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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

2,063 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2063
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: 2,063 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of gyllstromk
gyllstromk

Belgium

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby. Nose is granny smith apples, cranberries, cider. Flavor is apples, raspberries, champagne. The finish is a pronounced sweet tartness evoking cranberries or currants. Feel is bubbly like a sparkling wine. The sourness is very enjoyable and does not compromise drinkability like some sour beers. Very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2009 22:23:25 | More by gyllstromk
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator

California

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased at K&L in Redwood City.

A: Pours a rusty / chestnut brown color with reddish tint when held to the light. Has an inch of head that dissolves quickly into scattered film on top of the brew and a collar around the edge. No real lacing down the glass.

S: Sour apples, grapes, tamarind, cherry, and vinegar. Nice little blend, very pungent aroma that begs for some sampling.

T: Vinegary sourness up front, which blends seamlessy into a green apple taste. This segues into the other fruit flavors, namely cherry and grapes, with some raspberry lightly hidden behind. The finish is sweet and tart tamarind, reminding me of hard candy in particular.

M: High, fine carbonation like a sparkling wine, which makes the body feel a bit thinner than its medium-to-full range.

D: Pretty sessionable, I would say. The ABV is medium so it's not going to knock you flat, and the flavor, while significant, is not so overpowering that it fatigues the taste buds.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2009 03:29:55 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this long wanted one the other day and I knew I just had to get it right into the rotation. This one I have been wanting to try as I have heard it is an outstanding version of the style. Served at cellar temp and poured into a goblet this one was consumed on 04/23/2009.
 
The pour was wonderful, deep and dark red in color with a light tan head that came up to a height of around two inches before settling back down and leaving tons of lace all over the sides and bottom of the glass while never really falling much below the one inch level. The aroma was lightly tart, sour cherries, hints of earthy and spicy notes and even a touch of what seemed like brown sugar or something along those lines. Rally very well done and quite complex. The flavor was a little less tart then what I would have liked but I have to admit was still done very well. Rich and full, it was never flat or boring and I have to admit I found myself returning back to it time and again for another go round.
 
Overall a very solid Flemish ale, not the best I have had, but this was very well put together. Highly drinkable and something that I would not turn my nose at if I ever received it again, very well done.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2009 14:57:49 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of joeysmokedporter
joeysmokedporter

Maryland

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

A: pours mahogany red, clear, with a 2 finger reddish tan head.

S: dominated by vinegar, although cherry and woody aroma also present. this is one beer where the aroma and flavor are fairly disconnected, and in this case for the better.

T: an aceto-vinegar flavor, but also sour-cherry-like, with a sweet malty flavor coming in and a bit of a tannin finish. while some beers in this style have tasted like salad dressing to me, this one has a flavor that balances between sour, vinegar, and sweetness. Cherry doctor pepper-like flavor is evident in the middle of this, and finishes on the bitter side with a strong hint of wood aging.

M: light although puckering in the end, with the effect of the bitterness. carbonation high but appropriate for the style.

D: The more i drink the more I want. This is quite an enjoyable sour beer. Paired up with trappist cheese for a nice contrast, but alone this beer is fine as a drinker.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2009 03:10:16 | More by joeysmokedporter
Photo of jsh420
jsh420

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours clear amber brown with a big 2+ finger head that leaves lacing down the glass

smells of sweet/sour cherries grapes apples malt vinegar

taste is great - much like the nose - the perfect balance of sweet and sour - good nutty malt aftertaste

mouthfeel medium body with plenty of life to it

drinkability is good but i would not more then maybe 2 in one sitting

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2009 00:18:39 | More by jsh420
Photo of rye726
rye726

Colorado

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber with a tan head and some light lace. Nose has sweet cherries, ripe plums and tart yeast. Taste has more ripe fruits followed by a sour yeast presence and a bit of funk. Crisp clean body is well carbonated. Tasty Flanders Red, but not a bruin.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2009 03:54:03 | More by rye726
Photo of dubinsky
dubinsky

California

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first sour, so take this review with a grain of salt.

Poured from 12.oz bottle into a Chimay goblet. The color is a nice, clear, rusty copper hue. The smell was unusual, but i expected it from other reviews i read prior to drinking it. Smells of vinegar and apple cider.

The taste is equally unusual. I kept thinking that i am drinking expired Martinelli's apple cider, possibly an expired cola. Very sweet.

Has a very nice light carbonation that complements the smooth finish of the beer. My stomach is gurgling though. Weird!

overall, it was a fun experience that i dont think i will turn into a habit. Its definitely a particular taste that will take some getting used to. I liked it, but dont ever see myself dinking a lot of it or often.

Reviewed 8/23/11

Beer poured from bottle into a snifter.

