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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

1,098 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,098
Hads: 2,762
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 21.61%
Wants: 82
Gots: 374 | FT: 7
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.
View: Beers (92) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,098 | Hads: 2,762
Photo of Brewsephus
3.19/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

11.2 oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

A- Pours a off-white 2 finger head. Head lasts longer than a minute and leaves very delicate lacing on inside of glass. Beer is a very dark red, almost opaque, held up to light reveals a deep ruby color. Small/Medium bubbles on surface.

S-Sour fruit, lemon, unripe plum, cherry pie.

T-deep cherry, baked pie, sweet resinous fruit, nectar. Very subtle malt sweetness. Sourness approaches the front of the palate, but is not sharp or vinegar. Just unripe fruit. A little band-aid flavor on the finish into aftertaste.

M- Carbonation is nicely effervescent, at first I thought it might take away from the wonderful flavor, but it would be too viscous and syrupy with all the fruit and less carbonation. Body is light, but not lacking in mouth-feel. Alcohol is unnoticeable.

O- This is one of my first Flanders and I must say I am pleasantly surprised. I enjoy the fruit characteristics, and while not puckering sour it is a lot more tender than I anticipated. A really nice, but not great, nuanced sour.

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Photo of slackattack
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into red wine glass

A- first thought was dirty river water. Started off with about half a finger of tight foam, dissipated pretty quickly, lacing was not really present

S- red wine vinegar, sour cherries in your face. Bright and acidic and pretty awesome.

T- started off following the nose, then got away from the sourness a little. Fell off toward the end for me and got a little sweet, maybe it's supposed to, but I would prefer a little more persistent bit.

M- medium to medium-full bodied. There's a definitively detectable amount of malt that I feel like is responsible for the body, not great, not terrible either.

O- like I said, if the label says sour I want and expect sour all the way. The sweetness that came through about 2 seconds into every sip was unwelcome. Didn't hate it, won't buy again though.

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Photo of BeardedSquash
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep mahogany with a little over a finger of loose off-white head. Head recedes fairly quickly, leaving only thin lace.

S: Smells sour, but not infected like a Lambic. Light musty odor. Smells delicious.

T: Not as sour as the name would suggest, but tart. A bit of green apple on the sides of the tongue. Acidic and sweet, no defined hop presence.

M: Airy bubbles that fizz only slightly on the tongue. The acidity creates a thin layer of phlegm to guide the bubbling liquid down gently.

D: Wonderfully light on the palate and stomach. A great beer to introduce others to sour ales. Great for a hot day in the baby pool.

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Photo of daftafne
2.58/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: beautiful dark brown liquid, a finger of light tan head which dissipates quickly

Smell: Vinegar

Mouthfeel: Bubbly, crisp, medium-light body

Taste: sour apples, vinegar, raisins, dates

Drinkability: Not really my type of beer. I have had the rodenbach red and really loved it (similar type of beer though not as overwhelmingly vinegar-esque). Low alcohol so you could have a few if you like the taste. I havent had many of this type so I cant really say how it compares to other sour ales.

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Photo of matt20102
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at about 45deg. into goblet. Pours with a very large, foamy head which lasts for quite a while. The initial aroma is strongly of tart cherries and little else. The flavor is similar with a subtle vinegar sourness on the finish. Some tasters have written that this might be unpleasant but I suspect that this is much to do with the freshness of the particular bottle.

As the bottle progresses, the sour and tart components come forward along with a slight musty flavor and distinct sweetness- somewhat cloying but not a malt sweetness. There's not a lot going on here making it a great entry-level sour beer. It is also quite refreshing and could be a fantastic pairing with cream-heavy desserts.

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Photo of darky
3.17/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a bottle into a Saxo tulip/snifter

A:deep ruby reddish brown, thick, persistent white head and ample carbonation.

S: Tart fruits, and an astringent lemon-y scent.

T: Fruit punch at first, followed immediately by grapefruit, grapes, alcohol and a sour finish backed by strong carbonation. This is not a great example of this style. While different, and enjoyable, the flavor is really not very refined. The flavor of this beer has loads of character, but the component flavors are all fighting attention and fail to make a cohesive statement.

