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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,094 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,094
Hads: 2,714
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 78
Gots: 355 | FT: 6
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: 1,094 | Hads: 2,714
Photo of BARFLYB
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a Chimay goblet. Not sure of the date on this one. I've been drinking this for years and it was my first introduction to the sourlike spectrum of beer.

A- Monk's Cafe FSA pors out a very murky and bloody brownish red color bordering on a dark mahagony. A decent 3/4 inch off-white beige head arises leaving some spotty lacing.

S- Pretty much a mix of sweet and sour with more of the former. A whole lot of apples and sour cherries but not on the deep end. Also getting that vinegar scent so common with this elusive style of brew.

T- This is delicious. A burst of apple with some cherries to give that twang i'm looking for. The vinegar aspect common with old bruins is there and cant be denied but does not come off as overkill. Some sweet malt as well and oaky qualities. Not as sour as some may say.

M- This is smooth and easy drinking with a medium like mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. A lot of the oak and apple stays throughout while a nice tartness is present on the top of the mouth.

D- At 5.50% and it being so readily available in my area this one is always a go to for me. When i'm in the mood for a sour "fix" and funds are tight this is the solution. A great candidate for this style brewed by a respectable Belgian brewery for America, what more can i ask for. I'm glad to see this getting wide distribution. (1,358 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Monk's wonderful cafe in Philly, pours the expected reddish tone, respectable lacing emenating from a tan head. Nose is sharply sour, fruity and spicy. This style is not for everyone, but as acompliment to tasty, rich Belgian mussles and other other dishes, it is stunning. A world class palate cleanser and beer to enjoy with certain foods. Flavorful and wel crafted. Worth acquiring a taste for this sophisticated nectar. (435 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle,

A: Pours burgundy with a full, billowy off-white head, gobs of lace, good head retention.

S: A lot more vinegar/acetic acid character than I'm used to in this style, initially thought the beer would be a lot more acidic than it turned out to be. Enjoyable complex smell.

T: Tasty brown ale. Pretty standard flavours - strawberry, wood, vanilla, lactic acid. Complexity is not huge, but it has some interesting notes.

M: Too much carbonation upon the pour, but a couple swirls of the flute takes care of that. Pretty smooth, moderate acidity for the style.

D: A real nice Flemish brown ale and one of the best bargain sours out there. Paired well with some goat cheese I was eating. Recommended as a good introduction the sour styles. (753 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
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. (900 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A: Deep chestnut/amber color, slightly murky but mostly clear. Large tan head that has little retention, quickly dissipating to a thin ring and no film. However, clumpy rings of lacing are left behind all the way down the glass.
S: Was expecting a stronger smell. Sweet, malty background with some funky, fruity aromas up front, but there is also a strong diacetyl-smell detracts from it.
T: Starts off as expected with a sour twang, of ripe fruit, green apples, etc. Surprising taste of malty sweetness occasionally pokes through before strong vinegary sour finish again with buttery taste.
M: Crisp, refreshing, but slightly thin. Carbonation compliments sour flavors nicely, but finish is cloying and buttery along with the sour.
D: Great flavor and appearance, but the smell and especially the mouthfeel leave me wanting more. For the price and availability a great pick up, especially as an introduction to sour beers for someone. (973 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (654 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 mL bottle poured into a goblet. Served one to my brother-in-law (Raul) to try to get him into some sour styles. It didn't work.

Appearance - Deep amber body with a huge head. More than half the glass is foam. Sticks to the sides of the glass and leaves a nice layer of foam throughout the drink.

Smell - Not much sour, mostly funk. Some cherry and light vinegar aromas. A bit of sweet malt behind what Raul described as "the smell of vomit from a tequila hangover."

Taste - Not very sour at all. Just a hint of tartness followed by a cherry sweetness. There is some malt sweetness, but it isn't cloying. It's too much sweetness, really, but it isn't sickly. Tough to describe. I get a lot of oak, as well. I look over to see Raul drinking it as fast as possible to avoid a gag reflex. What a waste.

Mouthfeel - A bit too sweet in the finish and that makes it feel heavier. It isn't heavy, it just feels that way. Not as easy to drink as a crisper acidity would have allowed.

Overall - Not bad bu nothing spectacular. Good flavor, but just not sour enough.

Mouthfeel - (1,077 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Muddy Pig in St. Paul

A simpler sour ale than some of the other's I've tried, but at the same time it's the most drinkable I've had. It comes off with a juicy tart sourness that tastes slightly like sour cherries, but not much else. The flavor here is a little mellow and relies mostly on the sour tang to carry the beer. I've call it a starter-sour ale. (371 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
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. (497 characters)

