Grab A Beer: 21st Amendment Monk’s Blood

December 22nd, 2009 · 8 Comments · Beer Releases, California Beer

21st Amendment Monk’s Blood
Alcohol by Volume: 8.3%

Intro: Monk’s Blood is the first release in 21st Amendment’s “Insurrection Series”. It’s a belgian-style dark ale brewed with cinnamon, vanilla, oak chips and dried figs. Monk’s Blood comes in a can, as do all of 21st Amendment’s packaged beers. Do yourself a favor and don’t shotgun it, though.

Description: Pours an absolutely beautiful dark ruby reddish brown; very appropriate use of the word “blood” with this one. Good head that lingers. Aroma is mostly of dark fruits and maybe a little vinegar. More dark fruit and caramel lay the base for the taste, but there is a lot more going on here too. The vanilla adds to the beer nicely, and I pick up a taste that reminds me so much of the balanced sweet/vinegar notes of Duchesse De Bourgogne, but much more subtle. Nice balance of flavors throughout, and it drinks very light compared to the advertised 8.3% ABV. I had no problem taking this can down myself. If it were to be done over, I’d like to see a little more body to it.

Verdict: Buy It
Availability: Limited release around Seattle in 12oz cans. It was released a couple of weeks ago, but I’m guessing you can find it if you call around to some of the usual suspects (see left sidebar if you need suggestions on bottle shops).

Brewery Website
Ratebeer Info
BeerAdvocate Info

Commercial Description/Press Release:

San Francisco, CA (Dec 2009) – The 21st Amendment Brewery today announced the release of its first ever, limited release, specialty beer in a can. Monk’s Blood is an 8.3% alcohol, dark Belgian-style ale brewed with eight malts, Belgian candi sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean, dried local black mission figs and aged on oak for a flavor unlike anything you’ve ever had from a can.

Brothers Nicolas and O’Sullivan (21st Amendment founders Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan) developed the beer as an homage to the monks of Belgium’s monasteries who have been brewing some of the world’s great beer for centuries. “During times of fasting, the monks subsist solely on beer, which they refer to as ‘liquid bread,'” notes Brother O’Sullivan. “Beer, quite literally, is in their blood,” he adds. The most sublime of the monk’s premium brews is dark like blood, rich and nourishing.

Freccia and O’Sullivan traveled to Belgium to develop the recipe for th is special beer, visiting small, traditional breweries in the hop fields of west Flanders, not far from the famous Trappist abbey of Westvletren. Notes Brother Nicolas, “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.”

Monk’s Blood is available in cans and on draft at better bars and stores in your neighborhood. For up to date availability, events and promotions, visit 21A’s website at

Insurrection Series: Monk’s Blood is the first installment in our Insurrection Series, a limited edition, once-in-a-while, four-pack release of a very special beer that rises up in revolt against common notions of what canned beer can be.

About 21st Amendment Brewery?: Who the heck are these guys? Hey, we’re Nico & Shaun. We live for great beer. In 1920, there were thousands of breweries across America making unique hand-crafted beer. The passage of Prohibition wiped out this great culture. After thirteen years without beer, the states ratified the 21st Amendment, ending Prohibition in America. At the 21st Amendment Brewery, we celebrate the right to brew beer, the freedom to be innovative, and the obligation to have fun.

In the interest of full disclosure to satisfy the FTC’s new law, this review was of a sample received from the brewery.

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • Deverie

    We got this in cans in Washington, DC this year, as well as on draft in a few local bars. Very impressive beer, and another great addition to 21st’s collection.

  • Erik

    WHAT!? You don’t pay for the beer your review!?! FOR SHAME!!

    LOL, just kiddin’

  • flop

    As of last Friday, Collins Pub had it on tap. First beer is great…the sweetness of the beer gets to be a bit much during the 2nd.

  • Pollack

    Just picked some up today. We shall see…

  • Kevin

    I just found Monk’s Blood in four packs at a couple Market of Choice stores in Eugene, OR.

    They just got it in and hadn’t put a price on it yet. Hopefully it isn’t more that the 21st Amendment 6-packs ($9.29). I’ll pick some up next time I’m there for a review.


  • Dean Ruffner

    “I had no problem taking this can down myself” –

    Some variation on this would look good on a shirt.

  • Pollack

    “12oz. Can: Aroma of dark ripe fruits, plums, slight malt, slight Belgian yeast, and a hint of vanilla. Poured very deep amber/brown in color with a small, off-white head that diminished but lasted around the edges. Hazy/lightly cloudy. Barely sparkling. Full of tiny particles throughout. Flavor is medium sweet and lightly bitter. Tastes of dark ripe fruit, slight tobacco, light raisins, light Belgian yeast, light hops, slight caramel, slight wood, malt, light candi sugar, slight vanilla, and some figs. Medium body. Slightly sticky, then slightly dry texture. Average carbonation. Sweet, malt, light yeast, and dark ripe fruit finish is dry. 8.3%ABV completely hidden throughout.”

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