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

Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,064 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2064
Reviews: 1018
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%


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)
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Ratings: 2,064 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Kudashov
Kudashov

Massachusetts

1.55/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12 .oz bottle with my belvoved Manic Street Preachers - " Design For Life " on the Hi-Fi .Poured into my Stella Artois glass . This was a call from Dan at Marty's . I enjoy talkiing to Dan about beer and his call on the Avery Hog Heaven was very good but this was not . I guess sour is not my style . Color was a dark red burgundy color with a one finger head that did not last long . Cider / sour apples and cherries . Tasing this is not as sour as I thought it was going to be but the flavor is everywhere and the finish is bleh . It was not overly sour that turn me off but it was a tad watery and the flavors again are everywhere . Really had to fight it to get it down . Not a drain pour but close .

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2007 20:38:40 | More by Kudashov
Photo of jmunsters
jmunsters

Michigan

1.58/5  rDev -58.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into a Ommegang chalice.

A- Deep red with a fairly good half finger head that stuck to the glass.

S - Tart, fake cherry flavor like you would find in candy. Not real cherries.

T - Quite tart and sour up front. A good does of brett makes you pucker a bit. This follows to a malty sweetness and then it gets horrible. Acetone and metal and battery acid. I spat it out.

M - Light carbonation leads to a decent mouth and creaminess. Very tolerable mouth feel albeit the taste.

O - This tastes like it will cause cancer. I honestly can not believe the fact that the in-store district rep told me it was better than Rodenbach's Grand Cru. I am absolutely appalled. It does not hold a candle to any sour Flemish I've ever had. I am holding off on all 1.0 ratings with the possibility I had a bad or mishandled batch, but this is honestly the worst Red Flemish I have ever had. This is sour nail polish remover with cherry flavoring.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 21:44:37 | More by jmunsters
Photo of UTCengOwl
UTCengOwl

Texas

1.7/5  rDev -55.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Had this on tap in a nonic half pint glass at the Draught House. Let's just say that I was not impressed by this beer... Thanks 2.0 scores!

The beer poured a pinkish brown color with a scattering of head across the top. I'd prefer for my beers to not come across as pinkish... but maybe that's just me.

The nose and taste were dominated by overly sweet red wine vinegar. Wow, just not pleasant at all. The sweetness sometimes bordered on cloying. The vinegar tastes were not so strong as to be basalmic or repugnant, but it was getting there. At least they were a bit more rounded.

I regretted ordering this after the first sip, but I didn't want to kill myself while drinking the rest of it, so I guess that's a plus. I will definitely not be ordering this again. We need more good sours to come to Texas so I don't have to subject myself to this as one of our few options!

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2010 15:25:20 | More by UTCengOwl
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

1.83/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I am drinking a 330 mL bottle, poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The ale is a deep brown color with a significant amount of sediment.

Smell: There is a slight lactic sourness in the nose.

Taste: Blehh... The sour presence that I expected from this flemish red appeared upfront but quickly disappeared, leaving an unremarkable red ale flavor.

Mouthfeel: Nowhere near as lactic and sour as it should be.

Drinkability: I had 1/2 of the bottle and poured it down the drain. This ale doesn't hold a candle to Rodenbach.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2006 00:36:26 | More by akorsak
Photo of philipquarles
philipquarles

Connecticut

1.85/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

On tap. Pours a very dark, clear red with a medium white head. Heavy acetic acid on the nose, though it doesn't smell very sour at all, just lots of vinegar. Very sugary, and somewhat vinous. Not incredibly appetizing. Tastes outright sweet. Again, acetic notes, but no real tart character. Some hints of artificial cherry. Light-medium body. Lingering, cloying sweetness. Utter shite.

