Drink Magazine

Tasting Notes: Northern Monk: Honour

By Alcoholandaphorisms

Tasting Notes:  Northern Monk: Honour

Northern Monk: Honour (England: IIPA: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Very pale yellow. Clear. Some small bubbled carbonation. Massive frothy white head.

Nose: Pine needles. Vanilla. Bitter hop character. Custard. Hop oils and resin. Lightly floral. Light grapefruit. Slight smoke.

Body: Good bitterness and hop prickle. Peach syrup. Grapefruit. Hop oils. Vanilla toffee. Slightly dry. Golden syrup touch. Thick mouthfeel. Yeast funk. White wine.

Finish: Peach syrup. Pineapple. Hop oils. Moderate hop character. Some bitterness. Palma violets. Soft raspberry. Champagne. Yeastie feel. Heavier hop bitterness over time.

Conclusion: What impresses me most with this beer is this – that despite it racking in at over 10% abv, it still manages to keep elements of that dry drinkable character that defines the west coast IPA. Usually the weight of the malt load would overwhelm that with sweetness, but this still comes across dry and crisp.

Ok, it is not entirely hidden – the malt comes across in a thicker texture, but as the beer froths up in the mouth it covers that leaving a dry feel and manages the malt very well. What seems more evident is a very unexpected character – a dry white wine like undertone and a slight champagne meets Belgium yeast funk character becomes evident. It keeps the dry character still, but still adds grip and makes a kind of chewy popcorn like mouthfeel later on.

So, the big thing here is the hop character – gentle hop bitterness, oily, with a good general hop character that rises into heavier bitterness as time goes on. A lot of it is about the feel – prickly hops with dry frothy mouthfeel behind that into yeast funk and slight dry champagne style. Lots to physically interact with inside your mouth,

What about the actual flavours? Well they are less evident. Soft vanilla toffee shows the gentle malt influence, tart grapefruit comes out but mildly done. It is mostly about that hop feel and dry drinkable character. However, you know what, that is bloody enjoyable – it just leaps head first into that west coast hop character and splashes the oils and hops around.

On the downside, well like many high abv beers it can get a tad wearing over time. The single-mindedness that makes it so appealing early on, hurts it later. Still, what I would say is get a can, share it between two people and boom, this is spot on.

A triple IPA that doesn’t lose the IPA to the malt – nice.

Background: This is the second Triple IPA I have tried from Northern Monks. Man, most places don’t even have one triple IPA to their name, let alone multiple. I only found the first – Glory – to be pretty good. Then, when I saw this one was a west coast take on the IPA style I thought I must give it a go. Let’s face it, Northern Monk have earned my trust by now. I’d just picked up Crossfaith – The Dream, The Space – which has their awesome cover of Omen on it, so I put that on to listen to while drinking. This is another beer picked up at Independent Spirit.

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