Grumpy Monk | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

159 Reviews
Grumpy MonkGrumpy Monk

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jzeilinger on 04-15-2012

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Reviews: 159 | Ratings: 714
Photo of JG-90
2.3/5  rDev -37%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.25

Beer is a golden orange in color, and pours a moderate sized head. Moderate lacing. Smells like booze, honey/ sweet malts, bread, banana, and slight indescript hops.

Tastes of oversweet banana, booze, sweet bread, and a small amount of orange/lemon hops. So much of a banana/bread tendency that it did not meet my expectations of a Belgium IPA. Moutfeel is light-moderate with moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.51/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours clear light golden orange with a big rocky white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is some soap (rosemary) with some sweet bready malt and a little piney hop.

The flavor is sweet sugary soapy malts with a big harsh bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, an odd sweet soapy spicy IPA.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.7/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

No matter how much people rag on Sam Adams for their occasionally redundant variety-pack choices, I love that there's almost always at least one I've never had in every one of them. This example pours a clear sunset amber topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises clove, bright grass, coriander, lemon peel, light caramel, and a tiny pinch of black pepper. The clove is in-your-face, but it still hols back a little. The taste, on the other hand, leads with a blast of raw clove, followed by banana peel, vinyl, sweet caramel, harshly bitter greens, citrus rind (the waxy outer layer), and a drop or two of liquid smoke. It's the clove and vinyl that hit me most of all, the Bebop and Rocksteady of heinous flavors causing mischief and whatnot across my tongue. Honestly, it was so abrasive at times that it hurt a little to drink. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, this beer just somehow turned out poorly. Speaking with my friends and coworkers, I was not alone in this assessment. There was just too much spicy vinyl for things to ever be well-received on my end. Quite the disappointment.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.73/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glasss in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowd to warm slightly over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of beige colour, nice cream, good thickness, and average retention. Colour is a clear copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Light floral hops, clean malts, lemon peel, and straw. A mild strength aroma.

T: Straw, clean bland malts, vague floral hopping, and crisp barley. Hops - some pine character. Not horribly complex or subtle. Indeed, somewhat simple. Boring and kind of bland.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some coarseness up front. Kind of thick, but not quite on the mark. Adequately carbonated.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. I wouldn't get this again. A boring and bland IPA.


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Photo of Jadjunk
2.73/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

"A Spirited Reinvention of the Belgian Tradition: The long held brewing traditions of Belgian monks aren't meant to be broken. Yet, to the monk's dismay, the distinctive character of Belgian yeast with its spicy clove and fruit notes can be reimagined when combined with the brazen hop character of an IPA. These hops impart a citrusy, piney, and earthy flavor that's balanced by a roasted malt sweetness for a complex and playful brew." Grumpy Monk is brewed in the Belgian IPA style. Date ticked on the bottle is Mid-September 2012. This was available as a part of last summer's IPA hop collection.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served above 48º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a billowing frothy head of a golden cream white tone. Retention is pretty nice and lacing is substantial. Body color is a golden amber-orange with relaxed carbonation and high clarity. Nice head quality and pleasing lacing makes for an attractive-looing beer. 4.5

(Smell) Belgian pale bread malts with notes of light fruit and a spiced background. Citrusy hop notes have faded a notch but are still pleasing. Slightly musty overall aroma and balance is slightly bitter but the alcohol is quite detectable through the aroma and the yeast profile prevails as well developing a bready malt profile. A bit phenolic in places. 3.25

(Taste) Even worse off. A very limited malt profile sweetness is mostly to blame for this. Bitterness is still on high, although without a malt base to match, it comes across as intensely bitter and the beer falls sharply out of balance. The finish is strikingly dry. Hints of lemongrass and coriander are on the wane. Notes of green apple tartness and chemicals are also prevalent, results of possible yeast contamination. A painfully abrasive and dry flavor profile. I am unsure of whether this is a good batch or not, but this beer was not at all easy to drink. It needs a significantly increased malt body to balance out the bitterness. 2.25

(Mouthfeel) A distinctly dry finish. Carbonation is mostly crisp and textures are oily and resiny with a touch of biscuit. Body is light for the style and light overall. Alcohol presence is medium. Again, the malt body is too shallow to compare, so the crispness of the carbonation doesn't help pacify the bitterness or the dryness of this brew. The true fix is in the flavors of the beer, so I can't be too harsh on the carbonation, but the alcohol presence is notably evident in spots. 2.75