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2009 04:53:58 | More by philipquarles
Photo of dakid618
dakid618

Illinois

1.88/5  rDev -50.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into pint glass. Pours a deep red-brown color with very little head that disappears quickly. Smell is really strong of vinegar with a slight scent of fruits. Reading the BJCP guidelines this bottle may be old as it says the scent should not grow to a noticeable acetic/vinegary character. Taste is also like vinegar and sour cherries. Not malty at all as the guideline says it should be. It's so acetic it burns my nose after taking a drink. Improves slightly as it warms but still way too much like drinking vinegar. Medium bodied mouthfeel that drys out the mouth like drinking red wine. Not drinkable at all to me, the drain is going to enjoy this beer more than me. I've enjoyed all the sours I've ever had but this one, this one is a drainpour. I will try this again to see if maybe I just got an old bottle and re-review if thats the case, otherwise I would advise to be wary of this beer unless you ike drinking vinegar.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2009 17:32:05 | More by dakid618
Photo of carwreCk
carwreCk

Alabama

1.88/5  rDev -50.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

First time having a beer of this style. It spilled everywhere when I opened the bottle. After I finished cleaning up I took a whiff and realized I wasn't going to like this beer. Smells like red wine vinegar. Tastes like red wine vinegar. Can't say much more about it. I won't be buying this beer again and will be staying away from the style indefinitely. Just happens to offend my tastes.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2009 02:40:55 | More by carwreCk
Photo of Overlord
Overlord

California

1.93/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Startled to see a purported Flanders ale for 2.79 at Hi-Times.

Pours a ruddy brown color with a white foam head.

The smell is offputting. Just plain bad. A sickly belgian yeast odor mixed with the familiar citrus zest/lemon tartness of a flanders ale. Does not mix at all.

The taste has some interesting notes, but nothing melds correctly. I get hints of the familiar, delicious vinegar zest, but there's a completely inappropriate cherry/medicinal overtone. It's just all over the map. I love sour ales, but I've apparently focused on the elite. I've now seen what happens when it isn't done well.

Just not a good example of the style, and a borderline drainpour. This noxious brew is sickly, a mishmash of conflicting flavors, and should be taken behind the barn and put out of its misery.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2008 06:06:22 | More by Overlord
Photo of heapofaoatmeal
heapofaoatmeal

North Carolina

1.93/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

poured in a pint glass, red-brown with a white head. smell was a little simple, but ok. vinegar, cherries, malt mnn great smell. the flavor starts out just as the smell, but there is a dark secret. as the vinegar, cherries, and malt subside a sweetness remains. YUCK whiskey tango foxtrot, fake sugar and lots of it. disgusting diet soda faux sugar flavor that just lingers and makes me ill. drainpour, goodbye $2.95, i hardly knew thee.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2009 04:08:48 | More by heapofaoatmeal
Photo of Mahlik
Mahlik

Oregon

1.98/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

11.2 oz bottle poured into a HotD tulip glass.

A- Pours a deep, dark burgundy with a one-finger off-white head. Head dissipates to a thin cap. Minimal traces of lacing.

S- Holy god what a terrible aroma. It smells like someone took soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and candied cherries and threw them together with a pinch of Belgian yeast. That is really the only way I can describe the aroma.

T- Not much going on. Rather bland. Some lactic sourness hits upfront and never really fads away. Subtle sour cherries and more balsamic vinegar finish out the taste.

M- Medium body with plenty of carbonation. The mouthfeel is slick and syrupy. Slightly puckering finish.

