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

2,478 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,478
Reviews: 1,054
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 57
Gots: 207 | 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: 2,478 | Reviews: 1,054 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of flayedandskinned
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

No Bottled on date.
Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark translucent garnet. A towering 4 finger loose bubbled, light brown head erupts immediately and as expected, fizzles down fairly fast, consistent with it's style.

Aroma: Big, vinous red wine vinegar right away with some musty funk alongside it. Juicy, tart currants are layered on top of faint, sweet malt in the background. A woodsy presence of rich vanilla and oak becomes more and more apparent as the beer warms.

Taste: Red wine vinegar up front with only the suggestion of tartness, some juicy red currants and some tart cherry notes are flirted with as a big, vanilla infused maltiness lands on your palate and softens the blow of the high carbonation. The creamy malt backbone abruptly mellows out the sourness of the brew and allows some of the oak barrel character come through. The beer finishes very dry, tart with an extremely light tannin presence and a faint hop bitterness. Lingering notes of plum skin and caramel bready malt. The beer does get a slightly unpleasant metallic twang as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with high carbonation; very brisk and refreshing.

Overall: A decent example of a Flanders Red. I do wish the initial rush of sourness sustained a bit longer before the malts rushed in and mellowed everything out, but the malt does add a strong sense of balance and contrast. This is a great beginner's sour. I would suggest not allowing this to warm up too much so you can avoid that metallic after taste.

Photo of brewerburgundy
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle, Bruery tulip, and some code that probably takes a special ring to decipher on the back label.

Tis a beautiful beer even if it was almost a gusher. A quarter pour filled the glass with 7/8ths head that is rocky, light tan, and as it recedes leaves clumps. The beer is an exceptionally clear ruby.

Aromas are very soft, barely detectable acidity with biscuit and red fruit. After some warming I get vanilla oak.

The flavors have more power than the aromas. Sharp, fresh, tart green apple, a little lemon and unfiltered cider vinegar pucker. There's a cakey, biscuit base that's a complementary background.

Fizzy and tannic with a matte acidity. It's almost like a cider. Very refreshing.

As my second sour, I find it very near the first, Duchesse De Bourgogne. There are some specific flavor differences and in the level of sourness. I like it quite a bit and will keep trying beers with sour and acidic characteristics.

Photo of kenito799
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Gorgeous slightly hazy reddish-brown color, twinkling orangey-pink highlights when held to light. Tan head is raised and recedes slowly, leaving lots of lace. Very nice looking.

Atfirst pour the whiff is hugely vinegary, immediately bringing me back to those alka-seltzer-like easter egg dyes I used to drop into diluted vinegar as a kid. With more time open the sharp vinegar smell merges with fruity cherry and oak notes.

Mouthfeel is brightly fizzy, yet smooth and almost creamy as well. Taste is very nicely sweet-tart cherries steeped in oak. The sweetness prevails a bit as the bottle is finished, leaving me wishing it were a touch drier--knocks drinkability a tad. Nevertheless a wonderfully refreshing and delicious beer

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a flute.

3.5 A: Crystal clear dark amber color. Low density frothy head with below average retention, but lots of lacing.

3.5 S: Acetic acidy sour/tartness and not yet ripe cherries.

4.0 T: Lots of fruitiness. Sour green apples and unripe cherries reign supreme. Something like roasted malt and caramel.

3.5 M: Lighter body. Could use a bit more carbonation, but very smooth.

4.0 D: Pretty good, I wouldn't mind having another one.

First sour. Can't wait for my second.

Photo of rfgetz
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish mahogany color, dense and creamy off white head, good retention and lacing.
Smell is of new red wine - slightly vinous, acidic and oaky. Taste brings the wine-like flavors with a big hit of balsamic vinegar and adds just a hint of tart cherry and sticky sweetness. Medium bodied, slightly chewy and sticky, palate coating but without a big aftertaste. Decent beer, a little lighter than expected, possibly could use a little more aging on it.

Photo of JamesMN
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Chestnut brown body but ruby red and nearly translucent when held up to the light. Poured a fluffy light tan head that is slowly dissipating without much lacing.

Aroma: Nice tart and hearty red grape with some nondescript berry notes in there. An interesting dryness as well. Not really all that aromatic but the sweet and tart elements are quite enjoyable.

Taste: Smashing flavor straight away. Lively red grape must with lots of sweet fruity esters that turn tart in the second half. Not quite sweet and not quite sour a whole. The finish is full of spastic carbonation and the aftertaste lends a blast of red grape juice with cranberry. A light tart flavor lingers for a good while. A good amount of flavor for a modest 5.5% ABV.

