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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

2,330 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,330
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 50
Gots: 159 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,330 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of willjschmidt
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours a very murky brown with red accents with a thin head.

S: Sour, tangy, slightly sweet, sour cherries.

T: A tangy and tart sour cherries starts it off. The sourness is very pleasant, not at all overwhelming. Nice balance for the style.

M: Medium bodied, maybe even a little light. Smooth carbonation.

D: An interesting beer, certainly worth trying if you're a fan of sours.

willjschmidt, Sep 13, 2008
Photo of judkinst
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

judkinst, May 12, 2014
Photo of nickhiller
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%

A: copper, tan bubbly head foams and busts in about 30 seconds, no lace.

S: minerals, rust, fresh rain air, slight vinegar, Sauvignon Blanc wine cork.

T: sweet and sour sauce, cider funk and vinegar, Neco Wafers, kind of like soda flavored candy. Finish is juicy with a malty beer-y aftertaste. It reminds me a lot of a diet soda.

M: light-bodied, light carbonation, which I usually prefer in this style, but it lacks both the body and the dryness to back it up. Has a watery quality that is off-putting.

O: a very nice beer, pleasant and drinkable, in the same way that a diet Coke is. Also the smell and mouthfeel left a lot to be desired.

nickhiller, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of Can_has_beer
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Can_has_beer, Jul 28, 2014
Photo of JamesMN
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

JamesMN, Sep 20, 2013
Photo of brauseboof
3/5  rDev -21.9%

brauseboof, Oct 08, 2012
Photo of Tumble
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Tumble, Nov 10, 2012
Photo of allenson21
4/5  rDev +4.2%

allenson21, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%

Serving type: 330 ml bottle. There is a poorly printed batch code on the back label but nothing discernable as a freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The color is clean, dark brown. Two fingers of lightly tanned, buttery head dissipated quickly to leave a spotted lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: Immediate tartness. Granny apple, sour grapes, plum, raisins, cherry, sweet (very sweet) caramel, molasses, chocolate, and yeast. It has a hint of smokiness and vinegar, too.

Taste: The mouthfeel is very peculiar. Light and slippery, it is almost like diet pop. The flavors do not standout on their own but contribute to a tart blend, which is mostly fruity; it swings between the grapes/apple and the darker fruits. The smokiness is gone, but the vinegar is still noticeable; it has a slight acidity to it.

Drinkability: I have never had sour ale before so I have to say this first experience was good. Different, but good.

TheQuietMan22, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of n00blar
4/5  rDev +4.2%

n00blar, May 28, 2012
Photo of MLaVioletteJr
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

MLaVioletteJr, Jan 12, 2014
Photo of Lawl3ss
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%

Lightly chilled 11.2 oz. bottle poured into a shaker pint, as per the recommendation on the box. No discernable bottling date.

Look- Big, big head on this. 3/4 of the glass is filled with tight beige foam, looks like a root beer float, really. Crystal clear ruby-brown. Nice lacing.

Smell- Sweet, cidery, powdery, candylike. Pears, caramel, vanilla and lemon extract, some straw. Good malt backdrop, feels centered. Very appealing, if on the sweet side.

Taste- Cidery, pears, strong dose of wood comes out in the middle. Perhaps there's a hint of hops towards the end, but it's basically indistinguishable from the light oxidation. Vanilla again, sweet, almost candy/soda feel. Clean, almost no aftertaste, although sourness builds a bit as the glass empties. Very champagne-like.

Mouthfeel- Crisp, light to medium body. Not particularly dry, but quite clean. I feared it would be over-carbonated, but it's actually got a fairly soft edge, smooth on the tongue, a bit prickly on the swallow. Drinks like a cider, very refreshing. A bit acidic by the end, but it disappeared quickly- I wouldn't mind having a few of these.

Overall- Perhaps it's the 100+ degree heat today, but man, this really hit the spot. I have fairly mixed feelings about sours, but this one I thoroughly enjoyed. Crisp, easy drinking, definitely on the sweet side, puckery but not overly so. Feels more like an everyday beer, which I haven't seen in sours before. Not very complex, but what's there is spot on. A good lemonade replacement, in my opinion.

Lawl3ss, Jun 30, 2012
Photo of danielharper
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%

My first beer of this style.

Appearance: Opaque brown body, slightly reddish coloration. Small khaki-colored head that dissipates quickly. Leaves a small amount of lacing.