(Overall) There were far too many imperfections in this beer to truly enjoy it. There were intense phenolic and tart sour flavors and little malt body to balance the hoppy bitterness. If I hadn't had such high hopes for this beer, I would have drain-poured this one, but I will attempt to enjoy the rest that i had. Recommend trying this beer only as fresh as possible, so that perhaps the malt profile will have somewhat more substance. Right now, it's a borderline undrinkable mess. 2.5

Boston Beer Company's
Samuel Adams Grumpy Monk Belgian IPA

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.75/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Haven Gastropub in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy bone head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, Belgian yeast, and nail polish remover aromas. Taste is much the same with mainly nail polish remover flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop and yeast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty poor beer that is pretty undrinkable with the nail polish remover aspects going on here.

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Photo of iSip
2.84/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Samuel Adams Grumpy Monk: Wonderful aroma of banana and clove that let's you know a Belgian style ale is coming. Reasonable head with great lacing. But the good news ends there. Deep copper color, too red for a Belgian style. The flavor has a hint of a Belgian ale, but is mostly a malt forward American microbrew. As for the IPA part, it's not there. Just a bitter finish is all you get. The Belgian IPA is an odd beast, but there are many great ones out there (New Begium's Belgo for one). You would think Sam Adams could pull out a good one, but the Grumpy Monk is a flop. Now I know why the monk is Grumpy.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.98/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into an Allagash flute on 5/1/12

Burnt, honey-amber hue; slow like caramel. A two finger head billows up and drops back down to an uneven, fluffy layer. A few thick trails of lace remain.

The aroma has lots of clove intertwined with light fruit notes - banana and pear. Herbal hints and a touch of pollen. Prairie grass overtones.

The taste has a bit more of an American IPA bent; at least it's somewhat piney with a touch of bitterness at the finish. Backings of toasted grain and cracker are layerd with clove, mild yeast spice, herbal hops and modest fruit esters.

The feel is startlingly sticky for such a moderate body. How does it have such a semblance of boozy slickness at only 5.7% abv? Yeesh. Carbonation is billowy and smooth, careening with granular underpinnings.

On the whole, not a bad beer but it isn't anything spectacular.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
2.98/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased as part of SA's IPA mix-pack at Market Basket in Somersworth. Pours a crystal-clear golden body with a good inch of rocky khaki-colored head. Spice, nut, and citrussy hops dominate the aroma in fairly equal parts. Citrus and spice share most of the flavor in an uneasy peace, with nut, bitterness, grass, and bread notes in the background. Medium bodied and effervescent. Not quite sure what to make of this one. The flavors don't work together quite the way I thought they might, but it grows on me as I go. Don't think I'd seek this one out but I wouldn't refuse one if offered again, which is good because I still need to drink the other one from the mix pack.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Made only for the Hop-ology mix pack as of now.

Pours out a very nice, yellowish color with hints of orange and a big fluffy white head.

Has notes of coriander, clove, belgian yeast, orange and earthy hops.

Taste is pretty close, you can taste all of the same flavors with a really nice malt backbone and a spicey character.

A very interesting brew and I'm glad I got to try it.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.04/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

served on-tap @ The Alcove, Tuscaloosa, AL, into a tasting glass

Pours the color of wild honey: golden and light. Not much head on this pour, but there's an adequate amount of buttermilk colored lacing.

Belgian IPAs can be wildy different in approach from one another. Some are IPAs with a Belgian yeast flair. Others are Belgian Blonde Ales with extra American hops. But for all the variance in the style that I've seen, I've never smelled one that smells as completely SMOKY as Grumpy Monk on-tap. It's phenols doing this. It's a yeast strain run amok. This beer smells like a campfire. Incredibly odd. I'm reminded of a peaty scotch more than anything. Underneath the smoke is some indistinguishable fruit. Just a mess of an aroma.

That smokiness carries over to the flavor of the beer, but (thankfully) you can taste all of the other complexities going on with Grumpy Monk. Past the smoke, I first pick up on a vegetal note; parsley, maybe. Or microgreens. Band-aid phenolic flavors are there, of course. There's fruitiness too: the hops lend a lemon note and even some banana.

The beer is reasonably smooth in terms of mouthfeel. I mostly didn't notice or think about the mouthfeel, which is nearly always a positive trait in a beer.

Overall, this seems like a beer whose yeast strain isn't in control. There's something valuable in this beer, but it's masked by that bewildering smokiness.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.05/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Pours the color of a gold brick, with a one-finger off-white head. Small patches of lacing.

