Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

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BA SCORE
86
very good

1,089 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,089
Hads: 2,700
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 75
Gots: 343 | FT: 5
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: 1,089 | Hads: 2,700
Photo of NardiByNature
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Aggressive pouring makes a massive, light tan head. Eventually settles down to a nice cap with a little spotty lacing. The beer is a deep, clear mahogany with some ruby notes. The color of this style reminds me of Lipton Brisk.

S: The nose is faint. Smells like carbonation (if that’s a thing), a little vinegar, some cherries.

T: Like the nose the taste is mild, but becomes more pronounced as the beer warms to room temp: sour cherries and some woody flavor.

M: Very smooth, very dry. Fuzzy carbonation. Very drinkable.

O: This is good. Not as complex or flavorful as some other old browns but I like it. Would like to have on-tap sometime. (654 characters)

Photo of crhensel
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(12 oz bottle into tulip) I was apprehensive about this one, not only because it was my first sour, but also because I found it after getting as a Christmas gift in 2009(!) Heard a good pop when I lifted the cap, so that was promising. The pour was a deep mahogany with a very pillowy, thick tan head. The nose was at first strongly vinegar, which put me off, so I waited a little bit, then came back and found that mellowed into more or less a tart fruit - apples and cherries - with the vinegary undertone. The drink itself was very smooth, and not as sour as I expected. There was a fruity sweetness up front, but the finish had a nice crisp sour bite making for a nice ending note. I will definitely explore this style more, and this one will be a go to beer for me for a while. (782 characters)

Photo of Graebner
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red-orange and brownish color. Little or no white lacy head.

Smells of citric and lactic sours, light biscuity malts.

Tastes of citrus and milk/cheese sourness, substantial hoppy bitterness, and light, biscuity malts. The malts begin to come through more pronouncedly as the beer warms and you drink more, and it ends up being even somewhat sweet.

The feel is smooth and refreshing. It finishes spotlessly, completely clean, only a slight hoppy bitterness to let you remind you of the great beer you just sipped. Highly carbonated, but not out of balance. It merely enhances the brew.

Overall a very drinkable beer. Sour, but very drinkable. It ends up sweetening up after a while, and it does not sour your stomach regardless. The sour is taste only on the palate, and is quite enjoyable to me. It is absolutely superb with a rich, creamy cheese like brie, camembert, Saga blue, or St. Andre. It is a quientessential Belgian beer in both taste and mouthfeel, and anyone experienced with Belgians will note the familiar characteristics. Excellent and very unique beer. (1,089 characters)

Photo of USCTrojanBrian
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip

Dark brown, classic brown color, some violet in there as well. One finger head, aggressive carbonation coursing along the walls of the glass. Beautiful.

Standard sour cherry aroma, potent, but a little more woody than sweet.

Really aggressive soda-like carbonation on the first small sips. Tremendous sweet/sour fruity burst, cherry. Really sweet, the dominant flavor rather than sourness. This may be the kool-aid of Flemish sours, very drinkable. Not quite as complex as others I've tasted but by no means bad. I pick up some other flavors in the aroma that don't quite show up in the mouth, slightly frustrating.

Really enjoyable beer, not much to complain about or quibble with. (721 characters)

Photo of RedSpecial1
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a light copper with a small off white head with slight persistent lacing. The smell is of white wine vinegar with a sour note as well. The taste is initially a touch of sweet white wine fading into a moderate sourness. The mouthfeel is light and fairly dry. The strong flavors in this beer keep it from being too drinkable, but it is an interesting drink. (371 characters)

Photo of SPThirtyThree
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Red mahogany with just a bit of haze, massive head on the pour that fades down to a clumpy, sticky lace.

S: This oud bruin slams the nose with vinegar. There's also some caramel hiding in there. Subsequent sniffs after the nose has adjusted to the acetic smell give a slightly sweaty or zoolike aroma. It's a nice amount of funk for the style.

T: Again, sour vinegar up front, but well balanced with sweetness and cloves. Also some bubblegum esters.

M: Very effervescent from the high carbonation.

D: High - it's very tasty, but a tinge less carbonation and a less estery profile would substantially improve the drinkability (although it might make this brew less interesting). (684 characters)

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

Like all sour ales, this is not a style for everyone. While I can't understand how everyone doesn't appreciate a nice goblet of Chimay or Corsendonk, I can fully understand how sour ales are a real acquired taste and not for all.

I tried this at Monk's. I am not certain the style of glass this was served in, different, almost like a tall juice glass (?). Right away, the smell hits you before you take a sip. A strong, bitter, sour cherry scent.

While the bar's darkness made it hard to tell, it appeared to be ruby red-brown in color. A mild head, not too much. Rather refreshing in appearance.

The flavor is complex. A raging war between sweet and sour...with the sweetness taking the lead at the initial sip, but to be overcome by the notes of sourness at the end. Mild hints of yeastiness are mixed in throughout.

