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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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

2,061 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2061
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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Photo of barczar
barczar

Kentucky

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep burgundy with ruby highlights and a solid half inch cream head that slowly dissipates, coating the glass.

Aroma is balsamic vinegar, cherries, and must. There's a touch of barnyard funk.

Sweet cherry forms the base of the flavor profile, with heavy vinegar and cider tones at the finish. Toasty oak becomes evident as it warms, along with a but of horse blanket.

Body is on the light side, with fairly high carbonation.

Overall, a nice starter sour. The sweetness of the malt provides relief from the vinegary sourness. A bit too sweet for my tastes.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2012 01:14:34 | More by barczar
Photo of rinhaak
rinhaak

Massachusetts

2.7/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Judging from others' reviews of this beer, it is entirely possible my beer was poured terribly wrong. However, I can only judge my own experience.

That said, Monk's Café poured with absolutely no head. It had a dark reddish hue, similar to a Dr. Pepper. In fact, not only did the color resemble Dr. Pepper, so did the visible carbonation bubbles, the mouthfeel, and – to a large extent – the taste.

This beer was very sweet with a sour twinge running parallel. This balance reminded me of Panda Express' sweet n' sour sauce: really sweet, with a hint of vinegar. There was a distinct cherry flavor, which added to its soda pop character.

Overall, I was tremendously disappointed with the brew. It was imbalanced towards the sweet side of the spectrum, and didn't have much, if any, depth of flavor. It go down easily enough, and if you are looking for a sweet, easily drinkable beer, this might be for you.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2012 14:33:54 | More by rinhaak
Photo of senbrewing
senbrewing

Kentucky

4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich red and brown color with white fizzy head. Nice lace though stuck to the snifter quite well.

Upfront sourness typical of sour style beer. Smells of citrus and tart cherries. Very winey.Quite lovely.

Taste is fantastic. Sour beers are are my new favorite style and I never pass on up. Grand cru being one of my absolute favorite beers this is right up there with them. Very similar in taste with a balance between sweet and tart. Soured cherrys and sweet citrus very drinkable. The main difference is the sweetness which sets this apart from grand cru. By no means is it bad just a little sweet for my taste. All in all great balanced sour with that great funky finish that makes this a great sour.

Tart puckering effect when it hits the mouth followed by citrus and cherries. Very spritzy, typical champaign feel. Good malty base with hints of wine.

All in all this beer hits the top of my list and is a great representation of a good Flemish sour. Being one of my favorite styles this beer is all around a good balanced beer. Sweet sour tart, what else can I say. Try it. Like most I've seen you'll either love or hate this style. Thank you Belgium

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2012 03:24:22 | More by senbrewing
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 y2jrock60
y2jrock60

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark red, almost resembles Coca-Cola. The head disappears fast and leaves behind no lacing.

S- Apple cider vinegar.

T- Sour, apple cider vinegar, with a lingering sweetness.

M- Medium bodied with high carbonation.

D- I could probably drink 1 or 2 of these before becoming tired.

I thought this beer was delicious. I never had this style before so I didn't know what to expect. It tasted like apple cider candy to me. Apparently this is one of those beers you either love, or hate. I loved it!

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2011 03:21:55 | More by y2jrock60
Photo of Jef59
Jef59

New Jersey

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

A- at first, the beer appears to be a deep brownish orange with a nice, thick, cream colored head. When held up to the light, it turns to a beautiful ruby red. The head dissipates to a thin lingering layer throughout the rest of the glass.

S - A nice sour smell hits the nose followed by a sweet sugary honey scent. There is a fruity scent, kinda berry/cherry like. Smells like it should be really refreshing.

T - It IS really refreshing. The sourness is really nice: not too overpowering for the rookie sour drinker, but not too subtle as to take away complexity. A sour cherry flavor is very present and is nicely complimented by a malty, brown sugar backbone. There is a slight spiciness (coriander maybe), but it is very subtle. Hardly any hops are present, but it does have a nice citrusy zing to it. It's almost if cherry-lemonade and beer had a baby.

