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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

2,067 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2067
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: 2,067 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of McNealc31
McNealc31

Ohio

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The color is attractive. As close to brown as red can get. However, the giant chunks of sediment are a bit off-putting. Aggressive carbonation tingles on the the tongue. This is, indeed, sour, but not unpleasantly so. A touch of caramel and even a fruity finish. But sour is by far the dominating note.

I feel like this is going to be a hit or miss. You'll love it or hate it, depending on your individual feelings toward sourness.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2013 01:47:12 | More by McNealc31
Photo of Dix90
Dix90

Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark golden chestnut brown with ruby hues. Nice bubbly head with good quick receding lacing.

Aroma: fruity and vinegary. Cherries, apples, grapes and cranberries shine through in almost a red wine tinge.

Taste: very fruity and sweet on the tongue.very well balanced with a mild tart sourness. Highly carbonated and leaves a pleasant sweetness at the end.

Mouthfeel: very light and carbonated. Bubbly and dry. Kind of feels like the carbonation makes the tartness cascade along the tongue.

Overall: a very good introduction to sours. Mildly sour that let's strong fruit notes shine through. Very thirst quenching.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2013 19:42:51 | More by Dix90
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff

West Virginia

3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a murky brown color with ruby hues, fizzy two-finger white head that dissipates quickly, leaving just a ring around the rim

S- light sour lactic notes with some grape juice, sweet malty character, fruity esters, light vinegar, woodsy with a slight adjunct-like aroma

T- tart and fruity cherry and raspberry notes, virtually zero bitterness, very dry tartness with just a hint of lactic flavor

M- medium body, very low carbonation, trace of fizz on the mouthfeel, bone dry finish

O- pretty easy to drink, dry and bitter but surprising very drinkable. A nice option if you want to switch it up a bit

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2013 02:44:48 | More by Treyliff
Photo of classixIII
classixIII

Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a stemmed flute.

A - Very fast foamy head filled a third of the flute then subsided to about half inch. A dark, clear reddish mahogany.

S - I got mostly grape, wine like, at first smell, then some raisin, maybe berries.

T - Mild sweet fruit, with a barely sour finish that lingers on the tongue between sips

M - Light, lots of carbonation

O - Refreshing, Enjoyed it, and would recommend a try. Will have again but won't be making it one of my regulars.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2013 00:32:42 | More by classixIII
Photo of Benish
Benish

Wisconsin

3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into wine glass.

Appearance: Poured aggressively, a tremendous foamy head built up. Had to quickly inhale the foam before it overflowed. Very dark ruby in color.

Smell: Picked up some cranberries, raspberries, as well as the tartness that comes with the fruits and a ton of sweetness that carries across the nose.

Taste: It taste kinda like cranberries. It's very sweet; its sour but the sweetness takes over more of the flavors. Just at the finish there is a little bitterness. The entire aspect of beer makes me think of cranberries - sweet (stays sweet the entire time as the beer warms up), tart, and a little bitter at the end.

Mouthfeel: Very light bodied.

Overall: It's very drinkable and refreshing. The sourness is a bit subdued so it's definitely the kind a beginner should try before tackling the more intense sours.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2013 01:42:12 | More by Benish
Photo of Ryan_Graham
Ryan_Graham

Iowa

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Large head. Dark reddish brown color. Smells like lemons or tangerines. The sourness comes through right away but it's not at all offensive. This is the first "sour" ale I've ever had and I was pleasantly surprised. It's a little syrupy for my taste. It almost tastes like someone mixed a red ale with the the sweet and sour mix that people buy and use for whiskey sours. It's not spectacular, but it's different. And I'll give them credit for going outside of the box.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2013 05:11:15 | More by Ryan_Graham
Photo of tone77
tone77

Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a very dark brown color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of raisins, dark fruits, some malts, a bit of sweetness. Taste is good, but less complex than the smell. Very wine like, unique, grapes, refreshing and tasty. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2013 20:45:08 | More by tone77
Photo of BMMillsy
BMMillsy

Florida

2.51/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark red with a fizzy head that recedes quickly. Smell is faint and not what I wad expecting. Smells like a weak dubbel or belgian strong dark. Not much sour on the nose. Flavor tastes like carbonated artificial cherry drink. No real sour flavor to be found. Not what I wanted, and rather disappointing. Finishes as clean as a Bud Light. Doesn't taste terrible, but misses the bar as a beer. Maybe okay as an energy drink or coming out of a Capri Sun package. Wtf is this?

