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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very good

1,095 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,095
Hads: 2,740
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 21.61%
Wants: 79
Gots: 365 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,095 | Hads: 2,740
Photo of timontheroad
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

10 oz pour into a snifter at the Shamrock Inn in Pueblo, CO. Very nice deep ruby color, opaque, with a thick white two-finger head. Great retention and lacing. The nose was lots of tart cherry up front, with some sweet raisins, and fresh grapes. The flavor was identical to the aroma, with lots of tart cherry, almost like drinking a cherry pie. Fairly thin, but felt very nice on the palate, the tartness hit the spot. Overall, this was pretty good, not quite on the level of a Rodenbach Grand Cru, but still tasty and well worth drinking.

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Photo of BeerSnobLeprechaun
4.8/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served in snifter at Craft Ale House (Pottstown, PA).

L- Transluscent brown with light receding lace around perimeter.

S- Huge malt vinegar nose with a hint of sweet fruit in background, a bit of dirty bar-skunk beer in nose.

T- Great brown ale flavor in front then a blast of HUGE malt vinegar flavor resides to a sweet finish. This taste I have only found in the kegged beer. The bottle has a much thinner ale taste and a mush lesser acidic character. I have yet to understand how this is so, except that the kegged beer is still 'alive' whereas all aging has been stopped by bottling.

F- Flat mouthfeel and minimal carbonation..

O- My favorite Belgian sour of all-time. There are always a few lingering in my bar for that special occassion and always Monk's Cafe (Philly) and Craft Ale House (Pottstown) are always on my travel destination when I'm in eastern PA just for another precious sample of this amazing creation.

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Photo of mwave
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been eyeballing this in the store for a few years. Finally uncapped one tonight and it is excellent. Pours a beautiful light mahogany with a hint of cherry. Creamy head which dissipates quickly, the nose is sweet and raisiny, and the first sip is a lively balance of sweet and sour. Nice fizzle on the tongue, and the tight carbonation adds to the zest. It's definitely grapey with some prune and oak woodiness, a touch of spice, all in all an excellent and unique brew. At $4 a pop that's $24 a 6, it night not be an everyday but I'm into the gose and sours now and this is special.

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Photo of DannyS
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, 12 oz. mason jar glass.

Look - Deep, dark reddish brown. Almost black. Nice tan colored head that leaves only loose dots of lacing.

Smell - Vinegar and citric acids mixing with dark, tantalizingly sweet fruit.

Taste - hits with an acidic kick at the start, but quickly mellows into dark tart/sweet cherry and grape. I actually wish it were a bit more aggressively sour but this is a great balance, morphing from tart to fruity to oakey & leathery and back around with each sip.

Feel - Active carbonation and a thin body. doesn't detract from it but it doesn't add to the overall enjoyment of the beer.

Overall - This one packs quite a nice flavor punch. This could be a great intro to sour beers for the leery, as well as a standby for the sour fiend that wants something not too astringent to drink every day.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rusty reddish-brown. Ruby highlights when held to the light. Large off-white colored head which disappears slowish but leaves almost no lacing behind.

Aroma is sweet grapes, tart cherry, leather, and mild vinegar. Sour berry and citrus.

Again, starts with sweet grape notes. Tart cherry comes through right afterward. Leather, oak, and mild acetic acid. Sour lemon and raspberry. A touch of vanilla at the end.

Medium bodied with fairly high carbonation. Sweet to start but tartness quickly comes to prominence and lingers.

Very tasty and tart. Flavors blend well. Easy drinking and crispness from the carbonation makes it rather refreshing.

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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.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle that is a year old poured into can glass

A: dark in color with edges of brown light can get through this guy a little. not much of a head dissipates to a film

S: still getting some coffee some bakers chocolate and licorice

T: a lot of that licorice and anise taste with hints of coffee

M: medium to slightly fuller feel

O: I'm not a fan of again beers but I disliked this beer fresh it's better aged which says a lot, but it's not something I will ever seek out again.

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Photo of Mikus
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured this treat from Jens4212 into the tulip. 2 fingers of tan head adrift a sea of black cherry... crimson in the light. Aromas of cherry and dark fruit, some lactic sour notes and a slight vinegar edge. Big tart cherry up front, light lactic and acetic sourness and a hint of oakiness rounding it all out. Bit thin mouthfeel, but smooth carbonation. IMO this was similar to the Rodenbach Standard... lighter than the big boys (Grand Cru, or Duchesse). In this vein, it is a nice, refreshing sipper and likely a better intro beer for someone looking to try an Oid Bruin. Very nice and balanced.

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Photo of synapseprolapse
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear, dark amber, 2 finger head
S: Light malt, acididic
T: Light malt, sweet tarts
M: Lightly carbonated, maybe a little thin.
O: Delicious! I absolutely love this sour, and it balances bacteria with yeast perfectly, in my mind. The only downside is the short-lived head and the maybe slightly thin mouthfeel, but they hardly detract from how delicious this sour is.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

March 22, 2015

11.2 oz bottle, tulip

A – Very deep mahogany, definitely red but almost opaque. An inch of tan/khaki foam head, very bubbly, with very long retention.

S – Souring agents first and foremost, some lactic acid but a ton of acetic acid with a strong vinegar component. Borders on a bit harsh, obviously intentional but not entirely pleasant. Rich cherry and dark fruit, some mild chocolate notes. Hop aroma is negligible.

T – A lot of cherry flavor, along with plum and light grape juice. That touch of chocolate as well as some caramel and rich dark bread. Lactobacillus is present but very mild, just a low level of tart sourness present. Some minor spicy hop notes.

