Golden Monkey | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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Golden MonkeyGolden Monkey

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A magical, mystical Monkey whose golden sole glows with the wisdom of the ages. This radiant ale is rich in the spirited tradition of Belgian-inspired brewing. Our Golden Monkey is both playfully delightful and profoundly satisfying. Exotic spice from the East rounds out this global journey to joy. Get on board. This Monkey's bound for glory!

Added by purplehops on 09-17-2001

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Reviews: 1,781 | Ratings: 5,599
Photo of IceTrey9785
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I had this on-tap at the Victory Brewery.

A: Pale straw color, very dense and cloudy. A lot of white lacing around the edges, but it doesn't last long.

S: Cloves, spices, maybe a subtle hint of hops, but nothing overpowering. The yeast really steals the show out of everything, but at 9.5% the alcohol will burn if you inhale too deeply.

T&M: Nice and rich -- very complex. Layers of bread, cloves, allspice, honey and wildflower. This could easily be any hefeweizen with a little bit of mead thrown in. As it warmed, I got hints of candied ginger too. A lot going on as far as complexity, but the alcohol is always the lasting impression.

Overall -- not a bad beer. There are better tripels to be found (most definitely from Belgium), but for an American "try" -- not too bad. The alcohol really shows on the nose and palate and overwhelms what could be a great beer. I definitely couldn't have more than one (God forbid I ever try...). Victory usually does great stuff, but this is a little over-done. A simple decrease in alcohol from 9.5% to maybe 8% or 8.5%, would make a world of difference.

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Photo of nlmartin
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into my trusty pub glass.

Appearance: This beer pours a hazy golden yellowish color. The head was short lived off white. Speckles of lacing slide down my glass.

Smell: The beer has a spicy sweet bready smell.

Taste: The beer does taste good. The beer has a intial hoppy bite that is extended due to spices. There is a malty breadyness that makes this beer sweet.

Mouthfeel: This beer is full bodied. The alcohol plays nicely with over taste and smell.

Drinkability: This is not bad on the nose or palate. I just think there are better tripples available for the price.

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Photo of breardon1776
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours cloudy golden color with a average head. Aroma of a wheat beer with a multitude of spices, cloves, pepper, etc. At first whiff I loved smell but got somewhat nauseating after a while. High carbonation. I can see pulp matter floating in beer. Taste is strong wheaty malts, a bit of nondescript hop bitterness, some sweetness, with some banana and some subtle herbal flavors. Mouthfeel is smooth, almost creamy. Good beer. Doesn't drink like a 9.5% ABV.

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Photo of bigeyedfish
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle with 'drink by June 30 2013' (so, if I'm not mistaken, brewed June 2010) written on the label poured into a Troegs Mad Elf tulip glass.

1 finger of foamy-white head quickly reduces by half in size but keeping its total encompassing of the top of the beer. The body is a deep golden color with a steady stream of carbonation coming up off all areas of the base of the glass.

The aroma is really quite nice. I thought I remembered this beer to have a little more alcohol on the nose, but the nose is a strong hint of banana bread up front and some spices--[a faint hint of] cinnamon and [a stronger hint of] cloves mainly in the middle with a little bit of a kind of yeast aroma on the nose. There is some alcohol, but it is either a)much less-pronounced than it used to be or it is b) much more distinct in my imagination. Let's go with 'b'.

Well, maybe my memory was not all-that wrong about the alcohol. The first taste, and the one that overpowers everything else, if an strong, upfront assault of metallic tinge/alcohol. In fact, it's almost best to describe it as abrasive. Now it could just be that I'm drinking the beer too cold--it's been in the fridge for >24 hours and at room temp for about 5-7 minutes-- and those harsh tastes will come to the forefront. I'm going to set one out now, for roughly 15 minutes and then drink it and update the review if changes are noticeable. After the alcohol there is a strong hint of cloves in the mid-palate, and that only intensifies on the finish; the mild-sensation of cloves explodes in the finish, then quickly begins to linger on the palate. After it quiets down, however, there is a nice hint of vanilla that surprises you.

In terms of mouthfeel, that aforementioned metallic quality is the story here. Up front there is not much mouthfeel, but around the mid-palate it begins to offer a bit of a carbonating-sensation. On the finish it's actually kind of cooling, with the spices and the alcohol providing a really-interesting, centrally-focused cool, like a clove/alcohol-flavored piece of mint-gum only focused on the back of the palate. Really interesting.

