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Monk's Mistress | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Monk's MistressMonk's Mistress
323 Ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 323 |  Reviews: 178
Reviews by mattmaples:
Photo of mattmaples
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Midnight Sun “La Maitresse du Moine” 22oz
This is another Belgain style from our Anchorage friends at Midnight Sun. Loosely translated means “The Monks Mistress” This time she is a “Dark Strong” ale. It pours deep brown in color and the head is huge but settles into half inch topping of dense foam. The aroma is perfumey, malty with a whiff of dates. It has a medium body that fills the mouth but is not heavy. A bit of a sharp fruity (raisin) start, it moves into a sweet malty flavor with a hint of caramel. The finish has a spicy alcohol tinge and a slight hop bitterness. The beer maybe sweet and smooth but at 9% she could be a harsh mistress if not treated right. A damn fine beer that will only improve with age.
Above was my review for my newsletter. I dinged it a little for the head falling a bit fast. That might change after it ages. I really liked the drinkability becase it is a sweet dark Belgain but since it is fresh it still has its hop bitterness so it breaks the sweetness at the end. Not too much to be out of the Belgian range but enough to offset the sweet.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Dark brown in color and carbonated. The head was mighty and Belgian with good retention. It left a big ol' puddle in the middle of the ale.

Smell – Almost no smell. Let me put it aside and come back to it when it warms.

Give this one just five minutes and the aroma comes alive. The dark malt and huge butter rush to the nostrils along with big cane sugar and a warning of alcohol

Taste – Lovely dark malts form the backbone of this ale. I mean, these are seriously dark, full of chocolate and even a little bit of coffee and very yeasty. There’s some light fruiting in there along with lots of sugar, particularly raw and cane.

Lots of dark spices as well, especially allspice, and maybe a little bit of hop balance. All this comes together to form one big, murky, malty dark ale. As Jim Carrey said in The Mask, “I looove it!”

Mouthfeel – High level of fluffy carbonation and full in the mouth. There’s a slight sting of alcohol to this 9.0 BSDA, but not too much.

Drinkability – If you like full, fluffy BSDAs with the emphasis on “dark” give this one a try. I thought it was awesome

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Photo of TCHopCraver
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled the third week of March. I presume it is a 2011 vintage.

Wow, that is DARK. Much darker than I expected; it looks more like a stout to me than a Belgian Strong Dark. The color is dark brown, bordering on black. The head was a dark tan and blossomed out at about a finger and a half before quickly receding. Just a little dotty lacing is left behind as the beer goes down.

The aroma is not as strong as I thought it might be, but it is quite sweet. I smell lots of banana, a little coffee, some caramel, fig, brown sugar. It is a pleasant smell, but just not very strong. Curious.

Whoa, the flavor is much bigger than the smell is. Notes of banana and clove are heavy, with supporting flavors of cinnamon and brown sugar. Candied fruits and molasses also come to mind when mulling the flavor. The Belgian yeast strain is quite evident in the sweet, spicy tastes. A bit of booze comes through, but not a crazy amount.

The mouthfeel is a little strange. It's very syrupy at first, with a medium body. The carbonation kicks in at about the same time that some booze does, adding a bit of a sizzle to the sides of my palate. The finish is actually a little dry.

Overall, I'm not entirely sure what I think about this beer. It has a very nice, sweet taste and a decent mouthfeel, but it just seems like it's missing a little something that I can't put my finger on. It's certainly good, just not great.

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Photo of kuishinbo_tantei
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Jason
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz brown bomber with a bottled on date on the side of the label.

Appearance: Quick to foam, slow to dissipate. Lots of action from the carbonation to keep the head alive, two shades away from black … very dark.

Smell: Faint licorice, soft yeast … dry malty twang. Quick flash of phenols, dark fruit and a light spicy alcohol.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Big alcoholic character, very boisterous and very warming. Smooth and crisp with a viscous mouth feel. Spicy up front with phenols and alcohol, very little hopping but it is not needed. Lots of dark fruit flavour; prune & black currant. Spices linger with clove, licorice, black pepper … further are some earthy tones, minerally.

Notes: Vastly complex, a sipping brew. Shared the bottle or spend the night getting through it.

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Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber, $9.99 @ DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. The label tells me it was bottled during the 3rd week of December.

Dark dark brown/black, dark tan head, leaves a tiny bubble film , larger collar and nice fine bits of lacing.

A coating of plump and pungent raisins, dark toast and Belgian yeasty goodness in the nose.

