Malts: Belgian Pilsner, Two-Row Pale, Caramunich, Caravienne, Aromatic, Special B, Flaked Oats, Flaked Wheat
Hops: Magnum, Centennial, Amarillo
Special Ingredients: Dark Belgian Candi Sugar, Cinnamon, Vanilla Bean, Dried Black Mission Figs, aged on Oak
Sampled: 12 oz. can
Description:"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."— 21st Amendment Brewery
Random thoughts:This is part of my series on Belgian style beers. I first learned about Monk's Blood when I interviewed 21A co-founder Nico Freccia last October. I've been looking forward to tasting this beer ever since. Monk's Blood was released in late winter in special 4-packs as part of 21A's "occasional release" Insurrection Series. You probably won't be able to find it anymore, as it has been replaced by Hop Crisis. Consider this an early review for 2012.
The tasting: Dark brownish-red, opaque, with a long-lasting tan head. Aroma of raisins, brown sugar, alcohol, along with some light banana and spice. The flavor reveals itself in layers. It starts with fruity plum and raisin. In the middle, sweet malt and mild oak come through. It finishes with light candi sugar sweetness and warming alcohol. Spicy notes of clove and cinnamon weave their way throughout the taste. The vanilla doesn't stand out on its own, but there's definitely a lot going on this this beer. Monk's Blood is medium bodied, moderately carbonated, and has a creamy mouth feel. Although this is a 8.3% ABV brew, the alcohol was stronger in aroma than it was in flavor.
Rating: 4 star. Really Good! I want this again! The aroma and flavor of Monk's Blood are quite complex. This is a beer that you should sit down with, relax, and slowly savor. If you have a smoking jacket, put it on. As the beer warms up, different aromas and flavors rise to the surface. While probably not a "go-to" brew for summer, this is one I'd like to enjoy again as we head into fall and winter. Unfortunately, I drank my one and only can. Guess I'll have to wait until next February...
Have you tried Monk's Blood or any other 21st Amendment brews?