Drinkability is not the best. The alcohol is, at 9.5%, definitely there. The dominating flavor, that metallic alcohol taste makes it hard to get through, and the secondary flavor, a strong hint of sharp-cloves, makes it a beer lacking in balance. It's one that after two or three would be easier to drink, one assumes, only because the alcohol would overpower you and the cloves and alcohol would overpower your taste buds.

All in all, it's an aggressive, American interpretation of a classic style. While that sentence is usually a good thing, in IPA's, Stouts, Barleywines, in this style, traditionally known for smooth, rounded, sweet flavors, this interpretation falls short. Of course, there is the issue of age and temperature. If I am not mistaken, Victory prints their 'Drink By' date, for triples, to be 3 years after bottling. And if that is the case, then this beer has had >2 months to round out (which would explain the aggressiveness of the flavor profile). I also gave this beer about 30 minutes to warm, from opening to finish, and it improved during that time. The previously-mentioned vanilla-finish wasn't noticed until about 3/4 through the beer. So it is quite possible that I should have given this more time to warm itself.

With that said, I think that with this version of the GM I got a version that brought out the worst in itself--too fresh, too cold--but at the same time, serves as reminder of why this beer is not discussed among the upper-echelon of great triples, traditional and American-interpretative-alike. It's a little too much. A little too assertive, a little too boozy. A really nice effort, but when its compared to some of the great interpretations of foreign styles Victory does--it's fantastic take on a German Pilsner (Prima), it's great version of a Barlywine (Old Horizontal), even it's strict-interpretation of a Baltic Porter--it's hard not to wish that the guys had tried to do a little less with this one.

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Photo of Schwarzbart
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark gold in color with little head which dissipated almost immediately. Lacing is there as you sip, but falls rather quickly. Smell: Spicy with hints of orange and definitely yeasty. I'm starting to smell the bouquet now as it warms. Taste: Yeasty and a strong alcohol aftertaste. Not as malty as I expected. Yeah, definitely lots of alcohol as my stomach is warming up after that sip. Very sweet with herbal spice flavor. Mouthfeel: Rather nice the way it rolls off the tongue, but the alcohol aroma which comes up through the nose is a little annoying. Drinkability: Almost like a good champagne, it tastes good at first but you can't drink a lot of it.

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Photo of BrewskiBanks
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The appearance of this Brew is marvelous.

It has a fruity scent of mostly pineapples and mangos. With a hint of yeast.

The taste is an unusual one, yet not a surprise coming from Victory.

The brew has an elegant smooth texture dripping through the esophogal lining of my throat.

The drinkability of this brew is fairly smooth but with the amount of alcohol in it, I don't reccommend drinking more than a six pack.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasty and reliable US craft interpretation of a Belgium Tripel.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Playful cartoonish design, around an image of a monkey god like doing the triad and watching through a mystical eye in his belly. Quick and playful-pretentious narrative on the side, noting greatness, main ingredients, and style. Show beer freshness date (Jun 24, 2012) but lacks any other info other than Alc. by Vol (9.5%). Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pale gold bubbly haze, with a quick carbonated head that fades rapidly leaving no lacing and a minimum ring and surface trace.

S - Sweet faint floral aroma with a recognizable Belgium yeasty touch.

T - Floral sweetness with a thin hoppy note and a spiced-herbal finish.

M - Medium mouthfeel with sizable carbonation and a smooth finish.

D - Works well as a tripel. Alcohol is well integrated and for such a hefty brew it can go down too easily.

Notes: It´s a nice tripel and while it might not be a great example for the style I sure am glad it exists and will be pleased to find it as a choice on any given pub. Having said that, and not being a huge fan of the style, it is not a brew that I will seek often and particularly not at home. But a good brew in any case...

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle

A: Pours very light and cloudy with a one finger head that dissipates to a small layer of little bubbles on the top.

S: Didn't get a ton on the nose, some floral components and some yeast.

T: Definitely sweet upfront with some malts rounding it out. There is also a little bit of spice in this.

M/D: Medium bodied and pretty drinkable. The alcohol was masked pretty well though. Overall I was left underwhelmed. It seemed to be lacking in most areas. Its not a bad beer, but it isn't great.

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Photo of necoadam
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I can't really find Tripel's around my area so when I saw a fresh 6-pack of the Golden Monkey I decided to nab it quickly. Bottled on March 20, 2004. Poured out a nice golden/orange color with a bit of carbonation in it. Smell was mostly sweet. Some malts, grapes, and some spice in there. Taste was pretty much the same. It's like a one-two punch of sweet and spicy. Candy-like sweetness hits first then fades away to a spicy/tart flavors. Some hops can be detected as well. Not a bad beer, maybe just a little bit more balancing may be in order for this to be "out of this world."

