Monk's Mistress | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

318 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

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Reviews: 177 | Ratings: 318
Photo of Sammy
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
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 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 largadeer
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draft at Gourmet Haus Staudt.

Dark brown, close to opaque with a black center. Pours with a tall dense head that slowly settles to a collar.

Rich aroma, malty and spicy, heavy on star anise and clove-like phenols. Molasses and chocolate, a bit of toasted brown malt and tart cherry. The alcohol is very well hidden.

The palate starts with black licorice, semi-burnt toast, molasses and unsweetened berry preserves. Full body, very velvety and not necessarily sweet, especially in the finish, which leans more toward phenolic, almost medicinal spicy-herbal flavors. Alcohol, again, is barely noticed. Really nice stuff overall, easily one of the best American takes on the style.

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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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Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, dark, dark brown hue with an off-white, pillowy head of foam. Good retention that leaves behind some patchy lace.

S - Aroma is malty sweet with a good dose of dried fruits (plum, raisin).

T - A fairly spicy Belgian Dark. Good malt backbone of caramel and toffee with mild raisin and plum flavors.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. It has a pretty nice bite. A medium to full bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty darn good beer. Midnight Sun continues to impress me.

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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 jlindros
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A big thanks to imperialbeachbrw for this one.

Pours a very light fizzy head that rises late, reaching about 1/2 a finger and fades even faster than it formed to essentially a couple small bubbles floating on the thin dark molasses brown almost black colored beer with hints of light sneaking through.

Nose brings a mixture of sweet Belgian candi sugar, dark candi sugar, some Belgian malts, some dark fruits like figs, hints of winter spices, a slight syrupy aroma, some boozy qualities.

Taste is fairly sweet and boozy, pretty boozy tasting, hitting at 11.5% it sure lets you know it. WIth that is a bit of dark candi sugar and molasses, plenty of dark Belgian malts and yeast fruits with more figs, plums, maybe even aged apricots, some light winter spices, and a bit of a spicy tingly taste as well. Finishes with a warming and tingly sensation as it goes down, some lingering malts and sugars, even a bit of a porter like roast flavor coming out, with just a hint of bitterness.

Mouth is medium bodied, lighter than I expected, with champagne like carbonation (many little bubbles) and tons of warming and tingly booze.

Drink is not the greatest either, with lots of booze that even burns the mouth a bit as if it was hard liquor, some sweetness that doesn't dry as well as I thought it would, and the weird carbonation take a few hits on it. It's tasty though, but just slow drinking.

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

Dark crimson-brown, like a cherry tobacco cheroot. While the crazed carbonation is barely visible due to the 'light's out' color of the beer, the glass-filling head is all the proof I need. It's golden ecru in color and falls over time to a wind-smoothed mesa of foam. Since this isn't the sort of head to produce much lace, I'm not surprised to see a clean glass.

LMDM smells authentically Belgian, even though it hails from the land of the Midnight Sun. It's powerfully dark malty with aromas of myriad dark fruits: raisins, black currants, prunes, black cherries. There's also a muskiness that I'll attribute to hops (or perhaps yeast) and an even more notable dark spiciness.

This beer is more than impressive. It's amazingly flavorful with layer upon layer of BSDA power and dizzying depth. It's a bewitching mixture of intense, mega-spicy, explosive dark fruitiness that I'm unable to fully explore before the mouthful is gone and I need to see about getting another.

I'm not sure if spices were added; it's probably just an ass-kicker of a yeast strain. Raisin paste and sour plums just got added to the flavor profile. Call me crazy, but there are also elements of the wee heavy and dubbel styles in this beer. I'll say this, the masterful brewers at Midnight Sun hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head.

The mouthfeel is medium, leaning toward full, with that wonderful chewiness that I like in most all big beer. The still vigorous carbonation isn't annoying in the least. In fact, it's part of what makes the beer feel Belgian. I've just realized that I haven't mentioned alcohol. That's because it's nowhere to be found; a remarkable achievement at an ABV of 9.0%.

La Maitresse Du Moine does not translate as The Mattress from Des Moines, despite what some may think. The Monk's Mistress is the finest ASDA (Alaskan strong dark ale) that I've ever had. In fact, it's good enough to stand alongside some of the best Belgians. It's beautiful, complex, strong, sophisticated and exotic. I should be so lucky as to have a mistress with those qualities.

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Photo of billab914
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Lost Abbey stemware glass. Poured dark brown in color with a big tan bubbly head nearly overflowing from the glass. There was a steady stream of carbonation bubbles visible rising from the bottom of the glass. Very nice head retention as I drank it.

The aroma is sweet and malty with notes of candy sugar, raisins, plums and figs. The taste is similar to the nose in that it is full of big sweet malty dark fruit flavors. It has a sweet malty flavor to it but isn't cloyingly sweet. The yeast is a little evident with a little spiciness coming through, or perhaps it's actual spices I'm not sure. It's a big beer with some big malt flavors.