M - Super velvety! The carbonation rolls over your tongue leaving a light and refreshing consistency.

This beer is super refreshing! Perfect for a hot day or to pair with an awesome meal at Monk's!

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2011 03:43:19 | More by Jef59
Photo of scout
scout

District of Columbia

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Publican in Chicago.

Pours a ruby-brown color with a generous head and excellent lacing. Smell is sour cherries, fruits, that Belgian sugary smell and some oaky funk.

Taste is really interesting -- a total blend of tart cherries, maybe some apples too and sweet. Also, a tad spicy and a little bready too. What's unique is that it's a total blending of flavors -- they don't hit you in phases but are all there from beginning to end. Mouthfeel is outstanding -- smooth, almost creamy (probably attributable to the draft, but still surprising for the style).

Overall, a very unique beer. A very drinkable sour with a lot of complex, but very blended and balanced flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2011 01:05:17 | More by scout
Photo of DCon
DCon

Missouri

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the Hair of the Dog on Washington Ave. (St. Louis), MO for $5. Tapped from the Monk's Cafe Red Tap Handle into a 16oz Monk's Cafe Cocktail Style Glass.

Aroma- Has an awesome aroma! Sweet with black cherries are very strong. Has the slightest sour aroma but nothing big.

Appearance- Received with a .5 finger head that is off white. Has a clear, ruby-brown body and only sudsy lace is left on the glass.

Flavor- Very light character in the taste. It is evident that there are cherries in here but the sweetness and malty take over the entire taste. Has that sweet and sour profile but very minimal.

Mouthfeel- Light Bodied, Medium Carbonation, bit of alcohol taste on the finish but then has a metallic taste... Should definitely not be present.

Overall Impression- I was excited to try this on-tap but will tell you this is definitely a brew that should be enjoyed by the bottle! I love presenting this to people who are looking to try new styles but it was much different on-tap. Try it if you can and let me know if you think the same way!

Serving type: on-tap

09-27-2011 17:30:13 | More by DCon
Photo of socon67
socon67

New York

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours amber with a red hue. Thick rusty colored foam head.

S - Smells of sour apples, and similar to many Willy Wonka candies.

T - Taste has a tangy sour flavor, with tartness of sour cherries.

M - Medium bodied, well blended, and went just awesome with Indian food.

O - A well made Oud Bruin that isn't overly sour and has a fruit tangyness that makes it an enjoyable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

09-08-2011 01:56:13 | More by socon67
Photo of THECPJ
THECPJ

Delaware

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

Reviewed from notes: Had on draft at Monk's Cafe thanks to Maggie for DIPA Trivia Question. : )

appearance: dark red / brown with a 1 finger minimal head

smell: sour, tart, cherries, apples,

taste: sour, tart, refreshing, cherries,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: really impressed how refreshing this beer was. So glad I got to try it and had a great time at Monk's.

cheers,
the CPJ

Serving type: on-tap

08-01-2011 01:33:24 | More by THECPJ
Photo of bigfnjoe
bigfnjoe

Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
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

Serving type: on-tap

07-25-2011 21:32:36 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of jmvecchio1
jmvecchio1

Missouri

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: The beer is brownish and red in color with a higher carbonation head at first which dissipates into small lacing.

Smell:The smell is your clear indication that this is a sour ale. I get strong hints of dried bing cherries and I would swear some tart apples.

Taste: The taste really does set you up for the full flavor of this beer. It is a sour upon initial contact with the tongue and also on the finish. However on the near end of the finish you get the malt backbone that should be expected in a red ale. Drinking this beer made me think of fall afternoons spent watching college football.

Drink: Once you get accustom to the sour aromas and taste, it’s a nice drinking beer. However, I wouldn’t classify this beer as thirst quencher, but something to slowly sip. While the beer is marketed as a palate cleaner, I found myself tasting the sour an easy 10 minutes after the beer. So unless you plan on sipping on one or two of these beers, I’d suggest getting a hop heavy beer afterward to shock your palate back to reality.

