Apr 3, 2013

Victory Brewing White Monkey

Is wine barrel aging the new bourbon barrel aging? It seems that there have been a bunch of brews cropping up lately that have been aged in barrels formerly occupied by their alcoholic counterpart. Some have been good. Some challenging. And all intriguing. The latest product that I’ve run across to see some time in retired wine barrels is Victory Brewing’s White Monkey — the company’s Golden Monkey aged in, what I can only assume based on name alone, white wine barrels.

I’m not sure how long the beer was resting in its barrels, but it has taken on one serious wine-like character. Instead of the yeasty banana and clove that used to dominate, the palate is presented with a strong vinous and woody presence brought on from the barrel aging. It’s an interesting beer, but I think I prefer the original. Looks like I’ll have to get another bottle of both and do a little side-by-side tasting.


White Monkey pours a clear, golden amber in color with a small amount of white foam.


There isn’t nearly as much banana as the original. It’s there, but takes a back seat to white grapes, hints of vanilla and a touch of wood. At 9.5% ABV, the beer still smells warming.


Oh yeah. That’s had some time in a wine barrel. The banana and clove of the original is there, but much more subdued as white, vinous grapes and vanilla move to the forefront. It’s still got a bit of a yeasty character that comes through a bit more in the very warming finish. Just like the original, it’s a bit on the hot side. A touch of wood also lingers in the lasting finish.


It’s been a couple of years since I last had Golden Monkey, but I don’t remember it being quite this warming. Oh, it had a punch I do recall that, but this one feels much hotter than memory serves. Perhaps it’s an effect of the wine characteristics picked up from the barrel aging, but this one feels a bit raw on the palate, like it could use a little time to mature in the cellar and come together. The combination of the Belgian ale and the grape and wood make for one mischievous little monkey that’s for sure.

Rating: 3.25/5

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