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 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 ksimons
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-very dark, almost black, with no visible highlights. Two fingers worth of light tan head that slowly leaves

S-rich malt sweetness, dark fruit of plums and cherries, light molasses, and a very light bit of roast

T-taste is very nice and matches the smell. Lots of sweet rich malts, dark fruits, light cocoa, a bit of spice, and some light alcohol. For a 11.5% beer though it is very well hidden.

M-medium to full body, good carbonation, coats the mouth well

Overall I really liked this beer. Very complex and well balanced. I will happily drink it again!

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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 SHODriver
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep brown into the glass with a finger of dark tan head
S: smells of dark fruits, spices, alcohol soaked cherry, candi sugar, and overall sweet. Very nice aromas
T: brilliantly complex flavors with some dark malts, spice from the yeast, dark fruit, a little cherry, a hint of alcohol and a nice malty aftertaste with a little bit of funk
M: full bodied with soft carbonation, there but id doesn't jab the tongue
O: A very tasty brew that is likely not to disappoint if you have a thing for belgian beers.

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Photo of Gmann
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dirty dark brown color with a moderate sized dense head that settles into a thick ring.

The aroma is fruity, peppery and floral. Some nice clovey phenols. Prune fruit flavor with an earth carob and tobacco note. There is a woody scent as well as a bark spice, perhaps cinnamon.

An earthy BSDA which is much appreciated. Way too many beers in this style are overly sweet and this stays away from that. The taste is of prune mixed with a barky wood flavor and carob. A bit peppery with tobacco bitterness. A nice mix of clove and candi sugar sweetness to remind you that this is a belgian brew.

The feel is moderate to light with fizzy carbonation. Sweet and earthy (bitter) on the palate. Good balance. Drinks quite well and the ABV is hidden.

A very well American made BSDA. I really dig the earthy flavors in this beer. Great balance.

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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 mikeyv35
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Date: 02/10/2012
Type: 22oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2011
Glass: SH Large Snifter

Was excited to see Midnight Sun has made it to NYC, so I figured why not sample one of there regular brews for my birthday.

Pours a dark mahoghany brown in color w/ a 1/3 finger tan head that leaves nice sticky lacing. Aromas of rum raisin, fig, caramel/toffee, and cola. The taste was just like the nose w/ the addition of brown sugar. Medium bodied and very lush due to higher levels of carbonation. Very drinkable stuff! The high carbonation makes this otherwise heavy brew feel light.

Overall, I could drink this on the regular and probably will now that Midnight Sun is in NYC.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark brownish black with a strong mocha head that leaves healthy lacing and a thick outer rim.

S: Belgian candy sugar, molasses and figs with Belgian yeast

T: Great roasted and caramelized flavors to start off with. There is a good coffee malt flavor mixing with belgian candied sugar, plums, belgian yeast, coriander flavors, and chocolate malt flavors.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a high carbonation for the style.

O: Delicious. Glad to see this made its way all the way to New York so I could purchase without trading for them.

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Photo of Chaney
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I ordered this online well over a year ago and am just now getting around to sampling the goods.

NOTE: BA says that this is 11.5%, but the bottle says it is 9%.

This is last year's version, with "La Maitresse du Moin" (The French version) on the bottle as apposed the recent one in which the title is translated.

A: Poured a dark, non-translucent brown, with a head that resemble that of one on top of a freshly poured Coca-Cola.

S: I got a STRONG smell of Sweet Tarts upfront, with a good smattering of figs and plums as well as cocoa and Belgian funk galore.

T: My first initial reaction to the taste was Welch's Grape Juice. It TOTALLY has that taste profile! As the session progressed, I got a bit of brown ale-esque caramel and nuts and less Belgian funk than I got on the nose. This stuff is smooth as silk!

M: The sweet elements have been toned down to uber drinkability levels using almost an exact science. Whoa! The lacing was tame, the booze was virtually undetectable, and the carbonation was there to add a creamy texture.

O: This is a "Belgian Strong Dark Ale" for those who are sometimes overwhelmed with the funky, brown sugary nature of American made Belgians. I am one of those peeps!

