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
87
very good

2,679 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,679
Reviews: 1,106
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.51%
Wants: 74
Gots: 326 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,679 | Reviews: 1,106
Photo of HopsKeepDroppin
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into maudite snifter.

A- Pours an opaque dark red-brown color with a monstrous beige colored head.

S- Smells really sour and some vinegar, cherries. Very complex.

T- Really sour cherry.

M- Really tangy feel that almost makes me pucker

O- This was interesting. Really nice sourness with some cherry flavors.

Photo of AudioGilz
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm not that well experienced with the flanders red ale style, so I didn't know what to expect with this one. I am certainly glad I picked this one up though.

It pours with a high amount of carbonation, yet there is no head to speak of, just a small ring of lace around the top; liquid itself is an enticing dark translucent ruby.

I can't get much out of smelling this beer, hints of sour candy, and old musty aged lambic character.

Immediately puckering on the first few sips, the brew presents a high amount of carbonation, and strong sour fruit character. I can't really pinpoint one particular fruit, it's just more of a general sour candy kind of feel.

The finish is dry on the palate with just enough sweetness to make it interesting and actually quite pleasing after the first few sips. It definitely becomes much more enjoyable as it warms a bit and you work your way down.

My first experience with this style is definitely a good one and I recommend this beer.

Photo of KajII
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Tulip glass]

The pour was a murky dark reddish brown with a large (2-3 finger) light brown rocky head that receded down to a thin cap, which did create some excellent sheeting of lacing.

The aroma was of a funky horse blanket Belgian yeast and a dark bread malt with notes of dark fruit (black cherries, plums and grapes) and a mild red wine.

The taste was sweet and a tad tart with a big dose of dark fruit throughout and a strong winey sour yeast presence towards the end. The flavor lasted an average duration after the swallow with a fruity sour wine finish.

Mouthfeel was light in body and semi-dry in texture with a good strong carbonation.

Overall a very satisfying Wild Ale with just enough fruitiness, which allowed for a robust fruity beginning and a slight wine finish...

Photo of Ransackingpete
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A light reddish but mostly brown ale with a light, bubbly head. A solid sour smell and a very sweet and sour taste. I was reminded of kambucha with a sweeter taste. Occasionally I do think of vinegar at first taste.

Surprisingly it is pleasing overall and refreshing, as it advertises. I would drink this again if I wanted something light but adventurous.

Photo of kruthar
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - dark brown in color with red highlights, extremely coarbonated with twice as much head as liquid as im pouring. creme colored soup sud head the diminishes extremely quickly.

S - A very sweet smell, very fruity with hints of the lactic acid sourness.

T - A carbonation that immediately attacks the tongue, so much so that the real flavors don't come out until you swallow. the after taste has a sweet lingering with a very mild sour bite.

M - ATTACK! this beer bites your tongue all the way down and should not be taken lightly.

D - Not terrible, but i would definitly not want more then one of these a night.

Photo of davey101
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Allowed to warm up.

A - Clear dark red/brown body with a creamy 3 finger off-white, pink hued head. Settles down to a nice cap with thick edging and great lacing.

S - Light sour cherries and malts. Some lactic and oak notes. Pretty boring and one dimensional.

T - Very tame and light on the flavor. Slightly sour cherries with an oaky finish. Some very light lactic notes, but otherwise this is very easy drinking. Mouth feel is creamy and well carbonated.

O - A pretty average oud bruin. Low on the lactic and sour notes. It has some nice flavors, and is light enough to be quaffable, but its not my go to for the style.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - pours a reddish caramel like Killian's. A nice thin cover of mocha head and some partial sheet lacing to go with. Looks good in my new Dos Equis glass because, after all, I want to be more interesting.

Aroma - cider vinegar, much like what I use for my mop sauces when I smoke brisket or pork shoulders. A trace of something beer-like but it is remote. Perhaps the grain is imparting some spiciness, but at length it is too hard to separate from the vinegar smell. Since that is part and parcel for the style, I won't ding it but I don't dig it either.

Taste - tart, thankfully it is not near as vinegary as I feared. The sweetness of the malt is offsetting, and the Belgian character is evident on the swallow as the light funkiness comes through on the aftertaste. Some welcome fruitiness plays in at times, the beer does well (for me) to not dwell long on the vinegar or funk.

Mouthfeel - dry and light-bodied, and well-carbonated.

Drinkability - not one I'd rush out and stock, but I enjoyed the experience.

Photo of KingG
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served at room temp and poured into my Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance is good. The beer itself is dark red/almost purple. Nice creamy tan colored head with impressive lacing.

Smell is average. Sweet/tart aromas fight to be on top with the tartness winning out at the end. There's a strange stinky garbage smell coming through which isn't pleasant.

Taste is above-average. Initially, a nice fruity tartness hits with tamarind and oak. Finishes slightly metallic and lacks complexity but pretty good none-the-less.

