The second beer from the Victory brewing company is Golden Monkey. I’m a big fan of Tripels, so I’ve got high hopes for this US version of a classic Belgian style. This marks beer number 95 off my epic list.
The bottle says:
Taking pride of place on the label is a golden monkey (surprise!) But it’s not just any golden monkey; this monkey is the ultimate personification of the three wise monkeys. Blessed with four arms, this monkey will see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil all at once, while sitting in a meditative position with an all seeing eye staring out of its chubby belly. It’s a pretty cool symbol, and coupled with the bright green writing and dark blue background it’s very eye catching. The passage on the side describes this beer as staying true to the Belgian style of brewing, with the inclusion of Eastern spices to give you a ‘profoundly satisfying’ experience…very Zen.
It pours a slightly hazy gold with an orange aura glowing from it, capped by a fluffy white head. It certainly smells like a Belgian tripel, with a sweet yeasty and spicy aroma. The spice is a little odd…definitely not bad, but also not typically Belgian. The flavour follows the smell; it’s so familiar, and yet so different. There’s a sweet candied fruit flavour up front, followed by the spices which explode in the mouth in a very intriguing way. Then a sword of bitterness cuts through and cleanses, leaving a pleasant aftertaste and curiosity that begs to be explored further. The aftertaste has a peppery quality, and I’m not sure if it’s from the spices or from the hops. I’m left with the sensation that I’ve been eating an exotic Asian dish, not drinking a beer.
The alcohol starts to become apparent as it warms, which detracts slightly from the other flavours. It’s only now that I realise that this beer is 9.5% ABV…that’d explain the extremely mellow state that I’m in. The sweet aromas now also feature freshly cut grass and fresh oysters (I think the alcohol is starting to affect my judgement…) There’s a little citrus in the taste, and I’m sure I got some lychee as well…and some strawberry, some cherry, some flowers, some banana, some sultana…every sip and whiff brings out something different (OK, the alcohol is DEFINITELY clouding my judgement now.)In the last few sips the hop and spice flavours have disappeared completely, replaced by the alcohol. It’s a shame, but it’s still a great beer.
I don’t know if it’s the 9.5% alcohol talking, but I really like this beer. The book containing my epic list suggests that this beer be served at 3°C. Most of the time if a beer is suggested to be served cold, it’s to hide the hideous or bland flavours of that particular brew (insert famous Australian beer slogan here) Golden Monkey is about as far from bland as you can get, and I didn’t get any hideous or offensive flavours; I think the reason it’s suggested to be served cold is more to keep the alcohol in check, allowing the other big flavours to shine through.
If Buddhist monks and Trappist monks ever collaborated to brew a beer, Golden Monkey would be the result. It leaves you in a state of profoundness…mulling over the aftertaste without even realising your doing so…considering the ‘why’ of both beer and life in general…I’m sure this is what Zen feels like.
I am…satisfied 🙂