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 largadeer
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
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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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 HeadwatersFinest
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this oak aged beauty on nitro at the brewery. Already one of my favorites and one of the first beers I got into when I started following midnight sun, having it on nitro was an even cooler treat.

I'm a sucker for that nitro look and the creamy mouthfeel it gave lends so very well to this beer.

It's a very very dark brown, with a mocha froth at the top.

Belgian yeast dominates the nose, bread, slight phenolics, dark fruit and some faint alcohol and malt.

More fruit in the taste, dark maltiness and warming alcohol with each sip. Not the slightest bit bitter, from hops or dark malts. A tad peppery and faint clove.

Is this really clocking in at 11.5%? I wouldve guessed 9%. The alcohol is very well hidden, no burning, but you can feel it warming. I enjoyed this better on nitro, than in the bomber, because of it's more appropriate serving size and nice, creamy mouthfeel, but pick one up, either way. Delicious.

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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 hardy008
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with streaks of ruby when held up to the light. Has a 3 finger sand colored head with nice retention and lacing. The aroma has Belgian yeast, raisins, figs, spices, and cherries.

Very nice flavor. Caramel malt, raisins, figs, cherries, brown sugar and Belgian yeast. Sweet, but not overly sweet. There is some bitterness from roasted malts.

Smooth, well carbonated, medium bodied, and the alcohol is well hidden. I need to buy this beer again.

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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 harrymel
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$9 bomber at hucks in Spokane
Bottled fourth week of January 2010.
Poured to wine glass

A: dark brown ale with excellent clarity and a light tan two finger which falls quickly and leaves larger bubbles on surface.

S: plums, currants, grapes. Funky Belgian scent with a hair of farm on it. Complex and nice.

T: cinnamon, malt, anise, clove. Goddam this is yummy! Burnt sugar, molasses. Mmmmm.

M: medium to full body. Low carb. Nice feel.

D: so sexy. I'm buying another bottle immediately.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Bottled in August of 2010 (I assume).

5.0 A: Black color. Two and a half fingers of frothy/creamy tan head with great retention and a thick ring of lacing. Good looking brew!

3.5 S: Dark fruits in the form of raisins, plums, and figs. Slighty musky. Lots of clove and some pepper to a lesser extent. Pretty nice, but could use an infusion of strength.

4.0 T: Raisin, tobacco, fig, plum and currants. Lots of yeasty spiciness going on with tons of clove, pepper, misc. spices. Brown sugar, a light roastiness, and caramel. It's super complex, but could have some of the flavors work together a bit better. A lot of strong flavors competing for a spot in the lime light. Alcohol is amazingly well hidden.

4.5 M: Great mouthfeel. Lighter medium body. Good spritzy carbonation. Very smooth for the ABV.

4.5 D: Pretty good beer. I think this could mellow out with some age on it and taste even better. As it is, there's a lot of strong flavors, but they don't necessarily live in harmony. Still, I'd drink this again in a second.

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Photo of beertunes
3.28/5  rDev -19%
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 leedorham
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Foam city! This thing was seriously carbonated and foamed like hell. Dark hazelnut with a white head that won't go away and laces nicely.

S - Tree fruit and spice with a sweetness in the background.

T - Spicy & sweet with a bit of alcohol in there. Phenolic. Pleasant though.

M - Highly carbonated but not harsh. Slightly viscous.

D - Drinks like a saison rather than a strong. Great offering and I'm looking forward to seeing how it cellars.

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Photo of corby112
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Huge thanks go out to my awesome wife for surprising me with a bottle of this for Xmas!

Pours a very dark chocolate brown color with very slight mahogany edges when held to a light source and a two finger frothy beige head that has excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that coats the goblet with rings and streaks of soapy lacing.

Roasted malt aroma with hints of sweet dark chocolate, peppery spice, licorice, citrus peel and dark fruit notes. I'm picking up a bit of dark cherry as well as some plum, raisin and fig.

On the heavier end of medium bodied with some tingling tight carbonation up front. Lots of peppery, zesty spice notes ip front as well which are countered by a dark roasted chocolate maltiness mid-palate. I'm also picking up slight burnt toast as well as hints of cinnamon, pepper, licorice and citrus peel. Again, the dark fruit notes make an appearance, most notably cherry, raisin, fig and plum before finishing off slightly bitter and dry. Very complex, well balanced and unique with a well masked ABV making this extremely quaffable. This beer is awesome!

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
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 jlindros
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
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 ElGallo
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From my tasting notes. A very generous gift from chowdahead, who picked this up at the brewery. 22 oz. bottle poured into an abbey-style goblet.

Good head and lacing and wonderful aromas of figs, dried plums, brown sugar, and possibly a little nutmeg. Taste is subtle sweetness with lots of dark fruit notes and some molasses, coupled by candi sugar and a perfect amount of carbonation in the mouth. ABV is well hidden but leaves you nice and toasty in the end.

This one has similarities to Unibroue La Terrible, and I mean that as a compliment. But because this is a hard bottle to come by in these parts, I give this beer the upper hand. I recommend this to anyone who likes Belgian Strong Dark Ale - a great American example of the style.

Now if only my friend had bartered for a bottle of M on his visit to Anchorage...

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

Appearance: Dark tobacco brown

Smell: Tons of dark malts and dark fruits like plums, raisins, dates and prunes with a light spiceness

Taste: very goods BSDA, the fruits described above with a nice malty backbone and some clove and allspice; more spicy than I expected

Mouthfeel: perhaps a bit sticky; otherwise creamy and nice full carbonation without being too aggressive

Drinkability: It was big and I'm glad we split it; but could be a nice one by the fire.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
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 maximum12
3.34/5  rDev -17.5%
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 ptykozoon
3.49/5  rDev -13.8%
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 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 Aenema
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours deep, dark brown with dark ruby highlights. Beige, foamy, no lacing.
Smell - Nose of dark fruit, raisin.
Taste - Similar to the nose; dark fruit, raisin, vanilla.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.
Drinkability - Smooth and easy drinking (especially given the alcohol content), though a bit sweet and rich.
Overall - Very well done dark Belgian with delicious dark fruit and depth of flavor.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
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 zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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 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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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 woodychandler
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
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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Monk's Mistress from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 323 ratings
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