21st Amendment Monk’s Blood Review

Monk’s Blood is a special release beer in a can from 21st Amendment that was available during the winter of 2009-2010 and it may no longer be available. This must have been one of the most unique beers that I ever had from a can. It is a bold complex beer with many layers of flavors and aromas. It was truly a delightful winter season beer and I hope it comes back to cans again soon.I also really enjoyed the packaging of this beer. The 4 pack recycled-paper box with a strange story about a Monk written all around it added some interest. I felt the name , the colors, and everything about the packaging was interesting, mysterious, and fun.

21st Amendment writes the following about Monk’s Blood:

21st Amendment founders Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan traveled the 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 rish winter stews, creamy cheeses, unctuous desserts or just by itself, in a Belgian tulip glass, with a good book by the fire.

Date Reviewed. December 19, 2009

Where I Found It. City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA.

Serving Type. 12 oz can to a tulip glass.

Appearance. While pouring Monk’s Blood it has a very clear mahogany amber color. In the glass, the beer is nearly opaque black but when you hold it up to the light it has a slight glow of a deep dark sanguine and mahogany hue. The head is light tan, khaki colored with very little retention. When there is less in the glass the beer is a dark mahogany color and clear.

Smell. The aroma of this beer is dried fruit, like figs or prunes with a hint of sourness. There is also a candy scent with a hint of red licorice (Red Vines not Twizzlers) so maybe that means a bit of cherry. It has a dark rich roasted malt smell and is not bitter smelling like molasses. Finally, there is a little vanilla and a little wood.

Taste. Monk’s Blood has a flavor of dark roasted malt sweetness balanced by a sourness in the background that is noticeable but complimentary. It has a little candy sweet with a hint of molasses. There some taste of a herbal spice quality like anise or tarragon. I detected some chocolate flavors but it was very dark chocolate. Monk’s Blood tastes dark, malty, and red. Sorry, red is not a taste per se but that word kept coming to mind while tasting it.

Mouthfeel. This beer is full bodied with a slight syrupy texture. It has moderate levels of carbonation and is not harsh but not super smooth.

Drinkability. For a strong dark ale Monk’s Blood is surprisingly refreshing. I think this is a very well balanced and very well crafted beer. Just a hint of sour to balance the sweetness and a touch of bitterness from the hops and dark malts. The spice quality is not in your face either and is subtle but apparent. All aspects of this beer nicely balance together.

Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.

  • Appearance (20%): 4.5
  • Smell (20%): 4.0
  • Taste (40%): 4.5
  • Mouthfeel (10%): 4.0
  • Drinkability (10%): 4.5
  • Overall: 4.35


  • Style: Belgian dark strong ale
  • Brewery: 21st Amendment
  • Alcohol by volume: 8.3%
  • Bitterness: 34 IBU
  • Hops: Magnum, Centennial
  • Malt: Belgian pilsner, two-row pale, caramunich, caravienne, aromatic, special b, flaked oats, flaked wheat
  • Other ingredients: Belgian candi sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean, dried black mission figs, aged on oak
  • Beer Advocate rating: 3.79 (as of May 14, 2010)

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About David Jensen

David is a craft beer and photography enthusiast.
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3 Responses to 21st Amendment Monk’s Blood Review

  1. Pingback: Beer and Wine: The Right Glass and the Right Pour Make a Difference « The Classy Geek

  2. That is neat packaging for a beer, I don’t be able to get anything like that around where I live.

  3. Pingback: 15 Awesome Craft Beers in a Can - Menuism Dining Blog

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