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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 XxNitExX
XxNitExX

Nebraska

3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Tulip

A- Pours a deep ruby colored brown with a very lively tan head. Loads of bubbles!

S- Smells of rich malt with a dark sweetness. Also has a sour component that finishes and stings the nose.

T- Sweet sugar goodness! Starts with an immediate sweet sugary taste, but melds into a fruit (cherry grape maybe) that finishes with a malty backbone to remind you this is a beer. Get a little sour funk, more acidic than funky.

M- I don't know why but this just feels good in my mouth. Its like an effervescent feeling but not in a bad way.

Overall if you do not mind a sweeter sour, this is a great beer. A very good entry into the world of sours, but no where near the complexity you can find in some of the better sours.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2013 23:15:44 | More by XxNitExX
Photo of pschul4
pschul4

Illinois

3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into my HotD taster courtesy of the man, the legend, Libbey

A- pours a red/brown. Ruby tones, if you nomsayin. Also carbonation explosion. Only can get 1oz in this 3oz taster

S- very sweet malts and a touch of acidic bite on the back end

T- mostly sweet, sour bite in the middle before being sweet again on the end.

M- not as prickly as i would have thought, surprisingly smooth for the style

O- good, not great. Probably wouldnt buy again

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2013 20:26:47 | More by pschul4
Photo of tdm168
tdm168

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber with a reddish hue; huge, soft, dense, foamy, offwhite almost brownish head that has great retention

S - a bit musty, faint fruit, some grainy sweetness

T - berries, mildly lactic, some caramel, mild bitterness in the finish

M - medium bodied, sticky, smooth, crisp

I'm not sure how I feel about this beer. It's not really bad, but it's not really great either. It has a decent enough flavor though the fruity notes are mild and there is very little if any sourness. The nose is a bit off putting with it's graininess. Overall, not a bad beer, but I've had better in this style. It was nice to try once, but I won't be seeking it out again.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 00:27:28 | More by tdm168
Photo of MaximalC
MaximalC

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the color of molasses with attractive plum highlights. Khaki head is respectable at first but soon disappears into a frothy veil that only partially hides the surface of the brew. Aroma is mild and vinegary, with some fruity sweetness to boot.

The flavor is incredibly mild and subtle for a sour ale, but I don't mean that in a negative way per se; it just takes some patience and close inspection to tease out what you're actually tasting. A prune-like malt sweetness melds seamlessly with a robust dose of Belgian yeast and a dash of cherry and apple cider vinegar. A touch of wheat shows up in the finish once all else has dissipated. The mouthfeel is the real star here as far as I'm concerned, with a crisp, velvety texture that holds one's attention in a way that the flavor alone would fail to do.

This is a delicate and drinkable sour ale that would make a great gateway for anyone new to the style. The sourness is hardly puckering, and the overall experience is more reminiscent of a mild, dark Belgian ale than a full-faced sour. Hardly spectacular, but still quite enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2013 02:49:19 | More by MaximalC
Photo of ckollias
ckollias

Maryland

4.21/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed this bottle out of a Beligian tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark amber hue with a huge white head that leaves a good trail down the side of the glass.

S: Sour dark fruit aroma.

T: Sour and slightly sweet dark fruit flavor and decent malt background. Finishes on the sour side of sweet.

M: Thin body and medium carbonation.

O: Really good sour brew. A nice sipping beer – but nothing I could drink more than one of.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2013 01:28:26 | More by ckollias
Photo of mclynch
mclynch

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Big creamy head that won't quit - but pour carefully towards the end lest chunks of blackish yuck end up in your glass, rising & falling like a lava lamp on the bubbles! Foam left on the glass was marred by this black gunk (yeast, trub, whatever?).
Smell was fruity, sweet & sour, & somewhat funky.
Taste was tart but not overly so, sour cherry, cheerfully carbonated, a nice food accompaniment and easy drinking beer.
Mouthfeel a little thin but enough going on with the taste and bubbles that it wasn't a factor.
Overall - will definitely buy this again. At about $10 for a 4 pack (in MA), it's a reasonable price for a blended sour ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 13:43:53 | More by mclynch
Photo of pmcadamis
pmcadamis

Illinois

3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Deep garnet with a giant rocky four finger head and tons of chunky yeast in the glass. Big sheets of lace slide down the glass into that enormous beige head. Head retention is awesome.

