Monk's Mistress | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

177 Reviews
Monk's MistressMonk's Mistress

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
The inspiration for this beer’s name—previously, La Maitresse du Moine—is the beer itself. Its deep, intense flavors inspired the concept of a monk that seeks solace and satisfaction from the sensory pleasure and mind-provoking effects of this liquid temptress.

Mesmerizing Monk’s Mistress seduces your senses at first sip. Its daunting beauty and intriguing flavor fully captivate your attention. Belgian yeast adds character and complexity. We invite you to give in to this little bit of “heaven on earth”.

13 IBU

Added by kbub6f on 08-19-2003

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Reviews: 177 | Ratings: 318
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. A comparison between a fresh bottle and a 2008 bottle properly cellared. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, with little light transmission in the glass. The newer version has a fine one finger khaki head with great retention and lacing. The older one had a thin, somewhat darker head that thinned to patches upon pouring, but then built again into a thick cap; also with good lacing. Aroma: 2015, fresh and dried dark fruit, clove, bready malt, Belgian yeast, a hint of cocoa, close to a classic dubbel profile; 2008, dark dried fruit, especially date; clove and cinnamon, light caramel malt, a hint of marzipan. The newer bottle's flavor is dark, somewhat dry caramel malt, dark dried and fresh fruit; dates, figs and plums, Belgian yeast, cocoa, black bread. Finishes semi-dry with bready malt and dark fruit. The 2008 starts with fresh plums and lighter stone fruit, raisins, brown bread, finishes with prune and plum juice with interesting esters on the side of the tongue, light clove and spice bitterness and a touch of tartness and oxidation. The fresher version had a light creaminess that was absent in the older bottle, but both had nice active carbonation. Quite a difference in aging in this ale. The fresher one has much more dried fruit and rich malt, the older has more fresh, almost estery fruit and more bready malt. With age, this develops a slight tartness and almost a touch of wild yeast effects, but subtle, keeping the Belgian character. I liked the fresher bottle a little better because the the deeper malt flavor was a bit more balanced, but the older pour had developed fruit flavors that were unanticipated and enjoyable. Probably one of the more interesting and unexpected comparisons between bottle with a 7 year span that I've done. Age worthy and well made. A great domestic Belgian style dark ale. The ABV is dangerously well covered.

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Photo of 303beer
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy deep brown with a dense off white rocky head. Leaves some lacing. The outstanding taste is of Belgian yeast but there is a bit of malt character to it. Kinda complex backend. Pretty good Belgian. Also a sticky but dry feel at the finish.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle acquired locally dated dec 2014, enjoyed in a midnight sun snifter.

a - brew pours a deep purple with a mocha colored frothy head that hung out. Fairly classic looking for style.

s - nose boasts grape, plums and candied dark fruit. Mild notes of oxidation.

t/m/o - bouquet of dark fruits. Crisp body and the flavor is refreshing and cooling. Super easy drinking and the oxidation suggested in the nose is not present in the taste. One of the better American takes on a Belgian classic. Body is a bit watery but other than that I could be fooled into thinking this was brewed in Belgium. Yet another solid offering from midnight sun.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into tasting glass at Ale Arsenal. From notes. Reviewed 27 June 2015.

Matte mahogany.
It smells pleasant boozy and vaguely Belgian.
Sweet, sugary, but somehow pleasant. The Belgian yeast cuts through strong and I like that. But it's still like really sweet. Too much so.
The mouthfeel gets a pass, because it's not cloying.
Recommended, but wouldn't have again.

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Photo of Zach136
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Virtually pitch black, thin tan collar.

Aroma: Raison, gingerbread, and hints of chocolate. Super good.

Flavor: Bread-y, grape-y, red wine-y, with solid booze character coming through. Touch of candy sugar as well, which I'm not a fan of, but it's very in check. Super complex.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, soft carbonation with the slightest warming alcohol finish.

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Photo of Kendo
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A:4.00. Poured from the bomber into a Duvel tulip. Body appears black, but when backlit there's more of a crimson-hued brown. A small light-tan colored head settles on top, leaves occasional splotches of lace clinging to the glass

S: 4.25. First impression is the alcohol; the 11.5% ABV is definitely noted. I also get dark fruits: raisins, primarily, and some black cherries. Also a touch of spice..