M: While the carbonation is strong, it pulls off a really nice smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel, that really benefits this beer overall. A definite strong point.

O: This is about third time I've had this beer, and I'm drinking this one a little warmer than before, probably around 45-50 degrees F. That said, this brew is better consumed a little colder. If you are introducing someone new to Belgians, by all means, do NOT start them out with beer. I think it would be very interesting to throw this brew into the mix in a blind taste with others of it category, but at the end of the day, your money is better spent elsewhere.

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Photo of dude
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Huge, duvel-like head of foam. Liquid is reddish-brown and clear. Aroma is acetic and fruity, like a vinegar made from wine and apple cider. Taste initially is sour, but this leaves quickly leaving a lightly sweet cherry flavor. It tastes nothing like beer I'm used to. No malt or hop notes. Finish is clean with almost no aftertaste. Mouthfeel is slightly flat. Maybe I poured it wrong I don't know. I'd drink a second bottle if one was available, but then move on.

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Photo of PeterLemonjello
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Very pretty beer. Pours a dark/rusty ruby color. Clear with nice carbonation. Thin head which remains during drinking. Nice lacing on glass.

S - Smells of sweet fruit with a touch of sour cider. Ever so slight touch of barnyard.

T - Tastes nice but a little sweet. Tastes of sweet cherries with a sour flavor present but just not enough to balance out the sweetness. I want to enjoy it more as it tastes very nice, but the sweetness just needs to be balances out with more sour or more barnyard which just isn't there enough to balance.

M - Lovely mouthfeel with prickly carbonation. Not too think and not too think.

D - Tough for me rank higher on drinkability because of the sweetness. If more balanced or a drier finish, it would be a very good beer.

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Photo of BamaScholar
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was pleased to find any Flanders Red Ale or Sour Ale here in Nashville, which, while improving, is hardly a Mecca for interesting fare.

It was a nice pour--the beer is a beautiful garnet tone. I may have even awarded a 5 if there were more carbonation, a better head. This may not be characteristic for the style, however.

The nose is quite unusual, the sour is there! It's like soaked cherries and a bit of musty earth.

It's not really terribly sour, just enough sweetness and bite to make for a balanced and refreshing mouthful.

Again, I could almost use a little more carbonation here, as it seems a little flat. But the dryness is quite nice. "Ahhhh" producing.

Delicious beer but one or two is plenty at-a-go. I will definitely be seeking more examples of the style.

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

appearance - brown with a reddish hue when held up to a light. extremely clear.

smell - tobaco?, chocolate, sourness, vinegar, sweet cherries.

taste - apple, cherry, vinegar, tastes like balsamic vinegar, definitely more vinegar then I've had in any beer but i really like it. Literally tastes like a fine balsamic vinegar. Some sweetness combines with tartness. reduce this with some berries and serve over ice cream and damn..that's a fine Italian dessert

mouthfeel - thin mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

overall - this is a fantastic Oud Bruin. Sour, tart, vinegar, apple, dark cherry.

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Photo of colt45n
2.28/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a nice red/burgandy hue, light buggly white head.

S: Not really sure what flavors im getting here there is definitely a sour sweetness to it, but also something dirty or spoiled fruit about it.

T: SOUR omg was not expecting so much sour, also the spoiled fruit there as well.

This might be a liitle over my head, but my palete could not handle this one.

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Photo of Aml42000
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown body with a fluffy tan head. It showed some transparency toward the bottom of the glass and maintains a pretty appearance throughout.

S- A powerful blast of balsamico is hard to shake as you stick your nose deeper in the glass, but some muddled pit fruit becomes apparent with some swirling and persistence.

T- A healthy tension of sweet and sour on entry. The tart components are certainly more prominent on the mid palate. Tart, slighly underripe cherry and rhubarb fill the mouth. The barrel and yeast components take a backseat to the fruity aspects here. Medium levels of acidity for a sour ale.

M- This is a bit linear for a sour. High carbonation makes it more like a tart fruit soda than a sour or wild ale. I like a bit more acidity as I prefer a drier, fresher mouthfeel than this offers.