S - Sour cherry candy, tart fruit preserves, and red wine vinegar. Nicely balanced sugary-jammy-preserves notes temper the vinegar acidic aroma. Smells a little bit like tart kool-aid mix powder without the sugar.

T - More sour cherry on top of a light brown sugar note. Strawberries. Tart sour candy. Rhubarb.

M - Light bodied with a very acidic tart puckery mouthfeel. FInishes relatively clean and slightly metallic and almost bloody (I know that sounds weird, but there is a bit of that metallic blood note at the end).

A very odd style to be sure, but I like it for it's off-kilter aspect. I think I would have a hard time drinking this with any regularity.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 19:28:04 | More by pmcadamis
Photo of CurtFromHershey
CurtFromHershey

Pennsylvania

3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a dark Ruby with a thick khaki head which fades down to a thin and stubborn layer of head.
S - yuck. Hose water, old apples.
T - pleasant surprise, does not follow nose. Slightly tart, granny Smith, fig.
M - move along, nothing to see here. Nothing objectionable.
O - not a bad little brew. Smells foul but tastes refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 00:37:18 | More by CurtFromHershey
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 CloudStrife
CloudStrife

New York

3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear dark ruby brown with a 2 finger off white head. Quick to dissipate it leaves no real lacing. Some pretty big chunks floating in the body.

S: Fairly lackluster aroma, light funk/sour notes. Some fermented malt aroma that gives a dark fruitiness.

T: More of a malt-forward oud bruin. Does have some sour that kicks in mid sip but more of a pronounced dark fruit and roasty malt taste. Sweetness on the lips. Good mellow tartness throughout.

M: Light body with a good crisp finish. Very drinkable brew.

Overall a good baseline for the Oud Bruin category. Doesn't overwhelm but is true to the style and still very tasty.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 23:28:49 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of LambicPentameter
LambicPentameter

Kansas

3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - deep ruby-red hue when lit, but burgundy, almost black appearance upon glance. Semi-opaque. Frothy head is beige and dissipates after 30-60 seconds.

Smell - dominant cherry aroma with hints of currant. Hint of sour, but rounding out into a sweetness.

Taste - strawberry and cherry tartness, but the sour complexity never arrives. Dry finish and a bit bland.

Mouthfeel - light effervescent carbonation. Silky thin coating.

Overall - a drinkable beer due to how mild it is, but also doesn't strike me as a beer I would just drink to drink. Not complex enough of a flavor or aroma to keep me coming back.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2013 02:51:51 | More by LambicPentameter
Photo of yamar68
yamar68

Minnesota

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like a glass of cold frothy black tea - hazy burgundy brown with a creamy finger of stubborn off-white head. Loads and loads of beading right beneath that and a good amount of lacing above.

Balsamic vinegar with red wine grapes and sour cherry on the nose... it's relatively mellow but appropriately tart with a bit of citric acidity. I like where this is headed.

It's got a nice tart fruit character right on the front end with some sweet but earthy oak notes... musty red wine flavors... it finishes oddly empty though, maybe a bit of something floral, it doesn't even really dry up at the end.

This beer is spot on right up until the end. I reckon I'll age a few and see what happens.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2013 06:33:37 | More by yamar68
Photo of MRsojourner
MRsojourner

Massachusetts

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

smell is somewhat musty- old fruit and slightly rubbery
dark red with ruby shining highlights- not see thru
Taste is of cherry coke, barely beer tasting. vey clean stone fruits and grapes. super clean with little aftertaste. almost no taste of hops.
imo way to clean to be called a sour. not sure where that notion even comes from. This is not bad by any means its just lackluster.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 20:48:44 | More by MRsojourner
Photo of DavidST
DavidST

