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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 billab914
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can poured into my Ithaca glass. It poured dark mahogany in color with a dense, tan colored head to it. Nice lacing as I drank it, nice color too.

The aroma has a rich maltiness to it with notes of caramel, brown sugar and a touch of cherry. The Belgian yeast is a noticeable, but seems to play a minor role. There is a touch or rum there as well.

The taste follows through with the rich, sweet malt flavors. I get a lot more of the dark fruit/cherry flavors coming out and a little less caramel and brown sugar. Again, the Belgian yeast is noticeable but more in the background. A little of the alcohol, slight rum like flavor is in the finish.

The mouthfeel is leaning towards the heavier side with carbonation being a little below average. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good beer. I really liked the dark fruit and cherry flavors coming out of the malts. It did feel a little overly sweet at times, but overall i really enjoyed it.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from can into a chalice. Poured a deep red-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, red wine, spice, dark fruit, and plum. The flavor was of sweet malt, fruit, grape, spices, dark fruit, and subtle dark chocolate. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. This one really reminded me a lot of a more toned down red wine when it came to the aromas given off here. There was a nice spice character here that was very similar to red wine as well. The addition of the dark fruit profile helped to balance this one out. The alcohol flavor was non-existant for me as the dark fruit and spices seemed to cover it up quite nicely. Definitely worth your time to try if you see it in your area.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Dark fruity esters up front. Raisin and plum dominate. Definite alcohol warmth detected on the nose. Light earthy/floral hop background notes but very faint.

Appearance: Murky leather brown/brick red pour with low off white head. Appears still in the glass.

Flavor: Sweet bready based that is quickly kicked to the curb by a prickling earthy hop presence, some dark fruity esters (more raisin and plum), and a slightly fusely but enjoyable alcohol flavor. The flavors all play well together and add to the complexity. The finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, medium-light body, and warming alcohol heat.

Overall impression: A definite American version of a Belgian. Hop character seems way forward and alcohol is dominate. Could stand some age. I'm enjoying it now but I can see why some wouldn't consider it a classic.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Pours a deep auburn brown with light tan finger width head. Retention is average, leaving behind a thin but consistent lace. There's a considerable amount of sediment throughout.

Smell - Notes of brown sugar and clove; Belgian yeast; almost a 'rum and coke' aroma.

Taste - Sweet and sugary. Notes of dried fruit; fig, raisin and prune. Slightly sour. Plenty of alcohol burn in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full body; slightly syrupy. Decent carbonation.

Overall - Too sweet and sugary. If I had to describe this in10 words or less it'd be 'A sugary, fruity rum and coke'. Lots of alcohol burn on the back end.

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Photo of pearljam118
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned on 3/5/12

A - pours a beautiful dark brown with 2+ fingers of lush head

S - dark fruits here

T - A little watery but fruity with a little bit of cherry and a good balance with the malt.

O - I haven't had many BSDAs but this drinks really well. Great for the price too. Would definitely buy again.

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Photo of MadScientist
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pour a hazy deep copper with a creamy light tan head

Fruit esters are the first thing you smell then the malt aromas start to dominate. The malt aromas are kind of nondescript at first then resolve into some carmel and light toffee while the strong esters are of raisins and prunes. It has nice peppery phenols and a soft perfume alcohol aroma.

The first sip is like carmel covered marshmallows from the combination of the sweetness, vanilla, carmel and mouthfeel. There is also the pepper in there along with some of the dark fruit flavors. It has a medium-dry finish

The medium light body and moderately high carbonation combine to create a creaminess and softness on the palate. There is a bit of slickness from the diacetyl probably from the oak chips. The pepper and an odd spiciness start to dominate the other flavors after a few sips; I would really call the spiciness cinnamon and defiantly not clove.

There's a lot going on in this but the flavors muted and unfocused and the oak is barley coming through. It does it the marks for the style of being dark, rich, complex and strong and possible smooth depending on home much pepper you enjoy.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: burgundy/cloudy, khaki finger head,
trace/patchy lacing

S: fig, cinnamon, malt, woody nose

T: cinnamon, fig, sweet malt, oak,
mild warmth

M: med body, smooth mouth

O: Like the brewery, really enjoy this beer.
Would recommend and get again.
Like the style, but this could be little heavier mouth.


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

Hey! 151 reviews and only my 2nd can!

