Monk's Blood | 21st Amendment Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
520 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Monk's BloodMonk's Blood

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States | website

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 520 | Ratings: 1,389
Photo of ThaneMcC
4.24/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

 626 characters

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

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

 244 characters

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

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

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

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

 397 characters

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

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

 1,092 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to my buddy for sharing this one with me. cool beer with oak and cinnamon and vanilla and figs. all of those elements are in play in this burgundy cherrywood colored brew. the vanilla is most abundant in the nose, i hardly get the cinnamon at all there, and the figs are enjoyably forward too. not a lot of fig beers out there, so this is fun. i wish for more carbonation right away, it looks flat in the glass, and feels heavy on the palate because of its lack of bubbles. the flavors are great though, all united and mellowed by the oak, the vanilla is nice, and the cinnamon is a subtle accent that works really well with the figs and gives the whole thing a very winter seasonal feel. very holiday. its thick beer, enhanced more by its stillness, its palate coating and belly filling, but in a great way. the figs are distinct, especially in the finish, and all of the elements come together expertly well i think. cool beer, not hot on the booze at all, and very unique. good stuff, but i wouldnt do more than one can in a single sitting.

 1,050 characters

Photo of ZebraCakez
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a nice red - brown color with a tan one finger head.

S: The aroma of cinnamon and fruit stand out clearly, with a nice roasted malt undertone. Very appealing.

T: The dark fruits are very prominent. The cinnamon spice is there, but we'll balanced with a pleasant sweetness. The malt element is smooth. The alcohol adds it's own kick towards the end.

F: Smooth and creamy, but not too heavy. A nice level of carbonation.

O: A great brew, one totally worth trying. The fruity and spicy notes keep this beer relevant in a world full of great beer, this one has plenty of character.

 593 characters

Photo of logicalparadox
4/5  rDev +5.3%

A: pours nice and frothy. Head is mortal, or maybe ephemeral would be a better choice of words. It. It ascended to heaven and left me with a dark lagoon in my glass. Like Nietzsche said of the abyss, if you stare long enough, this beer seems to stare back. Could mistake this for a porter easily enough.

S: Smells of an abbey ale. Reminds me of the better examples with boozy fruit cake, molasses, and ginger bread notes.

T: Again, follows the profile of an abbey ale. With dark brown sugar (perhaps even some hints of palm sugar or date sugar), dark dried stone fruits, and a sort of ooey gooey thing going on, like ginger bread cookie dough. Sweet, but the dark malts and hops balance out with a mildly bitter finish.

M: Less dense than might be expected, but somewhat rich and viscous. A medium body designation seems fair to me, but might not do it justice.

O: You've got to give at least a few points to 21st Amendment for the packaging here. The can itself is worthy of some praise. The story printed along the outside draws you into the experience of the brew. This is a good beer for a cold, cloudy, contemplative day when like the monks you want to reflect upon the profound.

 1,192 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%

Pours a one finger off-white head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Dark brown color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Burnt dark fruit nose and flavor is roasted malt and hints of brown sugar. $3.99 for a 12oz dark brown can from Julio’s Liquors Westborough, Ma. Canned Mar 3, 2014.

 298 characters

Photo of NinjaJesus
4/5  rDev +5.3%

I am not usually a fan of dark beers but this Ale was surprisingly delicious. The notes of vanilla and figs added to the malty sweetness of this delicious brew. A higher ABV than expected, these cans pack a punch. Definitely worth a try

 236 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Poured into a Chimay goblet. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a reddish medium brown color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that doesn't retain long before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam.

S- Solid aroma of Belgian yeast, candi sugar and assorted spices.

T- Flavor mirrors the smell with some cinnamon and raisin coming through. More Belgian yeast and candi sugar. There's a noticeable alcohol presence throughout but is suitable for the overall profile. I feel like the yeast is the key player here and it's appropriate given the name of the beer. The spices complement everything but it's that Trappist-like yeast that's prominent throughout.

