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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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

2,331 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,331
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 51
Gots: 159 | FT: 2
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: 2,331 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of twelvsies
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%

I haven't had a lot of flemish reds, but what I have experienced of the style I love. So I'm trying to branch out a bit and explore. Picked this up out of the blue. Beautiful color on this one, cabinet brown with red hues, but really no head at all, reminiscent of a gueuze. I don't particularly know if this style is "supposed" to have a decent head or not, but I'm thinking no since it's on the sour side. Smell is all over the place. Sour cherry comes to mind first, with other sweeter fruits backing it up. Taste is ok - a little bit of a let down from the smell. Tart, but not overly so, but all of the sweet fruity complexity in the smell is absent in the taste. A little watery to be honest. I'm not one of those guys that needs their taste buds destroyed by every beer at all, but this tastes a little bland to me. The smell is making me crave something better that I can't get in the taste. I think if they stepped this up a bit - a little more sour, a little more complex - it would be great. Not a bad beer, drinkable, but doesn't hold my interest.

twelvsies, Aug 11, 2005
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

Pours a nice deep syrupy brown with ruby red highlights. Moderate sandy head, composed of larger bubbles that rapidly fades to a ring around the glass. Some lacing. Smell is apple, vinous, slight roasted malt, a bit of vinegar to it too. Taste is somewhat fleeting at first sip. Burst of flavor that ebbs quickly. Let's try again. Tart apples with some sweetness to it, a bit of lightly toasted malt in the finish. Some sourness to it, though quite balanced with the other flavors. Some spice in there too, though not exactly sure what it is. A very slight hint of must too. This is quite good--my first Flanders, but a nice introduction to the style for sure. I can see myself craving something like this (and things far more extreme) in the future. Light, and a bit prickly, this one is actually quite refreshing, now leaving a lingering aftertaste of apples. Quite drinkable, I am definitely impressed with this beer.

LordAdmNelson, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of bmurray10
4/5  rDev +4.2%

bmurray10, Apr 22, 2013
Photo of climax
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%

The flagship sour pours a deep black cherry with brilliant garnet highlights. The foamy tan head is gargantuan and retains itself atop indefinitely. All the way down, there's a constant thick film with a few dark thin spots.

I'm not too sure where to start on the nose, it's complexity is confounding. The sourness does not overpower the auxiliary flavors by any stretch, but it definitely has astringency and let's me know it's going to be tart. Dusty wood, sweet toffee, and juicy apple are the easiest to decipher. Deep within, a rogue roasty character hides, perhaps a glimpse of what's inside.

Toffee and unsweetened chocolate flavors soon surrender to inevitable tartness composed of unripened cherries, and raspberries. Some sweeter vanilla and soft Belgian yeast perplex me even further. And what comes after the beer has gone down is a fantastic lingering sweet, buttery, sour.... er, needless to say it's hard to make sense of what's going on in the finish (or any part) but the complexity is Earth shattering.

The carbonation explodes in the mouth like a bubble grenade. The body itself is slick and finishes clean. With this much fluffiness from the carbonation, it's tough to tell quite where the body fits in.

I am by no means a die hard of sour beer, but I did thoroughly enjoy this. It is astringent/sour/tart whatever, but I don't think I would have it any other way.

climax, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of damienblack
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%

Pours a translucent amber-red in color. Head foams up nicely, and retains fairly well - by the end of the glass there is still a thin layer coating it. Also some very nice lacing patterns left when the glass is disturbed. Smell is sour cherries soaked in vinegar - a pleasant vinegaric smell. Doesn't seem to spicy or earthy at all. Taste starts off with a bit of vinegaric bite, but quickly mellows to a subtle berry flavor. Sour cherry and apple, still hints of vinegar but it doesn't have an in-your-face kick. Pretty light, maybe medium-light in body. Has a champagne-like dryness to it. Or maybe seltzer. Very nicely carbonated. Not as sour as I was expecting, I was expecting more of the Jolly Rancher in your face tartness. It is a very good intro to sours, it has some sour flavours without the bite, mellows quite nicely from the berries of the fruit.

damienblack, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of sisuspeed
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%

Poured into a tulip glass. Red, brown-amber color with a fizzy white head on top. Some lacing is apparent as well.

Aroma consists of vinegar, sweet malts and a bit of cider. Apple vinegar comes to mind.