A: ruby brown, pale head - huge to start (I pour aggressive-style - grrr!), then just a flimsy film and collar; good lacing

S: dark fruits, sweet malts

T: can definitely detect the wet cinnamon - real interesting - otherwise a real good BSDA - dark fruits, vanilla (a little), and a nice dryness on the finish

M: medium-bodied, slight aftertaste tackiness

O: forgot what I was drinking as I was enjoying it so much - a very good beer; I've had plenty of BSDA but this is only my 2nd 21st Amendment brew (Hop Crisis) and I'm very confident in recommending it to all prospective buyers. Why don't people like this more? I'm guessing the cinnamon may not sit right with some - fair enough...

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Canned on 3/26/12.

Pours a murky dark brown with a 1/2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, dark fruits, vanilla, brown sugar, and some woody aromas. Taste is of malt, prunes/figs, vanilla, brown sugar, alcohol, and a dry woody flavor on the finish. There is a slight hint of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I am enjoying the aromas coming off this one more than the flavors.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark mahogany-brown color with a finger of frothy khaki colored head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some good lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet dark fruits with some cinnamon and other spices, vanilla, oak, Belgian yeast, and a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with some figs and other dark fruit sweetness with some cinnamon, vanilla, and caramel. Through the middle, some oak and more Belgian yeast flavor comes through with some more spices and a bit more vanilla. The finish is mix of sweet dark fruits, vanilla, cinnamon, Belgian yeasts, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, spicy, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Very nice BSDA. I like the cinnamon and vanilla flavors alongside the Belgian yeast and dark caramel malts.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.39/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Lets see how age has done this ting (well 3 months at least).

Pour is a very murky brown, with hues of purple. Really hope real Monk's blood doesnt look like this (I kid, I kid). Initial thick white head fades to a small ring.

Very complex and sweet smell. Dark Belgian I think so. Sweetened figs for sure, vanilla, strong yeast, and even a bit of cherries. Overall, it smells sweet.

The taste is no where near sweet. Very light and almost watery, but the yeast is peppery and spicy (I dont like it here). It smells so complex and fruity, but it honestly tastes dry and yeasty. not a great combination in my book. I get some underlying sweetness and accent flavors, but I want more. Its just dry and spicy up front, and finishes the same.

As it warms, it gets more smooth oak and vanilla flavors, and picks up a good hint of the dried fruits. I like it more warmer and decanted, honestly.

It leaves a slightly sweet feeling on the tongue (which is a bit better than the actual taste), but the dry oak doesnt work with the dry yeast.

Seems like an overly yeasty jumbled mess to me.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-dark reddish brown with a thick reddish tan head that slowly fades

S-dark roasted grains. Hint of cherry and syrup. Medium strength

T-comes in with a fairly bitter taste of cinnamon, cherries, and dark belgian grains. Has a faint matching after-taste with even some dog breath to it also. It's a unique taste. It's a good change to this style.

M-medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-this was a pretty good beer. Not as syrupy and sweet as some lesser American Belgians get. I would definitely get this again if I had paid less. $6.50 for the can. I might as well just get a Chimay.

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Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - deep amber bordering on dark brown; thick layer of brown head; great retention

S - bread, belgian yeast, caramel

T - warm alcohol, yeast, bread, caramel, spicy, funky

M - medium bodied, warm, smooth, good carbonation

This is a decent beer. It has good flavor and drinkability. Even more evidence that good beer can come from a can.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

21st. Amendment Brewery, Monk's Blood. Belgian-style dark ale brewed with cinnamon, vanilla, oak chips, and dried figs. That's all I'll share from the label of this can. There's a long story in Gothic typeface that's difficult to read. It begins "Legend has it…" and I'll let your imagination run wild with the rest. Wait. I really should read it…. Couldn't. It's impossible. Can't make out 10% of the words. The rest are over-cooked and overly dramatic. Apparently, elder monks believe in capital punishment when dealing with young monks who tinker with old recipes. Sure, makes sense. Or maybe it was the cigars, "nice hands of Texas Hold 'Em" and "breaking the vow of silence by spinning a remix of Gregorian chants" that drew the Abbot's ire. I wouldn't know.

Unfortunately, it tells me nothing about the beer.

8.3% ABV. 12 oz. can. brewed in Cold Springs, MN.

Dark, plum brown body, opaque, smallish cream-toned head, drifts down, but leaves lace.