Texas

3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a pint glass, coded bottle date. This pours a crystal clear amber color with a massive fizzy tan head which last for a very long time a leave a duvel like foam. The smell is a little brown ale malty, a little nutty, hints of cherries. The feel is medium to light. The taste is okay, you get a little bitterness, nutty brown ale flavors and a little sourness, but mostly plain and light, this beer has the unfornutate task of following Liefmans Curvee and it leaves a ton to be desired.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 06:07:19 | More by DavidST
Photo of Beer-A-Lot
Beer-A-Lot

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful color and head. But while a decent tasting beer, it's not as bold or vibrant as other sours I've tasted. Easy drinking, but really too light in my opinion. This is not a bad beer, just a bit too plain. I could drink it again, but if the sour flavors were bolder, this would be a really nice beer that you could enjoy when you're in the mood for this style. Misses by just a touch.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2012 03:06:11 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of troysoy2
troysoy2

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, and served just above fridge temps.

An awesome, fluffy white head floats effortlessly over a slightly-rouge-tinged brown body. Lots of carbonation apparent. Excellent retention.

The smell is a bit straightforward, but pleasant. Laid back lactic acid over a crisp, yet soft citrus-infused brown malt profile. A touch of caramel.

The taste is much like the nose. Definitely a more subtle sourness than you may find in some sour ales, but this is nice in a way. It allows you to appreciate the malt profile a bit more, which seems appropriate for the style. Very refreshing, tart finish accentuated by plenty of carbonation and a pretty light mouthfeel.

Not out of this world great, but this could make a great "everyday sour", if there is such a thing.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 02:27:15 | More by troysoy2
Photo of gcamparone
gcamparone

Rhode Island

3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Purchased in Wakefield, Rhode Island:

A- Pours a deep amber clear body with a generous, fluffy, thick cream-colored head that slowly reduces to some uneven chunks of puffy foam. Impressive

S- Sour apple notes, acidic. Malt backbone with some faint hoppiness in the background.

T- Starts off with a subtle caramel note, ends slightly acidic but not overbearingly. Somewhat simple.

M- Somewhat watery, medium-low carbonation.

Overall a refreshing brew that I enjoyed reviewing. It's slightly one-dimensional and could use more character. Worth a try nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2012 16:18:38 | More by gcamparone
Photo of dfillius
dfillius

Michigan

4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a wine glass
A: Gentle pour yields 1.5 fingers of tan fizzy loose head with fair retention. Deep crimson crystal clear liquid. Head is nearly non-existent after 2 minutes, better retention please. Very effervescent.
S: Cherry, tart lemon juice, slight funk. Slight penicillin, oak. Apple cider.
T: Tart apple at first, caramel a little later. Balanced sweet and sour. Some clean malt, some lemon juice and tart cherries. Not as complex as the aroma. The effervescence dominates and scrubs the flavor. I swirled to reduce the vigor of the bubbles, much better.
M: Very dry up front, lightly sour with good sweetness following, like tart cherry juice. A little too effervescent. Expectorant.
O: Very high. I'd love to have another bottle/pint/4-pack. Really nice, solid, mellow, full-flavored sour.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2012 02:40:45 | More by dfillius
Photo of bnes09
bnes09

Illinois

4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby, copper and mostly transparent. Sudsy, soda-like head with descent retention, no lace. Bottom of the glass has chunks of yeast which rise to the top as I drink it.

Tart and sweet aroma of dark fruits and lactic acid. Hints at roasted malt character which is well blended.

Light malty character with roasted characters most predominant. Mild prune and date sweetness. Lactic acid. Chocolate flavor in the finish. Well balanced.

Light to medium body. Snappy carbonation. Dry, crisp finish makes me want another sip.

Pretty good brew. Complex flavors and easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 05:24:57 | More by bnes09
Photo of buddha5050
buddha5050

Michigan

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus challace.

A: nice deep red color with light/med carbonation with 1.5 to 2 fingers of white pillowy head.