After a couple of sips the taste of sweet cherries, sour apple and rich malts flood my mouth. Sour at first, but then washed away by the sweet malts. The finish tart and fairly refreshing. Almost like sour candy.

Mouthfeel is quite smooth. Light carbonation, yet still somewhat prickly. Body feels full and rich.

Drinkability is good. The tartness on the finish makes me want to keep tipping the beer back to refresh my mouth with cool, smooth liquid. Very easy to drink. Sweetness is the only thing holding this beer back from being a session beer for me.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with this beer. This is only the second sour I've ever had and I'm liking the general style more and more. Glad I can easily pick this up.

sisuspeed, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of Beestin
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Beestin, May 03, 2014
Photo of happygnome
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%

a: pours a deep mohogany color with about an eigth inch of head that dissapears quickly leaving a good amount of lacing
s: vinegar, funk, cherries are deffinatly present. the vinegar aroma is not overwhelming but ties all of the other aromas together niely
t: sour, vinegar, cherries, refreshing
m: medium bodied ample carbonation

overall, this was an enjoyable beer, I enjoyed it a lot there was a ton of flavor

happygnome, Jul 27, 2008
Photo of megahurts4
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%

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

Appearance: Dark brown, medium head, and some lacing.

Smell: Sour wine like balsamic vinegar.

Taste: Purple sweet-tart start, a subtle malty aftertaste, and some subtle oak.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

Overall:
This would go great with a meal. Smooth and nicely flavored. It has that taste of a purple sweet-tart. It is not as complex or potent as Russian River Consecration, but it makes a great introduction to sour beer.

megahurts4, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of archero
4.75/5  rDev +23.7%

archero, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of djeucalyptus
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

pours a ruby-tinged crystal clear chestnut hue with ample carbonation rising from the bottom, fueling a creamy almond-colored two finger head that leaves behind some foamy pisco sour egg white-esque lacing.

aroma is dead on for the style. clean, fruity, lactic acid aroma wafts as soon as the bottle is cracked. a bit cleaner and a bit less funky than some, but just as inviting as any flanders. tart fruit and spice, less sharp vinegar in the aroma. I'm lovin' it.

Taste attempts to match with aroma but falls just a bit short. still solidly tart with pleasant acidic notes, sharp berry sourness, and nice funkiness, but there's a bit of metallic earthiness that grows stronger as it warms. Still solid for the style, but just a bit too clean and sterile to have a ton of character, and the slight metallic earthy off note isn't incredibly appealing.

Mouthfeel is solid, with ample carbonation creating an almost creamy mouth despite the tartness and slight slickness that comes with the style. smooth and enjoyable. Cleaner mouth than many... definitely nice.

I'm pretty impressed. This may be one of my favorite Flanders I've had the pleasure of tasting. unbelievably drinkable with all the notes I love. it's a bit lacking in that extreme funkiness that keeps it from being outstanding, but on the whole, it's a beautifully rounded Flanders Oud Bruin. Delicious.

djeucalyptus, Apr 09, 2009
Photo of perrymarcus
3.8/5  rDev -1%

pours a deep amber tone, sits a chestnut color with ruby tones evident when held to light. foamy finger, finger and a half beige head, middling retention; head lapse into a thin cap... very nice lacing.

nose is a pretty nice bouquet consisting mostly of malts, sour/tartness, and a fruity sweetness.

flavor hits me with a little more sourness than i was anticipating based on the aroma, but not an overly, mouth-pucking sour... interesting balance between the sweet and sour. defintely has some tang to it; sour cherries. tasty and refreshing, though nothing transcendent.

medium-bodied mouthfeel with healthy carbonation. drinks easily. looks like 4s across the board here.

edit: docking the drinkability score a point. it's wearing on me.

perrymarcus, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%

Notes from 10/20/2010:

11.2 oz. bottle at 42* into a chalice.

A: It pours a cloudy, beet-red color with some short-lived and fizzy head.

S: It features aromas of dark cherries, berry medley, and vinegar.

T: The taste is of sour cherries, sour grape peel, and more vinegar. It begins sweet and ends lactic and sour.

M: This is light bodied and a bit bubbly throughout.