Mouthfeel: About medium in body with tons of carbonation as is usual for the style. Easy drinkability and probably sessionable.

Final Thoughts: Really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone interested in trying a Flemish/Sour beer for the first time. Though the level of sourness is on the low end of the spectrum, it was able to stave off that sour beer craving. Would I drink it again? Yes.

Photo of NorCalMaekJuMan
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

At first I was a little intimidated by the word sour in the title but I really liked it. I found it went well with roasted pork loin cooked in apples and onions (like pork chops Normandy). I liked the coppery head. I can't really describe the smell but I liked it. I find it very similar to any of the Russian River sour beer types (ie...consecration, temptation)..although I think I prefer the stuff from Russian River.

Photo of bmwats
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle, into a tulip.

A: Dark amber hue. Pours about a quarter finger, bubbly, brown-white head. Dissipates quickly leaving a blanket of foam on the surface. Sporadic spider web lacing.

S: Musty and woody with raspberry.

T: Tastes like it smells. Pungent woody tone with a tangy raspberry flavor.

M: Penetrating to the palette. Musty and effervescent feel. Light but full flavored.

D: Goes down easy.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Nice, amber hue with a slight bubbly head. Musty nose with raspberry. Flavor is pungent and woody with plenty of tang. Overall, this is a good quaff.

Photo of YonderWanderer
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish brown, yet very clear. A finger of slightly tan foam leaves a thick ring of lacing on the glass as it dissipates.

S: Sour! And more sour. A bit of vinegar, a lot of sour cherries, a bit of lemon.

T: Wow, much like the smell, except even more powerful. Sour cherries are the dominant flavor, but there are other flavors abound. I'm just not sure what they are, but it's pretty complex.

M: Nicely carbonated, and a smooth mouthfeel.

D: This is a great flemish sour, very tasty. I'd recommend it if you like the style.

Photo of Lolli1315
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- A red/amber brown color, little light seen through the beer. A nice 1 to 2 finger head that holds nicely with a nice lacing. Thickness of the head very appealing for this beer.

S- Tart cherries with a malty sweetness that blends into lingering sour notes coupled with some dark fruits and maybe a hint of apple.

T- Subtle tastes of dark fruits, plums specifically, and some apples. Flavor profile takes a dramatic switch to a large amount of sourness and a sugary sweet aftertaste. Sourness lingers for a little, but it is not overpowering. Sugary sweetness is a little overpowering and could be held in check a little more.

M- Thin to medium body with a generally high amount of carbonation that makes this quite refreshing.

D- Really like the sour notes of this beer, but the sweetness really hurts the ability of the beer to be more drinkable.

Photo of CharlieMopps
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque brownish-red, a very deep hue, with a small layer of head that displays decent retention. A bit surprising that there is not a larger head formation from this one.

S: A winey and yeasty bouquet, notes of Belgian sugar and spices in the nose.

T: Tastes slightly of cherries, the tartness is what gives off this flavor along with its wine-like qualities. Definitely more noticeable in the finish, with a sugary flavor throughout.

M: Crisp with a light body, carbonation is at a generous level but not as much as expected here either.

D: All in all, for the style this is a quite drinkable beer in the sense that it doesn't really overpower, but definitely provides enough sour flavor to give the palate a kick. Not as dialed up as others, which is nice, but the body seemed a bit too thin in the mouthfeel.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is a blend of slightly sweet, slightly tart cherry and a touch of cider vinegar. Very approachable on the palate. Enough sweetness to invite you in with just enough tartness to keep you drinking. Brett provides just a hint of vinegar funk, mostly on the finish. Great entry level sour.

Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy garnet color with a one inch head that caps nicely and leaves traces of foam down from the original head line

Smell: Sweet and sour cherry yoghurt and a bit of wood

Taste: Starts out with a comfortable blend of sweet and lactic sour cherry that builds in sourness, mid-palate; after the swallow, the wood flavor joins in and blends to the finish, which leans to the sweet rather than the sour

Mouthfeel: Somewhat thick and yoghurty with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: Not as complex as some other Flemish Reds, this is nonetheless very enjoyable, particularly for those who are not enamored by sour beers but like an occasional stroll on the sour side

Photo of jwinship83
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a murky or muddy brown with reddish highlights and a small eggshell colored sticky head.

