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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: 1,400
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a deep crimson mahogany red hue with light tan head and speckled lacing surrounding the sides of my Allagash chalice. Light beige head with thin speckled lacing. Aroma has a sweet sugar backing with hints of vanilla and spice. Sharp sweetness filled with raisins and plum, and I guess fig additions according to my can. A touch of cider like notes to it, very cohesive with mellow booze. Flavor is nice slightly acidic with raisins and figs exchanging strokes of flavor ample bitterness to balance it out, and a touch of mellow alcohol in the finish this brew from a can for 8 bucks a 4 pack equates to a good deal. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied with slightly sticky edges a nice all around drinking experience especially for a canned strong Belgian style dark ale. Drinkability was solid a beer I will revisit during the next three cans offered by this small brewer.

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Photo of Proteus93
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now that 21st Amendment has rolled into Virginia, I was able to pick up a fresh can from Beer Run in Charlottesville.

A: Deep bronze, sporting a nice finger and a half tall head that strings lace around the glass walls.

S: Malts, Belgian yeast esters, and vanilla - though, like a vanilla extract rather than straight up beans. I don't pick up the 'oiliness' of the vanilla beans, so it has me wondering what was used. Nonetheless, it's pleasant and complements the other aromas nicely. Oak scents pair evenly with it, a nice balance of flavours.

T: Vanilla is quite a big flavour on my palate, as well. There's a bit of a buried 'slightly burnt' toffee flavour that comes out under it all - it's very subtle, and I find it to be a really nice touch. I do find that the vanilla and cinnamon pretty much dominate, though... even the wood notes are a bit subdued to them, and I am not really picking up on the figs that the can states are in there much.

M + D: It has quite a robust body, giving it almost a chewy mouthfeel, but falling a little short of that. A nice 'end of the night' beer that has served well as my nightcap. Not bad at all!

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

Pours ruby brown with a glowing clarity. Thick beige head that settles slowly, but doesn't leave much lace.

Sweet caramel aroma of darker crystal malts. No notable hop to the nose.

This is a tale of a sweet, rich beer. Here, I can detect the slightest of hop bitterness. Lots of sweet cola flavor. The alcohol doesn't show up until the swallow. Very true to the style even with the oily body.

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

Appearance: Pours out of its can into my Chimay glass with a small beige head building to about a 1/4inch which fades quickly. One thing that American breweries seem to often fall short on, in terms of replicating Belgian beers, is that huge pillowy head and this one isn't an exception. It has a dark cherry cola like color to it.

Aroma: Lots of intense malt sweetness that is accentuated by a rich dark fruit character and some spice. I get the faint hint of cherry along with cinnamon and vanilla.

Taste: Very balanced flavor profile. Exhibits what is expected in subtle form, dark burnt sugars, some spice and that dark fruit. Booze is there but not too overwhelming. Nothings popping really, all subtle flavors.

MF/D: It feels just a bit thin for its style and ABV. The carbonation helps keep it together but it could benefit from a slightly fuller body.

This is a solid offering. Nothing mind blowing but certainly not weak by any means. I look forward to trying more 21A in the future.

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

Poured into a tulip. Color is like a dark cranberry. Off white head of just over a finger. It disappears quickly with minimal lacing left.

Lot's of raisins in the nose along with some bing cherry. A lot of caramel sweetness and some cinnamon.

Theres a slight tartness with the taste. Kind of like tart cherries. Lot's of raisins and a touch of oak. A very faint amount of vanilla also.

Nice mouthfeel. Kind of sticky in the mouth but very smooth. Low carbonation.

Drinkability is really good. I like this beer a lot. No alcohol presence at all. I would recommend this for sure.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.22/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: ruddy rusty-brown, slight haze, not much head formation

Aroma: biscuity malt, raisins, brown sugar, rum, oak

Flavor: sweet maltiness with notes of dark caramel, molasses, vanilla, and a sour-milk tartness; finishes sweet a raisiny aftertaste

Mouthfeel: full body, pert carbonation, slick, and alcohol warmth in the throat

Other comments: I've got a bone to pick with the can/package design because you can barely read it! The font and white-on-black makes it almost illegible.

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Photo of hawks10
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ScreamForMe for this one...

12oz. can poured into FFF's pint glass...

Dark ruby/purple when held up to the light, small half finger light tan head which dissipates into a thin film which lasts for the whole glass...

Wow, very sweet smell up front, dark fruits, fig and raisin...no hint of hop or alcohol...

Taste is very sweet, thick, bready...the dark fruits in the nose are very apparent on the tongue, slight alcohol tinge after a few sips and once the brew becomes slightly warmer...

Decent mouthfeel, thick and chewy, loads of flavor, not much hop presence at all to balance things out, but still nice to drink. Slightly warming...