Aroma: dark fruit aplenty. raisins, dates, figs. Plum. With plenty of spice, as well, and a hint of sweetness. Wait, more than a hint, with the vanilla and oak coming in loud and clear.

Taste: First sip is rich and full, with a complex mix of flavors coming together in the mouth. A touch sour, lush with fruit and spice, dark, deep and delicious. Reminds me of favorite authentic Belgian dark ales, with without that rare quality from the Belgian yeast. Comes close enough. Very delicious.

Full-bodied, long finish, deeply textured, with apparent alcohol. Rises higher with each additional drink. Rich, warming, and comfortable. But I couldn't more than two of this without causing trouble. In fact, I can feel the urge to raise a ruckus right about now.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

By the time I tasted this, my palate was pretty much wrecked by the terrible Iron Fist Spice of Life, but I still got a pretty good impression from this one. Served in a ball-stem goblet, a hazy, dark, reddish-brown color with a small off-white head. Aroma of bready malts, caramel, soft fruits and spice. Taste was a bit muted at first, but fleshed out a bit mid-palate onward. Caramel and candi-like sugars, bready, cinnamon and spice, and more of the soft, indistinct fruit I got on the nose, hints of cola and some phenol. Medium-bodied, fairly chewy, some alcohol warmth. Overall pretty decent, but I don't see myself having more than one glass in a session before moving on to something else.

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

Poured from a 12oz can into a duvel glass.

A: dark brown with a slight ruby tinge to it... Get a nice three finger tannish head that dissapates nicley, but not really leaving any lacing to speak of, deffinatly a nice lookin brew although, due to the name, I expected it to be more red... But not the case

S: comes wafting out of the can the moment I cracked it.... a blend of caramel and vanilla with toasty oak, the dried figs ate deffinatly apparent in the aroma as well... Along with a bit alcohol heat, complex and inviting.

T: much like the nose, I get figs and oak up front blending into vanilla and caramel, I'm not really getting the cinnamon, perhaps a touch on the finish witha bit of alcohol? A touch of chocolate and brown sugar in there as well, and now the beer has warmed a bit I deffinatly feel the cinnamon on the finish. Like the nose I find the flavor to have excellent complexity and balance.

M: medium bodied with lower carbonation, finishes dry, with a slight touch of bitterness. A bit of an oaky/spicy/bitter aftertaste that lingers for a bit.

O: a very nice brew that displays a nice amount of complexity and balance that I have not found in many of 21st amendments othe brews... I really enjoyed this beer and understand why it has the cult following that it does. Deffinatly a must try.

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Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4pk at Wegmans in Warrington, PA

4pk - $10.99

Poured and enjoyed in a DFH Signature Glass

A - Beer pours a deep brown with a slightly reddish hue. Almost totally opaque but a bit of light shines through. Little to no head on the initial pour. Decent lacing left on the glass.

S - A slightly malty, fruity aroma with a hint of booze.

T - A beer that initially hits you with its pretty high booziness. The beer has a mixture of sweet malts, caramel, vanilla and something like raisins (dark fruit). This is a sipper for sure but overall is pretty good. Not a beer you'll be rushing through.

M - Light carbonation, medium mouthfeel.

O - I've heard a lot about this beer so decided to give it a try. Overall, it's good but not a beer I'd probably re-visit. It's good but just not as great as I was expecting.


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Photo of Sternfels
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz can into duvel tulip glass


T: Sweet fruity malts up front, sweet coffee sorta roasted malts and fruit Spicy sticxky chew sweet booze ending of great

M: warming spicy medium bodied


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Photo of CHickman
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours opaque brown color with a small foamy tan head that fades quickly, leaving decent lacing.

Smells like rum, caramel and sweet malt; very malty aroma with alcohol very present in the nose.

Tastes of sweet malt, caramel, brown sugar, toasted grains, dark fruit, light floral hops, cinnamon, and some light yeast; not as malty as expected by the nose and relatively sweet overall with a very noticeable alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel is creamy and silky smooth, with little carbonation and a medium body that goes down watery, but has enough alcohol bite to make this a slow sipper. Decent beer, but didn't live up to the hype and not one I’d seek out.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a dark burgundy colored pour with 2 fingers of off white head. smells of grapes, alcohol, pecan, vanilla, strawberry. a very bitter sweet fruity mouthful! a hint of cherries, grapes, nuts, figs, a bit of dirt bitterness.. almost like drinking tree sap! medium bodied, nicely carbonated, light amount of creaminess. this is an overall hell of a beer. i wish it were a bit less carbonated and more syrupy on the mouthfeel, but i'll live. glad i got 3 more of these to savor throughout the next few months.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce can into a tulip-shaped Duvel glass.

