Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

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BA SCORE
86
very good

1,089 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,089
Hads: 2,701
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 75
Gots: 343 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: nomad on 06-19-2003

Brewed for Monk's Café in Philadelphia, but also available for retail purchase elsewhere. Oud Bruin in style; a traditional blend of young and old beers.
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Reviews: 1,089 | Hads: 2,701
Photo of breadwinner
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I thought this little Flemish ale worked pretty nicely. I appreciated its light tartness, certainly not a sour for sour fiends, but really quite pleasant, and working in concert with a raisiny/dark berry-ish flavor and touches of funk to create a nicely drinkable brew. (269 characters)

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle served in a tasting glass.

Very dark red with a nice brown head. Clear and beautiful. Sour cherries and a little sour funk in the nose. Thin mouthfeel, sour cherries, tart but not too much. Heavy medicinal flavor but not in a bad way. No oak character, I guess that vanished generations ago. Wonderful Flemish Red. (323 characters)

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

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

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

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 fl oz. bottle, no bottled on date present. My first encounter with this beer and this brewery, acquired the 4 pack at the local beer store.

Poured into a Unibroue La Fin Du Monde tulip glass.

A - Pours a murky brownish red body, a bit more clarity than I would have thought, with three fingers of fluffy pinkish-brown tinted head that stays for a while.

S - Aroma is pretty bland. A touch of lactic sour, green apples, mixed berries, and some mustiness.

T - Not sour at all, in my opinion. Minor tart. Lots of mixed berries. Taste at times almost reminds me of berry juice concentrate. Very plain and boring.

M - Smooth, wet, & sticky. Light-bodied, low carbonation. Easy-drinking, but not quenching.

Overall, a very plain and boring example of the style, I'd have to say. Definitely not worth the $15.99 price tag.

Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale -----3.5/5 (867 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap in a tulip, the beer is a bright, crystal clear, straw coloring with a thin, clingy, white head. Aromas of toasted grains, subtle grape must, and lemon. Flavors are toasted forward, with a subtle lemon tart and sweet, white grape must, and floral highlights. Very balanced, light, and refreshing. The aftertaste is tart and sweet, with a dry, crisp, clean finish. Very drinkable. (393 characters)

Photo of MLoxxer
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

I enjoyed this beer on tap at Yia Yia's in Lincoln Nebraska. Although the head consisted of larger bubbles retention was very good. Living up to its reputation its flavor does have a very lambic-like start with a sour finish. Mouthfeel is moderately tanniny. I could detect no malt or hop character which leads me to believe the base is wheat and fruit. This isn't a beer for everyone but it does have an adventurous flavor. (424 characters)

Photo of Slack
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mahagoney in color with about 1/2 inch of head and no lacing.

Aroma is sour, acidic, with sweet undertones. Am picking up vinegar and grape.

Taste is acid up front mixed with wine. Finish is sweet grape.

Mouthful is light and crisp with high carbonation.

This is a nice beer that is very easy to drink. I paired it with some BBQ and enjoyed it even further. (365 characters)

Photo of Qbdoo
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, dark brown, almost black with frothy tan head. Smells like cherries and tastes similar. Starts with a touch of sweetness but finishes super dry and crisp. Light-bodied. I am not a lover of sours but this is the best I've had and one I will drink again. (258 characters)

Photo of BenwayPHD
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a reddish brown with a full three finger head. The appearance bothers me. It's too clean. I want to see the funk in a sour beer. The nose is also a letdown. It smells like sour, sweet, and slightly citrussy, but it's all a bit too mellow. The flavor is similar. It's good but not great. I like a sour that punches me in the gut. This feels safe. It's a sour for people who are new to sours. (396 characters)

Photo of stompilator
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.5oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Poured a hazy dark brown, slimy, off-white head.

S - Heavy, almost astringent sourness, akin to paint fumes. Slight bit of caramelly grain aroma.

