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

Added by kbub6f on 08-19-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 323 |  Reviews: 178
Photo of pgetchell
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of DucksFan16
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of brdc
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Large capped bottle, poured into a goblet.

Pitch black, with a creamy, dense tan head that keeps collar and lacing all the way down, beautiful and just flawless appearance.

Aroma is an impressive combination of malty sweetness with the usual caramel and perhpas molasses, a multitude of dark fruits, but also some unexpected layers of spiciness and of all things to be found in a dark ale, coffee and bittersweet chocolate.

Chewy, full bodied yet creamy and nicely carbonated, it is not exactly true to style, yet is amazing in its own right. Just like the aroma suggested, multiple dark fruits, sweet caramel, but also some coffee, bittersweet chocolate and a mild peppery spiciness. And a few more things I cannot identify.

Big, bold, complex, yet easy to put down. It is half way down and I am already sad I have only one more of this in my cellar.

One year later, from same batch, it holds very well, although it does not really improve - very hard to improve IMHO. Next chance, will get a full case.

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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 jdhilt
4.78/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours with a thick, 5-finger plus, light brown head that gradually fades slowly, leaves hardly any lace. Takes 15 minutes just to pour. Dark, brown color. Nose is very sweet and malty. Heavy bodied but light carbonation. Starts sweet, finishes smooth and sweet with just a trace of hops. An excellent Belgian style ale. $8.99 for a 22oz bottle.

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Photo of Smileitsfreetobehappy
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of Mickeyp2814
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of Anaxagoris
4.68/5  rDev +15.6%

Photo of DelMontiac
4.67/5  rDev +15.3%
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 GClarkage
4.65/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

08/09/07- Purchased at John's Marketplace, in Portland, OR.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with a notched datestrip on the side of the bottle. I believe this one was June of '06. Poured into my RR Damnation tulip.

Appearance- Burnt and blackend caramel colored pour. One inch plus creamy head which layers at a good 1/4 inch almost. Small chunks and very nice lace sheeting action.

Smell- This one is a candy bar. Raw cookie dough and caramel goodness with dark chocolate, and alcohol soaked coffee beans. There has to be a mismash of dark fruits as well, but all the other nose treats outweigh them.

Taste- Yep, it's just as sweet as the nose, maybe a touch too much. About the only drawback of this beer. Huge kaluha-like coffee liquor flavor with minglings of dark and milk chocolate together. Prunes, plums, dates raisins and figs all jumble up into a big dark fruit-o-rama. Lots of deep roasted caramel as well forms another base to the beer besides the coffee.

Mouthfeel- Semi-creamy with a medium carbonation level. Enough hops to satisfy your cravings.

Drinkability- Damn, this one was fantastic. Just as all the beers I have had from Midnight Sun have been. Wishing I had a case of this. Really not a summer beer though. Save it for winter. Gives a nice tummy warming sensation.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.65/5  rDev +14.8%
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 11thFloorBrewing
4.63/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'm sitting outside in Anchorage on one of the last sunny summer days. I pour this from a bomber into a large snifter. The color is very dark coffee, but as the sun strikes it lovely deep red reflections scatter around me. Beautiful malt and some biscuit aroma invite me to sip. The inital taste leaves me surprised. It's much lighter in body and flavor than expected. Some coffee, very light roasty malt, and spiciness make this flavorful but overpowering. It's dry with medium carbonation and tingly on the tongue. Despite being 9% this is very drinkable and doesn't have too much of that alcohol heat. I will definitely get another bottle or two to take back home with me.

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

Appearance and Presentation – 22 oz bomber dated 1st week of September, clearly not this year, poured into a tulip. The head is off-white, creamy, and gigantic. The bit of beer underneath the head is dark brown with a mahogany hue when held to the light. Head retention is great, lacing is also first-rate.

Smell – Vinous, alcoholic, and spicy. It’s a very nice aroma with a good variety of components. Standard mix, but well done.

Taste – What an original flavor, a stout influenced Belgian ale. Initially the flavor is just like a standard Belgian ale, yeasty and spicy with some dark fruit, but as you swallow roasted malts with a coffee flavor takes over. What a delightful surprise. The flavors match very nicely, an excellent and unique flavor combination. The alcohol in the nose is completely absent in the flavor. No hops to speak of, possibly due to the age of the beer.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied with strong carbonation.

Drinkability and Notes – Easy to drink, great flavor, a real gem. I am sad to see that this beer is marked as retired; I may have to return to Marty’s and stock up on this one.

