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

1,088 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,088
Hads: 2,699
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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,088 | Hads: 2,699
Photo of LeftyEtc
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - A reddish-amber body, alive with ample carbonation, brings a half inch sand colored head, built of airy bubbles to the top of your glass.

Smell - Substantial presence of cherries and toasted brown sugar rounded out with an expected sour sting in your nose.

Taste - Initially fruity, cherries and raspberry's hit me first. As complex flavors travel to the back of your tongue the tartness is revealed, similar to sour grape skins.

Mouthfeel - Because I tend to like dark heavy beers. I find this beer to have an excellent presence in your mouth. Airy carbonation, lite body and a dry finish.

Drinkability - Being more fruity then sour, with a medium body and dry finish. I find this to be an easy drinking and enjoyable beer.

More fruity and less nearly as sour as i expected it to be. (804 characters)

Photo of Twincrasher
4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
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. (354 characters)

Photo of edbeer
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip from a bottle, developed a light/ off white head that foamed up but dissapated quickly. The nose hit me from three feet away. Brilliant fruity slightly sour nose with sour cherry overtones. The taste is crisp with mild sour notes. A clean malty finish with a very light malty (toffe?) end. Very drinkable paired with brie and triscuts. Delicious. (366 characters)

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

Pours a cloudy brown with a minimal head that dissipates quickly. Little lacing remains on the glass.

Smell is sour, with fruits and malts. Malt is more prevelant than most sours.

Taste is sour at first, cherries, and lemons at the finish.

Overall a good, but not great sour. (278 characters)

Photo of benteach
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My first, and probally last, sour beer. I tried this style on the urging of a friend. I am not a big vinegar fan, maybe that is why I am not a fan of this.

Poured brown-red with a good, cream colored head.

Aromas of cider vinager.

Sweet taste. good mouthfeel. Hints of apple, cherries, citrus.

It is growing on me as I drink it, maybe it won't be the last. (362 characters)

Photo of youknowmyname
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Odor: All I could smell was sour cherry and lime. Tried to pour into a glass to see if it produced any other odors and still sour cherry and lime.

Pour: Lightly Filtered. Pours out black with a slight plum look. Produces a nice long lasting head. No lacing.

Taste: Wow, Never had a flemish sour ale before. First thing that comes to mind is that this is a beer for someone who can't decide if they're in the mood for beer or wine. While brewed as a beer, this has a very sweet and sour taste to it. Very thin body and high carbonation. Reminds me of cherry coke mixed with a chardonnay. A little sour apple taste, a little malt taste. Definite cherry taste. Different than anything I have ever had.

Opinion: This has a nice drinkability to it, I could see drinking this when I wasn't in the mood for a standard beer. Goes down easy almost like soda, but alcoholic which is always a good thing. Being as light bodied as it is, it has little to no aftertaste. Just be prepared for something different. (1,008 characters)

Photo of cuttsjp
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter at the Alchemist and Barrister in Princeton, NJ

Appearance: deep reddish brown with nice garnet hues, brilliant clarity

Aroma: spiced cider, pears, sour apples, and a bit of lemon

Flavor: cherries, sour apples, very dry with not much sweetness, definite oaky character, tart lemon pucker and a bit of funk on the finish

Mouthfeel: medium body, high on the carbonation...a little too high for my liking, even for a sour

Drinkability: certainly a balanced beer and something that was nice to sip on, think I could stand to have more than one in a sitting (591 characters)

Photo of rwinzing
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.5 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A-Dark Red appearance with a tan head.

S - Subtle spice smell, as a hint of apple with the tinge of being sour

T - Hint of sour green apple up front followed by sour after taste. The sour lingers

M - Nice mouthfeel full bodied

D - I enjoy sours and find this one a affortable option

overall this is a sour I can buy by the four pack and enjoy on a regular basis. I think it is a nice example of the style without being a homerun (484 characters)

Photo of sirtomtom
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a nice clear dark brown with two fingers of tan head.

S: Very mild scent, a bit of tart apple and a light funk.

T: A very mild flavor. Tart apple and berry. Mildy sour with just a touch of wet blanket funk.

M: A bit watery finishing nice and dry.