T - Initial sour taste follows the nose, very harsh and vinegar-y with some stone fruit notes.. Tartness builds to a peak and fades into a nibbling residual sourness, allowing the slightly sweet grain and yeast spice to really shine.

M - A tad dry, but nice carbonation and medium body.

O - The astringency of the sourness masks the complex flavor profile a bit, but is still an interesting and evolving brew. (608 characters)

Photo of Libeertarian
3.01/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not too dark of a brown in the stream out of the bottle, but very dark, and like a garnet in the glass. Medium retention tan head with fine-bubbled, rocky cap coming higher than the brim of the tulip glass this beer was poured into. Aromas of vinegar, fresh paint, wood, and sweet esters or alcohols. In the taste, there's a light fruitiness, cherries I'd say, throughout and more of that fresh paint like quality in the back, to distinguish this from watered down carbonated vinegar. For this, it's not bad if sipped, may even start to grow on you. Very bubbly, lighter body than expected, good level of astringency to match the lingering sourness, as well as warming sensation. (679 characters)

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

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

Photo of g_lincoln
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One of the most full-flavored and surprisingly crisp beers that I've ever had the pleasure to drink. Nice, crisp flavor of red berries and a very clean and bright finish. (170 characters)

Photo of JuliaCoolia
4.82/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is my first and only sour so far so it's hardly fair for me to judge. However, it's one of my favorite beers to date. It's crisp and acidly with a little fruity flavor. Bonus: your friends won't steal your beer. (216 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

10 oz pour into a snifter at the Shamrock Inn in Pueblo, CO. Very nice deep ruby color, opaque, with a thick white two-finger head. Great retention and lacing. The nose was lots of tart cherry up front, with some sweet raisins, and fresh grapes. The flavor was identical to the aroma, with lots of tart cherry, almost like drinking a cherry pie. Fairly thin, but felt very nice on the palate, the tartness hit the spot. Overall, this was pretty good, not quite on the level of a Rodenbach Grand Cru, but still tasty and well worth drinking. (542 characters)

Photo of BeerSnobLeprechaun
4.8/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served in snifter at Craft Ale House (Pottstown, PA).

L- Transluscent brown with light receding lace around perimeter.

S- Huge malt vinegar nose with a hint of sweet fruit in background, a bit of dirty bar-skunk beer in nose.

T- Great brown ale flavor in front then a blast of HUGE malt vinegar flavor resides to a sweet finish. This taste I have only found in the kegged beer. The bottle has a much thinner ale taste and a mush lesser acidic character. I have yet to understand how this is so, except that the kegged beer is still 'alive' whereas all aging has been stopped by bottling.

F- Flat mouthfeel and minimal carbonation..

O- My favorite Belgian sour of all-time. There are always a few lingering in my bar for that special occassion and always Monk's Cafe (Philly) and Craft Ale House (Pottstown) are always on my travel destination when I'm in eastern PA just for another precious sample of this amazing creation. (929 characters)

Photo of mwave
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been eyeballing this in the store for a few years. Finally uncapped one tonight and it is excellent. Pours a beautiful light mahogany with a hint of cherry. Creamy head which dissipates quickly, the nose is sweet and raisiny, and the first sip is a lively balance of sweet and sour. Nice fizzle on the tongue, and the tight carbonation adds to the zest. It's definitely grapey with some prune and oak woodiness, a touch of spice, all in all an excellent and unique brew. At $4 a pop that's $24 a 6, it night not be an everyday but I'm into the gose and sours now and this is special. (588 characters)

Photo of DannyS
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, 12 oz. mason jar glass.

Look - Deep, dark reddish brown. Almost black. Nice tan colored head that leaves only loose dots of lacing.

Smell - Vinegar and citric acids mixing with dark, tantalizingly sweet fruit.

Taste - hits with an acidic kick at the start, but quickly mellows into dark tart/sweet cherry and grape. I actually wish it were a bit more aggressively sour but this is a great balance, morphing from tart to fruity to oakey & leathery and back around with each sip.

Feel - Active carbonation and a thin body. doesn't detract from it but it doesn't add to the overall enjoyment of the beer.