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Ahhh, it's time to relax with a Belgian-styled beer in my chalice. On to the beer:

The sound of carbonation fizzes loudly inside my chalice where the beer itself is hazy blonde. The head on this one rises nicely as one might expect, but is fizzy and retains poorly. The aroma is pleasantly spiced with a sprinkle of yeast. This is a good sign for the taste.

But something's off in the taste. By now the head has completely dissolved and the appearance looks dull. Carbonation is thin on the palate, as is the peppery kick for balance, and the taste is mostly sweet sticky candied sugar. A touch of honey and spice (cloves) floats around in there too. How about pumping some carbonation in this puppy? It seems thin for the style. The good news? The alcohol is hidden nicely.

The bottle has a best-by-date of "Nov 05 12" printed on the label for you skeptics who think I simply got a bad bottle. Sorry Victory, but I sense defeat in this beer. Back to the drawing board on this stuff.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 1/20/2006 (12oz bottle from Spec's):

Pours a golden yellow color body, with a good sized head. Has an aroma of flowers, some perfume, and some alcohol in the nose. A nice taste of flowers, some raisin, fizzy palate, and a medium-strong alcohol taste.

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Photo of alkemy
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, golden yellow with a big and bubbly white head out of a caged 750. Definitely yeasty in the aroma. Also sweet bread, some banana, and caramelized sugars. Apple, banana, and grape along with some spiciness in the flavor...oh yeah, there's also plenty of alcohol to taste. This beer just wasn't a big hit with me. It had great creamy feel, but really for a big beer, there wasn't a lot going on.

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Photo of jettjon
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a 12 oz. bottle marked "Enjoy by Sept 15 2013" into my Sam Adams glass (thanks, guys!). It's a bright golden color with a few yeasties and lively carbonation. Thick creamy white head fueled by lively carbonation remains solid all the way to the bottom. Nice looking brew! Nose of spicy coriander and clove, as expected. No real alcohol on the nose, which is somewhat surprising considering 9.5% ABV. In the mouth, it's crisp and clean with spicy hops up front, balanced only slightly against a malt backbone. The whole deal is quickly overshadowed by assertive alcohol, biting, boozy, and slightly astringent. Mouth is bubbly and crisp, which mainly serves to intensify the alcohol burn. Very high carbonation doesn't detract unless you have a problem with that sort of thing. Drinkability is OK but sadly the strong alcohol presence detracts.

Overall: Decent taste overall, overly boozy for a tripel. Certainly a far cry from the best of the style.

On a side note, I made the mistake of not checking the ABV on these before drinking five. As a general rule, it's always nice to know what you're up against in the alcohol content department before embarking upon a "session."

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a chalice.

There is a ton of sediment in this bottle and it got really mixed up even on a really gentle pour, I had like 3/4oz left that was all sediment, so be careful.

Pours a golden wheaty color thats very cloudy with a very thing but creamy head. Nose is sweet, spicy and a bit boozy.

Woo... taste is also boozy, very sweet and sharp. Lots of spices and a bit of earthy hoppiness and a little malty. It's ok but not nearly as good as say a Westmalle tripel. Worth trying but not the best example of the style.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer did not impress me at all. I poured a foggy, light golden with not head to speak of. The smell was lightly sweet with a mix of yeast and roasted corn. Pretty standard aromas for a Belgian(or Belgian knock-off). The taste was very, very sweet with very obvious notes of apricot, plumb and white grapes. There was a pretty apparent alcohol taste as well which I would have been ohk with had the flavor been more complex. The mouthfeel was thin, but overly sweet as if I was drinking sugar water, which resulted in a sticky effect on my lips. I will not buy this beer again.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Orange golden beer with very little head and some easy-going gas rising to the top.

Smell is alcoholic and malty that is also husky and straw-like. I pick up some fruity whiffs.

Taste is light malty with some spicy and fruity notes, the yeast adds a solvent taste. Mouthfeel is thin like a lot of sugar was used. Bitterness was low. This beer has very little character, the yeast profile is not spectaculair, hops are invisible and body is empty.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was my first tripel.I had it for the first time at Creation in Charlotte,NC.

A-Pours a hazy,yellow with a fleeting,modest white head and some lacing.Some active carbonation is visible.

S-Ripe bananas,custard apple,cloves and Belgian yeast.White pepper spice and pale,toasty malt.ABV is hinted at in the nose.