S - Whoa...a lot more "Belgian" than I would have expected from an SA product. The yeasts really stand out. Nice blend of banana, clove, spicy hops, and a hint of toffee sweetness. Nice.

T - Starts off with a toffee malt underbody, some citrus fruitiness, but...then a really bad oxidized mineral taste kicks in and obliterates every other taste characteristic. Finishes with sort of a tangy/moldy bleu cheese flavor along with some residual fruitiness and a hint of barnyard. All flavors harsh and jarring rather than smooth. The oxidation really ruined this for me.

M - Pretty light bodied, with standard Sam Adams prickly carbonation. Finishes dry.

O - What could be a good beer here is buried by strange oxidation. Nowhere near the finer examples of the style. Not a fan.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

P: Clear golden body with minimal head that settles to a bubbly wake.

S: Faint yeast, grains, pecan bread, toasted toffee malt and peaches.

T/M: Apples, peaches, powdery yeast, honey cereal grain, lemon zest, buttered beer bread and oaky alcohol. Medium crisp body with a creamy carbonation with a dry chalky finish. Finished with dry cracked nuts.

O: A decent beer but not a champion. I liked the sweet and chalky but didn't deliver the satisfaction I expected. The alcohol was almost astringent and messed with the flavor profile.

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Photo of blackcompg
3.11/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from their 12oz bottle from their limited release IPA HOP-OLOGY variety pack...

Appearance - Poured one finger of off-white eggshell head, color of the ale is a completely transparent light amber. Noticed that my glass had fantastic lacing at the end of the session - raising this to a 4.

Smell - Definitely get that slight musky spicy scent of the belgian yeast, some slight medicinal smells,touch of toffee and citrus.

Taste - Meadowy hops, green grass, light minerals, medicinal-band aid flavors, belgian yeast flavors and some some white pepper. Seems a bit too light overal in boldness and flavor, and the belgian yeast-slight spiciness seems to be more of an afterthought.

Mouthfeel - It is quite smooth, lighter mouthfeel, carb is medium and clean - very easy to drink.

Overall - In the Sam Adams IPA Hopology Variety Pack, this is by far my least favorite. It's not bad, better than any macro for sure, but just seems a bit weak and light, especially for this style.

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Photo of Spiegle
3.16/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Pour it into my Sam Adams pint glass. Has a copper like color with a white 2 finger head.

S: Getting some citrus, hops and Belgian yeast.

T: caramel flavors, not very hoppy for an IPA, has an orange like after taste.

M: Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied.

O: Could use some more hops for an IPA beer. Just an average beer to me. Kind of expected more from Sam Adams.

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Photo of BigBarley
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a deep gold, with a touch of the brown. Nice cap of rolling white head that fluffs up and looks... Belgian.

Smells like wild yeasty goodness, a slight touch of banana and wheaty musk, and plenty of hops. Hops smell like the noble variety, but that could be interference from the biscuity malt. Reminds me of something like a pilsner with farmhouse yeast... interesting stuff.

Well... shit. That's a buzzkill. Tastes like dank hops soaked in stale hop residue, wth some sort of pine-tree farts solidified and dropped in the dry-hop. There's an unpleasant touch of the wild yeast and wheat qualities but... unpleasant isn't why I drink beer. I had high hopes for this. And am sad that this is the only one of these limited Sam IPAs I couldn't really get into.

Feel is thick but not overpowering, with decent carbonation. A little watery on the end unfortunately.

I wanted to enjoy this beer, and I enjoy everything about it but the taste. Too bad that's a huge part of the drinking experience...

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Photo of cmq103
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12-oz. bottle into a Duvel Belgian Tulip glass, which was part of the Sam Adams IPA Hop-ology 12-pack.

Appearance: A semi-aggressive pour resulted in a nice 1/2" off-white head. Clingy respectable lacing was present. A clear amber/copper color when held up to the light.

Smell: Belgian yeast nose, to a lesser citrus pine hops. Candied sweetness was also there as I swirl my glass.

Taste: Belgian yeast starts it off with a blend of moderate sticky sweetness to follow. A mild tangerine-grapefruit hop bite at the conclusion. The Belgian clearly outweighs the IPA style. Some maltiness is there too and it seems the sweetness of the beer fends off any hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A moderate body beer with spot-on carbonation. I sense no booziness, which is sometimes typical with the Belgian style beers. The bitterness gently lingers on the tongue after each swallow.