O- Complete failure IMO. I love sours. I had yet to have a sour that I did not enjoy until now. Nothing about this beer worked for me. I couldn't even finish half of the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2012 21:39:14 | More by Mahlik
Photo of ChadQuest
ChadQuest

Illinois

2.1/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Looks nice, smells pretty fine too with some fruity notes, but there is way to much sweetness for what i wanted. The medicinal sweetness all but masks the characteristics that could be present. Like Cherry Nyquil. wanted a dry puckering finish, but this leaves with just a wisp of tartness and lets you keep the residual sweetness to stick in your mouth. The 12oz bottle in my snifter is more then enough for me, but i am still glad i tried it for more Oud Bruin experience for only 2.99.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2010 05:56:29 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of jeonseh
jeonseh

Indiana

2.1/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into a GI Matlida glass

A- deep, burgundy color with a light gold color to it. It's opaque and a bit hazy with a small white head that is comprised of small bubbles

S - smell is tart, reminds me of sour cherries with hints of balsamic vinegar. There is a slight farmhouse aspect to it. I also note hints of lemon peel. It also seems to have a slight metallic twang to it

T - taste is definitely tart at first. As it goes on, there is a nice cheery sweetness that comes through and reminds me of the taste of cherry pie filling. There is also a nice lemony aspect that cuts through the sweetness. There is still a strong metallic taste that comes through and reminds me of copper. It lingers on in the finish as well which just makes the aftertaste unattractive.

MF - Surprisingly creamy. Nice carbonation to this that lends to the body.

O - overall, a decent Flanders beer if it wasn't for the metallic taste. However that metallic taste and smell was too much for me to take. I've had other sours before and this is the only one where this came out so strong.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 04:17:33 | More by jeonseh
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

2.13/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

330ml bottle into Delirium Noël glass.

A: Pours an extremely dark ruby red with a thin bubbly light pinkish-brown head that faded into a fuzzy film
S: Smells strongly of sweaty socks with a touch oak and maybe a hint of cherry syrup.
T: Not sour at all. Maybe a touch tart, but for the most part this tastes like overly carbonated fruit punch. Very sweet on the palate, but luckily the finish dries up and a bit of the oak comes out. Aftertaste isn't syrupy, but there is a weird synthetic fruit flavor to it. Not particularly funky at all.
M: Tons of soda-like carbonation froths up in the mouth and then dies down into a slick, viscous finish. Off-putting.
D: Extremely disappointed by this one. The syrupy fruit flavors are almost medicinal and not pleasant. I love all styles of mouth puckering beers, but this one is just not for me.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2010 03:08:02 | More by scottfrie
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

2.25/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Murky burnt opaque raspberry lavender. Small white quick to fade head leave some faint lacing. Not too appetizing.

Violet, sour cherry, yeasty, burnt dried berry varieties, hints of wheat germ, other tart fruits and a odd sweetness follow up the aromas.

Very weak flavors and laid back. Balance is non existent, and just a wretched lack of depth. Hints of strawberry and raspberry, bitterness is mild and really hurt this beer. Mouthfeel is thin and weak and there is virtually no length to the finish.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2007 20:43:21 | More by mcallister
Photo of Pahn
Pahn

New York

2.25/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

11.2oz bottle into a wine glass. Illegible code on it might tell someone when it was bottled, but it doesn't tell me anything.

Appearance: Free pour yields a 3/4 inch fluffy white head that dissipates steadily leaving swatches of lacing along the side of the glass (as does the beer itself). Pours a semi-translucent brownish red.

Smell: Very sweet. Sort of a candy, Belgian yeast smell, along with clove, fig, and off-putting funk and phenolic notes.

Taste: Sweet and funky but very unpleasantly chalky and bitter (also unpleasant is the fact that it isn't at all sour). Some disgusting notes lurking around, similar to nutrasweet. There's some clove and raisin, but mainly it tastes like sickly sweet medicine, or a thin Belgian dubbel that's gone bad. Some cologne-like notes and cinnamon. At its best, a sip is "not good, not terrible," while at its worst I want to pour the beer into a toilet.

Mouthfeel: On the thinner side of medium bodied, low carbonation, semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: The best I can say for this beer's drinkability is that I was able to finish this 11.2oz bottle.

The label mentions a mildly lactic sourness and a sweet and sour finish. In fact, the word 'sour' is used 5 times in the 3 sentence description. For some strange reason I expected the beer actually to be sour... instead it's sort of like a chalky, oily, Belgian dubbel soda (gone mostly flat) with a bunch of aspartame and cough medicine poured into it. Bad.

