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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

2,191 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,191
Reviews: 1,030
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 45
Gots: 122 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,191 | Reviews: 1,030 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwinship83
jwinship83

Illinois

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a murky or muddy brown with reddish highlights and a small eggshell colored sticky head.

S- some champagne like qualities as well as a sour twang. i also noticed some yeast scents and some other fruits like apple and grape also.

T- this reminds me ALOT of champagne. definitely has a sour kick to it, but not as much as i was expecting.

M- creamier and fuller than champagne with less carbonation.

D- a new style for me and i did enjoy it. not something that i could have everyday, but i liked it enough to take another look into the world of sour beers.

this seems like a good beer for people that dont really get into beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2008 01:09:52 | More by jwinship83
Photo of Chronofied
Chronofied

North Dakota

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cellar temperature, poured in a tulip glass.

Appearance - Brown around the edges, but a dark cherrywood in the center when held to the light. A little bit of orange tint at the bottom. Head didn't stand long, and left very little lace. Relaxed carbonation visible.

Smell - Heavy yeast on the nose, remniscent of the sour fermentation smell of wine grapes. Definite acidity. A little bit more fruit, like a prune/raisin smell as well.

Taste - Sour grape taste right away. Prune and light malt surface. The finish has a hint of carameled apple, sweet and sour. Actually somewhat rich in a strange, sweet and sour way.

Mouthfeel - Way lighter than expected. Really light, more carbonation that the appearance suggested, enlivens the brew on the tongue. Consistency is almost like that of sparkling juice.

Drinkability - It isn't a chore to finish a 750 bottle, but better to share one with someone. It is light enough to easily drink a good portion, but rich enough that one or two servings is enough.

N.B. - I feel like someone blended beer with a prune flavored Izze, and it actually turned out well. That is a major understatement, but that's what I thought of when I first tried this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2010 06:51:19 | More by Chronofied
Photo of cosmo4u
cosmo4u

New York

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber under a thin beige head. Initial nose is primarily of soured sweet fruits with wood notes. First taste is of the big sour tartness laid immediately on top of a sweet fruity base. There is a big woody flavor in the middle of this one that is just right. Palate is surprisingly smooth and almost creamy and the sweet/tart finish is just perfect. I don’t want to sound patronizing by saying that this would be a good intro to sours for your non-beer friends, but it balances the sweet/sour well enough that it won’t blow anyone away. And, to be clear, that balance is an indication of the level of craft gone into this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 03:14:34 | More by cosmo4u
Photo of dmbsteve
dmbsteve

Tennessee

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours ruby red with a giant off white head that fizzed down to about a finger and stuck around till the end.

Smells of bretty funk. Not much else, except maybe a hint of overripe grapes and sour apples.

Taste is better than smell. Sour apples is the dominant taste. Sweet and sour both. Hardly any bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium with heavy carbonation. A bit of sticky sweetness stays on the tongue and outlasts the bitterness.

Overall a pretty tasty beverage that tastes like a cross between a sour beer and a sweet wine like a reisling. I'm just starting to get into sours and every one I've had so far has been different. I really enjoyed this one.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2011 04:10:25 | More by dmbsteve
Photo of SargeC
SargeC

Japan

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly hazy brown brew with a fizzy tan head.

Smell: Fruit, vinegar hints of malt and limited alcohol.

Taste: Tart beginning flavor evolves into mild fruit flavors. Malt peeks through at times.

Mouthfeel: Light body, but seems a bit heavier.

Drinkablity: A refreshing brew with good flavor.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2008 03:51:49 | More by SargeC
Photo of rajendra82
rajendra82

Georgia

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The brown murky body of this beer was topped with a smallish off-white head, giving this beer quite a rough hewn look, not unattractive, just lacking charisma. Aromatically this was very interesting, with a vinegary sour smell and some apple cider like notes. The taste was basically replicating fermented apple cider, with a puckering tart sourness, apple skin like astringency, and a touch of spiciness. Come to think of it, this looks a lot like unfiltered apple juice as well. This will be very refreshing and thirst quenching, if you happen to like the taste of apple cider. I would love to try this one mulled one day.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2005 04:29:48 | More by rajendra82
Photo of htomsirveaux
htomsirveaux

Texas

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle tried 17 Jul 2009. Received in trade from.... damn, don't remember...

Served in the 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Large lacy beige head. Well carbonated. Clear dark ruby red color. Aroma of sour cherries and raspberries, slightly dusty, hint of chocolate. Fizzy, sweet and sour. Some cherry juice, hint of cherry pits. Finishes with a bit of cinnamon. Aftertaste is slightly dry and stringent. Light body.

