Firestone Walker Brewing Company puts out some pretty amazing beers. Their Double Jack IPA is probably my favorite double IPA and they are well known for several of their other beers, particularly those from their Proprietor’s Vintage Series, which includes their §ucaba Barleywine and their Parabola Imperial Stout, as well as their annual Anniversary offerings.
One particular beer from this series is a bit unusual, since it has existed much longer than it’s been available for sale. That beer is Stickee Monkee. Originally brewed as a blending component for a few of Firestone Walker’s other beers (for example, it’s been a component of their Anniversary offerings since their XIV’th Anniversary), Stickee Monkee was not originally intended for public release. However, a few kegs of it started leaking out a few years back as some special events and tap takeovers. My first taste of it was at the Firestone Walker & Homebrew Chef dinner, which took place during Seattle Beer Week back in 2011.
As more people got to know about Stickee Monkee, they started asking Firestone Walker to release it on it’s own since it was so delicious. Firestone Walker finally relented in 2014 and released the first bottles of Stickee Monkee. Now it’s back for a second year, and should be arriving in local bottle shops by the end of the month.
Here is the full press release from Firestone Walker Brewing Company:
Paso Robles, CA: You could call it a bunch of Monkee business—a beer meticulously brewed in the classic Belgian Quadrupel style, but aged for more than a year in retired bourbon barrels to create a stylistic outlier now known as a “Central Coast Quad.”
Such is the unlikely provenance of Firestone Walker’s 2015 Stickee Monkee, which is set for release on May 23. The 2015 vintage marks just the second bottled release of Stickee Monkee, following up on last year’s inaugural release.
“Some folks have questioned the moniker ‘Central Coast Quad’ that we assigned to Stickee Monkee, but we stand by it,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “We brew this beer true to the Quadrupel style right up until we rack it to barrels for our own local California Central Coast twist.”
He added, “The 2015 vintage turned out awesome, and I think a lot of people will go apes***t when they taste this Stickee Monkee.”
Brynildson said that the base recipe of Stickee Monkee aims to hit all of the targets of the hallmark Quadrupel style in terms of alcohol, residual sugar, and overall body. Accordingly, the beer is brewed with Belgian candi sugar, which drives the beer’s color and caramelized character.
“Belgian candi sugar is like something you want to pour on your waffles in the morning, and it’s what gives Belgian Dubbels and Quads their signature molasses sweetness,” Brynildson said.
As for aging the beer in bourbon barrels from Woodford Reserve, Elijah Craig and Four Roses, Brynildson believes it’s a perfect complement to the Quadrupel style. “The wood adds just enough interesting flavor and oak astringency to counterbalance the sweetness and keep it from being cloying,” he said.
In their youth, Quadrupels are known for exhibiting a signature spicy Belgian yeast quality. But when aged, the yeasty quality yields to more boozy sherry-caramel notes. “You don’t really get that youthful yeasty quality with Stickee Monkee,” Brynildson said. “Upon release, it’s more along the lines of a Quad that has been properly aged for five years.”
The name Stickee Monkee is a nod to the native Sticky Monkey flower that thrives in the mountains along California’s Central Coast, as well as a shout-out to the Belgian monks who pioneered the Quad style.
The 2015 Stickee Monkee is limited to 3,500 cases of 22-ounce bottles. It will be available in select markets across the United States. The suggested retail is $16.99.
I believe I still have at least one bottle left from last year’s release, but that’s not enough. I’m sure I’ll be picking up a few bottles of Stickee Monkee when it arrives at my local bottle shop. If you’ve never tried this beer, I urge you to pick up at least one bottle. If you’re a fan at all of sweet, strong, barrel aged beers, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.