O- A very safe sour ale for those who aren't familiar with the style. A very versatile beer to serve with food as it has enough flavor to pair with many types of dishes, but gets a little tiresome to sip on alone. I wish it showed some more wild aspects.

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Photo of deuschbag
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml. bottle pored into a wine glass. pores a beautiful ruby red color with a perfect light tan head that stays threwout the whole session and leaves great lacing. everything about the appearance is perfect.
i smell some sour cherries, vinegar and some chocolate malts.

i taste lots of cherries. lots of sourness in the background with vinegar. chocolaty malt aftertaste. a nice and very surprising taste over-all.

mouthfeel is medium bodied but a little intimidating from its sourness at first but after the first couple sips it's pretty easy to comsume and over-all very smooth.

this is my first time drinking a sour tasting beer and i am extrememly surprised. truly an easy beer to drink and a great experience for me. this was a good introduction to the style for me.

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Photo of BrewsCrewSA
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out with a beautiful, tan head. High in carbonation; deep ruby, and rusty brown in color, looks very inviting. Head retains well, dissipates after a few, appears to have some sediment on the bottom, not sure if this is normal. Still, a great looking beer.

Faint scents of alcohol and berries, not much here, but still pleasant. Smell reminds me of those few, Belgian krieks such as Cantillon, and Lindeman's Kriek and Gueze.

Tastes great. Just an amazing, tasty quality that's hard to define. I liken it to melting a few red Sweet Tarts on your tongue. That, plus the faint, goodness of alcohol notes toward the back of the palate. A great, sweet flavor that's hard to resist. One of the best Belgian beers I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is incredible, maybe an even better quality than the taste. I was expecting tart, bitterness; what I got instead was a mellow, sweet pleasantness that was happily surprising. Exceedingly smooth, cool, refreshing.

I guess they eliminated drinkability from the review categories, but OVERALL, a great Belgian effort. I personally much prefer this to the redundant, Tripels and Quadruppels. They all taste like apple juice anyway. This Red Ale, I highly recommend.

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

A- Pours a dark amber with a huge head that stays around for ever, so I wouldn't plan on pouring your beer and drinking it right away. I bought a four pack and now on the 4th one and saw no difference the head size.

S- Smells like fruits and has a little bit of a sweet sour tinge to it.

T- Has a sour tinge right at the beginning with a little bit of a metallic taste that follows it. Fruits of all sorts come to mind when drinking this.

M- Medium body with heavy carbonation. The sourness does well with the heavy carbonation.

O- Pretty darn good sour. I have often had this be my baseline beer for when thinking of a sour ale.

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Photo of alexanderplatz
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Like Rodenbach Classic Red this is an easy to drink sour beer. The flavor is slightly tart, sweet and dominated by berry flavors. It is not hoppy at all. Descriptions of sour beers often feature terms evoking barnyard odors, which to me implies an acquired taste that may be not for me. But I didn't find Monk's to have any sort of challenging/weird/offensive flavors at all. If I had to use a single word to describe it, I would say "tangy."

I find one bottle very drinkable but the sweetness is such that it isn't the sort of beer I would drink two of back to back.

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Photo of bernie879
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet

A reddish brown ale with an off white head, reeking of sour cherries in a really good way. The carbonation was up there just enough to aid the medium bodied bodied beer and played well with the tart sourness in the mouth.

Why this is called a red ale I am not sure as it has more of the characteristics of a brown which are noticeable in the taste once one gets passed the sour cherries which dominate the beer, again in a good way.

I picked up this beer on a whi as I had never heard of the style and was blown away. This was a really goos beer and I look forward to trying others within the style.

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Photo of Tony49er
3.27/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Serving Type- Poured from a bottle into a Tulip Glass

Appearance- Tons of foamy brownish white head with an aggressive pour, dark ruby red color...just a beautiful looking Flemish sour

Smell- Funkyness, almost an effervescent character to the beer in the nose, fresh and dark cherries in the nose, light dark fruit character, some great barnyard funk to it

Taste- Effervescent quality in the front of the palate, dark cherries, fresh cherries, funk, light tart off dry sourness, very refreshing just a great sour no matter if you have had a lot of sours or you are new to the style

Overall- Just an awesome sour I have had this beer several times but this bottle has been in my cellar for a year or a little more and has not changed much maybe a little more funk but still awesome if you have never had a sour this is a great start I LOVE sours in my opinion they are the most under appreciated beer style by Americans....CHEERS

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Photo of kwill
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great sour beer. Not quite as good as Duchess, but for the price ($5 on draft) I haven't found a better Flemish ale. I didn't give it a 5.0 because it is a bit less intense than other sour beers (which might be good for some drinkers), and when I want a sour beer then I am looking for a sour beer.