Good balance of sweet and sour.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2010 02:44:21 | More by htomsirveaux
Photo of flayedandskinned
flayedandskinned

California

3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

No Bottled on date.
Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark translucent garnet. A towering 4 finger loose bubbled, light brown head erupts immediately and as expected, fizzles down fairly fast, consistent with it's style.

Aroma: Big, vinous red wine vinegar right away with some musty funk alongside it. Juicy, tart currants are layered on top of faint, sweet malt in the background. A woodsy presence of rich vanilla and oak becomes more and more apparent as the beer warms.

Taste: Red wine vinegar up front with only the suggestion of tartness, some juicy red currants and some tart cherry notes are flirted with as a big, vanilla infused maltiness lands on your palate and softens the blow of the high carbonation. The creamy malt backbone abruptly mellows out the sourness of the brew and allows some of the oak barrel character come through. The beer finishes very dry, tart with an extremely light tannin presence and a faint hop bitterness. Lingering notes of plum skin and caramel bready malt. The beer does get a slightly unpleasant metallic twang as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with high carbonation; very brisk and refreshing.

Overall: A decent example of a Flanders Red. I do wish the initial rush of sourness sustained a bit longer before the malts rushed in and mellowed everything out, but the malt does add a strong sense of balance and contrast. This is a great beginner's sour. I would suggest not allowing this to warm up too much so you can avoid that metallic after taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2013 06:18:05 | More by flayedandskinned
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another fine bottle courtesy of guinnessdoc. Thanks, man.

Appearance: It's clear and an impressive deep garnet color. The head is light beige and stands a little over two fingers tall. Carbonation is very active and the head stuck around for quite a while. Sheets of lace clung to the glass.

Smell: The nose smells a little tart or sour up front, but not quite as much as I expected. It features a strong cherry scent that lingers throughout. It smells a little spicy. But, no single spice stands out. There's a bit of light tobacco and leather on the tail. If alcohol is here, I can't tell. It's a nice smelling beer, but doesn't come across as really deep or full of character.

Taste: This is one very tart/sour beer. If you're not into that, you should probably move along. It has a strong cherry flavor to kick it off. Tastes a little fruity otherwise, but not much. The tart blast that follows really stays with you for a bit. Good luck trying to keep a straight face at this point. But, it's a nice tart flavor. Not offensive at all. It is a tad bit spicy, but the individual spices are indistinct. It's somewhat acidic. Yeast is faintly noticeable. There is a little tobacco and leather to wrap it up. Again, alcohol is not noted in the least.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It has a medium body and very active carbonation. It's not quite smooth. Carbonation's a little too high for that. Drinkability is above average. The strong tart flavor just doesn't lend itself to really good drinkability.

Monk's Flemish Sour Red Ale is good beer. I like it. It doesn't really "wow" in any respect, but it's pretty good all around. The tart flavor could actually be toned down a bit and it might be a little better. But, that's probably true to style. I can't say I'm enamored with these types of beers, despite the fact that I do like them. In any event, it is recommended and definitely worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2009 02:03:40 | More by prototypic
Photo of beveritt
beveritt

Ohio

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 11.2oz brown bottle into a snifter. Label depicts an oak barrel with the image of a monk on the side. No discernible freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 3/8 inch of almost white, creamy head. This settles fairly quickly into a thin coating with islands of foam here and there. Nice lacing. The beer itself is perfectly clear and a deep brown red. The red hue only really comes out when the glass is held up to a light. A very small amount of sediment in the bottle.

Smell: A sour, tart cherry-like aroma, with sweet, syrupy undertones.

Taste: A tart, fruity flavor, with a lingering sour finish. Really tastes as if sour cherries, raspberries, or perhaps strawberries had been added to this beer, the yeast effect is amazing.

Mouthfeel: Average level of carbonation and body.

Drinkability: This is my first red ale, I have been dying to try one for a long time. I was worried it may be too sour, the kind of drink you couldn't really stand to have too many of. However, this is not the case, this is a tart and crisp refreshing drink. I am looking forward to trying more.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2007 23:00:41 | More by beveritt
Photo of KTCamm
KTCamm

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours ruby red with fizzy white foam that survives beyond the initial pours and then drops off. Lacing is evident.

Smell is very faint. Light wine smell.

Taste is sweet and sour, perfectly balanced. Red wine in the finish. Not puckering, but clear sour taste. Mild hop finish. Well carbonated to complete the balance.

