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: 524 | Ratings: 1,409
Photo of jamie2dope
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have to say that this beer has a lot going for it, great packaging, great name, and a cool concept. The can pours a dark reddish brown beer, with about two fingers of white heading. Sort of looks like blood too. Has a red wine like nose, and something slightly sour, or vinegar like. Also I get some touches of herbs or spices. Taste is grainy, slightly sour in the middle, and ends on a note that makes it almost resemble a Flanders Red. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side. This one does not feel like it has a weight of 8.50. Drinkability is not too shabby, I suppose I was just expecting a beer that was closer to a Dubbel than a Belgian Strong Dark. The third release from these guys in cans is not a bad beer by any means. Hopefully they will continue to can new beers, and send them out here. Cheers

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

Poured from 12oz can into a tulip.

Appearance: hazy dark, chocolatey brown with a finger of thick tan head. Looks good to me.

Smell: a little sweet and malty but I get a lot of the old band-aid aroma which, while it doesn't really offend me, doesn't seem like it would be on purpose. Underneath that is a little woodiness which is nice, but overall I'm not terribly impressed.

Taste: flavor is more complex than the aroma, but sadly it also includes the band-aids (though it is a much smaller percentage of the flavor profile). Woodiness also remains, but this is nice. There is a little fruitiness present which consists of a little plum and perhaps a little cherry. Overall, not too bad, but not great.

Mouthfeel: sticky with a medium body. Carbonation seems a little low to me, at least for the style, so there is not as much creaminess as I like. Not bad, not great.

Drinkability: this beer just doesn't come together for me. It's far from bad, but it has a few problems for which its redeeming qualities fail to compensate. I won't seek it out again, at least not this year, but I won't outright knock it, either.

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Photo of Kenny411
3.31/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Can poured into a glass. The pour is very dark and cloudy with a reddish hint. The taste is very smooth i was able to pick up the oak and the vanilla but i wasn't about to pick up cinnamon. Slightly sweet and good taste with a lingering aftertaste. Very drinkable for 8.3%.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.32/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a mahogany brown with more noticeable red highlights when held against the light. Small bit of tan head gone quickly. Scent is filled with all things Belgian - banana, bubblegum, bready yeast, spice and dark fruit. Taste comes across as very muddled and earthen - none of the components of scent stand out particularly well against a backdrop of brown sugary sweet malt. Quite a bit of solventy alcohol, tannic woodyness and sharp bitterness prevent anything from shunning through. Medium bodied, appropriate carbonation. The listed ingredients made me very interested in trying this beer, but when they are hard to pinpoint under some harsh notes, it makes for a disappointing beer.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Aroma - Sweet malts and a definite spice note on the nose.

Appearance - Beer was dark with a light brown head that thinned pretty quickly.

Taste - Spice with a sweetness with level of dry tones. Kind of a heavier tripel without the bright spice tones more muted spice similar to a Christmas beer. Overall the flavor profile was smooth.

Notes - While smooth the beer wasn't highly drinkable.

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Photo of jgasparine
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Note: this beer was served very cold on draught, and I allowed it to warm considerably before imbibing.

A- Poured from the tap with a thin khaki colored head, which quickly receded to a haze layer and a collar. The body was a bright reddish mahogany color with no visible carbonation. Pretty to look at, but incomparable to other Belgian Quads I have seen.

S- Smells like Fruit Loops cereal drizzled with a Belgian Dark Strong Ale... the fruitiness on the nose is perceived akin to the synthetic fruitiness of Fruit Loops, and it also exhibits the excessive sugary aromas of the cereal as well. I actually like Fruit Loops in my cereal bowl, but I'm not sure what to make of it in my beer glass... not sure how to mark this one, even as an "American Twist" on the Belgian style... we'll call it average to be fair.

T- Interesting. The flavors on the palate are very bold: caramel malt, the aforementioned synthetic fruit and sugariness... which finishes with a faint alcohol burn. I like having some maltiness here, and it doesn't taste 'bad' per-say, so I suppose we'll give it a half a mark above average.

M- A nice medium-large body... somewhat oily in texture with a wonderfully delicate soft carbonation. Could use a bit more backbone, but the carbonation characteristics were indeed impressive.

D- Again, I'm torn on how to rate this in terms of drinkability. It isn't 'bad' per-say... but it isn't great either... and it certainly doesn't adhere to the description of a traditional Belgian Quad... average drinkability score to be fair.

Note: I would recommend that everyone try this at least once.

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Photo of mothman
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had at stubs.

Poured into a goblet.

Pours hardly and head. No retention or lace. Color is a deep brown, call it black.

Aroma: Cherries, raisins, dark malts, chocolate. Decent, but nothing special.

Taste: Lots of dark fruits mixed in with a metallic taste. Some chocolate and toffee. Nothing impressing.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat smooth, a little crisp. Medium bodied with a low amount of carbonation. Ends a little sticky with malt aftertaste flavors.

Overall, this beer was unimpressive. Nothing I want to have again. I don't think they should have let cold spring brew this beer, as I think it could have turned out so much better.