The mouthfeel is bordering on heavy bodied, which goes well with the flavor profile. The carbonation is slightly above average but seems to go well with the mouthfeel. Drinkability is pretty good, it's a very taste BSDA with some very good sweet malty flavors.

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Photo of russpowell
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
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 mikesgroove
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I received this one graciously from Miss Dana Tayner. I was very anxious to try it as I have loved everything that I have tried from Midnight Sun, and this looked like it was going to be a monster so I did not want to wait to dive in. The nicely labeled 22oz bomber was served in a Chimay goblet at cellar temperature.

Appearance - The pour was absolutely beautiful. This had to be one of the best looking Belgian ales I have ever seen. It was just tremendous from the first moment I poured it into the glass. A rich, deep, dark brown was shown right before me, just barely letting the slightest bit of color come through to give it a nice tint to the reddish side. Lots of carbonation rippling up toward the surface though out. The head was enormous, towering to a height of at least four inches before finally settling down to a modest three inches! This thing was a beast, leaving behind enormous amounts of side glass lace everywhere it touched. One of the best, if not the best looking Belgian ale I have ever seen.

Smell - The aroma was extremely big as well, I could literally feel it popping in my nose as I took in every breathe. Really extremely well done. Big aroma of raisins, and figs started it off, with a nice little hint of spice and just the tiniest bit of alcohol way in the back making it a touch bigger. There was the unmistakable aroma of cocoa in there as well, which really threw me for a loop. Nice subtle earthy tones as well, overall this was extremely well done.

Taste - The flavor started out very nice. A rich, warming palate of dark fruits washed over the tongue from the very first sip. It had loads of rum soaked raisins, figs, plums, and was just very dark overall in its profile. The cocoa then showed up again as well, very sweet, and creamy hints of chocolate showing out here. It was fleeting at first, but then became wrapped up in the roasted malts and a slightly smoked like flavor. As it warmed though all of the subtleness of it then faded, and instead the roasted malts dominated, and eased up on the overall complexity of it.

Mouthfeel - This was a rather interesting experiment in how a beer can transform. It started out very well carbonated, with a nice smooth feel, and a near silk like consistency to it. Once it warmed up though it started to go flat, and really thinned out which was quite disappointing. The flavor fell out with it, and I am not really sure what happened there.

Drinkability - This was an easy smooth sipper for sure. The ABV was a little up there at around 1o%, however, it was well masked, and in the beginning it was very well carbonated. I could have had another, well at least the first part of another.

Overall I thought this was really well done, and one of the better strong ales I have had. The notes of chocolate were extremely well placed and the overall profile was very nice and full. If you can get this I would recommend doing so. It is definitely worth a bit of a hunt, as this is vintage Midnight Sun class.

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Photo of Jason
3.98/5  rDev -2%
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 orangesol
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for busting this one out for us to try. It is one of the old "La Maitresse Du Moine" bottles.

A - Pours deep brown, bordering on black, with a nice pillow one one finger tall light tan head leaving light lace down the glass.

S - Smells of the typical dark fruits, candied sugar, dark chocolate, tobacco, and some light spice. Only the faintest hint of booze creeps in toward the end of the glass.

T - Starts off with a nice dose of dark fruits; like figs, raisins, and plums; slowly giving way to a mix of dark chocolate, dark roasted caramel malt, tobacco, and some light spice. It is pretty sweet throughout, only growing stronger as it warms. The finish is a mix of dark sweetness and light dryness, lingering for some time.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Full feel with a mix of sugary sweetness and light dryness lingering on the pallet through the finish.

O - Not too bad. I have liked most of the Midnight Sun beers I have had and this one is no different. I liked the dark flavors and the age seems to have really smoothed out the rough edges.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transcribed from undated notes.

One of the last bottles of the original label. BOOO! to whomever agreed to sell out and go to an English, vice French, name for this beer!

Pour resulted in finger of rocky, light-brown head with low retention. Color was a deep, dark-brown with little light penetration. Nose was slightly sweet underlain with a mild anise scent. My uncle remarked that it reminded him of unrefined coal tar. Ha! Mouthfeel was medium with a lot of charcoal, coffee and chocolate notes on the tongue. Finish was very roasty and lingered with all of the intense flavors noted in the mouth. This was a hearty beer that cried out to be paired with red meat and potatoes. My my.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is clear and chestnut brown with a small head. The aroma offers brown sugar, burnt caramels, toffee, booze. The flavor is ok, but a bit much on the charred and scorched malt. Still, a flavorful beer. Pretty light in body for a high abv beer. Overall, this was intriguing and enjoyable.

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Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
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 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 GClarkage
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
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 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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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 Gobzilla
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights that had a thin head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: pears and dark fruit hit the nostrils first with caramel toffee notes but seemed to half a little belgian yeast showing up as well. It had jelly like character as well.

T: the jelly like, pear, and dark fruits come together nice complimented by toffee, caramel and belgian yeast accents. It does seem to have a touch of underlying strawberries notes.

M: the brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, fruity, yeasty, and sticky finish.

D: it drank good and was a nice take on a belgian dark. Really tasty and would love to have another botte of this brew.

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