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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
86
very good
1,121 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,121
Ratings:
2,873
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
21.61%
 
 
Wants:
87
Gots:
422
For Trade:
6
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium | website

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

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.

Added by nomad on 06-19-2003

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,121 | Ratings: 2,873
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Such a unique style but so fun to drink. Pours out a cloudy, brown color with a very small head that doesn't seem to last. I see very few bubbles make their way to the top. I forgot to mention this is a 11.2 fl oz bottle, capped.

Smell is sour with something coming through almost like toast? Light notes of cherries and malt seem to be somewhat refreshing. Taste is much milder than I expected. The "sourness" is light but refreshing which makes it more drinkable. The cherries and fruit come through in the beginning and middle. The ending dumps off quickly. Some oaky notes come through but not enough.

Truely a tough beer to rate. I don't know this style well so I am going off pure taste and enjoyment. I would buy this or order this again anytime. I can't wait to try more examples of this style.

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Photo of cavman
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got 2 bottles one for now one to age a bit, and see how it changes.

A = A quite attractive beer, I poured it into a La Chouffe tulip. Nice reddish color and a thick off white/light beige head.

S = Was what I was expecting, some tart cherry notes with a little bit of sour in the nose.

T = Reminds me of Duchesse but not as complex, cherry flavor seems to dominate followed by a slight sourness.

M = Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body.

D = I find it very drinkable, a beer that the wine folks would appreciate as well.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light brown in color, small head with moderate lacing.

S: Funky yeast, sweet dark fruits, wood. Easily identifiable as a Flanders Oud Bruin.

T: Refreshing and tasty. I always prefer sour over sweet, but this beer marries the two quite well. There is an intriguing, musty, funky aspect to the beer that I am enjoying. The beer definitely has a sweet component, and finishes that way.

M: Moderately low carbonation, nice feel, sweet/sour finish (mostly sweet).

D: My palate can only handle a small amount of sweet beers. This one is very well done, and I'd be happy to drink it again.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked bottle split into two big snifters

Pours with very little head, pours a dark brownish red, medium amount of fine slow carbonation. Smell is dark and tart, maybe dark plums.

Taste is super tart, with a sweet aftertaste, it's very interesting, sort of a light flavor.

Mouthfeel is light and thin. Overall, nice, tasty, interesting beer.

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Photo of akolb
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark with a huge head. Aroma of tootsie rolls, prunes, funk, and figs. Tart and fruity taste. A very nice beer, complex, sour, and refreshing, I enjoyed this quite a bit.

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Photo of Phatz
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this beer but it is really freakin tart. I mean like vinegar. Lots of vinegar.

Appearance: Dark amber copper color with a halo.

Smell: Lots of sour apple orchard aroma. The smell of apples that have cooked a bit in the sun. Sour and sweet, acidic and fruity, cherries and berries, galore.

Taste: VERY acidic. Vinegarish. Sour apple and cherries in the flavor with a lactic acid attribute. This beer definitely takes some warming up to. It is a grow on you beer and *Not* one I would consider 'easily' approachable. The aftertaste is sour and astringent but has sweet sugars drawing lines in the tartness as well. This beer border on cloying but manages to walk the line and come out just fine; making this a very unique one to try.

Mouthfeel: A medium light body that has just enough carbonation to keep it feely somewhat airy through all the dry astringent character.

Drinkability: As harsh as I may have made this beer sound, it left an impression on me and I wanted more.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

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Photo of fropones
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown with one finger of khaki head. Smell is vinegar and cherries. Sour. Making my mouth water already. Taste is deliciously sour, cherries, some jammy fruits, maybe raspberries. Green apple. Not as funky as I was expecting. Medium bodied, effervescent, nice dry finish. Extremely drinkable and thirst-quenching. I'd take this over gatorade any day of the week.

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Photo of jwc215
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass:

Pours mahogany with a one-finger+ off white head that descends to about half the size and stays. Lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is mildly sour, vinuous, candy in the back.

The taste is sour/grapefruity/vinuous. Candy sweetness mixes in to give it a sweettart, dry finish.

Appropriately light-bodied and rather mild (but tasty) for the style, this is an easy drinker. It isn't as sour as other classic examples, but has a nicely balanced sourness to it and could be a good intro to the style. A nicely done brew. Could pair well with grapes and creamy cheeses.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on-tap on 03/09/06 at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Full ruby red color with a decent light beige head and moderate carbonation. Definite sourness in the aroma but overall a nicely balanced sweet and sour Flanders Red Ale in both aroma and flavor. Fairly mild overall for the style and therefore makes it a very approachable introduction for newcomers. Medium bodied and refreshing without being overly sour; looking forward to tasting the bottled version but it seems from previous reviews that it may not be quite as good.