With how sweet this beer is I can't see myself throwing a lot of these back, the one I had however was very easy to drink...

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Photo of Reswald
3.31/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Monk's Blood is a Belgian-style dark ale, brewed with dark candi sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and dried dark figs; it's aged on oak chips to add in some woody flavors as well. I'd say it's roughly in the style of a dubbel, though its 8.3% ABV pushes it toward being a Belgian Dark Strong Ale, like the Chimay Grande Reserve or Rochefort 10. It pours a deep, rich brown, with a rocky tan head. The aroma speaks of the spices and the figs, perhaps with a touch of alcohol. On the tongue, it is gratifyingly complex, with the dark figs very evident. Perhaps a little too evident, as they make the beer seem a bit too sweet. The Amarillo hops give it a few citrusy notes, something you don't really expect for this style, but not unpleasant. It finishes slightly thin, but it is still delicious and very drinkable.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this one on a whim as I have seen it before a couple times and 21st is new to Minnesota.
Pours a nice dark candy color reddish tan with a nice offwhite hear.
Smells almost like a sour but that might be the cinnamon I am smelling.
Sweet initial taste that moves to a ever so slight bitterness. Tastes of fruit and spices.
Great mouthfeel.
For 8.5% I don't get a real boozy taste from this.
Good beer.

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Photo of vacax
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can from Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa. Pours clear, dark brown-red and mildly translucent. Around a finger of light tan head, fair retention and some lacing. For a Belgian ale, actually much less head than I expected, though I dig the color (get it? Monk's Blood...). Aromas of fig, prune, grape skins, then some herbal notes and slight phenols.

Tastes of prune, brown sugar, grape skins and figs, slightly phenolic and warming. Quite fruity on the midpalate and a bready finish. While it is brewed with vanilla, oak chips, and cinnamon they are all quite mild elements. The cinnamon is questionable as to whether I pick it up, as are the others, they all enhance the flavor rather than dominate.

Body is full, slight silken quality, medium carbonation, not too high, though it doesn't feel like the bottle conditioned smoothness I prefer a Belgian ale. This is a tasty beer, and in the world of Belgian dark ales it is not as phenolic and quite drinkable for me.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz can picked up Saturday at Brewforia... Cool to see this one. Poured into my Delirium goblet.

1" lite tan head goes away pretty quickly... the brew is very deeep red.

Nose is mild dark fruits.. lite caramel.. raisins and mild fig blossom a bit with alot of warmth... so do some tannic elements... just sooo mild.. I can't go higher than a 3.

Is this brewed with a Belgian yeast? Mild dark fruits remind me of sweet cherry essence and some old raisins.. something that reminds me of black tea tannins.. none of the advertised spices are crossing my palate.. and really, none of the expected phenols or esters are either.

No alcohol to really be found ... Body is about right for the style but the carbonation is too light .. the overall lack of an sort of Belgian complexities really make me turn my shoulder on this brew... that said, I is pretty okay for what it is, but to allude to any "Belgian" characteristics is a bad misstep. The bad thing for me, is the drinkability is actually pretty high if I look beyond my above negatives.. this would be a great camping beer where I want something different without having to think too much.

I appreciate ALL American breweries that are experimenting with Belgian styles, but this seems like it was brewed with a clean American yeast and then tried to mask that folly with spices and oak.


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Photo of meatyard
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a mostly clear, dark ruby color with a short head that quickly falls to splotches of foam. Has a fairly active carbonation stream.
The smell is ripe but sour plum.
The taste includes sweet & sour dark fruits, red wine and some fruit skin bitterness.
Mouthfeel is medium, slightly carbonated and drying.
Drinkability is fine, alcohol is not hidden but it's not in your face apparent and it's not a beer that I'd drink two of at a time but would have one at another time. It doesn't seem like any other BSDA though fits some characteristics. I would recommend giving it a try though it may not please a lot of people.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After Med invites me over, feeds me beer and tolerates me singing Iron Maiden on Rock Band, he still has the decency to send me home with a can of Monk's Blood. What a guy. Cheers to Med!

Well, it's red. That's a relief. I was a little worried, what with the name and all. Actually it's a ruby port color with a dull brown to it. This one has just a slight haze. The head here is an irregular tan film with a thick collar.

Smells of dark dried fruits and a hodgepodge of light but pungent, earthy herbs. There's a touch of charred sugars here too with a touch of distant sour.

Tastes of an eclectic buzz of flavors. There seems to be a sour snap running down the middle with some soft sweetness off to the sides. The sour is a touch of plumb skin, rhubarb and under-ripe strawberry that fades to tobacco. The sweet picks up on this too with similar sweet fruity notes that fades to light garden flowers and a touch of birch bark. There's quite a bit going on here.