Full flavor BSDA, loaded with notes of raisins, ripe figs, dark toast, powdered sugars, burnt malts, all along with a supre dry and densly hopped finish.

Well done, very complex and enjoyable.

Go get some, happy to have this one now distributed to my local area...

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Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -25.9%

Photo of Thrasher
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Mon dieu! What an enormous beer. This mistress does not fool around. A silky, tarry brown with flints of amber at the edges. It poured perfectly into my 2004 Oregon Spring Beer & Wine Fest gold-rimmed chalice, about as perfect a drinking vessel as one could ask for. Head was proper and tight, and thankfully not too foamy, but not really lacey either. Hugely fruity aroma, with roasty overtones and a sour undercurrent. The flavor itself is largely roasty, like burnt toast, with the yeast contributing a big sour fruit bite. The overall impression is one of black licorice, or perhaps crispy black bread toast with a fruit marmalade. Red wine comparisons are inevitable. This beer is a bit too much for me at the moment. It made me groggy and it totally whalloped my dinner of ginger/miso chicken, but under the right circumstances I could imagine this beer to be a soothing, arousing mistress (maitresse). Tchin tchin!

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a ½+ glass full of head into my Piraat tulip—can’t really complain as this bottle did travel all the way from Anchorage. The head is a creamy tan and the body is nearly pitch black with just a hint of crimson around the edges. The head eventually recedes leaving chunky bands of foam in its wake. Aromas of alcohol laden vinous fruit along with a slight citric tartness. There are traces of floral hops as well. Tastes of sweet coffee and vinous fruit up front, giving way to some Belian candi and roasted malt. Mild hop bitterness in the background and a substantial warming alcohol presence. Smooth in the mouth with moderate to high carbonation.

This ale has great malt complexity and depth that is nicely balanced with the judicious floral hop charcter. A pleasant surprise from the far north!

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Photo of glid02
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Joe - thanks! The label is the old Quebecois one and the date on the bottle is stamped with a 2003. Based on how smooth the beer was I believe it.

Pours a hazy brown color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth caramel and toasted malts with large amounts of molasses. Also present are brandy-soaked dark fruits - figs and plums - with hints of dark toffee.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Dark malt flavors with hints of caramel and sweet toasted malts kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are moderate amounts of dark fruits - figs and plums as in the aroma with hints of boozy raisins - that come into play. The flavor profile sweetens midway through the sip with mild amounts of molasses and buttery toffee. The sweetness fades out a bit and carries through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass very quickly and helped myself to a few more.

Overall this was a very good example of the style, better than many I've that were made in the country of the style's origin. Very much worth a shot, and probably worth letting age for a while if you have multiple bottles.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)
Just purchased this bottle in 1/11 but it has the old name on it and is notched March 2nd or 3rd week
A- The silky black body lets no light in and except for a few tiny bubbles stuck to the base there is nothing to see. The creamy tan head is thick with some big bubbles pushing through.

S- The dark toffee sweetness has notes of prunes and some very faint red wine vinegar notes followed by some sweet roasted notes like prunes in the finish.

T- The sweet dark fruit flavor has hints of prunes and cream with some softer candy qualities. There is a light tartness to follow with a soft woody quality in the finish and some red wine tannins to dry out the finish even more. As the beer opens up the red wine in the finish takes on more cherry qualities.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat but a slightly chewy texture in the finish.

D- The dark but bright fruit is sweet but not overly sweet. This beer has a lot of nice depth that is well blended and hard to pin down in words. It does go down way to fast for such a big beer.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
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 Griffith
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The monks mistress is a typical american shot at a belgian strong. pours very dark, with deep dark red tints. Head is of decent size but quickly fades into a ring, but does stick to the glass all the way down. Nose is of sweet dark fruit, prune or fig, sugary with almost no alcohol. Especially pruney. The first taste is of dark fruit and candy sugar. Dark fruit middle with malt and with an almost peppery taste. the finish is hoppy with a hint of coppery penny taste. The aftertaste is hoppy and lingers for a while. A good beer, but doesnt compare to a belgian strong from belgium. This to me is like a mix between a malty american brown, and a thin, thin, thin belgian dubbel. Interesting. A fine beer.

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Photo of Sammy
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark colour, with white foamy head. Good roast aroma,roasted chocolate, stout elements, licorice and mollasses in the taste.Above average mouthfeel, with caramel, yeast, roast, nuttiness, suitable carbonation. A good crossover, and complexity. Drinkable.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Trappist Westvleteren goblet.

