Stickee Monkee is a limited-release Quadrupel brewed with an addition of Turbinado brown sugar and Belgian candi sugar, then aged for up to fourteen months in fine bourbon oak barrels. Its name is a nod to Belgian monks, but also references the Sticky Monkey flower that grows along the California coast. This was originally created in 2010 to fill in the sweet gap in the brewery’s barrel-aged Anniversary Ale blending program, but was just recently bottled for first time in May 2014. Firestone prefers the term “Central Coast Quad.”
On the nose, sweet aromas abound with brown sugar, butterscotch, and toffee. A big barrel presence gives hints of coconut, vanilla, tobacco, and leather. Malts smell like banana bread with graham crackers. Fruity notes of fig merge with orange zest and cinnamon.
The palate begins in sweet layer of toffee as a creme brulee flavor comes to mind. Malts accumulate into a sticky pool of molasses that stops just shy of cloying. Fruity hints emerge in a character like dried figs, raisins, dates, and plums. The bourbon barrel brings out vanilla, coconut, leather, and musty tobacco. Pushing even deeper, a subtle malt roast develops suggestions of gingerbread muffins with a touch of chocolate. Finishing flavors are salty like peanut brittle, enclosed by a poignant twist of spice with an outline of licorice, rising toward a bitter edge of orange peel. Alcohol eventually surfaces, yet while being disguised in bourbon, has little to offer apart from a gentle arrival of tannins. The final flavor remind me of German chocolate cake. Hop contribution is practically non-existent, appearing only as a light contribution of pine oil on the finish. Mouthfeel is chewy, smooth, and creamy with a full, well-rounded body that closes in heat. Alcohol proves to be incredibly deceptive, so drinkability is unhindered by its influence.
This will go down as my highest-rated domestic Quad. In some ways, it almost tastes more like a bourbon-aged Barleywine. Where most will simply fail to stand up to the greatness of traditional Belgians, this has given me a newfound respect for the American interpretation of a well-established classic. The oak adds a nice degree of complexity that tastes very complementary to the stylistic qualities of the quad. Barrel-aging a Belgian is unheard of, so this is a rather progressive approach as far as I understand. I do think it needs more Belgian yeast in order to to really taste traditional. This should perform wonders in a cellar. Okay, so it might lack the more intricate complexity of a genuine Belgian Quad, but I’m impressed. Stickee Monkee is a tasty treat, I highly recommend it!
Paso Robles, California