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Photo of Bierlerner
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


A- Almost black. Definitely no light getting through for sure though. Thick creamy head that takes forever to go away. Lots of bubbles coming through.

S- Light aroma. kinda twangy. Dark druits.

T- Wow. Its boozy, but at same time its well balanced with licorice, plums, prunes, etc. I'm loving each sip. And with each sip there seems to be another level of depth. This is a tasty and complex brew.

M- viscous, playful carbonation, creamy, and very warming

O- What an excellent brew! Definitely one of my favs. I'd rate the overall higher, but the drinkability is kinda low due to abv factor being at 11.5%. This is a definite sipper for sure. But one I could definitely sip often. Well done, Midnight Sun!

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Photo of DanOLeary
4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Aroma: First up is a beautiful blend of dark fruit and alcohol spice. A welcome aroma that brings me back to my winter beer tastings... Some fig, plums and chocolate come out nicely here. The phenolics off this beer represent the Belgian style nicely and very successfully hide the 11.5% ABV, there is very little alcohol aroma.

Appearance: Nearly black. I've seen porters and stouts that allow more light through, but there is a cherry wood glow that shines from this beer if you hold it up to the light. Also some small bits of yeast settled near the bottom of my glass, suggesting bottle conditioning even though the bottle itself mentions nothing of it. Head pours a creamy tan. Frothy. Excellent retention and good lacing.

Flavor: Light molasses and deep candi syrup come to mind and the tongue first, but these sweet flavors are quickly over taken by roasted malt and deep toasted bread. There is some chocolate in there too, but you'll mostly recognize the roast. Once you get passed the deep malt and syrup there's a subtle bread dough to the beer that seems to be coming off of the yeast. Once again nearly no alcohol presence, it's almost hard to believe this is so high in alcohol. The finish does bring out an alcoholic spice, though there seems to be a touch of hop bitterness lingering there too.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with light carbonation. Malt and candi sweetness bring out a touch of stickiness through the middle but the beer cleans up very nicely in the finish. Alcoholic warmth will bite the back of the throat for just a moment as the beer goes down.

Overall: A stellar display of balance and complexity in what could have turned out to be a very "boozy" beer. Midnight Sun Brewing has done well in hiding the 11.5% ABV with a nice balance of aroma, sweet and roasted flavors, with just a touch of warming mouthfeel. This is a very easy drinking dark ale that offers complexity only Belgian yeast can bring. Some of the sweetness comes off a little surprising at first sip, but while the beer warms and your palate warms up to the beer, this beer becomes more and more enjoyable.

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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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Photo of Khazadum
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

HUGE thanks go out to Ramiro for bringing this bottle to the GI BA meet-up. Thanks man! You always bring something shocking out of that little cooler you carry around.

A- Woodlands midnight appearance. There are these brown hues that you imagine in the glass. A caramel and cocoa infusion cap or even caramel and chocolate mixture that has great retention and lacing as I drank my share down.

S- Ooo the flavors to pick out. Vanilla, bourbon?, vanilla, grains, did I say vanilla?, strong starbucks quality coffee, and caramels.

T- Of course the bourbon-like sweetness and alcohol come forward. As this fades into the background I detect the vanilla ( thank goodness ) playing with his two friends dark fruits and brown sugar. The finish is faintly hopped with bitter tingling notes that morphed into a beefy flavor.

M- Full, chewy, medium carbonation, flavor peaks and ebbs, smooth, and creamy. Top notch for just feeling it out.

D- No problems. This is an amazingly well put together beer. The flavors come back welcomingly every time and I would love another bottle to share. I want others to enjoy this.

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Photo of tmcelvain
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark, dark brown small head.
Smells of belgian yeasts, with a bready smell so light its almost papery.
Tastes of slight alcohol, but lots of anise, caramels, and a bit of butter atop a very crisp balance of hops, with a bit of wheaty backbone.
Mouthfeel is carbonated and lively. Fulll bodied almost chocolaty in the mouth, with a layer of thin alcohol.
Drinkability gets the lowest score, because of the complexity. This is a beer to sip and savor.

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Photo of loren01
4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice brown color with reddish brown bubbly head
S: Smell is slightly sour, Belgian yeast, dark fruits and tobacco
T: Slight fruity maltiness up front, both dark fruits as well as apple/pear flavor. Belgian yeast and some earthiness. Nice complex tasting beer
M: I would say this is medium bordering on a heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation seems pretty good for the style
O: I like this beer a lot, very complex in both the smell and taste. Probably my favorite beer I've tried from Midnight Sun.

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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 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 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 WynnO
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

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

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