Since I generally don't like slamming a beer, I'll point out as a postscript that this brewery does make good beer, for example Augustijn Ale, which I gave a solid A (including a 4.5 score for taste) in my review of it. I hated Monk's Cafe however.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2010 07:29:47 | More by Pahn
Photo of colt45n
colt45n

Missouri

2.25/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a nice red/burgandy hue, light buggly white head.

S: Not really sure what flavors im getting here there is definitely a sour sweetness to it, but also something dirty or spoiled fruit about it.

T: SOUR omg was not expecting so much sour, also the spoiled fruit there as well.

This might be a liitle over my head, but my palete could not handle this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2011 02:41:06 | More by colt45n
Photo of Doomcifer
Doomcifer

Rhode Island

2.28/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Appearance - pours an extremely murky/ruddy brown color with slight mahogany hues when held to light. Slight head that fades away quickly.

Smell - Smells like balsamic vinegarette, sweet, tart,

Taste - Extremely sour, taste is there in the background, kinda bland, and is overshadowed by the extreme sourness.

Mouthfeel - light bodied, champagne-like carbonation.

Drinkability - I couldn't take more than one of these. One is more than enough.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2007 00:47:16 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of Mavajo
Mavajo

Georgia

2.48/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep mahogany, reddish color with a mild eggshell head. Aroma of vinegar and cherries. Not bad, but something just seems "off" about it. The taste is tart with a vinegar sourness, backed up by big cherry notes and hints of apple. Sweet. Big, big carbonation that tingles all across your mouth. Clean after-taste and cleanses the palate pretty well. I'm sure the huge carbonation has a had in that. I'm perplexed by some of the reviews that mention "mild carbonation" -- this is one of the most overcarbonated beers that I've ever experienced. If you try to swish it around, you end up with a mouth full of fizzy foam.

There's something just cheap about the aroma/taste on this one, and the over-the-top carbonation just really kills it. Reminds me of a Lindemans/Cheerwine blend, pumped full of carbonation. Seems more like a sparkly wine cooler than a beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2011 00:46:47 | More by Mavajo
Photo of treyrab
treyrab

California

2.5/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Was in the mood for a light sour, so I grabbed this one off an Ohio beer store shelve and poured into my glass...

A: Pours a very clear ruby red with a nice off white head. Look is very nice with ruby, crystal clear hues with plentiful carbonation and a very nice, creamy head.

S: Red wine vinegar up front with some underlying flavors of cherry, and some spice, but vinegar is by far the most prevalent.

T: Light sour grapes with vinegar. Not very good, very light. The grapes are putrid and the vinegar is watered down into the grape taste. Not pleasant.

Overall, this was vinegar galore with some underlying flavors that could not pass the vinegar taste. Not recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2009 01:34:48 | More by treyrab
Photo of ryanonline
ryanonline

Florida

2.5/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

looks like a nice brownish red flemish ale, lots of tan head and decent lacing. sort of opaque but just barely has some clarity to it.

smells light and sour, no hop presence and light on the sweet malts. maybe a slight bready yeast aroma.

the tast is rather off putting. It has virtually no real sour elements and is still very light on hops and malt, I practically taste nothing. Very odd.

the mouthfeel is thin and watery with a dry finish and a bit of foamy yet non aggressive carbonation.

drinkability is fairly high, due to the light nature, but it is not very tasty and, as such, i wouldn't want more than one.

overall, this beer sets you up to expect good things, but it kind of lets you down.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2012 23:40:04 | More by ryanonline
Photo of BMMillsy
BMMillsy

Florida

2.51/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark red with a fizzy head that recedes quickly. Smell is faint and not what I wad expecting. Smells like a weak dubbel or belgian strong dark. Not much sour on the nose. Flavor tastes like carbonated artificial cherry drink. No real sour flavor to be found. Not what I wanted, and rather disappointing. Finishes as clean as a Bud Light. Doesn't taste terrible, but misses the bar as a beer. Maybe okay as an energy drink or coming out of a Capri Sun package. Wtf is this?

