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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

2,064 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2064
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: 2,064 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly cloudy reddish brown ale with out much of a head.

Smell is sweet and fruity with a slight acid edge. Mostly fruit scents of sour cherries with a sweetening of honey. Later one softer scents of brown sugar and rum appear.

Taste is a little sweet with a good sour pop of acid to more or less even the flavor out and leaves a lemony sour note on your tongue. Fruit flavor of sour cherries without going too sour. Refreshing but not real complex.

Mouthfeel is OK.

OK as the style goes. A sweet and sour ale that I really can't pair with anything except Sauerbraten.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 05:22:46 | More by Zorro
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured with a great, thick brownish head, but it dissipated all too quickly, leaving behind a thin, wispy reminder. The color is a deep ruby red/brown. The nose is very tart with an underlying smell like toast right from the toaster. It has a thick, almost creamy mouthfeel and a flavor that is very reminiscent of SweetTarts from childhood. It has what I can best describe as a candy-like sweetness, but offset/balanced by an extremely tart flavor. The finish reveals this dichotomy to a greater degree, with me being unable to pin down either sweet or tart, but more like both at once. This is very enjoyable and I would certainly have more than one on a hot summer's day, when the beer would be quite refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2005 18:25:31 | More by woodychandler
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken 6/12/10

From a bottle it appears an amber color with a yellowish tan head that doesn't retain well. Faint amount of lace clings to the glass. Aroma is an interesting mixture of berry and vinegar. The fruity berry in the aroma comes across a bit like cherries. Taste is sweet upfront with the cherry flavor that turns a bit acidic with a note of sourness. Ligh feel with a modest level of carbonation. There is a lingering aftertaste of fruity sourness that is mildly drying on the tongue. This has more sweetness than I was expecting but perks my interest in trying more Flemish examples. As it warms, the vinegar character becomes more evident seemingly like apple cidar vinegar.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2010 16:48:40 | More by stakem
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yeah, bring on the sour. Single bottle from Total Wine for $2.49, on to the beer:

Poured into an oversized wine glass, its brown in color, interweaved with dark red, and with hues of orange. Lovely color, even cooler when you shine a light through it. The nose is tart like strawberries, and phenolic. It's a good smell, but it lacks robustness for that higher score. Taste...sweet and sour sauce. Me likey. Tart and sugary sweet upfront. Light on the sourness and more focused on a sweet flavor. Burnt caramel sweet. Sour apples. Some might say it's cloying, but it's working for me. Delightful and not too heavy...Intro to Sour Beer 101 is right here.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2008 04:18:42 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Russet brown coloured body with a bottom of apricot coloured embers. A brazen maroon glimmers to the lights. A sandy toned khaki coloured head. The beer literally gleams.

With the breeze hitting just right my nose is treated, even from afar, to luscious, almost candy like cherries. Fermenting, drying fruits smell as if covered in sticky, roasting sugar; already sourness becomes wholly apparent. There is a tremendous underlying of mildewed, antiquated, musty oak.

I've had the bottle maybe the better part of a year, the blends themselves were most likely a year or two old before bottling, but this smells centuries old. It has the charm of a medieval castle or Gothic church. Again: mildewed, antiquated, musty oak.

The mouthfeel isn't so sour after all, moderate even for a Flemish. The finish has a chocking dryness that sees flavours part a little more quickly than I'd like them to. The oak splinters through the palate. The low, dying carbonation is felt only slightly, after the finish alongside a hint of melted butter.

My tongue is treated to a unique taste that could be described as fruit infused balsamic vinegar aged over musty wood. The flavour really showcases earthy, bruised orchard fruits. The oak aging results in a touch of port or sherry-like tannins and balsamic vinegar. You almost think you sense a touch of spiciness before the light roast and caramel sweetness of malts set in. Lacticness has no time to react as sweetness ushers in on the finish. This taste more 'bruin' than 'red' for sure.

This was a little acidic, a little tangy, and a little tart, but not a lot of any one of thing, which made it tremendously drinkable. The degree of must the oak brought with it gave this beer a lot of charm. It was a kind of charm I remember smelling a lot of while in Belgium. Flanders Oud Bruins are now reason number 878 for me to move there.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2008 02:49:36 | More by biegaman
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Monk's Cafe...
Appears a hazy, red toned light brown with an off white head that slowly fades into a mild film. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of sour cherries, apples, mild vinegar.
Taste is of the above mentioned aromas. Similar to Rodenbach Red. Slight sour apple and light cherry flavors jumping about.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly thin mouthfeel but the Rodenbbach qualites are still there. Not quite mouth puckering but decent.

