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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
87
very good

2,433 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,433
Reviews: 1,049
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 57
Gots: 190 | 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: 2,433 | Reviews: 1,049 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ImperialStout
4.75/5  rDev +23.7%

ImperialStout, Nov 05, 2014
Photo of trappistlover
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(11.2oz bottle). Pours hazy mahogany with off-white head. Aroma has some vinegar and sour cherries along with some wood. Taste is sweet with some sour-almost like sour cherry hard candy. Medium bodied with a slick/oily texture. Not very sour, but would be a good intro into the style. Very easy to drink. Not bad.

trappistlover, May 10, 2011
Photo of Pamola
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had tried this on tap before and wasn't too impressed. It may have been due to its comparison to the other fine brews in a flight at a beer bar, but here goes.

Poured an unaged bottle into a tulip glass. nice two finger head. The color is quite impressive. seems brown but in certain light it's very ruby-colored.
Smell is very reminiscent of Rodenbach's type or sour. Not piercing, but earthy and twangy and pretty good.
Taste is where this brew stumbles. This is an unaged bottle, so I'll reserve the ultimate judgement for a few years from now when another bottle comes out of the cellar. The sourness isn't quite sourness, it's a light tartness one would expect from fresh cider. Overwhelmingly fruity and slightly cloying.
Mouthfeel is jumbled and too effervescent.

Pamola, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of JSkone09
5/5  rDev +30.2%

JSkone09, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of wnh
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a slightly muddled mahogany with a large, lasting, foamy and creamy and sticky off-white head that leaves thick chunks of sticky lacing.

Aromas of sour (balsamic?) vinegar, tart, lactic lemon, and a sweet ripe-pear-like fruitiness. More tart than sour on the palate than the nose would indicate. Subtly sour lemon peel flavor dominates, with a subtle mix of other citrus fruits, balsamic vinegar, and more ripe pear. Fruitiness picks up as the beer warms, bringing in an oxidized apple and pear note. Complex and alluring.

Light to medium in body, with a high level of carbonation that prevents the intense flavors from becoming thick and sluggish.

Sour, but not mouth puckeringly so. Seems a good place to start for someone wanting to get into sour beers.

wnh, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of akinsja
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

akinsja, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of mjc410
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Monk's. The beer, in its tulip, comes with a very tall head. Color is light tan to luminescent copper.

Nose is of sour cherries and malt.

Tastes of mild sour cherries, malt, pineapple, pretty sweet and very acidic.

Light mouthfeel, low carbonation, and very smooth.

A good easy drinker, so much that my girlfriend stole it. Could be more complex, perhaps, but is very nice.

mjc410, Aug 18, 2006
Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish-amber.
Produced a nice tightly knit sculptured head that endured my leisurely tasting session.
My glass has been empty for a while and is still laced with wisps of foam.
The nose was particularly light bearing some wisps of yeast and a hint of sourness.

This beer produced the characteristic sour flavor but its body was lighter than I had hoped for..

Also the flavor profile was thin- it bore a sour start, hints of yeast, some hops here and there and then basically collapsed leaving a mildly tart finish.

The mouthfeel along with the drinkability is cordial-- it is light enough that it might be a refreshing drink on a warm summer day.

gueuzeonhigh, Aug 11, 2006
Photo of SpecialK088
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A-Deep amber near red good head on it that fades quickly but not entirely, leave a nice film over the entire top of the beer, laces well but thin.

S-Sour fruit, grapes and apple both. Also a very strong alchol note like nail polish remover.

T-Taste is nearly indescribeable, very smooth and flavorful. Apple, grape, sour yeast and malt all very strong yet not over powering. Leaves a nice sour apple finish that does not linger.

M-Mouth is pretty thin but fits ther flavor of the beer perfectly, not something you want to hang around on the palate from drink to drink.

D-Not something I would drink all the time but for me more of a treat. I hear once yo go sour you never go back and that fact with this one scares me a little with how much I like it

SpecialK088, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of taylorhamrick
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red color, shines like a ruby. A white fluffy head sits on top giving some lacing, but the head sort of fades, which helps you get straight to the beer. The smell reminds me of Easter, dying eggs. Just like vinegar, a bit of apple cider and white wine thrown in too. The taste is just what I'd expect. Like apple cider vinegar, a good balance between sweetness and sourness, like red wine, but leaning a bit more towards sour. Not a whole lot of puckering tartness, but a great taste. The carbonation makes it a bit interesting, and there's plenty to seek out in this beer. I liked it, I could sip on it for a very long time, and would definitely purchase again if given the opportunity.

taylorhamrick, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of dbalsock
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App: Brown with an orange tint, and very clear. Off-white head and huge carbonation bubbles.