Very drinkable sour ale. Tasty.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2010 00:55:00 | More by KTCamm
Photo of HoustonTX
HoustonTX

Texas

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out gorgeously into my Chimay Goblet. Bright ruby body with vivacious carbonation, and strong frothy off white head. Smell is sweetly phenolic, with a twang of funkiness. Some darker balancing notes of oak, vanilla, and roasted grain provide a nice backbone. Taste has great depth. Sweet, tangy, tart, funky, and sour. The sweetness comes of lambic in nature. Cherries and raspberries. Sweeping waves of funk, tangy bits of citrus rind, sour waves of bitter seeds, and sweet candied cherries, just a plethora of great flavors. Finishes with a lingering melding of flavors, and touch of graininess in the end to level things out. This beer was quite refreshing on a hot day like today, I would go as far to say this is dangerously drinkable. Very enjoyable overall.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2010 23:35:46 | More by HoustonTX
Photo of jneiswender
jneiswender

Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle into a small sample glass.

A-reddish-amber body, clear, tan dense head

S-Worcestershire sauce, spice, sour
cherry

T-sweet cherry front, cherry pit-like middle,

M-medium, somewhat slick

D-much more tame and mellow than other sour ales I've had. I had this one evening with chocolate covered raisins. Unbelievable.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2009 00:43:34 | More by jneiswender
Photo of hopsaplenty
hopsaplenty

Virginia

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz brown bottle, 16DC on the back label.

Murky, deep cordovan with ox blood highlights. Pillowy, soft tan head of mixed size bubbles that crackles as it slowly settles leaving a few splotches of lace. Fat carbonation bubbles stick to the glass, but do not move. The aroma is mildly tart with woody tones and a modest dose of balsamic vinegar. There is a minimal amount of funkiness that works with the sugar sweet aromas. Initially, tart and lactic acidic, but not overly so. There is a woody tone that surfaces in the middle. A sweetness arrives to provide a bit of balance, but the finish is dominated by the acidic edge that pulls at the back corners and lingers. There is a tannic component as well as a clearly vinegar, think thin balsamic, tone. Medium-light body, the carbonation is bountiful and the acidic flavors seems to add lightness, while also leaving the mouth fairly clean. Tasty, and the acidic nature makes this thirst quenching. Perhaps not sessionable, but definitely worthy of returning to over time.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2006 11:57:30 | More by hopsaplenty
Photo of EricCioe
EricCioe

Montana

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours dark red with a bubbly and thin-looking two finger head that dies out quickly and doesn't leave lace. On the nose there is a good bit of tartness, which really dominates. There are some bits of acid and maybe some toffee further back, maybe some brown sugar, too. In the mouth the tartness envelops everything, both the front of the tongue where it normally shows up but also the inside of the cheeks. I keep getting toffee, as on the nose. The body is medium light with a medium finish with the sourness hanging around for a while.

Overall, this is a nice beer. I'm not familiar with the style, but I've had other types of sours so I'm not totally in the dark here. It's a nice brew but there are other sours I like better. Worth a try for sure.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2011 00:08:04 | More by EricCioe
Photo of LiquidCucumber
LiquidCucumber

Ohio

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours deep copper/red, nearly a purplish brown. Has a small head that recedes to a white ring quickly.

S - Musty apple cider, smells like it will be tart and makes my mouth water. Some bready malts as well.

T - Tart grapes, apples and cherries. The smooth fruity malt also delivers some deep earthy tones. Dark figs seem to mix with the musty floor of a barn and hints of cider vinegar.

M - Dry and bubbly; lingers just a little too long.

O - Not a bad brew, but not something I'm going to try to seek out a bunch of. I'd rather it be a little bit more extreme in the sour and funky categories. A good starter for the style though.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2011 01:35:58 | More by LiquidCucumber
Photo of JISurfer
JISurfer

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience of a sour ale, so I wasn't too sure what to expect. I must say though, I was pleasantly suprised. It did have a nice foamy head that lasted quite a while, but then "deflated" into a thick laceing. The smell was nice and malty, with a sweet-n-sour undertone, accompanied by a light grape finish. Taste was sour from the moment you put it in your mouth. It had a sour start, with a tart finish. I really dug this style. It was something I really wanted to try, ever since I first saw they had sour brews. I do like sour foods, sauces, candy, liquor, and such, so this one is up my alley.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 03:48:45 | More by JISurfer
Photo of spoons
spoons

California

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to the tulip

Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue in the light. A super sticky tan/creamy head sits on top.

Smells is tangy. A little malty. Touch of roasted malt in there, some sweetness as well.

The nose is pretty decieving on this beer. Initial taste is way smoother and sweeter than I thought it was going to be. Has an almost soda like body to it. Some acidic sourness, but not a mouth puckering super sour type beer.

A nice beer. I will probably pick up another one of these and see how I feel about it at a later date.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2010 18:44:50 | More by spoons
Photo of rfbenavi80
rfbenavi80

Missouri

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- With a very aggressive pour it pours a very dark amber almost brown with tons of fluffy light tan colored head that takes it's time leaving.