T: 4.25 Good stuff. It's been in my fridge for quite some time - I'm guessing 6-8 months, and I suspect this beer would survive cellaring. Lots of flavor here: Black cherries, molasses, dark fruits (raisins) and port wine. Touch of cocoa powder and even roasted coffee beans as it warms. Finishes with warming spiced rum and a touch of generic alcohol drying heat. Warmth felt in the belly right away.

M: 4.00. Medium-to-full in heft, with a nice chewy body. Carbonation is modest.

O: 4.25. This is a well-done American take on a BSDA.

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Photo of kdahnke123
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature:
A - Poured a medium brown with a small amount of off-white head. The head dissipated quickly and left only a small amount of lacing.
S - Smells yeasty, fruity with some hops and a little bit of malt.
T - Fruity and estery with a balanced amount of hops and malt.
M - Thin to moderate mouth feel with minimal coating of the glass or mouth.
O - Your typical Belgian style ale. They used the right ingredients and yeast to accomplish what they set out to make. There are plenty of Belgian style ale from Belgium at a better price point. Perhaps they could use the fermentation capacity to make more Arctic Devil barley wine instead.

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Photo of NVP12345
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A - Rich dark brown with a thinly laced head that dissipated unusually quickly.

S - Light but pleasant, cherry/fig/plum mixed with roasted malt.

T - Similar to the aroma, with a slightly bitter finish that lingers with just a hint of the alcohol -- at 11.5%, I have to admit they do a fine job of hiding it. Not overly sweet and nothing too intense, but well balanced and it goes down very easy.

M - Light to medium bodied, less carbonation than a typical Belgian. A little more watery than what I was expecting.

O - I wasn't overly impressed with this beer, since there are several others in the category that are superior at a similar price point. Still, it is a solid offering for those who prefer a less intense flavor profile, or those hoping to throw back more than a few in a sitting as it is very drinkable. Looking forward to trying more from this brewery.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled the third week of October, according to the label. I purchased it about three years ago and it's been in the cellar ever since.

Served slightly chilled in a goblet. Monk's Mistress is a deep redish shade of brown with good clarity. The head is thin and settles quickly leaving no lace behind.

Aroma is rich and full of dark fruits. It has a slight roast to it but it mostly fruit.

Flavor is beautifully balanced and nuanced. It has the typical dried fruits like raisins and dates. There are lesser amounts of chocolate and roasted malt.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and perfectly carbonated for the style. The balance is just right and the alcohol has faded nicely over the years.

Overall a very special brew and one I've been looking forward to for a while. It doesn't disappoint.

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Photo of mttaylor1066
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Not as sweet as most Belgian strong ales, a good change of pace!

Cola colored with quickly dissipating mousse.

Smells of roasted malt, coffee and stone fruits.

Tastes of burnt sugar, dark red fruit, plum with a malt backing (delicious!). The alcohol content is apparent on the finish.

Pleasantly carbonated for the style.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-dark brown color with hints of burgundy, nice light tan head and a little lacing

S-toasted malt, caramel , spices, dark fruit, little alcohol

T-toasted bread, dark fruit, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, mild bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-nice flavors, enjoyable sipping beer

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, the beer is a dark, deep, rich, brown-to-black coloring with slight ruby highlights under the light. Tall, dense, bright tan head that starts around half an inch and settles in to a ring on the surface. Aromas of rich black-strap molasses, fig, roasted notes, tangy caramel, and booze. Smells like an ass-kicker. Flavors of rich date, fig, and black cherry, all sweet and robust, with earthy and woody notes highlighting. Very bold flavor profile. The body is smooth, rich, and slick. Sparse lacing along the glass as you drink. Aftertaste of booze, rich old-world fruit sweetness, and wine-like characteristics. Very rich and robust throughout. Slick, quick, rich finish with a subtle boozy warmth and linger. Solid sipper.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served at cellar temperature into a Midnight Sun goblet.

Monk's Mistress is a very dark, deep, murky brown color. It looks kind of like swamp water... in a good way. Imagine delicious swampy water you want to drink... uh... okay, maybe I should just move on. The head is pretty big for an 11.5% ABV ale. A solid two fingers or so of light tan, frothy foam.

The aroma... oh the aroma! There are mysterious scents of dark fruits, yeasty bread, and a hint of cinnamon. Makes me feel like I'm in my family's kitchen in December when copious amounts of Christmas sweets are being baked!