Take my review in comparison to other sour ales. Drinkability is scored high, but my hats off to anyone who could drink sour ales all night long. It is an interesting and unique style, but hardly matches well with most foods and definately the sour taste lingers in your mouth well after your drink is finished (similiar to a strong IPA). (1,164 characters)

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

Wow. A ton of carbonation on this. Granted, the pour was semi-aggressive at the start, but a giant head of off-white foam emerged, but also dissipated nicely with good retention. Smells quite sour, some pomegranate some cherry. A bit of apple. Not mind-bendingly sour, but sour enough. Quite flavorful and quite delicious, in my opinion.

Like It? Indeed. (355 characters)

Photo of bgreg3
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

app- deep amber colors are richer in middle of the glass, and has high levels of carbonation far after pouring.

smell- sour smell with sweet notes lingering in the back. Yeasty overtone. very enticing smell.

taste- Other characteristics of the beer stand out more than the taste. Tart and sour sensations rush your tongue but become sweet in just a second. The taste neutralizes to a beer tasting of amber malt and German yeast. No hops noticed, but it works for the most part.

MF- Bubbly and tingly. The carbonations mixed with the sour notes allows the beer to dance on your tongue in a most enjoyable way.

Drink- This beer killed my palate. It would have been difficult to taste other proceeding beers.

Give this one a go! very interesting! (748 characters)

Photo of WOTO97
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: vigorous pour for thick cappuccino head that slowly dissolves to thin bubbly film, thin web-like lacing, deep burgundy red

S: grapes and soft vinegar notes, mild sweetness, very faint malt, distant nutmeg accompanies some burned vanilla notes

T: loads of fresh grapes, mellow tartness that slowly fades on the palate to a nice sweetness

M: slight stickiness in the back of the throat, slight and clean on the front, mellow creaminess

D: incredibly drinkable for a sour but almost to negative results, the grape notes overwhelm the vinegar flavors for a very mellow and clean finish (588 characters)

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

Serving Note: Satan tulip glass

A: A mahogany brown / port red wine with a two finger head and medium residuals left behind on the glass.

S: Whadda ya know? Sour! Notes of black cherries and maybe a blackberry hint with yeast.

T: Monk's Cafe has taken my Sour virginity and I was impressed by the complexities in the flavor profile. I originally had thought that Sours were a gimmick-beer, but this has set me straight. After the initial wince/pucker I truly started to appreciate the tart cherries and the warming alcohol finish.

M: Medium or Med-light body with a crisp finish that leaves the sour notes behind as a souvenir.

D: As much as I enjoyed the sour, I am not sure that I would dare try more than one in a night. However, this goes down smooth enough for me to give it consideration. (799 characters)

Photo of brown2cu
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown and is topped by a massive head that took forever to die down. At the end the head was about a finger width.

S: A solid nose but not a lot of complexity. Sour cherries are the most dominant. There is also an undertone of vinegar.

T: There is definite cherry in this beer and like the nose it is the dominant taste. It is sour at first but ends with an almost bittersweet finish. I may be deceived, but I believe there is a woody undertone in the taste.

M: Low carbonation and I was taken aback by this considering how massive the head was. A very strange feel.

O: Not my cup of tea as far as the style goes, so I tried to review as subjectively as possible. (684 characters)

Photo of ROMER79
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour was a dark red with a tan/white one finger head. The initial smell was of berries, vinegar, and cherries. The taste was interesting. I could grab the sour cherries, berries, and I even think I picked up on a milky feel. There were even some sweet after notes that followed the sour taste. It was a milky sort of feel in the mouth and the sour taste got my palate running wild. It was a slow beer to drink, definitely not a session beer. If you don't like the taste it will be hard to finish. Just man up! (513 characters)

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

Bottle to the tulip

Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue in the light. A super sticky tan/creamy head sits on top.

Smells is tangy. A little malty. Touch of roasted malt in there, some sweetness as well.

The nose is pretty decieving on this beer. Initial taste is way smoother and sweeter than I thought it was going to be. Has an almost soda like body to it. Some acidic sourness, but not a mouth puckering super sour type beer.

A nice beer. I will probably pick up another one of these and see how I feel about it at a later date. (538 characters)

Photo of thydarkprevails
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On draft. Clear ruby amber with a inch thick white head and nice lacing. Aroma is raspberry, and sour fruit. Taste is more raspberry, sour fruit, and light citrus. Thin mouthfeel. Nice sour. Not the strongest example of the style, but it was put together well and is very sessionable. (284 characters)

Photo of Slack
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mahagoney in color with about 1/2 inch of head and no lacing.

Aroma is sour, acidic, with sweet undertones. Am picking up vinegar and grape.

Taste is acid up front mixed with wine. Finish is sweet grape.

Mouthful is light and crisp with high carbonation.

