We’ve covered several of Firestone Walker’s Proprietor’s Vintage Series in recent years, and while all have their followings, Stickee Monkee is a perennial fan favorite. It’s the first in what Firestone Walker considers a new category of “Central Coast Quad,” brewed with Belgian candi sugar and aged for more than a year in a selection of used bourbon barrels. The name is derived from the Central Coast’s Stickee Monkee flower, but it’s also meant to pay homage to the Trappist monks who pioneered the Belgian Quad style. Let’s dive in!
Stickee Monkee pours a rich, molassess color with a thin caramel head. The aroma is big, hitting my nose even before the beer is in hand. There’s ample barrel influence, with boozy vanillas, brown sugar, toffee, and chewy caramel. The alcohol isn’t overpowering, but the barrel does mask a lot of the underlying Quad with only traces of malt and Belgian candi sugar in the mix. On the palate, it’s not nearly as “sticky” as the name might suggest. It’s hardly syrupy or overly sweet. In fact, it’s initially a little on the lighter side, but it gets richer and bigger as it warms up in the glass. Again, the barrel is center stage here, albeit less so than with the nose. There’s some toasty malt and a little campfire smoke at first, but then creamy vanilla, cinnamon, sorghum, and shredded coconut arrive, alongside damp and slightly bitter oak. The warmer the beer gets in the glass the more raisin and Mexican chocolate notes emerge and the sharper the wood becomes. The finish isn’t exactly long, but there’s just enough creamy malt and molasses to keep me coming back for another sip. As with all Proprietor’s Vintage releases, a year or so in the cellar would undoubtedly make this one even better.
A- / $10 (per 12 oz. bottle) / firestonebeer.com