Monk's Blood | 21st Amendment Brewery

BA SCORE
86
very good
1,414 Ratings
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Monk's BloodMonk's Blood
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
21st Amendment Brewery
California, United States
21st-amendment.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,414
Reviews:
527
Avg:
3.8
pDev:
13.16%
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
219
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,414 |  Reviews: 527
Photo of nickfl
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.26/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

21st Amendment Brewery "Monk's Blood"
12 oz. can, "Canned on: 03/04/15 2346" = fresh
$3.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Wow, I had no idea this was such an expensive beer. It must be the figs, right? There's also oak chips, vanilla, and cinnamon added - which are pleasantly kept in check. The figs are right upfront in the fruitiness, but the oak is probably the most dominant of the 'extraneous' ingredients beyond that, and it can somewhat overlap with the vanilla. The cinnamon gives a pleasant bite and flavor in the back, and beyond that there's a very nice 'red fruit' fruitiness and soft smear of yeasty phenolics. It's a darkish beer and there's some caramel, brown sugar, and even a hint of molasses to it, but they just become equal components within the overall flavor; and with that said, it's remarkably well-rounded given everything that's going on within it - it would have been easy to let a beer like this jump the rails, but they've thankfully kept it in check.

When I sat down to review this I saw it was listed alongside Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue) and I was somewhat surprised and assumed it just got lumped into the category, but having tasted it I see how it totally fits. I've always put quality over price, and I'll say that this one is totally worth the cost. Absolutely worth trying! Don't miss out on this one!

 1,350 characters

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.

 491 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Tried this before, and have had a can sitting in the fridge waiting to do a review. Then got it as an extra from womencantsail today, so I figured it was a good time to do it.

A: Large frothy big bubbled 2 finger head rises over the very dark but somewhat clear brown color.

N: Brown sugar and dark malts dominate the nose. A little hop bitterness is there, as well as some dark fruits, plum, raisin. Lots of caramelized brown sugar.

T: Starts with lots of sweet dark malts. A chewy malt flavor with some light roast, Belgian malts, and caramel malt. Lots of dark fruits, raisin, plum, fig, etc. Again tons of caramelized brown sugar comes through. A touch of hop bitterness. It gets a very slight boozy quality but hides the 8.5% well.

M: Decent body and good carbonation.

F: Finishes still pretty sweet with more brown sugar and fruit. Some strange bitterness comes through on the finish too, but its a somewhat unpleasant bitterness. The sweetness, syrup, and brown sugar never wants to go away. That is probably the only downfall of this beer. I wonder if it will mellow as it ages. With how sweet it is, it makes it a tough drink actually.

 1,150 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from Jayli so a big "Thank You" goes out to her. Poured from a 12oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, brown sugar, fruit, some spices and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of fruit, brown sugar, caramel and some spice. Then a hearty malt character comes in along with some Belgian yeast. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, it's a decent beer to drink for a while but there are others in the style that I would choose first.

 866 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

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

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

12 oz can into a goblet.

Pours a deep ruby red, with a thin 1/2 finger covering of off-white frothy head. Retains with a thinnish wispy look that leaves a very light smattering of lace around the edges. The aroma is sweet, fruity, and even a little bit smokey. I'm getting a good bit of sugars, dark fruit, herbal hops, and spice. My only complaint is that this feels a bit light in the nose, especially compared to the taste.

The taste is pretty robust in the mouth, being sweet with bread and candy with a deep, dark cherry tang to it. There is also a touch of almost burnt malt or brown sugar character to this, with some hops providing a light bitterness. Some very light oaky astringency hangs on the edges but I do pick up a good bit of vanilla, which along with the spices, permeates the overall profile giving this both smoothness and pop. There really isn't any kind of distinct yeasty presence to this, with maybe just some drying nature to it in the finish, where it lingers along with a smack of sugar and fruit that hangs on the lips. The mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied, with a prickly creaminess that blows up in the back of the throat. I'm impressed with how this hides its big ABV, having about just the right amount of the warmth to it. No alcohol taste but just enough heat to give the present sweetness a sticky feel.

I was a bit shocked by this one (and not just because it's a Belgian Ale in a can!). The flavors here were a bit muddled at first but then overall really came together nicely for me in one potent and flavorful mix. Just the right amount of ABV here to, helping make this a pleasant and warming sipper on a cold night. I'm looking forward to more of these during the course of the winter.

 1,736 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark coppery brown in the Gulpener tulip. Quite sudsy in the mouth. The aroma is really unusual. It's a fruit candy smell, or something like cranberry fudge.

This is on the sweet side with an expansive cedar wood flavor. The flavorings are hardly restrained, and it does taste like Fig Newtons. Sugar and spice and a cookie dough flavors. Brown sugar and fruitcake soaked in sweet wine. It's the citrus and vanilla aromatics of Cuarante Y Tres liqueur.

