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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

2,065 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2065
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: 2,065 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
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
Photo of mynie
mynie

Indiana

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't know how they measure things in Flemland, but this here ain't red. It be brown as a dog's asshole, only in means in which the dog's asshole is made to be appealin', and with a little white head.

Very sour malt. That's it. Intense, candy sour. Very nice; reminds me of when I was little, buying Tearjerkers at the gas station.

Sour! Sweet and sour citrus to start, moving into an almost chemical, candy sour middle, ending on a more dry sourness, like a sour wine. I'm no good at picking out different types of sours: my pallete isn't used to them. Alls I can say is that this is sour, and it's good.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2006 02:39:12 | More by mynie
Photo of rayjay
rayjay

Hawaii

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1st time I had this was when they were premiering it at Monks Cafe in Philly. The owner Tom and a business partner and I had a few and raved about it for a while; they were obviously proud of it, and I think they said they choose it from amoung 8 sours and it was the clear winner. It was so good I had 4 glasses right then and there. That was 4, maybe 5 years ago, so lets see how it tastes these days.

I purchased this one at Healthy Spirits in San Fran, and I was surprised and happy to see it because I thought you could only get it in Philly. I remember it being alot better on draft, but I happily gave this bottle a go.

Healthy head of red foam, purple body, lots of lace, a beautiful beer.

Funky cheese nose that is very appealing.

Some sweetness, a mild sour blanket, and gentle malts come together in perfect harmony. I've had bottles that were just so-so, but this one tastes great. Finishes very dry--sweetness goes right away. Cheese and sour cherries. Restrained, polite flavors that melt in your mouth.

Spicy carbonation that remains active. The sourness and dryness make you chave more. Extremely refreshing and drinkable. One of the finest examples of its kind; puts Duchesse to shame, making her seem like pure vinegar. Seek and consume!

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2007 06:43:21 | More by rayjay
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a sour/vinegar scent wrapped around a malt base of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It has a buttery malt aroma; very nice. The taste is really good. It has a smooth and refreshing sourness along with a buttery malt flavor. The crystal and roasted malts give the beer excellent malt character. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This was a real treat. I'm a fan of sour beers and this was a good one.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2008 22:59:36 | More by WesWes
Photo of lpayette
lpayette

Vermont

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was surprised to see I hadn't reviewed this before. I've had it probably 4 or 5 times. This bottle probably has about a year of aging on it, and it does seem to have mellowed out some which I like.

Appearance- dark ruby grapeish color with a small head but plenty of lacing. Looks good.

Smell- mostly sour notes, but there's a bit of vinegar at times in the background which I could go without. It's not a dealbreaker for me though, just something I could do without. Well... afterall, it is part of the style, isn't it? Smell of cherries and grapes with a dusting of oakey/woodsy notes.

Taste and Mouthfeel- Nice sour flavors mingle with very subtle oaky flavors. Again, the flavors are mostly grapes and cherries- at least that's how I perceive it anyway. Remember that grape flavored kool-aid with the purple dinosaur on it? Well, if I remember correctly, this beer tastes kind of like they took some of that and fermented it with some wild critters. That might sound like a negative review, but I think it's pretty darn tastey. Finishes pretty dry.

Drinkability- I find this to be a pretty drinkable beer overall, and one that might be a good gateway beer into the realm of sour beer. It's not too sour, but there's enough there to make it a new taste for most people.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2008 02:45:09 | More by lpayette
Photo of jsanto
jsanto

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

s - on hand pump at monks.

a - copper color brown, and a slight head.

s - sour orange, and sour some more.

t - all i can say is it was very flavorful, and sour red. little alcohol, and cherry.

m - not too much carbonation, and a excellent finish.

d - next time i would have a second one, a great session beer.

Serving type: cask

02-19-2009 21:12:59 | More by jsanto
Photo of CaptainIPA
CaptainIPA

Wisconsin

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

P: Served on-tap @ Comet Cafe and served in a tulip glass. Pairs well with The Stendler: corned beef, scrambled eggs, hash browns and cheese wrapped in a tortilla, and topped with Siracha hot sauce.

A: Pours a dark chesnut-color with ruby highlights and a thin rimming of foam.

S: Sweet apple cider with essences of balsamic vinegar.

T: Opens with a sweet tang of spiced apple cider that flows directly into a sourness characteristic of berry-infused balsamic vinegar. No discernible hoppiness. Nice, subtle earthiness towards the middle. Finishes sweet with a resurgence of apple.

M: Smooth with a lively carbonation that prickles the palate.

D: Wow, I loved this stuff -- especially the sour aspect of the ale. Very unique. Based on this introduction, I feel compelled to explore the Flanders Oud Bruin style.

Serving type: on-tap

03-22-2009 21:31:57 | More by CaptainIPA
Photo of biggred1
biggred1

Indiana

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown with a nice pink tinted tan head that leaves fine lace on the glass. Smells of tart cherries and citrus with a mild yeasty funkiness. Tastes of tart underripe fruit. Nice sour puckering quality with some sweet maltiness underneath. Well balanced and medium bodied with seltzery carbonation that adds to the drinkability. A nice,approachable example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2009 01:17:51 | More by biggred1
Photo of yeastsipper
yeastsipper

California

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Interesting beer for me. First had this on tap at Monk's cafe in Philly a solid 3+ years ago now. Scary. At the time, this beer came from another world. Time has passed, and I have had a number of beers since then. I am very happy to say that this beer, while not as sour, was honestly as good as I remember it.

