Gonna need a bigger glass
A Review of White Monkey by Victory Brewing Co.
Posted on 8/15/2014 by Chops
Perhaps one of the most dangerous beers on the market is the Golden Monkey by the Victory Brewing Company. Card carrying beer geeks know exactly what I'm talking about. This 9.5% ABV Belgian Ale is smooth as silk and drinks like a dream. It's one of the very few big beers that can be enjoyed by any level of beer fan. It's very flavorful, simple to grasp, and goes down as easy as a session ale. When newbie craft beer fans have their first unexpected shellacking, it's often at the hands of the Golden Monkey.

So when I came across Victory's White Monkey, I was more than a little concerned. This is the infamous Golden Monkey aged for three months in American white wine oak barrels. Let that sink in for a minute. Victory has elevated the Golden Monkey from dangerous to downright terrifying. As I stared at the bottle, the Jaws theme popped into mind. ''Gonna need a bigger glass.'' From that moment on, I have referred to this beer as the Great White Monkey.

In the glass, this beer had a deep and hazy orange coloration. It came with a frothy white head that had good retention. On the nose is where things started to get interesting. This aroma was insane and all over the place. The oak and white wine influence was immediately noticeable. On top of a sweet ripe fruity blast, I also found prominent notes of honey, oak, and vanilla. Rounding out the mix were notes of herb, leather, banana, peach, pear, and a subtle hint of alcohol. I took a lot of time to study this aroma and I still didn't grasp everything. I could probably create a whole new list of traits with another bottle. Complex would be an understatement.

Considering the vast mosaic of an aroma, I was surprised to find an aggressive spicy bite on the first sip. It came out of nowhere and took a few moments to make peace with. Not a bad thing mind you, just unexpected. From there the beer diffused in all directions. There was no specific flavor train, just a lovely balance of infinite flavor. Vanilla, green grapes, banana, tropical fruit like mango and pineapple, oak, honey, herbs, melon, bubblegum, apple, pear, the list goes on and on. There was an overarching zesty quality to this beer that is difficult to describe. The flavor profile was very complex, but did not have a single dominant note. And much like the base beer, the alcohol presence was soft and muted, so drinker beware. The beer had a mid-to-heavy body and felt sticky on the palate. The finish was somewhat dry and exited with a spicy fruity aftertaste.

Overall, Victory's White Monkey was a delicious brain-bending beer. It was complex to the point of insanity, but this is exactly why beer fans will fall in love with it. This is a brew that I can easily recommend to any and all beer fans. The one obvious caveat is to monitor your intake because White Monkey will sneak up on you in a hurry. Perhaps it's merciful that this beer only comes in 22 ounce bombers. A six pack of this glorious nectar would destroy me. Therefore, I must thank Victory for saving us from ourselves, for the power of the Monkey compels us.

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White Monkey by Victory Brewing Co.
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