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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: 522 | Ratings: 1,397
Photo of Nugganooch
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz can purchased from the Trader Joe’s in Santa Rosa, CA
Noted on 06/13/2014 with a hotel tumbler type glass

A: A lively Belgian from the can. Produces a massive khaki billow with insane amount of hang time on it. Locks in a garnet looking body underneath it all with some midway lucidity to it. Dem ruby tones. Looks fantastic really despite the ridiculous amount of head that formed. Leaves the glass caked with stick.

S: Dark toasted caramels and date sugars with dark fruit accents of plum and fig abound from the can. Definitely smells sugary sweet and I get some subtle cinnamon and cardamom type spices mixed in. Bread crust and yeasty aromas round out the rest of the nose. Smells a bit sweet but gives you a good sense of the complexity to this one.

T: Starts off sweet with loads of malt sugars and dark Belgian candi giving likeness to dark breads, date, and fig. There is a light dusting of cinnamon and cardamom type spices mixed in and everything comes together like a spiced raisin bread. There is a moderate level of hoppy bitterness with moments of orange peel that starts to thin and dry the finish out. I get some woodland earthiness in the end followed by a wash of warming alcohol presence. A bit on the sweet side but in the end this is very tasty.

M: The body is certainly on the fuller side however mouth feel is smooth and lush on the palate. Leaves you with some sticky sugary residues and some warming alcohol.

D: I think user Sammy said it best…Not true to the style but fun to try and would definitely have again. Lots of integrated flavors built into this one and fairly easy to quaff on account of the great mouth feel. But they give you a lot to explore so it’s fun to take your time with this one. My highest score from 21st Amendment yet.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a lightly hazy very dark crimson red in color with light amounts of active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and some dark brown + amber highlights. The beer has a four finger tall foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a pillowy thick layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to slightly stronger aromas of dark fruits (cherry, fig, and raisin) and candi sugar with quite a bit of sweetness. Light aromas of something slightly woody and dark malts + just a hint of vanilla. Notes of alcohol in the finish.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of dark malts and toasted malts with a moderate to significant amount of candi sugar sweetness. There are slightly stronger than moderate flavors of dark fruits (cherry, fig, and raisin) and some light hints of herbal hops in the finish. Very light notes of woodiness and alcohol in the finish. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish which does not linger for long.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Moderate amounts of alcohol warming in the finish with some slightly sticky notes in the mouthfeel as well.

O: This one has a great smell and is fairly enjoyable to the taste, though I wish the alcohol was a little more well hidden. Definitely a slow sipper.

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Photo of GallowsThief
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at Habersham’s in Savannah, Ga. Poured out of a 12 oz. can.

A – Poured out a root beer brown with some golden highlights. Produced a finger of off white head that left some nice lacing around the glass.

S – Dark fruits, raisins, cherry and fig. Also has a crystallized sugar smell. Reminds me of hard sugar candy on a stick you find in candy specialty stores.

T – Starts out with a touch of vanilla and cinnamon. Nice sweet taste but not cloying. Follows with the dark fruits you get in the smell. Bunch of fig and raisin flavors. Caramel malts finish this one off with some pepper notes.

M – Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth and clean on the palate.

O – Dug this one. Not overly complex taste just plain good with a great subtle mix. You can taste all the flavors and drink this one all night long.

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

Served in a small snifter. Dark red amber in the glass with a half finger off-white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of fresh and dried dark stone fruit, particularly plums, sweet caramel malt, Belgian yeast. Flavor follows with semi sweet dark stone fruit, caramel malt, light Belgian yeast and spicing, hints of vanilla. Medium bodied with nice carbonation. A quite nice domestic take on the Belgian strong dark style with some dubbel characteristics. Enjoyable. 21st Amendment beer seems to be uneven, probably due to the fact that they are brewed at different locations, I've had one canned beer months apart that were alternatively great and truly awful. This was quite well made and encouraging.

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Photo of whiterabbit
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

A - pours a darker brown slight ruby when held to light. Some dark gold. Nice looking in glass.

S - raisin, plum, spice. Good, nothing jumps out.

T - alcohol, some raisin, some grape, mostly alcohol

M - again alcohol. Not well hidden, warming, but not inviting

O - to each his own, totally missed the mark for me. Far better and enjoyable Belgians out there. Dispite some cellering, a boozy mess. Lacked depth, flavor, and body. Will have another down the road to see if opinion changes, and if so, will edit post.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz single can bought from LIfesource Natural Grocer in Salem OR. $2.59 Pours a brown with garnet aspects around the edges. Large creamy thick light tan coloured head. Creamy fudge like aromas foillowed by raisin and spice. Slightly cheesy and earthy ,complex. Very smooth and balanced taste with the same as the aroma, but a touch of alcohol and herbal bitterness. Palate is just fine..reasonably smooth and easily drinkable. Its OK but not up to the Belgian standards.