Serving type: on-tap

06-05-2006 16:08:43 | More by weeare138
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy red/orange, thick tan head forms, nice lacing, great retention, really sticky. Smell is sweet and sour, sugary, some caramel, some fruits, excellent funk. Taste is sour, some cherries, funky, fruits, nice toffee finish, more sourness as it goes down. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation, nice Flanders ale. Thanks DrJay!

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2006 04:43:29 | More by Viggo
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a reddish brown color, murky, thin beige head to it. Good sour aroma, mildly woody, plenty bitter bite in the nose.

Taste, fairly sour, far from complex, not really a distinct fruit presence to this one (if I had to, I'd roll with cherry simply because its popular and given its appearance), any vinegar in the mouthfeel is minimal, stays sharp and acidic, carbonation is right where I want it to be for this style of beer. Toffee seems present.

You can't beat scoring these for $4 a bottle either. Easily one of the best in style for the price. One of the first beers one should try stateside if they are looking to get into 'sours'.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2011 21:47:30 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Flemish Sour ale.

A: Poured a deep crimson red with a slight one finger tan head. Visible carbonation was good per style.

S: a nice sour tart aroma of dried fruit (cherries) some sour fruitiness (apples).

T: acidic with a big sour tartness of cherries but fades quickly off the finish. Starts off with a nice sour bite but fades quickly and cleanly on the finish.

M: vinous, and very slick on the tongue.

D: Good drinkability for a sour, still limited to 1 or 2 at best.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2008 23:48:03 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Monks Cafe Flemish Sour Red

Pours a reddish brown in color. Sour aroma, cherry, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar tones. In the flavor, malty, sugary sweet and sour. Belgian candi sugar, a present lactic tartness and sweet malt. Mouthfeel Is medium bodied and carbonation is low to moderate. I know I have come full circle, I tried this beer early in my beer journey and couldn't drink it because it was so sour and different. Now it's not sour enough for me, but still a nice Flanders style ale.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2011 18:39:48 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red with a bit of a brown hue and quite clear. The fine, light beige head showed good retention and produced a solid sheet of lace on the glass. Malt sweetness and sour fruit (cherries) in the aroma, along with a hint of leather. Tart berry fruitiness balanced the moderate malt quite nicely. Some sour cherry as well, also earthy and woody. It finished with lingering raspberry tartness. Light bodied with some residual sugar that gave it a slightly syrupy feel. Very thirst quenching and highly drinkable. Even with the rest of the line-up at Monk's Cafe, I had to have a second glass before moving on.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2006 02:40:02 | More by DrJay
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy brownish-red color with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates quickly into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. Lacing isn't very sticky.

Smells of tart cherries with a small amount of yeasty funk. It's almost like a light red wine when it's cold but as it warms it gets more of a malty character.

Prepare yourself, because the first sip is VERY sour. I wasn't expecting it to be this tart from the smell, and though it's not overpowering it certainly makes me pucker up a bit. Sour cherry and apple flavors mostly, with a vanilla-esque flavor - almost a bit woody.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness and active carbonation.

Drinkability is good once you're acclimated to the sourness. The flavors are clean and crisp and I had no problem finishing off one - although I'm not sure how much I like the prospect of having another.

Overall this is a great beer for the price. Pick this up if you see it, and the next time I'm in Philly I hope to stop in for a glass.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2008 03:52:50 | More by glid02
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light brown in color, small head with moderate lacing.

S: Funky yeast, sweet dark fruits, wood. Easily identifiable as a Flanders Oud Bruin.

T: Refreshing and tasty. I always prefer sour over sweet, but this beer marries the two quite well. There is an intriguing, musty, funky aspect to the beer that I am enjoying. The beer definitely has a sweet component, and finishes that way.

M: Moderately low carbonation, nice feel, sweet/sour finish (mostly sweet).

D: My palate can only handle a small amount of sweet beers. This one is very well done, and I'd be happy to drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2010 03:48:15 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Draught @ O’Brien’s San Diego
Just goes to show you, that you never know what you will find in a great pub, owned and run by great beer loving people, a beer brewed in Belgium exclusively for a pub in Philadelphia, in a pub in California!

