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 Kudashov
1.03/5  rDev -74.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

22oz bomber is a pint glass with Kraftwerk on The Hi-Fi .

Well this brew marks the first beer ever to be a drain pour . Out to Dorchester Bay you go .Tried my to best get through this but it was tough . Had an OK decent creamy head but , after that the smell , flavor , and overall mouthfeel was vile . Maybe it is my untrained , " green " pallette but sorry , this is awful . Bomb .

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

Viggo brought this one over. thanks eric!

22oz bottle. sampled nov 7/09.

pours clear brown with just a few reddish hints at the thinnest part of the glass. a small dark tan head forms, dropping slowly and leaving spotty lace.

aroma is nice. a bit wacky. really floral, almost soapy character. light alcohol. bit of dark fruit. white bread. bit of cracker.

taste is nice. lots of spice. ginger, maybe some corriander. lightly toasted whole wheat bread. bit of chocolate. light alcohol. earthy. floral and slightly soapy.

mouthfeel is nice. medium-large body. medium-high carbonation level.

drinkability is ok. too much spice and not enough of the expected BSDA characters. not for me.

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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 Cavery
3.08/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml picked up from provisions to be shared with Klym.

Poured into Alesmith Horney Devil tulip.

A: Very fine bubbles of creamed coffee foam rise around the glass. The biscuit like head rose to about 2 fingers before falling down to sea level. The body of this beer reminds me of the black knight, you know the one from Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail? Yeah that one! Dark opaque black armor body with amazing retention on the foamy head. It sits there like a little glob of creamed marshmallows. A strong showing in the visual.

S: Sugar glazed figgy puddings with the most faint addition of butterscotch. I get notes of fragile brown crumby pie crusts, and most certainly a sweet potatoe note. The alcohol blends in so well with the flavor that it's hard to tell them apart, but the sensation in the back of the nose lets you know it's there. Mild notes of light molasses put this nose in the category of fall desserts for me. Lots seasonal goodness in here. Though it comes off a bit too sweet on sweet for me.

T: Hmm. That was my reaction to taking a sip. This is coming off really funky with some very forward artificial sweetness. My best description is: Driftwood creamer. Lots of sulfur powders on the tongue. Late notes of baked pumpkin and sweet potatoe casseroles. A bit of pecan nuttiness keeps this consistent with the fall nose. Though really that very funky note-quite-sugar-sweetness is hard for me to ignore. Really not liking that up front note, and it's tainted the decent later flavors for me. The alcohol hits soft and late, but doesn't save this from it's funky tastes in the start. However, maybe some people would like this. Really nice nutty meal linger at the end, wish the start wasn't so harsh.

M: Soft baked cookies in the mouth. There's an almost doughiness to the drinking process that fits the flavor so well. You feel like you can almost chew it's medium-full body, but that it would seem like an unfinished baked good. I like this, and it really helps the flavors come off in that realm of fall seasonal baked goods. Well done here.

O: I really thought from the look and the nose that this was going to be a very solid beer. However, that up front funky sweetness really caught me off guard. Sweet rotting soggy driftwoods made it into the vat. After that they added all the good ingredients it seems. This was like showing up at thanksgiving, and everything being just right. Then, someone brings in what is supposed to be the Turkey dinner, and it's a piece of wet driftwood. Bummer.

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Photo of ccrida
3.12/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber that I picked up at the brewery about 4 months ago, into my midnight sun cervoise, La Maitress Du Moine (the monk's mistress) is a very dark garnet with huge tan head, 1/2 the glass. It is thick and dense, and slowly subsides to a rocky foam with lots of good looking lace.

The nose is originally a little roasty and very rich malt, which caught me off guard. But as it warmed, it gained some of that sweet grape like malt that's reminiscent of some of my favorite BSDAs. Yeasty and spicy, almost pepper like, and not as sweet as mainly for the style, with a flash of booze, it flirts with a barelywine likeness.

The taste is sweeter and more of what I was expecting for the style, at least through the middle. Initially, the malt is rich, before it giving way to sweet dark fruit, and finishes very spicy, dry, boozy, a bit astringent, and lots of phenols.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side for the style, but very creamy.

This one's a slow sipper, due to the robust taste, noticeable booze, and heavier body. While reasonably complex, it's not the best tasting example of the style. Would it have been better fresh, or will the other bottle in my cellar break into the next level with a year or two? Time will tell, and while this was a good enough experience, I'm not in a big hurry to find out. As has become a bit of a trend with Midnight Sun brews for me, ultimately a bit disappointing. I guess having Arctic Devil as my first skewed my expectations, because that one's phenomenal!

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Paid $12.99 for a bomber from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA. Poured into a large snifter to review.

Pours nicely, leaving about an inch of tan head consistent of medium sized bubbles with a frothy top. Very dark brown (near black) in color. Excellent head retention of about a half inch. Some lacing.

Aroma is of dark fruits a la fig and plum, sweet and lightly roasted malt, molasses, Belgian Yeast, vanilla, bourbon/booze and perhaps a hint of oak.