The taste follows the aroma pretty well. The predominant taste is a glorious sweet breadiness, but the dark fruits return here as well, revealing some definite raisins, and possibly some prunes and figs. The after-taste possesses a subtle, roasty chocolate character that I haven't experienced in any other Belgian strong dark ale. Phenominal.

This mouthfeel is slightly sticky, and has a lively, animated carbonation which I believe helps mask the alcohol. And that brings me to the ABV... has anyone seen it? I've been looking all over the place for the whopping 11.5% ABV, but I just can't find it. Tell me if you've seen it.

Just incredible. This dark ale is downright magical. And it's awesome that this is available year-round at a mere $8~10 per bomber. Midnight Sun has struck again.

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Photo of FredGallagher
4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

An amazing Belgian Strong Dark Ale that has very smooth characteristics (unusual for its bald class). Fruity undertones. Gets better as you sip. Midnight Sun Brewing has been really top notch lately. This beer is a gem.

I carry ontap all year round, compelments spicy italian - such as a pepperoni pizza. Not for the novice - but great gateway into darks.

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Photo of DelMontiac
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

How sweet it is to have a friend in Alaska to fly this beauty to the plains of Oklahoma...

Poured from 22oz bomber into Crown and Rose Pub nonic glass.

Monk's Mistress is a splended drink and is just this side of black with deep red spikes at the fringes of the glass. The camel colored head starts out frothy and bulging, then simmers to a fine film in a couple of minutes. Lace is colored the same leaving thin flowing wisps about the glass.

English toffee, dark fruits, molasses, chocolates, wild yeasts, currant jelly, peppery spice, and table wine - I know this is going to be a good experience.

Knocks it out of the park with flavors of plum, fig, grape, chocolate, caramel malt, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a vanilla bean aftertaste that has my full attention. Outstanding and unforgettable.

Medium bodied and perfectly carbonated, this drink is getting the job done. Well done. Provides a very good coating so that those flavors have plenty of hang time.

I don't think I'll ever score a beer as "perfect", but this is about as close as it gets if there is such a thing. I notice not everyone agrees, so maybe there are inconsistencies, but Monk's Mistress knocks my socks off.

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Photo of mactrail
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark mahogany color with a beautiful head on pouring. Malty fragrance with dark fruit. Nicely sudsy in the mouth.

Seriously rich but touched with some tart flavors. More than a hint of licorice, along with raisins and dried figs. They seem to have made a textbook example of the dark fruit flavors. Just a slight drying at the end with some yeasty flavors, seems to be the extent of the Belgian character. Very sweet and seems to get sweeter as you sip. It seems too alcoholic for my taste, at least in this style, but it's hard to complain about such a hearty, rich and flavorful brew.

All in all, this is a quite drinkable dark brew. It seems like a Dubbel with a big load on. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Best Damn in San Diego.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear dark brown in color with some reddish brown highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall tan head that reduces to a moderate film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate notes of dark fruit including fig and plum along with dark and roasted malts. Lighter notes of spicy Belgian yeast.

T: Flavors of dark and roasted malts with lighter notes of dark fruit sweetness and hints of Belgian yeast spices in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This is a very enjoyable beer but nothing about this beer stands out in particular - this beer is very easy to drink and I could easily sip on a beer like this all afternoon long. Alcohol is very well hidden in this beer.

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Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark brownish amber in color. It poured with a thin beige head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light aromas of dark fruits in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of dark fruits.
M: It feels medium-bodied and quite smooth on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up from the brewery by my girlfriend a few days ago. No other freshness dating.

A= Pours a deep black color with a nice mocha colored head that rises a great looking three fingers holding great retention and lacing.

S= A nice mix of belgian yeast and a bit of roasty chocolatey malt in it. It smells less of the belgian yeast however than I was expecting. Not that it's a bad thing it just seems to be more focused on the nice roasty character. There also seems to be a bit of sweetness backing it up. I can't really put my finger on it but it smells familiar. Almost like a s'more maybe.

T= The taste is again a great mix of belgian yeast and a nice chocolaty roasty malt. There's a great bit of a sweetness that just seems to touch the tip of the tongue without going much deeper. There's a nice biscuity finish to it.

M= A little light on the mouth for a belgian but still enjoyable. I actually prefer the lighter carbonation.

O= This is a great beer. Worth asking her to bring back and worth every penny. I have been wanting to try Midnight Sun for some time now and this beer didn't let me down.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.85/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled shared by Doopie during out Battle of Alaska night against Alaskan Perserverance Ale. Good times man!