A: Dark, murky, reddish brown color with a two-finger cap of tan foam that subsides to a thick ring, leaving behind a thin layer of lacing.

S: Plummy, sugary with hints of beets and raisins. An earthy, herbal aroma rises from the dark, fruity and spicy smell. Hints of dates, nutmeg, cinnamon and mace dot the lingering finish.

T: Sweet, chewy and fruity malts hit up front, delivering big doses of slick, sweet-roasted malts and fruity esters ranging from plum and raisin to figs and berries. The sweet palate breaks quickly with a hot rush of spicy, herbal and acidic booziness. The finish is sticky sweet with some traces of slick, grainy alcohol.

M: Full-bodied and somewhat acidic around mid-palate, this brew is warming, spicy and bracing.

O: The booze overpowers the fruity notes though and cut the sweetness a tad too deep. This 8.3% ABV dark Belgian strong ale would do well with some extensive wood-aging or at least to sit a while longer.

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Photo of SHODriver
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a deep brown with a small tan head that recedes quickly to a collar around the glass
S: smells sweet with notes of cherries and a little alcohol, some vanilla and an underlying oakiness
T: tastes fruity with notes of alcohol soaked cherries, a little chocolate, some oak, a bit of vanilla, and overall sweetness to it. The swallow brings about a bit of alcohol and more cherry flavor
M: meduim bodied with moderate carbonation
O: a tasty and complex belgian strong dark. it's a little harsh at times and the alcohol isn't masked well but it's pretty good. Trois Pistole is the beer that I compare others of this style to and this one falls a bit short.

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Photo of bcostner1
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip from the can.

A: Dark reddish-mahogany. Does not pour with overwhelming viscosity. Rich tan head that slowly dissipates and lingers around the edges. Nice looking beer.

S: Definite yeast presence. Hint of cinnamon. Dark fruits (figs and plums mixed in with some red grapes maybe). Faintest hint of alcohol. Overall, a very nice aroma; not too overpowering yet just enough to let you appreciate all of the elements.

T: For me, yeast dominates up front; not as much as in some other Belgian Strongs that I have tasted but it is definitely there. Slightest hint of cinnamon; not much. Some definite vanilla in the finish along with some oak and faint hops as well. Dark fruits are present throughout and provide a definite richness and sweetness to this brew. Very enjoyable.

M: Pretty easy drinker. ABV is well hidden and only slightly detectable at the finish. Not as thick or viscous as some others I have had of the style; slightly thin on the mouthfeel for me.

This is the 2nd time I have tried this beer and, honestly, I like it better the 2nd time around as opposed to the first. In my opinion, there are some better BSDA's out there but this one isn't bad at all. I wish the cinnamon and vanilla elements were a little bit more prominent because this would, in my opinion, make this one a little bit more unique for the style. Still, I will enjoy the remainder of my 4 pack and would have it again (though not necessarily seek it out).

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Photo of Philousa
3.47/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, this looks like tobacco or leather. Good amount of initial head thins out like a high ABV beer. A few whiffs yield brown sugar, dates, raisins, allspice. No hops to speak of. Kinda woody, but it's faint. Dates are palpable. Some dark chocolate, and that too-much-candied-sugar taste is there, but faint. Rich and smooth. Touch of juicy stone fruit. Bitterness is harsh at a colder temp, but smooths out as it warms.

This one ain't perfect, but I would give it the thumbs up. The candied sugar is a little heavy handed, and the bitterness comes off like burnt sugar at a colder temperature, but both aren't as bad halfway through. It's definitely complex enough to be called a Belgian Strong Dark and own the name. Balance this one out and it's a homer.

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

12 oz can served cold into a goblet.

Monk's Blood is a hazy redish amber with thin short-lived head.

Aroma is sweet and fruity with mild oaky vanilla.

The flavor is stronger than expected with big cherry and vanilla chacter.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated. Alcohol is strong but not over powering.

Overall a good strong beer that makes a nice pairing with cherry pie.

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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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