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

1,089 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,089
Hads: 2,700
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 75
Gots: 343 | FT: 5
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:
Beer added by: nomad on 06-19-2003

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.
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Reviews: 1,089 | Hads: 2,700
Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.75/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L - Ruby Red with egghell head

S - Balsamic vinegar, flowers, cherries, raspberries, sour character

T - Sour jolly rancher, noticeably sweet and beautifully tart

F - Good carbonation, heavier than abv would suggest

O - Delicious. Sweet, tart, and refreshing. (262 characters)

Photo of dmarch
4.74/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep garnet in color with an off white head. Aroma is of sour fruit like cranberries and cherries. Taste is more sour than it is sweet. Very light in body, which makes me want to drink a lot more of them than I probably should. Hopefully we'll see more of this style popping up in America. (289 characters)

Photo of Trombone69
4.74/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. A little bit of head, that dissipates fairly quickly. Beautiful Reddish, maybe maroon, and copper color.

I am no expert on sours , but this is really enjoyable. Tart, fruity, yummy! (222 characters)

Photo of PatrickJR
4.72/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into red wine glass.

A - Clear, right in the middle of red and brown. Rust colored comes to mind but it's a bit brighter and less orangey. A finger of off white, slightly tan head rises with moderate retention. Some lacing.

S - Vinegar and tart fruit are the obvious aromas. Like the similar Flemish Reds, raspberry vinegarette comes to mind. There is also a touch of brown sugar and something that comes close to woody and leathery aromas.

T - Vinegar soaked fruit with a sprinkly of brown sugar dominate early and mid palate. Monk's Cafe starts off with an amazing sweet flavor best described as a mild mixture of brown sugar and vinegar, or even a tart apple juice. Indistinct berry flavors enter into the mix mid palate contributing both more tartness and more sweetness. Sweetness fades a touch while the tart fruit juice lingers on the edges of the tongue. Musty flavors begin their ascent with hints of wood, leather, cork, and oxidation. In some ways the finish resembles an older, fortified wine. Finishes with some residiual sweet and sour and a lengthy drawl of musty, minerally, cellar-esque flavor.

M - Fairly light in body with moderate carbonation. Despite the seemingly heavy and intense flavors, it's quite refreshing.

D - This really couldn't be any easier to drink. The light body and immense complexity of flavors make each sip exquisite, and there's new tastes to pick out each time. Extremely interesting, but tame enough that it never becomes overpowering. Another great experience with a Flemish sour. (1,560 characters)

Photo of YankChef
4.67/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a la fin du monde glass

Appearance: hazy ruby red with amberish copper.rust hues. thin white mucky looking head that just sticks to the top

Smell: Stinky, almost brie like aroma type funk maybe a little lactose (says so on the bottle) the wild yeast is really in your face. On the end there is certainly some big time fruit, mystery berry and cherry

Taste: Big and rich on the front of the palate cherry sourness, there is tons of cherry throughout, I would almost think it was actually in the beer if I knew it wasnt. Explosion of just sweet and sour and then lots of big fruit flavor and then and almost cheese finish, hmmm gruyere? Only complaint is the finish is very short which makes you want to keep on sipping

Overall: Excellent beer and an excellent sour, Rodenbach grand cru is in my opinion the benchmark for the style but this beer is much more approachable. Big on flavor without the rip your tounge sourness of RGC, balanced even. If you can find this stuff pick it up! (1,014 characters)

Photo of HossMcGraw
4.67/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Monk's.

Dark red, almost brown color with small head and awesome lacing. The aroma is sour cherry and mustiness with some slight malt sweetness in the background. The flavor is phenomenal.

I'm new to sour ales so there are probably better examples out there, but for me, this was perfection. Not too sour but enough to keep you on your toes. Also quite musty and woody with a bit of malt sweetness in the background. Finish is bone dry and makes this ridiculously drinkable.

Mouthfeel is my only complaint. A bit flat for my tastes. Overall though, one of my new favorite beers. I hope I can get this in Lancaster. Planning on buying a case. (661 characters)

Photo of kwill
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great sour beer. Not quite as good as Duchess, but for the price ($5 on draft) I haven't found a better Flemish ale. I didn't give it a 5.0 because it is a bit less intense than other sour beers (which might be good for some drinkers), and when I want a sour beer then I am looking for a sour beer. (300 characters)

Photo of martyl1000
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cooper's Tavern and at Mason Lounge. I can't stop drinking this stuff, and every time I order something else, I regret not having ordered the Monk's. I guess I'm even more a sour fan than I thought; used to think I was a malt guy, period). The aroma isn't great, smells like vinegar, actually. But I could drink ten of these in a row. Any other favorites I have -- Founders Imperial Stout, Southern Tier Jahva, Mikkeller Black Hole, Tyranena Dirty Old Man -- I can only drink two or three before feeling "up to here" (holding open hand at mid-throat). I can and want to drink as many of these sours as possible.