O: This is a great sour to start with. Lightly sour, very simple, easy drinking, not very complicated. The touch of funk helps ease people into sours nicely. Paid $3.99, well worth a try. (449 characters)

Photo of adamks
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: pours copper/orange with thin, quick to fade light brown head

s: vinegar....woah! some fruity something (cherry, maybe strawberry?), hard to tell with the overpowering sourness

t: sour/vinegar up front, as that fades the cherry/fruit sweetness really comes out, good overall balance

m: thin but well-carbonated

d: this is the best of the few sours i've had, but the sourness could be off-putting to some. maybe not the best introduction for those hesitant to try a sour, but it worked for me! (499 characters)

Photo of MaggieReed
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had two of these @humpy's in downtown anchorage.

pours a deep red-brown with about an inch of nice, thick head.

s- tart cherries, brown sugar and wheat with a heavy malt presence rounding out the finish.

t-awesome- clearly if you look at my reviews I am a huge fan of this style, but this one has a presence that is not found in any but the best beers, and the taste was complex- not something my toungue will get bored with.

m- somewhat syrupy with moderate carbonation

d- not for everyone, but if you are a fan of the style you will enjoy this beer. (559 characters)

Photo of Throckmorton
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - something you don't see much - a true ruby toned brew - on a deep carmel/brown background. unusual. long lasting head, right to the bottom.

s - fruit, tart,

T - really nice balance of sourness, with a touch of sweet. personally, I could have done with a tad less sweetness, but still really nice overall.

M - good carbonation, and the tartness just skips across the tongue. light, but not thin at all.

D - to be enjoyed slowly, a great departure, but a one-after-another type. (485 characters)

Photo of GermanHero
2.9/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle
Drunk without food

Smells great. Has a nice feel in the mouth, but when it hits the back of the palette the sourness of of the beer comes out very strongly. I loved the way it smelt and the way it tasted initially but after it hit the back of my mouth it was overpowering.

Would drink again, but should be paired with food, something to counter act the sourness. (371 characters)

Photo of punkindrublic50
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

If you are trying to get a woman who doesn't normally care for beer interested in it this is where I would start. Not overly imposing or intense, but still firmly showing off a solid sweet/sour tart flavor. Cherry is the dominant sour fruit flavor, with solid carbonation and a nice tart pucker on the finish. Definitely not to be confused with the carbonated cherry juice that is sometimes sold as a sour fruit beer (a la Kasteel Rouge or some Framboise's). (458 characters)

Photo of constahoogan
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep red and brown body with a rocky tan head with slightly red hues and nice sea foam-like formation lacing. It smeels like sweet red wine.
The taste is very interesting. It has pruney fruitiness and vinegar tartness. there's a bit of hop bitterness as it smoothes out at the back end.
The mouthfeel is quite good, a bit harsh to begin with, but there's a litttle bit of creaminess that comes in at last minute. (414 characters)

Photo of Beerdster
3.34/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a tulip.

A: Pretty opaque, dark red almost to the point of being brown. Dense white/tan head dissipated quickly.

S: Smells great: fruity, cherry, rounded

Taste: Sourness up front, but not very tart, it quickly gives way to...not much, really. Pretty weak finish.

M: In a word: thin. In more than one word: Thin, with carbonation that's a bit flacid.

The smell and appearance of this one set me up for a bit of a letdown. Almost no flavor on the back end, weak finish and little to no body. Probably a good "starter" sour. (539 characters)

Photo of Bcaulin
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from slightly chilled bottle into tulip.

Poured with a little too much carbonation. Several inches of head immediately piled up despite a careful pour. Quickly receeded into a thin film. Tons of lacing lined the outside of the glass.

Lots of vinegar and fruit in the nose. I pick up some cherries, grapes, and apples for sure. Probably some others but there's a lot going on and its hard to pick our individuals.

Little heavy on the vinegar to taste. The sweetness of the fruit balances it out, but for the beer that describes itself as a "mildly sour sour ale", its pretty heavy on the sour.

Overall its refreshing and tasty, but its not as smooth as some other sours I've had. It's a sipper for sure, but it will probably be a little while before I run back to this one. (783 characters)

Photo of kruthar
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - dark brown in color with red highlights, extremely coarbonated with twice as much head as liquid as im pouring. creme colored soup sud head the diminishes extremely quickly.

S - A very sweet smell, very fruity with hints of the lactic acid sourness.

T - A carbonation that immediately attacks the tongue, so much so that the real flavors don't come out until you swallow. the after taste has a sweet lingering with a very mild sour bite.

M - ATTACK! this beer bites your tongue all the way down and should not be taken lightly.