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Photo of armock
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my go to beer at my local bar when theres nothing on the new beer list that I want to try.

A - Pours a ruby color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Has a wonderful sour nose of apple and dark fruits

T - Follows the nose with sour apples and dark fruit flavors

M - This beer has a fuller body with higher carbonation to it

D - I love this stuff I could seriously drink this stuff all night long when I'm at the Gingerman I love the taste to me its one of the most easy drinking sours out there worth getting to try if you see it

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Photo of rickyleepotts
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is apparently rare. I had no idea. I don’t even remember what it cost, but it was less than $10 for the bottle. I grabbed a bottle at Whole Foods. They have a solid selection, but sell just as many cases as they do single bottles. I think ALL beer should be available at ALL stores by the bottle. But that’s just me.

I don’t remember the show, but when I search for “Monk’s Cafe” on Google, the restaurant from the hit TV show Seinfeld shows up. I wonder if that was the name of the restaurant on the show… anyone know? Anyway, let’s get busy drinking.

In the Glass: I didn’t expect this to be so dark. It’s almost red. The label is red, which makes sense. But the last few sours I have had were not red. That’s for sure. But hey, I am fairly new to sours, so maybe THIS is normal.

Nose: Holy cow. The first thing I smell is sour. Like SOUR sour. Not just sour… but sour sour. Did I mention this beer is a sour? I also am picking up some spices on the second sniff. After three or four smells, it starts to settle down a little bit. But I can already taste the sour. Let’s just see how sour she is.

Flavor: The beer quickly slides across the palate, with little carbonation and then just disappears leaving your tongue with that almost too sour sour, but then a soothing finish. The back of the throat gets those spices I was picking up on the nose, but the sour doesn’t really last. That’s OK.

Mouthfeel: I wanted a few more bubbles, but the beer has a great mouthfeel. You don’t get much on the front of the tongue, but then the sour slides around and just punches you in the teeth when you start to swallow. Then the sour leaves, and those spices hang on into the aftertaste. The beer is also very thin, which I expected. As sour as it is, it is very easy to drink, and with a low ABV I could see myself throwing back a six-pack on a Friday night.

Aftertaste: The sour is so forward, it doesn’t really stick around. The spices that were on the nose do. The aftertaste lasts for three or four minutes, then you are left with a somewhat bitter, dry finish. The burp is pretty weak too, but the sour explosion on the tongue when you start drinking puts the rest to shame.

This beer is rare, but shouldn’t be. It’s delicious. It’s also a good springtime beer too, as those sours make me think/feel about the summer just around the corner. I wonder what foods this would pair with… anyway, it’s great. Bottoms up, people!

Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale - The bottle says: “We blend young and old beers to make this mildly sour sour ale. Light bodied with a lactic/sour nose and a bit of sweet and sour in the finish. Very refreshing!”

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Photo of Texasfan549
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle straight from the fridge into a snifter. First time trying this style! Pours a clear bright red with a massive white head that filled over half of my snifter. Head receded after a couple minutes and left slight lacing. Aroma is sour cherries and a little funk with no hops or beer like qualities. Taste is all sour cherries, reminds me of the first time I ate candy! Carbonation explodes in your mouth and reveals tart cherries and a sweet almost sugary finish that sticks to your tongue. I couldn't put my glass down for more than a few seconds without finding myself wanting another sip. Mouthfeel is light and crisp with huge carbonation. Overall I'm glad I tried this and will be buying more on my next visit. I always enjoy trying new styles of beer and this is a prime example... really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of tai4ji2x
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

no date on the bottle. possible batch number of U8:44?

poured into tulip

dark, almost opaque reddish brown. red tint under the light. not bottle conditioned, so pretty clear. decent head, but soon fades to a thin, then wispy layer. some good lacing.

very sour and funky vinegar aroma. fresh wood comes in and peaks at the back. balsamic vinegar? cider, crabapple, hint of dried cranberry and raisins. whiff of molasses.

flavors are similar, tart upfront with that balsamic character again. plus more woody notes. undertone of caramelized malts, with that almost-molasses flavor. tartness fades as it continues and you start to notice a gentle (hop?) bitterness. pleasantly sweet and sour overall.

not too thin nor watery. some acidic and tannic texture. moderate and refreshing carbonation.

perhaps not the pinnacle of the style, but you can't beat the price.