Note: I love this stuff, but I'd better adjust my original numerical rating (4.88), since I have very little experience with sours. From what I can see in other reviews of sours, this one is not an elite form of the style. I shouldn't be so affected by such things, but I don't want to be a grade-inflator. And its absolutely true that this beer isn't very complex. (But it's so damn drinkable!) (1,018 characters)

Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I bought this on draught at the Cafe Bruges in Carlisle, PA. It was a deep crimson red with a nice tannish head that sank bit by bit into the liquid, leaving a gentle bubbly mixture on top. The aroma was earthy, with just that hint of tartness I was expecting. When I tasted it, my taste buds just exploded. Now, I should be honest and say I haven't really tried sour ales before, so I had no real comparison to go on at the time. But that initial taste was enough to tell me I had found a real winner. It has a smooth texture to it, and it lingers on the tongue for quite a while. I like the medieval appeal of this ale, and I would definitely get it again and again. It was a real treat. (697 characters)

Photo of ranchosdancingbull
4.64/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid sour ale. Very refreshing. Poured a fluffy, Light tan colored head that shrank down to about a quarter inch and lasted the whole way through. Great way to get chicks away from drinking nasty hard ciders. (209 characters)

Photo of doppelmeup
4.63/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed this beer, from start to finish.

Poured a beautiful deep mahogany into my glass. Unbelievable pillowy head and incredible chunks of lacing all the way to the bottom.

Nice aromas of tangy cider vinegar, dark fruits, and some slight yeast.

Flavor was similar to Flander's Red Ale. Tangy, slightly sour but with enough sweetness to balance, plums, raisins.

Mouthfeel very light and satisfying. Perfect feel for when you want a very flavorful beer but one that is not overly heavy.

Highly recommended. Would definitely drink again. (549 characters)

Photo of nortmand
4.62/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear ruby red with a 2 finger tan head that leaves nice lace.

High lactic acid in the nose. Also a ton of fresh strawberry aroma. Awesome.

Sweet mixed berries on the tip of the tongue. By mid tongue there is a mild lactic astringency. Very light bitterness as well.
Leaves a metallic twang aftertaste.

Low to medium bodied, a refreshing, lightly "sour" beer. (375 characters)

Photo of ryantaussig
4.62/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Leaps and bounds better on tap than it ever was in the bottle. I'm so sad the keg at The Good Life was kicked. While very similar to the bottled version. The freshness of it from the keg made for a significantly more sour experience. Same look (although lacing was better), better aroma and flavor. A great beer, especially on tap. (331 characters)

Photo of JoeMayo
4.62/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark reddish amber with a very small head.

S- Apple Cider vinegar hits the nose first, but is actually a welcoming smell. Sweet apple cider, caramelized sugar and brown sugar also come through.

T- Sweet and Tart. A mix of granny smith and Fuji or Gala apples come through with notes of honey. Tart cider vinegar comes through with a slight funk in the background.

M- Light body with a lovely effervescent carbonation.

D- This one goes down easy and is incredibly pleasant to sip on. (497 characters)

Photo of nppeders
4.62/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - brown with a reddish hue when held up to a light. extremely clear.

smell - tobaco?, chocolate, sourness, vinegar, sweet cherries.

taste - apple, cherry, vinegar, tastes like balsamic vinegar, definitely more vinegar then I've had in any beer but i really like it. Literally tastes like a fine balsamic vinegar. Some sweetness combines with tartness. reduce this with some berries and serve over ice cream and damn..that's a fine Italian dessert

mouthfeel - thin mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

overall - this is a fantastic Oud Bruin. Sour, tart, vinegar, apple, dark cherry. (594 characters)

Photo of Murchmac
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My new favorite style. My god these beers are good, weird because I had dissident and hated it. Glad I keep trying these styles repeatedly.

Beautiful reddish brown color, carbonation, and head apparent.

Sweet and sour vinegar smell with some cherries thrown in to boot.

I'm starting to love sours, if they could all taste like this one. Sweetness dominates with that little bit of sourness that just when you think you're out, it pulls you back in.

Overall just a great beer, even if the name flemish sounds like something that comes out of your nose. (556 characters)

Photo of dfillius
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a wine glass
A: Gentle pour yields 1.5 fingers of tan fizzy loose head with fair retention. Deep crimson crystal clear liquid. Head is nearly non-existent after 2 minutes, better retention please. Very effervescent.
S: Cherry, tart lemon juice, slight funk. Slight penicillin, oak. Apple cider.
T: Tart apple at first, caramel a little later. Balanced sweet and sour. Some clean malt, some lemon juice and tart cherries. Not as complex as the aroma. The effervescence dominates and scrubs the flavor. I swirled to reduce the vigor of the bubbles, much better.
M: Very dry up front, lightly sour with good sweetness following, like tart cherry juice. A little too effervescent. Expectorant.
O: Very high. I'd love to have another bottle/pint/4-pack. Really nice, solid, mellow, full-flavored sour. (808 characters)

Photo of cwc
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow, this beer kind of changed my life, as far as beers go. Never having had a "sour red ale", I really wasn't sure what to expect, but what a treat it was! This is one of the most refreshing and tasty beers I can remember consuming and it really opens up a whole world of beers for future consumption! Really, this is a unique and special beer worth seeking out and trying.