D: I'm not exactly used to sour beers but it didn't keep me from enjoying this.

bucklemyshoe, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of alex_hart
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

alex_hart, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of halo913
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

halo913, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of Auraan
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%

Poured a deep brown, with a three finger off white head. Gorgeous, looks fantastic. Sour lactic scent with a slight hint of malt. A good scent of a sour ale, makes me want to take a sip. Taste begins with a nice sour flavor, a sort of sour crab apple flavor and a bit of nice roast malt flavor on the finish and after taste. Quite nice. Very refreshing. Mouthfeel is bubbly and medium bodied, quite good, refreshing and carbonated, yet easy to drink. This is a good, unique beer. I'm not sure how it stacks up for the style, yet I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Worth trying for sure.

Auraan, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of IanSpindler
4/5  rDev +4.2%

IanSpindler, Mar 06, 2013
Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

1 Pt. 9.4fl.oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Label stamped 09LJ 14:53... no idea if that's an encoded date stamp or the batch number. First I've had of this style, so I'm just going to rate it as a beer in general rather than to style, as is tradition. (in Canada?)

Appearance - Very dark clear/hazy ruby red body. Offwhite head with low to moderate retention and decent lacing.

Smell - Sour. Grape juice. Apple juice.

Taste - Sweet front end with a slightly metallic finish. Clean, slightly sweet aftertaste that doesn't linger for more than a few seconds.

Mouthfeel - Soft body with a slightly crisp, mild sparkling grape juice effervescence.

Overall Drinkability - Not particularly complex, but delicious nonetheless. Again, I can't rate in style since this is my first of its kind. However, as a beer it is very enjoyable. Would go great on any occasions where you might want to drink sparkling grape juice.

ZenAgnostic, Aug 06, 2011
Photo of tuckerlikesbeer
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

tuckerlikesbeer, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%

First go with a sour, so here goes nothing...

A- Pours a deep, deep amber hue with a 1 finger head. Head is very bubbly and active. Good lacing and retention.

S- Well, sour it is. Very acidic on the nose. Slight fruit tones. Lemon and lime like scents with the acidity, minus the refreshing citrus part. Slight hints of some malts.

T- Light and fruity, with only hints of the sour flavors that were on the nose. Darker fruits are up front, with some grapes and maybe some tart cherries and raspberries. Very much like a semi-dry champagne.

M- Very carbonated. Drinks easily, but somewhat harsh on the palate. Could drink a few, but your tongue would be worn out.

O- This a a good starter sour. I thought I'd hate this from the smell, but it is pretty good. Easily drinkable and a good gateway into a very expensive style.

boilermakerbrew, Jun 24, 2012
Photo of JxExM
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

JxExM, May 05, 2012
Photo of waughbrew
2.93/5  rDev -23.7%

Murky acorn color with no head, just a collar. Smells of cherries and cider. Flavor is bright fruits that quickly swirl into a tartness that is very present but not extreme. Woody notes add depth at the beginning but disappear as it becomes more tart and dry. Thin body and low carbonation makes this seem like a relative of red wine. The finish does not seem very interesting or complex and fails to really inspire another sip. A pleasant beer that could serve others as a decent introduction to the style.

It should be noted that this beer was the first ever to have devastating effects on my digestive system. You have been warned.

waughbrew, Sep 06, 2004
Photo of treyrab
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%

Was in the mood for a light sour, so I grabbed this one off an Ohio beer store shelve and poured into my glass...

A: Pours a very clear ruby red with a nice off white head. Look is very nice with ruby, crystal clear hues with plentiful carbonation and a very nice, creamy head.

S: Red wine vinegar up front with some underlying flavors of cherry, and some spice, but vinegar is by far the most prevalent.

T: Light sour grapes with vinegar. Not very good, very light. The grapes are putrid and the vinegar is watered down into the grape taste. Not pleasant.

Overall, this was vinegar galore with some underlying flavors that could not pass the vinegar taste. Not recommended.

treyrab, Aug 18, 2009
Photo of GDBEERMAN
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%

11.2oz bottle into snifter.
A: A deep reddish, amber body, pours with a light cream head. Head retreat thin layer, while the lace that is left is a spotty, that is spot on representation.
S: The aroma denotes a sour brew that shows a hint of sweet cherry.
T/M: The front of this beer is a mellow start of subtle cherry, that exceeds to a blast of sour, but not over powering the limit. The finish is a smooth and nice off for the style, a relapse of sour that lingers nicely. The mouthfeel is a nice and smooth sensation that forms a nice silky effect.
D: I find this to be a bit overly drinkable, a bit too smooth and tasty. The alcohol is barely present at all and is a delicious sour brew.

GDBEERMAN, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of msondel
4/5  rDev +4.2%

msondel, Jan 18, 2014
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,331 ratings.