M- Somewhat chalky and dry but it works. Medium-low carbonation and a fullish body.

O- I know for a fact that this can has been sitting around for at least a year but time has actually done it justice. It's not outstanding by any means but it's a serviceable Belgian strong that has a good amount of character and is quite drinkable.

 1,054 characters

Photo of pat61
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%

Dark malts, dried fruit, spice and faint vanilla dominate the nose.
Brilliant ruby brown under a 1/2" finely buddle dense lightly tan tinted foam cap. Lacy, slight legs.
Palate begins with mild dark malts, very slight roast - more dark caramel, possible chocolate, dried fruits - figs and dates. Mid-palate cinnamon and dried fruit interaction becomes more prominent with vanilla notes. Finishes with a touch of astringency from the spice, light hop accent.
Lingering aftertastes of malt and dried fruit.
Medium full body and medium to medium high carbonation, oily with a slight slickness in the aftertaste.
Good bitter mixed drink substitute.

 646 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
5/5  rDev +31.6%

12 oz can, 2014 edition, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a pretty, completely opaque, dark mahogany color, with an eighth of a finger of white head that completely dissolved away into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Roasted malt, dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes and figs, dark molasses, Belgian yeast and candied sugar. Very nice.

Taste: Delicious! Strong notes of roasted malt, followed by dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes and figs. I also get notes of vanilla, candied sugar-like sweetness, and a touch of Belgian yeast funkiness. I love it!

Mouthfeel: Medium to slightly chewy. Very smooth, as there is practically no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 8.3%, there is a very pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: Another homerun from 21st Amendment, and one of my favorite American versions of a Belgian strong dark ale. Absolutely delicious!

 940 characters

Photo of patre_tim
4/5  rDev +5.3%

A: Medium dark brown, 4 fingers of beige head. A fair amount of fine bubbled carbonation rising within is seen more as a movement with the glass due to the colour. Horizontal, chunky lacing.

S: Vanilla, figs, dates, brown sugar, cinnamon, coke, very sweet and candy like. Very enticing.

T: Vanilla, candy, like strawberry Charleston Chews, Roman candles, or salt water taffy. Figs, raisins, clean linen, light bitterness on the end. Crème brule. really well balanced and melds together well. Overall, reminds me of Gulden Draak.

M: Thick but smooth body, medium high foamy carbonation.

O: Really well done brew. I now appreciate the diversity this brewery produces, from IPA’s to saisons, to Belgian dark ales. This brew is up to standard. Bought at Bruisin Ale’s in Asheville, NC, now drinking in Kunming, China.

 841 characters

Photo of OldeSchool
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%

A: Pours dark amber with a big, fizzy head that dissipated very quickly. It looked a lot like a cola to my eye.

S: Fruity with a bit of vanilla and spice. Pleasant.

T: Dark fruit with some hints of vanilla and a flavor I'm having trouble describing; the can says it's brewed with figs, so that might be it.

M: Medium; it isn't as heavy as some higher ABVs I've tried, but far from watery. Not bad, overall.

O: Very interesting beer; I would definitely recommend it if you're in the mood for something flavorful and just a bit different.

 540 characters

Photo of Scrapss
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

This was poured from the can to the weizen style glass, almost a nonic.

A: Dark, nearly opaque, looks like cherry coke. minimal lacing, with a 0.5 mm ring left from a minimal 1 finger head that disappeared very quickly.

S: It is yeasty cherry coke. Sopt on this profile.

T: Follows nose, with a bit of puckeryness. Cherry coke notes with yeasty underbite.

M: It is on the lighter side of medium full. Dry puckery notes from taste are left with a chalky undercurrent and that ephemeral cherry coke hit on the aftertaste. Faintly dry.

O: Definitely worth a quaff. Has some interesting flavors and follows the style within a shadow of a reason. The cherry coke and yeast are what I get from most belgian dubbel and this does not disappoint.

 754 characters

Photo of macrosmatic
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

Thanks to eyebereej for sending this one! Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. can into a Florida Berliner Bash snifter.