A - Beer pours a dark brownish red with a nice two finger khaki head. The head seems to lose itself rather quickly from my pour eventually settling to the edge of the glass. The beer appears to be mostly clear with some visible sediment settling to the bottom of the glass.

S – The first waft I pick up is of a wine vinegar followed by a nice sour funk. I’m picking up some black and sour cherries as well as blackberry.

T – Sweet black cherry with a slight vinegar acidity and astringency. The sourness steps aside to give way to the cherry sweetness that is coming forward in huge volumes. A nice tartness. This beer is definitely a sour, but not mouth puckering. A great desert beer.

M – Medium bodied with excellent carbonation. Very sweet and tangy. Like a sour patch kid, first its sour then its sweet. Avery crisp and refreshing

D – This was the first sour I ever tried due to the accessible price point almost two years ago and I really didn't care for it. I couldn’t believe why anyone would buy this. Today I can truly attest to how my my palate has evolved/changed. I'm really enjoying this wonderful beer. At $3+ this is an amazing beer that i'm likely to keep in rotation as an everyday sour/desert beer. I really enjoyed this and will be buying it often I can see.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 20:49:58 | More by dubinsky
Photo of Frosty80
Frosty80

Michigan

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color: pours light brown. sits dark copper with deep ruby hue

Smell: moderate funkiness of vinegar and gym locker with a hint of cherry sweetness to round it out. somehow this works

Taste: a mellow tartness with a hint of vinegar and cherry sweetness through the finish

Mouthfeel: light-medium body with moderate carbonation

Notes: personally i love vinegar so im very cool with sours like this. refreshing especially after having a big stout

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2010 02:12:14 | More by Frosty80
Photo of JoePat
JoePat

Kentucky

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours reddish brown with a thin pale head.

I get strawberries, sour cherries and a hint of cinimon in the aroma.

I get a lot of the strawberrry and sour cherry in the beginning of this beer with a hint of malt in the middle and nuttiness on the finish.
Not extreme sourness but it is definately the main character of the beer. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is thin with a lot of carbonation escaping the liquid as it hits your mouth adding to the dryness of the beer.

Probably the most drinkable sour beer I have ever had with all that balance supporting the sourness.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2010 16:24:13 | More by JoePat
Photo of happy5930
happy5930

New York

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the first sours I've had. I found it to be smooth, and easy to drink. Not much carbonation. Amber in color, with little to no sediment. Not much of a bite, and not too sour. It was sweet to the tongue and nose. Certainly worth a try, a smooth and light brew, to put back slowly.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2011 03:42:18 | More by happy5930
Photo of goast8127
goast8127

Michigan

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a deep red - ruby would be a good one word description.

The aroma is sweet and leans towards grapes. Definite notes of sourness that the name indicates.

Once on the tongue there is a sweet warmth that fills the mouth, finishing with a pleasant bitter, sour sensation.

Feels a little hot in the mouth, likely due to the carbonation. Would be interested to try this beer at a temp a few degrees warmer.

Overall a beer fitting its description. Definitely not a session beer but an excellent pre-dinner selection.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2011 00:02:18 | More by goast8127
Photo of Netdigger2
Netdigger2

South Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poors a deep brown mahogany with an amber head that resembles more a Pepsi than a beer... Serious carb.

The nose is of sour patch kids, vinegar, and funk.

The flavor rivals any good flander's sour or bruin gueze, full of vinegar, tart cherries, vanilla extract

Mouthfeel is great, the outrageous carb helps dry it out like champagne, and it has a very light feel on the palate.

For 4.99/ bottle, this is a great sour and will be one of my default brews.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2011 16:23:55 | More by Netdigger2
Photo of JustinMatthew
JustinMatthew

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 750ml in to a tulip glass. A beautiful dark red color with a small white head that quickly disappears. Smells Of vinegar and what seems to be some sort berries. Taste is very similar.. Lots of vinegar and fruit coming through. Good amount of sourness in this one. I enjoyed it. the After taste lingering in what seems to be some sort of berries.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2011 04:58:47 | More by JustinMatthew
Photo of ShanePB
ShanePB

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Craft Ale House, poured into a 12 oz Monk's Cafe glass.

A: Beautifully clear reddish/brown colored body with a small, fizzy and soda-like off white head. The retention is pretty nice but not as full and thick as I'd like it to be. Some lacing is left behind, but to style it's really nice looking.

S: Caramel malts, sweet syrupy cherry, pink grapefruit coated with table sugar, strawberry and oak. Towards the back there's a very acidic and vinegar type of bite, certainly this will have some tartness and sweetness to it.

T: Whoa, this is so well balanced. First is a lactic sour bite with again an almost vinegar quality. This is quickly balanced and washed with the sweet cherry notes, strawberry and raspberry. There's some citrus elements that come into play, and then the oak makes an appearance in the finish. Some tannins and dryness but just another layer in this delicious beer.

M: Bubbly, well-carbonated but still has a medium body with a very easy drinking nature to it. Somewhat dry from the oak perhaps on the finish but nothing detracting.

Whenever this beer is on draft, I always have to order a glass. This was so easy drinking for the style, and lower in ABV at 5.5% that I had to order another. A very approachable, reasonably priced and delicious Flanders Oud Bruin.

Serving type: on-tap

01-12-2012 14:05:47 | More by ShanePB
Photo of fatmcb1
fatmcb1

Texas

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber with an off white head that leaves a ring with little lacing.

Tart sour cherries, green apple, and raspberry. Very tart.

Taste is balanced between tart sourness and sweeter citrus. Also, there is a level of funk that changed as the beer warmed.

Very strong, prickly carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 23:27:08 | More by fatmcb1
Photo of secondtooth
secondtooth

Indiana

4.29/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep reddish-amber in color, with a substantial head. Beautiful lacing going on here.

Nose - I get fruit, sour berries (particularly tart cherry) a hint of toffee, and maybe some yeastiness. It's a musty vibe, but quite appealing and unique.

Taste proved similar, with a delicious and refreshingly light-bodied feel. Tart berries and cherry dominated, with some sweetness and earthy elements rounding out the palate.

Delicious, unique, and a tasty brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2013 19:56:20 | More by secondtooth
Photo of Beelzebeer
Beelzebeer

Newfoundland (Canada)

4.29/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, no BB date, served in a tulip. I bought this from a bottle shop in NYC about 2 years ago.

A - Holy head! I had to pour extra slow, just a trickle, to keep this thing under wraps. Maybe it's the age? Alot of bubbles coming up. After a couple minutes, it's still going strong.

S - I can't really get much of a smell. Could be the head, could be my nose, could be the beer. Some sour coming through, but not a whole lot.

T - Malt off the top. A little bread, some light raisin, then the sour kicks in. This is delicious. Very well balanced.

M - Nice. Medium-high carbonation, but not too much, with a chewier body than what I was expecting. A very nice surprise.

O - Killer. Liked it then, like it now. I really wish more sours were available in Canada, let alone Newfoundland.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2013 02:49:25 | More by Beelzebeer
Photo of blgianbeer
blgianbeer

New York

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just got back from a trip to Philly and my obligatory stop at Monk's. Trying this ale was on the top of my "to do" list given the absence of any Rodenbach products in the market.
I was not disappointed. I would put this somewhere between the rather unremarkable Rodenbach and the spectacular Grand Cru. Not quite as complex and aromatic as the GC, but much more sour and flavorful than regular Rodenbach.
This beer is not unlike Van Steenberge's Bios (which I loved and brought several bottles back from Belgium). Well worth the price of admission.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2003 10:23:57 | More by blgianbeer
Photo of soulgrowl
soulgrowl

United Kingdom (England)

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Extremely volatile carbonation, spraying bubbles withing itself like a fistful of sparklers. Cherrywood reddish brown when it settles, a pretty color, with a smoggy brown tinge near the top and a yellowy parchment head. Poor retention.

Smell: Extremely red wine-like, with notes of tart cherry, tobacco, yogurty lactic acid, red wind vinegar, raspberries, and oak. Sour and tart, but well-balanced and solidly put together with a toasty, brown sugary and bagel-doughy malt base. I love this style! If there are hops, they express themselves in a very delicate, possibly floral way.

Taste: Dry, very dry, and only lightly tart for the style - no bursting berry flavors like those of the Duchesse or Rodenbach, but it is lightly fruity. Notes of apples, and, noticeably, cranberries are ample, with a whole-grain bready malt foundation. Clear notes of oak, or maybe maple, add a classy character while the vinegary tartness helps keep things bright.

Mouthfeel: Light and nicely effervescent - a tad too watery, perhaps, as the bubbles are very fine. Very clean and dry.

Drinkability: Yum! A pleasant, mild yet interesting Flanders red.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2007 16:06:32 | More by soulgrowl
Photo of kleffman
kleffman

California

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay glass. A very dark amber brown color with ruby red when held up to the light. Poured a small tight head with great retention and lacing on the glass.

Aroma immediately hit me with vinegar and that's what I expected out of the taste. Tart fruits and something funky in the nose that I couldn't place until I read a review below saying "wet horse blanket". While that sounds absolutely disgusting, it's sort of true and I'm going to go ahead and say I enjoy this most interesting aroma.

Taste is fantastic. The mouthfeel is divine, more on that later. Flavors of both sweet and sour cherries, plums, and other over ripe fruits. Slight woody character. Quite acidic and sour but not overpowering like many Flanders Reds tend to be. Maybe that's what makes this an Oud Bruin style? The bottle however claims it's a Flemish Sour Red. Definite lacto presence and a little vinegar even though the aromas could've fooled me into thinking it was dominated by vinegar.

Mouthfeel on this is by far the best I've experienced from the Flanders style beers. It's a rather nice medium body with plenty of carbonation helping it finish quite dry and wine-like. I think without this mouthfeel it wouldn't be the same beer at all.

High on drinkability if you enjoy the Flanders beers. It's a new style for me but they're quickly growing on me and I'm trying to really open my mind to them. I wish I could find more of this one, but there was only one bottle left where I got it.

Bottom line is if you come across this beer it's most definitely worth a shot. I only had to pay $2.50 for it, but I would spend more than that.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2008 05:07:02 | More by kleffman
Photo of RodBurg
RodBurg

Missouri

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, deep red color with a thick off white head and some spotty lacing.

Smells tart and fruity. Grapes, plums, and cherries.

Taste is pretty outstanding. Sweet apples and cherries with a slight sour finish. Very crisp with an intense carbonation.

Very good stuff. Now I know what I'll be drinking on New Year's Eve instead of Champagne.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2008 05:24:36 | More by RodBurg
Photo of farrago
farrago

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a thin head which eventually falls into a sheet over most of the liquid surface, lacing runs up the glass in veins. Brown to burnt orange in hue, more yellow at the rims, while deep it is also clear enough to view the bubble beads. The nose is broad and you feel the beer's presence in your nostrils, however, it's not trying to bowl you over, beyond the dense candied cherry and green apple fruit scents and damp forest floor matter, it's a man of few words, any vinegar notes subordinate to the fruit, freshly rolled bread dough and dried orange peels about the whole of the rest. Medium-bodied, streamlined and without any fat on the bones. The carbonation disrupts the sourness as it enters the mouth and lets it soak in before you start to pucker. The cherry, apple, apricot fruit remains the star of the show and sweetens the lemon, orange citrus appreciably. The uncooked dough element there, very, very lightly spiced and, again, the vinegar component barely registers. Full through the finish, lingers tactfully. For its type, could put down a few in a row.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2009 01:12:13 | More by farrago
Photo of BeanBone
BeanBone

Texas

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A rich reddish-brown body capped by a little less than two fingers of creamy off-white head that fade slowly and leave great lacing.

Aroma: Sour and tart with lots of great cherry, sweet malt, musty, and vinous notes--mouthwatering and inviting.

Flavor: A great mix of sweet and sour flavors: lots of fruit (cherries, raspberries, and grapes mostly), wood, a slight acidity, and a base of toffee-like malt. Not overly sour, it's all balanced superbly. The aftertaste is wine-like, funky, and occasionally a little metallic.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with lots of great effervescent carbonation. A drying finish.

Drinkability: As long as you aren't totally put off by sour flavors, this is a highly drinkable brew.

Verdict: Brimming with character and depth, Monk's Café is a terrific beer that really satisfies when I'm craving a sweet and sour beer. If you've never had a sour and you're looking for a safe start, or if you're just looking for something a little different, this would be a great choice.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2010 22:09:32 | More by BeanBone
Photo of djbreezy
djbreezy

Washington

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter.

In my search for reasonably priced sours, this one is coming on top thus far. Very cheap for a bottle (in comparison) and remarkably balanced and flavorful.

appearance - pours a rich ruby red with some transparency, head settles quickly but retains on the sides of the glass, some land mass formations from the aerial view of the glass, strong lacing

smell - fruit, oak, cherry, bitter, sour, wood

taste - sour but not too sour, dark fruits including cherry, apple, grape, flavors of wood, smooth finish, lacks the sharp tartness of better sours but amazing flavor

mouthfeel - full bodied for 5.5 abv and heavily carbonated, smooth and big

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2010 02:24:04 | More by djbreezy
Photo of tvv375ia
tvv375ia

Iowa

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from 11.2oz bottle into tulip glass

A-nice ruby color with more than 2 finger head that take quite awhile to fade

S-some sour granny smith apple and sour cherry

T-tart cherry with a nice apple cider type taste with a sauvignon blanc finish

M-well carbonated with a nice crisp finish

O-this was my first sour but after this experience surely not to be the last. I see this one is pretty highly rated so it may be tough to find a better one around here but this has some nice flavors and an acidity that I really enjoy every time I try a new beer I wonder why I stuck with Bud Light for 20 years never trying anything new

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2011 22:51:31 | More by tvv375ia
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,063 ratings.