Beer is a copper brown color, with a very thick, off-white head. Pretty stuff. First smell is the funk. Funky, but not overly so. Then the fruit and sweetness kicks in. Nice, deep, dark cherry smell. Maybe some other crisp fruit like apples or maybe pears. Some very dry, woody qualities as well.

Taste is fantastic. Obvious sourness, but amazing balance. Sour for the sake of flavor, not for being puckeringly sour. Again, lots of fruit - the cherries stand out. Some malt and sweetness on the backend. For me this was very surprising. The beer I remember was sour sour sour. I think this is for two reasons: the beer at Monk's was on keg and probably fresher, and I have had a number of other sour beers now, so the taste does not stand out as much.

Great mouthfeel and drinkability. Just an outstanding beer. I am probably a bit nostalgic, and will score higher than the average, but IMO, I am completely justified. I love the combination of sweet and sour, funk and fruit. Awesome.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 21:46:02 | More by yeastsipper
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bit brown but clear with a short white head.

A wonderful integration of balance and flavors! Refreshing, drinkable in the extreme. Sweet and sour and very well balanced, hint of hops, nice light sugars. Nice drink, for summer. Like an adult soft drink with noticeable bretanomyces character with undertones of balsamic and red wine vinegar, in the most pleasant sense.

Nice.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2009 01:00:54 | More by GRG1313
Photo of jgasparine
jgasparine

Maryland

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- An aggressive pour from the 750mL bottle yielded a nice big tan head... a bit rocky and well-retained. Some nice lacing... good carbonation... and a beautiful mahogany body.

S- The nose reminds me of Ludens Wild Cherry Throat Drops (sweet cough drops)... I am anticipating both sweet and sour flavors from this nose...

T- Sweet and sour goodness... with a dry clean (slightly oaky) finish. Can't quite describe the sweetness here... it is unique, cherry cider maybe? The sourness is akin to weak vinegar (acetobacter?). Beautiful flavors here.

M- A bit oily... lots of unattenuated sugar here... and the perfect amount of carbonation. Overall, I'd say this is light to medium body... what I would expect from the style.

D- What a beautiful drink... could go all day with this stuff. The sweetness is never overpowering, nor the sourness. Just plain satisfying and refreshing...

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2009 01:04:42 | More by jgasparine
Photo of spointon
spointon

Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this from an 11.2oz brown bottle into a stemmed tulip glass.

A= This ale poured a medium red/brown color with good clarity and a 1/2" light tan head. The head dropped to a thin cap in seconds and left only moderate lacing behind.

S= This beer smelled first of sourness, then of candy sweetness. Neither was overpowering making this a nice experience for my nose.

T= Much like the aroma, this ale was 2 faced. On one hand it was sour and tart but on the other hand it had a serious sweetness that kept my tongue on high alert. No hops to speak of. The finish was slightly sweet.

MF= Lighter side of medium bodied with a nice crisp mouthfeel.

D= This was a very pleasant surprise. I happen to love this brewery and am very pleased that their sour ale is as good as it is. Very drinkable and very tasty!

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2009 02:31:19 | More by spointon
Photo of Spineypanda
Spineypanda

Texas

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear but dark red and has a nice head at least half an inch thick.
Smells of sours yeasts, not overly sour though.
Tastes like a bit of candied sugars, somewhat like a sweet red apple. Interesting how the sour ales remind me of apples every time. I really enjoy this beer, the finish is great and malty while being sweet as well.

Another I would buy for any occasion.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2010 02:35:06 | More by Spineypanda
Photo of muttyd
muttyd

Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cracking a bottle the night before the ACBF. Why not?

A - Deep ruby/brown pour with a thin white/tan head.

S - Deep caramel, oak, slight vinegar/red wine. Poured at roughly 50 degrees. Aroma really opens up as the beer warms up.

T - Fruity (apples, raisins, grapes, cherries) mixed beautifully with oaky/funky sourness. Despite the initial fruity sweetness upfront, this one is pretty dry. Finishes dry and tart. Yum.

M - High carbonation with a silky mouth feel.

D - At only 5.5%, this is my session beer. Excellent brew!

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2010 01:55:44 | More by muttyd
Photo of Radley521
Radley521

Montana

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After a nice Sunday stroll along the East Gallatin River, we stopped by Vino Per Tutti, a great little wine in Bozeman that is carrying a great, if not small, selection of craft beers. Brewed for Monk's Cafe in Philly by Br. Van Steenberge in Belgium, Monk's Cafe is a Flemish Sour Red Ale. This is my first dive into this particular sour style. The one notion that keeps coming up in my mind as I drink this brew is cherries. It smells and tastes like a dry homemade cherry wine like some of fruit hooch that I had in my younger days.