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Photo of auroracrisis
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz into a pint glass.

Deep black with burgundy highlights, a head that sticks around for a minute or so. Head dissipates soon after pouring.

Belgian candy sugar, figs, raisins, and a touch of bready yeast greet your nose. Deeper whiffs of it reveal a touch of alcohol similar to rum with notes of light brown sugar and cinnamon. Spicy yet reserved.

Rich malt and candy sugar with subtle hints of stone and dark fruits. A touch of spice similar to cinnamon, clove, and ginger on the tongue as well. No real hint at the alcohol.

Medium and a little sticky. No real alcohol presence either.

Good sweetness and a subtle spice note that doesn't take over the beer. The alcohol is very well hidden. Midnight Sun impresses me again.

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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 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 Onenote81
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009. Bottle received in a trade awhile ago. Cellared since. Split and shared with ClarkPinnock.

Poured my allotment into a tall tulip. A dark mahogany pour that is turbid and thick. No light getting through at all. Small dirty ivory head. The nose is spicy with notes of cinnamon, sweet spices, and a bit of a yeasty twang. Lots of carbonation backing to this beer. Very rich mouth. The yeast character is toned down with some age. Flavors of molasses, toffee, syrup, wet oak. Very solid brew. Even after a couple years in the dark, this is a great sipper. I dig it.

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Photo of Jules11788
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark black color; light brown, one finger-width head, medium lacing

S: Woody, earthy notes; banana; Belgian yeast

T: Earthy, woody flavor; winter spices and Belgian yeast flavors; some bitter smoky malt on the back of the tongue, finishes with a little booze on the end

M: Medium thickness; smooth, buttery; medium carbonation

O: This is a tasty Belgian, nothing too spectacular but good nonetheless.

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Photo of impending
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


22oz into a tulip. Pours a fresh motor oil copper, mocha head receded gently, ok lacing.

Aroma is baritone. Charred molasses, charred bitter chocolate, quiet anise, woody. interesting

Wood and molasses carry through to the flavor. Sweet, roasty, earthy. Many flavors fleetingly appear, nice depth. Alcohol comes forward toward the end in a welcome fashion. Aftertaste remains strong for an extended time. Full bodied slick mouthfeel. enjoys warmth

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with nice tan head. A nice appearance. Smells fruity and roasty. Smells good. Tastes dark and roasty. Dark fruits. Yeasty. Pretty solid. Nice well carbonated mouthfeel overall pretty solid. Not someone I would seek out again. Thanks though for the try!

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Photo of loren01
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
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 sprucetip
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting around to reviewing this one. Very active, darker than chestnut brown, with good clarity revealed by backlight. The head is mocha colored, fills half the tulip, and has good retention. No significant lacing left behind.

Dark fruit, boozy warmth, faint malty richness, and Belgian yeast. There's an intermittent musty funk underneath it all. I get occasional whiffs of chocolate and roast.

Dark fruit, a kind of sharp roasty flavor, subdued Belgian yeasty character, booze, a hint of chocolate, and barely detectable malty sweetness. All above accompanied by a fairly bold bitterness that I assume is primarily hop derived. Finishes dry.

Well carbonated, with moderately strong warming and a full body. The finish is a little on the dry side, but not overly so.

I remember when I didn't really like this one, but that was before I really got into Belgians more generally, and Dark Strong ones specifically. Pretty sure I had no idea what BDSA was when I first had this. Well, I appreciate it now! This is an excellent beer, and I am lucky to have access to it. The strong, and even a bit brash at times, bitterness and the dry finish are the only aspects that I would tweak to accommodate my personal tastes. It may not be as "Belgian" as Allagash, but it is a quality BDSA.