S- some champagne like qualities as well as a sour twang. i also noticed some yeast scents and some other fruits like apple and grape also.

T- this reminds me ALOT of champagne. definitely has a sour kick to it, but not as much as i was expecting.

M- creamier and fuller than champagne with less carbonation.

D- a new style for me and i did enjoy it. not something that i could have everyday, but i liked it enough to take another look into the world of sour beers.

this seems like a good beer for people that dont really get into beer.

Photo of Chronofied
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cellar temperature, poured in a tulip glass.

Appearance - Brown around the edges, but a dark cherrywood in the center when held to the light. A little bit of orange tint at the bottom. Head didn't stand long, and left very little lace. Relaxed carbonation visible.

Smell - Heavy yeast on the nose, remniscent of the sour fermentation smell of wine grapes. Definite acidity. A little bit more fruit, like a prune/raisin smell as well.

Taste - Sour grape taste right away. Prune and light malt surface. The finish has a hint of carameled apple, sweet and sour. Actually somewhat rich in a strange, sweet and sour way.

Mouthfeel - Way lighter than expected. Really light, more carbonation that the appearance suggested, enlivens the brew on the tongue. Consistency is almost like that of sparkling juice.

Drinkability - It isn't a chore to finish a 750 bottle, but better to share one with someone. It is light enough to easily drink a good portion, but rich enough that one or two servings is enough.

N.B. - I feel like someone blended beer with a prune flavored Izze, and it actually turned out well. That is a major understatement, but that's what I thought of when I first tried this beer.

Photo of cosmo4u
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber under a thin beige head. Initial nose is primarily of soured sweet fruits with wood notes. First taste is of the big sour tartness laid immediately on top of a sweet fruity base. There is a big woody flavor in the middle of this one that is just right. Palate is surprisingly smooth and almost creamy and the sweet/tart finish is just perfect. I don’t want to sound patronizing by saying that this would be a good intro to sours for your non-beer friends, but it balances the sweet/sour well enough that it won’t blow anyone away. And, to be clear, that balance is an indication of the level of craft gone into this one.

Photo of DavidSomers
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dmbsteve
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours ruby red with a giant off white head that fizzed down to about a finger and stuck around till the end.

Smells of bretty funk. Not much else, except maybe a hint of overripe grapes and sour apples.

Taste is better than smell. Sour apples is the dominant taste. Sweet and sour both. Hardly any bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium with heavy carbonation. A bit of sticky sweetness stays on the tongue and outlasts the bitterness.

Overall a pretty tasty beverage that tastes like a cross between a sour beer and a sweet wine like a reisling. I'm just starting to get into sours and every one I've had so far has been different. I really enjoyed this one.

Photo of SargeC
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly hazy brown brew with a fizzy tan head.

Smell: Fruit, vinegar hints of malt and limited alcohol.

Taste: Tart beginning flavor evolves into mild fruit flavors. Malt peeks through at times.

Mouthfeel: Light body, but seems a bit heavier.

Drinkablity: A refreshing brew with good flavor.

Photo of rajendra82
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The brown murky body of this beer was topped with a smallish off-white head, giving this beer quite a rough hewn look, not unattractive, just lacking charisma. Aromatically this was very interesting, with a vinegary sour smell and some apple cider like notes. The taste was basically replicating fermented apple cider, with a puckering tart sourness, apple skin like astringency, and a touch of spiciness. Come to think of it, this looks a lot like unfiltered apple juice as well. This will be very refreshing and thirst quenching, if you happen to like the taste of apple cider. I would love to try this one mulled one day.

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle tried 17 Jul 2009. Received in trade from.... damn, don't remember...

Served in the 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Large lacy beige head. Well carbonated. Clear dark ruby red color. Aroma of sour cherries and raspberries, slightly dusty, hint of chocolate. Fizzy, sweet and sour. Some cherry juice, hint of cherry pits. Finishes with a bit of cinnamon. Aftertaste is slightly dry and stringent. Light body.

Good balance of sweet and sour.

Photo of Mantooth
3.81/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured at the fabulous Duckworth's Park Rd - Charlotte NC for $3.50 on a Thursday.

Not much head at all, wee bit of lacing. Looks like a glass of flat coke. The nose is great, lots of dark fruit - grapes especially - and charred wood. The taste follows suit, quite carbonated - bit like a champagne. Nicely tart. Great intro to sours for a newbie and easily enough going on to bring this beer-geek back for another glass.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,478 ratings.