M – Medium-light body with medium sudsy, mouth-filling, creamy carbonation. Just a slight puckering tartness. Fairly smooth and clean, little bitterness of note.

O – Long ago, this was the first sour beer I ever tried, and it’s a great intro to the sour styles. I do not love the acetic/vinegar aroma, believe it’s a bit too strong, but it is an excellent-tasting, very drinkable, complex beer. Very good.

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Photo of Shaler_Tate
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a really good sour, but I didn't get a lot of the fruit that was used in fermentation. Very good and refreshing but I like comparable beers like Duchesse better.

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Photo of mchegash
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - 4.25/5
A very hazy dark red-brown. About 1 finger of tan head. Can see a large amount of carbonation rising to the tiop of the beer.

Smell - 4/5
Smells like a slightly tart red wine. Some earthy/musky grape, and a hint a spice.

Taste - 3.75/5
Tastes like a mix between red wine, sour grape juice, and some fruity beer. It's not bad, it's just not what I was expecting. But still, I am overall happy with this beer.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Medium bodied, medium-high amount of light to medium intensity carbonation. Fairly smooth, with a nice carbonaton kick, which is strong enough, but not too intense.

Overall - 3.75/5
This was a nice change of pace from a lot of other sour beers I've had. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, and the taste is good but not amazing. But the taste was rather unique, at least relative to the sour ales I've had. So I was quite happy with this beer.

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Photo of Alequine
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brown in color with no clarity due to the roasted malts – no see through but an attractive beer. Slight white quarter inch head after the pour. I would describe the body more as light. Even lacking substance. Slightly aromatic fruity character but too light to define. No hop taste, low bitterness, slightly vinegary, sour going in with a slight sweet finish. What was lacking in the substance I also noted in the finish. The first, second and third times that I drank this beer prior to this the beer was enjoyable. Today I drank this beer back to back with a 2011 Rodenbach which left me dissatisfied with this beer. It lacked flavor and mouth-feel and even in aroma. It is a good light bodied beer for the summer.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Ruby pour with neigh top. Sour fruit nose. Tart, sour apples flavor. Medium lite mouthfeel with a bite. Sour from beginning to end, with a little sugar on top of tongue at finish.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sour and over ripe fruits on the nose with a touch of lemon. Pours brilliant deep garnet under a vigorous, slightly tan tinted 5” white foam cap. A sweet and sour palate with fruit, lemon, light malts, a touch of barnyard, hints of brown sugar, cherry and vanilla. Medium body and above average carbonation. Overall well balanced between sweet and tart for a reasonably mild, drinkable Flanders Oud Bruin.

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Photo of ktorsneyweir
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful burnt red color; sweet, slightly funky smell; very smooth on the tongue; cherry notes with a very subtle sour kick. Great for people that don't like that kick-you-in-the-face sour

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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!

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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.

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Photo of mikeg67
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Pours dark red with tall, long-lasting, foamy off-white head and nice lacing. Nose is of caramel malt, vinegar and ripe fruit. Body is light, creamy and crisp. Taste is very similar to aroma. Finish is medium and acidic. Very refreshing, tasty brew.

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Photo of Tilly
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reddish brown color with a huge froth, khaki 2 fingers.
Aroma of berries, malt and sourness .
Sweetness, cherry, raspberry, melons and slightly sour.
Refreshingly light mouth feel with a slight bitterness.
Nice way to introduce me to sour beer.

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Photo of CADETS3
2.69/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

probably gonna get bashed for this, but I currently have 2 bottles of this stuff left in my fridge and all I can taste is wine! the beer was ok, i was not impressed. all i seem to taste is whine like flavors and smells.

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Photo of demon
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed this beer.

Poured with absolutely no head. Gorgeous amber-brown color. Light fruity and acidic smell.

The taste was good and not overpowering for a sour. In fact, I could imagine throwing one of these down pretty quick on a warm day. This beer is VERY sweet. So sweet, the sweetness almost overpowers the sourness. In terms of flavor, this beer was singing "raspberry" to me the whole time. It looks like other reviewers were calling this "cherry" but that didn't register for me. The other flavor notes were very disguised behind the prominent sweetness. I could barely discern any malty or hoppy notes, nor even taste the alcohol, really.

This beer would be good introduction to sour beers since it isn't so sour as to be off-putting. But for those who are looking for the next and greatest sour, you might be a little let down with this one.

At its pricepoint (paid $4 for a single 11.2 oz), I couldn't imagine myself buying a six of these to share with friends. But on those odd secluded nights where you just want to try something different, this was a good choice.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Dark brown body and a huge light khaki head.

Head size and retention makes me think this will be mild on the sourness and it definitely is. Dark bread, wood, touch of brown sugar, plum, cherry.

Nothing spectacular. Worth a tick.

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Photo of cellojon
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Beautiful cherry-amber color, head is almost white; pours easy. Some lacing

Nose: Slight alcohol bite followed by lots of sweet fruit, some bubblegum with a hint of yeastiness at the end

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, a little crispness - much less carbonation apparent than I would have thought from the pour

Taste: Nice sweetness, almost cherry candy, followed by the main course: mild sour and bitterness in the middle; bread at the end holds on a long time

Overall: I enjoyed this one, and it's really easy drinking. Don't have much experience with sours, but I will keep going back to this.

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Photo of samtrillo
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vibrant amber with a bubbly off white head.

Nose is lactic sour.

Taste is very pleasant cherry sour with a slight sweetness. Red wine grape off notes. Mouthfeel is prickly and entertaining. A very nice approachable sour.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,095 ratings.