Serving type: on-tap

07-16-2011 19:12:34 | More by jmvecchio1
Photo of orangesol
orangesol

Pennsylvania

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on-tap at Al's of Hampden into a tulip.

A - Pours opaque reddish brown with a fizzy half finger tall off white head leaving little to no lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of tart sour cherries, oak, some lactic sourness, and a light sugary sweetness. Not as funky as I was expecting it to be, still a decent amount of sourness tho.

T - Starts off with a bright lactic sourness that fades quickly leaving hints of tart cherries, candied sugar, dry oak tannins, and some dark fruit. Finish is a mix of light sourness and sticky sweetness, lingering for a short time. This was ok at best.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Good amount of pucker initially quickly dieing down leaving a sticky sweet feel. Finish is a mix of light sourness and lingering sweetness.

O - This is far from a bad beer, but it really never wowed me. I liked the flavors but the sourness cut out far too quickly and you were left with an overly sweet red ale.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2011 23:14:48 | More by orangesol
Photo of ryantaussig
ryantaussig

New York

4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Leaps and bounds better on tap than it ever was in the bottle. I'm so sad the keg at The Good Life was kicked. While very similar to the bottled version. The freshness of it from the keg made for a significantly more sour experience. Same look (although lacing was better), better aroma and flavor. A great beer, especially on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

06-25-2011 14:25:58 | More by ryantaussig
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On-tap at Prime 16 into a Monk's Cafe tumbler. Cheer's to matching glassware, even if it doesn't do much to accentuate aroma + flavor.

A: Clear vermillion body under a finger of super-fine tan foam. Decent retention and light lacing. Pretty inviting.

S: Uninspiring: prickly red wine vinegar, overripe cherries, and some vanilla. The acetic tartness increases as it warms, but it's never all that interesting for the style.

T: The sourness tingles the tip of my tongue, but is quickly drowned out entirely by wave after wave of cherry/vanilla sweetness. Tastes kind of like stale Cheerwine (for all you non-southerners, this is basically overly sweetened Dr. Pepper). Not terrible, but way too sweet.

M: Explosive carbonation and a sticky medium body. Exciting.

O: I think I prefer this slightly to Duchesse du Bourgogne, but only slightly - both are unnecessarily sweet and lacking in genuine complexity. While I love a great Flanders sour, I really can't get excited about a mediocre one.

Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2011 00:49:50 | More by woosterbill
Photo of LittleDon
LittleDon

Texas

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

A 13 oz. pour at the Sunset in Boston.

Cherry red, clear, with no head or lace. Aroma is sour cherries, oak, and noticeably acidic. Flavor is similar in characteristic, with a very lively feel. Light bodied. Strong lacquer characteristics in both aroma and taste (maybe fermented apples is more appropriate). I would have thought the ABV was much higher.

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2011 01:29:46 | More by LittleDon
Photo of MufflnMan
MufflnMan

Florida

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Thirsty Monk. Poured a reddish color with a frothy off white head. Smells of tart fruit... apples, cherries, berries. Taste is the perfect amount of sour. Just what I was looking for in this kind of brew. Green apples and cherries nicely balanced to create a really refreshing feel.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2011 05:00:04 | More by MufflnMan
Photo of Prime16
Prime16

Connecticut

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish color, nice frothy head.

S: Tart apples, sweet with sour cherries.

T: A little sweeter than I expected with definite green apple and cherry with a refreshing and pleasing sour taste.

M: Satisfying with light carbonation, clean.

O: Enjoyable beer, just a little on the sweet side for me.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2011 21:16:58 | More by Prime16
Photo of StaveHooks
StaveHooks

Oklahoma

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours dark brown with lots of red highlights.
Thin khaki head.

S - acidic fruit, vinegar, tart.

T - sweeter than the nose. Cherries dominate and coat the side and back of the tongue with tartness. Hints of green apples and stem wood. Sour but tame.

M - medium bodied, Low but tight carbonation.

This a good mix of sweet and sour. Smells incredible, and drinks very easy. Tame on the sourness.

Serving type: on-tap

03-20-2011 00:45:31 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of quine
quine

Colorado

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

On tap at Monk's Cafe. First sour.