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2013 01:52:06 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of utopiajane
utopiajane

New York

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours opaque and dark with a ruby hue. Fat head of tan foam that fell slowly and left patchy lace. Nose is faint. I am getting a faint smell of grape, like grape juice and a powdery sweet scent. Not what I expected at all. The taste is nowhere near sour. It is dry, it is palate cleansing. It is not crisp or tart or sour. In fact it's much sweeter than I ever would have expected and there is only a faint hint of vinegar at the back of the throat as it finishes. The mouthfeel is soft and silky and while it has ample carbonation it has not bite, no zing. Oddly I find this sweeter than I think it should be but as it drinks it does become more sour and more dry.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2013 13:43:33 | More by utopiajane
Photo of Glennlawless
Glennlawless

New Jersey

2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass

a - Poured a dark reddish brown with a quickly dying down off-white head.

s - tart grape juice, red wine type smell. not a whole lot.

T - smooth entrance, very mild tart finish. thats all there is to it.

M - very well carbonated. pretty drinkable

overall, this honestly was my first sour style ale.not a very interesting beer per say, but it is what people say it is, an entry level sour. i feel this is a perfect beer to get somebody into sours. starts very mild, and at the end it slaps you with some sour. not overwhelming at all though. a pretty well balanced beer and drinkable. i like it.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2013 02:13:52 | More by Glennlawless
Photo of Chaney
Chaney

District of Columbia

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

Got this bottle from the Whole Foods in Springfield. Totally glad my bud Kevin got some time off to tend to his new baby.

A: Poured pretty dark, ruby color, with a 1/2 finger white head.

S: Had the brown ale flair and then some. A bit of feet in between the cracks.

T: Not that sour at all. More brown ale than anything. Not a brown sugar beer though.

M; Mild splotch on the glass and a good bit of carbonation... more that I thought there would be.

O: This is a worthy entry into the sour brown category.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 00:32:16 | More by Chaney
Photo of JamesMN
JamesMN

Minnesota

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Chestnut brown body but ruby red and nearly translucent when held up to the light. Poured a fluffy light tan head that is slowly dissipating without much lacing.

Aroma: Nice tart and hearty red grape with some nondescript berry notes in there. An interesting dryness as well. Not really all that aromatic but the sweet and tart elements are quite enjoyable.

Taste: Smashing flavor straight away. Lively red grape must with lots of sweet fruity esters that turn tart in the second half. Not quite sweet and not quite sour a whole. The finish is full of spastic carbonation and the aftertaste lends a blast of red grape juice with cranberry. A light tart flavor lingers for a good while. A good amount of flavor for a modest 5.5% ABV.

Mouthfeel: About medium in body with tons of carbonation as is usual for the style. Easy drinkability and probably sessionable.

Final Thoughts: Really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone interested in trying a Flemish/Sour beer for the first time. Though the level of sourness is on the low end of the spectrum, it was able to stave off that sour beer craving. Would I drink it again? Yes.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2013 02:10:49 | More by JamesMN
Photo of Cheshire_Crew_Al
Cheshire_Crew_Al

Texas

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

Drank it from a pint glass pour, little bit of a head, pleasant odor, thinner quality than anticipated.

It has an extremely smooth feel, with a pleasant aftertaste, a little fruity (again more than anticipated), like raspberries, I drank the first on the cold side, would recommend to have it cool but not extremely cold. Not very hoppy, which I prefer.

Overall, excellent beer, not heavy at all but has a full taste to it. It has an all-around appeal in that, despite not very hoppy, it is well-balanced in flavor that I would imagine would appeal to most beer enthusiasts.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2013 03:39:24 | More by Cheshire_Crew_Al
Photo of TruePerception
TruePerception

California

3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

(Previous review, transferred from beer journal)

Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale: red sour; Appearance: dark amber; light raisin and tartaric acid; Taste/Mouthfeel: lightly bitter, very light sour, RC cola, pretty good, sounds like pouring ice cold soda.

Poured into a pint glass.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2013 16:24:21 | More by TruePerception
Photo of DougT
DougT

Ohio

3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a lager glass on a (very) warm summers eve.

Dark red with copper tones. 2 finger tan head that dissipated quickly but left a thin layer of lace with bubbles clinging to the glass.

