Blue Monk Barley Wine | Brewsters Brewing Company & Restaurant - Oliver Square

very good
19 Ratings
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Blue Monk Barley WineBlue Monk Barley Wine

Brewed by:
Brewsters Brewing Company & Restaurant - Oliver Square
Alberta, Canada

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
100 IBU

Added by IronDjinn on 09-07-2004

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Ratings: 19 |  Reviews: 10
Reviews by Alberta_Beer_Guy:
Photo of Alberta_Beer_Guy
3.25/5  rDev -20.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blue Monk was my first ever barleywine, a number of years ago, and I recall barely being able to finish the pint I had ordered of it. Now that I've grown to appreciate the style, I look forward to each winter's new release. This year, they've started serving it in a weighty 12oz chalice. Nice.

This beer appears a dark orange-brick amber colour, with a single finger of thinly foamy, somewhat frothy, and mostly soap bubbly beige head, which leaves a solid wall of pitted limestone rock lacing around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of sweetly besotted raisins, biscuity caramel malt, treacle, Mars Bar candied nougat, and some citrus cream and mildly bitter herbal hoppiness. The taste is sweet biscuity caramel and toffee, a prune, dried cherry, and dime-store raisin fruitiness, candy sugar, some indistinct edgy spices, marzipan, vanilla, and low-key floral citrusy hops, which seem to both mask and exhibit the burbling alcohol heat, depending on the sip in question.

The carbonation is on the low side, but it at least renders a small frothiness, the body fairly heavy and full, with a slightly oily viscosity, and is more or less smooth. Detecting the big ABV is really a chore in itself, so let's not and say we did, and found just a mild warming at the finish, which is commensurately chock full of malt, spice, fruit, and hops alike.

While it might lack the overt hoppiness of the American style, Blue Monk is very tasty nonetheless - pleasantly complex, none too sweet, and quite gratifying. Too bad it seems to be sold out half the time I show up to Brewsters over the winter, which I suppose I can take to indicate something, as it is quite easy to have 2 or 3 of these in a sitting, caveat emptor.

 1,729 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of Mandrake
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, clear ruby red with a decent medium tan head that lasts fairly well and leaves some lacing. Quite nice really, especially for a beer of this ABV. Smell is rich and sweet, obviously a pile of malts in this one. Dark fruitiness, dates and raisins showing strongly with some brighter notes as well. Some caramel and spices as well. Cherry notes are very apparent in the taste, and a hint of tobacco. The raisins and candied fruits continue to come through, and very dark caramel in the finish. Mouthfeel is warming and full-bodied, and drinkability is good, but limited by the fact that it's late June and this is a big barleywine. Very nice beer, great in the wintertime.

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Photo of elricorico
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I brought home a couple of bottles of this a little while back, in May if I remember correctly. The label states that it is freshest through the month of December. I'm keeping the other bottle for some time to see how it ages. According to the bottle it is 9.9% ABV.

It pours a medium brown with a slight reddish hue. A very thin head fizzed up briefly, but nothing substantial formed. Looks fine considering the style.

The smell is quite a rich and sweet one. Sugary raisin and cherry with a hint of alcohol spiciness. Slightly citric and faint molasses. The aromas that make up this one remind me pleasantly of several different beers I've had before all at once.

Sweetness holds up through the taste as well. Stronger molasses flavour filled with a some fruitiness, plum and raisin. Finish is not very potent but consists mostly of a mild alcohol warming. Hops are faint, there is a bit of a dryness and bitterness to the finish though.

I would say that mouthfeel is perfect for the style, chewy and full, and the carbonation is there but very light with a natural feel. The strong point for this brew.

Altogether I would say this is a well crafted beer, worthy of looking for if you like the style. I look forward to finding out what age does to it, and wouldn't be surprised if I reserve some space in my future cellar for several bottles.

 1,362 characters

Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

650ml bottle poured into Sam Adams pint glass.

Pours a deep, clear copper orange with three fingers of foamy tan head that leaves dense forest lace as it recedes.

Smells of sweet caramel malt, boozy stewed oranges and grapefruit, candied dark fruit and dark leafy hops.

Tastes of boozy raisins, toffee pudding, more spicy stewed citrus, caramel apple, molasses and citrus rind hoppy bitterness.

Feels rich and creamy. Full bodied with velvety carbonation. Finishes dry.

Verdict: Highly recommended. Careful with this one.

 526 characters

Photo of ritzkiss
3.43/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle as an extra from wordemupg, thanks a lot man! Nothing like a pint of barleywine... No bottling info/date but assuming it is a recent release.

Pours a hazy rich caramel color with two fingers of white head which has some good staying power and leaves some sheets of lacing - impressive for a barleywine!

