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 Crossmd
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured 40 degrees into a Sam Adams pint glass.
4x12oz cans for $13USD.

Appearance is gorgeous, with a milky opacity - dark copper in color, with reflections of orange-red butterscotch.

Smell is huge, projecting strongly of banana and clove, spices and cream. Tertiary smells of vanilla and molasses maybe.

The taste doesn't realize the sweetness that the nose suggests. The banana and spice are there for sure, but it's dryer, and leaves the mouth feeling the same. More vanilla than was present in the nose. Rich and opulent though.

Mouthfeel is largely dry as stated, but isn't as heavy as I expected, and pleasingly slow. Tinged with effervescence.

I respect this beer more than I think that I actually enjoy it right now. I would love to try it again during the winter with foods that would match it in weight. Doing this in August I would imagine isn't the same.


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Photo of Vdubb86
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass

Thanks to TMoney2591 for this the last beer of NMW.

This one pours a dark brown with garnet fringes adorned with a tan foamy head. The malty aroma is very enjoyable to myself. It smells to me of banana, coriander, cinnamon, and brown sugar. The taste however is mainly of the banana and clove from the Belgian yeasts used. There is a booze flavor to it that can be detected through the clove. The best part of the flavor is definitely the aftertaste which comprises of mainly a marshmallow flavor. When combined with the caramel and chocolate malts it gives it an aftertaste that seems almost to be like a s'more. This is really a very tasty brew and even at it's higher ABV, I feel that it's rather smooth and easily drinkable.

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

Chestnut brown with red-orange highlights and bright Sunkist edges. A splendid looking crown of pale golden foam occupies the upper third of the glass, shrinks slooowly, and does a pretty good job when it comes to lace deposition.

To their credit, the brewers spent time in Belgium learning the finer points of crafting a BSDA. It shows. The nose features the usual medium-dark fruit of the style and is spicier than most, probably due to the use of cinnamon. Here's hoping they added just the right amount because too much could overwhelm the rest of the flavor profile.

I'm all for putting beer in cans, but putting beer of this style in cans just seems... wrong somehow. A pale ale? Sure. An IPA? Okay. Even an American Imperial stout? Why not? BSDAs should come in corked-and-caged 750 ml bottles. In the end, it doesn't matter because this is good beer no matter what vessel it was packaged in.

First of all, the Belgian brasseries don't need to worry that 21st Amendment has one-upped them. Monk's Blood is tasty, but it isn't anywhere near world-class. The added ingredients give it a complexity that the best Belgians achieve with malt, hops, yeast, candi sugar and water. These include cinnamon, vanilla beans and dried black Mission figs. Oh yeah, and oak aging.

Thankfully, the cinnamon isn't overdone. Flavors include dark caramel, ripe figs, vanilla, anise, clove, cinnamon, and hints of bourbon. That last one is most likely due to the oak and the vanilla. This is enjoyable beer that is even more drinkable by virtue of expertly masked alcohol.

The mouthfeel doesn't impress when beer first contacts tongue, but it holds on very well and stays (mostly) inflated until the end of each mouthful. Improvement with warming allowed me to go with the higher of the two considered scores.

Monk's Blood is a wonderful first effort at Belgian-style ale from 21st Amendment and is my favorite (so far) of their canned beers. By traveling to Belgium and learning at the feet of the masters, the brewers showed the BSDA style the respect it deserves. And they deserve respect for the end result.

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Photo of justintcoons
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark ruby red with explosive fluffy head. Low carbonation.

N: Rust, earth and candy sugar (all in a good way).

T: Medicinal cherry and grape, grapefruit, candy sugar, toffee, brown sugar, apple and subtle spices.

M: Slick and smooth.

D: Easy drinkability. Smooth and delicious!

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

A - Muddy mahagony, 2 finger tan head, very nice lacing.

S - Light raison, merlot, cinnamon.

T - Raison, black chery, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar.

M - Very smooth, perfect carbonation.

D - 2 cans is enough for one person, very filling and rich. It overall is like a better version of Rochefort 6. I just wish they aged it on oak for longer because I did not get much of the woody aspect.

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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 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 vdoz3
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - deep burgundy/maroon/crimson. gets extra points for looking, in a weird way, kind of like a glass of blood. A small head appears and rescinds quickly (I can't get my head around cracking/pouring cans correctly...)

S - based on the ingredients listed on the can, would say the nose picked up most of the fig and vanilla notes...

T - and the palate got the oak and cinnamon. All in all the fruity, spicy bouquet comes out nicely.

