Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

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BA SCORE
86
very good

2,474 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,474
Reviews: 1,054
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 57
Gots: 206 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed for Monk's Café in Philadelphia, but also available for retail purchase elsewhere. Oud Bruin in style; a traditional blend of young and old beers.

(Beer added by: nomad on 06-19-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,474 | Reviews: 1,054 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by elNopalero:
Photo of elNopalero
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a ruddy amber with thin foam lacing around the edges. There’s a very apparent sweet and sour nose that makes its presence apparent. Not a strong tart aroma but its there when you nose it. Nice, lightly soured flavor.. Some dark cherries and oaked notes that carry over to the palate. Light, yet flavorful, a somewhat tannic finish. Considered a “gateway” sour for good reason—it doesn’t overwhelm but its obviously there. Wouldn’t be my first choice after having tried others but its nothing to turn my nose up at. For its price especially it’s very good.

More User Reviews:
Photo of don1481
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into my usual pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep red color with a fairly quickly dissipating head. Some carbonation.

Smell: definitely a sour smell to it. Like a lambic with strong sour notes.

Taste: ... Not really a strong taste. Not the strongest tasting sour ale I've had. Very muted.

Mouthfeel: pretty crisp. Doesn't really leave any sort of aftertaste.

Overall: meh. I don't think I will be getting this again. Was worth going off the normal path for me, I suppose.

Photo of tectactoe
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the Oak Cafe. It's got a pretty solid, burnt ruby color with a mahogany base. It seems to be somewhat translucent, although the bar I'm in is pretty dimly lit and therefore the opacity is hard to judge accurately. Basically no head on top of this one - just a small, beige ring that only stays for a minute or so before floating away.

Juicy, ripe apples and cherries outline the aromatic profile, or at least the first sniff. Residual sweetness backs up the apples nicely; a very faint tartness can be detected at times, though this is still telling me that this brew will be more sweet than sour. Time grants the ability for the beer to open up a bit; berries, darker cherries, acetic acid, light vinegar, and some mild barrel/oak.

Funk in the aroma is definitely there, but in small quantities. There's a slight "wet hay" and faint must character, but it's minimal compared to some other Belgian sours. This follows through into the flavor profile, as the first sip contains almost no funk at all, rather it's pretty heavy on the fruits - cherries, grapes, red apples. Vibrant, zesty, and juicy are good words to describe the flavors.

This beer is mildly tart, but only for a brief moment. The residual-like sugary sweetness creeps in pretty steadily and washes out any hope of this beer actually being "sour", despite the name. More vinous notes come in, although the more I drink, the more it just seems like heavy grapes rather than actual wine-barrel notes. The finish is fruit juice-like with fading cherries and grape skins, and maybe a hint of oak. Still no funk, sad to say. Snappy, crisp mouth feel, wet and slick; thin bodied with medium-heavy carbonation.

Pretty good beer, drinkability is insanely high - a 5.5% ABV beer that tastes like bold fruit juice. I would have like to see a bit more tartness or funk, as this one was kind of mild all around. But hey, perhaps that's the style they were going for. Still a nice drinking sour ale as long as you're not expecting it to be too sour (or too funky).

Photo of yarnbomb
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Had this on tap several times from the Monk's Cafe and it really is kind of life-changing. Now I buy it whenever I get a chance and put a few away for later. Each bottle can vary from perfection to kind of weird and funky. Always worth it, though.

Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep red with abrownish tint with about a 1/4 inch head that leaves some nice lacing,aroma is of sour cherries and light mineral notes.Taste is hits ya with a big sour note that slides into some stone-like qualities with that sour lemon flavor always there to linger.This style is not my cup of tea for sure but this beer is complex with alot of different flavors well made.

Photo of RoyalT
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This red ale is brown in color with a nice head. It is very cloudy and full of small, tight bubbles.

Smell – The sour aroma is rather dull and muted by a malt that almost smells toasted in a way. I can pick up some darkly sweet citrus notes as well, giving this one a decent nose.

Taste – The sourness really kicks things up at the taste, to the extent that it’s about all I can distinguish. The light fruiting wants to come out and play but is squashed like a small bicycle seat engulfed in the ass of a circus fat woman.

Mouthfeel – The carbonation is the strong point of this barely-legal medium-bodied floozie. Otherwise this tease disappoints.

Drinkability – This sour ale went down OK but was nothing special and came in a tad under par for this prolific Belgian brewery.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours as brown as brown can be with dirty white lacing. Wonderfully sharp, sour/tart aroma reminiscent of Fantome Hiver. Taste is big sourness and tartness, grape skins, tannins, and oak. Light but lively mouthfeel. Very drinkable. I could guzzle this stuff. Very enjoyable and not too expensive at 3 bucks a bottle.

Photo of DavyJones
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of punkindrublic50
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

If you are trying to get a woman who doesn't normally care for beer interested in it this is where I would start. Not overly imposing or intense, but still firmly showing off a solid sweet/sour tart flavor. Cherry is the dominant sour fruit flavor, with solid carbonation and a nice tart pucker on the finish. Definitely not to be confused with the carbonated cherry juice that is sometimes sold as a sour fruit beer (a la Kasteel Rouge or some Framboise's).

Photo of MadScientist
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a deep reddish brown with excellent clarity. The light tan head has lingers for a very long time.