The beer as it sets in the Belgian Chalice a somewhat murky deep red to almost brown color, the head a medium tan color that is also creamy in texture and the size perfect, the lace forms a tight skirt to cover the glass. Nose is crisp and tart, the aroma of over ripe fruit, a hint of yeast, a bit musky, quite a pleasant sniff this beer. Start is lightly sweet then tart with the top middling in its feel to the palate, finish is austere in its acidity, the hops perfect in their spiciness, very dry after taste that lingers on and on. I was simply forced to have several glasses before I boarded my incredibly long flight back to Phoenix, geez I needed the energy to withstand that hour and five minute flight! Lol

Serving type: on-tap

06-15-2004 16:13:56 | More by Gusler
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Matt said this was coming... and I was stoked... Picked up at the Coop over the weekend.. I think about $2.50 for the bottle.. poured into my New Belgium goblet.

3 finger lite tan head lasts for quite a while.. great lacing sorta turns crusty after awhile and the retention is pretty nice... the brew is a perfectly clear deep deep amber with bright red highlites.

The nose immediately reminds me of an overly sweet cherry vinaigrette.. fruity and malty with some possibly imaginary wood ... a little bit of sweet vermouth.

Flavor has more caramel than the nose but it mixes fairly well with a sorta fruity "sweet and sour" mashup... cherry and (again possibly imaginary) wood and mild acetic notes.. but still seems too sweet for me..

The body is heavier than most Oud Bruin's I've had in recent memory.. and the carbonation is a little lite too...

Overall, I just think this one is too sweet.. the fruitiness would be dialed back if the sweeteness wasn't so heavy.. This is a good beer.. but made a bit better by the fantastic price tag... and despite my above negatives, the drinkability is fairly high... I just don't think it's really that great though.

4.5/3.5/3.5/3.5/4

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2009 07:50:42 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red color with a thick two-finger head into my glass, leaving a bit of lacing.

Aroma is tart with a strong hint of cherries and spice. Also has a bit of barnyard funk.

Taste is tart and sour upfront with a hint of cherry, apple and barnyard funk.

Mouthfeel is mainly tart and sourness that linger at the back of the throat. Well carbonated.

Interesting example of the style that has a lot of nice characteristics. Definitely a sipping beer and you should only try it if you are looking for something to challenge your palate.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 17:44:57 | More by Brad007
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very murky brown with ruby highlights. Not much head. The smell is malt vinegar and late sweet malt. Tastes quite sour with a spicy taste redolent of cinnamon on the finish. The mouthfeel is alittle rough and non-integrated for me, but its a quite refreshing brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2007 03:59:46 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A gorgeous dark amber burnt brown and red body with clear presentation. Head doesn't stick around much but a good solid tan collar is left to observe. Very much like this body color, clear, brown and ruby. Looks great!

Bouquet is sweet and sour cherries, with emphasis on sweet first. A distinct sort of sweet mix of brown sugar and malt too. Hint of tartness. I really like this nose.

Taste is very good emphasis on sweet red fruits. Berries of cherry, raspberry, maybe even some dark plum. No sour or tartness at all. Very chewy in the palate, candy taffy like, with some slurring wetness in the feel. Brown sugar takes on during the finish.

Overall pretty easy drinking not even sour, quite sweet actually which probably knock my score down a bit. But it's a great beer and a good place to start to get your feet wet if you are not into sour tastes.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2011 00:55:59 | More by smakawhat
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cork comes off with a nice pop.

Poured into bruery snifter.

Pours about 1/2 finger of light khaki head. Fades to a thin layer and leaves some splattered lace. Color is a dark ruby hued caramel brown.

Aroma: There is a nice amount of cherries up front, some sour notes that follow, but not overly sour. It seems to have a decent amount of fruit flavor to complement the cherry upfront, Granny smith apples come to mind. I get some oak as well. The aroma is pretty solid.

Taste: The cherries are again up front, but the taste is different compared to the aroma. It has some different fruit flavors here, sour grapes and raspberry, and more of a funky taste. The green apple flavor is here, but not as defined. I actually get a cider flavor out of this beer. The malts also stick out a lot more. The oak flavor is a lot less too.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, smooth, and a little sour. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends a little dry and funky.

