The Sour Monkey from Victory Brewing, poured into a chalice, presents itself with a crystal-clear golden hue. The medium white foam settles quickly, leaving a substantial layer behind. While visually appealing, the beer hints at its complexities beneath the surface.


Deviating from Victory Brewing’s typical offerings, the aroma of Sour Monkey mirrors a Berliner Weisse. Notes of cream of wheat and corny grain emanate from the pilsner malt, accompanied by a pronounced lemony fragrance. The scent builds anticipation for what lies ahead in terms of flavor.


Delving into the taste, Sour Monkey takes an unconventional path for an Abbey Tripel with Brettanomyces. Kettle-soured with lactobacillus, the beer initially hits with a butyric acid-like bite, transitioning to a pilsner-grain-centric mid-palate. Unfortunately, the integration of the pilsner malt feels disjointed, overshadowing the intended sour blonde character. The prominent acidity, rated at 9 out of 10, brings forth a margarita-like quality, albeit lacking the desired balance. The finish introduces white grape juice and subtle butteriness from the lacto, evoking the impression of an overly assertive Berliner Weisse.


The mouthfeel of Sour Monkey reveals a clash of refreshing and abrasive moments. Unwanted harsh acids compromise the overall experience, detracting from the potential enjoyment. The elevated acidity, coupled with a formidable 9.5% ABV inherited from the Golden Monkey base recipe, conceals the alcohol content initially. However, as one progresses through the pour, the realization dawns that this is not a sessionable, relaxing beverage but rather a potent concoction demanding careful consumption.


In summary, Victory’s Sour Monkey, despite its intriguing concept, requires refinement. The presence of harsh acids and an excessively high level of acidity diminishes its overall appeal. Moments of refreshment are overshadowed by abrasive elements, making it a challenging beer to savor solo. With its elevated ABV and pronounced acidity, this brew is best enjoyed shared, as an unsuspecting solo drinker might find themselves questioning the wisdom of sipping on a glass of intense lemon juice.