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Photo of stevoj
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

More then pleased to see an American brewery nail the Belgian style. True to character throughout. Deep dark brown/ruby. with oily beige head. Nice aroma of dried fruit and wood, taste more of the same, mild hops bitterness. Would not be out of place in a Brussels street café....

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Photo of elNopalero
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This pours a ruddy raisiny-colored muddy amber.

There’s a light aroma with stone fruits. Some fig, dates, a candied orange peel.

There’s more stone fruits on the palate, some cocoa nibs, orange peel, a touch of cinnamon?
It’s rich, malty and sweet, with a rounded smoothness.

I enjoyed it but don’t think I could commit to more than one. I remember liking this one more, but I’m going to chalk that up to my tastes in beer changing so much since it was last released.

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

A: Pours a deep red with a small amount of tan head, which dissipates to a ring around the edge of the glass with some spotty surface film.

S: Sweet and lightly boozy, with notes of dark fruit.

T: Also sweet and a bit boozy, leading into some amount of yeast and astringent notes.

M: Medium to full body, medium carbonation.

Overall, quite pleasant. I probably wouldn't get a lot of this, but it's a bit different and certainly worth a try.

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Photo of mactrail
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark coppery brown in the Gulpener tulip. Quite sudsy in the mouth. The aroma is really unusual. It's a fruit candy smell, or something like cranberry fudge.

This is on the sweet side with an expansive cedar wood flavor. The flavorings are hardly restrained, and it does taste like Fig Newtons. Sugar and spice and a cookie dough flavors. Brown sugar and fruitcake soaked in sweet wine. It's the citrus and vanilla aromatics of Cuarante Y Tres liqueur.

Spicy dessert in a bottle. The vanilla seems to get stronger as the Belgian yeast works on it. Fairly dry at the finish, but the next sip starts out just as sugary. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Can from 2012 at the brewery, San Francisco.
Muddy oxblood with tan film.
Barrel, candy sugar, rum, and cherry stones on the nose.
Brown sugar, a flash of vanilla, spicy warmth, cream soda, and fig chutney.
Brandy finish and sweet linger.
Med-full, chewy, round.

Two years on this and it’s way mellow and smooth. Don’t so much get figs, but good balance of sugar and spice. Broad strokes of a Belgian more than nuance, but solid and moreish.

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

I first developed a taste for Monk’s Blood during a judging competition -- I was ranking brews for a medal round at the 2014 AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival. As the tasting was blind, I didn’t know what the beer was at the time. All I knew was that, as soon as that beer hit my lips, it was love. The brew reminded me of candy I had devoured when younger, though I couldn’t -- and still can’t -- determine what kind of candy it was. Those caramel-coated green apple suckers, maybe? Fig Newtons? It was something sweet and delicious, anyway -- much like this beer.

Beneath an aroma replete with fig and sweet cherry, caramel and maple, we get a flavor that leads with candy sugar, oaky vanilla and fig before giving way to green apple, bread crust and booze in a slightly drying finish. I like to let the glass warm a bit, as the malt sweetness that makes this beer so unique and tasty becomes more apparent with heat.

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Photo of delta490
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep slightly cloudy ruby with a short lasting tan head that hangs on around the circumference of the glass. The aroma is sweet and fruity with a hint of spice. The taste is also sweet and fruity, this time with more distinct notes of cherry and a little vanilla. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth, with a silky finish. This is a very good, moderately complex, Belgian dark ale.

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Photo of JWU
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

a 12oz. can poured into a snifter.

A- a murky mahogany, with a thin off white head.

S- Big sweetness. Lots of dark fruit, some spice and the booze is certainly there.

T- Big dark fruit notes, fig, raisin, bing cherries, some light cinnamon and vanilla notes. Booze is there on the finish as well as some closing hop bitterness.

M- medium to full, generally a tad abrasive on the palette from alcohol and drying of the hops.

A- a good, but not great stab at a belgian dark

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Photo of ksimons
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-pours a dark chestnut with a fingers worth of khaki colored head

S-caramel malt, dark fruit sweetness, vanilla, and light cocoa

T-a caramel malt backbone, vanilla, dark fruits, and some light cinnamon spice

M-medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall a good beer, not an amazing representation of the style though. Goes down pretty easy.

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Photo of shleepy
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from can into Cantillon glass.

Reddish-brown color. Dark. Small-medium head, "very off-white."

Strong smell of caramel, some spices (e.g., cinnamon).

Taste is sweet, with caramel, raisins, figs, liquorice, cinnamon, etc. Medium-heavy body. Sweet stickiness remains on lips, despite aftertaste being fairly clean.

A bit too spicy and sweet for me, but it's an OK beer, in terms of complexity. Think of it as a strong, spiced dubbel.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The color was that of cognac with a fingers worth of thin foam for a cap.

The nose is peppery with a dried fruit, plum and cola nut like aroma.

The flavor is dry, spicy and peppery with cinnamon, anise and caraway. The overall body of flavor has a fig and plum like taste.

The feel is dry but smooth, a bit sparkly on the tongue but very nice.

