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: 526 | Ratings: 1,412
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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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.26/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

21st Amendment Brewery "Monk's Blood"
12 oz. can, "Canned on: 03/04/15 2346" = fresh
$3.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Wow, I had no idea this was such an expensive beer. It must be the figs, right? There's also oak chips, vanilla, and cinnamon added - which are pleasantly kept in check. The figs are right upfront in the fruitiness, but the oak is probably the most dominant of the 'extraneous' ingredients beyond that, and it can somewhat overlap with the vanilla. The cinnamon gives a pleasant bite and flavor in the back, and beyond that there's a very nice 'red fruit' fruitiness and soft smear of yeasty phenolics. It's a darkish beer and there's some caramel, brown sugar, and even a hint of molasses to it, but they just become equal components within the overall flavor; and with that said, it's remarkably well-rounded given everything that's going on within it - it would have been easy to let a beer like this jump the rails, but they've thankfully kept it in check.

When I sat down to review this I saw it was listed alongside Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue) and I was somewhat surprised and assumed it just got lumped into the category, but having tasted it I see how it totally fits. I've always put quality over price, and I'll say that this one is totally worth the cost. Absolutely worth trying! Don't miss out on this one!

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, murky, medium brown producing 2+ fingers of moderately lasting, tan, frothy head that leaves nice strings & rings of lacing. Aroma pumpernickel, dark fruits, roast, molasses, faint cocoa & floral hop tones. Taste is similar but more robust with cherry, coriander, hints of anise, cloves & more cocoa than in the nose. Finishes very peppery/spicy with a chocolate cherry cordial, molasses, coriander aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, medium carbonation, silky/creamy but with a light spice bite in the finish.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Review taken back in 2014 from extensive notes in my book.

12 oz blackest of copper cans that even looks deep ruby at times. A pretty awesome color anyway. Artwork displays some sort of monk drama if there is such a thing. Overall good artwork. Poured into a stemmed goblet.

A - dark and deep ruby red with hints of deep brown red mahogany to it. Head poured with some good size and settled quickly into a thin ring of sticky lacing.

S - yeast notes are wonderful and make me wonder if this strain was indeed made by the monks themselves. Dark fruits and ripe fig, some belgian spice with cinnamon notes creeping up. Sweet sugary malt and warm vanilla notes are a base layer. Even an Oaked character to this with hints of caramel.

T - candied sugar, small hint of sweet chocolate, vanilla, fig and dark fruits such as ripe dates. An oakiness to the sweet malt backbone. Dark Belgian spices and cinnamon lay over note after note of a well created profile. The Oaked staples a complex yet inviting flavors together. Very nice offering.

M - this was the only blem in this ale. Medium bodied with an American style texture which isn't underwhelming but while the monks pull off less thick big bodied beers the stickiness and flavors cling to every inch of the mouth. This was sort of there and gone but still good. Not great just a good feel. As this warmed I gave the slight booziness an open armed greeting as it only added to its superb flavor.

O - the mouthfeel really can't stop one from not enjoying such a good flavored and tasty ale. This is Belgian inspired with American style and one I would drink again in the future. If you have the chance grab a few of these. Monk's Blood is worth the buy.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark maroon/mahogany color with a little under 2 fingers of head that fade down to a thin ring of lace

S: Belgian yeast, spices, vanilla, oak, and dark fruits all stand out. Mix of cinnamon, vanilla, and oak are most up front

T: Starts off with the vanilla and cinnamon, and then goes into the yeasty notes that provide more general spiciness and some fruitiness. Oak comes out a little dry, along with some of the lightly sweet dark fruits. Finishes with some nuttiness and cherry notes with lingering yeast/spice notes

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A nicely layered American-made BSDA with plenty going on. Drinks very easily for being 8.3%, with the alcohol being hidden mostly by the yeast and complexity. Definitely worth picking up if you're into BSDAs, as it's interesting to compare to the Belgians

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.24/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark red with about a finger of off white foam. Good amount of effervescence. Smells of toasted grain, prune/raisin, hint of vanilla. Tastes malty, sweet forward without being overpowering, dark fruit (prune/fig), nice mid note twang, almost metallic taste, bit of oaky, vanilla notes and transitions a pretty clean finish. Carbonation more appreciable as it warms, as is the complexity of the flavors. Medium bodied and very smooth. Well balanced overall. Purchased in a pack of four – good price point for a solid and tasty beer. ABV well hidden. It reminded me a bit of Three Philosophers – another great beer.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a half finger of head on a dark straw body.
The aroma is clean dark fruits and grains. Nice.
The taste has a mild caramel sweetness start, metallic bitter middle, ripe fruit finish.
The texture is thicker with low carbonation.

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Photo of deschutes_fan
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aged this can for a year (canned March '14)

-Smell is mild vanilla and cinnamon
-Taste is of a malty cola, not much hops left and quite smooth.

Overall a solid and unique beer. The name is more fitting when fresh, as it is more viscous and "blood-like", but the flavor is a bit raw then. With a year on it, it is still a solid beer, but I would probably prefer it at the 6-9 month mark the most.

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

Surprisingly tight aroma for style. If dig deep can find some soft and rich dark malt with hints of darker fruit. Surprisingly there is a lack of yeast character in the aroma.
Head is dark and medium size but it leaves rather quickly. Deep red to brown and largely clear.
Flavor carries more of what I expect and am looking for. Nice richness with some sweetness but not crossing any threshold. Lengthy dryness (it starts early and finishes late). Some fruit, but more straight malt character. Yeast offers some contribution with mild phenols, but really not too much other than that. Opens up with time to take on some enjoyable flavors -toffee, pleasant alcohol and I think the figs kick in. I don't get much for spicing and the vanilla and oak lurk in the background, but do contribute to the overall complexity, but this grows with time and becomes more apparent.
Highly carbonated with a bit of a bite when drinking and seems a little light underneath.
I can't complain too much as the price is not excessive for this, but this isn't a top notch version of style. Great name.

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Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 1,412 ratings.
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