Photo of Kelp
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a redish brown color with a nice little head on it. Smelled strongly of tart cherries and a hint of balsamic vinegar. Definitely a tart cherry taste followed by a sweet malt to finish it off. Kind of like a sour cherry candy. Mouth feels smooth a decent amount of carbonation with a dryness on the end of it. I could only have one maybe two of these and then get sick of it. My first foray as far as i know into sours and it wasn't bad, but not great either. (469 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
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. (272 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a really clear deep copper color with a huge head that slowly dissipates to a cap but leaves fluffy sticky lace down the sides of the glass. Smell of lactic acid, sweet malts, a bit of lemon, and sour cherries. Taste is sweeter than I expected but has that sour twang about it. More lemons and sour cherries and sweet malts in the taste. Leaves a sweet and sour taste in my mouth, pass the Chinese food. Mouthfeel is syrupy and a bit sticky. Carbonation is on the high side prickling the tongue with every sip. Body is medium. Decent sour ale, but I thought it a bit on the sweet side for the style. Maybe more like a beginners sour ale, but still tasty. (660 characters)

Photo of weeare138
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (479 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
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. (590 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap in a tulip, the beer is a bright, crystal clear, straw coloring with a thin, clingy, white head. Aromas of toasted grains, subtle grape must, and lemon. Flavors are toasted forward, with a subtle lemon tart and sweet, white grape must, and floral highlights. Very balanced, light, and refreshing. The aftertaste is tart and sweet, with a dry, crisp, clean finish. Very drinkable. (393 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a ruby red color with a small white head. Nose is vinegar, fruits, strawberry perhaps and a definitevtartness. Taste is self is def tart from begining to end, great tasting blend of fruits, nice body and sweet. Very good brew, on tap much better versus bottle. My wife loved it. (285 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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. (1,873 characters)

Photo of liamt07
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Sammy, 11.2oz into a tulip. 08KK on the back side of the bottle, is this bottle 4 years old?

Violet, hints of burgundy with a voluminous beige head. Lacing is immaculate and retention is superb. Sour and acetic notes hit the nose immediately and waft from the bottle, balsamic, sour fruits, hint of green apple. Maybe a shred of sweetness, but the sour notes dominate. Taste is a bit sour and lactic to start, not as much as anticipated from the nose. A bit of copper (oxidation?), but more sour fruits and a bit of oak. Tart and more lactic in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium, but thins out near the end of the mouthfeel. Carbonation is medium, but prickly. A solid beer - doesn't blow me away but is a solid example of the style. (744 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a wide bottom flute)

A- This beer pours a warm brown clear body with a strong carbonation of medium size bubbles. The head is a light tan thick foam that turns rocky after a bit.

S- The smell of fresh rain is a very soft earthy quality that is followed by a soft sour note. As it warms a faint barnyard smell comes through but it is still soft.

T- There is a very soft light malt note that is quickly followed by a light sour note. There is a cardboard note in the beginning but it is a very nice compliment to the sourness. The sourness finishes the beer with an addition of fizz from the carbonation. As it warms that cardboard note turns into a very soft wet horse blanket note.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel but it feels more full from a fizz texture.

D- This is a Flemish sour but it doesn't have any of the "big" characteristics that I associate with this style. This is a beer if you want to stick your toe in the pool of sour beers. I prefer to jump right in with the sour beers that real make you pucker and smell like you are on a farm in the summer. This is very smooth with just a hint of that. (1,141 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a two-finger white head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Cloudy amber color. Light bodied and light carbonation. Nose is sour cherry . No sweetness here starts and finishes with a sour cherry taste. Clean, tart finish. $5.25 for a 330ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA. (300 characters)

Photo of akorsak
1.86/5  rDev -51.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I am drinking a 330 mL bottle, poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The ale is a deep brown color with a significant amount of sediment.

Smell: There is a slight lactic sourness in the nose.

Taste: Blehh... The sour presence that I expected from this flemish red appeared upfront but quickly disappeared, leaving an unremarkable red ale flavor.

Mouthfeel: Nowhere near as lactic and sour as it should be.

Drinkability: I had 1/2 of the bottle and poured it down the drain. This ale doesn't hold a candle to Rodenbach. (537 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.66/5  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 (1,183 characters)

Photo of Tone
4.31/5  rDev +12.2%
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. (451 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
3.44/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reddish brown beer with a decently foamy head. Aroma is strongly redolent of vinegar and cherries. Very tart taste, typical sour, vinegar is in there, lots of cherry flavor as well, moderately sweet. All depends on how much you like sours and can deal with the vinegary aspect of the flavor. Found it ok, kind of a low-end entry level sour, not very complex, pretty refreshing. Brisk carbonation makes it taste like a sour cherry soda...with a vinegar backbone. Clean finish doesn't linger, nicely quenching.

I actually kinda like this beer, at least when I'm in the mood..have it had a few times and always have a different reaction. Not as good as something like Rodenbach, but similar I suppose. As I said, it's an entry level beer for the style and the low price reflects that. Usually under 3 bucks when I see it. (821 characters)

Photo of aasher
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one pours a burnt amber in color with a one finger off white head. It smells pretty good. It smells extremely sour, in a way that makes you want to resmell to see if you got the first one right. The taste is oaky, sweet, and has the great sour flavor to finish off the taste and it's left in the after taste. I really like this one, although it can be overpoweringly sweet and eventually gives off a vinegar flavor that is kind of repulsive. It's almost mouthwateringly sour. This beer was really good the first time I tried but after a couple times it's losing its luster. The only knock is that it could be a little too sweet. It drinks pretty well but one is enough. (674 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,094 ratings.