Smell: Vinegar, sour grapes and some background caramel and base malts.

Taste: Much less sour than it smells, with a deep maltiness that has a vague caramel taste mingling with a pale malty sweetness. It's much sweeter than expected.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with a slight sour twang and fun carbonation. Light bodied and refreshing.

Drinkability: For a somewhat sour beer this is way drinkable, and goes very well with steak.

dbalsock, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of MusicaleMike
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When I met the owner of Monk's Cafe last month and spoke with him about beer and brewing, I was left with the impression that he was a beer man with lots of strong opinions (which is a good thing). With that experience in mind, I was very excited to try a beer that he commissioned himself from a Belgian brewer friend. Obviously, this was going to be a beer that lived up to high expectations. I bought this 11.2 oz. bottle at the Foodery and poured it into a tulip glass.

A: The body is a clear, deep brown color with rich ruby highlights when held to the light. This beer is definitely on the darker side of the style. The head was a thick cream-colored head which dissipated to a thick lace and then stayed for the entire glass. There was a very small amount of lace left on the glass. The visible carbonation was minimal.

S: There is an immediate sour smell that masks the fruitiness. The smell is rich, with notes of dates/figs, cheese, and cherries. There is some aroma that almost comes off as a buttery malt smell, but that could be a trace amount of diacetyl. I also thought I picked up some aroma of hops, but that may have been the lactic sour/spicey quality. These qualities are in no way inappropriate and they were quite enjoyable in this beer.

T: The first sip is very dry, with sourness up front, but with a sweet aftertaste. There is a nice balance to the taste, but instead of the sweetness being balanced by bitter, this beer balances the malts with sourness. The sourness covers up some of the intensity of the rich fruit flavor. There is a somewhat roasty malt character, with flavors of cherries, maybe apricot, and oak. The taste disappears quickly after the swallow.

M: The mouthfeel is excellent. Light bodied with some crisp carbonation to tickle the tongue. It just barely leaves an acidic feeling in the mouth. The relative lightness of this beer certainly helps its drinkability. The label speaks the truth: "Very refreshing!"

D: However, the sheer richness of this beer's flavor would not sit well with me after more than two. I do recommend grabbing this beer if you see it though, for I cannot think of a better example of the style.

MusicaleMike, May 25, 2008
Photo of micropale
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

micropale, Aug 01, 2013
Photo of hopsaplenty
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz brown bottle, 16DC on the back label.

Murky, deep cordovan with ox blood highlights. Pillowy, soft tan head of mixed size bubbles that crackles as it slowly settles leaving a few splotches of lace. Fat carbonation bubbles stick to the glass, but do not move. The aroma is mildly tart with woody tones and a modest dose of balsamic vinegar. There is a minimal amount of funkiness that works with the sugar sweet aromas. Initially, tart and lactic acidic, but not overly so. There is a woody tone that surfaces in the middle. A sweetness arrives to provide a bit of balance, but the finish is dominated by the acidic edge that pulls at the back corners and lingers. There is a tannic component as well as a clearly vinegar, think thin balsamic, tone. Medium-light body, the carbonation is bountiful and the acidic flavors seems to add lightness, while also leaving the mouth fairly clean. Tasty, and the acidic nature makes this thirst quenching. Perhaps not sessionable, but definitely worthy of returning to over time.

hopsaplenty, Jul 31, 2006
Photo of diamondc
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, murky, burgundy in color, with excellent head retention and beautiful Belgian lace.

S: Acidic, chocolate-y, musty, cherry, rotten apples, with a bit of pork in the background.

T: Sour cherries dominate the flavor, along with vinegar, dark berries, brown sugar, with a barely there bitterness at the end (maybe due to the roasted malts?).

M/D: Excellent, light on the tongue, thirst quenching. Not heavy on the sour and the funk at all. This is as close as it gets to a everyday sour ale.

diamondc, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of illeagle05
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

illeagle05, May 05, 2014
Photo of tayner
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big thank you goes out to Leftmindedrighty for providing this 11.2 oz bottle for me so that i may begin to explore the scary world of sour ales.

