Monk's Blood | 21st Amendment Brewery

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Monk's BloodMonk's Blood

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Belgian Strong Dark ale brewed with cinnamon, on oak chips with figs.

Added by taxguyjase on 09-10-2009

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Reviews: 524 | Ratings: 1,409
Photo of timmos1
4.24/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at 21 a. Had it in can now at brewery on a cold January day. The can was better. Dark leather if it was soaked in brown sugar. Very sweet, warm. Not getting much in the way of Belgian yeast flavor. Don't compare to westmalle or st Bernardus. It's a California thing. Finishes hoppy bitter, not sweet. Tasting a bit of star anise here. It's good warmed up. If you want a warm beer take this over fireside chat.

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Photo of Act25
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I guess I was in the mood for sweet.
A) Dark ruby, modest haze, tan lasting and lacing head. Looker ruby.
S) Coffee, Grain house, wet malt, must and figgy sweetness.
T) squashed, slightly fermented, coffee soaked fruit cake and berries. Cola like, with just enough peppery bitters to finish.
F) Too sweet, but oddly, scrubbing and bittering saves it.
O) Awesome alternative to the style, Try 6.

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Photo of breardon1776
4.65/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow...loved this beer. Super smooth and refreshing for a dark Belgian ale. Served in glass while at 21st Amendment Brewery. Not as heady a I would normally like but hat was about the lowest rating I gave (3.75). Great color and aroma. Taste and feel both got a 5.0...truly impressed. Overall a 4.5 I would order this beer over and over again.

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Photo of drtth
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear, slightly reddish brown color with a 1/4" light tan head that soon recedes to a ring and a thin layer on the surface. Sipping creates a couple of arches and some scattered small patches of lacing on the side of the glass.

The aromas include some dark fruits (the figs) with a touch spiciness and some malt.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose, with the dark fruit resolving itself to be almost a blend between figs and some sweet cherry. The malt sweetness is much like brown sugar with an undertone of slight spiciness of vanilla and cinnamon in the background. That background also seems to have an almost smoky or charred character.

The mouth feel is on the light side of medium bodied and slightly prickly with the light but persistent carbonation. The finish begins as the fig-cherry sweetness becomes slightly bitter and somewhat dry with the vanilla and cinnamon spiciness showing a bit more. Meanwhile the dark fruit lingers a bit in the back of the palate until everything just fades away.

This is an interesting take on a BSDA and while I could have another I don't think I'll be repeating the purchase since I prefer the flavor profile of the Unibroue Maudite which is just as accessible and a BSDA I enjoy more and the flavor profile seems better integrated.

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Photo of Gajo74
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the can into a glass; brown color with a thick foam head that soon disapated and did not retain as well as traditional BSDA.
Sweetness in the aroma; malts, vanilla, cinnamon, bubblegum and figs with a slightly tangy scent. The aroma was not particularly strong, rather, it tends to come and go.
Sweet on the tongue and mouth. Creamy and smooth. Medium to full bodied. Easy to drink. A bit too sweet for my taste, however, there is some alcohol spice.
Not a bad approximation of style, but nothing near the authentic Belgian classics.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark, ruby red with a thin, off-white head.
Smells of dark fruits, such as cherry, and malt.
Tastes of burnt cherry and other dark fruits. Carries a bite, then a medicine/cough syrup finish. Definite alcohol burn. As I let it warm, the medicine and alcohol burn disappeared, and allowed the taste and feel to flow together. After it warmed, I got a little vanilla and the cinnamon. A good winter sipper.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
2.98/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

21st Amendment's Monk's Blood pours a tawny shade with hints of burgundy and amethyst, with a tall and heavy head weighing down the body just long enough for it to catch up and diminish the head in time for me to drink. Tons of lace left behind. Beautiful view, here.

All of the elements on the can are there in the aroma, mixed together : cinnamon, vanilla, oak chips; also dark fruits of figs, plums, and some burnt candied alcohol.

The flavor starts off innocently enough, with plum, grape, raisin, and hints of strawberry. That quickly changes though - as the beer morphs into burnt alcohol, acorns, and a total wave

Feel is medium bodied, harsh, and sandy. The finish is electrifying but also starchy.

I keep trying to like this, forcing myself to sip more to harvest some sort of redeeming value. I'm not finding any. I'll gladly pass next time.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

part of a flight on draft at champs sports bar in altoona, pa. apparently a winter beer, but should hold up ok. let's see

looks nice in the 5oz glass. brown body with some burgundy tones, small dirty white head which persists leaving decent lacing.

aroma is a tad boozy, but with rich dark fruit aromas.

the alcohol is hidden a bit better on the tongue. getting an enjoyable mix of berries and plums in the taste, just enough warmth from the abv to remind you it's there. didn't get anything in the way of spices.

feel is around medium. finish doesn't linger.

all in all an enjoyable drink. pint would likely have been a bit heavy to deal with.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours translucent dark brown with a thin khaki head that quickly fades and leaves faint spots of lace. Figs, cinnamon and a hint of vanilla aromas. Taste follows with some oak as well. Thin texture.

