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

Not Rated.
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,514 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,514
Reviews: 1,061
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 59
Gots: 227 | 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:
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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,514 | Reviews: 1,061 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SJ-IABrews
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was my first sour beer, so I wasn't sure what I would be getting into. I was overall pretty impressed with this. Pleasing color and a clean taste, not overly sweet and not as cloyingly sour as I was expecting. Smooth drinking with a very appealing smell. This would not be my go to beer, but I would definitely drink this again.

Photo of AmericanPaleMale666
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - had a darker body then I expected - deep red and brown tones, tall creamy head and decent lacing

M - light slightly creamy

N - sweet, sour, and candy-like. Not to in your face like other sours I like but the subtlety is nice on this one.

T - I picked up some apple flavors, cherries, and strawberries. Starts sweet and goes into an enjoyable tart taste followed by a smooth finish

O - I wasn't disappointed with this one. I think this is a nice introductory sour for someone who has never had the style. The nose and taste are not so strong as to be a big (perhaps unpleasant) surprise but you still get a feel for the tart sourness of the style.

Photo of Seabass1964
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of barhoc11
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of prototypic
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another fine bottle courtesy of guinnessdoc. Thanks, man.

Appearance: It's clear and an impressive deep garnet color. The head is light beige and stands a little over two fingers tall. Carbonation is very active and the head stuck around for quite a while. Sheets of lace clung to the glass.

Smell: The nose smells a little tart or sour up front, but not quite as much as I expected. It features a strong cherry scent that lingers throughout. It smells a little spicy. But, no single spice stands out. There's a bit of light tobacco and leather on the tail. If alcohol is here, I can't tell. It's a nice smelling beer, but doesn't come across as really deep or full of character.

Taste: This is one very tart/sour beer. If you're not into that, you should probably move along. It has a strong cherry flavor to kick it off. Tastes a little fruity otherwise, but not much. The tart blast that follows really stays with you for a bit. Good luck trying to keep a straight face at this point. But, it's a nice tart flavor. Not offensive at all. It is a tad bit spicy, but the individual spices are indistinct. It's somewhat acidic. Yeast is faintly noticeable. There is a little tobacco and leather to wrap it up. Again, alcohol is not noted in the least.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It has a medium body and very active carbonation. It's not quite smooth. Carbonation's a little too high for that. Drinkability is above average. The strong tart flavor just doesn't lend itself to really good drinkability.

Monk's Flemish Sour Red Ale is good beer. I like it. It doesn't really "wow" in any respect, but it's pretty good all around. The tart flavor could actually be toned down a bit and it might be a little better. But, that's probably true to style. I can't say I'm enamored with these types of beers, despite the fact that I do like them. In any event, it is recommended and definitely worth checking out.

Photo of beveritt
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 11.2oz brown bottle into a snifter. Label depicts an oak barrel with the image of a monk on the side. No discernible freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 3/8 inch of almost white, creamy head. This settles fairly quickly into a thin coating with islands of foam here and there. Nice lacing. The beer itself is perfectly clear and a deep brown red. The red hue only really comes out when the glass is held up to a light. A very small amount of sediment in the bottle.

Smell: A sour, tart cherry-like aroma, with sweet, syrupy undertones.

Taste: A tart, fruity flavor, with a lingering sour finish. Really tastes as if sour cherries, raspberries, or perhaps strawberries had been added to this beer, the yeast effect is amazing.

Mouthfeel: Average level of carbonation and body.

Drinkability: This is my first red ale, I have been dying to try one for a long time. I was worried it may be too sour, the kind of drink you couldn't really stand to have too many of. However, this is not the case, this is a tart and crisp refreshing drink. I am looking forward to trying more.

Photo of KTCamm
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours ruby red with fizzy white foam that survives beyond the initial pours and then drops off. Lacing is evident.

Smell is very faint. Light wine smell.

Taste is sweet and sour, perfectly balanced. Red wine in the finish. Not puckering, but clear sour taste. Mild hop finish. Well carbonated to complete the balance.

Very drinkable sour ale. Tasty.

Photo of HoustonTX
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out gorgeously into my Chimay Goblet. Bright ruby body with vivacious carbonation, and strong frothy off white head. Smell is sweetly phenolic, with a twang of funkiness. Some darker balancing notes of oak, vanilla, and roasted grain provide a nice backbone. Taste has great depth. Sweet, tangy, tart, funky, and sour. The sweetness comes of lambic in nature. Cherries and raspberries. Sweeping waves of funk, tangy bits of citrus rind, sour waves of bitter seeds, and sweet candied cherries, just a plethora of great flavors. Finishes with a lingering melding of flavors, and touch of graininess in the end to level things out. This beer was quite refreshing on a hot day like today, I would go as far to say this is dangerously drinkable. Very enjoyable overall.

Photo of jneiswender
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle into a small sample glass.

A-reddish-amber body, clear, tan dense head

S-Worcestershire sauce, spice, sour
cherry

T-sweet cherry front, cherry pit-like middle,

M-medium, somewhat slick

D-much more tame and mellow than other sour ales I've had. I had this one evening with chocolate covered raisins. Unbelievable.