The aroma is nice and fruity and malty with a light sour aroma. There are aromas of dark cherries and figs along with a brighter almost rhubarb like aroma. A mild sherry like character as well

There a lot going on in this with a fruit and malt flavors dominating followed by some spicy phenols all the while with a light sourness throughout ending in a dry finish. The flavors are again dark cherry and fig with a malt flavors of orange and a touch of treacle. Theres a light sherry like flavor in there and a little bit of hops bitterness. Overall it has a really nice balance of sweet and sour flavors but not with the intensity in some other sour styles.

It has a medium-full body with low carbonation. It's also very soft on the palate and almost cream. There is a slight touch of slickness but no diacetyl and no astringency.

Overall this is an amazing, lightly soured beer that is very refreshing. A the elements of the flavor and aroma are in a very satisfying balance, a world class example of the the Oud Bruin style. I'm definitely picking about a two more four packs of this and letting some age in my cellar.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Aroma- oak, sour, dark berry fruit,cranberry and black currant, a very svory aroma, floral, lightly horsey,

Appearance- Brilliant clarity, ruby red, thick, moussy off-white head,

Flavor- crystal malty sweetness with light notes of dried cranberry, whisky, grape, ginger, apricot, plum hey dries out finish,

MF- really a pretty crisp sensation, medium bodied, very grippy,

Photo of Tiernan
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of weatherdog
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Revisited in May of 2010.

Many of my previous notes still hold up except that now that I've had many more examples of the style, my favorite, I can understand how mainstream this example is. The sweetness and lack of acetic character stand out when had side by side with a great example. While I still enjoy this beer and applaud it's availability and affordability, I had to lower the score down a little bit in order to have it more accurately reflect it's rank among other Oud Bruins

Poured from a 330mL bottle into a Delirium tulip glass

Poured a ruby red brown with a one finger head which receded into a small ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass

Aroma is of a tart sweetness and ripe fruit. Not offensive in smell but enough to know the style one is about to drink

Taste starts off with a decent amount of funk that transitions into a ripe fruit tartness. Finishes dry without much residual sweetness.

Carbonation is on the higher side and coupled with the tart dryness the drinkability is diminished and one bottle is perfect.

I'm just beginning to dive into the world of sours. It really is great trip and I enjoyed this easily accessible one. The more pronounced tartness and less residual sweetness of this example I prefer over some of the sweeter finishing ones.

Photo of tbryan5
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of joemetric
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of wrycon
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. A ton of carbonation on this. Granted, the pour was semi-aggressive at the start, but a giant head of off-white foam emerged, but also dissipated nicely with good retention. Smells quite sour, some pomegranate some cherry. A bit of apple. Not mind-bendingly sour, but sour enough. Quite flavorful and quite delicious, in my opinion.

Like It? Indeed.

Photo of blitz134
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initially a really strong aroma as the cap was popped. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.

Poured a predominately brown color with fainting hits of a garnet deep in the body. Head was just barely off white and disappeared rather quickly to only a circlet of bubbles around the outer edges.

Aroma is slightly sweet and has some hints of bread. But mixed in with all of that is a tart granny smith apple aroma with some other dark fruits. There is an overall sour candy smell to the whole thing. Nothing in the aroma is overly strong but nicely balanced.

Holy sh!t at the tartness of this on the first sip. This is the first beer to actually wrench on my tastebuds a bit and I love every bit of it. Overall there is a dry mouthfeel as this goes down but still coats the mouth well. The taste, as I said above, is extremely tart and consists mainly of apples. I don't pick up too much extra from the flavor as the tartness dominates. I'm torn between a 4 and a 4.5 for the taste. I want to give it a higher score b/c of the uniqueness of the flavor but I feel it fits with the common flavor profile of the style. Additionally the flavor seems a bit one sided compared to other flemish reds that I have had.

Mouthfeel is dry and coating at the same time but a little thin.

This one gets a good drinkability rating but the tartness might become overbearing after a while. Its still good though.

Photo of rwinzing
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.5 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A-Dark Red appearance with a tan head.

S - Subtle spice smell, as a hint of apple with the tinge of being sour

T - Hint of sour green apple up front followed by sour after taste. The sour lingers

M - Nice mouthfeel full bodied

D - I enjoy sours and find this one a affortable option

overall this is a sour I can buy by the four pack and enjoy on a regular basis. I think it is a nice example of the style without being a homerun

Photo of bulldogg915
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%

Photo of Kjanisch7
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Supposedly this beer was made for Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia? I dont know the whole story - maybe that is just a rumor.

Pours a very murky mahogany color with a small off-white head.

You could smell the sourness on this beer even if you had no olfactory sense. Awesome and powerful. There's also some scent underneath the sourness that smells like cheap stinky dollar store perfume. Not so awesome.

I really dig the taste. Not quite like a lambic. Maybe the best way I could describe it is like a halfway step between a lambic and a regular ale. Its sour, but it doesnt have the champagne qualities of a Belgian lambic. Very interesting. I've never had anything quite like this before.

Mouthfeel is sharp, tart, and to the point.

A very fun and interesting beer to drink. I dont know how many of these you would want to have in a sitting, though. Perhaps it is just a one-time thing. Other than the stinky scent, I give it all-thumbs-up.

Photo of rjdierberger87
4.75/5  rDev +23.7%

Photo of ROBORB
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a ruby, hazy red color with a very thin head. The aroma was teh best part of this beer. It smelled of candy, sugar, and cherries. I found the beer to be overly sweet at first sip but as the beer warmed it started getting more sour. This would be a great transitional beer for someone getting into sours.

Photo of danthehopslamman
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Kawakami252
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,474 ratings.