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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

2,467 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,467
Reviews: 1,053
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 57
Gots: 203 | FT: 3
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: 2,467 | Reviews: 1,053 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beestin
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of jim_carignan
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of oelergud
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear transparent beautiful dark ruby body with lots of carbonation and a nice pillowy, creamy, silken tan head. Good retention and lace.
Sweet and sour scent, tart green apple skin.
Fresh tart fruity taste. Very little aftertaste of green tart apple.
Medium mouthfeel with a finish that seems dry but thats just the tartness talking.
A very different and enjoyable brew.

-Oelergud

Photo of TCgoalie
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 6/7/10

Pours a dark reddish brown with a touch of foamy head. Lacing is good.

Smells like a funky red wine with lots of cherries, spice, and a wine barrel scent.

There is a good deal of strawberry and cherries in the taste. It is very effervescent and reminds me of a tasty juice. Rounding out the flavor is a bit of funk.

Light to medium in the mouth with a wet aftertaste. Sugary and satisfying a good summertime drink.

Very drinkable if you don't mind a sugary treat.

Photo of PatandDavid
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle of this at AC last weekend. Overall, an alright beer drinker experience, but not enough to make me ooh and aah. After being poured the beer looked like balsamic vinegar, and frankly, the aroma was also pretty reminiscent of the same. A thin white head topped it off. Medium in mouthfeel, I got some faint kriek like notes (aka sour ones), along with some dried fruit. Not as complex as anticipated, even the 'sourness' seemed a bit tame.

Photo of jneiswender
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle into a small sample glass.

A-reddish-amber body, clear, tan dense head

S-Worcestershire sauce, spice, sour
cherry

T-sweet cherry front, cherry pit-like middle,

M-medium, somewhat slick

D-much more tame and mellow than other sour ales I've had. I had this one evening with chocolate covered raisins. Unbelievable.

Photo of kaseydad
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter and produces a nice thin layer of foam which has staying power.

First appearance is cola brown but once in the light there is a nice burgandy presence.

Smells of vinegar and I am picking up some cherry as well.

Whoa! I was expecting a major sour explosion but there is a really nice balance of sour and sweetness. On initial sip there is a bitter/sour kick but the sweetness quickly mellows it. Very cool.

Nice smooth mouthfeel.

Very easy to drink compared to other sours out there. This is a nice introduction to anyone wanting to try the sours but not be (or feel) overpowered by the flavor.

Very well done!

Photo of hopfacebrew
2.55/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

At recommendation of a colleague I picked up a 4-pack, a little pricey ;(. Anyhow, poured from undated bottle to a Duvel tulip the beer pours a deep copper brown color with some ruby red edges in the light. A small 1/2 finger white bubbly head with some retention and lacing, but nor much. The nose is in my opinion the best aspect of the beer with a detectable sour funk that melds well with the sweet fruity banana, apple, and cheery fruity character. Vinegar type aroma is detectable but not a deterrent. Hints of caramel malt sweetness. The flavor starts very much the same but is immediately overpowered but a strong sweetness that ruins the balance of the beer. Fruity and caramel sweetness dominate the funky sour flavor and mellow characteristics the nose let on. Disappointing. Hints of dark fruit such as raisin in the tail end. Finishes sweet. Medium bodied and decently carbonated. Overall, I feel the sweetness was way too much for this beer, which is really too bad. I sampled 2 bottles to ensure I didn't get a bad one to start, both were the same. I will not be back. It was hard to finish 2, but I felt obligated after such a nice review by a trusted peer. Perhaps this is a bad batch? I will have him sample one of the last 2 and see.

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a medium red brown with a thick 2" white head. Bubbles of carbonation stream lightly from the bottom of the glass. Little lacing is left as the head dissipates.
S: Sour with a hint of malt vinegar and sour cherries
T: A taste of red sweet and sour sauce, pineapple, sour cherries, a hint of lactic acid
M: full bodied and creamy
O: an excellent example of a Belgian sour ale

Photo of jondeelee
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If you had to judge this beer solely by the smell, you probably wouldn't try it. The aroma is vinegary and sour, and in fact more resembles a hard cider than a beer. Hints of bananas, apples, and cider vinegar dominate, but by and large this smells like the beer went bad in the bottle.

On the tongue, the resemblance to a hard cider continues, and thankfully, while the sour flavor is still present, it seems tempered here, and easily palatable. Again, bananas, cider vinegar, and apple flavors are present, and dominate most of the mouthful. In some respects, these flavors mimic ports, sweet champagnes, or perhaps sherries. Towards the end a few layers are peeled back to reveal a white grape-like taste, as well as nicely toasted grains. Mouthfeel is light--only slightly viscous--and the ale is fizzy, with more carbonation than usual.

Overall, while this beer is a bit of a shock to the tongue, and probably more than a bit of an acquired taste, it's still intriguing and seductive. Worth seeking out.

Photo of vcoggins
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of MiScusi
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Stone Bistro, served in a small snifter. Poured a brownish red with a head that had receded pretty fast into a thin foam. Aroma had a faintly tart character with red grapes thrown in. Taste had a maltiness that contained a bit of sour, but a good amount of sweetness from darker malt to balance it out. A grape taste was apparent as well. Mouthfeel was pretty smooth while also carbonated enough to give what little tartness was there a nice quenching aspect. This is a malty, mild sour ale that goes down pretty easy.