S: Cherries, sour, bready nice tart smell

T: Balsamic vinegar (slightly), slight sweetness, but a nice sour cherry flavor with nice bubblegum/nutmeg phenols. Nice taste.

M: Med body and cabonation which is nice, with a good tartness on the sides of the tongue

O: Nice beer, above average for style.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 01:57:28 | More by buddha5050
Photo of Seanniek91
Seanniek91

Rhode Island

4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into an Affligem goblet (probably around 0.3 l).

Appearance- Nice amber/brown. One finger head that dissipated in about 30 seconds leaving a small white rim around the top of the beer.

Smell- Cherry, apple, raspberry. Yeast and some malt.

Taste- Similar to the smell. Definantly some yeast and malt mixed with oak. Raspberry and cherry flavors come through. Not overly sour. Very nice aftertaste of fruit that lingers for a while.

Mouthfeel- Reasonably carbonated. Sits in the mouth for a while imparting flavors. Goes down very smooth. Very refreshing.

Overall- A great beer for people who want to get into sours but are hesitant to try the extremes. It's not overly sour, but it's got a nice sweetness to balance it. Very refreshing Flemish Sour.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2012 20:19:07 | More by Seanniek91
Photo of Twincrasher
Twincrasher


4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very nice head. Small bubbles. Pour slowly.

S: Astringent and very fruity. Very enjoyable as a stand alone night cap.

T: Cherry and deep fruits cut through the sour flavor profile. Very smooth finish for a sour beer.

M: Good layered mouthfeel. Finish is where flavor profile enhanced.

O: Not just a novelty. Worth drink as stand alone. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2012 17:18:41 | More by Twincrasher
Photo of lordofstarside
lordofstarside

Nevada

3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11 oz bottle to snifter. "09HK" on the side which I'm assuming has something to do with the bottle date. I'm skeptical it's been sitting on a shelf for three years though

Pours a very dark red, which is perceived as more of a brown when not against my windows light. Poured a finger and a half of foam which has settled very quickly into a nice ring around the cup. Mild carbonation, mediocre lacing, not bad looking

Aroma of sour cherry, cabernet wine, apple, grape, oak, and alcohol. A faint sweet malt is present yet concealed

Taste of pretty straight forward sweet cherry, grape, and some malt. Many of the elements from the smell are hard to detect, taste is rather bland and over powered by the main fruit flavors

Mouth is pretty good. Sweet at first, finishing tart at the end. Nice carbonation, very thick and creamy

Overall this is a pretty mild sour. It's not bad, however I just find it too sweet...which I find to be stronger than I do the sourness of the ale, which I think defeats the purpose of the style. It was pretty cheap however, I might buy another to cellar for a couple years

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2012 00:25:17 | More by lordofstarside
Photo of pkalix
pkalix

California

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

part of 'that' sampler pack of sour brews...
tan, creamy head. dark ruby pour.
aroma 'could' be of a sour, but it's not totally there....
taste.... wow. very full, round sour flavor- AWESOME, but finishes totally WEAK. what a disappointment at the finish. kind of like the tigers in game 3 of the world series right now with bases loaded and 1 out- strike out, and chump! oh well.... i love the flavor, although it's just missing something... i mean, how do i describe this?
overall, awesome lacing on the sides. beautiful color. fruity, tart. low abv%, but okay.... maybe that's what it is missing.... does it earn a 4.5? i really like this.... but there's just something in the finishing of the taste that makes me think they just missed something....

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2012 03:07:07 | More by pkalix
Photo of draheim
draheim

Washington

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL into a tulip. Pours a clear mahogany brown w/ a big thick khaki head, lively carb, sticky lacing.

Aroma is tart and dry. Sour cherries, lactic acid. A little one-dimensional.

Taste follows nose. Sour fermenting fruit, dry oak, heavy vinous red grapes. I search for more nuances, different layers, but that's about it. Has a cidery quality.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light, maybe a little thin. Very drinkable and refreshing.

Overall a good Flanders oud bruin, but lacks complexity. Might serve as a good intro to the style, but there are better ones out there.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2012 02:26:32 | More by draheim
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,063 ratings.