A: Very hazy brown, with a thin white head and visible carbonation on the low side. 3.75/5

S: Malty, sweet, ethanol burn, oak tannins, and some dark fruit - figs/dates/raisins, and some spices. 15/20

T: Sweet toasted malts, big dark juicy figs, sweet ethanol booziness, oak dryness with vanilla, and a light cinnamon near the swallow. Finishes with sweet sticky fruits and boozy sweetness but still dry - very well-attenuated. 34.5/45

M: Medium body, carbonation sensation average to a touch low. Seems hotter than the listed ABV, but isn't obnoxious about it. 7.5/10

O: This was a solid, tasty beer - if nothing truly great. An unusual style to have available in cans makes it stand out some. Recommended for a change of pace on the golf course or the beach. 14.5/20

Estimated final score: 3.83
Calculated final score: 75.25/100
Old BA score: 3.76

 978 characters

Photo of utopiajane
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours honey brownish with a ruby tint to it. Slight haze pretty glow. A fat head of tan foam that falls quickly and leaves a ring but no lace. Nose is soft malt with a light caramel over it. Touch of brown sugar on the nose. Soft bread and dark fruits. raisin and date, there's even some bright cherry. A touch of wood and a bit of spice. Drinks just like that. With a creamy supple mouthfeel punctuated by a touch of carbonation. It has a good lightness in the mouthfeel that I was not expecting for so high an abv. It is medium mouthfeel. A bit of alcohol grazes the palate before this sweetened bread with all it's fruit finishes dry and with a bit of earthy spice. It does finish a bit sweeter than I would like but overall very good.

 738 characters

Photo of JamesMN
3.51/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Canned on 3/3/14.

Appearance: Intense dark brown with a touch of red and quite murky, although it didn't look like much sediment came out of the can. About one finger of light tan froth. Patches of effervescence stuck to the sides of the glass about halfway down. Doesn't look super appetizing but doesn't repulse me either.

Aroma: Clean yeasty bread. Bit of dark belgian malt depth and a hint of vanilla. Some deep red wine notes.

Taste: Very sweet up front. A mix of raisin and fig flavors combine with the malt to deliver a serious sweet liqueur flavor. This nearly cloying flavor is broadened during the finish. A more subtle red wine flavor really deepens the experience and carries through the aftertaste. A moderate bitterness appears in the aftertaste as well and is the last thing to fade. Don't detect the vanilla or oak chip additions but this is still a full flavored brew. Slight warmth from the 8.3% ABV, which only heightens the experience.

Mouthfeel: Full in body with unobtrusive carbonation supplied by very tiny bubbles akin to the belgian style. A bit below average in drinkability because it feels so viscous from all the sugar.

Final Thoughts: While it's very good, I have a hard time rating Monk's Blood as exceptional. This is due to the almost dabilitating amount of sweetness in this beer. Wish the oak chips could have shined through to bring a little balance. As it stands, Monk's Blood is just too sweet to be completely enjoyable. Would I drink it again? No, but I would recommend it to fans of the style.

 1,540 characters

Photo of schoolboy
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Monk's blood has been a go to, over the top Belgian style for me for years. It is a great example of A,merican brewers doing Belgian better than the Belgians.

It has that red tinge that have it a banner. The aroma is fruity and real.

The taste bites nice and big, like a double should. The aftertaste is log lasting and slightly sour.

This is a beer you will want again and again, as I do.

 395 characters

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

A - Dark mahogany body with an ambivalent combination of bright ruby and muddy brown highlights. Khaki head with ok retention and low lace.

S - Sweet cherry cordial, muscat grape. A little artificial on the cherry note. Touches of cedar and caramel.

T - Very similar to the nose. Sweet (maybe overly sweet) cherry pie filling. Oak, caramel, molasses, pumpernickel bread, and raisin bran muffins.

M - Medium body. Nice carbonation.

O - The style edges sweet, but this beer still a touch too sweet. That said there's a really nice, well balanced complexity to the flavor profile.