T-Sweet,spicy and fruity.Spice and fruit keep ABV in the background until the finish.

M-This beer is crisp and medium bodied with a dry and warm(ABV) finish.

D-I've found that the this beer's drinkability can be a problem,in the sense that I can drink 3 or 4 without considering the ABV.

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Photo of thecarster1
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a- bottle poured into a pint, two finger creamy head that fades pretty quick, clear bright honey coloring, ring around the glass, nice lacing that stays the whole drink, great monkey logo.

s- big nose, super spicy, slight banana, no alcoholy esters, almost like a hefe.

t- big, spicy, banana, huff of alcohol on the backend, not quite as strong as i expected, once again kinda like a hefe.

m- decent medium body.

d- i'm not a fan of big beers like this, but i definately didn't hate it, i'll have it again, just a tad strong though, no session for this bad boy, the monkey will get you..

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Photo of Buebie
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a tulip.

Appearance is a hazy unfiltered wheat like visual. 2 finger fluffy white head.
Smell is chemical bleac? Fruity overtones with a sweet bread like smell.
grassy hop aroma, spices, cinnemon?

Taste is sweet upfront with a floral hoppieness, orange peel, hops, strange over powering spice.
Carbonation overload.
Mouthfeel is thin and carbonated.

Interesting brew that packs a punch, but the smell is chemically and really turned me off.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear golden with a short head for the style and no lacing. The smell is a little sharp from alcohol, and with a trace of the typical Belgian yeast aromas. The taste is a little better, especially as it warms. Definite alcohol, but also some banana and clove- very restrained, though. Mouthfeel is a little sticky, but the body is appropriate. Not bad in its own right, except that its a little hot. The problem is that there are plenty of better tripels out there.

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Photo of Ob512316
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Look: gold color, white head
Smell: banana, bubble gum, clove
Taste: exactly how it smells, banana, bubble gum, clove
Feel: full bodied, little carbonation
Overall: nothing really makes this beer stand out against any other Belgian or wheat beer. Tastes like the average Belgian wheat beer still better than most. Would I buy again? I'm on the fence with this one.

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Photo of leantom
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

The golden monkey. Have heard mixed things about it. Here goes:

A: Very uninspiring. Pours a clear yellow (far clearer than most tripels - was this not bottle-conditioned or something) with a medium-sized head that disappears immediately. Little lacing, especially for a tripel. Not good. 2/5

S: Smell makes up for the appearance somewhat. Clove, banana, white pepper, various spices (extremely spicy beer), etc. However, the bready smell is somewhat lacking. I'm beginning to think that the beer is not bottle-conditioned despite being a tripel. 3.5/5.0

T: Taste is OK, but come on, Allagash, Unibroue and Weyerbacher all make much better tripels. No breadiness, but has banana, candied sugar, clove, coriander and an array of spices. Good on the spices, bad on the breadiness. Really should do a better job bottle-conditioning this beer. 3.25/5.00

M: Just OK. Again, lack of breadiness makes this tripel lacking. 3.5/5.0

O: Just meh. Really disappointing for its style. 3.25/5.00

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Photo of mt24turner
3.24/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Look- nice clarity with some particulates floating around, decent amount of head from the carbonation, but it dissipates quickly. leaves a little ring of lace.

Smell- spicy phenols, and fruity esters, smells like clove, tiny hint of banana, peppery spice and some caramel maltyness.

Taste- crisp and fruity to start and then comes heavy with the spice and phenolics, i get a little bubble gum and aspirin taste which im not partial to. finishes with some lingering spice and caramel. no alcohol presence in the flavor

Mouthfeel- carbonation is full and sharp, drinks like a much weaker abv

Overall- i like this beer, but it would not be my first choice for a tripel. the aspirin/bubble gum notes threw me off this one, besides that its a respectable brew.

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Photo of a0lbudman
3.24/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A-hazy dark gold with a large white head that laced the glass heavy
S-dark fruit smell with some spice
T-spicy with some warming in the aftertaste. The spice seemed to stay with you
M-medium body and medium carbonation
O-the spice was the main taste smee, and aftertaste

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.24/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A cloudy orangey yellow with a quickly dissipating finger of head. Smells of honey, tea, malty sweet. The flavor is quite herbal, black tea, honey, sweet malt with a grassy herbal overtone.
Medium in body with high carbonation.
Not really impressed by this one. Not a fan of the style in general but I feel like for the amount of excellent beers victory has year round, they should just ditch this one to have a solid lineup

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Golden Monkey from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.72 out of 5 based on 5,599 ratings.
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