My final review for tripel month is Golden Monkey from Victory Brewing Company in Pennsylvania. I came up a little short on examples this month, I think it is clear that more breweries need to give this style a shot. It is funny how a beer’s name can result in immediate preconceptions about the flavor. I hesitated to try Golden Monkey for years because I assumed the title was reference to a strong banana flavor in the beer. I am not a picky eater, but bananas are probably my least favorite food. A few types of ale yeast form isobutyl acetate as a byproduct of fermentation, and this gives the beer the aroma and flavor of banana. Isobutyl acetate is common in German Heffeweizens (not my favorite style), and can be part of the flavor profile for Belgian yeast strains. If it’s present in a small amount it doesn’t bother me, mixed with other yeast flavors I usually perceive more bubblegum than banana, but I’ve had a few beers where it was overwhelming. Fortunately Golden Monkey is not one of those beers, I finally tried it a few years back and enjoyed the complex flavor of this tripel. Victory Golden Monkey is available year-round on draft, in 750 mL bottles and in 12 oz. bottles and cans.
Victory Golden Monkey pours a clear golden yellow with a solid white head. The scent is mostly the Belgian yeast, fruity and spicy. The yeast leads the flavor too, notes of bubblegum, pear, apple and clove. The added spices give some additional complexity, the coriander is particularly evident. The beer also has a solid malt backbone, touches of biscuit, cracker, honey and sugar. It isn’t a hoppy beer by any means, but they are more noticeable here than in some other versions of the style, earthy and herbal with a crisp bitterness to finish. The beer is medium bodied and you taste just a hint of the 9.5% ABV. The finish is dry with some lingering fruity esters and warming alcohol. Victory Golden Monkey is a very tasty tripel, one of the better readily available versions on the market. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Victory Reviews: