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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BA SCORE
86
very good

1,088 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,088
Hads: 2,699
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 75
Gots: 343 | FT: 5
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:
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: 1,088 | Hads: 2,699
Photo of bigfnjoe
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap into a Monk's glass

A- pours brown with a cherry shade to it, with a one finger, very quick fading pinkish head. Looks really good

S- light notes of red wine, cherries, and funk in the aroma

T- lightly tart cherries....not overly sour, not overly sweet

M- body is very thin, not much thickness going on here at all

O- really super drinkable, but it's REALLY expensive....7 bucks for about 12 oz. Yikes (420 characters)

Photo of dalion037
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not what I expected from a US-made Flanders Oud Bruin. It was surprising well done with a nice vinegary smell and taste. It poured a big lacy head that lasted until the last sip. It had a typical mouthfeel for a Oud Bruin. The after taste lingered with a fruity sweet and sour taste. It was worth trying it out. (311 characters)

Photo of cnally
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another sour, I think I've officially turned the corner on these beasts...

A dark brown body color, off white shimmery head slight spitty lacing.

Aroma is vinegar, but somewhat mild, a little dried fruit, raisin/prune, that aroma when you open the bag.

The flavor is delectable. A tart flavor of fig, red grape. Aggressive yeasts come out sour and puckering. A good bitterness in the finish.

Highly fizzy wild and untamed.

Delicious and easy to swig considering the tartness. I believe this would be an appropriate diving board for someone who has never tried a sour, it is decently mild and less aggressive on the vinegar. (628 characters)

Photo of ferrari29
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a Tulip glass at O'Shaunghnessy's Public House in the Ravenswood area of Chicago, IL.

A - Beer poured with a rocky, two finger sized beige colored head; held very well; body had an opaque dark reddish colored body; some lacing formed on the glass; some visible sediment

S - Initial overwhelming blast of vinegar and sour yeast come up; followed up with a light wheat smell; as the beer warms up a fruity cherry and berry profile develops and takes over your nose as the vinegar/sour scents become less

T - Great sour red ale taste; vinegar notes and astringent; light malt flavor is taken over by a fruity cherry blast; just like the smell, as the beer warms up, the cherry/berry flavor really starts to take over the taste profile; tart

M - A bit on the thin side; tangy fruit flavors give your taste buds a nice challenge; lingering cherry flavors; crisp and refreshing

D - I really liked this one; don't pass this up if your a sour beer fan; nice sour notes followed up by fruit flavors really make this a unique drink experience; smooth and easy to drink (1,092 characters)

Photo of alexanderplatz
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Like Rodenbach Classic Red this is an easy to drink sour beer. The flavor is slightly tart, sweet and dominated by berry flavors. It is not hoppy at all. Descriptions of sour beers often feature terms evoking barnyard odors, which to me implies an acquired taste that may be not for me. But I didn't find Monk's to have any sort of challenging/weird/offensive flavors at all. If I had to use a single word to describe it, I would say "tangy."

I find one bottle very drinkable but the sweetness is such that it isn't the sort of beer I would drink two of back to back. (569 characters)

Photo of JimsArcade
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a tulip glass, a minimal silky white head topped this reddish-brown ale. A gorgeous looking beer.

S: It has a lot less funk than I would've expected. Its aroma is mild with a hint of sour but non-citric fruits.

T: This is the least sour example I've ever tasted of this style. It tastes of tart cherries, minus some of the associated sweetness. Hints of lemon are also present.

M: Absolutely silky. The carbonation is just perfect, and it's just thin enough that my tastebuds aren't overpowered.

D: Surprisingly for a sour ale, I could see myself drinking several of these in a sitting. It's mildness compared to other sour ales I've sampled makes this the most drinkable example of the style I can think of. (727 characters)

Photo of jbertsch
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

Appears dark amber. Can't see through it. Head is off-white in color, sudsy with a little fiz, but it doesn't fade away completely.

Aroma gives off a fruit tartness. A little vinegar. If you didn't know what you were smelling a beer, one could mistake this for a wine cooler. But it doesn't smell cheap. I also smell notes of OJ and cola mixed with some sweet malt.

Taste is a little funky, faintly sour with significant notes of raspberry. Notes of apple, grape, and OJ are noticeable on the finish.

Champagne like mouthfeel. Short, dry, and elegant with carbonation.

Very enjoyable. A sipper due to the nature of the style. But great drinkability for what it is. (690 characters)

Photo of Lawl3ss
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled 11.2 oz. bottle poured into a shaker pint, as per the recommendation on the box. No discernable bottling date.

Look- Big, big head on this. 3/4 of the glass is filled with tight beige foam, looks like a root beer float, really. Crystal clear ruby-brown. Nice lacing.

Smell- Sweet, cidery, powdery, candylike. Pears, caramel, vanilla and lemon extract, some straw. Good malt backdrop, feels centered. Very appealing, if on the sweet side.

Taste- Cidery, pears, strong dose of wood comes out in the middle. Perhaps there's a hint of hops towards the end, but it's basically indistinguishable from the light oxidation. Vanilla again, sweet, almost candy/soda feel. Clean, almost no aftertaste, although sourness builds a bit as the glass empties. Very champagne-like.

Mouthfeel- Crisp, light to medium body. Not particularly dry, but quite clean. I feared it would be over-carbonated, but it's actually got a fairly soft edge, smooth on the tongue, a bit prickly on the swallow. Drinks like a cider, very refreshing. A bit acidic by the end, but it disappeared quickly- I wouldn't mind having a few of these.

Overall- Perhaps it's the 100+ degree heat today, but man, this really hit the spot. I have fairly mixed feelings about sours, but this one I thoroughly enjoyed. Crisp, easy drinking, definitely on the sweet side, puckery but not overly so. Feels more like an everyday beer, which I haven't seen in sours before. Not very complex, but what's there is spot on. A good lemonade replacement, in my opinion. (1,530 characters)

Photo of scottbrew4u
4.19/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip a clear, light brown color with a foamy white, two finger head. Nose was a bit of dark fruit and a lactic sourness combined. Taste was refreshingly tart with an underlying stone fruit sweetness and light body. Finish is on the sour side but appropriately so. Nice representation of the style and I would certainly drink it again. (347 characters)

Photo of wrycon
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. A ton of carbonation on this. Granted, the pour was semi-aggressive at the start, but a giant head of off-white foam emerged, but also dissipated nicely with good retention. Smells quite sour, some pomegranate some cherry. A bit of apple. Not mind-bendingly sour, but sour enough. Quite flavorful and quite delicious, in my opinion.

Like It? Indeed. (355 characters)

Photo of ggaughan
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I should have reviewed this bad boy sooner as I was lucky enough to be at Monk's when they made the world debut of this beer in bottles at a Michael Jackson dinner. I have had alot of this beer since then (bottles and drafts).

I just had a bottle the other day and it poured a nice cloudy orange/redish color into a nice tulip glass. There was a nice tan head that followed with a nice bubbley body.

The aroma of this beer is nice and tart with some fruity tones to it. The taste continue the tart theme but there is also a nice sweet balance provided by the fruity tones in the beer. This is an easy beer to drink and I have found myself at one of the bars at Monk's having a few of these after work on several occasions. (729 characters)

Photo of mdwalsh
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice 2 finger head that fades fast, but is otherwise clean looking. A little Active carb, but no yeast or haze at all. A basic light brown in color, it's not that impressive looking.

S: Kind of a sweet vinegar like smell I think. A little apple/pear going on. In fact, a lot like apple cider vinegar, in a good way. No hops at all. Not anything like anything I've had before.

T: Again, weird. Still sort of an apple cider vinegar sort of thing, but mysteriously good. Just sour enough, at least for this noob. The fruity sweetness is really appealing to me, but there's also some tartness at other times.

M: Smooth and watery, in a good way. A nice little sparkle

D: Not sure, I don't think I could drink too much of this. But easy going down. (758 characters)

Photo of kindacold
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pouts a deep red with approximately a one inch, reddish-brown head. Head dissipates after a few minutes. Smells sour, almost candy-like. First sip is like a kick in the face. EXTREMELY sour, almost like a sweet tart. After the initial shock, the beer goes down with a lot of carbonation and much tingling. The sour taste remains in the mouth and even the throat for a long time after each sip, however, it somehow adds to the beer's refreshing taste. I will continue to drink this beer when I come inside from a hot day. (520 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured with a great, thick brownish head, but it dissipated all too quickly, leaving behind a thin, wispy reminder. The color is a deep ruby red/brown. The nose is very tart with an underlying smell like toast right from the toaster. It has a thick, almost creamy mouthfeel and a flavor that is very reminiscent of SweetTarts from childhood. It has what I can best describe as a candy-like sweetness, but offset/balanced by an extremely tart flavor. The finish reveals this dichotomy to a greater degree, with me being unable to pin down either sweet or tart, but more like both at once. This is very enjoyable and I would certainly have more than one on a hot summer's day, when the beer would be quite refreshing. (720 characters)

Photo of Goldopelgt
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a reddish brown with a whitish head and some decent lacing.

S- Initially hit with vinegar and sour fruits...complex, but pleasant. Definitely some funk, but what to be expected with this style.

T- Tart, acidic, sour--everything you would expect from this beer. Very nice!

M- Somewhat thin, carbonated, but again what you would expect from this style.

D- Very drinkable....want to try it again. I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely recommend it. (469 characters)

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this bottle and boy does it have some miles on it. Brewed in Belgium, imported in San Diego, CA, bought in Elkton MD, and consumed in Ithaca, NY.

Aromas of sour cherries and brown sugar. Dense, oatmeal colored head was more then I expected. Sour and tart flavors dominate, but in an interesting mix of cherry and lime. Once those flavors release my tongue there are some other strange things that begin to happen. It's hard to put my finger on it but there is an earthy/woody aspect and a light spicyness that I can't describe (pepper and vanilla?, probably not). Anyway, it's enjoyable and interesting. Light, highly carbonated beer with a tart and dry finish. I was expecting a less carbonated beer that was all tart, and thankfully it was more then that. (771 characters)

Photo of micromaniac129
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish kinda brownish color with a small head and good carbonation. Aroma is tart and sour with a side of white vinegar and church pews. Taste is tart, sweet, fruity and sour. Really, hard to describe.
Drinks thin and crisp. Tickles the palette.
An excellent beer drinks more like a soda. I could drink a bunch of these. (329 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich brown color with a ruby tinge; one finger of foamy tan head. Nice.

Smell: big aromas of caramel, nuts and toasted malts. There is also an acidic brightness permeating the big malt. I've never had a Flanders Oud Bruin before, but this smells quite good.

Taste: bright, sweet and tart. There are big fruity flavors here; sour apple and cherry are the most prominent among them. The more traditional malty flavors are more apparent in the aftertaste. Overall, these two components complement each other quite well. I very much like this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body and relatively high carbonation give this beer a nice creamy texture; though it's more fizzy than smooth. Still quite good.

Drinkability: I think this beer is just a hair too sweet to be exceptionally drinkable. Still, the tartness is just enough to keep me interested and I feel like I would gladly include one of these in my daily diet. (963 characters)

Photo of 99bottles
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From an 11.2 ounce bottle this beer pours a rich ruby-brown color with a fizzy active head of white carbonation. The smell is very interesting. Sour and sultry, if you get a big whiff it makes the back of your mouth pucker and smells of turned milk (the label calls it lactic). The first taste is of tart cherry. The finish is vert TART. Sour, yes...but the sweet cherry is in there also. Wow. Incredibly refreshing. Incredible tasty. Dry earthy taste from the unique ferementation. I love the sour ending ! A class act all around. However, if fermentation run amok gives you the willies, you might want to look elsewhere. Little pricey also, but worth the bucks. (663 characters)

Photo of 7ways
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark copper/ruby with a full yellowish-white head that remained at 1/2 cm for quite some time. Ungodly thick lacing.

N- Red wine/apple cider vinegar, sour grape, cherry, and apple. No distinct malt or hops. The smell alone makes my mouth water.

T- Very strong apple cider vinegar, which I happen to love. Quite acidic. Oakey cherry, sour apple candy. Balanced with moderate sweetness.

M- Prickly, but not so much as to be offensive or get in the way of the taste. Slightly more full than many Flemish reds, which to me increases drinkability.

D- I could drink many of these in a session. In fact, I do. Often.

This is only the second dark sour I've had, and it has made me determined to seek more out. (717 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy amber/brown color with a very small head that dies fast and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma has lots of sour fruitiness - cherry, mostly. The flavor is quite tart, but not puckering tart. Some cherry and citrus flavors go well with the lactic sourness. Seems to also have some woody flavors in there. The body is light, but not too light and the drinkability is pretty good once you get used to the sourness. (450 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at Monk's - review done from notes.

A - Nice clear reddish color which leaves sticky lacing all along the rim of the glass.

S - Dashes of fruit and coriander populate the nose, along with hints of sourness.

T - The beer almost instantly refreshes the drinker despite the sweet and tart flavors which swirl around the palate. Dark fruit and sour flavors glance the tongue without becoming overwhelming. Lactic sourness rounds everything out with a dry, bitter finish.

M/D - Bubbly and smooth, you can't help but desire another one, especially with its surprisingly smooth and refreshing qualities.

This was one of the first sours I ever tried years ago, and the delicious qualities are still ringing true to this day. (732 characters)

Photo of DoctorDog
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter.

A- Pours a translucent reddish brown. 1 finger of fizzy tan, which promptly reduces to a thin, incomplete cap.

S- Tart raspberry vinegar, red wine fruitiness, and a slightly funky yeastiness. Interesting and enjoyable (especially if you like the acetic acid stilt).

T- Swirling with fruity, malty, cherry-esque sweetness. Sour notes are fairly subdued, though there is certainly a perceptible amount of tartness. A bit of a sweet sherry thing going on here. Bitterness extremely minimal.

M- Slightly crisp with moderate carbonation. Medium feel.

D- Surprisingly good. I expected this to be perhaps too sour, or cloying, or perhaps too acetic to drink easily....but it was none of those things.

Future outlook: Hmmm...this was quite enjoyable. If I had been served blindly, I could surely have been fooled into thinking I was drinking something other than a beer. My initial impression is that this was an interesting drink that I will be happy to have again. (1,012 characters)

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a 50 cl fluted glass at Delaney's in New Haven, Conn.

A: Clean, dark reddish amber color with a thin, creamy cap of white foam which settles to a thin coating, leaving little lace. burnished red color is quite nice and the clarity is good for a seemingly darker red ale.

S: Fruity, floral bouquet of red berries, melon, citrus and musty, old bread. Lots of sweetness and only a hint of spicy, yeasty resin.

T: Sweet, tart and fruity up front, with a big-time sour berry and cherry flavor coupled quickly with rushes of sticky sweet caramel malts. Finishes out a bit chewy, with lingering raisin and berry sweetness among the sweet and tart aftertaste.

M: Medium-full bodied brew with some sticky sweet malts and tart acidity thrown around the palate.

D: A very interesting specialty Belgian brew and at 5.5% ABV it's not a stretch to try a few. The fruity, floral esters of this blended Belgian red ale are balanced, yet sweet, acidic, tart and funky all at once. Quite good if you;re in the mood to maybe pair it with a duck or wild turkey. (1,063 characters)

Photo of FanofHefe
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 fl. oz. bottle, no dating, poured into a Chimay chalice. Very high level of carbonation, so I had to pour slowly. Ruby red body that is mostly clear and lets the light through. Bubbly tan head that actually dissipates fairly quickly but leaves a nice cap and a little lacing.

Tart fruit up front in the aroma: cherry, raspberry, green apple. I get just a little sweet malt in the mix as well.

Very tasty. Nice blend of the tart and sour fruit flavors with the sweet malt. This one has a little more sweet balance than others of this style. Would be a good candidate for someone new to the more sour beers. Medium mouthfeel that is easy to drink. Nice brew. (664 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,088 ratings.