From a bomber into a snifter
December 2011 bottle

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, looser looking, fizzy beige head with decent retention, eventually fading to a thin film. Color is a dark mahogany brown/red with medium levels of carbonation evident. A slight ring remains until the end of the glass but leaves no lacing.

SMELL: Dark malts, caramel malts and some dark fruit, mostly dates and raisins. A light yeasy spicy notes in there, with touches of clove. Medium strength at best.

TASTE: Caramel and dark malts, dark fruits, and a good does of raisins and dates. Mild but lingering aftertaste of dark fruits and caramel sweetness, much like others in the style, but some very sweet grape juice ligers as well. Quite sweet, and misses some of that spicy yeast quality that makes this style so enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry. Alcohol is well hidden here.

OVERALL: Not bad I guess, but not good either. This one is quite sweet, with lots of dark fruits and an odd grape juice flavor as well. Moreover, this beer was just begging for some spicy yeast flavors that make this style so tasty. A decent beer to be sure, but not one I'd fall over to get, especially with all the quality brews in this style over here. Thanks for sharing Doops!

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Photo of mltobin
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up this bottle over the border in New York state.

Appearance is dark brown , very little white head. It has a nose of pepper, orange peel, toasted malts and caramel. Sipping on this offering out of Alaska and I taste vanilla, more orange peel, malts and honey. Mouthfeel medium, nice carbonation, a clean, slightly boozy finish. All in all, a very good BSPA, worth picking up. Especially, if you are in my shoes and have only recently had the opportunity to pick this up on a local shelve.

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Photo of tempest
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber for $12 at City Beer in San Francisco. In hindsight, I wish I'd picked up a second bottle. The beer open with a big spicy Belgian character that reminded me of Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van De Keizer (that's a big compliment). From there, the beer fades into subtle fruit and soft brown bready malts with a little toffee. What really sets this Belgian ale off, and sets it apart, are the clean, intermittent notes of chocolate that pop up. It's little touches like that that elevate this beer above other fine examples of the style. The body feels like a 8%-9% ABV beer, so watch yourself. It's delicious, just don't get too carried away. And make sure to buy a second bomber.

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Photo of lovindahops
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

tapping into this bottle I grabbed from Halftime Bev last time that i was down state. Thought it would be a nice time to open given the warm weather that slowly twisted into a rain storm this evening. Pouring into a my Surly Darkness snifter

A- big time black color all over the glass with the most RE-DONK-ULUS head of slightly mocha foam all over the glass no matter how slowly I poured. Mega lacing all over. Due to how slow I poured, I am that much impressed with the

S- a good whiff of darkened fruit bundled with some slight buttery yeast. Certainly not impressive as the head, but still some flavor

T- MEGA DARK FRUIT ENROBED IN BELGIAN YEAST FLAVORS. I really like the combination as it represents the characteristics I look for with a belgian strong ale. Alcohol is present at the end

M- carbonated and sticky with flavor. It's good

O- wow I love midnight sun. This brew is crafted with a smooth balance of dark flavors of fruit and malt compacted together for great flavor. I can tell you this much... when I can find this brew again, I willl grab 7 or 8 bombers


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Photo of cpetrone84
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a dark cola brown almost black with a tight dirty brown head. The nose is very sweet, light sweetness up front with a fair bit of chocolaty cake and biscuity malt underneath. Loads of sweet dark berries and a tinge of booze soaked in the back. The taste is more malt forward with the chocolate cake note more pronounced. The berries are melded in a bit better than the nose with a touch of booze and heat. the malt lingers. The malt body also reappears and hangs through a long finish on a heavy carbonation. The body is heavy and a bit grainy, may be a touch more sugar left over.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Thorpe for sharing this with me. Tickers unite. Served in a snifter. At the time of this review, this is #31 on the "Top Beers - Belgian Strong Dark Ale" list on

Beer is dark brown and mostly clear with a thin off white head of small bubbles. Moderate carbonation, no lacing, low retention.

Aroma is yeasty, biscuit, esters, sweet, with a mild roast.

Beer is medium in body and sweet up front with a mild roast finish. It is a little too sweet and a little too bitter, there is an interesting yeast character on the finish. Nice but probably not a repeat.

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Monk's Mistress from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.06 out of 5 based on 318 ratings.
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