D - Not terrible, but i would definitly not want more then one of these a night. (616 characters)

Photo of Prime16
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
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. (301 characters)

Photo of Rojopunk
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - deep redish amber color (loved the color)

S - First hits you with alcohol then sour doe .Lastly kinda soda like smell

T - sour with a kinda cherry Pepsi like sweetness. lastly bread like bitter after taste

M - medium body with a tingle

O - This was not what i expect but still a interesting experience .Once I poured this brew it started the roll coaster of enjoyment and disappointments. First i loved the color then i was disappointed with the head. Next I like the lacy and took a sip. Once again it fell short.Very nice sour but of course a pepis or wild cherry Pepsi like sweet. Lastly i got a bit of bread sour due like taste. Then that of course was spat down but a bit of bitter that came out of no were .I love sour brews very much sadly this is nothing spectacular but still nice at the end of my work day a average sour brew with a bit of potencial to be something great. (891 characters)

Photo of heapofaoatmeal
2.04/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

poured in a pint glass, red-brown with a white head. smell was a little simple, but ok. vinegar, cherries, malt mnn great smell. the flavor starts out just as the smell, but there is a dark secret. as the vinegar, cherries, and malt subside a sweetness remains. YUCK whiskey tango foxtrot, fake sugar and lots of it. disgusting diet soda faux sugar flavor that just lingers and makes me ill. drainpour, goodbye $2.95, i hardly knew thee. (437 characters)

Photo of carwreCk
1.89/5  rDev -50.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

First time having a beer of this style. It spilled everywhere when I opened the bottle. After I finished cleaning up I took a whiff and realized I wasn't going to like this beer. Smells like red wine vinegar. Tastes like red wine vinegar. Can't say much more about it. I won't be buying this beer again and will be staying away from the style indefinitely. Just happens to offend my tastes. (390 characters)

Photo of SourBatchKid
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Paired with Pork Lion home made BBQ sandwiches.

A- Chestnut brown with slight highlights of amber a color all it own. The head leaves something to be desired. Maybe a quarter of a finger, maybe. However the laceing is a bit bigger, but still I was hopping for more.

S- God do i love the way this smells. Freeze dried green apples and raisons. It smells sour like the wafting of air when walking into a great BBQ join or a pickle factory. Mmmmm.

T- Tart at first taste, boarding on sour but not quite. Sweetness then over powers my pallet almost leaving the tartness as a memory from the past. The sweetness tastes of dried cranberries and fades into cherries.

M- Light body for my taste, hardly no carbonation when i aerate it on my tongue. I can feel a sticky coating on my tongue from the left over sugars.

D- I feel that this is a great brew for the price. However i would like a bit more complexity, the sweetness is really very overwhelming. (951 characters)

Photo of benyerd
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz Bottle

(A) Dark red to amber in color. Poured a light brown 2 fingered head with good head retention. Great clarity with mild carbonation. A very pretty beer to look at.

(S) Very sour and tart at first smell but after smelling again, I picked up a slight malty aroma.

(T) Very crisp and refreshing sour taste. Would say that it almost tastes like apple cider on steriods. Very interesting flavor.

(M) Nice, Light and crisp.

(D) Very, very drinkable. Intense tart flavor on this one left my lips smacking. (517 characters)

Photo of DirtybeerguyRI
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Pours a deep red mahogany with lines of carbonation climbing up the sides. It's crystal clear with a thick, fizzy white head.

SMELL: This is a sour beer, so you'll pick up notes of a hard apple cider vinegar. Under that, you'll pick up a deep fruitiness along with dark malts and a hint of spice.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-bodied sour ale that feels snappy, fizzy, and just sour enough to be more cleansing than anything else. It'll make you pucker just a bit.

TASTE: What a refreshing, unique beer! The opening taste is sour, but quickly followed by black cherries, dates, and maybe a touch of green apples. It's a very refreshing, fun beer that's only a touch complex. I would have liked this beer a little better with less fruitiness and a bit more breadiness, but that's purely subjective.

DRINKABILITY: I don't think that I could have several of these in a row, but I can see myself having one, breaking to try something else, and then having another Flemish Sour Ale.

VERDICT: This is actually a private label beer commissioned by Monk's Cafe Belgian Beer Emporium and Restaurant (http://www.monkscafe.com) in Philadelphia, PA. It's brewed by the Van Steenberge Brewery in Belgium. I bought on a lark and I'm glad I did. I love it when a gamble pays off. If you can find it (I got mine at The Savory Grape, East Greenwich, RI), then I recommend you give it a shot.

Cheers,
John Harvey
Dirtybeerguy.com (1,421 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,088 ratings.