Photo of hopsaplenty
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz brown bottle, 16DC on the back label.

Murky, deep cordovan with ox blood highlights. Pillowy, soft tan head of mixed size bubbles that crackles as it slowly settles leaving a few splotches of lace. Fat carbonation bubbles stick to the glass, but do not move. The aroma is mildly tart with woody tones and a modest dose of balsamic vinegar. There is a minimal amount of funkiness that works with the sugar sweet aromas. Initially, tart and lactic acidic, but not overly so. There is a woody tone that surfaces in the middle. A sweetness arrives to provide a bit of balance, but the finish is dominated by the acidic edge that pulls at the back corners and lingers. There is a tannic component as well as a clearly vinegar, think thin balsamic, tone. Medium-light body, the carbonation is bountiful and the acidic flavors seems to add lightness, while also leaving the mouth fairly clean. Tasty, and the acidic nature makes this thirst quenching. Perhaps not sessionable, but definitely worthy of returning to over time.

Photo of EricCioe
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours dark red with a bubbly and thin-looking two finger head that dies out quickly and doesn't leave lace. On the nose there is a good bit of tartness, which really dominates. There are some bits of acid and maybe some toffee further back, maybe some brown sugar, too. In the mouth the tartness envelops everything, both the front of the tongue where it normally shows up but also the inside of the cheeks. I keep getting toffee, as on the nose. The body is medium light with a medium finish with the sourness hanging around for a while.

Overall, this is a nice beer. I'm not familiar with the style, but I've had other types of sours so I'm not totally in the dark here. It's a nice brew but there are other sours I like better. Worth a try for sure.

Photo of LiquidCucumber
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours deep copper/red, nearly a purplish brown. Has a small head that recedes to a white ring quickly.

S - Musty apple cider, smells like it will be tart and makes my mouth water. Some bready malts as well.

T - Tart grapes, apples and cherries. The smooth fruity malt also delivers some deep earthy tones. Dark figs seem to mix with the musty floor of a barn and hints of cider vinegar.

M - Dry and bubbly; lingers just a little too long.

O - Not a bad brew, but not something I'm going to try to seek out a bunch of. I'd rather it be a little bit more extreme in the sour and funky categories. A good starter for the style though.

Photo of JISurfer
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience of a sour ale, so I wasn't too sure what to expect. I must say though, I was pleasantly suprised. It did have a nice foamy head that lasted quite a while, but then "deflated" into a thick laceing. The smell was nice and malty, with a sweet-n-sour undertone, accompanied by a light grape finish. Taste was sour from the moment you put it in your mouth. It had a sour start, with a tart finish. I really dug this style. It was something I really wanted to try, ever since I first saw they had sour brews. I do like sour foods, sauces, candy, liquor, and such, so this one is up my alley.

Photo of spoons
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to the tulip

Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue in the light. A super sticky tan/creamy head sits on top.

Smells is tangy. A little malty. Touch of roasted malt in there, some sweetness as well.

The nose is pretty decieving on this beer. Initial taste is way smoother and sweeter than I thought it was going to be. Has an almost soda like body to it. Some acidic sourness, but not a mouth puckering super sour type beer.

A nice beer. I will probably pick up another one of these and see how I feel about it at a later date.

Photo of rfbenavi80
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- With a very aggressive pour it pours a very dark amber almost brown with tons of fluffy light tan colored head that takes it's time leaving.

S- There is a noticeable "funk" factor about this beer. It is slightly fruity. Hard to pick out what fruits. Some sort of berry sweetness. Maybe some tart cherry candy.

T- WOW! Not at all what I expected. Very fruity, like fruit punch fruity, but with a nice sourness. Very interesting.

M- The carbonation in this one dances on the tongue as soon as it enters the mouth, but then quickly dances away. Turning into an easy drinker with it's light body.

O- Very surprised with this one. The taste does not follow the nose very well, there were many hidden flavors inside the beer that are not present on the nose. Overall, they got a good one here.

Photo of Sumdeus
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: poured deep ruby in color into a mini snifter. Very little head. Last pour from the bottle is sediment heavy.

S: rich dark fruits with a nice moderate tartness to it.

T: the fruit characteristics are first which develops in to a medium tart kick with a clean finish.

M: good feel to the beer, not too thin, it has some thicker viscosity aspects to it but does not coat.

O: a good moderate sour with some dark fruits and tart cherry that is very pleasing to drink. Nothing out of this world but a good everyday beer for when the sour mood strikes.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark mahogany brown with some slight reddish hues. There is a thin quarter inch head of off-white foam that forms and recedes quickly but it leaves a nice lacing along the glass.

Aroma off some oak notes and some nice tartness starts things off. There is some slight funk notes in the nose with some good earthy grain tones. There is some fruit tartness to the nose as well as some slight acidity to it.