Poured into my Kuhnhenn tulip glass. It poured dark brown with a decent sized pillow-y white head that dissipated to a reasonably solid ring which provided a touch of lacing for the remainder of the glass.

Smell is what i am guessing normal for the style as up front i get a lactic acid/sour fruit smell. If this was some sort of juice drink i would take it back if it smelled like this! with longer, more sustained whiffs you can smell the backbone of sweet malt hiding there.

Taste was, much to my surprise, nice. Right up front was tart cherry (after the first couple sips it was subdued enough to not be overwhelming) along with a lactic bite. midpalate the sweetness began to appear to help balance the sourness. The finish was what i would classify sweet and sour, which you can easily define on different parts of your tongue. Very unique taste.

Mouthfeel brings a fairly carbonated beverage that is surprising light bodied for as dark as it looks, light on the tongue, and pretty easy to drink, doesnt get weighty before the glass is gone.

As for drinkability, i cannot believe i am saying this, but i wish i had a couple more of these laying around, because i would could see myself having one a week . It is an interesting beer and style that, based on this one, i want to keep exploring.

tayner, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of TheLevi4000
4/5  rDev +4.2%

TheLevi4000, Apr 09, 2013
Photo of ScreamForMe
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Being another newbie to sours, I was recommended this brew by a local beer store owner.

The only other I've had in this realm (not the same style I realize) is RR's Consecration so that may have stacked the deck. In any event, I found this a good introductory beer for novices such as myself (good call local beer store owner guy).

ScreamForMe, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of rodkin
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown, with about 2 fingers of light tan head. Reduces slowly, but a bit remains.

Smell is some dark fruit, mostly some cherry. Some tart acidity, slight funk. Nice, but kind of one dimensional.

Taste is some acidity upfront, A bit of the dark fruit, a little funk. Maybe a bit of citrus or oak. Kind of acidic, but not super sour. Slight wine taste. Nice, nothing special.

Okay mouthfeel. A bit thicker and less dry than I'd like. Decent carb.

Alright sour, tasty enough. Good value at $3.50 a bottle.

rodkin, Jun 29, 2012
Photo of infi
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Beautiful fruit punch, purple/red color with a thin, white and foamy cap surrounding the top. Has a lighter shade of wine red and more translucent. Smell has small hints of sourness and tartness, with a touch of oak from the casks as well. I get sour cherries and unripened, tart green apples dominating the aroma. Not as pungent as I thought it might have been, but that's a good indication of lactic acid and not acetic acid. Bigger whiffs bring out the malted barley and cereals.

Wow, very interesting. For the Oud Bruin style, there is really no funk or sourness to be found on the palate. It's actually very full of freshly cut fruit and cereal grains. Identifiable amounts of white and red grapes, apples, and some slight cherries and berries. There's a nice woody quality from the oak casks too. Kinda gives it an ferrous taste in the finish.

Actually a bit surprised– no sour or tart character in this beer at all. Not sure how to date this bottle, but I'm guessing that this is relatively fresh. Who knew I'd be looking for sourness now? I guess that's palate progressing.

Mouthfeel is lightly medium with a thinly prickly feel in the drink. Finish has a nice, white wine dryness and leaves a slim bitter feeling. Didn't think that this beer wouldn't have the characteristics of other Flemish sour ales, but that's no problem. I actually want to try an older bottle of this to have more of the "oude" character. Coming from Goudenband, this is totally different tasting.

infi, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of tjkinate
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One major problem.

A: Probably the best looking beer I've seen from this style or similar styles. A single fingered head formed that exhibited good retention finally settling to a soapy film atop this deep red transparent brew. It even showed solid amounts of lacing!

S: Cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, and cranberry notes are most prominent, but are followed nicely with tart and grassy undertones.

T: Follows the smell fairly closely leaving the raspberry and cherry flavors to remain most dominant. Sour funk follows nicely, unfortunately so does the metallic copper aftertaste. Really bummed me out, gonna try again later hoping for better results.

M: Well carbonated and lightly bodied.

O: Almost fantastic, but the copper flavor really just ruined it for me.

tjkinate, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of tln13
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

tln13, Apr 17, 2012
Photo of jeffaroo95
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

jeffaroo95, Jul 05, 2014
Photo of DMB
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

DMB, Dec 29, 2012
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,433 ratings.