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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 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 dantheduck
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a very nice sour. Had it on tap at our favorite bottle shop in Raleigh, The Hop Yard. Nice dark color, very good fruity aroma, and a full body mouth feel that could only have been made better by a little more pucker. Definitely a do for sour loving fans.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This pours a medium brown color with a foamy, off-white head. The scent is kind of sour with a slight amount of yeast. The flavor starts off very sweet and ends with sour finish. The texture is good and the flavor is ok, but there is certainly room to make this a bigger, bolder beer. Pretty simple and reserved which makes for a good starter sour/wild ale.

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Photo of BeerYain
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here's the skinny: pours with little head and slight lacing. In my book, that's a good thing. I wanna get to the beer, not work my way through the foam. I would call this a typical representation of a Flemish sour - low alcohol and not too tart or sour for the casual drinker, but maybe underwhelming for the "seasoned" drinker. On a scale of 1 - 10 on the sour/tart scale, I'd probably give it a 4. Serve cold, but room temp ain't half bad either.

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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 lstokes
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Grace Tavern, apple cider colored with a minimal head (but then, the bartenders didn't seem to know that we like our heads!) and practically no lacing.

It smells like sour cherries, but has a lot of complex notes to it, some vinegar, the barest hint of funk, green apples and dried fruits. The taste is also solid, very sour but refreshingly so, and never puckering or acidic, but the mouth feel was almost too light for me, I wanted something more to roll around in my mouth.

It's not maybe the sourest of the sour ales, but it's drinkable! I even got a second one, which isn't something I can often say for this style. Would be amazing with some strong cheese.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle into long stemmed tulip. some kind of marking on the bottle that i cannot make out.

A: couldnt even pour the entire 11.2oz bottle into my glass because of this head. very fluffy. great retention and tons of lacing left behind. color is a a reddish orange and reminds me a little of rose wine. loads of carbonation ribbing through the glass.

S: boatload of fruit. black cherries. blueberries. blackberries. tart and sweet. a little bit of grapefruit. a little bit of tart acidity, but mostly fruity and sweet. little bit one-note as far as being heavy on the fruit side.

T: starts highly tart. pucker-worthy. quickly dissipates as each visit to the glass tends to be less acidic. phenols. some sweetness is there, but faint. cherries and strawberries. finish is there, but dry.

M: effervescent fizz. certainly champagne-like.

D: good flavor and mouthfeel make for this to be super drinkable. the acidity is a nice complement. could crush a lot of these.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A gorgeous dark amber burnt brown and red body with clear presentation. Head doesn't stick around much but a good solid tan collar is left to observe. Very much like this body color, clear, brown and ruby. Looks great!

Bouquet is sweet and sour cherries, with emphasis on sweet first. A distinct sort of sweet mix of brown sugar and malt too. Hint of tartness. I really like this nose.

Taste is very good emphasis on sweet red fruits. Berries of cherry, raspberry, maybe even some dark plum. No sour or tartness at all. Very chewy in the palate, candy taffy like, with some slurring wetness in the feel. Brown sugar takes on during the finish.

Overall pretty easy drinking not even sour, quite sweet actually which probably knock my score down a bit. But it's a great beer and a good place to start to get your feet wet if you are not into sour tastes.

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Photo of djeffbee
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Canal's Discount Liquors in Pennsauken, NJ. Very shocked to see this on the shelf, couldn't pass it up @ $1.99/bottle...

A - Pours deep amber to ruby, with no haze and a short head that fades quickly leaving lotsa lacing behind.

S - Sour cherries and green apples. More pleasant than expected based on other reviews.

T - WOW. Sour cherries (talking sour patch kids) with a mild malty background and no apparent hop presence. This is good.

M - I liken this to sucking on a lemon - a bit tart at first, making you pucker and leaving a very pleasant clean tingle. Nice.

D - Very good. I was expecting so much worse. This is an excellent beverage. I could see maybe two at a sitting, but not much more beyond that. (kinda like you wouldn't drink a few Coke's in a row)

Very enjoyable and will definitely purchase this again..

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Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: auburn with a two and a half finger head. It leaves a solid lacing.

S: grapes and woody aroma.

T: Grape is the predominant base flavor. The beer is sour, almost vinegar-like, and a bit sweet. This is a really enjoyable and well balanced flavor profile for the style.

M: smooth and moderately carbonated.

D: a very enjoyable beer that I can easily finish several bottles of.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouts a lovely, slightly hazed brown in color. This fades into red and then orange towards the edge of the glass, giving a really attractive sunset impression. Moderately sized light tan head. The aroma is tart, with light oaky notes.

The taste hits big and sour at the start, but blends into an appealing woody malt character mid-palate. A bit sticky in the throat at the finish, but this problem fades as the hops strengthen with warmth, giving the beer a lightly floral finish with a slight metallic tinge. Despite how it sounds, though, this actually seems to work in conjunction with the malt middle. Pretty damn drinkable.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,121 ratings.