Sunday, May 9, 2010

313. 21st Amendment Monk’s Blood

Another canned beer from 21st Amendment; our last one was Brew Free or Die IPA. While the 21st Amendment is in San Francisco, CA, they do also have a brewery in Cold Springs, MN.

Monk’s Blood pours a hazy rich caramel and maple syrup color; the head is a light ivory, and dissipates to a ring rather rapidly. Aromas in the nose include Belgian candy, vanilla, and caramel malt, along with a creaminess that melds the aromas in a very pleasant manner. Starting with caramel and candy sweetness, Monk’s Blood moves into low levels of fruity sweetness in the middle, which could be either the dried figs or some yeast-derived esters, and a small amount of spiciness. There is also a bit of tannic oakiness in the middle, accompanied by a light vanilla flavor that continues into the final third of the beer. The end is characterized by a return of some of the sweetness mixed with a little alcohol flavor that helps clean up and conclude the beer. Monk’s Blood is medium bodied with low carbonation; there is low alcohol warmth as well, but nothing that we would considered distracting—in fact, for an 8.3% ABV beer, it is very smooth and clean on the palate. There is a slight tang of bitterness on the back of the mouth well after we’ve finished sipping; possibly a late emergence of hop bitterness or some of the low alcohol warmth. The low carbonation does leave the beer a bit sticky, but as mentioned in regards to the flavor profile, the alcohol at the end helps clean up the finish. Good beer, but not spectacular. The nose does set a rather high standard that the body has a hard time following—we enjoyed the beer, but expected more after we initially smelled it when first in the glass.

From the 21st Amendment website: “21st Amendment founders Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan traveled to Belgium to develop the recipe for this special beer, visiting small, traditional breweries in the hop fields of west Flanders, not far from the famous Trappist abbey of Westvletren. Monk’s Blood is designed to pair beautifully with rich winter stews, creamy cheeses, unctuous desserts or just by itself, in a Belgian tulip glass, with a good book by the fire.”

ABV: 8.3%
IBU: 34
Malts: Belgian Pilsner, 2-row Pale, Caramunich, Caravienne, Aromatic, Special B, Flaked Oats, Flaked Wheat
Bittering Hops: Magnum & Centennial
Flavor Hops: Amarillo
Specialty Ingredients: Dark Belgian Candy, Cinnamon, Vanilla Beans, Dried Black Mission Figs, Aged on Oak


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