Smell is a little funky at first, but that drops after the head reduces. Then the smell of sour grapes and raspberries. Hard for my nose to cut through the sour, but there's something else in the mix. Maybe malt or yeast.

Taste is very pleasant. Sour, but not overpowering. Smooth and sweat with grapes, blueberries, and raisins. Not much if any hops. Taste is consistent through the finish.

Effervescent but a little thin in the mouthfeel. Most of the flavor and feel stay to the front and middle of the palate. But it is quite refreshing. Crisp.

I'm buying this again. It is a good beer for a warm summer night and would go just as well on a crisp fall evening.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2013 03:10:23 | More by DougT
Photo of Libationguy
Libationguy

Nevada

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reddish color with copper notes. Light tan 1-finger head. Medium retention.

The nose is fairly mild: grapefruit zest, band-aid, horse hair, flint, cracked leather.

On the palate there is a funky sweet and sour pork note, meyer lemon, horse hair, leather and a lactic note on the finish.

Medium bodied.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2013 06:03:35 | More by Libationguy
Photo of woemad
woemad

Washington

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle purchased at Total Wine in Spokane for $3.79. Sadly, there’s no obvious freshness date.

Poured into a Chimay glass, there was a big tan head that dropped somewhat quickly yet left a fair amount of lace. The beer itself was a dark, cola-like color that lightened up to a rubyish hue when held up to light.

The aroma was faintly fruity and malty. Frankly, I was surprised there wasn’t more going on.

The flavor was of faintly sweet yet tart fruit, like raspberries, and a somewhat mild sourness. Not much else was happening.

Medium bodied, with a slick, coating mouthfeel.

I suppose this could be a sour beer for beginners, as it’s rather bland. On the other hand, not many people are impressed with blandness, so I think I’d introduce someone to sours by utilizing a bottle of Duchesse De Bourgogne.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2013 20:02:39 | More by woemad
Photo of Auraan
Auraan

Arizona

4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a deep brown, with a three finger off white head. Gorgeous, looks fantastic. Sour lactic scent with a slight hint of malt. A good scent of a sour ale, makes me want to take a sip. Taste begins with a nice sour flavor, a sort of sour crab apple flavor and a bit of nice roast malt flavor on the finish and after taste. Quite nice. Very refreshing. Mouthfeel is bubbly and medium bodied, quite good, refreshing and carbonated, yet easy to drink. This is a good, unique beer. I'm not sure how it stacks up for the style, yet I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Worth trying for sure.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2013 06:24:44 | More by Auraan
Photo of microbrewlover
microbrewlover

Pennsylvania

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

This brew pours a ruby red/brown color with a massive tan head which lasts for several minuets. Thick lacing remains on the glass until the end and some of the head remains on the top of the brew until the end.

The smell is raspberries, black currants, sour apples, sour grapes and yeast. There is also a funky musty smell.

The taste mostly follows the nose, raspberries, sour apples, sour grapes, black currants, funky yeast as well as a vinegar like tannic taste on the backend. Very sweet. I could not detect any hop bitterness

The mouthfeel is tangy and bubbly. There is as slight sting from all of the sour in this brew.

Overall this is, as advertised, a sour ale. This is my first of this style so I can't say how it compares to other sour ales but this does remind me of a Lambic, only even more sour with less sweetness to balance out the sour. If you like sour ales, give this a try.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2013 21:19:06 | More by microbrewlover
Photo of beergoot
beergoot

Colorado

3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep, ruby red body with a persistent creamy head; chunks of yeast sediment from the pour. Slightly sour scent with a touch of green apple. Subtle sour flavors with a light bread-like undertone. Softly effervescent mouth feel, light in body; dry finish.

A nice Flemish sour ale that balances nicely with flavors, feel, and aromas. Light and refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2013 22:31:50 | More by beergoot
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured out of a 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. No freshness date. Broken with a friend from the Sour Power samplers appearing everywhere with Petrus beers.

Pours a darkened, brownish, reddish tinged beer, complete with an off light brown head that rises quite gracefully with the bottle conditioning to about 3 fingers, but fizzles down like cherry cola does after an aggressive pour. Barely any lacing on this thing. Relatively juicy looking, although not as much as I prefer in this style - which ranges on seeming vinous. Still, the color is quite noteworthy, and the amount of flake-like sediment that accumulates at bottom once the dregs come out are also pretty raw looking. Slightly above average for the style here.

