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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

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

2,330 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,330
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 50
Gots: 159 | FT: 2
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: 2,330 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bubba83
3.8/5  rDev -1%

Bottle says 25BJ 16:17. No idea what that means but I bought this a bit over a year ago. 11.2 served into a small globe glass at 50 degrees.

Appearance is quite awesome, two finger widths of light tan head with plenty of fizzyness top an amber colored body that looks like it has red highlights. Retention is awesome and lacing is good.

Smells of sour cherries, funk, raspberry, toasted bread, and traces of black pepper/clove. The layers of complexity in the nose are impressive.

First thing I taste is definitely a very sweet cherry flavor similar to Wisconsin Belgian Red. Thankfully that lets up rather quickly into a slightly sour kick and then some red wine vinegar and other assorted berries. There's a bit of breadiness here as well, and it's fairly well balanced, though it comes off a little overly sweet.

The consistency seems about right, but the carbonation seems a little much. It feels quite spritzy. Finishes fairly wet.

Overall this is a good Flanders Oud Bruin and one that I believe has improved with age. I have trouble palating this style so I only like to throw it into the mix once in a while.

Bubba83, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of jar2574
3.8/5  rDev -1%

First time I've had this style of beer. Beer is reddish brown, decent light tan head. Lacing and head retention leave a lot to be desired though.

Smells weakly of malts.

Taste is tart and sour - as the name would imply - and the flavor is really, really cool. I like it. As the beer warms I taste some cherries and cranberries too. The sourness isn't a scrunch up your face with displeasure sourness. It's more subtle. Aftertaste is only slightly sour, it doesn't hang around on your tongue too long like sour candy.

I give it points for uniqueness, and for drinkability, since I would like to and could have several.

jar2574, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of johnnnniee
3.8/5  rDev -1%

Pours a really clear deep copper color with a huge head that slowly dissipates to a cap but leaves fluffy sticky lace down the sides of the glass. Smell of lactic acid, sweet malts, a bit of lemon, and sour cherries. Taste is sweeter than I expected but has that sour twang about it. More lemons and sour cherries and sweet malts in the taste. Leaves a sweet and sour taste in my mouth, pass the Chinese food. Mouthfeel is syrupy and a bit sticky. Carbonation is on the high side prickling the tongue with every sip. Body is medium. Decent sour ale, but I thought it a bit on the sweet side for the style. Maybe more like a beginners sour ale, but still tasty.

johnnnniee, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of superspak
3.8/5  rDev -1%

750 ml bottle into tulip. Pours clear dark reddish-brown color with a foamy 3 finger light orange head with great retention that reduces to a fairly thick lacing cap. Aromas of sour cherry, apple, spices, bread, grass, and a bit of funk. Aromas are solid. Taste of big cherry, apple, and a bit of spices on the front; that leads to a decent amount of of tartness on the finish, but it is not overpowering. I was actually expecting more sourness in this one. Great balance of sweetness and tartness. No alcohol in the taste or finish. Prickly high carbonation in the mouthfeel with light-medium body. No alcohol in the taste or finish noticed. Overall this is a tasty sour, nice balance, and good drinkability due to the moderate amount of sourness.

superspak, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of Scottnr88
3.8/5  rDev -1%

A: Pours a deep mahogany almost dark amber color. The white head dissipates quite quickly after pouring. Almost no carbonation afterwards.

S. I got some grassy notes on the nose. You can smell the sweetness of the beer with the very apparent profile of cherry in the beer.

T: Again lot of earthy flavors coming through, green apple,hey, cherry. One thing i did not expect was the dry finish at the end. Almost tastes like a hard cider or a champagne.

M: Good mouth feel, not too heavy or overpowering. Nice and sweet, slightly sour. Was almost expecting it to be a LOT more sour than it actually was.

Scottnr88, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.8/5  rDev -1%

A - Pours dark red into a pint class, with a big head that dissipates quickly into some nice lacing.

S - Smells sweet and sour, with mild vinegar notes, not as floral as I would hope.

T - Tart and sour, fruit-apple, cherry, maybe even some grapes in there. If you taste a nice swig and breathe out before swallowing your really taste the sweet mats of this brew.

M - Pretty thick beer, but the high level of carbonation really offsets that. Overall rather nice.