Overall, this is a pretty decent beer. My expectations were not that high for it, but it not only met them, but exceeded them. A very nice sipper. I am definitely savoring it. It isn't as sour as I would like, but I still think it is good.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2010 02:12:15 | More by mothman
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle into tulip. Pours clear dark reddish-brown color with a foamy 3 finger light orange head with great retention that reduces to a fairly thick lacing cap. Aromas of sour cherry, apple, spices, bread, grass, and a bit of funk. Aromas are solid. Taste of big cherry, apple, and a bit of spices on the front; that leads to a decent amount of of tartness on the finish, but it is not overpowering. I was actually expecting more sourness in this one. Great balance of sweetness and tartness. No alcohol in the taste or finish. Prickly high carbonation in the mouthfeel with light-medium body. No alcohol in the taste or finish noticed. Overall this is a tasty sour, nice balance, and good drinkability due to the moderate amount of sourness.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2011 20:25:34 | More by superspak
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours deep red to mahogany with a fluffy off-white head and some visible carbonation. There is very good head retention and large bubbles in the head. Very little lacing.

S: Overall the aromas are light in this beer but complex with hints of cherry, raspberry, and cranberry. There is a slight amount of mustiness and hints of some spices.

T: Flavors of cherry/raspberry/cranberry followed by slight sourness and a little bit of funk.

M: Light to medium bodied and smooth with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: I really enjoyed this as a sessionable beer as it is light and easy to drink that would allow it to pair with many different foods. I really enjoyed the acidity in the beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2012 22:14:27 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into tulip 14/3/13 bottle from IanSpindler IP trade

A looks dark brown until I hold it to the light where it has a dark amber glow, a finger of foam falls quickly ending up as a thin film that stays there leaving no lace

S burnt sugar and cider notes mix well with purple candy like grape aromas and earthy notes, has a nice sweet and sour thing going on, subtle green apple and sweet cherries

T not as much going in the mouth much to my surprise, just seems to be toned down a little compared to the nose, the sweet and sour is still working well for it though and I do like it but was expecting a little more after smelling it

M enters silky and gets creamy quickly, feels good, light but the bubbles give it lots of life and has some brown sugar and fruit on the finish

O I didn't know what to expect but I rather liked this one and it went down so easy, I could drink a few without getting board

Fairly random style but as far as I know they did a pretty good job, something I'd drink again for sure

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2013 02:36:12 | More by wordemupg
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in my Belgique tulip, Monk's Café is a clear ruby with a very tight light tan head, leaving pretty nice lace.

Smell is very vinous, sweet malt and vanilla notes.

Taste is pretty heavy on the acetic acid vinegar, I think maybe an increase over having it a year ago, but maybe not, there's still a nice balance from the richness of the sweet malt. Strong oak and grape mid-palate before a pretty clean finish. Very intense, like the smell.

Mouthfeel has very creamy carbonation, which helps keep the body light and cut the viscosity of the malt, oiliness of the acids and tannic bite.

Drinkability is pretty good, this has held up well, maybe improved a bit after a year in the cellar. I think the acidity has increased, and while it's still to sweet and cider vinegary for my taste in the style, I think the age has helped it, as I don't recall being to pleased with the first bottle when I bought it (and ultimately busted out a little later in that night then I should have, so who knows).

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2010 02:50:16 | More by ccrida
Photo of beertunes
beertunes

Washington

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Received in my recent trade with Jwpv. Poured into tulip. Poured a nice reddish-brown, with just a thin cap of light tan head that very low retention and bare minimum lacing.

A slight sour tang greets the nose. There is just enough fruit, spice and yeast to balance the tartness. That is also an accurate description of the flavors. Cherry dominates and I think I get some oak and leather. The 4 people I'm sharing this with agree that this a tasty, tasty brew.

The body is thin, but that's typical. Drinkability is very good, but will vary depending on your personal tolerance for sour beers.

Overall, a very nice beer. Worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2010 23:51:45 | More by beertunes
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark red color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of tart malt, slight sweet malt, and strong citrus. Fits the style of a Flanders Oud Bruin. Mouth feel is sharp at first, that then becomes smooth. There is an average carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, strong citrus, slight sour, slight sweet malt, slight yeast, slight grass, hint of hop, and a hint of wood. Overall, a very good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2010 21:21:35 | More by Tone
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,064 ratings.