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Photo of coldy
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is an instant addition to the favorites list. This has a mixture of spice and fruit that works wonderfully together. This is a rather strong beer by ABV, but you wouldn't know it. This is one that is best served a bit warmer than refrigerator temperature. Pour in a snifter and enjoy...

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Photo of Ynotxmas76
4.85/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely love this beer, def their best, so smooth like The Iceman George Gervin, hints of vanilla, cherry, very drankable, love the can, highly recommended. CHEERS!!

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Photo of Lingenbrau
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep reddish, clear brown with a big rocky cream colored head. Smells right for style with fig, prune, clove and spice. Flavor is close, but almost has an extract homebrew taste to it, with a very sharp, dry finish, and a slightly inappropriate bitterness. Good American take on a Belgian dubbel, but just off a bit. Cheers!

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Photo of Catracho5
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce can poured into a tulip

A: Pours mahogany red with an off white head, beer is clear, light comes through when held up, not a lot of carbonation, no lacing.

A: Belgian yeast, dark fruits like plums and raisins, some toffee, pretty mild.

T: Touch of dark fruits up front, raisins, toffee, some spice, finish is dry with aftertaste of raisins, very subtle flavors.

M: Medium/light body with a dry finish, low carbonation.

O: Not as good as I was expecting, a drinkable beer with subtle aromas and flavors, not that tasty, lacks punch in the taste.

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Photo of edward_boumil
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice brown colored beer, bubbly head that fades out to a thin film. Partially hazy, with apparent carbonation. Aroma is of toffee, toast, and raisin. Flavor is a little unbalanced in that it is a hair to bitter, could use a touch of sweetness to balance out the bitterness, and a bit 1 dimensional in its dark fruit character.

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Photo of Brew_42
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reddish Amber with a thinning off white head.

Smell is yeasty and spicy. Hints on vanilla

Taste is spice and sweetness with a dark fruit aftertaste.

Mouthfeel medium

Overall not a bad Belgian style ale. Worth a try.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.51/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz can given to me by a co-worker. Canned on 03/05/15. Thank you, 21st Amendment, for clearly, noticeably, and understandably dating your beer! Served in a snifter.

Pours dark gray-brown with little head and lots of carbonation. Smell is spicy, dark fruits, very mild.

Taste is very dark fruity -- plum, dates. Maybe even some grapes.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly dry. Overall, nice solid dark ale.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Can dated 03/03/14, so it's going on a year and a half old. We shall see how it stands the test of time. If nothing else, the can itself is an entertaining (if somewhat meandering) read.

Pours a deep, murky amber with a light tan head. Quite a bit of carbonation. Initial vanilla sweetness is followed by dark fruit and oak. (I don't taste the cinnamon, as stated in the footnotes on the can.) Almost tastes like it was aged in a bourbon barrel. It's very smooth - alcohol is well hidden and there is no hops bite. Medium to thick mouthfeel.

All in all, a pretty decent offering from 21st Amendment. I'm not very fond of Belgians, but this one is an exception.

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Photo of mbatley
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a 12oz snifter...

Dark, opaque brown

Not a lot of nose but enough to let you know that the vanilla and dark Belgian flavors will predominate

Taste: Whao, vanilla. Right up front. We'll see how it lasts as it opens and warms... slight oak and cinnamon but nice in their balance. Clean and nicely dry finish.

FYI, as the beer opened and warmed a bit the vanilla became less pronounced but I think I still would have liked it to be less and the malty, esters of the Belgian yeast to predominate a bit more. Overall good, but not great.

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Photo of ordybill
4.69/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 OZ can into a tulip glass.
Aroma- A nice blend of yeast, pepper and vanilla
Appearance- A dark brown color with a medium sized tan head.
Taste- Has a really good wood and fruit blended flavor with a hint of vanilla, really good.
Palate-A medium bodied beer with light carbonation. Has a dry finish.
Overall- A really flavorful and satisfying Belgian Strong Dark Ale, highly recommended.

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Photo of EMV
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on-tap poured into a snifter

L: Pours an opaque deep mahogany color. Light tannish head falls rapidly.

S: Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. Lots of vanilla, with secondary aromas of toasted malts and dark fruits.