Overall: Not bad, but I don't think I'd be running out to buy a six-pack of this. The IPA sample pack by Sam Adams is a great idea though. A pretty good 12-pack I will have to say. Go out and buy yourself one. You'll enjoy the variety.

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Photo of farrago
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

About a finger’s worth of fairly dense foam, good retention with only moderate dimpling, the lacing is pretty thick as well if of average stickiness. Deep bronzed color, as close to light brown as orange, huge amount of particulate floating throughout the liquid, the bubble beads are few but when present they are active, looks on the “serious” side on the whole. Grainy and herbaceous nose, to the point it cloaks the sweet spices, yeast and fruitiness, minor white citrus tones, as it warms turns more floral and allows for notes of banana and cherry. Medium-bodied, it is on the dry side which takes a good bit of fluffiness out of the otherwise soft carbonation. Peppery, cut grass, dried pine sap, more dried flowers than yeast, has a vinous quality from white grape accents, supplemented by cherry and apricot fruit, the banana remains muted. Manages to cling to your mouth pores well through the finish, extending its presence. There’s nothing actively wrong with this beer but little exciting about it and it does not possess an easy, seamless flow which would make it a candidate for simple pleasurable drinking.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.21/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Copper to dark copper colored with an inch of densely packed creamy tan head comprised of tiny bubbles. I'm smelling a vegetal hop aroma combined with a candy sweet Belgian yeast strain. The flavor is a blend of vegetal hops and a very powerful candy sweet Belgian yeast strain that overwhelms the back of the palate. The mouth is moderately carbonated and very dry.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.22/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Best by Aug 2014 at 50 degrees into goblet
Aroma very faint spiceness but you gotta really snort it
Head average (3 cm), rocky/fizzy, off white, quickly diminishing to nothing
Lacing – none
Body orange, clear
Flavor – starts moderately sweet with coriander spice, very subdued; no hops, no malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl; ends sweet with slight alcohol burn.
Palate medium, watery, carbonation soft

A not very good attempt at a Belgium IPA, weak and watery. The only future I see for this beer is as a gateway beer, a bridge between SA and better Belgium beers.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

Pours an orange/golden color with a think wispy head, what head there is fades fast, no cap and minimal lacing.

Smell is surprisingly subdued, not picking up much hops at all, very light citrus element, decent malt backing but not too interesting for a Belgian style IPA.

Taste has a bit more flavor that the aroma was lacking in, hop presence is still lacking but the malt has a nice caramel flavor, assertive carbonation fills the mouth, nice body with a slight stickiness to it.

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Photo of MrOH
3.29/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brilliantly clear gold with a huge off-white head. Great retention. Tons of lace.

Clove phenolics, earthy and citric hops, a bit of bubblegum, some toasted malt.

Lots of belgian yeast. Clove phenolics and a slight bubblegum ester, some citrus and fruit from hops, and a nice, malty backbone.

Light bodied with ample carbonation.

Not my favorite belgian IPA, but not the worst I've ever had, either.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark amber gold with a sparse, grumpy white head. Smells like golden pear, mint and booze fumes. Oatmeal cookie.

Tastes "fuzzy," I'm guessing that's Styrian Goldings 'cause they often taste fuzzy to a good way. Minty with some hot Belgian yeast spice. There's a definate steeliness to the malt which I really don't like. Thick body for 5.75%.

As with most Sam Adams it's not great of flashy but a solid example of style.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle from the Hopology Mix 24 pack. Pours a translucent brownish orange color with no head. No lacing. The aroma is coriander, cloves, yeast, and banana. The taste is much like the aroma. Coriander, cloves, yeast, banana, cinnamon and some light caramel. Bready. Not much of a hop presence. Light, thin mouthfeel. This seems like a produced for the masses beer that doesn't stand out all that much. Certainly the worst beer of the mix pack. Overall, very forgettable.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.34/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Real nice crystal bronze red body color, and some slow rising carbonation. Real nice white and fluffy head, settling into a cap that hits a good meringue. Some lacing. This body color is really gorgeous.

This smells like an English IPA. Toffee like malts, and very tea hop like aromas. Kind of unexpected and not what I look for or perceive for this style.

In the palate some good spice clove comes out, with a good drying finish. Nice hop bitter, with English tea aromatics and a hint of sugars. Hop angle lingers nicely on the finish with some nice dryness.

Overall this is a pretty decent brew, but it reminds me too much of an English IPA and hardly feels Belgian at all.

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Grumpy Monk from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.65 out of 5 based on 714 ratings.
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