A: Poured a deep, clear ruby-brown. Head was thin, off-white, and faded away rather quickly.

S: Smells tart and sweet. Like tart fruits.

T: Immediate taste of fruity sweetness, followed by significant tartness. Tastes of sour apples and cherries. The sweet and sour are well balanced. No trace of hops in the taste.

M: High carbonation that adds crispness. The tartness adds a feeling of tanginess.

D: This is very drinkable. I had misgivings about sours, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It had a nice balance of flavors, and was certainly different from any other beer I've had. It's not overly sweet or sour, and it's very tasty.

Serving type: on-tap

03-16-2011 16:43:37 | More by quine
Photo of Gambrinus1184
Gambrinus1184

Connecticut

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-26-2011 05:22:21 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of KickInTheChalice
KickInTheChalice

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Three Floyd's in a Monk glass.

Appearance: This pours a cherry color with a tint of brown and a thin foamy tan cap. It mostly fades to a ring but leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Tart cherries, some vinegar, and surprising raisin aroma, which is pleasant and really some character.

Taste: A dash of light malt starts out the sip. Sweet cherries turn tart, then acidic and vinegary. A dash of raisin is in here, and the finish is more tart cherry and vinegar.

Mouthfeel: Crisply carbonated and a little bit creamy at the end. The tartness leaves my lips puckering and my mouth salivating. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: I found this to be easy drinking, not too tart, but with a pleasant, moderately complex flavor. I would definitely order this again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2011 22:50:58 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of DoktorZee
DoktorZee

Alberta (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-tap at the Draught House, in a goblet.

A - pours a very red, clear brew with little to no head, some obvious carbonation.

S - very unique smell almost like spoiled fruit with a definite tartness.

T - tastes like sour apple juice underpinned by an elusive booziness that never quite makes an appearance. Also significant earthy tones.

M - really nice sharp carbonation that makes this taste very crisp and refreshing.

D - in spite of the significant tartness somehow the alcohol warmth keeps it very drinkable; surprisingly so!

Definitely a unique experience for me; would definitely try it again (and am curious what it's like from a bottle).

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2011 19:33:43 | More by DoktorZee
Photo of Spider889
Spider889

Ohio

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lounge 62 in Gahanna.

Damn this one was tough to find on the site. Searches led me to a Brewery called Monks Cafe in Switzerland, then a bar called Monk's Cafe in PA. Neither brewed this beer, though apparently this Belgian brewery created this brew for the forementioned bar.

Bourgundy coloring in the dim bar light. With some effort and angling I could see some nice ruby and blood orange hues in my snifter. Lots of tiny white bubbles, no lace or retention however.

Smells pretty sour, but also sweet. Almost cidery in the good way. Ripe black cherries and sour green skins. Mild mildew funk as it warms.

Tastey, though very sweet. The sourness is not nearly as pronounced as in the nose. Some mild dank oakiness intermingles with puckering green cherries and candied pear.

Light carbonation, the bubbles that are there dance on the tongue. Brut champagne character, nice and drinkable, good beginner sour.

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2010 17:22:54 | More by Spider889
Photo of UTCengOwl
UTCengOwl

Texas

1.7/5  rDev -55.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Had this on tap in a nonic half pint glass at the Draught House. Let's just say that I was not impressed by this beer... Thanks 2.0 scores!

The beer poured a pinkish brown color with a scattering of head across the top. I'd prefer for my beers to not come across as pinkish... but maybe that's just me.

The nose and taste were dominated by overly sweet red wine vinegar. Wow, just not pleasant at all. The sweetness sometimes bordered on cloying. The vinegar tastes were not so strong as to be basalmic or repugnant, but it was getting there. At least they were a bit more rounded.

I regretted ordering this after the first sip, but I didn't want to kill myself while drinking the rest of it, so I guess that's a plus. I will definitely not be ordering this again. We need more good sours to come to Texas so I don't have to subject myself to this as one of our few options!

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2010 15:25:20 | More by UTCengOwl
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,061 ratings.