This is particularly diverse, certainly different and definitely original. Unfortunately it's not my favorite flavors but for all its nuance it deserves a high score.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. can poured into a standard snifter

A: Looking straight through it, it is nearly opaque. Dark amber and brown from above. Slight lacing. Minimal collar and head. Thin head on the swirl.

S: Smells like cherries. Slightly sweet. I don't get much outside of that. I can smell that it is just from the figs, Belgian yeast and candi sugar, but man does it smell fruity.

T: Weird flavors here. Lots of Belgian candi sugar and Belgian characteristics. It's good, but a bit too dry for me. Slightly tart and funky, just a bit fruity. Nice lingering slight sweet/tart cherry flavor.

M: Lots of carbonation, but it dies down and mellows out.

O: I had heard a lot of good things about this and that it had just returned. Interesting and a bit different from similar beers of this style. Still good, just not my cup of tea, but this style usually is.

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Photo of tmm313
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep red/mahogany color. Only poured about 1/2 finger of head, but had good lacing.

S- Vanilla, fig, grape, and oak dominate. Orange, spice, and the slightest touch of booze as accents.

T- All kinds of things going on. Grape, caramel, raisin, earthy hop, spice, rum, vanilla, yeast, citrus, and cinnamon. I was enjoying it too much to give a detailed report...

M- Medium body with light viscous qualities. Virtually no aftertaste.

O- I really enjoyed this beer. It was one of those I was too busy saying "damn that's good" to concentrate too deeply on the order of things going on. I'm already planning on going back and buying more.

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Photo of msquared36
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish brown, almost purple. Thin film of foam remains throughout, leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet plum and oak. Faint hint of alcohol.

Subtle favors. Vanilla, oak, dark cherries, toffee.

Heavy carbonation carries what otherwise feels like a watery beer.

Pretty good take on a Belgian abbey beer.

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Photo of maxcoinage
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - can (3/3/14) to tulip, big off white head, dark brown with dark red hue
S - bready, leather
T - dark fruits, cinnamon, sweet malts, some toffee
M - medium carb and body. Silky smooth
O - pretty good drinkable dark Belgian enjoying the hint of spices. Would be great for a cold winter night

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Photo of moorerm04
2.96/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A- Can poured into a standard pint glass. Nice rusty amber color, with 1-1-/2 finger off white head that quickly dissipated. Zero lacing left on the glass as the head fell.
S- Standard Abby aroma's dark dried fruit, some spicy notes from the yeast, sweet, fruity, hint of oak and vanilla. Pleasant smelling beer!
T- something is off... I found this beer very astringent! I get roasted malt, dark fruits, a little warmth from the alcohol, there is oak and vanilla present as well.
M- nice bite from the carbonation. Not evervecent like a saison or blonde but done well.
O- I have had this beer in years past and it has always been a pleaser for me until this year. I had to grab a 4 pack since it wasn't available in 2013. I don't know if 21st just dropped the ball or I got a bad 4 pack. This beer tasted like a crappy home brewed Abby. I don't know if they fermented warm, if the mash PH was off or if the oak was over done. Astringent , tannins, I don't know but it wasn't the beer I remember in the past.

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Photo of Beerlover
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

been waiting a while to try this one, 21st did not can this one last year or if they did none ever made it to MN.

Pours very dark brown with a half inch off white head that dissipates rather quick, doesn't look like there's a ton of carbonation to it, hopefully it stays true to that in the mouthfeel for my sake. Smells very fruity, tons of bananas on the nose! Smells delish, also some ripe dark fruits - plums and grapes, smell kind of jammy, some slight malty breadiness as well.
Taste is great! All of what you pick up in the aroma translates to the flavors, the banana does not come through nearly as much in the flavor as the nose but still noticeable, great example of a Belgian dark, 21st does it again! I'll be buying a 4 pack of this guys for sure!

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Photo of dank203
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

pours pretty brown. all the flavors come through in this beer, and everything listen on the can, vanilla, fig, all blended well. sweeter than i prefer, and not getting the bite that I usually am tickled by. it does have its own character, a nice variation of a Belgian dark ale. unique

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Photo of Brisket
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

*Edit* I got about 2 fingers of head with my second pour. Disappated quickly with light lacing. Upped the appearance to reflect.

Picked up a 4 pack of cans at Bier:thirty in Bown Crossing. They should have it on tap soon, I'd like to try it on draught.

A- Dark red brown, no head. I suspect a dirty glass when I look at other reviews. Dinged because of the lack of head, I'll edit if the next one pours with head. *edit* see top of review.

S- Belgian fruit, fig and vanilla, some higher alcohols.

T- Flavor is unexpectedly mild. Fig and dark fruit initially, vanilla is very strong in the middle. Has a boozy finish. Not bad

M- Medium body, some malt syrupyness, carbonation pretty high, within style.

O- Solid beer, I was a bit disappointed as I'm a big fan of 21st Ammendment and the style. I was expecting an excellent beer, but this is only very good. I will buy again if I see it.

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Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 1,397 ratings.
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