Smell: Sour, tarty aroma, a hint of that "mustardy" aroma I always get from lambics, has the aroma of a wild ale, probably due to the yeast. Slightly musky at the bottom. This seems pretty much what I expected for-style, so I'm giving it a 4.

Taste: Strong notes of sourness up front. Breadiness in the middle, slightly malty and grainy. Underneath the sourness is a mild touch of apples and cherry. Finishes clean and dry with only a slight tart.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thin mouthfeel, no real carbonation, slightly chewy.

Drinkability: I'm dinging this a bit because I find it fairly undrinkable. I know the tartness and the sourness is to-style, but for my palate it's fairly overwhelming. I've given it credit in the higher categories, so I don't feel bad for dropping its score a bit here.

danielharper, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of lpayette
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%

I was surprised to see I hadn't reviewed this before. I've had it probably 4 or 5 times. This bottle probably has about a year of aging on it, and it does seem to have mellowed out some which I like.

Appearance- dark ruby grapeish color with a small head but plenty of lacing. Looks good.

Smell- mostly sour notes, but there's a bit of vinegar at times in the background which I could go without. It's not a dealbreaker for me though, just something I could do without. Well... afterall, it is part of the style, isn't it? Smell of cherries and grapes with a dusting of oakey/woodsy notes.

Taste and Mouthfeel- Nice sour flavors mingle with very subtle oaky flavors. Again, the flavors are mostly grapes and cherries- at least that's how I perceive it anyway. Remember that grape flavored kool-aid with the purple dinosaur on it? Well, if I remember correctly, this beer tastes kind of like they took some of that and fermented it with some wild critters. That might sound like a negative review, but I think it's pretty darn tastey. Finishes pretty dry.

Drinkability- I find this to be a pretty drinkable beer overall, and one that might be a good gateway beer into the realm of sour beer. It's not too sour, but there's enough there to make it a new taste for most people.

lpayette, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of kayrex
4/5  rDev +4.2%

kayrex, Jul 08, 2012
Photo of Hoppy_McMalt
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Hoppy_McMalt, May 18, 2013
Photo of ChicagoNick
4/5  rDev +4.2%

ChicagoNick, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of BEERschlitz
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

BEERschlitz, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of shbobdb
2.93/5  rDev -23.7%

Meh.

It pours a niice red-brown with a rose head.

The smell sets up the taste, it is weak. Some sour, some sweet but nothing too much.

The taste is very meh. It reminds me less of a Flanders Red, it tastes more like a Dubbel with a slightly sour finish. Not bad, if you like Dubbels. I don't. It is also very sweet. Very sweet. I like a nice, crisp sour finish and this beer doesn't deliver.

The mouthfeel is bad. It reminds me of a quad -- both thin and thick at once. I don't like the feeling at all.

Drinkability? I'm having a hard time finishing a >12oz bottle. Would I drink it again? I could get two of Bell's Expedition for the price of this bottle, or half of Cantillon's Organic Gueze. 'Nuf said.

shbobdb, Aug 04, 2006
Photo of abeeronthebeach
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%

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.

abeeronthebeach, Jul 23, 2013
Photo of djbreezy
4.3/5  rDev +12%

Bottle to snifter.

In my search for reasonably priced sours, this one is coming on top thus far. Very cheap for a bottle (in comparison) and remarkably balanced and flavorful.

appearance - pours a rich ruby red with some transparency, head settles quickly but retains on the sides of the glass, some land mass formations from the aerial view of the glass, strong lacing

smell - fruit, oak, cherry, bitter, sour, wood

taste - sour but not too sour, dark fruits including cherry, apple, grape, flavors of wood, smooth finish, lacks the sharp tartness of better sours but amazing flavor

mouthfeel - full bodied for 5.5 abv and heavily carbonated, smooth and big

djbreezy, Jun 13, 2010
Photo of jman005
4/5  rDev +4.2%

jman005, Apr 22, 2013
Photo of NickyDee21
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

NickyDee21, Jul 31, 2012
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%

Having to celebrate Belgian Independence Day. But I don't need an excuse to enjoy this fine brew.

Pours very dark. Brown and red trying to peak through, but it is really dark. Really nice head that stayed for a while. Lacing was always present and pretty thick as well.

Sour from the oak is the smell. And that is pretty much the taste as well. Maybe with a touch of sweetness. It is oh so good.

Highly recommended. Forgot how good this was.

GeoffFromSJ, Jul 22, 2009
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,330 ratings.