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2013 01:52:06 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of TheGordianKnot
TheGordianKnot

Tennessee

2.53/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into tulip glass...

A- Very deep blood brown color with a finger head. Pale pink colored head that settles to a film quickly.

A- Smells like oil and vinegar salad dressing. Subtle fruitiness makes it reminiscent of raspberry vinaigrette...

T/M- This is definitely a raspberry vinaigrette beer. Not quite what I expected. Body is oily and heavy with minimal carbonation; very unlike Duchesse which was what I pictured with this beer. I wanted more of that champagne-like flanders. Middle of the flavor is a berry medley, but it changes to a pungent vinegar and just leaves me dissatisfied.

O- Didn't hit my expectations. Just not something I could drink much of. Taste and feel were taxing to get through...

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2011 19:47:23 | More by TheGordianKnot
Photo of russwbeck
russwbeck

Virginia

2.53/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Clear red pour with a fizzy white head. I was quite surprised at the vigor with which the head rose from the brew. Lacing is spotty, and retention is not great.

S: The smell is quite interesting and complex. The sour and funk rest in the background of a sweet and fruity nose. Cherries, oak, malty. Sort of strange.

T: Not what I was expecting, again. No sourness, sort of vinegar-like, no funk. Lots of fruit. Apples, cherries, raspberries, very sweet. Plastic-like finish.

MF: Creamy body, medium, with a high carbonation. Dry and weird aftertaste.

O: Very disappointed here. Well below average, just not very good.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2011 04:55:53 | More by russwbeck
Photo of AgentMunky
AgentMunky

California

2.53/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a brandy snifter. Stamped 08KK 17:46.

A: A finger and a half of rich head bubbles and collapses on itself fairly quickly. The beer is barely translucent mahogany brown.

S: Poop, metal, dead skunk, and spoiled wine. This is utterly abysmal. The worst smelling beer of all time? It has not a single redeeming feature.

T: I don't like it...I wonder if something is the matter. The first 2/3 of the flavor is metallic, thin, sour, and poor. However, the last third of the taste really opens up. Fruit (grape soda), wine, tasty sourness, and candy sweetness. The aftertaste is lingeringly (sour) yeasty and perhaps the best aspect of the beer.

M: Smooth (like juice) with a tinge of carbonation. Decent. Grape juice is a recurring theme.

O: I am a pretty generous reviewer, but this is just...unacceptable. Maybe it's better on tap? At any rate, definitely NOT recommended. I will never drink this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2012 05:41:38 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of katybee
katybee

Oregon

2.55/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

My first sour ale...this might take a bit of getting used to!

Pours a clear amber brown, and light frothy head which quickly dissipates.

Very light smell, but distinctly not hoppy...somewhat like an aged browned apple.

As an ale, this tastes very different from barley-hops beer. For me, it was similar to a fermented apple cider with less apple, and a little vinegar tartness. Unusual. Very soda-like, with a musky off taste on the tongue. Not as fruity as a [raspberry] lambic, but with no barley or malt character like a wheat beer. No real spiciness I could detect.

The carbonation gave a very soda-like effect, but like soda, and not like champagne. Very light-bodied.

Fortunately, this beverage was alcoholic, which gave a purpose to the drinking of it. The ale might blend well with cheeses and pie or crackers, and as a desert on its own, however the off-ness of the taste, and mild sweet carbonation for me wouldn't sit well with other meals (hamburger, pizza, chicken) and a definite no-no to doritos, onion-flavored chips and barbecue!

A quality taste experience, but not one I'll likely repeat!

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 02:57:24 | More by katybee
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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,064 ratings.