S- There is a noticeable "funk" factor about this beer. It is slightly fruity. Hard to pick out what fruits. Some sort of berry sweetness. Maybe some tart cherry candy.

T- WOW! Not at all what I expected. Very fruity, like fruit punch fruity, but with a nice sourness. Very interesting.

M- The carbonation in this one dances on the tongue as soon as it enters the mouth, but then quickly dances away. Turning into an easy drinker with it's light body.

O- Very surprised with this one. The taste does not follow the nose very well, there were many hidden flavors inside the beer that are not present on the nose. Overall, they got a good one here.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 02:32:20 | More by rfbenavi80
Photo of Sumdeus
Sumdeus

California

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: poured deep ruby in color into a mini snifter. Very little head. Last pour from the bottle is sediment heavy.

S: rich dark fruits with a nice moderate tartness to it.

T: the fruit characteristics are first which develops in to a medium tart kick with a clean finish.

M: good feel to the beer, not too thin, it has some thicker viscosity aspects to it but does not coat.

O: a good moderate sour with some dark fruits and tart cherry that is very pleasing to drink. Nothing out of this world but a good everyday beer for when the sour mood strikes.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2014 03:11:25 | More by Sumdeus
Photo of JoEBoBpr
JoEBoBpr

Missouri

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark mahogany brown with some slight reddish hues. There is a thin quarter inch head of off-white foam that forms and recedes quickly but it leaves a nice lacing along the glass.

Aroma off some oak notes and some nice tartness starts things off. There is some slight funk notes in the nose with some good earthy grain tones. There is some fruit tartness to the nose as well as some slight acidity to it.

Flavor starts off with some slight sweet fruit notes with some grainy malt notes. There is quickly a nice tart fruit acidity that pops up. Nice tart apple notes with some very midl balsamic vinegar. The brew is nice and tart but not too intense and very approachable. There is nice grainy and earthy malt notes mixed in with the fruitiness that also add some sweetness. There is some nice funky yeast notes with some woody oak notes present as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium. Nice complete flavors cover the palette and the carbonation adds a nice cleansing feeling.

PRetty good Flanders. Nice fruity notes balanced with the tartness. Refreshing and delicious. Keeps you coming back for more.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2013 21:32:15 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at a local beer bar. I did not see a date on the label or the bottle but it was pretty dark. The menu described this beer as "The Dr. Pepper of the beer world" -- That bar needs to fire its writer. It was not that, not that at all and that is not what I expect from a Flanders.

Beer is served in a tulip, beer is clear with a white head. The beer is brown but at the brown / red interface of colors. Looks awesome. Head is weak and lacing is way down, carbonation is low. Not odd for the style.

Kind of an odd aroma with this one. Slight sour with a hint of sweet caramel, with an acetic aroma at the backend, maybe a little citric.

Beer first is pretty thin. Not watery, just no body. Its starts out sweet but the sweetness gives way to a strong and dominant balsamic vinegar taste. The finish is tart. There is also an odd, woodsey, aftertaste that degrades my pleasure. This is an OK beer but has not been my favorite Flanders.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2010 16:52:40 | More by drabmuh
Photo of beermanbrian
beermanbrian

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brown apple cider look. Very little head. Nothing appealing about the look at all. Smell is all sour fruit, this is what i was expecting. Cherry notes and maybe it's just the apple cider appearance but i think i pick up notes of sour apple too. Taste is sour, but not completely mouthpuckering sour. It's an interesting taste for sure but not over the top. I don't have much to compare this one too style wise but this is pretty much what i expected. Other than the rather drab appearance, a beer that is worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2007 01:29:44 | More by beermanbrian
Photo of jcartamdg
jcartamdg

Florida

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish brown with a paperthin head that slowly creeps to the glass of my tulip. Great lacing throughout. Aroma of sweet wine and lactic sour. Taste follows the nose tart but not overpowering. Smooth and sweet. Easy to drink where I could have two or three in a sitting. I love this beer

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2011 02:10:51 | More by jcartamdg
Photo of tlazaroff
tlazaroff

Virginia

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brilliantly red in color with a crisp foamy white head, sticks to the glass like no other - and perfectly clear.

S: Slightly sour, maybe some cherries, defiantly a fruitiness present, but due to a stuffy nose, I can't get a lot out of it.

T: This is tart, I like it a lot! It has a great complexity that I am having trouble identifying. I wish I could do this beer more justice because It really does taste good.

M: It's dry, fully carbonated, and light on the palate.

D: Quite drinkable. It didn't last as long as I thought it would.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2011 01:57:11 | More by tlazaroff
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,191 ratings.