Photo of billshmeinke
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One inch fluffy white head.

Ruby red body with some golden highlights. An inch of cream colored fluffy head.

Smells really fruity. Kind of a fake raspberry scent. Not too pleasant.

Tastes like raspberry and blueberries. Nothing really sour about it. Kind of fake fruit tasting... don't really know how to describe it, but a bit of a bummer.

Super well carbonated. Light bodied. Fairly dry.

Kind lame. Fake fruit tasting. Not buying again.

Photo of ChipMurray
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of jrfehon33
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of stewart124
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

POurs a dark brown with ruby highlights and a fluffy tan head.

Smell is that of tart fruits and floral notes.

The taste is some is something you don't get often. Yum. Refreshing notes of tart cherries and a syrupy sweetness. This is a very tasty and refreshing beverage and my first taste of something in this range.

I could drink more of this tart beverage but I am not sure if I could drink a number of them in one sitting.

Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

11.2 oz bottle poured into flute glass

A - Despite pouring very carefully, absolutely massive head. It took a few minutes to pour. Color is medium amber, decently clear with an off white head. Got some floaties of yeast in there.

S - Smell is instant lactic sourness and fruity. It's mainly an apple fruitiness. Fairly straightforward aroma.

T - Decently sour and tart. Not too sour, I think it could use a bit more. Definitely a lactic component to it, and a sweet & tart apple flavor.

M - High carbonation, sticky sweet mouthfeel. A bit on the thin side. Makes me pucker and smack. Sour apple tart on the finish.

O - A pretty decent sour. There are a lot better ones out there for a similar price, but this isn't bad. It doesn't have a lot of depth to it, as it's somewhat simple sour & tart apple. It's still crisp and refreshing though, and makes a good pair with cheese and crackers or other snack food.

Photo of ajs4bd
2.25/5  rDev -41.4%

Photo of Blaze5445
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Photo of nomad
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

*Available only on draught and in 330 ml. bottles at the famous Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.*

Poured a ruby red color, deep and opaque, with a wisp of a head and a thin but full lacing. Kind of a dead-water look to me.

Smells of cherries and sherry, and did so in a sour and barely oaky way. For me, it at times came across as vinuous. Never very strong or wow-ing, as many Flemish Sour can be to the nose.

Taste is sour but not too sour, more vinuously so, with a body that was thin and softly reminiscent of sweetness like a liqueur or a lambic might. The main body of flavor was cherry like but not a cherry - know what I mean? That fruity flavor that only Flemish sour reds produce. Bright but not acidic, mellow but not boring, this beer also had some bits of lemon and raspberry at the finish. Had no metallic taste like some sour ales do, and possessed a thin and quick watery mouthfeel. Would like a little more carbonation.

Highly drinkable, this is more of a session version of a sour red ale, as it didn’t have the complexity or body of a Duchesse or a Goudenband. A good beer, regardless. Nice of Monk's Cafe to make the effort to contract Van Steenberge to brew this for them. Something's gotta fill the void while Rodenbach is temporarily M.I.A, right?. Nice to throw back a couple of these at the bar while you’re waiting for a table. FYI, some of the restaurant's dishes are cooked with this beer, too.

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

11.2 ounce bottle. Pours out a murky, reddish brown color with a small head. The aroma is sour cherries and oak. The flavor is a tangy mixture of sweet and sour. The flavor of cherries is most prominent, but there is also oak, wine, and berries. There is enough sourness so that the sweetness is held in check, but I would like this better if it was less sweet. Finishes very acidic. Carbonation is high. This is a pretty good version.

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

11.2oz bottle poured into a Duvel snifter.

A: Pours a dark muddy reddish color with a half inch loose and bubbly greyish white head that sticks around for a bit before fading into a cap while still leaving behind some pretty decent lacing.

S: Cherry vinegar, an amazing balance stuck between sweet and sour. Good but a bit one dimensional.

T/MF: Mild tobacco, sour acidic cherry, though compared to times I've tried this on tap, the acidity seems to be a bit more heavy handed in the bottled version, numbing the taste of cherry slightly. Feel is medium bodied, very tart, puckers the sides of the mouth but still manages to finish rather clean. Quite refreshing if a bit thin.

D: Not bad, but not as good as I would have hoped since trying it on tap once before. Still a pretty solid choice if you are looking to get into sour beers and don't know where to begin.

Photo of illini4x4
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Photo of jeonseh
2.1/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into a GI Matlida glass

A- deep, burgundy color with a light gold color to it. It's opaque and a bit hazy with a small white head that is comprised of small bubbles

S - smell is tart, reminds me of sour cherries with hints of balsamic vinegar. There is a slight farmhouse aspect to it. I also note hints of lemon peel. It also seems to have a slight metallic twang to it

T - taste is definitely tart at first. As it goes on, there is a nice cheery sweetness that comes through and reminds me of the taste of cherry pie filling. There is also a nice lemony aspect that cuts through the sweetness. There is still a strong metallic taste that comes through and reminds me of copper. It lingers on in the finish as well which just makes the aftertaste unattractive.

MF - Surprisingly creamy. Nice carbonation to this that lends to the body.

O - overall, a decent Flanders beer if it wasn't for the metallic taste. However that metallic taste and smell was too much for me to take. I've had other sours before and this is the only one where this came out so strong.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,467 ratings.