Overall - This one packs quite a nice flavor punch. This could be a great intro to sour beers for the leery, as well as a standby for the sour fiend that wants something not too astringent to drink every day. (831 characters)

Photo of leroybrown10
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rusty reddish-brown. Ruby highlights when held to the light. Large off-white colored head which disappears slowish but leaves almost no lacing behind.

Aroma is sweet grapes, tart cherry, leather, and mild vinegar. Sour berry and citrus.

Again, starts with sweet grape notes. Tart cherry comes through right afterward. Leather, oak, and mild acetic acid. Sour lemon and raspberry. A touch of vanilla at the end.

Medium bodied with fairly high carbonation. Sweet to start but tartness quickly comes to prominence and lingers.

Very tasty and tart. Flavors blend well. Easy drinking and crispness from the carbonation makes it rather refreshing. (664 characters)

Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.75/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L - Ruby Red with egghell head

S - Balsamic vinegar, flowers, cherries, raspberries, sour character

T - Sour jolly rancher, noticeably sweet and beautifully tart

F - Good carbonation, heavier than abv would suggest

O - Delicious. Sweet, tart, and refreshing. (262 characters)

Photo of SomethingClever
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle that is a year old poured into can glass

A: dark in color with edges of brown light can get through this guy a little. not much of a head dissipates to a film

S: still getting some coffee some bakers chocolate and licorice

T: a lot of that licorice and anise taste with hints of coffee

M: medium to slightly fuller feel

O: I'm not a fan of again beers but I disliked this beer fresh it's better aged which says a lot, but it's not something I will ever seek out again. (490 characters)

Photo of Mikus
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured this treat from Jens4212 into the tulip. 2 fingers of tan head adrift a sea of black cherry... crimson in the light. Aromas of cherry and dark fruit, some lactic sour notes and a slight vinegar edge. Big tart cherry up front, light lactic and acetic sourness and a hint of oakiness rounding it all out. Bit thin mouthfeel, but smooth carbonation. IMO this was similar to the Rodenbach Standard... lighter than the big boys (Grand Cru, or Duchesse). In this vein, it is a nice, refreshing sipper and likely a better intro beer for someone looking to try an Oid Bruin. Very nice and balanced. (597 characters)

Photo of synapseprolapse
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear, dark amber, 2 finger head
S: Light malt, acididic
T: Light malt, sweet tarts
M: Lightly carbonated, maybe a little thin.
O: Delicious! I absolutely love this sour, and it balances bacteria with yeast perfectly, in my mind. The only downside is the short-lived head and the maybe slightly thin mouthfeel, but they hardly detract from how delicious this sour is. (370 characters)

Photo of infinitebruner
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

March 22, 2015

11.2 oz bottle, tulip

A – Very deep mahogany, definitely red but almost opaque. An inch of tan/khaki foam head, very bubbly, with very long retention.

S – Souring agents first and foremost, some lactic acid but a ton of acetic acid with a strong vinegar component. Borders on a bit harsh, obviously intentional but not entirely pleasant. Rich cherry and dark fruit, some mild chocolate notes. Hop aroma is negligible.

T – A lot of cherry flavor, along with plum and light grape juice. That touch of chocolate as well as some caramel and rich dark bread. Lactobacillus is present but very mild, just a low level of tart sourness present. Some minor spicy hop notes.

M – Medium-light body with medium sudsy, mouth-filling, creamy carbonation. Just a slight puckering tartness. Fairly smooth and clean, little bitterness of note.

O – Long ago, this was the first sour beer I ever tried, and it’s a great intro to the sour styles. I do not love the acetic/vinegar aroma, believe it’s a bit too strong, but it is an excellent-tasting, very drinkable, complex beer. Very good. (1,115 characters)

Photo of Shaler_Tate
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a really good sour, but I didn't get a lot of the fruit that was used in fermentation. Very good and refreshing but I like comparable beers like Duchesse better. (170 characters)

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,089 ratings.