Spicy dessert in a bottle. The vanilla seems to get stronger as the Belgian yeast works on it. Fairly dry at the finish, but the next sip starts out just as sugary. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle.

 687 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.8/5  rDev 0%

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

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

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

 736 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

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

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

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

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

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

 949 characters

Photo of smithj4
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: In the glass it's quite a dark amber-hued body under a medium-sized, off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish on the nose, toasty, caramelly, hinting of vanilla, and with a vibrantly rich scent of sugary candy-coated and cinnamon spiced fruits.

Taste: Sweet upfront, with bready, toasty, caramelized maltiness. Fruitiness tasting of black cherries and macerated figs, but it's a bit hearty, like a spoonful of jam. Yeasty, with a noted spiciness given an extra little boost from the added cinnamon. A bit of zestful oak buried in there. No more than a slight bitterness coming through all the add-ons. Finishes drying, fairly smooth, warming, and with some enduring hints of fruit and spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Just a notch above medium carbonation.

Overall: A nice albeit gussied up beer. The slight rise in carbonation aids in the overall drinkability of this one, though a bit less sweetness would be appreciated. Pretty enjoyable.

 951 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to WoodyChandler for this one!

Pours a garnet hued chestnut with 2+ fingers of khaki colored head. Nice oily sheen to this, average head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit, cherry & dark chocolate, plus plums. Holds up pretty well over the course of 12 ozs..

T: Plums, figs, faint brown sugar & a touch of prunes up front. Oaky dryness, leafy hops, more pruney action once warm, faint dark cherry as well. Finishes with a bit too much woody dryness, port notes, figs & plums

MF: Medium bodied, slick, but carbonation is a bit sharp. Becomes somewhat warming after a while

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV & style, but more of a good entree' to the style versus a great example...

 688 characters

Photo of atrocity
4/5  rDev +5.3%

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 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.

 394 characters

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.

 2,104 characters

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of millerbuffoon
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

another great extra thrown at me that i decided to pop open this evening. served cold and allowed to warm up, this one was consumed on 08/14/2010.

nice dark garnet pour. thick looking with a nice head of off white that caps it off quite well to a height of around two inches. smooth lacing flows down the sides of the glass

aroma is a little muddled. figs, dark fruits, lots of malts, and hints of raisins, but nothing really taking the lead and showing off for me. still though nicely put together and warming brings this out quite nicely. smooth and even feel, a bit filling at times even with more then adequate carbonation and a creamy finish. warm and soothing up front with figs, raisins, hits of spice and a touch of caramel malts, but i sit and wait for it to go somewhere that it never really does. nice clean finish with a light dryness and sweet touch to the palate.

overall not bad. i could drink it without issue but there is nothing really calling me back to it again.

 985 characters

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

The CANQuest is achieving new heights! CAN you dig it? People are really excited to be trading CANs with me and it is much easier to do so than with bottles.

My pour created two fingers' worth of light-tan head that started to fall almost immediately, creating some nice lacing as it went. Color was a deep raspberry-red with ruby highlights and a slight haze, although it was difficult to tell, given its intense color. The nose had a mustiness driven by the Belgian yeast along with a dark fruitiness courtesy of the figs. I was reminded of being in an open-air market in Israel when smelling it. Mouthfeel was medium with an interesting layering of its flavors on the tongue. The figgy mustiness was immediate, followed by the oakiness. The finish was really dry, dusty really, with the cinnamon lingering after the swallow. As Brother Woody of the Order of Disorder, I would certainly drink this during Lent and I would NEVER take up stones against fellow pseudo-monks, especially Sean-O. I would not want a steady diet of it, but given its 4-pack packaging, I doubt that they intended it it for mass consumption. Worth seeking out/trading for.

From the CAN: "Legend has it that in the evenings, the monks would retire to their chambers & settle in with a few passages from the Good Book. But Brothers Nicolas and O'Sullivan had other plans. Working in the brewhouse all day, they were forced to repeat the same old recipes the elder monks had unveiled years before. They needed a little diversion. And found it in the cellar with a fresh must they put on the beer and the way they enjoyed it. Brother Nicolas (or 'Nico' to his close friend) brought some hand rolled cigars. O'Sullivan, the outspoken one, broke the vow of silence by spinning a remix of some Gregorian chants. Together, they'd throw down a couple nice hands of Texas Hold 'Em and savor the handcrafted brew they'd created in secret. Everything was good. Or so it seemed. But deep in his heart, Nico knew they were delving into the 'dark side' of beer. Next thing you knew, they'd be skipping Lent. Then one night, they'd face the Judgement for their actions with a hard knock on the door. Outside, the Abbot and elders would be holding stones in the air. A threat the brothers were sure would lead to the spilling of Monk's Blood. Belgian-style Dark Ale brewed with cinnamon, vanilla, oak chips, and dried figs." Whew!

 2,393 characters

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.

 628 characters

Monk's Blood from 21st Amendment Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 1,414 ratings.
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