Feels dense but slick and smooth with a very softly stated carbonation.

Very nice. Definitely one to share with wine-snob friends who think beer lacks character, especially coming from a can! Maybe a little too busy to drink many of, but it is quite an accomplishment.

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Photo of beer2day
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This came from a can?!?!?

Pours a deep mahogany red. Thin head, very little retention, but nice lacing. The color is extraordinary.

Nose is extremely complex. Lots of fruit here. Reminds me slightly of aged SA triple bock. Plum, fig, black grape, all ripe and all present. Bread and yeast slip in there, too. Candy sugar rounds things out.

From the nose, I was hoping for something more palate-wise. I'm gettin the ripe fruit from the nose, but not much else. Weaker taste profile than expected. It's not bad, just leaves you wanting more of what's offered.

Very smooth up front. Slight fizziness midway through but finishes more syrupy. Body is pretty much right on.

Easy enough to drink for a beer as heavy as this style is. Definitely one to try, but maybe more of one to share.

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Photo of jmalex
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yay 21A! This has got to be the most intense beer I've ever had in a can.

APPEARANCE: Pours into my New Belgium tulip a deep ruddy amber with a moderate off-white head. It gradually shrinks to a full unbroken cap with a few curtain-like patches of lacing.

SMELL: Quite bready with only a moderate Belgian ester profile. Some dark fruits come out as well as the slightest hint of vanilla and spice. Not particularly intense though, at least at first. As it warms, some woodiness starts to come forward, but just a bit.

TASTE: It takes a while to get going, but finally a nice burst of fig and cherry fruitiness fills the flavor. Some really authentic Belgian yeast breadiness carries through to the finish alongside before giving way to a smooth dark chocolate flavor at the end. Any oakiness is quite subdued (in stark contrast to the draft version), but some light vanilla manages to come through slightly.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium bodied with a lower carbonation. I'd prefer a bit more bubblage, but this isn't too bad.

DRINKABILITY: Very nice, and it hides the 8.5% exceptionally. I'd gladly pour myself another can.

A fine, fine beer, though it falls short of the upper tier of the style. It's certainly worth trying if you come across it, and lovers of the style should consider seeking it out. A nice choice!

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Photo of Katahdin
4.64/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very rich, garnet red color which easily makes one think of the beer's name right away. A joyous bouquet of fruits such as grapes and plums mixes with spices and earthy aromas of malt. Very inviting in the mouth as the tartiness of the fruits combines with the malt to balance out perfectly. An aftertaste of plums and chocolate or maybe cocoa beans keeps the bigness of the alcohol well hidden. Goes down very easily with a crisp, fruity, slightly tangy finish. Very enjoyable!!!

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Photo of HopHead84
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Thanks for the extra, WorldWideStout. Poured into a snifter from a can, the beer is deep reddish brown with a frothy one inch head, good retention, and minimal lacing.

The nose is rich and of sweet plums, grapes, figs, cocoa, and spices. It's lightly tart, and there's a substantial bready malt base. Alcohol is evident in the aroma at a low level.

The flavor is lightly and pleasantly sour with a bready malt foundation and a prominent dark fruit presence in the form of plums, grapes, prunes, figs, and dates. Cocoa is evident, and alcohol is well hidden. Alcohol is most noticeable in the lightly tart dark fruit finish. A solid Belgian Strong Dark.

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Photo of thequeen711
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Scary name...Monk's Blood...the hop profile is more subtle...dark Belgian candy sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and figs.
Dark ruby red pour, leaving a beige head..Aroma is very sweet, hints of candy and figs, rich fig aftertaste. Rich, full-flavour brew with a hoppy mouthfeel, but the aftertaste is sweet figs!!!
How Healthy!!!

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice dark, cherry brown color with a tan head. Some copper/red shimmers. Nice and deep looking.

S: Smells a bit hot, alcohol is definitely present. Sweet cherries and oak, some vanilla and sweet fruits. Very nice hoppy presence as well, quite citrusy.

T: Quite citrusy for a BSDA, very sweet as well. Almost cloyingly sweet. Almost has a grapefruit soda taste. Feels like the sugar is fizzing on your teeth. The dry fig really comes through strongly here. Very different for a BSDA, nothing like any I've had.

M: A bit thin and a tad fizzy. So sweet that it slips around the tongue too much.

D: Quite delicious, easily drinkable and the alcohol is hidden well on the palate.

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Photo of Errto
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a wine glass. Served with Chinese food as suggested by an article I read somewhere.

Appearance is dark, ruby red. Looks opaque from a distance, but up close it is perfectly translucent - no haze or sediment. Head is small but it lasts.