Appearance: The head was a thin linen white head. It has all the looks of sparkling cherry juice. Laces glass nicely with sticky little bubbles.

Aroma: Cherries with almost cheese-like funkiness.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, which effectively cleanses the palette, and a bit thin on the aftertaste, actually.

Taste: Cherry wine with pear notes followed by sweaty horse blanket. Dissipates quickly from the palette. Sourness is not pronounced as I had expected.

Redneck Rating: It's Alright

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2010 01:36:50 | More by Radley521
Photo of GDBEERMAN
GDBEERMAN

Colorado

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle into snifter.
A: A deep reddish, amber body, pours with a light cream head. Head retreat thin layer, while the lace that is left is a spotty, that is spot on representation.
S: The aroma denotes a sour brew that shows a hint of sweet cherry.
T/M: The front of this beer is a mellow start of subtle cherry, that exceeds to a blast of sour, but not over powering the limit. The finish is a smooth and nice off for the style, a relapse of sour that lingers nicely. The mouthfeel is a nice and smooth sensation that forms a nice silky effect.
D: I find this to be a bit overly drinkable, a bit too smooth and tasty. The alcohol is barely present at all and is a delicious sour brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2010 05:35:43 | More by GDBEERMAN
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz tap pour into a stemmed glass at bnieman's Dad's house before watching some Brew Masters on Discovery.

A - Beautiful mahogany amber in color with a light tan head. Good retention with some thick lace clinging to the glass.

S - Crisp amber malts with a sweet caramel aroma. A hint of vinegar sourness that is very nice. Good, but a little cold in aroma.

T - A touch of metallic flavor to the amber toasted malts. Nice mild sourness with a little hint of the awesome vinegar I love in this style.

M - Crisp and light-bodied with a smooth follow-through and light sour finish.

D - This will be dangerous on tap in the basement. I could drink this all night if I didn't have to drive (aka didn't feel guilty of emptying the keg).

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2010 22:37:04 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of TheDTrain
TheDTrain

Wisconsin

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep red, good retention. Aroma is a bit weak but you can smell the sour vinagar, fruits, and grapes. Light body with awesome funk taste from the fruits, vinagar, malts, and sugars. So easily drinkable it's a bit scary.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 03:22:37 | More by TheDTrain
Photo of BrewsCrewSA
BrewsCrewSA

Texas

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out with a beautiful, tan head. High in carbonation; deep ruby, and rusty brown in color, looks very inviting. Head retains well, dissipates after a few, appears to have some sediment on the bottom, not sure if this is normal. Still, a great looking beer.

Faint scents of alcohol and berries, not much here, but still pleasant. Smell reminds me of those few, Belgian krieks such as Cantillon, and Lindeman's Kriek and Gueze.

Tastes great. Just an amazing, tasty quality that's hard to define. I liken it to melting a few red Sweet Tarts on your tongue. That, plus the faint, goodness of alcohol notes toward the back of the palate. A great, sweet flavor that's hard to resist. One of the best Belgian beers I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is incredible, maybe an even better quality than the taste. I was expecting tart, bitterness; what I got instead was a mellow, sweet pleasantness that was happily surprising. Exceedingly smooth, cool, refreshing.

I guess they eliminated drinkability from the review categories, but OVERALL, a great Belgian effort. I personally much prefer this to the redundant, Tripels and Quadruppels. They all taste like apple juice anyway. This Red Ale, I highly recommend.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2011 20:51:17 | More by BrewsCrewSA
Photo of psuKinger
psuKinger

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Monk's Cafe, on a "beer trip" with my buddy Griff. Poured into one of my New Belgium Globes.

A: Pours a murky brown color with a lively frothy off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S: Tart and funky, the nose is big on this one. The smell is simultaneously sweet and sour.

T: Delightfully sweet-and-sour, this beer starts sweet with notes of cherry and licorice before moving sour and tart. It's smooth and easy-drinking for a sour. It doesn't have overwhelming pucker-power, but it strikes a rare balance between sweet-and-sour not often seen in this style.

M: Light with lively carbonation, this beer doesn't leave an overwhelming aftertaste.

D: High for this style. This beer benefits from not being "melt your face" overwhelmingly sour. It strikes a nice balance, which makes it rather drinkable/repeatable, and overall quite enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 01:58:35 | More by psuKinger
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
AlCaponeJunior

Texas

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great deep amber color and clear, two finger head that slowly dissipates and leaves great thick chunks of lacing.

Smell is fruity and deliciously sour. Yeasty and sweet whilst maintaining a little bit of dry woods character.

Taste is lightly but pleasantly odd and wonderful. It's certainly like a rain shower deep in the woods of the northeast, best as a merkin can really describe it. Although "downright delicious, may I have another" would probably work in any language, on any continent.

Body is light but sweet with a great fruity sour aftertaste.

Overall this stuff is just plain delicious, and works great when you're on a fruit beer kick, but want something just a touch off the wall.

I'm on my second try for this beer, and don't plan to change any ratings, but do plan to leave it on my wants list. Great stuff.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2011 04:17:34 | More by AlCaponeJunior
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,065 ratings.