This is a nice beer that is very easy to drink. I paired it with some BBQ and enjoyed it even further. (365 characters)

Photo of Ryan_Graham
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Large head. Dark reddish brown color. Smells like lemons or tangerines. The sourness comes through right away but it's not at all offensive. This is the first "sour" ale I've ever had and I was pleasantly surprised. It's a little syrupy for my taste. It almost tastes like someone mixed a red ale with the the sweet and sour mix that people buy and use for whiskey sours. It's not spectacular, but it's different. And I'll give them credit for going outside of the box. (469 characters)

Photo of yeastsipper
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Interesting beer for me. First had this on tap at Monk's cafe in Philly a solid 3+ years ago now. Scary. At the time, this beer came from another world. Time has passed, and I have had a number of beers since then. I am very happy to say that this beer, while not as sour, was honestly as good as I remember it.

Beer is a copper brown color, with a very thick, off-white head. Pretty stuff. First smell is the funk. Funky, but not overly so. Then the fruit and sweetness kicks in. Nice, deep, dark cherry smell. Maybe some other crisp fruit like apples or maybe pears. Some very dry, woody qualities as well.

Taste is fantastic. Obvious sourness, but amazing balance. Sour for the sake of flavor, not for being puckeringly sour. Again, lots of fruit - the cherries stand out. Some malt and sweetness on the backend. For me this was very surprising. The beer I remember was sour sour sour. I think this is for two reasons: the beer at Monk's was on keg and probably fresher, and I have had a number of other sour beers now, so the taste does not stand out as much.

Great mouthfeel and drinkability. Just an outstanding beer. I am probably a bit nostalgic, and will score higher than the average, but IMO, I am completely justified. I love the combination of sweet and sour, funk and fruit. Awesome. (1,300 characters)

Photo of dgugliuzza
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip

A- Pours reddish brown with a thick tan head. A hazy red hue settles in the glass. Very good head retention.

S- Smells of sour prunes and sweet dark fruits. The combination of sweet and sour combines nicely. Delicate, yet complex.

T- Tastes of prunes and cherries. Mostly sour and a little sweet. Sour after taste that lingers intensely. A bit overpowering for my tastes buds, but pretty interesting nonetheless.

M- Bursts with carbonation. Medium bodied and quite crisp. Goes down fairly smooth.

D- Not sure if I would have more than one. It's a bit too sour and over carbonated for me, but there is a nice balance of sweet and sour. Granted, this was my first sour so I would like to try a few others. (750 characters)

Photo of Kudashov
1.56/5  rDev -59.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12 .oz bottle with my belvoved Manic Street Preachers - " Design For Life " on the Hi-Fi .Poured into my Stella Artois glass . This was a call from Dan at Marty's . I enjoy talkiing to Dan about beer and his call on the Avery Hog Heaven was very good but this was not . I guess sour is not my style . Color was a dark red burgundy color with a one finger head that did not last long . Cider / sour apples and cherries . Tasing this is not as sour as I thought it was going to be but the flavor is everywhere and the finish is bleh . It was not overly sour that turn me off but it was a tad watery and the flavors again are everywhere . Really had to fight it to get it down . Not a drain pour but close . (704 characters)

Photo of tprokop7
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Trying this for the second or third time, out of a 11.2 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass. It's not bad, but something about the taste isn't for me. I think it's a little too sweet, and that the sugars are a bit muddled. The sour finish is nice, the beer looks beautiful. (276 characters)

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

poured into a stone ipa tulip

A murkey redish brown, 2 finger head

S FUNKY, real tart fruits( im still getting my sours palate down) im getting some vinegar as well.

T hmmm i get sweet apples, some funk, sour cherry and other spent fruits.

M medium heavy body, suprisingly smooth, ive had others that were super heavy and acidic. this one was pleasant.

O i would get this again to help me build a palate, not so acidic down my alley at this point (451 characters)

Photo of TaySuth
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark copper red in color with a three finger head of creamy, small bubbles that recedes to one finger.

Smell: Tartness is immediately apparent with notes of fruit, mostly cherry, strongly dominating the smell. Minimal hops aroma.

Taste: Very tart right off the bat with a good fruitiness. The taste then shifts to a strong malt character. Slightly bitter and sour on the finish. Really good.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated with a medium body.

Overall: A very enjoyable beer that I will be looking to pick up some more bottles of sooner than later. (563 characters)

Photo of ryantaussig
4.62/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Leaps and bounds better on tap than it ever was in the bottle. I'm so sad the keg at The Good Life was kicked. While very similar to the bottled version. The freshness of it from the keg made for a significantly more sour experience. Same look (although lacing was better), better aroma and flavor. A great beer, especially on tap. (331 characters)

Photo of Stonebreaker
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Brown with a red tinge and a thin head with strong carbonation.

Smell: Sour cherries, apple vinegar with a little oak maybe.

Taste and mouthfeel: Like a homemade cherry pop, with a touch of vinegar, not my thing but probably good for the style. You can taste the wood immediately then its blocked, by tannins perhaps.

Drinkability: Only a curiosity for me. A very occasional treat. (396 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,089 ratings.