Friday, 13 July 2012

Mikkeller Monk's Brew BA Raspberry

Good evening all. Tonight's beer is Monk's Brew BA Raspberry, a rather unconventional Quad from  everyone's favourite gypsy brewer, Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark). This beer is a barrel aged version of Monk's Elixir, Mikkel's attempt at replicating the Trappist Quads of Westvleteren and Rochefort, and has been brewed with raspberries before being aged in red and white wine barrels. Typically understated as usual, but I'm very interested in seeing how all of these new flavours combine with the fruity, spicy contributions from the Quad base. Review after the pic....

Monk's Brew BA Raspberry (10.0% ABV) pours a dark brown colour with a thick beige head that settles to a patchy covering over the surface of the beer. Words can't do the aroma justice- it's simply incredible, with plenty of raspberries bursting forth from the glass, accompanied by a lot of red wine, dark fruits and some bready candy sugar notes in the background. Once the nose has become accustomed to the power of the raspberries, they seem to combine with the red wine to create an aroma very similar to fortified wine, with the candy sugar coming through more as this occurs. No sense of the white wine though, but it's not surprising when considering the aromas it has to compete with! The taste is just as interesting as the aroma, delivering a lot of port, some tartness from the raspberries, dark fruits, vinous notes and some candy sugar in the finish. The raspberries and red wine no longer seem to be a separate entity on the palette, instead instantly creating the fortified wine flavour that was present in the aroma. They do separate somewhat in the finish, but the port still remains the predominant flavour. During drinking the raspberries provide a surprisingly tart sensation which puckers the sides of the mouth, but this is pleasant and certainly isn't as severe as the sourness you can get from gueuze or lambic beers. The finish is dry and smooth, and allows more of the beer base to come through, with yeast extract, candy sugar and possibly even a hint of the white wine barrel ageing present. Despite this being described as a Belgian Ale, the sheer complexity of the beer and the different flavour profiles on show means I can't detect any phenols or spiciness from the yeast, but then this isn't your average Quad by any means so it's understandable. The mouthfeel is quite light and the beer is moderately carbonated, which is fairly characteristic of this style and still compliments the experience despite the plethora of senses and flavours on display. The alcohol is also well hidden, so be warned! Overall, this is a very impressive beer from a brewery that never fails to impress. It's built upon the slightly-interesting Monk's Elixir marvelously with the double barrel ageing and the raspberries, creating a unique beer that maintains that fine balance between complexity and drinkability. Highly recommended, don't hesitate to get a bottle if you have the opportunity.

Until next time....

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