T/F: Vanilla forward with mild sweetness and some spices like cloves and cinnamon. Subtle dark fruits in the background as well. Nice alcoholic warmth. Modreately carbonated and a bit sticky on the mouthfeel.

O: Not a bad dark ale, but a little too vanilla forward for my tastes. Not quite cream-soda, but it definitely reminded me of such. Still... well crafted and enough going on to keep it interesting.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a dark chestnut color. The head is two fingers high, with a mocha shade. It doesn't have the extreme bubbly froth of a typical Belgian - its texture is consistent throughout. Retention is okay at best, but some nice streaks of lacing stick to the glass. (3.5)

Smell: Now this is interesting. I do get some subtle oak first and foremost, with vanilla underlying that some. It almost smells barrel-aged!~ The base beer brings a good combination of dark fruit, bread, and black pepper. Again, my interest is completely piqued by this brew; I just wish the good aroma was a bit stronger. (3.5)

Taste: This beer does a damn good impression of a barrel-aged brew. Oak and vanilla dominate initially, leaving behind some gentle fruitiness in its wake. Dark fruits are sparse - instead, I seemingly get peach and apricot flavors. Cinnamon is very subtle, and that's good: I've had many a brew that was ruined by excess cinnamon (hi, 70% of all pumpkin ales!) My only niggle is that the whole thing doesn't seem very Belgian. That's okay - this one is great in its own little way. (4)

Mouthfeel: Quite clean for a BSDA. I don't get much yeastiness, nor much carbonation. No, the fizz is definitely there, just subdued. This beer is naturally dry, actually. The oak makes it borderline parching on the palate. By its own method, it manages to be every bit as easy drinking as the best BSDAs. (4)

Overall: This will not give Cuvee Van De Keizer Blauw any fits. What it WILL do, however, is provide a shockingly easy to drink Belgian-ale with prevalent hints of oak and vanilla. In a way, it almost seems bourbon barrel-aged. Definitely a worthy brew. (4)

3.85/5: This really carves out a nice niche in the world of BSDAs

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Photo of mlockman
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

while I disagree with a review I saw that called it a "crushable Belgian dark strong ale," it is certainly not über complex. Nonetheless, it is chewy and very enjoyable for the style!

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Photo of thebeers
3.64/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep ruby red with a modest tan head. Rich malts and a fruity aroma, with fig the most detectable. Allspice and vanilla hit first in the taste, with just the slightest tangy twang in the middle, and more vanilla sweetness and spice in the aftertaste and a tiny bit of alcohol warmth. Medium bodied. It's got all the flavor notes right, but not enough punch or depth to it for a sipping beer and perhaps a bit heavy-handed in the spicing. More of a crushable Belgian, which isn't really what I'm looking for from the style.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz can poured into snifter

A: dark brown brackish in color nice head

S: figs, dates, some honey, a little oak smells boozy

T: vanilla, a little sourish figs, raisins boozy

M: nice medium feel

O: this is a pretty good beer it's like a quad with attitude I wish it were thicker but otherwise it was pretty amazing

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Photo of jcruelty
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Shout out to my friend Sandeep, the only person who reads these reviews. Sandeep try this beer. It's my fave from 21st Amendment, aside from Hell or High Watermelon which is more of a river beer.

I always try to write down thoughts on beers and end up with the same generic adjectives. "Smells yeasty. Head: good. Pours a nice... brown. HINTS OF VANILLA?" It's always vanilla. Or else pineapple (or maybe cherries)

Maybe I'm just swayed by the packaging. I like how 21st Amendment does everything in cans. But, the text on this can is written in an archaic old-timey font where r's look like f's. I couldn't read it all so I googled it:

"Legend has it that in the evenings, the monks would retire to their chambers & settle in with a few passages from the Good Book. But Brothers Nicolas and O’Sullivan [21st Amendment partners] had other plans. Working in the brewhouse all day, they were forced to repeat the same old recipes the elder monks had invented years before. They needed a little diversion. And found it in the cellar of the monastery with a fresh twist they put on the beer and the way they enjoyed it. Brother Nicolas (or Nico to his close friend) brought some hand-rolled cigars. O’Sullivan, the outspoken one, broke the vow of silence by spinning a remix of some Gregorian chants. Together, they’d throw down a couple nice hands of Texas Hold’Em and savor the handcrafted brew they created in secrecy. Everyday was good. Or so it seemed. But deep in his heart, Nico knew they were drifting into the ‘dark side’ of beer. Next thing you know they’d be skipping Lent. Then on night they’d face the Judgment for their actions with a hard knock at the door. Outside, the Abbots and elders would be holding stone in the air. A threat the brothers were sure would lead to the spilling of Monk’s Blood."

Cheers if you made it through that. I didn't

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Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 1,409 ratings.
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