M - smooth and thick, in the way a good belgian strong dark should be

D - one definitely wasn't enough. not even sure a four pack will be enough. I could drink this all night.

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Photo of marvin213
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks a little blood-like, though this lifeblood would need significantly more oxygen. The mud brown liquid is just muddy enough to be opaque, but it nevertheless looks thin. Head hangs round.

The smell is a real nice cinnamon and vanilla. For better or for worse, it hardly smells like alcohol. It's a tangy sweet, and I'm delighted that it's not that dark-candied sugar so prevalent in other BSDAs. The feel is SO light for what I thought would be kind of a thick and chewy, Belgian yeast-dominated beer. In addition to that cinnamon and vanilla, there's only a slight Belgian twang with almost a cherry almond finish. It's like a light dessert, yet thin enough for an aperitif. In sum, it's probably the best beer I've had from the brewers at 21st Amendment.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Revisiting this one over a year later. Ratings remain the same, still quite delicious.

Pours a reddish brown color, somewhat cloudy with not much head and a fair lacing.

Smells spicy and sweet, with dark fruits, brown sugar, and a little bit yeasty.

Tastes very much like the style should, spices, yeast, fruits, and a sweet brown sugar flavor that lingers. There's a slight alcohol taste. Very nice overall flavor.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth, not much carbonation, and just a faint sweet to bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability is a tad heavy going down, but when you're in the mood for something thick and flavorful, this is a great beer.

Got this one as an extra in a trade, and a very fine extra it was! The revisit was also obtained in a trade, and I was quite happy to have it again!

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Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark cloudy rust, almost brown. Pours with a massive head.

S - Hugely sweet malts flanked by tons of fruits; figs, plums, dates etc. A touch of cinnamon.

T - That cinnamon and fruit from the smell comes in play nicely here. The flavors mesh together well enough to remind me of a poor man's Three Philosophers; perhaps better in some ways, but rough around the edges. The booze comes out a little too much for my liking and there is a certain tang from the spice that I imagine would be able to be eliminated.

M - Medium body and fairly highly carbonated. This one's film sticks in your mouth for a while.

D - Not too bad, and definitely will be picking up again, but isn't the best BSDA in existance. That being said, Unibroue's 4-pack pricing seems to keep going up to as high as $11 or $12 and at equivalent $4.50 per bomber, this beer is going to be a great budget Belgian!

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can thanks to ericwo.

Pours a deep clear ruby color with one and a half fingers of creamy off white head.

Scent of sweet dark fruit, sugars, sweet juicy hops, and soda. I would almost consider this more of an American Strong Dark Ale; a little different, but I like it.

Taste of sweet dark fruit, a bit of vanilla, a hint of alcohol, and sugars. Finishes dry with a sugary sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied and has a smooth carbonation.

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Photo of korguy123
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Special thanks to kristalynn for this.
Canned March 5th, 2012.
Consumed September 17th, 2012

Can into tulip.

A- Murky, opaque brown pour with red highlights. Finger and a half off white head with sticky gobs of lacing.

S- Brown sugar, figs, vanilla, dates, candied sugar, strawberries and a touch of alcohol. Smells syrupy and sweet.

T- Slight alcohol right up front, there is a touch of a metallic taste to it. Brown sugar, vanilla, figs, dates, cinnamon, maple syrup and some dark roasted malts.

M- Medium body, low carbonation, slightly syrupy.

O- Overall this is pretty good. Years ago the alcohol in the taste would have turned me right off, now I can appreciate how it adds to the flavour and character of the beer.

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Photo of bonkers
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 12 ounce can into a snifter, deep brown pour with sticky 2 finger white head, light lacing. The aroma was full of cinamon, vanilla, and oak. Lots of cinamon, but not overpowering, vanilla, and dark fruit round it out. It has a lingering sweetness. The body is medium, well carbonated. A little different take on a Belgian and I liked it.

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Photo of corby112
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark blood red mahogany color with cloudy ruby edges and a one finger light beige head that slowly settles into a thin lasting ring.

Slightly roasted malt aroma with lots of sweet dark fruit notes, candy sugar, earthy wooden oak and subtle vanilla. Slightly vinous with lots of dark fruit, especially grape, fig, raisin and plum. Again, there is some subtle oaky tannis, vanilla and sweet alcohol from the barrel aging. Very sweet with subtle roasted character.

Slightly chewy body that's on the fuller end. Roasted chocolate/caramel maltiness balanced by lots of estery sweet dark fruit notes, candy sugar and subtle earthy oak. Very vinous from the barrel aging with lots of smooth vanilla character. Very sweet dark fruit presence, especially sour tart cherry, plum, raisin, fig and raisin. A bit too sweet for my liking but overall decently balanced. The ABV is very well masked making this beer very quaffable. Complex, flavorful and very unique. I'll definitely be drinking this again

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Photo of dzni
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from can into snifter.