Flavor starts off with some slight sweet fruit notes with some grainy malt notes. There is quickly a nice tart fruit acidity that pops up. Nice tart apple notes with some very midl balsamic vinegar. The brew is nice and tart but not too intense and very approachable. There is nice grainy and earthy malt notes mixed in with the fruitiness that also add some sweetness. There is some nice funky yeast notes with some woody oak notes present as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium. Nice complete flavors cover the palette and the carbonation adds a nice cleansing feeling.

PRetty good Flanders. Nice fruity notes balanced with the tartness. Refreshing and delicious. Keeps you coming back for more.

Photo of drabmuh
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at a local beer bar. I did not see a date on the label or the bottle but it was pretty dark. The menu described this beer as "The Dr. Pepper of the beer world" -- That bar needs to fire its writer. It was not that, not that at all and that is not what I expect from a Flanders.

Beer is served in a tulip, beer is clear with a white head. The beer is brown but at the brown / red interface of colors. Looks awesome. Head is weak and lacing is way down, carbonation is low. Not odd for the style.

Kind of an odd aroma with this one. Slight sour with a hint of sweet caramel, with an acetic aroma at the backend, maybe a little citric.

Beer first is pretty thin. Not watery, just no body. Its starts out sweet but the sweetness gives way to a strong and dominant balsamic vinegar taste. The finish is tart. There is also an odd, woodsey, aftertaste that degrades my pleasure. This is an OK beer but has not been my favorite Flanders.

Photo of beermanbrian
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brown apple cider look. Very little head. Nothing appealing about the look at all. Smell is all sour fruit, this is what i was expecting. Cherry notes and maybe it's just the apple cider appearance but i think i pick up notes of sour apple too. Taste is sour, but not completely mouthpuckering sour. It's an interesting taste for sure but not over the top. I don't have much to compare this one too style wise but this is pretty much what i expected. Other than the rather drab appearance, a beer that is worth a try.

Photo of jcartamdg
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish brown with a paperthin head that slowly creeps to the glass of my tulip. Great lacing throughout. Aroma of sweet wine and lactic sour. Taste follows the nose tart but not overpowering. Smooth and sweet. Easy to drink where I could have two or three in a sitting. I love this beer

Photo of 10Crumra
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

The beer appeared a very dark red or amber color. When poured it created a fairly significant slightly off-white head of approximately 1 inch. The head was slow to dissipate taking several minutes and it left quite a bit of lacing.

It had a mild sour smell with a hint of cherries.

It was pleasantly tart like a sour hard candy. Definitely got the cherry taste along with an acidic vinegar taste and a malty, fruity aftertaste. I found it hard to identify individual flavors in this but the combined flavor was fantastic.

The beer was medium bodied with fairly light carbonation.

I thought this was a great sour beer. It was rich with cherry and grape flavors that nicely complemented the tartness. I found it quite different from the lighter, more citrusy american sour ales I have tried in the past. I would drink this again in a heartbeat.

Photo of tlazaroff
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brilliantly red in color with a crisp foamy white head, sticks to the glass like no other - and perfectly clear.

S: Slightly sour, maybe some cherries, defiantly a fruitiness present, but due to a stuffy nose, I can't get a lot out of it.

T: This is tart, I like it a lot! It has a great complexity that I am having trouble identifying. I wish I could do this beer more justice because It really does taste good.

M: It's dry, fully carbonated, and light on the palate.

D: Quite drinkable. It didn't last as long as I thought it would.

Photo of SavvyStudent
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark nutty amber color. Strong lacing, minimal carbonation to the eye and 2-finger of lacing that dissipates slowly.
S: Cherries, vinegar, leather, and a little bit of nuttiness
T: tonic profile with the cherry sour profile you would expect. rotting lemon and creaminess on the back that was not expected but is nice and not too heavy.
M: sits medium with medium-low carbonation
O: It is a above-average sour but nothing crazy worth buying in my opinion. the creaminess on the back and color are the only unique aspects I found in this ale.

Photo of jenitivecase
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to EmperorStan for bringing this one back from CA.

A: Pours a clear, coppery red, with a loose, fizzy head that dissipates leaving straggly lacing behind.

S: Clean scent. Picking up the usual sour fruits - plums, apples, etc., with some notes of acidity and a touch of citrus.

T: Very average sour ale. Not too sour, but not too sweet, although there is a good deal of sweetness in the taste. Again, lots of fruitiness, and the slightest touch of barnyard. Makes me think of candy apples.

M: Slightly watery, but not unpleasantly so. Nothing really stand out here, but nothing negative, either. Leaves a nice clean palate behind.

D: This may be a slightly generic sour, but it's a well-crafted one. I would have no problem at all with putting away a 750 of this on my own. Definitely a session drinker.

Photo of babaracas
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark reddish orange with huge light brown head that covers the glass in a spray of lace to the end. Smell: lactic with green apple, red cherries, caramel; fruity, sweet and sour smelling. Taste: melon, tart grape, cherry-apple juice, finishing with earth green apple skin and herbal notes. Fruit forward, sweet and tart, with light-medium body and a sticky finish. Tasty and refreshing but without the complexity of others in this style.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,514 ratings.