D - This is a nice beer that's worth trying, probably wouldn't have more than 2 in a row though.

StoneBrewFanatic, Jul 19, 2010
Photo of Jwale73
3.8/5  rDev -1%

11.2oz bottle served in my new Chouffe N'Ice 25 cl flute at 52 degrees (wish I had let this chill down a little more). Poured a translucent chestnut with a tight two inch off-white head pock-marked on the surface, but composed of compressed, tiny bubbles along the shoulders; head eventually recedes into a consistent, dense cap. A half moon band of lacing coats one side of the glass with spatters coating the opposite side of the bowl. Nose indicated some acidity off the bat; suggests sour cherries. Taste consistent with nose, but sour character is muted and even; not overly bold upfront but consistent throughout the tasting experience. Mouthfeel is light and lively with a slight acidity at the finish. Easy drinking and flavorful with a low abv makes this a great introduction for sour beer newbies (like myself).

Jwale73, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of VWBuggirl
3.8/5  rDev -1%

This is a new style of beer for me. So here goes!

The color is fantastic! It is a nice dark brown with a reddish hue to it.

The smell on the other hand is very vinegary. Now my rating on smell is based on the fact that this is a sour and, well, I would expect that it would smell sour. If a normal beer smelled this way I would toss it.

The taste is definitely sour. I get a hint of green apple in it. I wouldn't call it drinkable though. Even though I am enjoying it, I am not sure I could have another tonight, and it isn't for everyone.

VWBuggirl, Feb 05, 2010
Photo of perrymarcus
3.8/5  rDev -1%

pours a deep amber tone, sits a chestnut color with ruby tones evident when held to light. foamy finger, finger and a half beige head, middling retention; head lapse into a thin cap... very nice lacing.

nose is a pretty nice bouquet consisting mostly of malts, sour/tartness, and a fruity sweetness.

flavor hits me with a little more sourness than i was anticipating based on the aroma, but not an overly, mouth-pucking sour... interesting balance between the sweet and sour. defintely has some tang to it; sour cherries. tasty and refreshing, though nothing transcendent.

medium-bodied mouthfeel with healthy carbonation. drinks easily. looks like 4s across the board here.

edit: docking the drinkability score a point. it's wearing on me.

perrymarcus, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of larryi86
3.8/5  rDev -1%

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- Brown with a hint of red and a two finger head that fades quickly

S- Sour and tart fruits, getting cherries and lemons, some nice funky yeast, and a hint of vinegar that seems out of place.

T- Sour/tart sherries and grapes up front, a hint of funk and oak in the middle. Very sweet malt finish, seems a little out of place.

M- Nice medium body.

D- A good beer and I am happy I tried it. I feel that some flavors and smells are out of place, and was hoping that it would be more sour and less sweet.

larryi86, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of FLima
3.8/5  rDev -1%

Dark brown color with a thin off-white head with short retention.
Light aroma of red wine and a hint of funky notes.
Wonderful flavor with notes of red wine, bread malt, vinegar, raspberries and cranberries, a hint of sulfur, with a pleasant mild tartness and lactic acid.
Full body with a bit effervescent carbonation and a light acid sensation.
Very assertive and easy to drink. As other Flemish Ales it is a good introduction to Sour Ales.

FLima, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of hellcatsjg
3.8/5  rDev -1%

Appearance: Dark ruby beer with a good two fingers of head. Layer of foam lasts for the whole brew and leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Sour cherry with a bit of malts as well.

Taste: Big sour cherry taste dominates, with a bit of green apple present as well. Malt flavor joins in at the back end of the sip. Decent taste but not as full as I would like.

Mouthfeel: Thickness is decent but the body is slightly weak. The beer doesn't coat the mouth as much as I would like, and the taste does not linger for very long.