Nose is rich and sweet with caramel and bready malts, dark fruits, a hint of citrus.

A little thin and sweet for me. Not a ton of complexity in the malt, some decent citric hoppiness evident in the finish which gives a bit of drying to balance the sweetness. Caramel, raisin, fruit bread, a little butter. The nose promised something bigger but the beer doesn't deliver. Hides the ABV well enough.

Just not enough complexity for me, just the caramel sweetness with a bit of hops in the end. Meh.

 815 characters

Photo of papat444
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wordemupg for this one.

Poured from a 500ml. bottle and shared with my wife (fresh through Feb. but no year indicated).

Appearance: An orange-brown (more brown) body with about 2 fingers of foam that have some mild lacing. After a sip, you can see the imprint on the side of the glass before it disappears.

Smell: Candied fruit, sweet candy, spices & dried fruit.

Taste: Light spices, candy, dry fruits, sweet, caramel sugar, sharp spices.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, bit abrasive like a barleywine should be but never too much. Drinkable for a near 10%.

Overall: I've been a bit bored with the style but i really appreciated this.

 639 characters

Photo of EELanigan
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Photo of Slongie
3.54/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Viggo
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks for the bomber OrrShow! From BIF Canada 2006.

Pours a clear amber/brown, with some red, nice thick off white head, most excellent retention, and tons of lace. Smell is Sweet, pretty strange, lots of citrus, toffee, some alcohol, maybe a hint of oak/bourbon. Taste is neat, really malty, citrus, caramel, vanilla in the finish, some warmth. Mouthfeel is full bodied with low carbonation, super super smooth. This beer has one of the most fantastic bodies I've ever had. Its like butter, especially considering the 9.9%. Really nice barleywine, tastes very different and it works.

 588 characters

Photo of Howlader
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of LaSalle
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It was late one Sunday night, after a day of studying like a fiend in my cold basement, that my good friend and bartender extraordinaire Garret brought a couple of bottles of the Blue Monk over for a nightcap. Since I had otherwise only tried this one on tap, the 600ml Plastic bottle seemed a bit odd, but it hasn't compromised the product. Pours a deep auburn-orange with very little to no head. Very complex nose with a very chewy-malty yet astringent-hopped smell, quite deep and earthy. The initial taste is a bit of an astringent kick in the face, but once you adjust your palette it's actually quite nice, and very complex. Beginning with a hopped-raisin bitterness that quickly transforms into a molasses-like, almost sweet, astringency, ending in a beautiful balance, somewhat reminiscent of the Old Foghorn brewed by anchor. The Blue Monk has an almost oily (in a very good way) mouthfeel, which gives way to a nice but bitter aftertaste, with notes of hops and raisins. It is definitely one of my favourite beers in this style. As far as drinkability is concerned... it does leave you wanting more, however seeing as the bottles are 600ml of 9.5% abv, a little can really go a long way. This would probably rank 2nd on my list of Barley wines (after the Old Deut from Alley Kat), but they are definately very unique and different brews. Of all the Brewsters’ seasonal brews, actually of all the Brewsters’ beers in general, the Blue Monk stumbles out in first place.

 1,479 characters

Photo of Corson
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of wordemupg
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into tulip feb24 2010

A clear nice shade of amber with a fast falling fingers worth of light beige head that fell fast and left a little lace

S a little fruity with some caramel and the booze is nowhere to be found

T lots of malt with enough hops to balance it out just a bit, again a little fruity, cherry comes through a little stronger in the mouth. The dark caramels and fruits work quite well with each other its sweet but not overly so, this is a tasty beer

M thick and syrupy very full feel, well done

D this is a great beer and people need to know about it, not lacking in any areas but it could hurt you if your not careful the 9.9% is very well concealed

this is a great beer and I'm wondering what will happen to it after some time in a cellar. great price at 20$ for a 500ml bottle 6 pack I'd pay 3.33$ for a bottle of this any day. this is going in some trades as extras this summer people need to know about this beer

 957 characters

Photo of artemh
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Sathanas
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cknoch
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bobsy
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a glowing amber with a thick off white head that laces well. Toffee, raisins, alcohol and treacle in the aroma. The taste has much of the same, but with a lit bit of citric bitterness to cut through the sweetness. Some warming alcohol in the finish. Chewy body and very light carbonation is what I look for in a barley wine. Excellent drinkability - the alcohol isn't too prominent and its one of the few barley wines where I feel I could have another bomber. Probably not advisable, though...

Thanks to wildone!

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Blue Monk Barley Wine from Brewsters Brewing Company & Restaurant - Oliver Square
4.09 out of 5 based on 19 ratings.
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