Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
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Ratings: 2,278 | Reviews: 1,038 | Display Reviews Only:
District of Columbia
4.1/5 rDev +7%
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.
03-18-2010 03:48:15 | More by Huhzubendah
4.08/5 rDev +6.5%
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.
07-09-2008 02:49:36 | More by biegaman
4.13/5 rDev +7.8%
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.
06-28-2011 00:55:59 | More by smakawhat
3.73/5 rDev -2.6%
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.
12-08-2008 23:48:03 | More by beerthulhu
4/5 rDev +4.4%
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!
11-16-2006 04:43:29 | More by Viggo
3.68/5 rDev -3.9%
A: Pours a really nice deep red/burgundy with a light tan head that reduced to a thin layer of foam on top. Nice sheets of lacing.
S: Light, tart cherries. A little bit of wood and vinegar.
T: Nice cherry flavor, a bit less tart then I was expecting. The cherry flavor transitions to slight oxidized flavor that remains on the flavor profile on the finish.
M: Medium bodied with nice carbonation.
O: Nice aroma and upfront flavors, but the oxidation was a bit much, giving it a metallic finish that was a bit unpleasant.
05-10-2011 00:41:08 | More by mdaschaf
3.98/5 rDev +3.9%
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'.
12-06-2011 21:47:30 | More by Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5 rDev -7.8%
A - dark amber with a reddish hue; huge, soft, dense, foamy, offwhite almost brownish head that has great retention
S - a bit musty, faint fruit, some grainy sweetness
T - berries, mildly lactic, some caramel, mild bitterness in the finish
M - medium bodied, sticky, smooth, crisp
I'm not sure how I feel about this beer. It's not really bad, but it's not really great either. It has a decent enough flavor though the fruity notes are mild and there is very little if any sourness. The nose is a bit off putting with it's graininess. Overall, not a bad beer, but I've had better in this style. It was nice to try once, but I won't be seeking it out again.
02-09-2013 00:27:28 | More by tdm168
3.6/5 rDev -6%
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.
01-11-2010 23:30:42 | More by Kelp
4.35/5 rDev +13.6%
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.
06-20-2006 02:40:02 | More by DrJay
3.65/5 rDev -4.7%
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.
06-08-2009 07:50:42 | More by JohnGalt1
3.88/5 rDev +1.3%
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.
12-31-2008 03:52:50 | More by glid02
4.38/5 rDev +14.4%
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.
11-15-2010 21:21:35 | More by Tone
3.98/5 rDev +3.9%
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.
05-16-2010 23:51:45 | More by beertunes
4.38/5 rDev +14.4%
Draught @ OBriens 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
06-15-2004 16:13:56 | More by Gusler
4/5 rDev +4.4%
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.
01-04-2009 17:44:57 | More by Brad007
3.8/5 rDev -0.8%
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.
04-05-2009 18:28:50 | More by johnnnniee
4/5 rDev +4.4%
Reviewed from notes: Had on draft at Monk's Cafe thanks to Maggie for DIPA Trivia Question. : )
appearance: dark red / brown with a 1 finger minimal head
smell: sour, tart, cherries, apples,
taste: sour, tart, refreshing, cherries,
mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,
overall: really impressed how refreshing this beer was. So glad I got to try it and had a great time at Monk's.
08-01-2011 01:33:24 | More by THECPJ
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,278 ratings.