Taste seems just a bit confused to me. Characteristics of an American Stout brewed with a Belgian twist. Not sure I'm really digging it. Taste has some chocolate and B-rated coffee as well. Becomes more boozy as it warms.

Mouth is thick, full bodied and creamy. Not quite velvety though, which is a characteristic I have become fond of in this style. Medium-long finish similar to an American Stout. A bit more carbonation would do this one well.

At the price I paid, I was expecting to be impressed. Not a terrible beer by any means, but I certainly won't be getting again at this price point.

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Photo of beertunes
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a very dark (just translucent) brown, with some reddish tint, and had about 3/4 inch of medium brown head that had good retention and OK lacing.

The aroma was fairly typical, solid grains, some yeast and some spice. Surprisingly, for the ABV, there wasn't a noticeable alcohol scent. The flavors were the same, grain, yeast and spice, but just came out kinda meh.

The body was decent, smooth, well-rounded and just short of full. Drinkability was good, kind of a surprise considering the strength, the beer went down easily enough.

Overall, a decent but uninspiring brew. Worth a shot if you see it.

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Photo of maximum12
3.34/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is my fourth bomber of Midnight Sun & I'm looking for inspiration; & wondering what the hype is about. Split with my wife, who wanted a Belgian, which doesn't happen very often.

Pours dark as the rich soil of Belgium. Or Alaska. Smells like rich old leather that's been out in the wind & hung on the back of a motorcycle that leaks oil for a long time. Pretty cool.

Monk's Mistress is a good name for a beer that smells good but tastes like Belgian. Any, every Belgian. There's a cut of overcarbonation that's borderline annoying. Other than that there's the leather, strong raisins, hard dark fruit. Brown sugar, cane sugar, big malts, spicy yeasts.

This is quite a beer. Massive complexity without much in the way of drinkability. 'Hot mess' is the phrase that keeps wending its way down my neural pathways. Never quite met a brew quite like this.

Ultimately, it's a fairly good beer. But it's one of those rare beers that I'm swilling & thinking, man, this could be a lot better with a few years on it. Needs some integration of its various ingredients.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a appropiate chalice, nevermind that it says Chocolate indulgence on it...
after a min a thin cap stays put dispite the high alcohol of this beer, it's a dark dark brown.
The beers characteristics include the dark fruits like raison and dark cherrys, and have alot of spices, there is a prominant toffee flavor in here that is strong for the style i think. alcohol is noticable and adds to the character in my book.

Good stuff, and from Nor-Amer too. Doesn't touch the trappists, but they have a few hundred years headstart.

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Photo of ptykozoon
3.49/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours blackish. Undying foamy, frothy, milky head with good lacing.

Light fruit, chocolate, lemon, spice.

The usual belgian suspects, floral notes, spice, lemon. Subtle taste. Much less than I was expecting.

Pretty darn hot, leads me to believe the 11.5 may be mismarked.
Lighter mouthfeel than anticipated.

Solid belgian strong dark ale, but nothing particularly exciting.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2001 vintage, i believe the first release. thanks someone for the bottle.. this is salvaged from some old freakin notes.

muddy crimson to bright ribbons of candy apple red. thick, industrial foamy head. lots of bubbles run up and down uniformly through the body like a busy highway. smells like bananas foster served on a bed of wet hay with a cherry cough syrup chaser. a bit overfizzed.. taste has developed and morphed from what i remember from the fresh. advanced malts bring smokiness and an off-putting slight hint of coffee grounds. age sucks away some desired fruitiness leaving a vacuum where much of its belgian profile should be.

will re-review a fresh bottle when i can get my hands on one.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Monk's Mistress has an extremely dark-colored body that looks black, but allows a little bit of light through at the edges, showing that it is a dark color of brown. Several streams of carbonation bubbles give a constant supply of bubbles to the head. The head itself is a fairly dark brown and about a finger high. The head is very creamy looking, and the retention is good. There isn't a whole lot of lacing, with only a few specks here and there.

Lots of black patent malt and a little bit of chocolate in the aroma. A variety of fruit comes through in the aroma also, from dark fruits to light fruits.

The flavor opens up a good bit more than the aroma. Lots of malt, but not quite as much as the aroma. Definitely chocolate flavors from the malt, along with black malt; pretty sweet malt base overall, although there is a little bit of roast. The fruit flavors are pretty strong also, and are skewed toward dark fruits a lot more than the aroma suggested. Cherries, figs and a little bit of green apple make up most of the fruit. There is also a very light phenolic quality that tastes like the cloves. The phenolic flavors are especially strong in the finish, along with a dose of warmth from the alcohol. A little bit of fusel flavors come through too, but nothing that is too powerful.

The body is probably lighter than average, and the carbonation is high, making the beer feel a little bit silky.

Midnight Sun seems to make some pretty good beers, and Monk's Mistress is a solid one. Although I wouldn't match it up against the Trappist beers, it is a solid American interpretation.

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Photo of dougofthefuture
3.61/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle bought on trip to Seattle for work. Poured into a nice New Belgium tulip purchased at the same time. Bottle is dated what appears to be the forth week of November. No year, so we'll say 2009.

