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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.
very good

1,095 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,095
Hads: 2,742
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 13.54%
Wants: 79
Gots: 365 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website

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: 1,095 | Hads: 2,742
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown in color with maroon highlights that had a 2 finger head and good retention leaving good frothy lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma upfront had big vanilla oaky notes with some vinegar, vinous, and slight acidic notes. The taste was also sweet and oaky with vinous vinegar accents but had slight brown sugar notes. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, oaky, vinous, and tart finish. It did drink good and was a decent flanders style beer.

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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.

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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.

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

A - Deep amber body, some reddish hues through the light with a nice thin offwhite head.

S - Smells of natural wild sour cherries. A nice dry oak note is present with tangy, tart vinegar-like aromas.

T - A great big splash of tangy cherry up front. Tartness and acidic fruit quality coupled with a metallic twang, almost mineralistic but soft. Some tart vinegar notes and a dry oaky sweetness as well.

M - Soft bodied with a very refreshing and clean feel. Crisp throughout and dry on the finish.

O - A very well balanced flavorful crisp beer. So clean and enjoyable and what a nice blend of flavors. Awesome.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich brown color with a ruby tinge; one finger of foamy tan head. Nice.

Smell: big aromas of caramel, nuts and toasted malts. There is also an acidic brightness permeating the big malt. I've never had a Flanders Oud Bruin before, but this smells quite good.

Taste: bright, sweet and tart. There are big fruity flavors here; sour apple and cherry are the most prominent among them. The more traditional malty flavors are more apparent in the aftertaste. Overall, these two components complement each other quite well. I very much like this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body and relatively high carbonation give this beer a nice creamy texture; though it's more fizzy than smooth. Still quite good.

Drinkability: I think this beer is just a hair too sweet to be exceptionally drinkable. Still, the tartness is just enough to keep me interested and I feel like I would gladly include one of these in my daily diet.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of beertunes
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,095 ratings.