A - Dark brown, head dissipates quickly
S - orange, milk chocolate, cinnamon
T - Milk chocolate, toffee, slight woody note (i guess the oak?), plum (or is that the figs?)
M- Heavy body
D - I thought this was a pretty nice beer overall. The nose and taste were reasonably complex, in my opinion.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been aging cans of this beer for the last two years. I finally opened the last can today. My last can (at 18 months of aging) was really impressive.

I poured this beer into a chalice.

I enjoy the aroma coming off this beer. I like the sweet smell and raisins from the top of Monk's Blood.

The flavor is really good. The richness makes for a good sipper. You get more of the dark fruit in the body.

21st Ammendment made a good brew in Monk's Blood.

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Photo of GregPearson33
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep maple amber color with an inviting one-finger thick head of almost indiscernibly small bubbles that dissipated after about a minute. The smell is a little fruity and sweet, with an inviting malt aroma.

Wow this is drinkable! For 8+% ABV I was expecting a heavy brew, but the first thing I noticed was its relatively light the mouthfeel, probably aided by substantial carbonation. The taste is sweet with some faint cherry and vanilla. The fruitiness is particularly evident in the finish, as is some spice (cinnamon?). While this isn't a beer I'd choose for myself, I think it's worth a try. I think next time I have it -- or offer it up -- it will be as an apre dinner brew -- I could see it going really well as a with some sort of dark chocolate/raspberry creation!

Also, really dig the can -- awesome art/labeling.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouring a cellar temp can into a pint glass. The beer pours a deep mahogany hue and gives some garnet highlights on the edges of the glass.
Fluffy beige head of 1 cm foams up and fades gradually through the sampling.
Aroma is rich and malty with some brown sugar and a bit of general sweet spiciness maybe a bit of vanilla and definitely some dark fruit. The nose isnt overpowering but is appealing.
First sip reveals an average body and fine tingly carbonation.
Flavor is malt from start to finish with some funky spice and a bit of booze on the very end of the swallow.
Flavors from brown sugar plums, and figs are prevelant with a bit of warming booze coming through at the end.
No hop presence detected anywhere that I can detect and the beer is very nice to drink. I wish I had more than the 4 pack of cans of this tasty brew.

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Photo of mdr4669
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark mahogany that tames at the bottom to a ruby red color. 2 fingers of fluffy head with good retention and lacing.

Scent: Cinnamon scent with hints of vanilla and smoked oak.

Taste: This beer is the illegitimate child of a great amber brew and "Big Red" chewing gum. First thing you taste is the candy cinnamon, which fades into a fine burn a higher ABV brew. In my opinion it is quite good.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and a little heavy, but all in all quite a treat.

Drinkability: Very good, but could not have more than two of these at a time. It's just that type of brew.

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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 Wegomlegging
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours beautifully, dark amber with a textbook head that lingers and invites. Scents of burnt sugar and fruit with something slightly similar to yeasty, but not very strong. Flavor is good, malty and bitter with a sweet alcohol on the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is very nice and smooth, as is drinkability but not for all night, as this little doozy packs a punch. Overall this beer was right up my abbey (wow that was a bad joke).

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Photo of mgironta
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The brew poured a slightly reddish-brown color and was a bit cloudy. The head was pure white and one finger. It dissipated after a few minutes and left some lacing on the glass. The nose presented with some booze, raisins and dark fruit and a hint of Belgian yeast. The taste is definitely dark fruit coupled with moderate carbonation and a hint of fig. The alcohol is pretty well hidden in the taste. A bit of spice also came out, specifically cinnamon. The body is a little lighter than expected, but very pleasant. This is definitely an easy Belgian style brew to drink and if not for the alcohol I would. The finish lingers a bit and for me, that’s where I got a bit of heat from the booze. This is a brew that does not disappoint. I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of vande
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Mahogony in color with a tannish top to it. Somewhat thicker in appearance.

S: Sweetness. Vanilla blended nicely with dark cherries, plums, malty with sugar...brown sugar...

T: Sweet like the smell. The darker fruits come through sprinkled with sugar, malt on top. Tasts like a Belgian out of can..Interesting :)

M: Tad lighter than I thought, but still decent. Medium bodied, soft beer.

O: Likeable! I have a couple more in the fridge in which I'll enjoy or introduce to a friend..

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