A - Dark. Not oily, but black nonetheless. Large 3 finger head at first, and lots of lacing and retention. Head is just a slight bit on the tan side.

S - Very sweet, lots of fruity malts, with a little roasted aspect coming through. A bit of Belgian yeast flavor, but not enough for me. Just a hint of the massive ABV is present in the nose.

T&M - Bottle says 13 IBU's. That's the lowest number I've ever seen on a bottle. Definitely a malt-forward beer here. It is unique in that I hardly taste alcohol, but it is pretty obvious why. There is just too much sweetness. It overpowers not only the alcohol, but also the yeast and the subtle fruitiness here.

D - Points here for hiding the ABV, but this is much too sweet. It's just me tonight, and I'm not sure I'll be able to finish this bottle.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.62/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a dark mahogany brown with a moderate white head, very good retention. Solid lace.

S: Strawberries, bubblegum and molasses, raisins take over as it warms up. A unique nose for sure even in the style.

T: Dark sugar is dominant, some Belgian esters for sure. Hint of hops on the back end but it is still quite sweet. Tasty, but not a lot of complexity.

M: Full-bodied, crisp carbonation as opposed to the soft feel of the average Belgian. Sweet, slightly cloying, clearly an American version in feel.

D: Too expensive for what it is as I've gathered with all the MS brews I've had. A nice version, but I'd rather go to Belgium.

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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 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 Rastacouere
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very dark brown hue with a light brown head that quickly turns into a ring. Aroma is rather overwhelmed by alcohol and you seriously have to pass over that flavour to be able to appreciate the rest which consists in dark malts (smoke, cigar) and good malt strenght (dark chocolate, plums). In mouth, it's a little more interesting, but still very strong alcohol wise for a 9% beer this highly rated. Mostly on the sweet side with touches of several dark fruits (bays, prunes, blackberries, cherries). Not much hops or bitterness to balance the alcohol sweetness which keeps going a long time in the aftertaste, but obvious notes of fireplace and ashes keep it from being too much. Body is very creamy and quite carbonated. What's up with this beer? Everyone seems to love it and every 4 of my tasting buddies were severly disappointed. Bad bottle? It didn't seem like it. Perhaps it's too young, so I'd suggest laying this down a bit before tasting it because it sure as hell is usually my type of beer.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger plus tannish creamy head, lots of nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, slightly yeast, toffee, dark fruits, and caramel. The taste is malty/yeasty, with some dark fruits. Medium body. Drinkable, not really a fan of this brew, not a BSDA in my book.

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Photo of beernut7
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Whimsical label on the 22 0z. bomber, Second available in the lower 48 of the Belgian line at the brewery. A slow pour revelas an aggressive head sitting atop a deep amber liquid. The aroma is distinctly of Belgian yeast and a mellow, almost hidden floral spice. The first taste brings forth sharp bite of bitterness that quickly rounds into a definitive yeastiness and a tangy after-flush mixed with hints of chocolate malt. Quite sharply flavored until the finish where all the flavors meld quite nicely.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Served in a Midnight Sun goblet.

Pours a very dark brown color with a moderate off-white head with a bit of lacing on the way down. The nose carries some nice dark fruit esters plus a touch of malty sweetness. A slight touch of roast and anise in the background.

The flavor is fairly sweet with some light roasted malt in the background as well some dark fruits. This reminds me of fresh Russian River Salvation. There's a roastiness coming from the dark malts that I haven't experienced in many Belgian versions of the style. Still, it's fairly enjoyable.

Body is medium with moderate carbonation and a smooth creaminess through the finish. Lingering aftertaste with a touch of sugar. Pretty good; one of the better American versions of the style that I've had.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to JCB (thanks Jason!). Pours a dark brown with a thick light brown head. Very pretty. Aroma of sweet pears and apples and sweet malt. Flavor initially of sweet malt and some slight roasted malt notes in the finish. Very smooth palate but a little wearing from the sweetness. Pretty decent, a little sweet though.
8/4/7/4/15 (3.8/5)

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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 TCHopCraver
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
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 Beertracker
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

MSB La Mâitresse du Moine pours up rather fizzy with a loose tannish-creamy head that rises above the slightly murky, deep mahogany brown-opaque body. The aroma is very chocolatey with some ripened fruit (black fig, bruised banana, carmelized raisin) notes. Very spicy (black peppercorn, cassia, coriander) towards the finish with a notable warmth from the alcohol. The flavor starts off with some brown/candi sugar sweetness which is barely underscored by a light spicy bitterness that carries towards an overly roasty, cloying, cheek warming finish. This one is a bit too roasty for my liking, but Monk's Mistress is definitely worth seeking out. Here's to the "seductive, pensive & intriguing" Monk's Mistress brewed in America's last frontier!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Taster's Note: Thanks to TexasStout for the opportunity!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-brown color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light dry fruit with a spicy yeast and some light alcohol ester showing. Taste is quite charming with good notes of dry fruits and some spicy yeast leading way to some warm alcohol. Body is fuller then average with good carbonation. I thought a bit too much alcohol was showing and the yeast strain that was used was somewhat too spicy.

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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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