 584 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The 12 oz can poured clear, dark red-brown with a semi-durable tan head that left fine sticky lacing.

Feel: Full body with excellent, soft carbonation.

Cinnamon, vanilla and figs in the nose.

Cinnamon, vanilla and figs dominate the flavor which also has a touch of oak and a malt base. Moderately spicy. About equal balance of bitter and sweet.

O: tasty and complex. Worth seeking.

 389 characters

Photo of EdwardK77
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Limited head quickly dissipates over a brown ale. Slight effervescence continues throughout the drinking experience.

S- As it warms, the baking spice autumnal smells come through. A pleasant smelling beer.

T- Stays in keeping with the smell, not overpowering with any booze flavor. At the colder temp, the flavors aren't too pronounced. (Probably intensifies and smooths out as it warms up)

M- A little thin for a high alcohol ale, no burn present.

O- Definitely a drink that I should have left on my counter for a while before drinking it. I'm not running to the store to get another but I certainly wouldn't turn one down if it were offered to me.

 656 characters

Photo of Paincane
4.51/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque mahogany colored body is topped by a creamy khaki head.
S: Vanilla, oak, fig and spice aromas make for a beautiful bouquet.
T: Flavors include cinnamon, vanilla, dried dark fruits and a bit of booziness.
M: Medium bodied, very flavorful and enjoyable.
O: Delicious, excellent brew.

 296 characters

Photo of Nugganooch
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz can purchased from the Trader Joe’s in Santa Rosa, CA
Noted on 06/13/2014 with a hotel tumbler type glass

A: A lively Belgian from the can. Produces a massive khaki billow with insane amount of hang time on it. Locks in a garnet looking body underneath it all with some midway lucidity to it. Dem ruby tones. Looks fantastic really despite the ridiculous amount of head that formed. Leaves the glass caked with stick.

S: Dark toasted caramels and date sugars with dark fruit accents of plum and fig abound from the can. Definitely smells sugary sweet and I get some subtle cinnamon and cardamom type spices mixed in. Bread crust and yeasty aromas round out the rest of the nose. Smells a bit sweet but gives you a good sense of the complexity to this one.

T: Starts off sweet with loads of malt sugars and dark Belgian candi giving likeness to dark breads, date, and fig. There is a light dusting of cinnamon and cardamom type spices mixed in and everything comes together like a spiced raisin bread. There is a moderate level of hoppy bitterness with moments of orange peel that starts to thin and dry the finish out. I get some woodland earthiness in the end followed by a wash of warming alcohol presence. A bit on the sweet side but in the end this is very tasty.

M: The body is certainly on the fuller side however mouth feel is smooth and lush on the palate. Leaves you with some sticky sugary residues and some warming alcohol.

D: I think user Sammy said it best…Not true to the style but fun to try and would definitely have again. Lots of integrated flavors built into this one and fairly easy to quaff on account of the great mouth feel. But they give you a lot to explore so it’s fun to take your time with this one. My highest score from 21st Amendment yet.

 1,787 characters

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

A: Pours a lightly hazy very dark crimson red in color with light amounts of active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and some dark brown + amber highlights. The beer has a four finger tall foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a pillowy thick layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to slightly stronger aromas of dark fruits (cherry, fig, and raisin) and candi sugar with quite a bit of sweetness. Light aromas of something slightly woody and dark malts + just a hint of vanilla. Notes of alcohol in the finish.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of dark malts and toasted malts with a moderate to significant amount of candi sugar sweetness. There are slightly stronger than moderate flavors of dark fruits (cherry, fig, and raisin) and some light hints of herbal hops in the finish. Very light notes of woodiness and alcohol in the finish. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish which does not linger for long.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Moderate amounts of alcohol warming in the finish with some slightly sticky notes in the mouthfeel as well.

O: This one has a great smell and is fairly enjoyable to the taste, though I wish the alcohol was a little more well hidden. Definitely a slow sipper.

 1,394 characters

Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 520 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.