Sour Monkey, a Belgian-style Tripel by Victory Brewing Company features Brettanomyces that lend sour apple and lemon to a wheat base.

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Sour Monkey is a Belgian-style Tripel that’s brewed by Victory Brewing Company. For the purposes of this craft beer review, the ale was served in a snifter from a 12 oz. bottle.

Packaging art for the Sour Monkey by Victory Brewing Company

Packaging art for the Sour Monkey by Victory Brewing Company

What You Need to Know

The Sour Monkey is a variant of the Victory’s popular Tripel, Golden Monkey. The Sour Monkey is brewed with Brettanomyces and then aged in Chardonnay barrels. The result adds flavors of vanilla and oak to complement the beer’s sour lemon flavor and dry finish. So how was it? Let’s get to the review.

Appearance

The ale pours a slightly cloudy marigold color and is topped by a finger-thick cap loose, bubbly white froth that dissipates rapidly. Following the reduction, a thin ring collars the glass but doesn’t leave behind any of the trademark Belgian lace. Only a bit of residue is left behind. A few bubbles trickle upward.

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Aroma

The aroma is slight but offers a scent of lemon and a mild dose of Brettanomyces.

Flavor

The tasting begins with a flavor of white bread that turns sour with a taste of crab apple and lemon that lingers on into the finish. More soft wheat bread ties the palate together.

Label art for the Sour Monkey by Victory Brewing Company

Label art for the Sour Monkey by Victory Brewing Company

Mouthfeel

The feel is smooth and crisp with a body that’s just under medium and moderate carbonation. Its finish is astringent and grainy.

Overall

Because this brew mixes styles it can be expected that certain aspects of a Tripel wouldn’t be retained. But it doesn’t seem as if the Sour Monkey kept any of the Tripel’s characteristics. It certainly would be nice if the appearance showed better head retention and its feel had more carbonation. And then regarding its aroma and palate, the use Brettanomyces dominates both. And with a name like “Sour Monkey” that isn’t too surprising. Again, though, this brew doesn’t smell or taste anything like a Tripel.

So what is it really? The Sour Monkey should be recategorized as an American Wild Ale. Yes, this brew is a variant of Victory’s popular Tripel, the Golden Monkey. But its use of Brett changes the beer entirely. So shift this beer to a Wild Ale, and it’s a pretty good brew. One of the pluses is that in spite of a relatively high ABV, this brew tastes lighter than it is and is easily quaffed.

Have You Tried the Sour Monkey?

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4 thoughts on “Sour Monkey

  1. The low rating HAS to be because this stuff is hard to find! People love it IMO! I DO! I never even seen the bottles and now I need to know where in the eff i can find them! Please

  2. Today I saw the label has changed and no longer says Brett Tripel. I’m still drinking what I have on hand labeled Brett Tripel, I haven’t tried the new labeled Sour Monkey yet.

    I like it just as it was.

  3. It is magnificent! I tried it at a restaurant and looked for it in stores ever since. My husband finally found it for me at a nearby Publix. Im so excited to have it at home! The flavor is tart and with 9.5% alcohol it packs just the punch I’m looking for at the end of a long day.

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