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

I don't know if this is categorized correctly, seeing as this is a Flanders Red, and not a Flanders Bruin.

A- This had a very nice ruby-brown color to it, nice head and a good fizzyness to it

S- Balsamic Vinegar, cider, faint fruit

T- not surprisingly, Balsamic Vinegar... but in a GOOD way, like if there was a semi-sweet Balsamic Champagne. I get hints of plums and cherries, but really this just reminds me of Balsamic. Very similar to Duchesse de Bourgogne. I thought it was delicious.

M- it was light and creamy. The acidity didn't linger for too long. You'd barely know that it is a sour beer.

D- sorry if this score is not fair. I could probably only drink one or two of these in a night. Not really my favorite style, but terrific for what it is.

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Photo of Jef59
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- at first, the beer appears to be a deep brownish orange with a nice, thick, cream colored head. When held up to the light, it turns to a beautiful ruby red. The head dissipates to a thin lingering layer throughout the rest of the glass.

S - A nice sour smell hits the nose followed by a sweet sugary honey scent. There is a fruity scent, kinda berry/cherry like. Smells like it should be really refreshing.

T - It IS really refreshing. The sourness is really nice: not too overpowering for the rookie sour drinker, but not too subtle as to take away complexity. A sour cherry flavor is very present and is nicely complimented by a malty, brown sugar backbone. There is a slight spiciness (coriander maybe), but it is very subtle. Hardly any hops are present, but it does have a nice citrusy zing to it. It's almost if cherry-lemonade and beer had a baby.

M - Super velvety! The carbonation rolls over your tongue leaving a light and refreshing consistency.

This beer is super refreshing! Perfect for a hot day or to pair with an awesome meal at Monk's!

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Photo of ryno09
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours reddish brown with an off white head of a finger or so. The head fades fairly quickly. The nose has the "Belgium funk" mixed with cherry acidity along with a touch of dark fruits and port, maybe a hint of sour apple.

Lots of carbonation as expected, it gives it a champagne like mouthfeel. It certainly tastes like it smells, cherries mixed with some dark fruit. A nice balance of sweet and tart that finishes very dry. I haven't tried many sours but this beer seems like a great place to start.

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Photo of emagana
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a red copper in a tulib glass.
Very well carbonated that helps the nose pick up several smells. I get ripe cherries, grape, watermelon, and stone fruit. There is some definite funk sour notes.
Starts off with some dark cherries and sweet grapes. Very pleasant and refreshing. Makes for a great warm day beer.
I'll pick up more next time.

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Photo of dmbsteve
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours ruby red with a giant off white head that fizzed down to about a finger and stuck around till the end.

Smells of bretty funk. Not much else, except maybe a hint of overripe grapes and sour apples.

Taste is better than smell. Sour apples is the dominant taste. Sweet and sour both. Hardly any bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium with heavy carbonation. A bit of sticky sweetness stays on the tongue and outlasts the bitterness.

Overall a pretty tasty beverage that tastes like a cross between a sour beer and a sweet wine like a reisling. I'm just starting to get into sours and every one I've had so far has been different. I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of Cheshire_Crew_Al
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank it from a pint glass pour, little bit of a head, pleasant odor, thinner quality than anticipated.

It has an extremely smooth feel, with a pleasant aftertaste, a little fruity (again more than anticipated), like raspberries, I drank the first on the cold side, would recommend to have it cool but not extremely cold. Not very hoppy, which I prefer.

Overall, excellent beer, not heavy at all but has a full taste to it. It has an all-around appeal in that, despite not very hoppy, it is well-balanced in flavor that I would imagine would appeal to most beer enthusiasts.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,098 ratings.