The aroma is actually far less sour than I was hoping, with only an initial lactic, woody sourness at the front and a little bit of vinegar at the back. There's a soft bouquet of sour black cherries, raspberries, and blackberries, and then cashews, slight clove, and brown sweetened malts. Good notes of oak round up the acetic feel, as well as the fruits and nuttiness, but it's pretty subtle - and honestly, subdued - overall. Some bitterness is at the back, but it's also relatively inexistent for the most part. I enjoy it for what it is, but it could be a little bit more sour and oaky, to be honest.

The flavor is on the same realm of the aroma, ranging from dark cherries, prunes, blackberries, and the nutty feel of walnuts, as well as more well rounded oaky aromas. In actuality (especially as this warms up), the oak churns out other woody aromas, almost ranging on cedar or cherry wood. There's a soft, zesty embrace of the acidity from the woody tannins, as well as the lactic sourness, but it's delicate and doesn't put up much of a fight. Slightly earthy and dry, and more so when the hoppy, grassy notes come through. The extra sediment adds more character, but it's never puckery or intense. Refreshing and easy to drink, although it *could* use a bit more body. It's often thinned in feel overall, and loses carbonation rather quickly, which doesn't aid it in transporting the more complex, nor the more subtle aromas within.

A good beginner's Flanders sourish offering, although could definitely be more complex than it is. It's luckily quite refreshing, and especially show people that beer does not have to be a pilsner or something to do the trick on a warm day. I'm not too impressed by it, but I enjoyed drinking it.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 04:54:36 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of abeeronthebeach
abeeronthebeach

Washington

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cellared for 6 months.

A - Beautiful deep ruby. Call me a vampire but it brings to mind the colour of dried blood and looks good for it.

S - A little sourness meets the nose along with a sweet cherry aroma and a little bacterial funkiness.

T - Cherry predominates, and not for the first time with a non-fruit sour beer I'm amazed at how much fruit flavour it has. The tartness is right up front, transitioning to cherry-cola sweetness mid-sip with a little funk camping out til the end. It's much less sour than I remember it being which is a little disappointing.

M - I really enjoyed drinking this beer which is in part down to the mouthfeel which does its work quietly behind the scenes, allowing one to focus on the other aspects of the beer. I'd have appreciated more effervescence.

O - It's a good beer, and one which I suspect will score noticeably higher when I redrink it fresh. I think the cellaring took a little of the edge off in terms of flavour and carbonation, which is odd considering age is generally acknowledged to augment sourness.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2013 05:19:01 | More by abeeronthebeach
Photo of Fatehunter
Fatehunter

Oregon

3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured two fingers of head on a clear, red colored body.
The aroma is sour... fairly strong and one sided and still nice.
The taste is only mildly sour with a dull sweetness middle to end. Rounds it out well.
The texture is nice: fizzy and soft.
Very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2013 00:11:05 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of boddhitree
boddhitree

Germany

4.79/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

WOW. They say it was brewed for them outside Ghent; it was super lovely malty, tasted like lots Special B.

Hops were light in the background. The foam head's creaminess was almost eternal. It stayed tight through almost to the end of the glass.

It tasted like Kriek (cherry), but not overly sweet. I detected virtually no sourness, neithr lactic nor acetic, as advertised on the menu. But it was still there slightly maybe, probably held back the malt and fruit sweetness from being overpowering. This was my favorite beer of the night. It was the perfect dessert, though it wasn't a dessert beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2013 10:51:28 | More by boddhitree
Photo of Murrhey
Murrhey

Montana

3.69/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a standard pressure-cap 11.2oz bottle into a snifter in high elevation Kalispell, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Handsome three-finger light brown head. Tiny bubbles and very active carbonation with a long retention. Ruby-color body with high clarity for the darkness. Nice looking beer.

S- Slight lactic aroma with tannins, cherries and vinous scents. Slightly sour.

T- Surprisingly refreshing flavor with a tiny bit of sourness. Cherry, lactic, and a hint of wine. Not much though. Sweet.

M- Smooth feel. Finishes grainy, slightly vinously and semi-dry.

O- This is not a beer that is going to blow anybody away, but is a refreshing, sweet oud bruin.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2013 04:43:03 | More by Murrhey
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,067 ratings.