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Photo of mntlover
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a murky amber brown with a two finger tan head that falls to a cap with some lace.

Aroma is dark fruity malts some cherry hints with light spice. Overall seems little subdued for the style.

Taste is brown sugary malt with some dark fruits and spicy alcohol notes and light vanilla hints. Not really bad but then again not very complex or exciting either.

Mouthfeel is good medium body with descent level of carbonation.

Overall eh worth a try, I know I have been wanting to try it, but wont be trying it again.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a chalice

The beer pours a deep reddish brown with a thin off-white head. Head falls to form a powdered sugar coating with some dots of lace inside the glass.

The aroma is of caramelized malt, figs, dates, brown sugar, cherries and cocoa powder. A little shallow.

Brown sugar, plums, cherries, dates, figs, caramel and some cocoa powder in the finish. Pretty much follows the nose. The finish is dry and slightly sugary. Not a bad take on the style, but its missing something I can't quite put my finger on.

Medium body, carbonation seemed to be tuned up a little too much. Some mild warming comes out over time.

This is a nice take on the style. A good BSDA, but nothing more. A good intro to the style.

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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 Rhettroactive
3.37/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From can to Bruges hybrid glass on 3/16/11
*From notes

A: The crimson hue is nice, but the simple one finger head isn't. With a beer like this, I expect a really big, mammoth head and killer lacing. Not so much - this one dissipates quickly and hardly leaves anything behind.

S: Cinnamon sticks and cane sugar. It comes off a bit like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. After the inital bouquet, slight prunes and hard candied sugar persist.

T: Fruity complexity hit the buds first. It's also slightly yeasty on the fore to mid, with a surprising and tasty pinch of vanilla extract and sun dried fruit on the finish. The alcohol is also present throughout, and the aftertaste reminds me a bit of nutrasweet.

M: Signifigantly overcabred for the style. You've got to keep in mind that a lot of brews within the Belgian Strong Dark category will be bottle conditioned. With a canned beer like Monk's Blood, it's simply not possible. This comes off thin, flabby and brash.

O: 21st Ammendment's Monk's Blood is not half bad. I can honestly say that it's one of only two beers they make that I didn't want to drainpour. This is a reasonably good option in a pinch, but something I wouldn't reach for with better options at hand.

I should note that as this warmed, I picked up quite a bit of rubbing alcohol on the palate.

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Photo of tastymug
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I like 21st Amendment brewery and have enjoyed most of their beers that I have sampled, this is one of their top contenders in my book.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, deep mahogany color with a frothy head. Fair amount of sediment that appears after poured. Thin line of retention while drinking and minimal lacing.

Smell: Malty and sweet. Dark fruits like figs or raisins.

Taste: Sweet, very malty, caramel, light on the oak flavor, a little fruity.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, carbonated and crisp.

Overall: I liked this beer immediately upon trying it and would definitely drink again. The high alcohol content adds a kick, but the flavor is not compromised, and I find it a nice unique flavor that is enjoyable.

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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 ajfa531
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wish I had this beer when I was reading The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

Can poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

Pours a dark, hazy brown with almost a finger's worth of foam. The head is an off-white color. There IS retention, but, expected a bigger head. Maybe a little darker than off-white. Holding the glass up to a light, the dark orange, slight red colors come out. There is still a noticeable haze. Blood is a good descriptor. Fine bubbles than stick to the glass.

The biggest aroma are dark sugars and spiciness. The can says cinnamon, but, it's more of a Big Red/Golgschlager hot cinnamon. It could be the slight booze in the nose. Slight oak notes. The latter two come out most in the second pour after warming up. It's nice.

Sweet flavor. Dark sugars. Yeast spiciness. The vanilla is subtle after I swallow. It comes out with hot cinnamon. I'm getting a lot of belgo yeast flavor. (I don't think I decanted very well. Is this possible with a can?) However, this is not the worst thin in the word. I enjoy the flavor.

I feel that the yeast suspended in the beer adds to the mouthfeel. Medium body. The beer sticks to the glass and it sticks to my mouth and tongue. The lingering flavors are pleasant, so, this is a good thing.

A solid beer. I don't pick up Belgian-styles to often, so, I'm glad this one was nice. I wouldn't have multiples of this in one night, but, I'd look for a single every now and then.

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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 gamwich
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the cool looking can into a St Bernardus goblet. A cafe au lait colored head dissipates quickly. The color is a striking reddish-brown, appropriate given the name. Minimal lacing. The nose is sweet, with some bready yeast and cinnamon. The flavor is mostly sweet malts and some booze. There are hints of other things, but these are fleeting. The finish is fairly dry.

Not a bad beer, but certainly not a great BSDA.

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Photo of Offa
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep, slightly reddish brown, it has a slowly shrinking small tan head with hint of orange.

Aroma is pineapple, toasted grain, dry wood, hints of fig and sawdust.

