiness. Malts are slightly smoky. This one gets better as it warms.

This one is OK, but it's kind of hard to get my arms around it. I guess I'm just not too keen on it.

Sep 27, 2006
Monkman's Slaughter Ale from The Great Yorkshire Brewery
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 75 ratings