Mouthfeel is good. Medium bodied for the style and a nice level of carbonation. Texture is slightly chalky.

Drinkability is above-average. I'll finish it but I'm moving onto something else afterward.

Overall:
Not bad for a change of pace but nothing worth seeking out. Above-average for the style.

Photo of treehugger02010
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought this bottle at Oak Tree Discount Wine & Spirits and poured into a Snifter.
Appearance: It poured a brown opaque body with a big tan head with small bubbles, pour retention and thin but abundant lacing.
Smell: Obvious cherries and sourness. Intriguing, but not complex.
Taste: Cherries again and forward sourness but not off putting.
Mouthfeel: Prickly.
Drinkability: Good.
Don't drink and review.

Photo of FACEMEAT
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a reddish brown with a thin later of loose head that quickly becomes a thin cap. Little lacing remains on my glass.

S: Definitely a sour overtone on the nose. Earthy sour cherries and granny smith apples dominate with an earthy Belgian funk behind.

T: The sourness isn't as prominent on the palate as it is on the nose. It's there, but just not as much as I had expected. A sweet finish lingers on my tongue.

M: Way too much carbonation with a medium mouthfeel.

D: The sweetness kills any chances of downing more than one of these.

Photo of PorterLambic
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful, if unexpected, dark, hickory brown with a big, fluffy head. No light gets through and the voluminous, light tan, head drops slowly to a rocky chunk o' foam with some nice lacing left behind.
Smell is sour (duh) with a quasi-medicinal note reminiscent of school glue, fainter scents of malt, some indeterminate dark fruits, wood, and some very faint spice (pepper?). Balance is skewed towards the sour and wood/glue end.
Taste is sour, malt, fruits, wood, that glue-like note, and a faint cracker flavor after the swallow. Balance is better here.
A slightly less than medium body with a light effervescence. A not-unexpected dry finish. Smoother than many other Flanders/Flemish reds. Like Most van Steenberge beers I like it but it's not my favorite.

Photo of jondeelee
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If you had to judge this beer solely by the smell, you probably wouldn't try it. The aroma is vinegary and sour, and in fact more resembles a hard cider than a beer. Hints of bananas, apples, and cider vinegar dominate, but by and large this smells like the beer went bad in the bottle.

On the tongue, the resemblance to a hard cider continues, and thankfully, while the sour flavor is still present, it seems tempered here, and easily palatable. Again, bananas, cider vinegar, and apple flavors are present, and dominate most of the mouthful. In some respects, these flavors mimic ports, sweet champagnes, or perhaps sherries. Towards the end a few layers are peeled back to reveal a white grape-like taste, as well as nicely toasted grains. Mouthfeel is light--only slightly viscous--and the ale is fizzy, with more carbonation than usual.

Overall, while this beer is a bit of a shock to the tongue, and probably more than a bit of an acquired taste, it's still intriguing and seductive. Worth seeking out.

Photo of tobelerone
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reddish brown beer with a decently foamy head. Aroma is strongly redolent of vinegar and cherries. Very tart taste, typical sour, vinegar is in there, lots of cherry flavor as well, moderately sweet. All depends on how much you like sours and can deal with the vinegary aspect of the flavor. Found it ok, kind of a low-end entry level sour, not very complex, pretty refreshing. Brisk carbonation makes it taste like a sour cherry soda...with a vinegar backbone. Clean finish doesn't linger, nicely quenching.

I actually kinda like this beer, at least when I'm in the mood..have it had a few times and always have a different reaction. Not as good as something like Rodenbach, but similar I suppose. As I said, it's an entry level beer for the style and the low price reflects that. Usually under 3 bucks when I see it.

Photo of classixIII
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a stemmed flute.

A - Very fast foamy head filled a third of the flute then subsided to about half inch. A dark, clear reddish mahogany.

S - I got mostly grape, wine like, at first smell, then some raisin, maybe berries.

T - Mild sweet fruit, with a barely sour finish that lingers on the tongue between sips

M - Light, lots of carbonation

O - Refreshing, Enjoyed it, and would recommend a try. Will have again but won't be making it one of my regulars.

Photo of bigbelcher
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice reddish amber color. A dense, lingering slightly tan head. No belgian lacing to speak of. Huge vinegar like aroma, not the same as Rodenbach. A bit thin on the body indicating low alcohol. Very sweet with an underlying dry tartness like from a biting into a lemon. Very fruity, almost cherry like. A good intro to the style, in that respect but it doesn't stand up to Rodenbach.

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A ruby body with a big off-white head. Leaves some nice sticky lacing on the glass.

Smells sour, but also a vinegar quality to it.

Sour with some dark fruits and malts. Sweet. Sour mouthfeel with a dry finish.

Fairly drinkable, nothing special but pretty good.

