19 Jan

Matador v2.0: El Toro Bravo Beer Review

Matador 2 El Toro Bravo - Flying Monkeys

The Matador v2.0, ready for sharing

Brewery: Flying Monkeys
Style: Imperial Dark Rye Beer
ABV: 10.10%         IBU: 33


Complex and smoky, El Toro Bravo is another success for this powerhouse of a brewery.


3 and a halfcat

Known for their unique and full-flavoured experiments, the brewers at Flying Monkeys are certainly not afraid to try something new. While I would hardly claim to be a fan of everything they put out, they are definitely one of the more creative breweries in Ontario.

The Matador v2.0

El Toro Bravo


Dark ruby red in bright light, El Toro Bravo has a wonderful reddish-brown complexion with bright candy apple tones. It has a thin head of off-white foam with little retention and leaves a bit of lacing behind on the glass as you drink but dissipates quickly to a thin ring of small bubbles.


The complex aroma of this beer seems to shift the longer it warms, and the more you drink. Cigar smoke and cedar are both present with strong maple sugar and sweet malt notes tempering the smoke. Both red and white grapes make their presence known and a bit of spice adds some nice warmth. The barrel adds some lovely wood character with notes of vanilla and coconut.


The flavour of Matador v2.0 has a milder wood character with a reasonable alcohol presence for an imperial brew like this. As complex as the aroma, the flavour has strong notes of warming spices and a whiskey-like body. Ginger, clove, and nutmeg all come into play as well as sweet cherry cordial and dried fruit hints. Citrus and vanilla round out the flavour and bring forward good smoky flavours with plenty of cedar.


With light to medium carbonation and a medium body, this imperial dark rye ale has a slick and creamy mouthfeel without too much of an alcohol bite despite its high ABV. A slightly warming finish makes it a great choice for the colder months and lingering whiskey and spice notes give it a sophisticated edge.


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