Smell is fruity, a bit sweet, small but noticeable alcohol presence, and that "Belgian-ness" that I assume is from the yeast.

Taste is actually a little on the sour side, not what I expected from the smell, sort of cherry-like, especially at the finish. Also sweet as expected, and just a touch of hop bitterness, barely noticeable. Alcohol was if anything less present than in the smell.

Mouthfeel was remarkably light for a Belgian Strong Dark, which was kind of a nice surprise. Carbonation is quite good.

Overall, this was a rather drinkable beer considering the ABV, the main thing that's stopping me from having another one right away is the sweetness. This style category is pretty competitve, and this probably isn't my favorite, but I'll certainly have it again, and I'm happy I still have three cans left.

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Photo of Philabeerphia
3.01/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Can pops open with a nice carbonated hiss. I pour this can's contents into my snifter, revealing a dense, cola-colored beer. Light can move around well enough through this body: the beer possesses good clarity, but is so deeply shaded that only around the ruby edges is this quality apparent. Up top, a tight bone colored head appears but almost instantly fades into only a wisp, and then disappears completely. As you might guess, this beer leaves legs, not lacing on the side of the glass.

On the nose: The sharpest notes are like a root of some sorts, ginger-like almost, surrounded by rum soaked cherries. A yeasty spiciness warms things at the back. Otherwise this beer is floated by a backing of generic sugary syrup - bright and slightly cloying.

On the tongue: A heavy smothering of sweet rhubarb and cherry filling catch me by surprise on the first sip. Not sure I want to go back for a second sip of this "pie"... but I do and I find it better with each. Sweet, hot and messy... but also full and complex. Minced meat, flaky dough and raisins. Opens up into some tantalizing smoky and tart notes towards the back of the tongue. There is salvation in that finish, providing enough dry balance to render the glass palatable. The echoes of darker fruit are promising, but never fully develop. For each weakness there is a strength here. One of it's strengths is the full feel of carbonation and body, without too much coating.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. can into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown with a hint of red when held up to light. Had a very nice head, about1-2 fingers with great retention.

s - Smells of fruit, bread, and a little bit of alcohol at the end.

t - Has a largely fruit taste, cherries and plum jump out. Also has a sweet molasses taste to it. Very nice.

m - Medium body that was a little lighter than I was expecting. Small amount of carbonation, feels great.

d - I really liked this dark ale. It not only looked, smelled, and felt great, but had a very complex taste that was unique, but tasty. I would definitely try this again.

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

Poured a dark reddish brown with good carbonation and a small white head Nose is dark fruits. Taste is grapes, booze, rum, figs, raisins and very good at that. Alcohol definitely shows through towards the end. Very goos overall and would drink again and recommend.

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Photo of BasementBrewerSF
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Due to a winter cold that wont go away I am unable to smell this beer but will review on the senses that are still available.

The color of Monks blood is dark amber/brow, fairly opaque and instyle with a dark Belgian. I would have liked to see a really deep red color instead of a brown (with the names "Monks Blood') and really wanted the raisin taste from Dingimans Special B malt which also gives a rich red color.

The head is lacking. I expect a rich hearty two finger head and even when pouring almost half the can from a 90 degree angle, I am left with litter more than a thin white ring around my chalice.

The taste is sweet and complex, figs hitting the back of the tongue in the aftertaste. Very malt and candi sugar forward. Light hops, almost none detectable.

Very light on the mouthfeel. Not too heavy, not thick like a stout or porter, and espically since the alcohol level is fairly high (8.3%abv) the syrupy maltiness in most high abv beers is not there, only a crip clean dark ale.

I especially enjoy dark Belgian ales and find this one of the better lower priced varietys that is constantly delicious and always hits the mark.

I also really like 21st Amendments canning process. They are bringing back the can and putting craft beer in it. Respect!

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

Pour - deep dark plum in color but glowing blood red when held to the light. Head is fizzy and about an inch to start before it slinks away rather quickly and leaves just a wispy ring around the inside of the glass.

Aroma - dark cherry, bitter fruits, caramel/brown sugar and some sourness.

Taste - starts off sweet and estery/fruity (sweet dark fruits like plums and cherries) with a crisp tart finish. Vert smooth but without the spices I was expecting. This is actually a very subtle beer with a lot of nice flavor, it's almost juicy tasting with some hints of vanilla. It all comes together very nicely and even at 8.5% this is a beer that drinks well below its weight.

Overall - one hell of a canned beer. This is such a departure from 21st Amendment's other canned offerings. I really like how all of the flavors and spices come together not to produce something extreme but something very easy drinking and flavorful. I am looking forward to trying their next limited canned release.

Would I buy more of it? - possibly, this is a great canned beer with a very unique taste.

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Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 1,400 ratings.
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