Drinkability: Decent taste but does not come across as full enough to enjoy completely. Worth a try but nothing great.

hellcatsjg, Feb 23, 2008
Photo of thekevlarkid
3.8/5  rDev -1%

Off the tap at American Flatbread I tried this with a lady who's chest was a big as this was tart. In other words, this beer was really freaking tart. My glass was delivered to me with a thin, khaki head atop a mahogany/copper colored liquid. The lacing was sticky and the retention great. The aroma was very sour with some hints of vinegar but it was still appealing, being wrapped around a pale malt base. The flavors were similar, hints of vinegar, sour green apples, slightly toasted malt, tart cherries and citrus notes of orange and lemon. Lots of acidic fruit presence. The mouthfeel was smooth, the body medium, the carbonation medium. A very unusual style of beer but one of the best examples of it I know of.

thekevlarkid, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of Mitchster
3.8/5  rDev -1%

$2.99 for a 11.2oz bottle @ Merchants. Pours out to a clear very deep mahagony, forming a medium sized tan head with good retention and solid sheets of lace. Carbonation is moderately brisk. The aroma is quite sharp and pungent, reminding me of heavily caramelized sugar and apple cider vinegar. The mouthfeel is spritzy and semi-dry with a medium-light champagne-like body. The taste opens with thankfully brief vinegar, followed by rotting cherries, apples, burgandy wine, and plenty of wood in the finish. Well-balanced for a Flemish Red, not overly syrupy or tart. Big oak character as well. Not quite up there with Goudenband or Duchesse in it's complexity, but still quite good.

Mitchster, May 31, 2009
Photo of RedSpecial1
3.8/5  rDev -1%

This beer pours a light copper with a small off white head with slight persistent lacing. The smell is of white wine vinegar with a sour note as well. The taste is initially a touch of sweet white wine fading into a moderate sourness. The mouthfeel is light and fairly dry. The strong flavors in this beer keep it from being too drinkable, but it is an interesting drink.

RedSpecial1, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of Soneast
3.8/5  rDev -1%

On tap at Dexter's Pub in Madison. Poured into a large tulip glass.

The pour produces a murky liquid, more ruby red than brown, maybe mahogany would be the appropriate term? Grows about a finger's worth of light brown colored head, that dissipates fairly quickly, to a bubbly ring, that leaves a small amount of lace.

The aroma: well I think apple cider vinegar sums it up. Quite a sour note, but also a touch of woody malt character with a hint of sweetness along the line of brown sugar, but mostly just...vinegar.

The flavor, fortunately, isn't all that vinegary. In fact, it is very good. A fair amount of tartness as to be expected, with a fruity component, more along the lines of a tart cherry I would say, with a touch of woodiness once again, the finish isn't overpoweringly sour, it's actually fairly sweet, yet retains a certain dryness.

Medium bodied, with pretty mild carbonation. Overall I thought the sour component was definitely tamed, and this might be a good introductory sour beer for the uninitiated. The vinegary aroma was off-putting at first, but it seemed to come into it's own as it warmed, both aroma and flavor-wise. A easily drinkable sour, that I would not mind drinking again.

Soneast, Oct 23, 2009
Photo of larsenju
3.8/5  rDev -1%

A-Rich amber red body with a very tall light brown head, very good retention and lacing.

S-Just a little sour, some cherries, just a little caramel, crisp apple, and just a touch of a vinegar aroma.

T-Lightly tart, I was getting plenty of cherry and a little green apple, I also got some other lightly fruity esters. It wasn't really funky at all, leaving it pretty juicy but it was still pretty nice. There was also a little malt profile buried in there, kind of a mix of caramel and biscuit with just a little bit of oak backing everything up.

M-Lots of carbonation, but its still pretty smooth, and very dry, almost champagne like.

D-I really like a super tart and funky Flanders, and this isn't. That said, its pretty easy to drink making it more approachable than most in the style. If I remember right it wasn't to expensive either.

larsenju, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of atpben
3.8/5  rDev -1%

Had this in a bottle at the Houston Gingerman. Poured into a snifter. Pours a reddish-brown color with a thick head. Aroma of vinegar mixed with cherries and some light citrus notes. Quite tart flavor with more vinegar and cherry in the taste. Quite dry in the finish. Pretty decent sour. A little less sweet than duchess.

atpben, Jul 09, 2009
Photo of Mantooth
3.81/5  rDev -0.8%

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.

Mantooth, May 08, 2014
Photo of brewerburgundy
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

brewerburgundy, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of kenito799
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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

kenito799, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

DavoleBomb, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of rfgetz
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

rfgetz, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of JamesMN
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

JamesMN, Sep 20, 2013
Photo of NorCalMaekJuMan
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

NorCalMaekJuMan, May 14, 2013
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,330 ratings.