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

22oz bottle, lugged back from alaska, split

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

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

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

mouthfeel: a bit hot, spiced, rich medium body

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

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Photo of 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 bamadog
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not sure who I got this one from or when, but thanks to whoever sent it to me! Must be a slightly older bottle as it's still got the old title of Maitresse du Moine on it. Review is from notes taken on 8/1/2011 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a dark brown/plum color that starts with a three finger, light tan head with great retention; body is dark and entirely opaque; head slowly dwindles down to a thick, creamy and foamy cap

Smell: Quite nice -- lots of dark and overripe fruits (plums, figs, etc) and a dark, crusty and bread maltiness; dark Belgian spiciness is in there, as well as some warming alcohol, but it's definitely well blended with all of the dark fruitiness; slight touch of bittersweet chocolate.

Taste: Alright, this beer is f'ing fantastic. Tons of dark, sweet and overripe fruits the had just a touch of tartness to them; a hint of bittersweet chocolate really blends well with the fruits, especially the tart aspect; spiciness is there, but really compliments the other flavors as opposed to creating an overpowering profile; definite presence of alcohol, and more present than the nose would let on, but at 11.5%, I guess I should really expect it.

Mouthfeel: Body is between medium and heavy in terms of weight; carbonation is present, but very soft and smooth; a thick, moist stickiness is left all over the roof of the mouth and the teeth are left feeling a little gritty; belly is left warm from the ABV.

Overall: This is a great beer, and I wish I had access to Midnight Sun all the time. I love the smell, and the flavors are even better. The only things that would slow me down are the weight and ABV, but hey, I'll take my time with it and enjoy it.

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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 Klym
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Shared with Cavery.

A: Pours very black with a soda head that comes up beyond one finger and stays there for quite a while. despite the big head, lacing seems patchy.

S: Sparkling apple juice, milk chocolate, a little yeast, a little woodiness and a little tropical fruit. Definitely the milk chocolate and woodiness darken the smell a lot, but the sparkling apple juice/tropical fruit smells are very present and aromatic.

T: Interesting taste. Milk chocolate is dominant, again with a little woodiness, but the flavor almost seems dissolved in a mild sparkling apple juice. Tidbits of tropical fruit, grape and cardimom. Small yeast hit in the end. Alcohol is absurdly absent in the taste. Original flavor and quite pleasant/drinkable.

M: Medium-light body with fine and thoroughly infused carbonation. Mouthfeel makes this very drinkable and the general lightness of it compliments the tastes pretty well.

O: A very interesting belgian strong dark ale. Great to drink and ponder. I'll definitely be seeking out more midnight sun in the future.

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Photo of biegaman
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Monk's Mistress has a polished black marble body that is too dark and opaque to let light do so much as reflect off of it (let alone showcase the little bits of sediment that make it out of the bottle on the second pour). Its head is not quite Belgian-esque, but the persistent, tan-brownish foam is fairly impressive given the amount of alcohol it's up against.

An aroma like this isn't for the faint of heart; a forthright yeast casts a spell of bruised dark fruits, attic must, black licorice and peppercorn spices and a fresh-grated ginger type zest. It is a lot to take in and very distinguished - even alcohol doesn't really dare step to it. It smells musty and lightly sooty, like coffee grinds left in the compost too long and rather than exhaling satisfied, I make a kind of disgruntled face after every sniff.

The flavour isn't lush and sweet like a quad, instead it has a bitter persona, one of tobacco leaf, black licorice and (again) composting coffee grinds. There are dark fruit flavours (dates, purple Concordia grape and red McIntosh apple) but they taste badly bruised, them too well into the composting stage. There's not enough caramelized sugar to be dessert material. Nonetheless, the alcohol that inevitably comes through is soft and tastes rose-like.

Monk's Mistress gains from a little warmth, and from being sold in 22 ounce bottles; the first half of the bottle wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the second. More dark fruit notes came to the fore and a little more sweetness was derived from the malts. Still, however, there's little spice and it's far too bitter to be this cloying; this has next to no carbonation and a finish that tastes like candied-ginger lozenges given for upset stomachs.

Monks aren't ones to cheat, but assuming for a moment they were I doubt many would betray the lush, complex ales of Belgium for this less than lush and complex American offering. For me, Monk's Mistress is no regrettable one night stand, but I doubt I'll stray again from those fine Trappist, Walloon and Flemish offerings either. There's just too many of them.

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