Taste is alcoholic up front but this soon mellows, with wood, stewed fruits, dried cherries, hints of dried fig skin (only the skin - not the whole fig), lightly sweet up front with lingering light woody bitterness from finish through the aftertaste, but all is quite subdued and not firm, the elements generally fleeting traces that soon go. It still stays a bit alcoholic and the character noted above soon is muddled and more bland and subdued. It is good but not great, the character ultimately rather bland and simple, losing interest yet staying rather heavy for what you get. Feel is pretty good, but again this beer is heavy for the character.

I'll add that I find this unusual since I generally find 21st Amdt beers to be very good, often exceeding expectations.

Overall, this is decent but very unimpressive, a heavy beer with little character and less complexity to warrant such heaviness.

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Photo of oberon
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can a deep ruby tinged chesnut brown with a large light tannish colored head atop.Aromas of spiced cherries,brown sugar and malt loaf,maybe a bit much on the spiced cherries wich come into play even more on the palate.Dark fruit wich mainly means cherries and phenolic yeasty spice dominat the flavors with cakey brown sugar-like notes underneath,sweetish alcohol rounds out the finish.It's not horrible but there are many more complex and not so sweet versions of the style.

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Photo of WSB
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours an amber/red color, and appeared cloudy. Nice thin head that grabs the glass

Smell was disappointing, I hoped for the cinnamon and figs listed on the label, and only got some wood notes and malt.

Taste was good. The aging on oak was obvious on the palate, as was the vanilla accents. Alcohol was pronounced.

Mouthfeel was ale-like, thick, smooth, and the alcohol numbed the tongue (8.3% will do that)

Overall a good beer, although aging it on the oak seems to have mellowed and muddled the flavors. I'd love to try this sans the aging on oak.

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Photo of organicbrewer
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark ruby with a small tan head. Fairly clear.

S-prunes and raisins. Light cinnamon. No hop aroma. A bit light.

T-Cherry cola. Nice caramel sweetness. Very low hop bitterness. Some fig. I don't get any of the spices listed on the can but sometimes that's the point. Medium bitterness, keeps things balanced.

M-Oak only apparant in the slight astringent mouthfeel. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation, could use a bit more imho.

D-Nice beer. I think this is more like a big dubbel than a dark strong. This beer would open up with more carbonation. It would kick up the aroma and flavor a bit and make it seem drier. All and all a nice beer.

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Photo of jIsh
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first offering from 21st Amendment. Thanks Chris! The presentation of this ale is pretty damn cool, I mean come on, who doesn't love a good canned craft, especially when it comes in a 4-pack.

This beer opens with a dull crack and pours a nice amber color. Good head retention around the majority of the glass. The smell is sweet with figs and cherries prominent. It also smells refreshing, almost watered down in fact. Perhaps this would make a good shower beer (but what doesn't?).

The taste is enjoyable, however, doesn't seem particularly memorable. In my opinion, all Belgian strong dare ales should be compared to Chimay Grande Reserve, and this one seems thin by comparison. The 8.3% alcohol is hidden well despite the overall "lightness" of the beer.

One can only wonder how this guy would age in the can. Perhaps I'll toss one in a dusty corner and forget about it for a few years!

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly clear ruby red dark brown color with a fluffy off white head that leaves pretty good lacing.

Nose is alot of candi sugar like sweetness and slight spice.

ugh. akwardly thin, the spice profile is a mess, and the vanilla is nearly non-existent. The base beer doesn't seem that great either, pretty boring.

Mouthfeel is about right at first, but dies off kind of thin on the finish. Slightly overcarbonated, but ok.

Drinkability would be alright if it tasted better, but as it is it still drinks pretty well for 8.5%

Overall, a boring beer to be honest. It isn't great, it isn't terrible, just messy and kind of blah. Give it a try. Cool to see a belgian style in a can at least, hopefully someone out will can a nice belgian IPA soon! Ok beer, try it when you get the time/boredom.

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Photo of tone77
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smells of dark fruits and spices. Taste is like it smells, dark fruit and spices, some notes of alcohol. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a good quality beer.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a dark raisiny reddish-brown with golden date-like highlights. Substantially murky. A decent two-finger khakhi head has decent retention, fading to a collar that leaves behind fair gobs of lacing.

Dark fruit. Raisins and figs. Candi sugar. Characteristic belgian esters. Apple, a hint of clove, hint of cinnamon. Not bad, but not all that enticing.

Hmm... sugar, alcohol heat, cinnamon, clove, brown sugar, hints of belgian doughiness. Raisins. Maybe it's the figs? Kind of lacking something, but not sure what. Seems fairly typicial bsda profile, with a hint more sugar and spice. Almost reminds me of a pound cake with belgian yeast.

Mouth is full and creamy with ample carbonation that helps carry the flavors decently. A drying finish that is surprisingly potent for the level of syrupiness here. An interesting twist, although I'm not sure it's necessarily working together... cloying opposites don't always make harmony.

All in all, I was really hoping this one would be stellar. The vanilla and oak chips seem kind of lost to me, with the fruitiness and belgian esters taking center stage. Admittedly, I'm not a huge bsda fan, so that could be part of the deal here, but I'm just not quite as impressed as I was hoping.

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Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 1,409 ratings.
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