Quick Take: This is a solid fruit beer that keeps the sweet from becoming overwhelming, a testament to Founder’s skilled brewers. I can’t say it is a big departure from Rubaeus, a beer I appreciate more than desire, but Blushing Monk improves on the best qualities of its little sister. I enjoyed the 10oz pour I had and don’t regret the bottle I bought, but there are better Founder’s offering.
Brew Facts: Blushing Monk was last brewed in 2011 as part of Founders Backstage Series, the same year as CBS, also recently released. The Backstage Series shows off Founder’s experimental side and has churned out some coveted beers, such as the bourbon barrel-aged IPA, Doom, Frangelic Mountain Brown, and Curmudgeon’s Better Half.
Appearance: Although my picture of Blushing Monk appears to be from the same blurry cameras used to spot UFOs or Sasquatch, I assure you it pours ruby red like a glass of Dorothy’s melted down shoes. A teensy bubble ring of suds forms around the edges with no other visual element to speak of in these calm and crimson berry waters.
Aroma: A sniff and I’m back in my dorm room, boiling up raspberry Jell-o shots on a hot plate. In other words, deep, sweet, overwhelmingly aromatic raspberry. If you’ve never experienced Founder’s Rubaeus, don’t expect a lambic-like hit of sour. This is all sweet berry with the mildest of fruit tang. If there is anything beyond dominant, vine ripe raspberries, my smelling skills aren’t strong enough to find it.
Taste/Mouth Feel: A syrupy sip and the Jell-o train keeps on rolling. This slick liquid drinks with some mouth heft of Jell-o before it sets with the slightest prickle of weak carbonation. When purely considering taste, Founder’s description of “Imperial Rubaeus” is dead on. The flavor ramps into a major berry hit that is near cloying but backs off quickly. This may sound dismissive, but it’s like an alcoholic raspberry soda that’s gone a little flat. It flirts daintily with sour elements and hints at it if you swish it around in the mouth. The sweet keeps the tart under control for a nicely balanced beer. The finish is dry, some chest warms follow, and pleasant berry alcohol continues on the tongue. The aftermath is lip sticky as you’d imagine.
Final Thoughts: This is a solid fruit beer that keeps the sweet from becoming overwhelming, a testament to Founder’s skilled brewers. I can’t say it is a big departure from Rubaeus, a beer I appreciate more than desire, but Blushing Monk improves on the best qualities of its little sister. Monk has just the right tart, just the right warming alcohol to keep it walking that beer balance beam rather than tipping into excess. That said, this isn’t a Backstage Series beer you’ll need to hunt down and greedily drink up all you can (I’m looking at you KBS/CBS) unless fruit beers, specifically raspberry ones, are your jam. I enjoyed the 10oz pour I had and don’t regret the bottle I bought, although I’ll either age some sour into it or use it as trade bait, but there are better Founder’s offering.
Recommendation: Worth a try on tap, bottle’s too pricey.