T - very distinct and refreshing. Maybe all "sour red ales" taste like this, but it was a new and distinct taste for me - and it worked!

D - One could probably enjoy quite a few of these very easily. Not too strong by any means. (606 characters)

Photo of cooch69
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this at a local bar poured from the bottle into a dirty goblet. But I got over that after I realized how awesome this beer really was.
This beer pours a semi clear medium brown with dark red highlights. It barely has a head but it is pretty spritzy and vibrant on the carbonation.
This beers smells of candied apples, lactic acid, and a bit of funky sourness.
This beer has great flavour. It is full of all the stuff you want when you order a Flemish sour like the vinegar and the sour. It showcases them in a way that brings forth there flavors in an unshy manor while still making them very mild and easy to drink. Subtle but not weak or watery. Very complex and delicious.
I'll need to have more soon.
Bartender!!! (725 characters)

Photo of RenoZymurgist
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really like this beer.
Poured a deep brown color with tons of carbonation like champagne and a tan head that is very thick and leaves lots of lace.
The aroma is very crisp and has a nice tang of lactic acid with a minerally character, not blood like but metallic.
The flavor is very crisp as well and it begins with a sharp sourness that is not unpleasent at all and slowly declines after you initially taste it. There is not much malt or hops that i can detect due to the sourness taking the lead in this ale.
The mouthfeel is very nice as the sourness dosnt contribute to bite and the carbonation is surprisingly smooth for being so vivacious.
this is extremly drinkable to me and I would love to enjoy it more often but I had to fly to LA to get it so I woun't be enjoying it for a few more months. (808 characters)

Photo of bikencycle
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into my hamms chalice

A: pours an red brown hue with little head and some lacing

S: has a sour pie cherry smell

T: dry, sour, cherry, and somewhat bitter vinigar taste that is well balanced

M: has a very delicious feel to it

D: very drinkable, and one of my new favorites for the time being (316 characters)

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. (1,237 characters)

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

Poured into my stemmed Rodenbach glass a brilliantly clear rust color with crimson edges. Loose (but creamy) & fluffy beige head stands still at 1 1/2" tall. Lots of visible rushing fine carbonation moving upward. Beautiful wide rings of lace all the way down. Stunning.

Bright & fresh notes of sour cherries and rhubarb, along with baked pie crust and green grapes. Granny smith apples jump out too. Some oaky & spicy notes creep up at the end.

Wow, I believe I just tasted the pinnacle of sweet & sour in one beer. On one side the beer is a tad syrupy & vey sweet, but the other side is very tart and puckering - bringing a perfect balance to this wonderful ale. The cherry scent I grasped just a minute ago becomes very layered in the palate. Rich but yet strangely light all at the same time. This is a definite Ying/Yang brew if there ever was one.

Mouthfeel is between light & med. bodied with the most delightfully playful (champagne-like) fine carbonation. Semi-sweet but still plenty tart flavorful finish.

Drinkability is through the friggin' roof. I could EASILY drink this al day and/or night.

Overall an equisite Flemish Sour Ale. The sweetness is appealing to me, but not at all cloying or overbearing. A very memorable brew that I'll be seeking out fervently. (1,280 characters)

Photo of BrownAleMale
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz tap poured into a pint glass

Appearance- A rutstic red with 1 finger of white head that levels off to a thin surface layer.

Smell- Strong tart smell. No specific fruit that I pick up, just a sour tart.

Taste- Taste is just like a sour fruit punch. Very yummy if this kind of beer doesnt bother you.

Mouthfeel- Nicely carbonated with a very crisp and refreshing mouthfeel.

Overall- This would make for a spectacular summer beer in my opinion. Light and very easy drinking. A beer with a sour fruit punch taste. (519 characters)

Photo of mempath
4.57/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

deep tawny with a cola, effervescent appearance

nose is a tangy, sweet, sour punch of fermentation, fizzy dark fruit combos.

taste is similar, reminding me too of the tang of a good lambic; though the carbonation is high, this has a lingering enough finish to savor as it settles. love the play of the sour and sweet.

very drinkable in that it balances the best of sour and sweet without any of the worst of sour or sweet. nothing cloying here. this would be great with some cheese...camembert/brie...Cabot's Habanero...:) (525 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,089 ratings.