Bistre body, exceedingly dark but not quite opaque - shaded by deep auburn highlights deep within, just barely revealed when held up to the sun. A wheat colored thin layer of incredibly dense foam persists forever - it brings to mind a nitro-stout at first (though without the cascading effect). Thick pasty lacing hides the viscous tears.

Very rich malt along with esters suggesting peaches and prunes, and a faint spicy smell in the nose. Complex, subtle, and inviting.

Heavy caramel, cocoa, dark fruit, and roasted malt flavors start things off - mid-palate these tastes are joined by hints of coffee, cloves, and a very light yeasty sourness with perhaps a glimmer of hops. Intense flavors intermingle in the finish - which concludes medium-dry.

Prickly mouth-feel from carbonation, faintly astringent, and quite warming (nearly hot) from the alcohol.

While not perfectly true to style (the roast level reminds me more of a porter), this surpassed my expectations - the best thing I've sampled so far from Midnight Sun.

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4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into Stem Tulip: Bottled 3rd week of Sept. 2010.

A: A deep plum body, with a sandy colored head that has high formation, about 3 finger worth. Levels of carbonation seem to be high from the appearance. Head retention is quite well, holding through the whole bottle. Lacing is left in sticky rings after each sample.

S: I can smell the pure bliss that is Belgian Dark Ales, with it just sitting next to me. The nose projects a complex layer of profiles, that bring to mind dark candy sugar and many dark fruits like fig and prunes. A warming, bready aroma, very profound use of malts. Not a spicy presence, but hints at peppercorns. The nose has a nice high intensity to it.

T/M: The front is bold and assertive, while still being approachable. Flavors of dark fruits, with backbone note of dried cherries and there pits. A dry note on the palate, gives way to more than a juicy fruit presence. A sweet hint shows the well use of malts and is not overpowered by any finishing hops that may have been added. A very complex tone of candy and plum. The mouthfeel, shows perfect levels of carbonation, but mellows out to a creamy body that leaves the mouth silky and rich in taste. The finish is warm and welcoming to more, while this is a higher ABV style, this one has a nice balance of other flavors which mask and detour any hot or boozy notes that would otherwise be present. Lingering taste is just perfect, releases many new flavors of raisins and an oak linger.

O: This is one of the few United States produced examples of the style, where it stands up to the most respected beers of Belgium. Nicely shown alcohol presence, but still many other flavor to distract one's palate. Seek this out. Very grateful to have gotten this bottle.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, lugged back from alaska, split

appearance: served in my ale asylum chalice, very dark brown body - barely letting through a garnet hue, fizzy carbonation, creamy tan head with a light lace

smell: cocoa, dark plums, raisins and brown sugar, yeast, dry roastiness

taste: dark candi sugars, bakers chocolate, dry and roasty, healthy alcohol presence, plum, raisins, dates, holiday spices

mouthfeel: a bit hot, spiced, rich medium body

overall: good belgian strong dark - a style i havent tangled with in quite some time

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Photo of BenGap
3.32/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of cjgator3
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a large Duvel tulip glass. Pours a dark black color with a huge light tan head that possesses excellent retention and lacing qualities. It almost looks more like a stout. The aroma is slightly tart with some dark malts, yeast, a slight whiff of pepper, and just a touch of funkiness. The taste is dark malts with some chocolate, yeast and a dry coffee-like bitterness. This beer is reminiscent of a Belgian-style stout mixed with a Belgian strong dark ale. Overall, this is a really nice beer that is highly recommended.

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Photo of RickS95
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of tempest
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
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 nickd717
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Liquid Solutions.

Pours a deep dark reddish-brown color with a large, fluffy tan head. Midnight Sun seems to always nail the appearance, and this is no exception.

Aroma is dark fruits, brown sugar, molasses, roast, chocolate, and spiced rum.

Flavor is very heavy on the molasses, but still very good. Candied dark fruits abound - raisin, plum, cherries, and figs - along with chocolate and spices. Really tasty.

Smooth on the palate with medium body and soft carbonation.

Drinkability is not outstanding, but overall this is really a great beer.

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Photo of russpowell
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a chestnut-hued mahogany with a finger of mocha head. Some lacing & zero head retention

S: Musty apples, plums & other dark fruit

T: A bit of green apple, plums & a kiss of booze up front. A bit of oaky dryness & some dark chcolate, a bit more booze burn, leafy hops & figs as this warms, Finishes with a bit of dirt, some booze burn & much dark fruit

MF: Medium, fairly spritzy

Drink pretty easy for the ABV, a bit of booze burn, & style. fair take on the style

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Photo of Glibber
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

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Monk's Mistress from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 323 ratings