Canned Monk’s Blood

I picked up an interesting case of beer this weekend: Monk’s Blood, by 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco. This is the first time in years I’ve bought beer in a can, but it would be totally unfair to judge this beer by its packaging.

This is a “Belgian Dark Ale” with a laundry list of interesting ingredients: Belgian candi sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and dried figs.  The flavor definitely fits my profile for an enjoyable beer.  It’s not very hoppy.  It’s sweet and malty enough to hide they 8.3% alcohol content, but it doesn’t bowl you over as much as a barley wine does.  The yeast doesn’t seem to add much character: it has neither the sour nor “musty” profile of many Belgian yeasts. 

None of the special additions overpower the flavor; it still tastes like beer, not cake.  If I tasted the beer without knowing its ingredients I might notice it was slightly spicy, but I doubt I’d be able to identify the vanilla or cinnamon flavors. Everything else is fermented by the time I get to drink it anyway.

I was a bit surprised how similar the brew is to Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch. As implied by its name, Monk’s Blood is much darker and reddish in color. The only odd taste I had in the first can was a bit of metallic bitterness, possibly from the figs?  It wasn’t noticeable after the first few sips in any case.

Unlike most craft brews, this beer comes in cans.  I blame Pabst Blue Ribbon and the impression it’s been making on the hipster crowd in recent years. 

Overall I’m very happy with my purchase and I’d get it again, despite the silly price of beer in Pennsylvania.