Photo of emmasdad
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not my favorite style, but I tried it on tap at B.J.s Temecula. Pours a garnet/ruby red color, with a bit of tan lacing on top. Smells of red wine vinegar, tart cherries and lactic acid. Flavors not much different, although I detect a bit of sweetness, which plays nicely off of the sour funk. Crisp and refreshing, though I doubt I could drink more than one.

Photo of dgugliuzza
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip

A- Pours reddish brown with a thick tan head. A hazy red hue settles in the glass. Very good head retention.

S- Smells of sour prunes and sweet dark fruits. The combination of sweet and sour combines nicely. Delicate, yet complex.

T- Tastes of prunes and cherries. Mostly sour and a little sweet. Sour after taste that lingers intensely. A bit overpowering for my tastes buds, but pretty interesting nonetheless.

M- Bursts with carbonation. Medium bodied and quite crisp. Goes down fairly smooth.

D- Not sure if I would have more than one. It's a bit too sour and over carbonated for me, but there is a nice balance of sweet and sour. Granted, this was my first sour so I would like to try a few others.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 8/26/2009 (Bottle):

Pours a nut brown colored body, clear. With a small off-white color head, quickly diminishing. Sour fruity aroma. Very sour, almost like a cheesy sour, but not quite. Some light fruit like apple, or light colored grape. Strong. Sour taste, that same fruitiness in the taste, and the aftertaste, similar to apple or cherry or something. Not bad tasting, not very off-putting. But it does take a little getting used to. Drinking, makes me thirsty for more, which is the sign of a good beer, right? Almost like a nutty taste to it, some substance. Weaker, less flavor as it warms.

Photo of axeman9182
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, allowed to warm slightly before being poured into my Bruery tulip.

Monk's Cafe pours a deep, dark red, and has some good clarity to it. There are plentiful ruby highlights, and maybe a finger and a half of bone colored foam that displays little in the way of head retention and lacing. The nose is nice, with some lactic sourness leading the way. Cherry and oak both show up a fair bit in the background. The flavor profile doesn't pull everything off nearly as well. The sourness of the beer takes a backseat compared to a sweet, cherry flavor, and the wood notes disappear almost entirely. It honestly tastes like someone took a decent Oud Bruin and cut it with a sweet cherry soda. The body is fine, but the carbonation is definitely a little dull, and it leaves the mouthfeel feeling a little too slick a times. Monk's Cafe is an alright beer, but it's one of the less impressive Oud Bruins I've had.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Monks Flemish Red Ale

A- Deep copper red with a thick tn head. Good chunky lacing and nice carbonation.
S- Sour cooked cherries and sour green apple.
T- Sour granny smith apples blended into cooked gooey cherries. Slight brown sugary malt pokes through.
M- Mildly tart and sour. Finishes off sugary sweet with little acidity or heartburn.

Overall- A good solid sour beer. Although I'm not a big fan of the sours this 1 is more down the middle and more my style.

Photo of wedge
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep garnet with a high, airy head that jumps up and out of the glass. Sweet, tart cherries, plums, very light, clean oak, and a mineral note...a lot more mellow then other examples of the style. Slightly acidic, dry, and fruity with some spicy wood and finishing phenols. A bit acetic and certainly on the sour side of things, but again, lighter and cleaner than most. Some caramel enters the fold towards the end of the glass. Decent, but lacking character.

Photo of BeerHonky
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

While there's always something wonderful to be said about Monk's Cafe, I have to say that this beer was a little bit of a bummer. The beer looks beautiful. It pours a wonderfully bright reddish brown with a nice fluffy, pale khaki head. It smells sweet and wild and yeasty. A bit of fruityness can be detected here I'd say, but nothing out of the ordinary. The taste starts out really sweet and tart. Almost gummi bear-ish, obviously not as sweet as that, but a little too sweet in my mind for a flemmish sour. There's a decent bit of sourness and a hint of wood that appears after that first blast of sweet and tart changes into a wild and funky aftertaste if you don't go for another sip too soon. The mouthfeel is very refreshing with its scrubby, spritzy carbonation. I must say though, this isn't highly drinkable due to its level of sweetness. Again, I was a little bummed.

Photo of gottabetweed
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy brown with a minimal head that dissipates quickly. Little lacing remains on the glass.

Smell is sour, with fruits and malts. Malt is more prevelant than most sours.

Taste is sour at first, cherries, and lemons at the finish.

Overall a good, but not great sour.

Photo of paulzy
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle to a 22 ounce d

Appearance: Pours a deep copper color with a medium head. Head stays throughout the beer. Looks good.

Smell: Smells weakly of fruit and acid.

Taste: Starts sweet, then goes mildly sour, like a good lemonade. Finishes a little dry, not at all unpleasant.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation really does the trick with this sour brew, making it kind of fun to roll around on your toungue. Otherwise it feels like any other red.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I'd consider sharing this with a non-beer geek, as a tasty introduction to a neato style.

Overall I consider this a very accessible beer within the style. I don't often bring sour beers through my fridge, but this one is certainly one I'd consider.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,679 ratings.